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Norway Opens Up for Nuclear-Powered Allied Submarines’ Port Calls Despite Local Resistance

Sputnik – 08.11.2019

According to local media, the presence of international submarines in Norwegian waters has tripled. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

Soon, nuclear-powered submarines will become commonplace near the centre of Norway’s largest Arctic city of Tromso, Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen confirmed to the military newspaper Forsvarets Forum.

According to the minister, work is currently underway to prepare for port calls by allied nuclear-powered vessels at the Grotsund industrial port in Tonsnes. No exact time frame has been given, but it is assumed that the work will be completed over the next few months.

This means that warships of all calibre calling in for maintenance, logistics, or to rest their crews may become a common sight for the inhabitants of Tromso.

“Grotsund industrial port has been chosen as a port of call in Northern Norway because of a suitable dock and and good infrastructure in the area. This will be a permanent offering to our allies”, Bakke-Jensen said, describing the arrival of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the allied activity in Norway and surrounding areas.

Bakke-Jensen estimated the future number of calls at four to five a year. According to him, this will not entail any change in policy or approach to dealing with allied activity. This implies that Norway’s time-tested Bratelli Doctrine of 1975 that explicitly prohibits the arrival of foreign warships with nuclear weapons on board will stand.

“The Bratteli Doctrine has been established as Norwegian policy for over 40 years and has served Norway well”, the minister said.

However, these calls are not without controversy, and the project has met local opposition, among others from the Tromso Municipal Council. Local politicians and activists question the safety measures and are concerned over the consequences if anything goes wrong.

Bakke-Jensen stressed that regional actors have always been involved in the plans. He stressed that no call will be granted unless the Directorate of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety is sure that security is adequately safeguarded, and alleged that no accidents with western nuclear-powered vessels have occurred.

Meanwhile, the presence of international submarines in the waters outside of Norway has tripled, according to the daily newspaper Aftenposten. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

‘Ideal’ science-based sustainable diet too expensive for every 5th person on Earth – study

RT | November 8, 2019

A scientifically “ideal” diet designed for maximum nutrition and environmental sustainability would be unaffordable for over 20 percent of the world’s population, a new study found.

Published in the Lancet journal in January, the specially tailored “planetary diet” was created with not only health but the environment in mind, looking to feed a population of 10 billion by 2050 while reducing diet-related disease and ecological damage. The meal plan called on the world’s eaters to double their consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts, while largely doing away with the meats and sugars that now dominate the Western diet.

However, the special diet would cost an average of $2.84 per day for each individual, according to a new Lancet Global Health study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. That accounts for nearly 90 percent of the daily per capita budget for those living in many poorer countries, making the diet too expensive for at least 1.6 billion people, most located in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The true number of people unable to afford the diet may be even greater than the Lancet study suggests if other expenses are considered in addition to food.

“The actual number must be higher, since people need to spend at least some money on other things such as housing and clothing, as well as education, healthcare and transportation,” Will Masters, a senior author of the study, told Reuters.

After signaling some approval for the meal plan, the World Health Organization abruptly reversed course earlier this year on the heels of criticism from Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Italy’s representative to international organizations in Geneva. Cornado warned the diet would bring serious economic disruptions, wipe out traditional dishes and cultural heritage, and said the plan risked “the total elimination of consumers’ freedom of choice.”

Given its cost, the “planetary diet” is an unlikely end-all be-all for the problems surrounding the world’s food supply, but the issues it sought to address are far from trivial. The recent Lancet study noted that more than 2.5 billion people suffer some form of malnutrition worldwide, with another 2 billion overweight or obese, adding that current food production methods also “pose risks to the health of the planet.”

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Five Years On, Saudi Attacks on Yemen’s Farmers Are Pushing the Whole Country into Famine

By Ahmed AbdulKareem | MintPress News | November 1, 2019

HODEIDA, YEMEN — The country of Yemen, known in the medieval period as “Green Yemen,” is one of the most extensively terraced areas of the world. There, Yemeni farmers transformed rugged mountain slopes into terraces and built dams like the Great Marib, a structure whose history spans long enough that it was mentioned in the Quran. During the medieval period, Yemen had one of the widest ranges of agricultural crops in all of the Middle East.

Farhan Mohammed is one of the richest farmers in Qama’el, a rural village in the region of Baqim in northwestern Yemen. He owns 50 hectares of land which he uses to cultivate corn, pomegranates, and apples. Now, Farhan is struggling to keep his farm afloat after Saudi airstrikes targeted his fields, burning his crops and rendering the soil so toxic that it’s no longer able to sustain life. Saudi Arabia’s now nearly five-year-old project in Yemen has decimated the incomes of Farhan and most other Yemeni farmers. Fuel is hard to come by thanks to a Saudi-led coalition blockade and the fuel that is available has become prohibitively expensive. Airstrikes targeting farm fields and orchards have rendered large swaths of Yemen’s arable land too toxic to use.

Almost immediately after March 2015, when the war began, the Saudi-led Coalition began targeting Yemen’s rural livelihood, bombing farms, food systems, markets, water treatment facilities, transportation infrastructure, and even agricultural extension offices. In urban areas, fishing boats and food processing and storage facilities were targeted.  

Before the war began, over 70 percent of Yemen’s population lived in villages dispersed in the mountains and small towns with irregular, and at times torrential, summer rainfall. These rural residents relied on agriculture and animal husbandry and grew fruits and vegetables to feed their own families and to sell to markets. Yet that way of life has all but disappeared since the Saudi attacks began, undermining rural livelihoods, disrupting local food production, and forcing rural residents to flee to the city.

Now, Yemen’s nationwide level of household food insecurity hovers at over 70 percent. 50 percent of rural households and 20 percent of urban households are now food insecure. Almost one-third of Yemenis do not have enough food to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Underweight and stunted children have become a regular sight, especially amongst the holdouts in rural areas. Families that have fled to cities are often forced to beg or to pick through the trash for food scraps.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), poverty in Yemen has jumped from 47 percent of the population in 2014 to a projected 75 percent by the end of 2019 because of the war. The report warned, “If fighting continues through 2022, Yemen will rank the poorest country in the world, with 79 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 65 percent classified as extremely poor.”

The intentional targeting of agriculture 

The targeting of the Yemeni agriculture sector and rural livelihoods is not merely accidental collateral damage incurred while targeting military sites. Data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture shows that in the period between March 2015 and March 2019, the Saudi-led Coalition launched at least 10,000 airstrikes that struck farms, 800 that struck local food markets, and about 450 airstrikes that hit silos and other food storage facilities in the country.

According to the Ministry, crop-area cultivation declined an average of 40 percent and crop yields by 45 percent in rural areas. Many farmers in these areas reported that they could no longer produce yields at pre-war levels due to the extensive damage to infrastructure, the high cost of diesel fuel and other agricultural inputs, a collapse in markets and the destruction of roads and storage facilities.

According to a field survey carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture in the period between March 2015 and March 2018, Saudi attacks completely destroyed 270 agricultural buildings and facilities, 43 agricultural associations, 9,017 traditional irrigation canals, 54 agricultural markets, and 45 export centers.

High precision U.S. bombs dropped by Saudi-led coalition warplanes destroyed at least 1,834 irrigation pumps, 109 artesian and surface wells, 1,170 modern irrigation networks, 33 solar irrigation units, 12 diggers, 750 pieces of agricultural equipment, 940,400 farms, 7,531 agricultural reserves, 30 productive nurseries, 182 poultry farms, and 359,944 beehives.

Yemen has no major rivers like the Euphrates in Iraq and Syria or the Nile River, which supplies water to farmers in a number of African countries. This leaves farmers reliant on irrigation canals that channel rain and floodwaters into weirs and bunds built by local communities that are vulnerable to Saudi attacks. Attacks that have already completely destroyed at least 45 water installations (dams, barriers, reservoirs) and partially destroyed at least 488, including the ancient Marib Dam.

Yemen’s fishing sector has not been spared either. By the end of May 2019, every fish off-loading port in Yemen had been targeted by Saudi attacks. At least 220 fishing boats have been destroyed, 222 fishermen have been killed and 40,000 fishermen lost their only source of income. According to Yemen’s Ministry of Fishing Wealth, this has affected the lives of more than two million people living in coastal cities and villages.

Data shows that Saudi Coalition forces have stopped at least 4,586 fishing boats from leaving port in the directorates of Midi, Hajjah, Dabab, Bab al-Mandab, and in the Mukha districts in the Taiz governorate. Thirty fishing industry companies have left the country and about fifty fish factories have closed, causing catastrophic damage to Yemen’s fishing industry. Even before the war, Yemen’s fishermen were amongst the poorest segments of society.

As the war nears its fifth year, the Saudi-led coalition has continued to target the livelihoods of Yemen’s food producers. The coalition has expanded its military offensive to include large areas of agricultural lands and valleys in the K16, Durahami, Al-Jah, A-Tahita, Al-Faza, Jabaliya, Al-Mughrous, Al-Khokha and Hays countrysides.

Yemen’s breadbasket withers

With family in tow, Haddi Ibrahim Koba fled his family home in Al-Shaab in northwestern Tihama months ago after Saudi airstrikes destroyed his farm. The Koba family now struggles to eke out an existence 60 km away in the populous Hajjah province. Once proudly self-sufficient, relying on animal husbandry and farming for their livelihood, they now depend on handouts from humanitarian organizations, the meager bodies of their children already show signs of malnutrition.

According to a study by the Sana’a University-based Water & Environment Centre (WEC) in collaboration with the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network issued in November 2017 to assess the impact of the current war on food security in Yemen, the war is already drastically aggravating Yemenis’ ability to earn a livelihood, rapidly deteriorating the availability of food and elevating the complexity of an already dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

The study, The War Impact on Food Security in the Tihama, (Tihama is a region of Yemen traditionally known to be the country’s breadbasket) showed how agriculture in Tihama, which sustains most of the country’s population, has been seriously disrupted by the war. This, the study’s authors say, is undermining the productivity and investment capacity of the entire country.

Wadi Zabid is one of Tihama’s main valleys located in the Houthi stronghold of Hodeida, the second-largest governorate in Yemen. It is the second-largest valley in Tihama, with an area of 4,639 square kilometers. Before the war, Wadi Zabid was a model of sustainable agriculture and food security, but as of June 2017, when the WEC study was released, 43 percent of the valley’s residents were going hungry every night. Land cultivation has decreased by 51 percent and crop yields per hectare have declined between up to 61 percent. The production of fruits and vegetables has been wiped out as has the livestock population. Today, conditions for farmers in Tihama are likely even more dire than they were when the study was released.

Tihama’s woes are not due to climate change or local mismanagement. Instead, they are a direct result of the destruction of irrigation and water infrastructure resulting from Saudi attacks on the valley’s diversion dams and irrigation systems. Water in the irrigation canals in the downstream villages of both of Tihama’s main valley’s has decreased by about 60 percent since the war began, according to the study.

That damage has also created a massive impact on upstream areas that rely heavily on floodwater irrigation and has damaged irrigation systems and diversion dams affecting up to 75 percent of Tihama’s households.

Creating a toxic legacy

The Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on Yemen’s ports, airports and borders has only exacerbated the suffering of the country’s farmers and rural residents. The coalition has prevented the export of their products, especially to wealthy Gulf countries which imported thousands of tons of pomegranates and vegetables from Yemen before the war began. Importing pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and fuel has also become difficult due to the frequent seizure of seafaring vessels by the coalition.

For 77 days, the coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has continued to hold ships loaded with oil derivatives at sea, preventing them from entering the port of Hodeida.  The four ships that were allowed in carried transport fuel, not the fuel needed to power generators on which farmers rely.

Like in Tahamah, the blockade and attacks on agricultural targets across Yemen have not only destroyed machinery and infrastructure, it has had acute ecological impacts that may take decades to reverse. The accumulation of sediment in flood channels due to damaged gates and automatic barriers has caused trees to begin to reclaim now-dormant stream beds and flood plains, hampering the arrival of much-needed floodwaters to agricultural fields.

A Yemeni farmer tries to chase locusts off of his fields. Photo | UNFAO

Fertile soil, especially in the border areas in Saada and Hajjah, has become environmentally polluted due to the number of weapons dropped in more than half a million airstrikes. That pollution has not only affected the soil, experts fear it could genetically alter the pomegranates, grapes and coffee that were once staple crops in Yemen. Farmers and their families are at constant risk from unexploded ordnance, especially cluster bombs like the one that killed a young boy on his family farm in Hodeida last Thursday.

Agricultural and environmental experts that spoke to MintPress said that the effects of the Saudi coalition’s targeting of the agricultural sector will likely last for decades. The Director of Agricultural Extension in Yemen, Salah al-Mashreqi, said that more catastrophic effects will appear in the medium and long term, including genetic changes to pomegranates, for which Yemen is famous.

The deliberate targeting of food is prohibited by article 54 of the Geneva Conventions and the May 24, 2018, UN Security Council resolution 2417 on the protection of civilians in wartime, specifically reiterates this principle. Article 14 of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions clearly states that starvation as a means of combat is not allowed: ‘’It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population.” Yet the international community has done little to curb the Saudi-led coalitions use of starvation as a tactic of war in Yemen.

This, in large part, according to many Yemenis and legal scholars alike, is because Saudi Arabia enjoys the near-total diplomatic protection of the United States. Without that support, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes, which rely on American contractors, targeting software, training, weapons, and technicians to target farmers that are concerned with little more than feeding themselves and their country, would not be possible.

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

‘Naive wind industry could destroy our way of life’

By Andrew Lee | Recharge | February 20, 2019

Clean power, green jobs, no emissions – the wind industry is used to being one of the good guys. But to Åsa Larsson-Blind, president of the Sami Council, it’s just the latest – and potentially most deadly – industrial threat to a fragile, ancient culture focused around reindeer herding up towards the Arctic Circle.

“The wind industry often says it wants to have a dialogue,” Larsson-Blind told Recharge. “But I believe it thinks it is easier to accommodate than it actually is. I think it has a naïve view that it is just putting up some windmills, not taking away [reindeer] pastures.”

The most immediate spark for Larsson-Blind’s anger is the Norwegian state’s rejection of a non-binding request from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to order a halt to work on the Storheia wind farm in central Norway, ahead of further investigation of the impact on traditional reindeer husbandry at the site.

The 288MW Storheia is the second and largest project in the Fosen complex, the 1GW development led by Norwegian utility Statkraft. According to the Sami Council, like other wind farms already operating across the Nordic states and – far worse – the many more in the pipeline, it will have a drastic effect on the reindeer grazing lands that have underpinned the livelihoods and culture of the indigenous Sami people for thousands of years.

Storheia’s 80, V117 Vestas turbines are due to start installation from April. The Sami Council hoped its complaint to the UN CERD, followed by the organisation’s mid-December request for a pause to work, would at least prompt the Norway to allow time for more studies of the project’s impact.

But Larsson-Blind is resigned to a decision that she claimed reflects the odds stacked against the Sami as they attempt to defend the herders’ way of life against a regional wind boom. “We know there are huge economic interests that are at stake.”

A favourable regulatory regime, excellent wind conditions and demand from the region’s flourishing data centre sector means Nordic wind power is moving north and its projects getting larger. The Sami people – numbering about 100,000, and whose traditional lands stretch across Norway, Sweden, Finland and part of Russia – fear the consequences. With a potential 4GW total scope, Markbygden in Sweden is another Nordic mega-project with implications for the Sami.

Wind is the most recent of a clutch of industries to impinge on lands traditionally used for reindeer husbandry – mining and logging are others – but the scale of the projects planned in the Nordics could be “the last straw”, said Anna Skarin, a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who has investigated the impact of the industry on reindeer grazing lands.

Skarin – who says her work on the issue is non-partisan and funded by the Swedish Energy Agency – has found reindeer avoidance of turbines even on small projects of eight or 10 machines, with an impact observed up to 5km away. The reindeer have a visual aversion to the turbines and, it is believed – Skarin is about to start work to establish for sure – also dislike their noise. On top of that comes disruption from the associated construction work and infrastructure needed to support the projects.

At the level of build-out planned, Skarin reckons the ability to implement mitigation measures could be stretched to breaking point. “There are thousands of turbines in the planning system,” Skarin told Recharge. “I think if everything is built, it will really be a big impact on the ecosystem. We’ve already seen it beginning.”

The number affected is hard to pin down, but Skarin estimates there are 1,000 reindeer herders in Sweden alone, most of them Sami.

Larsson-Blind claims the threat from the wind industry is one of “life or death” for the Sami culture. “When a big wind farm comes like Fosen, it will be impossible to carry on the traditional lifestyle [embodied by reindeer herding].

“The traditional way of life is considered one of the big denominators of Sami culture. If you can’t continue that way of life and pass on the culture, you have no culture.”

Her most scathing criticism is reserved for the Norwegian state, which she believes is providing legal cover for wind power and other industries in a manner that shows “double standards” in a nation that likes to see itself as a paragon of human rights.

In its rejection of the CERD request for a pause at Fosen, Norway’s energy ministry found “no basis” for complying, noting that the project has been “thoroughly tested in several rounds in the legal system” during which racial discrimination against the Sami did not arise as an issue.

Larsson-Blind claims that legal system simply isn’t set up to adequately deal with the issue, leaving the Sami with no choice but to turn to international agencies like CERD. “The hard thing is that we do not have enough support from legislation or the government in securing Sami rights to land.” And she appealed to the wind industry to take an independent view of its impact.

“Every company needs to make sure they are taking Sami rights to land into consideration. They can’t just trust the state processes, because they are not perfect.”

For its part, the Nordic wind sector is at pains to emphasise its efforts to take account of the Sami when developing projects – and to scrupulously abide by the legal process operating in each jurisdiction.

Asked by Recharge whether a request from a UN agency should of itself be enough to prompt a halt in work at Fosen, a spokesman for Statkraft said: “If you don’t look at the facts of the case, I can see it would be easy to jump to that conclusion.”

But a “long and thorough licensing process” had consulted all affected parties, “and we know the effect on reindeer herding was given extensive attention, and thoroughly assessed during the appeals processes”.

The Statkraft spokesman pointed to mitigation measures for reindeer populations contained in the license – and that a compensation agreement had been struck with the local herders.

“We do acknowledge that the reindeer herders will be negatively affected by the wind farm. But the negative effects will be mitigated and compensated fully.”

“We are committed to act in a sustainable, ethical, socially responsible manner in everything we do,” said the Statkraft official.

Charlotte Unger, head of industry association Svensk Vindenergi, is also keen to stress the industry’s “dialogue” with the Sami.

“Since they depend on nature with their reindeers, and of course a stable environment, trying to hinder climate change is of course very important also for the Sami people. I hope we could find solutions that are good for [the industry], the Sami people, and regarding climate change,” Unger told Recharge.

With the Sami on the frontline of climate change around the Arctic Circle, this is an argument Larsson-Blind hears often – but it cuts little ice with her.

“Do children really have to grow up without their language, their culture, in the name of fighting climate change?”

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

The Apocalyptic Death Cult We Should Ridicule Out Of Existence

The madness of Extinction Rebellion

By Brendan O’Neill – Spiked – 07/10/19

Yesterday, in London, I witnessed an eerie, chilling sight: I saw a death cult holding a ceremony in public.

The men and women gathered outside King’s Cross station and formed a circle. They swayed and chanted. They preached about End Times. ‘What will you do when the world gets hot, what, what?’, they intoned, conjuring up images of the hellfire they believe will shortly consume mankind. They sang hymns to their god – science. ‘We’ve got all the science / All that we need / To change the world / Hallelujah’, they sang, rocking side to side as they did so.

They demanded repentance. ‘Buy less, fly less, fry less’, said one placard. Catholics only demand the non-consumption of meat on Fridays, as an act of penance to mark the day of Christ’s death. This new religion demands an end to meat-consumption entirely, as penance for mankind’s sins of growth and progress.

And like all death cultists, they handed out leaflets that contained within them ‘THE TRUTH’. The leaflets foretell floods and fire: ‘We are in trouble. Sea levels are rising… Africa and the Amazon are on fire.’ The only word that was missing was locusts. They can’t be far behind these other ghastly visitations to sinful mankind.

And if you question their TRUTH? Then, like those heretics who were hauled before The Inquisition 500 years ago, you will be denounced as a denier. A denier of their revelations, a denier of their visions. ‘Denial is not a policy’, their placards decreed. Spotting me filming their spooky, apocalyptic ceremony, one of the attendees waved that placard in my face. A warning from the cult to a corrupted outsider.

This was, of course, Extinction Rebellion. Let us no longer beat around the bush about these people. This is an upper-middle-class death cult.

This is a millenarian movement that might speak of science, but which is driven by sheer irrationalism. By fear, moral exhaustion and misanthropy. This is the deflated, self-loathing bourgeoisie coming together to project their own psycho-social hang-ups on to society at large. They must be criticised and ridiculed out of existence.

Yesterday’s gathering, like so many other Extinction Rebellion gatherings, was middle-aged and middle-class. The commuters heading in and out of King’s Cross looked upon them with bemusement. ‘Oh, it’s those Extinction freaks’, I heard one young man say. It had the feel of Hampstead and the Home Counties descending on a busy London spot to proselytise the cult of eco-alarmism to the brainwashed, commuting plebs.

It was a gathering to mark Extinction Rebellion’s week of disruption. The group is asking people in London and other cities around the world to ‘take two weeks off work’ and join the revolt against the ‘climate and ecological crisis’. You can tell who they’re trying to appeal to. Working-class people and the poor of New Delhi, Mumbai and Cape Town – some of the cities in which Extinction Rebellion will be causing disruption – of course cannot afford to take two weeks off work. But then, these protests aren’t for those people. In fact, they’re against those people.

Extinction Rebellion is a reactionary, regressive and elitist movement whose aim is to impose the most disturbing form of austerity imaginable on people across the world. One of the great ironies of ‘progressive’ politics today is that people of a leftist persuasion will say it is borderline fascism if the Tory government closes down a library in Wolverhampton, but then they will cheer this eco-death cult when it demands a virtual halt to economic growth with not a single thought for the devastating, immiserating and outright lethal impact such a course of action would have on the working and struggling peoples of the world.

Extinction Rebellion says mankind is doomed if we do not cut carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2025. That’s six years’ time. Think about it: they want us to halt a vast array of human activity that produces carbon. All that Australian digging for coal; all those Chinese factories employing millions of people and producing billions of things used by people around the world; all those jobs in the UK in the fossil-fuel industries; all those coal-fired power stations; all that flying; all that driving… cut it all back, rein it in, stop it. And the people who rely on these things for their work and their food and their warmth? Screw them. They’re only humans. Horrible, destructive, stupid humans. … continue

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 4 Comments

Dear True Environmentalists: Fight Corporate Criminality, not Atmospheric Gases

By Denis Rancourt | Dissident Voice | October 3, 2019

Dear true environmentalists: I am with you.1

Corporate pollution and releasing of toxic substances should be treated as a criminal act, with full power to seize assets for reparations, actual reparations, not just punitive fines.

I would apply the same standard of prosecution to the “medical”/pharma2 and agri-food industries,3 also.

However, the planet and biosphere are not at risk of imminent collapse, and certainly not from CO2.

The “imminent collapse” fabrication serves powerful manipulators, and necessarily diverts us away from attaining actual democracy and fairness.  In the words of Chomsky:4

For example, suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effect has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover—with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there just are no other alternatives around right now.

Rather than accept fascism or totalitarianism, corporate and finance criminality can best be fought from a position of realistic perspective regarding the end of the world, sober analysis of means regarding leverage for change, and focused political targeting against corporate rule without accountability.

History of imbedded doomsday narratives

All societies are dominance hierarchies, and all large, human dominance hierarchies have hired high-priests that construct and maintain the State doomsday narrative. These high-priests constantly instruct us on required beliefs and behaviours that minimize the deleterious effects of the alleged impending catastrophe. The behavioural instructions fan everything from diet, to hygiene, to dress code, to physical activity, to work ethics, to attitudes and morals, to child rearing, to political positions, to deference to experts, and so on.

It would be delusional to believe that this structural feature of society is any different than it ever was. In present Western society, the high-priests are the “scientists”, which include the medical doctors and all the “experts”.

This does not mean that science itself is not a valid and rigorous method to test and eliminate hypotheses and theories. It only means that establishment scientists are hired high-priests, notwithstanding the rare exceptions that prove the rule. It also does not mean that scientists never tell the truth. It only means that establishment scientists never harm or rebel against the dominance hierarchy, except by accident or solely in appearance.

These days, there is an industry of scientists that indulge in generating, testing and ameliorating ever more creative doomsday predictions, which are hoped to be of utility to the bosses. The said utility is often termed “societal relevance”. As an eminent example, we have the theory of a “tipping point” towards irreversible total collapse of the ecosphere, often referred to as a “species mass extinction”. The notion of a tipping point has also been advanced for planetary climate, wherein, in the absence of any non-human cause, one crosses into a global climate regime of constant extreme weather and flooded continents.

Whereas past planetary transformations have been related to game-changers, such as the advent of photosynthesis, the calming of tectonic (volcanic) activity, and so forth, and whereas the known recurring climate catastrophe of ice ages is believed to be driven by variations in solar isolation, the new “tipping points” spontaneously occur from the gradual changes of increased modern human or industrial activity, including: habitat destruction, burning of fossil fuel, population growth, and dispersal of toxic substances.

The new “tipping point” theory is not unlike the deluge of the Old Testament, which followed an accumulation of human depravity, except that no god is postulated, and building the Ark requires a centralized and globally restructured economy, handled by overarching elite private institutions, of course. War, disease, hunger … are all defeated under the same umbrella, death itself eventually.

The accompanying calls from establishment icons are often shrill.  In the words of Prince Charles, in 2009:5,6

If we do nothing, the consequences for every person on this earth will be severe and unprecedented – with vast numbers of environmental refugees, social instability and decimated economies: far worse than anything which we are seeing today … We have 100 months left to act.

While the leader of the most warring nation on earth, President Barack Obama, concluded in his 2015 State of the Union speech:7

No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.

The role of scientists

The scientists follow and are often not more contained than Prince Charles or President Obama:

Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life support systems is overwhelming. We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path. Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern: Climate disruption – more, faster climate change than since humans first became a species. …8

We maintain that humanity’s grand challenge is solving the intertwined problems of human population growth and overconsumption, climate change, pollution, ecosystem destruction, disease spillovers, and extinction, in order to avoid environmental tipping points that would make human life more difficult and would irrevocably damage planetary life support systems.9

But today, for the first time, humanity’s global civilization—the worldwide, increasingly interconnected, highly technological society in which we all are to one degree or another, embedded—is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems. Humankind finds itself engaged in what Prince Charles described as ‘an act of suicide on a grand scale’, facing what the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor John Beddington called a ‘perfect storm’ of environmental problems. The most serious of these problems show signs of rapidly escalating severity, especially climate disruption. But other elements could potentially also contribute to a collapse: an accelerating extinction of animal and plant populations and species, which could lead to a loss of ecosystem services essential for human survival; land degradation and land-use change; a pole-to-pole spread of toxic compounds; …10

The loss of biodiversity is one of the most critical current environmental problems, threatening valuable ecosystem services and human wellbeing. A growing body of evidence indicates that current species extinction rates are higher than the pre-human background rate, with hundreds of anthropogenic vertebrate extinctions documented in prehistoric and historic times.11

In fact, there is no science of a “tipping point” for earth biodiversity or for earth climate. No such testable theory has been elaborated. The entire notion of “tipping point” is hypothetical and tenuous. It is a product of bias to presume that a large and complex system (planet) would be susceptible to “tipping” rather than extraordinarily stable against internal superficial changes. A recent paper describes how one might begin to define concepts or measures that would allow even discussing the topic of “tipping point” intelligently, for realistic ecological systems.12

Furthermore, even among scientists, still getting their bearings, there is persistent disagreement as to whether species extinction rates are higher in recent decades. A critical review concludes:13

Net species gains or losses should be assessed with respect to common baselines or reference communities. Ultimately, we need a globally coordinated effort to monitor biodiversity so that we can estimate and attribute human impacts as causes of biodiversity change. A combination of technologies will be needed to produce regularly updated global datasets of local biodiversity change to guide future policy. At this time the conclusion that there is no net change in local species richness is not the consensus state of knowledge.

Reality check

There is a large structurally embedded industry of doomsday narrative. In addition, individuals are reared in a dominance hierarchy and therefore constantly seek messaging about fitting in. The result is that we adopt the State religion. Even if the State is occupied by an exploitative elite, we continue to uphold and follow any State religion that has been sufficiently implanted.

In this case, the State religion is that we are cared-for by mother earth but that our bad behaviour is poisoning mother earth and that we are therefore all at risk, unless we adopt the new stringent conditions that should be imposed globally. Non-believers should be rooted out and isolated. We should demand that all our peers and our representatives do what is prescribed by the State religion.

Meanwhile corporate criminality, while dressed in the colours of the State religion, will continue at an accelerated rate, and our minds and bodies will continue to be occupied.3

I say no. To escape this trap, we must realize that the planet is, well, a planet, with huge response capabilities; that the planet is far more resilient and robust than we imagine.

Habitat destruction and industrial practices are grotesque, and these cause real and significant harm to human communities and ecosystems — more so even than actual wars in the present era … although not more so than so-called economic sanctions and exploitative nation financing. In contrast, “warming” itself cannot hurt the biosphere or humans, nor is the planet at risk of “collapse” from all the criminal practices. That is fabricated nonsense.

Our joint efforts should be on justice, attaining actual democracy, the elimination of criminal behaviour, extortion and exploitation, enforcement of reparations, enforcement of corporate transparency and accountability…

The problem is human behaviour against humans and nature, organized by an occupied dominance hierarchy, and the solutions are political; nothing to do with CO2, methane or anything else in the atmosphere.

  1. Questioning Climate Politics: Denis Rancourt says the ‘global warming myth’ is part of the problem” by Dru Oja Jay, The Dominion, 11 April 2007.
  2. Cancer arises from stress-induced breakdown of tissue homeostasis” by Denis Rancourt, Research Gate, December 2015, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1304.7129.
  3. GEO-ECONOMICS AND GEO-POLITICS DRIVE SUCCESSIVE ERAS OF PREDATORY GLOBALIZATION AND SOCIAL ENGINEERING: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, and anti-racism as State doctrines” by Denis Rancourt, Research Gate, April 2019, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26897.89449.
  4. Undertanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky”, by Noam Chomsky, edited by Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffet, The New Press, NY, 2002; at page 388, in Chapter 10 “Turning Point – Based on discussions in Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland in 1994 to 1996 and 1999”, ISBN 1-56584-703-2.
  5. As quoted in “Apocalypse Now! Fear and Doomsday Pleasures” by Erik Swyngedouw, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Volume 24, 2013 – Issue 1, pages 9-18.
  6. Climate change must be tackled before global poverty, says Prince Charles” by Andrew Alderson in Santiago, The Telegraph, 10 March 2009.
  7. Obama: No greater threat to future than climate change” by Madison Park, CNN, 21 January 2015.
  8. Introducing the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support” by Anthony D Barnosky et al., The Anthropocene Review, 2014, 1: 78.
  9. Avoiding collapse: Grand challenges for science and society to solve by 2050, by Anthony D. Barnosky, Paul R. Ehrlich, and Elizabeth A. Hadly, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 4: 000094, doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000094.
  10. Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?” by Ehrlich, P.R. and Ehrlich, A.H. (2013) Proc R Soc B, 280: 20122845.
  11. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction” by Ceballos et al., Sci. Adv., 2015, 1: e1400253.
  12. Unifying Research on Social–Ecological Resilience and Collapse” by Graeme S. Cumming and Garry D. Peterson, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Review| Volume 32, ISSUE 9, P695-713, September 01, 2017.
  13. Estimating local biodiversity change: a critique of papers claiming no net loss of local diversity” by Andrew Gonzalez et al., Ecology, 97(8), 2016, pp. 1949–1960.

Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He has published more than 100 articles in leading scientific journals, on physics and environmental science. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. Denis can be reached at denis.rancourt@gmail.com.

October 3, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Washington’s Warmongering Keeps Claiming New Victims

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By Grete Mautner – New Eastern Outlook – 22.09.2019

According to the data presented in a number of American media sources, a total of 6,979 US servicemen perished in the so-called Global War on Terror that was launched back in 2001 and lasted up until 2018. Over the same time span, the number of civilian casualties that became victims of US-led wars in the Middle East and other regions of the world reached hundreds of thousands. As has been revealed by the UN, in Afghanistan alone some 32 thousand civilians died in the course of US-led air strikes and ground operations over the last decade.

However, nobody seems to be willing to acknowledge that various weapons research programs can be as lethal to the civil population as military conflicts are. Nothing is ever being said about the countless nuclear weapons tests that Washington conducted in the second half of the 20th century that keep claiming human lives to this day.

Back in 1986, in the aftermath of the horrendous Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the US would launch a media campaign against the USSR, saying that the radioactive contamination of Europe that followed the disaster was unacceptable. At the same time, Washington chose to conceal the truth about the damage it inflicted upon this planet through a series of nuclear weapon tests on the Marshall Islands.

Against this backdrop, it’s particularly revealing that the recent piece run by the Business Insider states that the contaminated zone of alienation around Chernobyl is less radioactive than the above mentioned islands that were known for their idyllic landscapes prior to a series of nuclear weapon tests. In total, the United States conducted 67 of those in a time span from 1946 to 1958 on the once pristine Marshall Islands.

Less than three years after its atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington started conducting nuclear weapon tests on the Marshall Islands, with the most powerful of them being the “Bravo” hydrogen bomb in 1954, which was 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It’s been pointed out that the total explosive yield of American nuclear militarism in the Marshall Islands was 93 times that of all US atmospheric tests in Nevada, and more than 7,000 Hiroshima bombs.

Recent studies show that the seabed around the islands, and their soil upon which fruit bearing trees grow have been accumulating radioactive particles at rates that far exceeds any safety standards. Upon testing the soil of Bikini and Enewetok atolls, scientists came to a conclusion that nuclear weapon tests must have produced a more lasting damage to the environment than was originally anticipated.

As has been revealed by Monica Rouco, who was deputy director of Project K = 1, the center of nuclear studies at Columbia University, there have been no independent investigations of radioactive contamination levels and the possible consequences of those on the Marshall Islands, says El Pais. According to this publication, Monica led a group of K=1 scientists they carried out a series of tests on the Marshall between 2015 and 2018. Prior to that, the only tests carried out across this former Spanish colony were conducted by the US military personnel from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, that had no interest in telling the rest of the world the truth about the contamination levels.

Against this backdrop, a recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the lasting effect of a series of US nuclear weapon tests in the Marshall Islands lies in the contaminated soil. It states specifically that:

We were not able to detect any 37Cs contamination in fruits from Enewetak and Utirik Atolls. However, Bikini and Rongelap Atolls have 137Cs levels in fruits that exceed action limits set by IPPNW in 2016, and the governments of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Japan, in response to nuclear disasters in those countries. Additionally, they exceed values found near Fukushima in February 2018 and values measured from 2011 to 2015 in areas near the Chernobyl accident.

Against this backdrop, it’s particularly telling that back in 1968 Washington announced that the Bikini atoll was perfectly safe for humans and announced that the indigenous population may return to their homes, if they choose to do so. When we know that even fifty years after the tests this area remains contaminated, it’s hardly a surprise that some 840 inhabitants of the Bikini atoll died from cancer and other illnesses associated with radioactive poisoning over this period of time. However, nobody wants to speak about these facts in the West.

According to Barbara Rose Johnston, an anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Center for Political Ecology, it wasn’t reported to an interested world public that the heavily exposed people of Rongelap, once evacuated, were immediately enrolled as human subjects in a top-secret study, Project 4.1, which documented the array of health outcomes from their acute exposures, but did not treat the pain or discomfort of radiation burns, nor utilize antibiotics to offset any potential infection.

There’s no public discussion of the fact that in 1977 the United States used a crater from an especially large nuclear bomb test on Runit Island to stash away the radioactive soil. The 328-foot crater from a May 1958 test was designated the dumping ground. It means that the radioactive isotope plutonium-239, a byproduct of nuclear bombs that decays with a half-life of 24,100 years may be leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

Yet, there’s no strict control over the weapons tests that are being carried in utmost secrecy in various parts of the world today, and safe to say that should something go wrong in one of such tests, we, just like the inhabitants of the Bikini atoll will be the last to learn about that.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany.

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 3 Comments

US tap water contaminants linked with 100,000 cancer cases: Study

Press TV – September 21, 2019

Chemicals present within legal limits in tap water are projected to be responsible for more than 100,000 cancer cases in the US, according to estimates from a new study.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Heliyon, looked at nearly 50,000 water systems across the country.

It analyzed the presence of 22 cancer-causing chemicals that are regulated by states and the Environmental Protection Agency but still found in varying degrees in drinking water.

Researchers with the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization, said the study is the first to project on a national level the cancer risk the combination of chemicals pose over a person’s statistical lifetime – about 70 years.

They found that the majority of cancer cases came from water systems that were fully complying with drinking water standards set either by states or the EPA.

“Water that meets legal standards still poses health risks,” says Sydney Evans, the lead author of the study and a science analyst at Environmental Working Group.

Of the nearly two dozen chemicals examined, the biggest problem is arsenic, which even in small concentrations is responsible for disproportionate numbers of cancer cases, according to the study.

But Evans says that this study is an attempt to start looking at the chemicals present in water as a mixture instead of assessing them one by one.

The analysis is conservative, according to Evans, because it only looked at chemicals with national monitoring data or health benchmark levels. Many more chemicals exist in drinking water that haven’t been studied enough to include in the assessment, Evans says.

The study does not include measurements from private wells, which roughly 13.5 million Americans rely on for drinking water. Private wells don’t have to follow federal drinking water standards.

A water filter is a good “first course of action for an individual who is concerned,” Evans says. Residents should check their local water reports to know what kind of filter would be best for the types of chemicals present where they live.

The study shows that tougher standards for drinking water are needed, according to Evans.

“Filters aren’t a solution,” Evans says. “They’re a measure people can take right now until their water quality is improved.”

(Source: US News & World Report )

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism | | 2 Comments

Bodies of Dead Iraqi Children Test Positive For Radioactive Remnants From US Depleted Uranium Rounds

Sputnik – September 20, 2019

By examining bodies of dead Iraqi children who had congenital birth defects, researchers have proven their conditions were directly related to US bombardment of the country with depleted uranium rounds early in the Iraq War and stores at US bases during the subsequent occupation.

A new study has drawn direct links between the US military’s use of depleted uranium in the Iraq War and congenital birth defects suffered by Iraqi children. Researchers examined the hair and baby teeth of dead Iraqi children near areas of heavy fighting as well as US military bases and found the radioactive element thorium – a telltale sign of uranium of the type used to make depleted uranium rounds.

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the industrial process used to refine uranium-238 into U-235, which is more suitable for fuel in nuclear power plants. Composed of U-238 that cannot have further U-235 extracted from it, the matter is extremely dense – twice as dense as lead – and when fused with other metals, it makes for a very potent bullet. The US military loves to use “DU” for piercing armor, but also for extra-powerful armor.

Thousands of rounds of DU were used against Iraqi positions during the first year of the Iraq War, which began in early 2003 after the George W. Bush administration, justifying its actions with false intelligence, launched an all-out invasion of the country, arguing that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had a secret weapons program he intended to use against the United States.

“Once a depleted-uranium round strikes its target, the projectile begins to burn on impact, creating tiny particles of radioactive U-238,” Common Dreams explained. “Winds can transport this radioactive dust many miles, potentially contaminating the air that innocent humans breathe. This inhalation may cause lung cancer, kidney damage, cancers of bones and skin, as well as birth defects and chemical poisoning.”

Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an independent researcher based in Michigan and a co-author of the study, looked at the hair and teeth of children from villages near Talil Air Base south of Baghdad, which US forces occupied during the counterinsurgency war that raged for almost a decade after the invasion as homegrown resistance to the US occupation grew. She found thorium in them, an element produced by the radioactive decay of U-238.

“We are basically seeing a depleted uranium footprint on these children,” Savabieasfahani told TruthOut in an interview. Her study, which will soon be published in the journal Environmental Pollution, found the children near Talil had 28 times the amount of thorium in their bodies as did children in a control group far from the fighting and who weren’t born with congenital disabilities.

According to United Nations estimates, the US fired up to 2,000 metric tons of DU at targets in Iraq in 2003 alone. The US also used the weapon against Iraq in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, and a limited number of rounds were also fired back at US forces by the Iraqi army.

However, that’s not the only source of the element in Iraq: vehicles with DU-reinforced armor were brought into the country by the thousands by the Americans, as well as all sorts of aircraft and ground vehicles that used the rounds and for which the bullets had to be stored at US bases.

TruthOut notes that much of this equipment wound up destroyed on the battlefield or rusting in junkyards across the country, leeching the radioactive chemical into the air and water, as well as into the pieces of metal likely harvested by locals to sell for scrap.

“What we see here, and what we imply with this study, is that we could see this very same scenario around every single US military base in Iraq,” Savabieasfahani said. “The exposure of pregnant mothers to the pollutions of war, including uranium and thorium, irreversibly damages their unborn children.”

Citing Iraqi government statistics, MintPress reported in 2014 that the rate Iraqis contracted cancer skyrocketed in the years after the US invasion, from 40 per 100,000 people per year in 1991 to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.

Iraqi doctors have long voiced concerns about the problem. A 2013 study by Dutch peace group IKV Pax Christi found more than 300 such sites previously identified by the Iraqi government as contaminated with DU, and the US spent between $30 million and $45 million on cleanup at the sites. However, even as late as the 2013 study, observers still saw children playing on the waste heaps and collecting scraps for sale.

“The US must be held responsible and forced to clean up all the sites which it has polluted. Technology exists for the cleanup of radiation contamination,” Savabieasfahani told TruthOut. “The removal and disposal of US-created military junkyards would go a long way toward cleaning toxic releases out of the Iraqi environment.”

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Fukushima Disaster Puts Japan in ‘Nuclear Limbo’ Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Pundit

Sputnik – September 14, 2019

On 10 September, Japanese authorities announced that Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant which in 2011 experienced the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, currently has no technology to clear its wastewater from radioactive waste, and is instead discharging it into the sea.

More than a million tonnes of wastewater is reportedly stored in tanks at the Fukushima NPP (nuclear power plant). The facility is reportedly running out of available space and expects to exhaust its capacity by summer 2022. Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada admitted earlier that “we have no way but to release it [into the sea] and dilute it”.

Local residents reportedly have deep concerns about the potential damage this move can inflict, especially to the fishing industry, which is essential for Japan.

Christina Consolo, a nuclear expert, has shared her view on the issue.

Sputnik: It’s been reported that there’s enough room to keep the liquid (1 million tons of contaminated water) through summer 2022, but after that, there will be no space left?

Christina Consolo: It was somewhat surprising at how quickly the Environmental Ministry in Japan made a decision to release the contaminated water once their official meeting convened. I am not surprised at all however by their decision.

The situation is very serious. There is no other option then to release the contaminated water, but under the control of TEPCO’s time and choosing, or it may be released for them. An earthquake could release it, a tsunami could release it, a typhoon could release it.

But releasing the water goes far beyond just a ‘storage issue’ alone; the tanks are also under duress for a number of reasons. If you recall, at the beginning of the original water storage, the tanks were not assembled properly. Concrete slabs were hastily poured without rebar reinforcement.

TEPCO workers had to drill holes in the tops of them to release hydrogen build-up, or risk explosion and collapse of the tanks themselves.

There have also been a series of leaks, due to miles of pipes and flushing radioactive water great distances through sometimes ducted-taped hoses, with at least one reaching the official scale of a Level 3 Nuclear Accident in and of itself, in July of 2015.

And the longer this radioactive water sits in these giant metal tanks, the matrix of the metal itself at the atomic level is undergoing acceleration of entropy, known as “The Wigner Effect” – named after Professor Eugene Wigner, who discovered it at the Oak Ridge Laboratory while doing research for the US Government during World War II.

Metal exposed to radiation creates embrittlement issues and acceleration of corrosion, the same problem that caused 16,000 cracks in the nuclear reactors in Belgium.

This is problematic for the biggest reason of them all: if any of these tanks leak or break open outside of the control of TEPCO and prevents workers from being able to continue the myriad of daily maintenance involved due to spillage of radioactive water, creating no-go zones within the site itself, then TEPCO can have yet another very serious situation on their hands, on top of everything else happening over there. Anything and everything must be done to assure that workers can continue with the tremendous daily management of what is still an ongoing Level 7 Nuclear Accident.

They can not risk waiting for the tanks to empty themselves.

Sputnik: What is going to happen next? Do you think this liquid is a real threat to the ecological situation?

Christina Consolo: Any radiation released to the environment is always going to have detrimental effects… the question is how much and how far will those effects extend from the site of the release. Without knowing what exactly is in those tanks, that question is impossible to answer.

I personally have issue believing the radioactive water contained within them only contains Tritium, as I have followed this story for over eight years, and I can say without a doubt that every machine brought in to ‘filter out’ radioactive substances has failed miserably, as has every camera, robot, robot claw, robot snake, robot on rollers, etc.

TEPCO also has a history of withholding important facts that also make them very untrustworthy.

But more importantly from an ecological perspective, and a far bigger issue though which is rarely discussed, is the groundwater that moves through the Fukushima site because of the geology of the surrounding features.

The plant was built on a riverbed, where the volcanic spine of Japan funnels water down from the mountains. Groundwater experts estimate that every single day somewhere between 5-15,000 tonnes of groundwater flow underneath the plant, and out to the Pacific ocean.

Keep in mind, the only remnant of the cumulative 450 tonnes of corium or melted nuclear fuel that has been found is splatter on the insides of the reactors, or pebble-like material and drips.

TEPCO still has not located the 3 melted cores after 8 years of looking, leaving a looming question of how far these cores travelled as they melted, and how much groundwater is making contact with these cores before pouring into the Pacific each day. They are concerned enough that they are still pouring 300 tonnes of water through them daily.

Is it 10 percent – 50 percent – 80 percent? How much of this natural groundwater flow is making contact with the cores, under the plant? We have no idea. If indeed this is occurring, which some Fukushima experts believe that it is, then the 1000 tanks are a ‘drop in the bucket’ in comparison to what may be pouring into the Pacific each and every day.

We need answers to these questions. It is abhorrent and inexcusable that with today’s known technology, TEPCO does not know where the cores are, 8 years after the accident. We have powerful ground penetrating radar that could likely tell, so why are they not telling us?

Sputnik: It’s been 8 years since the Fukushima disaster. How have Japanese authorities adapted to this situation?

Christina Consolo: The Japanese authorities that were in charge at the beginning of this disaster, such as former Prime Minister Kan, have expressed a tremendous amount of regret, and even guilt, over mistakes they made withholding information about how dangerous the situation was from the Japanese people in the early part of the accident.

The fact TEPCO outright lied that meltdowns had occurred from Day 1, even though every nuclear physicist in the world was aware they had, due to the presence of neutron beams occurring in 13 different locations on the site (which indicated at least one reactor was breached), is difficult to forgive considering the US had an entire fleet of Navy ships offshore providing humanitarian aid that were getting absolutely blasted by nuclear fuel including MOX and plutonium.

PM Abe is very pro-nuclear but his wife is not, making for an ongoing and very publicized drama in Japanese news, and the pushback from massive demonstrations by the Japanese people continue to this day on a weekly basis.

The people are fighting any and all attempts at restarting reactors, in a very hardcore way. The authorities are pretending everything is fine, focusing on the Olympics in 2020, and I am certain the water will be dumped long before then.

But the tanks are going to just get filled right back up again, after some unfortunate TEPCO workers climb inside and test them for metal fatigue issues.

Sputnik: What has changed in nuclear safety since Fukushima has occurred?

Christina Consolo: In Japan a majority of the reactors still remain shutdown, which is good considering they never should have been built there in the first place.

An article in The Japan Times predicted the Fukushima disaster in 2004, and there are no guarantees that TEPCO will always be able to keep the Fukushima site under control, or another earthquake and tsunami will cause a similar, or even larger disaster at another site, as there are so many littering Japan.

Japan sits in a highly unstable zone of 4 intersecting tectonic plates and the island has an enormous amount of earthquake and volcanic activity.

The US did review some of its safety measures after 3/11 but the problem is it keeps re-issuing licenses to old plants, with ageing infrastructure.

And many plants in the US, and worldwide, are also prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, hurricanes, even tornadoes and lightning strikes.

We have been playing with this very dangerous technology despite having no safe way to dispose of the waste, and many studies done over decades that prove that illnesses and cancer are extremely high the closer that you live to a nuclear plant.

Sputnik: Despite the Fukushima explosion, the Japanese government didn’t abandon its nuclear energy program. How do you explain this decision?

Christina Consolo: I can not answer that question. There is no logical answer for it, except to decommission a plant is outrageously expensive.

TEPCO announced in the past month it will be decommissioning the Fukushima Daini plant to the south, which also sustained damage in 2011.

Right now Japan is in a nuclear limbo of sorts, with the water tank problem, the fishery pushback, the Olympics in 2020, and the somewhat surreal efforts of the Japanese government to assure the world it can handle the Olympic athletes and crowds without making them sick.

There are always economic issues to consider, and the costs of decommissioning of two huge nuclear plants, one with 3 melted cores that have never been found.

Japan has a lot of convoluted issues surrounding nuclear and there is always the dark cloud over what is truth or fiction when it comes to TEPCO, and the nuclear industry in general. I really can not explain this decision at all.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , | Leave a comment

Green-smearing – from Nicaragua to Bolivia

By Stephen Sefton | September 11, 2019

A fundamental dimension of contemporary psychological warfare has been dual-purpose corporate co-option of non-governmental organizations. In that psy-warfare dimension, NGOs serve both as disinformation partners with Western news media and too as false interlocutors in international forums and institutions, where they attack governments challenging the US elites and their allies. They actively subvert governments inside countries challenging the West, for example, in Latin America, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. But they also pervert due process in institutions like the UN, posing as civil society but in fact serving Western elite corporate imperatives, for example in international human rights and environmental mechanisms and forums.

Among these NGOs figure high profile human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and Avaaz along with environmental organizations from 350.org and the World Resource Institute to Global Witness and Greenpeace. An increasing interrelationship has developed between corporate NGO funding and the exploitation of people’s general willingness to volunteer for and support apparently good causes. Symbolic of this is the way World Economic Forum attendees like Kumi Naidoo move readily between top management from one NGO to another, in Naidoo’s case from Greenpeace to Amnesty International. From Libya and Syria to Venezuela and Nicaragua, Amnesty International has played a key role using false reports to demonize governments resisting the US and its allies.

As Cory Morningstar has pointed out, Greenpeace is a key player in promoting the corporate driven New Deal for Nature aimed at financializing what remains of the natural world, especially its biodiversity, as a way of engineering a “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Western corporate greed underlies the identical patterns of news media and NGO misrepresentation and outright deceit supporting regime change offensives against Libya and Syria, or Venezuela and Nicaragua. Right now, that very same pattern of media and NGO manipulation is clearly at work preparing for an intervention to prevent Evo Morales being re-elected as President of Bolivia.

Bruno Sgarzini and Wyatt Reed have noted how Western media and NGOs have falsely attacked Evo Morales blaming him for not controlling the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon. This is exactly what happened in Nicaragua immediately prior to the coup attempt in 2018 when the Nicaraguan authorities were fighting a fire in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. That episode softened up Nicaraguan public opinion and set in motion social media networks involving thousands of youth activists trained for that purpose beforehand over several years with US and also European government funding. In mid-April 2018, barely a week after the Indio Maiz fire was extinguished, those networks launched a social media blitzkrieg of lies and inventions marking the start of the actual coup attempt. A practically identical process is well under way now in Bolivia, which holds presidential elections next October 20th.

The timing of the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon is extremely propitious from the perspective of the US authorities and their allies. It takes almost two months for the effects to wear off of the initial psy-warfare bitzkrieg of the kind waged against Nicaragua in 2018 and against Brazil’s Worker’s Party as part of Jair Bolsonaro’s successful 2018 election campaign that same year. Bolivia will almost certainly experience the same kind of psy-warfare assault via social media prior to the October elections. The campaign will be timed to optimize the effect of mass false accusations of government wrongdoing and corruption along with false media and NGO claims of security force repression. Opposition activists are likely to exploit peaceful demonstrations on indigenous peoples and environmental issues so as to commit murderous provocations, just as they did in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

All of these tactics are likely be deployed against Bolivia so as to destroy the current prestige and high levels of support for President Evo Morales. In Bolivia, as in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the governing progressive political movement enjoys around 35-40% core electoral support, the right wing opposition have around 25-30% with 30-40% of voters uncommitted. The Western elites know they need to motivate something over half of those uncommitted voters against Evo Morales so as to get the right wing government they so desperately need in Bolivia to try and make good the unmitigated debacle of Mauricio Macri’s right wing government in Argentina.

The intensity of any Western media and NGO campaign against Morales is likely to reach similar levels as their cynical campaigns of lies and defamation against Venezuela and Nicaragua. Should that offensive go ahead, as seems probable, the difference will be that this time Evo Morales and his team are alert and unlikely to be taken by surprise as the Nicaraguan authorities were by the vicious, sudden attack against them in April 2018. A likely variation in Bolivia’s case will be a higher profile of environmentalist NGOs working in tandem with their human rights counterparts feeding misrepresentations and downright lies into Western news media. For the US and European Union elites the regional geopolitical stakes are high enough to make an attack on Bolivia imperative.

(A longer version of this piece was published at Tortilla con Sal on September 4, 2019.)

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Japanese scientists confronted the U.S. and Japanese governments to reveal the effects of Bikini H-bomb tests

By Okuaki Satoru¹ – The Asia Pacific Journal – September 1, 2019 – Volume 17 | Issue 17 | Number 2

Introduction and translation by Steve Rabson

Introduction

The March, 1954 “Bravo Shot” H-bomb test in the Pacific dumped radioactive debris on the Marshall Islands, U.S. servicemen, and the crew of a Japanese fishing boat. The multi-megaton blast infected Marshall Islanders with radiation sickness and caused cancers in the years that followed. Their contaminated home on Bikini Atoll remains uninhabitable to this day. U.S. servicemen who had been purposely transported by the Navy into the blast zone have suffered from multiple cancers from radiation exposure. For years their claims denied were denied by the Veterans Administration. It took an act of Congress in 1990 to provide compensation for them and their children with birth defects. The crew of the Japanese fishing boat, Lucky Dragon No. 5, suffered from acute radiation poisoning. One crew member, Kuboyama Aikichi (age 40), died while in treatment for exposure.

“Bravo Shot” H-bomb test, Bikini, March 1, 1954

U.S. military forcibly evacuating Marshall Islanders from Bikini Atoll

U.S. servicemen transported under orders into the Bikini blast zone

Japanese scientists examine the hull of contaminated Lucky Dragon at Yaizu City port

Okuaki Satoru tells below how Japanese scientists confronted, and eventually overcame, roadblocks thrown up by both the U.S. and Japanese governments to obtain urgently needed information for the treatment of radiation poisoning and to determine the extent of environmental contamination. As Jacob Darwin Hamblin and Linda M. Richards explain in the journal Historia Scientarium, “Japanese perspectives influenced several American scientists to think differently about the implications of nuclear tests for humans and the natural environment . . . despite stiff resistance from offices of the U.S. government.”2

The U.S. government withholds information on lethal fallout

On March 16, 1954, the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun first reported victims of a U.S. nuclear test in the Pacific among Japanese crew members of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon. The U.S. government acknowledged that tests had been carried out, but, insisting on secrecy, refused to provide information about them to Japanese scientists. Today it is known that they were hydrogen bomb tests, but even that wasn’t disclosed at the time. The only information Japanese scientists could obtain was from radioactive contamination of the Lucky Dragon’s hull.

Several scientists visited the fishing port at Yaizu City in Shizuoka Prefecture and recorded high levels of radioactive contamination from fallout on the boat’s hull. Okano Masaharu, a specialist in measuring radioactivity, was twenty-eight at the time and on the faculty of the Institute for Scientific Research (now known as RIKEN).

After World War II when Japan was under Allied Occupation (1945-1952), research on atomic energy was strictly prohibited. However, in 1950 permission was granted for research on radioactive isotopes. Okano traveled throughout the country giving lectures to inform Japanese about isotopes, and became skilled in handling radioactive materials. On April 16, 1954, he traveled with his supervisor, Dr. Yamazaki Fumio, to examine the hull of the Lucky Dragon. A full month had passed since fallout had contaminated the boat, but both men were astonished to see the needle of their radiation meter swing wildly up into the danger zone. This was the first time they had detected significant radiation outside their laboratories, and it exceeded one hundred times the level occurring in nature. With the discovery that radioactive fallout had contaminated the Lucky Dragon, scientists at universities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Osaka and Kanazawa began their own studies, communicating their findings by telephone.

Ikeda Nobutaka conducted research on radioactive fallout in Professor Kimura Kenjirō’s research laboratory in the Chemistry Department of Tokyo University. He also visited the Lucky Dragon at Yaizu, and collected samples of fallout-contaminated material. Returning with them to the laboratory, he and about a dozen other researchers spent the next several days and nights frantically analyzing the material out of acute concern for the Lucky Dragon’s crew.

“We needed the results as soon as possible,” said Ikeda, now eighty-eight. “Without knowing the characteristics of the fallout, there would be no way to find a treatment for the crew. We were also aware that the reputation of Japanese scientists was at stake. If our results turned out to be wrong, it would be a disgrace for Japan’s scientific methods.”

Over the next month Ikeda and his colleagues found twenty-seven types of atomic radiation including Strontium (Sr) 89, Yttrium (Y) 90, and Cerium (Ce) 141. “We were overjoyed because knowing the radiation characteristics meant that it could be located in patients’ bodies and a way might be found to eliminate it. I can still remember how lovely the sunset looked the evening we finally finished the analyses.”

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission declares “no risk” from radioactive contamination

The U.S. carried out many nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific; however, the one named “Castle Bravo” on March 1, 1954, which showered fallout on the Lucky Dragon, was the most powerful conducted to that time, 1,000 times the fifteen megatons of the Hiroshima bomb. On March 31, Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, issued a statement denying that there had been any contamination of fish or seawater.

With respect to the stories concerning widespread contamination of tuna and other fish as a result of the tests, the facts do not confirm them. The only contaminated fish discovered were in the open hold of a Japanese trawler [that had been] well within the danger zone. The Federal Drug Administration has informed us that their thorough survey found no radioactive contamination of boats or fish. The fallout dissipated rapidly in the ocean current and has posed no risk. No radioactivity has been detected in an area between five and five hundred miles of the test site.

There was a rumor last week of a danger from radioactivity falling in the United States. As with Soviet nuclear tests, there might be a small increase in natural background radiation in some local areas. However, it is only infinitesimally higher than what has been observed after previous tests in the continental United States and overseas, far too small to pose any risk to persons, animals or plants. Radioactivity dissipates rapidly after tests, and soon returns to normal levels of natural background radiation.

Did American officials deny that radioactivity had contaminated the ocean because they wanted to conceal the possibility that it had, or because they didn’t believe it would spread over a wide area beyond the test site?

Professor Higuchi Toshihiro at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy of Georgetown University cites radioactive contamination from the Bikini tests as having initiated world-wide concern over the problem of environmental pollution; and he has studied how the governments and societies in Japan and in the United States took opposing positions over the issue of radioactive pollution.

It was known among scientists at the time that, at least in theory, radioactive contamination of the ocean from nuclear tests could be detected in seawater, plants, and animals. So when the U.S. conducted the first hydrogen bomb test in 1953, the Atomic Energy Commission began surveying seawater, tuna, and other ocean life for radioactivity. The Bikini test that contaminated the Lucky Dragon occurred the following year, but the data collected by the survey was still insufficient. Nevertheless, the Atomic Energy Commission sought first and foremost to quiet the furor over the tests at home and abroad, and issued a series of announcements for political reasons. Lacking reliable scientific data, the Commission surveyed a large area of seawater in which any trace of radiation would have been much diluted, and then claimed no contamination had been detected. Thus, it wasn’t that the Commission was trying to conceal findings of contamination, or that it was ignorant of the possibility. For strictly political reasons, it quickly declared the ocean safe.3

 Contradicting its own denials of radioactive contamination, the U.S. government banned imports of Japanese tuna

The U.S. government was greatly alarmed by news that radiation had contaminated tuna in Japan. At the time of the Bikini tests the U.S. was importing large quantities of canned tuna from Japan. Cheap and plentiful, long-finned tuna was canned in vegetable oil.

The development of Japan’s canning industry had begun before World War II in the fresh waters of Shizuoka Prefecture. In the 1950’s before Japan’s heavy industry recovered from the war, the government strongly encouraged the production of goods for export of which canned tuna was a key enterprise. Sold under the brand names “Fujiyama” and “Geisha,” high-quality and inexpensive Japanese canned tuna became so popular it dominated the American market.

Now the U.S. government became deeply concerned that contaminated tuna was being imported and distributed in America. Located by Professor Higuchi in the U.S. National Archives, an official U.S. government memo entitled “fish exports” was sent to Washington from the American Embassy in Tokyo on March 21, 1954, five days after the Yomiuri Shimbun reported contamination of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon. Higuchi described the memo:

The memo explained that embassy officials and representatives of the American fishing industry had warned the Japanese government to stop exports of contaminated fish. The government agreed that no fish would be exported to the United States in which radiation was detected.4

Subsequently, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission came to Japan and went to Yokohama Port. There, he ordered thorough monitoring tests for the fins and bellies of frozen tuna scheduled for export to the United States. People in Japan were outraged because, on the one hand, the U.S. government was denying that radiation from nuclear tests had contaminated the ocean or fish, yet it was suspiciously monitoring fish being exported to America.

The Japanese government refuses to pursue U.S. responsibility for contamination and supports continuation of nuclear tests

How, then, in the wake of radiation injuries to the Lucky Dragon’s crew and nuclear contamination of tuna, did the Japanese government deal with the U.S. government that had carried out the tests?

On March 17, with the Diet in an uproar over the Bikini tests, Foreign Minister Okazaki Katsuo came under persistent questioning in a session of the Lower House Budget Committee. Representative Imazumi Isamu, a member of the Socialist Party, severely criticized the Japanese government for failing to request crucial information from the U.S. about the nuclear tests. “America has inflicted radiation injuries on our country’s innocent fishermen. The treatment varies depending on what kind of bomb was detonated. A Japanese government that fails to seek this information for treating the victims is in no way worthy of representing our citizens. It is truly unforgivable.”5

Representative Kawasaki Hideji of the Progressive Party insisted that the Japanese government confront the U.S. government.

We have learned that the test was of either a hydrogen or a cobalt bomb. Should Japan bring the case to the International Court of Justice, world opinion would be deeply sympathetic to a nation that has been victimized three times by nuclear explosions. Our foreign policy must be courageous enough to petition the court. Does the Foreign Minister agree? Please answer the question directly.6

“We know from the information they already provided us that the Americans are very sympathetic,” replied Foreign Minister Okazaki. “They have said they will send doctors specializing in atomic bomb injuries and pay compensation no matter the cost. I am confident we can resolve the issue without going to the International Court of Justice.”7

Foreign Minister Okazaki reiterated the decision not to pursue America’s legal responsibility at a party given by the America-Japan Society in Tokyo on April 9, 1954. A tape recording of his speech before guests that included the American ambassador is available at the Society’s office in Akasaka.

Although it goes without saying that the fishing industry Japan’s economy relies on has suffered major losses as a result of the ban in the area of the ocean affected by the atomic tests, we have no intention of asking the U.S. government to stop them. We recognize that they are indispensable to the security, not only of America, but of Japan and other democratic nations. Thus, we join the other democratic nations in helping to make sure the atomic tests are successful.8

Radioactive contamination from the Bikini test occurred two years after Japan regained its independence in 1952 under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Yet, despite the damage the test inflicted on the nation, the Japanese government supported their continuation. This attitude provoked outrage among the citizenry.

Japanese scientists respond

Japanese government leaders refused to pursue U.S. responsibility for the damages inflicted by the Bikini test. However, among all government departments, the Fisheries Agency was most acutely aware of the danger. It alone planned a survey of radiation contamination in the ocean area around the Bikini atoll where the test was conducted. “The U.S. government was entirely downplaying the test’s effects,” explained Miyake Yasuo who joined the scientific advisory group organized to carry out the survey. “The Japanese government was seeking compensation for injuries to the Lucky Dragon’s crew and the major damage to our fishing industry, but conducting a survey at the site for crucial information about the radioactive contamination was absolutely essential.”

With daily reporting in the newspapers on their expedition aboard the ship Shunkotsu Maru, the scientists were given a heroes’ welcome when they returned to Tokyo on July 4, 1954 from their fifty-one day voyage. It was their survey that first determined the extent of ocean contamination and damage to the environment from atomic tests. Though conducted for the Fisheries Agency, the results advanced knowledge in several scientific fields including radiology, oceanography, meteorology and medicine.

Notes

1From Okuaki Satoru, 海の放射能に立ち向かった日本人:ビキニからフクシマへの伝言 Radioactive Contamination of the Ocean Revealed by Japanese Scientists: From Bikini to Fukushima, Junpō-sha, Tokyo, 2017.

2Jacob Darwin Hamblin and Linda M. Richards, “Beyond the Lucky Dragon: Japanese Scientists and Fallout Discourse in the 1950s,” Historia Scientiarum, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2015), pp. 36-56.

3Okuaki, pp. 44-45.

4Ibid., p. 46.

5Ibid., p. 47.

6Ibid., pp. 47-48.

7Ibid., p. 48.

8Ibid., pp. 48-49.

Okuaki Satoru is a program director at NHK. Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, he graduated with a Masters Degree from the Life Sciences Division of Tokyo University, joining NHK in 1999. He has directed television documentaries on the work of novelist Inoue Yasushi and the massacres of Koreans following the 1923 Tokyo earthquake. He was awarded the Media Ambitious Prize in 2013 for the documentary “Radioactive Contamination of the Ocean Revealed by Japanese Scientists: the Bikini Test Nuclear Fallout and the Ship Shunkotsu Maru,” which is the subject of the excerpts below from his book.

Steve Rabson is Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies, Brown University, and a contributing editor to the Asia-Pacific Journal. He is the author of Righteous Cause or Tragic Folly: Changing View of War in Modern Japanese Poetry (Center For Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 1998) and The Okinawan Diaspora in Japan: Crossing the Borders Within (University of Hawaii Press, 2012). His recent articles include “Okinawa was a ‘storage location’ for nuclear weapons: published accounts,” Asia-Pacific Journal, January 7, 2013, Volume 11 | Issue 1 | Number 6 and “Nuclear Hawks in Tokyo Call for Stronger US Nuclear Posture in Japan and Okinawa,” Gregory Kulacki with a comment by Steve Rabson, Asia-Pacific Journal, June 1, 2018, Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 1. He was stationed as a U.S. Army draftee at a nuclear weapons storage base in Henoko, Okinawa, 1967-68.

The original Japanese text can be found here.

Related articles:

Ōishi Matashichi and Richard Falk, “The Day the Sun Rose in the West. Bikini, the Lucky Dragon and I,” Asia-Pacific Journal, June 19,2011, Vol. 9, No. 3

Steve Rabson, “Okinawa was a ‘storage location’ for nuclear weapons: Published accounts,” Asia-Pacific Journal, January 7, 2013, Volume 11 | Issue 1 | Number 6

Nuclear Hawks in Tokyo Call for Stronger US Nuclear Posture in Japan and Okinawa,” Gregory Kulacki with a comment by Steve Rabson, Asia-Pacific Journal, June 1, 2018, Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 1

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment