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Far Worse than Hiroshima — The US Bombings on Japan the Govt Wants You to Forget
Matt Agorist May 27, 2016
This week, Barack Obama became the first US president in history to visit the memorial of the American atomic bombings of Japan in Hiroshima. However, in true American fashion, he offered no apology.
“We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again,” Obama said in a speech at the memorial on Friday.
The location of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was once the city’s busiest downtown commercial and residential district. However, the devastating atomic blast from the U.S. bomb that killed over 100,000 innocent civilians left the clearing in which the monument now sits.
While this monument was specifically built to remember the horror of America’s nuclear bombs and the murderous devastation left in their wake, Japan is quite literally covered in lesser known silent monuments from dozens of firebombings carried out on its cities by the United States military — before the atomic blasts.
One bombing campaign, in Tokyo alone, killed nearly as many innocent civilians as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
On the night of March 9, 1945, the U.S. launched one of the most murderous and horrifying bombing campaigns in the history of the world. That night marked the beginning of a several weeks-long wave of firebomb and napalm attacks across more than 60 Japanese cities. Many of these bombings were just as bad as the two atomic bomb attacks. However, when adding the sum total of innocence slain by U.S. bombs, the deaths in those five dozen cities eclipses the total deaths in both atomic bombings by several magnitudes.
While Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been deeply engraved on the consciousness of humanity and commemorated in monuments, museums, films, novels and textbooks, the firebombing and napalming of civilians of many other Japanese and Asian cities has largely disappeared from consciousness, except for the victims.
In Tokyo alone, U.S. bombers dropped 300,000 incendiary bombs, completely destroying 16 square miles of neighborhoods — killing more than 100,000 people, mostly civilians. Some survivor accounts detail flaming napalm seeping into bomb shelters and burning entire families alive.
One of the reports from the bombers stated that the firestorm was so vast and hot that it caused a B-29 bomber weighing 60 tons to be thrust upward by 600 meters as it flew over.
Tokyo was one of more than 60 cities in which hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were burned alive as they sought cover from the death raining down from above.
During what some historians refer to as The Forgotten Holocaust, the U.S. dropped millions of incendiary bombs, napalm, and even fastened bombs to live bats that were trained to fly up underneath roofs to explode and set houses on fire.
Some historians have calculated the total dead from the U.S. bombing campaigns in Japan to upwards of one million innocent civilians. It is no wonder you’ve never heard about these attacks in your high school history class as it shows the true face of American terror.
In 2003, Errol Morris won an Academy Award for his documentary film, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. The film consisted mostly of interviews with Robert McNamara, one of which described his role in the bombings.
McNamara was an American business executive and the eighth Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, during which time he played a major role in escalating the United States involvement in the Vietnam War.
Following that, he served as President of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981. McNamara also consolidated intelligence and logistics functions of the Pentagon into two centralized agencies: the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Supply Agency.
So, when this well-connected military industrial complex insider talks about U.S. war crimes, you should listen.
Apparently knowing that he could not be prosecuted for his previous war crimes in World War II and Vietnam, McNamara spoke candidly in the film about strategizing with General Curtis LeMay to, quite literally, set Japan on fire.
In the brief excerpt from the documentary below, McNamara explains how LeMay said that “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”
“And I think he’s right,” says McNamara. “He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals,” McNamara continued.
“LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?” pondered the now deceased McNamara.
McNamara was unapologetic in his testimony, and it seemed as if he really believed that since the U.S. ‘won’ the war, their horrifyingly murderous track record was somehow just. By this same logic, had Hitler ‘won,’ history should revere him as a hero instead of a murderous sociopath.
Sadly, McNamara is right — had Germany been successful, they could very well be written into history by themselves as the saviors of the free world.
“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” — the political ideology of the totalitarian government of Oceania in George Orwell’s dystopian 1984.
Below is that powerful video in which McNamara compares the Japanese cities’ sizes to that of American ones to illustrate the sheer size of destruction. To put the initial bombing of Tokyo into perspective, it would have been the equivalent of burning half of New York City, and all of its inhabitants, to the ground.
As Obama poses the for the cameras on Friday, to hang a memorial wreath in Hiroshima, the families of the victims of one of the most horrific firebombing campaigns in the world — scream into deaf ears.
Please share this article with your friends and families to let them know the real history behind America’s ‘exceptionalism.’
Non-Profit Anonymous Digital Art Revolution Art, Thoughts, Videos Info... Whatever I post, please just take it, or share it. Posts in English, German or Thai. Regards, David
There are things I never mentioned to anyone but my wife. So sharing this bit of my life is a big step in my life. I wrote this when I was in Bang Kwang Prison Bangkok, better known as the "Big Tiger" for it consumed/es so many lives.
I have seen men so hopeless, that they were nothing but an empty shell.
I have seen men trying to kill each other over a handful of rice.
I have seen men so ignorant, they thought they had had everything, …but ended up with nothing and alone.
I have seen men die with fear in their eyes, and I have seen men die with peace in their eyes.
I have seen big, muscular men, crying and sobbing like infants, and
I have seen tiny, short and skinny men showing enormous bravery. I have seen men with no regard for human dignity, and
I have seen men with little regard for human dignity, but yet I haven’t seen a man with high regard of human dignity.
I have seen men who were treated like animals for so long, that the actually became “animal like”. I have seen Women who have been imprisoned together with their children, even the unborn.
I have seen men on death-row who looked me in the eyes and said:” Better dead, than locked up for life.”
I, myself, have survived death itself, all the way through the tunnel and back, and ever since can see things happen, before they happen or things which happened already in my absence.
Sometimes I wish that I died that day in the Siamese Prison, but it wasn’t my time to die yet, and I was told why. It was because my love was still needed for I was not granted to depart.
May 12, 2016
In the fight against homelessness, Central Florida has quietly achieved a remarkable victory over the last few years.
As recently as January 2014, leaders in business and local government were wringing their hands over rising rates of homelessness in Florida's Osceola County. Now a new census of the Osceola, Orange, and Seminole County region shows homelessness there fell 23 percent since mid-2015 alone — and dropped over 60 percent since 2013.
This didn't happen through some breakthrough discovery, or even major changes in program funding. It happened because of a simple conceptual shift: For a long time, it was assumed that you had to deal with the issues faced by homeless people — trauma, drug addiction, mental illness — before giving them heavily subsidized housing, often on the condition that they stayed clean and sane. Central Florida reversed the logic: Give people permanent housing with no strings attached.
The philosophy is called, appropriately enough, "housing first." And it's not just working in Florida. A recent study in Canada showed that homeless people who received both guaranteed housing and social support held on to their homes 63-77 percent of the time, versus just 24-39 percent of people who received the standard approach. Cities like Seattle, Denver, and Washington, D.C. — plus states like Rhode Island, Illinois, and, most famously, Utah — are seeing success with it.
But the story of "housing first" actually isn't a recent idea. It began in 1992 with a psychologist named Sam Tsemberis.
Studying the issue from his perch at New York University, Tsemberis made a breakthrough that was basically taxonomic. He understood that there are two types of homeless: the temporary and the chronically homeless. The former, which make up the vast majority of the homeless population, are basically just down on their luck and can be helped by relatively straightforward government assistance. But the latter group, about 15 percent of the total population, are basically homeless because of deeper issues like substance abuse, trauma, or mental disorders.
Tsemberis realized that forcing these people to jump through the hoops of testing and paperwork and rehabilitation programs before they could get a place to live was nuts. The chronic homeless more often face jail time and trips to the emergency room than the rest of the population. And homelessness is stressful: In a shelter, you can't even shut your door; if you can find a place to stay, you're often at the mercy of corrupt employers, irresponsible landlords, and abusive partners; there's no stable network of neighbors to rely upon for help looking after children. On top of it all, you can't even rest.
"I can sleep," one beneficiary of housing first policy in D.C. told The Washington Post. "Oh my goodness, I can sleep."
So Tsemberis proposed just giving the chronically homeless a place to live unconditionally and then building on that foothold by offering other social support. He helped set up a few test runs of the policy, but no one really paid him any mind until several people working on homelessness in Utah got a key official to give his ideas a hearing. Lloyd Pendleton was the executive manager of the Mormon Church's Welfare Department and director of Utah's Task Force on Homelessness. And when he heard Tsemberis' idea, he was sold.
Pendleton's backing from the Mormon Church gave him the legitimacy to get Utah's famously conservative state legislature to sign off on using funds to give people homes unconditionally. And his connections to the state's network of aid programs helped cobble together the money to run the program and to coordinate with the various rehabilitation programs and social support providers that would help the tenants with their other struggles.
This is how housing first works in most places: The chronic homeless are identified, and money is put together to permanently subsidize them in an apartment or other living space. They usually have to cover 30 percent of the rent themselves, either with money from a job or another aid program. But the rest of the subsidy is permanent and unconditional. And once they have a stable place to live, they can start regular work healing mentally or kicking their addiction or whatever challenge they need to deal with.
As a result, Utah's population of chronic homeless dropped 91 percent and is almost nonexistent today. Programs in other states have reported similar victories.
Most even report that the program has saved them money on net: Providing the chronic homeless a long-term place to stay, no questions asked, intrinsically makes their lives more stable. So governments spend less on them in other forms of aid.
Expanding this approach nationwide will, of course, require more direct investment. Aid programs to help the homeless in any fashion remain horribly underfunded. In particular, sequestration and national budget cuts in recent years drastically reduced the streams of federal funding going to help these various programs at the state and local level.
But as Utah and Florida and these other places show, we don't just need money. We need a conceptual change. The notion that homeless people have somehow failed society, rather than society having failed them, is baked into our cultural thinking on the issue. It's why people think budget cuts to aid programs to "get people off the dole" are a good idea, and why it can seem like common sense that homeless people need to get their act together before they get permanent housing. Arguably the most important innovation "housing first" has provided is it flipped those moral assumptions on their head.
As Tsemberis told Mother Jones: "Going from homelessness into a home changes a person's psychological identity from outcast to member of the community." That comes first, not last.
By Stephen Wm. Smith
U.S. Magistrate Judge sitting in Houston, Texas.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Now that the cell phones in San Bernardino and Brooklyn have been unlocked (no thanks to Apple), FBI warnings about “going dark” in the face of advancing digital encryption seem less urgent than before. Perhaps there are other ways — buying exploits in the zero-day market, plea bargaining pressure — to skin the encryption cat, after all. Are privacy advocates correct that a “Golden Age of Surveillance” has arrived, and the real question is whether law enforcement has too many tools, rather than too few? Or will unchecked encryption enable criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc via the Dark Web, as Director Comey fears? Although an interested spectator, I am in no position to judge that technical debate.
I am, however, better positioned to ponder a less publicized “going dark” threat to another branch of government, the branch most indispensable to the rule of law — our court system. Over the last 40 years, secrecy in all aspects of the judicial process has risen to literally unprecedented levels. Let me describe what I have seen, and why it is troubling.
Secret courts, secret dockets
In 1978, Congress created the first secret court in our history — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Staffed by Article III judges borrowed from federal district courts, this specialized tribunal issues surveillance warrants for foreign intelligence purposes. Understandably, given its mission, FISA court proceedings are ex parte and mostly secret, although the Snowden revelations in 2013 forced a partial lifting of the veil.
While the FISA court remains the only congressionally authorized secret court in our nation’s history, secret dockets are another matter. In 1986, Congress enacted the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to regulate government access to our cell phone and Internet communications and records. This law authorized court orders compelling such access to be sealed indefinitely, “until further order of the court”; in practice, this has meant that these surveillance orders are permanently sealed. Moreover, these orders are routinely accompanied by gag orders forbidding the provider from telling customers that the government has read their emails or tracked their cell phones. (This has become a customer relations headache for providers like Microsoft, who sued last month to have ECPA’s gag provision declared a prior restraint of speech in violation of the First Amendment.)
How large is this secret ECPA docket? Extrapolating from a Federal Judicial Center study of 2006 federal case filings, I have estimated that more than 30,000 secret ECPA orders were issued that year alone. Given recent DOJ disclosures, the current annual volume is probably twice that number. And those figures do not include surveillance orders obtained by state and local authorities, who handle more than 15 times the number of felony investigations that the feds do. Based on that ratio, the annual rate of secret surveillance orders by federal and state courts combined could easily exceed half a million. Admittedly this is a guess; no one truly knows, least of all our lawmakers in Congress. That is precisely the problem.
These breathtaking numbers have no precedent in our legal history. Before the digital age, executed search warrants were routinely placed on the court docket available for public inspection. The presumption was that the public should be able to monitor the level of governmental intrusion into the “persons, houses, papers, and effects” of its citizens. Apparently, that presumption does not apply to government intrusion upon our digital lives.
Secret cases, secret evidence
Still, the situation might be tolerable, if criminal investigations were the only area of rising judicial secrecy. But that is not the case.
The same FJC study found that 576 civil cases filed in 2006 were completely sealed, meaning that the public was denied any information about the case, including the docket sheet. Rationales for the blackout varied from weak (“the parties wanted them sealed,” “to protect physicians reputations,” “to protect a party’s credit rating”) to non-existent (“17 pro se actions,” “30 habeas corpus and prisoner actions,” “33 forfeitures and seizures”).
Equally concerning is what was omitted from the study — cases with highly redacted docket sheets, or a substantial number of sealed filings, were not counted at all. This is understandable, because the numbers would likely have been too large to tabulate in any meaningful way. In my experience on the bench, unwarranted sealing in civil cases has become rampant. Even the most mundane employment suit will have a docket sheet littered with “Sealed event” entries. Litigants must often be reminded that there is no unalienable right to a private trial in a public forum.
Given the prevalence of the practice today, one easily forgets how new it all is. For most of our history, records of judicial proceedings were always accessible to the public, a practice inherited from English common law courts. Limited exceptions only began to appear around the turn of the 20th century, mostly in divorce, adoption, or juvenile proceedings. In 1915, the Supreme Court first encountered a judicial sealing order, which Justice Holmes denounced as “a judicial fiat” having “no judicial character” and “in excess of the jurisdiction of the lower court” before granting a writ of mandamus to revoke it.
That traditional aversion to court secrecy has been overcome in the last few decades. To take but one example, the case name In re Sealed Case first appeared in 1981; it is now the most common case name on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals docket. Another telling sign is that the government is far more aggressively (and successfully) asserting evidentiary privileges than ever before. This includes well-established privileges like state secrets, and brand new ones like the privilege for investigative techniques and procedures. Unsurprisingly, the brainchild behind this particular privilege was J. Edgar Hoover himself, the godfather of the “black bag” job and other illicit techniques. (The story behind this privilege is told here.) Hoover’s privilege is often invoked to limit court testimony about technological tools routinely used by law enforcement, such as cell site simulators (Stingrays).
Privatized justice, boiling frogs
My concern is not merely that a velvet curtain is being drawn across wide swaths of traditionally public judicial business. Over the last 30 years, with Supreme Court enabling, much of that traditional judicial business has been outsourced to private arbitrators and non-public “dispute resolution” mechanisms. Employers, Internet service providers, and consumer lenders have led a mass exodus from the court system. By the click of a mouse or tick of a box, the American public is constantly inveigled to divert the enforcement of its legal rights to venues closed off from public scrutiny. Justice is becoming privatized, like so many other formerly public goods turned over to invisible hands — electricity, water, education, prisons, highways, the military.
I realize that each of these developments has its arguable upside. Within the judiciary itself there are many who believe that, for cost and efficiency reasons, judges should spend more time managing cases off the record than adjudicating them on the record. My concern is that, like a frog in water heated gradually to a boil, these incremental changes to our judicial system will eventually produce a profoundly unpleasant transformation.
Turn out the light, and then turn out the light?
Absent good public information about what courts are doing, justice and the rule of law are left groping in the dark. Yale Professor Judith Resnik accurately summarizes the stakes:
Without public access, one cannot know whether fair treatment is accorded regardless of status. Without publicity, judges have no means of demonstrating their independence. Without oversight, one cannot ensure that judges, tasked with vindicating public rights, are loyal to those norms. Without independent judges acting in public and treating the disputants in an equal and dignified manner, outcomes lose their claim to legitimacy. And without public accounting of how legal norms are being applied, one cannot debate the need for revisions.
More elegant, perhaps, is the simple admonition added to the open court proviso of the New Jersey Provincial Charter in 1674: “Justice may not be done in a corner.” Unfortunately, this may prove to be one ancestral pearl of wisdom that our generation carelessly threw away.