A week ago, Japanese lawmakers passed legislation expanding the nation’s military’s role for first time since WWII. According to David Swanson:
“At the end of World War II, the war’s losers in Japan and Germany were put on trial for an act that had been perfectly legal until 1928, the act of making war. In 1928, the global peace movement, led by the U.S. movement for the Outlawry of War, created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty that prohibits all war, a treaty to which most nations of the world are party today.”
He of course notes one can take that pact with a grain or two of salt, then explains:
“At the end of World War II, long-time Japanese diplomat and peace activist and new prime minister Kijuro Shidehara asked General Douglas MacArthur to outlaw war in a new Japanese constitution. The result was Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution, the wording of which is nearly identical to that of the Kellogg-Briand Pact.”
He then cites several instances of Japan refusing US requests to throw out Article Nine, but:
“Now, at U.S. urging, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is attempting to formally throw out Article Nine, or to “reinterpret” it to mean its opposite. And the Japanese people, to their everlasting credit, are in the streets defending their constitution and their culture of peace.”
Once the lower house in Japan okayed war in early September, hundreds of thousands of concerned Japanese citizens staged massive protests, seemingly to no avail for now.
The LATimes quotes a higher approval rate for the legislation than the following video, but notes:
“Many legal scholars and a former Japanese Supreme Court chief justice opposed the bills as being unconstitutional.
The legislation will substantially expand the powers of Japan’s military, which has been limited to self-defense activities under the constitution enacted in 1947 under U.S. supervision.
The legislation does not annul Article 9 of the constitution, which declares that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.
Yet the new laws institutionalize “collective self-defense,” allowing Japan to come to the aid of allies during war, even if Japan is not attacked. Abe’s government has stated that by expanding the ability of the Self-Defense Forces, it will make Japan’s alliance with the U.S. more robust and evenhanded.”
Given that I don’t read German, I can’t verify this report at RT, but if it’s so, it’s a brazen move, indeed. ‘US to bring in new advanced nuclear bombs to Germany – report’.
“Starting third quarter 2015, the US Air Force is starting preparations to bring in new B61 nuclear bombs to Luftwaffe’s Büchel Air Base, according to ZDF TV channel. German parliament previously called for American nukes to be removed.
The base in Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany hosts German Panavia Tornado multipurpose aircraft that are capable to deploy the USAF nuclear bombs stored there under a nuclear sharing deal. The base is the only location in Germany that has nuclear weapons since 2007 and has 20 of them, according to the Royal United Services Institute. [snip]
Moscow has been critical of the entire nuclear sharing program between the US and European countries, saying it breached the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear states. Washington insists the NPT does not forbid it to keep nuclear weapons in Europe as long as they remain under control of the US troops.”
Related: Helen Caldicott at RT: ‘US and Russia ‘playing nuclear chicken with each other’
From upsidedownworld.org, Sept. 10: ‘Brazil-US Accords: Back to the Backyard?’
““Today we inaugurate a new phase in bilateral relations concerning defense. With the two operative agreements, we lay out a positive agenda of advances in military and technological cooperation between the two countries,” Brazilian Defense Minister Jaques Wagner stated, after a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on June 29th. As we shall see, Wagner wasn’t exaggerating.
The next day, President Barack Obama didn’t hesitate in declaring his “absolute confidence” in Dilma Rousseff when the bilateral summit concluded in the White House. “She, who has always been very honest and frank with me, fulfilled what she had promised.”
According to Clarín correspondent Eleonora Gosman, Obama “was referring to two military agreements that the president [Rousseff] had gotten Congress to vote on shortly before traveling to Washington. They were agreements ordered by the head of the White House himself, for whom they were key themes of this bilateral summit.” But Obama went further: “Brazil is an absolutely indispensable partner in facing global challenges…it’s not just a regional leader, it is a global leader.”
Under the heading The Enigma of Defense Agreements:
“The official statement says the agreement “will allow the update of joint training, courses, and internships, and will facilitate trade negotiations for equipment and armaments.” It also includes the meeting of defense institutions; students, instructors, and training personnel exchanges; ship visits; and the development and implementation of defense technology programs and projects.
Minister Wagner, along with seventeen businessmen from the Brazilian Association of Defense and Security Industries, presented main defense programs to the US Chamber of Commerce and made clear the desire of his government to “expedite bilateral agreements that encourage greater strategic partnership.”
It’s quite long, and I’ll read it to readers to make of it what they will, especially looking toward the future of global realignments as we are. Ah, and Dilma’s remarks lauding the OSA, barely mentioning UNASUR or CELAC, nor dialoguing with those socialists in Venezuela was revealing to the author.
War by Incarceration: ‘The Empire Files: Enter the Biggest Prison System in History; the Empire holds by far the most prisoners than any other country on earth, in both absolute numbers and per capita. Abby Martin explores the dark reality of conditions in America’s prisons, who is warehoused in them, and how things got this way.’
How far will the war on Jeremy Corbyn, the new head of the Labor Party in the UK, go?
Tariq Ali writes this and more:
“Last Sunday [20 September] a serving General in the British Army publicly threatened mutiny and a possible coup if Jeremy Corbyn were to be elected Prime Minister and attempted to carry through his policies. He was mildly rebuked by the Ministry of Defence.
The General is being effectively backed by Hilary Benn, reappointed Shadow Foreign Secretary by Corbyn. Benn junior is threatening to vote for bombing Syria and is strongly opposed to ditching nuclear weapons.” (more from tariq ali on the ‘combined attack’); he doesn’t mention Corbyn wanting the UK out of NATO; them’s fightin’ words, among other of his platform particulars. You’ll likely remember that in March of this year, Obama had declared Caracas a threat to US national security.
Ah, and the War on organized labor may be decided soon. ‘Friedrichs v. CTA: the Supreme Court Case That Could Destroy Labor Unions as We Know Them’, by Andrew Stewart
“For the uninitiated, the Friedrichs case follows close on the heels of the Harris v. Quinn decision, an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that laid out for the so-called ‘Right to Work’ anti-union movement exactly what would be necessary for the Court to destroy labor unions. In his majority opinion, he explained that the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education ruling contained some ‘anomalies’ regarding free speech. In the 1977 case, the Burger court ruled that unions had the right to collect dues from paychecks, collectively bargain for employees, and endorse political candidates. Friedrichs was customized to reverse that decision and turn the entire public sector into a Right to Work bastion overnight.
In the ‘Questions Presented’ section of the Petitioner’s Brief, they serve up a century of labor battles on the executioner’s slab with glee:
* Whether Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), should be overruled and public- sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment.
* Whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.
Based on the votes in Harris, it is abundantly clear that the usual suspects, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Roberts, will be in the majority and those who say otherwise are simply out of their minds. In the span of mere minutes, middle-class jobs will go from some of the most coveted in the job market to having the same security and value as those of McDonalds.”
Yash Tandon, a Ugandan policymaker, political activist, and so forth, calls the WTO ‘a war machine’, and writes about the upcoming WTO Ministeril Conference in Nairobi, the first ever on African soil. He defends his worthy title, and offers challenges to the coming conference. After a section of Marx’s claims about trade, he adds this:
“People in the West believe that with the end of colonialism, the Empire has ceased to exist. Not so. It has simply muted into a ‘multilateralised neo-colonial system’. Instead of Britain ruling Kenya or France ruling Algeria, it is the Empire of the US, Europe, Japan that now reign over the Global South. They created the principal instruments of global economic governance –the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, and they are still busy creating others such as the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements) and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – structures of dominance that I discuss in future blogs.”
Yes, perhaps these are slower wars, less kinetic, including the TPP, which the Globe and Mail says will receive its (hoped for) final push at the end of September.
“An effort to land a massive Pacific Rim free trade agreement within weeks is under way, raising the prospect the wide-ranging Trans-Pacific Partnership could dominate the final stretch of the Canadian election campaign.
Chief negotiators for the 12 countries involved, including Canada, will begin meeting in Atlanta on Sept. 26, and trade ministers will join the next week, possibly Sept. 30, a Canadian government official said.
The United States and Japan, the two most influential players in the 12-country negotiations, are behind this effort to conclude a deal. The United States is trying to establish a North American-style trading and investment regime for commerce in Asia that becomes the dominant standard and acts as a counterweight to Chinese influence in the region.”
And, ah, yes; Obama knows that getting the bill through Congress might be…challenging. We certainly hope so.
A piece of good news from Eyes On Trade at Public Citizen:
“In a major victory against the corporate-driven trade model, the President of Uruguay has announced that the country will be leaving the controversial Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.
Uruguay’s initial decision to join the TiSA negotiations was met with strong and vocal opposition. Last month, more than 40,000 protestors shut down the city of Montevideo for a 24 hour general strike in which the TiSA was a major issue. The Frente Amplio (FA), Uruguay’s leading political party, passed a resolution calling for Uruguay to leave the negotiations, and yesterday, Uruguyan President Vázques officially announced Uruguay’s departure. Uruguay’s decision is in no small part thanks to the tireless efforts of many activists, labor unions, environmental organizations, and other civil society groups in the country.” (more here)
The Pro-Empire Candidate
“We have heard Sanders’s defense of the Israeli atrocities in the bombing of Gaza, his call for Saudi Arabia to do even more killing and his concern about Putin for – well, being Putin and Russian. Thus Bernie is joining a cheering section that could root us right into nuclear war and oblivion.”
After giving credit where credit is due:
The fundamental problem with Sanders’s campaign is that it is based on bribery, and an especially immoral sort of bribery at that. For Bernie promises more social benefits if we, the beneficiaries, let him continue the Empire’s warfare – both economic and military. That is a most unsavory sort of bribe. Basically he gives us butter if we give him guns to kill innocents.
Sanders’s stance is the essence of every imperial candidate. On the Republican side, the goodies promised are tax cuts in return for the electorate’s backing of wars. In fact this is the tactic of every Empire. The British provided unparalleled freedoms at home while they raped much of the globe. Even in the Roman Empire a citizen had privileges, which non-citizens lacked. For example a Roman citizen convicted of a capital crime was not executed by the horrendous torture unto death of crucifixion – unless for treason, that is, a lapse in loyalty to the Empire. Bernie is only the latest to promise the imperial citizenry more goodies if we are loyal to the Empire. This does not mean that Bernie is worse than the other candidates – only that he is no different from them. He is simply more of the same.”
Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.