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Thought for the day – branding nuclear ”GOOD” for a gullible world.

In science fiction, it’d be hard to believe! But in the real world today – in the midst of a war crists, with nuclear sites threatened, they are rebranding nuclear power as a good idea!!! Come in – suckers !!!


March 26, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Charles Freeman -USA fighting Russia ‘to the last Ukrainian’. Interview with full transcript

UNMISSABLE – and in my opinion, the very best commentary on the Ukraine situation

23 Mar. Transcribed by Noel Wauchope, This is  Aaron Mate. joining me is Charles Freeman.  He is a retired veteran U.S diplomat who has served in a number of senior positions including as the Assistant Secretary of Defense and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

Question, What is your assessment of the russian invasion so far and how the biden administration has responded to it?

FREEMAN A huge question. I thought in the run-up to this that Mr Putin was following a classic form of coercive diplomacy massing troops on Ukraine’s border issuing very clear offers to negotiate threatening indirectly to escalate beyond the border not in Ukraine which the Russians repeatedly said they did not intend to invade but perhaps through putting pressure on the United States similar to the one the pressure that the Russians feel from us namely missiles within no warning distance at all of the capital.

Of course Washington doesn’t have quite the significance in our case that Moscow does for the Russians but still I thought that was what was in store.  I don’t think his troops were prepared for it. There’s no evidence that they had the logistics in place or that the troops were briefed about where they were going and why and so it looks like an impetuous decision and if so it ranks with the decision of Tsar Nicholas ii the last tsar to go to war with japan in 1904. That had disastrous consequences for political order in Russia and I think this is a comparable blunder.

There are lots of things being said about the course of the war which is now about a months old and many of them are I think frankly tendentious nonsense for example it’s alleged that the Russians are deliberately targeting civilians but I think in most wars the ratio of military to civilian deaths is roughly one to one and in this case the recorded civilian deaths are about one-tenth of that which strongly suggests that the Russians have been holding back. We may now see the end of that with the ultimatum that has been issued in connection with Mario Paul where if I understood correctly what the Russians are saying, they were saying surrender or face the consequences and the consequences would be a terrible leveling of the city

We don’t know where this war is going to end . whether there will be a Ukraine or how much of a Ukraine there will be , what the effects inside Russia will be. There’s clearly a lot of dissent in Russia although i’m sure it’s being exaggerated by our media .

The war is a fog of lies on all sides. It is virtually impossible to tell what is actually happening because every side is staging the show the champion of that is mrZielensky who is brilliant as a communicator. It turns out he’s a an actor who has found his role and probably helps Ukraine a great deal to have a president who is an accomplished actor who came equipped with his own studio staff, who is um using that brilliantly and I would say Mr Zielinski was elected to head a state called Ukraine and he has created a nation called Ukraine he is he is somebody who’s perceived heroism has rallied Ukrainians to a degree that no one ever expected .

But we don’t know where this is going and more to the point the United states is not part of any effort to negotiate an end to the fighting. To the extent that there is mediation going on it seems to be by Turkey possibly Israel, maybe China that’s about it and the United States is not in the room.

Everything we are doing rather than accelerating an end to the fighting and some compromise seems to be aimed at prolonging the fighting assisting the Ukrainian resistance, which is a noble cause I suppose but that will result in a lot of dead Ukrainians as well as dead Russians.

And also, the sanctions have no goals attached to them there’s no conditions which we’ve stated which would result in their end. And finally we have people now calling, including the President of the United states and the Prime Minister of Great Britain calling Putin a war criminal and professing that they will intend to bring it to trial somehow.

Now this gives Mr Putin absolutely no incentive to compromise or reach an accommodation with the Ukrainians and it probably guarantees a long war and there seemed to be a lot of people in the United States who think that’s just dandy. It’s good for the military-industrial complex. It reaffirms our negative views of Russia it reinvigorates NATO. it puts China on the spot.

You know what’s so terrible about a long war – you know if you’re not Ukrainian you probably see some merit in a long war so this has not gone as anybody predicted, not Mr Putin not the intelligence community of the United States which extrapolated war plans from the disposition of forces on the ukrainian border. Not the way the Germans who are now rearming anticipated

It’s got a lot of shock value to it and it’s changing the world in ways we still don’t understand. I wonder if U.S intelligence extrapolated that Russia would invade based on the certainty that the U.S would reject Russia’s core security demands – namely neutrality for Ukraine and Ukraine not joining NATO and I’m wondering if their assurance that Biden would reject those demands – if that’s what made them all the more confident that Russia would then invade.

Question, And on that point about NATO, I wanted to get your response to some comments that Zeilinski recently made. He was speaking to Farid Zakaria of CNN and he made what that was a really telling admission about what he was told to say publicly about NATO before the war.

I requested them personally to take to say directly that we are going to accept or not NATO in a year or two, or just say it five and clearly or just say no. And the response was very clear you are not going to be a member but publicly the doors will remain open but if you are not ready if you just want to see us straddle two worlds if you want to see us in this dubious position where we do not understand whether you can accept us or not you cannot place us in this situation you cannot force us to be in this limbo.

So that’s Zielinski saying that he was told by NATO original members presumably the U.S. that we’re not going to let you in but publicly we’re going to leave the door open. I’m wondering Ambassador Freeman your response to that?

FREEMAN. Well those are two questions. First in my experience the intelligence community does not start from estimates of U.S. policy and I think what we saw was an order of battle analysis with the judgment as expressed at one point by Secretary of State Lincoln – that you know if we masked 150 000 troops on somebody’s border that would mean we were about to invade in other words mirror imaging. You know that’s what we would do therefore that’s what the Russians will do.

I think Mr Putin was surprised by being stiff-armed on the after all 28 year old demands that NATO stop enlarging in the direction of Russia that at root this is a contest over whether Ukraine will be in the U.S sphere of influence, the Russian sphere of influence or neither’s, and neutrality, which is what mr putin had started out saying he wanted .

What’s compatible with neither side having ukraine within its sphere? Whether that’s now possible or not I don’t know. I think one of the mistakes Mr Putin made in upping the ante was to make it very difficult for Ukraine to become neutral but on the question of what mr Zielinski was told Ithink this is remarkably cynical or perhaps it was not even unrealistic on the part of leaders in the West.

Zielensky is obviously a very intelligent man and he saw what the consequences of being put in what he called limbo would be – namely Ukraine would be hung out to dry and the west was basically saying we will fight to the last Ukrainian for Ukrainian independence, which essentially remains our stand . It’s pretty cynical despite all the patriotic fervor and I’d add .

I have heard , I know people who have been attempting to hold an inquiry in the West. It’s very depressing. really we should rise to this occasion we should be concerned about achieving a balance in Europe that sustains peace. That requires incorporating Russia into a governing Council for Europe of some sort. Europe historically has been at peace only when all the great powers who could overthrow the peace have been co-opted into it. A perfect example is the Congress of Vienna which followed the Napoleonic wars where Kissinger’s great hero met in it and others had the good sense to to reincorporate France into the governing Councils of Europe.

That gave Europe a hundred years of peace. Of course there were a few minor conflicts but nothing major. After World War One when the victors, the United States and Britain and France insisted on excluding Germany from a role in the affairs of Europe as well as this newly formed Soviet Union, the result was World War Two, and the cold war.

It’s really depressing that instead of trying to figure out how to give Russia reasons not to invade countries and to violate international laws, instead of trying to give Russia reasons for being well behaved, – with the use of force you take us back.

Question. In the 1990s you served in the Clinton administration at a time when there was a big discussion, big debate in washington over the future of European security architecture. This is after the soviet union had collapsed. Russia was never weaker. There were people, including inside the George H.W. Bush administration, who talked about pledging support for neutrality not trying to bring the former Soviet states into one camp or the other.

Ultimately President Clinton went with NATO expansion, went with violating the pledges that accompanied the end of the Soviet Union to expand NATO to Russia’s borders. can you take us back to that time and the debates that were taking place and how that’s fueled the crisis we’re in today?

FREEMAN. Well I actually had a good deal to do with the formulation of what became known as the Partnership for Peace and this was two things. It was a pathway to responsible application for NATO membership but it was and it was also a cooperative security system. Rather than a collective security system for Europe it left the members to decide whether they defined themselves as European or not so Tajikistan joined the partnership, but it made no effort to civilianize ts defense establishment or subject its military to parliamentary oversight. And it didn’t learn the 3 000 standardization agreements that are the operating doctrine of NATO that allow Portuguese soldier to die for Poland or vice versa so that process was the the question of what countries would have what relationship with NATO was left to those countries,which is what happened in 1994 and which was a midterm election year.

In 1996, which was a presidential election year was interesting. In 1994 Mr Clinton was talking out of both sides of his mouth he was telling the Russians that we were in no rush to add members to NATO and then our preferred path was the Partnership for Peace. At the same time he was hinting to the ethnic diasporas of Russophobic countries in Eastern Europe , (and by the way it’s easy to understand their russophobia given their history), that no no we were going to get these countries into NATO as fast as possible and in 1996 he made that pledge explicit.

1994 he got an outburst from Yeltsin who was then the President of the Russian Federation. In 1996 he got another one and as time went on when Mr Putin came in he regularly protested the enlargement of NATO in ways that disregarded Russia’s self-defense interests. So there should have been no surprise about this in 2018, For 28 years Russia has been warning that at some point it would snap and it has. And it has done it in a very destructive way both in terms of its own interests and in terms of the broader prospects for peace in Europe.

There really is no excuse for what Mr Putin has done to understand it is not to condone it

It’s hard for people to be objective about this and and they’re immediately accused of being Russian agents or let us just say the price of speaking on this subject is to join the pom-pom girls in a frenzy of support for our position and if you’re not part of the chorus you’re not allowed to say anything. SoI think that this has very injurious effects on Western liberties and it has enforced and almost Iwon’t say it’s totalitarian but it’s certainly a similar kind of control on freedom of expression.

So I think that what happened here was a combination of forces. There were those people in the United States w ho were triumphalist about the end of the cold war. There were those who felt that what they perceived as victory – think it was a default by the Russians but anyway the game was over. This allowed the United States to incorporate all the countries right up to Russia’s borders and beyond them. Beyond those borders in the Baltics – into an american sphere of influence and essentially they posited a global sphere of influence for the United States modeled on the Monroe Doctrine and that’s pretty much what we have. Ukraine entered that sphere of influence it was not neutral after 2014.

That was the purpose of the coup – to prevent neutrality or a pro-Russian government in Cuba and to replace it with a pro-American government that would bring Ukraine into our sphere since about 2015 after this is of course Russia reacted by annexing Crimea

Since 2015 we have – let me say about Crimea – of course Russia reacted because it’s major naval base on the Black Sea is in Crimea . And the prospect that Ukraine was going to be incorporating into NATO and an American sphere of influence would have negated the value of that base . So i don’t think it had anything to do with the wishes of the people of Crimea who however were quite happy to be part of Russia rather than Ukraine. So since about 2015 the United States has been arming training Ukrainians against Russia.

A major step up in in 2017 in that ironically because of Mr Trump , who was actually impeached for trying to leverage arms sales to Ukraine for political dirt on dividends. But at any rate it isn’t as though Ukraine was not treated as an extension of NATO. It was, and this had a good deal to do with the Russian decision to invade.

I understand that the Ukrainian forces, although they’ve lost their command and control , there are major units that are surrounded and in danger of being annihilated by he Russians. There are cities that are in danger of being pulverized. None of this has happened yet but the ukrainians do not lack weaponry. They have more than enough to deal with the Russian forces on a dispersed basis in there and they have shown themselves to be very courageous in defending their country with those weapons. A lot of them are dying for their country one can admire that and but one must also lament it

Question, I quote you. Elliott Cohen served as a counselor to Condoleezza Rice when she was the Secretary of State , and he writes this in the Atlantic magazine: he says the United States and ts NATO allies are engaged in a proxy war with Russia they are supplying thousands of munitions and hopefully doing much else. sharing intelligence. For example with the intent of killing Russian soldiers and because fighting is as the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said –

a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter we must face a fact to break the will of Russia and free Ukraine from conquest and subjugation many Russian soldiers have to flee surrender or die, and the more and faster the better.”

That’s Elliot Cohen, former state department advisor in the Atlantic. I’m wondering what your response is to that, especially him calling just openly declaring that the U.S. is using Ukraine for what he calls a proxy war against Russia?

FREEMAN. Well Professor Cohen is a very honest man, which is to his credit, and therefore his adherence to neoconservative objectives is entirely transparent, and what he just said what you quoted him as saying, is consistent with the neoconservative objective of regime change in Russia and it’s also consistent with fighting to the last ukrainian to achieve it

I find it deplorable but I have to say it’s probably representative of a very large body of opinion in Washington. Why why does this view of Ukraine as essentially a cannon fighter against Russia why is it so prevalent in Washington. This is essentially cost free from the united states as long as we don’t cross some Russian red line that leads to escalation against us we are engaged as Professor Cohen said, in a proxy war, and we’re selling a lot of weapons that makes arms manufacturers happy . We’re supporting a valiant resistance which makes gives politicians something to crow about. We’re going against an officially designated enemy Russia which makes us feel vindicated.

Question, So from the point of view of those with these self-interested views of the issue this is a freebie and as someone with extensive experience in China you serve as President Nixon’s translator interpreter when he did his historic visit to China, I’m wondering what you make of China’s response to Russia’s invasion so far? And these warnings that they’ve been receiving in recent days from the Biden administration trying to basically tell them not to help out Russia or else there will be consequences?

FREEMAN, Well this has been fascinating to watch. The Chinese clearly agree with Mr Putin and Russian nationalists in objecting to NATO enlargement um having been subjected to foreign spheres of influence in the 19th and 20th century they don’t like them. They don’t believe Ukraine should be part of either the Russian or the U.S. sphere of influence they are the last citadel of Westphalianism in the world. They really do believe strongly in sovereignty and territorial integrity. Mr Putin went to Beijing for the winter olympics and had a long discussion with Xi Jinping the Chinese President and they agreed that NATO should not enlarge . There should not be spheres of influence and that the security architecture in Europe needed to be adjusted to relieve Russia of the sense of menace that it experiences. I don’t believe for a minute that mr mr putin told mr c that he planned to invade Ukraine. In fact he may have said he had no intention of doing it. I don’t know.

He may indeed have had no intention of doing it at that point, assuming that his coercive diplomacy was going to get a response. ut of course it got no response. It got an evasive set of counter proposals about arms control which didn’t address the main question he was raising which was how Russia could feel secure when a hostile alliance was advancing to its very borders. Anyway poor Mr Xi Jinping – he now has to straddle something he probably almost certainly had no idea was in prospect. On the one hand he can oppose spheres of influence and demand consideration for the security concerns of great powers as he does with regard to Russia and with regard to his own country. But on the other hand Ukraine is being violated .

So the Chinese have had an awkward straddle. The irony is Idon’t think this was intended, but inadvertently this has put them in a position where they’re one of the few countries that might conceivably mediate an end to the fighting. I noticed that recently the Chinese have played , emphasized heavily, the need for there to be negotiations to bring that fighting to an end at the earliest possible moment. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to end up mediating. Mediation is a very difficult thing, and often the mediation with two friends can end up with two enemies.

So this is not something you take on lightly. At this point however, I would just say nobody knows what’s going on. At least if anybody does know they’re not saying what’s going on between Russians and Ukrainians in the meetings that they are having. The Turks claim that the two sides are close to an agreement on various points. Lavrov and Cabela. the Ukrainian foreign minister. have both said something similar. But there is no agreement and it’s not clear at this point whether there can be an agreement by taking the land corridor from Donetsk to Crimea

Mr Putin has taken something that he probably will be very unwilling to give up and as I said you ask Ukrainians to accept neutrality when they’ve been battered around the way they have been and lost all the people lives and property that they have. It’s not at all easy for them so even though from the very beginning the solution has been obvious, which is some variant of the Austrian State tree of 1955 meaning a guaranteed independence in return for two things.

One – decent treatment of minorities inside the guaranteed state and

Second – neutralityfor the guaranteed state.

Question. This should have there from the beginning. This is still the objective as far as we can tell but it’s been made more difficult rather than less by the outbreak of war what’s your sense of the agency and the free reign that zelinski actually has to make decisions and the extent of u.s influence over him?

FREEMAN. One of the things that the late Professor Stephen F Cohen warned about it to me in 2019, was that unless the U.S steps up and supports Zielinski in his mandate of making peace with the rebels in the East then he has no chance because otherwise he’ll have to submit to the far right inside Ukraine who are very influential. Since then i’ve seen no indication there has been any sort of support from Washington for making peace with Russia. Trump of course was impeached when he paused those weapons sales. There’s that famous incident where Lindsey Graham and John m\McCain and Amy Klobuchar go to the front lines in late 2016 of the uUrainian military’s fight against the rebels in the donbas and Lindsey Graham says:

‘this is 2017 it is going to be the year of offense and Russia has to pay a heavier price. Your fight is our fight”All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price. I believe you will win. I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win.”

Question. fast forward to when Biden came in. Time magazine reported that when Zielinski shut down the three leading opposition TV networks in Ukraine that was conceived as a welcome gift to the Biden administration to fit withtheir agenda so what do you think is the extent of U.S’s influence over Zielensky’s decisions?

FREEMAN. Zielenski was selected by a landslide not because of anything except – he wasn’t all the other candidates so his political capital very quickly evaporated and he really had no power to make decisions Whether there were other people behind him making decisions or that he mouthed or whether he was taking instructions from the Biden administration or the Trump administration or whoever is unclear.

But what it what is clear to me is that Mr Zielensky’s performance as the leader of wartime Ukraine has gained him enormous political capital. He has the ability now to make a compromise. It will not be easy as you indicated. There are elements in the coalition that supports him who are very right-wing and anti-Russian perhaps even neo-Nazi. And by the way anti-semitism is a disastrous aspect of Nazism but it’s not the definition of Nazism, and apparently you can be a Nazi and have and have a Jewish President and not feel uncomfortable about it. So I think this is a simplistic argument – well because Ukraine has a secular Jewish president who apparently doesn’t really identify as Jewish but is identified as Jewish this means somehow that there can’t be any Nazis backing him. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway it’s clear that Ukraine has been very divided in multiple directions ever since its independence and I’m sure those fissures continue to exist. Mr Zielinski however -has he really has empowered himself? I think if he gets backing from the United States and others here we have a problem

Not only do we have the statements that Putin is a war criminal and must be brought to trial -statements coming out of leaders in the West including President Biden but we also have people like Boris Johnson saying the sanctions have to stay on, whatever Russia does, because Russia has to be punished. Well this means russia has absolutely no incentive to accommodate, and it also means that Mr Zielinski has no freedom to accommodate

So this is the opposite of an effort to resolve the issue. It’s an effort in effect, whatever its intent, to perpetuate the fighting. And and that is going to be disastrous for the Ukrainians, for the Russians and and for Europe and ultimately from the United States

Question. You mentioned the neo-Nazi issue in Ukraine let me quote you from a new article in the washington post by Rita Katz. She’s the executive director of the site Intelligence Group. Her article is called ”Neo-Nazis are exploiting Russia’s war in Ukraine for their own purposes” . Not since Isis have we seen such a flurry of recruitment activity, and she writes this – in many ways the Ukraine situation reminds me of Syria in the early and middle years of the last decade. Just as the Syrian conflict served as the perfect breeding ground for for groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, similar conditions may be brewing in Ukraine for the far right. I’m wondering your response is to that as well?

FREEMAN. I think she’s got logic on her side. I frankly don’t know Ukraine personally well enough to know exactly what the definition of a member of the Azov brigade or other neo-Nazi groups is.

I think right-wing populism is ugly enough in our own country, to imagine that it’s even uglier in a country as divide as Ukraine and you know –

I don’t dismiss the whole thing at all because Ukraine has a horrible history of running pogroms uh first against Jews and then frankly against Russians , and so to dismiss the argument that there are people with violent tendencies and great prejudice, ethnic prejudices involved in this fight, seems to me to be wrong. So I hadn’t read the article you cited. I don’t know the the author but she makes sense to me.

Question. I’m curious what you make now of the allegations we’re getting from both the U.S and Russia against the other that the other side is plotting false flag chemical attacks. This has only surfaced in recent days

In the case of the U.S, it strikes me that they’re recycling a playbook that they employed under the Obama administration, which was there were people inside the Obama white house who wanted to put out the option of military intervention, and the red line was a good way to pursue that. I’m wondering if you think the Biden administration, especially the remnants of the Obama administration, Blinken, Sullivan and Biden himself , are recycling that playbook. I certainly hope not but it does have a resemblance to the probably false flag use of chemical weapons in Syria and it it almost worked in Syria?

FREEMAN. This isn’t the slam dunk there are real questions. There are the questions about whether this was the Turkish or Turkish and Saudi or whoever, was afalse flag intended to force an American escalation over Syria. It was only when that happened that it almost worked in Syria and this could well be a replay. From a military point of view, I can’t see any reason that the Russians would want to use chemical weapons. Usually they are a defensive device against a mass attack, but there’s no such thing going on in Ukraine. They don’t need chemical weapons. They have enough rightful weapons of other types without having to do that, so this does strike me as on its surface it’s suspicious.

Question. As the former U.S Ambassador to Saudi Arabia what do you make of their positioning so far ?There’s a lot of talk of them essentially moving closer with Russia. A lot was made that MBS (Mohammed bin Salman) refused to take Joe Biden’s call when he phoned him recently, and Saudi Arabia considering accepting payments for oil in the Chinese currency and the implications of that. yYur thoughts there when it comes to Saudi Arabia’s apparent shifting stance here?

FREEMAN. Saudi Arabia has been very ill at ease with its U.S. relationship for a long time. The affection that the Saudis once enjoyed in the United States from a limited number of people to be sure, has been replaced by mass Islamophobia. Saudi Arabia has been successfully vilified in U.S politics. Saudi Arabia’s assumption that the United States would back the monarchy against the tax on it from at home or abroad, was thrown into doubt when the United States rather gleefully saw Mubarak overthrown in Egypt. The United States is now the competitor for oil production and exports, no longer a consumer. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its attribution to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, obviously does not endear him to us or us to him and so mr biden has refused to speak with him.

So at this point the Saudis have gone full bore, looking for alternative partners to rely upon and there is no single partner that they can rely upon. But they have every interest in exploring alternative relationships not just with Russia or China but with India and others and they are doing the same thing with the United Arab Emirates. Even if bound to the United States in the so-called Abraham Accords it has a reputation well deserved for real politique.

It too is crafting its own future and it is not prepared to mortgage that future to American policy especially when the common view in the Gulf is that the United States is retreating. So this brings us all to back to the Chinese the Indians the Brazilians, others who have not got onto the bandwagon hurling invective at Russia. I think the Chinese ambassador the other day it was – onto someone of the Sunday talk shows and to the extent they let him get a word in, he he said very clearly and I agree with him, that you know condemnation does not accomplish anything very much at all, and what is required is serious diplomacy, and what has been missing has been serious diplomacy.

There have been condemnations, there have been sanctions, there have been armed shipments to the Ukrainians from a remarkable range of sources by the way.

I mean it illustrates the extent of Mr Putin’s mistake that even Austria and Switzerland, two neutral countries have provided aid to the Ukrainian resistance, as has Finland.

So Mr Putin has paid a huge price in terms of arousing animosity against this country. India and Brazil are in the same situation as as China. They’re in the same straddle. They see no benefit in alienating a partner, namely Russia, and while they both may care about the independence of Ukraine. I think taking sides with the United States against Russia, which is what they’re being asked to do, is a step too far. You know, let’s face it, this is in large measure as I said at the outset. a struggle between the United states and Russia for a sphere of influence that will include Ukraine. It’s U.S. Russia.

It’s not Russia versus Europe so in this context, why would a great power that values its cooperation with Russia want to alienate Russia?

Question. We’re going to wrap any final words for us. At the beginning of this interview you said that the you know that long-term geopolitical implications of this crisis are unknown. The world is changing in ways we don’t know, but I wonder if there’s any speculation that you are comfortable engaging in about what the geopolitical implications are. A lot of people are are speculating that this could mean the weakening of us dollar supremacy, as a result of China and Russia drawing closer together. Any thoughts on that and anything else you want to leave us with?

FREEMAN. No, I think the reliance on our sovereignty over the dollar, to our abuse of that sovereignty if you will, to impose sanctions that are illegal under the U.N Charter, which are unilateral, ultimately risks the status of the dollar, and we may in fact be in a moment when the dollar is taken down a notch or two

Well, I should just say that the dollar serves two purposes. One is as a store of value. If you have dollars you’re fairly confident that they’re going to have a significant value 10 years from now as well as today so that is why countries keep reserves in dollars and it’s why people stash dollars in mattresses all over the world.

The other use of the dollar is to settle trade transactions. It’s the most convenient currency in which to do that and in many cases when other currencies are used they are used with reference to the dollar and the dollar exchange rates.

Both these things are now in jeopardy. The oil trade commodities being priced in dollars is the basis for the dollar’s international value.

Iif you look at the united states trade and development’s balance of payments patent you will see that we are in chronic deficit that says the dollar is overvalued [ and that means it’s vulnerable to devaluation

The communications system in Belgium, that handles most of the world’s transactions was established to ensure that the trade could be conducted unencumbered by politics. And now it’s being encumbered by U.S. imposed unilateral sanctions on a huge array of countries – Iran Russia China , even threatened against India . So if the use of the dollar is now encumbered. It’s less desirable and people will want to make workarounds around it .

Will the dollar hold its value now we have a Congress that repeatedly goes to the brink of defaulting on our national debt?

This is not something that inspires confidence, and I’ll add a final factor which I think is very injurious potentially and that is bankers get deposits because they are fiduciaries they are meant to hold the deposits for the benefit of those who deposit the money and not to rip it off themselves.

But we’ve just confiscated the entire national treasury of Afghanistan. We’ve confiscated the Venezuelan reserves. We hav eour allies – the British have confiscated Venezuela’s gold reserves. And we’ve confiscated half of Russian reserves. The Anglo-American reputation as bankers. as fiduciaries, is in trouble, and so the question is, if you’re a country that thinks well maybe you might have some serious policy difference with the United States someday why would you put your money in dollars

The answer has been – there’s no alternative. But there are now major efforts being made to create alternatives so we we we’re not there yet. I don’t want to make a prediction, but I think this is a major question that we need to monitor carefully. because if the dollar loses its value, the American influence on the global level decreases enormously.

Aaron. Yes Freeman. Thank you as always for your time and insight. I say this on behalf of many people in my audience who have come to rely on your expertise. It’s really really appreciated.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Reference, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

More Evidence That The US Is Trying To Prolong This War- Caitlin Johnstone lays it bare

Tucked all the way down in the eighteenth paragraph of the article, we find a much more interesting revelation: that Washington’s top diplomat has made no attempt to contact his counterpart in Moscow since the war began on the 24th of February.

Caitlin Johnstone,

26 Mar 22, The Washington Post has a new article out bemoaning the fact that Russian military commanders are declining calls from the Pentagon to discuss their operations in Ukraine (I dunno guys, might have something to do with the fact that the US is sharing extensive military intelligence on exactly those operations directly with the Ukrainian government). Tucked all the way down in the eighteenth paragraph of the article, we find a much more interesting revelation: that Washington’s top diplomat has made no attempt to contact his counterpart in Moscow since the war began on the 24th of February.

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not attempted any conversations with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, since the start of the conflict, according to U.S. officials,” The Washington Post reports.

So the US government is continuing its policy of refusing to attempt any high-level diplomatic resolutions to this war despite its public hand-wringing about the horrific violence that’s being inflicted upon the people of Ukraine. This revelation fits nicely with a recent report by Bloomberg’s Niall Ferguson that sources in the US and UK governments have told him the real goal of western powers in this conflict is not to negotiate peace or end the war quickly, but to prolong it in order “bleed Putin” and achieve regime change in Moscow.

Building on an earlier report from The New York Times that the Biden administration “seeks to help Ukraine lock Russia in a quagmire,” Ferguson writes that he has reached the conclusion that “the U.S. intends to keep this war going,” and says he has other sources to corroborate this:

“The only end game now,” a senior administration official was heard to say at a private event earlier this month, “is the end of Putin regime. Until then, all the time Putin stays, [Russia] will be a pariah state that will never be welcomed back into the community of nations. China has made a huge error in thinking Putin will get away with it. Seeing Russia get cut off will not look like a good vector and they’ll have to re-evaluate the Sino-Russia axis. All this is to say that democracy and the West may well look back on this as a pivotal strengthening moment.”

I gather that senior British figures are talking in similar terms. There is a belief that “the U.K.’s No. 1 option is for the conflict to be extended and thereby bleed Putin.” Again and again, I hear such language. It helps explain, among other things, the lack of any diplomatic effort by the U.S. to secure a cease-fire.  It also explains the readiness of President Joe Biden to call Putin a war criminal.
Earlier this month when The Intercept’s Ryan Grim was able to get a word in edgewise at a White House press briefing amid the throngs of mass media reporters demanding to know why Biden still hasn’t started World War 3, Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a very revealing answer. 

“So, aside from the request for weapons, President Zelensky has also requested that the US be more involved in negotiations toward a peaceful resolution to the war. What is the U.S. doing to push those negotiations forward?” asked Grim.

“Well, one of the steps we’ve taken — a significant one — is to be the largest provider of military and humanitarian and economic assistance in the world, to put them in a greater position of strength as they go into these negotiations,” Psaki answered, completely dodging the question of whether the US was actually doing anything to help negotiate peace.

As we’ve discussed previously, the US government has a well-documented history of working to draw Moscow into costly military quagmires with the goal of preoccupying its military forces and draining its coffers. Former US officials are on record publicly boasting about having done so in both Afghanistan and Syria. This is an agenda geared toward sapping the Russian government, manufacturing international consent for unprecedented acts of economic warfare designed (though perhaps ineptly) to crush the Russian economy, to foment discord and rebellion, and ultimately to effect regime change in Moscow.

The US empire doesn’t care about Ukrainian lives, and it’s insulting that its operatives continually pretend to. The empire will happily feed every man, woman and child in the entire nation into the mouth of this war if it means unseating a disobedient leader from a nuclear-armed seat of power which has become unacceptably cozy with Beijing and intolerably comfortable with intervening against US imperial agendas. And all the Ukrainian-flag-waving propagandized westerners with their #StandWithUkraine Instagram activism and blue and yellow profile pics will cheer for it every step of the way.

I hope this brutal proxy war ends and peace comes to Ukraine very quickly. But from what we’re seeing today there appears to be an immense globe-spanning power structure holding its foot against the door of the only exit from this horror. 

March 26, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dozens Of Men Got Sick During A Secret Training Exercise At A Nuclear Site In 1991. They’re Still Fighting For Answers.

Was the soil or water contaminated with any radiation or toxic pollutants? The government’s own documents give conflicting answers.

the captain on duty at the guard post told him that “the water and streams at [the Savannah River Site] were ‘hot,’ which I interpreted to mean contaminated or radioactive

Perhaps more important than detailing what TSD had done so far, Anglen’s evaluation showed what officials had not done before and after the exercise: They had not checked the water or soil for radiation, heavy metals, or other pollutants.

No blood or urine samples were taken, nor were tests for radiation or chemical exposure ordered for the people who reported symptoms in the hours, days, or weeks after the incident.

“I had mucus running from my nose to the ground and was coughing uncontrollably to the point that I nearly threw up.”

Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed News Reporter March 25, 2022  The secret government training exercise started off as planned: Dozens of special agents transporting dangerous nuclear cargo by truck responded to a simulated attack.

Then the coughing began.

After wading neck-deep through a creek in pursuit of the mock attackers, Tim Lamey suddenly got dizzy and started coughing so hard he could barely breathe.

Another agent, Farmer Roberts, ran through the creek in a different location. “I had to stop. I started coughing, really I mean uncontrollably. You know, it was very obvious to me that something wasn’t right,” he told BuzzFeed News.

Nearby, Anthony Gunter crossed a dried-up creek bed and fell into the dust. “It took my breath,” he said. “My lungs got full. My eyes were full.”

The Southern Cross Exercise, held at a South Carolina nuclear facility owned by the Department of Energy, would see at least 28 people report symptoms that included coughing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, sneezing, nosebleeds, rashes, and vomiting. They fell ill in April 1991, mostly along the Meyers Branch creek stretch of the heavily polluted Savannah River Site. Larger than the five boroughs of New York City, this vast federal facility contains production and processing plants for tritium and plutonium 239, highly radioactive components for nuclear weapons. It was then, and still is, a Superfund site.

The sudden and mysterious illnesses that arose during those fateful training exercises have never before been reported. Neither has the decadeslong search for the truth of what caused the wave of sickness, led by the individuals who fell ill, not the government that was supposed to protect them. As the US launches into a new Cold War complete with Russia brandishing nuclear weapons, this case is a stark reminder of the risks faced by the multitudes of people needed to maintain such a dangerous arsenal.

Continue reading

March 26, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big ‘doomsday plane’ for the Big Nobs, in the event of nuclear war, arrives in Britain

US ‘Doomsday Plane’ capable of surviving nuclear war arrives in Britain  

Boeing aircraft can fly non-stop for six days with equipment designed to withstand electromagnetic blast Thomas Harding. Mar 25, 2022

An aircraft known as the “Doomsday Plane” that is capable of enduring the aftermath of a nuclear detonation has landed in Britain.

The arrival of the US Nightwatch plane from Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, comes amid fears of a nuclear strike by Russia, with its invasion of Ukraine stalled.

The aircraft, call sign GRIM99, is described as the Flying Pentagon and could be used as a centre of operations during a nuclear war.

Capable of flying 150 hours non-stop with the aid of airborne refuelling, the Boeing 747 is officially known as the National Emergency Airborne Operations Centre and is one of four such planes on constant standby.

Much of the aircraft’s equipment is secret, but it is known to carry nuclear and thermal shielding and enough communications for a US defence chief to direct a war.

It is used to transport the US defence secretary during a conflict, providing a back-up to the Pentagon. Its livery paintwork is similar to the US president’s Air Force One.

The four aircraft are based in Nebraska and have been operational since 1980. Each stands six storeys high and has four powerful General Electric engines equipped with huge fuel tanks to avoid the need to land and refuel during a nuclear exchange.

The plane’s flight deck equipment is analogue, so it can withstand jamming or the electromagnetic pulse that follows a nuclear detonation.

The “radome” hump on its back contains 67 different satellite dishes and antennae, giving the defence secretary and his commanders the ability to contact warships, submarines, aircraft and landlines around the world.

A crew of 112 people has the use of three decks, with 18 bunks beds, six bathrooms, a kitchen, conference room, briefing room and an operations centre.

The interior design is basic, with few modern-day comforts and no touch screens, as digital technology would be almost completely disabled during a nuclear exchange. However, the conference centre does have two 80-inch flat screen televisions.

It has a maximum speed of 969kph, can fly at 14,000 metres and has a take-off load of 377,000kg. The aircraft will remain in service until 2039.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear worker gives the inside story on the dire situation for the staff as Russians took over.

Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Worker reveals risk of accident as Russians force staff to do 24-hour shifts i News, By Isabella Bengoechea, March 25, 2022   A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account after the power plant was seized by Russian forces i News

A Chernobyl worker has given the first inside account of life at the nuclear plant since the Russian invasion and warned that exhausted staff are being forced to work 24-hour shifts, increasing the risk of an accident.

Mykola Pobiedin, foreman of the radioactive waste processing workshop at Chernobyl, who worked as a liquidator there after the 1986 disaster, described a dire safety situation where the plant was encircled by military trucks and tanks and troops patrolled with machine guns.

He compared allowing Chernobyl to be operated by exhausted staff to a bus driver who “has not slept for days” transporting passengers.

Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, was captured by Russia on the first day of invasion on 24 February.

More than 200 workers were forced to stay on site. On 20 March, about 100 were allowed to return to their homes, after nearly four weeks working under armed guard.

Personnel at Chernobyl usually work in 12-hour shifts before being replaced by the next shift.

However, because no rotation was permitted, they were forced to work for 24 hours straight with one half hour break.

Mr Pobiedin, who gave permission to be identified, spoke to i by phone from the city of Slavutych, which was built in 1986 to house workers evacuated from the plant after the disaster.

In a separate debrief, he spoke to Valeriy Korshunov, founder of the European Institute of Chernobyl, a Ukraine-based NGO which works to educate the public about the Chernobyl disaster through scientific and cultural projects, in order to prevent new nuclear disasters in future.

Mr Korshunov and his organisation hope to publicise the plight of the Chernobyl workers to draw attention to the dangerous situation Russia has inflicted on Ukraine’s nuclear sites.

He passed on his comments to i, with the permission of Mr Pobiedin and his family.

Mr Pobiedin suggested there was an increased risk of accidents as a result of the extreme fatigue of staff working at such a sensitive site.

“There may be some errors, some actions are not undertaken,” he said. “A tired person would do a mistake and it will cause issues.”

Though reluctant to cause alarm about a possible nuclear accident at Chernobyl, he added: “If you are riding a bus in which the driver has not slept for days. What could it lead to? If Europe agrees to drive with such a bus driver, then let it be…”

“There is a break for half an hour, for example to eat or for private needs, and the rest of the time people are concentrated on watching monitors. This is intellectual work; you cannot be distracted.”

Despite having managed to leave the power plant, his memories of Russia’s attack on the first day of the invasion are still stark.

“Everything started with the ‘Everyone to the bomb shelter’ alarm, which we followed,” he said.

“Then this whole situation got clear – it was a seizure.

“Then came the command ‘Everyone to the workplace!’ Well, then we started organising our life there somehow, adapting to the situation.

“The Russian military did not enter the territory of the power unit. They drove around the industrial site in their armored personnel carriers. In this way they controlled the whole situation.

“In other words, everything around us was encircled…………………………

the staff managed to keep up their spirits by attempting to carry on as normal and listening to the Ukrainian national anthem on the radio…………………………….

Since the release of the staff, only about 50 have opted to replace them – a perhaps understandable reluctance considering they would be going as hostages with no idea of when they could leave.

“I saw they arrived with backpacks,” said Mr Pobiedin. “They probably took something, but how long will it last?”

He called for the regular rotation of sufficient personnel to ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities: “The rotation is very important. We can’t let people just be there indefinitely.

“Some personnel change should be done. The Russians are not opposing to such shift changes. It should be scheduled: once a week, once every 10 days … So that people know and get prepared.

“And not so that people come and do not know how long they must stay. One does not know if it is one day, 20 days or for ever.”

While the freed workers may have breathed a sigh of relief at finally leaving, they may not have escaped the worst of their ordeals.

Many live in Slavuytsch, about 40km from Chernobyl. However the city is under intense shelling by the Russians.

Others who live in other nearby settlements are currently trapped in the city and cannot return home. When i was speaking to Mr Pobiedin, our interview was cut off halfway through after sirens went off and he had to go down into a bomb shelter.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | employment, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

World’s biggest bunker where billionaires could survive in luxury for 10 years

World’s biggest nuclear bunker where billionaires could survive in luxury for 10 years

The Oppidum is the world’s largest nuclear bunker and is located in a secret location in the Czech Republic where its billionaire owners could live out nuclear armageddon By John James. , 25 MAR 2022  

The World’s richest people plan to sit out a nuclear apocalypse in the world’s largest luxury bomb shelter which lies in a secret location in the Czech republic.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, interest in nuclear shelters has skyrocketed spurred on in part by Vladimir Putin’s reckless rhetoric, but the elites of the world have been planning for years.

The Oppidum (which is a fantastically ominous name for a bunker in anyone’s book) is located in a quaint valley in the Czech Republic surrounded by high walls that ensure it can’t be identified by the irradiated masses.

The massive 323,000 square foot structure extends well into the ground and is kitted out with all the luxury items you’d expect including a swimming pool, wine cellar and helipad.

The whole building is fitted with a network of secret tunnels leading to the cavernous vaults beneath the above-ground building so when a bomb hits you can be safely hidden fast.

It was first built during the height of the Cold War as part of combined efforts from the governments of the Soviet Union and what was Czechoslovakia.

Its location is than two hours from both London and Moscow by private jet providing easy access for those in the world’s centre of power – even if they might not see eye to eye when they get there.

The bunker is also self-sufficient and is claimed that residents could survive there for as long as ten years.

……………  While residents stay in the shelter, they are constantly guarded by security who it is claimed have a constant link to the outside world through the Oppidum control centre.

The reality of life after nuclear fallout is that you’re going to be spending a lot of time underground starved of natural light, but the paranoid architects have even thought of this.

A state of the art subterranean garden is included in the bunker which is lit up by simulated natural light.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Biden keeping up the big spend on nuclear weapons

Biden steers away from big change to US nuclear weapons policy

Washington’s ‘posture review’ maintains deliberate ambiguity over when arms might be used,  Demetri Sevastopulo in Alice Springd\s  25 Mar 2

President Joe Biden has decided against making a major change to US nuclear weapons policy following pressure from European and Asian allies not to undermine their security amid the nuclear threat from Russia and China.

 After a months-long review that had sparked anxiety from France to Japan, Biden this week decided on a declaratory policy that the “fundamental purpose” of nuclear weapons was to deter, or respond to, a nuclear attack on the US or its allies, according to three people familiar with the decision. 

US allies last year expressed concern following speculation that Biden might declare that the “sole purpose” of nuclear weapons was to prevent or respond to a nuclear attack. They said such a change — which Biden supported before becoming president — would weaken the extended deterrence that the US provides to allies around the world with its nuclear umbrella. Critics also argued the potential shift would embolden Russia.  

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One senior US official said the allies’ views played a big role in influencing Biden. She said the president had strong views on nuclear risk reduction and might have been considering a larger change in declaratory policy but that he received a lot of input from allied capitals that resulted in the outcome, which was also influenced by the threat from Moscow and growing concerns about China’s expanding nuclear arsenal.

 The outcome will be outlined in the administration’s “Nuclear Posture Review”, which is designed to determine what kind of nuclear weapons the US should have and provide guidance about scenarios for possible use.

 The NPR will also say that the US would only use nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances” — echoing language that was included in nuclear reviews conducted by both the Obama and Trump administrations. But the Trump administration arguably lowered the threshold for possible use by saying that “extreme circumstances” could include a non-nuclear attack.  

…………………………………………………….US policy on the situations under which nuclear weapons would be used has been intentionally vague for decades to keep adversaries guessing. The US official said the NPR would contain a level of strategic ambiguity. 

 Arms control advocates wanted Biden to shift to a “no first use” policy or “sole purpose” formulation that they argued would reduce the risk of nuclear war. But critics countered that providing more clarity about when the US would use nuclear weapons would just embolden adversaries. 

 Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said Biden had largely kept existing nuclear posture intact. He said the Obama and Trump administrations had used language about the “fundamental role” of nuclear weapons in their posture reviews.  

“If this is the biggest change in the Nuclear Posture Review, I want my tax money back,” Lewis said. “The phrase reflects a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of trying to have it both ways. US officials want to give the impression that our nuclear weapons are for deterrence while also holding open the option of using them first  ……………………….

March 26, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

So far, Zaporizhzhya’s nuclear reactors are being managed safely under Russian control

As Russian military forces shelled the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant
(ZNPP) in southern Ukraine on March 4, 2022, a fire broke out on the site.

Among the six reactor units at the complex, auxiliary buildings attached to
the Zaporizhzhya Unit 1 reactor were damaged. Fortunately, the damage did
not threaten the safety of the unit. And a recent assessment by the
International Atomic Energy Agency indicates that, although management of
the plant by a Russian military commander is less than ideal, “regular
staff have continued to operate the Zaporizhzhya [nuclear power plant]”
and “at least 11 representatives of the Russian state [nuclear power]
company Rosatom were also present there, without interfering with the
operation of the nuclear facilities.”

Even so, Russia’s military
attacks on the Zaporizhzhya plant raise great concerns about the
possibility of nuclear accidents. Some experts have suggested the attack on
Zaporizhzhya could have caused a huge catastrophe; others were much more
conservative in their estimates of possible radiation releases from such an
attack. To illustrate the potential damage from a military attack on a
nuclear power plant, we simulated and analyzed hypothetical releases from a
core meltdown and spent fuel pool fire at one unit, Zaporizhzhya 1, if an
attack by missiles or artillery had disabled cooling systems there.

 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 23rd March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

UK does NOT need more nuclear power. Electricity demand has fallen

Andrew Warren: In seeking justification for “rigging” the UK
electricity market in favour of more nuclear power,

It is beingcategorically argued that electricity demand is expected to rise over the
next decade (“Johnson in ‘gung ho’ push for more nuclear power as
energy crisis bites”, Report, March 21).

Strangely enough, that was
precisely the reason given back in 2006, when the then Labour government
first committed to a “family” of further nuclear power stations. Based
on the official forecasts issued in 2006, we should by now be consuming at
least 15 per cent more electricity than we were then.

But we are not. Right
now, UK electricity consumption has in fact gone down by over 15 per cent
since 2006. In other words, all that expectation of demand growth which was
used to justify new nuclear power stations was grossly exaggerated, in
practice by over 30 per cent.

In the interim, no new nuclear power stations
have been added to the system. The system hasn’t collapsed, and it’s
also far less carbon intensive.

Surely, we aren’t getting fooled again by
the same spurious rhetoric about endless consumption growth? In that
immortal phrase of the 1970s: “Save it. You know it makes sense”.

 FT 24th March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

The work of Ukraine-based European Institute of Chernobyl.

Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Worker reveals risk of accident as Russians force staff to do 24-hour shifts , i News, By Isabella Bengoechea March 25, 2022

”………………………………………………i has been working with the European Institute of Chernobyl, a Ukraine-based NGO that focuses on research, popularisation and dissemination of information about the Chernobyl disaster through scientific, educational, social and cultural projects and initiatives, with the aim of preventing new nuclear catastrophes happening in future.

The public organisation, which began its work in 2017, also focuses on protecting the rights and interests of participants in the liquidation of the fallout of the Chernobyl accident, as well as citizens affected by the disaster.

Last April, the group launched an information campaign and programme of events to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the disaster. Partnered with the National Museum of Chernobyl, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), groups representing liquidators and former Pripyat [abandoned town nearest to the Chernobyl plant] residents, as well as music and art projects.

Valeriy Korshunov, the founder of the Institute, has criticised the International Atomic Energy Agency for what he sees as an insufficiently robust response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.

“At the time of the Chernobyl accident there was silence from the Russians, from the Soviet government, they were trying to hide the situation. So in every project about Chernobyl, we’re saying we need to learn the lessons of Chernobyl.

It founded a project in the past year called Help Chernobyl, organising legal benefits, subsidies and medical operations to help the liquidators of the Chernobyl disaster during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last April, the group launched an information campaign and programme of events to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the disaster. Partnered with the National Museum of Chernobyl, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), groups representing liquidators and former Pripyat [abandoned town nearest to the Chernobyl plant] residents, as well as music and art projects.

Valeriy Korshunov, the founder of the Institute, has criticised the International Atomic Energy Agency for what he sees as an insufficiently robust response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.

“At the time of the Chernobyl accident there was silence from the Russians, from the Soviet government, they were trying to hide the situation. So in every project about Chernobyl, we’re saying we need to learn the lessons of Chernobyl.

“But now we know we haven’t learnt it first time, because we’re seeing similar things now. And Russia and Rosatom are tyring to hide what happened at Chernobyl, what happened at Zaporizhzhya which was shelled and captured by Russia this month.”

“The IAEA must do a lot more in this situation. The shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is an act of nuclear terrorism. The IAEA need to do something about this but they are silent.”

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said this week: “Right now the enemy is trying to seize the Slavutych city and is conducting shelling of the checkpoints. Personnel working at the Chernobyl NPP facilities, as well as at facilities and enterprises located in the Exclusion Zone live in Slavutych.

“The current situation endangers the lives and health of Chernobyl NPP employees and their families, creates significant psychological and moral pressure on operational personnel ensuring nuclear and radiation safety of the Chernobyl NPP facilities, and makes it impossible to ensure the personnel rotation.”

It added: “The information received from the Chornobyl NPP indicates that the operational personnel maintain the safety parameters of the facilities at the NPP site within the standard values. At the same time, the Russian military continue to grossly violate the radiation safety requirements and strict access control procedures at the NPP and in the Exclusion Zone, which leads to deterioration of the radiation situation at the site.

March 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

In UK, some welcome news, in Government support for energy saving

Welcome green tax cuts struggled to counter the sense of a Chancellor that
does not fully understand the scale of the interlocking environmental, cost
of living, and security crises the UK is facing. First, the good news,
because we could certainly do with some. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision
to make the scrapping of VAT on energy-saving materials one of the central
planks of his Spring Statement is hugely welcome news. The fact
energy-saving materials has been defined to include clean technologies such
as solar panels and heat pumps, as well as insulation is similarly welcome.
And the decision to extend this tax cut for at least five years, giving
installers and manufacturers a clear signal that demand is likely to soar
and they should rapidly scale up capacity accordingly, is arguably most
welcome news of all. In addition, the doubling of the support fund for
Local Authorities to £1bn to help households in fuel poverty is also
undoubtedly welcome, even if it smacks a little of providing two buckets,
rather than one, to help tackle a forest fire. There was no grand vision
for driving sustainable growth, insulating the UK from surging global
fossil fuel prices, or helping people manage the transition to a net zero
emission economy. There was little sense of the UK’s place in an
increasingly dangerous world and how it could become a trailblazer for the
shift away from hydrocarbons that can help defang petrostate autocracies.
Most surprisingly of all, there was far too little to help the millions of
households that through no fault of their own are facing the looming shadow
of genuine poverty. It was, just like Sunak’s eve of COP26 Budget, a
significant opportunity missed.

 Business Green 23rd March 2022


Welcome green tax cuts struggled to counter the sense of a Chancellor that
does not fully understand the scale of the interlocking environmental, cost
of living, and security crises the UK is facing.

First, the good news,
because we could certainly do with some. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision
to make the scrapping of VAT on energy-saving materials one of the central
planks of his Spring Statement is hugely welcome news.

The fact energy-saving materials has been defined to include clean technologies such
as solar panels and heat pumps, as well as insulation is similarly welcome.
And the decision to extend this tax cut for at least five years, giving
installers and manufacturers a clear signal that demand is likely to soar
and they should rapidly scale up capacity accordingly, is arguably most
welcome news of all.

In addition, the doubling of the support fund for
Local Authorities to £1bn to help households in fuel poverty is also
undoubtedly welcome, even if it smacks a little of providing two buckets,
rather than one, to help tackle a forest fire.

There was no grand vision
for driving sustainable growth, insulating the UK from surging global
fossil fuel prices, or helping people manage the transition to a net zero
emission economy. There was little sense of the UK’s place in an
increasingly dangerous world and how it could become a trailblazer for the
shift away from hydrocarbons that can help defang petrostate autocracies.
Most surprisingly of all, there was far too little to help the millions of
households that through no fault of their own are facing the looming shadow
of genuine poverty. It was, just like Sunak’s eve of COP26 Budget, a
significant opportunity missed.

 Business Green 23rd March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

IAEA concerned that Russia is shelling Ukrainian checkpoints in the city of Slavutych, near Chernobyl

IAEA concerened that Russia

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that
Russian forces were shelling Ukrainian checkpoints in the city of Slavutych
where many people working at the nearby Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP)
live, putting them at risk and preventing further rotation of personnel to
and from the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority said the shelling was endangering “the homes and
families of those operational personnel that ensure the nuclear and
radiation safety” of the Chornobyl NPP, which is under the control of
Russian forces since 24 February.

Slavutych is located outside the
Exclusion Zone that was established around the NPP after the 1986 accident.
Director General Grossi expressed concern about this development, which
comes just a few days after technical staff at the Chornobyl NPP were
finally able to rotate and go to their homes in Slavutych and rest after
working for nearly four weeks without a change of shift, and he said the
IAEA would continue to closely monitor the situation. Staff now working at
the site also come from Slavutych.

 IAEA 24th March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

London. Anti-nuclear campaigners have won a victory for free expression

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have won a victory for free expression after
forcing Transport for London (TfL) to back down from refusing to consider a
peace advert on the network.

TfL initially refused an application from the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for advertising space across the
capital but has been forced to reconsider following a threat of legal
action by the Public Interest Law Centre.

The application, originally
submitted in 2021, is for an advert showing a nuclear weapon broken in two
by CND’s famous peace symbol. It asks: “Why are we getting more nuclear
weapons when we could be investing in healthcare, renewable energy,

TfL had ruled the advert could not be carried because it
“promotes a party political cause or electioneering.” Acting for CND,
the law centre argued that the advertisement was not party political and
that TFL’s refusal to carry it was potentially in breach of the right to
free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human
Rights. TfL has acknowledged that the original decision was incorrect, that
the advert was not party political, and have invited CND to resubmit the
advert for consideration.

 Morning Star 24th March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency’s grave concern over safety of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) Director General
Rafael Mariano Grossi has said “we cannot afford to lose any more time” in
concluding an agreed framework for ensuring nuclear safety and security in

Grossi, who expressed “grave concern” about the situation, has
been seeking to secure an agreement with the two sides since meeting the
foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine two weeks ago in Turkey. He said
the IAEA “is ready and able to deploy immediately and provide indispensable
assistance for ensuring nuclear safety and security in Ukraine”. 

World Nuclear News 24th March 2022

March 26, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment