Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The Konyism of Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations

By Vijay Prashad | Jadiliyya | August 15 2013

“Foreign policy is an explicitly amoral enterprise,” Samantha Power, 2003.

On 10 August, the newly appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, addressed the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit, an event of Invisible Children. This was Ambassador Power’s first public address since she took her seat at the United Nations. Invisible Children is the campaign group that has been behind several iterations of the “Stop Kony” video, which went viral in 2012. Power praised the group for its “new kind of activism” whose “army of civilian activists” had pushed the Obama administration to tougher action against Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and whose example had helped Kenyans and Russians and most of all Arabs, who “barely knew democracy as recently as three years ago,” to use the Internet to hold governments accountable. Power is not naïve. She knows that the Internet is not sufficient, since it is simply “a means to an end. What matters is the real world scoreboard.” The “real world scoreboard” touts up the exertions of power by actors that Power sees as benign, such as the United States government. Internet activism can prod the US government to action, and when it does, then it is effective. World history can only happen when the US government’s snout pushes along the Dialectic; anything else is simply the passage of time.

What did the Stop Kony video achieve, according to Power? It pushed a US senator (John Kerry) to draft a bill to stiffen US action against Kony. This bill and its consequent law drew on two resources. First, since 1986 the United States had drawn up lists of narco-traffickers that it wished either arrested or killed, and to which end it provided a bounty on the heads of these people through the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program. Each reward was not to exceed five million dollars. Second, the State Department has used a similar rewards program for individuals who helped turn in war criminals sought by international tribunals and courts (for Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia). These international bodies had already drawn up their lists of criminals, for whose heads the United States provided rewards. The Kerry bill refashioned these programs into the Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012, signed into law by Obama in January 2013. The new approach allows the US State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice to draw up its own lists and to offer rewards for the capture of criminals. John Kerry, now the Secretary of State, hastened to say that the new approach is “not a dead-or-alive bounty program. Information must lead to the secure arrest, transfer, or conviction of these people in a court of law. We want these men to look into the eyes of their victims and answer for their actions.”

Power, one of the champions of the new law and an advocate of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine for liberal interventionism, follows Susan Rice to the United Nations. Rice was equally adamant about the use of US-NATO force to enforce her perception of what counts as a human rights violation. During Rice’s tenure at the United Nations there was no use of the language of human rights and the R2P doctrine on behalf of the Palestinians (under occupation by the state of Israel), or the people of the Congo (under the yoke of neighbouring Rwanda through the M23 rebel group), or indeed of the people of Equatorial Guinea (whose ruthless president Obiang enjoyed a warm photo-op with the Obamas in 2012). US allies never felt the edge of Rice’s rhetoric, nor Obama’s sanctions. [Vijay Prashad, “The Agonies of Susan Rice: Gaza and the Negroponte Doctrine,” Jadaliyya, 15 November 2012] Dressed in sheep’s clothing, the ravenous wolves of the Global North defended their allies while they threatened their enemies. It didn’t help the latter that many of them are vicious and deserve to be caught and punished. But it did help the United States and its allies to concentrate the spotlight on them and allow their friends to sit in the shadows, smug in their impunity. It also allowed the United States and its allies to import armed forces into parts of the world (mainly Africa as it turns out) where it has interests to protect.

Kony, the Trojan Horse

Like so many post-colonial states, Uganda has not been able to settle its problems of political geography and political economy. A North-South divide in the country was exacerbated by British colonialism, which relied upon the South to provide it with recruits to the crucial King’s African Rifles and petty administrators for the region. When the South became the vanguard of the anti-colonial struggle, the British turned their recruitment efforts to the North, among the Acholi and West Nile groups, driving a wedge that endures. The South had been host to whatever economic development had been forged by colonialism, who brought in captive labor from the North. These fissures provided grist for the mill of post-colonial leaders such as Obote and Amin, both of whom used these divides to their venal ends. Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army, rooted in the South, took on the Northern forces of Obote in the early 1980s that resulted in massacres of hundreds of thousands of people. Museveni came to power in 1986 through the National Resistance Movement, a thin veneer of difference from his army of previous years. It continues to rule Uganda, with Museveni crowned as one of the African Renaissance leaders by the Clinton administration.

A defeated and demoralized North came together behind two millenarian cults, first that of Alice Auma Lakwena (Holy Spirit Mobile Force) in 1987 and then second after her downfall, that of her kinsman Joseph Kony in the 1990s. Kony’s LRA became a dangerous cult, kidnapping children, using violence to sow fear in Acholiland, and fighting a war against the Ugandan government without a defined political strategy. No political dialogue emerged during the 1990s or the early 2000s, as Museveni sought a military solution against the LRA and as Kony floundered through the haze of anarchic violence. In 2005, the International Criminal Court framed arrest warrants for Kony and four of his lieutenants, and the US government placed the LRA on its terror list. Not long after this, Kony’s LRA had been severely degraded and his remaining forces (not more than 200) fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from where it is reported to have taken refuge in the Central African Republic. By 2012, the LRA was no longer the existential threat it was to Northern Uganda. It had become a criminal gang, poaching animals and stealing food, looking for survival rather than for political power. As the US State Department’s own Amanda Dory told Congress in April 2012, “The common assessment is that [Kony] has been significantly degraded and is in a survival and evasion mode at this point.” This sober assessment did not slow down the frenzy of the “Kony 2012” nor of the entry of US troops into the African continent. None of the grievances of the North that gave rise to Alice Auma or Kony have been settled. The fissures remain, even as Kony has been chased off.

Invisible Children, which made the Kony 2012 video that Powers praised, has its roots in evangelical Christian politics. It came to Kony only after its foray into Darfur had floundered (on the way in which the Darfur issue suited both US and Israeli state interests, see Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, 2010). It sought an African mission to champion, an old colonial narrative of the white Christians who make their name by saving the black Africans. Their view of the conflict is simplified to the point of a cartoon: the more they demonize Kony, the more Museveni’s own dictatorial rule is minimized, and the more they validate the entry of US armed forces into the region (Obama sent one hundred military advisors to Uganda in 2010).

Obama’s administration sinks in the quicksand of its liberal ambitions –few of its liberal foreign policy objectives have been met; not the closing down of Guantanamo’s prison, nor the tethering of an out-of-control surveillance apparatus, nor even the War on Terror in general. In fact, Obama has intensified the drone warfare in Yemen and Pakistan, and tethered itself to a resurgent Saudi Arabia on the back of Qatari withdrawal. To polish its carapace, the Obama administration has become a latter-day believer in gay rights on the world stage. Power went on Jay Leno’s program to talk about global LGBT rights and held a Google hangout with human rights activists where the issue of LGBT rights was center-stage (later, on twitter, Power mourned the loss of “Eric Ohena Lembembe, a courageous Cameroonian activist tortured to death last month”). But, to stay on the Uganda story, Power did not raise the issue of LGBT rights and Uganda. In 2011, gay activist David Kato Kisule was murdered in Mukono, Uganda. Kato had been a leader in the struggle for gay rights in Uganda. Invisible Children’s financial links to the Discovery Institute complicates matters for Powers’ liberal interventionism–Discovery’s head Lou Engle was in Kampala, Uganda in May 2010 heading up an anti-gay rally in support of an anti-gay bill that has been championed by President Museveni. Ambassador Power’s claim to move a pro-LGBT agenda at the UN is at odds with her choosing to give her first speech at a forum that shares much with the anti-gay agenda of the Discovery Institute and Ugandan President Museveni. She did not make any remarks about this at her speech at the Fourth Estate Summit. In fact, Power did not raise the issue of LGBT rights at that Los Angeles gala. This is standard issue “pinkwashing,” a cavalier use of a real campaign to re-brand the sinking ship of US soft power.

Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” helped shore up a new trend in US policy, to seek military solutions where much more complex policy options need to be considered. Forging military partnerships with Museveni’s Uganda will not help the people of the North, whose main issue is loss of land to investors, and loss of livelihood over the course of two generations. Nor will it solve the problems of a nascent people’s movement, which is being stamped down by the anti-protest Public Order Management Bill (passed by parliament on 6 August). Opposition leader Nandala Mafabi called this bill unconstitutional, but where will be the room to legally dispute it on the streets? None of this detained the human rights apparatus created by Rice and Power, and sanctified by Obama. Their human rights agenda is driven not by popular protests on the streets but by the cordite from an F-16.

R2P

“What matters,” said Ambassador Power at the Invisible Children gala, “are results – everything else is just noise.” But what matters are well is ideology and power – who gets to define what is a crisis and who gets to frame the actions necessary to solve the crisis? In 2005, through US pressure, the United Nations adopted the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. One of its champions was Samantha Power. The R2P doctrine holds that a state has the legal responsibility to protect is people, and if this state fails to do so the international community must involve itself with “coercive measures” such as economic sanctions but with military intervention as “the last resort.” In other words, the R2P doctrine is endowed with the ability to conscript Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which forces the United Nations to use military force. But, as has become obvious over the past few decades, the idea of the “international community” is not as global as it seems–that term has come to reflect the views of the North Atlantic countries, whose military hegemony through the US armed forces and its tentacular base structure as well as NATO gives them the ultimate veto over the narrative of world affairs. What matters, then, is not suffering in general, but the suffering deemed by the North Atlantic states to be against their interests, to whose defence the bombers are set loose.

Last year, India’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, offered a robust criticism of the R2P doctrine from this general standpoint. Puri pointed out that the United Nations used the doctrine “selectively,” and when the United Nations selects a conflict for intervention, the armed phase is immediate rather than “calibrated and gradual”. The selectivity is a function of those who continue to exercise their power through the UN bodies, which is to say that the North Atlantic states set the agenda for the use of the R2P doctrine. Puri’s criticisms come in the wake of the Libyan intervention, which Obama, Rice, and Power use as the standard for the use of R2P. However, many powers, including the BRICS states, are wary of that usage. They argue that the United States misled the Council and then misused the UN Resolution 1973, a feint that forced UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to publically defend the NATO action in December 2011. It is because of the way the R2P was used in Libya that it the BRICS states have indicated that they will not allow such an open-ended R2P resolution, including for Syria. Power comes to the United Nations stepping over the rubble of R2P.

Tactically, it is smart of Power to go to Invisible Children, to pose as a grassroots activist who is going to be pushed by the people and be the people’s champion in the Security Council. It will shine Power’s reputation a bit, but not much. With the Bush administration walking away from the ICC and shredding the Kyoto agreement, Power wrote, “The United States [has come] to be seen less as it sees itself (the cop protecting the world from rogue nations) than as the very runaway state international law needs to contain.” In the Obama administration, Power did nothing to contain the “runaway state,” indeed she helped secure inside the United Nations a “law,” R2P, that gives the United States permission to be unrestrained. That is the Konyism of Samantha Power.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Konyism of Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations

Fukushima apocalypse: Years of ‘duct tape fixes’ could result in ‘millions of deaths’

RT | August 17, 2013

Even the tiniest mistake during an operation to extract over 1,300 fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan could lead to a series of cascading failures with an apocalyptic outcome, fallout researcher Christina Consolo told RT.

Fukushima operator TEPCO wants to extract 400 tons worth of spent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s damaged Reactor No. 4. The removal would have to be done manually from the top story of the damaged building in the radiation-contaminated environment.

In the worst-case scenario, a mishandled rod may go critical, resulting in an above-ground meltdown releasing radioactive fallout with no way to stop it, said Consolo, who is the founder and host of Nuked Radio. But leaving things as they are is not an option, because statistical risk of a similarly bad outcome increases every day, she said.

RT: How serious is the fuel rod situation compared to the danger of contaminated water build-up which we already know about?

Christina Consolo: Although fuel rod removal happens on a daily basis at the 430+ nuclear sites around the world, it is a very delicate procedure even under the best of circumstances. What makes fuel removal at Fukushima so dangerous and complex is that it will be attempted on a fuel pool whose integrity has been severely compromised. However, it must be attempted as Reactor 4 has the most significant problems structurally, and this pool is on the top floor of the building.

There are numerous other reasons that this will be a dangerous undertaking.

– The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident.

– Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won’t be until removal is attempted.

– Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks.

– The building is sinking.

– The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed.

– Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually.

– TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded with radiation during the extraction and casking.

– The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,300 times without incident.

– Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.

The water build-up is an extraordinarily difficult problem in and of itself, and as anyone with a leaky basement knows, water always ‘finds a way.’

‘Trivial in light of other problems at Fukushima, water situation could culminate in the chain reaction scenario’

At Fukushima, they are dealing with massive amounts of groundwater that flow through the property, and the endless pouring that must be kept up 24/7/365 to keep things from getting worse. Recently there appears to be subsidence issues and liquefaction under the plant.

TEPCO has decided to pump the water out of these buildings. However, pumping water out of the buildings is only going to increase the flow rate and create more of these ground issues around the reactors. An enormous undertaking – but one that needs to be considered for long-term preservation of the integrity of the site – is channelling the water away, like a drain tile installed around the perimeter of a house with a leaky basement, but on an epic scale.

Without this effort, the soils will further deteriorate, structural shift will occur, and subsequently the contents of the pools will shift too.

Any water that flows into those buildings also becomes highly radioactive, as it is likely coming into contact with melted fuel.

Without knowing the extent of the current liquefaction and its location, the location of the melted fuel, how long TEPCO has been pumping out water, or when the next earthquake will hit, it is impossible to predict how soon this could occur from the water problem/subsidence issue alone. But undoubtedly, pumping water out of the buildings is just encouraging the flow, and this water problem needs to be remedied and redirected as soon as possible.

RT: Given all the complications that could arise with extracting the fuel rods, which are the most serious, in your opinion?

CC: The most serious complication would be anything that leads to a nuclear chain reaction. And as outlined above, there are many different ways this could occur. In a fuel pool containing damaged rods and racks, it could potentially start up on its own at anytime. TEPCO has been incredibly lucky that this hasn’t happened so far.

‘One of the worst, but most important jobs anyone has ever had to do’

My second biggest concern would be the physical and mental fitness of the workers that will be in such close proximity to exposed fuel during this extraction process. They will be the ones guiding this operation, and will need to be in the highest state of alertness to have any chance at all of executing this plan manually and successfully. Many of their senses, most importantly eyesight, will be hindered by the apparatus that will need to be worn during their exposure, to prevent immediate death from lifting compromised fuel rods out of the pool and placing them in casks, or in the common spent fuel pool located a short distance away.

Think for a moment what that might be like through the eyes of one of these workers; it will be hot, uncomfortable, your senses shielded, and you would be filled with anxiety. You are standing on a building that is close to collapse. Even with the strongest protection possible, workers will have to be removed and replaced often. So you don’t have the benefit of doing such a critical task and knowing and trusting your comrades, as they will frequently have to be replaced when their radiation dose limits are reached. If they exhibit physical or mental signs of radiation exposure, they will have be replaced more often.

It will be one of the worst, but most important jobs anyone has ever had to do. And even if executed flawlessly, there are still many things that could go wrong.

RT: How do the potential consequences of failure to ensure safe extraction compare to other disasters of the sort – like Chernobyl, or the 2011 Fukushima meltdown?

CC: There really is no comparison. This will be an incredibly risky operation, in the presence of an enormous amount of nuclear material in close proximity. And as we have seen in the past, one seemingly innocuous failure at the site often translates into a series of cascading failures.

‘The site has been propped up with duct tape and a kick-stand for over two years’

Many of their ‘fixes’ are only temporary, as there are so many issues to address, and cost always seems to be an enormous factor in what gets implemented and what doesn’t.

As a comparison: Chernobyl was one reactor, in a rural area, a quarter of the size of one of the reactors at Fukushima. There was no ‘spent fuel pool’ to worry about. Chernobyl was treated in-situ… meaning everything was pretty much left where it was while the effort to contain it was made (and very expeditiously I might add) not only above ground, but below ground.

At Fukushima, we have six top-floor pools all loaded with fuel that eventually will have to be removed, the most important being Reactor 4, although Reactor 3 is in pretty bad shape too. Spent fuel pools were never intended for long-term storage, they were only to assist short-term movement of fuel. Using them as a long-term storage pool is a huge mistake that has become an ‘acceptable’ practice and repeated at every reactor site worldwide.

We have three 100-ton melted fuel blobs underground, but where exactly they are located, no one knows. Whatever ‘barriers’ TEPCO has put in place so far have failed. Efforts to decontaminate radioactive water have failed. Robots have failed. Camera equipment and temperature gauges… failed. Decontamination of surrounding cities has failed.

‘If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people’

We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children’s’ lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures.

We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area. As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water.

The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton. But it has to be done, unless there is some way to encase the entire building in concrete with the pool as it is. I don’t know of anyone discussing that option, but it would seem much ‘safer’ than what they are about to attempt… but not without its own set of risks.

And all this collateral damage will continue for decades, if not centuries, even if things stay exactly the way they are now. But that is unlikely, as bad things happen like natural disasters and deterioration with time… earthquakes, subsidence, and corrosion, to name a few. Every day that goes by, the statistical risk increases for this apocalyptic scenario. No one can say or know how this will play out, except that millions of people will probably die even if things stay exactly as they are, and billions could die if things get any worse.

RT: Are the fuel rods in danger of falling victim to other factors, while the extraction process is ongoing? After all, it’s expected to take years before all 1,300+ rods are pulled out.

CC: Unfortunately yes, the fuel rods are in danger every day they remain in the pool. The more variables you add to this equation, and the more time that passes, the more risk you are exposed to. Each reactor and spent fuel pool has its own set of problems, and critical failure with any of them could ultimately have the end result of an above-ground, self-sustaining nuclear reaction. It will not be known if extraction of all the fuel will even be possible, as some of it may be severely damaged, until the attempt is made to remove it.

RT: Finally, what is the worst case scenario? What level of contamination are we looking at and how dire would the consequences be for the long-term health of the region?

CC: Extremely dire. This is a terrible answer to have to give, but the worst case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse. Since we have been discussing Reactor 4, I’ll stick to that problem in particular, but also understand that a weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.

‘Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will lead to more criticalities’

At any time, following any of these possible events, or even all by itself, nuclear fuel in reactor 4’s pool could become critical, mostly because it will heat up the pool to a point where water will burn off and the zirconium cladding will catch fire when it is exposed to air. This already happened at least once in this pool that we are aware of. It almost happened again recently after a rodent took out an electrical line and cooling was stopped for days.

Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will likely lead to more criticalities, which then can spread to other fuel. The heat from this reaction would weaken the structure further, which could then collapse and the contents of the pool end up in a pile of rubble on the ground. This would release an enormous amount of radioactivity, which Arnie Gundersen has referred to as a “Gamma Shine Event” without precedence, and Dr. Christopher Busby has deemed an “Open-air super reactor spectacular.”

This would preclude anyone from not only being at Reactor 4, but at Reactors 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, the associated pools for each, and the common spent fuel pool. Humans could no longer monitor and continue cooling operations at any of the reactors and pools, thus putting the entire site at risk for a massive radioactive release.

‘At least the northern half of Japan would be uninhabitable, and some researchers have argued that it already is’

Mathematically, it is almost impossible to quantify in terms of resulting contamination, and a separate math problem would need to be performed for every nuclear element contained within the fuel, and whether or not that fuel exploded, burned, fissioned, melted, or was doused with water to try to cool it off and poured into the ocean afterward.

Some researchers have even ventured to say that other nuke plants on the east coast of Honshu may need to be evacuated if levels get too high, which will lead to subsequent failures/fires and explosions at these plants as well. Just how profound the effect will be on down-winders in North America, or the entire northern hemisphere for that matter, will literally depend on where the wind blows and where the rain falls, the duration and extent of a nuclear fire or chain-reaction event, and whether or not that reaction becomes self-sustaining. At least the northern half of Japan would be uninhabitable, and some researchers have argued that it already is.

This is already happening to the nuclear fuel in the ground under the plant, but now it would be happening above ground as well. There is no example historically to draw from on a scale of this magnitude. Everything is theory. But anyone who says this can’t happen is not being truthful, because nobody really knows how bad things could get.

The most disturbing part of all of this is that Fukushima has been this dangerous, and precarious, since the second week of March 2011. The ante will definitely be upped once the fuel removal starts.

‘The mainstream media, world governments, nuclear agencies, health organizations, weather reporters, and the health care industry has completely ignored three ongoing triple meltdowns that have never been contained’

An obvious attempt to downplay this disaster and its consequences have been repeated over and over again from ‘experts’ in the nuclear industry that also have a vested interest in their industry remaining intact. And, there has been a lot of misleading information released by TEPCO, which an hour or two of reading by a diligent reporter would have uncovered, in particular the definition of ‘cold shutdown.’

Over 300 mainstream news outlets worldwide ran the erroneous ‘cold shutdown’ story repeatedly, which couldn’t be further from the truth… [it was] yet another lie that was spun by TEPCO to placate the public, and perpetuated endlessly by the media and nuclear lobby.

Unfortunately, TEPCO waited until a severe emergency arose to finally report how bad things really are with this latest groundwater issue… if we are even being told the truth. Historically, everything TEPCO says always turns out to be much worse than they initially admit.

‘Unfortunately there is no one better qualified to deal with this than the Russians, despite their own shortcomings’

I think the best chance of success is… that experts around the world drop everything they are doing to work on this problem, and have Russia either lead the containment effort or consult with them closely. They have the most experience, they have decades of data. They took their accident seriously and made a Herculean effort to contain it.

Of course we also know the Chernobyl accident was wrought with deception and lies as well, and some of that continues to this day, especially in terms of the ongoing health effects of children in the region, and monstrous birth defects. Unfortunately there is no one better qualified to deal with this than the Russians, despite their own shortcomings. Gorbachev tried to make up for his part in the cover-up of Chernobyl by opening orphanages throughout the region to deal with the affected children.

But as far as Fukushima goes, the only thing that matters now is if world leaders and experts join forces to help fix this situation. Regardless of what agendas they are trying to protect or hide, how much it will cost, the effect on Japan or the world’s economy, or what political chains this will yank.

The nuclear industry needs to come clean. If this leads to every reactor in the world being shut down, so be it. If the world governments truly care about their people and this planet, this is what needs to be done.

Renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku stated in an interview a few weeks after the initial accident that “TEPCO is literally hanging on by their fingernails.” They still are, and always have been. The Japanese have proven time and time again they are not capable of handling this disaster. Now we are entrusting them to execute the most dangerous fuel removal in history.

We are extremely lucky that this apocalyptic scenario hasn’t happened yet, considering the state of Reactor 4. But for many, it is already too late. The initial explosions and spent fuel pool fires may have already sealed the fate of millions of people. Time will tell. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest, because there is just no way to know.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

False Flags and Hijacking Minds

By Ludwig Watzal | Dissident Voice | August 17, 2013

Before I came across the book Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11: Counterfeiting Evidence by Elias Davidsson, I believed in the official narrative on 9/11. I read the book twice. It completely shattered my former belief.

I’m no expert on 9/11 and do not believe in esoteric theories. My attitude towards 9/11 has been marked by a certain curiosity, but also by healthy skepticism. When I initially stumbled across articles questioning the official 9/11 narrative, I just read them and put them away. With Davidsson’s book, it was different: it immediately captivated me.

Having hitch-hiked extensively all over the United States and studied international relations at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, I am somehow familiar with how American society ticks. I have noted that after every severe calamity in the US, an immediate inquiry is initiated to determine the facts.  When it comes to airplane crashes, it befalls the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) to determine the circumstances in which the airplane crashed: the plane is pieced together from the debris, the cause of the crash is determined and a public report is issued regarding the circumstances of the crash. The U.S. government did not, however, permit the NTSB to investigate the 9/11 crashes. It had to be carried out, exceptionally, by the more secretive FBI, which has no obligation to publish its findings. Why did the U.S. government insist on such unprecedented secrecy?

hijack_DVElias Davidsson’s book may provide an answer to this question. His book is a very thorough study of specific aspects of the 9/11 events that have hitherto been neglected. The strength of his book lies in its reliance on primary evidence, the sources for which are provided so that readers can check for themselves the accuracy and relevance of the evidence. Davidsson does not merely provide footnoted references to the sources but has actually posted a great number of source documents on his website, sparing readers tedious searches. This unusually user-friendly approach indicates the author’s willingness to subject him to the most exacting scrutiny by readers. What makes his study so compelling is his judicious use of official U.S. government documents to undermine the assertions of the U.S. government itself?  A great part of his sources are FBI documents culled from the U.S. National Archives (NARA).

The author provides persuasive evidence that the official narrative is riddled with contradictions, anomalies, puzzling coincidences, lies, forged and planted evidence; that witnesses were intimidated; and that news was fabricated. A substantial chunk of his book is devoted to an analysis of the telephone calls made between passengers and crew-members with their colleagues or loved-ones on the ground. It is actually the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of these phone calls undertaken to date. One gets the rather sinister impression – reading the quoted phone calls – that the callers were not experiencing true hijackings. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether this impression is justified.

The author was born in Palestine in 1941 to Jewish parents and grew up in Jerusalem but lived for most of his life in Iceland. Apart from his double professional career, first as a computer expert and then as a music teacher and composer, he became interested in international law in the 1990s and published a number of extensive papers in the fields of international law, human rights law, and international criminal law. In 2002, prompted by anomalies he discovered in the official narrative on 9/11, he started researching these events. The present book represents the culmination of ten years’ work.

The book is divided into four parts and 14 chapters. The style of the presentation is narrative and easy to follow. Davidsson’s book is the first one that demonstrates, beyond reasonable doubt, that there exists no evidence for the claim that Muslim terrorists hijacked planes on 9/11. His book is not limited to debunking this claim. He also shows that the U.S. authorities have failed to identify the debris of the aircraft that crashed or allegedly crashed at the various sites on 9/11. Based on his comprehensive analysis of the phone calls, Davidsson invites readers to consider what he designates as his best theory regarding the nature of the phone calls.

Before involving readers with the intricate forensics of the case, the author highlights the incredible swiftness with which the official narrative on 9/11 emerged: CBS News named Osama bin Laden as the main suspect within 15 minutes. Approximately 20 minutes after the second plane crash, President Bush declared that “America is under attack,” although he had no evidence that the events were related to a foreign source. The facts of the case were not determined by investigators, but by the U.S. Congress, meeting 24 hours after the events. Relying on a statement made by Senator Lott, Davidsson reveals that the congressional resolution was already in the works on the very day of the incident.

For the author, 9/11 was a brilliantly orchestrated “propaganda coup”. The dramatists of 9/11 must have envisaged that the events, played out real time on television, would serve to unite the American people and rally the population behind the flag. This turned out to be the case. The role of U.S. and European media in promoting the official 9/11 version is well known. Established media deliberately and routinely suppress facts that might undermine public belief in the official version, for example the admission by the FBI in June 2006 to possess no hard evidence of a link between Osama bin Laden and 9/11.

Is it possible to challenge Davidsson’s work? One might argue that a colossal crime such as 9/11 would involve so many people, that the plot could not be kept secret. According to this argument someone, among the many participants, would have long ago “spilled the beans.” How compelling is this view? What does it mean to “spill the beans”? How likely will eyewitnesses “spill the beans”?

First, it should be clarified that government conspiracies do not always remain secret. They are often exposed by scholars and historians. But as long as such exposure is limited to scholarly books and suppressed by the corporate media, these plots remain – for the general public – “conspiracy theories”. A few examples should suffice:

In 1967, the US and Israel conspired in attempting to sink the USS Liberty off the coast of Israel. The US Navy personnel who survived the perfidious attack attempted to raise public knowledge about this conspiracy but did not succeed. The facts have been thoroughly documented by British journalist Peter Hounam, who interviewed survivors and participants. They are known to those who wish to know, but are kept suppressed from the large public.

The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment is cited as “arguably the most infamous biomedical research study in U.S. history.” This experiment was conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service. The conspiracy of deception on which this experiment was based, was only brought to public in 1972 by a whistleblower, i.e. 40 years after the experiment began.

Operation Gladio refers to terrorist acts secretly engineered by the secret services in Italy, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and possibly Germany during the Cold War. These murderous acts were staged to appear as terrorism by leftist groups. The operation was kept secret for 40 years in Western Europe with no one blowing the whistle. It was revealed in 1990 by the Italian Prime Minister Julio Andreotti, addressing the Italian parliament, but even that did not ensure wide public knowledge because major media did not cover the story. Most European people, including academics, journalists and politicians, are not aware of this murderous conspiracy which was carried out by their own governments. Those unaware of this operation will be tempted to call it a “conspiracy theory”.

In addition to media reluctance to report government conspiracies, the modus operandi of covert operations needs also to be considered. Covert operations carried out by the military are always organized according to the “need to know” principle. Michael Ruppert, one of the first independent investigators of 9/11, reminded readers: “From the Manhattan Project to the Stealth fighter, the US government has successfully kept secrets involving thousands of people. Secondly, in order to execute a conspiracy of the size and type I am suggesting – 9/11 — it is not necessary that thousands of people see the whole picture. The success of the US in maintaining the secrecy around the atom bomb and the Stealth fighter, or in any classified operation, lies in compartmentalization. A technician in Tennessee refining uranium ore in 1943 would have had no knowledge of its intended use or any moral culpability in any deaths that occurred as a result of it. Another technician in Ohio, mixing a polymer resin in 1985, would have had no knowledge of what an F117A looked like or what it was intended to do.”

Many people believe that a government employee aware of illegal practices by his agency or his superiors will immediately report to the police or speak to a journalist. This belief is not justified. Exposing a high state crime requires great personal courage and entails risks to one’s career, security or even life. Even the courageous whistleblower cannot be certain that those, to whom he confides will publicize the information, suppress it or inform on him to his superiors. Just consider what happened to Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden or Julian Assange! Sadly, most people do not even dare to ask elementary questions about 9/11, afraid of being ostracized or even losing their jobs. Civil courage is a rare commodity.

Summing up his findings, Elias Davidsson refers to human rights norms according to which the families of 9/11 victims are entitled to know what happened to their next-of-kin and society is entitled to have the perpetrators, planners and facilitators of the mass-murder identified, prosecuted and convicted. He furthermore sees in efforts to expose 9/11 a “revolutionary potential” because it would reveal what he sees as the monumental failure of our institutions to seek the truth on these murderous events.

Davidsson’s book is not an introduction to 9/11 critical studies. It caters to those who are already aware of the major anomalies in the official narrative. The book is a must read to those concerned with the stealthy transformation of Western democracies into police states and to those who oppose the wars conducted by the United States and its allies.

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Comments Off on False Flags and Hijacking Minds

Venezuela Withdraws Its Ambassador from Egypt

Telesur | August 16, 2013

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced today that he will withdraw the country’s ambassador from Egypt because of the conflict there and confrontations between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the defacto government, which has seen over 700 people killed.

“We have witnessed a blood bath in Egypt…We warned that the coup against Morsi was unconstitutional. Morsi was kidnapped and the responsible party for what is occuring in Egypt is the empire, which has its hands in it,” said the head of state.

He assured that, “The United States doesn’t have friends, it has interests, and what it wants is to control the planet”.

Maduro reiterated that, “We are against a blood bath in Egypt, it is a set-back that is going to cost a lot to our brothers, the Arabic people”.

He called on the Venezuelan people to be alert. “We can’t allow the hands of imperialism to enter Venezuela, we have to be the guarantee of independence,” he stressed.

The original article has been abridged. Translation by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Venezuela Withdraws Its Ambassador from Egypt

Israeli soldiers violently attack and arrest peaceful protesters in Beit Ummar

International Solidarity Movement | August 17, 2013

Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday, the 16th August, four people were violently arrested at a peaceful demonstration taking place near the village of Al-Masara, on the outskirts of Hebron(Al Khalil). Around sixty demonstrators calling for the dismantlement of illegal Israeli settlements upon Palestinian land were attacked and the protest was disbanded by Israeli soldiers within minutes.

At around 11.30am the procession began, with many people waving flags and calling chants for freedom. An Israeli military vehicle drove by, immediately turned around and blocked the road. Within two minutes two more military jeeps and one police car had joined the blockade. Heavily armed soldiers stormed the procession, splitting the group into two and beating protesters to the ground. The soldiers pushed protesters back and formed a wall of plastic shields. Four men including two Palestinian and two international protesters were arrested.

One of the arrested men, Abed, was holding a camera and documenting the demonstration when he was violently grabbed and pushed by an Israel soldier. Abed shouted at the soldier to let go of his arm and tried to pull away from the soldiers grasp. The soldier responded by strangling and arresting him. Another protester, Muad Al-lahham, was arrested while calmly waving a Palestinian flag.

Local Palestinians are incensed by the continuous settlement expansion and subsequent annexation of their land that deliberately prevents farmers from harvesting their crops. This disabling act of aggression has led to local Palestinian families being financially crippled. As an act of resistance, the local people regularly hold peaceful demonstrations that are consistently met with force from the Israeli occupation. These acts, usually held on Friday – Juma’a – often use symbolism to convey their message. Two weeks ago the locals erected a tent on occupied Palestinian land, as a mark of resistance to the Israeli settlements.

Palestinians here are used to being arrested at their demonstrations. Yesterday, Mahmoud from Al-Masara had his permit taken from him, which is indicative of imminent arrest. For Mahmoud, this is routine and he calmly smoked a cigarette while soldiers decided his fate. Mahmoud was allowed to maintain his freedom, but he never knows when an arrest may come. Asked why he continues to protest he said: “Our goal is to live in peace and to have our freedom like anybody else in the world. Israelis have occupied Palestine, but they can never occupy our minds.”

The majority of protesters came from the villages of Beit Ummar and Al-Masara, which are both affected by Highway 60, built by Israeli authorities. The highway cuts through the villages, dividing people from their farm lands. As well as this, the inhabitants of the Israeli settlement of Kami Tzur that is close to the villages use intimidation and force in attempt to prevent the farmers harvesting their crops. The force used by the Israeli army at yesterday’s protest demonstrates the intolerance toward peaceful protesters who make a stand against this injustice.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli soldiers violently attack and arrest peaceful protesters in Beit Ummar

NSA to open new $60mln facility in N. Carolina university amid surveillance scrutiny

RT | August 16, 2013

While new disclosures this week have exposed inept oversight and gross privacy violations within the National Security Agency, news out of North Carolina has revealed that the NSA is spending $60.75 million on another brand new facility.

In the midst of an international debate focused on how the United States’ premier spy agency has conducted dragnet surveillance over much of the world, including at home, the NSA is expanding even further. The News & Observer reported on Thursday that North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC is receiving a $60.75 million grant from the NSA to develop a top-secret data analysis lab.

The grant, the paper reported, is three times larger than any award ever received by the university in the school’s history.

Randy Woodson, the school’s chancellor, said Thursday that the deal had been in the works for three years. He said he hoped the data center would make North Carolina a more attractive destination for technology companies. Woodson predicted that the project would create 100 jobs over five years.

“We appreciate the confidence of the National Security Agency to select NC State for this groundbreaking endeavor,” Woodson said in a statement. “Not only will it enhance the academic experience for our students and faculty, it will also add to the economic prosperity of our community through new jobs, new industry and new partnerships.”

Many details on the project have been kept secret because of national security, according to officials. But North Carolina State already has contracts with the Department of Defense, helping the agency research technology which will help soldiers identify improvised explosive devices and expand their foreign language capabilities, among other functions.

The NSA has come under harsh scrutiny in recent months due to the disclosure of classified surveillance programs which the government has used to justify monitoring the communications of Americans, as well as the international community. Internal emails published by the News & Observer reveal that North Carolina State originally intended to announce their deal with the NSA just before the leaks were published but decided to delay in fear of potential blowback.

“A very important announcement about our new NSA-funded Laboratory for Analytic Sciences was supposed to be made public this morning, but with that bit out of The Guardian newspaper on NSA collecting phone records of Verizon customers – everyone thought it best to not make the announcement just yet,” Randy Avent, the associate vice chancellor for research at NCSU, wrote in a message to other administrators. “By the way – our Lab is just that – a research program studying the fundamental science behind analytics. It is not a storage facility for classified data and does not work with any data like that mentioned in the article.”

The delayed announcement comes after another disclosure which further harmed the NSA’s reputation. The Washington Post published top-secret documents Thursday night which provide a glimpse into just how often the NSA breaks the law and invades the privacy of Americans. Thousands of violations were recorded in each of the years since the NSA’s power was expanded in 2008.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NSA to open new $60mln facility in N. Carolina university amid surveillance scrutiny

US contractors major beneficiaries in Egypt arms deal: Report

Press TV – August 17, 2013

The US refuses to cut off its military aid to Egypt as the American military contractors are the major beneficiaries of the scenario, a report says.

Although Washington claims that suspending the 1.3-billion-dollar annual aid will destabilize the North African country, “There is perhaps a more significant – but undisclosed – reason for sustaining military aid flows to Egypt: protecting U.S. defense contractors,” said a Friday report carried by the Inter Press Service.

“Virtually all – or an overwhelming proportion – of the 1.3 billion dollars granted under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) is plowed back into the US economy, specifically into the US defense industry,” it added.

The United States has shown no sign to stop its annual aid to Egypt’s military as the latest figures show over 600 people have died in the recent fatal crackdown by Egyptian security forces on the supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Over the past 30 years, the bulk of the roughly USD 40 billion US military aid to Egypt has “gone straight into the coffers of US weapons makers,” the report quoted William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy (CIP), as saying.

According to the report, the sophisticated weapons systems already purchased by Egypt include F-16 fighter planes, E2-C Hawkeye reconnaissance aircraft, Apache and Sikorsky helicopters, C-130 transports, Sidewinder, Sparrow, Improved-Hawk and Hellfire missiles, M-1A1 Abrams and M60A1 battle tanks, and M113A2 armored personnel carriers.

Major US defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Boeing, Sikorsky, General Dynamics, United Defense and Raytheon, are among the companies which have delivered or will deliver the weapons to Egypt, the report read.

The report cited political analyst Jacob Chamberlain as saying that although the Congress allocates the hefty military aid to Egypt on an annual basis, “That money never gets to Egypt. It goes to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then to a trust fund at the Treasury and, finally, out to US military contractors that make the tanks and fighter jets that ultimately get sent to Egypt.”

On Friday, tens of thousands of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood activists and their supporters across the country took part in what the party called the “Day of Rage” against the army and its handpicked government.

On Friday, security forces and opponents of the Brotherhood opened fire on pro-Morsi supporters, leaving more than 100 people dead and hundreds more injured across the country.

The carnage followed Wednesday’s bloodshed when Egyptian security forces killed almost 640 people during a crackdown on two pro-Morsi camps– one near the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City and a another one in Nahda Square in Giza.

Egypt has been the scene of massive protests since July 3, when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed Morsi from office, suspended the constitution and dissolved the parliament.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Comments Off on US contractors major beneficiaries in Egypt arms deal: Report