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Russia to retaliate for US sanctions over Ukraine

Press TV – March 4, 2014

Russia says it will retaliate against any possible sanctions that the United States may impose on Moscow over its involvement in Ukraine.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would have to respond in such situations that are provoked by “Washington’s rash and irresponsible actions.”

“We have frequently explained to the Americans… why unilateral sanctions do not fit the standards of civilized relations between states,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich also added that such response would not be necessarily symmetrical.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday criticized the West’s threats of “sanctions and boycotts” against the country.

At the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Lavrov said those who speak of sanctions are the ones that “ultimately polarized Ukrainian society.”

Earlier, the US and the European Union had warned Moscow of the consequences of its military action in Ukraine.

Lavrov also said that the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula is necessary to protect the country’s citizens.

“We are talking here about protection of our citizens and compatriots, about protection of the most fundamental of the human rights—the right to live and nothing more,” he noted.

The US Senate and the Obama administration are discussing possible measures against the Russian government such as a halt to military cooperation, and economic sanctions in addition to moves against individual Russians, including visa bans and asset freezes.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking the myth of Nazi mosquito-borne biological weapons

By Jean Pascal Zanders | The Trench | March 4, 2014

Starting at the end of January, several press items reported on an academic article published in the December edition of the quarterly magazine Endeavour. Based on documents from the Dachau concentration camp, Dr Klaus Reinhardt, a biologist at the University of Tübingen uncovered that Nazi scientists wanted to use mosquitos as insect vector for the delivery of malaria plasmodium protozoans. According to the article abstract:

In January 1942, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and police in Nazi Germany, ordered the creation of an entomological institute to study the physiology and control of insects that inflict harm to humans. Founded in the grounds of the concentration camp at Dachau, it has been the focus of previous research, notably into the question of whether it was involved in biological warfare research. This article examines research protocols by the appointed leader Eduard May, presented here for the first time, which confirm the existence of an offensive biological warfare research programme in Nazi Germany.

In 1999, while at SIPRI, I oversaw the publication of a volume in the Chemical & Biological Warfare Studies series edited by Erhard Geissler and John Ellis van Courtland Moon on Biological and Toxin Weapons: Research, Development and Use from the Middle Ages to 1945. Geissler, now a retired professor in molecular biology and genetics, wrote the chapter on Germany’s biological warfare programmes before and during World War 2. He basically debunked the myth that the SS was conducting a secret offensive biological warfare programme against Hitler’s explicit orders not to investigate such weapons.

Reinhardt claims to have recently uncovered fresh documents from Dachau and suggests that the earlier assessments of Germany’s offensive BW activities are wrong. Being familiar with Geissler’s investigations — particularly with the 900-page mastodont, emphatically entitled Biologische Waffen – nicht in Hitlers Arsenalen — and other historical research on the origins of offensive biological warfare programmes on the eve of and during World War 2, I was mildly sceptical of the new claims. While the possibility of finding new archival material always exists, contradicting a central conclusion of extensive historical research is quite a different matter. An article in National Geographic summarised Reinhardt’s findings, but also noted that they are controversial among researchers. His conclusions were therefore not as absolute as some press items were suggesting, I therefore assumed.

Yesterday, however, Erhard Geissler posted a blog commentary, calling the findings ‘disinformation’ :

Despite the thrilling headline Reinhardt in his article does not provide any new material regarding the dual-use activities performed in the Entomological Institute of the Waffen-SS beyond that what was already published. The low-scale experiments performed by Eduard May in September 1944 on the survival of food-deprived mosquitoes, can hardly assessed as confirmation of “the existence of an offensive biological warfare research programme in Nazi Germany”. Besides that, the main body of Reinhardts paper including its concluding paragraph does not pick up the alleged BW preparations but deals with the “enigmatic figure” of its director, Eduard May.

Geissler concludes:

Up to today there is no evidence of offensive biological warfare research in Germany after the unsuccessful attempts of German biosabotage in WWI. It is a pitty that the misleading heading of Reinhardt‘s article similar to other disinformation campaigns are favored by some media’s apparent craving for a breaking story that often supersedes thorough investigation.

This is pretty categorical debunking of research findings. To be continued?

Jean Pascal Zanders (Belgium) has worked on questions of chemical and biological weapon (CBW) armament and disarmament since 1986. He was CBW Project Leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Director of the BioWeapons Prevention Project and Senior Research Fellow responsible for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation questions at the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Depends on the Israeli Government Coming Clean on its Nuclear Disinformation Campaigns

By Dr. Yousaf Butt | Arms Control Law | March 4, 2014

One of the sticking points in the on-going Iran nuclear negotiations is the fate of the so-called “Possible Military Dimensions” (aka “Alleged Studies”) file. This is a compendium of allegations against Iran’s nuclear program – largely gathered by third-party intelligence agencies – that the IAEA would like Iran to respond to. Not only are the allegations largely outside the IAEA legal authority and expertise (because they do not directly deal with nuclear material diversion), but Iran has not been allowed to see much of this secret evidence that is being used against it. Such a process is, of course, not consistent with normal Western legal practice. Iran has responded to what little it has been shown of the PMD file by saying that the evidence thus far shown is fabricated.

Though this Iranian response is often cast as Iran “not cooperating with the IAEA” (or “refusing to discuss the matter”), another possibility must be considered: that Iran is correct. That is, that at least some the evidence has indeed been cooked-up by an adversarial Intelligence service (or by an agent recruited by such an Intelligence service).

A wonderful new book by Gudrun Harrer on the IAEA inspections in Iraq sheds some light on which countries could be involved in fabricating and planting such fake nuclear “evidence”. On p. 185 of the book, it is confirmed that Israel provided the IAEA with false information on Laser Isotope Separation activities in Iraq. The reference for this information is the author’s interview with David Albright of ISIS (see at this insert the relevant scanned pages from the book):

Harrer on Albright Israel

Israel has, of course, long been suspected of being behind some of the forged and suspect evidence against Iran: the neutron initiators, AP graphs, etc., but until now it was hard to definitely pin the blame on that country. Thanks to David Albright at ISIS, we now know that Israel has been guilty of planting disinformation with the IAEA in the past.

The German intelligence agency has also discredited much of the secret evidence against Iran.

Having myself analyzed some of what is (evidently) in this PMD file – with Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies – I can say that the evidence is certainly of poor quality and/or an amateurish forgery. It does not look like anything a state-level research scientist would produce. There are large and conspicuous mathematical and physical errors in the material.

Similarly, Robert Kelley has assessed that at least some of the evidence purporting to show weaponization research work continuing past 2004 is less than compelling:

 [The] evidence, according to the IAEA, tells us Iran embarked on a four-year program, starting around 2006, to validate the design of a device to produce a burst of neutrons that could initiate a fission chain reaction. Though I cannot say for sure what source the agency is relying on, I can say for certain that this project was earlier at the center of what appeared to be a misinformation campaign…. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity…

David Albright’s confirmation of Israeli nuclear disinformation goes hand-in-glove with statements from former IAEA director, and Nobel Prize winner, Mohammed ElBaradei. In his biography, ElBaradei says that the documents that the IAEA had about the alleged neutron initiators in Iran circa 2008 were given to the Agency by Israel. He further states that Israel gave him permission to show the evidence to Iran.

So the question is, why has the IAEA not cooperated with Iran in evaluating material like they did with Iraq circa 1995, in the incident mentioned by Harrer?

Iran could be genuinely helpful if they were allowed to see the original evidence and comment on it. When the IAEA worked with Iraq to evaluate documents, the Iraqis helpfully pointed out mistakes that the IAEA could independently confirm. Isn’t that the example we would like to see with Iran?

Being charged with secret evidence also goes against every notion of Western justice. The IAEA either needs to drop the PMD file, or amend their procedures.

Unfortunately, it is quite likely that the Israeli government is once again carrying out nuclear disinformation, possibly in collaboration with the MEK, an Iranian terrorist – in some nations, formerly terrorist – organization opposed to the current Iranian regime.

Over the past weekend, it was also confirmed that Israel masterminded the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. These assassinations, too, perhaps were carried out with local MEK collaboration. If the Israeli government is capable of assassinating civilian Iranian scientists, would fabricating nuclear intel on Iran trouble their consciences? Presumably not. Especially as they have done it in the past, according to David Albright at ISIS.

Before further pursuing Iran on the PMD file – which may contain substantial forged evidence – it would make sense to ask Israel to come clean about any fabricated intelligence it may have planted with the IAEA. It is quite possible that some of the PMD file is not fake. Israel’s assistance and cooperation in identifying what is fake and what is not would be most helpful. If David Albright of ISIS has further insight into this – as he did in the Iraqi case – his involvement would also, of course, be very welcome.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to give credibility to hyperbolic Israeli statements about Iran’s underhandedness in pursuing its nuclear program, when Israel itself has been underhanded in pursuing clandestine disinformation campaigns against NPT states, while itself remaining resolutely outside the NPT.

There are several points for the IAEA to consider in light of these recent developments:

1. Should the IAEA reject all evidence from Israel against Iran and other adversarial states now?

2. Should the IAEA, generally, not accept intelligence from non-NPT states?

3. The IAEA should show Iran any evidence it wants an Iranian response on. Anything less is not consistent with Western notions of justice. Furthermore such cooperation could unveil the origin of any possible forgeries in the PMD file.

4. The IAEA and the US should ask Israel to come clean on any fabricated “evidence” it may have inserted into the PMD file.

5. As I have suggested previously, it would be best to simply drop the PMD file as it relates to decade old unauthenticated allegations of possible research. It is not even clear that what is in the PMD file – even if true – would be a violation of the NPT or the safeguards agreement.

6. If the IAEA really wants to pursue the content of the PMD in a legal way they can initiate special inspections or undertake arbitration as provided for in the CSA. The IAEA does not even have the technical expertise in-house to undertake investigations of missiles, warheads etc. which are mentioned in the PMD file.

7. Since Iran is now in compliance with its safeguards agreement, Iran’s nuclear file – currently hung-up in the Security Council – should return to the IAEA. The referral to the Security Council was unorthodox and politicized to begin with, and there is no rationale for Iran’s nuclear file to remain there post-2008. (Footnote 38 of the latest IAEA report on Iran makes clear that the remaining issues are not IAEA safeguards issues but extraneous UNSC ones).

8. This also means that the UNSC nuclear-related sanctions on Iran should now be dropped. In fact, they ought to have been dropped in 2008.

David Albright must be commended for his helpful insight into fabricated Israeli intelligence in Iraq, and hopefully can assist in tracking down similar disinformation in the case of Iran.

Relatedly, we must thank him and ISIS also for showing the international community expensive satellite pictures of Parchin, in which one can see that west of the paving activity, the site is untouched, and so the IAEA could get environmental samples there (if they even needed those). This undercuts ISIS’ own conclusion that the site has been magically “sanitized” by paving. Normally, of course, the IAEA would take such swipe samples from within the buildings where any suspect U naturally collects: in the corners and at the places where the walls meet the floor.

The technical weaknesses in ISIS’ and IAEA’s approach to Parchin were previously commented on.

The IAEA’s technically unsound obsession with environmental sampling at Parchin may also mean they are confusing the site at Marivan (where open-air implosion tests may have taken place) with the site at Parchin (where implosions in a chamber are alleged).

From the May 2008 Board report, referring to the Marivan site:

A.2. High Explosives Testing

[………….]

Document 3: Five page document in English describing experimentation undertaken with a complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry and to monitor the development of the detonation wave in that high explosive using a considerable number of diagnostic probes.

 And the alleged weapons’ studies annex Nov 2011:

 43. Information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. [……] Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan.

So what is the point of carrying out environmental sampling at Parchin (where chamber experiments are alleged) and not at Marivan where open-air experiments were allegedly done? Is the IAEA – and ISIS – confused between Marivan and Parchin?

The IAEA’s unprofessionalism in vetting the content of the PMD file, and in the obsession over Parchin (which the IAEA visited twice already) vs. Marivan smacks of an agenda to target Iran rather than any sound technical analysis. It is likely to blow up the Iran nuclear deal for no good reason. Iran has cooperated with the IAEA on the PMD file by saying that the material it was shown was fabricated – this may be true. Now Israel should also cooperate and come clean about what forged material – or material from compromised sources like “Curveball” – may be within this file. David Albright, with his past knowledge and evident expertise in fabricated Israeli intelligence should also step up to the plate.

And, certainly, Iran should be shown any evidence it is being asked to answer to by the IAEA. The Agency should also spend about half an hour and check whether the site it is interested in for environmental sampling is Marivan or Parchin. Environmental sampling at Parchin makes little sense. At Parchin, swipes would be taken from within the buildings since chamber-based implosions are alleged. While it is at it, the IAEA should also review the technical basis of their conclusions on Syria.

It is hard to take the Agency seriously when it persists in being blatantly unprofessional.

Dr Jim Walsh, a research associate at MIT, has an excellent suggestion about what to do with Iran’s “PMD” file – as paraphrased by Mark Hibbs: “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

But before we do that, the IAEA should ask Israel to come clean about its potential role in fabricating some of the “evidence” within the PMD file.

Given its historical misuse, the IAEA should also re-visit whether it will continue to accept intelligence from third-parties, especially non-NPT member states.

Dr. Yousaf Butt, a nuclear physicist, is Director of the Emerging Technologies Program at the Cultural Intelligence Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting fact-based cultural awareness among individuals, institutions, and governments. The views expressed here are his own.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Their history and ours: the first world war that won’t be commemorated in 2014

By Neil Faulkner | No Glory in War | January 5, 2014

Military historian Max Hastings and education minister Michael Gove say we should should blame the Germans for World War I and celebrate the victory for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. Archaeologist Neil Faulkner disagrees.

Max Hastings has his new book on 1914 out already (Catastrophe: Europe goes to war, 1914). In it he pulls no punches. Even the dustcover proclaims the forthright revisionist message.

‘He [the author] finds the evidence overwhelming that Austria and Germany must accept the principal blame for the outbreak. While what followed was a vast tragedy, he argues passionately against the ‘poets ‘view’ that the war was not worth winning. It was vital to the freedom of Europe, he says, that the Kaiser’s Germany should be defeated.’

UK secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, writing in the Daily Mail, takes the same view:

The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war… The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.

So there you have it. Just as the rulers of Britain and France argued at the time, it was all Germany’s fault. Never mind that Britain had the largest empire in the world, ruling over one-fifth of the world’s land mass and one-quarter of its people. Never mind that Britain’s navy was almost the twice the size of Germany’s. Never mind that Britain had formed a military alliance with Russia and France, leaving Germany’s rulers feeling corralled and threatened in an arms race they were losing.

This is not to exonerate the Kaiser. It is simply to say that he was no worse than the rulers of Britain and France. All were imperialists and warmongers. All were prepared to plunge the world into an industrialised war for the power and profit of a few. The vast majority of humanity – the vast majority of the people these rulers were supposed to represent – had no interest in the war. The conscripted workers and peasants of Europe were the victims of a millionaires’ war.

‘No poet,’ says Hastings, ‘ever identified a route by which the British, French, and Belgian people could have escaped the conflict, save by accepting the Kaiser’s domination of Europe.’ This claim appears in a Daily Mail article in June this year headlined Sucking up to the Germans is no way to remember our Great War heroes, Mr Cameron‘.

But this is nonsense. There was a Europe-wide movement against war. Just days before Germany’s declaration of war there were 100,000 anti-war demonstrators on the streets of Berlin. Across Germany, during four days of mass protest in the final days of peace, there had been no fewer than 288 anti-war demonstrations involving up to three-quarters of a million people.

Across Europe that last summer of peace, as millions of people took action against their own rulers, there was a widespread mood of internationalism and solidarity. But when the leaders of all the mainstream parties lined up in support of the war effort, they reinforced a tide of jingoism that the killed the anti-war movement and swept the people of Europe into internecine carnage.

But that mood would resurface, and when it did, beginning in 1917, it would be charged with bitterness at the slaughter and impoverishment, becoming a giant wave of revolution crashing across the continent, ending the war, toppling tyrants, and shaking the foundations of the entire social order.

‘Far from dying in vain,’ continues Hastings, ‘those who perished … between 1914 and 1918 made as important a contribution to our privileged, peaceful lives today as did their sons in World War II.’

And Michael Gove agrees:

‘For all our mistakes as a nation, Britain’s role in the world has also been marked by nobility and courage. Indeed, the more we reflect on every aspect of the war, the more cause there is for us to appreciate what we owe to our forebears and their traditions.’

These are extraordinary claims. The British and the French used their victory in 1918 to re-divide the world, helping themselves to German colonies, hacking off chunks of German territory in Europe, and imposing crippling reparations payments on the German people.

Meantime, to control their enlarged empires in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, they gunned down protestors demanding democracy and independence. This imperialist carve-up – ‘a peace to end all peace’ – created the preconditions for the Second World War two decades later.

The cost of the First World War was 15 million dead. The cost of the sequel was 60 million dead. More human beings have been killed by war in the last century than in the whole of the rest of human history put together.

The immense potential of industrial society to provide the goods and service we all need has, again and again, been turned into its opposite: means of destruction and waste on an unprecedented scale.

This is not something to be rationalised into a choice between ‘good’ empires and ‘bad’ empires; a choice between ‘democratic’ Britain and France as against ‘autocratic’ and ‘expansionist’ Germany. This is to trivialise historical events, reducing them to little more than a banal discussion about who sent the final ultimatum, who mobilised first, who fired the first shot.

Max Hastings and Michael Gove want us to side with one empire against another. He wants us to wave a Union Jack, celebrate a British victory, and promote the lie that the 15 million dead of the First World War were ‘a necessary sacrifice’.

What is required is an analysis that roots tragedies like the First World War, and all the other imperialist conflicts of the last century, in the madness of a world divided into competing corporations and warring nation-states.


No Glory – the real History of the First World War
Neil Faulkner’s new pamphlet published by No Glory in War
More details and how to buy…


Neil Faulkner is a First World War archaeologist and editor of Military History Monthly. He is one of the founders of the No Glory in War campaign.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Fukushima Three Years On

By JANETTE D. SHERMAN, MD and JOSEPH MANGANO | CounterPunch | March 4, 2014

The third anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown will occur on March 11th.

The news is that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and major Japanese corporations want to re-open the 50 other nuclear power plants that closed when Fukushima blew up, calling them a friendly economic source of cheap power.  Will this end up with business as usual?

We were recently asked if we thought that Fukushima could ever be cleaned up. We have to say “no,” based upon what we know of the biology, chemistry and physics of nuclear power and isotopes and the history of nuclear development.

Chernobyl melted down in 1986 and is still releasing radioisotopes. Not all life systems were examined around Chernobyl, but of those that were – wild and domestic animals, birds, insects, plants, fungi, fish, trees, and humans, all were damaged, many permanently, thus what happens to animals and plants with short-term life spans is predictive of those with longer ones.  Worldwide, some 985,000 “excess” deaths resulted from the Chernobyl fallout in the first 19 years after the meltdown. In Belarus, north of Chernobyl, which received concentrated fallout; only 20% of children are deemed to be “healthy” although previously 80% were considered well. How can a country function without healthy and productive citizens?

Notable in the U. S. is the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State, built some 70+ years ago by 60,000 laborers, and currently leaching radioisotopes into the Columbia River. DuPont was the original contractor, but since, multiple corporations, each paid mllions of dollars and have yet to contain the leaking radioactivity.  Every nuclear site is also a major industrial operation, contaminated not only with radioactive materials, but multiple toxic chemicals, such as solvents and heavy metals.

In 1941, the folk singer, Woody Guthrie was hired by the US government’s Department of the Interior to promote the benefits of building the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams to harness the power of the Columbia River, and to generate electricity and supplement irrigation. It is unlikely that Guthrie learned that the dams were to provide electricity to the Hanford nuclear site, then under construction to produce plutonium for bombs.

He sang:

“Roll on, Columbia roll on

Roll on, Columbia roll on

Your power is turning our darkness to dawn

So roll on Columbia, roll on.”

Rather than turning darkness to dawn, we released nuclear weapons that made the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns” – the title of Robert Jungk’s prophetic book.

Guthrie’s monthly salary was $266 – compare that to the yearly $2 billion it is costing taxpayers now.

From 1946 until 1958, the U. S. tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, the most famous of which is Bikini Island. Stillbirths, miscarriages and thyroid gland defects were detected early in the islanders. 60 years on, decontamination of Rongelap, a small island, that lies about 180 km east of Bikini Atoll, continues.  Only about 0.15 square kilometer of land has been decontaminated, or just 2 percent of the island’s area, at a cost of $40 million so far. In 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission regarded the Marshall Islands as “by far the most contaminated place in the world”.

Within the U. S., the Nevada Test Site, and countless other sites remain contaminated.  The most recently reported releases occurred in Feb. 2014 at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, NM.  Detected in the air were of plutonium-239/240 and americium-241, transuranic elements strongly linked to cancer. So far, thirteen federal contract workers have measured levels of internal radioisotope contamination. The release spread contaminants through more than 3,000 feet of tunnels, up a 2150-foot tall exhaust shaft, out into the environment, and to an air monitoring station approximately 3,000 feet northwest of the exhaust shaft.

Fukushima is still leaking large quantities of Cs-137 and Sr-90 into the Pacific Ocean, where all forms of marine life will absorb them – from algae to seaweed, to fish, to sea mammals and ultimately to humans who consume the contaminated sea life.

Our recently released peer-reviewed paper confirms hypothyroidism in newborns in California, whose mothers were pregnant during the early releases from Fukushima.  Thyroid abnormalities were detected early in Marshall Islanders and in Belarus residents of Gomel located near Chernobyl.  Radioactive iodine, known to interfere with thyroid function entered the U. S. from Fukushima in late March, shortly after the meltdowns, and was carried by dairy products resulting in damage to the unborn.

It takes ten half-lives for an isotope to decay. Sr-90 and Cs-137 have half-lives of approximately 30 years, which means three centuries will occur before the initial releases are gone, and the releases have not stopped.

There are some 26 nuclear reactors in the United States with the same design as those at Fukushima, and they pose a significant risk to people and the environment.  The Indian Point Nuclear Power Reactors are located some 35 miles from mid-town Manhattan, with 18 million people living within 50 miles of the site.  What would be the environmental, human and economic costs if the Indian Point reactors were to fail?

The current estimated price tag to “clean up” the TEPCO mess at Fukushima is $500 billion (that’s billion, with a “B.” For us who have trouble thinking of such numbers, it will take 96,451 years to spend $10.00 per minute.

Unless we close the existing nuclear power plants and build no new ones, we are destined to repeat the on-going stories of Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, and the myriad other sites that have already caused untold environmental, health, social, and economic costs. So will it be sanity or business as usual?

Perhaps it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  We must choose a sane path away from nuclear energy. Business as usual is Insane.

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009.  Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education.  She can be reached at:  toxdoc.js@verizon.net and www.janettesherman.com

Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, is the author of Mad Science (pub. 2012) as well and many articles on the effects of nuclear power. He is an epidemiologist, and Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project and can be reached at:  (www.radiation.org).

Footnotes

Jungk, Robert, Brighter than a Thousand Suns, Harcourt, Brace, New York. 369 pp., C. 1956.  (worth getting second-hand.)

Mangano, J, Sherman, J., Busby, C.  Changes in confirmed plus borderline cases of congenital hypothyroidism in California as a function of environmental fallout from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Open J. of Pediatrics.  2013, 3:370-376 http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojped.2013.34067        (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojped/)

Mangano, J. J., Sherman, J. D.  Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/ West Coast U. S. States and trends of hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.  Open J. of Pediatrics, 3:1-9,  March 2013

http://wwwscript.org/journal/ojped/

Yablokov, Alexey V., Nesterenko, Vassily B., Nesterenko, Alexey V., Sherman-Nevinger, Janette D., Consulting Editor.  Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  Vol 1171, 2009.  Available at:  orders@grekoprinting.com

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , , , | Leave a comment

A minor infraction at the end of the incident

By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | March 2, 2014

A 14 year old boy goes to meet friends. He comes home with bullets in his neck and hand. The IDF considers that to be “a minor infraction”

At the end of July 2013, J., a boy from the village of Silwad, set out with his brother and two other boys to visit a family of friends in the western side of Silwad, a distance of about a kilometer from his house. One of the boys was asked to deliver a bundle of clothes to the family. They reached the house, gave the bundle over, and headed back. On their way, they met a friend shepherding his flock, and sat down next to him. And then J.’s world turned upside down.

He noticed three soldiers coming out of the trees behind them, blocking the path they had intended to take home. Soldiers on the village roads are not a common sight, so the group changed its course, and started climbing the nearby mountain.

As they reached a bend in the path, they heard gunshots. The group scattered instantly. J. himself says he went into shock, since this was the first time he had heard gunshots so close to him. He was slower than the others. He heard a second volley, and then felt a hit in his right arm; a third volley, and he was hit by a bullet in the neck. J. managed to walk a few more steps, and then collapsed by the wall of a house. He was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah, where it was determined that the bullet entered the right side of his neck, and existed through the left. He was hospitalized there for four days.

We wrote to the IDF, demanding an investigation into the incident. Four months later, we received an answer that can only be described as infuriating. The debriefing of the incident, wrote the Prosecution for Operational Affairs, showed that on the same date there were clashes between IDF forces entering the village and residents who allegedly threw stones at its forces. The Military Advocate General reached the conclusion that the shooting took place in accordance with the rules of engagement, “with the exception of a minor infraction at the end of the incident.” Nowadays, that is how the IDF refers to the shooting of a live bullet into the neck of a 14 year old boy. Accordingly, we were informed that disciplinary procedures were undertaken against the commander of that force. Not that we were informed of the results of that procedure.

Um, no, no. Firing live ammunition, even at protesters, is not in accordance with the orders, unless the soldiers’ lives are in danger. The IDF doesn’t even try to claim that J. and his friends were threatening the lives of its troops. Also, this wasn’t one shooting; J. counted three separate volleys. Furthermore, from the description given by the IDF, it seems J. and his friends weren’t even in the area were the IDF soldiers were attacked, assuming they were indeed attacked.

The firing of live ammunition at uninvolved civilians is a crime, all the more when minors are involved. Such an incident should not end with a disciplinary procedure, but with a criminal investigation. Accordingly, our attorney, Emily Schaeffer, appealed and demanded the opening of an MPCID investigation ASAP. Recently, we learned that the appeal was rejected. The prosecution is of the opinion that though firing after the first volley – as J. and his friends fled – was improper, given that the officer in question was dealt with in a disciplinary procedure and was even fined, the very fact of the disciplinary procedure exhausts the need for a criminal investigation. We’re uncertain whether the sum of the fine was 10 cents, as per the infamous fine of the colonel responsible for the Kafr Qassem massacre – and we don’t know because the prosecution didn’t mention the sum.

But, even if the fine was serious and not a joke – though if it was serious, why didn’t the prosecution note the sum? – We cannot accept a disciplinary procedure as a replacement for criminal law. After all, if the bullet that hit J. would have deviated just a few millimeters from its course, and the boy would have joined the long rank of minors killed by the IDF, a criminal investigation would obviously have been opened. How can putting a bullet in the neck of a person, agreed to have been uninvolved, end with a disciplinary procedure and a fine?

During the Vietnam War, a common phrase among American soldiers was the “Mere Gook Rule”, meaning that whatever you may do to the foreign population, nothing will happen to you. These aren’t humans, these are merely Vietnamese. When the IDF subscribes to the notion that shooting a 14 year old boy in the neck is just “a minor infraction at the end of the incident,” it sends that same message to its troops: These are mere Palestinians. Do with them as you will. Nothing will happen to you. At worst, you’ll face a disciplinary procedure.

And when that’s the message conveyed by the military prosecution to its ground troops, it itself becomes an accomplice to the crime.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Protests Continue as Venezuela Goes on Vacation

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Venezuelanalysis | March 3, 2014

Mérida – Opposition protests continue in Venezuela, while masses of holiday-goers have headed to the beach to escape the unrest.

Over the weekend opposition supporters continued the protests that have mainly taken place in middle and upper class areas of Venezuela’s cities.

However the government has argued that the large numbers of people travelling to the beach and other destinations over the long “carnival” weekend shows that the protesters are a “minority” and that life in most of the country continues as normal.

Protests began last month after hard-line opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently under investigation for incitement to violence, called for supporters to take to the streets and force the “exit” of President Nicolas Maduro. Led by pro-opposition students, demonstrators have also mentioned insecurity, high inflation and shortages as reasons for discontent.

While some protests have been peaceful, others have descended into violence and rioting. Further, small groups of radical opposition activists have set up burning street barricades in parts of some of Venezuela’s cities, blocking traffic and creating a range of problems for the normal functioning of civic life.

Protests vs. holidays

The opposition fought to keep the momentum of protests going as the country entered a long weekend on Thursday, which will last until this coming Wednesday. On Sunday, thousands of opposition supporters marched through Caracas to underscore their discontent.

The mayors of several opposition controlled municipalities cancelled local carnival celebrations, rejecting the government’s call for normality.

“There’s no reason to celebrate here,” said Ramón Muchacho, mayor of the wealthy Chacao municipality of eastern Caracas.

Also on Sunday 41 people, including an Italian photographer, were released from detention. They were arrested on Friday during a confrontation between National Guard officers and molotov-cocktail wielding opposition hard-liners in the up-market Altamira area of Caracas.

There were fresh confrontations in Altamira today, with National Guard officers using tear gas to disperse opposition radicals armed with molotov cocktails, the local mayor reported.

Meanwhile the government has said that at least a million people have taken advantage of the long weekend to go on holiday.

“With this mobilisation [of tourists] that there has been this carnival, it’s being demonstrated to the country that the violent ones are a minority…[and] that they’re ever more isolated,” said tourism minister Andres Izarra today.

On the country’s beaches, many Venezuelans expressed their desire to escape from the unrest.

“They [the violent protests and street barricades] are absurd, we all have the right to free transit whatever our political opinions: they’re not doing anything with these barricades,” said Oscar Figuera, a beach-goer with his family, to private Venezuelan news outlet Noticias 24.

“I’m self employed, and I’ve not been able to go out to work and my children haven’t been able to go to school. There are other ways to protest,” Figuera stated.

Meanwhile some opposition supporters stayed on the streets, arguing that they didn’t want the holidays to dampen the protests. “Going on vacation is really like saying that [the government] is right, that everything is calm and everything is fine, when we don’t feel that way,” said Carlos Torres, an engineer, to the BBC in Caracas.

“We want the street to remain active,” said another protester, a student named Eduardo.”If the protests are peaceful then people get tired,” he explained.

Nevertheless President Maduro argued today that the great majority had decided to use the long weekend to celebrate the carnival holiday. “You [the opposition] believed that we were going to let you take away the children’s happiness. The people of Venezuela have triumphed. The people want peace,” he declared.

Also today, right-wing legislator Maria Corina Machado and Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, led a march to the Venezuela office of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Describing the situation in Venezuela as “the assassination of a democracy”, they demanded that the OAS debate events in Venezuela and support the opposition with a “firm reaction”.

“If the OAS turns its back on Venezuela in these hours it won’t just be betraying Venezuela, it will be burying the OAS,” argued Machado, who participated in the short-lived 2002 coup against former president Hugo Chavez.

Antonio Ledezma reiterated his faction of the opposition’s rejection of Maduro’s National Peace Conference initiative, which had its first meeting last Wednesday with business, religious, and some opposition figures.

“Those aren’t meetings of peace, they’re meetings of violence where citizens aren’t respected and there isn’t a clear agenda of what is wanted to be achieved,” he argued.

Opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles didn’t attend today’s march. Instead the state governor launched an initiative called the “People’s Defence Command”, which he said seeks “to form a great social movement…to push for change”.

One of the objectives of the initiative is to “leave aside the political agenda of violence” and to campaign on “social problems” that can be used to reach out to the opposition’s non-traditional base of support.

While also rejecting Maduro’s offer of dialogue, Capriles has previously criticised the hard-line opposition’s tactics as containing an “empty agenda” and representing a political “dead end”.

According to press and authorities, 18 have been killed and 260 wounded since violent protests began last month. The latest victim is a National Guard officer, Giovanni Pantoja, who died last Friday. He was reportedly shot by a gunman in an “ambush” while he and his colleagues were trying to clear the remains of a street barricade from a road in Carabobo state.

Venezuela’s Ombudsman, Gabriela Ramírez, reported today that the state’s human rights body has received 42 denouncements of abuses by security forces. She said that the majority of these were for excess use of force at the point of arrest, but “not one for torture”.

President Maduro has called for the formation of a bi-partisan Truth Commission to investigate and attribute responsibility for “all” acts of recent violence, although some opposition figures have rejected this as being weighted in favour of the government. The opposition’s MUD coalition is preparing a report solely focused on alleged abuses by state security forces, to be presented to “international organisations”.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s self-proclaimed government is illegitimate – Tallinn mayor

RT | March 04, 2014

The self-declared Kiev authorities cannot solve any political problems and “lack both credentials and power” in the crisis-torn country, said the mayor of the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

“The self-proclaimed Ukrainian government was put into power by people with baseball bats,” Edgar Savisaar told Postimees newspaper. “It lacks both credentials and the capacity to solve the crisis in the country.”

According to him, the situation in Ukraine will begin stabilizing only after it “has a legitimate, democratically elected government at the helm.”

“Only after elementary public order is restored in Kiev and western Ukraine, we can start discussing the issue of providing the country with foreign aid, be it from the EU, US, Asia or from all sources simultaneously,” Savisaar said.

According to the mayor, the current government which is under the influence of radicals lacks the power to even hold free elections in the country – let alone solve other significant questions which are put in front of the nation’s self-declared officials.

“Until the next elections [on May 25] only an integral government which consists of representatives of all Ukraine’s regions may claim any legitimacy,” said Savisaar.

The Tallinn mayor believes even the presence of defense and law enforcement agencies cannot provide stability in the country, because the nation also needs strong democracy and an integrated society.

Following a wave of violent street protests, the opposition-controlled parliament ousted President Yanukovich and appointed a new government. Ten southeastern Ukrainian regions saw massive protests against the developments in the capital. Several of them, including Crimea, announced that they would not take orders from the new government and replaced the appointed governors with elected representatives.


… A group of nationalist-radical group ‘Right Sector’ broke into a City Council meeting where members of the Party of Regions were sitting in the town of Vasilkov, outside the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

Armed members of the group entered, hinting that members of the Party of Regions should “voluntarily” resign. This was after admitting that they just invaded another local meeting, where they had successfully got other elected members of the Party of Regions to resign. The members replied that they had already done so that morning. […]

The Right Sector movement was formed in November 2013, soon after the anti-government protests in Ukraine began. They were active in the events leading to the ouster of the President Viktor Yanukovich. … Full article

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Video | , , | Leave a comment