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"Forget the Rest" blog


October 31, 2015

For New Mexicans: Important demonstration Tuesday at Kirtland AFB

(Apologies for duplicates.  Sending this [slightly upgraded] announcement the main Study Group list as well as local core lists adds about 1,300 recipients, hundreds of whom are in New Mexico.)

Dear friends –

Here's the scoop on Tuesday's event as described by our friends at Stop the War Machine in Albuquerque, who have initiated and are leading this demonstration. (Thank you!)

The U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command is conducting a special weeklong war exercise at Kirtland AFB from Mon., Nov. 2 to Fri., Nov 6.  Operation Global Thunder Vigilant Shield* is code for a first-strike nuclear attack against Russia and/or China arising out of a regional conflict with U.S. military forces.  U.S. military strategy now includes denying Russia and China use of their space satellites - so this next war will be a war in space too.  Including Kirtland AFB in this exercise is a leap in global war planning.  The base is a pivotal link between the military’s nuclear weapons capability and space war operations…  Our military leaders have gone mad again, thinking the planet can survive a global nuclear and space war both.  Stop the next war now.

Tue. Nov 3, 2015, 11 am – 1 pm
Truman St.  @  Gibson SE, Albuquerque, NM

(One block west of San Mateo.  Arrive early, some streets maybe be blocked, and perhaps cell phones too.)

Endorsed by Stop the War Machine, Peaceful Skies Coalition, Los Alamos Study Group, Sabeel-Abq, Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, Jewish Voices for Peace, and others:  505-858-0882

We think this is an important initiative and we want to support it.  Why?

Over the past few weeks the Study Group has been on the fringes of a discussion among some national peace groups about the need for some form of citizen mobilization in response to the strident calls from politicians, presidential candidates, and some military leaders for heightened military responses to the spiraling problems created by our previous aggressive wars and "regime change" efforts in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.  These wars have violated and still violate the U.N. Charter, the Nuremberg principles and the very foundations of international law, in many ways.  They have visibly degraded our society.  They have cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives, mostly civilian, and have displaced millions more in an arc of hardship, chaos, and that stretches across north Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and now into Western Europe, where refugee arrivals threaten fragile political structures and values within and across EU states.  In 2015, U.S. Special Forces have been deployed to a record-shattering 147 countries so far.  The U.S. spends as much on its military as the next 9 largest militaries combined (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, Germany, Japan, and India).

Many powerful factions in the U.S. now want more and bigger wars, more covert operations, more confrontations, "no-fly zones" in countries where the U.S. has no business being in the first place, more sales of powerful weapons to favored belligerents in proxy wars, more mobilization and display of armed might on Russia's borders, and so on.

It should be obvious that with this level of militarism and imperial politics there will be no effective response to any the largest problems facing the U.S., for abundant social, political, economic, and institutional reasons.  Forget about "democracy" in that case.  A Deep State will rule wherever its interests lie, no matter who is elected president.

U.S., NATO, and allied "regime change" in Iraq, Libya, and our attempted regime change in Syria has caused, has in part financed, and has in part armed IS, a terrorist would-be "state" that is conspicuously at war with civilization generally.

That same Syrian "regime change" effort, fueled at every stage by the U.S. and its allies in all possible ways, is among the main causes of the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and the displacement of millions more in the Syrian civil war, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon recently implied or said (choose your own interpretation).  We agree with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) (link to CNN interview), with the Russian Federation, and with many in U.S. military and intelligence circles (current and retired) that removing Assad and his government would likely result in a catastrophic expansion of IS and allied terrorist structures.

Confrontations with Russia in Ukraine, across eastern Europe in general, in Syria, and with China in the South China Sea and western Pacific generally, are just the most visible hotspots that we, the U.S., have either created in whole cloth or are making needlessly worse.  In our view these confrontations have a single common theme: geopolitical advantage for the U.S. and its favored corporations and allies -- or inversely, prevention of Eurasian economic integration.  We have discussed this in detail in two teach-ins thus far and I am sure there will be others.  This is the so-called Wolfowitz or Brzezinski doctrine -- basically an update of Halford Mackinder's geopolitical ideas.

I don't need to tell you that war with Russia and China, which has already begun in its modern hybrid form, is a risky business, and one with vast collateral damage for populations and nature at every step of escalation.

We live in a war zone in New Mexico, which has skewed our politics and government far to the political right.  In addition to drone attacks conducted from New Mexico bases, Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) just this month became part of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, now led by a four-star general for the first time (thus elevating Global Strike in the military as a whole).  Global Strike entails not just Air Force nuclear weapons -- its primary mission -- but also involves space war, cyber war, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, conventional global strike, and ballistic missile defense "assets."  KAFB has a role in many of these missions in addition to hosting Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).

According to the Air Force, Kirtland is home to the largest nuclear weapons depot in the world, the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex (KUMSC), which in 1998 was estimated to contain 2,450 warheads and bombs.  We believe it contains more than this today, more than any other base or locale on the planet.

(This statement of September, linked above may be the first open acknowledgement by the Air Force of KUMSC's role.  I could be mistaken on this but for journalists it might be worth checking.)

These warheads and bombs are not all, and perhaps in all cases not fully, "retired," a word which has lost some meaning under President Obama ("U.S. claims of nuclear weapons retirement, dismantlement 'may be misleading' – GAO").  Many of them are being stored in varying degrees of readiness for possible uploading onto missiles in case the U.S. should withdraw from New START, or for uploading after the treaty expires in February 2021 (unless renewed for 5 years by the U.S. and Russia).

"Global Thunder 15" was a huge nuclear war exercise conducted last year.  From The Aviationist:

Exercise Global Thunder 15 (first exercise for FY 2015, hence the 15) “is a command and control exercise designed to train Department of Defense forces and assess joint operational readiness across all of USSTRATCOM’s mission areas with a specific focus on nuclear readiness.”

Conducted in coordination with North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command’s Exercise Vigilant Shield 15 (attended by tactical warplanes with the aim to train homeland defense forces), Global Thunder 15 is a realistic exercise during which nearly every USSTRATCOM component, task force, unit, command post and bomb wing takes part in the training events which are aimed at improving all the Command capabilities: space, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, global strike, and ballistic missile defense.

On a 24-hour period, yearly Global Thunders foresee intense B-52 and B-2s perform their MITO departures and going up to the Arctic and back, controlled by several E-6B Mercury aircraft.

Some strategic bombers route up over Nova Scotia and up past Thule/Greenland and either go all the way around North of Canada and back down through Canada/Alaska or they turn round and go back the way they came. Other waves go up over Alaska first and come back down viceversa.

A one-day simulated nuclear war.

That big exercise is not being repeated this year.  But the smaller "Vigilant Shield 2016" component is underway in various places, including KAFB.  See 22 recent photos here.

This rising militarism is being financed by cuts in social programs and debt, not by increased taxes.  This "re-balancing" of the U.S. social contract toward an austerity that privileges the military (and of course nuclear weapons) will continue until the rising pain in society is effectively expressed, or until a war occurs that is devastating to enough U.S. elites (and the rest of us), or until an internal or natural catastrophe breaks U.S. imperial ambitions.  We prefer the first option. 

We see this demonstration as a step in that effective outcry and we hope you and your friends will join us at KAFB Tuesday.  We hope Tuesday's events will extend to other events in a variety of flavors, and come to embrace a broad set of issues and organizations across the justice, anti-war, and environmental spectrum.

Best wishes to everybody,


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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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