When Americans think about nuclear weapons, they comfort themselves with the thought that these weapons’ vast destruction of human life has not taken place since 1945—at least not yet. But, in reality, it has taken place, with shocking levels of U.S. casualties. This point is borne out by a recently-published study by a team of investigative journalists at McClatchy News. Drawing upon millions of government records and large numbers of interviews, they concluded that employment in the nation’s nuclear weapons plants since 1945 led to 107,394 American workers contracting cancer and other serious diseases. Of these people, some 53,000 judged by government officials to have experienced excessive radiation on the job received $12 billion in compensation under the federal government’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. And 33,480 of these workers have died. Read
Saudi Arabia has one of the best-funded defence forces in the Middle East. The kingdom spends 25% of its budget, or about $80 billion, on its military. That is about double what it spends on health and social development. It has been throwing its weight around recently, engaging in a war in Yemen and joining forces with Turkey against Syrian President Bashar Assad. So here’s what all that money has bought it. Saudi Arabia is strong in the air. Its air force contains more than 300 fighter jets and 15 active airfields. This includes dozens of US-made F-15s, with another 80 on order. Read
Two election cycles after losing the Democratic Party nomination because of her Iraq War vote, Hillary Clinton finally seems to have put it behind her. In fact, with the latest wave of ISIS hysteria, her hawkishness is seen by some as a plus. At the same time, striking a balance, a good case can be made that, though she did vote to authorize the Iraq War, she would never have started it herself if she had been president. John Kerry made that very same argument back in 2004, in fact. As Kevin Drum described at the time, the media was echoing the Bush campaign spin, presenting Kerry’s position as confused and ludicrous at best, and as inconsistent flip-flopping at worst. But actually his position was a familiar one to them: Read
GR Editor’s Note Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war. Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. Should we be concerned? Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her campaign is financed by the corporations which produce WMDs. Read
Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.
– A conference on the Black Radical Tradition will be held at Temple University, in Philadelphia, January 8th through the 10th. Dr. Anthony Monteiro is one of the organizers, and a keynote speaker for the event. We asked Dr. Monteiro, How alive is the Black Radical Tradition, today?
- Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, is wishing a very unhappy New Year to Wall Street and U.S. Imperialism. The consensus among the corporate media and the ruling circles in the United States is that the economy is doing fine, that the U.S. is nearing full employment, and that means the government will end its policy of giving trillions of dollars in interest-free money to the banks. But Omali Yeshitela says, the system is in deep crisis.
- Earlier this year, a 27 year old teacher from Southeast Washington, DC, died at the hands of two Special Police officers. The recently formed Pan African Community Action group, or PACA, wants to take the case before the United Nations. PACA organizer Netfa Freeman explains.
For quite some time the Iranian people have had to endure major hardships resulting from an ailing Iranian economy, internal political bickering and most importantly harsh international sanctions applied by the US and its allies. However, a new sense of hope and optimism was engendered by the election of Rouhani to president in June 2013 and the promise that a new era of international cooperation and with it economic prosperity. Any progress, nevertheless, is dependent on how well Rouhani is able to negotiate the tricky machinations of the Iranian political system in which some factions would have much to lose from his success.. Iran is in a good position to revive its economic strength. The population is young, well-educated and hungry for success. The country possesses vital energy resources, a promising technology sector and a vibrant and growing mercantilist tradition. Moreover, Iran has developed into a geo-politically important player in the region. This makes Iran attractive for foreign investment, especially if Iran invests prudently in education, health care, infrastructure and technology to make the most of growing middle class optimism and initiative. Read
In late October, we noted that for the second time this year, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the biggest exporter of crude to China. Russia also took the top spot in May, marking the first time in history that Moscow beat out Riyadh when it comes to crude exports to Beijing. “Moscow is wrestling with crippling Western economic sanctions and building closer ties with Beijing is key to mitigating the pain,” we said in October, on the way to explaining that closer ties between Russia and China as it relates to energy are part and parcel of a burgeoning relationship between the two countries who have voted together on the Security Council on matters of geopolitical significance. Here’s a look at the longer-term trend: Read
David Muir, setting up the first in an endless stream of questions about terrorism in Saturday evening’s Democratic primary debate, of which he was moderator, reminded Americans that it was “just six days before Christmas, as we all know in this country. It’s typically a joyful time, as it is this year, as well. But it’s also an anxious time.” The question at hand was not the age-old one of war or peace, or even, for that matter, the war on Christmas . After all, as Muir noted, Americans are united by theirknowledge that it’s almost Christmas. The critical uncertainty, rather, is what kind of war this country, which has been ceaselessly at war for 14 years, should fight. “I’m going to ask the secretary [Clinton] here, because there does appear to be some daylight here between the policies, at least in respect to when you take out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” said Muir. “Right now or do you wait? Do you tackle ISIS first?” Read More
Emotional and ill-focused reaction to the latest mass shooting in the United States, coupled with misguided but unfortunately well-entrenched ways of thinking about terrorism and counterterrorism, along with a political campaign featuring jingoistic appeals, is increasing the pressure on the U.S. administration to embark on costly and counterproductive new endeavors in the Middle East. A dominant theme in public discourse is that the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) is behind what has already become highly destructive terrorism in the West and therefore the United States needs to hasten to destroy the group in its stronghold in Syria and Iraq, and this means increased use of military force. Read