World War 3 – will it start over North Korea?

April 25, 2017

Since the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House the world appears to be moving closer to a catastrophic military conflict that threatens nuclear Armageddon. In this first in a series, political editor Dr Martin Hirst assesses the possibility that we’re already fighting World War Three.

‘The fear of war hangs over society. This is almost literally true, for it is not the invader in the streets but the warhead exploding on us which dominates our nightmares.’

~ Martin Shaw, Dialectics of War, 1988

(Image via @BlackJesuscom)

THIS IS A SERIES that looks at global flashpoints and their potential to blast the world into a nuclear nightmare. It was once unthinkable that strategic nuclear weapons might be used in a world-wide war, but now we need to start thinking it is more likely than not.

And just this month, Donald J Trump caused the “Mother of all bombs” to be dropped in Afghanistan to explode over… we may never know what exactly.

Are we already inside World War Three?

In this series, I will look at Asia, the Middle East and Europe as places where potential nuclear trigger points might occur and then, on a brighter note, I’ll offer some suggestions about how we might stop it.

Let’s begin on our own doorstep.

We are not neutral

We are not neutral and we never have been. Australia is a willing and active partner in many of today’s global conflicts. Despite contrary propaganda, this does not make us safer, it increases the risk that we will be a target too.

Pine Gap makes us a target for Chinese and possibly North Korean and Russian nukes. I’m more worried about China and Russia because they both have nuclear-capable submarines that can reach us almost undetected.

When 1,250 US marines flew into Darwin this week, the NewsCorpse rag that dominates Northern Territory journalism, the NT News, could hardly contain its jingoistic excitement, declaring on page one that they are “ready to fight” against “our” common enemies.

We should be under no illusion or misapprehension about their intent:

Lieut. Colonel Middleton said when US Marines were in forward deployment they were ready for battle.

“I think that the commitment that we’ve taken to put a task force here with a conversation to get larger over the years says that we do think this is an important region,” Lieut. Colonel Middleton said.

When asked about the North Korea stand-off he said: “We stand ready to fight.”

I can only hope that this made the good souls of Darwin feel a lot safer, knowing that they are potentially within range of North Korean rockets.

We all have “potential”

It’s important to focus on this word “potentially”, because it is a crucial qualifier.

Our foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has used the threat of a DPRK nuclear strike on Australia as one reason for enthusiastically welcoming over 1,000 marines to northern Australia, but the threat is not imminent, or even realistic today.

Weapons experts agree that North Korea is at least four years away from developing a ballistic missile capable of a) carrying a nuclear warhead and b) travelling as far as Australia without blowing up mid-flight.

Speaking on the ABC’s AM program earlier this week Bishop was keen to talk up the North Korean “threat”.

[North Korea] is on a path to achieving nuclear weapons capability and we believe Kim Jong-un has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the US.”

But what Bishop ignores here – and she hopes you will too – is that while North Korea’s nuclear threat is only “potential”, the United States has a proven nuclear capability and a proven propensity to use atomic weapons.

Not only that, hawkish American analysts are now insisting that the U.S. must strike first and this first strike should happen sooner rather than later.

…the United States must plan to destroy North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile sites sometime in the next several years — and perhaps within the next two.

At the same time, it must be expected that the American action would trigger the North Korean military to instinctively launch a full-scale retaliatory strike against the Republic of Korea (ROK) along the armistice line of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), whether or not Mr. Kim remains alive. With that as a given, the United States must prevent such an event by launching, simultaneously with the initial attack on the North Korean nuclear and ICBM facilities, a full-scale offensive against the North’s positions along the DMZ. There can be no delay in this U.S.-ROK offense, for it is essential to preclude North Korea’s own counteroffensive against the South.

This is a clear statement of aggression from the American side.

The argument for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea is that its patron-state, China, is incapable of stopping Pyongyang through purely diplomatic efforts.

So is China an ally or an enemy?

This piece first published on Independent Australia as Are we already fighting World War 3?

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Trump’s Aussie friends are a bunch of deplorables

November 13, 2016

Given the US election result, you might be in the mood for a joke; it goes like this.

Set Up: Which one of Australia’s biggest media bullies who pretends to moral outrage at the use of profanities has just broken their own rules.

Punchline: Andrew Bolt.

Yep, Australia’s ‘most read’ columnist calumnist, who howls like an offended snowflake when anybody swears in his presence or anywhere near him, began his column on the Trump victory with this classic line:

DONALD Trump’s win is the biggest “f— you” to all his enemies — the media, the politicians and Wall Street.

Don’t be so coy, Andrew. A f—ing 12-year-old can read those dashes. Why pretend you don’t like dropping the F-bomb?

Bolt goes on to write that the ‘whole world’ and ‘our political class’ has been given ‘a shock and a warning’.

The shock is easy to register and now it’s had time to really sink in, we can begin to process the meaning of it: Donald J Trump, billionaire and reality TV ‘star’ is the 45th President of the United States of America.

But what is this ‘warning’ that Dutchie is warning his readers about?

Stop bullying and patronising the silent majority or they will rise in terrible revolt.

It’s a pity that the worst types patronising bullies are often the last people to heed their own advice.

Like all good NewsCorpse writers, Bolt is wilfully blind to his own position in the media elite. He and they have to pretend that they are not part of the establishment, otherwise their wise words would just read like hypocrisy and cant.

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Bush impeachment speech in Congress

June 11, 2008

Well, ain’t coincidence a wonderful thing.

I’ve copied this from somewhere else, but it’s interesting. I just finished the last post and then I saw this at After Downing Street.org:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is on the floor of the House of Representatives right now introducing 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Yes, 35. He’ll be reading for a while.

Watch C-Span Now!

If you don’t have cable, go to a bar and tell them to put it on C-Span 1!

Or watch at the Video/Audio tab at
http://c-span.org

Take your laptop outside and turn the volume up!

More details coming later tonight!

Action in the House coming later this week!

Good websites to watch for updates and actions:
http://kucinich.us

http://democrats.com

http://afterdowningstreet.org

Let Justice roll down like waters in a mighty stream . . .

There’s going to be at least one article of impeachment that interests you and perhaps even mentions you. Watch for updates.

Unfortunately it seems that he’ll get off. Most Congressional Democrats are against it and Kucinich is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, but a bit of an outsider in Democrat politics. Oh well, fun while it lasted.


Impeach Bush – isn’t that an oxymoron

June 11, 2008

No but the current US president is.

This is brief.

There’s a link at MSNBC.com to a straw poll where the question is:

Should President George W. Bush be impeached?

There’s only one obvious answer.

Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.

So far, 5.28 pm in downtown Auckland, the vote is 89% in favour.

I like this response in the DIGG chatroom:

Where’s the “No because I think he should be hung just like Saddam was for his part in Iraq war crimes”?

I mean, if Bush can have Saddam hung for allowing his troops to torture prisoners in Iraq then why can’t the USA hang Bush for allowing his troops to do the same thing?

Roll on November.


National Rifle Association – shoot [the polar bear] first, ask no questions

July 10, 2007

I’ve followed the US National Rifle Association’s antics since the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007. I couldn’t resit alerting Martini lovers to Martha Rosenberg‘s column today. She’s very clever in her critique of the NRA’s attempts to get around American gun laws:

Besides being armed to return a library book, the NRA wants the right to bring weapons on public parks and school yards, often in defiance of home rule laws.

And speaking of bravery, the NRA has also found time since the Cho shootings to help Safari Club International (SCI), the group former President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. belonged to when they were outed hunting in Africa and asking the Botswana government to keep trophy lion hunts available.

In June it helped SCI defeat an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the House of Representatives that would have banned the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada.

Who kills polar bears for fun?

Eight hundred Americans imported polar bear trophies from guided hunts in Arctic Canada since 1997! And SCI offers a “Bears of the World” award, a kind of National Geographic for the bloodthirsty, in which hunters have to kill four of the world’s eight bear species which include imperiled polar bears.

The NRA also worked to defeat wolf protection laws and spay and neuter legislation for dogs.

No, Seung-Hui Cho’s bullets have not stopped the NRA’s fast track agenda–or the politicians in its back pocket: the ultimate concealed weapon.


Another case of American media self-censorship

June 15, 2007

Media Matters – ABC’s World News only network news broadcast to report on subpoenas for former Bush aides

This is a disturbing story. Only one American news network reported that two former aides to Dubya had been subpoenaed to appear before the House and Senate judiciary committee over allegations of corruption in the appointment and firing of federal prosecutors. The Bush White House is being protected from public scrutiny by the media watchdogs.

This is a good example of how the force of the so-called ‘Fourth Estate’ in journalism has been fundamentally weakened over the past 10 years or so. The traditional media watchdog role was to bark and bite at those in power who abused the trust of the citizenry. That’s the historic foundation of the Fourth Estate model.

Today the role of the Fourth Estate in most cases is to sit quietly at the master’s feet, licking its own scabby ar*e.


American Media Wars over Iraq coverage

June 15, 2007

Media Matters – O’Reilly: CNN, MSNBC “delight in showing Iraqi violence” and “are actually helping the terrorists”

The American Fox Network – “fair and balanced”, yeah right – is well known for its patriotic support of Dubya and the American debacle in Iraq, but now the wonderful Bill O’Reilly has had a go at his colleagues on other networks over their Iraq coverage.

The fight was triggered by some research that Fox shows less footage of Iraq and covers less Iraq-related news than some of the other networks. This might come as a surprise to many, but the logic is quite simple: If your side’s losing the war, bury the news in other stuff and boost other news that puts your guys in a better light.

O’Reilly’s response was to blame the other networks for over-cooking the Iraq story and taking some delight in covering the war because it puts Bush in a bad light. When your light’s that sh*tty, it’s good to keep it out of sight under a big bushel barrel.

Here’s a sample of Bungle-Oh Bill’s reasoning:

Discussing the study during the June 12 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, O’Reilly claimed: “The terrorists are going to set off a bomb every day, because they know CNN and MSNBC are gonna put it on the air. That’s a strategy for the other side, the terrorist side. So I’m taking an argument that CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.” O’Reilly later stated: “I’m not gonna cover every bomb that goes off in Tikrit, because it’s meaningless.”

Yeah, meaningless in the context of the Bush regime’s total denial that it’s responsible — “now look at the mess you’ve gotten us into, George,” — for the daily horror of Baghdad and Tikrit. It’s the old “oxygen of publicity” argument, which I’ve never been that fond of.
It goes something like, the media’s responsible for terrorism because they give the terrorists what they want – the “oxygen” of publicity. This is based on the mistaken assumption that the terrorists don’t have any kind of legitimate political agenda, which the anti-imperialists in Iraq certainly do.

I admit that Islamic fundamentalism is a problem, it’s a politically-bankrupt ideology that cannot ultimately lead to the real liberation of Iraq, but I also work off the principle that a defeat for US imperialism — by any means necessary to paraphrase Malcolm X — is good for the planet as a whole.

We can deal with the Imams once Bush is out of the way.

Here’s some more of Malcolm. For the record, he was murdered by members of the Nation of Islam, he was not a deeply religious Muslim, he was killed because he had broken politically with Elijiah Mohammed:

“If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.”
Speech, Nov. 1963, New York City.