Tag Archive: david shayler


At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the US Air Force exploded an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing 80,000 civilians. Most of the city was leveled by the bomb’s shock wave or incinerated in the subsequent firestorm. Three days later, before it was understood what had happened in Hiroshima, the US exploded a second atomic bomb above Nagasaki, immediately killing 40,000.

Within weeks the toll had likely climbed to 250,000 killed through burns and radiation poisoning. Those who survived the blasts described scenes of nearly unspeakable horror—civilians, mainly women and children, burnt so badly there could be no treatment; “walking dead” staggering through the streets in their last hours, their skin hanging like rags from their bodies; atomic shadows seared into the pavement where humans had stood. Tens of thousands more continued to die and suffer in the years and decades after the attacks.

The US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand among the most savage acts of violence against a civilian population ever committed. Sixty-five years later, they remain shrouded in lies and obfuscation emanating from the modern-day defenders of American militarism.

Typical is a column written by journalist Warren Kozac, published Friday in the Wall Street Jounal. Kozak recently wrote a biography that attempts to rehabilitate the bloodthirsty Air Force general Curtis LeMay, who, before the bombing of Hiroshima, organized the firebombing of Tokyo, killing an estimated 87,000 people.

Kozak repeats the standard lies used to justify the atrocity, including the claim that the decision to use the atomic bomb saved lives. “It should be noted that when President Harry Truman was considering whether to invade Japan instead of dropping the bombs, his advisers estimated that an invasion would result in one million American casualties and at least two million Japanese deaths,” writes. “In the strange calculus of war, the bombs actually saved Japanese lives.”

Truman’s decision had nothing to do with saving lives, Japanese or American. At the time of the bombing, Japan was, in a military sense, already defeated. Its navy, air force, and industrial capacity largely destroyed, the Japanese had sought out conditions for peace in the weeks before the attacks.

The use of the atom bomb was, above all else, a cold-blooded strategic decision made with Washington’s eyes already transfixed on the postwar order. At the Tehran Conference of 1943, the Soviet Union had agreed to declare war on Japan within three months after the ending of hostilities in Europe. After the defeat of Germany, the Soviet Red Army—which had borne the brunt of Allied fighting in Europe—began to be shifted across the Eurasian landmass in preparation for an invasion of Manchuria on August 8, 1945—two days after Hiroshima, and the day before Nagasaki.

Washington was aware that if the war were not concluded rapidly, the Soviet Union would be in a position to assert itself in the resumed Chinese civil war between the pro-US nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek and the peasant armies of Mao Zedong, on the Korean peninsula, and potentially in Japan itself, where a revolt of the country’s working class and peasants against the empire—as had taken place in Italy against Mussolini—was far more likely than the fight to the death of the Emperor posited by Kozak and others.

But even more crucially, Truman and the US military were anxious to use the atomic bomb, this new weapon of extraordinary destructive power, as an object lesson to the Soviet Union and the entire world of the lengths Washington would go to defend its interests.

Historian Thomas McCormick has eloquently summarized the decision: “In two blinding glares—a horrible end to a war waged horribly by all parties—the United States finally found the combination that would unlock the door to American hegemony. A prearranged demonstration of the atomic bomb on a noninhabited target, as some scientists had recommended, would not do. That could demonstrate the power of the bomb, but it could not demonstrate the American will to use the awful power. One reason, therefore, for American unwillingness to pursue Japanese peace feelers in mid-summer 1945 was that the United States did not want the war to end before it had had a chance to use the atomic bomb.” (America’s Half-Century, 44-45.)

This year we observe the anniversary of the slaughter in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a new period of war and militarist aggression. The Obama administration has intensified its war in Afghanistan, loosening up rules of engagement allowing the military to “take out” civilian targets. In recent weeks, Washington has staged a series of provocations designed to ramp up pressure on what it views to be its main strategic rival, nuclear-armed China.

And now the US is shifting toward a war footing with Iran, claiming that its nuclear program is designed to create nuclear weapons, the same charge it falsely leveled against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Washington’s hypocrisy is staggering. In cases where it views the nation as an ally—Israel, India, and now Vietnam—it turns a blind eye to nuclear weapons programs or supports uranium enrichment.

Moreover, the Hiroshima anniversary recalls that only the US has ever used nuclear weapons in war. If American imperialism was willing to unleash this destructive power to assert its hegemony at a time of its peak economic strength, it will not shirk its use to defend this hegemony under conditions of economic decline.

There have been repeated reports, beginning in 2006, that the US and Israel are contemplating the use of so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons in a preemptive strike against military targets in Iran. Late in 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—then still in the employ of the Bush administration—formally advocated the use of preemptive nuclear strikes in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP). (See “US defense secretary expands pre-emptive war doctrine to include nuclear strikes”.)

Though the US has the largest nuclear stockpile and plays the most destabilizing role in world affairs, the danger of nuclear war is not limited to its designs. Russia, Britain, France, and China maintain thousands of nuclear missiles. Israel has in the past obliquely threatened to use nuclear weapons against its neighbors, while in any new South Asian war, India and Pakistan—and possibly China—would be tempted to use their nuclear missiles.

As in the lead-up to WWI and WWII, the world has become a tinderbox of sharp tensions among the Great Powers. In the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Central Asia, the Balkans, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, any number of scenarios could touch off a new global conflagration that would repeat the horrors of the 20th century, including the use of nuclear weapons, but on a far more deadly scale.

The descent into depression and militarism, so reminiscent of the 1930s, can only be stopped by the international working class fighting for a socialist program. The capitalists’ genocidal “war of each against all,” as Lenin put it, must be replaced by a planned, socialist economy, organized to meet social needs rather than the profit drives of the rival cliques of billionaires.
By Tom Eley
7 August 2010
WSWS
Botom-Of-Post - Protest

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STOP THE WAR COALITION
NEWSLETTER No. 1144
04 March 2010

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) WHAT GORDON BROWN COULD HAVE DONE WITH £8.5BN
2) INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS IN SUPPORT OF JOE GLENTON
3) BRITISH SOLDIERS GONE AWOL 17,000 TIMES SINCE 2003
4) MICHAEL FOOT 23 JULY 1913 – 3 MARCH 2010

1) WHAT GORDON BROWN COULD HAVE DONE WITH £8.5BN
Gordon Brown happily signed the cheques for the Iraq war. In 2005 he said, “I would have behaved exactly like Tony over the war.” This is why Stop the War will be protesting outside the Iraq Inquiry on Friday 5 March, when protestors will try to deliver Brown a giant cheque for £8.5 billion, the total spent by Britain on the illegal war in Iraq. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Brown was the paymaster general for the Iraq war. Instead of spending £8.5 billion on mass slaughter of Iraqis, Brown could have funded:
* The recruitment and retention of over 25,000 new teachers for ten years.
* All NHS maternity care for four years.
* All NHS Accident and Emergency provision for four and a half years.
* All government spending on the railways for five years. http://bit.ly/avwT4v
But not content with this astronomical waste, Brown is now spending sums on the war in Afghanistan which at £12 billion and rising fast, dwarf his Iraq spending. (SEE http://bit.ly/4bRSM)
PROTEST FRIDAY 5 MARCH: BLOOD ON GORDON BROWN’S HANDS
@ THE IRAQ INQUIRY. ASSEMBLE 8.30AM, 
QUEEN ELIZABETH CONFERENCE CENTRE, BROAD SANCTUARY , WESTMINSTER SW1
(Nearest tubes St James’s Park or Westminster)

2) INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS IN SUPPORT OF JOE GLENTON
On 4-5 March, there are international protests in eight countries- Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Turkey, USA and the UK are demanding that the Ministry of Defence drop the charges against Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who refuses to return to fight in Afghanistan. (SEE http://bit.ly/bveMzx). If convicted, Joe could be jailed for two years. Stop the War has called a picket of the court in Colchester at which Joe is due to be sentenced on Friday 5 March. He faces up to two year imprisonment. If you would like to join the picket and want information about transport, please contact the national Stop the War office: Call 020 7801 2768. Email office@stopwar.org.uk

3) BRITISH SOLDIERS GONE AWOL 17,000 TIMES SINCE 2003
Joe Glenton is by no means alone. Official figures from the Ministry of Defence show that there were more than 2,000 cases of soldiers going absent without leave last year, with 17,470 incidents recorded since the Iraq invasion in 2003. (SEE http://bit.ly/dCNvRu )

4) MICHAEL FOOT 23 JULY 1913 – 3 MARCH 2010
Former Labour Party leader Michael Foot has died, aged 96. In February 2003, he threatened to lead a mass trespass of Hyde Park when Tony Blair’s government tried to ban its use for the Stop the War demonstration. The government capitulated and February 15 saw the biggest political demonstration in British history. Michael Foot was one of the speakers in the Hyde Park rally at the end of that memorable day, when two million people gathered on London’s streets to say “not in my name”.

BLOG STATISTICS (27th February)

Its our Blogs Birthday. It is 4 months old today.  Below are the most popular views of the week.

Click on the link below for more statistics and a couple of sorry- looking graphs.
Blog Statistics – February 27, 2010

Title Views
Home page 20
Support Alberto Durango – Sacked for Organising A Union 14
Treachery & Stalinoid Bourgeois Liberalism in Guildford 12
Park Lane Squat Party Kicked Off By The Police 10
Workers Movement Rallies To Defend Victimisation 10
National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts 9

Park Lane Squat Party – Kicked off by the police (12th Feb 2010)

Blog Statistics – The first two months
Well it’s already two months since we started our blog. 
Click on the link below to see how many visitors we’ve had. Find out what have been the top posts.

Blog Stats 19-12-09 

 Spotlight On Committees Of Action

As Labour and the Tories compete over who will deliver the most savage cuts, and the bosses and bankers demand the working class pay for their financial crisis, we need to think strategically about how we can organise the fightback. Joy Macready explains Marxist tactics

The mainstream parties’ assessment of the extent of the pubic sector cutbacks needed – an estimated 10-20% cuts in the health sector, £2bn cuts in education, 10 per cent savings across government departments – is staggering. Their representatives and their loyal friends in the media, however, never mention that it is caused by the gaping hole left in the public purse from the £1.3 trillion bailout of the banks.

Meanwhile, private sector bosses are using the recession to relocate production, sack workers, cut their wages and steal from their pensions. Share prices and profit margins may be recovering, but this is not enough for the greedy capitalists; they want to inflict further damage on working class families and communities.

Solidarity
But already we see the signs of a militant fightback. Occupations are leading the way: Visteon, Two Sisters, Prisme, Waterford, and Vestas, to name a few. Parents and teachers in Glasgow and Lewisham occupied their schools to prevent closure. Postal workers are balloting for a national strike against redundancies and reductions in hours and wages. Tower Hamlets College lecturers took all-out indefinite action for four weeks, while Leeds bin workers are still all out.

The list of struggles shows that it is not just the public sector that is under attack, but also the private sector; it is not just workers fighting back against service cuts, but the users of worsening services. Although the public sector is in the direct firing line of the government, all workers will be affected by cuts in housing, healthcare or education.

As Marxists, we do not just live in the realm of ideas and theory, but we put our theory into practice. The challenge is to find a way to link these struggles together, overcoming the division between public and private, between providers and users, and between the various unions. Those struggles listed above are inspiring but all are isolated to a degree.

Within the different struggles, Workers Power has argued for local committees of action to unite activists at a community level. The Vestas solidarity committees, which attracted workers from many different unions, community and green activists, and socialist organisations, were an encouraging step in this direction. But we need a more permanent form of organisation that goes beyond the limited scope of one struggle, one strike or one issue – committees of action that can be mobilised to fight on a number of fronts at the same time.

Such committees can react quickly to events, overcome divisions between workers in different unions, and also bring into struggle the unemployed who have been thrown out of work. They should also include users of public services; as the government and bosses try to lay the blame for deteriorating services at the feet of public sector workers, pubic opinion must be won to the struggle of these workers for quality services.

Unity from below
Britain has developed organs of class struggle like this in the past. During the 1926 General Strike, councils of action were built by the trades councils in each town and city – all working class political, industrial, co-operative and unemployed organisations were represented, and, importantly, women were also heavily involved. They counteracted the “poisonous and pernicious propaganda” of the government and the employers’ organisations and even took control of food supplies, organised defence corps against scabs and the police and army, and directly controlled the strike locally.

In 1984, during the Great Miners’ Strike, a network of Miners’ Support Committees criss-crossed the country, providing vital solidarity like food supplies, Christmas presents for the miners’ children, speakers to factories to explain why the miners’ needed support, campaigning against police harassment of strikers and mobilising support for the picket lines.

But, say the sceptics, Britain today is not at that level of class struggle – the working class does not have the “confidence” or the fighting spirit to create committees of action. This is a self-defeating argument. In every area where there is struggle, strikers can put out the call for committees of action and rally support from others. The committees will in turn help to boost confidence and raise fighting spirit.

Take the Vestas struggle, for example, where workers occupied a plant that made blades for wind power when bosses announced its closure. It was the solidarity movement – the climate camp and Campaign Against Climate Change – that encouraged the workers to occupy the plant. If solidarity committees could be built for Vestas, then why not for other struggles? By building committees of action in every town and city, more workers will feel able to take militant action and the general level of the class struggle will rise. But to do this, they must do more than simply raise donations, hold meetings and stand on picket lines, crucial though these acts are. They can start to become an alternative centre of power in society.

Alternative power
What do we mean by “an alternative centre of power”? Three things.

First, we know from bitter experience that the trade union leaders often sabotage our struggles, selling them short, calling off action, disuniting strikes. Committees of action can help thwart such treachery by building unity from below.

Second, committees of action can also lay the basis for a political alternative to Labour – a basis from which to build a new anti-capitalist party in Britain, one that will fight for the interests of the working class.

Committing to a new party is not a precondition to joining the local committees of action – many workers who still look to Labour or who are against all parties can be rallied to them. But, because these will be engaged in the local struggles, because they will be coming up against the government’s cuts and attacks, many will begin to realise that only a working class political party can secure general, society-wide victories for our class through fighting for the overthrow of the capitalist system and the formation of a workers’ government.

Finally, a government of the workers would be based not on an unelected civil service bureaucracy, unelected generals, unelected millionaires in the boardrooms, and 600-odd MPs who are elected every five years but are free to break their promises itself. It could be based on democratic organisations of working class delegates from below, workers’ councils with all delegates recallable by the workers who voted for them. The formation of committees for action is a step in that direction – a step towards an alternative centre of power for the whole of society.

Surrey United Anti-Capitalists Song

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

We are marching through Europe together
Youth from all countries unite
We’ve a future to win and nothing to loose
Take the power, complete the final fight

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

Labour and Tories want to smash us
They want to destroy the working class
There is no way that we can reform them
‘Cos their so called democracy’s a farce

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

The army and police they want to kill us
With bombs and missiles by the score
So we’ll seize their armouries and take the power
And put an end to third world nuclear war

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

Thursday, December 03, 2009
Climate Change: A Dire Emergency

           Only Socialist Revolution Can Prevent Ecosystem Collapse

 Climate change poses an immediate threat to the survival of all life on this planet, the scope and urgency of which cannot be underestimated. Many scientists have concluded that we are at or close to the point at which, even if we drastically curtail greenhouse gas emissions immediately, planet Earth will still undergo major climatic change. If we fail to take such measures, the results will be absolutely catastrophic. In as short a time as a few decades, our planet could experience such a swift, massive rise in temperature that human civilization would have little or no chance to survive. (For details, see below.)

Obama has pledged to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A reduction of that magnitude is impossible under capitalism. We cannot rely on national governments or other entities (such as the United Nations) that are controlled by the capitalist class to do that job. No matter how “progressive” capitalist politicans purport to be (see discussion of Evo Morales below), the inherent conflict between the profit motive and the good of society makes it impossible for them to enforce the necessary sacrifices on corporate-controlled industries.

But even if a miracle happens, and Obama’s pledge is fulfilled, it will still be much too little, and way too late. The human race needs to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions almost entirely within the next 10 to 30 years if it wants to survive.

The bottom line is that only workers’ control of the means of production can avoid the imminent climate change catastrophe. This means that a successful socialist revolution is needed within a decade or two. If the working class waits to overthrow capitalism for another 30 or 40 years, it is likely to be too late.

Even after the socialist revolution, the catastrophe cannot be averted unless we take immediate action. The planned economy will have to impose draconian measures against greenhouse gas emitting industries, and retool all of our energy generation and consumption to run on green, environmentally friendly, sustainable tech­nology. This change will have to be implemented extremely rapidly, and will require the involvement of practically everyone on the planet, if we are to prevail.

The current crisis of capitalism presents an opportunity for us to spread the message to the struggling working class about the gravity of the situation. We must tell the workers, and every middle class and progressive person who supports their struggle, that time is running out. The working class must combine its struggle against capitalist exploitation, and against the current economic crisis, with environmental consciousness. It must fight for workers’ control of industry in order to implement dire emergency measures to transform the current, outmoded technology of industrial production to green and sustain­able technology.

Ultimately, this urgently necessary trans­formation can only be accomplished if the working class and its allies get rid of capitalism via the socialist revolution. Every living soul that cares about our planet and the fate of humanity, please be aware: The game of trying to “reform” capitalism must come to an abrupt end. The stakes are no longer socialism or barbarism. They are socialism, or else the end of life on this planet as we know it.

The Methane Time Bomb Is Already Ticking!
As a result of the global warming that has already occurred, the ice that covers the Arctic Ocean is disappearing very fast. Many scientists predict that in the relatively near future, it will be entirely gone in the summer. Even now, an ever-increasing portion of the ice melts to open water each summer, making it darken and thus absorb more solar heat. This causes a positive feedback loop of increased warming.

The rise in the surface temperature of the Arctic means that the bottom of the Arctic Ocean is also warming rapidly, to the point where it is now only a few degrees below freezing in the summer. This situation threatens to compound the problem of global warming by quickening its pace exponentially. The reason is that the seabed beneath the Arctic Ocean contains a time bomb of unimaginable proportions: a huge amount of frozen methane, a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If the ocean temperature rises above freezing, a massive amount of this methane could be released into the atmosphere, causing global warming to increase drastically in a matter of years or decades. A similar phenomenon is now believed to have caused the Permian Extinction, or “Great Dying,”which wiped out almost all life on earth 250 million years ago. (For details and links to source material, see http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=65747.)

We are now threatened with the very real possibility that catastrophic climate change, leading to mass extinction, could happen again. Worse, it could happen so fast that it would be impossible to develop and implement any technological solution that would allow us to preserve the human race from a reversion to barbarism, or even extinction.

The Limitations of “Progressive” Politics
In December 2008, the United Nations held a conference on climate change in Poznan, Poland. In a speech given in connection with the conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales – widely viewed on the Left as a leading progressive figure – correctly proclaimed that “Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet,” and that “As long as we do not change the capitalist system …, the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will [be] limited and precarious in character.” (Morales’s speech can be found online at
http://links.org.au/node/769.)

Unfortunately, Morales failed to follow this thought to its logical conclusion – i.e., that in order to save the planet, we must do away with capitalism. His solution? He proposes that we “Debate the structural causes of climate change.” “Debate”? While the ecosystem collapses around us? What is needed now is not debate, but action.

Neither Morales nor any other politician or public figure, no matter how “progressive” or even anti-capitalist they purport to be, can offer a realistic solution to the threat of catastrophic climate change unless they are also willing to build a revolutionary movement with the power to overthrow capitalism. As long as the capitalist ruling class holds power, all politicians must capitulate to the limitations inherently imposed by the profit system, which will not permit them to implement the measures that must be taken to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, transform the means of energy production, and increase the efficiency of energy use. Only a planned economy, democratically run by the workers and their allies in the interests of society as a whole, can forestall the destruction of the ecosystem.

The Need for Transitional Demands
In the current financial crisis of the global capitalist system, the workers will inevitably be the ones who suffer most from the misdeeds and greed of Wall Street. This creates an opening for socialists to argue to a mass audience that we must replace capitalism with a different system, one that puts the needs of all human beings – including the necessity to preserve our planet – ahead of the voraciousness of the privileged few who seek ever increasing wealth and power.

As workers struggle today against the effects of the crisis on their basic rights and standard of living, they need to fight for democratic working class control over the mean of production. A big part of this struggle for workers’ control should be the demand for the immediate transformation of all industries to produce and utilize “green” non-polluting technology. Scientists and other technical experts should join together into massive, democratically run unions to demand that all available resources – trillions of dollars – be devoted to researching and implementing sustainable, environmentally positive technologies. Ultimately, the struggles and demands of the workers and their allies should lead to the socialist revolution, since there is no way that capitalism can implement them.This essay was copied from the “Redrave” blog.
Redrave is the loud mouth of members of the Communist Workers’ Group of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
http://redrave.blogspot.com/2009/12/climate-change-dire-emergency.html