Covering the Year
CIA & DynCorp
NUGGETS FROM THE NUTHOUSE
Terrorist as Militant
Newsweek X Bomb
Seattle to Pittsburgh
SF Labor Dispute
Israeli Youth Refuse
Underserved & Unprotected
Recession in Midwest
Obama & Immigration
HK Women Workers
New Latin America
Zaps - 12-09
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
How Newsweek Learned to Fudge Facts & Love The Bomb
On September 14, 2009, an issue of Newsweek was released with the cover story "Learning To Love The Bomb: How Nuclear Weapons Make The World A Safer Place" by Jonathan Tepperman. This article is a deceitful piece of propaganda designed to justify U.S. military hegemony. It is littered with inaccuracies, distortions, and omissions.
Throughout the article, Tepperman repeatedly claims that, "Obama wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons," but no proof is given except to state that, "Obama has said several times [that] nuclear weapons represent the 'gravest threat' to U.S. security." Even then no sources are given.
According to Frida Berrigan, paraphrasing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "The Obama administration will spend more than $6 billion on the research and development of nuclear weapons this year alone.... At some point early next year, the Administration will complete a Nuclear Posture Review outlining the role it believes nuclear weapons should play in the American pantheon of power.... In the meantime, the policy of the United States remains no different than it was in 2004, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed the Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy." This policy states that the U.S. will use the threat of nuclear weapons to destroy "those critical war-making and war-supporting assets and capabilities that a potential enemy leadership values most and that it would rely on to achieve its own objectives in a post-war world."
According to Noam Chomsky, a "senior Israeli diplomat" reported that, "Israel had received assurances that Obama 'will not force Israel to state publicly whether it has nuclear weapons...[but will] stick to a decades-old U.S. policy of don't ask, don't tell'."
Tepperman says that Obama should not pursue his "idealistic campaign" to rid the world of nuclear weapons—assuming that Obama is actually planning to—and that "there are more important measures the U.S. government can and should take to make the world a safer place." No examples are given of these measures. Assuming Tepperman actually has suggestions for how the U.S. could drastically change its role in the world and start making it a safer place, I doubt that they are more important than working to prevent a nuclear war. In one case, Tepperman even uses the example of the Cuban missile crisis to prove how nuclear weapons can make the world safer. He writes that "both countries soon stepped back from the brink when they recognized that the war would have meant curtains for everybody."
To make this argument, he had to seriously ignore the facts. Despite what Tepperman may believe, nuclear deterrence did not prevent nuclear war: rather, it was prevented by the cool-headedness of a Soviet submarine officer. In Hegemony Or Survival, Chomsky writes that attendees of a conference in Havana to mark the 40th anniversary of the crisis were informed that "the world was 'one word away' from nuclear war." On October 27, 1962, Soviet submarines were under attack by U.S. destroyers and, thinking nuclear war had begun, the order was given by two of the officers to fire nuclear-armed torpedoes. Fortunately, the order to fire was blocked by the third officer, Vasili Archipov. Had a little less cool-headed officer been in that submarine, the world would have been plunged into nuclear war, probably killing about 600 million people. The fact that the U.S. was willing to attack nuclear-armed submarines sheds some interesting light on the effectiveness of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Tepperman's use of the crisis shows his willingness to distort or ignore facts.
Tepperman writes that, "The argument that nuclear weapons can be agents of peace rests on two deceptively simple observations. First, nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945. Second, there's never been a nuclear, or even a non-nuclear, war between two states that possess them." But, as mentioned above, nuclear weapons would have been used if not for a Soviet submarine officer. And nuclear weapons have been used, albeit not conventional ones, in the form of depleted uranium (DU) shells. The U.S. and Britain used them during the First Gulf war in 1997, in the bombing of Serbia in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003—Israel also used them in Lebanon. These weapons have caused immense and often untold horror in the places that they have been used. They have spread the seeds of cancer to "40 to 48 percent of the population" of Southern Iraq, according to a cancer specialist at a Basra hospital.
Secondly, there have been two non-nuclear wars between States that possess them: the Sino-Soviet war of 1969 and the Kargil war between India and Pakistan in 1999.
Tepperman writes that "even the craziest tin-pot dictator is forced to accept that war with a nuclear State is unwinnable and therefore not worth the effort." As noted earlier, John F. Kennedy was willing to risk nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also refused to remove U.S. nuclear warheads from Turkey in exchange for the Soviet Union removing nuclear weapons from Cuba. This leaves a rational observer with one of two conclusions: if not even the craziest dictator would fight a war with a nuclear State then why were the Vietnamese, Afghans, Iraqis, and many others willing to fight against the U.S., the Soviet Union, or any other nuclear powers?
Going again with bad examples, Tepperman uses the India-Pakistan conflict to prove how nuclear weapons can make conflicts safer. He writes that "since acquiring atomic weapons, the two sides have never fought another war, despite severe provocations." This is extremely misleading. Both states first weaponized nuclear warheads in 1998, although Pakistan had tested fusion weapons in 1983, with the support of the Reagan administration. Their last major war was in 1971. That means that the time without major wars before nuclear weapons was 27 years and the time without major wars since the acquisition of nuclear weapons has been 11 years. That hardly proves that nuclear weapons have stopped war. And nuclear weapons have not stopped the usual animosities, such as repression in Indian Kashmir, ethnic cleansing and Pakistani terror in India—and a war in 1999, while they both had nuclear weapons—that Tepperman ignores.
During the course of his article, Tepperman fails to account for the world's two most powerful rogue states: the U.S. and Britain. The U.S. currently has 9,400 nuclear warheads, more than the rest of the world put together, and Britain has 200. Much of Tepperman's argument focuses on the fact that the "rogues" have very little power and very few weapons. But the amount of nuclear weapons owned by the most powerful and violent rogues sheds a different light on this argument. Yes, "revolutionary Iran has never started a war" and North Korea is "a tiny, impoverished, family-run country with a history of being invaded," but the U.S. and Britain have a history of violent conquest and in the U.S. case, a history of using nuclear weapons.
Another dangerous threat that is completely ignored is the possibility of an accidental nuclear war. Historian Lawrence Wittner writes that "in September 1983, the Soviet Union's launch-detection satellites reported that the U.S. government had fired its Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles and that a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union was underway. Luckily, the officer in charge concluded that they had malfunctioned and, on his own authority, prevented a Soviet nuclear alert.... Another nuclear war nearly erupted two months later when the United States and its NATO allies conducted Able Archer 83, a nuclear training exercise that simulated a full-scale nuclear conflict, with NATO nuclear attacks on Soviet nuclear targets. In the tense atmosphere of the time, recalled Oleg Gordievsky, a top KGB official, his agency mistakenly 'concluded that American forces had been placed on alert—and might even have begun the countdown to nuclear war.' Terrified that the U.S. government was using this training exercise as a cover for launching a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, the Soviet government alerted its own nuclear forces, readying them for action. 'The world did not quite reach the edge of the nuclear abyss,' Gordievsky concluded. But it came 'frighteningly close'."
In June 2005, Senator Richard Luger of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee produced a report on the possibility of nuclear war. When "asked about the prospect of a nuclear attack within the next ten years, the 76 nuclear security experts he polled came up with an average probability of 29 percent. Four respondents estimated the risk at 100 percent, while only one estimated it at zero." With this grave threat, how can Tepperman and Newsweek argue that nuclear weapons are agents of peace?
Tepperman also writes that "nuclear weapons are so controversial and expensive that only countries that deem them absolutely critical to their survival go through the extreme trouble of acquiring them." This completely ignores the fact that nuclear weapons are not necessary to the survival of the two most powerful rogue states. The U.S. actually has a first-strike policy for nuclear weapons. Even though Tepperman's statement is entirely false, it raises an important point. If the U.S. slowed down its nuclear proliferation and toned down or stopped its international aggression and hegemony, then nations like North Korea and Iran would not feel the need to develop nuclear weapons, thus moving us a huge step towards peace.
Again, in Hegemony Or Survival, Chomsky shows that U.S. political and economic domination and its confrontational attitude has led to Russia's military proliferating in recent years. Tepperman admits that, "Moscow and Beijing would likely be unmoved by anything short of unilateral U.S. disarmament," although he draws a very different conclusion, i.e., that we should not disarm, whereas I think that it shows that we should all work together to disarm rather than competing for supremacy.
The main logic of the article is summed up in one sentence on the second to last page: "The logic of nuclear peace rests on a very scary bargain: you accept a small chance that something extremely bad will happen in exchange for a much bigger chance that something very bad—conventional war—won't happen." This statement has two main errors.
First, this "very small chance" is a probability of 29 percent, according to top nuclear security experts in Washington. Anyone with the slightest concern for human suffering would not bargain with a 29 percent chance of about 600 million people being killed.
Second, nuclear weapons do not prevent conventional war. Since WW II, there have been approximately 143 separate wars, 28 of which have involved at least one nuclear power. These wars have resulted in between 36,865,270 and 44,865,500 deaths, only counting the direct result of the wars. Also, States with nuclear weapons have actually been involved in wars far more than states without nuclear weapons have. "Between 1945 and 1997, nuclear weapons states have fought in an average of 5.2 wars, while non-nuclear weapons states averaged about 0.67 wars." That does not sound like peace.
Another of Tepperman's questionable assumptions is that the reason nuclear weapons have not been used is that States are afraid of using nuclear weapons because they know they will be attacked back. This didn't stop Kennedy. In an article for the History News Network and ZNet, Wittner makes the case that Mutual Assured Destruction did not stop nuclear war: anti-nuclear activism did. In the last line he writes, "Evidence certainly exists that public pressure has prevented nuclear war. Where is the evidence that nuclear weapons have done so?"
Essentially, throughout the course of the article, Tepperman provides no evidence that the existence of nuclear weapons stopped nuclear war, beyond saying that there hasn't been one.
Z Robert Miller is a 16-year-old resident of London (England) where he attends the Southbank International School. He is also involved with the Project for a Participatory Society-UK Chapter.
Robert Miller is a 16-year-old resident of London (England) where he attends the Southbank International School. He is also involved with the Project for a Participatory Society-UK Chapter.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.