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Archive for March, 2011

The Lessons of Fukushima

Truthout

Monday 28 March 2011

by: Hugh Gusterson   |  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | Report

As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through natural selection, but also through cultural learning? Or are we hardwired to repeat our mistakes over and over, like humanoid lemmings?

More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?

Some people, many of them presumably already ill-disposed toward nuclear energy, have concluded that the lesson of Fukushima is that nuclear energy is inherently dangerous. Thus, Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post: “We can engineer nuclear power plants so that the chance of a Chernobyl-style disaster is almost nil. But we can’t eliminate it completely — nor can we envision every other kind of potential disaster. And where fission reactors are concerned, the worst-case scenario is so dreadful as to be unthinkable.” His colleague Anne Applebaum wrote on the same op-ed page: “If the competent and technologically brilliant Japanese can’t build a completely safe reactor, who can? … I … hope that a near-miss prompts people around the world to think twice about the true ‘price’ of nuclear energy, and that it stops the nuclear renaissance dead in its tracks.” (The nuclear renaissance comprises plans around the world to build as many as 350 new nuclear reactors, partly as a way of inhibiting climate change.)

MORE HERE

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As predicted, Beck goes full-bore Bircher with hour-long promotion of Griffin’s anti-Fed conspiracy tome

Crooks and Liars- By David Neiwert

March 26, 2011 08:00 AM

We warned this was coming: On Friday, Glenn Beck devoted his entire hour to promoting the conspiracy theories of G. Edward Griffin, a John Bircher and 9/11 truther whose book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, attacks the Federal Reserve as a nefarious cabal intent on enslaving and destroying America.

It was quite a performance: Among other things we learned from Griffin was that he believes there is no actual gold at Fort Knox (maybe Goldfinger rendered it radioactive, eh?) and that there is a real inflation rate of around 20 percent right now.

Well, as we explained already:

Beck, as we all know, has previously demonstrated a fondness for the Birch Society, and this is consistent with that: Griffin, after all, was a close personal friend and longtime associate of Birch Society founder Robert Welch, and wrote a popular Birch book published in 1964, The Fearful Master: A Second Look at the United Nations.

The Creature from Jekyll Island is in many ways a compendium of previous works claiming that the Federal Reserve is a fundamentally illegitimate — and therefore deeply nefarious — organization. Most of these theories were deeply anti-Semitic in nature, since they depicted the Fed’s bankers as part of a Jewish cabal intent on destroying white American society. What sets Griffin’s work apart is that — like most Birch texts, which assiduously avoided anti-Semitism — he manages to scrub out the anti-Semitic elements while keeping the paranoid conspiracist elements intact.

Since its publication in 1994, Griffin’s book has become a popular text for a large number of right-wing extremists, particularly tax protesters and Patriot movement believers. Griffin himself was involved in organizing a gathering on Jekyll Island last year that the Southern Poverty Law Center credits with helping revive the militia movement.

It has been debunked thoroughly, of course — probably most notably by historian Gerry Rough, whose three-part series on the origins of the Fed, “Another Twist on the Jacksonian Bank War,” pretty thoroughly reveal just how fraudulent Griffin’s text really is. You can read it here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

[Rough has debunked Griffin further in other essays as well: here, here, and here.

Meanwhile, Media Matters’ research team has a complete rundown on Griffin. From an earlier piece:

Griffin, in addition to spinning conspiracy theories about the Fed, is also a 9-11 truther and has written extensively about the U.S. government’s “facilitation” of the attacks. In April 2008, Griffin appeared on the radio program of conspiracist Alex Jones and claimed that he predicted just days after 9-11 that “the FBI and the intelligence agencies of the federal government had advance knowledge of this attack but did nothing to stop it,” and that he was proven right. He also is — or, at least, was — a member of the ultra-right wing John Birch Society. He wrote a 1970 pamphlet entitled “This is the John Birch Society: An Invitation to Join,” and a 1975 book entitled The Life and Words of Robert Welch: Founder of the John Birch Society.

VIDEOS AND MORE HERE

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Risk low in Northwest for radiation contamination from Japan

KVAL News Video

Summary
Even with the jet stream that goes over Japan, across the Pacific and often over the Northwest, state health experts say if there is a radiation leak in Japan we have nothing to worry about.

That is, unless you have questions about the integrity of the Corporate Gubmint. Not long after 911, George Duhbya Bu$h signed a presidential directive, HSPD-5 in order to provide a consistent, coordinated, nation-wide approach for emergency operations across all levels of government, HSPD-5 directed DHS to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and a National Response Plan. Together, NIMS and the NRP provide an approach for federal, state, and local governments to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.

RadNet is a national network of monitoring stations that regularly collect air, precipitation, drinking water, and milk samples for analysis of radioactivity. The RadNet network, which has stations in each State, has been used to track environmental releases of radioactivity from nuclear weapons tests and nuclear accidents. Data generated from RadNet provide the information base for making decisions necessary to ensure the protection of public health. The system helps EPA determine whether additional sampling or other actions are needed in response to particular releases of radioactivity to the environment.

IMO, it would be conforting to see some independent studies as a check on what is coming down in the rain.

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Libyan Airspace ‘Under Control’ As Two Sides Meet

Huffpost- First Posted: 03/25/11 08:48 AM Updated: 03/25/11 08:48 AM

BENGHAZI, Libya — France declared Libya’s airspace “under control” on Friday, after NATO agreed to take command of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers and possibly new confusion. Coalition warplanes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s forces outside the strategic eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES)

Representatives for the regime and the rebels were expected to meet formally for the first time Friday, in Ethiopia, in what the U.N. described as a part of an effort to reach a cease-fire and political solution.

The overnight French and British strikes on an artillery battery and armored vehicles were intended to give a measure of relief to Ajdabiya, where residents have fled or cowered under more than a week of shelling and fighting between rebels and government troops. Explosions also could be heard in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, before daybreak Friday, apparently from airstrikes.

“Libyan airspace is under control, and we proved it yesterday, because a Libyan plane in the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces, which had just taken off from Misrata in order to bomb Misrata, was destroyed by a French Rafale,” Adm. Edouard Guillaud said on France-Info radio.

But the compromise that puts NATO in charge of clearing the skies still leaves the U.S. responsible for the more difficult task of planning attacks on Gadhafi’s ground forces and other targets.

Ajdabiya has been under siege for more than a week, with the rebels holding the city center and scattered checkpoints but facing relentless shelling from government troops on the outskirts. Residents are without electicity or drinking water, and many have fled.

The U.S. military said coalition jets flew about 150 on Thursday, about 70 of them with American planes.

“The operation is still focusing on tanks, combat vehicles, air defense targets – really whatever equipment and personnel are threatening the no-fly zone or civilians on the ground in such locations as Ajdabiya and along some other areas on the coast,” Marine Corps Capt. Clint Gebke told reporters from aboard the USS Mount Whitney.

The U.S. has been trying to give up the lead role in the operation against Gadhafi’s forces, and NATO agreed late Thursday to assume one element of it – control of the no-fly zone.

MORE HERE

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Libya: Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq. Towards a Protracted Military Operation

 by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 20, 2011

Outright lies by the international media: Bombs and missiles are presented as an instrument  of peace and democratization…
This is not a humanitarian operation. The war on Libya opens up a new regional war theater.
There are three distinct war theaters in the Middle East Central Asian region. Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is unfolding is a fourth US-NATO War Theater in North Africa, with the risk of escalation.
These four war theaters are functionally related, they are part of an integrated US-NATO military agenda.

The bombing of Libya has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for several years as confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark.
Operation Odyssey Dawn is acknowledged as the “biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq began exactly eight years ago.” (Russia: Stop ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of Libya – Taiwan News Online, March 19, 2011).
This war is part of the battle for oil. Libya is among the World’s largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.
The underlying objective is to gain control over Libya’s oil and gas reserves under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.
The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.
“Operation Odyssey Dawn ” is part of  a broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.
With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves, (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration.  U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves).
Largest Military Undertaking since the Invasion of Iraq
A military operation of this size and magnitude, involving the active participation of several NATO member and partner countries is never improvised. Operation Odyssey Dawn was in the advanced stages of military planning prior to the protest movement in Egypt and Tunisia. 
Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.   
The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. Rebel forces in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. (See  Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, February 28, 2011)
The insurrection was also planned and coordinated with the timing of the military operation. It had been carefully planned months ahead of the protest movement, as part of a covert operation.
US, British special forces were reported to be on the ground “helping the opposition” right from the outset.
What we are dealing with is a military roadmap, a timeline of carefully planned military and intelligence events.

Read more @ GlobalResearch.ca

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Turkish TV: NATO To Assume Command Libya Operation

HuffPost

Posted: 03/24/11 04:03 PM

ANKARA, Turkey — NATO appeared on Thursday to move closer to assuming command of the military operation in Libya when Turkey’s foreign minister was quoted as saying an agreement has been reached.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES)

The alliance needs the approval of all 28 of its members in order to coordinate the operation, and Turkey had set conditions on that role for NATO.

“The coalition that was formed following the Paris meeting will abandon the mission and hand it over entirely to a single command system under NATO,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency.

“All of Turkey’s concerns, demands on the issue have been met,” he said, and NATO has promised to complete the work needed to take over the Libya mission “within one or two days.”

Earlier in the day, Turkey’s parliament authorized the government to participate in military operations in Libya, including the no-fly zone. Turkey is NATO’s only Muslim member.

Turkey’s government had insisted that any NATO mission, including the no-fly zone, must be restricted to protecting civilians, enforcing the arms embargo and providing humanitarian aid.

Davutoglu had said Wednesday that his country would not agree to a “framework that goes beyond this.” But Turkey also said it would contribute four frigates and one submarine to the NATO naval force that patrolling off Libya’s coast to enforce a U.N. arms embargo. Two frigates had reached the Libyan coast while two others were on their way.

In Brussels, NATO officials said the Military Committee – the alliance’s highest military body – met Thursday morning in Brussels to review plans to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya. The decision-making North Atlantic Council, consisting of envoys from all 28 member nations, was meeting later Thursday to review them.

It has been meeting for six straight days, but a series of disagreements, including whether NATO should have overall political control over the operation and how aggressive rules of engagement should be, have so far blocked an agreement.

MORE HERE

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Adele- Rolling In The Deep

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