Archive for the On Nuclear War Category

Stumbling Towards Armageddon!

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War with tags , , on December 18, 2016 by playthell
atomic-finger
What the end of the World Looks Like
 On the Danger of Covert Cyber-Wars between Nuclear States

As I write a very scary scenario is developing that features a rapidly escalating conflict between the US and Russia.  From all appearances it seems that we are in a state of cyber-warfare with Russia and millions of Americans are giddily pushing our government to become more aggressive in taking the offensive!

The catalyst for this growing hostility toward Russia, a nation situated on the other side of the globe thousands of miles away that Americans love to hate, is an assessment by our intelligence agencies that the Russian government tampered with our recent presidential election in an effort to help elect Donald Trump…who is far more pro-Russian in his views that Hillary Clinton; a warmed over cold warrior with long standing anti-Russian attitudes.  As a consequence of the spook’s conclusions regarding a covert Russian cyber assault on our political process, there is a growing cry among Americans for president Obama to do something dramatic in order to teach the Russians a lesson they will never forget.  They are crying out for a full scale cyber-war while apparently giving but little consideration to where it could lead.

Of all the bizarre behavior that human beings engage in, the euphoria that accompanies the decision to go to war is the ultimate folly. For whatever the outcome there will be bloody murder, massive carnage and destruction, and squandering of large quantities of the nation’s treasures that are making war. The strange and tragic character of warfare is highlighted by the fact that only human beings, who claim dominion over all other animals due to our uniquely developed brains which enable us to reason, engage in the systematic slaughter of their own species.  Yet despite the best efforts of our greatest philosophers, scientist and other deep thinkers, alas no one has found a formula for ending this plague upon humanity.

Yet it is indisputable that in the age of nuclear armed states that stockpile doomsday weapons of mass destruction with the capacity to destroy all life on this planet, humanity will find a way to end war or war will put an end to us. I wish I could share the optimism of Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese revolutionary philosopher/activist, who confidently proclaimed “The bomb will not destroy man…man will destroy the bomb.  The atomic bomb is a paper tiger.”  But knowing what I know about nuclear weapons, having seen them up close and gaining an intimate knowledge of their destructive capacity while serving in the United States Strategic Air Command, empowered with a Top Secret security clearance, I am far more aware than most citizens of the world as to the danger their very existence poses to our survival.

Indeed, I believe that every nation that stockpiles nuclear weapons is existentially engaged in a crime against humanity that dwarfs all the crimes of Nazi Germany….it ain’t even close!   It is no accident that General George C. Marshall, the most important American military officer from the Second World War, was deeply concerned that by dropping atomic bombs on Japan Americans would eclipse the Nazi’s war crimes! Yet when I entered the Strategic Air Command 15 years later, the colonel who introduced us to the atomic weapons on the base at Glasgow Montana – whose mission was the nuclear destruction of the Soviet Union – cavalierly dismissed the bombs dropped on Japan as “little more than fire crackers compared to the ordinance that we have on this base.”  He pointed out that the blast power of those bombs was the equivalent of 20.000 tons of TNT and the ordinance on our base had “megatons capacity.”

The Colonel went on to point out that if fully armed, the 25 bombers on our base could wreak enough destruction that the continuation of life on earth would be problematic.  That was in 1960, over half a century ago, when nuclear weapons system were relatively primitive compared to those deployed by the US and Russia today.  And it has made the world a far more dangerous place.  When I was in SAC the main strategy for nuclear war centered around intercontinental Strato-Bombers, mainly the B-52 on the American side, and some comparable aircraft on the Russian side.  The Nuclear Triad existed then – bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles – but the bombers were the main delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons.

A half century later this equation has radically changed; it is the ballistic and cruise missiles that are now the main nuclear strike force, and these weapons are largely dependent upon computers in the launch process. Herein likes the potential for an accidental catastrophe that could destroy our planet.  In times past the means to launch a nuclear war required a great technological/industrial complex.   But today a computer whiz sitting in a cave in Pakistan could possibly provoke a nuclear exchange by hacking into the military computer systems of Russia, China or the USA.   They only need to access one, and make them think they are under attack by the others to start a nuclear war.

Hence when President Obama talks publicly about launching cyber- attacks against Russia, and threaten to do some of them as covert actions, he is setting the stage for a third party to step in and wreak havoc.  Nothing that any of the experts on Cyber-warfare have said addresses this very real possibility.  What the world needs now, most of all, is for Russia, China and the US to convene an urgent summit meeting to hammer out a treaty regarding the use of Cyber-space, just like they have done regarding germ warfare and poisonous gases.

Nevertheless, this event, Russian interference in the US election, should be treated as just another incident in the long history of international espionage; a practice in which the US has engaged more vigorously than any other nation state.  The US has subverted elections; organized the assassination of foreign leaders, overthrown democratically elected governments; engaged in torture; trained torturers and militarily attacked unoffending nations thousands of miles from our shores and slaughtered well over a million innocent souls whose only offense was that they sought to organize their societies in ways that Americans disapprove of.  And these actions are justified by recourse to the bogus doctrine of American Exceptionalism, a dangerous myth with no basis in historical fact.

That these transgressions are not well known to a willfully ignorant US electorate is part of our tragedy.  Yet with such a tawdry record the US government’s pretense that the Russian hacking of the Presidential election represents some special species of evil that they have never seen before is ludicrous and dangerous hypocrisy.  And it is rapidly fueling a hysterical hatred for Russia that could force US leaders to take some actions that we shall soon regret.

Failure to convene an international conference between nuclear armed states with the greatest haste could well lead us down the path to extinction. In the meantime, the critical question facing Americans is whether the election of Donald Trump – a man who lost the popular vote to Hillary by almost three million votes, won the Electoral College by less than a hundred thousand votes spread over three states, and is wholly unqualified for the job – is legitimate.  This is the issue that should consume our interests at this historical moment.

Is The Donald Legit?

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at his South Carolina campaign kickoff rally in Bluffton, S.C., Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

An incompetent Demagogue who got elected President

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Watch Dr. Stephen Cohen Explain US Russian Relations
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/12/17/exp-gps-1218-stephen-cohen-us-russia-cold-war.cnn
Our most learned and insightful Russian Scholar speaks to CNN
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For a quick lesson on Nuclear Weapons watch this video

 What would Nuclear War be like?

https://youtu.be/tW7IgKJWtqk
Watch this brilliant lecture with dramatic graphics on Nuclear War
Presented by Dr. Irwin Redlener
Columbia University Professor 
World Renowned authority on disaster Preparedness
 (What Would Happen in Washington DC was Nuked?)
https://youtu.be/WCme_K6MYLY
A Presentation of the History Channel
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
December 18, 2016

It Was Bound to Happen!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War with tags , on November 24, 2016 by playthell

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A Russian Nuclear Missile capable of hitting US Targets.

Reflections on the New Russian Missiles

Often virtually alone among American pundits, I have repeatedly warned about the danger of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.  My abiding fear is that, given the vast superiority in conventional forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – an American led military alliance whose raison d’etre was the containment of the Soviet Union by military encirclement – the continued expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe will eventually lead to nuclear war.  Hence I have argued against such menacing intrusions into the region, because given the critical role of computers in the launch function of nuclear weapons systems: Accidental nuclear war is more likely than ever.

This is due to two major factors: The US refusal to recognize Russia’s Sphere of Influence, and Article Five of the NATO Treaty which commits the US to engage Russia militarily should they have a military conflict with Latvia!  Alas, very few Americans are even aware of this fact, let alone understand that it could precipitate a conflict that could destroy the world.  In fact, most media commentators talk about the antagonism between Russia and NATO i.e. the USA, as if it were a wrestling match not a march toward Doomsday.   The deployment of this new missile system forces us to confront the terrifying reality of nuclear holocaust.

The question being asked by most American foreign policy analyst is “why now?”  The answer given by a professor at the Naval War College, who serves as a consultant to MSNBC, is that there are two basic reasons for President Putin’s decision to deploy the missiles just now: Putin’s “contempt” for President Obama, and based on the things Trump has said regarding improving relations with Russia Putin feels that Trump would never go to war due to a conflict between Russia and a former member state of the Soviet Union.

I think it is more the former than the latter; Putin would have considered such a move too risky earlier in the Obama presidency, especially when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  An anti-Russian hawk whose views were forged in the heated environment of the Cold War era, such a move on Putin’s part, although perfectly reasonable in view of NATO’s strategy of encircling Russia with military proxies, would have been a dangerous act of brinksmanship.

And under a Clinton presidency would have plunged the world to the edge of disaster.  Hence if there is any silver lining to be found in the dark clouds that surround the election of Donald Trump, it is that he does not share Hillary’s hostility and paranoia regarding Russian military power and Putin’s intentions.  Although it has been used against him by Democrats and Republicans alike whose attitude toward Russia was forged during the Cold War, Trump’s position that we should be friends with Russia rather than enemies, and NATO is a dangerous anachronism whose cost is far greater than its benefit to the US is the more enlightened position.  Even it is true – as his critics commonly claim – that Trump has no real knowledge of the situation and is just guessing: He is like the broken clock that’s right twice a day.

The most surprising thing regarding the deployment of these new Russian missiles is that it should come as a surprise to anyone who has been observing NATO’s strategy in Eastern Europe with any degree of objectivity.

a-new-russian-defensive-missile-batteryIskander Missile Battery in Kalingrad

I have written repeatedly this would happen, and Professor Stephen Cohen- arguably the most insightful American scholar on Russia – has issued many dire warnings that NATOs aggressive actions  was pushing Putin into a corner and he would be forced to take a stand.  Now it has happened and the world is a more dangerous place because of it.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was unambiguous about Russian intentions in deploying the Iskander Missiles:

“Russia is doing all that is necessary to protect itself against the backdrop of NATO’s expansion toward its borders. NATO is indeed an aggressive bloc, that is why Russia is doing everything that is necessary.  Russia has all the sovereign rights to take the necessary measures across all the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Although Russian officials are reluctant to specify the exact model of missiles they deploy, Viktor Ozerov –  the Senator who Chairs the Defense and Security Committee in the Upper House of their parliament – told the news channel Russia Today that the Russian decision to deploy these new missiles was a response to the danger to Russian security posed by the US cruise missiles recently deployed to Poland and Rumania – two former members of the disbanded Warsaw Pact, the Russian dominated counter-part to NATO.  Senator Ozerov explained:

“One of the reasons why Russia opposed the deployment of the American ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system in Europe was the concern that this infrastructure may be quickly converted to deploy strike systems, in particular land-based cruise missiles. These concerns are being confirmed today.   In response to that we will be forced to beef up our air and space defense system in that direction, [and to] deploy additional forces to defend our military facilities and command centers. This includes the deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad, and the formation of new units in the Western and Southern military districts”

Both of these missile systems are defensive in nature.  The Iskander system is capable of firing cruise and ballistic missiles, and the S-400 is an anti-missile system designed to protect critical Russian sites such as cities and strategic missile silos, both of which are critical to the survival of the Russian nation.  Hence in view of NATO’s steady encroachment into the Russian sphere their statement to the Associated Press that the Russian missile deployment “does not help to lower tensions or restore predictability to our relations”  or “avoid incidents and the risk of misunderstandings” rings hollow.

Like a town crier in the night, Professor Cohen has been sounding the alarm in a thus far futile effort to get American policymakers to turn away from the road to war with Russia.  Reading his cautionary writings in retrospect they seem like exhortations from Old Testament prophets warning the Princes and Powers of their time to reject the path of death and destruction and choose the path of live preserving righteousness.

 Conventional NATO Forces amassed on the Russian Border
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The US would not permit similar Russian forces in Mexico or Canada

Cohen argues that this build-up is unprecedented even during the last 40 years of the US/Russian Cold War and amounts to the opening of a “NATO Eastern Front.”  This kind of military mobilization accompanied by bellicose rhetoric and saber rattling, looks like preparation for war to a country that has been invaded from the west twice and lost millions of its citizens in their struggle to resist.

Due to America’s self-righteous arrogance fueled by the dangerous mythology of “American Exceptionalism” – which is shared by both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, but ironically not Donald Trump – is pushing us straight on course for a military conflict with Russia.  Professor Cohen candidly points out the suicidal folly of this policy.

What NATO is mobilizing there is a lot more than a couple of divisions here and a couple of divisions there, some armor here and some there.  We need to understand that tens of thousands of western troops will be parked now permanently, they may say that they are rotating, but they are there permanently on Russia’s borders. Along with nuclear-ready missiles, along with a lot of tanks and, above all, in Russia’s eyes, the missile defense installation.  The US builds up forces all around Russia and then blames Moscow for Holding on to Nukes this is so serious, so fraught with the possibility of war.”

Alas, According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist, who are the world’s foremost authorities on the causes and consequences of nuclear war:  “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.”  To note the dire state of the human predicament, as I write the scientist have set the Doomsday Clock at three minutes before midnight!  Let us hope…and pray if you are the prayerful type, that our leaders can be persuaded to change their nihilistic course before the hand strikes midnight…..

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Dr.Stephen Cohen on the Myth of Missile Defense

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 23, 2016

The End of the World is Near!!!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War, On Sports!, On the 2016 Presidential Election, You Tube Classics on September 21, 2016 by playthell
a-terryfying-nuclear-explosionA Vision of Doomsday

Sixty Minutes Exposes the Doomsday Machine

God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign/No more water/The Fire Next Time!

This is an exceedingly strange political season where the bizarre has become common place.  For instance a New York real estate huckster and transparent con man with no experience in government is threatening to defeat the most qualified candidate in US history for the presidency.  Yet the fact that there is no serious mention, let alone discussion, of the unique horrors of nuclear weapons and the growing probability of an accidental nuclear war is the strangest thing of all.

For despite the false sense of security most Americans enjoy, believing the end of Communism and the Cold War with what was Soviet Russia has removed the danger of nuclear holocaust, it ain’t necissarily so.  It is a comforting but dangerous illusion that could lead to a catastrophe which would put an immediate end to human civilization and eventually all life on this planet.

Far from being hallucinations hatched in the fevered imaginations of nervous Nellies, the danger of nuclear war is as probable today as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Early 1960’s; the most volotile nuclear confrontation since the introduction of atomic weapons into modern warfare with the bombing of Japan during World War II.

Anyone who doubts how close the US and Russia came to destroying the world in their fight for Spheres of Influence – portions of the globe located close to the territory of major powers that claim them as being under their influence – should see Robert McNamara’s film The Fog of War.  McNamara was the US Secretary of Defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the US Navy put a blockade around Cuba and challenged the Soviet fleet on the high seas to prevent them from delivering nuclear missiles to that small Island, which had been attacked by the US in a CIA led a covert action intended to overthrow the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion.”  As a result of this US aggression against Cuba to prevent them from establishing a socialist economy they formed a military alliance with Russia and requested the missiles for protection.

Robert McNamara

PCC-53242 Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. January 12 , 1961. DoD photo by Oscar Porter, U.S. Army. (Released)

He Presided over the Missisle Crisis

The world came so close to destruction by nuclear war as a result of the confrontation the blockade provoked with the Soviet Union that even a half century later Robert McNamara had not come to terms with the part he played in this near catastrophe for mankind.  In his documentary film McNamara tells us how he was ready to engage the Soviet Union in an all-out nuclear war and was obsessed with finding out if his counterparts on the other side were also ready to engage.  When they told him that they were also prepared to launch their nukes McNamara was profoundly shaken and contemplates the madness of it all.  The thing that perplexed him the most was the fact that highly educated sane and rational men were prepared to destroy the world!

The relevance of this frightening tale for us today is that we are on the verge of provoking a similar crisis with Russia through our insane policy of NATO expansion in Eastern Europe; even though the Cold War is officially over and the Communist Party has been banned in Russia. As I write President Obama is giving his final speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations extolling the end of wars between major nations.  Yet despite his lofty rhetoric, soaring eloquence, impeccable logic and Solomonic wisdom the reality of US-Russian relations do not match his heroic optimism.

Even as the President speaks the US and Russia have thousands of Nuclear missiles targeted at the other’s cities and towns,  each armed with warheads over 50 times more powerful than the devastating bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima – the only time such a weapon was deployed in the history of the world.  To just stockpile such weapons is an unspeakable horror, but the fact that they are armed and on high alert – which is to say that they are on line and can be fired by computers – is a monstrous crime against humanity.

General James Cartwright

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Warning against the danger of accidental Nuclear War

When we consider the claim made by General James Cartwright, the former head of the US Strategic Command, which has responsibility for deploying our nuclear forces, that attempts by hostile forces to hack into our nuclear weapons system average ten million a day, our present nuclear strategy of keeping our land based Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles – ICBMs – armed and on high alert can only be considered a manifestation of collective madness. Since the hackers only have to get it right once!

This is why General Cartwright has been vociferously advocating disarming them and taking them off alert, pointing out that we are no longer in a cold war footing with Russia, where instant response from these missiles are necessary. The General, who knows what he is talking about, considers this policy dangerous folly that could instantly become fatal for the earth.  Alas, the fact that there is no discussion of this clear and present danger is irrefutable evidence of a flaw in human character that could well lead to the extinction of our species.

Thus the CBS Sixty Minutes feature story of October 18th,The New Cold War, should be viewed as a revelation; a final Wake-Up call to pull back from the brink of extinction; to turn away from the path to doomsday that we are presently trudging.  Done in the grand style of fact based reportage that has characterized the journalistic product of Sixty Minutes, the report provides us an unprecedented look into the command structure of America’s nuclear forces.  It is at once enlightening and frightening, for it allows a look into the abyss and see how the world could end in a bang.

The report begins by taking us aboard the USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class American nuclear submarine, the most destructive weapon in the history of the world.  The Kentucky is twice the length of a football field and is armed with 200 independently targeted nuclear warheads – enough to destroy every major city in the US and Europe!

If it were an independent nation it would have more weapons than Great Britain – which has 160 operational warheads – and only 100 less than France, which is reducing its stockpile.  Canada, our neighbor to the north has none; it dismantled its stockpile in 1984 and repudiated their use in a treaty signed in 1998.  And China has around 260 warheads.  However the US has 14 Nuclear armed subs in the “Trident” class such as the Kentucky.

Alas, the Trident submarines are but one leg of the US Nuclear “Triad” which includes intercontinental bombers and land based ICBMs: Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.  Altogether the US arsenal stockpiles 6, 970 nuclear warheads and is second only to Russia, which maintains 7, 300 warheads.  Yet because of their explosive power the US arsenal is the most destructive force on earth.

In the Sixty Minutes report Captain Brian Freck, Commander of the Kentucky, explains the protocols under which he would launch his doomsday weapons, and he leaves no doubt that if these conditions were met he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot his deadly load. Viewers of this report should pay close attention to the casual way in which Commander Freck talks about taking an action that would set in motion a chain of events that would surely destroy civilization.

Commander-In-Chief

President of the United States Barak Obama visited Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq April 7. This was Obama first trip to Iraq as commander in chief and took time to talk to the service members and civilians serving here.

Recieving big love from the troops in Iraq

Admiral Cecil Haney
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Commander of the US Nuclear Triad

When we leave the Submarine and are ushered into the super-secret operations center of the US Strategic Command, where we are introduced to Admiral Cecil Haney, a very powerful man that virtually no one has ever hear of, including myself, despite the fact that I served in the old Strategic Air Command with a Top Secret security clearance under General Curtis Lemay, back in the day when the B 52 Strato-bombers were the heart of the US nuclear strike force, and I  have been studying and writing about the dangers of nuclear war for years…..often alone among American pundits.  By virtue of my Top Secret clearance I was privy to the war fighting plans of SAC, and serving under General Lemay –whose colleagues on the Joint Chiefs nicknamed him “The Mad Bomber”- during the heat of the Cold War, a hot war seemed a real possibility.

Cast from a different mold than the burly, crude, bombastic Lemay, Admiral Haney is an Afro-American officer and gentleman who is soft spoken, slight of stature, and elegant of style and manner.  Yet he is the supreme commander of the entire nuclear Triad, a far more destructive force, and answers only to President Obama; who appointed him to his Command. Like the President, the Admiral has a very impressive academic record.

Haney grew up in Washington D. C. and graduated from the Naval Academy – which is harder to get in and out of than Harvard – and rose through the ranks based upon brilliant performance.  Although he says that President Obama would invite his advice in the few minutes he would have before ordering a nuclear attack, should they disagree he would have no hesitation in carrying out the president’s orders.  “I am a soldier and I will carry out the orders of my Commander-In-Chief,” said Admiral Haney.   After listening to these men who would be tasked with giving the order to incinerate millions of men, women and children discuss their mission with a near cavalier attitude I was reminded of the philosopher Hanna Arendt’s intriguing thesis about “the banality of evil.”

If America’s doomsday weapons were launched today it will be a decision made by two elegant, brilliant, Afro-American gentlemen: President Obama and Admiral Haney. The irony here is thick and obvious.  For most of my life we were told “It’s a white man’s world,” but at this moment in time the fate of the earth resides in the hands of two very wise black men!  It is a dubious honor and a supreme irony that a society still so rife with racism that a morally deformed, intellectually lightweight charlatan and buffoon like Donald Trump could become a serious pretender to the presidency, buoyed on a wave of white racist resentment, could have invested such awesome power in these black men.

It is a power one associates with the Gods.  And what this Sixty Minutes report makes clear is that it is a power only the God’s should possess….no mortal – especially one as fatally flawed as Herr Trump – should hold the power to destroy the world.  Hence the paramount problem urgently facing mankind as I write, is ridding the earth of all nuclear weapons…putting the atomic genie back in the fuckin bottle!

In his acceptance lecture upon winning the Nobel Prize for literature William Faulkner assured us that whatever happens, come what may, mankind will endure.  This faith was echoed on the other side of the globe in a different tongue, by the great Chinese revolutionary poet and philosopher Mao Tse Tung, who led the mass movement that transformed China from a feudal to a modern society.  The Great Helmsman dismissed atomic weapons as “paper tigers” and declared “The Bomb will not destroy man; man will destroy the bomb.”   I hope they are right, and if I were a religious man I would pray.  But being a prisoner to reason and an ardent student of human history….I am not so sure they are right alas.

What I am absolutely certain of is that the mere existence of atomic weapons impeirls our continued existence…and if we do not soon put an end to them they will surely put an end to us!   As things stand at this hour the preeminent experts on the question of nuclear annihilation at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist have their Doomsday Clock set at three minutes to midnight! Which means the end of the world is closer than you think.

The Most Destructive Weapon in the World
a-nuclear-submarine
A waste of wealth and technological
Double Click on link to see video and Transcript of CBS Report
 http://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/60-minutes-the-new-cold-war/
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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
September 21, 2016