US chemical weapons dumped in Okinawa

The US has refused to clean up chemical weapons left on its military bases in Okinawa from the Vietnam War – over 40 years ago – despite their serious threat to the safety and well-being of the people of the Japanese island. “Decades of Pentagon pollution poison service members, local residents and the future of the island,” writes JON MITCHELL.* Reminiscent of CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, which it sprayed with Agent Orange during the 1960s, “The Pentagon continues to do everything it can to evade responsibility for the damage its bases cause.” When the US ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, it falsely said it had not left chemical weapons in any other nation’s holdings. The fact remains that it is the US that poses the greatest potential and actual danger of unleashing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons against humanity.

Barrels of unidentified U.S. chemicals lie strewn across land in the Northern Training Area, 1972. Courtesy of Robin Poe. (Click to enlarge)

Barrels of unidentified U.S. chemicals lie strewn across land in the Northern Training Area, 1972. Courtesy of Robin Poe. (Click to enlarge)

The Asia-Pacific Journal – In June 2013, construction workers unearthed more than 20 rusty barrels from beneath a soccer pitch in Okinawa City. The land had once been part of Kadena Air Base – the Pentagon’s largest installation in the Pacific region – but was returned to civilian usage in 1987. Tests revealed that the barrels contained two ingredients of military defoliants used in the Vietnam War – the herbicide 2,4,5-T and 2,3,7,8-TCDD dioxin. Levels of the highly toxic TCDD in nearby water measured 280 times safe limits.1

The Pentagon has repeatedly denied the storage of defoliants – including Agent Orange – on Okinawa.2Following the discovery, it distanced itself from the barrels; a spokesperson stated it was investigating if they had been buried after the land’s return in 19873 and a U.S. government-sponsored scientist suggested they may merely have contained kitchen or medical waste.4 However, the conclusions of the Japanese and international scientific community were unequivocal: Not only did the barrels disprove Pentagon denials of the presence of military defoliants in Japan, the polluted land posed a threat to the health of local residents and required immediate remediation.5 Continue reading

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Agent Orange was buried on Okinawa

U.S. chemical warfare continues to plague humanity, even while Washington accuses others of its own crimes. JON MITCHELL* reports on “war surplus” found on a U.S. military base on Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, covered up by the Pentagon. U.S. forces sprayed Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick during the 1960s, also denied and denied and denied by the American and Canadian governments.

Workers unearth barrels at the U.S. Kadena Air Base, January 2014.

Workers unearth barrels at the U.S. Kadena Air Base, the Pentagon’s largest installation in the Pacific region, January 2014.

Asia-Pacific Journal (Aug. 11) – More than six months after dozens of rusty chemical barrels were unearthed from former U.S. military land in Okinawa City, their contents have been identified – and they appear to offer conclusive proof that the toxic Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange was buried on the island. Continue reading

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Eduardo Galeano: Lied-about wars

Galeano.MirrorsAdvertising campaigns, marketing schemes. The target is public opinion. Wars are sold the same way cars are, by lying.

In August 1964, President Lyndon Johnson accused the Vietnamese of attacking two U.S. warships in the Tonkin Gulf.

Then the president invaded Vietnam, sending planes and troops. He was acclaimed by journalists and by politicians, and his popularity skyrocketed. The Democrats in power and the Republicans out of power became a single party united against Communist aggression. Continue reading

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Canadian Forces: Assault on a recruit

By MICHAEL W. DRAPEAU*

On August 13, 2014 the Canadian [French-speaking] media reported on the results of an interview aired the same day with ex-Private soldier James Robichaud who complained of having been assaulted in October 2009 by one of his instructors during recruit training. The assault left him with a host of permanent physical injuries to his feet, ankles, Achilles tendons, calf muscles, both knees and left shoulder.

Robichaud explained that the assault, which was thoroughly investigated by the military police, has yet to result in concrete action by the Director of Military Prosecutions which has failed to also keep him informed as to the reason(s) for such a long delay. Continue reading

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Africa: Remember this war?

The fighting in Mali is yesterday’s passing news for much of the monopoly media. The Royal Canadian Air Force together with the US Air Force, which now has forces in over 30 African countries – Germany too was involved – has been continuously flying military supplies and other equipment to support the French military intervention.

That mission, although not officially wrapped up, has disappeared from view, reports the Ottawa Citizen’s military reporter, David Pugliese.

Not for the French though. Its forces bombed positions in northern Mali on the weekend, the BBC reported. Continue reading

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Glasgow flies Palestinian flag

Scotland’s Glasgow City Council has raised the Palestinian flag over the city chambers in a move to express its solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip. 

Palestinian flag flies over Glasgow City Council to show solidarity with the people of Palestine on August 8, 2014.

Palestinian flag flies over Glasgow City Council to show solidarity with the people of Palestine on August 8, 2014.

Sadie Docherty, Lord Provost or civic head of Scotland’s largest city, said Friday that the flag is an expression of solidarity with Palestinians. Docherty wrote a letter to Vera Baboun, the mayor of Bethlehem in Palestine’s West Bank, to inform her of this mark of support. Docherty also offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the residents in Gaza and said people of Glasgow “are united by a common desire to support the Palestinian people. I would like to convey my most sincere condolences to the many in your city and throughout Palestine who have been affected by this conflict.” Residents of Glasgow welcomed the move, saying on their Twitter accounts that the city made them “proud to be Glaswegian.” Fife Council has also announced its plans to fly the Palestinian flag over Fife House in Glenrothes for a week in protest at the suffering of Gazans. The support for Palestinians came on the same day as Israel resumed its military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip after the expiry of a 72-hour truce between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas. About 1,900 Palestinians, including more than 400 children, have been killed and over 9,500 others wounded since the Israeli military first launched its brutal military aggression against Gaza on July 8. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on Thursday 18 September 2014. (With a file from PressTV)

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Palestine and the Onkwehonwe

By CLIFTON ARIHWAKEHTE NICHOLAS*

(July 30) – “Palestine, that’s none of our business.” Or so some may think and say.

The genocide unfolding in Palestine has been intensifying over the last five years and particularly over the last few weeks. Why you ask, should Indigenous people in the Americas be concerned or vocal about these atrocities? Continue reading

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