Trump escalates nuclear war danger

This 6 December 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation

Could tension between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bring us to the brink of nuclear war? As tensions ramp up, we discuss what nuclear war would look like with a former nuclear war planner and one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers—Daniel Ellsberg.

In 1971, Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications, which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. He played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. Few know Ellsberg was also a Pentagon and White House consultant who drafted plans for nuclear war. His new book, published Tuesday, is titled “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” We speak with Ellsberg about his top-secret nuclear studies, his front row seat to the Cuban missile crisis, whether Trump could start a nuclear war and how contemporary whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden are his heroes.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Trump, announcing new missile defense program, ramps up nuclear arms race

19 January 2019

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

The announcement is the latest move in a global nuclear arms race in which the United States, Russia and China are rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenals, even as the Trump administration moves to tear up all restrictions on the development, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.

Trump has accelerated a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program put in place under Obama, while rushing the development of new US strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and “low-yield” nuclear weapons that are more likely to be used in combat.

At the same time, the White House has announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as it prepares to ring Russia and China with short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

While US missile defense strategy previously claimed to defend against the actions of smaller states such as North Korea and Iran, this year’s missile defense review more directly targets Russia and China. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank wrote, “For the first time, the document puts Russia and China in the same sentence as missile defenses, making explicit what has hitherto been implicit.”

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Trump declared that “foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes are steadily enhancing their missile arsenals… Their arsenals are getting bigger and stronger.”

Trump’s remarks echoed the themes of the Pentagon report he was presenting. “Military superiority is not a birthright,” the report states. “The scale and urgency of change required to renew our conventional and missile defense overmatch should not be underestimated.”

The report goes on to threaten: “To our competitors: We see what you are doing, and we are taking action.”

Congress has approved $10.3 billion for the US missile defense agency this fiscal year, a figure that is poised to skyrocket if Trump’s plans are carried through.

In his Pentagon appearance, Trump did not attempt to hide the fact that he was using the prospect of billions of dollars in additional military funding to solicit political support. Responding to applause as he took the podium, Trump told the military audience, “You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history. And I’ve now done it two times. And I hate to tell the rest of the world, but I’m about to do it three times. So that’s the only reason you gave me such a nice welcome.”

Despite the bitter factional warfare in Washington, there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement on the vast and perpetual expansion of the military. Last June, the Senate approved, on an 85-10 vote, an $82 billion increase in the Pentagon budget, bringing annual spending to $716 billion. The colossal levels of military spending are almost never discussed in the media and the money is appropriated without question.

The diversion of funds into military appropriations and the pockets of defense contractors is even more shameless in connection with missile defense than with other types of military spending, because the efficacy of missile defense is, according to experts, largely illusory.

Missile defense is “the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense,” wrote Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, and “the new Missile Defense Review continues that proud tradition.”

Since President Reagan first announced his “Star Wars” initiative, the United States has spent some $300 billion on missile defense systems. Cirincione observed that “a decade after the start of ‘Star Wars’, having spent tens of billions of dollars on X-ray lasers, directed energy weapons, particle-beam weapons, space-based kinetic interceptors and ‘brilliant pebbles’, the Pentagon was forced to conclude that none of these fanciful concepts would work. We ended up with a concept of limited, ground-based interceptors that might be able to intercept one or two primitive long-range warheads.”

But the extremely limited effectiveness of the US missile defense systems did not prevent Trump from making sweeping claims about US capabilities. “Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

“We will destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch,” he added.

In reality, current US missile defenses are not capable of reliably destroying modern ICBMs possessed by Russia or China, much less the new generation of hypersonic reentry vehicles that the two countries are deploying.

Trump’s statements reflect the two most essential characteristics of American military policy since the fall of the Soviet Union: boundless, often delusional, hubris and a total lack of restraint. Given the series of blank checks Congress keeps writing, it is likely that Trump’s announcement will be the start of a new “Star Wars” boondoggle—turning over hundreds of billions more dollars for fanciful proposals.

However, the dubious efficacy of these initiatives does not lessen their deadly implications. The entire program is part of accelerating preparations for nuclear war, in which US imperialism is preparing to use offensive nuclear weapons.

For all the money Trump’s new missile defense system will consume, the primary mechanism for ensuring that no missiles reach the United States in the event of war is the threat to destroy the entire landmass of a potential opponent with nuclear weapons. “The United States will continue to rely upon nuclear deterrence for strategic nuclear attack from major powers,” the CSIS declares.

The central aim of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, released last year, was to de-stigmatize the use of nuclear weapons by expanding the range of possible scenarios in which the president could respond with a nuclear strike.

As numerous studies have made clear, a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia or between the United States and China, beyond an initial death toll in the hundreds of millions, would result in a climatological phenomenon known as nuclear winter, entailing a long-term drop in global temperatures that would make agriculture impossible and wipe out the entire human race.

French police massively injures protesters

This French video says (translated):

Since the beginning of the Yellow Vest movement, thousands of casualties have been counted among the protesters, from simple bruising to the injuries caused by the strongly criticized Defense Ball Launcher (LBD). Shocking images.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How the resistance grows against a controversial French weapon that injures yellow vests

Its name is ‘LBD40’, which until recently was completely unknown to most French people, but is now the focus of a fierce debate. The controversial weapon LBD40 is used, eg, in confrontations with yellow vests.

At demonstrations of that movement it often comes to violence. The police then shoot rubber bullets with LBD40 rifles. Dozens of people are said to have been injured. The French ombudsman has now asked for the LBD40 to be shelved, but that does not seem to happen for the time being.

What is the matter with the weapon? Are they really that dangerous, and why are they used at all? Five questions and answers.

What exactly are these rubber bullets?

The French police act at demonstrations by yellow vests with so-called LBD40 rifles. LBD stands for ‘Lanceur de Balles de Défense’: it shoots ‘balls’ for self-defense.

The fired rubber projectiles have a diameter of about four centimeters. …

Why are they deployed?

The weapons are meant for self-defense, when police officers are attacked. …

Why is there resistance in France now?

On social media, bloody photos of protesters who were seriously injured by rubber bullets were shared in recent weeks.

The government does not give any figures about it. French media therefore investigated and found that 40 to 70 demonstrators had been injured since the middle of November by using the LBD40. Around 14 people are even said to have lost eyes.

Critics say that the rubber bullets can seriously injure and mutilate people. The LBD40, they say, is inaccurate and often misused.

What does the government say?

The French government says that the rubber bullets, like tear gas, are meant for self-defense. …

Can the weapon not just be stopped?

The French Ombudsman, Jacques Toubon, asked for this. The weapon, he said, is too dangerous. But according to the government and police officers there are big risks to a ban.

Grenfell fire disaster scandal news

This 22 May 2018 video from Britain says about itself:

Deborah Lamprell remembered at Grenfell Inquiry – 5 News

A presentation was made on behalf of Deborah (known as Debbie) Lamprell’s mother, who criticised the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 19 January 2019

There was no fire safety report before refurbishing Grenfell

GRENFELL Tower was safe until the refurbishment took place, when it was wrapped in highly flammable insulation and cladding, described by fire safety experts at the inquiry into the fire as the equivalent of dousing the tower in petrol.

Now we find out that no fire safety report was commissioned for the final Grenfell cladding refurbishment plans. Inside Housing obtained the previously unreleased ‘Outline Fire Safety Strategy’ for the refurbishment of the tower, which was written by fire safety firm Exova Warringtonfire in October 2013.

The 10-page document into earlier refurbishment plans for Grenfell Tower determined that the refurbishment would have ‘no adverse effect on the building in relation to external fire spread’. The plans were for a simple conversion of the lower floors to residential use and did not include the addition of external combustible cladding, or other major changes such as new windows.

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary said: ‘This concerning development sheds further light on the complacent attitude towards resident safety shown by the council, the Westminster government, and the businesses involved in Grenfell.

‘The FBU has repeatedly highlighted the dangers of the cosy relationship between councils, the construction industry, and fire safety regulators. ‘This new evidence provides further proof that corners were cut, exposing the endemic cost-cutting mentality surrounding social housing, and which placed profit before the lives of residents.

‘This is rightly a matter for the inquiry and potentially for police investigation.

‘We need to know why Rydon (the construction company that refurbished Grenfell Tower) failed to commission a fire safety report into the final plans; whether the council overlooked its responsibilities; whether cost-cutting measures drove this decision; and why the requests of residents for fire retardant cladding were ignored.

‘We are disappointed that, due to the delay to the next phase of the inquiry, the corporate and government interests complicit in the fire safety regime at Grenfell will continue to evade justice for another year.’

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, you would assume that fire safety checks would have increased. However, over the last seven years, fire safety checks across England have actually plummeted by 42%.

Due to Tory cuts since 2010 when they took power, the number of fire safety inspectors has fallen by 28%. Meanwhile, nearly 50 councils have used unregistered fire risk assessors to check if their buildings are safe.

One hundred and twenty-eight councils responded to Freedom of Information requests about their fire risk assessors, with 46 saying they had used at least one unregistered assessor since 2010. Of these, 23 said that none of the assessors they had used since 2010 were registered.

And there are hundreds of council towers across the country with the same Grenfell-style flammable cladding, which still, even 19 months after the fire, have not been stripped and re-clad safely.

We can’t wait a year for the Grenfell Inquiry to resume. The criminals must be made to stand trial now. It is the Tory Kensington and Chelsea Council, and the Tenants Management Organisation who put the cladding up, Rydon the company that did the refurbishment, and the Tory government that has closed ten fire stations in London, axed 552 firefighters’ jobs and got rid of 14 fire engines in the capital that are responsible for the deaths of 72 people in the Grenfell Tower fire. This is a Tory government that boasted of a ‘bonfire of the regulations’.

‘Stop United States military intervention in Syria’

This 18 January 2019 video from the USA:

Rep. Ro Khanna: U.S. Troops Are a “Sitting Target” in Syria; It’s Time to Bring Them Home

In Syria, a suicide bomber struck a restaurant in the northern city of Manbij Wednesday, killing 19 people including four Americans. Two of them were U.S. soldiers. The bombing was claimed by ISIS and came just weeks after President Trump declared victory over the group and ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria, prompting the resignation of Pentagon chief Jim Mattis. Just hours after the attack, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that ISIS has been defeated. Wednesday’s attack drew renewed calls from congressional hawks—both Republicans and Democrats—to reverse Trump’s Syria withdrawal. The U.S. has an estimated 2,000 troops stationed in Syria, even though Congress has never declared war on the country. We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California. He is a leading critic of U.S. military interventions abroad.