Commemorating Two Barbaric – and Totally Unnecessary – Events

President Truman, aboard the cruiser Augusta, reads reports of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan [AP file]

“We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.” – President Truman announcing U.S. use of the Atomic bomb.

“The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisers knew it.” –
J. Samuel Walker, Chief Historian of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Posted by Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle – EON

Debunking Decades of Nuclear Deceit

75 years ago this week in August, U.S. aircraft dropped the first – and as yet, only – atomic bombs to be used in warfare on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Between 129,000 and 226,000 people – most of whom were civilians – were killed immediately and hundreds of thousands of others condemned to slow deaths or life-long suffering.  U.S. bombers had already mass fire-bombed 67 Japanese cities, but had spared Hiroshima and Nagasaki to use as ‘demonstration cities’ for the bomb’s destructive capacities.

For over half a century,  the official justification for that act of nuclear barbarism has been that “it won the war and saved millions of American lives.” Now, as John LaForge shows in his  Counterpunch article, that fabric of lies has been reduced to tatters by fact-based scholarship by historians and the documented statements of numerous government and military officials of the time, including: Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the 21st Bomber Command, Navy Admirals King,  Halsey, Radford, and Nimitz; and no less an authority than then-General, and later President Dwight Eisenhower himself.

Today, as people around the world gather to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and as we are showered daily in newly-minted government and industry propaganda aimed at selling us a New Nuclear Arms Race – it is appropriate to remember how we have been bamboozled by all those past decades of official deceit.

What follows is a brief sampling of just a few of the commemorative events being organized around the globe – most, necessarily virtual in this time of Covid lockdowns.

California

California’s sprawling national nuclear bomb shop, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Government photo.


Not enough Californians are aware that Livermore Laboratory – long run by the University of California – is a major plexus point in the vast U.S. nuclear weapons design and production complex. 

Located just east of San Francisco in upscale Livermore, the Lab’s website has humbly billed it as “The Smartest Place in the World.” From almost the beginning of the Atomic Age, the Lab has played a major role in nuclear weapons development and remains today a key epicenter in the country’s billion dollar push to ‘win’ the New Nuclear Arms Race, which it has itself started.  This, despite 122 other nations that in July 2017 signed on to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty aimed at becoming the  outlawing the building, possession or even threatened use of nuclear weapons.  Now in the process of being ratified by nations around the world, the TPNW aims to be the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination.

Each year in August, for over a decade now, nuclear disarmament advocates have rallied outside the Gates of the Livermore Lab to commemorate America’ atomic massacres at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by staging a die-in on the tarmac and risking arrest to protest the Lab’s continued pursuit of ever new generations of nuclear weapons.  The yearly event is organized by the local organization Tri-Valley CARES, and regularly features a keynote address by legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Here is a clip of Tri-Valley CARES’ indefatigable Executive Director Marylia Kelly’s address to the crowd at last year’s Livermore Lab protest event.



This year the Covid lockdown has made  virtual demonstrations necessary. 

This year Marylia is on the steering committee of a national coalition of groups
formed to coordinate efforts to remember the victims of the bombings, and mobilize the public to take action through a 2-day virtual event.

She writes, “We believe that this anniversary is an opportunity to come together, to reflect and to push for a more just world that values peace and the safety of all people.”

“And, she adds, “I want to tell you that if you haven’t done anything yet – it’s NOT TOO LATE. Here are some simple ways to help…
  1. Sign on to our position statement. You can sign the statement by filling out this form.
  1. Share the hibakusha appeal with your networks. This petition was created by the survivors of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons. This resource can help you figure out the best way to promote the appeal through your organization, and you can reach out to Lilly Adams at the Union of Concerned Scientists if you have any questionslilly.ucs@gmail.com.
  2. Join and help promote our virtual event on August 6th and 9th. While we are highlighting frontline communities we know nuclear violence intersects with other systems of oppression here in the U.S., and we want to educate and mobilize more people on those intersections. You can find much more detail by following the link. If you can help promote the event, click on the “receive event updates” button to be looped in.
“And, finally, here is a one-pager that outlines lots of other ways to take action, including raising awareness in the media and sharing the many local events happening across the country.”

You can join this year’s inspiring Livermore event from 8 am to 9:30 am on-line here on August 6.


California and Japan San Louis Obispo Mothers for Peace member Carol Hisasue writes:

Dear Friends,
I hope you are all doing well in this very strange 2020. I am hopeful that the pain of this year is like the pain of labor and that it will give birth to something completely different and wonderful.

This year is also special because it is the 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year, Mothers for Peace will be making a special video of different people reading Haiku related to the bombing, nuclear weapons, peace, etc. and we would like you to be a part of it.

I am attaching invitation flyers about the project in English and Japanese. We need your help. Please spread the word! Please consider participating!

なんとも不思議な2020年ですね。想像を絶する展開が続いていますが、私はこの「痛み」は陣痛のようなものでそこから何か素晴らしいモノが誕生するのでは、と希望も感じます。

2020年はさらに広島と長崎の原爆投下の75周年でもあります。毎年、公開イベントを開催していたマザーズ・フォー・ピースは今年はイベントは控え、「俳句ラリービデオ」を作成しようと考えています。詳しい内容は添付のインビテーションに記載しました。ぜひ、ご参加ください!そして、情報を拡散していただけるとありがたいです。

See also #still here Coalition website


Nuclear Age Peace Foundation graphic

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation suggests the following:

August 5: Our friends at May Peace Prevail on Earth International are hosting an online event “Hiroshima Nagasaki 75” on August 5 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Pacific Time. Speakers will include survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, as well as survivors of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. You can tune in live at worldpeace.org.

August 6: The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 26th annual Sadako Peace Day will be streamed online on the NAPF Facebook page at 9:00 pm Eastern / 6:00 pm Pacific. This year’s keynote speaker is Toshiharu Kano, who is perhaps the youngest survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The event will include music, poetry, and reflection. Tune in live at 9:00 pm Eastern on the NAPF Facebook page! A recording will also be available to watch at a later time. More information on this year’s speakers is here.

August 9: We are excited to announce that a new film, “The Vow From Hiroshima,” featuring Hiroshima survivor and NAPF Advisory Council member Setsuko Thurlow will be available to stream online for free for 24 hours on August 9th. The exact link for streaming is not yet available, but you can find more information right now on the Facebook Event page. I had the opportunity to preview this film a few weeks ago, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Coretta Scott King marches in the 1971 Women’s Strike For Peace, the largest national women’s peace protest during the 20th century.  Archival photo.

#BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE BOMB

Little-remembered today is the fact that pioneer U.S. civil rights leaders like Coretta Scott King. Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King were ardent participants in the early international movement against nuclear weapons. Later,  there was separation of the two movements.  Now, Dr. Vincent J. Intondi, author of AFRICAN AMERICANS AGAINST THE BOMB: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism and the Black Freedom Movement
is working to bring the two movements back together.

ZOOM LOG-IN INFO for #BLACKLIVESMATTER AND THE BOMB www.nonukesyall.org

NAGASAKI OBSERVANCE Sunday, August 9, 2020 5-6PM SEEDS OF PEACE

These events and many others are listed at hiroshimanagasaki75.org which will be hosting live-streamed events on August 6 and August 9.

Bayard Rustin speaking to friend, mentee, and fellow activist Martin Luther King, Jr. / Image via Wikimedia Commons


International
Joseph Gurzon of Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
offers the following recommendations:

He begiins with two resources that will take you more deeply into the human meetings of the Atomic Bombings than almost anything else.

First is Sumiteru TANIGUCHI’s memoir, The Atomic Bomb on My Back. Translated from the Japanese and edited by yours truly, it provides the painful history of one of the most tortured A-Bomb survivors, his courageous commitment to live a loving and full life, and the story of the creation and activities of the Hibakusha movement for nuclear weapons abolition and to secure government assistance. The book can be pre-ordered online. But you can get two blessings with one payment, by making a $100 contribution to the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security. It will help us to keep on keepin’ on. Donate at https://www.cpdcs.org/donate/

The other is the searing 17-minute Hiroshima Nagasaki 1945 is comprised of film footage taken by Japanese photographers and locked away in a Pentagon vault for 20 years to prevent the Soviet Union from using it for propaganda purposes. It’s upsetting to watch, but like the video of George Floyd’s murder, it documents truths that we must know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arONMWblvG8&has_verified=1

A fact sheet that you can use for writing letters to the editor and op-eds can be found at https://www.afsc.org/document/remembering-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-fact-sheet

You can sign and circulate the Hibakusha Signature Appeal at: https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/hibakusha-appeal

For those of you in Massachusetts, you can find a listing of local events at: https://masspeaceaction.org/commemorate-the-75th-anniversary-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/?emci=0e9112ec-3bcc-ea11-9b05-00155d03bda0&=&

You can join the 2020 World Conference against A and H Bombs (Online): August 2, 6 and 9, all at 10:00 am-12:30 pm (JST)/03:00 am-05:30 am (CET); 09:00 pm-11:30 pm (EDT, previous day)

The 2020 World Conference has moved online with the International Meeting on August 2; Hiroshima Day Rally on August 6; Nagasaki Day Rally on August 9. Please join live with many grass-roots Japanese peace activists and important international speakers, including: Nakamitsu Izumi, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Amb. Syed Hasrin Aidid, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to UN; Setsuko Thurlow, Hiroshima Hibakusha; Hiroshima/Nagasaki Mayors; Kate Hudson, CND Secretary General; Philip Jennings, IPB Co-Chair; Beatrice Finh, ICAN Secretary General and many others. English translation is available for registered participants online. For details and registration: http://www.antiatom.org/english/world_conference/

Terrorists in suits –  They had reportedly rushed the Nagasaki bombing fearing the war would be over before they got a chance to test the plutonium bomb.  – Truman Cabinet meeting at the White House, Aug. 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. (Abbie Rowe/Truman Library)

Contact: World Conference Organizing Committee: intl@antiatom.org

Also, on August 6 and 9 you can join Hiroshimanagasaki75.org’s nationwide 8 hour virtual commemorations at https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/events

The recording of our excellent webinar with Sueichi Kido, Secretary General of the Japanese Confederation of A- & H- Bomb Organizations, the historian Gar Alperovitz, and Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair Rev. Liz Theoharis is at https://youtu.be/uWf–Qkh35Q

A “fabulous” Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) webinar, “Fund Health Care Not Nuclear Warfare,” featuring me, Elaine Scarry of Harvard University, Bill Hartung of the Center for International Policy, and Shally Gupta Barnes of the Poor People’s Campaign can be found at:  https://youtu.be/5AMW7RSGUPk


Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle Co-Direct EON, the Ecological Options Network.  The EON feature documentary SHUTDOWN which they are producing with co-director and editor Morgan Peterson is now nearing completion for release later this year.  EON is a 501 (c) 3 organization. You can support their work by making a tax-exempt donation here.
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