Tag Archives: Military-industrial-complex

War Criminals: Obama, Trump, every President (since WWII), A few reasons why…

Compiled by Brad Geyer

 

Wars of aggression are illegal under international law. Treaties ratified by the United States are no different than US law according to the Constitution. Preemptive war is illegal including Iraq, now Libya and a number of other places we are fighting around the world.

 

It is illegal to wage an aggressive war, aid rebels in a civil war, threaten another nation with aggressive war, and to use propaganda for war.

 

It is illegal to attack a hospital, destroy civilian food and drinking water supplies, destroy undefended targets, bomb neutral countries, and indiscriminately attack civilians.

 

It is illegal to use napalm, white phosphorus and depleted uranium as weapons. It is illegal to use chemical and biological weapons. It is illegal to fail to accept the surrender of combatants, it is illegal to pillage, to fail to attend to the wounded, to have extrajudicial executions. It is illegal to fail to discipline or prosecute subordinates who commit war crimes. It is illegal to fund war mercenaries.

There are more, but I think you get the idea…

There are simple truths. Some, which we are taught to ignore.  The people in power teach us to dehumanize other peoples, in order to make the killing easier or more efficient.

Simple truth: People have human rights.  Nations have sovereignty.

Aggressive warfare is a violation of law.  A nation must be under attack to use self defense, and still needs to work with the UN Security Council.

 

Why would people of other nations have any less rights and responsibilities or protections than we enjoy?  We would be better off in a world where there was liberty and justice for everyone, not just protections for those on the side of red, white and blue.

 

Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII — Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression

 

Convention II Article 2 Geneva Conventions  

“In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance. Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof. ”

Wikipedia:  “In international law, the term convention does not have its common meaning as an assembly of people. Rather, it is used in diplomacy to mean an international agreement, or treaty.

With two Geneva Conventions revised and adopted, and the second and fourth added, in 1949 the whole set is referred to as the “Geneva Conventions of 1949” or simply the “Geneva Conventions”. Usually only the Geneva Conventions of 1949 are referred to as First, Second, Third or Fourth Geneva Convention. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservationsby 196 countries.[1]

 

Example specific to Syria that apply beyond those borders also.

“…The supply of arms to the Syrian opposition would amount to a breach of the customary principle of non-intervention and the principle of non-use of force under Art. 2 para. 4 of the UN Charter.”

The supply of arms to opposition groups in Syria and international law 

 

Is it legal to supply arms to Syrian rebels?

“International law prohibits states from intervening in the affairs of other states. Commenting upon and discussing situations in other states is not caught by this prohibition, but actions of a coercive nature are. The use of force is arguably the most obvious form of such coercion, whether manifested by direct intervention through the use of a state’s own military forces or indirectly through the provision of arms and training to opposition forces.

The only two established exceptions to the prohibition of the use of force in international law are actions taken in self-defence and those taken under the authorisation of the UN Security Council…”

 


Then there is the use of torture and assassinations. Illegal torture continues in secret and openly by our troops. The Joint Chiefs of Staff has a list compiled under the direction of now President Obama of Americans who shall be assassinated. One person they have admitted to being selected for assassination is Anwar al-Awlaki.

 

Congress has the power to declare war not the President.

 

About 90% of those killed when we wage war are now unarmed civilians regardless of the claims made by our leaders about our “precision” weaponry and great technology. They are also bringing this war mentality home, and the criminals will need to because eventually Americans will stand up to the tyrants.

 

The Posse Comitatus Act (and Title 10 of the United States Code) prohibits members of the US military from exercising law enforcement powers on non-federal property within the United States. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act allowed the use the Armed Forces in major public emergencies after hurricane Katrina, but was repealed in 2008 reverting to Posse Comitatus Act and The Insurrection Act of 1807. (The Insurrection Act of 1807, in the opinion of a number of Constitutional scholars is unconstitutional and would be found so if they ever bothered to test it in court.)

 

America’s Economic Blockades and International Law

“Military blockades are acts of war, and therefore subject to international law, including UN Security Council oversight. America’s economic blockades are similar in function and outcome to military blockades, with devastating consequences for civilian populations, and risk provoking war. It is time for the Security Council to take up the US sanctions regimes and weigh them against the requirements of international law and peacekeeping…”

 

So much for accountability.  August 2013
Obama Gives Bush “Absolute Immunity” For Everything

 

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War

 

US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations Since WWII 

 

U.S. War Crimes and The Need To Recognize The Psychology Of Evil

Also Carl Herman:
“Recognized facts of US wars:
No nation’s government attacked the US on 9/11. The US acknowledges the Afghanistan government had nothing to do with 9/11. The UN Security Council issued two Resolutions after 9/11 (1368 and 1373) for international cooperation for factual discovery, arrests, and prosecutions of the 9/11 criminals.

The Afghan government said they would arrest any suspect upon presentation of evidence of criminal involvement. The US rejected these Resolutions, and violated the letter and intent of the UN Charter by armed attack and invasion of Afghanistan.

For more detail, I recommend International Law Professor Dr. Francis Boyle’s “End the crime that is the war on Afghanistan.” The US government acknowledges Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The UN Security Council issued a standing cease fire that no single nation could violate by resuming armed attacks. The UN Security Council also resolved for weapons inspections that were nearly complete when the US violated the cease fire, weapons inspections, and letter and intent of the UN Charter with armed attack.”

The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us – John Pilger

 

 

Cap Times: F-35 Project is the Military-industrial Complex at its Worst

John Nichols  |  September 17, 2019

Original Editorial

 

“Let’s review some headlines from the past several years regarding Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, shall we?

From Fortune magazine: “Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess.”

From Scientific American: “What Went Wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter? The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired but has turned out to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.”

From Popular Mechanics: “WTF-35: How the Joint Strike Fighter Got to Be Such a Mess: The story of the F-35, and what went wrong to put the Joint Strike Fighter so far over budget and behind schedule.”

From National Interest: “The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion Dollar National Disaster.”

From Defense News: “The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems.”

From Americans for Tax Reform: “The F-35 is a ‘big government’ disaster in its worst form.”

From the Foundation for Economic Education: “The F-35 Project Has Been a Disastrous Waste of Money: A cherished Pentagon boondoggle, the F-35 program is the most expensive weapons system in history.”

The list goes on. And on. And on. The F-35 project, which a New York Times report recently referred to as “arguably the most notorious weapon ever produced,” is such a fiasco that former acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan reportedly referred to the Lockheed Martin program that developed it as “f—ed up.” That got Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, in hot water, so the Pentagon’s inspector general stepped in to examine whether the acting secretary was unfairly biased against a project developed by a competing cog in the military-industrial complex.

No, the inspector general determined, Shanahan did not display undo bias when he referred to the F-35 program as “f—ed up,” and complained about how frequently the planes were grounded. He was just repeating the common thinking at the Department of Defense. According to www.military.com, “that sentiment appears to be widespread among Pentagon leaders. Witnesses said his comments about the F-35 program are consistent with those made by other defense leaders, the report states.”

Michael Gilmore, the director of operational testing and evaluation for the Pentagon, was particularly blunt. “The F-35,” he said, “is an extreme example of optimistic, if not ridiculous, assumptions about how a program would play out.”

So where might this turkey land? At Madison’s Truax Field. The prospect has stirred significant opposition locally, especially since a draft environmental impact statement released by the Air Force determined that bringing the National Guard’s F-35 Fighter Squadron to town would subject almost 2,800 people to substantially increased noise levels — with an average sound level of 65 decibels or more. Some areas near the airport would become “incompatible for residential use,” according to the report. With substantial spending to mitigate against the increased noise, homes in and around those areas might be made livable. But the questions of how decisions regarding mitigation will be made and what guarantees will be given Madisonians remain unresolved.

Proponents of the F-35 project remain enthusiastic about it, suggesting it could produce as many as 65 new jobs — and, potentially, secure the future of the Truax facility. But state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said, “I just really question (whether 64 or 65 jobs are) really worth it to displace people. Is it really worth it to disrupt the quality of life for these people?”

Thousands of Madisonians are answering “no” because of concerns about the potential displacement and disruption that the military admits could be associated with the plan to base F-35s in the city. But even if the planes were silent, there’s a strong case to be made against linking Madison’s future with this F-35 fiasco.

Just last week, Defense News reported that the F-35 program — as well as the F-22 — “will not meet an 80 percent mission-capable rate requirement set by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.” Proponents of the F-35 project keep claiming things are getting better, arguing that Lockheed Martin is finally getting its act together. But, by too many measures, it remains the mess that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was talking about during one of the last hearings he chaired while serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” said McCain. “It’s a textbook example of why this committee has placed such a high priority on reforming the broken defense acquisition system.”

Wisconsin has a rich tradition of objecting to the absurd excesses of the military-industrial complex. It goes back a century to when former Sen. Robert M. La Follette warned his constituents to be wary of “gentlemen interested in war as a business.” Former Sen. William Proxmire became famous for identifying excessive and irresponsible Pentagon spending with his Golden Fleece awards. Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson led Senate battles against unnecessary weapons systems. And former Sen. Russ Feingold worked with McCain to identify and address abuses by military contractors — including, notably, Lockheed Martin.

Objecting to the waste, fraud and abuse that is perpetuated by the military-industrial complex that former President Dwight Eisenhower identified is a Wisconsin tradition. La Follette laid the marker down long ago, declaring that we should always guard against “the tide of sentiment that, under the guise of patriotism, is actually based on commercial greed.”

The F-35 project is an example of commercial greed at its most indefensible. It has no place in Madison or anywhere else in Wisconsin.”

Faith Leaders of Wisconsin Oppose F-35 and the War Profiteers

A full-page ad appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal – July 29, 2020 – speaking against the F-35 fighter jets for reasons of social and environmental justice, and world peace. It’s signed by a long list of clergy and other faith leaders who call the proposed deployment “morally offensive”. 

Faith Leader Ad from WI State Journal

Connect with Interfaith Peace Working Group

Text of letter:

We, the undersigned faith leaders, wish to publicly raise our voices in opposition to the basing of an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Force in the Madison community. For a number of reasons, we find this deployment morally offensive and feel compelled to speak out against it.

First, the F-35 is not just the most expensive weapons system in the history of our planet. It is also a critical component of our country’s new nuclear strategy. This plane is sometimes called the most dangerous weapon in the nuclear arsenal of the United States because it is designed to carry the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb, a bomb small enough to be considered “usable” in the minds of some war planners.

Starting with Barack Obama and continuing with Donald Trump, the horrifying idea of a “winnable” nuclear war has been revived as official policy and the F-35 is at the heart of this nightmare notion. Defense analyst Pierre Sprey has pointed out that the F-35 was mentioned eight times in the Nuclear Posture Review released by President Trump and the Department of Defense in 2018.

 (See Nuclear Posture Review, Office of the Secretary of Defense, February 2018)

The Air Force has assured us that the jets coming to Madison will not be equipped with nuclear weapons. Pierre Sprey, who helped design two previous jet fighters, said that, while no F-35s are currently equipped for nuclear bombs, all of them could be in the future. One year ago, Sprey addressed the state legislature in Vermont, where residents were also assured that their airbase would have no nuclear mission. The F-35 “will be the first weapons system deployed with this whole new emphasis placed on small nuclear weapons,” he told the legislators. “The F-35 is the opening wedge for the small nuclear warhead and the supposed ability to fight a small nuclear war, and that will be coming here.” (See Public Testimony by Pierre Sprey, Vermont Senate Government Committee Hearing, May 7, 2018 and Vermont Senate Resolution 5 adopted by Vermont Senate, May 23, 2018.)

Pierre Sprey written testimony May 7

We find the F-35 to be a morally offensive weapon system not just because it threatens the planet and its people but also because it claims funds desperately needed to address urgent human and environmental needs. As Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign and Stephen Miles of Win Without War wrote recently, “funneling trillions of dollars into institutions designed to violently protect the status quo – be they police or military – does not make ourselves, our loved ones, or our communities safer. As cities and states face budget crises, education and healthcare find themselves on the chopping block while police budgets are protected and even increased. This makes us less, not more secure.

“As demands to demilitarize the police and redistribute funds to programs of social uplift gain traction across the country,” they continued, “we call to similarly reimagine our approach to national security. To create real security, we must slash the Pentagon budget, dismantle the war economy, and invest instead in meeting everyone’s basic human needs.”

We also oppose this project because it will have a disproportionately negative impact on low- income people, people of color, and children, groups whose well-being is one of the highest priorities of our faith communities. The Air Force itself made this clear in its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  It admitted F-35s will bring more air and noise pollution to parts of the north and east sides of Madison which are home to significant populations of poor people and people of color.

Low-income residents and people of color have long fished in Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona, some for subsistence. Their children play in the creek, now one of the most polluted bodies of water in Wisconsin. Their health is at risk because the creek, the groundwater (and some of our drinking water) has been contaminated with Per and Polyfluoroalky substances (PFAS) and other toxins related to Truax Field.

We are also concerned about the noise the F-35s will bring. There has been much debate about the severity of this noise, but two things are clear: the noise from the current F-16s is nearly intolerable now for those who live under the flight path. The noise from the F-35s is likely to be considerably worse.

There is a growing body of evidence, including that cited by the Air Force EIS reports for Vermont and Madison, that the negative impact of noise on children is far greater than on other people. Heightened noise interruptions for children – in school, on the playground or at home – can lead to delayed speech development, reduced attention, and impaired concentration. It can also cause long-term memory problems and decreased math and reading comprehension. (See Dr. Elizabeth Neary, pediatrician, “If We Care About Children, We Should Oppose F-35s in Madison, guest column, Capital Times, October 31, 2019; Public Health Madison & Dane County, Noise Exposure: Health Effects & Equity, flyer, September, 2019; and Anne Tigan, RN, Letter to School Board & Brief Bibliography, September 22, 2019).

Dr. Elizabeth Neary: If we care about children, we should oppose F-35s in Madison

There are approximately a dozen K-12 schools and 15 childcare centers in the vicinity of Truax Field, where the sound will be the greatest. According to a 2018 neighborhood study by the City of Madison, kids in the Truax area are struggling even before they start school, with only 48 percent considered “kindergarten ready.” (See Neighborhood Indicators Project, City of Madison Planning Division, 2018 Edition.)

Neighborhood Indicators Project website

One of the schools destined to suffer the worst noise impacts is Hawthorne Elementary, where most children are low-income and of color. In a city struggling to overcome persistent racial disparities, flying an obnoxiously noisy fighter jet over our elementary schools more often is likely to intensify these disparities.

Some people say the sound of fighter jets is “the sound of freedom.” But in fact, for children in the area around Truax, the sound of fighter jets is a horrific noise signifying a threat to health and a barrier to learning; and for children in countries that the U.S. bombs or countries that are bombed by their own governments with jets and bombs provided by the U.S., the sound of fighter jets is the sound of danger, oppression, fear and death. To many people who care about peace, justice and the health of our planet, the sound of a fighter jet is a sickening sound.

Finally, we oppose the F-35 for ecological reasons. The U.S. military is the world’s worst polluter. In 2014, a Pentagon official reported that her environmental program office had to contend with 39,000 contaminated areas spread across 19 million acres in the United States alone. Almost 900 of nearly 1,200 Superfund sites in the U.S. are abandoned military facilities or sites that support military needs, not counting military bases themselves. The Pentagon has stated that 651 military sites are contaminated with toxic PFAS substances. (See Whitney Webb, U.S. Military is World’s Biggest Polluter, MintPress News, May 15, 2017 and Pentagon Report 250, New Sites Are Contaminated with PFAS, Military Poisons website, March 19, 2020.)

U.S. Military Is World’s Biggest Polluter, Whitney Webb 

Pentagon Reports 250 New Sites Are Contaminated with PFAS

The Air Force and Air National Guard at Truax have been polluting the water and soil in our area for a half-century or more. When the Air Force proposed a major demolition and construction project for Truax Field in early 2019, the EPA instructed the Air Force to describe how the proposed project might affect water bodies listed as “impaired” by the Wisconsin DNR, and to document the presence of what it called “legacy pollution” (PFAS and other chemicals), and how it proposed to address these problems. The agency also recommended that the Air Force “ensure that the project would not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and/or low-income populations.” (See Environmental Assessment for Construction and Demolition Projects at the 115th Fighter Wing Installation, Dane County Regional Airport, Madison, Wisconsin, March 1, 2019 and Letter from Kenneth A. Westlake, Chief NEPA Implementation Section, Environmental Protection Agency.)

Environmental Assessment for Construction and Demolition Projects at the 115th Fighter Wing Installation

The Air Force quietly completed its environmental assessment (EA) process and basically ignored all these issues.

So far, the military has refused to clean up the messes it has made. The Department of Defense does not accept responsibility for its destructive environmental behavior and the Air Force has even been claiming in federal courts that “federal sovereign immunity” allows it to disregard any state’s regulations pertaining to PFAS contamination. The refusal of the military to clean up the environmental messes it makes is understandable, since its mission is not environmental stewardship but the expansion and protection of U.S. domination, often pursued through violence and war.

In closing, we believe it is worth pointing out that our last two concerns, our concern for the most vulnerable among us and our concern for the environment,  are deeply intertwined, since the people who most often bear the brunt of  environmental destruction and deterioration are the poor and people of color. This has been the case for so long there is now a term for it: environmental justice. When the Air Force proposed a major demolition and construction project for Truax Field in early 2019, the U.S. EPA advised the Air Force that “communities with environmental justice (EJ) concerns are located near Truax Field.”

With all these concerns in mind, we call on U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to reverse her position on the deployment of the F-35 at Truax and to oppose the Air Force’s plans to station the F-35s in Madison. Likewise, we call on Congressman Mark Pocan, Governor Tony Evers, and Wisconsin Adjutant General Paul Knapp to inform the Air Force that they oppose this project.

We ask the citizens of Madison to contact these public officials, urging them to oppose the deployment of the F-35 at Truax Field and to advocate with the Wisconsin Air National Guard that Truax Field be assigned a new mission more in keeping with the humane values of peace, equity, sustainability and concern for the health and security of our neighbors and neighborhoods.


Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin   

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Yours in Peace

Rev. Scott Anderson, pastor, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Annie Bachman, Madison Tao Shiatsu Center
Rev. Mary Kay Baum, pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Rev. Ann Beaty, pastor, First Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev. Peter Beeson, lead pastor, St. John’s Lutheran, ELCA
Vicki Berenson, Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, Temple Beth-El, Reform Judaism
Rev. Winton Boyd, pastor, United Church of Christ (UCC)
Timothy Cordon, First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry
Rev. Cindy Crane, pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Dr. Jerry Folk, pastor, ELCA, Interfaith Peace Working Group
Rabbi Betsy Forester, Beth Israel Center
Rev. Kristin Gorton, pastor, Memorial United Church of Christ
Rev. Phil Haslanger, pastor, United Church of Christ
Rev. Eldonna Hazen, pastor, First Congregational Church, UCC
Rev. John Helt, pastor, United Church of Christ
Rev. Sonja lngebritson, Community of Hope UCC
Jane H and Vince Kavaloski, Society of Friends (Quakers)
Linda Ketcham, United Church of Christ
Dr. Paul Knitter, Emeritus Prof. of Theology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Dr. John Leonard, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies, Edgewood College
Rev. Lex Liberatore, pastor, Lake Edge United Church of Christ
Rev. Thomas F. Loftus, pastor, ELCA
Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, Executive Director, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
Sr. Maureen McDonnell, O.P., Interfaith Peace Working Group
Sr. Reg McKillip, O.P, Peace and Justice Promoter, Sinsinawa Dominicans
Fr. Jim Murphy, pastor, Roman Catholic Church
Rev. Kenneth Pennings, Associate Pastor, Orchard Ridge UCC
Dr. Carmen Porco, pastor, American Baptist Church
Carl Rasmussen and Catherine Crow Rasmussen, United Church of Christ
Rev. Franz Rigert, Conference Minister, Wisconsin Conference, UCC
Rev. Dr. Larry Sexe, pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;President, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
Rev. Valerie Showalter, pastor, Mennonite Church, USA
Rev, Bryan Sirchio, pastor, United Church of Christ
The Sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery
Rev. Frederick R. Trost, pastor, UCC, Interfaith Peace Working Group
Rev. Nick Utphall, pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim


Sponsored by Interfaith Peace Working Group

The Interfaith Peace Working Group (IPWG) is made up of members of various faith communities and communities of conscience who believe in the sanctity of life and are committed to the struggle for peace, justice, and the care of creation.

The mission of IPWG is:

  1. to increase the understanding of nonviolence in faith communities and communities of conscience as an important part of these communities’ visions and as an effective force in the struggle for peace, justice, and the care of creation.

  2. to advocate for significant reductions in U.S. military spending and the use of all savings achieved to address urgent human and environmental needs.


    https://www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org/faith-leaders-oppose-f-35-fighter-jets-wisconsin-state-journal-7-29-2020/?fbclid=IwAR2o6WJh-ye00wqLGG5TReAnxvqWoKaBwg02aC2pp1pHWxwRFb7-c7DWR44

Over 500 Join in Parade Opposing War Profiteers & F-35 Weapons Threatening Madison

Wisconsin State Journal  |  Saturday, February 29, 2020  | 
*Headline – Brad Geyer of VFP-Madison

Picture by Paul McMahon

Veterans for Peace-Madison Statement in Support of Opposition of F-35’s

“A chant of “take your planes and go away” grew in intensity as several hundred protesters temporarily blocked Anderson Street near Madison Area Technical College early Saturday afternoon.

A passing driver honked along to the beat, adding to the festive atmosphere. Keeping pace with swinging big-band music from the Forward Marching Band, protesters of all ages, including whole families, held signs reading “Noisy polluting jets,” “Tell the truth,” “No nukes,” and simply, “No!” 

The march was organized by the Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition, a grassroots organization that opposes basing a squadron of $90 million F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison. The protesters peacefully marched from the intersection of Anderson and Wright streets to outside the base of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing.

Steve Lyrene, of Madison, said he joined the protest because he believes the planes would be “noisy and polluting” and a symbol of “America’s aggression and warlike presence.”

“That’s not what Madison is,” he said. “We’re not a warlike people, and we don’t want to push people out of established housing.”

 

 

 

It isn’t just the noise that concerns opponents of the F-35s. The Safe Skies coalition has decried the potential environmental impacts of construction in areas contaminated with hazardous PFAS chemicals; the cost of the F-35s relative to domestic needs such as education and employment; the capability of the planes to deliver nuclear payloads; and the potential displacement of low-income families and people of color who live close to Truax Field.

Picture by Paul McMahon

Madison remains the top choice among five Air Guard bases under consideration, despite impacts to local housing and the environment outlined in a final environmental impact statement released Feb. 19.

Those in favor of basing the F-35s in Madison, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, say the squadron would boost the local economy, create dozens of jobs, and keep the 115th Fighter Wing and its estimated $99 million annual economic impact at Truax Field.

Ald. Grant Foster, whose 15th District would be one of the most affected by increased noise at Truax Field, was watching the protest march from the opposite sidewalk. For the second time, he and Ald. Rebecca Kemble, 18th District, will introduce a resolution opposing the F-35s during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Foster said. The resolution will likely be up for discussion during the council’s March 17 meeting.

“I don’t see how anybody can stand by and say this is a good idea, based on the final (environmental impact statement),” Foster said.

Foster said he was somewhat disappointed by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s recent statement about the F-35s — specifically, that where they will be based is a federal decision, not a local one.

That’s why some protesters expressed feeling like wheels are turning somewhere out of reach.

 

“I get that impression,” Lyrene said. “There’s this sense of powerlessness, like we don’t have a voice. It’s sad that people aren’t being listened to. But that’s why we’re doing this — to make our voices heard.”

Vicki Berenson, a member of Clean Skies, doesn’t believe the F-35s are a done deal.

“It’s totally not a foregone conclusion,” she said. “We just don’t know what the answer will be.”

The final environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on Friday. After a 30-day review period ending in late March, a final decision will be issued by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.

Find the background data and facts on our concerns at Safe Skies Website


Photographs marked are from Paul McMahon

Heartland Images Photography,  4317 Tokay Blvd

Madison WI  53711 608-215-5031 (cell)

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Hundreds march on Truax Field to protest basing F-35s in Madison


Veterans for Peace-Madison stands with Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin and the concerned citizens engaged in the struggle. We oppose F-35’s coming to Madison, we oppose F-35’s anywhere and we oppose the war machine and its crimes. 

We oppose the racism and systemic racism that forces brown, black, natives and the poor to sacrifice their health and quality of life so that corrupt politicians can enrich the billionaire owners of Lockheed Martin and the corporate rulers connected to the Chamber of Commerce: US Chamber and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  We oppose the effect that these jets and the military will have on children. 

We must not allow the pollution of our water and soil to continue while the US government avoids accountability for around 80 years of PFAS forever chemical pollution and burn pits. This has poisoned much of Monona and Madison’s groundwater.

The F-35A, is a combination stealth fighter and bomber and can carry several B61 nuclear bombs with a range of less than one kiloton of explosive mayhem to 50 kilotons. That seems to be a lot of environmental impact, when compared to the 12-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Is the hundreds of billions dollar cost of this latest child of the military-industrial complex worth it? As a low-flying stealth bomber capable of carrying nukes, it is an extremely risky and potentially destabilizing war machine in an already unstable world, whether you consider the Middle East, the near east, or the far east. One error in deciphering a tense situation could set off a nuclear tit-for-tat that would produce the worst environmental impact statement of all.

One only has to read nuclear war planner Dan Ellsberg’s recent “The Doomsday Machine” to learn of the horrors American cities could experience, and that we have been living on the brink.

The Pentagon has hyped the F-35 as a “computer that happens to fly,” and Lockheed Martin says there are 8 million lines of software code which control weapons deployment, communications, radar and flight controls. Given the extent of computer hacking continuously going on, what could anyone have to fear with a flying computer carrying nuclear weapons?

Veterans for Peace works to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, and to abolish war as an instrument of national policy. We do not want to see nuclear-enabled stealth fighter bombers stationed here in Madison — or anywhere, for that matter. 

The cost of F-35 fighter jets, Lockheed Martin calls it the “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” is phenomenal and will be paid by taxpayers. A recent book – Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals – tells that Lockheed Martin claims that parts of the F-35 are “built in forty-five states.” That makes it possible for politicians across the U.S. to claim that the F-35 and, therefore, the defense industry, will produce jobs everywhere. Compared to needed civilian jobs that could be funded for much less taxpayer money, the sum for F-35s is enormous and the jobs to be produced are few.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor for F-35s, and “…the world’s largest defense contractor,” according to the book, edited by William Wiist and Shelley White.

With a (current) price tag of $1.4 trillion per plane…[F-35] has become the most expensive weapon system in history…punctuated by reports of one malfunction after another, from flaws in the fuel tanks that made the planes vulnerable to lightning-caused fires, to criticism of its maneuverability….”

The F-35 program is projected to use most of the U.S. budget for aircraft through 2030, the authors write.

The size of the US military machine is massive and currently causes more violence than it prevents. The US has far more bases, jets, aircraft carriers than anyone. Our military spending is more than the next seven nations combined. We do not need F-35’s for defense. This is war profiteering and imperialism.

None of the effects on human beings were improved in the final Environmental Impact Statement, in fact, the US government made no effort to alleviate the impacts. The money is there to protect people, the choice is made to serve the war profiteers and harm the people.

For Peace & Justice,

Bradley J. Geyer