Nato’s Military Buildup along Russia’s Borders …

… is No Joke, or is It?

by Martin Berger

New Eastern Outlook (November 17 2018)

The massive military games code-named Trident Juncture have just come to a close in Norway, marking a new milestone in the rapid military escalation between the West and Russia. A total of 29 Nato member states took part in these games, fielding some 65,000 men, 10,000 armored vehicles and 65 military ships led by USS Harry S Truman.

In a bid to explain this build up in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders the Natoaktual media site would try to claim that Nato is becoming increasingly frustrated with Moscow’s persistent presence in the Arctic, as this region is extremely rich in hydrocarbons and Washington is reluctant to surrender it to Moscow. Therefore, this recent demonstration of Western military might was nothing more but a blatant attempt to scare Russia into submission.

It is stated that Operation Trident Juncture was aimed at developing common tactics of repulsing military aggression of a potential enemy. However, no Nato member state, aside from the US, Poland and a number of Baltic states believes that Russia, the largest country on the planet, would ever attempt a land grab in Europe, as this would be illogical. As it’s been pointed out by Der Welt, a hybrid war between Russian and the US has been raging for quite a while, with cyberweapons, propaganda, and proxy forces all playing a major part in it, but it’s highly unlikely that it can reach a point wherein it will transform into a direct military confrontation between the two major nuclear powers. Against this backdrop, German journalists find themselves unable to pinpoint the reasoning behind Washington’s military buildup on Russia’s borders.

Most journalists seem to agree that this senseless and comical saber-rattling was reminiscent of a blockbuster movie shooting rather than a military operation.

For instance, Der Spiegel found it rather comical that on top of erecting a platform for 300 guests, Norwegian journalists were broadcasting every stage of Trident Juncture live. In turn, The New York Times would report that the “Cold War” took a new meaning for US Marines at these military games that Washington deemed to be extremely successful.

Although it is true that success may be measured in different ways and forms, it was of little concern for Nato commanders that the task force began losing ships without the opposition even showing up on the horizon.

For instance, in the course of the military games, Norway’s KNM Helge Ingstad collided with an oil tanker and sank. A total of eight sailors suffered severe injuries, while the crew of 138 men was forced to abandon the frigate in a bid to save their lives. It’s curious that Helge Ingstad was equipped with the Aegis combat system that should have been transmitting data from other ships and aerial vehicles to increase the survivability of the ship by increasing the situational awareness of its crew. Yet, this system has somehow managed to miss an oil tanker.

To make matters worse, a report released by the Royal Canadian Navy states that a “minor fire” broke out in a gas-turbine engine on board HMCS Halifax during the course of Trident Juncture.

Further still, the USS Harry S Truman carrier-led strike group had to abandon their allies at the height of an imaginary battle as its commander, rear admiral Eugene Black got overly concerned with a storm approaching the Northern Atlantic.

One can only imagine that if Russian forces would make a presence amid the exercise, the consequences could be far more disastrous for the formidable force assembled by Washington in Norway.

Yet, the mainstream media carries on with its extensive anti-Russian propaganda campaign to make it clear for everyone that Russia is an aggressor and every country on the face of this planet must be prepared for an imminent Russian invasion. It goes without saying that this narrative is the only way for Nato to justify its aggressive and dangerous posture in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders.

However, immediately after the completion in Norway of Trident Juncture on November 8, Nato decided to signal the start of yet more military games that were going to take at least two weeks. Of course, we’re speaking about the Iron Wolf exercise taking place in Lithuania with a gathering of 3,500 servicemen from fourteen countries. Soldiers from Great Britain, Estonia, Italy, US, Canada, Slovenia, and Ukraine joined together with Nato forces permanently stationed in the territory of this republic to test modern tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored cars, and other equipment.

Additionally, yet another major Nato exercises, Anaconda 2018 will be held this month both in the Baltic States and in Poland. It’s believed that Nato will deploy a total of 150 fighters and helicopters, 45 warships, and well over 5,000 armored vehicles. The Anaconda 2018 scenario will repeat similar military games held in the past with the only difference being the number of servicemen deployed will reach well over a 100,000 drawn from 24 Nato countries and five partner nations. The stated goal is an attempt to prepare for the annexation of Russia’s Kaliningrad region! In Poland, on the border with Belarus, an exercise will be held on the forced eviction of the inhabitants of the city of Bialystok, who are going to find themselves “in the middle of a combat zone”.

Finally, a group of Nato minesweepers has recently entered the port of Batumi, where they held joint exercises with Georgia’s coast guard.

In a bid to come to grips with all this madness, Norway’s NY TID would point out that when somebody starts bashing Russia he should ask himself what would the US do if Mexico created a military alliance with Russia, with the latter deploying nuclear warheads in the immediate vicinity of American borders? What would the US do? And now, notes this media source, explain why should Moscow sit and watch as an ever-increasing number of armed and unfriendly armies begin patrolling its borders?

So exactly for how long can you tease the Russian bear with impunity? Did Russia start the First or Second World War? Did it unleash a devastating war against Yugoslavia?

Maybe today’s hotheads will sober up a little when those European capitals participating in Washington’s military games become permanent targets of Russian nuclear missiles? Or maybe it is just smarter to turn one’s back on Washington’s never-ending saber-rattling and start working together with Russia in a bid to improve living conditions of regular Europeans?

_____

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

https://journal-neo.org/2018/11/17/natos-military-buildup-along-russias-borders-is-no-joke-or-is-it/

US Has Spent $5,900,000,000,000 …

… On War Since 2001

by Jason Ditz

AntiWar.com (November 14 2018)

Zero Hedge (November 15 2018)

A new report from Brown University is aiming to provide a close estimate of the cost of the overall cost to the US government of its myriad post-9/11 wars and assorted global wars on terror. The estimate is that $5.933 trillion has been spent through fiscal year 2019.

This is, of course, vastly higher than official figures, owing to the Pentagon trying to oversimplify the costs into simply overseas contingency operations. It is only when one considers the cost of medical and disability care for soldiers, and future such costs, along with things like the interest on the extra money borrowed for the wars, that the true cost becomes clear.

That sort of vast expenditure is only the costs and obligations of the wars so far, and with little sign of them ending, they are only going to grow. In particular, a generation of wars is going to further add to the medical costs for veterans’ being consistently deployed abroad.

Starting in late 2001, the US has engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere around the world. Many of those wars have become more or less permanent operations, with no consideration of ending them under any circumstances.

Those wishing to read the report can find it at https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2018/Crawford_Costs%20of%20War%20Estimates%20Through%20FY2019%20.pdf.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-15/us-has-spent-5900000000000-war-2001

It’s Time for US to Reckon …

… with the Staggering Death Toll of the Post-9/11 Wars

by Murtaza Hussain

Information Clearing House (November 19 2018)

How many people have been killed in the post-9/11 war on terror? The question is a contentious one, as there has been no formal accounting for the deadly cost of the initial US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the secondary conflicts that continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East and the opaque, covert war still expanding across Asia and Africa.

But even as the US government evades responsibility for the human cost of its overseas endeavors, some researchers are determined to keep count.

Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the US wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians. In addition to those killed by direct acts violence, the number of indirect deaths – those resulting from disease, displacement, and the loss of critical infrastructure – is believed to be several times higher, running into the millions.

The report, which uses data spanning from October 2001 to October 2018, compiles previous analysis from nongovernmental organizations, US and foreign government data, and media reports. In a statement, the report authors said the figures still just “scratch the surface of the human consequences of seventeen years of war”. Due to challenges in data collection, their total estimate is an undercount, they added. The study also focuses on only the three countries where the United States launched its so-called war on terror. If the conflicts in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, or Syria – where the US has conducted major military operations in recent years – had been included, the death toll would likely be significantly higher.

Some American politicians have lately evinced a refreshing willingness to make call for public accountability for the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is the party that is doing the immediate harm to civilians, albeit with logistical support and weapons from the US. But there has been far less appetite to similarly criticize, or even account for, the many conflicts in which the United States is directly responsible for the violence – despite monumental death tolls, refugee crises, and other sobering evidence of human suffering.

“The major challenge in tracking the full costs of these wars is that the US military doesn’t even meaningfully investigate civilian death tolls. Generally, they know it’s not good to have civilian casualties, but their focus is mainly on fighting, and there is little pressure to make protecting civilians a key priority”, said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights program at Amnesty International USA. “Meanwhile, the US public simply doesn’t see deaths in other countries. They don’t see civilians being killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. With everything going on in the United States at the moment, the fact that we’re even at war has largely fallen off the radar.”

The post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have raged on for well over a decade now. In that time, both the nature of the warfare and the enemies the US is at war with have evolved. In addition, the initial invasions have generated violent new conflicts across the region between local governments and non-state actors, some of which the US is also involved in.

Although public attention has almost completely drifted from Afghanistan – the war there was not even mentioned during the last two 2016 presidential debates – the United States actually dropped more bombs in that country this year than in any year since the war began. American casualties have been minimized in recent years by a greater reliance on airstrikes over ground forces, something that has also helped take American minds off the war. But US-allied Afghans fighting on the ground continue to pay a horrendous toll, with thousands killed this year in the face of advances by a resurgent Taliban.

Despite all these deaths, it remains highly questionable what exactly the United States has gained from these wars. The initial confrontation with Al Qaeda, a clandestine organization numbering perhaps a few hundred people at the time of the 9/11 attacks, has somehow metamorphosed into an endless war against an expanding universe of even more extreme terrorist groups, many of which did not even exist on September 11 2001. Entire cities have been left in ruins, with the United States offering no coherent strategy for a return to stability, or even normalcy, in the places it has been at war.

“It matters how you fight and what you do afterwards”, said Eviatar. “Hundreds of thousands of people have now been killed in the name of fighting terrorism. We need to ask who has benefitted from this, who has suffered, and what the cumulative effects are.”

Studies like the one published by Brown University add to a steadily growing body of scholarship showing the horrifying human costs of the wars. The media has also made some significant contributions to improving public awareness. Journalists Anand Gopal and Azmat Khan, for example, published a groundbreaking New York Times report last year on civilian casualties in Iraq. Their reporting showed the actual death rate to be a stunning 31 times higher than the one officially reported by the US military. It can hardly be said now that the truth isn’t out there. But some experts say that it isn’t surprising that this information has failed to translate into public action.

John Tirman, author of The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars (2012), a study of the impact on foreign civilians of American military operations, argues that psychological factors might help explain why Americans don’t seem to care about the human cost of their wars. Faced with a terrible situation requiring complex solutions and sustained attention, people are likely to just ignore it if they have the option to do so.

“People tend to turn away from disasters such as a war gone bad very quickly. They turn away because it bothers them morally, but also because the carnage challenges their strongly held self-perception that their country is a force for good in the world”, said Tirman. “In the face of something horrible, people are much more likely to become indifferent than they are to protest. Oftentimes it’s even easier to just blame the victims for causing their own suffering.”

The Brown University researchers also reported the number of US military deaths, which, unlike civilian deaths, the government generally keeps track of. Around 7,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 9/11. Roughly double that number of private contractors, who performed supporting tasks that in previous conflicts were handled directly by the military, have also been killed. Improved battlefield medical procedures have lowered the overall number of American deaths, but tens of thousands of Americans have also been wounded in battle, with many suffering grievous lifelong injuries.

During the Vietnam War, the institution of the draft forced the public to maintain at least some basic level of awareness about the war. But the creation of an all-volunteer military has made the conflicts much easier to ignore. As public attention has waned, it has become easier for the US government to obscure its own role in helping foment violent crises that have sent waves of desperate refugees streaming across the world. It has also helped deflect attention from wartime expenditures that are now estimated to have sucked up over $6 trillion in public funds – money that could have done much good in a country that is starving for infrastructure and public health spending.
While Americans continue to search for explanations for their own eroding domestic national stability, the wars that continue to rage outside of public notice may help explain some of the ugly direction of US politics in recent years.

“There is a perverse dynamic at play, in which we’re killing more people, creating adverse consequences like mass displacement and refugees, and then banning those very people from our shores”, said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “We really need to question both the fairness and necessity of these policies, which are inflicting devastating human costs abroad while harming our own civil rights at home”.

This article was originally published at https://theintercept.com/2018/11/19/civilian-casualties-us-war-on-terror/.

Note To ICH Community

We ask that you assist us in dissemination of the article published by ICH to your social media accounts and post links to the article from other websites.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

In accordance with Title 17 USC. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50623.htm

The Rapid Postwar Increase of America’s Nuclear Arsenal

by Shane Quinn

Global Research, June 28, 2018

By New Year’s Day 1951, the United States had increased its atomic bomb stockpile by many times over, enough to wipe out the Soviet Union. In June 1946, to the frustration of US war planners, the military possessed a modest nine atomic bombs. However, less than five years later, the world’s leading power acquired an arsenal of 400 such bombs. As the postwar years further advanced America was churning out nuclear weapons “like sausages”, to borrow the phrase of Soviet president Nikita Khrushchev.

Despite Japan bearing the brunt of two atomic attacks in August 1945, it was in the direction of the Soviet Union that America’s nuclear focus was truly pointed. The atomic assaults on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, eventually killing over 200,000 people, were further meant as a warning signal to the USSR.

US General Leslie Groves, in charge of the nuclear program known as the “Manhattan Project”, had in 1944 confirmed that the Soviets were identified as America’s real long-term enemy. At Los Alamos, New Mexico, General Groves had revealed this bombshell to Joseph Rotblat, a Polish-born nuclear physicist. Rotblat said many years later,

 

I believed that we had to develop the bomb as a deterrent to the Germans who, we believed – wrongly – were also developing the bomb. It was at this time [1944] that Groves mentioned that the real purpose in making the bomb was to subdue the Soviets. I was terribly shocked.

 


Joseph Rotblat

Unknown to Rotblat was that Hitler had, as early as June 1942, decided against the development of an atomic bomb – on both racial and pragmatic grounds – as repeatedly outlined by Nazi war minister Albert Speer, one of the most powerful figures in the Third Reich. By the summer of 1944, Allied intelligence accounts were flowing in that a Nazi atomic bomb was non-existent. Even earlier than this, in late 1943, the British spy Paul Rosbaud operating in Germany had reported to his superiors that the Nazi nuclear program was idle. This crucial information was subsequently relayed to Manhattan Project intelligent services, and on to General Groves.

Meanwhile at the end of 1944 Rotblat had endured enough, resigning from the Manhattan Project on moral grounds, the only such scientist to do so. If the Nazis had no nuclear plans, as neither did the Russians seriously at that time, was it really worth pursuing the development of atomic weapons? It would inevitably lead to nuclear proliferation, thereby placing the human species, including Americans, under increasing peril.

In the following decades, Rotblat himself became a noted anti-nuclear proponent and activist. Just months before his death in August 2005, aged 96, Rotblat penned an open letter to US president George W Bush, writing that:

 

The only way to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to remove the fear of their inevitable use remains, as it has always been, the global elimination of all nuclear weapons by all states.

 

As the Second World War ended in mid-August 1945, just days following Japan’s surrender American strategists were highlighting which Soviet cities to attack with atomic bombs. Major General Lauris Norstad, a great advocate of nuclear weapons, sent General Groves a list marking out fifteen “key Soviet cities” headed by the capital Moscow, and 25 other “leading Soviet cities”, including Leningrad – which in particular was still reeling from the horrors of the Nazi siege of that city. Norstad also compiled an estimate of how many atomic bombs it would require to destroy each city, with Moscow and Leningrad needing six each.

Read More: https://www.globalresearch.ca/obtaining-nuclear-weapons-comes-at-a-great-psychological-price/5654990

Dwight D Eisenhower, as Commanding General, had first met Norstad in Algiers in October 1942. Eisenhower described the then Lieutenant-Colonel Norstad as “a young air officer who so impressed me by his alertness, grasp of problems, and personality that I never thereafter lost sight of him. He was, and is, one of those rare men whose capacity knows no limits.” Indeed, reaching all the way to the earth-altering subject of nuclear weapons. This was also the case under Eisenhower when he became president in 1953. By the time “General Ike” departed office after two terms in 1961, the US arsenal had grown to 18,000 nuclear bombs.

In the early postwar years, the US military’s demand for weapons was not in line with supply. As euphoria of victory in the war dissipated, in late 1945 the US had only two atomic bombs in its arsenal. By the time America’s first official postwar plan against the USSR was formulated, in November 1947, it called for hitting 24 Soviet cities with 34 atomic bombs. However, in late 1947, the US had only thirteen such weapons, which were of the Nagasaki type. The small number of atomic bombs was a closely-guarded secret. When President Harry Truman was informed of the true figures in April 1947, he was shocked by the news, presuming the stockpile to be in the dozens.

Following the Berlin Blockade (June 1948~May 1949), one of the first Cold War crises, Truman initiated three separate budgetary increases for nuclear bomb production. The desire to create more weapons was increased by the realization that the Soviets had, in late August 1949, tested their first atomic device – which was a replica of the Nagasaki bomb. News of the Soviets’ successful nuclear detonation astonished not only the American public but many up the chain of US command; it had been thought the USSR would not attain such a goal until the mid-1950s.

Meanwhile, in October 1948 General Curtis LeMay, an especially hawkish US commander, became head of Strategic Air Command when he succeeded General George Kenney. LeMay quickly formulated the Emergency War Plan, which laid down demands for Strategic Air Command to “increase its capability to such an extent that it would be possible to deliver the entire stockpile of atomic bombs, if made available, in a single massive attack” against the USSR. LeMay’s strategy outlined that 133 atomic bombs would be dropped on seventy Soviet urban areas, killing perhaps 2.7 million people, almost all of them civilians. However, the final death toll would likely be far higher than that.

Such a strategy was being devised against a USSR which, in late 1948, had no atomic weapons. Furthermore, the socialist state was still recovering from the Nazi invasion of a few years before and represented no threat to the American mainland. Nor would it do so for many years. By the following year, October 1949, LeMay’s Emergency War Plan had expanded to call for attacks on 104 Soviet urban centers with 220 atomic bombs, plus a few dozen weapons held back in reserve. In the summer of 1950, the Americans had possession of almost 300 nuclear weapons – they were all of the Nagasaki variety, plutonium implosion bombs, now being churned out on a production line. In 1950, the Soviets had comfortably less than ten such weapons.

Just a decade later, 1960, the US nuclear arsenal not only further multiplied, but the nature of the bombs had also radically altered. They were almost entirely comprised of the “thermonuclear” variety: That is, hydrogen bombs, also known as H-bombs. These weapons are a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Come the latter stages of the Eisenhower presidency, the nuclear age had reached a point by which it became a grave threat to the human species, as it has done through to today.

The first hydrogen bomb was successfully tested in November 1952 by the Americans (with the Soviets following suit the next year). It had long been in the pipeline. A decade previously, in July 1942, the Hungarian-American physicist Edward Teller had a revealing discussion with his colleague Hans Bethe. Teller, an early member of the Manhattan Project, said

 

the fission bomb [atomic bomb] was all well and good and, essentially, was now a sure thing.

 

He felt that “what we should really think about was the possibility of igniting deuterium by a fission weapon – the hydrogen bomb”. Teller was later known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb”.

By the mid-to-late 1950s, increasing numbers of hydrogen bombs were entering the US arsenal, replacing the “obsolete” atomic bombs. In 1955, the estimated death toll from atomic weapon assaults on the USSR was thirteen million dead. By the following year, 1956, there was a more than tenfold increase in the expected death toll with the new hydrogen bombs. It was thought that 150 million Soviets would be killed.

Come the early 1960s – with Kennedy now in office – the calculated death toll in the entire Soviet bloc, from expanding US nuclear attacks, had risen to over 200 million. Many millions would also die in America’s Nato ally countries, and neutral nations, by the resulting spread of radioactive fallout, which US planners were aware of. Simultaneous American bombings of Communist China were forecast to eventually kill about 300 million Chinese. From late 1949, China was added to the nuclear hit list following the Mao Zedong-led revolution. These enormous killing estimates were kept so secret that very few people, even within the American government, were intimate with the numbers.

By 1983, environmental scientists learned that any such attacks would have killed almost all humans on earth, with the resulting nuclear winter quickly leading to a global famine.

_____

Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Copyright (c) Shane Quinn, Global Research, 2018

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-rapid-postwar-increase-of-americas-nuclear-arsenal/5645686

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”

204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities

US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War Two

by Professor Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research (October 27 2018)

First published November 04 2017

On March 1st 2018 president Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of advanced military technologies in response to renewed US threats to wipe the Russian Federation off the Map, as contained in Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

It should be understood that these US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated at the height of World War Two under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies.

*****

According to a secret document dated September 15 1945,

 

 

the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

 

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret US plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front:

The secret plan dated September 15 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 02 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War Two, at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War Two in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized five to six weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

 

 

On September 15 1945 – just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War Two – Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED”, which was about as high as it went during World War Two.

– Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

 

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

 

 

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum, they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op cit)

 

Read More: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-rapid-postwar-increase-of-americas-nuclear-arsenal/5645686?

http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1945-Atomic-Bomb-Production.pdf

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race is acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War Two and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the US plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War Two) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

 

 

1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now”, the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions”.  https://thebulletin.org/timeline

 

 

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place.

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” against the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War Two.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities:

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

 

 

According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, including East Berlin, were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.

– William Burr, US Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb538-Cold-War-Nuclear-Target-List-Declassified-First-Ever/, December 2015

 

Source: National Security Archive

 

 

Washington, DC, December 22 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive http://www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors, their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout. Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw. Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby). http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb538-Cold-War-Nuclear-Target-List-Declassified-First-Ever/, December 2015

 

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post-Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2. Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all-time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F Kennedy and Nikita S Khrushchev were acutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4. A one trillion plus nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all-out war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to US crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 09 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image above), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

 

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes.

 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

 

 

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force – to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Copyright (c) Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2018

https://www.globalresearch.ca/wipe-the-ussr-off-the-map-204-atomic-bombs-against-major-cities-us-nuclear-attack-against-soviet-union-planned-prior-to-end-of-world-war-ii/5616601

Half Million Killed by America’s Global War on Terror …

… “Just Scratches the Surface” of Human Destruction“This new body count signals that, far from diminishing, the war is only intensifying”.

by Jessica Corbett

Information Clearing House (November 15 2018)

The United States’ so-called War on Terror has killed about half a million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, according to a new estimate from the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute.”This new body count signals that, far from diminishing, the war is only intensifying”, Stephanie Savell, co-director of the project, pointed out in a piece for Axios. The overall death toll “is an increase of 113,000 over the last count, issued just two years ago”.

The new report (pdf) estimates that since 2001, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed because of war violence in those three nations – a tally that does not include “the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011, which the US joined in August 2014”, and “indirect deaths”, or those killed by war’s impact on public health, such as limiting access to food, water, hospitals, and electricity.

 

Over 480,000 have died due to direct war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but the number of indirect deaths – because, for example, of war-related disease – is several times larger. See our paper at https://bit.ly/2qBje2T

– The Costs of War @CostsOfWar (November 08 2018)

The “direct deaths” accounted for in the estimate include US military, contractors, and Defense Department employees; national military and police as well as other allied troops; opposition fighters; civilians; journalists; and aid workers. About half of those killed were civilians – between 244,000 and 266,000 across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Up to 204,000 of them were Iraqis.While the US government has repeatedly underestimated the costs of waging war, since the project launched in 2011, its team has aimed to provide a full account of the “human, economic, and political costs” of post-9/11 US military action in the Middle East, “and to foster better informed public policies”.

This latest report comes on the heels of the US midterm elections in which Democrats took control of the US House of Representatives. Looking forward, Savell suggested that “House Democrats will try to advance a national security strategy emphasizing restraint and accountability for the costs of the War on Terror”.

Outlining some expressed goals from a handful of House Democrats, Savell wrote for Axios:

 

Research shows that governments become more careful when civilian deaths from “collateral damage” are reported on. A wave of Democrats now in control of the House plan to push for just that. Representative Ro Khanna says he wants to hold as many as three days of hearings with Trump’s national security team to “justify, for the American people, what our mission is, what the costs are, what the risks are, and why we’re there.” Representative Adam Smith, poised to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, plans to increase oversight of the military, and others led by Representative Barbara Lee hope to end the war in Afghanistan.

Regardless of how Democrats in the House proceed, Neta C Crawford, a Boston University political science professor who co-directs the Costs of War Project, argued in the report’s conclusion that there is a need to keep the public more informed about the consequences of the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East in order to drive demands for improving US foreign policy.”This update just scratches the surface of the human consequences of seventeen years of war”, Crawford wrote. “Too often, legislators, NGOs, and the news media that try to track the consequences of the wars are inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress”.

“The US has made some effort to increase transparency”, she acknowledged, “but there are a number of areas – the number of civilians killed and injured, and the number of US military and veteran suicides, for instance – where greater transparency would lead to greater accountability and could lead to better policy”.

 

Day by day, the casualties grow, largely unnoticed by the American public and our lawmakers. This is why we need to #EndEndlessWar. https://t.co/RchhjTTjfW

– Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) November 08 2018

US “war on terror” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq has directly killed at least 480,000 people since 2001, an increase of 113,000 over the last count. https://www.axios.com/rising-death-rate-prompts-some-in-congress-to-reassess-war-on-terror-30e41979-317b-4a92-a6c0-90059dfe7178.html

Responding to the report’s findings, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif drew attention to the human and financial consequences, tweeting: “Cost to US taxpayers: 7,000 dead Americans + $5.6 trillion. Cost to Mideast: Unfathomable.”

 

US’ so-called ‘War on Terror’ has cost 500,000+ lives. 110,000+ dead just since 2016. The debacle has caused destruction in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. It has spawned ISIS & multiple Al Qaeda affiliates. Cost to US taxpayers: 7,000 dead Americans + $5.6 trillion. Cost to Mideast: Unfathomable

– Javad Zarif @JZarif

This article was originally published at https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/09/half-million-killed-americas-global-war-terror-just-scratches-surface-human.

_____

Note to ICH Community

We ask that you assist us in dissemination of the article published by ICH to your social media accounts and post links to the article from other websites.

Thank you for your support.

Peace and joy

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50610.htm

Everything You Thought You Knew …

… About Western Civilization Is Wrong

A Review of Michael Hudson’s new book And Forgive Them Their Debts (2018)

by John Siman

Naked Capitalism (November 16 2018)

The Unz Review (November 16 2018)

To say that Michael Hudson’s new book And Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year (2018) is profound is an understatement on the order of saying that the Mariana Trench is deep. To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way of thinking about civilization and barbarism that Hudson quite matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is, to the extent that it will be understood, “earth-shattering” in both intent and effect. Over the past three decades, gleaned (under the auspices of Harvard’s Peabody Museum) and then synthesized the scholarship of American and British and French and German and Soviet assyriologists (spelled with a lower-case a to denote collectively all who study the various civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, which include Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, Ebla, Babylonia, et al, as well as Assyria with a capital A). Hudson demonstrates that we, twenty-first-century globalists, have been morally blinded by a dark legacy of some twenty-eight centuries of decontextualized history. This has left us, for all practical purposes, utterly ignorant of the corrective civilizational model that is needed to save ourselves from tottering into bleak neo-feudal barbarism.

This corrective model actually existed and flourished in the economic functioning of Mesopotamian societies during the third and second millennia BC. It can be termed Clean Slate amnesty, a term Hudson uses to embrace the essential function of what was called amargi and nig-si-sa in Sumerian, andurarum and misarum in Akkadian (the language of Babylonia), sudutu and kirenzi in Hurrian, para tarnumar in Hittite, and deror (דְּרוֹר) in Hebrew: It is the necessary and periodic erasure of the debts of small farmers – necessary because such farmers are, in any society in which interest on loans is calculated, inevitably subject to being impoverished, then stripped of their property, and finally reduced to servitude (including the sexual servitude of daughters and wives) by their creditors, creditors. The latter inevitably seek to affect the terminal polarization of society into an oligarchy of predatory creditors cannibalizing a sinking underclass mired in irreversible debt peonage. Hudson writes:

 

That is what creditors really wanted: Not merely the interest as such, but the collateral – whatever economic assets debtors possessed, from their labor to their property, ending up with their lives (page 50).

 

And such polarization is, by Hudson’s definition, barbarism. For what is the most basic condition of civilization, Hudson asks, other than societal organization that effects lasting “balance” by keeping “everybody above the break-even level”?

“Mesopotamian societies were not interested in equality”, he told me,

 

… but they were civilized. And they possessed the financial sophistication to understand that, since interest on loans increases exponentially, while economic growth at best follows an S-curve. This means that debtors will, if not protected by a central authority, end up becoming permanent bondservants to their creditors. So Mesopotamian kings regularly rescued debtors who were getting crushed by their debts. They knew that they needed to do this. Again and again, century after century, they proclaimed Clean Slate Amnesties.

 

Hudson also writes:

 

By liberating distressed individuals who had fallen into debt bondage, and returning to cultivators the lands they had forfeited for debt or sold under economic duress, these royal acts maintained a free peasantry willing to fight for its land and work on public building projects and canals … By clearing away the buildup of personal debts, rulers saved society from the social chaos that would have resulted from personal insolvency, debt bondage, and military defection” (page 3).

 

Marx and Engels never made such an argument (nor did Adam Smith for that matter). Hudson points out that they knew nothing of these ancient Mesopotamian societies. No one did back then. Almost all of the various kinds of assyriologists completed their archaeological excavations and philological analyses during the twentieth century. In other words, this book could not have been written until someone digested the relevant parts of the vast body of this recent scholarship. And this someone is Michael Hudson.

So let us reconsider Hudson’s fundamental insight in more vivid terms. In ancient Mesopotamian societies, it was understood that freedom was preserved by protecting debtors. In what we call Western Civilization, that is, in the plethora of societies that have followed the flowering of the Greek poleis beginning in the eighth century BC, just the opposite, with only one major exception (Hudson describes the tenth-century AD Byzantine Empire of Romanos Lecapenus), has been the case: For us freedom has been understood to sanction the ability of creditors to demand payment from debtors without restraint or oversight. This is the freedom to cannibalize society. This is the freedom to enslave. This is, in the end, the freedom proclaimed by the Chicago School and the mainstream of American economists. And so Hudson emphasizes that our Western notion of freedom has been, for some twenty-eight centuries now, Orwellian in the most literal sense of the word: War is Peace / Freedom is Slavery / Ignorance is Strength. He writes:

 

A constant dynamic of history has been the drive by financial elites to centralize control in their own hands and manage the economy in predatory, extractive ways. Their ostensible freedom is at the expense of the governing authority and the economy at large. As such, it is the opposite of liberty as conceived in Sumerian times (page 266).

 

And our Orwellian, our neoliberal notion of unrestricted freedom for the creditor dooms us at the very outset of any quest we undertake for a just economic order. Any and every revolution that we wage, no matter how righteous in its conception, is destined to fail.

And we are so doomed, Hudson says, because we have been morally blinded by twenty-eight centuries of deracinated, or as he says, decontextualized history. The true roots of Western Civilization lie not in the Greek poleis that lacked royal oversight to cancel debts, but in the Bronze Age Mesopotamian societies that understood how life, liberty, and land would be cyclically restored to debtors again and again. But, in the eighth century BC, along with the alphabet coming from the Near East to the Greeks, so came the concept of calculating interest on loans. This concept of exponentially-increasing interest was adopted by the Greeks – and subsequently by the Romans – without the balancing concept of Clean Slate amnesty.

So it was inevitable that, over the centuries of Greek and Roman history, increasing numbers of small farmers became irredeemably indebted and lost their land. It likewise was inevitable that their creditors amassed huge land holdings and established themselves in parasitic oligarchies. This innate tendency to social polarization arising from debt unforgiveness is the original and incurable curse on our post-eighth-century-BC. Western Civilization, the lurid birthmark that cannot be washed away or excised. In this context, Hudson quotes the classicist Moses Finley to great effect: … debt was a deliberate device on the part of the creditor to obtain more dependent labor rather than a device for enrichment through interest“. Likewise, he quotes Tim Cornell: “The purpose of the ‘loan’, which was secured on the person of the debtor, was precisely to create a state of bondage” (page 52 ~)

Hudson earlier made this point in two colloquium volumes he edited as part of his Harvard project: Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East (2002), and Labor in the Ancient World (2015).

Hudson is able to explain that the long decline and fall of Rome begins not, as Gibbon had it, with the death of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the five good emperors, in AD 180, but four centuries earlier, following Hannibal’s devastation of the Italian countryside during the Second Punic War (218~201 BC). After that war, the small farmers of Italy never recovered their land, which was systematically swallowed up by the prædia (note the etymological connection with predatory), the latifundia, the great oligarchic estates: latifundiaperdidere Italiam (“the great estates destroyed Italy”), as Pliny the Elder observed. But among modern scholars, as Hudson points out, “Arnold Toynbee is almost alone in emphasizing the role of debt in concentrating Roman wealth and property ownership” (page xviii) – and thus in explaining the decline of the Roman Empire.

“Arnold Toynbee”, Hudson writes, “described Rome’s patrician idea of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ as limited to oligarchic freedom from kings or civic bodies powerful enough to check creditor power to indebt and impoverish the citizenry at large. ‘The patrician aristocracy’s monopoly of office after the eclipse of the monarchy [Hudson quotes from Toynbee’s book Hannibal’s Legacy] had been used by the patricians as a weapon for maintaining their hold on the lion’s share of the country’s economic assets; and the plebeian majority of the Roman citizen-body had striven to gain access to public office as a means to securing more equitable distribution of property and a restraint on the oppression of debtors by creditors.’ The latter attempt failed”, Hudson observes, “and European and Western civilization is still living with the aftermath” (page 262).

Because Hudson brings into focus the big picture, the pulsing sweep of Western history over millennia, he is able to describe the economic chasm between ancient Mesopotamian civilization and the later Western societies that begins with Greece and Rome: “Early in this century [that is, the scholarly consensus until the 1970s] Mesopotamia’s debt cancellations were understood to be like Solon’s Seisachtheia of 594 BC freeing the Athenian citizens from debt bondage. But Near Eastern royal proclamations were grounded in a different social-philosophical context from Greek reforms aiming to replace landed creditor aristocracies with democracy. The demands of the Greek and Roman populace for debt cancellation can rightly be called revolutionary, but Sumerian and Babylonian demands were based on a conservative tradition grounded in rituals of renewing the calendrical cosmos and its periodicities in good order. The Mesopotamian idea of reform had “no notion [Hudson is quoting Dominique Charpin’s book Hammurabi of Babylon (2012) here] of what we would call social progress. Instead, the measures the king instituted under his misarum were measures to bring back the original order. The rules of the game had not been changed, but everyone had been dealt a new hand of cards” (page 133). Contrast the Greeks and Romans: “Classical Antiquity”, Hudson writes, “replaced the cyclical idea of time and social renewal with that of linear time. Economic polarization became irreversible, not merely temporary” (page xxv). In other words: “The idea of linear progress, in the form of irreversible debt and property transfers, has replaced the Bronze Age tradition of cyclical renewal” (page 7).

After all these centuries, we remain ignorant of the fact that deep in the roots of our civilization is contained the corrective model of cyclical return – what Dominique Charpin calls the “restoration of order” (page xix). We continue to inundate ourselves with a billion variations of the sales pitch to borrow and borrow, the exhortation to put more and more on credit, because, you know, the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

Nowhere, Hudson shows, is it more evident that we are blinded by a deracinated, by a decontextualized understanding of our history than in our ignorance of the career of Jesus. Hence the title of the book: And Forgive Them Their Debts and the cover illustration of Jesus flogging the moneylenders – the creditors who do not forgive debts – in the Temple. For centuries English-speakers have recited the Lord’s Prayer with the assumption that they were merely asking for the forgiveness of their trespasses, their theological sins: “… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us …” is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. What is lost in translation is the fact that Jesus came “to preach the gospel to the poor … to preach the acceptable Year of the Lord”: He came, that is, to proclaim a Jubilee Year, a restoration of deror for debtors: He came to institute a Clean Slate Amnesty (which is what Hebrew דְּרוֹר connotes in this context).

So consider the passage from the Lord’s Prayer literally: … καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν: “… and send away (ἄφες) for us our debts (ὀφειλήματα)”. The Latin translation is not only grammatically identical to the Greek, but also shows the Greek word ὀφειλήματα revealingly translated as debita: … et dimitte nobis debita nostra: “… and discharge (dimitte) for us our debts (debita)”. There was consequently, on the part of the creditor class, a most pressing and practical reason to have Jesus put to death: He was demanding that they restore the property they had rapaciously taken from their debtors. And after His death there was likewise a most pressing and practical reason to have His Jubilee proclamation of a Clean Slate Amnesty made toothless, that is to say, made merely theological: So the rich could continue to oppress the poor, forever and ever. Amen.

Just as this is a profound book, it is so densely written that it is profoundly difficult to read. I took six days, which included six or so hours of delightful and enlightening conversation with the author himself, to get through it. I often availed myself of David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2014) when I struggled to follow some of Hudson’s arguments. (Graeber and Hudson have been friends, Hudson told me, for ten years, and Graeber, when writing Debt; The First 5,000 Years, relied on Hudson’s scholarship for his account of ancient Mesopotamian economics, (page xxiii). I have written this review as a synopsis of the book in order to provide some help to other readers: I cannot emphasize too much that this book is indeed earth-shattering, but much intellectual labor is required to digest it.

ADDENDUM: Moral Hazard

When I sent a draft of my review to a friend last night, he emailed me back with this question:

 

Wouldn’t debt cancellations just take away any incentive for people to pay back loans and, thus, take away the incentive to give loans? People who haven’t heard the argument before and then read your review will probably be skeptical at first.

 

Here is Michael Hudson’s response:

 

Creditors argue that if you forgive debts for a class of debtors – say, student loans – that there will be some “free riders”, and that people will expect to have bad loans written off. This is called a “moral hazard”, as if debt writedowns are a hazard to the economy, and hence, immoral.

This is a typical example of Orwellian doublespeak engineered by public relations factotums for bondholders and banks. The real hazard to every economy is the tendency for debts to grow beyond the ability of debtors to pay. The first defaulters are victims of junk mortgages and student debtors, but by far the largest victims are countries borrowing from the IMF in currency “stabilization” (that is economic destabilization) programs.

It is moral for creditors to have to bear the risk (“hazard”) of making bad loans, defined as those that the debtor cannot pay without losing property, status or becoming insolvent. A bad international loan to a government is one that the government cannot pay except by imposing austerity on the economy to a degree that output falls, labor is obliged to emigrate to find employment, capital investment declines, and governments are forced to pay creditors by privatizing and selling off the public domain to monopolists.

The analogy in Bronze Age Babylonia was a flight of debtors from the land. Today from Greece to Ukraine, it is a flight of skilled labor and young labor to find work abroad.

No debtor – whether a class of debtors such as students or victims of predatory junk mortgages, or an entire government and national economy – should be obliged to go on the road to economic suicide and self-destruction in order to pay creditors. The definition of statehood – and hence, international law – should be to put one’s national solvency and self-determination above foreign financial attacks. Ceding financial control should be viewed as a form of warfare, which countries have a legal right to resist as “odious debt” under moral international law.

The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay – like the IMF loans to Argentina and Greece. The moral hazard is their putting creditor demands over the economy’s survival.

 

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/11/145003.html

http://www.unz.com/article/everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-western-civilization-is-wrong/