Take Nukes Off the Table

Take Nukes Off the Table

by Gordon Prather

Way back in August of 2007, Barack Obama having declared he was a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, some “reporter” asked him whether he would be willing to use nuclear weapons, either in the War on Terror or to prevent “nuclear proliferation” by those dirty Mullahs.

To the absolute delight of (a) Dubya the Dimwit, (b) Bomb-Bomb-Iran McCain and (c) Hillary the Chicken-Hawk, candidate Obama replied;

“I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance – involving civilians. Let me scratch that. There’s been no discussion of [using] nuclear weapons. That’s not on the table.”

Actually, the use of nuclear weapons against civilians has long been “on the table,” going back to 1945, when President Truman deliberately murdered many hundreds of thousands of Japanese, apparently as a warning to Joseph Stalin to halt further Soviet occupation of territories in both Europe and Asia. Or Else!

And, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, the holdover Bush-Cheney Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked by the Jerusalem Post last week whether the potential for military action against Iran had changed, Mullen replied “I don’t think the new administration has taken any options off the table, including military force.”

Leaving aside the propriety of the Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff even responding to questions put to him about Obama-Biden policy by journalists – particularly Israeli journalists – how did President Obama’s press-secretary respond when asked for clarification of Mullen’s remarks?

“In tackling Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, alleged support for terrorism and threats against Israel,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said “we must use all elements of our national power [including, apparently, our use of nukes against those who don’t have nukes] to protect our interests as it relates to Iran.”

Hey, why not? If nuking hundreds of thousands of totally innocent women and children enabled Truman to protect our interests as it related to Joe Stalin, maybe it’ll work for Obama.

If you’re wondering how Truman came to nuke all those helpless civilians in August, 1945, barely three months after he discovered – upon succeeding FDR as President – that we were close to developing such a thing, you might check out a truly remarkable American Experience documentary, entitled The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, originally broadcast just last week.

Of course, the documentary is only tangentially about Truman and his fatally flawed understandings of what nukes (to say nothing of thermo-nukes) were, how they worked and what – if anything – they were good for.

As the documentary makes clear, Oppenheimer served as the indispensable Director of the Los Alamos team, which, as a result of about a year’s intensive effort, designed and successfully tested the first implosion fission device, which utilized a near-critical mass of almost pure Plutonium-239.

Truman and others believed (falsely) that if only we kept secret what Oppenheimer and his extraordinary team had done, Russian scientists would never be able to duplicate it.

What the documentary does not make clear – perhaps deliberately – was that there were two very different nukes developed. “Little Boy,” the nuke Truman dropped on Hiroshima, was not all that difficult to develop. In fact, they never even bothered to test it.

Simplicity, itself, a 60 pound projectile of almost-pure Uranium-235 was propelled down a gun-barrel at another 60 pound target of almost-pure Uranium-235. The principal difficulty in producing such a nuke was in producing hundreds of pounds of almost-pure Uranium-235, and Oppenheimer had almost nothing to do with that production.

(It is interesting to note that metallurgist A.Q. Khan – sometimes referred to incorrectly as the Father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb – had everything to do with the production of hundreds of pounds of almost-pure Uranium-235, and almost nothing to do with the design and testing of the bomb, itself.)

Now, for various reasons, no one who can make an implosion-type nuke, requiring only a few pounds of almost-pure Plutonium-239, ever bothers to design, test, produce and stockpile Uranium-235 gun-type nukes.

And when the Russians did test their first nuke, in 1949, it was a Plutonium-239 implosion-type nuke, apparently very similar to the one we first tested in 1945.

So, Truman and others concluded (falsely) that the Russians must have stolen the design from us. Consequently, the reasoning went, if we improved our security and then went ahead – as Edward Teller and others urged – to develop the so-called “Super,” which was to use a Plutonium-239 implosion-nuke as a trigger, to ignite a thermonuclear explosion, then the stupid Russians would disappear, permanently, from our rearview mirror.

How to improve security? Well, get rid of all those Commie spies, in every closet and under every bed. And above all, get rid of Oppenheimer.

Robert Oppenheimer had openly consorted with known members of the Communist Party in the 1930s, his mistress was a member, his brother Frank was a member and Frank’s wife was also a member.

Now, Robert Oppenheimer had always opposed Teller’s “Super,” primarily on the grounds that it would not be – could not be – militarily useful. There were no targets for such a doomsday device.

(Oppenheimer has basically been vindicated for having this view. Although we could easily have 100-Megaton yield nukes in our stockpile, most of them are less than a thousandth of that.)

Anyway, in October 1952, we tested a two stage thermonuclear device (sited on a small island in the Pacific, which ceased to exist), reportedly weighing a total of 82 tons, and having a yield of about 10 megatons.

But wouldn’t you just know it. Just 3 years later those pesky Russians tested their first thermonuclear device, having a yield of 1.6 Megatons. However, here’s the kicker – they dropped theirs from an aircraft!

Obviously, their TN-weapon didn’t weigh 82 tons, and you can bet your sweet bippy they didn’t steal the secret on how to make it deliverable by aircraft from us. In fact, it was only after we studied the rad-chem fallout that we figured out what their secret was.

Okay, so Truman was about as wrong about nukes as any President could possibly be. The option of nuking civilians should never have been on the table then, and if Obama really wants “change we can believe in,” he should take it off the table. And the sooner the better.



North Korea says all agreements with South are void

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

SEOUL: North Korea sharpened its hostility toward South Korea on Friday by abruptly declaring that it was scrapping a nonaggression pact and all other agreements the two Koreas have signed to ease military and political tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The announcement followed a recent series of sharp comments and aggressive gestures by North Korea that officials and analysts in Seoul said were aimed at getting the attention of the new U.S. administration of President Barack Obama and winning concessions from President Lee Myung Bak of South Korea.

“Relations between the north and south have worsened to the point where there is no way or hope of correcting them,” said a statement from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the North Korean agency in charge of relations with the South. “They have reached the extreme point where the clash of fire against fire, steel against steel, has become inevitable.


Norway Excludes Textron, Barrick Gold From Oil Fund

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Norway excluded Textron Inc. and Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp. from its oil fund, citing the production of cluster weapons and environmental concerns.

The $300 billion fund will be barred from investing in the companies after a recommendation from the Council on Ethics, the Oslo-based Finance Ministry said in a statement today. Textron, the maker of Bell helicopters and Cessna planes, was excluded because of the international treaty banning cluster weapons from 2008, the ministry said.

“The company produces cluster weapons, which are banned,” Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said. Barrick was excluded because of “an unacceptable risk of the fund contributing to serious environmental damage,” the ministry said.


WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: “Wake Up, World!” – SOS from the Amazon

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

BELÉM, Brazil, Jan 27 (IPS) – A human banner made up of more than 1,000 people, seen and photographed from the air, sent the message “SOS Amazon” to the world, in the first action taken by indigenous people hours before the opening in northern Brazil on Tuesday of the 2009 World Social Forum (WSF).

The mass message reflects “our concern about global warming, whose impact we will be the first to feel, although we, the peoples of the Amazon, have protected and cared for the forests,” Francisco Avelino Batista, an Apurinán Indian from the Purus river valley in the Brazilian Amazon, told IPS.


“We are raising our voices as a wake-up call to the world, especially the rich countries that are hastening its destruction,” said Edmundo Omoré, a member of the Xavante indigenous community from the west-central state of Mato Grosso on the border between the Amazon region and the Cerrado, a vast savannah region in the centre of the country.


World heads for ‘water bankruptcy’, says Davos repor

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

DAVOS, Switzerland — The world is heading toward “water bankruptcy” as demand for the precious commodity outstrips even high population growth, a new report warned Friday.

In less than 20 years water scarcity could lose the equivalent of the entire grain crops of India and the United States, said the World Economic Forum report, which added that food demand is expected to sky-rocket in coming decades.

“The world simply cannot manage water in the future in the same way as in the past or the economic web will collapse,” said the report


Cynthia McKinney to Obama: Let Leonard Peltier live!

This was originally posted by Brenda Norrell at http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Cynthia McKinney to Obama: Let Leonard Peltier live!

Following the beating of Leonard Peltier by a prison gang, former Congresswoman McKinney urges Obama: ‘Let Peliter live!’

Cynthia Ann McKinney (born March 17, 1955) is a former United States Representative and the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. McKinney served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007, first representing Georgia’s 11th Congressional District and then Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. She is the first African-American woman to have represented Georgia in the House. In the 1992 election, McKinney was elected in the newly re-created 11th District, and was re-elected in 1994. When her district was redrawn and renumbered due to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Miller v. Johnson, McKinney was easily elected from the new 4th District in the 1996 election, and was re-elected twice without substantive opposition. McKinney was defeated by Denise Majette in the 2002 Democratic primary, in part due to Republican crossover voting in Georgia’s open primary election, which permits anyone from any party to vote in any party primary, and in part due to her “controversial profile, which included a suggestion that George W. Bush knew in advance of the September 11 attacks. (from wikipedia) McKinney recently risked her life on the Free Gaza ship rammed by Israel as she joined doctors to deliver medical aid to Palestine.
President Obama, Let Peltier Live!
by Cynthia McKinney
January 28, 2009

Today, I sent this message to the President:”Mr. President, Justice delayed is justice denied. Leonard Peltier’s family report that he has been brutally beaten while in custody. Peltier should be released. He has become a global symbol of injustice and prison abuse. Imprisoned in the late 1970s, Peltier has never been given a fair trial. Yet he has been a model prisoner.
In April he wrote: “Given the choice of lying down to die or standing up to live, we chose to live.” Let Peltier live. Please free Leonard Peltier now.”It’s easy to send a message to President Obama to help him deliver on the hope and change he promised.
Now is the time for us to act.
Unfortunately, the President has already signed an order allowing the continued bombing of Pakistan and his promised Afghanistan surge is underway. What that means for all of us is more war. If we are to have true and lasting peace, it should be clear by now that we won’t get it by confining our electoral choices to only the ones presented to us in sophisticated, highly managed public relations campaigns.
True and lasting peace will come only with justice. Freeing our political prisoners, including Peltier, Mumia, Sundiata, Mutulu, Imam El-Amin, our Puerto Rican political prisoners, and so many more is but a down payment on the path of justice and reconciliation that our country so sorely needs.
Cynthia McKinney
IPF WEBSITE: http://users.skynet.be/kola/index.htm and www.myspace.com/leonardpeltierisinnocent
IPF e-mail:ipforum@skynet.be
Also, please visit the website of the
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC): http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/
LPDOC e-mail: http://us.mc330.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info


American Indian inmates fight state prisons’ hair-length policy

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Male American Indians incarcerated in Alabama’s prisons want the right to grow their hair long according to their tribal religious customs

It will be up to U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody to decide whether they have it.

The decision will be the most recent ruling in a legal battle that American Indians have been waging with the state Department of Corrections for the past 15 years.