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‘Big guns’ keep the world on nuclear high alert – Helen Caldicott

With Russia and the U.S. currently on the warpath during the escalating conflict in Ukraine, the world is again at serious risk of nuclear disaster, writes Dr Helen Caldicott.

By Helen Caldicott | 17 July 2022,

JOHN F. KENNEDY’s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and I got to know each other during the last years of his life.

One day, as we were having lunch in the Metropolitan Club, he said to me:

“Helen, I was in the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis and we came so close – within three minutes – to nuclear war.”

Now, we are at another turning point in history — although most commentators seem not to understand the gravity of the situation. For the first time since then, the two nuclear superpowers armed as they are with thousands of nuclear weapons – many on hair-trigger alert – are facing each other during an escalating war in Ukraine.

As the genius, Albert Einstein said:

‘The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.’

So true.

Here we are with Vladimir Putin who decided to invade Ukraine killing innocent civilians and destroying property at random, while the U.S. military-industrial complex rejoices at the opportunity to make and sell as many weapons as it can, as its shares bound sky high.

The neo-cons that Joe Biden has appointed to his Cabinet are thrilled that for the first time since the Cold War ended, they can take on the “evil” Russia — although Russia seems no longer to be a communist country, but in fact a raging capitalist institution, with many of its state riches stolen by outrageous oligarchs living high on the hog.

During the Clinton Administration, Putin requested that Russia become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but it never eventuated as Russia was too big and too authoritarian.

NATO was created to defend western Europe from the perils of the “aggressive” Soviet Union and, as is well-known when the Cold War ended, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch to the East.

This posture however was antithetical to aerospace corporation Lockheed Martin whose president, Norman Augustine took it upon himself to visit these newly liberated countries convincing them to become democracies – that is, part of NATO – which required them to arm themselves to the tune of millions of dollars, enormously benefiting the U.S. military-industrial complex.

America then introduced military and missile equipment in all these NATO countries, targeting, of course, Russia, while NATO expanded from 12 to 30 countries.

Putin originally had two requests:

  • that the missiles targeting Russia be removed; and
  • that Ukraine not be admitted to the NATO block.

He was refused.

The present precarious situation is heightened by the testosterone imperative that has dominated and guided wars throughout history, superimposed by the tenuous control of nuclear arsenals, the launching of which has too often been triggered by false alarms, a rising moon, a flock of geese triggering radar alerts, human fallibility, war games, tapes plugged into the Pentagon system and many more.

Superimposed upon this fragile system is the age-old necessity to “win”.

I wake up each morning, look out the window to see the roses and wonder how much longer they will exist — more frightened now than I have ever been even during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


July 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, PERSONAL STORIES, World | Leave a comment

Atomic Lies: New York’s bizarre Nuclear Preparedness PSA

July 16th, 2022 – by Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War, ) — On July 11, New York City’s Emergency Management office released a Public Service Announcement that pretended to share important advice on steps New Yorkers could take to survive a nuclear attack. Here’s the PSA:

Re that “Don’t ask me how or why” PSA:
This updated version of the government’s misleading “duck-and-cover” nuclear war survival campaign from the 1950s begins by instructing New Yorkers to get away from the windows and huddle together “in the middle” of their building.

But, unlike a single-family suburban home, a typical New York high-rise apartment building can house thousands of individuals—so the “middle of the building” would get crowded pretty quickly.

While the PSA’s advice might help to survive a guided missile strike, it would be useless for a nuclear detonation. (All the more reason why there should be a nation-wide rebroadcast of ABC’s 1983 nuclear-strike enactment, “The Day After.”)

What Nuclear Scientists Say Would Happen
The New York PSA was so misleading that it prompted Steven Starr (a senior scientists with Physicians for Social Responsibility) to repost a 2015 research paper he co-authored with two other scientists. The article, which appeared in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, addressed “the consequences of the detonation of a single [800 kiloton] warhead over midtown Manhattan.” Here are some sobering details:

“Within a few tenths of millionths of a second after detonation, the center of the warhead would reach a temperature of roughly 200 million degrees Fahrenheit (about 100 million degrees Celsius), or about four to five times the temperature at the center of the sun.”“

[T]he enormous heat and light from the fireball would almost instantly ignite fires over a total area of about 100 square miles.”

“The mass fire, or firestorm, would quickly increase in intensity, heating enormous volumes of air that would rise at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour.”

“The fireball would vaporize the structures directly below it and produce an immense blast wave and high-speed winds, crushing even heavily built concrete structures within a couple miles of ground zero. The blast would tear apart high-rise buildings and expose their contents to the solar temperatures; it would spread fires by exposing ignitable surfaces, releasing flammable materials, and dispersing burning materials.”

  • “Two miles from ground zero, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with all its magnificent historical treasures, would be obliterated. Two and half miles from ground zero, in Lower Manhattan, the East Village, and Stuyvesant Town, the fireball would appear 2,700 times brighter than a desert sun at noon.”
  • ““Within tens of minutes, everything within approximately five to seven miles of Midtown Manhattan would be engulfed by a gigantic firestorm. The fire zone would cover a total area of 90 to 152 square miles. The firestorm would rage for three to six hours. Air temperatures in the fire zone would likely average 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Why Are They Telling Us To Prep For A Nuclear Attack??

Ellsberg on Nuclear Abolition or Annihilation

The following two short videos were released on July 11 by Defuse Nuclear War with the following introduction: Directed by Oscar-nominee Judith Ehrlich, this series explores the dangers of nuclear weapons and the politics that drive their existence. Hear firsthand accounts from Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg about his time as a nuclear war planner for the US military and learn hidden truth about realities of nuclear weapons.

ICBMs: Hair-Trigger Annihilation

July 16, 2022 Posted by | safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Let’s Replicate Chicago’s Antiwar Organizing Victory Against Boeing

Asha Ransby-Sporn & Debbie SouthornTruthout, July 17, 2022 The news released this spring that Boeing, a corporate weapons manufacturer, is moving its headquarters out of Chicago, Illinois, is a win for the anti-militarist movement and came just weeks after an even more meaningful victory for youth organizers who blocked the company from getting a $2 million tax break before they left.

It’s a victory that organizers like us hope will inspire communities in other cities to target weapons manufacturers who are sucking up public resources via tax breaks and government contracts. By forcing local government to ask questions rather than write blank checks and by telling death-dealing corporations that they are no longer welcome, our movement can undermine the business model of pillaging public budgets in order to reap profit from militarized weapons and violence.

This victory came months after a group of young people blocked traffic to and from Boeing’s corporate headquarters last May, hanging a large banner that read “Boeing Arms Genocide” over the Chicago River that was visible from the corporate offices and commercial walkways in the city’s downtown area. Following escalated assaults on the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which sparked protests around the world, these youth called attention to Boeing’s $735 million weapons sale to Israel, which was approved by the United States State Department in the same weeks as the assault.

In the following months, organizers with the newly formed Boeing Arms Genocide campaign presented to Chicago’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and to Alderwoman Maria Hadden with a detailed analysis of how Boeing’s Chicago headquarters has reaped more than $60 million in tax breaks while failing to deliver on promises of job creation. (Alderwoman Hadden represents Chicago’s 49th ward, which is home to large immigrant and refugee communities.) This set in motion an OIG inquiry into the contract that had made this arrangement possible. At the end of 2021, for the first year in 20 years, Boeing declined to file for a tax reimbursement worth roughly $2 million. Then in May 2022, its leaders announced their headquarters would be leaving the city.

From the onset of the campaign, organizers had set out to ensure there would be no extension of the contract slated to end in 2021, or any new contract that would allow Boeing to continue benefiting from state and local tax breaks, after they’d received these public checks for two decades. The canvassing, petition drives, teach-ins and meetings with city officials resulted in first-time scrutiny on the company’s compliance with the minimal requirements of the contract. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request confirmed, in the words of the Department of Planning and Development’s Financial Incentives Division Deputy Commissioner Tim Jeffries, “The term of the agreement is over and Boeing has stated they are not seeking reimbursement for the 2021 tax year. The contract is functionally dead.”

Up against a Fortune 500 company, a few hand-painted banners, a little public pressure, and the compelling research of a group of 20-somethings presented to a few city officials might not seem like much. A closer look, however, at the business model of a company like Boeing shows us how much they have to lose from a challenge to the idea that public resources can or should go toward the profits of a weapons manufacturer……………………………….

July 16, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Biden proved that Israel is a US proxy in the Middle East

Biden went on to stress that the US needs Israel to stand beside it in its fight in the Middle East, which America is returning to in order to prevent the Russian and Chinese influence.

Biden’s words have proven that Israel is an American proxy in the Middle East.

Motasem A Dalloul, July 15, 2022 

American President Joe Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday and started his four-day tour of the Middle East, the first since he took office. Moments after landing in Tel Aviv, he delivered a speech which outlined his intentions during this controversial tour.

Biden has visited Israel several times before becoming president, with his first trip being in 1973 when he was a senator. He has repeatedly expressed his absolute support for Israel, regardless of its daily abuses of Palestinians and continuous violations against their legitimate rights.

In his speech on Wednesday, he repeated his support for the occupation state, highlighting that he is a Zionist Christian; emphasising that supporters of Israel don’t need to be Jews.

He also told the journalist: “As president, I’m proud to say that our relationship with the State of Israel is deeper and stronger, in my view, than it’s ever been. And with this visit, we are strengthening our connections even further. We’ve reaffirmed the unshakable commitment of the United States to Israel’s security, including partnering with Israel on the most cutting-edge defence systems in the world.”

Biden stressed that “generation after generation” the “connection grows,” adding: “We invest in each other. We dream together. We’re part of what has always been the objective we both have.” Thus highlighting that the two states have been working to achieve shared objectives and address global challenges.

The US president failed, once again, to mention Israeli violations and aggression against Palestinians and other countries in the region. “We’ll continue to advance Israel’s integration into the region; expand emerging forums and engagement,” he said.

He mentioned the two-state solution, which remains, in his view, “the best way to ensure the future of equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” This, while Israeli occupation forces confiscated large swathes of Palestinian land slated for the potential Palestinian state just a few miles away.

Biden stated that Israel is united with the US, stressing that they have “shared values” and a “shared vision”. While making efforts to extend the US’ domination over the world, Biden wished America and Israel could “continue to grow and prosper together for the benefit of the entire world.”

The following day, Biden met with Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, where Israel has been working to evict Palestinians and force them from their homes. There they signed “The Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration” in which the US pledged to protect Israel and meet its security demands. “The United States and Israel reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and the enduring commitment of the United States to Israel’s security,” the declaration stipulated.

Ignoring Israel’s abuses of human rights and violations of international law, it adds that the US and Israel share “unwavering commitment to democracy and the rule of law” in order to “repair the world.”

The declaration reiterated the US “commitment to Israel’s security, and especially to the maintenance of its qualitative military edge.” As part of the declaration, the US reiterated “its steadfast commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats.”

Touching on the alleged Iranian threat, it said the US is committed to “never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” The declaration also stipulated that the US will continue to help Israel in its attack on the non-violent grass roots Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, calling it an act of “self-defence” to do so.

“The United States and Israel affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or de-legitimise Israel, to deny its right to self-defence,” the declaration stated, stressing that “they firmly reject the BDS campaign.”

Biden went on to stress that the US needs Israel to stand beside it in its fight in the Middle East, which America is returning to in order to prevent the Russian and Chinese influence.

As part of this pledge, the US is working to integrate the occupation state in the Arab world, Biden said, adding that the US will not allow any of the region’s countries to have nuclear weapons or arms more qualitative than those in Israel’s possession in order to give Tel Aviv the military edge.

Biden’s words have proven that Israel is an American proxy in the Middle East.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greencoat Capital UK to greenwash nuclear power?

Greencoat Capital is considering creating a nuclear investment fund to take
a stake in EDF’s proposed Sizewell C plant in Suffolk. The renewables
investment manager is eyeing a move into nuclear that could lead to the
fund investing in Hinkley Point C, under construction in Somerset, and the
existing Sizewell B plant. Bankers working for EDF and the UK government
are seeking investors to join them in funding the construction of Sizewell
C, which could power 6 million homes and is expected to cost at least £20
billion. Richard Nourse, Greencoat Capital’s founder, said: “My feeling
is that there’s a huge amount of money required. When you need a huge
amount of money, you normally have to price it to go, and therefore it will
be potentially an interesting investment. Given nuclear will be a
fearsomely complex and technically demanding area for UK pension funds to
evaluate risk, we see an opportunity for Greencoat to be a trusted adviser
and manager of funds.”

Times 16th July 2022

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Afghanistan, business and costs, climate change, ENERGY | Leave a comment

How To Create a “Willing Community” – or – How Millom and Haverigg are being Nuclear Conned   BY MARIANNEWILDART, The following article has been written by former Millom Town Councillor, Jan Bridget who has heroically exposed the nuclear tentacle grip on key West Cumbrian Town and Parish Councils being lined up as “willing communities” to host a deep and very hot nuclear waste dump.


1. A Councillor from Bootle (not Millom) and ex employee of Sellafield, put forward Millom as a potential site for the GDF; Copeland Borough Council (not the full Council) also proposed Millom. Millom, Millom Without and Whicham DID NOT put themselves forward, neither were their constituents asked.

2. Millom, Millom Without and Whicham Councils joined the South Copeland GDF Partnership in good faith because they were told this was how they could access the £1 million funding being made available to them whilst the area was being considered: this would go up to £2.5 million should the investigstions get to the drilling bore holes stage. So a significant incentive to remain in the Partnership.

3. NWS are using the Partnership to imply we (Millom and area) are a willing community.

4. NWS are using the Partnership to say they are in communication with the willing community (ie the Partnership). They have held several ‘events’ promoting the GDF to constituents. It is believed about 200 people attended the events in Millom and Haverigg and many of these were opposed to the GDF and told them this (nb NWS had refused to allow Radioactive Free Lakeland to have leaflets at the events to give an alternative view). But amongst the information NWS provided was a colouring book and crayons which, Cllr McGrath said was available “in case the children of anyone visiting the event got bored.” A group of about twenty locals (apart from one) held a demonstration outside the event in Haverigg.

5. The siting of a GDF off Haverigg (and one assumes investigations into whether land under the sea off Millom/Haverigg) can only go ahead, according to government, if there is a willing community.

6. The information available by the government gives the impression Millom (Millom Without and Whicham) could withdraw from the process at any time. This is not true. In response to a question about this Councillor Bridget was told by NWS that only they and Copeland Borough as the lead council could withdraw. If Millom Council decided to withdraw the process would continue irrespective of whether they were members of the Partnership or not.

7. On 1st August seismic surveys are about to begin off the coast of Haverigg. The constituents have NOT been asked if they support this, nor indeed, as far as we know, have members of the Partnership been asked.

8. There is more and more research becoming available which suggests these seismic surveys (despite having been used for years by the gas and oil companies) are dangerous to many marine species.

9. There are tough procedures to go through to acquire licences to be able to carry out seismic surveys, especially as there are endangered species in our area.

10. NWS have circumvented these procedures by acquiring an exemption and given the go ahead to carry out the surveys.

11. What limited consultation there has been with constituents suggests the majority are opposed to a GDF being sited near Millom. e.g Millom Without held two on-line consultations with 25 constituents, all were opposed to a GDF being sited here. A few years ago Whicham council surveyed their constituents and one of the questions was what are the three things you do not want (with another question, what three things do you want).

Amongst the top three things constituents did not want was any nuclear facility. Constituents in Millom and Haverigg have not been asked. However, a poll on a community Facebook group with a membership of around 2,000 were asked what they thought about a GDF, 151 people responded, two thirds were against it, one third in favour and a few (11?) wanted more information. When a local constituent, Jan Bridget who was a new town councillor, learnt about the proposed GDF she tried to alert the Council to what was happening, but they did not want to know, all they concerned themselves with was acquiring much needed funding for their area. Councillor Bridget believed it was incumbent upon her, as a Town Councillor, to provide alternative information to that being espoused by the Partnership (NWS) and so set up a private Facebook group, Millom and District Against the GDF. Within two days there were nearly 300 members, the majority from Millom and the local villages. After a month this has grown to nearly 400 members. Councillor Bridget believed that being a member of the Partnership gave the impression Millom Council were in support of a GDF in the area. The mayor, Cllr Kelly wrote a statement to say they took a neutral stance but Cllr McGrath, chair of the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership, Millom Town Councillor and Copeland Borough Councillor, threatened to resign should it be sent out; it was agreed to ask the Partnership what to do (although it is thought nothing has happened apart from the statement not being made). The Council maintains they have a neutral stance yet opposed Councillor Bridget from communicating her opposition to the GDF as a Councillor and refused to discuss the issue.

12. Millom Council received two letters from constituents opposing the GDF and Councillor Bridget read out a statement in opposition to the GDF at the June Council meeting. Immediately after reading her statement she was verbally attacked by Councillor Billing (the Millom Council representative on the Partnership) who shouted at her, in an uncontrolled manner, accusing her of calling him a liar. Councillor Bridget did not accuse him of being a liar, she merely pointed out that he and Councillor McGrath, had informed the Council that NWS were going through all the correct channels and acquiring the relevant licences to conduct the surveys which, Councillor Bridget had discovered, was not the case. The effect of the attack was to stifle a proper debate. The Council agreed to seek clarification from the NWS about the surveys. Councillor Bridget and the Mayor, Councillor Kelly, agreed the wording of the letter and Councillor Kelly gave instructions for the letter to be sent the day before he went on leave (for a month). He confirmed to Councillor Bridget that he had sent the email the day before he went on holiday. Councillor Bridget contacted the Clerk to ascertain if the letter had been sent but was informed it had not been sent and was in the possession of the Deputy Mayor. At this point Councillor Bridget resigned from the Council.

13. Copeland have just ignored a petition of nearly 50,000 signatures against the survey and given it the go ahead.

14. Millom Without and Whicham Councils will now not meet until September

15. Millom were due to meet on 3rd August, 7 pm at office 6 Newton Street. However, they are holding an Extraordinary meeting on 21st July at 10 am to discuss a proposed statement about the GDF for their website. This will be a chance to try and stop the surveys.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BOEING’s executives rake $billions from tax-payers to spread weapons around the world

Taxpayers within the U.S. gave Boeing $21.33 billion through government contracts in 2020 alone.

While companies like Boeing continue to rake in billions from producing and selling weapons, there is a pathway for more communities to organize, to resist public dollars lining the pockets of war profiteers instead of going toward the public good.

”……………………………………………………………………Bush-Era Legislation Paves the Way for Corporate Exploitation,

Making commercial airplanes, what Boeing is most commonly known for, accounts for less than 30 percent of the company’s annual revenue. Boeing is primarily in the business of profiting from war and militarism, not airplanes. As the world’s third-largest profiter of weapons sales, the company rakes in billions in profit from arming the war on Yemen, Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and India’s ethnic cleansing of Kashmir.

Fifty-five percent of Boeing’s profits come from weapons sales, amounting to more than $32 billion in 2020, to both the U.S. government and 21 countries around the world. Taxpayers within the U.S. gave Boeing $21.33 billion through government contracts in 2020 alone. Chicago’s tax breaks for Boeing happened in the context of the company already reaping huge profit from public resources via U.S. government spending on things like military weapons, border surveillance and the creation of missile systems.

Boeing is in the business of selling weapons to governments that are used to wage war and enact state violence. In this case, a challenge to corporate tax incentives became a challenge to the whole business model of a war profiteer and a challenge to the idea that the public funds can or should subsidize militarism and profit.

Twenty years ago, Boeing’s move to Chicago was on the early edge of what has become a pattern of corporations relocating to places where they stand to benefit from tax incentives and mega-deals. Local governments compete to offer the best deals for the companies, which are often the worst deals for the public in terms of dollar-for-dollar outcomes.

This pattern was then codified and accelerated by President George W. Bush signing the “Job Creation & Worker Assistance Act” into law just months later in March 2002. Making way for corporations to pocket $300 billion over 10 years, this piece of legislation was a corporate tax break branded as a way to create jobs for everyday people. This narrative about corporations paying fewer taxes is rooted in the free market idea that relieving the “burden” of things like regulation and taxation allows corporations and the market to create economic growth, jobs and prosperity. However, what we see to actually be true is that corporations are driven by profit, something that is maximized via exploitation and extraction from our natural environment or, in this case, from public funds.

Then known as a Seattle-based company that makes airplanes, Boeing’s move in late 2001 exemplified a desire to separate their executives from their weapons manufacturing hubs and establish proximity to more global business leaders in a “world-class” city. In exchange for housing its headquarters in a downtown skyscraper and promising to maintain only 500 jobs to the city, Boeing would receive annual tax reimbursement checks from the City of Chicago, in addition to further tax breaks from the state. Even with an impressively low bar, Boeing repeatedly fell short and is now leaving the city after having taken in tens of millions of public dollars without consequence for its failure to deliver for Chicagoans or for the harm the company’s weapons have caused around the world.

Corporate Tax Incentives Benefit Executives, Not Residents or Workers

Corporations lured to cities and states by tax incentives consistently under-deliver and often are not held to whether they hold up their end of the bargain when it comes to providing jobs and economic growth in exchange for tax cuts. In 2017, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker brokered what was one of the largest corporate tax incentive deals ever approved. Electronics company Foxconn would receive more than $4 billion in state and local tax incentives on the premise of building a massive new factory that was to create 13,000 jobs.

Two years after the original deal was reached, plans for building a massive factory had been scaled back, and only 178 jobs were created. By 2021, the proposed factory and corresponding deal that former President Donald Trump lauded as being the “eighth wonder of the world” had shrunk dramatically in scope, and the contract was renegotiated after Governor Walker left office. Foxconn never delivered on visions of thousands of jobs created by a huge factory campus despite benefiting from more than a billion public dollars in forgone investment.

Despite the public narrative pushed by right-wingers, centrist Democrats and corporate elites — a narrative claiming that relieving taxes on corporations creates economic growth — those who stand to benefit most from these types of deals are high-level corporate executives, not workers or local residents. A recent study analyzing the effects of two specific corporate tax breaks showed that for every dollar a company benefits from certain tax breaks, the pay of the company’s top five executives increased by 17 percent to 25 percent.

Evidence does not support the idea that tax breaks actually result in higher wages or better jobs for workers. And a report published by the Action Center on Race and the Economy showed that in the case of Boeing specifically, “The creation of additional jobs and income as spending from the Boeing headquarters rippled through the economy was not significant.” This is despite the city and state giving $63 million in tax incentives to bring 500 jobs, which equate to about $126,000 per job per year financed by the city, most of which already existed before the move.

Imagine those funds invested in the public sector, in high-paying union jobs, dedicated to the programs and services that working communities are constantly seeking such as health care, education and needed social programs — we could create real jobs programs instead of lining the pockets of executives such as Boeing CEO David Calhoun, who recently bought a $2.7 million condominium in downtown Chicago………………………………….

Let’s Divert Resources From Militarized Violence to Community Investment

Not only does Boeing take resources away from other needed public goods and services by pulling in tax breaks and government contracts, it also profits from the production and sale of deadly weapons used to wage militarized violence around the world. Boeing earned over $62.29 billion in revenue in 2021.

Its fighter jets and helicopters were used in an attack that killed 256 Palestinians in May of last year. In the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the single largest weapon killing civilians has been guided missiles, of which Boeing had sold Saudi Arabia more than 6,000 guided bombs by 2019. In the 2016 bombing of a market in the Yemeni village of Mastaba, which killed 97 people (including 25 children), destroyed infrastructure and left massive destruction, Boeing weapons guidance kits were used to ensure the missile hit its target.

Boeing doesn’t limit its use of militarized technologies to violence abroad, however. Boeing is heavily involved in the lucrative business of militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border……………………………………..

While companies like Boeing continue to rake in billions from producing and selling weapons, there is a pathway for more communities to organize, to resist public dollars lining the pockets of war profiteers instead of going toward the public good. While Boeing leaving Chicago and taking its headquarters to Virginia may not be a standalone win, blocking the company from its last paycheck from the city and the precedent it sets certainly is. As local groups calling out Boeing emerge in more and more cities across the country, from the Washington, D.C., area to Seattle to St. Louis the company should expect and deserves heat wherever it goes.

Everyday people, like the young Black and Brown organizers resisting Boeing in Chicago, have the power to make it no longer politically acceptable to funnel public dollars toward the profits of a weapons-maker in any city. Wielding that power to make an impact requires us to be organized. It requires us to grow social movements that connect the dots between issues like militarized violence and corporate greed in order to paint a fuller picture of both what is wrong in the world and what is possible…………………

July 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Governor Newsom Wants to Keep Dangerous California Nuclear Power Plants Open

Buzz Flash, July 16, 2022, By Harvey Wasserman

As he begins to campaign for the White House, Gov. Gavin Newsom is toying with extending operations at two of the world’s most dangerous atomic reactors, sited at the aptly named Diablo Canyon, nine miles west of San Luis Obispo.

The coastal nukes are surrounded by a dozen earthquake faults, just 45 miles from the San Andreas, whose eruption could send an apocalyptic radioactive cloud into Los Angeles County, just 180 miles downwind. Potential human casualties could far exceed ten millon. The economic and ecological devastation would be incalculable.

Newsom’s emergence as a potential atomic triggerman has been tortured and tragic. Long marketed as an environmentalist, Newsom has fiercely criticized the state’s largest utility, for good reason.

Since 2000, Pacific Gas & Electric has twice fled to bankruptcy……………………………

Nuclear Regulatory Commission site inspector Dr. Michael Peck warned that Diablo could not withstand a credible seismic shock and should be shut. Peck worked five years inside the plant. But the NRC trashed his warnings and forced him out.

The NRC also warned in 2003 that Diablo Unit One is dangerously embrittled, a flaw that risks an apocalyptic explosion. Critical welds were done with metal amalgams long since abandoned. Serious cracking indicated in key components has been ignored in expectation the reactors will soon shut.

Diablo uses an obsolete “once-through” cooling system that destroys the marine environment; state law now requires cooling towers, which PG&E does not want to build.

In 2016 a broad coalition of unions, the governor, Public Utilities Commission, local communities, state regulators and environmental groups struck a landmark deal to shut both reactors as their operating licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.

The agreement has let PG&E avoid critical maintenance on the assumption that the nukes would soon close. The site lacks sufficient short-term waste storage space for fuel burned after 2025. Extremely dangerous manipulations of spent fuel pools would be required to handle more highly volatile rods and assemblies.

The shut-down agreement includes generous buy-outs for retiring workers. Retraining is set for younger ones in renewables and other fields. Much of the workforce has planned to stay on for decommissioning.

But six years into the shutdown phase, an irreplaceable core of inherited knowledge about the dangerously complex reactors has been lost, putting future operations in deep peril.

The reactors’s electricity costs California rate payers more than $3.5 million per day—-$1 billion/year—-over market prices. Timely shut-downs would avoid $8 billion in over-market charges, easily enough to replace the reactors with renewables.

The nukes’ dirty, costly output regularly forces far cheaper renewable generation off the grid. Since 2016 PG&E has added to the grid thousands of megawatts of renewables.

Unlike nuclear power, wind and solar emit no heat or carbon. Just 1500 workers work at Diablo, which has no job growth potential. More than 70,000 Californians work in the fast-expanding wind, solar, battery and efficiency industries.

Looming above all is the chance one or both Diablo’s reactors could explode, sending apocalyptic radioactive clouds into Los Angeles, the Bay Area or across into the central valley and then across the continental US., with incalculable human, ecological and economic devastation.

As the reactors age, with an aging, disappearing work force, worsening operational and structural defects, and cost and environmental impacts soaring, the harsh realities at Diablo Canyon point to catastrophe.

Why Gov. Newsom would court disaster to break the 2016 shut-down agreement and force these much-hated reactor to continue operations beyond their license agreements remains a mystery. But the costs of his folly could be apocalyptic.

Harvey Wasserman wrote the PEOPLE’S SPIRAL OF US HISTORY ( and most Mondays convenes the Green Grassroots Emergency Election Protection zoom call (

July 16, 2022 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is racist, sexist and ageist — Beyond Nuclear International

Progressive Democrats should reject, not embrace it.

Nuclear power is racist, sexist and ageist — Beyond Nuclear International

So why do some progressives support it?

By Linda Pentz Gunter

I am sure that certain Democratic senators such as Cory Booker and Sheldon Whitehouse, who are reasonably progressive on a host of social issues, would not considers themselves racist, sexist or ageist.

Nuclear power is all three of these things, yet Booker, Whitehouse and a number of others on the Democratic left, support nuclear power with almost fervent evangelism.

Let’s start with racism. The fuel for nuclear power plants comes from uranium, which must be mined. The majority of those who have mined it in this country — and would again under new bills such as the ‘International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022’ forwarded by not-so-progressive “Democrat”, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) — are Native Americans.

As such, they have taken the brunt of the negative health impacts as well as the environmental degradation both created and then left behind by uranium mines when they cease to operate, as most in the U.S. now have.

Studies conducted among members of the Navajo Nation have shown increases in a number of diseases and lingering internal contamination from uranium mine waste among newborns and children. Chronic ailments including kidney disease and hypertension found in these populations are medically linked with living near –and contact with — uranium mine waste. 

At the other end of the nuclear power chain comes the lethal, long-lived and highly radioactive waste as well as the so-called low-level radioactive waste stream of detritus, including from decommissioned nuclear power plants. Again, Indigenous peoples and poor communities of color are routinely the target.

The first and only high-level radioactive waste repository identified for the U.S. was to have been at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, against the strong wishes of the Western Shoshone Nation of Indians, on whose land the now canceled site is located. The Western Shoshone had already suffered the worst of the atomic testing program, with the Nevada atomic test site also on their land, making them “the most bombed nation on Earth,” as Western Shoshone Principal Man, Ian Zabarte, describes it.

An attempt to site a “low-level” radioactive waste dump in the largely Hispanic community of Sierra Blanca, TX was defeated, as was an allegedly temporary high-level radioactive waste site targeted for the Skull Valley Goshute Indian reservation in Utah.

Currently, efforts are underway to secure what are euphemistically known as “Consolidated Interim Storage Sites” in two communities in New Mexico and Texas, again with large Hispanic populations and considerable opposition.

Needless to say, these waste projects come with notable incentives — sometimes more accurately characterized as bribes — for the host community, in an effort to describe the deal as “voluntary.” But this preys upon the desperate economic needs of the most vulnerable communities, which are usually those of color.

The only two new U.S. nuclear reactors still under construction sit close to the African American community of Shell Bluff, Georgia, a population riddled with cancers and other diseases and who bitterly opposed the addition of more reactors to an already radioactively contaminated region.

Nuclear power is sexist because exposure to the ionizing radiation released at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain harms women more easily than men. Women are more radiosensitive than men — the science is not fully in on this but it is likely connected to greater hormone production — but women are not protected for.

Instead, the standard guidelines on which allowable radiation exposure levels are based (and “allowable” does not mean “safe”), consider a healthy, White male, in his mid-twenties to thirties and typically weighing around 154 pounds. He is known as “Reference Man”.

Women’s more vulnerable health concerns, and especially those of pregnant women, the fetus, babies and small children — and in particular female children — are thus overlooked in favor of the higher doses a healthy young male could potentially withstand.

As my colleagues Cindy Folkers and Ian Fairlie wrote:” “Women, especially pregnant women and children are especially susceptible to damage from radiation exposure. This means that they suffer effects at lower doses. Resulting diseases include childhood cancers, impaired neural development, lower IQ rates, respiratory difficulties, cardiovascular diseases, perinatal mortality and birth defects — some appearing for the first time within a family in the population studied.”

Even around nuclear power plants, the very young are at greater risk. Numerous studies in Europe have demonstrated that children age five or younger living close to nuclear power plants show higher rates of leukemia than those living further away. The closer they lived to the nuclear plant, the higher the incidences.

Similarly, the elderly are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation exposure than adults in the prime of life. They, too, are overlooked in favor of protecting a robust man. Elders exposed to radiation are mainly to be found in the uranium mining and milling communities, or where waste dumps are located, and are therefore more likely to be low-income with poorer access to health care and fewer finances to pay for it.

The urgency of the climate crisis is a valid reason to revisit all electricity sources and make some important choices about lowering — and ideally eliminating — carbon emissions. Ruling out fossil fuel use is a must. But turning to nuclear power — rather than the faster, cheaper and safer options of renewable energy and efficiency — is not a humane choice. 

If health is the concern, along with climate change, as it most certainly is for someone like Cory Booker, then choosing nuclear power as a substitute for fossil fuels is simply trading asthma for leukemia and asking frontline and Indigenous communities to, once again, suffer the greatest harm for the least return.

A truly progressive energy policy looks forward, not back. Nuclear power is an energy of the past — borne of a public relations exercise to create something positive out of splitting the atom. It was a mistake then. And it is a mistake now. If we are to address our climate crisis in time, and to do so with justice and equality, then we must ensure a Just Transition that considers the most vulnerable and discriminated among us, not what is best for that healthy, White Reference Man.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, indigenous issues, Women | Leave a comment

France’s nationalisation of nuclear energy corporation EDF raises more questions than it answers

Just as Europe attempts to move away from its dependence on Russian gas and grapples with soaring power prices, problems at some of EDF’s existing 56 reactors in France have caused shutdowns and sent its energy output to multi-decade lows.

At the site of France’s first new nuclear reactor in more than 20 years, robots are whirring away fixing faulty welding as developer EDF races to open the plant after a decade of delays that have damaged its reputation.

Ahead of it lies a challenge of a different order of magnitude: a construction program to build six more, just as the French government, which owns 84 per cent of the business already, plans to take full control.
The full nationalization of EDF, which was announced earlier this month, comes as a series of crises pile pressure on the group’s finances.

In theory this will provide it with some relief away from the glare of public markets. So far, however, the state buyout has raised more questions than it has answered, including how the government thinks it might do a better job at fixing long-running industrial problems that have plagued projects at EDF, some of them as basic as a lack of experienced welders. “It’s not because the government will now have 100 percent that it’s going to suddenly take three years less to build a reactor,” one person close to the company said. “Right now, we’re in symbolic territory with this nationalization. It does not resolve any of the main problems we know the group is facing – will it allow EDF to bolster the skills it needs?” said Cécile Maisonneuve, a senior adviser at the center for energy and climate at French think thank IFRI. “None of the industrial or regulatory issues were linked to its capital structure.”

Just as Europe attempts to move away from its dependence on Russian gas and grapples with soaring power prices, problems at some of EDF’s existing 56 reactors in France have caused shutdowns and sent its energy output to multi-decade lows.

FT 17th July 2022

July 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, France, politics | Leave a comment

Push towards nuclear power in Japan, but delays, hurdles, opposition make it an unlikely development

To deal with concerns about electricity shortages this winter, Prime
Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday that he will push to have up to nine
nuclear reactors in operation by then. But while 10 reactors are officially
listed as having been restarted, only five are actually providing power.
One of them, Genkai No. 4 in Saga Prefecture, will soon be offline to
finish necessary safety work for the winter. The other five are sitting
idle because they are either finishing safety work needed to be switched
back on, or they are offline for regular inspection.

While there are recent
signs that restarts are growing more acceptable to the public, given
concerns about rising energy prices, opposition nonetheless remains. A
nationwide poll conducted by NNN and the Yomiuri Shimbun on Monday and
Tuesday showed that, as long as reactors meet safety standards set by the
Nuclear Regulation Authority, 54% of respondents supported their restart,
while 37% were opposed.

Anti-nuclear groups could also slow the restart
process by filing requests for temporary injunctions or lawsuits in local
district courts over safety concerns. Victory could stop any restart effort
while the decision is appealed by the operator in a higher court.

Japan Times 15th July 2022

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Heatwave? No, it’s a national emergency, disrupting lives and threatening our health.

Will Hutton: Heatwave? No, it’s a national emergency, disrupting lives and
threatening our health. The idea of climate change as a distant problem
won’t survive the next stifling week. Tomorrow, as we seek shelter from a
burning sun, climate change will feel all too real.

Britain has suffered ever more vicious storms and floods over the past few years but the next
couple of days will drive home the menacing discontinuity with our idea of
normal, a step change in our collective awareness. The expected heat –
temperatures that may exceed 40C warns the Met Office – are not only a
record, but life-threatening.

Only some 70 parliamentarians turned up to last week’s presentation on climate change led by Sir Patrick Vallance and other scientific officials. None of the Tory leadership candidates was
among them.

The accepted Tory wisdom, driven by its right, is that, at
best, climate change commitments should be deferred until the cost of
living crisis is over – at worst, they should be scaled back indefinitely
or wholly reframed.

Finally, at Friday’s Channel 4 debate, three candidates
publicly committed to the legally enshrined target of net zero by 2050:
Rishi Sunak, Tom Tugendhat and Penny Mordaunt. The right’s frontrunner, Liz
Truss, offered a commitment, but carefully not to a date; and Kemi
Badenoch, the insurgent candidate from the right, wanted the whole issue

If Badenoch and Truss were to watch Vallance’s presentation, they
would surely change their view. Global temperatures are rising. So is the
cumulative amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The polar ice caps are
melting at bewildering and accelerating speed. Sea levels are increasing.
So are extreme weather events. All are unambiguously the result of human
influence, says the Met Office.

A global commitment to net zero by 2050
could limit the temperature rise to 1.5C. The right is massively out of
step with science, evolving public opinion and the business opportunities –
a triple whammy of misalignment that will prove deadly.

The science is incontestable. So is our daily experience. What is less discussed is how
acting presents a massive opportunity. Already the best in business and
finance are committed to net zero by 2050. In the City, argument rages
whether it’s best to disinvest completely from fossil fuel companies or to
support them as they transition to a new business model; what is accepted
in a world far from rightwing thinktanks, columnists and chat rooms is that
the change must be made.

On climate change scepticism, the right is
unambiguously wrong – it might not even prove the route to the Tory
leadership. It is certainly not the route to winning general elections.

Observer 16th July 2022

July 16, 2022 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Uranium, conflict and Indigenous lives

Where will non-Russian uranium come from and who does it hurt?

Uranium, conflict and Indigenous lives — Beyond Nuclear International

Nuclear power, uranium and the war in Ukraine

By Günter Wippel, for the uranium network

Although little known to the public, the European Union obtains about 20% of the uranium it needs for nuclear power plants from Russia, and another 20% from Kazakhstan, which is considered a close ally to Russia.

While for Germany the issue of nuclear power will be settled by the end of this year in regard to demand for uranium, the EU will have to continue importing almost 100% of the required nuclear fuel. 

If sanctions against Russia are to be taken seriously, uranium supplies will have to be sourced from countries not belonging to, or not close to, the Russian Federation. 

The number of (potential) suppliers is manageably small: eight countries worldwide produce more than 90% of the uranium supply, led by Kazakhstan, followed by Australia, Namibia and Canada, Uzbekistan and Niger. Eight companies provide about 85% of the supply, with Kazakhstan’s KAZATOMPROM alone delivering 25%.

Thus, Australia or Canada, for example, might be considered as alternative sources of supply.

However, in both countries, there are regular conflicts between uranium mining companies, the state and Indigenous People. Currently operating Canadian uranium mines – all of them in the north of the province of Saskatchewan – are located on the land of the Dene and Cree, who have been opposing the mines and further exploration for decades.

In Canada’s province of Quebec, uranium companies have been trying to gain a foothold since 2008 – without success. The Cree in Quebec were able to stop uranium mining plans, also through cooperation with environmental protection organizations. Since 2016, there has been a de facto moratorium.

In Nunavut, Canada’s far North (formerly Northwest Territories), a large-scale uranium mining project was rejected by the Inuit people in 2016 after years of conflict with French uranium miner AREVA (now renamed ORANO). 

In Namibia, uranium mining is now firmly in the hands of Chinese companies, which primarily extract uranium for Chinese nuclear power plants. 

In Australia, uranium mining is also highly controversial: Indigenous / Aboriginal people are generally critical or opposed to it. Ranger Uranium mine was to be closed in 2021. An expansion to mine neighboring deposits was rejected by the Mirrar Aboriginal people and by environmental organizations.

The nearby Jabiluka Uranium Mine was rejected after more than 20 years of disagreement between Aboriginal people, environmental organizations and the company. Another Australian uranium deposit, Koongarra , was saved from exploitation by the refusal of the traditional Indigenous landowner, Jeffrey Lee, to release his land for uranium mining. Today, it is a national park and inscribed as a World Heritage Site.

The US and uranium

In the US, the situation is not much different. Domestic uranium production has dropped to nearly zero for various reasons. The fuel for nuclear power plants is 100% imported. Similar to the EU, just under 40% comes from Russia’s sphere of influence (16% from Russia, 22% from Kazakhstan). Another 22% comes from neighboring Canada, while Australia supplies 11% of the uranium needed in the US.

Attempts by the domestic mining industry to revive uranium mining in the United States were unsuccessful under Trump’s presidency, despite great efforts on the part of some companies. Under President Biden, the creation of a “national uranium reserve” was considered, but no money was allocated for it in the budget.

In May 2022, US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, stated that the US is working on a strategy to ensure a stable uranium supply. What it might look like was not clarified.

Nevertheless, some media outlets are speculating about a ‘revival ‘ of the domestic uranium industry.

In June 2022, there was discussion about allocating over $4 billion for the construction of uranium enrichment capacities, since lack of such plants makes the US also heavily dependent on Russian plants and companies. However, it is not clear yet how uranium enrichment plants might help to break the dependency on uranium imports from CIS-states. 

In any case, the risk for uraniferous regions to become a sacrifice area is growing: this applies also to the Grand Canyon region. The danger has not escaped the attention of Indigenous Peoples who view this development with great concern after their very bad experiences with uranium mining in the past, the New York Times reported.  Carletta Tilousi , Havasupai , who with her people has been resisting the Canyon Mine Uranium Mining (now renamed Pinyon Mine) for decades, found clear words: “We’ll lie down in front of the mine’s entrance to keep it from fully functioning if we have to,” she said. “We’ll make them understand this is about much more than money.” 

Günter Wippel manages the uranium network, which works to inform the world of the hazards of uranium mining.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, indigenous issues, Uranium | Leave a comment

Radioactive portents on a burning earth

For an intelligent species to be able to explore the solar system but fail to protect its own home planet defies comprehension.

Pearls and Irritations, By Andrew GliksonJul 18, 2022 ”………………………………………………… If the history of the 21st century is ever written it would be reported that, while large parts of the planet were becoming uninhabitable, the extreme rate and scale of global warming and the migration of climate zones (>100 km per decade), the extent of polar ice melting, ocean warming and acidification and methane release from permafrost and sediments threaten to develop into one of the most extensive mass extinction events in the geological history of planet Earth. As total concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases approaches 500 ppm, CO₂-equivalents (Figure 1) (NOAA), approach double the pre-industrial age level of 280 ppm, consistent with global warming of more than >4°C, the threat of a near future atmospheric conditions as great as that of the great mass extinctions is growing.

To date, there is no evidence Homo “sapiens” is capable, or even willing to take a meaningful action of stemming the greatest danger posed to advanced life on Earth since 66 million years ago. This is while most communications use the term “climate change”, the greenhouse gas heating of Earth is rising at a rate at least an order of magnitude faster than any recorded from previous warming events. Climate scientists have either been silenced or replaced by an army of economists and politicians, many with good intentions though quantifying the cost-benefit economies of mitigation much like corner shop grocers, with limited understanding of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. Imagine such approach was taken in the case of medical epidemics, like COVID-19?

…….. At the same time as global heating is threatening the future of civilisation and of numerous species, nations keep proliferating nuclear weapons. With time the probability of a nuclear accident or war increases exponentially. At the root of the MAD (mutual assured destruction) policy, or omnicide, resides deep tribalism and herd mentality hinging on race, religion, ideology, territorial claims and the concept of an “enemy”, perpetrated by demagogues and warmongers, leading to an Orwellian 1984 world where “Oceania has always been at war with East-Asia”, as in the current “forever wars“. Promoters of war exist in every corner of the globe, while peace conferences are rarely in evidence.

As portrayed the consequences of even a “limited” nuclear war defy belief (Witze, 2020): Smoke from incinerated cities rise high into the atmosphere, wrapping the planet in a blanket of soot that blocks the Sun’s rays. The planet plunges into a deep chill.For years, crops wither from California to China. Famine sets in around the globe. This grim vision of a possible future comes from the latest studies about how nuclear war could alter world climate. They build on long-standing work about a ‘nuclear winter’ — severe global cooling that researchers predict would follow a major nuclear war, such as thousands of bombs flying between the United States and Russia. But much smaller nuclear conflicts, which are more likely to occur, could also have devastating effects around the world. ”

Prior to World War I social forces collided, fascism, socialism, free enterprise, but rather than ideological differences superpower conflicts constitute blind grab for power, often using hapless proxies, but increasingly backed by the global suicide machine.

Despite significant progress in reducing nuclear weapon arsenals since the last Cold War, the world’s combined inventory of warheads remains large enough to turn much of Earth into radioactive dust.…………………..

For an intelligent species to be able to explore the solar system but fail to protect its own home planet defies comprehension.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Humanity is on track to cause one million species to go extinct, according to UN report

Humanity is on track to cause one million species to go extinct, according to UN report

Even as American politicians uselessly quibble over whether climate change is real (it is) and how humanity should address it, the natural world does not need humanity to humansplain to them that the Earth is becoming uninhabitable.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment