Tuesday, September 10, 2013

John Pilger

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by Morley Evans

We are not supposed to mix messages. Selling health and wellness should not be mixed with unpleasant things. Cognitive dissonance kills sales. I'm not a salesman and never was. The world is full of goodness as well as evil. Evil must be confronted if it is to be destroyed. If no one buys what I am selling, so be it. Here's John Pilger who also tells unpleasant things to people who don't want to know about them.

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September 10, 2013

From Hiroshima to Syria, 
the enemy whose name we dare not speak

By John Pilger

Russia's peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran.

On my wall is the front page of Daily Express of September 5, 1945 and the words: "I write this as a warning to the world." So began Wilfred Burchett's report from Hiroshima.[1] It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.

Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again, we are held hostage to the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity's most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.

John Kerry's farce and Barack Obama's pirouettes are temporary. Russia's peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. "This operation [in Syria]," said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, "goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned."

When the public is "psychologically scarred," as the Channel 4 reporter Jonathan Rugman described the British people's overwhelming hostility to an attack on Syria, reinforcing the unmentionable is made urgent. Whether or not Bashar al-Assad or the "rebels" used gas in the suburbs of Damascus, it is the US not Syria that is the world's most prolific user of these terrible weapons. In 1970, the Senate reported, "The US has dumped on Vietnam a quantity of toxic chemical (dioxin) amounting to six pounds per head of population." This was Operation Hades, later renamed the friendlier Operation Rand Hand: the source of what Vietnamese doctors call a "cycle of foetal catastrophe."

I have seen generations of young children with their familiar, monstrous deformities. John Kerry, with his own blood-soaked war record, will remember them. I have seen them in Iraq, too, where the US used depleted uranium and white phosphorous, as did the Israelis in Gaza, raining it down on UN schools and hospitals. No Obama "red line" for them. No showdown psychodrama for them.

The repetitive debate about whether "we" should "take action" against selected dictators (i.e., cheer on the US and its acolytes in yet another aerial killing spree) is part of our brainwashing. Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law and UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, describes it as "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence." This "is so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable."

It is the biggest lie: the product of "liberal realists" in Anglo-American politics, scholarship and the media who ordain themselves as the world's crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. Stripping humanity from the study of nations and congealing it with jargon that serves western power designs, they mark "failed," "rogue" or "evil" states for "humanitarian intervention."

An attack on Syria or Iran or any other US "demon" would draw on a fashionable variant, "Responsibility to Protect," or R2P, whose lectern-trotting zealot is the former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, co-chair of a "Global Centre", based in New York. Evans and his generously funded lobbyists play a vital propaganda role in urging the "international community" to attack countries where "the Security Council rejects a proposal or fails to deal with it in a reasonable time."

Evans has form. He appears in my 1994 film Death of a Nation, which revealed the scale of genocide in East Timor. Canberra's smiling man is raising his champagne glass in a toast to his Indonesian equivalent as they fly over East Timor in an Australian aircraft, having just signed a treaty that pirated the oil and gas of the stricken country below where Indonesia's tyrant, Suharto, killed or starved a third of the population.

Under the "weak" Obama, militarism has risen perhaps as never before. With not a single tank on the White House lawn, a military coup has taken place in Washington. In 2008, while his liberal devotees dried their eyes, Obama accepted the entire Pentagon of his predecessor, George Bush: its wars and war crimes. As the constitution is replaced by an emerging police state, those who destroyed Iraq with shock and awe, and piled up the rubble in Afghanistan and reduced Libya to a Hobbesian nightmare, are ascendant across the US administration. Behind their beribboned facade, more former US soldiers are killing themselves than are dying on battlefields. Last year, 6,500 veterans took their own lives. Put out more flags.

The historian Norman Pollack calls this "liberal fascism." "For goose-steppers," he wrote, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."

Every Tuesday, the "humanitarian" Obama personally oversees a worldwide terror network of drones that "bugsplat" people, their rescuers and mourners. In the west's comfort zones, the first black leader of the land of slavery still feels good, as if his very existence represents a social advance, regardless of his trail of blood. This obeisance to a symbol has all but destroyed the US anti-war movement: Obama's singular achievement.

In Britain, the distractions of the fakery of image and identity politics have not quite succeeded. A stirring has begun, though people of conscience should hurry. The judges at Nuremberg were succinct: "Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity." The ordinary people of Syria, and countless others, and our own self respect, deserve nothing less now.

Submitters Bio:

John Pilger grew up in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, author and documentary film-maker. He is one of only two to win British journalism's highest award twice, for his work all over the world. On 1 November, he was awarded Britain's highest honor for documentary film-making by the Grierson Trustees, in memory of the documentary pioneer John Grierson. He has been International reporter of the Year and a recipient of the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. In 2003, he received the prestigious Sophie Prize for "thirty years of exposing deception and improving human rights." In 2009, he was awarded Australia's international human rights award, the Sydney Peace Prize, "for his courage as a film-maker and journalist in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard "." For his documentary films, he has won an American television academy award, an Emmy, and the Richard Dimbleby Award for a lifetime's work in factual broadcasting, awarded by BAFTA. His first film, The Quiet Mutiny, made in 1970 for Granada's World in Action, revealed the rebellion within the US Army in Vietnam that led to the American withdrawal. His 1979 documentary, the epic Cambodia Year Zero is credited with alerting the world to the horrors of the Pol Pot regime. Year Zero is ranked by the BFI as among the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century. His Death of a Nation, about East Timor, had a similar impact in 1994. He has made 58 documentary films. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heroes and A Secret Country, The New Rulers of the World and Hidden Agendas. He is the editor of an anthology, Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs. His latest book is Freedom Next Time. "John Pilger unearths, with steely attention to facts, the filthy truth and tells it as it is" -- Harold Pinter. "John Pilger's work has been a beacon of light in often dark times. The realities he has brought to light have been a revelation, over and over again, and his courage and insight a constant inspiration." -- Noam Chomsky


Wilfred Graham Burchett, an Australian journalist, was the first Allied reporter to enter Hiroshima and was the only person to get an uncensored story out of Japan.  After a 400-mile train ride from Tokyo, he arrived on the night of Sept. 2, 1945.  In the morning he was escorted by police car to the Communications Hospital where he pounded out copy on his Baby Hermes while sitting on a pile of rubble.  It was published in the London Daily Express on Sept. 5th  under this ominous headline.
            30th Day in Hiroshima: Those who escaped begin to die, victims of
                                          THE ATOMIC PLAGUE
                               I write this as a Warning to the World
                               DOCTORS FALL AS THEY WORK
                                   Poison gas fear: All wear masks
In Hiroshima, 30 days after the 1st atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly- people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.  Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city.  It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence.  I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.
  In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war.  It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden.  The damage is far greater than photographs can show.  When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles and you can see hardly a building.  It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.  I picked my way to a shack used as a temporary police headquarters in the middle of the vanished city.  Looking south from there I could see about three miles of redish rubble.  That is all the atomic bomb left of dozens of blocks of city streets, of buildings, homes, factories and human beings.  There is just nothing standing except about twenty factory chimneys-- chimneys with no factories.  A group of half a dozen gutted buildings.  And then again, nothing.
The police chief of Hiroshima welcomed me eagerly as the first Allied correspondent to reach the city.  With the local manager of Domei, the leading Japanese news agency, he drove me through, or perhaps I should say over, the city.  And he took me to hospitals where the victims of the bomb are still being treated.   In these hospitals I found people who, when the bomb fell suffered absolutely no injuries, but now are dying from the uncanny after-effects.  For no apparent reason their health began to fail.  They lost appetite.  Their hair fell out.  Bluish spots appeared on their bodies.  And then bleeding began from the ears, nose, and mouth.  At first, the doctors told me, they thought these were the symptoms of general debility.  They gave their patients Vitamin A injections.  The results were horrible.  The flesh started rotting away from the hole caused by the injection of the needle.  And in every case the victim died.  That is one of the after-effects of the first atomic bomb man ever dropped and I do not want to see any more examples of it.

My nose detected a peculiar odor unlike anything I have ever smelled before.  It is something like sulphur, but not quite.  I could smell it when I passed a fire that was still smoldering, or at a spot where they were still recovering bodies from the wreckage.  But I could also smell it where everything was still deserted.  They believe it is given off by the poisonous gas still issuing from the earth soaked with radioactivity by the split uranium atom.  And so the people of Hiroshima today are walking through the forlorn desolation of their once proud city with gauze masks over their mouths and noses.  It probably does not help them physically.  But it helps them mentally.

From the moment that this devastation was loosed upon Hiroshima, the people who survived have hated the white man.  It is a hate, the intensity of which is almost as frightening as the bomb itself.  The counted dead number 53,000.  Another 30,000 are missing, which means certainly dead.  In the day I have stayed in Hiroshima, 100 people have died from its effects.  They were some of the 13,000 seriously injured by the explosion.  These casualties might not have been as high except for a tragic mistake.  The authorities thought this was just another Super-Fort raid.  The plane flew over the target and dropped the parachute which carried the bomb to its explosion point.  The American plane passed out of sight.  The all-clear was sounded and the people of Hiroshima came out from their shelters.  Almost a minute later the bomb reached the 2,000 foot altitude at which it was timed to explode- at the moment when nearly everyone in Hiroshima was in the streets.

Hundreds upon hundreds of the dead were so badly burned by the terrific heat generated by the bomb that it was not even possible to tell whether they were men or women, old or young.  Of thousands of others, nearer the center of the explosion, there was no trace.  The theory in Hiroshima is that the atomic heat was so great that they burned instantly to ashes- except that there were no ashes.  If you could see what is left of Hiroshima, you would think that London had not been touched by bombs.  The Imperial Palace, once an imposing building, is a heap of rubble three feet high ,and there is one piece of the wall.  Roof, floors and everything else is dust.

On the morning of Sept. 7th Burchett stumbled off the train in Tokyo to discover that senior U.S. officials had called a press conference to dampen down the story that had been wired around the world.  Brigadier General Thomas Farrell, deputy head of the super-secret Manhattan Project, was explaining that the bomb had been exploded at a sufficient height over Hiroshima to avoid any risk of  ‘residual radiation.’  My first question to the briefing officer.  Have you been to Hiroshima?  No, he replied, but then he explained, Those I had seen in the hospital were victims of blast and burn, normal after any big explosion.  Apparently the Japanese doctors were incompetent to handle them or lacked the right medication.  He discounted allegations that those who had not been  in the city at the time of the blast were later affected.  Why were fish still dying a month after the blast, I asked.  The spokesman looked pained.   I’m afraid you’ve fallen victim to Japanese propaganda.  Hiroshima was immediately put off bounds.  I was whisked to a US Army hospital where doctors told me my low with-corpuscle count was caused by antibiotics I had been given for a knee infection.    

Years later he found out this condition was related to radiation sickness.  He died of cancer in 1983, shortly after his book was published.

Thus commenced a half-century of radiation obfuscation.  Burchett’s firsthand account was censored  throughout the United States.  All atomic weapons research, including radiation and fluoride studies (fluoride is a major ingredient in atomic weapons development), was “born secret” and  labeled RD (restricted data), much of it buried in secret files filling three warehouses long after the Cold War was over.

Excerpts from Wilfred Burchett’s book, Shadows of Hiroshima (1983)

As reported by Lynn Howard Ehrle, freelance medical writer
Senior Biomedical Policy Analyst (pro bono) Organic Consumers Association

Editor's Note: This started long before Hiroshima. The monster whose name may not be spoken has a long and unbroken record of killing anyone who dares to defy its will. 


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