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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Naofumi Nakato: Hunger Strike Protest against V-22 "Osprey" aircraft in Ginowan City, Okinawa


(Photo: Naofumi Nakato)

Residents of Ginowan City, Okinawa are engaged in a hunger strike protest of the planned U.S. military deployment (low altitude testing and flight training) of V-22 "Osprey" aircraft.

They were recently joined by renowned Okinawan activist and Buddhist monk Shoichi Chibana, who traveled from his home in Yomitan to be with the elderly hunger strikers (who survived the Battle of Okinawa as children and have resisted the violence, noise, weapons testing, war training, environmental destruction, and toxic pollution of the U.S. military occupation for over six decades).

In an interview with Kyodo (published at The Japan Times) earlier this year, Chibana questioned the U.S. plan to station the test "Osprey" aircraft at the Futenma Marine Air Base in Ginowan City: "Why do they think Okinawans can accept what residents in Iwakuni and Shizuoka rejected?"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jody Williams: "Demilitarization is not a dirty word"

Jody Williams' testimony on behalf of developing a global vision of  humane and environmental planetary security:
Demilitarization Is Not a Dirty Word

HUMAN SECURITY FOR GLOBAL SECURITY: Demilitarization is not a dirty word, nonviolence is not inaction, and building sustainable peace is not for the faint of heart

by Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1997)

The political, social and economic changes we all face are serious. Some might call the state of the world today chaos. The ongoing, dramatic changes in technology and communications are other elements adding to uncertainty and the feelings of insecurity that people around the globe are confronting. No one can predict the future but we can work hard to shape the outcomes.

Clearly there are huge obstacles to creating a world of sustainable peace with justice, equality and an end to impunity. A world free of militarism, armaments and the arms trade in which human and other resources are focused on meeting the needs of humanity rather than fueling conflicts and war. A world of sustainable development that nurtures our planet instead of continuing to devastate the environment and threaten life on earth. This will not happen over night. But worrying about the future is not a strategy for shaping it.

My own work, beginning with protests against the Vietnam War, has been against weapons, war and militarism. It is based on an understanding that sustainable peace is not simply the absence of armed conflict. The absence of armed conflict provides the bare minimum for the possibility of constructing sustainable peace based on socio-economic justice and equality. And to accomplish that we must change the understanding of security.

For centuries security has been defined as “national security” – which essentially has meant assuring the security of those in power and the apparatus of the state. Defending the state requires military power based on nationalism and patriotism. “Us” against “them.” How else could armies be formed that send other people’s children off to fight battles for resources, territory and to project the power of the state?

Now, with globalization where all aspects of life are increasingly and more rapidly interconnected around the world, it is time to move away from state-centric security to security based on the individual – “human security” not “national security.” The human security framework understands “security” as directing policies and resources toward meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on the planet: providing decent housing, education, access to medical care, employment with dignity, protection of civil and human rights and governments that respond to the needs of citizens. It means creating a world where people live with freedom from want and freedom from fear.

One part of being able to create that world is reclaiming and reasserting the meaning of “world peace.” It isn’t meditation, a rainbow with a dove flying over it, or singing peace songs. Nonviolence is not inaction and building sustainable peace must be understood as hard work every single day. We must all be active participants in change for the good. It doesn’t matter what issues people choose to work on – it could be global warming, an end to militarism, an end to poverty, or HIV/Aids for example.

What matters is that we all work on issues we feel passionate about and that our actions are for the benefit of everyone. By doing that our combined efforts enhance human security. We also must talk about our work in the context of human security so that people become familiar with the concept and understand the various elements that contribute to promoting and protecting human security.

Another aspect of creating a world based on human security not national security is to tackle demilitarization and the glorification of violence head on. It is an abomination that with the current global economic shake-down, countries still managed to find billions of dollars for weapons and the military while at the same time they are cutting funds for education, health care, job training, social services –the elements of daily life that are the basis of human security.

Demilitarization is not a dirty word. Civil society and national nongovernmental organization should confront demilitarization in our own countries. At the same time we must collectively press regional bodies such as the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of American States, and so on for global demilitarization. We also have another means of collective action, which is Article 26 of the UN Charter – not that we have illusions about the ability of the UN to seriously work for demilitarization. But every country that joins the UN commits to fulfilling the articles of the charter and Article 26 states:

In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating…plans to be submitted to the members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.

In the more than six decades since the establishment of the UN, the Security Council has done absolutely nothing to fulfill its Article 26 obligation. But the member states of the UN have not done a thing to pressure the Security Council on Article 26 either.

Collectively, global civil society should begin actions to force the Security Council to “formulate plans” under Article 26 as soon as possible. Knowing that they will do everything in their formidable power to continue to ignore those obligations, global civil society should draw up its own plans and recommendations for demilitarization and how to use the resources resulting from demilitarization to enhance global human security. We can develop strategies and tactics around our plans and recommendations to pressure governments nationally, regionally and internationally to begin the process of demilitarization.

With demilitarization, the possibilities of positive change and human security in our world would be limitless. Humanity has the right to the real security of sustainable peace not the false “security” of militarism, armaments and war.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Walk of Life" (命の行進 2012)


(空から一条の光が玄題旗に降り注ぎ、雲に、紫の帯になって、映っているようです!At the Kagoshima Prefecture Sendai nuclear power plant, before fasting, the priests engage in a prayer walk for purification from the sea. A streak of light from the sky fell on the flag from the sky, the clouds turned purple. Photo: Walk of Life on Facebook)

Via Senri no michi:
In early February, a group of Buddhist priests started a "Walk Of Life" across Japan, stopping at all the country's nuclear plants to offer prayers to the sacred grounds of each of these locations. Their final stop will be the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 6...

This photo was taken in Kagoshima, at the southern tip of Kyushu.

More at their blog.

Albert Einstein: "A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe..."

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Memory of Chris Marker, the Battle of Okinawa, & the Pacific War


(Photo: Chris Marker)

On July 30, French filmmaker Chris Marker at the age of 91. His films reflect a complex, multi-layered worldview; existentialist humanitarianism; and a fascination with Japan and Okinawa.

In Level Five, Marker undertook a deep exploration of the history of the repeated violation of Okinawa, focusing on the incomprehensible devastation of the Battle of Okinawa ("Typhoon of Steel"):
A peaceful isle out of the world, out of history, would stage the bloodiest battle of all time...Nowhere else except Nazi camps did people go on dying after battle.

The islanders were not true Japanese but Japanese enough to die...

The battle was lost in advance. The Japanese army could not win. The context was defeat....

Another consequence of ths context of defeat was that no effort was made to protect the civilian population [by either side], so civilian casualties far outnumbered military casualties...One third of the population.
The 1997 film traces Okinawan history back to Commodore Perry's unwelcome visits in the 1850's to Shuri Castle, palace of the Ryūkyū Kingdom:
...As if Japan needed a US soldier each century to enter a new era...For four hundred years, no one asked the Okinawans anything.
The film flashbacks again to an even earlier historical episode in which an Englishman described the traditional Okinawan respect for life and peace to Napoleon:
An English captian came to him after going around the Pacific and described a small island whose natives had no weapons.

"No cannons?" says the emperor, somewhat disgusted.

"No cannons, no pistols, no muskets, no weapons at all."

"How do they wage war?

"They don't. They're not interested."

Napoleon concluded that people without war are most despicable...Travelers enraged him with tales of Okinawa's gentleness. Gentleness? Is history made of gentleness? Do dragons honor gentleness?

So Okinawans hated violence?

They had it coming...A peaceful isle out of the world would stage the bloodiest battle of all time. A happy, life-loving woman was chosen to encounter death...
Marker underscores the historical fact that the Japanese Imperial military knew they were going to lose the Pacific War in advance of the Battle of Okinawa, which was undertaken as a sacrificial delaying tactic that resulted in the devastation of the Okinawa's main island and the deaths of over one third of the people. Documentary filmmaker Junichi Ushiyama explains in the film:
The purpose was to fix the aftermath and reinforce the imperial system...
Another consequence due to this context of defeat was that no effort was made to protect the civilian population, so civilian casualties far outnumbered military casualties.
Perhaps the quiet climax of this cinematic essay is Chris Marker's reference to the island itself:
From above Okinawa is like a beast...a crouched beast ready to jump, to unfurl into who knows what form - a lizard, a dragon?

As if all History's fierceness was in that island. Where people are so peaceable, they infuriate History...

So thought the island...the big dragon in the island..ready to pounce, like a cat, like a tiger, biding his time...

The people of Okinawa are resentful, even now. There is a feeling of injustice over the past. The war isn't over...

Okinawa was a Japan that kept its memory...
Level Five includes references to Japanese military sex slaves (so-called "comfort women") and shocking footage of civilians forced to commit suicide by jumping off cliffs in Saipan. Marker also excerpts later footage (by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima) of a heartbreaking memorial service for the hundreds of Okinawan school children who died when the USS Bowfin sank their passenger ship, the Tsushima Maru (their parents had sent them away in an attempt to save their lives before the US-Japan battle).

An excerpt from John Huston's Let There Be Light provides a glimpse into the damage to Americans in Okinawa. The US Army produced the 1946 documentary about American soldiers suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder, but it was subsequently censored. It is now available for free screening (and download) at the National Film Preservation Foundation website.

Near the end of the film, Marker takes the viewer for a visit to the market in Naha. The mood feels haunted as the camera's gaze catches mostly women vendors (their men were killed during the Battle of Okinawa).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jordan Burroughs for President! - "Who says Iran & America don't get along?"



Nice to see some upbeat commentary...Via US Olympic gold medalist wrestler Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold), after his match with Iran's silver medalist Sadegh Goudarzi:
Who's says Iran and America don't get along? Maybe I should be president!

Monday, August 13, 2012

8.13 Rally commemorating the 2004 crash of a US military training helicopter into Okinawa Int. University - Ginowan City Hall, Ginowan City, Okinawa

(Photo: Kyoko Higa: 宜野湾市役所前で写真のタイトルの集会に参加しました。8年前と何ら改善されない現状に決意新たに取組む、オスプレイ配備は言語道断!、防衛大臣の来県を阻止しよう。)

Today's 8.13 protest rally in front of Ginowan City Hall commemorates the 2004 U.S. military helicopter training crash at the Okinawa International University campus. Okinawans have described the US military plan to deploy (test/train at low-altitude) V-22 "Osprey" aircraft in Okinawa as "outrageous."

They said they Okinawans are filled with a renewed sense of determination in opposing US military expansion plans in their prefecture: destruction of Oura Bay and Henoko to make way for a mega-base over a coral reef and Okinawa dugong habitat; clearing of old-growth trees (habitat of the endangered Okinawa woodpecker and Okinawa rail) to make way for V-22 "Osprey" helipads in one of the best-preserved areas of Yanbaru rainforest; and destruction of more old-growth forest for the enlargement of the live-fire artillery training ground at Mt. Ogura.

Background about the crash here.

Okinawa No Fly Zone: The Story of the August 13, 2004 U.S. Marine CH-53D Helicopter Crash into the Okinawa Int. University Administration Building


This photo was shot just a few minutes after the crash from the front of Pablo's lunch counter

Via the Okinawa No Fly Zone:
The Story of the August 13, 2004 U.S. Marine CH-53D Helicopter Crash into the Okinawa International University Administration Building

On August 13, 2004. U.S. Marines invaded and occupied a large section of the Okinawa International University campus after a CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter crashed into the OIU Administration Building...

What started out as a fairly routine summer day on the Okinawa International University (OIU) campus turned into the worst U.S. military helicopter crash in Japan in recent years.

Being summer vacation, only about 500 people were on the OIU campus. Ordinarily there would have been 5,000. Some summer session classes had just let out for the day, and students were milling about. Unbeknownst to the students, though, a U.S. Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter was out of control and headed their way.

The helicopter which had taken off from Futenma air base was reportedly on a routine training mission directly over a densely populated urban residential area (!), and was headed back to the base on a path which took it over the university.

Eyewitnesses including both local residents and U.S. Marines reported seeing a large section of the tail rotor assembly fall off in midair over a nearby residential neighborhood. OIU Office Chief Yasutake Kuroshima, who happened to be outside the building, took off running at the sight of the huge helicopter spiraling out of control over his head. Plummeting rapidly toward earth, the fuselage of the helicopter hit the edge of the university administration building. The rotor blades hacked large chunks of concrete from the roof of the three-story building...

The helicopter crashed just over 100 meters from a gas station, and about 150 meters from a day-care center and an elementary school...
Read the rest at the Okinawa No Fly Zone website created by OIU faculty and supporters.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Masako Sakata explores the legacies of Agent Orange: Living the Silent Spring


Masako Sakata: "Agent Orange is an indictment of US foreign policy and corporate greed,
as well as being a celebration of love’s ability to face enormous adversity."

Following the death of her husband, photographer Greg Davis, from liver cancer at age 54, Masako Sakata studied videography, aiming to produce an investigative documentary about the toxic chemical. She suspected that exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam during the 1970's caused her husband's illness.

In her first documentary, Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem, Sakata focused on the "forgotten victims of Agent Orange" and showed "how the toxic chemical erodes the human body from generation to generation, and how the Vietnamese have struggled, both in desperation and with affection, to support the victims."

Her 2011 film, Living the Silent Spring, follows the journey of an American second generation victim of Agent Orange, Heather Bowser, as she travels to Vietnam, and explores the lives of other American victims.

From August 10, 1961 to 1971, the US military sprayed 20 million gallons (80 million liters) of Agent Orange and related chemical weapons throughout Vietnam (and Laos and Cambodia) during its war in southeast Asia. The environmental warfare campaign, called "Operation Ranch Hand," destroyed 500,000 acres of farmland and 5 million acres of forest in Vietnam alone.

The destruction of farmland resulted in widespread famine and the starvation of hundreds of thousands of people. Agent Orange also contaminated the watershed as well as vegetation and soil. Dioxin, a carcinogenic toxin in the herbicide accumulated at the bottom of lakes and rivers, thereby entering the Vietnamese food supply through fish as well as through food crops.

Different sources estimate that between three and five million Vietnamese people suffer from diseases and disorders caused by Agent Orange. This includes 500,000 second and third generation children born with birth defects. Thousands of US soldiers and their children have also endured disorders caused by the toxin.

Attempts were made during the Vietnam War to stop the US use of Agent Orange. In 1966, Hungary introduced a resolution to the United Nations charging that the U.S. was violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which regulates the use of chemical and biological weapons, by using Agent Orange and tear gas in Vietnam. Washington denied the charge on the grounds that only anti-personnel weapons are covered by the protocol.

In 1991, after much lobbying by Vietnam War veterans and their families, Congress authorized some assistance to Americans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

In 2004, the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin sued Dow Chemical and other manufacturers. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2009, accepting a federal appeals court 2003 ruling in New York that dismissed the case on the "government contractor defense," which protects military contractors from legal liability.
Over the past five years, despite Washington's claim that the link between dioxin exposure and disease is "uncertain," Congress appropriated about $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam regardless of cause.

Last week, Washington announced it had awarded contracts to two U.S. companies to decontaminate Da Nang, a dioxin "hot spot" (former air base where American soldiers mixed, stored and loaded Agent Orange onto planes and helicopters). Some Vietnamese commentators have said this is "...too little...too late." Some children of American Vietnam vets have taken an even stronger view, commenting that this is a "classic example" of U.S. military industrial pattern of profiting from a U.S.-created cycle destruction and "reconstruction," as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Astonishingly, Hanoi has welcomed Dow and Monsanto, the two largest manufacturers of Agent Orange, to do business in Vietnam. Both companies profited from the production of the chemical weapon, yet have not have assisted in decontamination or compensated victims. In February, Monsanto announced it plans to introduce GMO crops (seeds are manufactured to be used with Round-Up, a toxic herbicide, or 2-4,D, a component of Agent Orange) into Vietnam.

However in May of this year, the Vietnamese government revealed profound domestic tensions towards these companies when it called for Dow (a multi-million dollar Olympics sponsor) to quit the games because of its participation in the production of Agent Orange. Thanh Nien News, a newspaper published in Ho Chi Minh City, quoted Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, former deputy defense minister, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange, and a sitting legislator: “My ultimate goal is to push the government to get both Dow and Monsanto out of Vietnam.”

Between 1,000,000 and 2,500,000 Vietnamese and over 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War.

Roger Pulvers' "Remembering Victims of Agent Orange in the Shadow of 9/11," published on September 4, 2011 at The Asia-Pacific Journal, and introduced by filmmaker John Junkerman (who edited Living in the Silent Spring) provides deep, sensitive contexts to the film:
I worked as the editor of the film, Living the Silent Spring, which Pulvers discusses in his essay. The film’s director, Masako Sakata, had been struck by the fact that Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring appeared at virtually the same time that the US military began spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam. Though Carson died soon after her book came out, her outrage at the irresponsible use of potent chemicals and her pleas for environmental and biological wisdom seemed to be a warning that went unheeded about the dangers of Agent Orange.

We were in the studio editing the film on March 11, when the massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. As the extent of the Fukushima nuclear disaster became known, and it became clear that the area around the plant would be contaminated with radiation for many decades to come, Carson’s description of chemicals as the “sinister partners of radiation”—and the film we were working on—took on a new resonance...

Living the Silent Spring takes up the Agent Orange story from both sides. Sakata returns to some of the villages she visited for her earlier film so that we may see how the children genetically maimed by their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange have fared. But this time she also introduces us to a number of Americans who have equally suffered — bringing home the message that, in war, we are all victims.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Petronella Ytsma: "Legacy of an Ecocide: Agent Orange Aftermath"





My work is concerned with social justice and ecological issues from an artistic perspective. Primarily through the lens of my Hasselblad, which allows the ‘unhurried visit’, I explore remnants and legacy, memory and mirror, and reflect on the civil contracts inherent between image maker, giver and viewer. Images from this body of work about intergenerational effects of Agent Orange on a specific population comprise a cautionary tale, a never-ending highly controversial one fraught with myriad complexities. As maker and viewer, they confirm my sense of being in the world and are for me the embodiment of a prayer.

From 1961 to 1971 the United States engaged in what can only be described as an ecocide - the most extensive and systematic use of chemical warfare in the history of mankind, for the stated purpose of defoliation in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. Much was done in secret, with full denial, and with little thought to long-term consequences on troops, local populations or environment. The most toxic of the chemicals employed was Agent Orange containing high levels of Dioxin. The Vietnamese interpret this as a reclamation chemical to ‘bare the leaves of plants for making VN to become a place of fallow hill - empty house.’ Estimates of 80 million litres (12 million gallons) were systematically used, impacting about 25% of the land in South Viet Nam. It is also estimated that 4.8 million people were exposed, at least 3 million symptomatic and 85% of families having 2 or more children affected.

In 2007, and again in 2008, I spent several months in Viet Nam, researching and documenting issues surrounding Agent Orange/Dioxin. I visited various ‘hot spots’, interviewing government and community officials, 75 families and several long-term care facilities, documenting many children afflicted with a wide array of disabilities attributable to effects of Dioxin. Images are some of the portraits of second and third generations affected by this war that ended about 40 years ago.

The relevancy of this work lies in the fact that we remain a hegemonic power heavily invested in war and chemical industrial complexes. We fool ourselves into believing that other people’s children are not as precious, or human, as our own. These images serve both as a glimpse of the legacy we left, but more importantly, they are my testimony to the children, their families and to the mystery of what makes us human. For them and millions of others, that war is not over. They cannot close their eyes to it and simply move on. I believe it is vital that we meet their eyes and look into this mirror. May these images deny the wish to erase the past and ‘the other’ from memory.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Peace Boat's 63rd Voyage: Atomic bombing survivors (Hibakusha) dialogue with Agent Orange victims


(Agent Orange victim Phuong folding paper cranes with Toshiko Tanaka,
atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima. Photo courtesy of Lee, Jung Yong)


(Little Van, an Agent Orange victim from Vietnam, sailed with Peace Boat for a week, and got a lot of love from Peace Boat participants, here with Marianna Aoki. Photo courtesy of Lee, Jung Yong)



(In Da Nang with a group of nuclear bombing survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and Agent Orange victims. Photo courtesy of Lee, Jung Yong)

Via Rose Welsch, some remarkable photos from Peace Boat's 63rd voyage "for a Nuclear-Free World" that took place from September 2008 to January 2009. During the voyage, 102 Hibakusha visited 22 ports in 20 countries over three months to share their testimonies with people from around the world and called for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At their first stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, the Hibakusha met and exchanged testimony with Agent Orange survivors and 2nd- and 3rd-generation victims.

Starting on August 10, 1961, the US military began spraying Agent Orange, a chemical weapon, throughout Vietnam to destroy forest canopy and farmland. The result: an ecological and public health catastrophe. According to the Vietnamese government, up to four million people in Vietnam suffer from diseases related to Agent Orange. Similarlly to nuclear radiation, Agent Orange damages DNA, and causes birth deformities. Just as the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiation impacted later generations in Japan, so has Agent Orange in Vietnam (and as is depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Da Nang was particularly affected because the US military stored and loaded Agent Orange onto planes at a coastal air base there. Phuong & Little Van, in the above photographs, are from Da Nang, and joined the Peace Boat Hibakusha Project for a week of sharing, mutual support, and love.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

People in Koodankulam, India pray for a Nuclear-Free World


People of Koodankulam, India praying for the victims of Hiroshima on August 7, 2012.
"We have chance to save Koodankulam ...."
(Photo: Amirtharaj Stephen, Dianuke.org)

Velcrow Ripper: "Lanterns of Memory"



Via fillmaker Velcrow Ripper:
"Each of us faces circumstances in life which compel us to carry heavy burdens of sorrow...Adversity assails us with hurricane force...Glowing sunrises are transformed into darkest nights...Our highest hopes are blasted...Our noblest dreams are shattered...

August 6, 2000. A Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor describes what she saw ("There was no place to hide...") and expresses her wish that this never happen again.

Woven throughout, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. ask us: why should we love our enemies?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hiroshima Day- ICAN booklet on catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons

Nagasaki bomb victim Sumiteru Taniguchi looks at a photo of himself taken in 1945.
(Source: ICAN Hiroshima Day booklet)

"As a 16-year-old boy, I was riding my bicycle down the street when the atomic bomb exploded 1.8 km away, scorching my back and leaving the skin on my right arm hanging down from the shoulder to the fingertips."

After 17 excruciating operations and a lifetime of struggle, Sumiteru Taniguchi, 67 year since the bombing of Hiroshima, still fights pro-actively to make sure no one has to suffer what he experienced in Hiroshima ever again.

In remembrance of Hiroshima Day and all of the past and potential future victims of the nuclear industry, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has launched a booklet for free digital distribution on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Download here: http://www.icanw.org/files/ICAN-CHH.pdf
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a movement of non-government organizations in 60 countries advocating such a treaty, believes that discussions about nuclear weapons must focus not on narrow concepts of national security, but on the effects of these weapons on human beings – our health, our societies, and the environment on which we all depend.
ICAN notes that the same humanitarian discourse was used successfully in banning landmines and cluster munitions. While sharing the stories of anti-nuclear advocates and the survivors of nuclear bombing, testing, and mining the booklet provides pertinent information on:
  • the known existing nuclear arsenals in the world
  • immediate- and long- term effects of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • the devastation that would arise should regional nuclear war break out
  • the consequences of nuclear testing
  • the impact of mining on marginalized communities
  • the massive diversion of public resources for the production of nuclear materials and technology
  • currently standing international bans on weapons of mass destruction
  • ICAN recommendations on how WE CAN act
With nuclear weapons and nuclear-based technology (including nuclear reactors) still proliferating no one is safe should disaster arise. Just recently, Japan's former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba's statement about the use of Japan's nuclear reactors as a deterrent was made public: "Having nuclear plants shows to other nations that Japan can make nuclear weapons."



In Nov. 22, 2011 Ishiba stressed that Japan isn’t about to make nuclear weapons. But, he said, with nearby North Korea suspected of working on them, Japan needs to assert itself and say it can also make them - but is choosing not to.
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Unless we have a paradigm shift now, we will continue to be used by governments and industry as test mice of this obsolete nuclear deterrent ideology, living in a house of cards on a slanted table.

This booklet serves as a heart-wrenching reminder of the tragedies of the nuclear industry and the political stranglehold the industry maintains despite the enormous destruction it causes. It is a useful resource for anyone just learning about the consequences of nuclear weapons or fighting to make the shift to a nuclear-free world a reality.

Learn more about how you can abolish nuclear weapons:

ICAN homepage: http://www.icanw.org/
ICAN Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icanw.org
- posted by Jen Teeter

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Satoko Oka Norimatsu & Gavan McCormack: Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States


Please allow me to announce the publication of my book with Gavan McCormack: Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, by Rowman and Littlefield, July 30, 2012.

I hope this book will be useful for our cause of bringing justice to Okinawa.

Description:
Resistant Islands offers a comprehensive overview of Okinawan history over half a millennium from the Ryukyu Kingdom to the present, focusing especially on the colonization by Japan, the islands' disastrous fate during World War II, and their subsequent and continuing subordination to US military purpose.

Adopting a people-centered, view of Japan’s post Cold War history and the US-Japan relationship, the authors focus on the fifteen-year Okinawan struggle to secure the return of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, situated in the middle of a bustling residential area, from US to Okinawan control. They also highlight the Okinawan resistance to the US and Japanese governments’ plan to build a substitute new base at Henoko, on the environmentally sensitive northeastern shore of Okinawa. Forty years after Okinawa's belated "return" to Japan from direct US rule, its people reject the ongoing military role assigned their islands, under which they are required to continue to attach priority to US strategy.

In a persistent and deepening resistance without precedent in Japan's modern history, a peripheral and oppressed region stands up against the central government and its global superpower ally. One recent prime minister who tried to meet key Okinawan demands was brought down by bureaucratic and political pressure from Tokyo and Washington. His successors struggle in vain to find a formula that will allow them to meet US demands but also assuage Okinawan anger. Okinawa becomes a beacon of citizen democracy as its struggles raise key issues about popular sovereignty, democracy and human rights, and the future of Japan and the Asia-Pacific."

Okinawa becomes a beacon of citizen democracy as its struggles raise key issues about popular sovereignty, democracy and human rights, and the future of Japan and the Asia-Pacific.
Endorsed by Noam Chomsky, John Dower, Norma Field, Sun Ge, Glenn Hook and Ron Dore:
Resistant Islands is a tour de force—not only a stunning introduction to the resilience and vision of the people of Okinawa but also a devastating critique of official Tokyo’s obsequiousness to dictates emanating from Washington.

— John Dower, Massachusetts Institute of Technology