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newthinking

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Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
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Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/27/close-calls-we-were-much-closer-to-nuclear-annihilation-than-we-ever-knew/



The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used – accidentally or by decision – defies credibility”.

This unanimous statement was published by the Canberra Commission in 1996. Among the commission members were internationally known former ministers of defense and of foreign affairs and generals.

The nuclear-weapon states do not intend to abolish their nuclear weapons. They promised to do so when they signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970.

Furthermore, the International Court in The Hague concluded in its advisory opinion more than 20 years ago that these states were obliged to negotiate and bring to a conclusion such negotiations on complete nuclear disarmament.

The nuclear-weapon states disregard this obligation. On the contrary, they invest enormous sums in the modernization of these weapons of global destruction.

It is difficult today to raise a strong opinion in the nuclear-weapon states for nuclear disarmament. One reason is that the public sees the risk of a nuclear war between these states as so unlikely that it can be disregarded.

It is then important to remind ourselves that we were for decades, during the Cold War, threatened by extinction by nuclear war. We were not aware at that time how close we were.

In this article I will summarize some of the best-known critical situations. Recently published evidence shows that the danger was considerably greater than we knew at the time.

The risk today of a nuclear omnicide – killing all or almost all humans – is probably smaller than during the Cold War, but the risk is even today real and it may be rising. That is the reason I wish us to remind ourselves again: as long as nuclear weapons exist we are in danger of extermination.


Full story:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/27/close-calls-we-were-much-closer-to-nuclear-annihilation-than-we-ever-knew/

When the System Feels Rigged, How Surprising is Convention Mayhem?

Nevada's Democratic convention devolved into mayhem on Saturday as party pushed controversial new rules and disqualified Sanders delegates
by
Nika Knight, staff writer
CommonDreams.org
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/16/when-system-feels-rigged-how-surprising-convention-mayhem


Party officials eventually called in armed security guards and the chair unilaterally declared the convention finished after nearly 17 hours, bringing the chaotic proceedings to a bitter conclusion. (Screenshot: YouTube/anie h.)

The Nevada Democratic convention was overwhelmed by utter turmoil on Saturday after the chair adopted a controversial set of new rules and disqualified 56 Bernie Sanders delegates from participating, handing rival Hillary Clinton a majority of the state's delegates.

This occurred after the Democratic frontrunner lost the state's county level caucuses in April.

The chaotic convention, organized and run largely by Clinton supporters, was yet another instance of what many observers have decried as the party's rigging of the primary process in favor of the establishment candidate.

The party's blatant bolstering of Clinton's candidacy, critics say, has been obvious from the outset—and only grows more transparent as the election continues. They point to the following prior instances as evidence of a rigged process:

The primary debates were scheduled at inopportune times, a move that many interpreted as protecting Clinton from scrutiny and attempting to prevent Sanders from gaining attention.

The Democratic Party's superdelegates, a large majority of whom declared their support for Clinton long before voting occurred, are largely seen to have insulated her from Sanders' insurgent popularity among voters.

The DNC has exploited a fundraising loophole to funnel funds raised for state-level candidates to the Clinton campaign. Widespread disenfranchisement in the Arizona and New York primaries, which went to Clinton, earned accusations of voter suppression from many observers.

Sanders himself wrote to DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-Fl.) to point out that the committee in charge of deciding the party platform and rules at this summer's national convention is "stacked" with "Clinton loyalists."


For many, Nevada's tumultuous state convention over the weekend was yet another demonstration of the party's efforts to preserve the establishment.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/16/when-system-feels-rigged-how-surprising-convention-mayhem

 The American Foreign-Policy Establishment Is a One-Trick Pony

The military is a flawed tool that rarely produces real results—but try telling that to Washington.
By Tom Engelhardt
The Nation
http://www.thenation.com/article/the-american-foreign-policy-establishment-is-a-one-trick-pony/



 President Barack Obama at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

 There are the news stories that genuinely surprise you, and then there are the ones that you could write in your sleep before they happen. Let me concoct an example for you:

Top American and European military leaders are weighing options to step up the fight against the Islamic State in the Mideast, including possibly sending more US forces into Iraq, Syria, and Libya, just as Washington confirmed the second American combat casualty in Iraq in as many months.

Oh wait, that was actually the lead sentence in a May 3 Washington Times piece by Carlo Muñoz. Honestly, though, it could have been written anytime in the last few months by just about anyone paying any attention whatsoever, and it surely will prove reusable in the months to come (with casualty figures altered, of course). The sad truth is that across the Greater Middle East and expanding parts of Africa, a similar set of lines could be written ahead of time about the use of Special Operations forces, drones, advisers, whatever, as could the sorry results of making such moves in [add the name of your country of choice here].

Put another way, in a Washington that seems incapable of doing anything but worshiping at the temple of the US military, global policy-making has become a remarkably mindless military-first process of repetition. It’s as if, as problems built up in your life, you looked in the closet marked “solutions” and the only thing you could ever see was one hulking, over-armed soldier, whom you obsessively let loose, causing yet more damage.
How Much, How Many, How Often, and How Destructively

In Iraq and Syria, it’s been mission creep all the way. The B-52s barely made it to the battle zone for the first time and were almost instantaneously in the air, attacking Islamic State militants. US firebases are built ever closer to the front lines. The number of special ops forces continues to edge up. American weapons flow in (ending up in god knows whose hands). American trainers and advisers follow in ever increasing numbers, and those numbers are repeatedly fiddled with to deemphasize how many of them are actually there. The private contractors begin to arrive in numbers never to be counted. The local forces being trained or retrained have their usual problems in battle. American troops and advisers who were never, never going to be “in combat” or “boots on the ground” themselves now have their boots distinctly on the ground in combat situations. The first American casualties are dribbling in. Meanwhile, conditions in tottering Iraq and the former nation of Syria grow ever murkier, more chaotic, and less amenable by the week to any solution American officials might care for.

Full Read at:
http://www.thenation.com/article/the-american-foreign-policy-establishment-is-a-one-trick-pony/
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