NCIS busts drug ring at Annapolis.
A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, ‘disappeared’, a political embarrassment.
I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the Iranian Navy, announced Monday that Tehran will construct three bases and two large naval zones in the country’s southeastern region along the Makran coast, near the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
Commander Sayyari noted that the naval initiatives were being undertaken to keep merchant vessels secure from pirate forces and to protect naval routes, especially after Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian cargo ship bound for Yemen in November 2008. He suggested that construction will also take place as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalate.
There were 23 encounters between Iranian and American vessels last year, with seven of Tehran’s fast attack watercraft approaching the USS Firebolt in September, nearly colliding with the coastal patrol ship.
We live in a time where the fragile, finite nature of surrounding ecosystems has never been more apparent. That’s why environmentalists find the US Navy’s reputed disregard for marine life, in it’s endless rhyme of testing and training, beyond disturbing. Recently, a group found the Navy’s been given impunity to harm up to 12 million marine mammals, and asks military brass if it’s worth it.
West Coast Action Alliance, a multi-state, international citizen watchdog group, did a recent tally of the number of “takes” allowed to the US Navy. According to Truthout, a “take” is a form of harm to an animal ranging from harassment, to injury, to death. The data WCAA examined came directly from the Navy’s own Northwest Training & Testing EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), and authorizations to commit “takes”.
“The numbers are staggering”, proclaims Karen Sullivan, spokeswoman for WCAA and a former endangered species biologist. “When you realize the same individual animals can be harassed over and over”, she continues, “as they migrate to different areas, there is no mitigation that can make up for these losses except limiting the use of sonar and explosives where these animals are trying to live.”