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By John Grant
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.
Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.
By Dave Lindorff
If a bunch of street toughs decided to gang up and beat the crap out of some guy in the neighborhood because they feared he might be planning to buy a gun to protect his family, I think we’d all agree that the police would be right to bust that crew and charge them with conspiracy to commit the crime of assault and battery. If they went forward with their plan and actually did attack the guy, injuring or killing him in the process, we’d also all agree they should all be charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, or even first-degree murder if he died.
By Dave Lindorff
The attacks and attempted attacks this week on Israeli embassy personnel in Georgia, India and Thailand should serve as a serious warning to the people of both Israel and the US that there will be an increasingly heavy price to pay for the kind of government-sponsored terror that both countries have long practiced, and that too many Americans and Israelis have mindlessly cheered on.
The technology of terror has become so wide-spread, and the materials needed to construct magnetically-attached car bombs, cell-phone detonators, armor-piercing IEDs, diesel/fertilizer bombs and the like, so accessable at consumer shops, hardware stores and local junkyards, that any government, and even any relatively savvy non-government group, can assemble and employ them.
Federal Judge Strips Vermont of Power to Terminate Nuke: State Government Diddles but Vermonters Take Matters into Own Hands
By Dan DeWalt
Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana, which operates the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear reactor in Vernon Vermont has launched an attack on the state of Vermont with the help of the federal courts.
Vermont state law gives the state the power to decide whether to allow further operation of the reactor past March 21, 2012 (the expiration date for VY). When Entergy bought VY, they agreed to this law and swore that they would not try to abrogate it. This was an outright lie on Entergy's part, and they sued the state as soon as it was decided that further operation of this crumbling, leaking and led-by-liars reactor would NOT be in the interests of the state and they were not given permission to continue operation past March 21.
US Iran Policy in 'Lockstep' with Israel?: President Obama Risks Becoming a Major-League War Criminal
By Dave Lindorff
It’s a relief to know that President Obama’s “preferred” solution to dealing with disagreements with Iran is diplomacy, as he said yesterday in an interview on NBC TV, but at the same time, it’s profoundly disturbing that he is simultaneously saying that, as an AP report on the interview put it: he would “not take options off the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
Divining the Truth about Iran
Editor (Consortiumnews.com) Note: Like before the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. news media is flooding Americans with alarmist accounts about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Even when U.S. officials suggest nuance and caution, the media ignores the signals, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.
By Ray McGovern
Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.
US/Israel: Iran NOT Building Nukes
Exclusive: Recent comments by U.S and Israeli military leaders indicate that the intelligence services of the two countries agree that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb, a crack in the Western narrative that the U.S. press corps won’t accept, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.
By Ray McGovern
Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”
By Charles M. Young
On Thursday, January 5, I was waiting for the elevator in the lobby of my building when I was joined by a woman who lives up the hall from me. She was carrying a grocery bag with The New York Times poking out the top. “Why did you buy it?” I asked. “They just raised the price to $2.50. Who can afford that for a daily newspaper?”
“I have a very large birdcage,” she said. “It’s the only newspaper that fits the bottom of my birdcage.”
My neighbor is a classical musician who makes a living at it. She pays attention to politics and votes. She buys things. She’s a little older than the actors playing obedient yuppies in the NYT commercials that beg for subscriptions, but is otherwise their ideal reader.
The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima's radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.
By David Lindorff Sr.
The International Forum on Globalization has published the most concise, useful, readable, and damning denunciation of nuclear technology I've seen. And it's available for free as a PDF right here:
Nuclear energy suffers from the following drawbacks:
The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.
Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.
Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process. We are giving our children cancer at an astonishing pace, through each stage from mining to operation, and through additional steps including the use of depleted uranium weapons.
Also not counted is the cost of attempting to ensure that nuclear energy states do not become nuclear weapon states (or non-state actors).
Nuclear energy is not an alternative to energies that increase global warming, because nuclear increases global warming. When high-grade uranium runs out, nuclear will be worse for CO2 emissions than burning fossil fuels. And as global warming advances, nuclear becomes even less efficient as reactors must shut down to avoid overheating.
The holy "marketplace" will not create or sustain a single nuclear plant. The good ol' tax payers are on the tab to eat the financial losses and cover the costs of major disasters. The meltdown of a single reactor in the U.S. (many of them built by GE in the same manner as the Fukushima plant in Japan) could irradiate an area the size of Pennsylvania.
Nuclear disasters are covered up (corporate newspapers still regularly claim nobody died at Three Mile Island) and near misses not discussed, in part because GE owns NBC while until 2000 Westinghouse owned CBS.
Nuclear is far less efficient when all factors are considered than other available energy sources, including wind, solar, wave, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Looking good in comparison with coal is a qualification that can still kill us.
Here in Virginia the government has just reopened a nuclear plant on a fault where it was damaged and shut down by an earthquake in August. Earhquakes have been increasing in frequency dramatically, thereby increasing the danger of nuclear catastrophe.
Also here in Virginia the government is trying to charge people for producing electricity from solar and trying to lift a ban on uranium mining, with catastrophy not just risked but almost guaranteed.
It doesn't have to go this way. These choices are not driven by necessity, but by greed, corruption, and recklessness.
Share the above linked PDF with everyone you can. It's laid out like an argument and would make perfect preparation for a debate on nuclear energy. The author, Gar Smith, deserves huge credit. Please put it to good use.
By Dave Lindorff
When it comes to mainstream press reports about a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it’s time to check the bullshit detector.
NASA intends in coming weeks to launch a rover to be deployed on Mars fueled with 10.6 pounds of plutonium. Opponents of the launch in Florida, concerned about an accident releasing deadly plutonium, such as the explosion of the rocket that’s to loft the rover, have created a Facebook page warning people not to visit Disney theme parks in Orlando during the November 25-to-December 15 launch window. “Don’t Do Disney brought to you by NASA,” the Facebook page is titled. Other actions are planned.
By Gareth Porter WASHINGTON, Nov 9, 2011 (IPS) - The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published by a Washington think tank Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon. But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives. In fact, Danilenko, a Ukrainian, has worked solely on nanodiamonds from the beginning of his research career and is considered one of the pioneers in the development of nanodiamond technology, as published scientific papers confirm.
Ms. Setsuko Thurlow at the United Nations General Assembly First Committee, October 26, 2011:
Dear Members of the First Committee and guests,
I am privileged to have this opportunity to share with you a small part of my experience of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
While Obama publicly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians over settlements, he secretly sold Jerusalem deep-penetrating bombs it had long sought. Eli Lake previews an exclusive story appearing in Monday's Newsweek.
Dr. Wittner is Professor of History at the State University of New York/Albany. His latest book is Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement (Stanford University Press).
Should the U.S. government be building more nuclear weapons? Residents of Kansas City, Missouri don’t appear to think so, for they are engaged in a bitter fight against the construction of a new nuclear weapons plant in their community.
The massive plant, 1.5 million square feet in size, is designed to replace an earlier version, also located in the city and run by the same contractor: Honeywell. The cost of building the new plant—which, like its predecessor, will provide 85 percent of the components of America’s nuclear weapons—is estimated to run $673 million.
From the standpoint of the developer, Centerpoint Zimmer (CPZ), that’s a very sweet deal. In payment for the plant site, a soybean field it owned, CPZ received $5 million. The federal government will lease the property and plant from a city entity for twenty years, after which, for $10, CPZ will purchase it, thus establishing the world’s first privately-owned nuclear weapons plant. In addition, as the journal Mother Jones has revealed, “the Kansas City Council, enticed by direct payments and a promise of ‘quality jobs,’ . . . agreed to exempt CPZ from property taxes on the plant and surrounding land for twenty-five years.” The Council also agreed to issue $815 million in bond subsidies from urban blight funds to build the plant and its infrastructure. In this lucrative context, how could a profit-driven corporation resist?
Kansas City residents, however, had greater misgivings. They wondered why the U.S. government, already possessing 8,500 nuclear weapons, needed more of them. They wondered what had happened to the U.S. government’s commitment to engage in treaties for nuclear disarmament. They wondered how the new weapons plant fit in with the Obama administration’s pledge to build a world free of nuclear weapons. And they wondered why they should be subsidizing the U.S. military-industrial complex with their tax dollars.
Last year I reviewed a book called "Apocalypse Never" that made a powerful case for our options being limited to two: either we get rid of nuclear weapons or humanity will be destroyed. I noted then a deep flaw in the case: the author accepted nuclear energy as something we could survive, focusing his opposition purely on nuclear weaponry.
A new film makes the additional case I was looking for. "Knocking on the Devil's Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy" by Gary Null could not come at a better time. Not far from where I write this, a nuclear plant at Lake Anna was damaged in a recent earthquake. Whether the damage was severe or not -- this time -- is unclear.
This was forwarded to me by a trusted friend from another trusted friend who spoke with someone whose neighbor's daughter works at North Anna, the nuclear plant in Virginia, not far from last week's earthquake.
No, that's not three confirmed sources, but I am writing a book, working jobs, and organizing a conference. Take the following for what it's worth, and please do the reporting.
"During the quake the administration building buckled. White steam began pouring our of the stacks. There is chaos at the power station. __________ said that two NY Times reporters are investigating - ________ and ____________. He wants to get a Geiger counter and take readings near the plant. He also said that when they were first building the plant some W & M professors told them it was not safe to build it on the fault. I will let you know what else I hear."
Journalists from ThisCantBeHappening! took on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation’s third oldest surviving daily, this morning, conducting a leafletting “happening” in front of the paper’s soon-to-be-sold headquarters building on Broad Street.
A one-page flyer, written in old English and featuring a replica of the masthead of Benjamin Franklin’s original one-page broadsheet, the Pennsylvania Gazette, accused the oft re-sold and steadily downsized and gutted Inquirer of abandoning its Fourth Estate role in favor of entertainment and profits.
On August 6, 1945, President Harry S Truman announced: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British 'Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare."
When Truman lied to America that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city full of civilians, people no doubt wanted to believe him. Who would want the shame of belonging to the nation that commits a whole new kind of atrocity? (Will naming lower Manhattan "ground zero" erase the guilt?) And when we learned the truth, we wanted and still want desperately to believe that war is peace, that violence is salvation, that our government dropped nuclear bombs in order to save lives, or at least to save American lives.
By Bruce Gagnon
The next plutonium enabled space mission, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida between November 25 and December 18 of this year. The MSL rover, known as "Curiosity," will be fueled with 4.8 kilograms (10.56 pounds) of plutonium dioxide. It will be, NASA says, "the largest, most capable rover ever sent to another planet."
Fifty years ago this week, on June 29, 1961, an electrical generator driven by nuclear energy was launched into space for the first time.
NASA sadly appears committed to maintaining their dangerous alliance with the nuclear industry. Both entities view space as a new market for the deadly plutonium fuel.
Back in 1997 we organized an international campaign against NASA and the Department of Energy's launch of 72 pounds of plutonium on the Cassini mission. A man by the name of Alan Kohn volunteered to help us with that campaign. Alan had been the Emergency Preparedness Officer at NASA during the Galileo (1989) and Ulysses (1990) plutonium launches at the space center in Florida.
By the time Cassini was to be launched Alan had retired from NASA and felt free to speak out. He told the New York Times, just prior to the launch, that NASA had no plan to contain and clean-up after an accident on or near the launch pad that released plutonium into the environment. He said the operating plan he had worked with during the two previous nuclear launches was a joke and was only intended to serve as a reassurance to the public. Alan told us that a long-time family friend, working in the White House, had informed him that more people contacted Washington opposing Cassini than any other issue in U.S. history.
While NASA maintains that they are "searching for the origins of life" on Mars, in reality they are mapping the red planet and doing soil sampling which is all intended to serve the ultimate goal of establishing a nuclear powered mining colony there in the future. The Haliburton Corporation, known for their connections to the Bush-Cheney administration and fraud in Iraq, has been working on a drilling mechanism for Mars exploration for some time.
The taxpayers are being asked once again to pay for nuclear missions that could endanger the life of all the people on the planet. As we saw in Louisiana, following the Hurricane Katrina debacle, the federal government is not prepared to do disaster relief and clean-up. A plutonium release over Florida could devastate a 60-mile radius - from the space center to Disney World.
It would only take one pound of plutonium-238 released as dust in the atmosphere to give everyone on the Earth a lethal dose of the toxic fuel. Have we not learned anything from Chernobyl and Fukushima? We don't need to be launching nukes into space. It's not a gamble we can afford to take.
You can send NASA a message opposing the plutonium Mars rover mission using this link
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.
Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.
Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.
"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."
By Robert C. Koehler
There are twenty thousand nuclear weapons on the planet, a quarter of them ready for launch at a moment’s suicidal impulse, aimed at countries that stopped being enemies two decades ago. It’s six minutes to midnight. “Disarmament” has as much cachet in America’s corridors of power as “socialism.”
And the U.S. House, bless its evil heart, has just sliced the Achilles tendon of peace. It recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, which has many seriously worrisome provisions, two of which stand in stark, grinning contrast to one another.
“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
This 1954 quote from Albert Einstein hangs on the wall in my house. It seems to me truth distilled down to its most humble and indisputable essence. The more I read it, the more fundamental and inescapable its wisdom seems.