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American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part I – What Happened?

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • June 18, 2018

About a decade ago, I got a Netflix subscription and was amazed that the Internet now provided immediate access to so many thousands of movies on my own computer screen. But after a week or two of heavy use and the creation of a long watch-list of prospective films I’d always wanted to see, my workload gained the upper hand, and I mostly abandoned the system.

Back then, nearly all Netflix content was licensed from the major studios and depending upon contract negotiations might annually disappear, so when I happened to browse my account again in December, I noticed that a couple of films on my selection list included warning notices saying they would no longer be available on January 1st. One of these was Oliver Stone’s famous 1991 film JFK, which had provoked quite a stir at the time, so thinking now or never, I clicked the Play button, and spent three hours that evening watching the Oscar winner.

Most of the plot seemed bizarre and outlandish to me, with the president’s killing in Dallas supposedly having been organized by a cabal of militantly anti-Communist homosexuals, somehow connected with both the CIA and the mafia, but based in New Orleans. Kevin Costner starred as a crusading District Attorney named Jim Garrison—presumably fictional—whose investigation broke the assassination conspiracy wide open before the subtle tentacles of the Deep State finally managed to squelch his prosecution; or at least that’s what I vaguely remember from my single viewing. With so many implausible elements, the film confirmed my belief in the wild imagination of Hollywood scriptwriters and also demonstrated why no one with any common sense had ever taken seriously those ridiculous “JFK conspiracy theories.”

Despite its dramatic turns, the true circumstances of President John F. Kennedy’s death seemed an island of sanity by comparison. Lee Harvey Oswald, a disgruntled young marine had defected to the USSR in 1959 and finding life behind the Iron Curtain equally unsatisfactory, returned to America a couple of years later. Still having confused Marxist sympathies, he’d joined public protests supporting Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and gradually turning toward violence, purchased a mail-order rifle. During the presidential visit, he had fired three shots from the Dallas School Book Depository, killing JFK, and was quickly apprehended by the local police. Soon, he too was dead, shot by an outraged Kennedy supporter named Jack Ruby. All these sad facts were later confirmed by the Warren Commission in DC, presided over by the U.S. Chief Justice together with some of America’s most respected public figures, and their voluminous report ran nearly 900 pages.

Yet although the film seemed to have affixed an enormous mass of incoherent fictional lunacy on top of that basic history—why would a murder plot in Dallas have been organized in New Orleans, five hundred miles distant?—one single detail troubled me. Garrison is shown denouncing the “lone gunman theory” for claiming that a single bullet was responsible for seven separate wounds in President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connolly, seated beside him in the limousine. Now inventing gay CIA assassins seems pretty standard Hollywood fare, but I found it unlikely that anyone would ever insert a fictional detail so wildly implausible as that bullet’s trajectory. A week or so later, the memory popped into my head, and I googled around a bit, discovering to my total astonishment that the seven-wounds-from-one-bullet claim was totally factual, and indeed constituted an absolutely essential element of the orthodox “single gunman” framework given that Oswald had fired at most three shots. So that was the so-called “Magic Bullet” I’d occasionally seen conspiracy-nuts ranting and raving about. For the first time in my entire life, I started to wonder whether maybe, just maybe there actually had been some sort of conspiracy behind the most famous assassination in modern world history.

Any conspirators had surely died of old age many years or even decades earlier and I was completely preoccupied with my own work, so investigating the strange circumstances of JFK’s death was hardly a high personal priority. But the suspicions remained in the back of my mind as I diligently read my New York Times and Wall Street Journal every morning while periodically browsing less reputable websites during the afternoon and evening. And as a result, I now began noticing little items buried here and there that I would have previously ignored or immediately dismissed, and these strengthened my newly emerging curiosity.

Among other things, occasional references reminded me that I’d previously seen my newspapers discuss a couple of newly released JFK books in rather respectful terms, which had surprised me a bit at the time. One of them, still generating discussion, was JFK and the Unspeakable published in 2008 by James W. Douglass, whose name meant nothing to me. And the other, which I hadn’t originally realized trafficked in any assassination conspiracies, was David Talbot’s 2007 Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, focused on the relationship between John F. Kennedy and his younger brother Robert. Talbot’s name was also somewhat familiar to me as the founder of Salon.com and a well-regarded if liberal-leaning journalist.

None of us have expertise in all areas, so sensible people must regularly delegate their judgment to credible third-parties, relying upon others to distinguish sense from nonsense. Since my knowledge of the JFK assassination was nil, I decided that two recent books attracting newspaper coverage might be a good place to start. So perhaps a couple of years after watching that Oliver Stone film, I cleared some time in my schedule, and spent a few days carefully reading the combined thousand pages of text.

I was stunned at what I immediately discovered. Not only was the evidence of a “conspiracy” absolutely overwhelming, but whereas I’d always assumed that only kooks doubted the official story, I instead discovered that a long list of the most powerful people near the top of the American government and in the best position to know had been privately convinced of such a “conspiracy,” in many cases from almost the very beginning.

The Talbot book especially impressed me, being based on over 150 personal interviews and released by The Free Press, a highly reputable publisher. Although he applied a considerable hagiographic gloss to the Kennedys, his narrative was compellingly written, with numerous gripping scenes. But while such packaging surely helped to explain some of the favorable treatment from reviewers and how he had managed to produce a national bestseller in a seemingly long-depleted field, for me the packaging was much less important than the product itself.

To the extent that notions of a JFK conspiracy had ever crossed my mind, I’d considered the argument from silence absolutely conclusive. Surely if there had been the slightest doubt of the “lone gunman” conclusion endorsed by the Warren Commission, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy would have launched a full investigation to avenge his slain brother.

But as Talbot so effectively demonstrates, the reality of the political situation was entirely different. Robert Kennedy may have begun that fatal morning widely regarded as the second most powerful man in the country, but the moment his brother was dead and his bitter personal enemy Lyndon Johnson sworn in as the new president, his governmental authority almost immediately ebbed away. Longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had been his hostile subordinate, probably scheduled for removal in JFK’s second term, immediately became contemptuous and unresponsive to his requests. Having lost all his control over the levels of power, Robert Kennedy lacked any ability to conduct a serious investigation.

According to numerous personal interviews, he had almost immediately concluded that his brother had been struck down at the hands of an organized group, very likely including elements from within the U.S. government itself, but he could do nothing about the situation. As he regularly confided to close associates, his hope at the age of 38 was to reach the White House himself at some future date, and with his hands once again upon the levels of power then uncover his brother’s killers and bring them to justice. But until that day, he could do nothing, and any unsubstantiated accusations he made would be totally disastrous both for national unity and for his own personal credibility. So for years, he was forced to nod his head and publicly acquiesce to the official story of his brother’s inexplicable assassination at the hands of a lone nut, a fairy tale publicly endorsed by nearly the entire political establishment, and this situation deeply gnawed at him. Moreover, his own seeming acceptance of that story was often interpreted by others, not least in the media, as his wholehearted endorsement.

Although discovering Robert Kennedy’s true beliefs was a crucial revelation in the Talbot book, there were many others. At most three shots had allegedly come from Oswald’s rifle, but Roy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent in the passenger seat of JFK’s limousine, was sure there had been more than that, and to the end of his life always believed there had been additional shooters. Gov. Connolly, seated next to JFK and severely wounded in the attack, had exactly the same opinion. CIA Director John McCone was equally convinced that there had been multiple shooters. Across the pages of Talbot’s book, I learned that dozens of prominent, well-connected individuals privately expressed extreme skepticism towards the official “lone gunman theory” of the Warren Commission, although such doubts were very rarely made in public or on the record.

For a variety of complex reasons, the leading national media organs—the commanding heights of “Our American Pravda”—almost immediately endorsed the “lone gunman theory” and with some exceptions generally maintained that stance throughout the next half-century. With few prominent critics willing to publicly dispute that idea and a strong media tendency to ignore or minimize those exceptions, casual observers such as myself had generally received a severely distorted view of the situation.

If the first two dozen pages of the Talbot book completely overturned my understanding of the JFK assassination, I found the closing section almost equally shocking. With the Vietnam War as a political millstone about his neck, President Johnson decided not to seek reelection in 1968, opening the door to a last minute entry into the Democratic race by Robert Kennedy, who overcame considerable odds to win some important primaries. Then on June 4, 1968, he carried gigantic winner-take-all California, placing him on an easy path to the nomination and the presidency itself, at which point he would finally be in a position to fully investigate his brother’s assassination. But minutes after his victory speech, he was shot and fatally wounded, allegedly by another lone gunman, this time a disoriented Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan, supposedly outraged over Kennedy’s pro-Israel public positions although these were no different than those expressed by most other political candidates in America.

All this was well known to me. However, I had not known that powder burns later proved that the fatal bullet had been fired directly behind Kennedy’s head from a distance of three inches or less although Sirhan was standing several feet in front of him. Furthermore, eyewitness testimony and acoustic evidence indicated that at least twelve bullets were fired although Sirhan’s revolver could hold only eight, and a combination of these factors led longtime LA Coroner Dr. Thomas Naguchi, who conducted the autopsy, to claim in his 1983 memoir that there was likely a second gunman. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses also reported seeing a security guard with his gun drawn standing right behind Kennedy during the attack, and that individual happened to have a deep political hatred of the Kennedys. The police investigators seemed uninterested in these highly suspicious elements, none of which came to light during the trial. With two Kennedy brothers now dead, neither any surviving member of the family nor most of their allies and retainers had any desire to investigate the details of this latest assassination, and in a number of cases they soon moved overseas, abandoning the country entirely. JFK’s widow Jackie confided in friends that she was terrified for the lives of her children, and quickly married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek billionaire, whom she felt would be able to protect them.

Talbot also devotes a chapter to the late 1960s prosecution efforts of New Orleans DA Jim Garrison, which had been the central plot of the JFK film, and I was stunned to discover that the script was almost entirely based on real life events rather than Hollywood fantasy. This even extended to its bizarre cast of assassination conspiracy suspects, mostly fanatically anti-Communist Kennedy-haters with CIA and organized crime ties, some of whom were indeed prominent members of the New Orleans gay demimonde. Sometimes real life is far stranger than fiction.

Taken as a whole, I found Talbot’s narrative quite convincing, at least with respect to demonstrating the existence of a substantial conspiracy behind the fatal event.

Others certainly had the same reaction, with the august pages of The New York Times Sunday Book Review carrying the strongly favorable reaction of presidential historian Alan Brinkley. As the Allan Nevins Professor of History and Provost of Columbia University, Brinkley is as mainstream and respectable an academic scholar as might be imagined and he characterized Talbot as

the latest of many intelligent critics who have set out to demolish the tottering credibility of the Warren Commission and draw attention to evidence of a broad and terrible conspiracy that lay behind the assassination of John Kennedy — and perhaps the murder of Robert Kennedy as well.

The other book by Douglass, released a year later, covered much the same ground and came to roughly similar conclusions, with substantial overlap but also including major additional elements drawn from the enormous volume of extremely suspicious material unearthed over the decades by diligent JFK researchers. Once again, the often bitter Cold War era conflict between JFK and various much harder-line elements of his government over Cuba, Russia, and Vietnam is sketched out as the likely explanation for his death.

Summarizing a half-century of conspiracy research, the Talbot and Douglass books together provide a wealth of persuasive evidence that elements of organized crime, individuals with CIA connections, and anti-Castro Cubans were probably participants in the assassination plot. Oswald seems to have been working with various anti-Communist groups and also had significant connections to U.S. intelligence, while his purported Marxism was merely a very thin disguise. With regard to the assassination itself, he was exactly the “patsy” he publicly claimed to be, and very likely never fired a single shot. Meanwhile, Jack Ruby had a long history of ties to organized crime, and surely killed Oswald to shut his mouth.

Many others may have suffered a similar fate. Conspirators daring enough to strike at the president of the United States would hardly balk at using lethal means to protect themselves from the consequences of their action, and over the years a considerable number of individuals associated with the case in one way or another came to untimely ends.

Less than a year after the assassination, JFK mistress Mary Meyer, the ex-wife of high-ranking CIA official Cord Meyer, was found shot to death in a Washington DC street-killing with no indications of attempted robbery or rape, and the case was never solved. Immediately afterwards, CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angelton was caught breaking into her home in search of her personal diary, which he later claimed to have destroyed.

Dorothy Kilgallen was a nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist and television personality, and she managed to wrangle an exclusive interview with Jack Ruby, later boasting to her friends that she would break the JFK assassination case wide open in her new book, producing the biggest scoop of her career. Instead, she was found dead in her Upper East Side townhouse, having apparently succumbed to an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills, with both the draft text and the notes to her Jack Ruby chapter missing.

Shortly before Jim Garrison filed his assassination charges, his top suspect David Ferrie was found dead at age 48, possibly of natural causes, though the DA suspected foul play.

During the mid-1970s, the House Select Committee on Assassinations held a series of high-profile hearings to reopen and investigate the case, and two of the witnesses called were high-ranking mafia figures Sam Giancana and Johnny Rosselli, widely suspected of having been connected with the assassination. The former was shot to death in the basement of his home one week before he was scheduled to testify, and the body of the latter was found in an oil-drum floating in the waters off Miami after he had been subpoenaed for an additional appearance.

These were merely a few of the highest-profile individuals with a connection to the Dallas assassination whose lives were cut short in the years that followed, and although the deaths may have been purely coincidental, the full list is rather a long one.

Having read a couple of books that completely upended my settled beliefs about a central event of twentieth century America, I simply didn’t know what to think. Over the years, my own writings had put me on friendly terms with a well-connected individual whom I considered a member of the elite establishment, and whose intelligence and judgment had always seemed extremely solid. So I decided to very gingerly raise the subject with him, and see whether he had ever doubted the “lone gunman” orthodoxy. To my total astonishment, he explained that as far back as the early 1990s, he’d become absolutely convinced in the reality of a “JFK conspiracy” and over the years had quietly devoured a huge number of the books in that field, but had never breathed a word in public lest his credibility be ruined and his political effectiveness destroyed.

A second friend, a veteran journalist known for his remarkably courageous stands on certain controversial topics, provided almost exactly the same response to my inquiry. For decades, he’d been almost 100% sure that JFK had died in a conspiracy, but once again had never written a word on the topic for fear that his influence would immediately collapse.

If these two individuals were even remotely representative, I began to wonder whether a considerable fraction, perhaps even a majority, of the respectable establishment had long harbored private beliefs about the JFK assassination that were absolutely contrary to the seemingly uniform verdict presented in the media. But with every such respectable voice keeping so silent, I had never once suspected a thing.

Few other revelations in recent years have so totally overturned my understanding of the framework of reality. Even a year or two later, I still found it very difficult to wrap my head around the concept, as I described in another note to that well-connected friend of mine:

BTW, I hate to keep harping on it, but every time I consider the implications of the JFK matter I’m just more and more astonished.

The president of the US. The heir to one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in America. His brother the top law enforcement officer in the country. Ben Bradlee, one of his closest friends, the fearless crusading editor of one of the nation’s most influential media outlets. As America’s first Catholic president, the sacred icon of many millions of Irish, Italian, and Hispanic families. Greatly beloved by top Hollywood people and many leading intellectuals.

His assassination ranks as one of the most shocking and dramatic events of the 20th century, inspiring hundreds of books and tens of thousands of news stories and articles, examining every conceivable detail. The argument from MSM silence always seemed absolutely conclusive to me.

From childhood, it’s always been obvious to me that the MSM is completely dishonest about certain things and over the last dozen years I’ve become extremely suspicious about a whole range of other issues. But if you’d asked me a couple of years ago whether JFK was killed by a conspiracy, I would have said “well, anything’s possible, but I’m 99% sure there’s absolutely no substantial evidence pointing in that direction since the MSM would surely have headlined it a million times over.”

Was there really a First World War? Well, I’ve always assumed there was, but who really knows?….

Our reality is shaped by the media, but what the media presents is often determined by complex forces rather than by the factual evidence in front of their eyes. And the lessons of the JFK assassination may provide some important insights into this situation.

A president was dead and soon afterward his supposed lone assassin suffered the same fate, producing a tidy story with a convenient endpoint. Raising doubts or focusing on contrary evidence might open doors better kept shut, perhaps endangering national unity or even risking nuclear war if the trail seemed to lead overseas. The highest law enforcement officer in the country was the slain president’s own brother, and since he seemed to fully accept that simple framework, what responsible journalist or editor would be willing to go against it? What American center of power or influence had any strong interest in opposing that official narrative?

Certainly there was immediate and total skepticism overseas, with few foreign leaders ever believing the story, and figures such as Nikita Khrushchev, Charles DeGaulle, and Fidel Castro all immediately concluded that a political plot had been responsible for Kennedy’s elimination. Mainstream media outlets in France and the rest of Western Europe were equally skeptical of the “lone gunman theory,” and some of the most important early criticism of U.S. government claims was produced by Thomas Burnett, an expatriate American writing for one of the largest French newsweeklies. But in pre-Internet days, only the tiniest sliver of the American public had regular access to such foreign publications, and their impact upon domestic opinion would have been nil.

Perhaps instead of asking ourselves why the “lone gunman” story was accepted, we should instead be asking why it was ever vigorously challenged, during an era when media control was extremely centralized in establishmentarian hands.

Oddly enough, the answer may lie in the determination of a single individual named Mark Lane, a left-liberal New York City attorney and Democratic Party activist. Although JFK assassination books eventually numbered in the thousands and the resulting conspiracy theories roiled American public life throughout the 1960s and 1970s, without his initial involvement matters might have followed a drastically different trajectory.

From the very first, Lane had been skeptical of the official story, and less than a month after the killing, The National Guardian, a small left-wing national newspaper, published his 10,000 word critique, highlighting major flaws in the “lone gunman theory.” Although his piece had been rejected by every other national periodical, the public interest was enormous, and once the entire edition sold out, thousands of extra copies were printed in pamphlet form. Lane even rented a theater in New York City, and for several months gave public lectures to packed audiences.

After the Warren Commission issued its completely contrary official verdict, he began working on a manuscript, and although he faced enormous obstacles in finding an American publisher, once Rush to Judgment appeared, it spent a remarkable two years on the national bestseller lists, easily reaching the #1 spot. Such tremendous economic success naturally persuaded a host of other authors to follow suit, and an entire genre was soon established. Lane later published A Citizens Dissent recounting his early struggles to break the total American “media blackout” against anyone contradicting the official conclusion. Against all odds, he had succeeded in sparking a massive popular uprising sharply challenging the narrative of the establishment.

According to Talbot, “By late 1966, it was becoming impossible for the establishment media to stick with the official story” and the November 25, 1966 edition of Life Magazine, then at the absolute height of its national influence, carried the remarkable cover story “Did Oswald Act Alone?” with the conclusion that he probably did not. The next month , The New York Times announced it was forming a special task force to investigate the assassination. These elements were to merge with the media furor soon surrounding the Garrison investigation that began the following year, an investigation that enlisted Lane as an active participant. However, behind the scenes a powerful media counterattack was also being launched at this same time.

In 2013 Prof. Lance deHaven-Smith, past president of the Florida Political Science Association, published Conspiracy Theory in America, a fascinating exploration of the history of the concept and the likely origins of the term itself. He noted that during 1966 the CIA had become alarmed at the growing national skepticism of the Warren Commission findings, especially once the public began turning its suspicious eyes toward the intelligence agency itself. Therefore, in January 1967 top CIA officials distributed a memo to all their local stations, directing them to employ their media assets and elite contacts to refute such criticism by various arguments, notably including an emphasis on Robert Kennedy’s supposed endorsement of the “lone gunman” conclusion.

This memo, obtained by a later FOIA request, repeatedly used the term “conspiracy” in a highly negative sense, suggesting that “conspiracy theories” and “conspiracy theorists” be portrayed as irresponsible and irrational. And as I wrote in 2016,

Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continuing right down to the present day.

This possible cause-and-effect relationship is supported by other evidence. Shortly after leaving The Washington Post in 1977, famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein published a 25,000 word Rolling Stone cover story entitled “The CIA and the Media” revealing that during the previous quarter century over 400 American journalists had secretly carried out assignments for the CIA according to documents on file at the headquarters of that organization. This influence project, known as “Operation Mockingbird,” had allegedly been launched near the end of the 1940s by high-ranking CIA official Frank Wisner, and included editors and publishers situated at the very top of the mainstream media hierarchy.

For whatever reason, by the time I came of age and began following the national media in the late 1970s, the JFK story had become very old news, and all the newspapers and magazines I read provided the very strong impression that the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the assassination were total nonsense, long since debunked, and only of interest to kooks on the ideological fringe. I was certainly aware of the enormous profusion of popular conspiracy books, but I never had the slightest interest in looking at any of them. America’s political establishment and its close media allies had outlasted the popular rebellion, and the name “Mark Lane” meant almost nothing to me, except vaguely as some sort of fringe-nut, who very occasionally rated a mention in my mainstream newspapers, receiving the sort of treatment accorded to Scientologists or UFO activists.

Oddly enough, Talbot’s treatment of Lane was also rather dismissive, recognizing his crucial early role in preventing the official narrative from quickly hardening into concrete, but also emphasizing his abrasive personality, and almost entirely ignoring his important later work on the issue, perhaps because so much of it had been conducted on the political fringe. Robert Kennedy and his close allies had similarly boycotted Lane’s work from the very first, regarding him as a meddlesome gadfly, but perhaps also ashamed that he was asking the questions and doing the work that they themselves were so unwilling to undertake at the time. Douglass’s 500 page book scarcely even mentions Lane.

Reading a couple of Lane’s books, I was quite impressed by the enormous role he had seemingly played in the JFK assassination story, but I also wondered how much of my impression may have been due to the exaggerations of a possible self-promoter. Then, on May 13, 2016 I opened my New York Times and found nearly a full page obituary devoted to Lane’s death at age 89, the sort of treatment these days reserved for only the highest-ranking U.S. Senators or major rap stars. And the 1,500 words were absolutely glowing, portraying Lane as a solitary, heroic figure struggling for decades to reveal the truth of the JFK assassination conspiracy against an entire political and media establishment seeking to suppress it.

I read this as a deep apology by America’s national newspaper of record. President John F. Kennedy was indeed killed by a conspiracy, and we are sorry we spent more than a half century suppressing that truth and ridiculing those who uncovered it.

Related Reading:

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Book Review | , , , | 1 Comment

Anything Goes When You’re Saving the World

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | May 30, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Saving the world = barbaric behaviour.

BIG PICTURE: The paperback edition of biologist Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, was 233 pages long. The first three chapters described a problem.

The final two chapters were titled “What Needs to be Done” and “What Can You Do?” They were followed by an Appendix of examples of letters readers might send to influential individuals. In other words, 83 pages of that book (more than a third) was an unabashedly political discussion.

These pages reiterated that the future was bleak. Overpopulation threatened America, the American way of life, and the “very lives” of US citizens (pp. 135, 138, 172, 180, 182).

The “only hope for survival,” was “drastic worldwide measures” lest civilization itself go “down the drain.” The “time of famines” had arrived (pp. 134, 143, 145, 148, 157-9, 161, 165, 198).

50 years later, we know Ehrlich’s apocalyptic predictions were wildly off target. Half a billion people did not starve to death during the 1970s. Instead, via ingenuity and technology, humanity grew more food and got better at transporting it to wherever it was desperately needed.

Americans weren’t forced to “slaughter” their dogs and cats so that pet food protein could be fed to the “starving masses.” Luxury taxes weren’t placed on diapers, and a powerful new arm of the US government wasn’t created to “take whatever steps are necessary,” in order to bring that country’s birth rate in line with its death rate. In 1968, there were 200 million Americans. Today, there are 326 million (pp. 134, 137-8).

Ehrlich’s fanaticism was on stark display when he described overpopulation as a cancer:

We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions. The pain may be intense. But the disease is so far advanced that only with radical surgery does the patient have a chance of survival. (pp. 166-167)

In this regard, he declared that America should have pressured the Indian government to sterilize “all Indian males with three or more children”:

We should have volunteered logistic support in the form of helicopters, vehicles, and surgical instruments. We should have sent doctors to aid in the program…Coercion? Perhaps, but coercion in a good cause. (pp. 165-166)

TOP TAKEAWAY: Fifty years after The Population Bomb appeared, few people remember that it advocated dispatching US helicopters so that Indian peasants could be kidnapped & forcibly sterilized.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

Massacres were indispensable to creation of the Israeli state

Palestinian refugees, 1948
By Richard Becker | Liberation School | May 29, 2018

As Israeli leaders and the Trump regime grotesquely celebrated the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, May 14, just 40 miles away Israeli troops were massacring unarmed Palestinians trapped inside Gaza. At least 61 Palestinians were killed, and more than 2,700 wounded, over a thousand shot by snipers firing military grade ammunition against unarmed protestors who were demanding an end to their isolation and the right to return to their homeland.

There was a bitter historical irony in the juxtaposition of these events

Most of the two million residents of Gaza are refugees and their descendants (who also have refugee status), driven from other parts of Palestine in 1948. Altogether, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled in 1948-49 to make way for the creation of the Israeli state. Another 300,000 were driven out after the Six Day War in 1967. Today, there are seven million registered Palestinians refugees, many still living in 59 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza. None have ever been allowed to return to their stolen homes, farms and shops, in blatant violation of their rights.

For many decades, Israeli leaders and their American apologists maintained the fiction that the Palestinians who left did so at the urging of their leaders. Even if that had been the case, it would have in no way invalidated their right of return, an inalienable right under international law.

But it was not the case. As has been irrefutably documented by numerous Israeli as well as Palestinian historians, mass ethnic cleansing was carried out by means of massacre and other forms of terror. It could not have been accomplished otherwise.

The Israeli colonial state was not, of course, the only one that employed terror and massacre to subjugate the indigenous population. All of the colonizers utilized such tactics, including the United States, Britain, France, Belgium, Japan, Netherlands, Italy, etc., to establish their empires.

“Transfer” – Zionist leaders’ intention from the start

The leaders of the Zionist movement that manifested itself as the Israeli state in 1948 had often been quite open about their intention to conquer all of Palestine and to force the indigenous population out. Their code word for ethnic cleansing was “transfer.” In 1937, David Ben-Gurion, a reputed “moderate” in the Zionist leadership who would later become Israel’s first prime minister wrote:

“Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin…Jewish power which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.”

In 1940, another key Zionist leader, Josef Weiiz, director of the Jewish National Fund charged with acquiring as much land as possible, wrote: “Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people in this country . . . and there is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, to transfer them all, except maybe for Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem, we must not leave a single village, a single tribe.”

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the British colony of Palestine: 55% for a Jewish state, 44% for an Arab state, and 1% for an international zone. In true colonialist fashion, there was no consultation with the Palestinians before the vote. Widespread fighting broke out immediately.

A month after the vote, Ben-Gurion, said in a speech:

“In the area allocated to the Jewish state there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350, 000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment will be about one million, including almost 40 percent non-Jews. Such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state. This fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a composition, there cannot event be absolute certainty that the control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority . . . There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60 percent.”

Ben-Gurion hailed ethnic cleansing

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began almost immediately after the fateful UN vote delighted Ben-Gurion. In a February 8, 1948 speech to the governing council of his Labor Party, he gloated:

“From your entry into Jerusalem, through Lifta, Romema [an East Jerusalem neighborhood] … there are no Arabs. One hundred percent Jews. Since Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, it has not been as Jewish as it is now. In many Arab neighborhoods in the west one sees not a single Arab. I do not assume that this will change … What has happened in Jerusalem … is likely to happen in many parts of the country … in the six, eight to ten months of the campaign there will certainly be great changes in the composition of the population in the country.”

But what so heartened Ben-Gurion in early 1948 was not yet reflected in most of the country. The much better armed and financed Zionist militias prevailed in most, though not all, battles. But in most areas, the objective of driving out the Palestinian population was not being achieved. Palestinian villagers would retreat during active combat, but only to nearby villages or towns, waiting for the fighting to stop so they could return to their homes and farms.

At the time, the majority of Palestinians were peasant farmers who could not leave their land and livestock for any extended period of time without disastrous consequences. The contention that they would have voluntarily abandoned their farms based on the call of some far-off “leader” is simply ludicrous.

By March 1, 1948, less than 5% of the Palestinian population had been driven out, which was viewed by the Zionist leaders as serious threat to their plan.

Two additional factors made this a crisis-in-the-making for Ben-Gurion and his cohorts. One was a shift in Washington. While the Truman administration had played a key role in ramming the partition plan through the UN, it was now evidencing second thoughts. The partition plan had not brought peace — just the opposite, and much of the anger in the Arab world and beyond was directed at the U.S.

The State Department was floating a proposal to scrap partition and replace it with a five-year trusteeship. The Zionist leaders rejected it outright, but were acutely conscious of the importance of maintaining support from the United States.

And, the approach of May 15, 1948, the date the British colonizers had set for withdrawing their troops from Palestine was fast approaching.

An Israeli soldier stops Palestinians in Nazareth, 1948, for traveling after the imposed curfew

Plan Dalet – terrorist violence on a mass scale

Confronted with what they viewed as multi-front crisis, Ben-Gurion and his commanders began to implement a new military doctrine under the name Plan Dalet, or Plan D. Under the plan, the official Zionist army, the Haganah, along with its supposed rival militias, Irgun and Lehi (Stern Gang), both of the latter self-proclaimed terrorist organizations, began attacking “quiet” Palestinian villages, those not involved in fighting.
The progressive Israeli historian Ilan Pappe asserts in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, that Ben-Gurion actually viewed the “quiet” villages as a bigger problem than those that resisted, as the latter provided a pretext for carrying out harsh repression and removal.

Among the directives of Plan Dalet were:

“Mounting operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories:

“Destruction of villages – setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris – especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.

“Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Plan Dalet escalated the level of violence directed against the Palestinian civilian population to an extreme. A typical operation carried out by Zionist military units would involve planting explosives around Palestinian houses in the middle of the night, drenching them with gasoline and then opening fire. The point was to terrorize and expel the population. Arbitrary executions became routine, particularly targeting men and boys simply deemed to be of “fighting age,” regardless of whether they were actually engaged in combat.

Deir Yassin massacre – a turning point

Deir Yassin, on the outskirts of Jerusalem was on of the “quiet” villages. On April 9, 1948, the Irgun led by Menachem Begin, wiped out nearly its entire population The Irgun blew up houses with the inhabitants inside, executed others in their homes. Many of the women in the village were raped before being killed. The Irgun paraded the few survivors in a truck through Jerusalem where they were jeered and spit on.

Deir Yassin raised Plan Dalet to a new level of brutality, The Jewish Agency, which a few weeks later would become the Israeli government, officially condemned the massacre but on the same day brought Irgun into the Joint Command with the Haganah, and Lehi, led by another future prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

The massacres in Deir Yassin, Tantura and other villages were widely publicized by the Zionists themselves, for maximum effect. Pappe has documented at least 29 additional massacres by Zionist forces between December 1947 and January 1949.

Twelve days after the Deir Yassin massacre, on April 21, 1948, the British commander in Haifa, a major city in the north with a mixed population, advised the Jewish Agency that he would immediately begin withdrawing his forces. He did not inform the Palestinians. The same day, Hagahah forces launched a major attack on the Palestinian neighborhoods of the city, rolling barrel bombs filled with gasoline and dynamite down narrow alleys in the heavily populated city while shelling the same areas with mortars.

Haganah army loudspeakers and sound cars broadcast “horror recordings” of shrieks and screams of Arab women, mixed with calls of, “flee for your lives, the Jews are using poison gas and nuclear weapons. By early May, only 4,000 Palestinians of 65,000 remained in Haifa.

Irgun commander Menachem Begin, provided most vivid description of how well the slaughter at Deir Yassin was instrumental in the expulsion of the Palestinians from Haifa and other cities, towns and villages. In his book The Revolt, Begin wrote:

“Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel [sic]. Kolonia village, which had previously repulsed every attack of the Haganah (the underground Jewish military organization that became the Israeli Army), was evacuated overnight and fell without further fighting. Beit-Iksa was also evacuated. These two places overlooked the road and their fall, together with the capture of Kastel by the Haganah, made it possible to keep open the road to Jerusalem. In the rest of the country, too, the Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with Jewish forces … The legend of Deir Yassin helped us in particular in the saving of Tiberias and the conquest of Haifa … All the Jewish forces proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter. The Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting ‘Deir Yassin!’”

Three decades later, in an article for The American Zionist, Mordechai Nisan of the Truman Research Centre of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem expressed his concern about the failure to understand the major significance of terrorism in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty. He wrote: “Without terror it is unlikely that Jewish independence would have been achieved when it was.”

(Much of the historical material in this article can be found in the book, Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire, by Richard Becker. PSL Publications, 2009)

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Drones, Murder and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: the Cases of Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin

By T.J. Coles | CounterPunch | May 30, 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is 70 this year. But you wouldn’t know it from the impact it’s had on human lives. For example, Donald Trump has sharply increased drone attacks, especially in Yemen and Somalia, with virtual silence from Western media. Article 11 of the UDHR states: “(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

As I document in my new book Human Wrongs (Iff Books), the alleged terror suspects blown apart by drone operators are not even charged let alone given the chance to plead their innocence in a national or international court: and that’s quite apart from the women, children and babies (“collateral damage”) that happen to be nearby when the Hellfire missiles are launched.

In Britain, the age-old common law, presumption of innocence, faced a slight setback in the so-called “war on terror.” Since US drone operators murdered Afghan civilians in the first-ever lethal drone strike in 2002 (followed by Yemenis in the same year), the US has murdered about 2,500 people with drones alone. Providing targeting information and communications links, the UK plays a significant role, all in violation of the principles of the UDHR.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Execution, Philip Alston, writes: “A State killing is legal only if it is required to protect life (making lethal force proportionate) and there is no other means, such as capture or nonlethal incapacitation, of preventing that threat to life (making lethal force necessary).” So, a person in Afghanistan, for example, cannot be lawfully slain by a British drone operator on the pretence that the person is about to pose an imminent threat to the UK, unless for instance the person is about to give an order over the phone let’s say to, for instance, a terror cell in Briton, instructing it to detonate a bomb. Needless to say, this is a ludicrous scenario in the real-world.

Murdering Its Own

The British state murdering “its own people” is nothing new. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defence waged a dirty war in Northern Ireland. Units from the Military Reaction Force (MRF) murdered Protestants and Catholics as a part of strategy of tension. Northern Irish persons murdered and/or shot by MRF operatives include:Patrick McVeigh (shot in the back), John and Gerry Conway (travelling to a fruit stall), Aiden McAloon and Eugene Devlin (travelling in a taxi), Joe Smith, Hugh Kenny, Patrick Murray and Tommy Shaw (drive-by shootings) and Daniel Rooney and Brendan Brennan (walking on a road).

The British government does in fact possess the proverbial license to kill. It is a “license” granted to itself and one not grounded in international law. Targeted killings (murder) hitherto depended on the authorization of the Secretary of State. The Intelligence Services Act 1994, Section 7(1), frees intelligence operatives from liability in acts of killing abroad, “if the act is one which is authorised to be done by virtue of an authorisation given by the Secretary of State.”

In the case of Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin, the killings were not carried out by MI6 (which is covered by the Intelligence Services Act 1994), but by the Royal Air Force. In 2015, the government started murdering Britons allegedly suspected of involvement in terrorism, making no attempt to apprehend them and put them on trial, as international law requires.

In August 2015, Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin, were travelling in a vehicle in Raqqa, Syria. RAF drone operators ended their lives. Then-PM David Cameron told Parliament that Khan was the target (murdered) and Amin was killed alongside him (manslaughter). A third unidentified, alleged Islamic State fighter was killed with them, though the third person was not “identified as a UK national.” By implication, the third person’s life is not important, hence no details emerged.

Cameron claimed the killings were “an act of self-defence,” because Khan was: “involved in actively recruiting ISIL sympathisers and seeking to orchestrate specific and barbaric attacks against the west, including directing a number of planned terrorist attacks right here in Britain, such as plots to attack high profile public commemorations.”

But Cameron also revealed that Khan was not a threat to the UK: “there was nothing to suggest that Reyaad Khan would ever leave Syria.” If Cameron is to be believed, Khan was issuing instructions to terror cells in the UK. But if this is the case, it therefore becomes a matter for the British police.

Changing Stories

The pretext for the murder was later changed by the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, who wrote that the killings were somehow justified in the “collective self-defence” of Iraq, where Britain is supposedly helping the government to defeat ISIS. The trouble is that Khan was not in Iraq when he was killed. Inverting international legal norms, Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, “who authorised the lethal drone strike” (Press and Journal ), appealed to Article 51 of the UN Charter, the right of collective and/or individual self-defence. Attorney General Jeremy Wright’s advice has not been published, indicating that the killings are violations of domestic and international law.

It later transpired that the RAF is working its way through a “kill list” of alleged British terror suspects fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Both jets and drones are used; the latter are controlled by operators in RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. “When we know where they are we kill them,” said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson. The “kill list” revelations prompted Lord Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, to co-sign a letter to PM May, calling for the release of the government’s Intelligence and Security Committee report into the murder of Reyaad Khan and names of other targeted suspects.

Lucy Powell MP and Kirsten Oswald MP, both co-chairs of the informal All-Party Parliamentary Group, called for a debate on Britain’s use of targeted murder. Defence Secretary Fallon who authorized the murder of Khan claimed that by February 2017, 85 Britons had been killed in Syria, but it wasn’t clear if this meant as part of the RAF’s kill list.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute and the author of several books, including Fire and Fury (Clairview Books ) and Human Wrongs (Iff Books ).

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

France’s Role in Africa

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | May 17, 2018

Fake news, propaganda, public relations, advertising — it goes by many names, but at the core of all these terms is the idea that powerful institutions, primarily governments and corporations, strive to manipulate our understanding of world affairs. The most effective such shaping of opinion is invisible and therefore unquestioned.

Left criticism of French imperialism in Africa provides a stark example. Incredibly, the primary contemporary criticism North American leftists make of French imperialism on that continent concerns a country it never colonized. What’s more, Paris is condemned for siding with a government led by the lower caste majority.

To the extent that North American progressives criticize ‘Françafrique’ they mostly emphasize Paris’ support for the Hutu-led Rwandan government after Uganda/Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded in 1990. Echoing the Paul Kagame dictatorship’s simplistic narrative, France is accused of backing Rwandan genocidaires. In a recent article for thevolcano.org, a leftist outlet based on unceded Coast Salish Territories, Lama Mugabo claims, “the organizations that organized this anger into genocide, and the instruments of murder that they wielded, were outfitted by French colonial power.” In Dark Threats and White Nights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism Sherene H. Razack writes that “French peacekeepers made a number of decisions that prolonged and exacerbated the conflict.” The “post-colonial” Canadian academic also decries “French support for him [Hutu President “Hanyarimana” — her (repeated) misspelling] scuttled any fledging peace efforts.”

In taking up Kigali/Washington/London’s effort to blame France for the mass killings in Rwanda (rather than the Uganda/RPF aggressors and their Anglo-American backers), Razack and others even imply that Paris colonized the country. But, Germany conquered Rwanda and Belgium was given control of the small East African nation at the end of World War I. The nearest former French colony — Central African Republic — is over 1,000 km away.

What Razack, Mugabo and other leftists ignore, or don’t know, is that Washington and London backed the 1990 Uganda/RPF invasion. Officially, a large number of Rwandan exiles “deserted” the Ugandan military to invade (including a former deputy defence minister and head of military intelligence). In reality, the invasion was an act of aggression by the much larger neighbour. Over the next three and a half years Kampala supplied the RPF with weaponry and a safe haven.

Throughout this period Washington provided the Ugandan government with financial, diplomatic and arms support (Ottawa cut millions in aid to Rwanda, prodded Habyarimana to negotiate with the RPF and criticized his human rights record while largely ignoring the Uganda/RPF aggression). Washington viewed the pro-neoliberal government in Kampala and the RPF as a way, after the Cold War, to weaken Paris’ position in a Belgium colonized region, which includes trillions of dollars in mineral riches in eastern Congo.

Echoing Kigali/Washington/London/Ottawa, many leftists have taken up criticism of Paris’ policy towards a country France never colonized and where it sided with a government from the lower caste (over 85% of the population, Hutus were historically a subservient peasant class and the Tutsi a cattle owning, feudal ruling class). Concurrently, leftists have largely ignored or failed to unearth more clear-cut French crimes on the continent, which Washington and Ottawa either backed or looked the other way.

In 1947–48 the French brutally suppressed anticolonial protests in Madagascar. Tens of thousands were also killed in Cameroon during the 1950s-60s independence war. Paris’ bid to maintain control over Algeria stands out as one of the most brutal episodes of the colonial era. With over one million settlers in the country, French forces killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians.

To pre-empt nascent nationalist sentiment, Paris offered each of its West African colonies a referendum on staying part of a new “French community”. When Guinea voted for independence in 1958, France withdrew abruptly, broke political and economic ties, and destroyed vital infrastructure. “What could not be burned,” noted Robert Legvold, “was dumped into the ocean.”

France hasn’t relinquished its monetary imperialism. Through its “Pacte Coloniale” independence agreement, Paris maintained control of 14 former colonies’ monetary and exchange rate policy. Imposed by Paris, the CFA franc is an important barrier to transforming the former colonies’ primary commodity based economies. As part of the accord, most CFA franc countries’ foreign exchange reserves have been deposited in the French treasury (now European Central Bank), which has generated large sums for Paris.

Alongside its monetary imperialism, France has ousted or killed a number of independent-minded African leaders. After creating a national currency and refusing to compensate Paris for infrastructure built during the colonial period, the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown and killed by former French Foreign Legion troops. Foreign legionaries also ousted leaders in the Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, etc. Paris aided in the 1987 assassination of famed socialist Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara.

While undermining independence-minded leaders, Paris has backed corrupt, pro-corporate, dictatorships such as four-decades long Togolese and Gabonese rulers Gnassingbé Eyadema and Ali Bongo Ondimba (their sons took over).

France retains military bases or troops in Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Mali, Chad and Niger. French troops are also currently fighting in Mali and Niger.

Compared to Paris’ role in Rwanda, French influence/violence in its former colonies gets short shrift from North American leftists. Part of the reason is that Washington and Ottawa largely supported French policy in its former colonies (Ottawa has plowed nearly $1 billion into Mali since the 2013 French invasion and gave Paris bullets and other arms as 400,000 French troops suppressed the Algerian independence struggle). Additionally, criticizing France’s role in Rwanda dovetails with the interests of Kigali, Washington, London and Ottawa.

The North American left’s discussion of France’s role in Africa demonstrates the influence of powerful institutions, especially the ones closest to us, in shaping our understanding of the world. We largely ignore what they want us to ignore and see what they want us to see.

To build a movement for justice and equality for everyone on this planet, we must start by questioning everything governments, corporations and other powerful institutions tell us.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation .

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Part 1: It’s been done to Russia before but this time will be the last

The Turning on Russia Series

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould | Invisible History | April 18, 2018

“Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world’s rich.  He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia… before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire… Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage… the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently… The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction…”

A Shrinking Giant, Spiegel Online, 9/11/2017

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world’s first and only Unipower as well as its intention to crush any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order foreseen just a few short years ago becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington. As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America’s claim to leadership, by the time Stanley Fischer’s interview appeared in the online version of the conservative German magazine Der Spiegel, he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve; eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the “globalist” and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he actually assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.

As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Stanley Fischer not just empire’s Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.

Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, Anatoly Chubais and Jeffry Sachs, (the Harvard Project) Fischer helped to throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end. As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite, “Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists… the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament.”

Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues “The outcome rendered privatization ‘a de facto fraud,’ as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to ‘offer fertile ground for criminal activity’ was proven right.”

If Stanley Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role Stanley Fischer played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Unknown to Americans is the blunt force trauma Stanley Fischer and the “prestigious” Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative’s James Carden “As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011… ‘the IMF’s intervention in Russia during Fischer’s tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.’ Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF’s intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack.”

Neither do most Americans know that it was President Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged back to terrorize Europe and America in the 21st century. Zbigniew Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President’s top intelligence officer was that he couldn’t find Nicaragua on a map. If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union’s collapse it was Zbigniew Brzezinski and if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America’s post-Vietnam Imperialism, it’s Stanley Fischer.  His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative’s spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.

Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. After emerging from their Marxist/Leninist cocoon after World War II their movement helped to establish the Cold War. And from the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives’ goal was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural cooptation and financial subversion and in that they have been overwhelmingly successful. From the end of World War II through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.

Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA’s founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987’s Hot Money and the Politics of Debt, described how “Pentagon Capitalism” had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon’s debt to the rest of the world. “In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky’s couriers, and the European central banks arranged the ‘loan-back’” Naylor writes. “When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era’s chief ‘think tank’ and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, ‘We’ve pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We’ve run rings around the British Empire.’” In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Zbigniew Brzezinski himself.

From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could spell the end of democracy in America and yet Washington’s more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight. Peter Steinfels’ 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America’s politics begins with these fateful words. “THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First,  that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy.”

But long before Steinfels’ 1979 account, the neoconservative’s agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America’s was well underway attenuating American democracy, undermining détente and angering America’s NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces (led by Senator “Scoop” Jackson) from its inception. But America’s ownership of that policy underwent a shift following America’s intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation, “To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much.”

In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, “The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity.”

In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel’s “politically significant supporters” in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all. Garthoff  writes, “The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez… Thus they [Israel’s politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem.”

Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Island of Fire

Author’s Note:

As we’ve come to appreciate with each passing year, World War Two was the most evil manifestation in human history. No other conflict even comes close in matching that war for its sweeping, sadistic and unspeakable crimes. Mass murder of surrendering soldiers, mass starvation of helpless civilians, mass rape of women and children, assembly-line style torture in the tens of thousands, uprooting and expulsion of millions to certain death, the deliberate, wanton destruction of ancient cultures–these atrocities and many more add to World War Two’s annual menu of beastly war crimes.

Also, with each passing year, it becomes clearer and clearer that virtually all the major crimes of the Second World War were committed by the Allied powers. Additionally, almost all these war crimes took place toward the end of the war. Why is this? Why were these terrible atrocities not only committed by the victorious Allied powers but why did almost all occur at the end of the war? Simply, late in the war the Allies knew very well they would win and they thus knew they had little to fear from retaliation or war crimes trials. The victors knew that they could unleash their sadism against a hated, helpless enemy with utter impunity, and they did.

The following is a description of just one such major war crime as defined above. The account comes from my recent book, Summer, 1945—Germany, Japan and the Harvest of Hate. To this day, relatively little is actually known of this great atrocity. Of course, this is because war criminals not only commit such crimes expertly, but they cover up such crimes expertly, as well.

Just as Allied air armadas had mercilessly bombed, blasted and burned the cities and civilians of Germany during World War Two, so too was the US Air Force incinerating the women and children of Germany’s ally, Japan. As was the case with his peers in Europe, cigar-chewing, Jap-hating Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay had no compunction whatsoever about targeting non-combatants, including the very old and the very young.

“We knew we were going to kill a lot of women and kids,” admitted the hard-nosed air commander without a blink. “Had to be done.”[1]

Originally, and although it would have been in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, Franklin Roosevelt had seriously considered gassing Japan. Much as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had proposed doing to Germany earlier in the war, the American president had felt that flooding Japan with poison was not only a fine way to end the war he had personally instigated at Pearl Harbor, but it was a just punishment upon those who had continued the war into the spring of 1945. Unlike the Germans who had their own stock of deadly gas and who could have easily retaliated against the Allies had they been so attacked, Japan had virtually none of its own to reply in kind. To further the plan, Roosevelt ordered his staff to test the waters by discretely asking Americans, “Should we gas the Japs?” Since the plan was soon shelved, perhaps too many Americans remembered the horrors of trench warfare during WWI to want a repeat. The US Government then came up with the idea of unleashing “bat-bombs” on Japan. The brain-child of an American dentist, tiny incendiary time bombs were to be attached to thousands of bats which would then be dropped on Japan from aircraft. Soon after they sought shelter in Japanese homes, schools and hospitals the bat bombs would then explode thereby igniting fires all across the country. After spending months and millions of dollars on the project, the bat bombs, like poison gas, were also dropped. Ultimately, deadly incendiary bombs were developed and finally accepted as the most efficient way to slaughter Japanese civilians and destroy their nation.[2]

The Allies first created the firestorm phenomenon when the British in the summer of 1943 bombed Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg. After first blasting the beautiful city to splinters with normal high explosives, another wave of bombers soon appeared loaded with tens of thousands of firebombs. The ensuing night raid ignited numerous fires that soon joined to form one uncontrollable mass of flame. The inferno was so hot, in fact, that it generated its own hurricane-force winds that literally sucked oxygen from the air and suffocated thousands. Other victims were either flung into the hellish vortex like dried leaves or they became stuck in the melting asphalt and quickly burst into flames. LeMay hoped to use this same fiery force to scorch the cities of Japan. Tokyo would be the first test.

On the night of March 9-10, 1945, over three hundred B-29 bombers left their bases on the Mariana Islands. Once over Tokyo, advance scout planes dropped firebombs across the heart of the heavily populated city to form a large, fiery “X.” Other aircraft “painted” with fire the outer limits to be bombed, thereby encircling those living in the kill zone below.[3]

Soon, the remaining bombers appeared and easily followed the fires to their targets. When bomb bay doors opened tens of thousands of relatively small firebombs were released—some, made of white phosphorous, but most filled with napalm, a new gasoline-based, fuel-gel mixture. Within minutes after hitting the roofs and buildings below, a huge inferno was created. Since the raid occurred near midnight, most people were long in bed, thus ensuring a slow reaction. Also, the sheer number of firebombs—nearly half a million—and the great breadth of the targeted area—sixteen square miles—insured that Tokyo’s already archaic fire-fighting ability would be hopelessly inadequate to deal with such a blaze.

When the flames finally subsided the following morning, the relatively few survivors could quickly see that much of the Japanese capital had been burned from the face of the earth. In this raid on Tokyo alone, in one night, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people, mostly women and children, were, as Gen. LeMay announced proudly, “scorched and baked and boiled to death.”[4] Only the incineration of Dresden, Germany one month earlier, with an estimated death toll of 250,000-400,000, was greater.

“Congratulations,” wrote Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold to LeMay after hearing the news. “This mission shows your crews have got the guts for anything.”[5]

***

Following the resounding success with Tokyo, Gen. LeMay immediately turned his attention toward the similar immolation of every other city in Japan. As was the case with Germany, then later Tokyo, the aim of the US Air Force under Curtis LeMay was not so much to destroy Japanese military targets or factories so much as it was to transform all of Japan into a blackened waste, to kill as many men, women, and children as he could, and to terrorize those who survived to as great a degree as possible. In other words, under the command of LeMay the air attacks against Japan, just as with the air attacks against Germany, were “Terror Bombing,” pure and simple.[6]

To make this murderous plan as effective as possible, the US air commander and his aides studied the entire situation. Night raids were preferred, of course, since it would catch as many people in bed as possible. Also, dry, windy conditions were selected to accelerate the ensuing firestorm insuring few could escape. Additionally, since the Japanese air force had, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed in three years of war, there was little need for armament of the American bombers. Thus, the extra weight that ammunition, machine-guns and the men to fire them added to the aircraft was removed, making room for even more firebombs. But perhaps most important for Gen. LeMay was the decision to radically reduce the altitude for his bombing raids.

Prior to the Tokyo raid, standard bombing runs took place at elevations as high as 30,000 feet. At such great altitudes—nearly six miles up—it was insured that most enemy fighters and virtually all ground defenses would be useless. By 1945, however, with the virtual elimination of the Imperial Air Force and with normal anti-aircraft ground fire woefully inadequate or non-existent, enemy threats to American bomber waves was greatly reduced. Thus, the firebombing of Japan could be carried out by aircraft flying as low as 5,000 feet over the target. This last measure not only guaranteed that the US attacks would be carried out with greater surprise, but that the bombs would be dropped with deadlier accuracy. One final plus for the new tactics was the demoralizing terror caused by hundreds of huge B-29 bombers—“B-San,” the Japanese called them, “Mr. B”–suddenly roaring just overhead and each dropping tons of liquefied fire on those below. In a nation where most homes were made of paper and wood, the dread of an impending firebombing raid can well be imagined.

As one US intelligence officer sagely reported to a planning committee: “The panic side of the Japanese is amazing. Fire is one of the great things they are terrified at from childhood.”[7]

***

Following the destruction of Tokyo in which most of the city center was scorched black, and following the enthusiastic endorsement of American newspapers, including the curiously named Christian Century, Gen. LeMay swiftly sent his bomber fleets to attack virtually every other city in Japan. Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, Yokohama, and over sixty more large targets were thus treated to the nightmare of firebombing. And simply because a city had been bombed once was not a guarantee that it would not be bombed again and again. Such was the terrible fate of Tokyo. Not content with the initial massacre, LeMay demanded that the Japanese capital be attacked until everyone and everything was utterly destroyed; “burned down,” demanded the US general, “wiped right off the map.”[8]

Unfortunately, no community was any better prepared to face the attacks than Tokyo had been. Fully expecting that if the US air craft ever attacked, it would be with typical high explosives, local and national authorities encouraged Japanese civilians earlier in the war to dig their own air raid shelters near or under their homes to withstand the blast and shrapnel of conventional bombs. Additionally, women were encouraged to wear heavy cloth hoods over their heads to cushion a bomb’s concussive force and prevent hearing loss. After Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and other firebombing raids, however, it was clear that past defensive tactics were useless when facing the hellish firestorms.

Typically, first warning of a potential American air raid came with the city sirens. Like their German counterparts early in the war, the Japanese likewise sprang from their beds with every such alarm, either to join their various “bucket brigades” or to wet their mats and brooms and fill their water troughs just in case of fire. Most simply dashed to the holes in the ground they called “shelters.” But also like those in Germany, with numerous false alarms came predictable apathy on the part of the Japanese and an almost utter disregard of sirens. Often, when a few B-29s on reconnaissance flights were indeed spotted far above leaving their vapor trails, excited air raid wardens would run through the streets beating on buckets as a warning to laggards.[9] But soon, even these warnings were ignored.

“As the B-29’s came over us day in and day out, we never feared them,” admitted one woman weary of the alarms.[10]

That all changed dramatically following the firebombing of Tokyo. After that night, especially on dry, windy nights, in each Japanese city, in each Japanese heart, there was never any doubt that the war—a hellish, hideous war—had finally reached Japan.

***

First hint of an impending US air raid on a Japanese city came with a low, but ominous, rumble from afar. That menacing sound soon grew and grew to an approaching roar that caused the windows to rattle and the very air to vibrate. Finally, in one great burst, a terrifying, rolling thunder exploded just overhead. In no way, however, did the horrible sound prepare the people below for the horrible sight they then saw above. Usually at night, but sometimes even during the day, the sky was literally blotted out by the vision.

“I had heard that the planes were big,” said a stunned spectator, “but seen from so close, their size astounded me.”[11]

“Gigantic,” thought one spellbound viewer.[12]

“Enormous,” added another awe-struck witness. “It looked as if they were flying just over the telegraph poles in the street. . . . I was totally stupefied.”[13]

“They were so big,” remembered a young woman staring in disbelief. “It looked like you could reach out and grab them.”[14]

Then, amid the terrifying sights and sounds, the awe-struck people watched in utter amazement as the bomb bay doors of the frightening things sprang open as if on cue.

Falling not vertically, but diagonally, the objects which then began to shower down were at first thought to be pipes, or even sticks.[15] Within a few seconds, the true nature of the objects became known to all.

“They’re coming down,” the people screamed. “They’re coming down.”[16]

Almost immediately, as if a switch had been thrown, from every corner of the targeted city the night became light as day as each of the thousands of fire bombs ignited on impact. Quickly, the deadly liquid spread and in mere minutes the targeted city was totally engulfed.

 “At that moment,” said 24-year-old Yoshiko Hashimoto, “we were caught in an inferno. The fire spread so quickly. The surroundings were seized with fire in a wink.”[17]

 “The wind and flames seemed to feed into each other and both gained intensity,” described one teenager. “Pots and pans blew about on the ground and blankets flew through the air. People ran in all directions.”[18]

Since their homes and businesses made of wood and paper were mere “match boxes” ready to ignite, most people recognized instantly the futility of trying to fight the fire and they quickly fled into the streets.

“Roofs collapsed under the bombs’ impact,” said an eyewitness, “and within minutes the frail houses . . . were aflame, lighted from the inside like paper lanterns.”[19]

It was at that terrifying moment, when their entire world seemed on the verge of being consumed by smoke and flame, that single mothers, their husbands off at war or dead, were forced to make life and death decisions. To save small children, some were compelled to leave old, feeble relatives behind; others had to abandon beloved pets or needed animals. One mother, to save her two tiny tots, made the heart-breaking decision to leave her handicapped child to certain death.[20]

“The three of us dashed out into the panic and pandemonium of the streets,” recalled Masayoshi Nakagawa, a father of two little children and a man whose wife was in a local hospital expecting their third child. “People were carrying whatever they had managed to salvage: quilts, pillows, frying pans. Some of them had carts; others lugged bicycles on their backs.”[21]

Once in the streets, the refugees were greeted by a “red blizzard” of sparks. Unlike typical sparks, however, those created from incendiary bombs were large “chunks” of oily, wind-driven flame that would instantly ignite the clothes of those fleeing. 22 Another hazard was the “hail” of bombs themselves. So many of the relatively small bombs were dropped on any given city that many victims were actually struck by them. Most, of course, were instantly wrapped in a ball of fire and died in terrible agony. One woman watched in horror as her husband ran from their family business shouting “Air Raid! Air Raid!” and was immediately struck in the head by a firebomb.

“He was instantly wrapped in a sheet of bluish flame. . . ,” recounted the horrified wife. “I could not put out the fire. All my desperate efforts were of no avail. . . . His hair was still sizzling and giving off a blue light. His skin peeled away in sheets, exposing his flesh. I could not even wipe his body.”[23]

Just as with the man above, those victims who actually came in contact with the napalm found that such fire could not be extinguished and would burn and sizzle all the way to the bone.[24]

Desperately, those trapped within the encircled target zone searched for avenues of escape. Unfortunately, at every turn the victims met only more fleeing refugees and more smoke and flame. Those who had remained at their own air raid shelters near their homes were already dead, the holes acting like earthen bake ovens in the heat. Others met similar fates when they wrongly assumed that the few brick and concrete buildings in the city would protect them. They did the opposite. When the racing flames reached these buildings those inside were quickly incinerated. Iron rafters overhead sent down streams of molten metal on any still alive.[25]

Nor did parks prove to be havens. With temperatures reaching 1,800 degrees, the trees quickly dried, then burst into flames. Additionally, those who sought open spaces, or areas burned bare from previous raids, were easy targets for US fighter pilots who routinely machine-gunned fleeing refugees, just as they had done in Germany. Other American aircraft watched the streets for any Japanese fire companies bold enough to fight the fires, then attacked with high explosives.[26]

By the hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands, the people fled through the streets as the furnace became fiercer and fiercer.

“Hell could get no hotter,” thought French reporter, Robert Guillain, as he watched the crowds struggle against the murderous heat and the “hail” of huge, flaming sparks.

People soaked themselves in the water barrels that stood in front of each house before setting off again. A litter of obstacles blocked their way; telegraph poles and the overhead trolley wires that formed a dense net . . . [of] tangles across streets. . . . The fiery air was blown down toward the ground and it was often the refugees’ feet that began burning first: the men’s puttees and the women’s trousers caught fire and ignited the rest of their clothing.[27]

As noted, in the furious heat and wind it was often a victim’s shoes or boots which erupted in flames first, followed quickly by the pants, shirts, and air raid hoods that many women still wore.[28] As the horrified people stripped off one layer of burning clothing after another, many rolling on the ground to smother the fires, some simply burst into flames entirely—hair, head, skin, all. One witness watched as a child ran by screaming shrilly, “It’s hot! It hurts! Help me!” Before anyone could reach him, the child burst into flames “as if he’d been drenched in gasoline.”[29] In the midst of her own desperate bid to escape, one teenage girl saw a mother and father bravely place their own bodies between the killing heat and their small children. At last, when the father simply burst into flames he nevertheless struggled to remain upright as a shield for his children. Finally, the man teetered and fell.

 “I heard him shouting to his wife,” recalled the witness, “‘Forgive me, dear! Forgive me!’”[30]

Likewise, thousands of victims in other Japanese cities could not bear the ferocious heat and simple exploded in flames from spontaneous combustion.[31]

The streets, remembered police cameraman, Ishikawa Koyo, were “rivers of fire . . . flaming pieces of furniture exploding in the heat, while the people themselves blazed like ‘matchsticks’. . . . Under the wind and the gigantic breath of the fire, immense incandescent vortices rose in a number of places, swirling, flattening, sucking whole blocks of houses into their maelstrom of fire.”[32]

Continues French visitor, Robert Guillain:

Wherever there was a canal, people hurled themselves into the water; in shallow places, people waited, half sunk in noxious muck, mouths just above the surface of the water. . . . In other places, the water got so hot that the luckless bathers were simply boiled alive. . . . [P]eople crowded onto the bridges, but the spans were made of steel that gradually heated; human clusters clinging to the white-hot railings finally let go, fell into the water and were carried off on the current. Thousands jammed the parks and gardens that lined both banks of the [river]. As panic brought ever fresh waves of people pressing into the narrow strips of land, those in front were pushed irresistibly toward the river; whole walls of screaming humanity toppled over and disappeared in the deep water.[33]

With two little children clutched under his arms, Masayoshi Nakagawa raced for the canals and rivers as everyone else, hoping to find a haven from the deadly heat.

Suddenly I heard a shout: “Your son’s clothes are on fire!” At the same instant, I saw flames licking the cotton bloomers my daughter was wearing. I put my son down and reached out to try to smother the flames on his back when a tremendous gust of wind literally tore me from him and threw me to the ground. Struggling to stand, I saw that I was now closer to my daughter than to the boy. I decided to put out the fire on her clothes first. The flames were climbing her legs. As I frantically extinguished the flames, I heard the agonized screams of my son a short distance away. As soon as my daughter was safe, I rushed to the boy. He had stopped crying. I bent over him. He was already dead.[34] 

Grabbing his daughter and his son’s body, Masayoshi joined the fleeing crowds once again, trying to escape the “ever-pursuing inferno.”

“Once in the open space . . ,” continues the grieving father, “I stood, my daughter by my side, my dead son in my arms, waiting for the fire to subside.”[35]

Surprisingly, during days and nights such as these filled with horrors scripted in hell—children bursting into flames, glass windows melting, molten metal pouring down on people—often it was the small and seemingly trivial sights and sounds that sometimes stayed with survivors forever. One little girl, after watching a panicked mother run past with her baby totally ablaze on her back, after seeing children her own age rolling on the ground like “human torches,” after hearing the sounds of a man and a horse he was leading both burning to death, still, again and again, the little girl’s mind wandered back to the safety of her cherished doll collection, then on display at a local girl’s festival.[36]

“To my surprise,” recalled another survivor, “birds in mid-flight—sparrows and crows—were not sure where to go in such a situation. I was surprised to see that the sparrows and the crows would cling to the electric wire and stay there in a row. . . . You’d think they’d go into the bushes or something.”[37]

Amid all the horror, another woman never forgot the strange sight of a refugee standing in a large tank of water holding only a live chicken. Another young female, admittedly “numb to it all,” found as she passed a mound of dead bodies that her eyes became transfixed on a pair of nose holes that seemed to be peering up at her.[38]

Finally, on numerous occasions, because of the American “encirclement” of a targeted city, thousands of refugees fleeing from one direction collided head-on with thousands of refugees fleeing from another direction. In this case, the panicked multitude, now incapable of moving forward because of an equally panicked multitude in front, and incapable of moving backward because of the pursuing firestorm, simply became wedged so tightly that no one could move. Horrific as the ordeal had been thus far, it was nothing compared to this final act of the hellish horror. Since most refugees were fleeing instinctively toward water, many crowds became wedged on bridges. Thousands of victims were thus overtaken by the fury and were burned to a crisp by the fiery winds that to some resembled “flame throwers.” Thousands more, horribly burned, managed to leap or fall to their deaths into the rivers and canals below. Eventually, metal bridges became so hot that human grease from the victims above poured down on the bodies of victims below.[39]

And as for those far above, to those who had dropped millions of firebombs on the cities and towns of Japan, the horror show they had created below was now vivid in all its lurid detail. At such low altitudes, with night now day, those above had a front row seat to all the hellish drama below. Fleeing humans racing for life down streets now more “streams of fire” than streets, screaming horses engulfed in flames galloping insanely in all directions, bridges packed with doomed mothers and children, rivers and canals jammed with the dead and the dead to be. And for those US fighter pilots whose job was to massacre refugees who reached the open spaces, their view was even closer. In the red and white glare of the fires, these Americans could actually see the eyes of those they were machine-gunning to death, the women with babies, the children exploding from bullets, the old, the slow, the animals. The violent updrafts from the heat below was a much greater threat to US bombers than the almost non-existent Japanese anti-air defenses. Wafted on the heat thousands of feet up was the scattered debris from below—bits and pieces of homes, offices and schools; tatters of burnt clothing; feathers and fur from dead pets; and, of course, the pervasive smell of broiled human flesh.

“Suddenly, way off at 2 o’clock,” noted an awe-struck American pilot arriving on the scene, “I saw a glow on the horizon like the sun rising or maybe the moon. The whole city . . . was [soon] below us stretching from wingtip to wingtip, ablaze in one enormous fire with yet more fountains of flame pouring down from the B-29s. The black smoke billowed up thousands of feet . . . bringing with it the horrible smell of burning flesh.”[40]

Once the attacking force had loosed its bombs and banked for home, the red glow of the holocaust they had created could be seen for as far as 150 miles.[41]

***

With the departure of enemy aircraft and the eventual subsiding of the fires, workers and volunteers from throughout the stricken region finally felt safe enough to venture in and begin rescue operations. Given the frail, flammable nature of most Japanese cities, virtually every structure in a targeted area—homes, shops, businesses—was utterly leveled. As a consequence, because there was seldom need to clear stone, brick, metal, and other rubble from a bombed area, as was the case in Germany, the search for bodies in Japan was made easier, if not easy.

By the thousands, by the tens of thousands, the charred victims lay everywhere. Many died alone, overcome in their flight by heat and exhaustion. It was common to find a single blackened mother laying upon a single blackened child that she was trying so desperately to protect. But many more victims seemed to have died en masse. Time and again rescue workers encountered “piles” and “mounds” of bodies, as if all suddenly found their way cut off or as if the people unsuspectingly entered areas vastly hotter than elsewhere and succumbed as one quickly. “I saw melted burnt bodies piled up on top of each other as high as a house,” remembered one ten-year-old.[42] In such areas, below the piles of blackened bodies, large puddles of dark human rendering was noticed.

“We saw a fire truck buried under a mountain of blackened bones,” wrote another witness. “It looked like some kind of terrifying artwork. One couldn’t help wondering just how the pile of bodies had been able to reach such a height.”[43]

“What I witnessed,” said one badly burned woman leading her blind parents, “was the heaps of bodies lying on the ground endlessly. The corpses were all scorched black. They were just like charcoal. I couldn’t believe my eyes. . . . We walked stepping over the bodies being careful not to tread on them.” Unfortunately, the woman’s parents tripped and stumbled over the corpses again and again.[44]

Many victims, it was noticed, had heads double and triple their normal size.[45]

Others gazed in wonder at the array of color the bodies displayed; many, of course, were scorched black, but some were brown, red or pink. “I particularly remember a child,” said one little girl, “whose upper half of the body was coal-black but its legs were pure white.”[46]

“I . . . saw a boy,” another child recalled. “He was stark naked, and had . . . burns all over the body. His body was spotted with black, purple, and dark red burns. Like a rabbit, the boy was hopping among the corpses . . . and looked into the dead persons’ faces. . . . He was probably searching for his family members.”[47]

Elsewhere in the stricken cities, before disease could spread, rescue workers began the grim task of disposing of the unclaimed bodies as quickly as possible. By the hundreds, then by the thousands, many scorched and shriveled victims were buried in common trenches with others.[48] Some survivors took it upon themselves to collect the remains of friends and neighbors. When the air raid began in her city, one woman was talking with a neighbor when an explosive bomb blew him to bits. Later, feeling compelled to do so, the lady returned and began the horrible recovery of the body parts, including the head. “I was suddenly struck with the terrifying thought,” the woman, who was on the verge of fainting, recalled, “that perhaps someday soon someone would have to do the same thing to me.”[49] Workers elsewhere simply did not have the time or patience for such concern and care and simply tossed body parts into rivers.[50]

Initially, when rescuers entered the few brick and concrete buildings in the stricken cities, they were mystified. Expecting heaps of bodies, they found only layer upon layer of ash and dust. Far from being points of refuge as the unsuspecting victims imagined, the buildings had served rather as super-heated ovens, not only killing everyone when the flames neared but baking each body so thoroughly that only a faint dry powder remained. Even with only a slight breeze, other such baked victims simply blew away “like sand.”[51]

Following such horrific attacks, many stunned survivors simply stumbled among the ruins aimlessly as if in a trance, dazed, disoriented, seemingly looking for something, but actually looking for nothing. With a new and unimaginable terror springing up at every turn during every second of the night before, time then seemed to have telescoped, then stopped. “It took seemingly forever to cover a distance that ordinarily would take two or three minutes,” noted one surprised survivor. And for those victims who gathered their wits and somehow managed to stagger from targeted cities with only minor injuries, such treks generally became terrifying odysseys unto themselves.

After escaping the inferno at Chiba the night before, and with a two-year-old sister in her arms and an eight-year-old sister on her back suffering from a terrible head wound, little Kazuko Saegusa finally reached the countryside the following morning in a drizzling rain. Finding a hand cart, the exhausted ten-year-old placed the two children inside then set off in hopes of finding a doctor or a hospital to help her injured sister. While pulling the cart between muddy rice paddies, the terrified little girl was repeatedly strafed by American fighter planes. Nevertheless, Kazuko refused to run for cover and leave her sisters behind. Eventually, and almost miraculously, the child reached a hospital. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending.

“The corridors of the hospital were packed with people burned past recognition,” remembered Kazuko. “There were many young people whose arms or legs had been amputated. . . . The screaming was beyond description. . . . Maggots wriggled from the bandages.”[52]

Conditions at the hospital were so bad that Kazuko and her sisters, along with many others, were moved to an open area near a church. But again, American aircraft soon made their appearance and strafed the victims, forcing the little girl to grab her sisters and finally seek safety in a stand of trees.[53]

Although the dead outnumbered the living following such nightmares, for many shattered survivors, like little Kazuko, the trials continued.

After losing his son the night before, with the dawn, Masayoshi Nakagawa and his tiny surviving child now set off to find his pregnant wife somewhere in the destroyed city.

My daughter and I, hand in hand, alone now, started off. Weary and emotionally drained, we had to force ourselves to struggle on through mounds of debris and corpses; among the foul, pungent odors, and the groans of the injured and dying. A man holding a frying pan gazed blankly at ashes that had been a house. Another squatted, dazed and helpless, in the middle of the street. Mothers frantically called for their children; small children screamed for their parents. I neither could nor wanted to do anything for the suffering people. My own suffering was too great. Probably all the others felt the same way.

Near [a] railway station, mounds of bodies clogged the track underpass. The walls were spattered with blood. A charred mother sat embracing her charred infant. The dead, burned beyond recognition, looked like grotesque bald dress-maker’s dummies.   Those who were still alive moaned against the heat and called for water.[54] 

Unbeknownst to Masayoshi, his wife, after a “difficult delivery,” had given birth to a healthy baby girl during the height of the firestorm the night before. Because of the approaching flames, everyone in the hospital had urged the mother to leave her newborn and flee while she could. Refusing to do so, the weakened woman wrapped her infant then fled into the inferno. Pale and bleeding, facing the flames and deadly sparks, the mother kept her baby covered tightly and sprinkled her with water throughout the hellish night. The following day, the utterly exhausted woman collapsed in the street and could go no further. Fortunately, a kind man, forgetting his own misfortune for the moment, carried the mother and child to a nearby hospital. After only the briefest of rests, the woman and her baby again set off in search of Masayoshi and the children.

Finally, after days and days of fruitless searching for a wife that he assumed was, like his son, dead, the husband learned from a mutual friend that the woman and their new child were yet alive and uninjured. For this husband and father, the news was the first reason to smile in what seemed a lifetime.

“I was overjoyed,” Masayoshi said simply, yet with a heart filled with emotion.[55]

***

Following the deadly firebombing of Japanese cities, the death toll in each continued to climb for days, even weeks as those terribly burned and maimed succumbed to injuries. With a sudden shortage of doctors, nurses and medicine, most victims were cared for by family and friends who coped as best they could. Some were successful, some were not.

When she first realized that her daughter’s badly burned legs had become infested with maggots, one horrified mother promptly fainted from shock. After she came to, the determined woman found a pair of chop sticks and immediately went to work picking out the maggots, one at a time.[56]

Others died in different ways. Two days after the raid upon their hometown in which her husband was killed, Fumie Masaki’s little son and other boys discovered an unexploded bomb while on a playground. When a fire warden arrived to dispose of it, the bomb exploded. Eight children were killed, including Fumie’s son.[57]

For a nation surrounded and blockaded, starvation was already a very real concern for Japan. In the bombed and burned cities with their rail, road and river traffic destroyed, it was an even greater threat. Adults soon noticed that children now suddenly grew gaunt and pale and looked “somehow older” than before. Many thin babies had escaped the firebombings only to starve in the days and weeks following. Dogs and cats were no longer seen in Japan. Even the Japanese government urged the people to supplement their diets with “rats, mice, snakes, saw dust, peanut shells, grasshoppers, worms, silkworms, and cocoons.”[58]

Added to starvation was chronic exhaustion from lack of sleep and rest. Those who somehow managed to remain in bombed cities did so with the constant dread of the nightmare’s repeat. Those who moved to undisturbed cities did so fully expecting the fire to fall at any hour.[59]

“I wish I could go to America for just one good night’s sleep,” groaned one exhausted postman.[60]

Exacerbating the daily stress and strain of Japanese civilians was the American “targets of opportunity” program. Just as they had done in Germany, US commanders ordered their fighter pilots aloft with orders to shoot anything in Japan that moved. Unfortunately, many young men obeyed their orders “to the letter.” Ferry boats, passenger trains, automobiles, farmers in fields, animals grazing, women on bicycles, children in school yards, orphanages, hospitals . . . all were deemed legitimate targets of opportunity and all were strafed again and again with machine-gun and cannon fire.[61]

“And not a single Japanese aircraft offered them resistance,” raged a man after one particular strafing incident. The angry comment could just as easily have been spoken after all American attacks, firebombings included. Certainly, the most demoralizing aspect of the war for Japanese civilians was the absolute American control of the air above Japan. During the nonstop B-29 attacks against the cities and towns, seldom was a Japanese aircraft seen to offer resistance.

“When . . . there was no opposition by our planes . . ,” offered one dejected observer, “I felt as if we were fighting machinery with bamboo.”[62]

Even members of the military had to agree. “Our fighters were but so many eggs thrown at the stone wall of the invincible enemy formations,” admitted a Japanese naval officer.[63]

And as for anti-aircraft guns. . . .

“Here and there, the red puffs of anti-aircraft bursts sent dotted red lines across the sky,” recounted one viewer, “but the defenses were ineffectual and the big B-29s, flying in loose formation, seemed to work unhampered.”[64]

Indeed, those guns that did fire at B-29s seemed more dangerous to those on the ground than to those in the air. Early in the bombing campaign, after a single B-29 on a reconnaissance mission flew away totally unscathed following a noisy anti-aircraft barrage, shrapnel falling to earth killed six people in Tokyo.[65]

“Our captain was a great gunnery enthusiast,” sneered a Japanese sailor. “He was always telling us that we could shoot Americans out of the sky. After innumerable raids in which our guns did not even scratch their wings, he was left looking pretty silly. When air attacks came in, there was nothing much we would do but pray.”[66]

In July, 1945, Curtis LeMay ordered US planes to shower with leaflets the few remaining Japanese cities that had been spared firebombing with an “Appeal to the People.”

As you know, America which stands for humanity, does not wish to injure the innocent people, so you had better evacuate these cities.

Within days of the fluttering leaflets, half of the warned cities were firebombed into smoking ruins.[67]

 With the destruction of virtually every large Japanese city, LeMay kept his men busy by sending them to raid even the smaller cities and towns. After his own remote community was attacked, one resident knew the end was in sight. “When we were bombed,” admitted the man, “we all thought—if we are bombed, even in a small mountain place, the war must certainly be lost.”[68]

Others felt similarly, including a high-ranking civil servant: 

It was the raids on the medium and smaller cities which had the worst effect and really brought home to the people the experience of bombing and a demoralization of faith in the outcome of the war…. It was bad enough in so large a city as Tokyo, but much worse in the smaller cities, where most of the city would be wiped out. Through May and June the spirit of the people was crushed. [When B-29s dropped propaganda pamphlets] the morale of the people sank terrifically, reaching a low point in July, at which time there was no longer hope of victory or a draw but merely a desire for ending the war.[69]

***

According to American sources, the first firebombing raid on Tokyo, the raid that was the most devastating of all raids and the raid that provided the blue print for all future firebombing raids on Japan, was a complete and utter success. Not only was the heart of the great city totally scorched from the face of the earth, but over 100,000 people were also killed. Furthermore, American sources also estimate that from that first raid on Tokyo to the end of the war approximately sixty Japanese cities were laid waste and that roughly 300,000-400,000 civilians were killed in Gen. Curtis LeMay’s firebombing raids.

The firebombing of Japan by the United States Air Force in the spring and summer of 1945 was simply one of the greatest war crimes in world history. Arguments that the operation helped speed Japanese defeat and surrender are little more than self-serving nonsense. For all intents and purposes Japan was already defeated, as the January, 1945 attempts to surrender already illustrate. In that month, peace offers to the Americans were being tendered. The mere fact that the vast majority of the estimated 300,000-400,000 deaths from firebombing were women, children, and the elderly should alone put the utter lie to the claim that such a crime added anything material to ultimate American victory. As was the case with the saturation bombing of Germany and the consequent firestorms that slaughtered countless women and children there, far from pushing a nation to surrender, the murder of helpless innocents in fact enraged and strengthened the resolve of the nation’s soldiers, sailors, and airmen to fight, if necessary, to the death.

“Seeing my home town ravaged in this way inspired me with patriotic zeal,” revealed one young Japanese speaking for millions. “I volunteered for military service soon after the . . . raid because I felt that in this way I could get even with the Americans and British, who . . . were nothing but devils and beasts.”[70]

And as for the American “estimates” of Japanese firebombing deaths. . . .

When the first B-29 raid took place in March, 1945, the targeted killing zone of Tokyo contained a population of roughly 1.5 million people. Given the fact that most living in this area were, as always, the most vulnerable—women, children, the old, the slow—and given the tactics used—saturation firebombing, dry conditions, gale force winds to accelerate the flames, encirclement, fighter aircraft machine-gunning those in parks or along rivers—and given the fact that the firestorm’s devastation was utter and succeeded even beyond Curtis LeMay’s most sadistic dreams, to suggest that out of a million and a half potential victims in the death zone only a mere 100,000 died while well over a million women and children somehow managed to escape the racing inferno is a deliberate attempt to reduce the number of slain and thereby, with an eye to future criticism and condemnation, a deliberate attempt to reduce the crime itself.

Additionally, although the greatest loss of Japanese life occurred during the Tokyo raids, hundreds of thousands of victims also perished in other large cities. To suggest, as modern American sources do, that even including the death toll in Tokyo the number killed in similar raids nationwide combined only came to 300,000-400,000 victims is, again, a deliberate attempt to reduce the number of victims in hope of reducing the extent of the crime. Indeed, any modern attempt that calculates the number of firebombing deaths in Japan at less than one million should not be taken seriously.

As one expert wrote:

The mechanisms of death were so multiple and simultaneous—oxygen deficiency and carbon monoxide poisoning, radiant heat and direct flames, debris and the trampling feet of stampeding crowds—that causes of death were later hard to ascertain.[71]

Accurate for the most part, one element left out of that death assessment is also that which seems the least likely—drowning. In one of the cruelest of ironies, more people may have actually died from drowning during the firestorm raids than from the flames themselves. In their frantic attempts to escape the torturous heat, even those who could not swim—the very old, the very young—sprang into any body of water available—reservoirs, rivers, canals, ponds, lakes, even large, deep water tanks—and took their chances there, drowning below being clearly preferable to burning above. Of the tens of thousands of drowning victims recovered, no doubt tens of thousands more were swept down rivers and streams and out to sea, never to be seen again.

Whether woman and children drowned or burned to death, it was all one and the same to Curtis LeMay.

“I’ll tell you what war is about,” explained the merciless US general, “you’ve got to kill people, and when you’ve killed enough they stop fighting.”[72]

Unfortunately, while a significant percentage of Americans felt just as LeMay, virtually all US leaders and opinion molders felt that way.

“Keep ‘Em Frying,” laughed the Atlanta (Ga) Constitution.[73]

 And “keep ‘em frying” Curtis LeMay would.

***

Fortunately for the future of mankind, in the very midst of a merciless war waged by evil men and prolonged by equally evil politicians, many ordinary individuals nevertheless always remain true to their better selves.

In spite of the US firebombing massacre and the inhuman “targets of opportunity” slaughter taking place, when an injured American fighter pilot was forced to bail out over Japan, instead of being machine-gunned as he floated down or instead of being beaten to death by angry villagers when he touched ground, he was instead taken to a hospital that his serious wounds might be treated.

During his short stay, four young Japanese pilots, curious more than anything, visited the injured American. Whatever transpired during those brief moments of broken English, of eyes wide with wonder for an enemy pilot, and perhaps even of soft smiles of sympathy for a dying brother-at-arms—a bond was quickly formed.

Finally, as the Japanese airmen said their polite goodbyes and quietly turned to leave forever, the fast failing US pilot begged one of the young men to please wait for a moment. Working something free from his hand, the heavily bandaged American asked the visitor, only moments before his mortal enemy, for a first, and final, favor: When the madness was finally over, when reason had once more returned to the world, would the young man please carry the wedding ring to the United States? And once there would he please tell a young American widow how her young American pilot had fallen to earth one day and how he had died?[74]

 Notes

1 Michael Bess, Choices Under Fire—Moral Dimensions of World War II (New York, Knopf, 2006), 105.

2 Goodrich, Hellstorm, 46; Edmund Russell, War and Nature—Fighting Human and Insects With Chemicals From World War I to Silent Spring, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001) 106-07,138; “FDR warns Japanese against using poison gas,” History, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-warns-japanese-against-using-poison-gas ; “Old, Weird Tech: The Bat Bombs of World War II,” The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/old-weird-tech-the-bat-bombs-of-world-war-ii/237267/

3 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History.com, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm

4 “Tokyo WWII firebombing, the single most deadly bombing raid in history, remembered 70 years on,” ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-09/tokyo-wwii-firebombing-remembered-70-years-on/6287486

5 Walter L. Hixson, ed., The American Experience in World War II (NY: Routledge, 2003), 184.

6 Russell, War and Nature, 138.

7 “FIRE BOMBING ATTACKS ON TOKYO AND JAPAN IN WORLD WAR II, Facts and Details, http://factsanddetails.com/asian/ca67/sub429/item2519.html

8 “A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html; Max Hastings, Retribution, 298. X-73

9 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/?feed=rss2

10 Ibid.

11 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Aiko Matani account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

12 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/

13 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interview,  http://www.japanairraids.org/

14 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Michiko Kiyo-Oka interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/

15 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

16 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Saotome Katsumoto interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/

17 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/

18 “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html

19 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” EyeWitness to History.com, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm

20 “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, http://www.japanfocus.org/-Bret-Fisk/3471#sthash.xzZvfCe2.dpuf

21 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Masayoshi Nakagawa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

22 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Saotome Katsumoto interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html

23 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Fumie Masaki account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

24 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Saotome Katsumoto interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/

25 “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html

26 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Saotome Katsumoto interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

27 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm

28 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Aiko Matani interviewhttp://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

29 “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html

30 “The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html

31 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm

32 “A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq,” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html

33 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm

34 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Masayoshi Nakagawa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

35 Ibid.

36 “Hitting Home—The Air Offensive Against Japan,” Air Force History and Museums Program, 1999, https://archive.org/details/HittingHome-nsia; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

37 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Nobuyoshi Tan interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

38 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Tomie Akazawa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Michiko Kiyo-Oka interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

39 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Michiko Kiyo-Oka interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ;”Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945–The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

40 Hastings, Retribution, 297.

41 “Hitting Home—The Air Offensive Against Japan,” Air Force History and Museums Program, 1999, https://archive.org/details/HittingHome-nsia

42 “Tokyo WWII firebombing, the single most deadly bombing raid in history, remembered 70 years on,” ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-09/tokyo-wwii-firebombing-remembered-70-years-on/6287486

43 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Masaharu Ohtake interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

44 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

45 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

46 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

47 Ibid.

48 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

49 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Tai Kitamura account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

50 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Teruo Kanoh interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

51 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945—The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

52 “Women Against War—Personal Accounts of Forty Japanese Women” (Women’s Division of Soka Gakkai, Kodansha International, Ltd.,1986), 119-120

53 Ibid.

54 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Masayoshi Nakagawa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

55 Ibid.

56 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Haruyo Nihei interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

57 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Fumie Masaki account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

58 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Yoshiko Hashimoto interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ;“The Tokyo Air Raids in the Words of Those Who Survived,” The Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/2011/9/3/Bret-Fisk/3471/article.html ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Nobuyoshi Tan interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Shigemasa Toda interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat—Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999), 91.

59 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Rie Kuniyasu account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

60 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Michiko Kiyo-Oka interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/

61 “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Nobuyoshi Tan interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Japan Air Raids.org—A Bilingual Historical Archive,” Shigemasa Toda interview, http://www.japanairraids.org/ ; “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Eiji Okugawa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace; “Air Raids on Japan,” Wkipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan; “Women Against War—Personal Accounts of Forty Japanese Women,” Kazuko Saegusa account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40249017/Women-Against-War

62 “The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japanese Morale,” The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Morale Division, 1947), vi.

63 Hastings, Retribution, 133.

64 “The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945–The Japanese View,” Eye Witness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

65 Isaac Shapiro, Edokko—Growing Up A Foreigner in Wartime Japan (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 132.

66 Hastings, 138.

67 “A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html

68 “The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japanese Morale,United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Morale Division, https://archive.org/details/effectsofstrateg00unit55.

69 “Preparations for Invasion of Japan–14 Jul 1945–9 Aug 1945,” World War II Data Base, http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=54

70 “Cries For Peace—Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II,” Tomio Yoshida account, https://www.scribd.com/document/40248814/Cries-for-Peace

71 “A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html

72 “Curtis LeMay,” Wikiquote, https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Curtis_LeMay

73 “Firebombing of Japanese Cities during World War II,” Book Mice, http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/japan/fire.html

74 Hastings, 313.  

Thomas Goodrich is a professional writer now living in the US and Europe. His biological father was a US Marine in the Pacific War and his adoptive father was with the US Air Force during the war in Europe.

 Summer, 1945—Germany, Japan and the Harvest of Hate can be purchased at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Booksamillion.com, and through the author’s website at thomasgoodrich.com. For faster deliver, order via the author’s paypal at mtgoodrich@aol.com ( $20 US / $25 Abroad )

May 6, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 3 Comments

A Brilliant Early Defender of Palestine – Book Review

(Colin Andersen, Balfour in the Dock. J.M.N. Jeffries and the Case for the Prosecution. Bloxham, Oxon: Skyscraper Publications, 2017)
Reviewed by Jeremy Salt | Palestine Chronicle | April 18, 2018

J.M.N (Joseph) Jeffries was an outstanding British journalist whose book Palestine: The Reality (1939) is described by Colin Andersen as ‘a masterwork of history and a scathing indictment of British policy in Palestine from 1914 to 1938.’

George Antonius’ seminal work, The Arab Awakening, had been published only the year before but it is a more general account of British betrayal of the Arabs, whereas the value of the Jeffries book lies in his single-minded focus on Palestine and the force of his arguments. Few copies of the book were printed, and it is now almost impossible to find even in libraries. By Edward Said and many others, however, its value as an early exposure of British perfidy has long since been recognized.

Zionism itself was a wicked idea from the start. Herzl was not ignorant of the realities on the ground in Palestine. In the form of the people, he wanted to remove them and in the form of the land he wanted to turn Palestine into something else. Chaim Weizmann was no better. He lied, deceived and dissimulated as a matter of course. By 1914, with one exception, Zionism had no support anywhere. The Ottoman sultan, the Kaiser, and the Tsar’s government had all turned their backs on it. By Jews around the world, the Zionists were regarded as cranks, fanatics, and heretics but the one exception was critical. In Britain, the seed of imperial support for this mad idea had been sown by Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, when in 1903 he backed Zionist settlement in East Africa.

By 1917 Zionism had been absorbed into British imperialism. The motive was not gratitude for Weizmann’s chemical research in support of the war effort or anything as fanciful as sympathy for a persecuted people bent on returning to their ancient homeland but the recognition that Zionism was a tool Britain could use. The chief villains of the piece, in Jeffries’ reading, were the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, and his Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, both of whom, to use a term now current, ‘weaponised’ Zionism, first to bring the US into the war and then to turn Palestine over to their Zionist proxies, much as the US, Britain, France and their ‘allies’ have tried hard over the past seven years to put Syria in the hands of their takfiri proxies.

It was Jeffries, an outstanding correspondent for the London Daily Mail, who in 1923 exposed the deception deliberately built into Sir Henry McMahon’s correspondence with the Sharif Husayn of Mecca in 1915. The Sharif had outlined the area in which the Arabs were to be granted independence in return for supporting the British war effort. McMahon made specific exceptions for Mersin and Alexandretta (Iskanderun) and ‘portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo, which cannot be said to be purely Arab.’ The excluded region had a substantial Christian percentage, but in line with its imperial tactics of divide and rule Britain chose to regard only Muslims as ‘Arab’ despite the role Christians played in the formulation of the Arab national idea.

This region ‘west of Damascus’ was the coastal littoral Britain intended to allocate to France in Sykes-Picot the following year but on no map, can Palestine be found west of Damascus. Homs and Hama are mentioned but not Jerusalem, for the obvious reason that the British knew that the Sharif Husayn would never agree to its exclusion from the area set aside for ‘Arab independence.’ Although Antonius is given the credit he deserves for exposing the depth of deceit in the McMahon letters to the Sharif Husayn, it was Jeffries, in articles written for the Daily Mail in 1923, based on a copy of the text he had been given by King Feisal, who first brought this deception to the attention of the British public.

The Husayn-McMahon correspondence was followed in 1916 by the treachery of Sykes-Picot and in 1917 by the further treachery of the Balfour declaration, a pledge not just made to the Zionists but largely written by them. Behind the caviling and declarations of nothing but good intentions, Jeffries knew exactly what they were up to the formula of a ‘national home’ was adopted for the time only because pressing for statehood would be regarded even by the British government as too provocative. The ‘country without a people for a people without a country’ was a brazen lie which the Zionists pretended to believe because they did not want the Palestinians to be there. They were being wished away psychologically long before they could be removed physically. As Jeffries was to write, they were nobodies who would eventually ‘vanish like mist before the sun of Zion.’

Behind his lofty, somewhat detached philosophical exterior, Balfour was as remorseless as the fanatics whose cause he was promoting, not in their interests, as they undoubtedly realized, but Britain’s.  Zionism, he wrote in 1919, right or wrong, good or bad, was rooted in traditions, present needs and future hopes of ‘far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.’ Crucially, the words ‘now’ and ‘inhabit’ point to what Balfour, the British government, and the Zionists, colluding, had in mind: Palestine did not belong to the Palestinians, they were only ‘inhabiting’ it and only for ‘now.’ In the same statement Balfour, in a rare moment of truth, wrote that insofar as Palestine was concerned ‘the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.’

In Palestine: The Reality Jeffries traced Balfour’s declaration from inception through gestation to birth. As Colin Andersen writes, far from being a pure and lofty initiative of the British government, the declaration was in its drafting ‘very much an Anglo-Zionist-American affair.’ The process began ‘in earnest’ in June 1917, when Weizmann, Lord Rothschild, and Sir Ronald Graham, assistant undersecretary at the Foreign Office, visited Balfour, who had just returned from a five-week visit to the US, where he met the leading US Zionist, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.  The question of a declaration on Palestine was discussed and after seeing Weizmann and Rothschild back in London, the drafting began, as Jeffries was to write, ‘on both sides of the Atlantic.’

It remains very worthwhile to consider how these drafts changed. As documented by Jeffries, in its first draft, prepared in July 1917, the British government spoke of Palestine being recognized as ‘the National Home of the Jewish people’, with the conditions of their ‘national life’ being determined with representatives of the ‘Zionist Organization.’ There is no mention of the theme dwelt upon by Balfour and others in the government of historical Jewish suffering and the need for a refuge and neither is there any mention of the majority of the population – Arab – actually living in Palestine.

On July 18 the Zionists produced their amended version in which Palestine would be ‘reconstituted’ as the national home of the Jewish people. In August Lord Milner, a senior figure in the government prepared a draft removing ‘reconstituted’ and referring to ‘a’ Jewish national home ‘in’ Palestine. This was approved by Balfour but opposed by Edwin Montagu, Secretary of State for India, both Jewish and anti-zionist, who described Zionism as a ‘mischievous political creed’, who said there was no Jewish nation and even argued that Zionism should be declared as illegal ‘and against the national interest.’ By longing for the day when he could ‘shake British soil from his shoes’ and go to Palestine, the British Jew would have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and admitted that ‘he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain or to be treated as an Englishman.’ At a Cabinet meeting on October 4, Montagu again objected vigorously, with the support of Lord Curzon, who asked ‘How was it proposed to get rid of the existing majority of Mussulman inhabitants and to introduce the Jews in their place?’

In Washington on October 13, President Wilson approved to have the British draft, clearly without spending much time thinking about it. Back in London, a reworded draft referred to the British government viewing with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish ‘race’, a phrase as bereft of any logic, historical or otherwise, as the Jewish ‘people’ or ‘nation.’ This time, however, the draft referred to the civil and religious rights of ‘existing’ non-Jewish communities in Palestine – the Palestinians, 90 percent of the population- as well as the rights of Jews elsewhere who were content with their existing nationality ‘and citizenship’, Balfour added.

This draft was also approved by Wilson. Alterations at the behest of Louis Brandeis led to further rewording, especially ‘people’ instead of ‘race.’ The reference to the rights of the ‘existing non-Jewish communities’ raised objections from the Zionists. How could anyone think that they could be damaged by the establishment of a national Jewish home? After all, did not Jewish religious tradition prescribe that the stranger must be looked after? In their inverted world, it was the stranger, themselves, who owned the land and the true owners, individually and collectively, the people of Palestine, who were the strangers, not that the  Zionists had any intention of looking after them or even sharing the land. They wanted to get rid of them.

The final form of the declaration was approved by the War Cabinet on October 31 and issued on November 2. It ends with Balfour’s request to Lord Rothschild to bring the declaration to the notice of the Zionist Federation. Nothing more cynically humorous had ever been penned than these two lines, wrote Jeffries, seeing that the Zionists had collaborated in drafting the declaration: in its final form it would never have been issued without their approval. Jeffries describes the document as the most discreditable produced by a British government in living memory.

He follows a trail spotted with lies and deceit to where it led after the war, to a mandatory administration of Palestine top-heavy with Zionists and Palestine resistance to the Anglo-Zionist occupation of their land. By 1937 the Peel report was recommending partition and transfer of part of the Palestinian population, a solution which the Zionists wanted not in part but full but part would at least be a start. Wrote Jeffries: ‘How can anyone suggest that about a quarter of the Arab population should be removed by force from the land which they and theirs have occupied for centuries?’

Colin Andersen, blending original material from Palestine: The Reality and Jeffries’ other writings with his own analysis and interpretation, has produced a book that no student of Britain’s deceits from Husain-McMahon to the Balfour Declaration should leave unread. There is a broader context, of course. In 1917, as the Balfour Declaration was being prepared and the world was reacting to the Bolshevik revolution, Lloyd George was giving assurances to the British labor movement that territorial annexation was the last thing the government had on its own mind.

The British were sick of war and the government was alarmed at the effects of the Bolshevik revolution, at a time it needed to ‘comb out’ more working-class men of fighting age to send to the front. They had to be deceived. In December 1917, addressing trade union leaders, Lloyd George asserted that ‘our one object in the war was to defend the violated public law of Europe, to vindicate Treaty obligations and to secure the restoration of Belgium.’ The release by the Bolsheviks of the contents of Sykes-Picot on November 23 had been an embarrassment but the Labor Party could still issue a statement praising Lloyd George, whose speech had revealed ‘a government and a people seeking no selfish or predatory aims of any kind, pursuing with one unchanging mind, one unchanging purpose: to obtain justice for others so that we thereby secure for ourselves a lasting peace. We desire neither to destroy Germany or diminish her boundaries: we seek neither to exalt ourselves nor to enlarge our empire.’

The immense harm which has been done to the Palestinians also has to be set in a broader regional context. The partition of Arab lands was of a piece with the planned partition of Anatolia, where the powers planned to establish a Christian Armenian ‘protectorate’ in eastern provinces where the population was 80 percent Muslim. In 1919 Lloyd George was the principal architect of the Greek invasion of western Anatolia, which was not to end, after great loss of life and massive destruction, until 1922. In the same year the British government launched the ‘war of intervention’ against the Bolsheviks: in the 1930s it launched the war of non-intervention against the republican government of Spain as well as enabling the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and the Japanese invasion of China. Class and money interests of the British establishment took precedence over national interests (not that by this same establishment they were seen as being any different).

We can see continuity in the leading role Britain has played in the destruction of Iraq and Libya and the devastation of Syria by armed proxies over the past eight years, up to the missile attack of April 14. The record of lies, deception, intimidation, and aggression all the way since 1915 is practically seamless. We can only imagine what a journalist of the caliber of J.M.N Jeffries would have made of all this.

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press).

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pentagon Capitalism and Silicon Valley: Google’s Drone War Project Shows Big Data’s Military Roots

By Elliott GABRIEL | Mint Press News | April 6, 2018

Google — the advertising and search engine monolith that once touted its official commitment, “Don’t be evil” — has thrown its full weight behind the U.S. military-industrial complex’s fast-advancing unmanned drone program – and more than three thousand of its employees will have none of it.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, over 3,100 employees invoked the now-discarded slogan in an appeal demanding that the company not allow its artificial intelligence technology to be used to improve the targeting capabilities of the United States’ deadly drone fleet. Google’s Project Maven is an AI surveillance engine that uses footage captured by the U.S. Armed Forces’ unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and track objects such as vehicles, while combing through, organizing, and feeding the processed data to the Pentagon.

Watch | Project Maven: The Pentagon’s New Artificial Intelligence

The letter, which is fast making the rounds on Google campuses and internal communication servers, demands the cancellation of the project and the public adoption of a policy pledging that neither Google nor its contractors produce technology for warfare. The letter states:

“This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent. Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust. By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto Don’t Be Evil, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.”

However, journalist and author Yasha Levine has explained in his new book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet that Google has long been a leading Silicon Valley vendor to the U.S. repressive state:

“Over the years, [Google] supplied mapping technology used by the U.S. Army in Iraq, hosted data for the Central Intelligence Agency, indexed the National Security Agency’s vast intelligence databases, built military robots, co-launched a spy satellite with the Pentagon, and leased its cloud computing platform to help police departments predict crime. And Google is not alone. From Amazon to eBay to Facebook … Some parts of these companies are so thoroughly intertwined with America’s security services that it is hard to tell where they end and the U.S. government begins.

The grim calculus of remote-controlled warfare

An Air Force RPA reconnaissance drone is retrofitted for use in attack squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Thousands of alleged “combatants” have been killed in U.S. drone strikes since the start of the post-9/11 “War on Terror.” Former President Barack Obama ramped up the targeted killing program using drones in 2009, pledging that the use of unmanned aerial platforms was part of a “just war—a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.”

Reports have shown that the use of drones in such locales as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and other theaters of operations have claimed a vast number of civilian lives — over 15,000 in 2017, according to surveys. According to New York Times Magazine, which surveyed 150 Coalition drone strikes carried out in Iraq over an 18-month period, one out of every five strikes kills civilians.

Watch | Suffering in Silence: a documentary about the war on terror in Pakistan

The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the use of such tactics as contrary to international law:

“A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial … violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort to prevent imminent threats, when non-lethal means are not available.

There is very little information available to the public about the U.S. targeting of people far from any battlefield, so we don’t know when, where and against whom targeted killing can be authorized … The secrecy and lack of standards for sentencing people to death, resulting in a startling lack of oversight and safeguards, is one of our prime concerns with this program.”

In 2007 at the height of George W. Bush’s “troop surge” in Iraq, Google enlisted in the “Global War on Terror” in a discrete partnership with Lockheed Martin. While enhanced versions of Google Earth were already at the disposal of government agencies, the tech firm helped to design a Google Earth product for the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that displayed a visual representation of U.S. and Iraqi military bases in Iraq as well as the location of Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, allowing occupation forces to oversee and manage the bloody fratricidal warfare between the groups as well as the possible location of insurgent organizations within their ranks.

It was during this same year that the development and use of Air Force drones in the Iraqi quagmire dramatically increased, nearly doubling between January and October of 2007.

Google defends its public image (and low-profile military ties)

Claiming that it values the input of its employees as an “important part” of its company culture, Google has promised to address the AI-drone issue without making specific comments on the employees’ demands. In a statement Tuesday, the company said:

“Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.”

Google has also defended its participation in the Pentagon program with the claim that its usage is specifically for non-offensive purposes and uses open-source object-recognition software based on non-classified data that’s freely available to any users of the Google Cloud, and could in fact save lives while saving labor through the use of AI.

Google’s own top corporate chiefs are quite close to the Pentagon: Google vice president Milo Medin serves on the Department of Defense’s tech advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, which is also chaired by former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who remains an executive board member at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Google itself has long been interested in developing its own line of drone products, including private delivery drones.

The company is also a leader in AI and machine-learning technology. Its subsidiary DeepMind Technologies, Inc. has recently developed a program based on Google Street View that allows AI-based platforms to take part in long-range navigation and cross complicated urban environments. The navigator AI system is capable of steering everything from autonomous, self-driving cars to robotic vacuums and even unmanned drones.

Watch | Eric Schmidt at the Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit

Last November in a keynote address on artificial intelligence in warfare before Washington-based think-tank the Center for a New American Security, Schmidt pinned anxiety about his company’s acquisition of DeepMind on “a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly, if you will.”

“It comes from a, it’s essentially related to the history of the Vietnam War and the founding of the tech industry,” Schmidt added.

Indeed, Levine argues:

“In the 1960s, America was a global power overseeing an increasingly volatile world: conflicts and regional insurgencies against U.S.-allied governments from South America to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These were not traditional wars that involved big armies but guerrilla campaigns and local rebellions, frequently fought in regions where Americans had little previous experience. Who were these people? Why were they rebelling? What could be done to stop them? In military circles, it was believed that these questions were of vital importance to America’s pacification efforts, and some argued that the only effective way to answer them was to develop and leverage computer-aided information technology.”

Surveillance capitalism’s military-industrial roots

In a 2014 essay for Monthly Review magazine titled “Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age,” authors John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney coined the phrase surveillance capitalism, tracing its origins to the inception of a post-World War II “new Pentagon capitalism” that came to be known as the military-industrial complex.

Under the model – revolutionized by then-Army Chief of Staff and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower – the U.S. technological, scientific research and industrial capacity were to become “organic parts of our military structure” in conditions of national emergency, effectively giving the civilian economy a dual-use purpose. In a 1946 memorandum, Eisenhower noted:

“The future security of the nation… demands that all those civilian resources which by conversion or redirection constitute our main support in time of emergency be associated closely with the activities of the Army in time of peace.”

The model became a permanent feature of the U.S. economy, giving birth to a sprawling military-civilian economic base Eisenhower famously criticized in his 1961 farewell address to the nation. Civilian industry, science, and academia were used alongside an exorbitant and perpetually-expanding war budget to underwrite the Defense Department’s never-ending state of conflict with Cold War enemies and unruly populations, making the world safe for the unchallenged reign of U.S. monopoly capitalism (imperialism) and “pump-priming” the economy whenever an additional surge of “military Keynesian” government spending was required.

Watch | Richard Wolff On Trump’s Defence Spending

According to the popular history of the internet’s origin, it was conceived in 1969 by scientists at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), who sought to create a means of “internetworking” Pentagon-sponsored computer mainframes belonging to government agencies, universities and defense contractors across the United States and NATO bloc. Known as Arpanet, the decentralized system allowed for military nodes – down to a battlefield level – to network and share data quickly and wirelessly. In the event of a nuclear strike or major war where swathes of the network were destroyed, the Arpanet would remain operational.

Levine posits that a primary purpose of conceiving the “information superhighway” was the need for a computerized counterinsurgency tool that could predict and check the “perceived global spread of communism” and provide real-time surveillance of potential threat groups:

“The Internet came out of this effort: an attempt to build computer systems that could collect and share intelligence, watch the world in real time, and study and analyze people and political movements with the ultimate goal of predicting and preventing social upheaval. Some even dreamed of creating a sort of early warning radar for human societies: a networked computer system that watched for social and political threats and intercepted them in much the same way that traditional radar did for hostile aircraft. In other words, the Internet was hardwired to be a surveillance tool from the start. No matter what we use the network for today — dating, directions, encrypted chat, email, or just reading the news — it always had a dual-use nature rooted in intelligence gathering and war.”

The Arpanet system formed the backbone of U.S. military communications from 1969 until 1989, when the World Wide Web was introduced to civilian consumers. The unveiling of the World Wide Web opened the floodgates to the use of the internet by users across the globe, as well as its subsequent commercialization and the resulting dot com boom of the mid-to-late 1990s, when Google was founded.

Watch | Yasha Levine on why we lost our fear of computers as tools of social control

The rapid advance of digital technology has ensured that the U.S. economy — and social life itself — is now dominated by big-data giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA), as well as Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. This new technology-dominated market environment, where private user info is parsed, monetized, packaged and sold, has been encapsulated by the well-worn cliché: “data is the new gold.”

Vast strides in biometrics, analytics research, AI, and deep-learning technology – perfected not only by Google but by academic researchers and technology firms across the globe – have vastly boosted the state’s ability to surveil and control populations and police dissent across the globe. Many of the technologies developed by global arms, surveillance, and data-analysis firms are supplied to countries requiring tailor-made solutions to unrest such as India, China, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

The extent of Silicon Valley’s integration with the U.S. government was laid bare to the public in 2013, when Edward Snowden provided evidence proving that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had direct access to the internal servers of nine major tech firms – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, YouTube, and Yahoo – each of which provided direct access through major internet service providers to the NSA through its secret projects like Boundless Informant and Prism.

Foster and McChesney explained:

“These monopolistic corporate entities readily cooperate with the repressive arm of the state in the form of its military, intelligence, and police functions. The result is to enhance enormously the secret national security state, relative to the government as a whole.

Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s Prism program, together with other leaks, have shown a pattern of a tight interweaving of the military with giant computer-Internet corporations, creating what has been called a ‘military-digital complex.’ Indeed, Beatrice Edwards, the executive director of the Government Accountability Project, argues that what has emerged is a ‘government-corporate surveillance complex.”

Information superiority and the modern battlefield

At present, the digitalization of the military-industrial complex gives the United States a commanding edge in terms of military technology and high-tech warfare, which is augmented by optical spy satellites capable of capturing remarkably detailed ground-level imagery, successive generations of wireless networking technologies, pattern-recognition and machine-learning systems, and unmanned warfighting platforms.

As a matter of survival, however, all modern militaries – both regular and irregular, large and small – are being forced to adapt to the digitization of warfare. China, Russia, and even non-state actors like Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah are fast making technological advances to keep pace in the informationized battlefield.

The weaponized nature of digital technology is a pandora’s box that may prove impossible to close. Be that as it may, Google’s employees are livid about their participation in these developments:

“We cannot outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties … Building this technology to assist the U.S. Government in military surveillance – and potentially lethal outcomes – is not acceptable.”

While the tech conglomerate workers’ attempt to decouple Google from the Pentagon may be in vain, one can only applaud their efforts to protest the tech conglomerate’s complicity in the bloodshed wrought by U.S. imperialism through its array of increasingly high-tech implements of death.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

How Fake News Becomes Fake History: British Propaganda and World War 1

By Corey Schink | Sott.net | April 2, 2018

While it took a while to pick up steam, the Skripal Salisbury poisoning incident has lately dominated Western media headlines. Daily we are treated to the smug and self-righteous faces who, in one breath, compare Putin to Hitler, Stalin, and Czar Nicholas II, before proceeding to compare Russia to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire simultaneously. This would surely be the height of all evil, assuming it were true!

And of course we are supposed to assume it is true because this latest fake news is built on an edifice of an entire history of fake news. Simon Tisdall recently wrote in one of the largest purveyors of fake news, The Guardian:

It has taken a long time for western politicians to recognise the extent and depth of the threat represented by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Some in the Labour party still don’t. It is also plain, as Theresa May embarks on an open-ended confrontation with Moscow, that the dispute provoked by the Salisbury outrage could take years to resolve.

Cold or hot, overt or covert, this is going to be a long war – and Britain will need all its friends and allies if it is to prevail against a ruthless opponent. Whether sincere, sufficient and timely support will be forthcoming is in serious doubt.

The ‘war’ has been declared – and to dissent is to be a traitor, not so much to one’s country but to amorphous ‘Western values’. Tisdall continues:

Justified perceptions of Western weakness, ambivalence and division have since encouraged Putin in a pattern of escalating, aggressive behaviour. Its main features include wars in Georgia and Ukraine, cyber-attacks against Nato countries, election meddling and destabilisation operations, and the bloody Syrian intervention.

Putin was further emboldened by his domestic dominance, achieved through manipulation of elections, the rustication of the Duma into a rubber-stamp parliament, and the elimination, by various means, of leading opponents, critics and free media. Boris Nemtsov, a liberal reformer killed in 2015, and Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist murdered in 2006, are but two names on a long list that could ultimately include Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Unsubstantiated claims apparently add up to substantial threats which warrant immediate action. To paraphrase Franz Kafka, “It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary – thus lying turns into a universal principle.” I would only add that believing in lies turns people’s brains to mush, rendering them easily exploited by the liars.

So we watch again as many Western governments expel large numbers of Russian diplomats with absolute disregard for international law and norms. Donald Trump, the man who promised to mend relations with Russia has succumbed to the ‘swamp’ that he set out to drain. We can hope that he has now, at least, discovered how naive he was to believe he could actually do it.

While uniquely shrill and apparently novel, the anti-Russia hysteria in recent years – culminating recently with the Skripal incident and ‘Russiagate’ – has a long historical precedent and, over the course of at least the last couple of centuries, has been used primarily for one thing: war. War distracts the people from apparently insoluble social and political issues, and it presents major opportunities for enrichment to those positioned for it. But it takes two to tango, and ‘the East’ has learned that there will be no war if they don’t show up. While ‘the West’ continues to play a game of deception, the East has moved on, and we Westerners are – for now at least – left only to war with ourselves.

The central role played by the UK in recent ‘Russian incidents’ echoes the central role that country played in historical incidents which led us to this moment today. For over a century now, the role of the British elite in starting World War 1 has been almost completely overlooked. A proper appraisal of that world-changing event, which shaped the rest of the 20th century and our world today, has only recently been undertaken by historians and researchers. Far from being exclusively Germany’s fault, the ‘war to end all wars’ was deliberately brought about by a network of corporate, financial and imperial interests that met in and operated through the seat of the British Empire.

List of Suspects

Alfred Milner

Lord Alfred Milner, British Colonial Secretary, and architect of the Union of South Africa

Britain in the early 1900s underwent a gradual though sustained period of anti-German hystericization which culminated in the outbreak of WW1. Despite relentless media propaganda demonizing Germans and increasing signs that war could break out in Europe, the British public in 1906 voted overwhelmingly for a new Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, a staunch critic of the recent Boer wars and an advocate for a policy of ‘Peace and Retrenchment’ in the increasingly fragile British Empire.

Referred to as “Britain’s first, and only, radical Prime Minister,” in foreign affairs Campbell-Bannerman was neutered by a warmongering elite before he even began his term, and he died in office just two years later. Instead of peace, the British public received a war that produced in a single day the combined military and civilian casualties in all of Europe’s conflicts from the previous 100 years.1 So much for democracy and highfalutin ‘Western values’.

While the British voted resoundingly for a policy of Peace and Retrenchment, powerful forces would stop at nothing to get the war they desired, and the control over the world it afforded them.

Lord Alfred Milner: Despite being born in Germany to mixed British-German parents, Milner’s ethos was formed entirely by an ardent belief in the “superiority of the British race.” An Oxford-educated imperialist, Milner began as a journalist at the Pall Mall Gazette before joining, together with fellow journalist William Stead, a secret society set up by the influential oligarch and colonialist Cecil Rhodes. By the time WW1 broke out, this sinister organization was entirely Milner’s, and went by the name ‘Round Table Group’, or ‘Milner’s Kindergarten’, influencing British, and thus global, foreign policy from the shadows. It was, in essence, the precursor to today’s ‘Deep State’.

Milner served as Rhodes’ ‘clean-up man’ following the disastrous attempt to provoke an uprising among British expatriates in the Transvaal colony of southern Africa. Soon after Milner was rewarded with the office of High Commissioner for Southern Africa in 1897. From that post Milner would wage a campaign of deception to initiate the second Boer war, overseeing the highly controversial use of concentration camps to humiliate and punish the citizenry. These camps and other brutal methods used in the Boer wars would shock both the British public and the armed forces. Under Milner’s rule, 28,000 of the 115,000 people put into camps died, nearly 22,000 of them children. On this Milner wrote,

“The theory that, all the weakly children being dead, the rate would fall off is not so far borne out by the facts. The strong ones must be dying now and they will all be dead by the spring of 1903.”

Perhaps no one exemplified the British Elite’s attitude better than Milner. But for all his barbarism, he was very successful. Having secured British territories in the ‘Scramble for Africa’, Milner carefully manipulated the cabinet of the newly elected Henry Campbell-Bannerman, ensuring that his pro-imperialist forces were well-represented within. Succeeding in the dark arts of imperialism, Milner turned down lucrative offers to work for JP Morgan and instead returned to London in 1905 to pursue a much larger project: conquering the globe.2

Sir Edward Grey was appointed Foreign Minister in Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s cabinet on the insistence of King Edward. One of Milner’s inside men, he ensured that British foreign policy was pointed towards war preparations, and was party to a secret military alliance with France in 1904. This secret agreement between five ministers – Asquith, Haldane, Grey, Churchill and Lloyd George – promised military ‘reciprocities’ to the French in the event of war.

Grey stated categorically that there had been no ‘secret agreement’ to come to France’s aid in case of attack:

“First of all let me try to put an end to some of the suspicions with regard to secrecy — suspicions with which it seems to me some people are torturing themselves, and certainly worrying others. We have laid before the House the Secret Articles of the Agreement with France of 1904. There are no other secret engagements. The late Government made that agreement in 1904. They kept those articles secret and I think to everybody the reason will be obvious why they did so. It would have been invidious to make those articles public. In my opinion they were entirely justified in keeping those articles secret because they were not articles which commit this House to serious obligations.3

But, as Sir Bertrand Russell noted at the time, “I had noticed during previous years how carefully Sir Edward Grey lied in order to prevent the public from knowing the methods by which he was committing us to the support of France in the event of war.”4

King Edward VII: Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, became King Edward VII upon taking the throne in 1901. In the following years he busied himself with diplomatic meetings to arrange secret agreements that effectively encircled Germany and made the German military paranoid.

raymond poincare

He drove a wedge between Germany and the Italian monarch, and conducted diplomacy with nearly all of Germany’s neighbors. When Germany mobilized her forces, she was unwittingly springing the trap set for her by Edward and the secret elite.

Raymond Poincaré: A French statesman, three-time Prime Minister and President in 1913, Poincare exemplified the hysterical anti-German hatred of the French elite. France, which lost the territory of Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia after Napoleon III foolishly went to war with an insufficient army to win it, was prepared to do whatever it took to win it back and check Germany’s rise. As Poincare would announce in an address to university students,

“In my years at school, my thought, bowed before the spectre of defeat, dwelt ceaselessly upon the frontier which the Treaty of Frankfurt had imposed upon us, and when I descended from my metaphysical clouds, I could discover no other reason why my generation should go on living except for the hope of recovering our lost provinces.”

Richard Burdon Haldane: Haldane was one of Milner’s closest confidants, and would become the Secretary of State for War in 1905, instituting a massive military revolution in the organisation of the British Army. He set up the Territorial Army, the Office Training Corps, and the Special Reserve, and spearhead a pro-French military policy in opposition to many who had served under a pro-Belgian policy for decades.

Théophile Delcassé: A French foreign minister with a rabid hatred of Germany, Théophile was bent on establishing a military alliance between Britain, France and Russia that would support France’s desire to regain her lost territories. He was forced to resign after he nearly brought his country to the brink of war with Germany in the First Moroccan Crisis of 1905-1906. However, he wormed his way back into power to replace the more cool-headed foreign minister, Gabriel Hanotaux, and then became President of France in 1913.

Horatio Herbert Kitchener

Horatio Herbert Kitchener

Horatio Herbert Kitchener: A general during the Boer wars, Kitchener oversaw the implementation of concentration camp policy in South Africa. He then ran British foreign affairs out of Cairo and designed plans for the division of the Middle East, fanning the flames of rebellion and separatism in the Ottoman Empire. The end result (though not according to his plan) was the rise of the House of Saud and its peculiar brand of Islam that served Anglo-American dominance of the region via the ‘War on Terror’ a century later. David Fromkin noted in A Peace to End All Peace that:

Restoring the caliphate to Arabia, where it and Mohammed were born thirteen centuries before, was Kitchener’s strategy for preparing for the rivalry with Russia which was bound to follow the conclusion of the war against Germany.5

If that was indeed Kitchener’s strategy a century ago, then it is remarkably consistent with current Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s recent statement that Wahhabism was encouraged throughout the 20th century by the anglo-Americans as a means of keeping Russia out of the Middle East.

Kitchener, like all the upper-class aristocrats and oligarchs who engineered WW1, had stunning disdain for ordinary people, his own troops included. At one point early in World War 1, it looked like the Russians were going to pull out and make peace with Germany. This would have been disastrous for the Anglo-French forces because Germany could then concentrate its forces on the Western Front.

The secret elite promised Russia that, in exchange for joining Britain’s ‘Triple Entente’, Constantinople – a kind of Orthodox Mecca – would become Russian property in a post-war world. Kitchener conspired with Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, to arrange a suicidal assault on the Dardanelles, which links the Mediterranean and Black Seas. They did this in order to trick Russia into believing that Britain was upholding its end of the bargain, and thus continuing its military engagement with Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire in eastern Europe. This worked, but at the cost of tens of thousands of British, French and Australian lives in a landing invasion the elite knew would not work against formidable Ottoman defences. Furthermore, they never had any intention of ceding Constantinople to Russia.

Lord Horatio Kitchener

The iconic, much-imitated 1914 Lord Kitchener Wants You poster

Kitchener’s death-dealing career hit its highest point when he was appointed Secretary of State for War, but was abruptly ended when his ship was hit by a German u-boat, although there are various other theories about the cause of his death.

This list covers just a few of the conspirators, but enough to paint a rough picture of the individuals who worked tirelessly to engineer a war that would end peace for much of the century – a war that would result in the rise of Hitler, the Soviet Union, an apartheid Israeli state, and the spread of Radical Islamic Terrorism. The following is the general strategy they followed.

Seeking the War Trigger

Scottish researchers Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor conducted an exhaustive study of the ways in which British officials paved the road to war in their book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War. I think it’s a must-read for any student of Western history, but my one criticism of their work is that they tend to portray Germany as a victim and thereby cast a shadow over the generalized hysteria – which affected everyone, Russia included – and poor thinking that the German military and Kaiser succumbed to – and indeed the war crimes committed by the Germans. Nevertheless, their argument that the British were the primary instigators of the war rests in part on the following cases:

Cracks in the British Empire: At the onset of the war it seemed that every nation except Germany had reason to engage in a global Holocaust. The English had dominated European and world affairs to that point, but the sheer cost of occupying and managing many far-flung colonies was hitting its national coffers hard. Germany’s unification under Bismarck and rapid industrialization, meanwhile, was leading it to overtake the British empire in some key sectors. As F. William Engdahl notes “fear of the emerging German economic challenge towards the end of the 1890s was so extreme among the leading circles of the British establishment, that Britain made a drastic change in its decades-long Continental alliance strategy, in a bold effort to tilt European events back to England’s advantage.”6

This change in strategy saw Britain make geopolitical concessions to both Russia and France while manipulating them into adopting antagonistic positions towards Germany. Having been engaged in ‘the Great Game’ with Russia throughout the 19th century to check Russian expansion and influence in India and Afghanistan, Britain’s sudden alliance with Russia only came about after Japan, armed with British battleships and financed by British and American banks, defeated Russia in its Far East region in 1904-1905. Contained in the east by the rising Japanese, Russia’s gaze inevitably swung westwards to the Balkans and to the Mediterranean Sea access she coveted, and which the British pretended to agree she could have.

French Hysteria: Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon, was as ambitious as his uncle. In a brash attempt to destroy the growing Prussian state, Napoleon III ordered the mobilization of a far inferior French force that was immediately crushed by the Prussian military machine. As a result, France lost Alsace-Lorraine and was humiliated due to the ridiculous actions of a reckless leader.

As a British newspaper, the Sheffield and Rotterdam Independent, noted on October 11, 1870, “France has ever coveted the boundary of 1810. She has wanted power to cross the Rhine at her pleasure, to set up a Rhenish Confederation under her control, and to occupy at her convenience, as the first Napoleon did, the German capitals.”

Dreyfuss Affair

The Dreyfuss Affair: Gabriel Hanotaux, French minister of foreign affairs from 1894 to 1896, was a notable exception in the general trend of increasing hysteria. His efforts, however, could not arrest the slide to war. When Hanotaux sought to develop peaceful relations with Germany, General Albert Dreyfuss was charged with treason for allegedly communicating secrets to German spies. He was later exhonerated and the case remained a symbol of trial-by-propaganda. As Engdahl writes:

Hanotaux intervened into the initial process in 1894, correctly warning that the Dreyfus affair would lead to “a diplomatic rupture with Germany, even war.” Dreyfus was exonerated years later, and it was revealed that Count Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy, in the pay of the Rothschild banking family, had manufactured the evidence against Dreyfus. By 1898, Hanotaux was out of office, and succeeded by the malleable anglophile, Theophile Delcassé.7

Fashoda Incident: In 1898 a military incident between Kitchener’s British forces and French forces in Egypt, dubbed the Fashoda Incident, forced the French out of that country and caused an international crisis. The British then exploited the situation to secure a future alliance with France lest she be cornered by Germany and Russia and lose control of her other territories. By 1904 the British had secretly arranged to take complete control of Egypt while giving France control of Morocco, which was in violation of Franco-German treaties.

Fake News

Wilhelm II

Emperor Wilhelm II and an Italian poster from 1915 showing the Kaiser biting into the world

Fake news becomes fake history. Today British war-mongers expect us to believe, without any reasonable proof, that Putin will kill ‘thousands and thousands and thousands’ of Britons without provocation. Similarly, the propaganda mill before and during World War 1 was hard at work convincing the world that Germany was the devil incarnate – and that the coming bloodbath was justified.

Germany was consistently portrayed in the press as an ‘aggressor nation’. This despite the fact that the UK, France, and Russia “spent £657,884,476 on warships in that same decade, while Germany and Austria-Hungary spent £235,897,978. The peacetime strength of the German army was 761,000, while France stood at 794,000 and Russia 1,845,000, yet the claim that militarism had ‘run amok’ in Germany was presented as the given truth.”9

While accusing Germany of war-mongering, British preparations for war were so intense that it led senior military officers to claim that war with Germany was inevitable.10 Milner would go on a ‘world tour’ organizing imperial conferences designed to rally support for Britain in the event of war and to “foster imperial cooperation in both defence and communications.”11

In 1896 Lord Nortchliffe created the Daily Mail newspaper which, within years, had reached millions of mostly lower and middle-class readers.12 In 1897 he commissioned the publication of a series titled Under the Iron Heel, which predicted the German Army would soon invade Britain. Northcliffe also commissioned the writing of a fictional account of a German invasion called The Invasion of 1910. The Daily Mail even printed special maps showing where these ‘Huns’ (slang for Germans) would invade. Northcliffe was also a financier of The Poison Bullet, a spy scare novel designed to indulge base anti-German sentiment among the British public.13 He also penned pamphlets predicting inevitable war with Germany.

As J. Lee Thompson writes, “by 1914 Northcliffe controlled roughly 40 percent of the morning, 45 percent of the evening, and 15 percent of the Sunday total newspaper circulations.”14 Thus, by the time of war, British society had been effectively whipped into war-readiness by decades of anti-German propaganda, with pamphlets and literature convincing the public that German spies were around every corner. Today the evening news and the internet have replaced “pamphlets and literature” and Russia has replaced Germany.

In 1909 a bill was rammed through parliament establishing the British secret service – today’s MI5 and MI6 – while another imposed unprecedented police state powers on the country.15

Pulling the Trigger

trench warfare

With Germany diplomatically isolated and secret military preparations and agreements signed by France, Britain, and Russia, the only thing missing was a “catastrophic and catalyzing event” to justify a declaration of war. Just such an event occurred in the Balkans, a region that had been in utter turmoil for some years.

In the build-up to World War 1, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Bosnia were at war with each other, divided internally, and in conflict with both the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bitter ethnic and nationalist sentiment was whipped into a frenzy by successive crises. Anglophile Russian diplomat Alexander Isvolsky agreed (without the Czar’s or the Russian government’s approval) that Russia would support Austria-Hungary’s ‘right’ to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina at a time of its choosing in exhange for Austro-Hungarian support for Russian control over the Dardanelles. As a result, and in violation of international law, on October 6, 1908, Austria-Hungary announced its annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina immediately provoking outrage from Serbia that saw Bosnia as theirs. This entanglement was the fuse that ignited the first World War when the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb. As Alan Cassels wrote in his Ideology and International Relations in the Modern World, this event “fanned pan-Slavism in the Balkans to a frenzy.”17

When World War I broke out, Isvolsky is reputed to have remarked, “C’est ma guerre!” (“This is my war!”)

On June 28th, 1914 Archduke Ferdinand was shot and killed in Sarajevo. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbs. Determined to hold Serbia accountable, European diplomats indicated to Austria-Hungary that she had every right to do so. Austria-Hungary therefore sent Belgrade a note in which it demanded the following items:

  1. The end to anti-Austrian propaganda in Serbian media and education
  2. The right for Austrian police to investigate the assassination on Serbian soil
  3. Public apologies from the King and the government
  4. The immediate surrender of those responsible

They told Serbia it had 48 hours to comply. Once the note was delivered, and well aware that Serbia could not possibly comply, the previously supportive Russian, British, and French governments now expressed outrage at Austria-Hungary.

Serbia, emboldened by Entente’s display of indignation, refused to comply.18 In return, Austria-Hungary turned to Germany for support in military action, and Germany agreed. Until the 11th hour however, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm tried in vain to convince his cousin Nicholas II of Russia not to mobilize Russia’s forces. Germany thus gave Austria-Hungary the historical ‘blank check’ that has been cited ever since as proof of German war guilt.

French President Poincare visited St. Petersburg and guaranteed Russia that “France would not only give Russia strong diplomatic support, but would, if necessary, fulfill all the obligations imposed on her by the alliance.”20 A summary of his visit was sent to Edward Grey at the Foreign Office and, from July 25th onward, Grey made overtures about solving the crisis while Russia and France began mobilizing their armies. Four days later, Britain began mobilizing her own fleet.

On July 29th Czar Nicholas II officially ordered Russian mobilization. But then he received a telegram from the Kaiser:

My ambassador is instructed to draw the attention of your government to the dangers and serious consequences of a mobilisation. If, as appears from your communication and that of your Government, Russia is mobilising against Austria-Hungary … The whole burden of decision now rests upon your shoulders, the responsibility for peace or war.

Nicholas backed down.

But then, on July 30th, Russian foreign minister (and anglophile) Sergei Sazanov spent hours convincing Nicholas II of German treachery, urging him to reorder the mobilization of the armed forces. The Czar was deeply troubled with the weight of the decision, but in the end he capitulated to pressure and the Russian war machine lurched forward:

Nicholas II was still understandably hesitant; according to the French ambassador, “The Czar was deadly pale and replied in a choking voice: ‘Just think of the responsibility you are advising me to assume! Remember, it is a question of sending thousands and thousands of men to their death.'”

Germany was the last country to announce militarization. The key to Britain’s war plan was that Germany would follow its Schlieffen Plan, where German forces would quickly march through Belgium in order to avoid the mountainous Ardennes region, put the french army in its place, then turn around to face east and join Austria-Hungary in squaring off with Russia’s giant army. Unbeknownst to Germany, however, Belgium was not as neutral as it had led everyone to believe, and had started mobilizing its military – which had been secretly prepared and trained by the British – at the same time as France and Russia. But Germany’s invasion of hapless, ‘neutral’ Belgium gave Britain its ‘just cause’ for declaring war on Germany.

As the war began Britain cut Germany’s underseas communication lines, thus ensuring that all information to and from the outside world would be under its control. A year or two later, a poem written from the horrors of the trenches gave evidence of an awareness of the deception that came too late.

Waves of strong men
That will surge not again,
Scattered and riven
You lie, and you rot;
What have you not given?
And what – have you got?

What did we get? We got the imposition of an Israeli apartheid state and an Islamic State (Saudi Arabia) in the Middle East. The world also received the ‘gift’ of a Russian Revolution that gave way to the Soviet Union and the pathocracy which it spread across a large swathe of Eurasia. As German General Ludendorff would lament, foreshadowing the horrors that would come following Germany’s collapse, the Versailles Treaty ‘sent the German people into bondage, into an absolutely crushing one. All delusions have vanished’, he wrote. ‘We look into nothingness. Something else is needed’. Hitlerism would blot out the sun of Europe for decades. And the British Elite? They still refer to themselves as ‘Sir’ and ‘Honorable’ while pointing the finger at Russia as the ‘source of all evil’.

In short, history is proof that no one should ever trust a word the British establishment says.

Back to Today

Throughout modern history, we see the same ‘elite’ pushing, prodding, gaslighting, promising one thing to one country and something entirely different to another. In their pure malevolent instinct, we see the ‘essential psychopath’ at work spinning his web effortlessly across entire nations and generations. The biggest vulnerability? The average person’s tendency to engage in emotional thinking and the chaos it engenders when entire nations are infected by it.

But, as Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has stated, “The truth will come out. We will not let ourselves to be provoked into an emotional breakdown.” Modern Russia is not Germany under the naive leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who believed his relations with the Russian Tsar and the King of England would safeguard his country from war.

Modern Russia also isn’t Iraq – a small country easily overwhelmed by the superior military strength of NATO with an isolated leader easily smeared due to his past aggression. Modern Russia is a nuclear armed superpower that is organized by some of the most brilliant statesmen this planet has seen – they won’t be deceived, they won’t be out-gunned, and any attack on them will be an act of suicide.

So, for those pushing for war against Russia, their only viable outlet for their destructive anti-Russian impulse is more false flags, more black propaganda and all manner of dirty tricks. In other words they will attempt to poison, sanction, scream, rig, and otherwise sabotage us all into oblivion, and then blame it all on Russia.

References

1. David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East p. 232
2. Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War p. 214
3. P. Hof’s The Two Edwards: How King Edward VII and Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey Started The First World War p. 4
4. David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East p. 125
5 Ibid p. 104
6. F. William Engdahl’s A Century of War Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order p. 39
7. Ibid. p. 31
8. Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War p. 135
9. Ibid. p. 133
10. Ibid. p. 155
11. J. Lee Thompson’s Politicians, the Press, and Propaganda: Lord Northcliffe and the Great War, 1914-1919 Kindle Edition Location 175
12. Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War p. 148- 149
13. J. Lee Thompson’s Politicians, the Press, and Propaganda: Lord Northcliffe and the Great War, 1914-1919 Kindle Edition Location 175
14. Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War p. 151
15. Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade p. 5
16. Alan Corssal’s Ideology and International Relations in the Modern World p. 121
17. Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War p. 257
18. Ibid p. 267
19. Ibid p. 293

Corey Schink was born and raised in the Midwestern United States, where he worked on farms and as a welder, musician, and social worker. His interests in government, philosophy and history led to his writing for SOTT in 2012 and to becoming a SOTT editor and Truth Perspective co-host in 2014.

April 8, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

The Zionist Vision Is Rooted in Five Big Lies and Four Big Thefts

Review: Enclosure – Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror

Gary Fields, ENCLOSURE: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror (University of California Press, 2017)
Review by Robert David Steele | American Herald Tribune | April 7, 2018

This is easily a six-star work of history, political economy, human rights & atrocities, and cultural engineering.

On the one hand the author is “fair and balanced” in establishing that the enclosure of the commons and the dispossession of the freemen in the UK, and the genocide and dispossession of the Native Americans in the USA, are the antecedents for what the Zionists have done to the Palestinians. On the other hand, in a cold, rigorous, exquisitely detailed manner that integrates specific legal cases (most in violation of natural and common law), specific national policies and military actions, and specific acts of cultural and geographic “engineering” that include the re-naming of all points of the landscape, and an advanced form of archeological fraud inventing an entire history of Jewish presence out of thin air, this book is the modern equivalent of the Nuremberg Trials Prosecutor’s Handbook.

This book is a case study in occupation, dispossession, and a mix of moral, political, economic, military, and geospatial mendacity rooted in the evil practices of others, but imposed on the Palestinian people by the Zionists (not to be confused with Judaism), such that any unbiased observer can easily conclude that the Zionists have done to the Palestinians what they claim the Germans did to the Jews, easily co-equal in proportional terms to the worst of the other genocides in history from China to Russia and points south.

The book has been eleven years in the making, and the methodical, reasoned, and superbly-documented nature of this narrative easily shows the investment of time and energy and review by many others. The notes and the bibliography are extraordinary, with full credit to all who have explored and documented aspects of this long-running geospatial, ethnic, and cultural atrocity.

The core mental model of the Zionists – carefully described as identical to the core mental model of the colonial powers who considered “heathens” as non-persons – is rooted in the conception of land that is open (not enclosed) and not cultivated (never mind its organic productivity) as “vacant” and subject to claim, to cultivation, to enclosure, and therefore to EXCLUSION of those who have for hundreds of years been stewards of that same land, with documented title.

This books makes clear that the Zionist vision is rooted in five big lies and four big thefts.

Five Big Lies:

LIE #1: Palestine was “unoccupied” and consisted of “dead land.”

LIE #2: Zionists have earned, claimed, and are rightful owner of Israel not just by the contrived Balfour Declaration, itself a crime against humanity (this my opinion, the Balfour Declaration is mentioned only twice in 318 pages), but by virtue of Zionist patrimony – the cultivation of land, the building of settlements and the building of walls.

LIE #3: Every place in Palestine has a Hebrew name, with the Palestinian names that have been used for hundreds of years virtually assassinated – shades of Stalinism and historical revisionism. As Shlomo Sand has so carefully argued, Israel is an invented land, there is absolutely no basis in fact to its claims to Palestine. [It can also be said that both the Jewish and Catholic religions were invented as control mechanisms serving Caesar — I leave it to others to posit whether this might be true of other religions rooted in dogma.]

LIE #4: Every archeological site that can be found (or fabricated) is alleged to “prove” that Judaism has been deeply established across Palestine and particularly in Jerusalem, for hundreds of years. This is a lie. From allegedly serious history books to the Wikipedia comic book pages, the Zionists have fabricated history and done it so well – along with their broad ability to censor countervailing narratives – that loosely educated individuals incapable of doing primary research believe the Zionist lies about heritage sites.

LIE #5: Poor little Zionists are a beleaguered people being attacked by Palestinians who are incapable of working hard or creating new settlements and farms and so on. It is impossible to read this book without feeling the deepest sense of outrage over what the Zionists have done to the Palestinians in their ambition to “settle” Israel at any cost. It merits comment that the “Jewish state” is by definition a racist, genocidal state precisely because it excludes the Palestinians and other non-Jews, and anyone that does not “get” that is stupid or bribed or blackmailed into embracing the Zionist narrative.

Four Big Thefts:

THEFT #1: The outright seizures of land to which the Palestinians have had varied forms of hereditary title, and the use of “national security” to jump from 10% legitimate Jewish ownership to 85% Zionist control regardless of the legalities, is a theft co-equal to that of the colonial powers against the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africa, but unique for being so concentrated and persistent, and in the Middle East.

THEFT #2: The seizure of the Negev stands as a special case and is ably documented by the book. 90% of all Palestinians living there were EVICTED, turned into REFUGEES.

THEFT #3: The seizure of the Galilee stands as a special case and is ably documented by the book. In the course of discussing THEFT #2 and THEFT #3 the author makes it clear that “cultural engineering” is a modern term for genocide. The Bedouins specifically, the Palestinians generally, have been GENOCIDED to create the “Jewish” state.

THEFT #4: Not discussed in this book but very well documented by Chuck Spinney among others, is the Zionist theft of water from the Jordanians in particular – the “miracle in the desert” is rooted in theft – very long underground pipelines violating Jordanian sovereignty and depleting the Jordanian aquifers, presumably with the complicity of the ruling family of Jordan.

The author is superb at explaining the intersection of Locke’s labor theory of value that perverted our understanding of the term – the “labor” of the indigenous is vastly more valuable because it does not destroy nature and impose what are now known as “true costs” – ecological and social costs – but by perverting the term, Locke justified the triumph of a factory and rent-seeking system of labor over the kinship and stewardship model of labor.

The true cost of Western civilization – its many benefits not-with-standing – is waste and war and the destruction of cultural, ecological, ethnic, experiential, and linguistic diversity.

I have a note about two thirds of the way through the book, after the author discusses how the Zionists decided to act outside of God’s framework: Israel in its present formation is BLASPHEMY. It is a direct violation of God’s plan and timing, it is an act of man, it is Satanic evil incarnate.

It is of great import to me to learn through the author’s scholarship that the Zionists have had a written plan for the conquest of Palestine since 1899. To achieve their goals – which I hasten to add are in my view REVERSIBLE – they have reduced the original Palestinian population of 900,000 in 1947 by 750,000 – they have genocided, through displacement if not death, 83% of the Palestinian population.

The author discusses Jerusalem, without doing what Henry Siegman and others have done, which is to say, challenged the rights of the Zionists to Jerusalem.

The author’s focus is on how the Zionists have used control of transportation to isolate the Palestinians clinging to Jerusalem, at the same time that they are building walls and using every tool they have including outright military theft of land, to eradicate the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. In this I find the Arab leaders complicit, gutless, and culpable along with the Zionists for crimes against humanity associated with the occupation of the Holy City.

To end on a positive note, while weeping for the Zionist rape of Palestine: if President Donald Trump can unite the Koreas and denuclearize the North while eventually demilitarizing the South once the unification is completed, he can restore Palestine to the Palestinians. If there is to be a Jewish state, it must be a small Jewish state centered on Tel Aviv. From Gaza to Jericho the Palestinian nation must be restored. Jerusalem should become an international city with no Zionist military or official presence. All that is required to achieve this end is the complete cessation of US funding and support for Zionist atrocities: $30,000 a year for every man, woman, and child in Zionist Israel. ENOUGH!

April 7, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Fifty Years Ago the United States Government Killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Review of The Plot to Kill King by William Pepper

By Edward Curtin | April 4, 2018

Very few Americans are aware of the truth behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Few books have been written about it, unlike other significant assassinations, especially JFK’s. For fifty years there has been a media blackout supported by government deception to hide the truth. And few people, in a massive act of self-deception, have chosen to question the absurd official explanation, choosing, rather, to embrace a mythic fabrication intended to sugarcoat the bitter fruit that has resulted from the murder of the one man capable of leading a mass movement for revolutionary change in the United States. Today we are eating the fruit of our denial.

In order to comprehend the significance of this extraordinary book, it is first necessary to dispel a widely accepted falsehood about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. William Pepper does that on the first page.

To understand his death, it is essential to realize that although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that. A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for the long-overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.

In other words, Martin Luther King was a transmitter of a non-violent spiritual and political energy so plenipotent that his very existence was a threat to an established order based on violence, racism, and economic exploitation. He was a very dangerous man.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off. Fifty years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression, and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects. And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and urging Americans to make it “a day of service.” Needless to say, such service does not include non-violent war resistance or protesting a decadent system of economic injustice.

Because MLK repeatedly called the United States the “greatest purveyor of violence on earth,” he was universally condemned by the mass media and government that later – once he was long and safely dead – praised him to the heavens. This has continued to the present day of historical amnesia.

But William Pepper resurrects the revolutionary MLK, and in doing so shows in striking detail why elements within the U.S. government executed him. After reading this book, no fair-minded reader can reach any other conclusion. The Plot to Kill King, the culminating volume of a trilogy that Pepper has written on the assassination, consists of slightly less text than supporting documentation in its appendices, which include numerous depositions and interviews that buttress Pepper’s thesis on the why and how of this horrible murder.  It demands a close reading that should put to rest any pseudo-debates about the essentials of the case.

Pepper, an attorney who represented the King family in the 1999 trial that found U.S. officials of the federal (in particular, the FBI and Army Intelligence), state, and local governments responsible for King’s assassination, has worked on the King case since 1977. He met MLK in 1967, after King had read his Ramparts’ magazine article, “The Children of Vietnam,” that exposed the hideous effects of U.S. napalm and white phosphorous bombing on young and old Vietnamese innocents. The text and photos of that article reduced King to tears and were instrumental in his increased opposition to the war against Vietnam as articulated in his dramatic Riverside Church speech (“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”) on April 4, 1967, one year to the day before his execution in Memphis. That speech, in which King so powerfully and publicly linked the war with racism and economic exploitation, foretold his death at the hands of the perpetrators of those abominations.

Devastated by King’s death, and assuming the alleged assassin James Earl Ray was responsible, Pepper retreated from the fray until a 1977 conversation with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, King’s associate, who raised the specter of Ray’s innocence. After a five hour interrogation of the imprisoned Ray in 1978, Pepper was convinced that Ray did not shoot King and set out on a forty year quest to uncover the truth.

Before examining the essentials of Pepper’s discovery, it is important to point out that MLK, Jr., his father, Rev. M. L. King, Sr., and his maternal grandfather, Rev. A.D. Williams, all pastors of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, were spied on by Army Intelligence and the FBI since 1917. All were considered communist sympathizers and dangerous to the reigning hegemony because of their espousal of racial and economic equality. When MLK, Jr. forcefully denounced unjust and immoral war-making as well, and announced his Poor People’s Campaign and intent to lead a massive peaceful encampment of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., he set off panic in the bowels of government spies and their masters.  Seventy-five years of spying on black religious leaders here found its ultimate “justification.” As Stokely Carmichael, co-chairman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, said to King in a conversation secretly recorded by Army Intelligence, “The man don’t care you call ghettos concentration camps, but when you tell him his war machine is nothing but hired killers, you got trouble.”

It is against this “trouble” that Pepper’s investigation must be set, as that “trouble” is also the background for the linked assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, and RFK. Understanding the forces behind the military, the spies, and the gunmen who, while operating in the shadows, are actually the second layer of the onion skin, is essential. The government and mainstream corporate media form the outer layer with their collusion in disinformation, lying, and truth suppression, but Pepper correctly identifies the core as follows.

Bombastic, chauvinistic, corporate propaganda aside, where the slaughter of innocents is, and always was, justified in the name of patriotism and national security, it has always and ever been about money. Corporate and financial leaders trusted with the keys to the Republic’s treasure moved from boardrooms to senior government positions and back again. Construction, oil and gas, defense industry, and pharmaceutical corporations, their bankers, brokers, and executives thrive in a war economy. Fortunes are made and dynasties created and perpetuated and a cooperating elite permeates an entire society and ultimately contaminates the world in its drive for national resources wherever they are …. Vietnam was his [King’s] Rubicon …. Here, as never before, would he seriously challenge the interests of the power elite.

MLK was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 PM as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot in the lower right side of his face by one rifle bullet that shattered his jaw, damaged his upper spine, and came to rest below his left shoulder blade. The U.S. government claimed the assassin was a racist loner named James Earl Ray, who had escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary on April 23, 1967. Ray was alleged to have fired the fatal shot from a second-floor bathroom window of a rooming house above the rear of Jim’s Grill across the street. Running to his rented room, Ray allegedly gathered his belongings, including the rifle, in a bedspread-wrapped bundle, rushed out the front door onto the adjoining street, and in a panic dropped the bundle in the doorway of the Canipe Amusement Company a few doors down. He was then said to have jumped into his white Mustang and driven to Atlanta where he abandoned the car. From there he fled to Canada and then to England where he was eventually arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 8, 1968 and extradited to the U.S. The state claims that the money Ray needed to purchase the car and for all his travel was secured through various robberies and a bank heist. Ray’s alleged motive was racism and that he was a bitter and dangerous loner.

When Ray, under extraordinary pressure, coercion, and a payoff from his lawyer to take a plea, pleaded guilty (only a few days later to request a trial that was denied) and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, the case seemed to be closed, and was dismissed from public consciousness. Another hate-filled lone assassin, shades of Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan, had committed a despicable deed.

In the years leading up to Pepper’s 1978 involvement, only a few lonely voices expressed doubts about the government’s case – Harold Weisberg in 1971 and Mark Lane and Dick Gregory in 1977. The rest of the country put themselves and the case to sleep. They are still sleeping, but Pepper is trying with this last book to wake them up. Meanwhile, the disinformation specialists continue with their lies.

While a review is not the place to go into every detail of Pepper’s rebuttal of the government’s shabby claims, let me say at the outset that he emphatically does so, and adds in the process some tentative claims of which he is not certain but which, if true, are stunning.

As with the assassinations of President Kennedy and his brother, Robert (two months after MLK), all evidence points to the construction of patsies to take the blame for government executions. Ray, Oswald, and Sirhan all bear striking resemblances in the ways they were chosen and moved as pawns over long periods of time into positions where their only reactions could be stunned surprise when they were accused of the murders.

It took Pepper many years to piece together the essential truths, once he and Abernathy interviewed Ray in prison in 1978. The first giveaway that something was seriously amiss came with the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations’ report on the King assassination. Led by Robert Blakey, suspect in his conduct of the other assassination inquiries, who had replaced Richard Sprague, who was deemed to be too independent, “this multi-million dollar investigation ignored or denied all evidence that raised the possibility that James Earl Ray was innocent,” and that government forces might be involved. Pepper lists over twenty such omissions that rival the absurdities of the magical thinking of the Warren Commission. The HSCA report became the template “for all subsequent disinformation in print and visual examinations of this case” for the past thirty-seven years.

Pepper’s decades-long investigation, not only refutes the government’s case against James Earl Ray, but definitively proves that King was killed by a government conspiracy led by the FBI, Army Intelligence, and Memphis Police, assisted by southern Mafia figures. He is right to assert that “we have probably acquired more detailed knowledge about this political assassination than we have ever had about any previous historical event.” This makes the silence around this case even more shocking. This shock is accentuated when one is reminded (or told for the first time) that in 1999 a Memphis jury, after a thirty day trial and over seventy witnesses, found the U.S. government guilty in the killing of MLK.  The King family had brought the suit and William Pepper represented them. They were grateful that the truth was confirmed, but saddened by the way the findings were buried once again by a media in cahoots with the government.

The civil trial was the King family’s last resort to get a public hearing to disclose the truth of the assassination. They and Pepper knew that Ray was an innocent pawn, but Ray had died in prison in 1998 after trying for thirty years to get a trial and prove his innocence (shades of Sirhan Sirhan who still languishes in prison). During all those years, Ray had maintained that he had been manipulated by a shadowy figure named Raul, who supplied him with money and his white Mustang and coordinated all his complicated travels, including having him buy a rifle and come to Jim’s Grill and the boarding house on the day of the assassination. The government has always denied that Raul existed.

Blocked at every turn by the authorities and unable to get Ray a trial, Pepper arranged an unscripted, mock TV trial that aired on April 4, 1993, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the assassination. Jurors were selected from a pool of U.S. citizens, a former U.S. Attorney and a federal judge served as prosecutor and judge, with Pepper serving as defense attorney. He presented extensive evidence clearly showing that authorities had withdrawn all security for King; that the state’s chief witness was falling down drunk; that the alleged bathroom sniper’s nest was empty right before the shot was fired; that three eyewitnesses, including the NY Times Earl Caldwell, said that the shot came from the bushes behind the rooming house; and that two eyewitnesses saw Ray drive away in his white Mustang before the shooting, etc. The prosecution’s feeble case was rejected by the jury that found Ray not guilty.

As with all Pepper’s work on the case (including book reviews), the mainstream media responded with silence. And though this was only a TV trial, increasing evidence emerged that the owner of Jim’s Grill, Loyd Jowers, was deeply involved in the assassination. Pepper dug deeper, and on December 16, 1993, Loyd Jowers appeared on ABC’s Primetime Live that aired nationwide. Pepper writes, “Loyd Jowers cleared James Earl Ray, saying that he did not shoot MLK but that he, Jowers, had hired a shooter after he was approached by Memphis produce man Frank Liberto and paid $1,000,000 to facilitate the assassination. He also said that he had been visited by a man names Raul who delivered a rifle and asked him to hold it until arrangements were finalized …. The morning after the Primetime Live broadcast there was no coverage of the previous night’s program, not even on ABC …. Here was a confession, on prime time television, to involvement in one of the most heinous crimes in the history of the Republic, and virtually no American mass-media coverage.”

In the twenty-five years since that confession, Pepper has worked tirelessly on the case and has uncovered a plethora of additional evidence that refutes the government’s claims and indicts it and the media for a continuing cover-up. The evidence he has gathered, detailed and documented in The Plot to Kill King, proves that Martin Luther King was killed by a conspiracy masterminded by the U.S. government. Much of his evidence was presented at the 1999 trial, while other was subsequently discovered.  Since the names and details involved make clear that, as with the murders of JFK and RFK, the conspiracy was very sophisticated with many moving parts organized at the highest level, I will just highlight a few of his findings in what follows. A reader should read the book to understand the full scope of the plot, its execution, and the cover-up.

  • Pepper refutes the government account and proves, through multiple witnesses, telephonic, and photographic evidence, that Raul existed; that his full name is Raul Coelho; and that he was James Earl Ray’s intelligence handler, who provided him with money and instructions from their first meeting in the Neptune Bar in Montreal, where Ray had fled in 1967 after his prison escape, until the day of the assassination. It was Raul who instructed Ray to return to the U.S. (an act that makes no sense for an escaped prisoner who had fled the country), gave him money for the white Mustang, helped him attain travel documents, and moved him around the country like a pawn on a chess board. The parallels to Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan are startling.
  • He presents the case of Donald Wilson, a former FBI agent working out of the Atlanta office in 1968, who went with a senior colleague to check out an abandoned white Mustang with Alabama plates (Ray’s car, to which Raul had a set of keys) and opened the passenger door to find that an envelope and some papers fell out onto the ground. Thinking he may have disturbed a crime scene, the nervous Wilson pocketed them. Later, when he read them, their explosive content intuitively told him that if he gave them to his superiors they would be destroyed. One piece was a torn out page from a 1963 Dallas telephone directory with the name Raul written at the top, and the letter “J” with a Dallas telephone number for a club run by Jack Ruby, Oswald’s killer. The page was for the letter H and had numerous phone numbers for H. L. Hunt, Dallas oil billionaire and a friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.  Both men hated MLK. The second sheet contained Raul’s name and a list of names and sums and dates for payment.  On the third sheet was written the telephone number and extension for the Atlanta FBI office. (Read Jim Douglass’s important interview with Donald Wilson in The Assassinations, p.479-491.)
  • Pepper interviewed four other witnesses who confirmed that they had seen Raul with Jack Ruby in Dallas in 1963 and that they were associated.
  • Pepper shows that the alias Ray was given and used from July 1967 until April 4, 1968 – Eric Galt – was the name of a Toronto operative of U.S. Army Intelligence, Eric St. Vincent Galt, who worked for Union Carbide with Top Secret clearance. The warehouse at the Canadian Union Carbide Plant in Toronto that Galt supervised “housed a top secret munitions project funded jointly by the CIA, the U.S. Naval Surface Weapons Center, and the Army Electronics Research and Development Command …. In August 1967, Galt met with Major Robert M. Collins, a top aide to the head of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group (MIG) Colonel John Downie.”  Downie selected four members for an Alpha 184 Sniper Unit that was sent to Memphis to back up the primary assassin of MLK.  Meanwhile, Ray, set up as the patsy, was able to move about freely since he was protected by the pseudonymous NSA clearance for Eric Galt.
  • To refute the government’s claim that Ray and his brother robbed the Alton, Illinois Bank to finance his travels and car purchase (therefore no Raul existed), Pepper “called the sheriff in Alton and the president of the bank; they gave the same statement. The Ray brothers had nothing to do with the robbery.  No one from the HSCA, the FBI, or The New York Times had sought their opinion.”  CNN later reiterated the media falsehood that became part of the official false story.
  • Pepper proves that the fatal shot came from the bushes behind Jim’s Grill and the rooming house, not from the bathroom window. He presents overwhelming evidence for this, showing that the government’s claim, based on the testimony on a severely drunk Charlie Stephens, was absurd.  His evidence includes the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses and that of Loyd Jowers, the owner of Jim’s Grill, who said he took the rifle from the shooter in the bushes and brought it into the bar where he hid it.  Thus, Ray was not the assassin.
  • He presents conclusive evidence that the bushes were cut down the morning after the assassination in an attempt to corrupt the crime scene. The order to do so came from Memphis Police Department Inspector Sam Evans to Maynard Stiles, a senior administrator of the Memphis Department of Public Works.
  • He shows how King’s room was moved from a safe interior room, 201, to balcony room, 306, on the upper floor; how King was conveniently positioned alone on the balcony by members of his own entourage for the easy mortal head shot from the bushes across the street. (Many people only remember the iconic photograph taken after-the-fact with Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, et al., standing over the fallen King and pointing across the street.)  Pepper implicates that Reverends Billy Kyles, Jesse Jackson, and, to a lesser extent, Ralph Abernathy were involved in these machinations.  He uncovers of the role of black military intelligence agent Marrell McCollough, attached to the 111th MIG, within the entourage.  McCollough can be seen kneeling over the fallen King, checking to see if he’s dead.
  • Pepper confirms that all of this, including the assassin in the bushes, was dutifully photographed by Army Intelligence agents situated on the nearby Fire House roof.
  • He presents evidence that all security for Dr. King was withdrawn from the area by the Memphis Police Department, including a special security unit of black officers, and four tactical police units. A black detective at the nearby fire station, Ed Redditt, was withdrawn from his post on the afternoon of April 4th, allegedly because of a death threat against him.  And the only two black firemen at Fire Station No.2 were transferred to another station.
  • He names and confirms the presence of Alpha 184 snipers at locations high above the Lorraine Motel balcony.
  • He explains the use of two white mustangs in the operation to frame Ray.
  • He proves that Ray had driven off before the shooting; that Loyd Jowers took the rifle from the shooter who was in the bushes; that the Memphis police were working in close collaboration with the FBI, Army Intelligence, and the “Dixie Mafia,” particularly local produce dealer Frank Liberto and his New Orleans associate Carlos Marcello; and that every aspect of the government’s case was filled with holes that any person familiar with the details and possessing elementary logical abilities could refute.
  • So importantly, Pepper shows how the mainstream media and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation, just as they have done with the Kennedy and Malcom X assassinations that are of a piece with this one.

But since this is a book review and not a book, I will stop listing Pepper’s very detailed and convincing findings. While he may not have answered every aspect of the case, and may be mistaken in some small details, he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the basic fact that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King, but that this great and dangerous leader was killed by a conspiracy organized at the highest levels of government.

The Plot to Kill King will mesmerize any reader seeking the truth about MLK’s assassination. Even when Pepper, towards the end of the book, offers circumstantial and non-corroborated testimony from witnesses Ronnie Lee Adkins and Johnton Shelby, the reader can’t help but be intrigued and to consider their stories highly plausible given all that Pepper has proven. Adkins claims that his father, a friend of Clyde Tolson, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s deputy, and then he himself, were part of the plot to kill King. This involved politicians, the FBI, MPD, and mafia, including the aforementioned produce dealer Frank Liberto and others, making payoffs with FBI money to various people, including Jesse Jackson (whom Adkins, Jr. claims was a paid FBI informer) and working closely on the details of the assassination. Johton Shelby’s story as recounted in his deposition (2014) to Pepper (reproduced, together with Adkins’ (2009), as appendices in the book), is that his mother, who was working as an emergency room aide at St. Joseph’s Hospital when King was brought there, inadvertently witnessed men spitting on Dr. King as he lay in the emergency room and a doctor putting a pillow over his head and suffocating him to death. Pepper tends to accept these accounts, but says he isn’t completely convinced of all aspects of them. The reader is offered plenty of food for thought concerning these claims.

Besides clearly proving the government’s part in killing Martin Luther King, this book is very important for the way Pepper links the case to those of JFK and RFK, who was murdered two months after King. At the center of all these murders is a trinity of men who were devoted to ending the Vietnam War and all wars, restoring economic justice for all Americans, and eliminating racial inequality. That their goals were the same provides a motive for their murders by forces opposed to these lofty objectives. That their murders clearly involved highly sophisticated operations and cover-ups that could never have been pulled off by “crazed lone assassins” points to powerful forces with those means at their disposal. And when it comes to opportunity, when did the shadowy forces of the deep state ever lack for that?

The ramifications of the MLK assassination profoundly inform our current condition. For anyone who truly cares about peace, love, and justice, The Plot to Kill King is essential reading. William Pepper should be saluted.  He has carried on Martin King’s noble legacy.


This is an updated review first published on 28 November 2016 at Global Research.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment