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‘The de-industrialization of Ukraine has acquired an irreversible character’ – former minister of economy

PolitNavigator | April 24, 2015

It makes no sense to campaign for the preservation of economic relations of Ukraine with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)* markets, as the de-industrialization of the country has become irreversible nature, economist Viktor Suslov told a press conference in Kyiv recently.

Viktor Suslov

“Unfortunately, the process of de-industrialization and destruction of our industry is already impossible to stop,” Suslov said.

Suslov was minister of economy of Ukraine in 1997-98. In 2013, he was appointed Ukraine’s representative to the Eurasian Economic Union. Last October, he told Ukraine’s government that a condition for stabilizing the country’s currency is to end the war in the east of the country.

“During the past year, I have worked hard for the preservation of economic ties with the CIS and Russia, for the preservation of these markets. But I now realize that nothing has happened and nothing will happen. I’m not campaigning for it anymore.

“I understand that we are losing these markets and the losses are irreversible. I realize that thousands of our enterprises will be closed and, accordingly, the financial situation of the country will be much worse than it was projected for this year.”

The ex-minister of economy believes that some financial revenues for public budget can be obtained from privatization of state assets. “But the main result of such privatization, I think, will be the transition of objects mostly of infrastructure – ports, energy, transport, communications, agricultural land into the hands of foreign owners.

“One consolation for us is that, as announced by the minister of economic development, the privatization processes will keep Russians out and we’ll sell assets to other foreigners. I don’t know how this can serve as great comfort”.

See also:

Ukraine preparing mass privatization of assets

Press TV | April 28, 2015

The Ukrainian government is considering a list of state-owned assets for privatization in a bid to raise funds for an economy that has come within an inch of bankruptcy. The majority of the reforms will happen in energy, transport and agriculture sectors. But as our correspondent Lena Savchuk reports, the process will begin only if the parliament approves the list of the companies.’

* From Wikipedia: The Commonwealth of Independent States is a loose association of states coordinating in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. There are nine member states—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Eight of these form the CIS Free Trade Area, and five of these form the Eurasian Economic Uniona customs union and common market of over 180 million people. Six member states participate in a mutual defence alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Translation and editing by New Cold

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Department of Homeland Security Accused of Giving Tech Jobs to H-1B Guest-Workers

By JAMIE ROSS | Courthouse News | April 27, 2015

A recent Homeland Security regulation may replace American workers with the spouses of foreign workers in the country with H-4 visas, a group of former computer workers claim in court.

Save Jobs USA, a group made up of former Southern California Edison computer workers who were replaced by foreign workers on H-1B guest-worker visas, filed suit in D.C. Federal Court against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to the lawsuit, DHS implemented the “Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses” recently, which grants work authorization to certain spouses of foreign workers in the U.S. on H-4 visas.

“The H-4 Rule extends employment authorization to an alien possessing an H-4 visa who is the spouse of an H-1B alien who is the principal beneficiary of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or has been granted H-1B status extending beyond the normal 6-year term,” the complaint states.

As many as 179,600 new foreign workers will be added to the U.S. workforce in the first year of the rule, DHS says, with 55,000 added annually in the following years.

“The H-4 Rule is in excess of DHS authority and directly contradicts several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint details the struggles of Save Jobs USA member Brian Buchanan to find work after he was displaced by Edison with a H-1B worker supplied to the California energy provider by India-based Tata Consultancy Services. Tata Consultancy is the largest IT provider in India.

Buchanan, an IT specialist, says he was forced to train his H-1B replacement to perform his job after he was told he would be replaced.

“If Mr. Buchanan had not trained his replacement he would have been denied a severance package and could have been terminated with cause, making him ineligible for unemployment benefits,” the complaint states. Buchanan claims he now faces competition from H-1B Workers and soon H-4 visa holders to find a new job in the computer job market.

“This is a slap in the face to the tens of millions of Americans suffering from unemployment and underemployment, especially those who are most vulnerable such as students, seniors, single mothers and minorities,” said Dale L. Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is representing Save Jobs USA. “The law states that foreign work permits cannot adversely affect American wages, but all we’ve seen during this administration is standards of living fall and outsized corporate profits continue to rise.”

Save Jobs USA seeks to stop DHS from authorizing spouses with an H-4 visa to work.

Southern California Edison’s alleged replacement of American workers with workers from India has been subject to criticism, including a bipartisan letter written by 10 U.S. senators asking the Labor Department to investigate into the legality of its actions.

Solicitor General M. Patricia Smith says in a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, that the agency “lacks a basis to initiate an investigation,” because the wage and hour division had not received a complaint. She referred the matter to the Office of Special Counsel.

“We will continue pressing the administration to use its legal authority to stop the displacement of American workers wherever possible and to conduct a thorough investigation of responsible parties,” Durbin and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in a statement.

Southern California Edison denied that it was acting unlawfully, though, claiming that it is “transitioning some IT operations to external vendors.”

The Office of General Counsel could not be reached for comment.  

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Obama Fights to Spread GMO Foods Throughout Europe

By Eric Zuesse | Black Agenda Report | April 29, 2015

One of the major barriers blocking U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign for his mammoth international trade deals — the TTIP with Europe, and the TPP with Asia — is: other countries want the freedom to make up their own minds about the safety or dangerousness of the foods they allow to be sold within their borders.

The Obama Administration insists that no nation has that freedom. In fact, all participating nations would be removed from that responsibility and authority. The Obama trade deals propose to replace that national authority, and basic national sovereignty on these important matters, by decisions that would instead be made by international panels, whose members will be appointed by international corporations, which have their own profits at stake in these matters. Consumers and others will be ignored: they will not be represented in the proposed panels. Nor will any government be represented there. That soverignty will instead be transferred to the billionaire families who control and derive their income from these corporations.

On Friday, April 24th, Agence France Presse headlined “US Stresses Opposition to EU Opt-Out for GMO Imports,” and reported that, “The United States underscored Friday its opposition to a new European Union plan to allow member states to block genetically engineered imports after bilateral talks on a transatlantic free-trade pact.”

President Obama’s Trade Representative, Michael Froman, who is a Wall Street banker and a longtime close personal friend of the President, said on April 22nd that he was “very disappointed” that the EU wants to allow individual EU nations to “opt out” of automatic approval of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that the international panels will approve to be marketed everywhere. Furthermore, Froman’s assistant said that the U.S. rejects “a proposal to allow EU member states to ban products deemed safe by Europe’s own scientists.” He was referring there to the half of scientific papers that find GMO foods to be safe. However, those papers were produced by companies that manufacture and market GMOs. The other half of the scientific papers on GMOs, the half that were produced independently of the GMO industry, have not found GMO foods to be safe — to the exact contrary. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ignores those papers.

On 8 July 2009, Agence France Presse headlined “Scientists Warn of Hazards of GMOs,” and reported that an article in the International Journal of Biological Science co-authored by world-leading scientists, reported that, “Agricultural GM companies and evaluation committees systematically overlook the side effects of GMOs and pesticides.” An accompanying study, “How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects Can Be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals,” found “a significant underestimation of the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems.”

The United States does not regulate GMO foods, because the patents are owned mostly by U.S. companies, and the U.S. Government doesn’t want to get in the way of their selling their patented products. Consequently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes any given GMO manufacturer’s word for the safety of its GMO products. U.S. President Obama wants to promote U.S. trade by convincing all other countries to sell GMO foods. His TTIP and TPP are supported by the GMO industry, which has approved their GMO foods and allowed their product-labels to not mention that some or all of the ingredients are genetically modified crops.

One of the major advantages of GMO crops is that they can survive the use of herbicides — weed-killers — that kill natural crops. (The GMO-seed manufacturer also markets the pesticide or herbicide; these are chemical companies, and GMOs are a complementary or synergistic product-line for them. For example, the leading herbicide “Roundup” is from Monsanto which produces the GMO seeds that tolerate it.) Another advantage is that the foods can stay longer as looking and smelling fresh, which also lowers the cost of production, and yet the consumer doesn’t even know that the food is actually stale — the food is competing against costlier-to-produce non-GMO foods and so driving them off the market by the lower price, which leaves more and more food-production dependent upon GMO makers such as Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow Chemical. The lower price is obvious; the lower quality is hidden. It’s race-to-the-bottom international ‘competition,’ in which the aristocracy reap all the winnings; the public get the losses.

A recent news report from independent food scientists was bannered “FDA Product Safety Declaration Misleads Nation—Again” and it contains references to many recent scientific papers that find GMO foods to be dangerous, and harmful to human health.

An international analysis, “A Comparative Evaluation of the Regulation of GM Crops” was published in 2013 in the scientific journal Environment International, and it concluded by saying that, “Regulatory bodies are not adequately assessing the risks of dsRNA-producing GM products. As a result, we recommend a process to properly assess the safety of dsRNA-producing GM organisms before they are released or commercialized.” The Obama Administration is trying to prevent that from happening; and their proposed TTIP and TPP international-trade treaties are crucial components of achieving this objective. In the United States, GMO-producers are granted the right to self-regulate, and this practice will become the standard worldwide practice if the TPP and TTIP become passed into law.

The U.S. Government is doing everything it can to spread to other nations the same deregulatory policies that American companies rely upon to market their products inside the United States. On Friday, April 25th, a key U.S. Senate Committee approved a “Trade Promotion Authority” bill to help rush through the U.S. Senate the approval of Mr. Froman’s TPP trade deal with Asian countries. For a summary of the regulatory practices around the world regarding GMO crops, see here. A discussion of the votes in the U.S. Senate on the measure that was proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders to allow individual states to establish their own regulations requiring the labeling or indication of whether or not particular food ingredients are GMOs (since the federal Government refuses to consider such a proposal), is here, and it shows that even some allegedly progressive U.S. Senators voted the GMO industry’s way on that bill to regulate it, which failed, on a vote of 71 to 27. One might call this the Monsanto Congress, because the U.S. House is even more conservative than the Senate. Of the 27 U.S. Senators who voted for the Sanders bill, 24 were Democrats, 2 were Independents, and 1 was Republican. 43 Republicans, and 28 Democrats voted against it. The Obama Administration had lobbied against the bill, in order to continue the GMO industry’s free reign over America’s food-supply.

When Barack Obama campaigned for the Presidency in 2008, he said, “Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.” But as soon as he won the Presidency “The new president filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA.” And whereas Republican news-organizations such as Fox ‘News’ criticized him as being a Muslim Marxist, he was actually implementing policies that continued those of the Republican George W. Bush Administration on this and on many other issues. Yet, no matter how far to the right Mr. Obama actually was, he was portrayed as a ‘leftist’ in Republican ’news’ media. And yet, still, even today, the vast majority of Democratic voters approve of his actions as President. They still believe his rhetoric, even though he has lied to them constantly and even filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that lying in politics must continue to remain unrestricted not only at the national level but also in each and every one of the states. Consequently, in the United States, there is no effective political opposition to the large international U.S. corporations. (And, under the Republican Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations now have virtually unlimited freedom to use stockholders’ money to purchase politicians.)

Hillary Clinton is a big supporter of the GMO industry, and the response of liberals to that is to ask her to give them rhetoric they like on the matter, just as Obama had done when he was running for President in 2008. In other words: they will campaign for her to become President if she will only lie to them as Obama did to them. What liberals are demanding is rhetoric; but if they get it from her, then the industries that are funding her Presidential campaign won’t be worried, because she has a solid record of doing what her financial backers want her to do. As long as Americans don’t care when a politician has lied to them, lying to them will continue to be the way to win public office — especially considering that America’s international corporations now have been granted by the Republican U.S. Supreme Court a ‘free speech’ right to purchase the U.S. Government. And now that the Supreme Court has also ruled that political lies are a Constitutionally protected form of speech, those ads don’t even need to be true. If the American people don’t care about honesty, then they won’t have an honest government, because America’s corporations can then buy any U.S. Government they want — they’ll have total impunity if the U.S. public don’t even care about honesty in their government. There are no legal penalties for political lying; so, if there are also no political penalties for it, then the U.S. can only be ruled by lies and their liars. Should that be called “fascism”?

According to the generally progressive Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio (who, along with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders is one of the Senate’s three leading opponents of Mr. Obama’s proposed international-trade treaties), President Obama has been lobbying Senators more insistently and more intensely on getting them to grant him “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” to ram these treaties through, than on any other single issue since Obama first became President in 2009. No issue, not even Obamacare nor any other, has been as important to Obama as is his getting signed into law the TPP and TTIP. It would certainly be the culmination of his Presidency if he succeeds. It would be his crowning achievement. He and his heirs will be amply rewarded if he succeeds; and that’s apparently what he really cares about. He has shown it by his actions as President, not by his rhetoric to voters. After all: Americans, it seems, don’t really care about honesty. All they really care about is rhetoric that pleases them. They merely want to be told what they want to hear.

Perhaps this is the reason why no progressive has entered the Democratic Presidential contest against Hillary Clinton. If the only realistic possibilities to become the next President are her and her Republican opponent (whomever he will turn out to be), then America will continue to be a de facto one-party State, and this will be the U.S. international-corporate party, in both of its factions or nominal varieties, controlling the U.S. Government. The only comprehensive scientific study that has yet been done finds that the U.S. has, in fact, already been ruled in this way for some time. (The history of how it came to be this way, starting gradually after the end of World War II, is the subject of my latest book.) Obama is merely implementing it more; he didn’t start it. He is implementing it more than even Republicans were able to do.

Obama wouldn’t have been able to do this if he didn’t come bearing the label ‘Democrat.’ And Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill was the key person to subordinate that Party to Wall Street. Hillary and Obama are following in his footsteps. Obama’s “Change” occurred actually when Bill Clinton became President in 1993. It simply hasn’t been much recognized until now. Today’s Democratic Party started when Bill became President. That’s when the one-party State, with the national Democrats playing the role of the ‘Good Cop’ to the national and local Republicans’ role of the ‘Bad Cop,’ in the eyes of the Democratic Party’s electoral base of deceived liberals, actually began to take over the U.S. Government, for the benefit of, and service to, America’s aristocracy.

This is why both Obama and Clinton are big supporters of essentially unregulated GMOs. It’s sort of like unregulated Wall Street: the profits get privatized, while the losses (poor health etc.) get socialized.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance: Rejecting the framework of the Oppressor

By Ajamu Baraka | Black Agenda Report | April 29, 2015

Anti-Black racism, always just beneath the surface of polite racial discourse in the U.S., has exploded in reaction to the resistance of black youth to another brutal murder by the agents of this racist, settler-colonialist state. With the resistance, the focus shifted from the brutal murder of Freddie Gray and the systematic state violence that historically has been deployed to control and contain the black population in the colonized urban zones of North America, to the forms of resistance by African Americans to the trauma of ongoing state violence.

The narrative being advanced by corporate media spokespeople gives the impression that the resistance has no rational basis. The impression being established is that this is just another manifestation of the irrationality of non-European people – in particular, Black people – and how they are prone to violence. This is the classic colonial projection employed by all white supremacist settler states, from the U.S., to South Africa and Israel.

The accompanying narrative is that any kind of resistance that does not fit the narrow definition of “non-violent” resistance is illegitimate violence and, therefore, counter-productive because – “violence doesn’t accomplish anything.” Not only does this position falsely equate resistance to oppression as being morally equivalent to the violence of the oppressor, it also attempts to erase the role of violence as being fundamental to the U.S. colonial project.

The history of colonial conquest saw the U.S. settler state shoot and murder its’ way across the land mass of what became the U.S. in the process of stealing indigenous land to expand the racist White republic from “sea to shining sea.” And the marginalization of the role of violence certainly does not reflect the values of the Obama administration that dutifully implements the bi-partisan dictates of the U.S. strategy of full spectrum dominance that privileges military power and oppressive violence to protect and advance U.S. global supremacy. The destruction of Libya; the re-invasion of Iraq; the civil war in Syria; Obama’s continued war in Afghanistan; the pathological assault by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza and the U.S. supported attack on Yemen by the Saudi dictatorship, are just a few of the horrific consequences of this criminal doctrine.

Race and oppressive violence has always been at the center of the racist colonial project that is the U.S. It is only when the oppressed resist — when we decide, like Malcolm X said, that we must fight for our human rights — that we are counseled to be like Dr. King, including by war mongers like Barack Obama. However, resistance to oppression is a right that the oppressed claim for themselves. It does not matter if it is sanctioned by the oppressor state, because that state has no legitimacy.

No rational person exalts violence and the loss of life. But violence is structured into the everyday institutional practices of all oppressive societies. It is the deliberate de-humanization of the person in order to turn them into a ‘thing’ — a process Dr. King called “thing-afication.” It is a necessary process for the oppressor in order to more effectively control and exploit. Resistance, informed by the conscious understanding of the equal humanity of all people, reverses this process of de-humanization. Struggle and resistance are the highest expressions of the collective demand for people-centered human rights – human rights defined and in the service of the people and not governments and middle-class lawyers.

That resistance may look chaotic at this point – spontaneous resistance almost always looks like that. But since the internal logic of neoliberal capital is incapable of resolving the contradiction that it created, expect more repression and more resistance that will eventually take a higher form of organization and permanence. In the meantime, we are watching to see who aligns with us or the racist state.

The contradictions of the colonial/capitalist system in its current expression of neoliberalism have obstructed the creation of decent, humane societies in which all people are valued and have democratic and human rights. What we are witnessing in the U.S. is a confirmation that neoliberal capitalism has created what Chris Hedges called “sacrificial zones” in which large numbers of black and Latino people have been confined and written off as disposable by the system. It is in those zones that we find the escalation of repressive violence by the militarized police forces. And it is in those zones where the people are deciding to fight back and take control of their communities and lives.

These are defining times for all those who give verbal support to anti-racist struggles and transformative politics. For many of our young white comrades, people of color and even some black ones who were too young to have lived through the last period of intensified struggle in the 1960s and ‘70s and have not understood the centrality of African American resistance to the historical social struggles in the U.S., it may be a little disconcerting to see the emergence of resistance that is not dependent on and validated by white folks or anyone else.”

The repression will continue, and so will the resistance. The fact that the resistance emerged in a so-called black city provides some complications, but those are rich and welcoming because they provide an opportunity to highlight one of the defining elements that will serve as a line of demarcation in the African American community – the issue of class. We are going to see a vicious ideological assault by the black middle class, probably led by their champion – Barack Obama – over the next few days. Yet the events over the last year are making it more difficult for these middle-class forces to distort and confuse the issue of their class collaboration with the white supremacist capitalist/colonialist patriarchy. The battle lines are being drawn; the only question that people must ask themselves is which side they’ll be on.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces violently disperse al-Tur rally against road closure


A protester holds a sign reading “No to collective punishment.” (MaanImages)
Ma’an – April 29, 2015

JERUSALEM – Israeli polices forces violently dispersed a Palestinian protest in the occupied East Jerusalem village of al-Tur on Wednesday, amid complaints that authorities’ closure of the village’s main road is a form of “collective punishment” against locals.

Sources told Ma’an that dozens of residents of the neighborhood on the Mount of Olives as well as foreign activists carried out a sit-in on al-Tur’s main street to protest Israeli authorities’ decision to shut down major thoroughfare Suleiman al-Farsi street with two concrete blocks.

The street was closed earlier this week when locals protested against the death of a 17-year-old boy from the area who was shot dead after a scuffle with a soldier at a nearby checkpoint.

Mufid Abu Ghannam, director of a local activist committee, told Ma’an that Israeli forces assaulted protesters on Wednesday and launched stun grenades at sit-in participants, injuring two people with shrapnel in their lower extremities.

Israeli forces also reportedly detained two Palestinian protesters, Amjad al-Shami and Youssef Khuweis.

Abu Ghannam said that even after protesters had dispersed, Israeli forces continued firing stun grenades at people in the area.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the incident, saying that police used stun grenades against protesters after they blocked roads in what he called an “illegal demonstration” in which “stones were thrown at police officers who were at the scene.”

Rosenfeld denied any injuries in the incident.

The sit-in on the main street of al-Tur was held concurrently with rallies at five schools in the village, where students carried out sit-ins in school yards in protest against the closure of the village’s entrance.

Suleiman al-Farsi Street is considered the main entrance to the village, and local activists told Ma’an that the closure of the road negatively affected the ability of 3,000 local residents to live normally. The closure also prevents ambulances and fire trucks from reaching the village.

The thoroughfare is also the main road leading to the Suleiman al-Farsi mosque, the village cemetery, and two elementary schools where some 1,200 students attend.

The closure of the roads followed widespread protests against the killing of Muhammad Abu Ghannam on Saturday as he crossed the al-Zayyim checkpoint on foot resulted in widespread protests.

A soldier at the checkpoint reportedly insulted Abu Ghannam’s sister, leading to a scuffle, while Israeli authorities have alleged the boy pulled a knife on the soldier.

Israeli municipal authorities routinely close and block major roads leading into Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem.

In addition to Al-Tur, another major road into the nearby town of al-Issawiya was also shut closed.

Abu Ghannam was one of three Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in the last week.

Although Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

Jerusalem Palestinians face discrimination in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

Tensions have been running high in East Jerusalem since last summer when Jewish extremists raided the area and kidnapped and murdered a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir.

Israeli forces have detained hundreds of Palestinians across East Jerusalem who have taken part in protests, especially against Israel’s summer assault on Gaza, including 600 alone in the two months after Abu Khdeir’s death.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Missile Defense Agency Spent $10 Billion on 4 Projects that were Cancelled

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | April 29, 2015

The Department of Defense started, then discarded, four massive missile defense projects, wasting $10 billion on technology that wasn’t capable of protecting the United States from foreign attack.

An investigation by the Los Angeles Times identified four programs developed by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) that did not work as advertised:

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX), an enormous floating radar ship, was supposed to be able to detect even tiny incoming objects into U.S. airspace from thousands of miles away. SBX, built by Boeing and Raytheon, was going to guide rocket interceptors to enemy ballistic missiles before they could reach U.S. soil. But after a $2.2 billion investment, MDA realized SBX couldn’t distinguish between missiles and decoys. The technology has been mothballed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The Airborne Laser was going to allow the U.S. to blast enemy missiles using lasers mounted on converted Boeing 747s. But it turned out the lasers couldn’t be fired from long distance, requiring the planes to fly so close to an enemy country that they would be vulnerable to being shot down. So the MDA shut down the project, which cost $5.3 billion, according to the Times’ David Willman.

The Kinetic Energy Interceptor was a rocket that was supposed to be fired from land or from a ship to intercept enemy missiles during their boost phase. However, the interceptor didn’t fit on ships and didn’t have the necessary range to be fired from land. After six years of development and $1.7 billion of investment, the program ended. “No matter how successful tests might one day have been, the system would have had negligible utility,” a National Academy of Sciences review panel said.

The Multiple Kill Vehicle, a cluster of small interceptors that could take out enemy warheads and decoys, never even got a test flight. It burned through nearly $700 million.

“You can spend an awful lot of money and end up with nothing,” Mike Corbett, a retired Air Force colonel who oversaw the agency’s contracting for weapons systems from 2006 to 2009, told the Times. “MDA spent billions and billions on these programs that didn’t lead anywhere.”

Another retired officer, Air Force Gen. Eugene E. Habiger, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command and a member of a National Academy panel that reviewed MDA’s missteps, said the agency failed to analyze alternatives or seek independent cost estimates. Or, as he put it: “They are totally off in la-la land.”

To Learn More:

The Pentagon’s $10-Billion Bet Gone Bad (by David Willman, Los Angeles Times )

Another Missile Defense Test, Another Failure (by Matt Bewig, AllGov )

Reagan’s Star Wars Program…More than $200 Billion Later (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Congress Coughs up $300 Million to Extend Work on Useless Nuclear Waste Plant

By Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley | AllGov | April 29, 2015

What’s $300 million when a project could end up consuming more than $50 billion over its lifetime? That’s what Congress seems to have said about one of the greatest boondoggles by the Department of Energy (DOE): the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX).

MOX was conceived more than a decade ago, when the U.S. and Russia were working on converting plutonium into mixed oxide fuel that could be used in commercial nuclear power plants.

The DOE first said it would cost $1.6 billion to build the MOX at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, which was supposed to open in 2007. It’s now 2015 and the plant is still only 65% complete. The final cost of just building the MOX is projected to be $7.7 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office. A study by The Aerospace Corporation also pointed out that the life-cycle cost of the facility will be $47.5 billion, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

That’s assuming there would be any reason to operate it because the deal with Russia is now over, and there are no other customers lined up to bring their unwanted plutonium to have it converted.

The project has its critics. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) called the continued funding of the MOX facility a “zombie earmark.” DOE officials are so fed up with the project that they were ready to put it on “cold-standby”—in other words, shut it down.

But backers in Congress, including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), made sure there was $300 million in the 2014 year-end spending bill for MOX. They even prohibited the Energy Department from using the money to put MOX in cold standby.

Aerospace Corporation’s assessment was based on $500 million per year being appropriated to the project. With the lesser number, it ends up costing more: a life-cycle cost of $114 billion and a completion date of 2100, POGO reported.

What a thoughtful gift for our grandchildren!

To Learn More:

Cost Estimate on Useless Nuclear Facility Skyrockets (Project on Government Oversight)

Energy Dept. Gives up on Expensive Nuclear Waste Plant (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

Cleanup of Radioactive Bomb Waste in South Carolina: The Endless Project (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

The Government Project that is $6 Billion Over Budget and 10 Years Late (by Matt Bewig, AllGov )

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

This will make the world sorry it put a CIA death squad in charge of Chernobyl

By Niqnaq | April 29, 2015

CC-TcVVWIAAiHiQYatsenyuk inspects forest fire in the exclusion zone. After visiting the zone, the Head of Government told journalists at the airport:

The situation is under control. Fire stations are from Chernobyl at a distance of about 20 km. Our State emergency service actively works to cut off the spread of fire. The localization of the fire involved three aircraft, one helicopter and a significant amount of equipment. There sent forces, including the Ministry of internal Affairs. This fire is the largest since 1992. But we cope, perform, and we will actively inform.

Answering a question about the situation with background radiation Arseniy Yatsenyuk said:

I was informed that the situation is normal; there are no changes in the background radiation level.


The fire encompasses the plutonium burial areas. According to State Emergency Service (GSChS) the fire blazes already near the village. It is 13 km from the station. People are close to panic. The Deputy Director on scientific work of the Museum of Chernobyl, Anna Royal, said:

The fire had already moved in close to Chernobyl, the radioactive waste burial site. There is one of the most polluted places. Nearby the burial of radioactive waste. Plutonium is one of the most dangerous elements that infects the haematopoietic system of a person. As long as nobody touches it, this element is not dangerous. But if in the street the wind and the fire, plutonium particles can rise a meter and be transported over long distances.

Meanwhile, as reported by the interior Minister Arsen Avakov, to extinguish the fire involved the national guard. In Kiev, there are rumors that some deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and members of the government have taken their families out of town.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 2 Comments

Iran says seizure of ship a legal matter

Press TV – April 29, 2015

Iran seized a cargo ship in the Persian Gulf because the company operating the vessel owed an outstanding debt to an Iranian private company which it is refusing to pay, an official says.

“A legal complaint by a domestic private company resulted in the seizure of the Marshal Islands-flagged vessel in Iranian waters by the Coast Guard,” head of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran Mohammad Sa’eednejad said.

The Coast Guard intercepted the ship belonging to the MV Maersk Tigris on the order of a court in Tehran, he said.

Sa’eednejad said the Iranian company has an outstanding amount of claims against Maersk which it has failed to settle.

“The complaint by a private plaintiff resulted in an order issued on March 17 for the confiscation of assets held by Maersk,” he added.

The ship was sailing in the Iranian waters when it was intercepted by the Coast Guard and diverted toward Larak Island near Bandar Abbas.

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain dispatched the destroyer USS Farragut and a reconnaissance aircraft to the area following a distress call by the Maersk Tigris, the Pentagon said.

Sa’eednejad said the American forces left the scene when the situation was explained to them.

“It was announced that the issue was a legal dispute between two trade companies and the American forces accepted it,” he told IRNA.

The vessel has been described as a 65,000-tonne container ship and listed as sailing from Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Jeddah, bound for the United Arab Emirates port of Jebel Ali in the Persian Gulf.

It reportedly had 24 crew on board, mostly from eastern Europe and Asia.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Economics | | Leave a comment

In politics as in war, advantage is not enough

By Greg Felton | April 28, 2015

Near the outset of the U.S. Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln made Maj.–Gen. George McClellan General-in-Chief of the Union Amy. McClellan was highly popular among his men and a great organizer who built the Army of the Potomac into a formidable force. Unfortunately for Lincoln, McClellan the meticulous organizer lacked the courage and judgment to be a field commander.

On April 5, 1862, Lincoln ordered McClellan to attack a Confederate force in Yorktown, Va. He had at his disposal 121,500 troops, 44 batteries of artillery and prodigious logistical support. The Confederate contingent in Yorktown, meanwhile, comprised something on the order of 10,000 men. The battle was a rout waiting to happen. It never did. McClellan told Lincoln the enemy was 100,000 strong and refused to attack. This delusion was partly due to Gen. John B. Magruder’s crafty parading of his Confederate soldiers in a circuit to give the illusion of greater numbers and his ordering of logs to be painted black to resemble cannons.

McClellan knew that intelligence estimates of Confederate strength were laughable exaggerations yet he acted as if they were true. Instead of attacking, he chose the do-nothing option of laying siege to Yorktown. In early May, Magruder and the Confederates slipped out to fight another day, leaving McClellan to enter an empty town. He declared victory. The last straw for Lincoln was McClellan’s repeated refusal to hasten after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s retreating army after the Battle of Antietam. On Nov. 5, 1862, Lincoln relieved him of command.

McClellan was an administrator who proved to be more of a coward than a commander, notwithstanding the Washington Post’s risible attempt to rehabilitate him. There may be a lesson here for a certain Canadian leader, one who finds himself at the head of a large force in the run up to a political war.

Two years ago this month, Justin Trudeau was anointed leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, a decision that gave hope to Canadians that somebody might finally put the brakes on Stephen Harper’s totalitarianism.

For one thing, Trudeau has a good pedigree. His father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, was a respected if not wholly popular prime minister, though his reputation has much improved since his death. Trudeau’s Liberal predecessors, Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, were, respectively, too bland and too aloof to generate any deep support among the party faithful or offer a viable governing alternative. When you add good looks and youth (41), Justin Trudeau appears to be the ideal prime-minister-in-waiting, especially for young voters.

Opinion polls in the month following Trudeau’s election seemed to confirm that a reversion to Liberal rule was highly likely if not inevitable. In May 2013, voter support for the Liberals had more than doubled since the end of the 2011 election, whereas support for the Harperites had fallen by a third. Some of that Liberal growth even came at the expense of the centre-left New Democratic Party, which lost more than 20% support. Had an election been called at this time, the Liberals would have coasted to majority rule. What a difference two years makes.

By April this year, the Liberals had fallen from 38.6% to 27.6%, and Harper, of all people, was the major beneficiary! The NDP, contrary to expectation, not only did not benefit from Trudeau’s slip but lost ground, confirming that its leader, Thomas Mulcair, is not perceived as a serious rival to Trudeau.

2015_04_28 Trudeau stumbles into trapLike McClellan, Trudeau is highly popular. His victory came on the first ballot with 80% of the vote, and Liberal membership grew rapidly almost immediately. Trudeau’s popular appeal really took off in January 2014 and ballooned over the spring and summer.

Then, in mid-October, it all went south. The seminal event was the Oct. 22 shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a ceremonial guard on duty on Parliament Hill. It was a bizarre incident, not only because it came out of nowhere, but it received conspicuously comprehensive video coverage. Some of this coverage even managed to catch no fewer than four police cars parked near the site on Parliament Hill with officers standing around as if… waiting for something to happen.

As readers already know, the shooting of Cpl. Cirillo gave Harper the excuse he needed to legislate police-state repression and a host of other unconstitutional measures in the name of “public safety.”

This police-state repression is manifested in Harper’s Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act (Bill C-44) and Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (“Secret Police Act,” Bill C-51) which authorize the state to conduct spying, harassment, arbitrary detention and intimidation and other unconstitutional measures. The main targets are not so much “terrorists” as anyone who criticizes the government, people like environmentalists and Muslim charities. These groups are already subject to malicious audits and have been intimidated into repressing their political activism.

Canada’s McClellan fails test of character

The shooting of Cpl. Cirillo gave Trudeau the perfect opportunity to seize the initiative from Mulcair and the NDP, who represent the Confederacy for analytical purposes: He could condemn the shooting and condemn the Harperites for their conspicuously contrived campaign to demonize the shooter, Michael Zehaf Bibeau, as a terrorist. Moreover, he could call attention to the totalitarian overtones of the shooting and its aftermath.

On the day of the shooting, Trudeau did deliver a speech, but it was stiff and peppered with “values” blathering reminiscent of George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 screed. Nevertheless, it had one redeeming virtue—he did not demonize Zehaf Bibeau: “Criminals cannot and will not dictate to us how we act as a nation, how we govern ourselves or how we treat each other. They cannot and will not dictate our values. And they do not get to decide how we use our shared public spaces.”

For his part, Mulcair also steered clear of the terrorism tar pit. On Oct. 29, he also used “criminal” to describe Zehaf Bibeau: “When you look at the history of the individual involved, you see a criminal act, of course. But… I think that we’re not in the presence of a terrorist act in the sense that we would understand it.”

At this point, Mulcair and Trudeau were on the same page regarding the shooting, but Trudeau had a big advantage. His Liberals are far and away richer and more populous than Mulcair’s NDP, and he can tap into overwhelming national hatred for Harper and his anti-terrorism totalitarianism to outmaneuver Mulcair. Since the Bill was announced, Harper’s terrorism smokescreen has lifted and opposition to state totalitarianism tripled in six weeks. Even key business leaders oppose it. All Trudeau had to do was channel this sentiment to become the people’s choice to restore Canada to parliamentary rule.

As expected, Harper and his minions jumped all over Mulcair for daring to be rational, but so did Trudeau! “The RCMP was clear, these were acts of terrorism, [so] these were acts of terrorism,” he said. Instead of lambasting Bill C-51 as unconstitutional and fascist, he tapped into his inner McClellan to adopt the do-nothing approach of proposing amendments that he knew full well would never pass. From a position of strength, Trudeau allowed himself to be outmaneuvered by both Harper and Mulcair thereby placing himself at odds with the electorate and his own party.

Trudeau’s abrupt about-face, and his attack on Mulcair for agreeing with him, makes no sense politically or morally. He does not allow for the possibility that the RCMP might lie, or that it might have abetted the shooting in some way. Currently, Parliament Hill has its own police force, which is loyal to Parliament; Harper wants it replaced by the RCMP, which is loyal to him. The RCMP has even admitted to being party to a smear campaign against former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale that helped Harper win his first election. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that the RCMP came to Harper’s aid again? At any rate, Trudeau had no business taking the RCMP’s judgment on what is or is not “terrorism” at face value.

His uncritical acceptance of the RCMP’s version of events is also disturbing because it raises the possibility that he might have succumbed to political coercion. If so, one of the likely suspects is the Israel Lobby, which has the most to gain from the destruction of Canada’s civil liberties. This view gains credence from Trudeau’s knee-jerk condemnation of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel politically and economically because of the atrocities it commits in the Middle East. Trudeau claims (wrongly) that the BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses, but this is just standard Lobby propaganda.

Since Trudeau wants to return the Liberals to power, he might have thought it less risky to acquiesce in attacks on Canadians’ constitutional rights than risk offending those who control vast amounts of campaign money and influence. After all, since Harper’s primary loyalty is to Israel, an attack on Harper’s secret-police bill might be construed as an attack on the Lobby. The problem with this scenario, though, is that it is utterly self-defeating—at least half the country and two thirds of Trudeau’s own MPs oppose Bill C-51. Why would Trudeau pick an unnecessary fight with his own party and the voting public unless he lacked the character and confidence to do the right thing?

In the end, Trudeau, like McClellan, succumbed to cowardice. Despite having a decisive advantage over his opponent and Harper set up like a clay pigeon, the expected rout never happened. Instead, Trudeau resorted to timid half-measures and abdicated the role of national saviour-in-waiting to Mulcair. Today, Mulcair and Green Party leader Elizabeth May are the only two national leaders willing to stand up to Harper to defend the Constitution and rule of law. In fact, Green Party support rose by more than 150% over this same period.

Short of a shock caucus revolt, which is distinctly unlikely in an election year, the Liberals are stuck with a McClellan at a time when they need a Ulysses S. Grant.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 4 Comments