Archive for the ‘Masters of War’ Category
Video Interview: Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony : Information Clearing House: ICH.
Goodbye, Chalmers Johnson. Condolences to his friends and family. He was a clear-sighted intellectual and US foreign policy analyst who revealed the facts predicting the downfall of the US empire and explained their import. He tried to warn those in power. He seemed to be, in this interview, a gentle, patient, reflective person with a strong sense of history.
Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope (American Empire Project)Chalmers Johnson, the renowned political scientist of Asia, died on Saturday. Steve Clemons, who worked closely with him, has written awarm and generous tribute. It is fully deserved.
Thanks to Steve I first met Chalmers over a decade ago, spending some time with him in Washington and San Francisco and Tokyo. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to realize that Chalmers was an inimitable figure–corruscating, engaging, witty, alert, cantankerous. He had the ability of many great professors to treat anyone’s question or assertion with the greatest seriousness–and then patiently elucidate his response. With the higher-ups, though, he wasn’t always so patient–I remember him referring to one member of the American embassy in Japan as an “intellectual geisha.” Johnson’s attitude, I think, could be summed up in the 1960s phrase “question authority.” Chalmers did a lot of questioning.
For much of his career, Johnson was a scholar. His doctoral dissertation called Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power compared the mobilization of the pesantry in communist China and Yugoslavia. It’s a deeply researched book. In focusing on the power of nationalism in both countries, Johnson was ahead of the curve, to use the kind of cliche that he would have shunned. He probably would have used a word like “percipient.” He went on to cause a stir in the 1980s and 1990s with his analyses of Japan, which he saw as controlled by the state bureaucracy–a kind of hybrid capitalism (the forerunner of what would emerge in China). Others, including Steve Clemons, can chronicle the history of these disputes over Japan more ably than I can.
Though I do remember a fascinating conversation between Murray Sayle, the Australian expatriate and crack journalist who lived for years in a small fishing village in Japan, and Chalmers at the Tokyo press club over whether America could survive without an industrial base. Murray, like Chalmers, was a contributor to the National Interest–he, too, had a penchant for upending conventional wisdom, arguing, as I recall, that the number of dead at Tiananmen Square, which he visited, had been greatly exaggerated. Murray died this September.
Steve Clemons explains Johnson’s academic ascension and upheavals better than I can. One thing that bears noting, however, is that Chalmers, I think, was greatly influenced by his service to the CIA as a consultant during the 1960s. He was a champion of the Vietnam War. He lost his faith. As I understand it, Chalmers made the reverse evolution of the neoconservatives, from the right to the left. He became a sharp and trenchant critic of what he dubbed the American empire.
In fact, Chalmers became a fierce foe of America’s presence at Okinawa and, more generally, what he saw as the inevitable “blowback,” to quote the title of one of his books, that accompanied America’s expansion around the globe. Chalmers would have none of it. Not for him the temptations of empire, the swagger, the braggadoccio that took off after the end of the Cold War and culminated in the George W. Bush presidency. I recall introducing him for a talk early on during the Bush presidency at the New America foundation. I think much of the audience thought he had gone off his rocker as he denounced America’s foreign policy. But by the end of the Bush presidency, much of what he espoused had become conventional wisdom. One of his best essays appeared in 2007 in the London Review of Books, where he reviewed a book called Ghost Planes. Chalmers discussed how spotters had traced CIA transports of terrorism suspects to secret prisons around the world–the rendition program, to use the government euphemism. WIth Washington sanctioning torture, Chalmer’s once-radical critique was starting to appear commonplace. He was, you could say, being overtaken by events. Now that America’s economy has been battered, his critique looks even more telling.
In a sense, it may be a mistake to say that Chalmers moved to the “left.” He personified many of the “old right” themes as well. But to try and categorize Chalmers is probably a mistake. Some would classify him as anti-American. To the contrary, he was an American original. His was the pain of a patriot who saw his country debasing and debauching the very ideals it purported to uphold. He thought it could do better.
Whether he will be fully vindicated in his dire view of the fall of the American Republic remains unclear. But this clairvoyant figure made a lasting contribution to the debate about American foreign policy. His command of English and sweeping analyses will not be soon forgotten. His cautions about American foreign policy will be continued by Steve Clemons and other admirers. Chalmers may have passed away, but the questions he raised will not. He didn’t simply leave behind a body of work. He has left a legacy.
Sunday, Nov 21 2010, 12:30PM
Next week, Foreign Policy magazine and its editor-in-chief Susan Glasser will be releasing its 2nd annual roster of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers in foreign policy. I have seen the list — and it’s impressively creative and eclectic.
There is one name that is not on the FP100who should be — and that is Chalmers Johnson, who from my perspective rivals Henry Kissinger as the most significant intellectual force who has shaped and defined the fundamental boundaries and goal posts of US foreign policy in the modern era. [gimme a break..]
Johnson, who passed away Saturday afternoon at 79 years, invented and was the acknowledged godfather of the conceptualization of the “developmental state“. For the uninitiated, this means that Chalmers Johnson led the way in understanding the dynamics of how states manipulated their policy conditions and environments to speed up economic growth. In the neoliberal hive at the University of Chicago, Chalmers Johnson was an apostate and heretic in the field of political economy. Johnson challenged conventional wisdom with he and his many star students — including E.B. Keehn, David Arase, Marie Anchordoguy, Mark Tilton and others — writing the significant treatises documenting the growing prevalence of state-led industrial and trade and finance policy abroad, particularly in Asia.
Today, the notion of “State Capitalism” has become practically commonplace in discussing the newest and most significant features of the global economy. Chalmers Johnson invented this field and planted the intellectual roots of understanding that other nation states were not trying to converge with and follow the so-called American model.
Johnson for his seminal work on Japanese political economy, MITI and the Japanese Miracle was dubbed by Newsweek‘s Robert Neff as “godfather of the revisionists” on Japan. Neff also tagged Clyde Prestowitz, James Fallows, Karel van Wolferen and others like R. Taggart Murphy and Pat Choate as the leaders of a new movement that argued that Japan was organizing its political economy in different ways than the U.S. This was a huge deal in its day — and these writers and thinkers led by the implacable Johnson were attacked from all corners of American academia and among the crowd of American Japan-hands who wanted to deflect rather than focus a spotlight on the fact that Japan’s economic mandarins were really the national security elite of the Pacific powerhouse nation.
In the 1980s when Johnson was arguing that Japan’s state directed capitalism was succeeding at not only propelling Japan’s wealth upwards but was creating “power” for Japan in the eyes of the rest of the world, Kissinger and the geostrategic crowd could not see beyond the global currency and power realities of nuclear warheads and throw-weight. The revisionists were responsible for injecting the economic dynamics of power and national interest in the equation of a nation’s global status.
To understand China’s rise today, the fact that China has become the Google of nations and America the General Motors of countries — the US being seen by others as a very well branded, large, underperforming country — one must go back to Chalmers Johnson’s work on the developmental state.
Scratch beneath these Johnson breakthroughs though and go back another decade and a half and one finds that Chalmers Johnson, a one time hard-right national security hawk, deconstructed the Chinese Communist revolution and showed that the dynamic that drive the revolutionary furor had less to do with class warfare and the appeal of communism but rather high octane “nationalism.” Johnson saw earlier than most that the same dynamic was true in Vietnam. His work which was published asPeasant Nationalism and Communist Power while a UC Berkeley doctoral student launched him as a formidable force in Asia-focused intellectual circles in the U.S.
Johnson’s ability to launch an instant, debilitating broadside against the intellectual vacuousness of friends or foes made him controversial. He chafed under the UC Berkeley Asia Program leadership of Robert Scalapino whom Johnson viewed as one of the primary dynastic chiefs of what became known as the “Chrysanthemum Club”, those whose Japan-hugging meant overlooking and/or ignoring the characteristics of Japan’s state-led form of capitalism. Johnson was provocatively challenged graduate students in the field to choose sides — to work either on the side where they acquiesced to a corrupt culture of US-Japan apologists who wanted the quaint big brother-little brother frame for the relationship to remain the dominant portal through which Japan was viewed or alternatively on the side of those who saw Japan and America’s forfeiture of its own economic interests as empirical facts.
When Robert Scalapino refused to budge despite Johnson’s agitation, Johnson who then headed UC Berkeley’s important China Studies program abandoned the university and became the star intellectual of UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. There is no doubt that Johnson but UCSD’s IRPS on the map and gave it an instant, global boost.
But as usual, Johnson — incorruptible and passionate about policy, theory, and their practice — eventually went to war with the bureaucrats running that institution. Those who had come in to head it were devotees of “rational choice theory” — which was spreading through the fields of political science and other social sciences as the so-called softer sciences were trying to absorb and apply the harder-edged econometrics-driven models of behavior that the neoliberal trends in economics were using.
Johnson and one of his proteges, E.B. “Barry” Keehn, wrote a powerful indictment of rational choice theory that helped trigger a long-running and still important intellectual divide that showed that rational choice theory was one of the great ideological delusions of the era. I too joined this battle and wrote extensively about the limits of rational choice theory which I myself saw dislodging university language programs, cultural studies, and more importantly — the institutional/structural approaches to understanding other political systems.
Johnson once told me when I was visiting him and his long-term, constant intellectual partner and wife, Sheila Johnson, that the UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies no longer either really taught international relations or pacific studies — and that a student’s entire first year was focused on acultural skill set development in economics and statistics. To Johnson, this tendency to elevate econometric formulas over the actual study of a nation’s language, history, culture and political system was part of America’s growing cultural imperialism. Studying “them” is really about “us” — as “they” will converge to be like “us” or will fall to the way side and be insignificant.
It was that night that Chalmers Johnson, Sheila Johnson and I agreed to form an idea on had been developing called the Japan Policy Research Institute. Chalmers became President and I the Director. We maintained this working relationship at the helm of JPRI together for more than 12 years and spoke nearly every week if not every other day as we tried to acquire and publish the leading thinking on Japan, US-Japan relations and Asia more broadly. We became conveners, published works on Asia that the official journals of record of US-Asia policy viewed as too risky, and emerged as key players in the media on all matters of America’s economic, political, and military engagement in the Pacific. Today, JPRI is headed by Chiho Sawada and is based at the University of San Francisco.
However, this base of JPRI gave Chalmers Johnson the launch pad that led to the largest contribution of his career to America’s national discourse. From his granular understanding of political economy of competing nations, his understanding of the national security infrastructure of both sides of the Cold War, he saw better than most that the US had organized its global assets — particularly its vassals Japan and Germany — in a manner similar to the Soviet Union. Both sides looked like the other. Both were empires. The Soviets collapsed, Chalmers told me and wrote. The U.S. did not — yet.
The rape of a 12 year-old girl by three American servicemen in Okinawa, Japan in September 1995 and the statement by a US military commander that they should have just picked up a prostitute became the pivot moving Johnson who had once been a supporter of the Vietnam War and railed against UC Berkeley’s anti-Vietnam protesters into a powerful critic of US foreign policy and US empire.
Johnson argued that there was no logic that existed any longer for the US to maintain a global network of bases and to continue the occupation of other countries like Japan. Johnson noted that there were over 39 US military installations on Okinawa alone. The military industrial complex that Eisenhower had warned against had become a fixed reality in Johnson’s mind and essays after the Cold War ended.
In four powerful books, all written not in the corridors of power in New York or Washington — but in his small home office at Cardiff-by-the-Sea in California, Johnson became one of the most successful chroniclers and critics of America’s foreign policy designs around the world.
Before 9/11, Johnson wrote the book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. After the terrorist attacks in 2001 in New York and Washington, Blowback became the hottest book in the market. The publishers could not keep up with demand and it became the most difficult to get, most wanted book among those in national security topics.
He then wrote Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, and most recently Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope. Johnson, who used to be a net assessments adviser to the CIA’s Allen Dulles, had become such a critic of Washington and the national security establishment that this hard-right conservative had become adopted as one of the political left’s greatest icons.
Johnson measured himself to some degree against the likes of Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal — but in my mind, Johnson was the more serious, the most empirical, the most informed about the nooks and crannies of every political position as he had journeyed the length of the spectrum.
Chalmers Johnson served on my board when I worked at the Japan America Society of Southern California. He and I, along with Sheila Johnson — along with Tom Engelhardt one of the world’s great editors — created the Japan Policy Research Institute. Johnson served on the Advisory Board of the Nixon Center when I served as the Center’s founding executive director. We had a long, constructive, feisty relationship. He helped propel my career and thinking. In recent years, we were more distant — mostly because I was not ready, as he was, to completely disown Washington.
Many of Johnson’s followers and Chal himself think that American democracy is lost, that the republic has been destroyed by an embrace of empire and that the American public is unaware and unconscious of the fix. He may be right — but I took a course trying to use blogs, new media, and a DC based think tank called the New America Foundation to challenge conventional foreign policy trends in other ways. Ultimately, I think Chalmers was content with what I was doing but probably knew that in the end, I’d catch up with him in his profound frustration with what America was doing in the world.
Chalmers and Sheila Johnson saw me lead the battle against John Bolton’s confirmation vote in the Senate as US Ambassador to the United Nations — but given the scale of his ambitions to dislodge America’s embrace of empire, Bolton was too small a target in his eyes. He was probably right.
Saying Chalmers Johnson is dead sounds like a lie. I can’t fathom him being gone — and with all of the amazing times I’ve had with him as well as the bouts of political debate and even yelling as we were pounding out JPRI materials on deadline, I just can’t imagine that this blustery, irreverent, completely brilliant force won’t be there to challenge Washington and academia.
Few intellectuals attain what might have been called many centuries ago the rank of “wizard” — an almost other worldly force who defied society’s and life’s rules and commanded an enormous following of acolytes and enemies.
Wizards don’t die — and I hope that those who read this, who knew him, or go on reading his works in the decades ahead provoke, inspire, jab, rebuke, applaud, and condemn in the way he did.
In one of my fondest memories of Chalmers and Sheila Johnson at their home with their then Russian blue cats, MITI and MOF, named after the two engines of Japan’s political economy — Chal railed against the journal, Foreign Affairs, which he saw as a clap trap of statist conventionalism. He decided he had had enough of the journal and of the organization that published it, the Council on Foreign Relations. So, Chalmers called the CFR and told the young lady on the phone to cancel his membership.
The lady said, “Professor Johnson, I’m sorry sir. No one cancels their membership in the Council in Foreign Relations. Membership is for life. People are canceled when they die.”
Chalmers Johnson, not missing a beat, said “Consider me dead.”
I never will. He is and was the intellectual giant of our times. Chalmers Johnson centuries from now will be seen, I think, as the intellectual titan of this past era, surpassing Kissinger in the breadth of seminal works that define what America was and could have been. [NO COMPARISON. Johnson never overthrew a government nor murdered innocent people]
My sincere condolences to Sheila, to others in his extended family — particularly among all of his students and colleagues who were part of the Johnson dynasty — and to his friends in San Diego who were a vital part of the texture of the Johnson household.
— Steve Clemons
Originally published August 15 2009 by Hesh Goldstein, citizen journalist
d(NaturalNews) The aspartame horror began in 1981 due to Donald Rumsfeld, as head of the G.D. Searle pharmaceutical company, when he used his political clout to put a known carcinogen on the market to poison a nation all in the name of money [and mind and population control].
In a Washington Post article of December 12, 2001 about Donald Rumsfeld, there was a one liner that was so incredibly relevant. That sentence was:
“He could be swilling Diet Coke with the secure knowledge that if not for his turnaround of Big Pharma giant G.D.Searle & Co. and successful touting of the sweetener aspartame, the beverage would not be possible”.
If Donald Rumsfeld had never been born think of how many millions of people the world over would not suffer headaches and dizziness. Thousands blind from the free methyl alcohol in aspartame would have sight, and there would be much fewer cases of optic neuritis and macular degeneration. Millions suffering seizures would live normal lives and wouldn`t be taking anti-seizure medication that won’t work because aspartame interacts with drugs and vaccines. Think of the runner, Flo Jo, who drank Diet Coke and died of a grand mal seizure. She, no doubt, would still be alive. Brain fog and memory loss, skyrocketing symptoms of aspartame disease, would not be epidemic.
Millions suffer insomnia because of the depletion of serotonin. Think of Heath Ledger. He took that horrible drug, Ambian CR for sleep, which makes your optic nerve and face swell and gives you horrible headaches. Plus, he drank Diet Coke and took other drugs and died of polypharmacy.
Since aspartame has been proven to be a multi potential carcinogen, would Farrah Fawcett still be alive?
Consider the constant plague of fallen athletes. Aspartame triggers an irregular heart rhythm and interacts with all cardiac medication. It damages the cardiac conduction system and causes sudden death. Thousands of athletes have fallen. Doctors H.J. Roberts and Russell Blaylock wrote these alerts:
http://www.wnho.net/aspartame msg scd.htm
http://www.wnho.net/aspartame and arrhythmias.htm
Epidemiological studies should be done on MS and lupus because of their link to aspartame use. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from aspartame induced multiple sclerosis and lupus, and if not warned in time could lose their lives as many have. Hospice nurses have reported Alzheimer`s disease in 30 year olds as it skyrockets from Rumsfeld`s plague. Think of Michael Jackson, a former Diet Pepsi spokesman. He developed lupus, then came the drugs, then came the serious joint pain, and then he died of cardiac arrest which aspartame causes.
As the phenylalanine in aspartame deletes serotonin, it triggers all kinds of psychiatric and behavioral problems. The mental hospitals are full of patients who are nothing but aspartame victims. If Donald Rumsfeld had never been born, the revoked petition for approval of aspartame would have been signed by FDA commissioner Jere Goyan and the mental hospitals would house probably 50% less victims. Jere Goyan would never have been fired at 3:00 AM by the Reagan transition Team to over-rule the Board of Inquiry. Instead, FDA commissioner Jere Goyan would have signed the revoked petition into law. See: http:/www.mpwhi.com/fda petition1.doc. The FDA today would still be Big Pharma`s adversary instead of being their “hooker”.
If aspartame had not been approved, Lou Gehrig`s Disease, Parkinson`s and other neuro-degenerative diseases would not be knocking off the public in record numbers. Michael Fox, a Diet Pepsi spokesman, would never have gotten Parkinson`s at age 30. He would probably still be making movies, young and healthy. Aspartame interacts with L-dopa and other Parkinson drugs. Parcopa has aspartame in it and the pharmaceutical company refuses to remove it.
One has to take a deep breath when you think how heartless it is that there is not even a warning for pregnant women. Aspartame triggers every kind of birth defect from autism and Tourettes` Syndrome to cleft palate. Aspartame is an abortifacient (a drug that induces abortion). As an example, out of 9 pregnancies, 8 were lost and the one that survived is schizophrenic. Multiply that all over the world due to Rumsfeld`s Plague. ADD and ADHD would be rare instead of rampant.
It`s normal for young girls to look forward to marriage and children. Yet, many sip on diet soda or use aspartame products not realizing that aspartame is an endocrine disrupting agent, stimulating prolactin, which is a pituitary hormone that stimulates milk production at childbirth, changes the menstrual flow and causes infertility. Many go through life never knowing why they couldn`t have children. Aspartame even destroys marriages because it causes male sexual dysfunction and ruins female response.
Aspartame causes every type of blood disorder from a low blood platelet count to leukemia. Because aspartame can precipitate diabetes the disease is epidemic. To make matters worse, it can simulate and aggravate diabetic retinopathy and neuopathy, destroy the optic nerve, cause diabetics to go into convulsions and interact with insulin. Diabetics lose limbs from the free methyl alcohol; professional organizations like the American Diabetes Association push and defend this poison because they take money from the manufactures. How many millions would not have diabetes if Rumsfeld had never been born?
Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/E951/Candere/Benevia, etc) and MSG, another one of Ajinomoto`s horrors, are responsible for the epidemic of obesity the world over. Why? Because aspartame makes you crave carbohydrates and causes great toxicity to the liver.
http:/www.mpwhi.com/ aspartame makes you fatter.htm
The FDA report lists 92 symptoms from unconsciousness and coma to shortness of breath and shock. Medical texts list even more: “Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic”,www.sunsetpress.com by H.J. Roberts, M.D., and “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., www.russellblaylockmd.com. There is simply no end to the horrors triggered by this literal addictive, excitoneurotoxic, genetically engineered carcinogenic drug. This chemical poison is so deadly that Dr. Bill Deagle, www.nutrimedical.com , a noted Virologist once said it was worse than depleted uranium because it is found everywhere in food.
The formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol embalms living tissue and damages DNA according to the Trocho Study done in Barcelona in 1998. Even with this devastating study showing how serious a chemical poison aspartame is, the FDA has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. With Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor now appointed as Deputy Commissioner to the FDA by Obama, it`s nothing more than Monsanto`s Washington Branch Office. Even before the Ramazzini Studies showing aspartame to be a multi-potential carcinogen, the FDA knew it. Their own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, even admitted that it violated the Delaney Amendment because of the brain tumors and brain cancer. Therefore, no allowable daily intake ever should have been able to be established. Aspartame caused all types of tumors from mammary, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic and thyroid to testicular and pituitary. Dr. Alemany, who did the Trocho Study, commented that aspartame could kill 200 million people. When you damage DNA you can destroy humanity.
Dr. James Bowen told the FDA over 20 years ago that aspartame is mass poisoning the American public and likewise in more than 70 countries of the world. No wonder it`s called “Rumsfeld`s Plague”.
Big Pharma knows all about aspartame and they add it to drugs, including the ones used to treat the problems caused by aspartame. Big Pharma has made America a fascist government. People are so sick from aspartame and yet they keep selling these dangerous pharmaceuticals at outrageous prices.
Dr. H.J. Roberts said in one of his books that you have to consider aspartame with killing children. We are talking about a drug that changes brain chemistry. Today children are medicated instead of educated.
Death and disability is what Donald Rumsfeld has heaped on consumers just to make money [and establish a fascist police state in America]. Think of the death of Charles Fleming who used to drink about 10 diet sodas a day. Then he used creatine on top of this, which interacts, and is considered the actual cause of death. Yet his wife, Diane Fleming, remains in a prison in Virginia convicted of his death, despite being the very one who tried to get her husband to stop using these dangerous products containing aspartame in the first place.
The list never ends. At least six American Airlines` pilots, who were heavy users of aspartame, have died with one in flight drinking a Diet Coke. When American Airlines was written about removing aspartame they said, “leave the flying to us”. Pilots too are sick and dying on aspartame, and when you fly your life is in the hands of the pilot. There was a case with a Delta pilot that died from esophageal cancer and had a history of consuming huge quantities of diet sodas. This was brought to the attention of the Delta management that refused the pilot`s wife`s request to alert other pilots.
Then there`s the Persian Gulf where diet sodas sat on pallets daily in temperatures in the 100 to 120 degree range for as long as 9 weeks at a time before the soldiers drank them all day long. Remember, aspartame converts to formaldehyde at 86 degrees; it interacts with vaccines and damages the mitochondria or life of the cell, and the whole molecule breaks down to a brain tumor agent.
There`s a book out there called, “Rumsfeld, His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy”, by Andrew Cockburn that will substantiate all of this. And fittingly, Rumsfeld appropriately lives in a place called Mount Misery.
In the video, “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”, which you can view at www.healthtalkhawaii.com, attorney James Turner explains how Rumsfeld got his poison marketed for human consumption. To learn about how the CDC investigation was covered up – The Rumsfeld-Pepsi-Nixon Connection, go to http://www.sweetremedy.tv/pages/rum… or view it in its entirety atwww.healthtalkhawaii.com.
For over a quarter of a century there has been mass poisoning of the public in over 100 countries of the world by aspartame because Donald Rumsfeld, as he put it, “called in his markers”. The aspartame industry has paid front groups and professional organizations to defend them and push it on the very people it can cause the most harm to. A suit was filed against the American Diabetes Association in 2004 for racketeering but they got out of it.
The hands of physicians are tied. Most are clueless that a patient is using aspartame, and the drugs used to treat the aspartame problem will probably interact and may even contain aspartame. This is the world that Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for!
My eternal thanks to Dr. Betty Martini, Founder, of Mission Possible International for her undying efforts in exposing this heinous crime against humanity.
About the author: Hesh Goldstein: Vegetarian since 1975, vegan since 1990. Moderator of a weekly radio show in Honolulu called, “Health Talk” since 1981. To obtain a state of good health, if it had a face or a mother or if man made it, don’t eat it.
For more information: www.healthtalkhawaii.com
NOTE: All this is in addition to Rumsfeld’s “career” as one of the most malevolent war criminals in history.… Another point: the original purpose
of Aspartame was as a chemical weapon; it’s a weapon that Rumsfeld has used against all the people in the world for 20 years. Why is he
getting away with it? He should be tried for crimes against humanity.
From October 12 to 15, 2010, I had extensive and detailed discussions with Fidel Castro in Havana, pertaining to the dangers of nuclear war, the global economic crisis and the nature of the New World Order. These meetings resulted in a wide-ranging and fruitful interview.
The first part of this interview published by Global Research and Cuba Debate focuses on the dangers of nuclear war.
The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history.
This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye.
How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will “make the World a safer place”?
A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in the interview is the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” could change the course of World history. The objective is to prevent the unthinkable, a nuclear war which threatens to destroy life on earth.
The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.
The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.
When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.
Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.
This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.
What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.
In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:
“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),
Montreal, Remembrance Day, November 11, 2010.
“The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone. On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”
“I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction
“In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
“It is about demanding that the world is not led into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.”
Fidel Castro Ruz, Havana, October 2010.
Professor Michel Chossudovsky: I am very honored to have this opportunity to exchange views concerning several fundamental issues affecting human society as a whole. I think that the notion that you have raised in your recent texts regarding the threat against Homo sapiens is fundamental.
What is that threat, the risk of a nuclear war and the threat to human beings, to Homo sapiens?
Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz: Since quite a long time –years I would say- but especially for some months now, I began to worry about the imminence of a dangerous and probable war that could very rapidly evolve towards a nuclear war.
Before that I had concentrated all my efforts on the analysis of the capitalist system in general and the methods that the imperial tyranny has imposed on humanity. The United States applies to the world the violation of the most fundamental rights.
During the Cold War, no one spoke about war or nuclear weapons; people talked about an apparent peace, that is, between the USSR and the United States, the famous MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) was guaranteed. It seemed that the world was going to enjoy the delights of a peace that would last for an unlimited time.
Michel Chossudovsky: … This notion of “mutual assured destruction” ended with the Cold War and after that the nuclear doctrine was redefined, because we never really thought about a nuclear war during the Cold War. Well, obviously, there was a danger –as even Robert McNamara said at some point in time.
But, after the Cold War, particularly after September 11 , America’s nuclear doctrine started to be redefined.
Fidel Castro Ruz: You asked me when was it that we became aware of the imminent risk of a nuclear war, and that dates back to the period I talked to you about previously, barely six months ago. One of the things that called our attention the most regarding such a war danger was the sinking of the Cheonan during a military maneuver. That was the flagship of the South Korean Navy; an extremely sophisticated vessel. It was at the time when we found on GlobalReasearch the journalist’s report that offered a clear and truly coherent information about the sinking of the Cheonan, which could not have been the work of a submarine that had been manufactured by the USSR more than sixty years ago, using an outdated technology which did not require the sophisticated equipment that could be detected by the Cheonan, during a joint maneuver with the most modern US vessels.
The provocation against the Democratic Republic of Korea added up to our own earlier concerns about an aggression against Iran. We had been closely following the political process in that country. We knew perfectly well what happened there during the 1950s, when Iran nationalized the assets of the British Petroleum in that country- which at the time was called the Anglo Persian Oil Company.
In my opinion, the threats against Iran became imminent in June , after the adoption of Resolution 1929 on the 9th of June, 2010, when the United Nations Security Council condemned Iran for the research it is carrying out and the production of small amounts of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and accused it of being a threat to the world. The position adopted by each and every member of the Security Council is known: 12 member States voted in favor –five of them had the right to veto; one of them abstained and 2 –Brazil and Turkey- voted against. Shortly after the Resolution was adopted –the most aggressive resolution of of them all– one US aircraft carrier, embedded in a combat unit, plus a nuclear submarine, went through the Suez Canal with the help of the Egyptian government. Naval units from Israel joined, heading for the Persian Gulf and the seas nearby Iran.
The sanctions imposed by the United States and its NATO allies against Iran was absolutely abusive and unjust. I cannot understand the reason why Russia and China did not veto the dangerous Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council. In my opinion this has complicated the political situation terribly and has placed the world on the brink of war.
I remember previous Israeli attacks against the Arab nuclear research centers. They first attacked and destroyed the one in Iraq in June 1981. They did not ask for anyone’s permission, they did not talk to anybody; they just attacked them and the Iraqis had to endure the strikes.
In 2007 they repeated that same operation against a research center that was being built by Syria. There is something in that episode that I really don’t quite understand: what was not clear to me were the underlying tactics, or the reasons why Syria did not denounce the Israeli attack against that research center where, undoubtedly, they were doing something, they were working on something for which, as it is known, they were receiving some cooperation from North Korea. That was something legal; they did not commit any violation.
I am saying this here and I am being very honest: I don’t understand why this was not denounced, because, in my opinion, that would have been important. Those are two very important antecedents.
I believe there are many reasons to think that they will try to do the same against Iran: destroy its research centers or the power generation centers of that country. As is known, the power generation uranium residues are the raw material to produce plutonium.
Michel Chossudovsky: It is true that that Security Council Resolution has to some extent contributed to cancelling the program of military cooperation that Russia and China have with Iran, especially Russia cooperates with Iran in the context of the Air Defence System by supplying its S-300 System.
I remember that just after the Security Council’s decision, with the endorsement of China and Russia, the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Well, we have approved the Resolution but that is not going to invalidate our military cooperation with Iran”. That was in June. But a few months later, Moscow confirmed that military cooperation [with Iran] was going to be frozen, so now Iran is facing a very serious situation, because it needs Russian technology to maintain its security,namely its [S-300] air defence system.
But I think that all the threats against Russia and China are intent upon preventing the two countries from getting involved in the Iran issue. In other words, if there is a war with Iran the other powers, which are China and Russia, aren’t going to intervene in any way; they will be freezing their military cooperation with Iran and therefore this is a way [for the US and NATO] of extending their war in the Middle East without there being a confrontation with China and Russia and I think that this more or less is the scenario right now.
There are many types of threats directed against Russia and China. The fact that China’s borders are militarized –China’s South Sea, the Yellow Sea, the border with Afghanistan, and also the Straits of Taiwan- it is in some way a threat to dissuade China and Russia from playing the role of powers in world geopolitics, thus paving the way and even creating consensus in favour of a war with Iran which is happening under conditions where Iran’s air defence system is being weakened. [With the freeze of its military cooperation agreement with Russia] Iran is a “sitting duck” from the point of view of its ability to defend itself using its air defence system.
Fidel Castro Ruz: In my modest and serene opinion that resolution should have been vetoed. Because, in my opinion, everything has become more complicated in several ways.
Militarily, because of what you are explaining regarding, for example, the commitment that existed and the contract that had been signed to supply Iran the S-300, which are very efficient anti-aircraft weapons in the first place.
There are other things regarding fuel supplies, which are very important for China, because China is the country with the highest economic growth. Its growing economy generates greater demand for oil and gas. Even though there are agreements with Russia for oil and gas supplies, they are also developing wind energy and other forms of renewable energy. They have enormous coal reserves; nuclear energy will not increase much, only 5% for many years. In other words, the need for gas and oil in the Chinese economy is huge, and I cannot imagine, really, how they will be able to get all that energy, and at what price, if the country where they have important investments is destroyed by the US. But the worst risk is the very nature of that war in Iran. Iran is a Muslim country that has millions of trained combatants who are strongly motivated.
There are tens of millions of people who are under [military] orders, they are being politically educated and trained, men and women alike. There are millions of combatants trained and determined to die. These are people who will not be intimidated and who cannot be forced to changing [their behavior]. On the other hand, there are the Afghans –they are being murdered by US drones –there are the Pakistanis, the Iraqis, who have seen one to two million compatriots die as a result of the antiterrorist war invented by Bush. You cannot win a war against the Muslim world; that is sheer madness.
Michel Chossudovsky: But it’s true, their conventional forces are very large, Iran can mobilize in a single day several million troops and they are on the border with Afghanistan and Iraq, and even if there is a blitzkrieg war, the US cannot avoid a conventional war that is waged very close to its military bases in that region.
Fidel Castro Ruz: But the fact is that the US would lose that conventional war. The problem is that nobody can win a conventional war against millions of people;they would not concentrate their forces in large numbers in a single location for the Americans to kill them.
Well, I was a guerrilla fighter and I recall that I had to think seriously about how to use the forces we had and I would never have made the mistake of concentratingthose forces in a single location, because the more concentrated the forces, the greater the casualties caused by weapons of mass destruction….
From left to right: Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon, Fidel Castro Ruz
Michel Chossudovsky: As you mentioned previously, a matter of utmost importance: China and Russia’s decision in the Security Council, their support of Resolution 1929, is in fact harmful to them because, first, Russia cannot export weapons, thus its main source of income is now frozen. Iran was one of the main customers or buyers of Russian weapons, and that was an important source of hard currency earnings which supported Russia`s consumer goods economy thereby covering the needs of the population.
And, on the other hand China requires access to sources of energy as you mentioned. The fact that China and Russia have accepted the consensus in the UN Security Council, is tantamount to saying: “We accept that you kill our economy and, in some ways, our commercial agreements with a third country”. That’s very serious because it [the UNSC Resolution] not only does harm to Iran; is also harms those two countries, and I suppose –even though I am not a politician –that there must be tremendous divisions within the leadership, both in Russia and in China, for that to happen, for Russia to accept not to use its veto power in the Security Council.
I spoke with Russian journalists, who told me that there wasn’t exactly a consensus within the government per se; it was a guideline. But there are people in the government with a different point of view regarding the interests of Russia and its stance in the UN Security Council. How do you see this?
Fidel Castro Ruz: How do I see the general situation? The alternative in Iran –let me put it this way –the conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is not an alternative for anyone.
On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global. Thus the danger in my opinion exists with the current situation in Iran, bearing in mind the reasons you are presenting and many other facts; which brings me to the conclusion that the war would end up being a nuclear war.
Filming of Fidel’s message on October 15. From left to right: Fidel Castro, TV crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon
Michel Chossudovsky: In other words, since the US and its allies are unable to win the conventional war, they are going to use nuclear weapons, but that too would be a war they couldn’t win, because we are going to lose everything.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Everyone would be losing that war; that would be a war that everyone would lose. What would Russia gain if a nuclear war were unleashed over there? What would China gain? What kind of war would that be? How would the world react? What effect would it have on the world economy? You explained it at the university when you spoke about the centralized defence system designed by the Pentagon. It sounds like science fiction; it doesn’t even remotely resemble the last world war. The other thing which is also very important is the attempt [by the Pentagon] to transform nuclear weapons into conventional tactical weapons.
Today, October 13th, I was reading about the same thing in a news dispatch stating that the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were drawing up strong protests about the fact that the US had just carried out subcritical nuclear tests. They’re called subcritical, which means the use of the nuclear weapon without deploying all the energy that might be achieved with the critical mass.
It reads: “Indignation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki because of a United States nuclear test.”…
“The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that suffered a nuclear attack at the end of WW II, deplored today the nuclear test carried out by the US on September last, called sub critical because it does not unleash chain nuclear reactions.
“The test, the first of this kind in that country since 2006, took place on September 15th somewhere in Nevada, United States. It was officially confirmed by the Department of Energy of that country, the Japan Times informed.”
What did that newspaper say?
“I deeply deplore it because I was hoping that President Barack Obama would take on the leadership in eliminating nuclear weapons”, the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, stated today at a press conference.
A series of news items related to that follows.
“The test has also caused several protests among the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including several survivors of the atomic bombs attacks that devastated both cities in August of 1945.
“We cannot tolerate any action of the United States that betrays President Barack Obama’s promise of moving forward to a world without nuclear arms, said Yukio Yoshioka, the deputy director of the Council for the Victims of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb.
“The government stated that it has no intention of protesting.” It relegates the protest to a social level and then said: “With this, the number of subcritical nuclear tests made by the United States reaches the figure of 26, since July 1997 when the first of them took place.”
Now it says:
“Washington considers that these tests do not violate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) since they do not unleash any chain reactions, and therefore do not release any nuclear energy, and so they can be considered to be laboratory tests.”
The US says that it has to make these tests because they are necessary to maintain the “security of its nuclear arsenal”, which is the same as saying: since we have these great nuclear arsenals, we are doing this in order to ensure our security.
Michel Chossudovsky: Let us return to the issue of the threat against Iran, because you said that the US and its allies could not win a conventional war. That is true; but nuclear weapons could be used as an alternative to conventional warfare, and this evidently is a threat against humanity, as you have emphasized in your writings.
The reason for my concern is that after the Cold War the idea of nuclear weapons with a “humanitarian face” was developed, saying that those weapons were not really dangerous, that they do not harm civilians, and in some way the nuclear weapons label was changed. Therefore, according to their criteria, [tactical] nuclear weapons are no different from conventional weapons, and now in the military manuals they say that tactical nuclear weapons are weapons that pose no harm to civilians.
Therefore, we might have a situation in which those who decide to attack Iran with a nuclear weapon would not be aware of the consequences that this might have for the Middle East, central Asia, but also for humanity as a whole, because they are going to say: “Well, according to our criteria, these [tactical] nuclear weapons [safe for civilians] are different from those deployed during the Cold War and so, we can use them against Iran as a weapon which does not [affect civilians and] does not threaten global security.”
How do you view that? It’s extremely dangerous, because they themselves believe their own propaganda. It is internal propaganda within the armed forces, within the political apparatus.
When tactical nuclear weapons were recategorized in 2002-2003, Senator Edward Kennedy said at that time that it was a way of blurring the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons.
But that’s where we are today; we are in an era where nuclear weapons are considered to be no different from the Kalashnikov. I’m exaggerating, but somehownuclear weapons are now part of the tool box –that’s the word they use, “tool box” –and from there you choose the type of weapon you are going to use, so the nuclear weapon could be used in the conventional war theatre, leading us to the unthinkable, a nuclear war scenario on a regional level, but also with repercussions at the global level.
Fidel Castro Ruz: I heard what you said on the Round Table [Cuban TV] program about such weapons, presumably harmless to people living in the vicinity of the areas where they are to be targeted, the power [explosive yield] could range from one-third of the one that was used in Hiroshima up to six times the power [explosive yield] of that weapon, and today we know perfectly well the terrible damage it causes. One single bomb instantly killed 100,000 people. Just imagine a bomb having six times the power of that one [Hiroshima bomb], or two times that power, or an equivalent power, or 30 per cent that power. It is absurd.
There is also what you explained at the university about the attempt to present it as a humanitarian weapon that could also be available to the troops in the theatre of operations. So at any given moment any commander in the theatre of operations could be authorized to use that weapon as one that was more efficient than other weapons, something that would be considered his duty according to military doctrine and the training he/she received at the military academies.
Michel Chossudovsky: In that sense, I don’t think that this nuclear weapon would be used without the approval, let’s say, of the Pentagon, namely its centralised command structures [e.g. Strategic Command]; but I do think that it could be used without the approval of the President of the United States and Commander in Chief. In other words, it isn’t quite the same logic as that which prevailed during the Cold War where there was the Red Telephone and…
Fidel Castro Ruz: I understand, Professor, what you are saying regarding the use of that weapon as authorized by the senior levels of the Pentagon, and it seems right to me that you should make that clarification so that you won’t be blamed for exaggerating the dangers of that weapon.
But look, after one has learned about the antagonisms and arguments between the Pentagon and the President of the United States, there are really not too many doubts about what the Pentagon decision would be if the chief of the theatre of operations requests to use that weapon because he feels it is necessary or indispensable.
Michel Chossudovsky: There is also another element. The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons now, as far as I know, is being undertaken by several European countries which belong to NATO. This is the case of Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Italy and Germany. Thus, there are plenty of these “little nuclear bombs”very close to the theatre of war, and on the other hand we also have Israel.
Now then, I don’t think that Israel is going to start a war on its own; that would be impossible in terms of strategy and decision-making. In modern warfare, with the centralization of communications, logistics and everything else, starting a major war would be a centralized decision. However, Israel might act if the US gives Israel the green light to launch the first attack. That’s within the realm of possibilities, even though there are some analysts who now say that the war on Iran will start in Lebanon and Syria with a conventional border war, and then that would provide the pretext for an escalation in military operations.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Yesterday, October 13th, a crowd of people welcomed Ahmadinejad in Lebanon like a national hero of that country. I was reading a cable about that this morning.
Besides, we also know about Israel’s concerns regarding that, given the fact that the Lebanese are people with a great fighting spirit who have three times the number of reactive missiles they had in the former conflict with Israel and Lebanon, which was a great concern for Israel because they need –as the Israeli technicians have asserted – the air force to confront that weapon. And so, they state, they could only be attacking Iran for a number of hours, not three days, because they should be paying attention to such a danger. That’s the reason why, from these viewpoints, every day that goes by they are more concerned, because those weapons are part of the Iranian arsenal of conventional weapons. For example, among their conventional weapons, they have hundreds of rocket launchers to fight surface warships in that area of the Caspian Sea. We know that, from the time of the Falklands war, a surface warship can dodge one, two or three rockets. But imagine how a large warship can protect itself against a shower of weapons of that kind. Those are rapid vessels operated by well-trained people, because the Iranians have been training people for 30 years now and they have developed efficient conventional weapons.
You yourself know that, and you know what happened during the last World War, before the emergence of nuclear weapons. Fifty million people died as a result of the destructive power of conventional weaponry.
A war today is not like the war that was waged in the nineteenth century, before the appearance of nuclear weapons. And wars were already highly destructive. Nuclear arms appeared at the very last minute, because Truman wanted to use them. He wanted to test the Hiroshima bomb, creating the critical mass from uranium, and the other one in Nagasaki, which created a critical mass from plutonium. The two bombs killed around 100,000 persons immediately. We don’t know how many were wounded and affected by radiation, who died later on or suffered for long years from these effects. Besides, a nuclear war would create a nuclear winter.
I am talking to you about the dangers of a war, considering the immediate damage it might cause. It would be enough if we only had a limited number of them, the amount of weapons owned by one of the least mighty [nuclear] powers, India or Pakistan. Their explosion would be sufficient to create a nuclear winter from which no human being would survive. That would be impossible, since it would last for 8 to 10 years. In a matter of weeks the sunlight would no longer be visible.
Mankind is less than 200,000 years old. So far everything was normalcy. The laws of nature were being fulfilled; the laws of life developed on planet Earth for more than 3 billion years. Men, the Homo sapiens, the intelligent beings did not exist after 8 tenths of a million years had elapsed, according to all studies. Two hundred years ago, everything was virtually unknown. Today we know the laws governing the evolution of the species. Scientists, theologians, even the most devout religious people who initially echoed the campaign launched by the great ecclesiastical institutions against the Darwinian Theory, today accept the laws of evolution as real, without it preventing their sincere practice of their religious beliefs where, quite often, people find comfort for their most heartfelt hardships.
I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction, to the Iranians as well as the Israelis. Natural resources should be distributed. They should! I don’t mean they will, or that it would be easy to do it. But there would be no other alternative for humanity, in a world of limited dimensions and resources, even if all the scientific potential to create renewable sources of energy is developed. We are almost 7 billion inhabitants, and so we need to implement a demographic policy. We need many things, and when you put them all together and you ask yourself the following question: will human beings be capable of understanding that and overcome all those difficulties? You realize that only enthusiasm can truly lead a person to say that he or she will confront and easily resolve a problem of such proportions.
Michel Chossudovsky: What you have just said is extremely important, when you spoke of Truman. Truman said that Hiroshima was a military base and that there would be no harm to civilians.
This notion of collateral damage; reflects continuity in [America’s] nuclear doctrine ever since the year 1945 up until today. That is, not at the level of reality but at the level of [military] doctrine and propaganda. I mean, in 1945 it was said: Let’s save humanity by killing 100,000 people and deny the fact that Hiroshima was a populated city, namely that it was a military base. But nowadays the falsehoods have become much more sophisticated, more widespread, and nuclear weapons are more advanced. So, we are dealing with the future of humanity and the threat of a nuclear war at a global level. The lies and fiction underlying [US] political and military discourse would lead us to a Worldwide catastrophe in which politicians would be unable to make head or tails of their own lies.
Then, you said that intelligent human beings have existed for 200,000 years, but that same intelligence, which has now been incorporated in various institutions, namely the media, the intelligence services, the United Nations, happens to be what is now going to destroy us. Because we believe our own lies, which leads us towards nuclear war, without realizing that this would be the last war, as Einstein clearly stated. A nuclear war cannot ensure the continuation of humanity; it is a threat against the world.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Those are very good words, Professor. The collateral damage, in this case, could be humanity.
War is a crime and there is no need for any new law to describe it as such, because since Nuremberg, war has already been considered a crime, the biggest crime against humanity and peace, and the most horrible of all crimes.
Michel Chossudovsky.- The Nuremberg texts clearly state: “War is a criminal act, it is the ultimate act of war against peace.” This part of the Nuremberg texts is often quoted. After the Second World War, the Allies wanted to use it against the conquered, and I am not saying that this is not valid, but the crimes that they committed, including the crimes committed against Germany and Japan, are never mentioned. With a nuclear weapon, in the case of Japan.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is an extremely important issue for me and if we are talking about a “counter-alliance for peace”, the criminalization of war seems to me to be a fundamental aspect. I’m talking about the abolition of war; it is a criminal act that must be eliminated.
Fidel Castro Ruz – Well, who would judge the main criminals?
Michel Chossudovsky.- The problem is that they also control the judicial system and the courts, so the judges are criminals as well. What can we do?
Fidel Castro Ruz I say that this is part of the Battle of Ideas.
It is about demanding that the world not be spearheaded into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.
We do not know, but we presume that if man becomes aware of his own existence, that of his people, that of his loved ones, even the U.S. military leaders would be aware of the outcome; although they are taught in life to follow orders, not infrequently genocide, as in the use of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, because that is what they were taught in the [military] academies.
As all of this is sheer madness, no politician is exempt from the duty of conveying these truths to the people. One must believe in them, otherwise there would be nothing to fight for.
Michel Chossudovsky .- I think what you are saying is that at the present time, the great debate in human history should focus on the danger of nuclear war that threatens the future of humanity, and that any discussion we have about basic needs or economics requires that we prevent the occurrence of war and instateglobal peace so that we can then plan living standards worldwide based on basic needs; but if we do not solve the problem of war, capitalism will not survive, right?
Fidel Castro Ruz.– No, it cannot survive, in terms of all the analysis we’ve undertaken, it cannot survive. The capitalist system and the market economy that suffocate human life, are not going to disappear overnight, but imperialism based on force, nuclear weapons and conventional weapons with modern technology, has to disappear if we want humanity to survive.
Now, there something occurring at this very moment which characterizes the Worldwide process of disinformation, and it is the following: In Chile 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground, and the world is rejoicing at the news that 33 miners have been saved. Well, simply, what will the world do if it becomes aware that 6,877,596,300 people need to be saved, if 33 have created universal joy and all the mass media speak only of that these days, why not save the nearly 7 billion people trapped by the terrible danger of perishing in a horrible death like those of Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
Michel Chossudovsky. -This is also, clearly, the issue of media coverage that is given to different events and the propaganda emanating from the media.
I think it was an incredible humanitarian operation that the Chileans undertook, but it is true that if there is a threat to humanity, as you mentioned, it should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world because human society in its totality could be the victim of a decision that has been made, even by a three-star general who is unaware of the consequences [of nuclear weapons].
But here we are talking about how the media, particularly in the West, are hiding the most serious issue that potentially affects the world today, which is the danger of nuclear war and we must take it seriously, because both Hillary Clinton and Obama have said that they have contemplated using nuclear weapon in a so-called preventive war against Iran.
Well, how do we answer? What do you say to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama regarding their statements pertaining to the unilateral use of nuclear weapons against Iran, a country that poses no danger to anyone?
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, I know two things: What was discussed. This has been revealed recently, namely far-reaching arguments within the Security Council of the United States. That is the value of the book written by Bob Woodward, because it revealed how all these discussions occurred. We know the positions of Biden, Hillary, Obama, and indeed in those discussions, who was firmer against the extension of the war, who was able to argue with the military, it was Obama, that is a fact.
I am writing the latest reflection, actually, about that. The only one who got there, and gave him advice, who had been an opponent because of his Republican Party membership, was Colin Powell. He reminded him that he was the President of the United States, encouraging advice.
I think we should ensure that this message reaches everybody; what we have discussed. I think many read the articles you have published in Global Research. I think we need to disclose, and to the extent that we have these discussions and harbor the idea of disclosure. I am delighted every time you argue, reasonably, andput forth these issues, simply, in my opinion, there is a real deficit of information for the reasons you explained.
Now, we must invent. What are the ways to make all this known? At the time of the Twelve Apostles, there were 12 and no more, and they were given the task of disseminating the teachings a preacher transmitted to them. Sure, they had hundreds of years ahead of them. We, however, we do not have that. But I was looking at the list of personalities, and there are more than 20 prominent people who have been working with Global Research, prestigious people, asking the samequestions, but they do not have hundreds of years, but, well, very little time.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The antiwar movement in the United States, Canada and Europe is divided. Some people think the threat comes from Iran, others say they [the Iranians] are terrorists, and there is a lot of disinformation in the movement itself.
Besides, at the World Social Forum the issue of nuclear war is not part of the debate between people of the Left or progressives. During the Cold War there was talk of the danger of nuclear conflict, and people had this awareness.
At the last meeting held in New York on non-proliferation, under the United Nations, the emphasis was on the nuclear threat from non-state entities, from terrorists.
President Obama said that the threat comes from Al Qaeda, which has nuclear weapons. Also, if someone reads Obama’s speeches he is suggesting that the terrorists have the ability of producing small nuclear bombs, what they call “dirty bombs”. Well, it’s a way of [distorting the issues] and shifting the emphasis.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – That is what they tell him [Obama], that is what his own people tell him and have him believe.
Look, what do I do with the reflections? They are distributed in the United Nations, they are sent to all governments, the reflections, of course, are short, to send them to all the governments, and I know there are many people who read them. The problem is whether you are telling the truth or not. Of course, when one collects all this information in relation to a particular problem because the reflections are also diluted on many issues, but I think you have to concentrate on our part, the disclosure of essentials, I cannot cover everything.
Michel Chossudovsky. – I have a question, because there is an important aspect related to the Cuban Revolution. In my opinion, the debate on the future of humanity is also part of a revolutionary discourse. If society as a whole were to be threatened by nuclear war, it is necessary in some form, to have a revolution at the levels of ideas as well as actions against this event, [namely nuclear war].
Fidel Castro Ruz .- We have to say, I repeat, that humanity is trapped 800 meters underground and that we must get it out, we need to do a rescue operation. That is the message we must convey to a large number of people. If people in large numbers believe in that message, they will do what you are doing and they will support what you are supporting. It will no longer depend on who are those who say it, but on the fact that somebody [and eventually everybody] says it.
You have to figure out how you can reach the informed masses. The solution is not the newspapers. There is the Internet, Internet is cheaper, Internet is more accessible. I approached you through the Internet looking for news, not through news agencies, not through the press, not from CNN, but news through a newsletter I receive daily articles on the Internet . Over 100 pages each day.
Yesterday you were arguing that in the United States some time ago two thirds of public opinion was against the war on Iran, and today, fifty-some percent favored military action against Iran.
Michel Chossudovsky .- What happened, even in recent months, it was said: “Yes, nuclear war is very dangerous, it is a threat, but the threat comes from Iran,” and there were signs in New York City saying: “ Say no to nuclear Iran, “and the message of these posters was to present Iran as a threat to global security, even if the threat did not exist because they do not have nuclear weapons.
Anyway, that’s the situation, and The New York Times earlier this week published a text that says, yes, political assassinations are legal.
Then, when we have a press that gives us things like that, with the distribution that they have, it is a lot of work [on our part]. We have limited capabilities to reverse this process [of media disinformation] within the limited distribution outlets of the alternative media. In addition to that, now many of these alternative media are financed by the economic establishment.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And yet we have to fight.
Michel Chossudovsky .- Yes, we keep struggling, but the message was what you said yesterday. That in the case of a nuclear war, the collateral damage would be humanity as a whole.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- It would be humanity, the life of humanity.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is true that the Internet should continue to function as an outreach tool to avoid the war.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, it’s the only way we can prevent it. If we were to create world opinion, it’s like the example I mentioned: there are nearly 7 billion people trapped 800 meters underground, we use the phenomenon of Chile to disclose these things.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The comparison you make with the rescue of 33 miners, saying that there are 33 miners below ground there to be rescued, whichreceived extensive media coverage, and you say that we have almost 7 billion people that are 800 meters underground and do not understand what is happening, but we have to rescue them, because humanity as a whole is threatened by the nuclear weapons of the United States and its allies, because they are the ones who say they intend to use them.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And will use them [the nuclear weapons] if there is no opposition, if there is no resistance. They are deceived; they are drugged with military superiority and modern technology and do not know what they are doing.
They do not understand the consequences; they believe that the prevailed situation can be maintained. It is impossible.
Michel Chossudovsky. – Or they believe that this is simply some sort of conventional weapon.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Yes, they are deluded and believe that you can still use that weapon. They believe they are in another era, they do not remember what Einstein said when he stated he did not know with what weapons World War III would be fought with, but the World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. I added there: “… there wouldn’t be anyone to handle the sticks and stones.” That is the reality; I have it written there in the short speech you suggested I develop.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The problem I see is that the use of nuclear weapons will not necessarily lead to the end of humankind from one day to the next, because the radioactive impact is cumulative.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Repeat that, please.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The nuclear weapon has several different consequences: one is the explosion and destruction in the theater of war, which is the phenomenon of Hiroshima, and the other are the impacts of radiation which increases over time.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, nuclear winter, as we call it. The prestigious American researcher, University of Rutgers (New Jersey) Professor Emeritus Alan Robock irrefutably showed that the outbreak of a war between two of the eight nuclear powers who possess the least amount of weapons of this kind would result in “nuclear winter”.
He disclosed that at the fore of a group of researchers who used ultra-scientific computer models.
It would be enough to have 100 strategic nuclear weapons of the 25,000 possessed by the eight powers mentioned exploding in order to create temperatures below freezing all over the planet and a long night that would last approximately eight years. Professor Robock exclaims that it is so terrible that people are falling into a “state of denial”, not wanting to think about it; it is easier to pretend that it doesn’t exist”. He told me that personally, at an international conference he was giving, where I had the honor of conversing with him.
Well, but I start from an assumption: If a war breaks out in Iran, it will inevitably become nuclear war and a global war. So that’s why yesterday we were saying it was not right to allow such an agreement in the Security Council, because it makes everything easier, do you see?
Such a war in Iran today would not remain confined to the local level, because the Iranians would not give in to use of force. If it remained conventional, it would be a war the United States and Europe could not win, and I argue that it would rapidly turn into a nuclear war. If the United States were to make the mistake of using tactical nuclear weapons, there would be consternation throughout the world and the US would eventually lose control of the situation.
Obama has had a heated discussion with the Pentagon about what to do in Afghanistan; imagine Obama’s situation with American and Israeli soldiers fighting against millions of Iranians. The Saudis are not going to fight in Iran, nor are the Pakistanis or any other Arab or Muslim soldiers. What could happen is that the Yanks have serious conflicts with the Pakistani tribes which they are attacking and killing with their drones, and they know that. When you strike a blow against those tribes, first attacking and then warning the government, not saying anything beforehand; that is one of the things that irritates the Pakistanis. There is a strong anti-American feeling there.
It’s a mistake to think that the Iranians would give up if they used tactical nuclear weapons against them, and the world really would be shocked, but then it may be too late.
Michel Chossudovsky .- They cannot win a conventional war.
Fidel Castro Ruz .- They cannot win.
Michel Chossudovsky. – And that we can see in Iraq; in Afghanistan they can destroy an entire country, but they cannot win from a military standpoint.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – But to destroy it [a country] at what price, at what cost to the world, at what economic costs, in the march towards catastrophe? The problems you mentioned are compounded, the American people would react, because the American people are often slow to react, but they react in the end. The American people react to casualties, the dead.
A lot of people supported the Nixon administration during the war in Vietnam, he even suggested the use of nuclear weapons in that country to Kissinger, but he dissuaded him from taking that criminal step. The United States was obliged by the American people to end the war; it had to negotiate and had to hand over the south. Iran would have to give up the oil in the area. In Vietnam what did they hand over? An expense. Ultimately, they are now back in Vietnam, buying oil, trading. In Iran they would lose many lives, and perhaps a large part of the oil facilities in the area would be destroyed.
In the present situation, is likely they would not understand our message. If war breaks out, my opinion is that they, and the world, would gain nothing. If it were solely a conventional war, which is very unlikely, they would lose irretrievably, and if it becomes a global nuclear war, humanity would lose.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Iran has conventional forces that are …significant.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Land forces, but also rockets and also Iran has the ability to defend itself.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- While there remains one single man with a gun, this is an enemy they will have to defeat.
Michel Chossudovsky.- And there are several millions with guns.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions, and they will have to sacrifice many American lives, unfortunately it would be only then that Americans would react, if they don’t react now they will react later when it will be too late; we must write, we must divulge this as much as we can. Remember that the Christians were persecuted, they led them off to the catacombs, they killed them, they threw them to the lions, but they held on to their beliefs for centuries and later that was what they did to the Moslems, and the Moslems never yielded.
There is a real war against the Moslem world. Why are those lessons of history being forgotten? I have read many of the articles you wrote about the risks of that war.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Let us return to the matter of Iran. I believe that it is very important that world opinion comprehends the war scenario. You clearly state that they would lose the war, the conventional war, they are losing it in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has more conventional forces than those of NATO in Afghanistan.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Much more experienced and motivated. They are now in conflict with those forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and one they don’t mention: the Pakistanis of the same ethnic group as those in the resistance in Afghanistan. In White House discussions, they consider that the war is lost, that’s what the book by Bob Woodward entitled “Obama’s Wars” tells us. Imagine the situation if in addition to that, they append a war to liquidate whatever remains after the initial blows they inflict on Iran.
So they will be thrust into a conventional war situation that they cannot win, or they will be obliged to wage a global nuclear war, under conditions of a worldwide upheaval. And I don’t know who can justify the type of war they have to wage; they have 450 targets marked out in Iran, and of these some, according to them, will have to be attacked with tactical nuclear warheads because of their location in mountainous areas and at the depth at which they are situated [underground]. Many Russian personnel and persons from other nationalities collaborating with them will die in that confrontation.
What will be the reaction of world opinion in the face of that blow which today is being irresponsibly promoted by the media with the backing of many Americans?
Michel Chossudovsky.- One issue, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, they are all neighbouring countries in a certain way. Iran shares borders with Afghanistan and with Iraq, and the United States and NATO have military facilities in the countries they occupy. What’s going to happen? I suppose that the Iranian troops are immediately going to cross the border.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, I don’t know what tactic they’re going to use, but if one were in their place, the most advisable is to not concentrate their troops, because if the troops are concentrated they will be victims of the attack with tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, in accordance with the nature of the threat as it is being described, the best thing would be for them to use a tactic similar to ours in southern Angola when we suspected that South Africa had nuclear weapons; we created tactical groups of 1000 men with land and anti-air fire power. Nuclear weapons could never within their reach target a large number of soldiers. Anti-air rocketry and other similar weapons was supporting our forces. Weapons and the conditions of the terrain change and tactics must continuously change.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Dispersed.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Dispersed, but not isolated men, there were around 1000 men with appropriate weapons, the terrain was sandy, wherever they got to they had to dig in and protect themselves underground, always keeping the maximum distance between components. The enemy was never given an opportunity to aim a decisive blow against the 60,000 Cuban and Angolan soldiers in southern Angola.
What we did in that sister country is what, a thousand strong army, operating with traditional criteria, would have done. Fine, we were not 100 000, in southern Angola there were 60,000 men, Cubans and Angolans; due to technical requirements the tactical groups were mainly made up of Cubans because they handled tanks, rockets, anti-aircraft guns, communications, but the infantry was made up of Cuban and Angolan soldiers, with great fighting spirit, who didn’t hesitate one second in confronting the white Apartheid army supported by the United States and Israel. Who handled the numerous nuclear weapons that they had at that moment?
In the case of Iran, we are getting news that they are digging into the ground, and when they are asked about it, they say that they are making cemeteries to bury the invaders. I don’t know if this is meant to be ironic, but I think that one would really have to dig quite a lot to protect their forces from the attack which isthreatening them.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Sure, but Iran has the possibility of mobilizing millions of troops.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Not just troops, but the command posts are also decisive. In my opinion, dispersion is very important. The attackers will try to prevent the transmission of orders. Every combat unit must know beforehand what they have to do under different circumstances. The attacker will try to strike and destabilizethe chain of command with its radio-electronic weapons. All those factors must be kept in mind. Mankind has never experienced a similar predicament.
Anyway, Afghanistan is “a joke” and Iraq, too, when you compare them with what they are going to bump into in Iran: the weaponry, the training, the mentality, the kind of soldier… If 31 years ago, Iranian combatants cleaned the mine fields by advancing over them, they will undoubtedly be the most fearsome adversaries that the United States has ever come across.
Our thanks and appreciation to Cuba Debate for the transcription as well as the translation from Spanish.
Speech Defect: Emissions of Evil From the Oval Office
Posted: 01 Sep 2010 01:47 AM PDT
On Tuesday night, Barack Obama gave a speech from the Oval Office on Iraq that was almost as full of hideous, murderous lies as the speech on Iraq his predecessor gave in the same location more than seven years ago.
After mendaciously declaring an “end to the combat mission in Iraq” — where almost 50,000 regular troops and a similar number of mercenaries still remain, carrying out the same missions they have been doing for years — Obama delivered what was perhaps the most egregious, bitterly painful lie of the night:
“Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility.”
“We have met our responsibility!” No, Mister President, we have not. Not until many Americans of high degree stand in the dock for war crimes. Not until the United States pays hundreds of billions of dollars in unrestricted reparations to the people of Iraq for the rape of their country and the mass murder of their people. Not until the United States opens its borders to accept all those who have been and will be driven from Iraq by the savage ruin we have inflicted upon them, or in flight from the vicious thugs and sectarians we have loosed — and empowered — in the land. Not until you, Mister President, go down on your knees, in sackcloth and ashes, and proclaim a National of Day of Shame to be marked each year by lamentations, reparations and confessions of blood guilt for our crime against humanity in Iraq.
Then and only then, Mister President, can you say that America has begun — in even the most limited, pathetic way — to “meet its responsibility” for what it has done to Iraq. And unless you do this, Mister President — and you never will — you are just a lying, bloodsoaked apologist, accomplice and perpetrator of monstrous evil, like your predecessor and his minions — many of whom, of course, are now your minions.
I really don’t have anything else to say about this sickening spectacle — which is being compounded in Britain, where I live, by the sight today of Tony Blair’s murder-tainted mug plastered on the front of the main newspapers, as he makes the rounds pushing his new book, doling out “exclusive interviews” full of crocodile tears for the soldiers he had murdered in the war crime he committed and the “great suffering” of the Iraqi people which, goodness gracious, he never foresaw and feels, gosh, really bad about. All this laced with venomous comments about his former colleagues — those who, like Gordon Brown, sold their souls to advance Blair’s vision of aggressive war abroad and corporate rapine at home — along with, of course, earnest protestations of his God-directed good intentions, and his unwavering belief that killing a million innocent human beings in Iraq was “the right thing to do.” Pol Pot could not have been more blindly self-righteous than this wretched moral cretin.
I will say again what I have said here many, many times before: What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?
Words might fail me, but wise man William Blum has a few that put the “end of combat operations in Iraq” in their proper perspective. Let’s give him the last word here [the ellipses are in the original text]:
No American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured … the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up … an army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders; they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.
II. Same Question, Same Answer
The piece below was written in the first few weeks after the invasion. Its scene is the same Oval Office where Barack Obama spoke last night. And the choice offered to the leader in this piece is the same one that Obama has been offered — and his decision has been the same one taken here, not only for Iraq, but for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and many other places around the world.
The Karamazov Question
Variation on a theme by Dostoevsky
A man appeared in the doorway of the Oval Office. He wasn’t noticed at first, in the bustle around the desk of the president, where George W. Bush was preparing to announce to the world that the “decapitation raid” he had launched on Baghdad a few hours before was in fact the beginning of his long-planned, much-anticipated invasion of Iraq.
A woman fussed with the president’s hair, which had been freshly cut for the television appearance. A make-up artist dabbed delicate touches of rouge on the president’s cheeks. Another attendant fluttered in briefly to adjust the president’s tie, which, like the $6,000 suit the president was wearing, had arrived that morning from a Chicago couturier. As for the president’s $900 designer shoes – which, as a recent news story had pointed out playfully, were not only made by the same Italian craftsman who supplied Saddam Hussein with footwear, but were also the same size and make as those ordered by the Iraqi dictator – they had been carefully polished earlier by yet another aide, even though they would of course be out of sight during the broadcast.
In addition to all of this activity, the president’s political advisors and speechwriters were also making last-minute adjustments to the brief speech, while giving the president pointers about his delivery: “Keep your gaze and your voice steady. Project firmness of purpose. Confidence, calmness, character. And short phrases, lightly punched. Don’t worry, the breaks and stresses will be marked on the teleprompter.”
It’s little wonder that no one saw the man as he advanced slowly to the center of the room. He stood there silently, until the sense of his presence crept up on the others. One by one, they turned to look at him, this unauthorized figure, this living breach of protocol. He was, in almost every sense, non-descript. He wore a plain suit of indeterminate color; his features and his skin betrayed no particular race. He had no badge, no papers; how had he come to be here, where nothing is allowed that is not licensed by power?
Then, more astonishing, they saw his companion: a two-year-old girl standing by his side. A mass of tousled hair framed her face; a plain red dress covered her thin body. She too was silent, but not as still as the man. Instead, she turned her head this way and that, her eyes wide with curiosity, drawn especially by the bright television lights that shone on the president.
A Marine guard reached for his holster, but the man raised his hand, gently, and the guard’s movement was arrested. The aides and attendants stepped back then stood rooted, as if stupefied, their ranks forming a path from the man at the room’s center to the president’s desk. The president, brilliant in the light, alone retained the freedom to move and speak. “Who are you?” he asked, rising from his chair. “What do you want?”
The man put his hand tenderly on the back of the girl’s head and came forward with her. “I have a question for you, and an opportunity,” the man replied. “I’ve heard it said that you are righteous, and wish to do good for the world.”
“I am,” said the president. “I wish only to do God’s will, as He in His wisdom reveals it to me. In His will is the whole good of the world. What is your question, what is your opportunity? Be quick; I have mighty business at hand.”
The man nodded. “If tonight you could guarantee the good of the world – peace and freedom, democracy and prosperity, now and forever; if tonight, you could relieve the suffering of all those who labor under tyranny and persecution, all those who groan in poverty and disease; if tonight, you could redeem the anguish of creation, past and future, now and forever; if tonight, you could guarantee such a universal reconciliation, by the simple expedient of taking this” – here the man suddenly produced a black pistol and held it out to the president – “and putting a bullet through the brain of this little one here, just her, no one else: would you do it? That is my question, this is your opportunity.”
With firmness of purpose, the president grasped the pistol and walked around the desk. With confidence, calmness, and steady hand, he pressed the barrel to the girl’s head and pulled the trigger. Her eyes, which had grown even wider with her smile at the approach of the nicely dressed man and his rosy cheeks, went black with blood in the instant shattering of her skull. Her body spun round from the force of the shot – once, twice, three times in all – then fell, her mutilated head flailing wildly, in a heap on the floor of the Oval Office.
At that moment, the man faded, like a dream, into nothingness. The aides and attendants, unfrozen, stepped back into their tasks. The room was again a whirl of activity, like a hive. The president – the dematerialized gun no longer in his hand – strode confidently back to his chair. He winked at a nearby aide and pumped his fist: “Feel good!” he exulted.
The speech went off without a hitch. The hair was perfect, the voice steady, the phrases short and lightly punched. No one saw the blood and bits of brain that clung to the president’s $900 designer shoes; they were, of course, out of sight during the broadcast.
First published in The Moscow Times on April 20, 2003.