Posts Tagged ‘Chalmers Johnson’

Another battle of Okinawa

May 7, 2010

Despite protests, the U.S. insists on going ahead with plans for a new military base on the island.

By Chalmers Johnson, Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2010

The United States is on the verge of permanently damaging its alliance with Japan in a dispute over a military base in Okinawa. This island prefecture hosts three-quarters of all U.S. military facilities in Japan. Washington wants to build one more base there, in an ecologically sensitive area. The Okinawans vehemently oppose it, and tens of thousands gathered last month to protest the base. Tokyo is caught in the middle, and it looks as if Japan’s prime minister has just caved in to the U.S. demands.

The Shadow War: Making Sense of the New CIA Battlefield in Afghanistan

January 12, 2010

by Tom Engelhardt & Nick Turse,, Jan 11, 2010

It was a Christmas and New Year’s from hell for American intelligence, that $75 billion labyrinth of at least 16 major agencies and a handful of minor ones.  As the old year was preparing to be rung out, so were our intelligence agencies, which managed not to connect every obvious clue to a (literally) seat-of-the-pants al-Qaeda operation.  It hardly mattered that the underwear bomber’s case — except for the placement of the bomb material — almost exactly, even outrageously, replicated the infamous, and equally inept, “shoe bomber” plot of eight years ago.

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Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire

July 31, 2009

We (the US) are like the British at the end of World War II: desperately trying to shore up an empire that we never needed and can no longer afford, using methods that often resemble those of failed empires of the past — including the Axis powers of World War II and the former Soviet Union, notes Chalmers Johnson.

Chalmers Johnson, The Huffington Post, July 31, 2009

Ten Steps to Take to Do So

However ambitious President Barack Obama’s domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

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Chalmers Johnson on the Cost of Empire

May 27, 2009
Book Review, May 15, 2009

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book cover

By Chalmers Johnson

In her foreword to “The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts,” an important collection of articles on United States militarism and imperialism, edited by Catherine Lutz, the prominent feminist writer Cynthia Enloe notes one of our most abject failures as a government and a democracy: “There is virtually no news coverage—no journalists’ or editors’ curiosity—about the pressures or lures at work when the U.S. government seeks to persuade officials of Romania, Aruba or Ecuador that providing U.S. military-basing access would be good for their countries.” The American public, if not the residents of the territories in question, is almost totally innocent of the huge costs involved, the crimes committed by our soldiers against women and children in the occupied territories, the environmental pollution, and the deep and abiding suspicions generated among people forced to live close to thousands of heavily armed, culturally myopic and dangerously indoctrinated American soldiers. This book is an antidote to such parochialism.

Catherine Lutz is an anthropologist at Brown University and the author of an ethnography of an American city that is indubitably part of the American military complex: Fayetteville, N.C., adjacent to Fort Bragg, home of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School (see “Homefront, A Military City and the American Twentieth Century,” Beacon Press, 2002). On the opening page of her introduction to the current volume, Lutz makes a real contribution to the study of the American empire of bases. She writes, “Officially, over 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees are massed in 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories.” She cites as her source the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for fiscal year 2007. This is the Defense Department’s annual inventory of real estate that it owns or leases in the United States and in foreign countries. Oddly, however, the total of 909 foreign bases does not appear in the 2007 BSR. Instead, it gives the numbers of 823 bases located in other people’s countries and 86 sites located in U.S. territories. So Lutz has combined the foreign and territorial bases—which include American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Johnston Atoll, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Guam is host to at least 30 military sites and Puerto Rico to 41 bases.

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Baleful Imperial Power

August 4, 2008

Bases Upon Bases

By BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | Counterpunch, August 2 / 3, 2008

What do the following places have in common — Afghanistan, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and South Korea?

They all have US army bases. There are dozens of them. To which add enjoyment or otherwise of the presence of US Navy headquarters and warships by the Bahamas, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Greece, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, plus another score of ports worldwide where USN ships are welcomed by permanently-based staffs who are guests of host governments. These places are not bases. They are not counted in the officially admitted 780 (or so) colonial-style military encampments that Washington has imposed on inferior nations. The US military presence round the world is enormous. It is greater than any other country or empire has ever had. The most expansionist days of Rome and the British Empire, Hitler’s assault on Europe, and Stalin’s domination of the countries on Russia’s borders pale in comparison with the global embrace of what has become a sinister force for destabilisation.

Although it is unlikely that any more South American countries will allow the US to establish military bases (Ecuador will cancel its airbase agreement next year, being so fed up with the arrogance of the northern imperialists), the newly-created US Fourth Fleet is now patrolling off the shores of Venezuela, menacing its democratically elected leader, Hugo Chavez, who has incurred the wrath of US business interests by running his country more efficiently without their presence.

Mr Chavez doesn’t like the idea of giving his country’s natural resources to US companies and he won’t be bribed by them. This is absolutely unforgivable in the eyes of the Cheney-supported Friedmaniac freaks who nearly ruined Russia – and would have done so, had it not been for President Putin taking charge and restoring his country to economic sanity. Little wonder President Chavez has been attacked so viciously by the US and British media, parroting the Right Wing mantra that privatisation might reduce millions to poverty, but that it’s really a good thing in the long run. (Providing you aren’t one of those who have died from starvation meantime, of course.)

Venezuela has lots of oil, which may have added to Washington’s priority in creating a 12 ship fleet to “build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests.” But it isn’t clear what confidence and trust can be created by a nuclear aircraft carrier and amphibious assault ships whose ostensible mission involves countering drug smuggling and, inevitably, taking part in the absurd “War on Terror.”

President Chavez said words to the effect that he wondered what US reaction be if a South American nation sent a fleet to patrol the coast of Virginia, and of course he is perfectly right in fearing the baleful American presence. America sends hundreds of ships, many nuclear-armed and equipped with fearsome missile, to roam the coasts of foreign countries, but imagine the screams of shock, horror and astonished indignation if Russia or China sent a battle group to stroll nautically up and down the coast from Seattle to San Francisco.

As to Venezuela – who knows what special forces knuckle-draggers and CIA psychotics are deployed to assist the US-supported anti-Chavez underground that already exists. (The Fourth Fleet is commanded by Admiral Joseph D Kernan, a former special forces commander ; the signal could not be clearer.) In May a US Navy Viking electronic warfare aircraft “accidentally” flew into Venezuelan airspace, which doesn’t provide much confidence in a navy operating a super-sophisticated plane, with every up-to-date navigation device, that can lose its way so easily. What a load of nonsense. So it can be deduced that the plane was deliberately trailing its coat to assess the effectiveness of Venezuela’s defence radar system – just as is done every day in the Persian Gulf by US aircraft and ships closing up to Iran’s coastline to plot radar and other defence facilities in order to be able to bomb them if Bush decides to encourage Israel to attack Iran.

There is also a US navy, Marine and air force base in Diego Garcia, a British territory, in which there is a CIA prison to which prisoners have been delivered by the wonderful process of “rendition.” (The British government denied knowledge of “rendition” through British territory but had to acknowledge that it lied, following production of evidence that it had lied. Can we trust anyone? Anyone at all?)

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