Category: War

Remembering absent friends and more…

30 seconds over Tokyo

It’s been a tough morning.

Up early as usual. Because of my wife’s work routine, we’re usually up before 5AM. Habit runs right through the weekend.

I figured to watch the start of the German Gran Prix. Had it set to record so I could check back through the race after it was over. But, I started to look around to see what else was on TV this early. I certainly wasn’t going to watch the news. Guaranteed it would be them dangerous furriners killing each other in Ukraine; brave little Israel killing Arabs in self-defense at a rate of 200 to 1; crowds of white Americans demonstrating our freedom by massing to keep children fleeing North towards our border from crossing into the Land of Liberty.

I don’t recall the channel; but, there was 30 SECONDS OVER TOKYO…the story of the shock raid by a few American bombers that took off from an aircraft carrier in 1942 to bring the war started by Japan – home to the Japanese nation. You can read about the raid any number of places. The movie is pretty accurate.

It became harder to watch than I thought. I saw the movie when it came out in the autumn of 1944 at our neighborhood movie theater. My sister and me, mom and dad. Four of my uncles were still overseas in the war. One of my older cousins was missing in the Pacific.

I didn’t remember General Doolittle’s speech to the pilots and crew before they lifted their B-25 Mitchell bombers off the flight deck of the Hornet. So, it took me by surprise when he finished by explaining to the airmen this would be the first time American pilots bombed a city. Yes, these were military targets; but, innocent civilians were inevitably going to be killed and injured. Anyone who didn’t want to take part in what some would feel was murder of the innocents could step aside and no one would think the worse of them.

And I had to cry.

First and foremost, all the emotions of those days of war flooded back into my heart and mind. People I loved, people I didn’t even know. Tens of thousands dying horrible deaths around the globe from England to Asia and the Pacific. Then, I couldn’t help but reflect on what our nation has become; how hardened and distorted our culture has become – we now only describe the murder of innocent civilians as “collateral damage”. We can send in pilotless drones to fire missiles at our enemy du jour and maybe only kill a few members of their families. Guilty of being kin to evil men. What have we become?

I couldn’t finish watching the movie. I got as far as the Ruptured Duck, one of the B-25s crash-landing in the ocean just off the coast of China – as did all the planes after the mission. Running out of fuel near China or the Soviet Union. Crashing into the sea or just inland. Most of those who flew the attack survived the mission.

In what was called one of the worst war crimes of the century, Japan executed 250,000 Chinese civilians along the coast because some had aided our airmen to survival and eventual safety.

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Fiery protest against militarist revision of Japan’s constitution

self-immolation Shinjuku

A man burned himself at crowded Shinjuku train station in Japan’s capital Tokyo in a move allegedly to protest against the Japanese government’s attempt to exercise the rights to collective self-defense…

The man, according to pictures, was in his 50s and reportedly had a speech opposing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration and its efforts to lift the country’s self-imposed ban on collective self-defense rights before burning himself on a bridge connecting buildings at around 2:00 p.m. local time…

Local police has blocked the site and declined to provide details to Xinhua through a telephone interview, and the man’s condition after the suicidal attempt remains unknown.

The incident came after the Japanese government on Friday submitted the final version of the resolutions of exercising the “defense” rights to the ruling coalition…

The collective self-defense rights allow the Japanese Self- Defense Forces engage battles overseas, which run contrary against Japan’s war-renouncing pacifist constitution which bans the SDF to combat outside Japan.

According to the latest survey on the controversial issue by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, about 67 percent of Japanese opposed lifting the ban through constitution reinterpretation and 56 percent of Japanese oppose relaxing the ban through any means.

One of the most amazing feats of self-contradiction happened when the United States forced Japan to renounce any use of their military abroad to implement political policy. Quite reasonable in light of decades of Japan’s imperial ambitions, invasions.

Of course, we went ahead and did exactly what we forbade to the Japanese. At present, we still maintain hundreds of thousands of American troops in over 150 countries. We still suffer the effects of the wars we promoted around the world, small or large, Granada or Vietnam, Kuwait or Iraq, Americans try to recover the lives wasted in national-aggrandizement.

Displaced people numbers worldwide are the highest since World War 2

More than 50 million people were forcibly uprooted worldwide at the end of last year, the highest level since after World War Two, as people fled crises from Syria to South Sudan, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday.

Half are children, many of them caught up in conflicts or persecution that world powers have been unable to prevent or end, UNHCR said in its annual Global Trends report…

The overall figure of 51.2 million displaced people soared by six million from a year earlier. They included 16.7 million refugees and 33.3 million displaced within their homelands, and 1.2 million asylum seekers whose applications were pending.

Syrians fleeing the escalating conflict accounted for most of the world’s 2.5 million new refugees last year, UNHCR said.

In all, nearly 3 million Syrians have crossed into neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, while another 6.5 million remain displaced within Syria’s borders…

Afghan, Syrian and Somali nationals accounted for 53 percent of the 11.7 million refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility. Five million Palestinians are looked after by a sister agency UNRWA.

Most refugees have found shelter in developing countries, contrary to the myth fuelled by some populist politicians in the West that their states were being flooded, Antonio Guterres said.

“Usually in the debate in the developed world, there is this idea that refugees are all fleeing north and that the objective is not exactly to find protection but to find a better life.

“The truth is that 86 percent of the world’s refugees live in the developing world,” he said…

The EU bloc has harmonised its asylum system, but the 27 member states still differ in how they process refugees and in their approval rates for asylum applications, he said.

A record 25,300 unaccompanied children lodged asylum applications in 77 countries last year, according to UNHCR.

Republicans and other blivets in the United States characterize pretty much all refugees as someone coming to the United States to steal a job. I’m not clear on how they re-distort that lie to cover the children fleeing Central American gangs and economic disaster.

In truth, virtually all the child refugees streaming into the US from Central America aren’t even trying to sneak across the border. They present themselves directly to the Border Patrol at the Mexican border and ask for asylum. If they have relatives in the United States, they hope to reach out to them. Otherwise, they’re here to ask for aid and mercy – like any others displaced by violence.

Not that our media barons care to make that point.

US fired depleted uranium weapons at civilians and soldiers in Iraq war


Indict these men for war crimes!

US forces fired depleted uranium (DU) weapons at civilian areas and troops in Iraq in breach of official advice meant to prevent unnecessary suffering in conflicts…

Coordinates revealing where US jets and tanks fired nearly 10,000 DU rounds in Iraq during the war in 2003 have been obtained by the Dutch peace group Pax. This is the first time that any US DU firing coordinates have been released, despite previous requests by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Iraqi government.

According to PAX’s report, which is due to be published this week, the data shows that many of the DU rounds were fired in or near populated areas of Iraq, including As Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah. At least 1,500 rounds were also aimed at troops, the group says.

This conflicts with legal advice from the US Air Force in 1975 suggesting that DU weapons should only be used against hard targets like tanks and armoured vehicles, the report says. This advice, designed to comply with international law by minimising deaths and injuries to urban populations and troops, was largely ignored by US forces…

A six-page memo…from USAF’s Office of the Judge Advocate General concluded in March 1975 that DU weapons were legal. But it recommended imposing restrictions on how they were used.

“Use of this munition solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available,” the memo stated. This was for legal reasons “related to the prohibitions against unnecessary suffering and poison“.

The memo also pointed out that DU weapons were “incendiary” and could have indiscriminate impacts in urban areas. “They may cause fires which spread thereby causing potential risks of disproportionate injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects,” it said. “Precautions to avoid or minimise such risks shall be taken in the use of this weapon or alternate available weapons should be used…”

The Democratic congressman, Jim McDermott, is now urging the US Department of Defence to publish all its DU firing coordinates. “These weapons have had terrible health ramifications for Iraqi civilians,” he said. “The least the US could do is provide the specific targeting data so the Iraqi government can begin the complex clean-up process.”

The US Department of Defence did not respond to a request to comment. One military source was “amazed” that the Dutch government had released sensitive targeting data.

Uranium is a pyrophoric metal – meaning that once ignited it burns to radioactive dust and ash. Like the lies the world was told about United States use of napalm, carpet-bombing and Agent Orange in VietNam – our governments since the invasion have lied and tried to hide our use of radioactive weapons on the soldiers and civilians of Iraq.

Uranium burns until it is consumed. The Pentagon and their political pimps deserve the same fate.

Japan “interprets” regulations to hide over a ton of plutonium

Japan-Developing-Nuclear-Weapons-Preparing-For-War

The Japanese government has not declared about 640 kg of unused plutonium in its annual report for the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2012 and 2013, an amount enough to make 80 nuclear bombs…

Japan claims to own 44 tons of plutonium, while the actual amount is 45 tons, said Japan’s Kyodo News Agency. The unreported plutonium is part of the plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel placed at an offline reactor in a nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, southern Japan.

The MOX fuel was loaded in March 2011, shortly before the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis happened later that month. Until two years later, the unused fuel was taken out from the reactor which remained offline.

An official from Japan Atomic Energy Commission argued that the plutonium is considered being used and hence exempt from reporting to the IAEA.

But plenty of experts both abroad and at home criticized the action of the Japanese government for failing to recognize the seriousness of the problem…”From the safeguards point of view this material is still un- irradiated fresh MOX fuel regardless of its location,” former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen said. Thus the unreported plutonium could be diverted to as many as 80 nuclear bombs.

Japan keeps the largest amount of plutonium among non-nuclear nations. The country used it for power generation in the past, but after the 2011 disaster at Fukushima, Japan’s nuclear reactors remain idle.

The big amounts of plutonium are causing regional worries over Japan’s motives, as well as global concerns over the security of these nuclear fuel reserves.

This ain’t an “oops!” moment. Reflect for a minute on what reasons there might be for Japan to hide a ton of plutonium. It’s not like they’re paying taxes or licensing fees on the stuff.

It isn’t likely Japan would sell plutonium to some other nation – especially when the first use that comes to mind is production of nuclear bombs or warheads, dirty or otherwise. Just when the Abe government is trying to unwrite the nation’s pacifist constitution.

89-yr-old veteran disappears from nursing home – shows up at D-Day anniversary in Normandy

Bernard Jordan

A World War Two veteran who disappeared from his nursing home to attend the D-Day commemorations in France is on his way back to the UK.

Bernard Jordan, 89, left the home in Hove unannounced at 10:30 BST on Thursday and was reported missing to Sussex Police that evening…

The former Royal Navy officer said he hoped his trip would not land him in trouble.

On Friday evening, it was confirmed Mr Jordan was on an overnight ferry and had been given a cabin, meals and a transfer back to his nursing home.

Prior to embarking, Mr Jordan told ITV News: “I have been here last year and I have been here obviously this time… but if I am still about I shall try next year’s as well.”

Asked if he would be in trouble when he returned home, he added: “I might be, but I hope not.”

RTFA for the whole tale – including some misconceptions corrected. Mr. Jordan had also gone to the 50th and 60th commemorations of the invasion – and likely thought this might be his last trip.

Pic of the Day – 70 years apart

Left: A crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on the waterfront some time after Canadian forces came ashore on a Juno Beach D-Day landing zone in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France, in June 1944.

Right: Tourists enjoy the sunshine on the former Juno Beach D-Day landing zone, where Canadian forces came ashore, in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German troops holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944.

Let us remember absent friends.

Last of the original Navajo code talkers, Chester Nez — died at age 93

This article appeared in the military newspaper, STARS AND STRIPES, last November. Honoring Chester Nez.

The 29 U.S. Marines dodged bullets at the front — first in the Pacific and then in Germany — passing top-secret messages to each other in a code that the enemy couldn’t crack.

The warriors, Navajo Code Talkers, relied on their their native language to develop the code, which helped to turn the course of World War II in the favor of the Allies. Of the original group, only one is still alive: Chester Nez.

On Nov. 9, the American Veterans Center honored Nez and six other veterans for bravery and valor above and beyond the call of duty during combat. Nez received the Audie Murphy Award for distinguished service in the military during World War II.

“I was very proud to say that the Japanese did everything in their power to break that code but they never did,” Nez said in an interview with Stars and Stripes the day before the award ceremony.

If the Code Talkers had been caught, he said, they would be tortured and their tongues cut out. They risked everything for the United States, even though they were raised in military boarding schools that prohibited them from speaking their native language…

Their language, however, would serve the United States well later, in 1942, when Americans were dying in rising numbers overseas, especially in the Pacific. The Japanese seemed to know what the U.S. military was planning well before it took place.

That’s where the Code Talkers came in, recruited from boarding schools to join the Marines and use their unique skills to develop an unbreakable code to pass messages…

World War I veteran Philip Johnston, who came up with the idea to develop the Navajo Code in 1941, came to Nez’ boarding school to recruit. The volunteers went directly into basic training without any goodbyes. Nez left behind his sister Dora, his father and his beloved grandmother, who wouldn’t know he was fighting until two years after he left…

After the war, the Navajo men received no fanfare, and many struggled, said Judith Avila, who co-wrote Nez’s memoir “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Talkers of WWII” and helped Nez during the Nov. 8 interview.

Instead of people thanking them for their service, they faced discrimination and insults, she said. When Nez wore his Marine Corps uniform to register for his Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood — required for all Native Americans — the clerk told Nez he wasn’t a real citizen…

Without support, suffering from what most now know to be post-traumatic stress, many Code Talkers turned to alcohol and lived on the streets. There were about 420 Code Talkers that followed the original 29 into service. Of that group, about 30 are still alive.

Nez said he was one of the lucky ones. When he returned, he was embraced by his family. He got a job at the VA, which he kept until the 1970s.

Nez still has good memories of his time with the Marines, whom he said treated the Code Talkers very well. Latham Nez, who accompanied his grandfather to the awards, said the Marines saw the Navajo men as “damn good Marines” who were already warriors when they left for basic training.

I met a few Code Talkers when I lived in the Navajo Nation. It was an honor.

The contrast between the reception back home for white soldiers compared to Black, Hispanic and Native American veterans is well known, nowadays. But, decades of indifference and bigotry have been exceedingly slow to disappear from even acceptable behavior in polite society.


Jake Schoellkkopf/Los Angeles Times

Chester Nez was a brave and courageous American. He died, yesterday, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Thanks, Mike

New questions about radioactive leak at waste storage facility in New Mexico


Not exactly tidy

New questions are being raised about what was mixed with the waste that caused a radiation release from the government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that Los Alamos National Laboratory approved using products that some experts say are widely known to cause a heat reaction when mixed with other contents in the drums that were shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said the leading theory continues to be that the leak was caused by a reaction between nitrate salts and the organic cat litter packed with the waste to absorb moisture. However, emails posted online by the New Mexico Environment Department show Los Alamos approved using other organic ingredients known to be incompatible with nitrate salts in the waste.

Department chemist Cole Smith called the products “a bad combination.”

But, why waste time on sound chemistry when you can blame environmental controls? Especially when the accusations come from sources earning a lifelong income rationalizing nuclear weapons.

The emails show that Los Alamos approved the use of two products requested by contractor EnergySolutions to neutralize the pH balance of drums sent to the nuclear waste dump.

In one email asking for approval in August 2013 to use a new liquid, EnergySolutions industrial hygienist Zeke Wilmot noted “criticality safety issues are not my area of expertise,” using a term referring to nuclear engineering that focuses on preventing an inadvertent nuclear chain reaction.

Wilmot said “it may be advisable to have LANL personnel weight in on these issues as well…”…A subcontractor approved the change in September.,,

Flynn said…investigators are getting closer to figuring out what happened, but sampling still needs to be done on the materials inside the breached container.

Sometime in the next three years or so, DOE investigators may be able to acquire those samples and investigate the chemistry behind the reactions that caused the radioactive leak. Instead of relying on snap judgements from professional mouths.

I don’t pretend to sufficiently up-to-date knowledge of the chemistry involved. But, my involvement with the American nuclear industry dates back to the late 1950′s – including weapons designs so stupid as to be incongruous, as lethal to the military using them as they could be to any “enemy”.

Thanks, Mike

Swiss voters say NO to Gripen fighter deal in nationwide referendum

Swiss voters have shot down a government plan to procure nearly two dozen Saab-made Gripen jet fighters from Sweden…

The Swiss government said 53.4 percent of those voting on Sunday were against funding the procurement, which would have cost $3.5 billion…

The Swiss air Force currently flies the F/A-18, due for retirement in 2025. The Federal Council planned to replace the U.S.-built planes with 22 Gripens…

Swiss opponents to their government’s Gripen deal argued the money spent to procure the planes could better be spent on other things.

NSS. The Minister of Defense said “This decision has the effect of creating security gaps.” He has gaposis of the brain. Sitting around worrying about someone invading Switzerland next week is like worrying about Canada’s great land army waging a major assault upon Yankee Stadium.

Now, here in the United States, we’re being asked to acquire 2,443 killer F-35 fighter aircraft at a cost of $125 million to $156 million a copy depending on options, radio, powered sub-woofers, Pandora, etc..

Good thing we have Congress to take care of unreasonable and outright stupid expenditures like this from falling on the shoulders of American taxpayers.

Oh.