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492 Cafe

A Talk by Joseph Gerson

Introducing His New Book

Also Featuring Dr. Zia Mian

"Iran, North Korea, the United States and Nuclear Weapons: Reflections on the roots of the crisis that has brought the U.S. to the brink of attacking Iran"

A Talk from April 12, 2007, at Simmons College

Joseph Gerson

Empire and The Bomb: How the United States Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World

(2007, Pluto Press, with a preface by Walden Bello.)

Joseph Gerson


  • - - -> Free Downloadable MP3 Recordings <- - -
  • About the Book
  • Zia Mian's Introduction
  • About Zia Mian
  • About Joseph Gerson
  • About the Talk
  • About Walden Bello
  • Audience Q. and A. and Photos
  • More from Joseph Gerson: "Empire and Resistance"

Recordings (Edited by Freeman Z)

As heard on Truth and Justice Radio


Note: speeches are edited.

About the Recordings: Gerson and Mian were recorded with a Behringer B-5 condensor microphone with a cardioid capsule. A second B-5 with an omnidirectional capsule recorded the audience ambience and Q and A questions. (Preamp: M-Audio "Audio Buddy," Recorder: Edirol R-1.) Dynamics were manually adjusted in Audacity. Speeches were sliced and diced, filtered and mixed in ProTools. -Made on Mac.

Problems and Processes: Due to room noise from ventilation fans, the soft-spoken Dr. Mian's speech required rumble-filtering and thousands of "ducking" tweaks to decrease perceptible noise between words. A similar process was applied to Gerson also to decrease breath sounds. Plosives from Gerson's stronger voice, (resulting from my poor mic placement, and failure to engage a high-pass rolloff filter,) required repairs, including selective filtering, attenuation and substitution.

About the Book

Joseph Gerson

Empire and the Bomb

In his introduction, Dr. Mian describes Empire and the Bomb as "...a book by a scholar written for scholars ...but also a book by an organizer for organizers ...and a book by a citizen for citizens, and particularly for american citizens...to know what their country has done in their name."

  • Read more about the book, (and see the list of "nuclear blackmail" incidents!)
  • Purchase the book here.
Empire and the Bomb is Joseph Gerson's fourth book. His previous books include The Sun Never Sets…Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases and With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion, and Moral Imagination.

About The Author

Joseph Gerson

Joseph Gerson is a graduate of Georgetown University, and a classmate of Former President William Jefferson Clinton. He is a Vietnam era draft resister who received his under graduate degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1968 and his PhD in Politics and International Security Studies from the Union Institute and College in 1995.

Dr. Joseph Gerson has served the American Friends Service committee since 1976 and is currently Director of Programs and Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program for the AFSC in New England. His program work focuses on challenging and overcoming U.S. global hegemony: its preparations for and threats to initiate nuclear war, and its military domination of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. (more...)

Nuclear Blackmail

  • 1946 - Truman threatens Soviets regarding Northern Iran.
  • 1946 - Truman sends SAC bombers to intimidate Yugoslavia following the downing of U.S. aircraft.
  • 1948 - Truman threatens Soviets in response to Berlin blockade.
  • 1950 - Truman threatens Chinese when U.S. Marines were surrounded at Chosin Reservoir.
  • 1951 - Truman approves military request to attack Manchuria with nuclear
  • weapons if new Chinese Forces join the war.
  • 1953 - Eisenhower threatens China to force an end to Korean War on terms acceptable to U.S.
  • 1954 - Secretary of State Dulles offers French three tactical nuclear weapons to break the siege at Dienbienphu, Vietnam.
  • 1954 - Eisenhower used nuclear armed SAC bombers to reinforce CIA-backed coup in Guatemala.

And that spans just nine years.

Joseph Gerson

Gerson reads from the book

About Walden Bello

Joseph Gerson
Author Walden Bello prefaced the book. He is executive director of Focus on the Global South, a Professor of Sociology and Public Administration at the University of the Philippines, and a fellow of the Transnational Institute. Some of his books are shown (and linked) below. See this link for more titles.
Bello Book: Balance Bello Book: Deglobalize Bello Book: Darkvic Bello Book: Dilemmas Bello Book: Philippines
The Future in the Balance. Essays on Globalization and Resistance
Deglobalization. Ideas for a New World Economy
Dark Victory. The United States, Structural Adjustment and Global Poverty
Dilemmas of Domination. The Unmaking of the American Empire
The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines. The Anti-development State

Zia Mian

Zia Mian


In introducing Mr. Gerson, Dr. Mian de-emphasizes Joseph's credentials.

"Unlike most American peace activists, says Mian, Joe Gerson is known internationally."

Building on three decades of collaboration with Asian and European peace movement, since Sept. 11, 2001, he has played a unique role in linking these movements to resist the Bush Administration's global military crusade and its efforts to impose "the arrangement for the 21st century." (Source: AFSC)

Joseph Gerson has spoken at numerous international conferences, more than 70 U.S. colleges and universities, and worked with countless community-based peace and justice organizations.


Zia Mian is a physicist at Princeton University who studies nuclear proliferation and related topics.

Some articles by Dr Mian:

  • Pakistan Grows Drunk on Blood
  • Making Enemies, Creating Conflict: Pakistan's Crises of State and Society
  • No End to Talking about Nuclear Weapons

Protecting the Empire: Nuclear Weapons, Military Bases and the United States

Zia Mian

Audience Q and A

Author Gerson answers audience questions at the Simmons College Linda K. Paresky Center.

Audience Q and A

Louise Coleman asks about...

Audience Q and A

Marilyn Levin of the Middle East Crisis Coalition asks about...

The Terror of Nuclear "Deterrence"

These photographs displayed at the event (and appearing below) depict some of the results of the American bombings of Japan.

As Dr. Gerson notes, public awareness of the reality of the effects of nuclear weapons has diminished in recent years, even as the United States' tendency to threaten their use has increased dramatically. The verb to deter, derives from the same Latin root as the noun Terror. in fact, "terrrorize" was dropped from the book's title.

Gerson argues that these bombings are well known to have been completely unnecessary, though the myth of their necessity persists. And that they served, not to defeat Japan, (which he says President Truman knew was already scrambling to surrender) but to announce to the world, and particularly the Soviets, that the US had emerged via these weapons, as the dominant superpower.

All major Japanese cities, excepting four, (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki,) had already been firebombed. Firebombing was described by Dresden firebombing survivor Kurt Vonnegut in the novel "Slaughterhouse Five" as being comparable to the atomic bombings.

Poster about Japanese Bomb Victims

“Leaving Mother’s Voice Behind Me as I Flee,” a painting by Shoichi Furikawa, a Hiroshima Hibakusha

Poster about Japanese Bomb Victims

“Hell” Photo from an exhibit at the A-Bomb Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima Photo by Shin’ichi Oki

Poster about Japanese Bomb Victims

This is a photo of people at the Miyuki Bridge in the immediate aftermath of the A-bombing of Hiroshima. Photo by Yoshito Matsushige

Poster about Japanese Bomb Victims

Sit-in by A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) seeking assistance, as they suffer the after effects of radiation, outside the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, Photo by Ittetsu Morishita.

From AFSC and Peacework Magazine

(Freeman Z has contributed photos and text to Peacework magazine. Subjects include the FTAA in Quebec city, and police activity regarding dissent.)

Related Recordings from 492 Cafe

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Original content is copyright 2007, 492 Cafe.