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Ex-CIA Director John Brennan must testify on ‘spygate’ – Sen. Rand Paul

RT | June 8, 2018

Senator Rand Paul called for former CIA Director John Brennan to testify about whether he received secret information on Trump’s campaign from European or British sources. Paul wants him to testify before Congress under oath.

“BIG question for John Brennan, who has become such a vocal spokesman. Did you receive any secret info on candidate Trump or his campaign from European or British intelligence sources? Brennan should be brought before Congress & made to testify under oath, NOW!” Senator Paul tweeted on Thursday.

Serving as CIA Director under former president Barack Obama, Brennan has been accused by Trump of leading an effort to frame him for colluding with Russia in the runup to the 2016 presidential election. Trump has called Brennan “the genesis of this whole [Russia investigation] debacle.”

Last month, the New York Times and Washington Post revealed that a secretive operation, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, was conducted by the FBI from the summer of 2016. The counterintelligence operation was reportedly launched on the basis of intelligence received from overseas.

Veteran CIA agent and academic Stefan Halper acted as a confidential informant who tried to extract potentially compromising information from George Papadopoulos, Sam Clovis, Carter Page and other members of the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos later pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

The FBI’s mandate is to conduct operations inside the US, while the CIA operates overseas. Since Halper met with Trump’s campaign aides in London, Brennan’s critics are curious if the CIA director had a hand in that operation, either on his own initiative or under orders from the Obama administration.

Since leaving the agency, Brennan – once a defender of the CIA’s practices of torture and domestic spying – has become a darling of the liberal #Resistance for his frequent anti-Trump diatribes.

He did agree with the president on one thing, however: the appointment of long-time CIA employee Gina Haspel to lead the agency after Trump’s first spy chief, Mike Pompeo, was reassigned to the State Department. Haspel was the CIA’s station chief in London at the time of Halper’s contacts with Trump’s campaign staff. She testified in her confirmation hearings that the CIA never spied on Trump or received information from British intelligence.

Senator Paul, who voted against Haspel’s confirmation, cast doubt on that testimony in May.

“Gina Haspel is categorically denying that the CIA got info from the British intelligence. And if what I’m saying today is not her opinion, she needs to speak up today and she needs to say ‘did British intelligence give info to John Brennan?'”

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 4 – The Dodgy Dossier

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | June 7, 2018

So far in this series of pieces, I have attempted to demonstrate why I believe the official story of the poisoning of the Skripals doesn’t add up (Part 1). I have then pointed to some of the most significant pieces of the jigsaw, which have either been largely ignored or quietly forgotten (Part 2). And I then went on in Part 3 to show what I believe to be perhaps the key to the whole case; that Mr Skripal became agitated in Zizzis restaurant, not because he was physically unwell and suffering from the effects of poisoning hours earlier, but rather because he had an appointment to keep.

But before coming on to propose a theory of what may have happened, I need to first present a theory of why it might have happened. I emphasise the word theory, because that is all it is — neither more nor less. And of course, it could be well wide of the mark. Make of it what you will!

In a recent blog, Craig Murray, the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, linked to a very interesting piece by Paul Gregory that appeared in Forbes in January 2017. Mr Gregory is Professor of Economics at Houston University, and research fellow at both the Hoover Institution and the German Institute for Economic Research, and he also has extensive knowledge about Russia and the Soviet Union. Here’s what he had to say about the so-called Trump Dossier, just a few days after it was published by Buzzfeed :

“As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex-British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition [my emphasis].”

Now, we know that there is a link between the apparent author of the Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele and Mr Skripal’s MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller. And we know that Miller and Skripal met regularly. Not only this, but we also know that there is a direct link between Steele and Skripal dating back to the late 1990s, early 2000s. There is, then, a clear link between the man credited (if that be the right word) with writing the Dossier, and a certain ex-Russian intelligence officer, who would have been trained in the KGB tradition (he was actually in the GRU), living in Salisbury. In fact, the Daily Telegraph helpfully pointed out this connection a day before the Government slapped a D-notice on reporting on the issue.

But is there another clue? I think there is. By itself, it would mean nothing, but it is an interesting possibility in connection with what I have just stated.

According to the Czech magazine, Respekt, Mr Skripal had links with Czech Intelligence. This included a meeting in Prague back in 2012, but there were also subsequent meetings where Czech Intelligence officers came to meet with him in Britain. We are not told when or where this took place, suffice it to say that there was an ongoing connection.

If we then turn to the Trump Dossier itself, we find this in the sections dated August and October 2016:

“Kremlin insider reports TRUMP lawyer COHEN’s secret meeting/s with Kremlin officials in August 2016 was/were held in Prague.

We reported previously (2016/135 and /136) on secret meeting/s held in Prague, Czech Republic in August 2016 between then Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP’s representative, Michael COHEN and his interlocutors from the Kremlin working under cover of Russian NGO Rossotrudnichestvo…

Speaking to a compatriot and friend on 19 October 2016, a Kremlin insider provided further details of reported clandestine meeting/s between Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP’s lawyer Michael COHEN and Kremlin representatives in August 2016. Although the communication between them had to be cryptic for security reasons, the Kremlin insider clearly indicated to his/ her friend that the reported contact/s took place in Prague, Czech Republic.”

Mr Cohen has of course vehemently denied this claim, saying that he has never been to Prague. Whether he has or hasn’t is not for me to say, but it is in any case irrelevant to the point I am making. That point is this: Sergei Skripal had what looks like extensive connections with Czech Intelligence, and claims – whether true or false –, which presumably came from Czech sources, are found in the Trump Dossier.

Putting these three things together – the Steele/Miller/Skripal connection; the Czech claims in the Dossier; and the emphatic claim made by Paul Gregory that the Dossier itself was compiled by a Russian “trained in the KGB tradition” – then you can begin to see where this might be pointing.

Now, you’d think from the way the BBC and others have reported on Mr Skripal that he was just some old chap enjoying his retirement in the quiet city of Salisbury, where he was in the habit of frequenting local restaurants and pottering about in his garden. Yet his continued work for British Intelligence, which saw him travelling to the Czech Republic and Estonia in 2016 to meet with intelligence officers, paints a somewhat different picture. Also, remember this is a man who once sold out hundreds of his fellow countrymen in the late 1990s and early 2,000s for filthy lucre. The fact that he continued to work for British Intelligence after being settled in Salisbury suggests not only that there was not what you might call deep repentance, but also presents the possibility that he continued to be lured by the promise of cash.

And so one wonders whether the man who was bought for a price by MI6 back in the 1990s might have still been buyable after he settled in Salisbury. Might Steele, who had been commissioned by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democrats to put together some dirt on Donald Trump, have asked Skripal to cobble something together? Might Skripal have used his contacts in places like the Czech Republic and Estonia to give it some semblance of credibility? Might Skripal have been swayed by the promise of more money to put together a Dossier full of salacious and unverifiable gossip?

And be in no doubt, the Trump Dossier is a Dodgy Dossier. I write this as someone who thinks that Donald Trump is a walking disaster area, and as someone who has no desire to defend him. Yet the fallaciousness of the Dossier, which has formed the basis of the attempts to smear and possibly impeach him, is clear, as Paul Gregory articulated well in his piece for Forbes:

“The Orbis dossier is fake news … [It] makes as if it knows all the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within Putin’s impenetrable Kremlin. It reports information from anonymous ‘trusted compatriots,’ ‘knowledgeable sources,’ ‘former intelligence officers,’ and ‘ministry of foreign affairs officials.’ The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump’s Russian connections … There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two.”

Indeed, the whole thing has all the look and feel of having been written by a firm that wanted a payday, but never in their wildest dreams expected the contents of it to become public knowledge. And they never expected it to be revealed because they never expected Mr Trump to win the 2016 election. In the infinitesimally small chance that he did win, I don’t suppose it even occurred to them that it might be taken seriously by US Intelligence.

And so here is the supposition as to the “why” of this case: The Democrat Party paid Fusion GPS to dig up some dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion GPS contracted this out to British Intelligence, who put them on to Orbis Business Intelligence, a private security firm owned by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. Steele took the money and farmed the project out to Skripal who, because of his knowledge of Russia and his contacts with intelligence agencies in other countries, could make it sound reasonably plausible, at least to those who were paying for it.

But then – and this like that bit in the Lord or The Rings when it says that the Ring came into the possession of the unlikeliest creature – the Dodgy Dossier somehow found its way into the hands of US Intelligence agencies, and instead of seeing it as the obvious fraud that it was, amazingly they took it seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it became what the then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, described in a text message to his mistress, Lisa Page, as “an insurance policy” – that is, insurance against the unthinkable happening and Donald Trump becoming President.

But of course the unthinkable did happen. Against all expectations, Mr Trump won, and suddenly that same “insurance policy”, full of salacious gossip and unverifiable information, took on a life of its own, with all of the Beltway talking about it, and then with Buzzfeed eventually releasing it into the public domain. And so what was meant to be a product with enough plausibility to satisfy those paying for it, became the foundation for the attempts to bring down a sitting President.

If the above is correct — and let me reiterate once again that it is simply a theory, not necessarily a fact — then Sergei Skripal, not Christopher Steele, was the main author of the Trump Dossier. If that was the case, isn’t it possible that he might have sought a payment to keep quiet about its origins and the nature of its contents? And isn’t it possible that there might have been others who would seek to keep him quiet by other means?

In the final part of this series, I’ll attempt to propose a theory as to what actually happened on the evening of 4th March in Salisbury.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Israeli military attempts to smear slain Palestinian medic with inaccurate video

RT | June 8, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces’ attempt to smear medic Razan al-Najjar, the 21-year-old killed last week, backfired when a video it shared on social media was swiftly debunked.

The IDF shared an edited video of Najjar on both its English and Arabic spokesperson Twitter accounts on Thursday.

“Hamas’ use of human shields must stop.” it wrote in English. “Razan al-Najjar is not the angel of mercy that Hamas propaganda attempts to portray,” the Arabic spokesman Avichay Edraee’s tweet reads. The Arabic version of the video begins with an image of Najjar with angel wings and a halo. The video, which has an ominous soundtrack, claims Najjar was “incited by Hamas,” and it shows footage of Najjar throwing a gas canister.

Another clip shows an interview with Najjar – which has been carefully edited to exclude half of her sentence. “I am Razan al-Najjar. I am here on the frontlines and I act as a human shield,” the English subtitles read. The video then cuts to text reading, “Hamas uses paramedics as human shields,” before encouraging people to share.

Debunking

However, the video turned out to be made from a heavily edited original. The first scene, which reportedly shows Najjar throwing the gas canister, clearly shows her throw it away from the people she is standing with, and nowhere near the fence. The canister falls in the grass mere meters away from the woman. She is wearing a surgical mask at the time, although it has not been confirmed that Najjar is even the woman in the video.

The next clip featured in the video, the interview with Najjar, is also not as it seems. The IDF decided to cut mid-way through the interview with Al Mayadeen, so viewers have no idea what the second half of her sentence is. The full sentence was: “I am Razan al-Najjar. I am here on the frontlines and I act as a rescuing human shield to protect the and save the wounded at the frontlines.”

Najjar was shot in the chest while she was wearing her medical uniform last Friday. A preliminary probe by the Israeli army found soldiers did not mean to fire at Najjar, and that she was not a target.

However, two weeks ago, the IDF shot 19 medical personnel in Gaza in a single day, including Moussa Abu Hassanein, who was fatally shot in the chest. Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani was among the medics who were shot that day, and he maintains they were targeted by Israeli forces.

In her interview with Al Mayadeen, Najjar also said, “With all my strength and determination and whatever risks I will continue my career and I will save all the injured, so that they return and defend our land.” Her words suggest that she had no intention of dying as a human shield.”

Israel often accuses Palestinians of partaking in ‘Pallywood,’ which they claim are fake videos and images designed to gain attention from Western media. However, Israel has been caught doing the same thing it accuses the Palestinians of, only in their case, it is an effort to minimize their crimes against Palestinians. Israel has also been found to use Palestinians as humanshields themselves.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | June 7, 2018

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement.  That did not prevent the “handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to WikiLeaks.” Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA “assessment” became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump. It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself. No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still “can’t share the evidence” with me … or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

WikiLeaks

Schiff: Can’t share evidence

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of “emails related to Hillary Clinton,” throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders.  When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions “to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.” The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer’ Fox, Bernie didn’t say nothin’.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating “forensic facts” to “prove” the Russians did it.  Here’s how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the “handpicked analysts” who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do. The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the “hack” that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider — the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the “fluid dynamics” principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated, “We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: “Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

“No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

“Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as ‘news fit to print’ and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since.

“The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, ‘did not get the memo’ in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: ‘WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.’

“The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use ‘obfuscation,’ and that Marble source code includes a “de-obfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

“More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a ‘forensic attribution double game’ or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.”

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical director, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun.

The CIA’s reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: “Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be ‘masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin’ [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

“‘Hackers may be anywhere,’ he said. ‘There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.’

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

“Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

“We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental.” The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Tribute to the Last Honorable US Senator: The Story of Paul Wellstone’s Suspected Assassination

By Joachim Hagopian | Global Research | October 26, 2016

On October 25th, 2002 the last great hero of the common people in the US Senate was very likely murdered by agents of the shadow US crime cabal government otherwise known as the Bush-Cheney regime. His wife and daughter and two pilots also died in the air crash. Paul Wellstone’s story deserves to be retold and Americans need to be reminded that criminals in and out of our government still need to be punished for their unindicted crimes. This article was written as both a tribute to an outstanding American patriot and a reexamination of his probable assassination by criminals still on the loose.

Minnesota Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone was a man of integrity who was among the few politicians openly and adamantly opposing the Iraq invasion as well as the creation of the US version of Gestapo-land Security. As a fearless populist leader he’d been a constant thorn in the side ever since then President George H. W. Bush responding to the junior senator’s uncomfortable questions at a reception asked, “Who is this chickenshit?”

Years later as the only senator up for reelection who voted against the Iraq War when Democrats held just a one seat edge over the Republicans in the Senate (with one independent caucusing with Democrats), his thorny side made him the #1 GOP target. With the Karl Rove led Republican Party just one seat away from gaining Republican control over the US Senate, Wellstone’s death gave his Republican challenger Norm Coleman the 49-49 split and, as the President of the Senate, Cheney’s tie breaking vote would deliver the GOP 50-49 advantage needed to steamroll yet more tax cuts through for the rich, unending bankers’ wars and a never seen before boom for the military-security industrial complex. Again, motive and means tilt heavily towards assassination. The facts make it more than probable.

A month prior to the November 2002 election Vice President Cheney had arranged a meeting with Wellstone, threatening him with grave consequences should he vote against the preplanned Iraq invasion. A few days later speaking to a group of war veterans, Wellstone publicly recalled Cheney’s threatening words:

“If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”

Then just days after that, 11 days prior to the midterm election and a year to the exact day after the deadly anthrax pushed Patriot Act victory, on October 25th Paul Wellstone, his wife and daughter along with three staffers and two pilots all died in an extremely suspicious plane crash.

The FBI was at the crash site within 90 minutes, indicating they’d left their Minneapolis office before the “accident” at about the same time Wellstone’s plane was just taking off that morning, indicating the possibility of pre-knowledge.

“The authors note that it would’ve taken agents at least three hours to reach the swampy and remote crash site. How they got there from the Twin Cities so quickly remains a mystery.”

Additionally, the NTSB as the national agency that normally takes the lead role investigating all US plane crashes suddenly wasn’t. The FBI moved in ahead immediately proclaiming just another bad weather accident. Yet all on the ground witnesses and reports disagree, from pilots landing at the destination airport just two hours prior to the Wellstone flight to the airport manager who less than an hour after the crash was himself flying over the crash site. The plane considered a Rolls Royce among small planes was in tiptop shape and the two pilots steeped in skilled experience.

As the feds’ rogue cops for go-to cover-ups, as in 9/11 and the anthrax attacks the year before, and the 1993 World Trade Center and 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, the FBI has a long shady history of leaving its corrupt dirty fingerprints all over these well documented false flag, history changing events.

A couple of brave Democratic House members anonymously stated that they believe Wellstone was murdered. In one Congressman’s words:

I don’t think there’s anyone on the Hill who doesn’t suspect it. It’s too convenient, too coincidental, too damn obvious. My guess is that some of the less courageous members of the party are thinking about becoming Republicans right now.

An unnamed CIA source admitted:

“Having played ball (and still playing in some respects) with this current crop of reinvigorated old white men, these clowns are nobody to screw around with. There will be a few more strategic accidents. You can be certain of that.”

A number of other Democratic politicians at a 2 to 1 margin to Republicans have also incurred mysterious deaths holding “unpopular” views just ahead of hotly contested elections. Two years earlier while traveling in Colombia Senator Wellstone had already experienced one known attempt on his life when a bomb planted en route from the airport was discovered.

As a longtime critic of the CIA and covert operations, Wellstone was targeted for assassination in both Colombia and in Minnesota by the masters of mayhem, murder and deceitful cover-ups – the FBI/CIA Criminals-In-Action at the behest of mastermind Cheney.

So far in our two-tiered justice system, murder pays off for those high up on the psychopath food chain like Cheney, the Bushes and Clintons. Renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh exposed Cheney’s “executive assassination ring.” Cheney used the CIA as well as the military Joint Special Operations Command as his personal army of hitmen reporting directly to him. (see video below)

If the neocons can live with themselves for murdering 3000 Americans on 9/11, they certainly never lose sleep over a few more targeted eliminations that include the genocidal 4 million Muslim bloodbath caused by the Bush crime family wars.

Mintpress, August 18, 2015

The heavy-handed Bush-Cheney push for Iraq War and a DHS congressional vote prior to their 2003 invasion cast enormous high stakes in the Senate. Then add the known history of contempt from former CIA director Bush, the Cheney threat just days prior to Wellstone’s death, a slew of brazenly contradictory crash site anomalies, and the exposed murderous means used to pass the Patriot Act and the 9/11 false flag tragedy the year prior, all of this circumstantial evidence taken together strongly points to yet more diabolical skullduggery perpetrated by Skull & Bones criminals against humanity.

The neocons grabbed the Hegelian solution they needed for waging unlimited war in the name of terrorism anywhere in the world while simultaneously at home merging FEMA into their newly created Homeland Security tasked with stripping away the rest of America’s constitutional liberties in the name of “national security.” In its first dozen years alone, deep state’s gluttonously monolithic DHS cancer has metastasized into the third largest federal department boasting near a quarter million full-time employees. By hook, crook and murder the Cheney-Bush gang in 2003 got what they’d been wanting and plotting for years, two concurrent never-ending wars in the Middle East and the monstrous apparatus Homeland Security whose purpose is making war against the American people. Sadly the rest of the Western vassal nations play follow the leader.

If examined according to the Hegelian Dialectic of 1) problem, 2) reaction and 3) solution, a draconian formula used by deep state to manufacture increased authoritarian control over the US populace, Paul Wellstone’s death can easily be explained.

More than any other single member of Congress, the Minnesota senator posed a serious threat as the major opposition leader standing in the way of war criminals Bush and Cheney’s Iraq invasion as well as their formation of the Department of Homeland Security, two preplanned agendas rooted in the neocon think tank the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Prior to their stealing the 2000 election and their PNAC’s “Pearl Harbor” event they created called 9/11, their regime had already called for attacking Iraq for regime change and erection of the DHS cancer. The Bush-Cheney reaction to their problem Paul Wellstone was to assassinate him making it appear as an accident.

By murder once Wellstone was out of the way, the neocons’ solution sent a loud and clear message of intimidation and a death threat in order to effectively silence any other potential Congressional opponents to the war in Iraq. Wellstone’s elimination paved the way for the war criminals’ successful campaign to win national support for the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq. That said, the month before the invasion on February 15th10-15 million people around the world in over 600 cities assembled in massive protest against the US intervention, the biggest one day antiwar demonstration in history. But unfortunately once the US military occupation began, the antiwar movement gradually fizzled out.

And the PNAC (members of PNAC project, image left) calling for regime change in seven sovereign nations including Iraq within five years was underway. The predatory rape and pillaging of Iraq as the world’s second largest oil producer was justified by lies of Saddam’s non-existent WMD’s and ties to terrorism. Sadly the neocons who are still at the helm wreaking havoc in 2016 were able to implement an enormous new Department of Homeland Security monstrosity masquerading as public “safeguard” against terrorism. So without Wellstone and with virtually no further opposition in Congress, the neocons created their multibillion dollar security state apparatchik promoting and enforcing draconian counterterrorism laws leading to increasing centralized authoritarian government control that is ushering in their New World Order.

This tried and true Hegelian strategy has also been regularly utilized to further identify deep state obstacles as problems based on perceived neocons’ threats to US global unipolar hegemony.

American Empire’s relentless efforts to isolate, weaken and target for global war designated international enemies Russia, China and Iran through propagandized demonization and orchestrating fake crises illustrate yet more examples of the Hegelian Dialectic in action. And just as the US crime cabal was successful in eliminating Wellstone as their New World Order threat, for decades the crime cabal government has been planning its war against identified American dissenters as enemies of the state who object to its heavy-handed tyranny.

Paul Wellstone’s courageous opposition to the powerful Washington establishment’s evil cost him and his family’s life. Since we Americans are now in the same crosshairs of the same still entrenched shadow assassins, it’s time to make their arrests for treason and mass murder prior to our own death and destruction.

 


As an independent journalist focusing on geopolitics, international relations, globalization and US Empire imperialism for over four years, Joachim has written hundreds of articles published on numerous alternative news sites, foremost among them Global Research, Sott.net and LewRockwell.com. His blog site is at http://empireexposed.blogspot.com.

Joachim is currently writing the A-Z encyclopedia exposing the global pedophilia epidemic entitled Pedophilia& Empire: Satan, Sodomy & the Deep State. The book can be read for free on Joachim’s blog site at or http://tinyurl.com/pedoempire. Many of the first sixteen chapters selling for .99 each since last fall on Amazon Kindle remain in the top 10 in both politics and child advocacy categories. With less than a quarter of the book to go, for those wishing to help complete this all-important project exposing the pedo-crime cabal sooner than later, donations are welcomed at paypal.me/AuthorJH

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 6 Comments

George Monbiot: selling the 1% agenda in a Green box

George Monbiot NOT shilling for corporate interests
By Catte | OffGuardian | June 8, 2018

The neoliberals of today specialise in using concepts of concern and inclusiveness as a cover for their frankly fascist agenda. Censorship is being repackaged as “anti-hate”. The destruction of the core idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is being repackaged as protecting (mostly female) victims from their persecutors. Reasonable doubt is being repackaged as “denialism.” Minority opinion is being repackaged as treachery or subversion. Facts that contradict a current state-sponsored agenda are repackaged as “fake news.”

Conformity is being encouraged, presented as a cosy and reassuring “consensus blanket”, under which we can all snuggle together, safe from confusion, doubt or the horrendous experience of having our cherished beliefs called into question. Most journos operating in the mainstream have already opted to crawl in and curl up for the long snooze into intellectual and ethical oblivion, while others, the kapos, are actively herding the remaining doubters inside.

George Monbiot is one of the latter. The last few years have outed this one time supposed anti-establishment figure as nothing more than a fully establishment goon, posturing in the sad tatters of his “dissident Green” cosplay. His performance during the Syria crisis made this too obvious. His sub-intelligent smears on those independent journalists daring to question the narrative made his real allegiances, and limitations, more than clear. His preparedness to brazenly lie and his refusal to debate the people he smeared in an open forum cemented this view.

Monbiot is revealed as the guy the establishment uses to try and lure the Left-Greens out in support of the latest agenda roll-out by the likes of Soros, Gates and the Atlantic Council. He’s booked for the same gigs as Avaaz. His brief, as ever, is to sell fascism – but this time in a Green box.

Today George is busy selling us on veganism.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Veganism is fine. It’s a human choice and it has a place. This is not an attack on veganism, or vegans.

But we need to separate what a thing is from what it’s being used for. Everything, even the best things, can be exploited. And we can’t let loyalty to the thing itself stop us from seeing when its being used for less than good ends.

Veganism is being promoted right now by the usual suspects. There has been a rash of articles in the Guardian and elsewhere about the supposed health and environmental benefits of giving up meat and dairy. Even if we happen to be vegan, we’d be insane not to wonder why. Especially when Monbiot is getting involved.

George is a poster child for the New Wave Vegan. Strange, perhaps, given he’s only a “97% vegan” himself. But let’s just ignore the 3% carnivore, since it’s only road kill. The more important point, anyway, is that George wants us all to think he’s a vegan. Because a salesman has to be seen to use the product he’s promoting. His latest article breaks no new ground on this really. He’s said most of it before, as have others. But still, given the mounting evidence for the political mobilisation of veganism, it’s a good idea to look at what he says.

He starts by offering a binary choice – between the current wasteful and insane industrial farming system and a somewhat poorly defined alternative in which everyone eats a plant-based diet, which he implies without really saying, will put an end to this insanity. He tells us not only will this choice fix the problem of worldwide food shortage (because plant-husbandry produces far more calories per hectare than animal husbandry), but it will also remove the problem of all that unused animal waste currently pouring into rivers and creating massive pollution.

George’s ideal future will also be gratifying for the processed food industry. Because vegans need ready meals!

Unless you can cook well – and many people have neither the skills nor the space – a plant-based diet can be either boring or expensive. We need better and cheaper vegan ready meals and quick and easy meat substitutes

And fake meat grown in a lab!

The big shift will come with the mass production of cultured meat.

George recognises the latter will be a tough sell, but he’s up for giving it a try. An objection to this might be that “artificial meat is disgusting”, says George, but:

If you feel this way, I invite you to look at how your sausages, burgers and chicken nuggets are currently raised, slaughtered and processed. Having worked on an intensive pig farm, I’m more aware than most of what disgusting looks like.

Mmmm… Lab-grown pseudo-meat, pink-dyed and not quite as disgusting as something even worse! Lovely Roundup-saturated veggies [silage] processed into some approximation of the kind of protein humans can digest, and piped into microwavable sachets.

Who knew utopia would end up looking quite so much like – now? Who knew the new way would be just like the old way but with more “progressive” slogans?

George uses twisty self-contradictory arguments to claim one minute that eliminating livestock farming would “be a chance to break our complete dependence on artificial nitrogen”, while in his very next para admitting the exact opposite will in fact be the case.

the transition to plant protein is unlikely to eliminate the global system’s need for artificial fertiliser

Though he throws us a bone in the shape of

the pioneering work of vegan organic growers, using only plant-based composts and importing as little fertility as possible from elsewhere

This is blatant bait and switch. Green or green-sounding proclamations being swapped out for their very opposites with a deftness he hopes will fool us. We may, in some misty future time, not need to rely entirely on synthetic chemicals – but yes, OK, for now we will still be sucking up carcinogens with our lovely all veg diet.

Of course we could just use the animal manure to fertilise our veggies, which would entirely eliminate the need for chemical fertilisers… But let’s not think about that too much. Let’s instead soften that focus and just picture fields full of lovely cruelty-free plants waving in the even lovelier breeze…

In case you haven’t noticed, George’s entire article is hand-waving nonsense predicated on a lie, or a system of lies, and his trademark nifty footwork.

His claim that we need to produce more food is used as a blanket rationale for everything he advocates, but it’s a lie. We don’t need to produce more food. We currently produce more than enough food to feed the world. What we need and don’t have is equitable distribution. And that is because of the stranglehold of the minority interests George is carefully eliding.

His initial binary choice is a lie. We don’t need to choose between intensive animal farming and intensive cereal/veg farming. We have the option of non-intensive farming methods that treat the land, the animals and the crops with respect, and use age-old, sustainable methods to produce chemical-free and healthy food.

His dishonesty is nowhere more apparent than when he tries to elide this simple truth. Look at how he acknowledges the illogicality of unused animal waste

Today, the link between livestock and crops has mostly been broken: crops are grown with industrial chemicals while animal slurry stacks up, unused, in stinking lagoons, wipes out rivers and creates dead zones at sea.

but dodges away from the obvious solution – use the “slurry” to fertilise the land in place of synthetic chemicals – with a weak excuse:

When it is applied to the land, it threatens to accelerate antibiotic resistance.

Notice how he avoids mentioning the fact non-intensively reared animals don’t need to be pumped full of antibiotics in the first place. He even links to the source for sustainable husbandry I cite above, but does so only to dismiss it (without data) as “worse” than anything else on offer, by using, once again, the fake claim about the need to produce more food per hectare:

More damaging still is free-range meat: the environmental impacts of converting grass into flesh, the paper remarks, “are immense under any production method practised today”. This is because so much land is required to produce every grass-fed steak or chop

And adding that it’s also bad for the environment

Those who claim that “regenerative” or “holistic” ranching mimics nature deceive themselves. It relies on fencing, while in nature wild herbivores roam freely, often across vast distances. It excludes or eradicates predators, which are crucial to the healthy functioning of all living systems. It tends to eliminate tree seedlings, ensuring that the complex mosaics of woody vegetation found in many natural systems – essential to support a wide range of wildlife – are absent

You thought Monsanto, GM, monocultures and the ripping up of hedgerows was the problem? Nah. It’s fences. And herbivores eating the grass they’re designed to eat. And implicit in this nonsense of course is the greater nonsense that massive veggie monocultures drowned in pesticides and herbicides, are just teaming with wild life, tree seedlings and predators.

Just as he used frank lies to promote the Soros-backed White Helmets as unsung “heroes”, here, in the fake guise of promoting a healthy, organic, back-to-nature solution to the world’s problems, George is promoting the current power system of Big Ag and Big Food monopoly. Just as Avaaz sells us imperial regime change as grass roots activism, George is selling us industrial farming and denatured food as a return to Eden.

Don’t buy what he’s selling. Don’t surrender your sense of the real to this snake oil salesman. Go vegan if you want – that’s a fine personal choice. But not at the expense of the small producers who are already struggling to survive without the subsidies the big guys get. Don’t vote for some future “meat tax” that will drive them out of business, and penalise the poor, just as Big Ag wants. Don’t buy into this soft focus dreamland where our entire livestock herd disappears bloodlessly and completely from our landscape without being killed or culled, and is somehow better for it. Don’t be whispered into campaigning for a new and self-imposed serfdom, in which 7 billion compliant vegans munch their potage or their shrink-wrapped lab-grown Soylent Green, while the 1% quietly eat grass-fed steak and snigger with duping delight.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Lawyers say arrests of activists used to silence dissent

By Saurav Datta | Asia Times | June 8, 2018

A collective of Indian lawyers has condemned the arrest of five prominent human rights activists by Maharashtra state police, calling it an attempt by the government to persecute and silence dissent.

The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), a collective of human rights lawyers, have rubbished claims by the Maharashtra Police that the five allegedly conspired to carry out an assassination attempt and have links with Maoist insurgents.

Dalit-rights activist Sudhir Dhawale, senior lawyer Surendra Gadling, Dalit and tribal rights activists Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen were arrested on June 6 from Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Nagpur.

They have been accused of inciting riots and communal disharmony and have also been booked under various provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), according to media reports.

Government-led persecution

At a press conference in Delhi on June 7, activist lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, the Vice-President of the IAPL, along with a host of other lawyers and activists, accused the government and police of arresting the five to shield Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, the leaders of a Hindutva outfit.

Bhide and Ekbote stand accused of instigating large-scale attacks on Dalits in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon and adjoining areas on January 1 and 2 this year.

The IAPL’s press conference was followed by a rally at Jantar Mantar, where people gathered in large numbers to protest against the government and police actions. The five arrested activists were produced before a session court yesterday, which remanded them to police custody till June 14.

Bharadwaj termed their arrests, and especially the invocation of the UAPA, as measures meant to stifle dissent and send out a message that nobody should defend political prisoners or crusade for the rights of the marginalized. She added that Gadling’s arrest was only the latest in a string of incidents, which seems to be becoming a trend – the government persecuting human rights lawyers so there remains no one to defend people.

She gave the examples of Tamil Nadu activist lawyer A Murugan, Orissa’s Upendra Nayak and Chhattisgarh’s Satyendra Chaubey, all of whom have been falsely implicated on charges of aiding and abetting Maoist insurgents. This goes against the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, she said.

Illegal searches and arrests

Bharadwaj said that Bhide and Ekbote’s supporters filed a First Information Report (FIR) at Pune’s Vishrambaug Police Station on Jan. 8 and tried to blame others for the riots they incited. Gadling, Wilson, Sen and Raut’s names were not in the FIR and were added only in April. This was designed to bring in more activists into the police dragnet, she alleged.

According to the police, the five activists were part of a meeting held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017. Police are yet to find if speeches given at the meeting led to the violence in Koregaon Bhima on Jan. 1 during the 200th year celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon by Dalits – lower caste and untouchables in Hinduism.

Wilson, Raut and Gadling were not even in Pune on the day the Bhima Koregaon program was held, and Sen, although present there, had not delivered a speech, Bharadwaj said.

IAPL press conference in New Delhi on June 8, 2018. Photo: Supplied

On April 17, 200 policemen raided and searched Gadling’s house in Nagpur, seizing documents, computers and personal electronic devices from his family. Bharadwaj said this was a clear case of persecution and intimidation, because, he added, for more than 25 years, Gadling defended political prisoners and Dalit and tribal rights activists accused of committing offenses against the state.

She added that a more sinister ploy was to slap charges under the UAPA only on the day of the arrest on June 6 and then not producing Gadling in open court during the day, where he could argue against his arrest. She claimed this was to ensure his prolonged detention in police custody – the UAPA allows an accused to be kept in jail for three months without bail.

Susan Abraham, who represented Gadling and others before the court of Judge Bhaisare in Pune, told Asia Times that Gadling was not produced in court because police claimed it was too dangerous for a high-profile accused. On June 7, the Magistrate was hurriedly called to the court and he sent Gadling to eight days’ police custody. She said Gadling had never met the lawyer who appeared on his behalf and never gave the lawyer permission to represent him.

According to Abraham, the police embarked on this course of action because they knew that if Gadling argued his case himself, being the seasoned litigator that he was, they would be left red-faced and their case would collapse.

Abraham told Asia Times that Senior Advocate Mihir Desai would argue Gadling’s habeas corpus petition against illegal arrest and detention before the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench on Friday.

Alleging guilt by association

Noted criminal lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan said Gadling and others were being hounded and implicated because they stand up against the state.

She said there was a provision in the now-repealed Terrorism And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act under which lawyers who defended political prisoners used to be arrested and jailed. The same is being done now, she claimed – alleging guilt by association.

Speakers at the press conference criticized the media for running a parallel trial of the arrestees and distorting public opinion, as well as trying to influence judicial outcomes in the case.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

The California – New Mexico Nuclear Connection

By James Heddle | CounterPunch | June 7, 2018

Target: ‘Nuclear Alley,’ New Mexico

In the past few weeks – un-reported in the scandal/crisis-pre-occupied American main stream media – New Mexico has become the epicenter of an on-going national controversy: how to responsibly manage the tons of radioactive waste accumulated at all the nuclear energy reactors around the country so far in the Nuclear Age.

Why, New Mexicans and others around the country are asking, has this region suddenly become the potential target destination for all of America’s radioactive waste?

Will the Shimkus Bill ‘Bring Death to New Mexico’?

New Mexico cattle rancher Ed Hughs is one of the many around that state and the country who think so.

Having, with his neighbors, just successfully fought off a proposed deep bore hole nuclear waste depository next to his ranch in Quey County, NM, Hughs told a recent Roswell, New Mexico NRC meeting to rousing applause,

“There are a lot of questions that have not been answered. One of the questions, how do you retrieve if there are accidents? How do you monitor? How do you repair? Those questions have not been answered. So I guess in summing up I want to say that the Holtec and Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, and I agree with an earlier statement that, you know, you aren’t bad people in the sense that you are trying to do us harm, but you are making a huge mistake…. You are in fact proposing to bring death to New Mexico.”

Yucca Redux and the ‘Fukushima Freeway’

The Congressional trigger to this rising national controversy is the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 2018, HR 3053, known as the Shimkus Bill, which recently passed the House on its way to the Senate.

It calls for restarting the failed Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada, and establishing a system of Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) sites for radioactive waste around the country until Yucca is operational.

First on the list of possible ‘temporary’ CIS nuke dumps is a site proposed by Holtec International and the local Eddy-Lea Alliance just outside Hobbs, New Mexico. It’s just over the border from Andrews, Co., Texas – where another high level nuke waste dump is also being proposed by Waste Control Specialists, which already operates a controversial toxic materials dump in the area.

In early may, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a series of five so-called ‘scoping’ meeting around New Mexico to take public comments on the Holtec/Eddy-Lea site proposal.

Proponents of the dump tout it as a regional economic boon and a patriotic service to the nation.

Opponents see it as a public health, environmental and economic disaster waiting to happen that could ruin the region’s thriving dairy ranching, pecan growing and oil drilling industries.

Planned to eventually hold more metric tons of waste than Yucca Mtn. itself will be designed for, the Hobbs site could well become – if the Yucca site never gets built – America’s de facto national dump site, and make the region a national ‘nuclear sacrifice area.’

The region targeted for the proposed ‘interim’ radioactive waste storage sites is already known to the region’s population as ‘nuclear alley.’

Welcome to Nuclear Alley

Nuclear Alley is on the edge of one of the world’s richest and – currently on pace to be – most productive petroleum patches: the Permian Basin, which straddles the New Mexico-Texas border.

We traveled there recently for our forthcoming documentary series on the shutdown and decommissioning of California’s last remaining nuclear energy plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. We also wanted to express our support of the groups resisting the ill-conceived consolidated interim storage agenda.

Along with the coming cascade of waste from other scheduled nuclear power reactor shutdowns around the country, California’s radioactive waste could well be headed for New Mexico… if the proposed Holtec and WCS ‘Consolidated Interim Storage’ sites are licensed by the industry-captured NRC.

Oil Patch Central

To get to this region we flew into Midland, Texas. The thriving city is a prime beneficiary of the area’s present oil- and gas-fueled economic boom. As we got off the plane, we entered a bustling airport space dominated by a battery of animated electronic screens showing glitzy ads – not for consumer goods – but for the region’s thriving, readily available, fracking and oil drilling services and products.

From Midland we headed to Eunice, New Mexico, an epicenter of New Mexico’s Nuclear Alley. To get there, we drove through endlessly flat countryside dotted every few yards stretching to the horizon with temporarily dormant or busily functioning oil pumps.

Rose Gardner is a feisty Hispanic grandmother and co-founder of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies organization in opposition to the Holtec dump.  In keeping with her name, she runs a flower shop on the Main Street of Eunice.

The little town’s local landscape is dominated by the presence, just five minutes up the highway, of Waste Control Specialists’ toxic waste materials site – where WCS is proposing adding a new CIS ‘parking lot’ nuclear dumpsite.

Just next-door to WCS is the Urenco uranium enrichment facility, which supplies much of the fuel for the country’s nuclear power reactors.  [A January, 2018 NRC Inspection Report noted both a security violation and the loss of criticality controls at this Urenco plant.]

Both proposed sites are about 40 miles from the now infamous Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), where more than 171,000 waste containers are stored in salt caverns 2,100 feet underground.

Touted as the demonstration ‘Flagship’ model for the feasibility of long-term deep geological radioactive storage facilities for nuclear weapons waste, and advertised to last for thousands of years, WIPP experienced underground fires and explosions on February 14, 2014, after only 15 years of operation.

The disaster caused a major radiation release of plutonium and americium that contaminated at least 22 workers. The release was tracked by monitors and acknowledged by DOE as far away as 26 miles.

Reports the LA Times “the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.”

But, says the Southwest Research and Information Center’s Dan Hancock, “There is no question the Energy Department has downplayed the significance of the accident.”

Diagnosed as being caused by the use of the use of ‘organic cat litter’ in the storage barrels, the WIPP disaster was dubbed a ‘comedy of errors’ by commentators around the world. Not to worry. Sustaining such huge potential costs (that are charged to the state of New Mexico) WIPP is now again accepting waste – presumably packed with the right brand of inorganic kitty litter.

Cui Bono?

Guiding us on a tour of the local Eunice roadside attractions, Rose showed us a sprawling, sun-baked trailer park, on land owned by a local politician. The bleak dusty field is home for many of the workers at the town’s two dominant facilities.

If WCS succeeds in getting an NRC license for a CIS site here, the workers’ ranks will expand, and so will the trailer park owner’s profits. That’s one of the ‘economic benefits,’ Rose noted to us wryly, that are loudly touted by the region’s CIS advocates.

“This crap that could kill us!”

Speaking at the NRC’s first regional meeting in Roswell, Gardner told the standing-room-only crowd,

This isn’t the right thing to do. It’s an injustice to this state, to this community…. Most of the people in this area are like me, Brown-skinned or darker. We’re already poor. We don’t have insurance. We speak another language and we’re at least 50 percent here. And that’s an environmental injustice because they’re basically saying it’s okay… because those people aren’t going to speak up, because they can get run over just like they’ve been run over for the last several hundred years.

I’m here to tell Holtec, ‘Hell No, we don’t want it!’ I am so sick and tired of all these big companies coming into New Mexico or close to my town in Eunice, wanting to give us all this crap. This crap that could kill us!

New Mexico as ‘National Sacrifice Area?’

Leona Morgan, a fiery young Diné [Navajo] community organizer and co-founder of  New Mexico’s Nuclear Issues Study Group, expands on Rose’s points.

“Starting with uranium mining and milling,” she says, “to modern weapons production, uranium enrichment, and storage of low-level and transuranic wastes, New Mexico has been targeted as a national sacrifice zone for too long,”

“New Mexico is the birthplace of nuclear colonialism,” Morgan points out. “We have been impacted by just about every step in the nuclear fuel chain! We did not generate this waste from nuclear reactors that is intended to come here. So why should we take it? As a state with many indigenous nations and people of color, and being at the tail end of several measures of quality of life, it is environmental racism at its core to keep dumping on New Mexico. And it’s time to stop!”

Speaking to the NRC meeting in Hobbs, New Mexico, Morgan gave a greeting in her native language and went on to remind the group that they were assembling on land originally stolen from the Mescalero Apache and Comanche tribes. “The things I want to talk about,” she said, “have to do with indigenous rights across the nation.“

“How many of you from the NRC or any of the regulating Agencies are aware,” she asked, “of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Or, for that matter, any of the elected officials here, how many of you know about this document called the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passed in 2008?”

She scanned the crowd.

“Okay, let the record show no hands going up. How many of you are aware of the Organization of American States’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?“

She glanced around at the blank official faces.

“Okay, again, nobody’s hands went up. This was passed in 2016 and so I’d like to read directly from this Declaration.”

She went on to quote language from the Declarations’ Articles declaring that

Article 19: Indigenous peoples are entitled to be protected against the introduction of abandonment, dispersion, transit, indiscriminate use or deposit of any harmful substance that could negatively affect indigenous communities’ lands, territories, and resources.

And that

Article 22: The indigenous law and legal systems shall be recognized and respected by the national, regional, and international legal systems

“The reason I’m reading this,” she told the meeting, “is because it cites that the Federal Government needs to recognize tribal law.”

“Specifically with my tribe, the Navajo nation, we have a law against the transport of radioactive materials through our lands.

“So, if this transport should occur, it’s directly violating our tribe’s laws that were put in place because of all the history and the health impacts of the horrendous things that the United States did, not just going back to the genocide of our people but more recently, the exploitation of uranium on our lands.

“And so we have a law against uranium mining and we have a law against transport because we’ve already suffered the impacts from these industries for United States imperialism and capitalism. And so that did not benefit our people. We wrote these laws for the protection of our future generations, however, they are not being respected here.”

Based on indigenous historical experience, it would be a pleasant surprise if such legal provisions were ruled to be within the scope of the NRC’s consideration of the Eddy-Lea/Holtec license application for their proposed project.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

The Eddy-Lea Alliance Project’s point man and lead salesman is John Heaton, a former member of the NM state legislature and current Chairman of the Alliance.

The Alliance is a limited liability corporation made up of 8 people appointed by the Councils of Hobbs, Lea, Eddy and Carlsbad counties. According to its promotional material it was “Formed Under the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) for Economic Development Purposes in 2006 & to Respond to Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Proposal from DOE.”

Heaton qualifies as what Eric Hoffer called a ‘True Believer’ in his 1951 best seller of that title. Heaton’s energetic sales-pitch is persuasive… at least to the uninformed.

As Heaton tells it, seeing opportunity in a recommendation by Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’ Nuclear Future for creation of ‘consent-based’ Centralized Interim Storage sites around the country, the Alliance believed it had secured what Heaton calls ‘an ideal site.’ It’s located 35 miles outside the town of Hobbs, and about equidistant from the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) outside Carlsbad.

Although ‘consent-based siting’ was recommended by Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission, the DOE has not finalized rules for how a state or community gives or denies consent. Already some cities have forced construction of highway bypasses around their metropolitan jurisdictions.

New Mexico’s ‘High Nuclear IQ’ vs. ‘Fear Mongering’

Heaton describes the proposed Eddy-Lea site as ‘dry’ and ‘seismically stable.’  In addition he says, because of all the existing neighboring facilities in Nuclear Alley, “we have what I call an area of the country with a very high nuclear IQ. The local population understands nuclear materials,” he claims, “and know they can now be handled competently.”

“This is deja vu for us,” an irritated Heaton told the NRC in its Hobbs meeting. “We went through this same thing with WIPP. We went through all the fear mongering. WIPP has shipped more than 12,000 shipments and traveled over 14 million miles. That’s like going to the moon and back 28 times, without a serious accident and absolutely no release.”

However, there are many members of that regional ‘high nuclear IQ population’ Heaton refers to who also remember that – touted as the country’s flagship deep geological nuclear waste repository, designed to remain secure for ten thousand years – WIPP suffered an explosion and release of plutonium in 2014, after a mere15 years of operation.

An ‘Ideal Site’ for Holtec

Having secured their ‘ideal site,’ the Alliance issued an RFP to potential contractors and chose Holtec. “Because,” Heaton says, “they are a great company with a fabulous record [and] have the best, safest, most secure system in the world.”

Joy Russell is a Holtec Vice President and nuclear engineer who is proud, she told us, of being both a West Point graduate and a co-designer of the Holtec transport cask modeled by the scaled-down inflatable replica being toured around the state by opponents as the growing Halt Holtec campaign gathers momentum.

She boasts that her company has been in the radioactive waste storage business for over 30 years, and that “sixty per cent of nuclear plants in the U.S. use Holtec dry storage equipment.”

“We have an impeccable safety record,” Russell told an NRC community meeting in Roswell, NM. “None of our equipment has ever experienced a safety issue, ‘leak,’ as you so call it.

But, I would like to point out,” she told the Roswell auditorium – packed 5-1 with opponents of the proposed project – in a tone dripping with ill-concealed condescension, “spent nuclear fuel is not a liquid, it can’t ‘leak’.”

Opponents cite a number of disquieting facts, which call Heaton and Russell’s confident public relations assertions into question.

Halt Holtec!

A group of New Mexico and Texas organizations, including the Nuclear Waste Study Group, the SEEDS Coalition, and Alliance For Environmental Strategies, started a ‘Halt Holtec’ campaign. They toured an inflated, scaled-down model of the kind of transport cask proposed by Holtec that would carry thousands of shipments of highly radioactive waste shipments through the nation’s towns and metropolitan areas on dilapidated highways, bridges and railway lines for the next 20 years or more.

One significant result of their campaign is that on Monday, May 21, the Albuquerque City Council, in a 4-3 vote, approved what it called a ‘memorial’ against the transportation of nuclear waste through the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Similar measures by other municipalities and counties along the potential shipment routes around the country are in the works.

Details and additional Cask Tour dates will be posted online at: 
www.facebook.com/HaltHoltec

Websites with more information:
   Here   Here    Here

‘Strange Bedfellows’

The Halt Holtec Campaign has quickly gathered strong momentum surprising both to its organizers, and the Holtec dump proponents, whose claim of ‘wide-spread regional public support’ has been totally debunked by the turnout in opposition to the project. Public statements have so far run 5-1 ‘against’ the proposed site in all five New Mexico NRC meetings.

At the recent series of NRC community meetings, this opposition was strong from a wide cross section of New Mexico and Texas demographic sectors, including Native American Tribes, growers, ranchers, the Jewish and Christian faith communities, and the powerful oil and gas fracking industry.

A regional leader of that booming industry is the Fasken Oil and Ranch company, which has been in business since 1913. Their representative, Jimmy Carlisle, explained his company’s position to the visiting NRC officials.

I work for Fasken Oil and Ranch based in Midland. We are an oil and gas company, but we also are a major landowner in the State of Texas.

We own some 200,000 net acres in the State of Texas. Our largest ranch is a 165,000 acre contiguous ranch just north and west of Midland.

The WCS site definitely comes into play in this discussion. The Holtec side, however, has the same issues … groundwater issues.

On our ranches [we depend on] everything we look at: we look at vegetation, we look at soil characteristics, we look at moisture in the soil, but the thing we watch the closest is the quantity and the quality of our groundwater.

Our company is the first one really in West Texas that made the determination to get off of use of fresh water in our drilling and fracking operations and we started recycling produced water and using brackish water as a result.

So we believe firmly that the freshwater issue is a major significance that has to be addressed.

Stressing that the State Engineer’s Office lacks definitive maps of the ground water aquifer locations in New Mexico, Carlisle told the NRC panel, “We’re not alone in this fight.”

Explaining that it had taken ‘less than two hours to get four letters of opposition from major landowners in West Texas, Carlisle concluded,

Groundwater, folks, is the lifeblood of the ranching business. If you don’t have groundwater you’d just own dirt. Think about that for a second.

The bottom line is we believe that this [Holtec] application and the WCS application need to be withdrawn.

A group letter from oil industry representatives to Holtec warned that Holtec and the Eddy-Lea Alliance would ‘need more money than God’ to compensate them if their project damaged the thriving drilling industry in the oil- and gas-rich Permian Basin, which is currently on pace to become the world’s most booming region of petroleum production.

“I don’t intend to let this thing run over us.”

Randy Prude, an influential county commissioner from Midland, Texas, told the Roswell NRC meeting that he had spent $2000 of his own money to fly Fasken representative Jimmy Carlisle and other opposition speakers to the event.

“I intend to organize all the ranchers and all the commissioner’s courts and everybody in all the governments in all this whole region,” Commissioner Prude went on.

I will tell you, I am an odd duck, I am a Republican — (Laughter) and this is not a Republican or a Democrat issue, this is an important issue to all of us….

I just cannot tell you the horror that could happen if we ever have an accident. And so I intend to organize all of our governments that are willing to listen….

I am going to get to all the ranchers and all the ranch oil men to contact their commissioners and their mayors and their representatives, house representatives, senators, and so forth, and I don’t intend to let this thing run over us.

The Permeable Permian

The contentions by dump proponents that the Eddy-Lea/Holtec site is ‘dry and seismically stable’ were repeatedly debunked by facts presented by opposing speakers.

Activists visiting the site, despite Heaton’s attempts to stop them, discovered clear signs that it contains a ‘playa,’ where seasonal rain water collects, feeding the ground water deposits and aquifer below.

The region’s most famous tourist attraction – the Carlsbad Cavern – was formed by such a subterranean body of water, the Capitan Reef Aquifer.

“It’s hard to think of a worse place to choose for placing an interim waste site,” consulting geologist Dr. Steve Schafersman told the meeting.

The area is surrounded by aquifers, some close, some far. The sediments and the sedimentary rock are porous and permeable. The thin barrier they claim is on the top is not sufficient. It’s just like the WCS site, which is really no better. So this is not a good place to put a hazardous waste site, especially one for nuclear waste.

There are soluble rocks below the site, limestone and rock salt. There is karst limestone in the area, which is a soluble limestone that develops caverns, the caverns collapse and sinkholes develop.

It is conceivable that a sinkhole would collapse and take down the depository with it, which would be a terrible, colossal tragedy. In addition there is the soluble Salado formation below that.

In West Texas unplugged wells carry fluids to this formation, the salt dissolves, and sinkholes develop. This is a matter of fact.

An Earth-Shaking Announcement of Seismic Significance

Several of the opposition speakers referred to a recently-published, peer-reviewed study in the March 16, 2018 issue of Nature, with the catchy title, ‘Association between localized geohazards in West Texas and human activities, recognized by Sentinel-1A/B satellite radar imagery.

The study by Southern Methodist University geophysicists Jin-Woo Kim and Zhong Lu reported literally earth-shaking findings.

It showed that, in the last two and a half years, large sections of the four Texas counties they studied, spanning a 4000-square-mile area, had shown ‘vertical deformation,’ that is, sunk or uplifted as much as 40 centimeters or nearly 16 inches.

“The ground movement we’re seeing is not normal. The ground doesn’t typically do this without some cause,” said co-author Zhong Lu, a recognized global expert in satellite radar imagery research.

“These hazards represent a danger to residents, roads, railroads, levees, dams, and oil and gas pipelines, as well as potential pollution of ground water,” Lu declared.

Co-author Jin-Woo Kim notes that, “This region of Texas has been punctured like a pin cushion with oil wells and injection wells since the 1940s and our findings associate that activity with ground movement.”

In fracking, liquid is injected into bore holes under pressure, then extracted, causing uplift while the wells are in operation, and subsidence when they are abandoned.

The researchers’ Nature article states,

… the rapid subsidence is likely induced by the freshwater impoundments from the nearby abandoned wells. During our field trip, we observed numerous recent ground fissures…. These growing fissures can allow the rainwater to swiftly flow down to the Salado formation and promote the dissolution of the salt layers. [ Thus causing subsidence. ]

Although their analysis focused on just that one 4000-square-mile area, Kim says, “We’re fairly certain that when we look further, and we are, that we’ll find there’s ground movement even beyond that.”

The area they’ve studied so far lies just adjacent to the two proposed storage sites in New Mexico and Texas.

The Oil Drilling and Fracking Connection – Oil & Nuclear Waste Don’t Mix

Evidence of the links between oil and gas extraction and earth movement are clear. Researching an unprecedented swarm of earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas, a 2016 Stanford University study published in Science found a direct connection between a quake series in Texas in 2012 and 2013, which included the largest on record, and the high volume injection of wastewater into oil and gas fracking wells that happened between 2005 and 2007. The high pressure forced water into fault zones and triggered the subsequent quakes, the study showed. Read more

One of the people Commissioner Randy Prude flew in to speak at the Roswell meeting was Cody Rogers. “I am an ex-Navy nuke,” he told the NRC. “I have operated nuclear reactors for eight years. I am a huge proponent of nuclear power. I think we need it. We have 99 operating nuclear reactors. We do not have anywhere to dispose of the spent fuel. This is a major, major problem and we have to fix it.

“I know we need a site” Rogers told the group. But the Eddy-Lea/Holtec site, he said emphatically, “is not it.”

“We [the U.S.] are on the cusp of being the world’s largest energy producer, okay. We are going to control oil very soon. We are going to control our own destiny. So West Texas is one of the most valuable places in the world right now, especially in the United States, and, because of this I implore you to look up the study from SMU. West Texas is sinking… fast!

“I know we need a site. This is not it. If this thing sinks and we get something like the WIPP accident, that was never supposed to happen, the environmental impact is forever, and if we lose West Texas oil, natural gas, the people of Roswell, the people of New Mexico, the people of Texas, the United States, we’re done.

”We’re not going back to Saudi Arabia and getting their oil. We need independence and this site is sinking and I truly believe that we need to look at that and study its environmental impact.”

Reputations and Rap Sheets

Opponents stress that entrusting the economic and environmental future of this area to companies with corporate histories like those of Holtec and Waste Control Specialists is a highly risky proposition.

Growth Industry

With aging reactors closing down around the country in an accelerating cascade – and with no ‘national permanent geological repository’ for their accumulated SNF in sight – decommissioning and radwaste storage are on pace to become major growth industries for some time to come.

Holtec’s visionary head Dr. Krishna Singh is positioning his huge company, based in Camden, New Jersey, to dominate both industries, as well as to be a leader in the manufacture of small modular reactors (SMRs), the failing nuclear energy industry’s latest bid for survival.

Back in October 2010, based on the results of a criminal investigation of bribery, conducted by its Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) debarred Holtec International, Inc. for sixty days. And fined it $2 million.

According to a TVA document,

Holtec agreed to pay a $2 million administrative fee and submit to independent monitoring of its operations for one year. The TVA Board’s Audit, Risk, and Regulation Committee and TVA management fully supported the OIG’s recommendation to create a suspension and debarment process and submit Holtec to that process. TVA’s Supply Chain organization and Office of General Counsel worked collaboratively with the OIG to achieve this milestone in TVA history. Why wasn’t the company permanently debarred? A subsequent Department of Justice document seems to suggest that a TVA employee may have been bribed by Holtec to falsify a financial disclosure report. Read more.

Meanwhile, just miles away on the other side of the state border in Texas, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and its new French partner Orano each have their own checkered pasts.

WCS was founded in 1989 as a landfill company by Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, who controlled it until his death in 2013. During that time, Simmons used his financial muscle and political connections to morph the site into a licensed low level waste dump with some highly questionable maneuvers.

His generous support for then Texas Governor, now Energy Secretary Rick Perry, no doubt eased his path. Critics allege that “Radioactive Rick” Perry appointees at key regulatory agencies bent rules on WCS’s behalf, including the Texas Water Development Board’s altering of maps showing that Simmons’ waste facility is located over part of the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies and supplies drinking and agricultural water for eight western bread basket states. Another water body, the Dockum Aquifer lies nearby as well. Many Texas environmental officials resigned in protest.

For its part, WCS’s new partner Orano, parent company of Orano USA, is a recent reincarnation of the radically reorganized French government-owned struggling reactor maker AREVA, after years of business losses brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.

These are the strange bedfellows hoping to profit from the nuclear energy industry’s decline by making New Mexico’s ‘nuclear alley’ America’s de facto radioactive waste repository for the foreseeable future.

There are several things wrong with this scenario, not the least of which, as noted, is that poor and minority residents make up a large portion of the population in and around ‘Nuclear Alley.’

Until and unless the existing Nuclear Waste Policy Act is changed by currently proposed, but not yet enacted legislation, licensing of these CIS sites will be illegal. This is because the Act requires that a permanent repository is approved before any consolidated interim storage site can be licensed.

If the NRC were to license the sites without a central repository being established, they would likely become in effect the national dump, because utilities would probably stop lobbying for – and lawmakers could be less inclined to authorize funding for – establishing a central repository.

If that happens, thousands of shipments of deadly radioactive waste will be moving daily along rail and truck transportation corridors, through our nation’s population centers, for decades to come.

A Shell Game of Nuclear Russian Roulette on Wheels

Eddy-Lea/Holtec project proponents are fond of citing the transport record claimed by the Navy, which proudly states that it has been shipping both new and used nuclear fuel cross-country by rail for over 60 years without mishap.

However the Navy admits that, “All shipments [are] classified (security) and invoke the Department of Transportation (DOT) National Security Exemption (49CFR173.7b).” It claims that 850 spent fuel containers have been safely shipped from March, 1957 to the present.

However, no radioactive labels and placards are ever used in these boxcar and flatcar shipments, and there is no advance notification given to authorities along the route, so reports of any incidents that may have occurred would also be classified – secret for ‘security reasons.’

Those 850 shipments over 6 decades are far fewer than the estimated 17,000 shipments it would take to move the projected 173,000 metric tons of radioactive SNF from US nuclear plants to the Eddy-Lea/Holtec site across the entire lower 48 states in the coming years.

Government documents show that other details of Navy shipping methods make them significantly different than those anticipated for the Shimkus Bill’s proposed nation-wide rail, highway and barge transport network:

+ Transport has been along only one specific rail route;

+ The Navy uses a different containment system than the Holtec transport cask;

+ Each Navy transport cask holds just 1/10th of what is planned for each Holtec spent fuel canister.

Itemizing Nuclear Transport Risks

Kevin Kamps from the Washington DC-based group Beyond Nuclear traveled to New Mexico to show his organization’s solidarity with the Halt Holtec movement and to share knowledge gained from a professional life spent campaigning for nuclear safety.

His hand-out list of the documented high risks involved in transporting highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel, whether by train, truck, or barge, on rails, roads, or waterways included “high-speed crashes into immovable objects, like bridge abutments, or high-temperature long-duration fires, or long-duration underwater submergence.”

“Intentional attacks,” he warned, “such as by anti-tank missiles or shaped charges, could also breach shipping containers and release their contents into the environment.”

Since Holtec has claimed in its license application that any and all NRC certified canisters can be accommodated at this facility, Kamps explained, not only rail-sized shipping containers must be worried about, but also legal weight limits for the truck casks which would travel on interstate highways throughout the country.

“X-Ray Machines that can’t be Turned Off”

Contrary to Holtec VP Joy Russell’s reassurance that, since spent fuel shipments aren’t liquid, “they can’t leak,” all shipments would emit dangerous gamma and neutron radiation for several yards in every direction, dissipating with distance. Because of the large expense and added weight necessary to provide shielding against these gamma and neutron emissions, the NRC has set ‘allowable’ limits.

“But,” Kamps reminded the meeting, “Allowable does not mean safe. Any exposure to ionizing radioactivity carries a health risk, and these risks accumulate over a lifetime.”

According to NRC guidelines, at six feet away from the container’s exterior surface, a dose rate of 10 millirem per hour is allowed – about one to two chest x-rays’ worth per hour.

At the exterior surface of the container, the allowable dose rate increases dramatically to 200 millirem per hour. That’s 20 to 40 chest x-rays’ worth.

But workers, such as truck drivers, locomotive engineers, inspectors, security guards, and the like, who come in very close physical proximity into the shipping container would be exposed to the highest radiation dose rates.

Even innocent passersby and bystanders in the general public would also be exposed, including those who live close to transport routes exposed to large numbers of shipments going by over time.

Some people, Kamps noted, such as pregnant women, should not be exposed to any radiation dose that can be avoided due to the high risk of harm caused to the fetus in the womb.

He reported that the state of Nevada, based on federal government data, has documented 49 incidents of accidental surface contamination on these highly radioactive waste shipments between the years of 1949 and 1996.

And in France, Areva Corporation has had many hundreds of externally contaminated shipments, a full one-quarter to one-third of all shipments bound for the La Hague reprocessing facility. On average, these French contamination incidents emitted 500 times the allowable radiation dose rates. One even emitted 3,300 times the allowable dose rate.

De Facto National Dump in Disguise?

But, perhaps the greatest danger to be considered by New Mexicans, Kamps, warned, is the “question of temporary versus permanent.”

This is the danger, Kemps says, of so-called centralized or consolidated interim storage facilities becoming actually de facto permanent surface storage parking lot dumps.

Holtec-ELEA have applied for a permit to NRC to store irradiated nuclear fuel here for 40 years. But this time period could, as they admit, be extended to 120 years.

But, Kamps’ research shows that, on page 12 of a January 27th, 2017 report that Holtec prepared and submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Andrew Griffith over company Vice President Joy Russell’s signature, Holtec’s response to the DOE request for proposal on centralized interim storage, stated that “the CIS should have a minimum service life of 300 years.”

“How can 40 years be called temporary, let alone 300?” Kemps asked the gathering. “That’s longer than the United States has been a country.”

“So, just to end with some political reality,” he said, “If this waste comes out here, it would turn out to be one New Mexico member of the United States House of Representatives versus 434 others for it to ever move again. And in the U.S. Senate it would be a vote of 98 against 2.”

“So,” Kemps concluded, “folks had better think about this deeply before it’s allowed to come out here.”

‘Chernobyl in a Can’

Expanding on the theme of transportation risks, EON producer, Mary Beth Brangan pointed out that “Every one of these canisters that would be coming would contain roughly as much cesium alone, as was released in the Chernobyl accident. Every canister. […]

“My partner and I are here,” Brangan told the meeting, “because we’re very, very concerned about this. And I want to assure you there are other Californians who do not want to send their radioactive waste here.

“We don’t want to do that for a great many reasons but the first one is its environmental racism, and we really object to the concept of putting anymore of the burden of the nation’s radioactivity on your communities,” she said to appreciative applause.

We were not the only concerned Californians who came to the NRC’s New Mexico scoping meetings to say, “We don’t want our radioactive waste dumped on you.”

Another was Southern California urban planner and community organizer Torgen Johnson, whose efforts helped shut down San Onofre’s reactors. He flew in to the Albuquerque meeting to show support for the Halt Holtec Campaign and network with regional organizers.

“The New Mexico people hammered Holtec and the NRC,” he reported. “They didn’t need our help, but they welcomed our solidarity. It was so great and encouraging to hear these well-informed, passionate and articulate people expressing the same concerns we have at the other end of the potential rail line.”

Johnson says he heard testimonies from down-winders of the 1945 Trinity test with long, tragic family histories of cancer and health impacts. Being among them, he says, deepened his understanding of the human rights, social justice and environmental issues at stake, and his commitment to continued public education about them.

What impressed him, he says, is the realization of the “Link between the low income, red and brown people in New Mexico and wealthy white people in Southern California – both being victimized by the plans and decisions of Holtec and the NRC.”

“Its a representative cross-section of America” he says, “united against the onslaught of the nuclear waste disposal industry.”

Sharon and Ace Hoffman, whose efforts had also contributed to the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant, attended several of the meetings to share their experience and voice their solidarity with the Halt Holtec movement.

“We are very happy that San Onofre is closed,” Sharon Hoffman said.  “It is a really bad place for the waste. But that doesn’t mean that we solve the problem by moving it to a different place. We have to look at the transportation. We are talking about moving the most dangerous stuff on the planet all over the country. And if we moved it all today, we would have more tomorrow.

“So the real question here is, when are we going to shut down all these plants and stop making more waste? That’s really the problem.

“This is a beautiful place,“ she concluded. “And it might be contaminated forever. This is not something that you want to take on for the rest of the country. Yes, you can help the rest of the country. You can say, stop making this, and then let’s figure out together the best thing to do with what is left.”

“I am a stakeholder,” Ace Hoffman told the assembly. “I am from Carlsbad. Not Carlsbad, New Mexico; Carlsbad, California, which is about 15 miles as the crow flies, or the plutonium flies, from San Onofre. So it was very important to me that we do something about this waste.”

Based on his experience of the NRC’s actions during the controversy about shutting down San Onofre, Hoffman warned his New Mexico counterparts, “don’t expect anyone to be telling you the truth about what is possible or what is going to happen. And I strongly advise — even though I would love to get rid of the waste, and I would love to find a sucker that will take it — don’t be that sucker.”

From the Mouths of Babes…

But it was the little daughter of artist and prominent Halt Holtec campaigner Noel Marquez who perhaps best summarized New Mexico’s majority view that emerged from the 5 meetings held around the state on the Elea-Holtec proposed dump site.

When the moderator, Chip Cameron offered to hold the mike for her, she responded, “I can hold it myself. Thank you.”

Handling the mike with confident ease, she continued, “My name is Pakeia Marquez and I am 11 years old. I’m here on behalf of unborn kids and born kids like me. I think this whole situation is very important because it affects everything and everybody. It affects the plants and wildlife around here.

“I have recently been writing an essay about ecosystems. I read that ecosystems can be very easily poisoned through water, air, and soil. Water, if all this radiation leaks into the water, everything that’s living needs water. It’s going to suck up all of that, and it’s going to get poisoned. Who is going to, like, you know, reimburse us for it?

“You may think you might be solving a problem, but really you’re just creating more problems to solve, and they might just be forever, and you might just not be able to solve them.

“Please remember that I cannot vote,” she told the NRC officials. “So please do vote against this horrible mistake. Thank you.”

The applause was loud and long as Pakeia Marquez made her way back to her seat.

James Heddle is a filmmaker and writer who co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan. Their forthcoming documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection Pt. ! – The Case of San Onofre is now in post-production. He can be reached at jamesmheddle@gmail.com

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 8 Comments

May welcomes Netanyahu despite atrocities against Palestinians

PressTVUK | Jun 8, 2018

“You shouldn’t be receiving this war criminal!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is welcomed by EU leaders during European tour but condemned by protestors for crimes against Palestinians at every turn. Amina Taylor files this report.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel scores painful own goal in run-up to the World Cup

By James M. Dorsey | The Turbulent World of Mideast Soccer | June 6, 2018

Argentina’s cancellation of a friendly against Israel because of Israeli attempts to exploit the match politically is likely to reverberate far beyond the world of soccer and spotlights the risks of Israeli efforts to persuade the international community to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.

The Argentinian decision suggests that despite the fact several countries, including East European nations, are debating whether to follow US President Donald J. Trump’s decision earlier this year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and move the US embassy to the city, Israel is likely to find it difficult to capitalize on the US move in ways that convincingly project widespread international support.

Even worse, the decision illustrates that efforts to force recognition could backfire.

The Argentinian move has buoyed the grassroots Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to isolate Israel in non-violent defense of Palestinian rights after Israel has made countering the movement one of its top foreign policy objectives.

“The cancellation of Israel’s ‘friendly’ match with Argentina is a boost to the Red Card Israel campaign, which has called on FIFA to expel Israel – as it expelled apartheid South Africa – due to its violations against Palestinian football and its disregard for FIFA statutes,” BDS said in a statement.

The cancellation is BDS’s greatest success to date. Before that, it had only persuaded a small number of artists and organizations to boycott Israel.

An online campaign late last year convinced New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde to cancel a planned concert in Israel. She followed other artists who have cancelled performances, including Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill and Gorillaz.

The Argentinian decision has prompted concern that it could become the model for similar efforts in the future. One immediate target could be Israel’s scheduled hosting next year of the Eurovision song contest.

Argentina decided to cancel the match in the run-up to this month’s World Cup in Russia after Israel insisted on moving it from the Mediterranean port city of Haifa, home to Israel’s best stadium, to Jerusalem as part of the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Tickets for the Jerusalem match had sold out quickly.

The Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and Argentinian media said the decision was in response to a series of unidentified “threats and provocations” against star player Lionel Messi and his wife.

“Since they announced they would play against Israel, various terror groups have been sending messages and letters to players on the Argentina national team and their relatives, including clear threats to hurt them and their families. These included video clips of dead children,” said hard-line Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, whom many hold responsible for Israel’s public relations fiasco.

Ms. Regev was referring to video clips that had been circulated by the Islamic State, including pictures of Mr. Messi in an orange jumpsuit and ones that insinuated his beheading. A Palestinian campaign against playing the match in Jerusalem involved images of Mr. Messi’s white and sky-blue striped jersey stained with red paint resembling blood and threats to burn Messi posters.

The Palestine Football Federation (PFF) had early called on its Argentinian counterpart to cancel the match because of the move to Jerusalem, which it described as a violation of world soccer body FIFA’s principle of a separation of sports and politics.

PFF president Jibril Rajoub also urged Palestinian fans to burn pictures of Messi and replicas of his shirt if he played in the match in Jerusalem.

“He’s a big symbol so we are going to target him personally, and we call on all to burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him. We still hope that Messi will not come,” Mr Rajoub said after talks with Argentinian diplomats based in the West Bank city of Ramallah prior to the cancellation.

It was FIFA’s ban on political interference in soccer that persuaded Argentine President Mauricio Macri to reject a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to pre-empt the cancellation of the match.

The Israeli failure to have the match played in Jerusalem strengthens not only the BDS movement.

It also boosts Mr. Rajoub’s so far unsuccessful effort to persuade FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to impose sanctions against Israel because of the Israeli settlements in occupied territory and travel restrictions on Palestinian players and other allegedly security-related measures that hinder the development of Palestinian soccer.

Mr. Rajoub and a liberal Israeli newspaper put responsibility for the soccer fiasco at the doorstep of Ms. Regev.

“She’s the main culprit for legitimizing Argentina’s decision not to come… Beyond squandering millions in taxpayer money, in forcing the game to move to Jerusalem, Regev displayed gross intervention… If the game had stayed in Haifa, it would have happened… There’s a saying that a thousand wise men can’t rescue a coin thrown into a well by a fool…. All it takes is one fool to burn down a forest,” said Haaretz reporter Uzi Dann in an article entitled, Who Needs BDS: Israel Scores Spectacular Own Goal in Argentina Soccer Fiasco.

“Instead of soccer, Miri Regev wanted politics and she got politics… It’s a great farce that gives immense momentum to the BDS campaign against Israel”, added Itzik Shmuli, a centre-left member of the Israeli parliament.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin appeared to echo the sentiment by saying that “the politicization of the Argentinean move worries me greatly” even if he blamed the Argentinians for involving politics by cancelling the match.

Assertions by Israeli officials that the Argentinian decision had handed a victory to terrorism may go down well with hard-line public opinion in Israel as well as supporters of Israel across the globe but is unlikely to help Israel forge bridges to opponents of its policies or facilitate its efforts to get a broader international buy-in of its insistence that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the Jewish state.

Israeli opposition leader Avi Gabbay pinpointed the potential fall-out of the cancellation of the match when he warned on Twitter: “We just absorbed a shot in the face. This is not just sports. This, unfortunately, could start an international tsunami.”


Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title as well as Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario,  Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa, and the forthcoming China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment