TFF PressInfo # 310: Terrorism – small dot in a larger picture

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

What is terrorism? Why do we talk much more about that than other types of deaths? Why is the word misused? What has nuclear weapons – that politicians and media hardly ever talk about – got to do with terror? Why should we all be careful not to exaggerate the phenomenon of terror?

10 x more terrorism than before 9/11

Tell you what: I’ve been critical of the ”war on terror” since September 12, 2001 and particularly since 10/7 when the war on Afghanistan started. If the War on Terror was the answer to 9/11, the U.S. and its friends asked the wrong questions.

Because, what has been the result?

According to U.S. statistics at the time, in the years up to the horrific crime in New York, about 1,000-1,500 people were hit by terror per year worldwide; 1/3 of whom died, the rest were wounded. Most of it happened in South America, some in Europe; small groups such as Baader-Meinhof.

Almost 3,000 were killed on 9/11, many nationalities, far from only American citizens. (About 30,000 die annually from shooting each other).

Today? About 18,000 were killed in terror in 2013.
Although data may not be directly comparable or definitions be the same, the difference between 1,500 and 18,000 cannot be explained by methodological and other variations.Read More »

PressInfo # 309: Learn conflict and peace in 20 minutes

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

The world is full of unnecessary violence and human suffering. Do you know anyone who’d like it to continue like that?

If we educate ourselves and look outside the box, we can create a better world for all. Peace and security can be learnt, making conflict illiteracy and most of the violence a thing of the past.

Below is how – not in a column of 800 words but in a twice as long mini text book. It’ll enable you to think new thoughts and take the first steps into a hitherto closed but beautiful landscape.

Here we go:

Conflict happen. They are basically a good thing. There is no human community without conflict – and if there were it would be a dictatorship, or utterly boring. But how good are we – citizens, media and politicians – at dealing with conflict? Why do we often see violence where it could have been avoided and large violence where only a little, applied early, could have stopped large and long wars?

First a couple of ‘credos’ based on a few decades of experience:

• Conflicts are usually much more complex than presented by the parties and those who intervene in them; many have existential dimensions too.

• If we could learn to analyse and understand conflicts and reduce early, over-emotional side-taking – like we have medical expertise investigating diseases and treating patients instead of condemning them – we would have a more peaceful and just world with much less suffering.

• Conflicts is a problem standing between parties – their solution is not located only in individuals but in changing everybody’s goals, attitudes, behaviour and visions of the future.

• Conflicts can be solved/managed better if we address them sooner rather than later.

• The moment violence has been introduced we face a much bigger problem: the original issue plus the humiliation, anger and wish for revenge. Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 308: Minsk – A fragile 2nd step

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

Let’s be cautiously optimistic; the meeting did not break down and a ceasefire document was signed. But that is a minimum in this extremely tense situation. One would have hoped for more than what seems to be a revision of the first Minsk agreement.

What are the next steps for this ceasefire agreement to lead to a peace plan, the two things being vitally different?

First, what no one talks about, it seems: A rather large UN peace-keeping and peace-making force with a unit of some 8.000-10.000 robust military from countries completely neutral to this conflict. The classical three legs: military, civil police and civil affairs, perhaps 20.000 in all.

Why the military component? Because the OSCE can monitor and report but it cannot enforce. And because the parties don’t trust each other. And why should this agreement be more durable than the first without it?

If on the 16th of February some shots are again fired by a madman on either side, hell will break lose and accusations fly. And if this agreement doesn’t hold either, we are close to a large-scale war and the U.S. will pour in its weapons (if not before).

What is needed is something like Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 292: Brisbane – A show of Western weakness

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

No matter what you may think of Putin and Russia this is simply not the way international politics should be conducted, particularly not at the personal level. If it wasn’t an offence to children, one would aptly characterise it as childish behaviour.

Western leaders ignored a brilliant opportunity to meet face-to-face with Vladimir Putin and move forward towards mutual understanding instead of signalling that they want a new Cold War.

Western leaders tell us that Russia is a ”threat to the world”. That obviously serves other purposes because you don’t bully someone you genuinely fear.

The G20 Brisbane should be remembered for its show of Western leaders’ personal display of weakness and conflict illiteracy.

Pummelled Putin punching bag

CNN reports that, during the meeting, Putin took ”pummelling” and was treated as a ”punching bag” by Western leaders from he set foot on Australian soil where his Australian host had sent a deputy minister of defence to receive him.

The Guardian reports that the Russian president approached Canadian Prime Minister Harper with his hand outstretched. Harper reluctantly shook it, then said “Well I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.” ”Bold words” – media called it.

Footage shows Putin sitting alone at a lunch table – like a naughty school boy put in the corner as by his teachers.

President Obama said that we are ”opposing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine which is a threat to the world as we saw in the appalling shoot down in the MH-17”.Read More »

Sweden’s submergency

By Jan Oberg
Dr.hc, TFF director

Jan Oberg

Sweden ends its search for the unmentionable

This morning the Swedish defence solemnly called off its search for whatever it thought it was searching.

That was what was predicted in TFF PressInfo # 285 two days ago:

”For the above reasons the Swedish military will soon call off the whole thing and the affair will have served its purpose – precisely by not stating what it was, who it was or why it was. Or if it was.

What the purpose of the event may be remains to be revealed at some point in the future. Or perhaps never if – the purpose was fearology for increased militarisation.

Somebody somewhere knows what’s going on. And they put citizens’ security at risk for purposes they would never tell you.”

(No Swedish media showed any interest in this PressInfo).

Admittedly it is difficult – very difficult – to find a smaller object and bring it up in daylight – not to speak of handling the problem that may entail with a foreign country.

But not being able or willing to say a word to the public about what it was leaves behind (together with a couple of farcical mistakes) an impression of incompetence.

Investigate the military’s performance

The Swedish people have right to know and not in a language à la ”probable, credible indications of underwater activity by objects about which we make the preliminary – since investigations are ongoing – judgement that…and that is what the limits of operation secrecy permit us to state at this point.”

Swedish parliamentarians ought to investigate the military’s performance. But there are not enough independent experts, media or politicians in today’s Sweden to mount a broad-minded critical debate.

Instead there will be more money for the military after this.

Only one media interpretation

With few exceptions the media have been reckless in hinting and presuming that this must have been a Russian submarine.Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 285: What submarine in Sweden?

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

You have heard that Sweden is hunting a ”submarine” and that it is ”presumed to be Russian”. Here is an example, Financial Times of October 21 – which incidentally also announces that the Swedish Prime Minister vows to increase defence spending.

Not the slightest evidence

There are only three problems with this:

1) There is not the slightest evidence of there being anything military, neither that it is a submarine nor that, whatever the object might be, it is Russian.

2) Even with CNN, BBC and AlJazeera this is nothing but speculative low-grade yellow press journalism. This is possible in the field of defence, security and peace because much less is required of journalists when they write about these matters than when they write about, say, domestic politics, economics, sports, books or food and wine. In these fields you are expected to have some knowledge and media consumers are able to check.Read More »

TFF PressInfo 284: U.S. nuclear policy is taking the wrong road

By David Krieger

Intro: The absurdities of the Nuclear Age

By Jan Oberg

We deny – every day – that we can all be gone today or tomorrow. Project humankind finished. Not by God but by ourselves. We also deny that we could live much more safely without these doomsday weapons.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and its visionary leader, Dr. David Krieger, have devoted their energies since 1982 to tell the world that we must stop denying, stop taking huge risks and stop wasting incomprehensibly large sums so much needed for human welfare instead.

A nuclear-free world is eminently possible. And better. The nuclear states are committed to it through the Non-Proliferation Treaty and countless statements and UN resolutions. But they deny their responsibility.

There’s been enough documented technical and human failures with nuclear weapons. We ought to be scared.

Most media shed light on potential nuclear weapons, those Iran for instance don’t have. That’s the proliferation problem.

But non-existing nukes can’t kill everything we love. Existing nukes can. That’s the problem of possession.

And then there is state terrorism. Remember, until 9/11 nuclear arsenals were part of the ‘balance of terror’?

Terrorism is the deliberate wounding or killing of innocent people to achieve a political purpose and to instill fear.

No nuclear weapon can be used without deliberately killing millions of innocent people. Therefore, every nuclear state and nuclear-based alliance such as NATO subscribes to a philosophy similar to IS or Al-Qaeda. On a much larger scale.

It simply isn’t true that nuclear weapons are only for deterrence and would never be used. If adversaries knew that the other side would never use them, they would not deter. Deterrence means nuclear use under certain circumstances.

Nuclear weapons – weapons of mass terror – should be abolished.

They have no function, no ethical foundation and – like slavery or cannibalism – don’t fit human civilisation.

Isn’t it high time Western politics and our allegedly free media shed light on this issue? Give it priority?

Don’t they have a duty to inform us about the greatest danger of all?

In the pathbreaking article below one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear weapons, Dr. David Krieger who is also a TFF Associate for decades, tells you why we must wake up and why the U.S. should scrap its plan to modernise its nuclear arsenals at “up to a trillion dollars” over the next 30 years.

And here Gunnar Westberg, MD and TFF Board member tells you about Ukraine – once hosting the 3rd largest nuclear arsenals on earth. We should be happy that today’s Ukraine is nuclear-free and recognise that these weapons are useless.

By David Krieger

On September 21, 2014, the International Day of Peace, The New York Times published an article by William Broad and David Sanger, “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms.” The authors reported that a recent federal study put the price tag for modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal at “up to a trillion dollars” over the next three decades.

It appears that Washington’s military and nuclear hawks have beaten down a president who, early in his first term of office, announced with conviction, “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Continue here

TFF PressInfo 277 – After all this, what?

A couple of messages to NATO’s Summit

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden September 5, 2014.

Yugoslavia then and now

TFF’s first report from Yugoslavia from September 1991 carried the title, After Yugoslavia – What? It is now one of 127 reports and articles in the huge research and policy blog – Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done?

It contains the equivalent of 2000 book pages authored by Johan Galtung, Jan Oberg and Hakan Wiberg. All articles are published as they were written at the time. For anyone to see whose analyses stood the test of time.

We opened this blog two days ago – on the 23rd year of TFF’s first of some 70 peace missions into the war zones.

While it is important to analyse the world, it is more important to criticise it and most important to search – and re-search – alternatives to it. Thus the title. You are kindly invited to browse.

Such work is not only of historical interest. It carries a message for the future – as does all good research.

While inner factors were certainly dominant, the West – in its misguided attempt at playing peace maker – Read More »

TFF PressInfo: Cold War warnings 1998 – 2014

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden August 11, 2014

Quality research leads to better predictions

One criteria of quality research is that it predicts the future better than incompetent research.

Because TFF is independent of governments and coroporations it doesn’t have to take political considerations or exclude certain theories, concepts or values. This free research enabled it over the years to make fairly precise predictions about for instance former Yugoslavia, the Iraq war and East-West relations.

In 1998 – 16 years ago – we warned that NATO’s expansion would lead to future problems with Russia. Read it here.

NATO should never have been expanded

We backed this prediction up with 46 arguments and argued that so many other things would be wiser than containing Russia from the Baltic republics to Georgia – a strategy pursued by Bill Clinton in contravention of all promises given to the Soviet Union/Russia at the end of the Cold War about ten years earlier.

That counterproductive and insensitive expansion has now hit Ukraine. A new Cold War is gathering over Europe. It should have been predicted by advisers, intelligence agencies, big research institutes and columnists.

But it wasn’t.

At the end of the Cold War, NATO/the West got everything it could ever wish – and without war. But it wanted more: keeping Russia down, making NATO bigger and “peace-making” as well as finding new enemies to keeping its Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) alive and well: Saddam, Milosevic, the Muslim world, terrorism and – now re-cycling – Russia.Read More »

TFF PressInfo: Use Malaysia’s MH17 to make peace instead

By Jan Oberg, TFF director

Jan Oberg

Tragic misuse of a tragedy

The government of Ukraine as well as the separatists, NATO/U.S. and very many leading Western mainstream media seem all to know who has caused the tragedy. Putin believes it was caused indirectly by the West.

Given the fact that very few, if any, people or institutions can know who did it with enough details, data and precision to accuse anyone, the MH17 tragedy has been misused to an extent that can itself only be termed tragic.

The misuse is tragic because it is a catastrophe for close to 300 people, their relatives and friends. Silence – of both verbal and military weapons – and empathy would have been appropriate.

Anyone pointing fingers and calling it a terrorist act at this point is irresponsibly or should present convincing evidence.

Secondly, the blame game makes the necessary road to peace and security even more difficult.

An All Party Peace Process should come out of MH17 and the civil war

It would have been so much more civilised to use the MH 17 tragedy to say:Read More »