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Interview with legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg following his 89th arrest for resisting nuclear weapons, nuclear war and government secrecy — Rise Up Times

Still today, hardly any people know just how much falsehood was fed to them to justify what we did. By Dennis Bernstein Covert Action Magazine September 24, 2019 The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California, designs new nuclear weapons and conducts plutonium research. [Credit: worldatlas.com] [Daniel Ellsberg, a consultant to the White House in 1961, drafted […]

via Interview with legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg following his 89th arrest for resisting nuclear weapons, nuclear war and government secrecy — Rise Up Times

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Major Media Bury Groundbreaking Studies of Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Bootprint — Rise Up Times

US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet

via Major Media Bury Groundbreaking Studies of Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Bootprint — Rise Up Times

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prominent Australians, including politicians, call on their government to save Julian Assange from extradition to USA

Growing calls for Australian government to defend Julian Assange   https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/10/19/assa-o19.html?fbclid=IwAR2smK6ChQzsIB7Ndld4N_No68RpVViDz5V-RH7qTiYfWmFWFdqkThOA-DQ

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 October 2019 Over the past week, several prominent public figures, including federal members of parliament, have called on the Australian government to fulfil its obligations to defend WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange, including by taking steps to prevent his extradition from Britain to the US.

The statements come in the lead-up to British extradition hearings in February, that will decide whether Assange is dispatched to the US. He faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in an American prison for exposing US war crimes and diplomatic intrigues.

There are concerns within the Australian political and media establishment that the refusal of successive governments to defend Assange, an Australian citizen and journalist, has generated widespread anger and opposition. The fear in ruling circles is that if Assange is extradited, or if his parlous health continues to deteriorate, the latent support for him will coalesce into a political movement against the entire official set-up.

In a statement to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, independent MP Andrew Wilkie declared that Assange is “an Australian citizen and must be treated like any other Australian. He was not in the US when he provided evidence of US war crimes in Iraq. He can’t possibly have broken their laws.”

Wilkie said that if Assange is extradited to the US, he “faces serious human rights violations including exposure to torture and a dodgy trial. And this has serious implications for freedom of speech and freedom of the press here in Australia, because if we allow a foreign country to charge an Australian citizen for revealing war crimes, then no Australian journalist or publisher can ever be confident that the same thing won’t happen to them.”

He concluded by stating: “Put simply, he must be allowed to return to Australia.”

Wilkie, a former intelligence agent who resigned to speak out against “weapons of mass destruction” lies used to justify the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, has previously condemned the assault on democratic rights. In 2010 and 2011, he made statements and spoke at public events in defence of Assange. Alongside the Greens and a host of civil liberties organisations, however, Wilkie has largely remained silent about the WikiLeaks founder’s plight for a number of years and has boycotted all actions taken in his defence.

Wilkie said that if Assange is extradited to the US, he “faces serious human rights violations including exposure to torture and a dodgy trial. And this has serious implications for freedom of speech and freedom of the press here in Australia, because if we allow a foreign country to charge an Australian citizen for revealing war crimes, then no Australian journalist or publisher can ever be confident that the same thing won’t happen to them.”

He concluded by stating: “Put simply, he must be allowed to return to Australia.”

Wilkie, a former intelligence agent who resigned to speak out against “weapons of mass destruction” lies used to justify the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, has previously condemned the assault on democratic rights. In 2010 and 2011, he made statements and spoke at public events in defence of Assange. Alongside the Greens and a host of civil liberties organisations, however, Wilkie has largely remained silent about the WikiLeaks founder’s plight for a number of years and has boycotted all actions taken in his defence.

Joyce, a populist who has sought to build a base of support in rural areas, was well aware of the sentiments in favour of Hicks among workers in regional centres and country towns. He played a role in the sordid agreement brokered by Howard, which saw Hicks returned to Australia in 2007. Hicks was forced to serve out a bogus prison sentence in Australia and was banned for a year from speaking to the media.

In comments to the media on Monday, former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr hinted at the concerns animating the comments in defence of Assange by such figures from within the political establishment.

Carr told the Sydney Morning Herald that ordinary people would be “deeply uneasy” about the prospect of an Australian citizen being handed over to the “living hell of a lifetime sentence in an American penitentiary.” He criticised current Foreign Minister Marise Payne over her claim that she made “friendly” representations on behalf of Assange to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo has denounced Assange as a “demon” who is not entitled to any democratic rights and labelled WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

Carr stated: “I think the issue will gather pace, and in the ultimate trial there will be a high level of Australian public concern, among conservative voters as much as any others.”

In his strongest comments in defence of Assange yet, Carr declared: “We have an absolute right to know about American war crimes in a conflict that the Australian government of the day strongly supported. We wouldn’t know about them except for Assange.”

Carr is no political innocent. During his decades in the Labor Party, he functioned as a secret informant for the US embassy, beginning in the 1970s. He was a leading minister in the Gillard Labor government which refused to defend the WikiLeaks founder and instead pledged to assist the US campaign against him.

That Carr has spoken out now is a measure of the fears within the ruling elite that the defence of Assange will animate millions of workers, students and young people in the coming period.

In keeping with the central role of Labor in the US-led pursuit of Assange, no prominent current figure in the party has joined the calls for him to be defended. When the WikiLeaks’ founder was illegally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested by the British police in April, Labor MP Tanya Plibersek shared a Tweet denouncing his supporters as “cultists.”

Julian Hill, a little-known federal backbencher representing a working-class electorate in outer Melbourne, is the only Labor MP to have spoken out. He told the Guardian on Thursday that Assange is “an Australian and, at the very least, we must be vigorously consistent in opposing extradition to countries where he might face the death penalty.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded this week by blandly declaring that Assange must “face the music” in the US. Senior government ministers have previously maligned Assange, repeating the lies concocted by the US intelligence agencies to discredit him.

Liberal Senator James Paterson attempted to provide a more sophisticated argument for the government’s refusal to defend Assange, telling the Sydney Morning Herald last week that both Britain and the US were “rule-of-law countries.”

Paterson piously stated: “This is not the case in many other countries in the world. Sadly, we know there are Australian citizens detained right now in China and Iran who are not facing free and fair legal systems … and the Australian government does have a greater obligation to assist those citizens.”

The suggestion that the Australian government has a responsibility to defend its citizens in some jurisdictions, but not in others, is a legal fiction that has no basis in Australian or international legislation.

Paterson’s statements, moreover, fly in the face of repeated warnings by United Nations officials and human rights organisations that Assange’s legal and democratic rights have been trampled upon by the British and US authorities.

Paterson’s comments point to the real reason why successive Australian governments, Labor and Liberal-National alike, have joined the US-led vendetta against Assange. Their participation in the attacks against him has gone hand in hand with unconditional backing for the US alliance and support for Washington’s military build-up in the Asia-Pacific region, in preparation for war against China.

The record demonstrates that no faith can be placed in any section of the political or media establishment to defend Assange or any democratic rights. All the official parties and institutions in Australia are implicated in the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder. They will take action only to the extent that they fear the political consequences if they do not.

Workers, students and young people must be mobilised as part of an international movement demanding the immediate freedom of Assange and all class war prisoners. This is the only way that an Australian government will be forced to uphold its responsibility to prevent Assange’s extradition to the US and allow him to unconditionally return to Australia.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

High levels of uranium in some Navajo women and infants near old uranium mining sites

US official: Research finds uranium in Navajo  women, babieshttps://apnews.com/334124280ace4b36beb6b8d58c328ae3?fbclid=IwAR2UqarRiUTIPwnRCA_DGkjKuahfFO4T_l9iFrXxb1P8qL5AnmrTc1m61W8By MARY HUDETZ, October 8, 2019, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — About a quarter of Navajo women and some infants who were part of a federally funded study on uranium exposure had high levels of the radioactive metal in their systems, decades after mining for Cold War weaponry ended on their reservation, a U.S. health official Monday.

The early findings from the University of New Mexico study were shared during a congressional field hearing in Albuquerque. Dr. Loretta Christensen — the chief medical officer on the Navajo Nation for Indian Health Service, a partner in the research — said 781 women were screened during an initial phase of the study that ended last year.

Among them, 26% had concentrations of uranium that exceeded levels found in the highest 5% of the U.S. population, and newborns with equally high concentrations continued to be exposed to uranium during their first year, she said.

The research is continuing as authorities work to clear uranium mining sites across the Navajo Nation.

“It forces us to own up to the known detriments associated with a nuclear-forward society,” said U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who is an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo, a tribe whose jurisdiction lies west of Albuquerque.

The hearing held in Albuquerque by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Haaland and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, all Democrats from New Mexico, sought to underscore the atomic age’s impact on Native American communities.

The three are pushing for legislation that would expand radiation compensation to residents in their state, including post-1971 uranium workers and residents who lived downwind from the Trinity Test site in southern New Mexico.

The state’s history has long been intertwined with the development of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, from uranium mining and the first atomic blast to the Manhattan project conducted through work in the once-secret city of Los Alamos. The federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, however, only covers parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah that are downwind from a different nuclear test site.

During the hearing, Haaland said one of her own family members had lost his hearing because of radiation exposure. At Laguna Pueblo, home to her tribe, the Jackpile-Paguate Mine was once among the world’s largest open-pit uranium mines. It closed several decades ago, but cleanup has yet to be completed.

“They need funds,” Haaland said. “They job was not completed.”

David Gray, a deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the mine illustrates uranium mining and milling’s lingering effects on Indian Country.

On the Navajo Nation, he said, the EPA has identified more than 200 abandoned uranium mines where it wants to complete investigation and clean up under an upcoming five-year plan, using settlements and other agreements to pay for the work that has taken decades.

Udall, who chaired the hearing, acknowledged federal officials had shown progress but that the pace of cleanup has proven frustrating for some community members.

“They feel an urgency,” Udall said. “They feel that things need to happen today.”

In her testimony, Christensen described how Navajo residents in the past had used milling waste in home construction, resulting in contaminated walls and floors.

From the end of World War II to the mid-1980s, millions of tons of uranium ore were extracted from the Navajo Nation, leaving gray streaks across the desert landscape, as well as a legacy of disease and death.

While no large-scale studies have connected cancer to radiation exposure from uranium waste, many have been blamed it for cancer and other illnesses.

By the late 1970s, when the mines began closing around the reservation, miners were dying of lung cancer, emphysema or other radiation-related ailments.

“The government is so unjust with us,” said Leslie Begay, a former uranium miner who lives in Window Rock, an Arizona town that sits near the New Mexico border and serves as the Navajo Nation capital. “The government doesn’t recognize that we built their freedom.”

Begay, who said he has lung problems, attended the hearing with an oxygen tank in tow. The hearing held in the Southwest was especially meaningful for him after traveling in the past to Washington to advocate for himself and others, he said.

Associated Press reporter Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | children, Uranium, USA, women | 1 Comment

USA campaign in Count the Nuclear Weapons Money global movement

October 21, 2019 Posted by | ACTION, USA | Leave a comment

Determined opposition to nuclear expansion in India’s iconic tiger reserve

October 21, 2019 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

India keeps increasing its nuclear weaponry – aimed at Pakistan and China

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger, Michael Peck, The National Interest  October 20, 2019   
Key Point: India has its nukes pointed at China and Pakistan, two other nuclear powers.

“India is estimated to have produced enough military plutonium for 150 to 200 nuclear warheads, but has likely produced only 130 to 140,” according to Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “Nonetheless, additional plutonium will be required to produce warheads for missiles now under development, and India is reportedly building several new plutonium production facilities.”

In addition, “India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal, with at least five new weapon systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems.”……https://news.yahoo.com/indias-nuclear-weapons-arsenal-keeps-183000277.html

October 21, 2019 Posted by | India, weapons and war | 1 Comment