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Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for full disclosure of Fukushima nuclear disaster testimony

Kan seeks full disclosure of testimony on nuclear crisis http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/26/national/kan-seeks-full-disclosure-testimony-nuclear-crisis/#.U_5HVMVdUnk CANBERRA – Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan called Tuesday for the full disclosure of testimony regarding the Fukushima nuclear crisis, including that of plant chief Masao Yoshida.

Kan, prime minister during the March 2011 disaster, welcomed the Abe administration’s decision to release Yoshida’s testimony in September.

“It is the most important material to understand the cause of the accident and how it developed,” he said.

Kan, known for his opposition to nuclear power, is currently visiting Australia at the invitation of an environmental group.

“It is necessary to re-examine all the facts” related to the nuclear crisis, he said.

The government had resisted releasing Yoshida’s testimony. Before he died of esophageal cancer in July 2013 at age 58, he signed a statement preventing the release of interviews, citing concerns that he would be misinterpreted. Yoshida was interviewed for more than 20 hours from July to November 2011 by a government panel examining the crisis.

The government is also preparing to disclose testimony by others involved in the disaster as soon as it obtains consent from the interviewees.

“Since public interest of the examination of the accident is extremely high, I believe testimony by then senior executives of Tokyo Electric, including the chairman and president, as well as records of its teleconferences, should be disclosed,” Kan said.

He said he has approved the release of his own testimony.

August 27, 2014 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Corporate espionage against Non Profit Groups

secret-agentDow Chemical vs. Greenpeace  Corporations Spy on Nonprofits with Impunity, CounterPunch,
by RALPH NADER, 25 April 14  Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: corporations conduct espionage against US nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

The evidence abounds.

For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists……..

This is hardly the only case of corporate espionage against nonprofits. Last year, my colleagues produced a report titled Spooky Business, which documented 27 sets of stories involving corporate espionage against nonprofits, activists and whistleblowers. Most of the stories occurred in the US, but some occurred in the UK, France and Ecuador. None of the US-based cases has resulted in a verdict or settlement or even any meaningful public accountability. In contrast, in France there was a judgment against Electricite de France for spying on Greenpeace, and in the UK there is an ongoing effort regarding News Corp/News of the World and phone hacking.

Spooky Business found that “Many of the world’s largest corporations and their trade associations – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BAE, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E.ON – have been linked to espionage or planned espionage against nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers.”

Three examples:……..

While there is a congressional effort to hold the NSA accountable for its privacy invasions, there is no such effort to hold powerful corporations accountable for theirs……..Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate Statehttp://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/25/corporations-spy-on-nonprofits-with-impunity/

August 27, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner’s Conflict of Interest

conflict-of-interestGroups try to block nuclear regulator’s vote, citing conflict of interest WP By Josh Hicks August 21 Dozens of environmental organizations and nuclear-power opponents are trying to stop a federal regulator from participating in upcoming votes scheduled to take place one week before he starts a new leadership role with an industry group.

In a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday, the Sierra Club and 33 other groups called on the panel to postpone its Aug. 26 decisions until Commissioner William Magwood moves to his new job as director of the non-government Nuclear Energy Agency on Aug. 31.

“Mr. Magwood has created a real and apparent conflict of interest by pursuing and accepting a position with an international agency whose primary purpose is to promote nuclear power, at the same time he serves on a U.S. agency that is dedicated to protection of public health and safety and the environment,” the letter said…….

the opposing groups said a vote by the commissioner would lead to questions about whether he “influenced the agency to gloss over the serious problems that attend the long-term storage and disposal of spent reactor fuel, in order to fulfill his new mission of promoting nuclear energy worldwide.”….. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/08/21/groups-try-to-block-nuclear-regulators-vote-citing-conflict-of-interest/

August 22, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 5 Comments

Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab ‘s efforts to shut up a critic of nuclear war

civil-liberty-2smFlag-USADid Los Alamos fire a researcher for questioning U.S. nuclear doctrine? Michael Hiltzik LOS ANGELES TIMES michael.hiltzik​@latimes.com 15 Aug 14    Los Alamos may be a government laboratory with lots of classified secrets, but it also guarantees its researchers intellectual freedom on a par with that enjoyed by university professors. Political scientist James Doyle says that freedom was violated when he was fired last month after questioning U.S. nuclear weapons doctrine in a published article.

The New Mexico lab maintains that Doyle, a 17-year veteran of Los Alamos, wasn’t fired, but laid off “due to the lack of available or anticipated funding in his area of expertise.” (Virtually all the lab’s funding comes from congressional appropriations.) According to an email from lab spokesman Kevin Roark, “the separation was unrelated to his publications or professional writings.”
But the lab has also asserted that Doyle’s article contained classified information he wasn’t authorized to divulge. It has classified the article itself, so its voluminous paperwork on the case doesn’t even refer to the piece by name, and Doyle and his attorney, Mark Zaid, can’t discuss it with one another. (But you can read it here, on the website of Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, where it was published originally.)

Doyle’s case was laid out in a lengthy piece by Douglas Birch of the Center for Public Integrity. A follow-up appears in the current issue of Science. Zaid says he’ll be appealing Doyle’s termination to the secretary of Energy and bringing it before other Washington officials who investigate allegations of retaliations against whistleblowers. So you can expect to hear more about it.

We’ve asked for a comment from the University of California, which is a major partner in the consortium that manages Los Alamos for the government and has three representatives on its board, including the board chairman, UC Regent Norman J. Pattiz, but haven’t received an answer.

Zaid, who says he represents other government whistleblowers, doesn’t buy the lab’s explanation. “It’s very easy for a government agency to independently justify any personnel action against someone,” he told us. But he questions how “someone with Doyle’s expertise, long-standing history with the lab, and stellar personal evaluations can suddenly be [laid off] as ‘non-essential.'”

The 8,100-word article at the center of the case appeared in Survival in February 2013 under the title, “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?” Written on Doyle’s own time and presented explicitly as the author’s own views, it’s a sober and closely argued analysis of the postwar doctrine of “deterrence.”……

On the surface, Doyle’s argument that “nuclear weapons should be eliminated” parallels the Obama administration’s stated goal of “a world without nuclear weapons.” But it’s at odds with the defining mission of Los Alamos, which is devoted to weapons development……..

Doyle’s analysis should be heeded. The U.S. government’s nuclear doctrine must be updated to the 21st century. Mutually assured deterrence doesn’t work against the nonstate groups that pose the greatest threat to national security. More than ever, a world awash with nuclear weapons is in peril. http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-antinuclear-article-20140815-column.html#page=1

August 16, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Secret Ontario meetings on nuclear waste plan broke the law

secret-agent-SmClosed-door nuclear meetings broke the law in Bruce County  The Star.com  7 Aug 14 Closed-door meetings to talk about a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine broke the Municipal Act, says an official investigator By:  Business reporter,

Bruce County council violated the Municipal Act by holding a string of closed-door meetings to talk about a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine, an official investigator says……… it’s not certain what was said in the sessions held from 2009 to 2012, because no official minutes were taken.

Unofficial notes were taken at eight sessions, but there appears to be no record for as many as nine others.

Nor was public notice given that the meetings were being held.

The investigator’s report was commissioned by the county after a complaint by citizens’ groups.

The complaint arose over meetings of a body called the Community Consultation Advisory Group. It was made up of all the mayors in Bruce County, including the county warden.

The group was formed by Ontario Power Generation to talk about OPG’s plans for a low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste site near Kincardine.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization — which is seeking a place to bury high-level nuclear waste — was also part of the sessions. Some were attended by members of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Because the group included every mayor in Bruce County, Amberley Gavel said there was in effect a quorum of county council members at every meeting of the advisory group.

And since the nuclear waste issue had been a subject discussed at county council, the advisory group sessions were in effect council meetings, the report concludes.

The Municipal Act generally requires council meetings to be public. None of the permitted exceptions applied in this case. “Since there was no notice of these Council meetings given to the public in accordance with the County’s Procedure By-Law; no Clerk or designate was present to take minutes, nor were any taken; and the public was unaware of and in no case attended any of these meetings; nor was there any resolution to close them, they were clearly in contravention of the open meetings requirements of the Act,” the report concludes………

Former Brockton mayor Charlie Bagnato said he didn’t fully realize the meetings were closed to the public when he attended the sessions.

“When you get elected, you get a list of all the different committees there and you appoint people to different committees,” he said. “The thing was driven by OPG. I guess we just kind of kowtowed to whatever they had done in the past.”

But some residents of the area have said the closed meetings show the current process of choosing a nuclear waste is fatally flawed.

The task of evaluating the location of the proposed low- and intermediate-level waste site is in now in the hands of a federal panel.

Rod McLeod, a lawyer and former president of the Southampton Residents Association, argued in a submission to the panel when the secret meetings first came to light that the panel should ultimately abort its current process.

Both the nuclear regulators and the municipalities showed that they aren’t willing to participate fairly and transparently, he argued. http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/08/07/closeddoor_nuclear_meetings_broke_the_law_in_bruce_county.html

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Los Alamos officials have not silenced Jim Doyle’s thoughtful plea for debate about nuclear weapons

Los Alamos, Freedom of Speech, and Nuclear Disaster  physicist & co-director, Global Security  Union of Concerned Scientists August 4, 2014

As every high school student learns, the first amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech. That’s why government employees have the right to express their opinions as long as they make clear that their opinions do not represent those of their employer.

Apparently some folks at Los Alamos National Laboratory—one of the two labs that design and help maintain U.S. nuclear weapons—missed that day in class.  Last year, Jim Doyle, then a nuclear security and non-proliferation specialist who had been at the Lab for 17 years, published an article in the journal Survival titled Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons? Doyle included the requisite disclaimer: “The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not represent those of the Los Alamos National Laboratory or the US government.” So far, so good.

But soon Los Alamos officials claimed the article contained classified information. Then they docked Doyle’s pay, took away his security clearance, and ultimately fired him. Not subtle.

FreedomOfSpeech

The shameful tale of Los Alamos and Jim Doyle is thoroughly detailed in an article by Douglas Birch, an investigative journalist who works at the Center for Public Integrity. Among other things, Birch interviews several experts with security clearances who say that Doyle’s article contains nothing classified……..

An informed public debate about U.S. nuclear weapons policies is essential. That Los Alamos Lab officials went out of their way to stifle such debate is especially disturbing. Ironically, their actions have now brought Doyle’s article to the attention of a much larger group of people. http://blog.ucsusa.org/los-alamos-freedom-of-speech-nuclear-disaster-612

August 7, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

To help the nuclear industry, USA’s EPA to weaken radiation standards

text-EPA-Nuclear-ProtectionGreen groups say EPA rules would weaken radiation standards The Hill, By Tim Devaney – 08/04/14  Green groups say the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to weaken radiation standards at nuclear power plants would triple the likelihood of people in surrounding communities developing cancer.

The EPA said earlier this year it is considering new rules that green groups claim would actually weaken radiation standards, increasing public exposure by at least three times from the current level. The agency has not updated the standards since 1977. “The EPA admits that radiation is much more likely to cause cancer than was believed when the rule was originally written,” said Dan Hirsch, president of nuclear watchdog group Committee to Bridge the Gap. “So it’s perplexing that rather than tightening the rule, they’re proposing to weaken it further.”

The Committee to Bridge the Gap is one of about 70 environmental groups that sent EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy a letter over the weekend, asking her to reconsider the new rules as the public comment period closes and the agency enters the final stages of rule-making.

In addition to the environmental groups, more than 6,000 people have written to the EPA opposing the changes to the radiation standard, Hirsch said.

Under the EPA’s current standards, about one in every 500 people who are exposed to radiation develop cancer, but the new rules would increase the risk even more, Hirsch said.

“They’ve given a free pass to radiation,” Hirsch said……….

environmental groups speculate the Obama administration could be trying to replace coal production with nuclear energy, which they say is why the EPA is loosening radiation standards.

Environmental groups, however, express deep concerns about this plan.

“I would not say that nuclear is safer than coal, not at all,” Hirsch said.

“Choosing between coal and nuclear is a form of picking one’s poison, either carbon or plutonium,” he added. “But we believe that shouldn’t be the choice. The choice should be between dangerous pollutants and renewables, which are far safer.”

Renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydropower are all better replacements for coal than nuclear energy, Hirsch said. : http://thehill.com/regulation/214232-green-groups-say-epa-rules-would-weaken-radiation-standards#ixzz39gQFKYxi

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August 7, 2014 Posted by | radiation, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 3 Comments

Dr Helen Caldicott on the authorities’ concealment of medical effects of Fukushima catastrophe

cone-of-silence-FukushimaUN, Japan, Concealing Extent of Fukushima Catastrophe MWC News, By Sherwood Ross Friday, 01 August 2014 Japanese and United Nations authorities have placed “a cone of silence” over medical information an endangered Japanese public is entitled to have about the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown.

“It is obvious that there is collaboration between the World Health Organization(WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) and also the Japanese government…to hide, to lie, and to cover-up vital medical information that must be made available to the Japanese population,” says Dr. Helen Caldicott, the medical doctor who has been showered with honors and awards for her long-time opposition to the dangers of nuclear power manufacture and nuclear war.

“Many doctors have been ordered not to inform their patients that their symptoms could be related to radiation, leaving them in a state of despair,” Dr.Caldicott says. (They) “need to know the truth about their situation and that of their children.”

Dr. Caldicott, who has received 21 honorary doctorates for her work, says that to make matters worse, Japan Prime Caldicott,-Helen-4Minister Shinzo Abe “has passed a secrecy law which will almost certainly intimidate the media from keeping a very close watch over the tenuous (nuclear) plant.”

The government, she says, and Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO), “have been reluctant to divulge reliable data and information about radioactive releases, the ongoing state of the severely damaged reactors, the continuous outflow of radioactive water into the sea, and the possibility of a serious accident and radiation release in the event of another earthquake greater than 7 on the Richter scale which could well trigger the collapse of the seriously damaged buildings numbers 3 and 4.”

Damaged Building 3 contains over 100 tons of molten radioactive fuel which “would almost certainly release massive quantities of radioactive elements…threatening millions of people with radioactive contamination,” Dr. Caldicott points out.

She goes on to say that if precariously damaged Building 4 should collapse, 400 tons of extremely radioactive fuel will plunge 100 feet to the ground, releasing its cooling water with possible ignition of the fuel. This could release ten times more cesium than was released at Chernobyl or the equivalent of 14,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs.

Since the meltdowns three years ago, 400 tons of polluted radioactive water have been flowing continuously into the Pacific Ocean every day, Dr. Caldicott says.Dr. Caldicott reminds that the IAEA Published reports after the April 26, 1986, meltdown of the nuclear plant in Chernobyl, Soviet Russia, that “there were no health effects due to radiation exposure.” This was an astonishing piece of misinformation as, according to one reliable report, by the year 2009, some 1 million Europeans had died. In Belarus alone, the percentage of healthy children dropped from 80% before the catastrophe to 20% afterwards.

What’s more, of the 800,000 healthy youngsters called “liquidators” brought in by the Government from around Russia to fight the burning reactor, within 19 years more than 120,000 were dead.

Dr. Caldicott urged the public to “demand that TEPCO and the Japanese government continually inform the public about the events that are and will be occurring at the Fukushima reactors, without cover-ups and denials of the facts.”

Should another major release of radiation occur, she said, the public must be informed immediately and evacuation begun immediately. http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/44145-fukushima-catastrophe.html#sthash.5cgmPLZn.dpuf

August 2, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, health, Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Japan returning to a new age of fascism with Shinzo Abe’s policies?

The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.

Abe NUCLEAR FASCISM

flag-japanAbe undermining rule of law, Japan Times, BY JIRO YAMAGUCHI JUL 31, 2014 A recent series of events has demonstrated the deterioration of Japan as a nation. At the root of the problem appears to be a bottomless nihilism on the part of those in power characterized by their thinking that the powers that be can ignore the rules and norms of society and polity.

On July 1, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision to pave the way for Japan engaging in collective self-defense. This is an act that alters the foundation of Japan’s national security policies developed over the past 60 years, and an outrageous move that way oversteps the power of a single Cabinet.

How vague and sloppy the decision itself is was illustrated by the Budget Committee debates in both chambers of the Diet held two weeks later……..

The new conditions for the use of force overseas set under the LDP-New Komeito agreement will never serve as an effective brake on Japan’s military actions overseas.

Questions and answers in the Diet showed that the text of the Cabinet decision allows different people to interpret it in their own way.

If so, the norms set by the Cabinet over Japan engaging in collective self-defense will be meaningless. In the first place, Abe does not have the idea that government leaders must exercise their power in accordance with rules that are set down in words…….

If the content of norms and rules of a nation can be freely changed by those who interpret them, the nation is no longer under the rule of law; it’s under the rule of man.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority screened Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in accordance with the NRA’s plant design standards updated in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and announced that the Sendai plant has cleared the screening. Thus the NRA has paved the way for restarting the idled plant.

At the same time, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said NRA cannot determine whether the plant is safe to restart. The NRA chief insists its screening standards are not safety standards.

Yet, the Abe administration, which had repeatedly said it would reactivate nuclear power plants that have cleared “the safety standards,” is expected to push for a quick restart of the Sendai plant. The government says that NRA screening has confirmed the safety of the Sendai plant.

As with the issue of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, each of the people involved in the nuclear power policy is allowed to interpret the rules in his or her own way.

All these events demonstrate that people in power in this country — in particular Abe — do not recognize that they are bound by rules. They defiantly argue that even if certain things are prohibited under rules, they can do them simply by first changing the interpretation of the rules. Or, if they cannot win a game, they think that it’s because the rules and the referee are wrong. They then think that if the referee is replaced, things will be all right.

The most important question is no longer whether each of Abe’s policies is good or bad, but rather whether we are going to condone the prime minister’s basic attitude that negates the common sense of a modern state and will lead to turning Japan into a barbaric nation.

Jiro Yamaguchi is a professor of political science at Hosei University. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/07/31/commentary/world-commentary/abe-undermining-rule-law/#.U9xbVuNdUnk

 

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear safety specialist fired from Los Alamos for pushing Obama’s Nuclear Agenda

exclamation-civil liberties USAFired From Los Alamos for Pushing Obama’s Nuclear Agenda, The Daily Beast, 31 July 14 The President says he wants to get rid of the world’s A-Bombs. But when an employee at the nation’s premier nuclear lab suggested the same thing, he got axed. By Douglas Birch, Center for Public Integrity

James E. Doyle’s ordeal with Washington began one morning in early February last year, when his supervisor stopped by his desk at Los Alamos National Laboratory and told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications.

The 55-year-old political scientist asked the reason for the request, and he eventually was told that someone at the House Armed Services Committee wanted to see the publications. But Doyle said officials refused to tell him who it was or why.

Later that day at the lab’s New Mexico campus, he said, two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.

They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama’s embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.

The assertion astonished Doyle, since the laboratory’s security authorities had already reviewed the article and declared it unclassified. But it was the start of a series of events in which Doyle first had his pay docked and his security clearance withdrawn, and then eventually was fired.

He got that final news on July 8, a day after the Center for Public Integrity asked the Energy department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nation’s nuclear labs, about the dispute over his article. “I was shocked,” he said, shortly afterward. “I am still shocked.”

Experts say Doyle’s treatment raises questions about the commitment of the nuclear weapons labs—which face increased competition for resources amid declining military interest in their key product—to intellectual independence in their workforce………..

Doyle, who holds a doctorate in international studies from the University of Virginia, has been at Los Alamos for the past 17 years. Before he joined the lab, he said, he wrote the Department of Energy’s strategic plan for keeping weapons-grade uranium and plutonium stored at hundreds of sites scattered across the former Soviet Union from falling into the wrong hands. He referred to this risky state of affairs as “the babushka-with-uranium-in-the-chicken-shed” problem.

As a nuclear safeguards and security specialist in the lab’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Division, which has 250 employees and an annual budget of about $185 million, Doyle has studied ways to verify reductions in United States and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles beyond the current levels. He also edited a textbook, Nuclear Safeguards, Security and Nonproliferation: Achieving Security with Technology and Policy, which, he said, is used in three dozen universities in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/31/fired-from-los-alamos-for-pushing-obama-s-nuclear-agenda.html#sthash.o3ZKvqHu.dpuf

August 1, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Uranium miner Rio Tinto lies about its “sustainability”

Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories. It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing. Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:

  • with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
  • with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
  • with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
  • and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.

Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate. To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’


liar-nuclear1Rio Tinto’s ‘Sustainable Mining’ Claims Exposed By Kemal Özkan http://www.globalresearch.ca/rio-tintos-sustainable-mining-claims-exposed/5394301 
 July 31, 2014 Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate. Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.

Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine. The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory. If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations. Continue reading

August 1, 2014 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

Belarus anti nuclear critic presses on, despite harassment

Belarus anti-nuclear activist fears for ‘another Chernobyl’ on her doorstep theguardian.com, Friday 25 July 2014 “…………The proposed new plant in Belarus will be funded by Russia. Belarus’s official cost estimate is 9.4 billion US dollars, with one third of this to be spent by 2015. Its reactors would be constructed by the Russian company AtomEnergoMash.

Novikova is critical of the EU for not clamping down on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukishima nuclear disaster of 2011, and points out that some countries are steering away from nuclear energy. “Germany is phasing out of nuclear power; it produced 50% of all electricity generation from more renewable sources last year. The Italians said no in their nuclear referendum.”

Like many Belarusian activists, Novikova has faced severe harassment. She was detained in her own home in Minsk during anti-nuclear protests. Her elderly mother has received prank calls which the police confirmed came from the KGB. In Russia, she was arrested and jailed for five days for trying to hand in an environmental petition to the Russian embassy.

She was also was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011, and can’t tell if she was contaminated from radiation exposure from Chernobyl. The WHO says the disaster will cause 50,000 new cases of the cancer among young people living in the worst-affected region. Increased rates ofthyroid cancer are also being reported in Japan, post-Fukushima.

But she refuses to dwell on her own problems: “I’m still alive. Mine is not the worst case of persecution of people.”

“What should I do? Stop my fight? I lost my health, now I have lost my house,” she says. “Why should I run from this problem? I could go to the US or Europe, but it won’t change if I run – maybe I will, if my life will be in danger. Nobody knows. Right now, I have an opportunity to do something.”http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/25/belarus-anti-nuclear-chernobyl-on-her-doorstep

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Belarus, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Scotland’s tax-payers to pay for new nuclear power?

text-my-money-2flag-ScotlandRow over contract to help nuclear firms, Herald Scotland, Daniel Sanderson Wednesday 23 July 2014

 FIVE years ago the First Minister branded nuclear power “a busted flush”.
 However, Scottish Enterprise, the quango that received £233million in Scottish Government funding in 2012-13, apparently holds a different view to that of its paymasters.

The body is to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds of public cash in a project aimed at helping Scottish firms move into the nuclear power industry.

As part of its Nuclear Supply Chain Phase II initiative, Scottish Enterprise has advertised for expert companies to come forward to assist Scottish firms to win business in the sector. In a document provided to firms interested in winning the three-year contract, worth up to a third of a million pounds excluding VAT, it says that as well as extensive opportunities for businesses to play a role in decommissioning old plants, there is also “considerable commitment to nuclear new-build” in the UK and overseas that could be exploited.

The contract has been offered despite Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing saying last year that support for nuclear was “misguided” after the UK Government announced it planned to build another plant in England. Mr Ewing added that economic powerhouses, including France and Germany, were scaling back or eliminating their reliance on the power source and that investment should instead be diverted to renewable energy sources.

While Scottish Enterprise said it believed the “vast majority” of new activity would involve the decommissioning of old plants, environmentalists have hit out at the agency, accusing it of wasting public money by “chasing the nuclear dream”.

Meanwhile, opposition MSPs have accused the SNP of “hypocrisy” after details of the project emerged. Murdo Fraser, energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The Scottish Government continually argues that nuclear power is declining, yet is now looking for a firm to deliver a programme designed to help businesses take advantage of nuclear power opportunities.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends Of The Earth Scotland, said he believed the Scottish Enterprise project was “a waste of time”, and said the cash would be far better spent on creating jobs in green energy. He said: “Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy but has no useful expertise in new nuclear. Scottish Enterprise should concentrate on playing to our strengths in renewables and not be distracted by the nuclear white elephant.”……..http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/row-over-contract-to-help-nuclear-firms.24830973

July 23, 2014 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

A plea for support for anti uranium protesters arrested in Niger

Dear South African Fellows of the SALT
text-Please-NotePlease note that it was agreed by common consent this year
that the campaign to end uranium mining in Niger with regard
would be a primary focus of the African Uranium Alliance,
founded in Tanzania in 2010.
Now our comrades in Niger have been arrested for their dissent
and need our active support in South Africa, through BRICS,
through the Department of International Relations and through
the African Union, not to mention  Amnesty International and the
United Nations.
Remember how much we were supported in our struggles against
Apartheid by foreign governments, by overseas donors, and by
ordinary citizens of the global Anti-Apartheid Movement.
Now let us return the favour by standing by our leaders in Niger.
Contact your local press, your radio stations, and television stations.
Write to your local Member of Parliament, your leaders in Faith and
your union leaders. Raise the matter on Facebook, Twitter and by way
of public speaking.
The citizens of Niger cannot be held accountable for resistance to the
unjust and unacceptable system of uranium exploitation. Rather should
they be listened to with respect and their basic human rights to free speech
and free association afforded by the State of Niger and its allies in France.
The French Government would never be allowed to get away with
such a breach of human rights in their own country. They should not be
given any right to do so in their former colonies abroad.
After all, they are the architects of the slogan, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”.
Let them practise today what their ancestors did before them.
Let the NIGER TEN go free.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Niger, opposition to nuclear, Uranium | Leave a comment

Hanford nuclear workers scared to speak out on safety issues

censorshipSurvey finds employees at contaminated nuclear site wary of challenging managers Times Colonist, Nicholas K. Geranios / The Associated Press  June 24, 2014 SPOKANE, Wash. - Few of the U.S. Department of Energy workers who are helping build a plant to treat the most dangerous radioactive wastes at a nuclear site in Washington state feel they can openly challenge decisions made by management, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The survey conducted by the department shows only 30 per cent of its employees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation feel they can question their bosses……..

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said the study shows recent allegations of retaliation against Hanford workers who raised safety concerns made other employees less likely to come forward.

Hanford, near Richland in south central Washington, is engaged in a multi-decade cleanup of the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste.

Two people who recently raised concerns about the design and safety of the unfinished Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford lost their jobs. Donna Busche was fired earlier this year, while Walter Tamosaitis, a 40-year Hanford employee, was laid off last year.

The U.S. Department of Energy has asked its Office of Inspector General to investigate Busche’s firing.

- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/business/ap-newsbreak-survey-finds-employees-at-contaminated-nuclear-site-wary-of-challenging-managers-1.1155848#sthash.oj0wQeBF.dpuf

June 26, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

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