Tag Archives: War Crimes

This day. Anniversary of Dresden fire bombing – Allied war crime prelude to the Cold War

(FILES) Photo dated 25 February 1945 sho

Aftermath of the 1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces – at the Old Market, following bombings on 13 February 1945 | WALTER HAHN/AFP/Getty Images

By DOUGAL MACDONALD

On the night of February 13-14, 1945, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) bomber command carried out two devastating attacks on the German city of Dresden. At the time, Dresden’s pre-war population of 640,000 had been swelled by the presence of an estimated 100,000-200,000 refugees. Seven hundred and twenty-two aircraft dropped 1,478 tons of high explosives and 1,181 tons of incendiaries on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed an area of 13 square miles, including the historic Altstadt Museum. Shortly after noon on February 14, a fleet of 316 U.S. bombers made a third attack, dropping a further 488 tons of high explosives and 294 tons of incendiaries. On February 15, two hundred and eleven U.S. bombers made a fourth attack, dropping 466 tons of high explosives. [Dresden was attacked again on March 2, this time by the Americans alone. Mustang fighter escorts machine-gunned fleeing civilians while the heavy B-17s achieved the singular distinction of sinking a hospital ship on the Elbe, filled with injured from the earlier raids.–ed.]

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Erasing history: Israeli state archives kept secret

Files in the Israel State Archives|Ofer Aderet

Ninety-five per cent of the Israeli state archives are concealed from public access. The suppression of history is a precondition for the all-round falsification of history of the enforced dispossession of the Palestinian people – “to make possible the Zionist lies about ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’ and to weaken Palestinian resistance as much as possible.” The state’s own chief archivist has condemned the widespread censorship of historical documents containing information that the public has a right to know about | Four articles 

Haaretz Editorial (January 18) – It was hard to believe that the manifesto posted this week on the website of the Israel State Archives was written by a state official subordinate to the Prime Minister’s Office. The text, by the outgoing chief archivist, Dr. Yaakov Lazovik, gives expression to all those values that the state has been trying to destroy in recent years – democracy, liberalism, humaneness and transparency. Continue reading

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Filed under No Harbour for War (Halifax), West Asia (Middle East)

Centenary of the Halifax Explosion: Time to disturb the sleep of the unjust

Act of God, the harbour pilot, the navy?

The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue

John Griffith Armstrong
(Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002)
Hardcover, 256 pp, 6 x 9 inches, 16 b/w photos, maps
Index, Bibliography and Chapter end-notes
ISBN 0-7748-0890-X
$39.95
New in Paperback: July, 2003
ISBN 0774808918 $24.95

Reviewed by GARY ZATZMAN*

Painting of the Halifax Explosion

Was it an “accident”? Did the harbour-pilot do it? Why did the British Admiralty send such a dangerous ship into the harbour of Halifax in the first place? Why was it diverted from New York? Why did the Americans and the French load explosive cargo in such a way? How much did the navy know – and when did they know it? The Halifax Explosion of 6 December 1917, the most destructive man-made explosion before the dropping of The Bomb, left half the population homeless, levelled residential areas of the working class, the poor, parts of the African-Nova Scotian community at Africville and the Mi’kmaq community at Tufts Cove, discredited the reputations of a number of officials and continues to inflame controversy to this day. John Griffith Armstrong’s The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue heaps another faggot on this fire. Focusing on the official inquiry following the disaster, Armstrong clarifies the role and responsibility of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Continue reading

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Filed under Canada, History, No Harbour for War (Halifax)

On the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion: The organization of the city as a war port is the ‘business’ best adapted for profit

Painting of the Halifax Explosion

Infamy of the massacre of the Canadian people in Halifax

December 6th is the centenary of the horrific Halifax Explosion of 1917 – the largest explosion in history before the infamous devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US atomic bombs in 1945. The tragedy is being marked by an intensive program of events and initiatives, including scores of books, exhibits, radio and TV programs, memorial meetings in Halifax and Boston, and a stamp issued by Canada Post.

The following article by Tony Seed reports on a paper presented by anti-war activists in Halifax in 1983 and expands on it for this publication. On this date, we pay our deepest respects to the families of all those who died as a result of this disaster. Continue reading

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100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration: Palestine – Ethnic cleansing and dispossession (Excerpt)

By Dr. ISMAIL ZAYID*

Click to enlarge.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

[…]

It was the second of November 1917 when Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, issued his infamous declaration in the form of a letter written to Lord Rothschild. It read:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

It is interesting to note that the four-letter word “Arab” occurs not once in this document. To refer to the Arabs who constituted, at the time, 92 per cent of the population of Palestine and owned 98 per cent of its land, as the non-Jewish communities is not merely preposterous but deliberately fraudulent. I do not need to tell you that this letter has no shred of legality, as Palestine did not belong to Balfour to assume such acts of generosity. Dr. Arnold Toynbee described the British role, in issuing this document, accurately:

“We were taking it upon ourselves to give away something that was not ours to give. We were promising rights of some kind in the Palestinian Arabs’ country to a third party.”

Similarly, the well-known Jewish writer, Arthur Koestler, summed it up aptly when he described the Balfour Declaration as a document in which “one nation promised a second the country of a third.” Continue reading

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The United States was responsible for the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in Beirut

Washington had explicitly guaranteed their safety – and recently declassified documents reveal that US diplomats were told by the Israelis what they and their allies might be up to | RASHID KHALIDI*

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Facts about US aims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Protest against Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s new security laws at the Peace monument in Hiroshima August 6, 2015.

One of the controversies about how the atrocities at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered concerns the U.S. aims in dropping the bombs. History as written by the victors declared that this act was necessary to force the surrender of militarist Japan and bring an end to the war. The death and destruction was a tragedy but the Japanese people themselves bore responsibility for their own suffering, so the story goes. To this day the U.S. refuses to apologize for these war crimes and on a visit to Hiroshima on May 27 U.S. President Obama did not even acknowledge that the U.S. perpetrated the crimes or why, merely stating that “death came from the sky.” Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, History, United States