Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Does National Security Trump the Blue Whale?

by ELLEN TAYLOR

On March 6, Navy representatives  will be coming to coastal town of Eureka, California  to hear what we locals think  regarding their Northwest Training and Testing  Plan expansion. They’ve  visited us twice before in that capacity.

They probably do not expect to  be popular:  in 2010 there was an overflow crowd of  rambunctious demonstrators in costumes  and with guitars  who  compelled them to abandon the  booth-with-visual-materials format, and instead have a proper hearing. We have a lot of  marine mammal and fish lovers in Humboldt, and the  Navy PR people were obliged to listen to  why its important  not to wipe out blue whales (largest animal  ever on this planet), how the salmon runs used to provide a living for  our communities, etc.

Nevertheless they were  courteous, though imperturbable, probably knowing, as  public affairs specialist  Liane Nakahara  observed regarding the upcoming meeting, ”The most important thing is to let the public know they are able to comment.  It really helps us to make a stronger document”.

In other words, let them vent.

Eloquent appeals  to the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service from our Board of Supervisors and  Congressmen have  succeeded no better  in  slowing down the  Navy’s war on the ocean. Environmental groups  got  a federal judge to rule last September  that NMFS had to modify regulations to limit the effects of sonar and live ammunition on  marine mammals. However a similar ruling  was rejected back in 2008 by the Supreme Court when the Navy appealed it: the judges ruled that  environmental  concerns are “ outweighed by the public interest in effective and realistic training of its sailors”. National security trumps the  blue whale.

Public venting, formal comments , law suits  and court decisions  tend to  piously  defer to the Navy’s expansionary  plans.. They do not question the Navy’s  need for the development of ever-more-sophisticated weaponry, such as nuclear powered drones in the air on the land and in the sea, and far-ranging sonar. It is  a taboo subject when conversing with any government agency.  Questioning the demands of U.S. world domination  get a glassy stare from our Navy visitors. Yet it is to  tighten this  control on the ocean, which covers over 70% of earth’s surface, that these exercises off the coast are designed.

The Navy has fleets and bases all over the world. It’s developing “forward staging bases” which  can be set afloat anywhere and  make land bases almost unnecessary.

navy

 

Naval exercise in the Pacific. Photo: US Navy.

40 cruisers transited the straits of Hormuz  in the last 6 months, within sight of  Iranian farmers. U.S. bombers are now conducting overflights of  disputed islands off China to stir up trouble. “Presence matters a great deal, it’s a deterrent in its own right. It helps you build relationships”, observes Jonathan Greenert, chief of Naval operations in Bahrain, where his base is getting a $580 million expansion.

What kind of relationships? Try to  imagine our fury if  40  foreign  warships  cruised in and out of Humboldt Bay pretending to protect trade.  Staging worldwide  war games on the coasts of nations the Navy  chooses to intimidate  is not designed to create  peaceful relationships, but to incite fear, paranoia, suppression  of freedoms and civic discord, which can be tipped into revolution and chaos with a little well placed  cash.

On  February 24th  Defense Secretary Hagel detailed his reduced military budget of $496 billion. Although troops and bases were cut and ships mothballed, high-tech weaponry and Special Forces benefited. In announcing this expansion Hagel emphasized the objective  of  “protecting the nation’s security in an era of unprecedented uncertainty and change”.

Much of this uncertainty and change has been conjured up by these  Special Forces and high-tech  weaponry. What we have done in the Middle East defies description. A recent study showed that one in four Afghani families  had lost a member  in just  the last year.

The Navy is a mischief maker. The blue whale and all it represents will never survive  its endlessly expanding  exercises unless 300 million people  discard their  sanctimonious  allegiance to the national security state, tell it to go shove its infernal toys, then  open its eyes and see what it has been  doing to the world.

Ellen Taylor lives in northern California.

Ellen Taylor can be reached at ellenetaylor@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail