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Putin’s ‘Peaceful Atom’ Apocalypse Draws Closer by the Minute

Harvey Wasserman/Reader Supported News, more https://www.rsn.org/001/putins-peaceful-atom-apocalypse-draws-closer-by-the-minute.html20 Mar 22,

If the pumps do not work, the water in the pool may boil, which will lead to the formation of radioactive steam, followed by the melting of the fuel assemblies, which will lead to a severe accident.—-Report from inside Chernobyl appearing in the NYTimes, 3/18/22

Minute by minute, Putin’s “Peaceful Atom” pushes us to the brink of an atomic Apocalypse…maybe as you read this….likely within hours or days.

Some 440 atomic power reactors now heat this planet, 93 in the US. For a half-century opponents have warned that a madman like Putin could make them spew out enough radiation to burn our species off this planet. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/science/ukraine-nuclear-power-plant.html )

We are headed precisely in that direction. The clock ticks down in real time.

Start at Chernobyl. Despite decades of industry denials that any commercial reactor could explode—-Soviet or otherwise—-Unit Four blew up on April 26, 1986. (For a gut sense of what happened, watch HBO’s five-part mini-series “Chernobyl.”)

The last of Chernobyl’s other three reactors ran through 2000. Unit Four’s blown core is still so hot the world community spent some $2 billion to cover it with a giant shield, aptly called a sarcophagus.

Chernobyl’s insanely radioactive graveyard still requires a full-time crew to run highly complex, fragile, dangerously deteriorated maintenance equipment. As we speak, they’re being forced (at gunpoint) to run impossible shifts while crumbling from hunger, fatigue and mental collapse. Without immediate rescue, another global catastrophe is inevitable.

Likewise Ukraine’s other fifteen reactors. A dozen are primitive Soviet relics, much bigger than Chernobyl. Their many decades of radioactive residues dwarf what spewed from Unit Four.

That 1986 explosion carpeted Ukraine, Belarus and much of Europe. Fallout came within ten days to the United States. (But the Soviets did seed clouds at the site so resultant rainfall would minimize the blowback into Moscow).

A definitive 2007 study put Chernobyl’s global death toll at 985,000, since grown vastly. With minimal effort Putin could easily blow all 15 Ukraine nukes, plus the Chernobyl dump, saturating the eco-sphere with radiation capable of ending all human life. Loss of coolant, loss of back-up power, cyber-failure, crew collapse and more could end us all. So could a small barrage of small shells at any reactor anywhere.

Thus nothing prevents Putin from threatening us all with absolute extinction without launching a single missile. The Peaceful Atom is the ultimate instrument of mass radioactive suicide.

The threat has been worsened by the likes of Bill Gates, now advocating Small Modular Reactors set to become the next generation of Putin Bombs. Gates wants spent on a Wyoming factory to churn out SMRs. They can never compete with renewables. But they’d sure be sitting ducks for the next Trumpian madman hell-bent on destroying us all.

Gates and his fellow fanatics could easily use the same resources to cheaply, safely, cleanly and quickly produce enough wind turbines to power the nation. No future Putin could ever threaten our survival by blowing up a wind farm.

This hideous war shows every moment it proceeds that today’s atomic advocates are now inexcusably complicit in humankind’s most lethal techno-failure. Nuclear power’s wastes, emissions, heat, high cost and vulnerability to incompetence, war and terror should have long ago erased it from any serious consideration of future construction or prolonged operation.

Whenever a new reactor opens, nearby cancer rates soar. Whenever an old one shuts, they plummet.

When Putin attacked Ukraine, Finland quickly cancelled a proposed reactor project with Russia. All other reactor builds worldwide must now stop. All operating reactors must be phased out as fast as possible.

Every moment Ukraine’s reactors operate brings the human race closer to extinction. Every day Chernobyl stews without massive intervention shortens our likely lifespan.

Is our species committed enough to living on this Earth to finally move on from this hideously catastrophic “Peaceful Atom”.

Harvey Wasserman co-wrote Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation. His People’s Spiral of US History is just out. He co-convenes the Grassroots Emergency Election Protection zoom Mondays at 5pm ET ( www.grassrootsep.org)

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thought for the day. Extraordinary contradictions about nuclear radiation

The war in Ukraine, the Russian takeover of nuclear reactors there, has alarmed many people, anxious about the dangers of radiation, if a leak, or worse, should occur. Japan is planning extra security measures for its nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, USA is busy telling us that radiation doesn’t really matter much, and UK is planning to call nuclear power green and clean, even as the Ukraine crisis keeps on.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable, The US made a huge mistake?

Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable, The US refused to consider Ukraine’s NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake, MSNBC, March 5, 2022,  By Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC Opinion Columnist

The prevailing wisdom in the West is that Russian President Vladimir Putin was never interested in President Joe Biden’s diplomatic efforts to avert an invasion of Ukraine. Bent on restoring the might of the Soviet empire, this narrative goes, the Russian autocrat audaciously invaded Ukraine to fulfill a revanchist desire for some combination of land, power and glory.

In a typical account operating under this framing, Politico described Putin as “the steely-eyed strongman” who proved immune to “traditional tools of diplomacy and deterrence” and had been “playing Biden all along.” This telling suggests that the United States exhausted its diplomatic arsenal and that Russia’s horrifying and illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has involved targeting civilian areas and shelling nuclear plants, could never have been prevented.

But according to a line of widely overlooked scholarship, forgotten warnings from Western statesmen and interviews with several experts — including high-level former government officials who oversaw Russia strategy for decades — this narrative is wrong.

Many of these analysts argue that the U.S. erred in its efforts to prevent the breakout of war by refusing to offer to retract support for Ukraine to one day join NATO or substantially reconsider its terms of entry. And they argue that Russia’s willingness to go to war over Ukraine’s NATO status, which it perceived as an existential national security threat and listed as a fundamental part of its rationale for the invasion, was so clear for so long that dropping support for its eventual entry could have averted the invasion.

……………..    the abundance of evidence that NATO was a sustained source of anxiety for Moscow raises the question of whether the United States’ strategic posture was not just imprudent but negligent.

The fact that the NATO status question was not put on the table as Putin signaled that he was serious about an invasion — so plainly that the U.S. government was spelling it out with day-by-day updates — was an error, and potentially a catastrophic one. It may sound cruel to suggest that Ukraine could be barred, either temporarily or permanently, from entering a military alliance it wants to be in. But what’s more cruel is that Ukrainians might be paying with their lives for the United States’ reckless flirtation with Ukraine as a future NATO member without ever committing to its defense.

………….    by dangling the possibility of Ukraine’s NATO membership for years but never fulfilling it, NATO created a scenario that emboldened Ukraine to act tough and buck Russia — without any intention of directly defending Ukraine with its firepower if Moscow decided Ukraine had gone too far.

But for the West to offer to compromise on Ukraine’s future entry into NATO would have required admitting the limitations of Western power.

“It was the desire of Western governments not to lose face by compromising with Russia,” Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of “Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry,” told me. “But it was also the moral cowardice of so many Western commentators and officials and ex-officials who would not come out in public and admit that this was no longer a viable project.”

The West didn’t want to set limits on NATO’s enlargement and influence or lose face. So what it did was gamble.

“The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

What’s happened has happened, and there’s no going back. But it still matters.

The U.S. must do everything it can do to end this war — which is already brutalizing Ukraine, rattling the global economy, and could quite easily spiral into a nuclear-armed confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, if things get out of hand — as swiftly as possible, including negotiating on Ukraine’s NATO status and possible neutrality with an open mind. And over the longer term, Americans must realize that in an increasingly multipolar world, reckoning with the limits of their power is critical for achieving a more peaceful and just world………………………………………………..

Russia has grown concerned again about Ukraine for a number of reasons. Analysts like Lieven and Beebe point out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has taken a number of sharp measures to eradicate Russian influence in Ukraine recently by doing things like banning the use of Russian language in schools and state institutions, shutting down Kremlin-linked television stations and arresting some of the most prominent Russo-sympathetic leaders in the country — all while cooperating on the ground with NATO. Russia read this as a sign that Kyiv was throwing its lot in with the U.S. and the prospect of an agreement ensuring autonomy for the separatist-held Donbas region, crucial to Russia’s plan to thwart Ukraine’s NATO entry, might be dead……………………

Emma Ashford, resident senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, wrote in an email that it was a “pity” that “NATO’s open-door principle was not up for debate.” Though she was skeptical about the political ability of the West to “promise to close NATO’s open door, particularly in a way that would have been credible to Moscow,” she said there were potential ways to deal with Moscow’s concerns, such as “a moratorium on NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, conventional arms control agreements limiting the scope of NATO military integration and cooperation with Ukraine, or some form of negotiated Ukrainian neutrality.”

The idea behind a moratorium — of, say, 20 years — is to provide a way for the West to propose to Russia that the issue can be taken up by a future generation of leaders, at a time when Russia’s political class has changed and geopolitics may have shifted………….

All we do know is that the NATO element mattered a great deal to Russia’s political establishment, and there’s reason to think it could’ve changed the course of negotiations. When things looked dicey, it was worth trying……..

dangling is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible that it just caused Ukraine to experience the worst of all worlds: not receiving NATO protection while also enduring one of the most aggressive forms of Russian domination possible.

Many of the experts I spoke to said Ukraine’s neutrality or some kind of altered NATO status should be part of the discussion in diplomatic backchannels. Critics will say this constitutes “appeasement” of Putin. But as Biden has already made clear, the U.S. is not willing to wage war with Russia, and it certainly isn’t going to allow Ukraine into NATO when Russia is attacking it, since that would require all of NATO to go to war with Russia. The issue now is to think clearly about how to end a conflict that could spiral into World War III.

It is imperative that America develops a clearer understanding of its adversaries and behaves more judiciously in an increasingly multipolar world. It is not difficult to imagine the U.S. making a miscalculation over what China would be willing to do to secure its domination of the South China Sea. The U.S. may want to be the only great power in the world, free to expand its hegemony with impunity, but it is not. Refusing to see this is dangerous for us all.  https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/russia-s-ukraine-invasion-may-have-been-preventable-n1290831?featureFlag=true#anchor-ExpandingNATOwasalwayshugelycontroversial

March 19, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How Much Less Newsworthy Are Civilians in Other Conflicts?

A lot less, particularly when they’re victims of the US, FAIR, JULIE HOLLAR, 18 Mar 22, As US news media covered the first shocking weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some media observers—like FAIR founder Jeff Cohen (Common Dreams2/28/22)—have noted their impressions of how coverage differed from wars past, particularly in terms of a new focus on the impact on civilians.

To quantify and deepen these observations, FAIR studied the first week of coverage of the Ukraine war (2/24–3/2/22) on ABC World News TonightCBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News. We used the Nexis news database to count both sources (whose voices get to be heard?) and segments (what angles are covered?) about Ukraine during the study period. Comparing this coverage to that of other conflicts reveals both a familiar reliance on US officials to frame events, as well as a newfound ability to cover the impact on civilians—when those civilians are white and under attack by an official US enemy, rather than by the US itself.

Ukrainian sourcesno experts

One of the most striking things about early coverage has been the sheer number of Ukrainian sources. FAIR always challenges news media to seek out the perspective of those most impacted by events, and US outlets are doing so to a much greater extent in this war than in any war in recent history. Of 234 total sources—230 of whom had identifiable nationalities—119 were Ukrainian (including five living in the United States.)

However, these were overwhelmingly person-on-the-street interviews that rarely consisted of more than one or two lines. Even the three Ukrainian individuals identified as having a relevant professional expertise—two doctors and a journalist—spoke only of their personal experience of the war. Twenty-one (17% of Ukrainian sources) were current or former government or military officials.

Airing so many Ukrainian voices, but asking so few to provide actual analysis, has the effect of generating sympathy, but for a people painted primarily as pawns or victims, rather than as having valuable knowledge, history and potential contributions to determine their own futures.

Meanwhile, Russian government sources only appeared four times. Sixteen other Russian sources were quoted: 13 persons on the street, an opposition politician and two members of wealthy families.

Eighty sources were from the United States, including 57 current or former US officials. Despite the diplomatic involvement of the European Union, only two Western European sources were featured: the Norwegian NATO Secretary General and a German civilian helping refugees in Poland. There were also eight foreign civilians featured living in Ukraine: three from the US, three African and two Middle Eastern.

And while political leaders certainly bring important knowledge and perspective to war coverage, so too do scholars, think tanks and civic organizations with regional expertise. But these voices were almost completely marginalized, with only five such civil society experts appearing during the study period. All were in the United States, although one was Ukrainian-American Michael Sawkiw (CBS2/24/22), who represented the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (an organization associated with Stepan Bandera’s faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which participated in the Holocaust during World War II).

In effect, then, US news media have largely allowed US officials to frame the terms of the conflict for viewers. While officials lambasted the Russian government and emphasized “what we’re going to do to help the Ukrainian people in the struggle” (NBC, 3/1/22), no sources questioned the US’s own role in contributing to the conflict (FAIR.org, 3/4/22), or the impact of Western sanctions on Russian civilians.

The bias in favor of US officials, and the marginalization of experts from the country being invaded—as well as civil society experts from any country—recalls US TV news coverage of another large-scale invasion in recent history: the US invasion of Iraq. A FAIR study (Extra!5–6/03) at the time found that in the three weeks after the US launched that war, current and former US officials made up more than half (52%) of all sources on the primetime news programs on ABCCBSNBCCNNFox and PBS. Iraqis were only 12% of sources, and 4% of all sources were academic, think tank or NGO representatives.

n other words, though the bias is even greater when the US is leading the war, US media seem content to let US officials fashion the narrative around any war, and to mute their critics.

Visible and invisible civilians

But there are striking differences as well in coverage of the two wars. Most notably, when the US invaded Iraq, civilians in the country made up a far smaller percentage of sources: 8% to Ukraine’s 45%.

n other words, though the bias is even greater when the US is leading the war, US media seem content to let US officials fashion the narrative around any war, and to mute their critics.

Visible and invisible civilians

But there are striking differences as well in coverage of the two wars. Most notably, when the US invaded Iraq, civilians in the country made up a far smaller percentage of sources: 8% to Ukraine’s 45%.

But on US TV news, antiwar sentiment appeared starkly different in the two conflicts. Of the 20 Russian sources in the study, ten (50%) expressed opposition to the war, significantly higher than the proportion polls were showing. Meanwhile, antiwar voices represented only 3% of all US sources in early Iraq coverage (FAIR.org5/03), a dramatic downplaying of public opposition.

Civilian-centered war coverage

The brunt of modern wars is almost always borne by innocent civilians. But US media coverage of that civilian toll is rarely in sharp focus, such that recent reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers an exceptional view of what civilian-centered war coverage can look like—under certain circumstances.

In our study, we looked not just at sources, but also the content of segments about Ukraine. In the first week of the war, the US primetime news broadcasts on ABCCBS and NBC offered regular reports on the civilian toll of the invasion, sending reporters to major targeted cities, as well as to border areas receiving refugees.

Seventy-one segments across the three networks covered the impact on Ukrainian civilians, both those remaining behind and those fleeing the violence. Twenty-eight of these mentioned or centered on civilian casualties.

Many reports described or aired soundbites of civilians describing their fear and the challenges they faced; several highlighted children. A representative ABC segment (2/28/22), for instance, featured correspondent Matt Gutman reporting: “This little girl on the train sobbing into her stuffed animal, just one of the more than 500,000 people leaving everything behind, fleeing in cramped trains.”

Making the impact on civilians the focus of the story, and featuring their experiences, encourages sympathy for those civilians and condemnation of war. But this demonstration of news media’s ability to center the civilian impact, including civilian casualties, in Ukraine is all the more damning of their coverage of wars in which the US and its allies have been the aggressors—or in which the victims have not been white.

They seem so like us’

Many pundits and journalists have been caught saying the quiet part loud. “They seem so like us,” wrote Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph (2/26/22). “That is what makes it so shocking.”

CBS News‘ Charlie D’Agata (2/25/22) told viewers that Ukraine

isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European—I have to choose those words carefully, too—city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.

“What’s compelling is, just looking at them, the way they are dressed, these are prosperous—I’m loath to use the expression—middle-class people,” marveled BBC reporter Peter Dobbie on Al Jazeera (2/27/22):

These are not obviously refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to.

While US news media have at times shown interest in Black and brown refugees and victims of war (e.g., Extra!10/15), it’s hard to imagine them ever getting the kind of massive coverage granted the Ukrainians who “look like us”—as defined by white journalists.

‘Give war a chance’

And one can certainly think of instances in which non-white refugees are given short shrift by US news. Despite their claims of deep concern for the people of Afghanistan as the US withdrew troops last year, for example, these same TV networks have barely covered the predictable and preventable humanitarian catastrophe facing the country (FAIR.org12/21/21). More than 5 million Afghan civilians are either refugees or internally displaced……………………………………

‘The booms of distant wars’

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine commenced, NBC anchor Lester Holt (2/25/22) mused:

Tonight, there are at least 27 armed conflicts raging on this planet. Yet so often the booms of distant wars fade before they reach our consciousness. Other times, raw calculations of shared national interests close that distance. But as we are reminded again in images from Ukraine, the pain of war is borderless.

Holt spoke as though journalists like himself play no role in determining which wars reach our consciousness and which fade. The pain of war might be borderless, but international responses to that pain depend very much on the sympathy generated by journalists through their coverage of it. And Western journalists have made very clear which victims’ pain is most newsworthy to them.  https://fair.org/home/how-much-less-newsworthy-are-civilians-in-other-conflicts/

March 19, 2022 Posted by | media, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges: Waltzing to Armageddon 

Consortium News, 18 Mar 22, The Dr. Strangeloves, like zombies rising from the mass graves they created around the globe, are once again stoking new campaigns of industrial mass slaughter.

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the C.I.A., the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism. 

That is why they have resurrected it.

The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” 

This provocation, a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, has seen Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia inducted into the Western military alliance.

This betrayal was compounded by a decision to station NATO troops, including thousands of U.S. troops, in Eastern Europe, another violation of an agreement made by Washington with Moscow. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps a cynical goal of the Western alliance, has now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism. The masters of war may be ecstatic, but the potential consequences, including a global conflagration, are terrifying. 

Peace has been sacrificed for U.S. global hegemony. It has been sacrificed for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen. 

So, what if the Amazon is reaching its final tipping point where trees will soon begin to die off en masse? So what if land ice and ice shelves are melting from below at a much faster rate than predicted? So what if temperatures soar, monster hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires devastate the earth? In the face of the gravest existential crisis to beset the human species, and most other species, the ruling elites stoke a conflict that is driving up the price of oil and turbocharging the fossil fuel extraction industry. It is collective madness.

The march towards protracted conflict with Russia and China will backfire. The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the U.S. will not be offset by military dominance. If Russia and China can create an alternative global financial system, one that does not use the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, it will signal the collapse of the American empire. The dollar will plummet in value. Treasury bonds, used to fund America’s massive debt, will become largely worthless. The financial sanctions used to cripple Russia will be, I expect, the mechanism that slays Americans, if not immolation in thermonuclear war.

Washington plans to turn Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan, when the Carter administration, under the influence of the Svengali-like National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, equipped and armed the radical jihadists that would morph into the Taliban and al Qaeda in the fight against the Soviets. It will not be good for Russia. It will not be good for the United States. It will not be good for Ukraine, as making Russia bleed will require rivers of Ukrainian blood.

Pandora’s Box of Evils

The decision to destroy the Russian economy, to turn the Ukrainian war into a quagmire for Russia and topple the regime of Vladimir Putin will open a Pandora’s box of evils. Massive social engineering — look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Vietnam — has its own centrifugal force. It destroys those who play God.

The Ukrainian war has silenced the last vestiges of the Left. Nearly everyone has giddily signed on for the great crusade against the latest embodiment of evil, Vladimir Putin, who, like all our enemies, has become the new Hitler.

The United States will give $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with the Biden administration authorizing an additional $200 million in military assistance. The 5,000-strong EU rapid deployment force, the recruitment of all Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, into NATO, the reconfiguration of former Soviet bloc militaries to NATO weapons and technology have all been fast tracked.

Germany, for the first time since World War II, is massively rearming. It has lifted its ban on exporting weapons. Its new military budget is twice the amount of the old budget, with promises to raise the budget to more than 2 percent of GDP, which would move its military from the seventh largest in the world to the third, behind China and the United States.

Once military forces are deployed, even if they are supposedly in a defensive posture, the bear trap is set. It takes very little to trigger the spring. The vast military bureaucracy, bound to alliances and international commitments, along with detailed plans and timetables, when it starts to roll forward, becomes unstoppable. It is propelled not by logic but by action and reaction, as Europe learned in two world wars.

Staggering Hypocrisy

The moral hypocrisy of the United States is staggering. The crimes Russia is carrying out in Ukraine are more than matched by the crimes committed by Washington in the Middle East over the last two decades, including the act of preemptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal act of aggression.  Only rarely is this hypocrisy exposed as when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the body: 

“We’ve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs which are banned under the Geneva Convention.”

Hours later, the official transcript of her remark was amended to tack on the words “if they are directed against civilians.” This is because the U.S., which like Russia never ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty, regularly uses cluster munitions. It used them in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq. It has provided them to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Russia has yet to come close to the tally of civilian deaths from cluster munitions delivered by the U.S. military.

The Dr. Strangeloves, like zombies rising from the mass graves they created around the globe, are once again stoking new campaigns of industrial mass slaughter. No diplomacy. No attempt to address the legitimate grievances of our adversaries. No check on rampant militarism. No capacity to see the world from another perspective. No ability to comprehend reality outside the confines of the binary rubric of good and evil. No understanding of the debacles they orchestrated for decades. No capacity for pity or remorse.

Elliott Abrams worked in the Reagan administration when I was reporting from Central America. He covered up atrocities and massacres committed by the military regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and by the U.S.-backed Contra forces fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. He viciously attacked reporters and human rights groups as communists or fifth columnists, calling us “un-American” and “unpatriotic.” He was convicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra affair. During the administration of George W. Bush, he lobbied for the invasion of Iraq and tried to orchestrate a U.S. coup in Venezuela to overthrow Hugo Chávez.

There will be no substitute for military strength, and we do not have enough,” writes Abrams for the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow:……………………….

Putin played into the hands of the war industry. He gave the warmongers what they wanted. He fulfilled their wildest fantasies. There will be no impediments now on the march to Armageddon. Military budgets will soar. The oil will gush from the ground. The climate crisis will accelerate.

China and Russia will form the new axis of evil. The poor will be abandoned. The roads across the earth will be clogged with desperate refugees. All dissent will be treason. The young will be sacrificed for the tired tropes of glory, honor and country. The vulnerable will suffer and die.

The only true patriots will be generals, war profiteers, opportunists, courtiers in the media and demagogues braying for more and more blood. The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods.  And we, cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria, clamor for our own annihilation.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. ……….https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/15/chris-hedges-waltzing-to-armageddon/

March 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Russian Invasion of Ukraine Spotlights the Dangers of Nuclear Reactors in War,”

https://npolicy.org/russian-invasion-of-ukraine-spotlights-the-dangers-of-nuclear-reactors-in-war-the-national-interest/ March 17, 2022  Nuclear Power Economics and SecurityOp-Eds & BlogsRESOURCETOPICS

Earlier this week, in response to Russian assaults on nuclear plants in Ukraine, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for the creation of a specialized Japanese nuclear security force to secure Japan’s nuclear plants against military attack.  The governor of Fukui, which hosts Japan’s largest number of reactors, went further:  He requested Japan’s defense ministry build dedicated military bases to halt such attacks.

What’s stunning is how sharply Japan’s response to Russia’s attacks contrasted with Washington’s.

Victor Gilinsky and I spotlighted this in the The National Interest piece, “Russian Invasion of Ukraine Spotlights the Dangers of Nuclear Reactors in War.” In it, we note how our Energy Department has been more intent in reassuring Americans about how little radiation was released from the plants in Ukraine than in clarifying what their military vulnerabilities are. As we explain, this penchant for downplaying the military vulnerabilities of nuclear facilities is as old as commercial nuclear power in the United States. The department, in fact, is still keen to export reactors to Jordan, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and — until last month — Ukraine.

If we are serious about nuclear security, this has got to change. At a minimum, Congress should follow Japan’s lead and ask the Pentagon to clarify what the military vulnerabilities of civil nuclear plants are and identify what, if anything, can be done to reduce them. Meanwhile, instead of pushing reactor exports to potential war zones, our government and others should tap the brakes.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine Spotlights the Dangers of Nuclear Reactors in War

By Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski, 17 Mar 22,

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the predecessor of the Department of Energy, concluded that it was not practicable to build protection for reactors against military attacks. In 1967, it rejected a public request for such protection against Cuban missiles for the Turkey Point reactors in south Florida on grounds that the AEC’s established policy was not to require special design features to protect against enemy attacks. The Court of Appeals agreed with the AEC’s decision in 1968.

“What the Commission has essentially decided is that to impose such a burden would be to stifle utterly the peaceful utilization of atomic energy in the United States,” the Court of Appeals decision said.

Even though a condition for every nuclear plant license is that its issuance is not inimical to the “common defense and security,” the AEC, with the approval of the Court of Appeals, claimed that Congress never intended that to encompass anything having to do with enemy actions.

To read the full article click here.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | safety | Leave a comment

 Expanding NATO was always hugely controversial

Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable, The US refused to consider Ukraine’s NATO status asPutin threatened wae. Experts say that was a huge mistake, MSNBC, March 5, 2022,  By Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC Opinion Columnist  ”……………………………………….Expanding NATO was always hugely controversial

NATO was originally formed as a military and political alliance between the U.S., Canada and several Western European nations in 1949. It was meant to serve as a collective defense organization to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and its most important provision, Article 5, held that an attack on one member of the alliance was an attack against all of them.

n 1990, the West led the Soviets to believe NATO would not expand further eastward across Europe in exchange for Germany reunification and the agreement that the new Germany would be a NATO member. Most famously, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker once assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that the NATO alliance would move “not one inch eastward” in exchange for this agreement, but as the late Princeton University scholar Stephen Cohen pointed out in 2018, this pledge was in fact made multiple times by several Western countries.

These assurances were not honored, and NATO has expanded eastward over the years to include many more countries, all the way up to Russia’s borders.

“It is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America’s original sin,” Cohen said then.

NATO’s expansion was hugely controversial in policy circles in the 1990s. As foreign policy commentator Peter Beinart has noted, around the time the Clinton administration was considering NATO in the ’90s to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — a debate that almost caused President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Perry to resign — many influential voices dissented:

George Kennan, the living legend who had fathered America’s policy of containment against the Soviet Union, called NATO expansion “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” Thomas Friedman, America’s most prominent foreign policy columnist, declared it the “most ill-conceived project of the post-Cold War era.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, widely considered the most erudite member of the US Senate, warned, “We have no idea what we’re getting into.” John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of America’s Cold War historians, noted that, “historians—normally so contentious—are in uncharacteristic agreement: with remarkably few exceptions, they see NATO enlargement as ill-conceived, ill-timed, and above all ill-suited to the realities of the post-Cold War world.”

The major concern was that expansion would backfire — that it would, as Kennan put it in 1997, “inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion.” Indeed, Russia hated it. As Lieven previously told me, for decades the Russian political establishment and commentators have vociferously objected to NATO expansion and “warned that if this went as far as taking in Georgia and Ukraine, then there would be confrontation and strong likelihood of war.”

Russia perceives NATO as an existential threat

Russia is no longer at the helm of a global superpower, but it is still, at the very least, a regional great power, and as such it devotes considerable resources to exerting its influence beyond its borders and using the states around it as buffers. Russia views Ukraine, a large country to which it has long-running cultural and historical ties, as a particularly critical buffer state for protecting its capital.

The issue that Russia saw in NATO was not just an expanding military alliance, but one that had shifted gears to transforming and proactively intervening in global affairs. After the end of the Cold War, NATO’s raison d’être no longer existed, but instead of disbanding, its mission shifted to democracy promotion. The carrot of membership in NATO was used to encourage countries to adopt liberalization and good governance and align with U.S. political, economic and military interests.

Of particular concern to the Russians have been NATO’s operations outside of NATO countries. The Russians were shocked by NATO’s bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, where NATO not only intervened in the affairs of a non-NATO country, but took sides against the Serbs, allies of the Russians, and did so without United Nations Security Council approval. NATO has also been involved in regime change and nation-building projects in places like Libya and Afghanistan………..

Things turned up a notch in 2008, when NATO declared that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members” of NATO. It did not specify a timeline, and it was assumed that it was conditional on the countries adopting political reforms, but it infuriated the Russians……

John Mearsheimer, an international relations scholar at the University of Chicago, also warned that this was foreshadowing, and Ukraine’s pseudo-membership status was going to bait Moscow and result in catastrophe. “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path, and the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked,” he said in a lecture…………………………….https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/russia-s-ukraine-invasion-may-have-been-preventable-n1290831?featureFlag=true#anchor-ExpandingNATOwasalwayshugelycontroversial

March 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) condemned for calling on govt to reclassify nuclear energy as ‘green’

CND condemns Westminster nuclear group’s call for nuclear energy to be re-classified as ‘green’ https://cnduk.org/cnd-criticises-westminster-nuclear-groups-call-for-nuclear-energy-to-be-re-classified-as-green/?fbclid=IwAR3H1WnXXIVuZY0u8smeKP097HzFohe3_Xgonazrwhe1X6sldhOzfhX12T0CND has condemned MPs and Peers from the Nuclear All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for calling on the UK government to reclassify nuclear energy as ‘green’ so it can avail of the Green Finance Initiative.

The informal cross-party group included the demand as part of a five-point plan published this week, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “big new bets on nuclear” as part of efforts to cut reliance on gas and oil imports from Russia . 

The APPG is also urging that the government sets out key targets for nuclear energy ambitions such as 15GW of power generated by 2035, and at least 30GW generated by 2050, as well as fast-tracked decisions on both large-scale nuclear plants and small modular reactors (SMRs).

In addition to opening up nuclear energy to green financing, the group wants unused former nuclear sites to be made available for further nuclear development. 

CND has long-pointed out that genuinely sustainable alternatives to nuclear power exist in renewable energy sources and calls on the government to invest in these technologies rather than diverting billions of pounds into subsidising the nuclear industry. By doing so, we could secure enough clean energy sources while creating thousands of new jobs

CND Vice-President and nuclear energy expert, Dr Ian Fairlie, said the APPG’s proposals for a nuclear bonanza were ill-considered: “The idea that nuclear power, in any shape or form, was a ‘green technology’ was absurd. Nuclear wastes last for millennia and  the  government has nothing but hazy ideas and paper plans for its nuclear waste, so these proposals for yet more nuclear power make rational people shake their heads in disbelief. In our view, nuclear power with all its problems is not just unsustainable, it is a veritable insult to any notion of sustainability. It is for this reason that several EU Member States have objected to current proposals to make nuclear power eligible under the EU’s Green Financing Framework.”

March 19, 2022 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Small modular nuclear reactors – no good for Canada’s indigenous communities, no good for climate action

The Government of Canada is further delaying climate action with an
announcement of $27 million in funding today to develop a Small Modular
Nuclear Reactor (SMR).

There is no guarantee SMRs will ever produce energy
in a safe and reliable manner in Canada. During his remarks for the
announcement, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science
and Economic Development Canada, as well as Westinghouse representatives,
said that the technology to be developed, the e-Vinci reactor by the
Westinghouse Electric Company, will be suitable for remote Indigenous
communities currently using diesel energy.

However, research has demonstrated that small modular nuclear reactors such as the type
Westinghouse is proposing are not the energy answer for remote communities.
The researchers–Froese, Kunz & Ramana (2020)–concluded that the
economics of SMRs do not compete when compared with other alternatives. The
cost of electricity from SMRs was found to be much higher than the cost of
wind or solar, or even of the diesel supply currently used in the majority
of these communities.

 Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility 17th March 2022

http://www.ccnr.org/

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Danger of radioactive disaster at Chernobyl and other nuclear sites, with exhausted staff, and risk of loss of remote control

The staff, who are still at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, came in on
February 23. The enemy has not allowed any opportunity to change the staff,
who are psychologically and physically exhausted due to the lack of
rotation and the constant pressure caused by armed people.

This can lead to loss of control over the safety of the facility and the inability to
respond to internal and external initial events such as fire, which in turn
can lead to severe radiation effects. In case of a complete power outage,
there is a risk of disabling the safety of important systems and equipment,
in particular: ventilation, heat dissipation, technological, and radiation
control systems.

The possibility of remote control over nuclear and
radiation safety indicators at storage facilities, the New Safe Confinement
facility, and other facilities will be lost. Operators will be unable to
control the level and temperature of water in spent nuclear fuel storage
pools. There are long-lived radionuclides in the spent nuclear fuel
storage, which in case of an accident can get into the Kakhovka Reservoir,
and further along the Dnipro river into the Black Sea. A huge area would be
contaminated by radiation for thousands of years. If there is an accident
with one power unit or one container for spent fuel, depending on the
direction of wind the radioactive cloud will affect Russia, Bulgaria,
Greece, Romania, and other border countries.

 Time 17th March 2022

https://time.com/6158274/chernobyl-russia-ukraine-nuclear-disaster/

March 19, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Renewed worries in Japan about restarting nuclear plants, after 7-4 earthquake near Fukushima

An earthquake has hit Japan just when the country is debating whether to
restart nuclear power plants. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida believes it is
crucial to resume operations. Fresh concerns over nuclear safety will
weaken his case and weigh down utilities stocks.

Four people died on Wednesday night after a magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck northern Japan near
the Fukushima prefecture. It is in this region that a 9.0-magnitude
earthquake and tsunami unleashed a nuclear crisis 11 years ago.

Local utilities are most likely to sustain long-term damage. Shares of Tepco, the
electric utility that operated the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
power plant, were unmoved by the most recent earthquake. They have been
strengthening this year, ending a two-year long losing streak of more than
60 per cent

Kishida remains intent on restarting nuclear plants. He
responded to earlier safety concerns triggered by Russian attacks on
Ukrainian nuclear facilities with plans for a police unit to protect
Japan’s nuclear plants. But opposition from locals is strong, show
opinion polls. That is understandable given the dire consequences of the
Fukushima meltdown. More than 1mn tonnes of contaminated water is planned
to be released into the Pacific Ocean. The clean-up and damages bill is
more than ¥22tn ($185bn).

 FT 17th March 2022

https://www.ft.com/content/eb96f84c-6e95-48d8-abfa-c263ec80f6c5

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Fate of Radioactive Waste at Plymouth Nuclear Site Continues to Raise Concerns

PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

Fate of Radioactive Waste at Plymouth Nuclear Site Continues to Raise Concerns 
https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/radioactive-waste-at-plymouth-nuclear-site-continues-to-raise-concerns/2672927/

The Plymouth Board of Health has issued a resolution strongly opposing any potential plan to dump nearly 1 million gallons of radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay.

This comes amid ongoing conversations about how Holtec International, which purchased Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in 2019, intends to complete the plant’s decommissioning. While Holtec says no final decisions have been made about what it will do with Pilgrim’s radioactive waste, many in the area fear it will be released into the bay.

The Board of Health Resolution said that type of release could likely cause “immense” damage to the area’s shell fishing, aquaculture, maritime and tourist-based economy. It also notes that there would be health hazards for exposure to the type of radioactive compounds in question, including increased risk of cancers and potential harm to pregnant women and their fetuses.”All of these radioactive compounds have already been found in the surface water, groundwater and soils at Pilgrim at levels exceeding “background levels,” the resolution reads. “There is also a longer-term risk to our sole source aquifer water supply – especially from tritium which isn’t removed by existing filtration producers used to purification attempts.”

The resolution goes on to urge Holtec to choose the “safest possible disposal method” for the radioactive water that must be removed during the decommissioning process. It also urges lawmakers to add new language to state law to prohibit this type of release of solid or radioactive material in coastal or inland waters.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Push for UK govt to call nuclear power ”green”, so that nuclear industry can get money from theGreen Financing Framework.

 Westminster’s Nuclear All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has published
a roadmap that calls for 15GW of new nuclear generation by 2035 and 30GW by
2050. In light of the current energy crisis and comments from the prime
minister earlier this week about ‘big new bets on nuclear power’, the
Nuclear APPG set out a five-point plan that urges commitment to both
large-scale plants as well as small modular reactors (SMRs).

Alongside the 15GW and 30GW ambitions, the plan also includes reclassifying nuclear as
green energy to make it eligible under the Green Financing Framework,
accelerating decisions and funding on Sizewell C and SMRs, freeing up
unused nuclear sites for prospective developers, and streamlining the
development and planning processes. 

 The Engineer 17th March 2022

March 19, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Citizens of the world are against war and nuclear weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

[The following statement about the war in Ukraine has been co-signed by 12 Nobel Peace Laureates, including IPPNW.] As Nobel Peace Prize Laureates we reject war and nuclear weapons. We call on all our fellow citizens of the world to join us in protecting our planet, home for all of us, from those who threaten […]

Citizens of the world are against war and nuclear weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prime minister: Hungary will not be dragged into “cruel, lengthy and bloody war” — Anti-bellum

Budapest TimesMarch 15, 2022 Orbán: ‘We won’t allow left wing to drag Hungary into war’ “We won’t allow the left wing to drag Hungary into war,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Tuesday, addressing a March 15 national holiday commemoration in front of Parliament. Orbán declared that voters who wanted peace and security would cast […]

Prime minister: Hungary will not be dragged into “cruel, lengthy and bloody war” — Anti-bellum

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment