Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Hastily-Buried Radioactive Waste Lays Bare Nuclear Power Legacy

Sputnik – 11.02.2019

Over 126,000 barrels of radioactive material are stored in the Asse mine in Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany bordering the North Sea, a fact that has many locals – as well as the global anti-nuke community – frustrated.

Manfred Kramer, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, lives close to the Asse salt mine in which the decaying waste is stored and — while acknowledging that politicians are finally beginning to take notice — has long protested against having radioactive waste in the old mine, Tekportal reported.

“It’s nice that she’s finally coming,” Kramer said, referring to Environment Minister Svenja Schulze’s upcoming visit to the mine, which was originally used for the extraction of potash salt until 1965. “Soon she’ll have been in office for a year. It sure took a while!” he quipped, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Three generations operated nuclear power in Germany, and now 30 generations or even more will have to suffer the consequences,” Schulze noted, adding, “this is proof of how irresponsible nuclear energy was.”

According to mining engineer Thomas Lautsch, who works for BGE, Germany’s federal company for radioactive waste disposal, the retrieval of the nuclear waste from the mine will be complicated and expensive, at a minimum.

“We would have to build a retrieval mine, which is more than simply just a new shaft. We would also need an interim storage facility for the waste, and we would have to create many new shafts to gain access to the individual chambers,” he said, cited by Msn.com.

The construction phase of the project alone could take eight or nine years, according to studies.

Because the old mine shafts do not meet current legal standards for the ten-thousand-year storage of nuclear waste, a new mine must be built around the old mine.

“The barrels must be finally and safely disposed of somewhere else in the country,” Kramer noted, “should they actually able to be retrieved by 2050.”

The mine, developed between 1906-1908, has a depth of around 765 meters. Between 1965-1995, the Helmholtz Zentrum München (a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers responsible for studying environmental health issues) took the unprecedented step of using the mine to store the nation’s radioactive waste, including weapon detritus, medical offal and power plant leavings.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

‘Secret’ Pentagon Report: Climate Catastrophe Due Next Year

By Paul Matthews | Climate scepticism | January 18, 2019

A classic from the Guardian/Observer archives, from February 2004:

The article is so absurd that it hardly needs any commentary. After explaining that Britain will be Siberian by next year according to a suppressed report, it goes on to claim that the ‘findings’ of the report will embarrass the climate-denying president:

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Later on we are told more details of the catastrophes that will occur by 2020:

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. ‘This is depressing stuff,’ he said. ‘It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.’

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. ‘We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,’ he said.

Of course the authors of the report, Randall and Schwartz, aren’t climate scientists. But their report gets the glowing endorsement of two leading UK climate scientists — Sir John Houghton, former boss of the Met Office and IPCC co-chair, and former IPCC chair Bob Watson:

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office – and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism – said: ‘If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.’

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon’s dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

‘Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It’s going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush’s single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,’ added Watson.

Hugely embarrassing indeed, but for Watson, not Bush. Why would a senior scientist like Bob Watson say that a report claiming global catastrophe by 2020 is non-wacko and should be taken seriously? Well there’s a hint that politics may be a factor, later on in the article:

So dramatic are the report’s scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush’s stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry’s cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed ‘Yoda’ by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence’s push on ballistic-missile defence.

Is it not rather worrying that the defence of the USA is in the hands of people who produce such garbage?


This Pentagon report was cited in a recent article Climate Change and National Security, Part II: How Big a Threat is the Climate?

The consequences of abrupt, severe warming for national security are obvious in general, if unclear in the specifics. In 2003, the Defense Department asked a contractor to explore such a scenario. The resulting report outlined the offensive and defensive national security strategies countries may adopt if faced with abrupt climate change, and highlighted the increased risk of inter- and intra-state conflict over natural resources and immigration. Although the report may be off in its imagined timeframe (positing abrupt climate change by 2020), the world it conjures is improbable but not outlandish.

This is a bit like the doomsday cults that say that the world is going to end this year, and then when that doesn’t happen, say it’s going to happen next year. Even more comically, a few paragraphs before acknowledging that the 2003 report got it wrong, the article claims that “Scientists can predict the consequences of climate change to 2050 with some measure of certainty”.

That article also provides a link to the Pentagon climate report by Schwartz and Randall, dated October 2003.

By looking at the report, we can see to what extent it is in itself complete nonsense, and to what extent it was misrepresented by the Observer’s journalists. As usual in the game of Climate Chinese Whispers, there’s an element of both. The report starts with a boxed disclaimer, acknowledging that “We have created a climate change scenario that although not the most likely, is plausible, and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately.” The Observer journalists Townsend and Harris quite dishonestly only quote the second half of that sentence.

The report plays a common climate game — we’re not making a prediction, we’re setting out a scenario — but then sets out its scenario like this:

thereby making it very easy for a journalist to accidentally or deliberately interpret it as a prediction.

Where did Schwartz and Randall get all this from? Did they just make it up? At the beginning, they say that they “interviewed leading climate change scientists, conducted additional research, and reviewed several iterations of the scenario with these experts.”

But who were these leading climate scientists? As far as I can see, only one climate scientist is mentioned in the report — notorious fraudster Peter Gleick.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Man’s testicles tasered during horrific police arrest

RT | February 10, 2019

Disturbing bodycam video shows Arizona cops tasering a man 11 times, including on the testicles, as his horrified family scream for them to stop. The police are now being sued for “excessive force and torture.”

The nightmare tasering began when Glendale police officers approached a vehicle for a signal turn violation in July 2017. Johnny Wheatcroft was in the front passenger seat, while his wife Anya Chapman and their 11 and six-year-old sons sat in the back. A friend of the family was driving.

Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey asked Wheatcroft for his ID and he inquired why he had to show it, as he was not driving the vehicle. Police allege he went to stuff something in his backpack, and, after pressing the taser against his arm and telling him to “relax,” Schneider twisted Wheatcroft’s arm behind his back and pulled him from the car while still restrained by his seat belt.

The officer began tasering him when he was half out of the vehicle, before they pulled him to the ground and continued to tase him. Even after Wheatcroft was dragged on the ground towards the back of the car, his feet remained entangled in the seat belt. His older son leaned into the front seat to open the belt to free his father, prompting Schneider to shout at him, causing the boy to burst into tears.

Glendale police said in a statement that Wheatcroft “exhibited verbal non-compliance by refusing to identify himself and failed to obey the officer’s instructions.” Chapman reportedly swung a bag of bottles at Lindsey’s head during the incident, although this can’t be seen clearly in the video.

Horrifyingly, Schneider is next seen pulling Wheatcroft’s shorts down and placing the taser on the handcuffed man’s testicles. The lawsuit filed by the couple reports Schneider tased his testicles and perineum. He then placed the taser on his penis and said, “You want it again? Shut your mouth. I’m done f*cking around with you.”

Another officer held a handgun to his head and Wheatcroft was kicked in the groin.

According to the suit and the police’s own admission, the officers used a “drive stun” method, in which the taser is pressed against a person before being fired. Glendale police also released a 30 second CCTV video of the incident taken from a distance.

The pair were arrested and charged with aggravated assault and physically resisting arrest. They were both in jail for months as they couldn’t afford bail before Chapman pled guilty to a lesser charge so she could be released to look after her children.

Wheatcroft’s charges were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the bodycam video, which his lawyers released to media outlets.

Schneider was suspended for three days after the incident, Glendale police said.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , | 9 Comments

Hamas lauds recent calls for democratic elections in Palestine

Palestine Information Center – February 10, 2019

Member of Hamas Political Bureau Husam Badran said Hamas welcomes the invitation of the Palestinian Democratic Gathering to hold general and democratic elections in Palestine.

Commenting on the call of the Palestinian Democratic Gathering to hold Palestinian general elections, Badran said Hamas Movement stresses that it fully supports holding general elections supervised by a national unity government that is formed by consensus.

Badran reiterated his movement’s commitment to cooperate with all the Palestinian factions and parties in order to get over the internal political crisis and the disappointing performance by the incumbent government regarding the Palestinian reconciliation project.

Hamas said it is ready to take part in a comprehensive national dialogue that would be held unconditionally. It also stressed its firm rejection of power monopolization and unilateralism by the ruling Palestinian factions.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Iran ready to help new Lebanon government upon request: FM Zarif

Press TV – February 10, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran is ready to cooperate with the new Lebanese government in all sectors.

“If the Lebanese government demands, Iran is ready to cooperate with this country in all fields,” Zarif told reporters in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Sunday, shortly after his arrival for a two-day official visit.

Zarif congratulated the Lebanese on the formation of a new national unity government and said he was there to express Iran’s solidarity with Lebanon.

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that Lebanon is the symbol of resistance in the Middle East.

Zarif is scheduled to hold talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Monday.

The Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Beirut came a few weeks after Lebanon’s presidency announced the formation of the new national unity government, putting an end to a nine-month stalemate on the political stage, which fueled the Arab country’s economic woes.

The new government, headed by Hariri, includes 30 ministers from most Lebanese political factions, which have been in talks after the country in May 2018 held its first parliamentary elections in nine years.

Earlier this week, the secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah strongly dismissed latest allegations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the movement is in control of the Lebanese government, stressing the new administration belongs to all political factions participating in it.

The Israeli premier is “provoking the United States, European countries and the [Persian] Gulf states against the Lebanese government, claiming that it is controlled by Hezbollah. Such false claims have serious international repercussions,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from Beirut.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 2 Comments