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Highland campaigners ‘disturbed and disappointed’ to learn 15 radioactive particles discovered near Dounreay

Campaigners have expressed their disappointment in learning that 15
radioactive particles were discovered near Dounreay earlier this year. The
particles were found between February and March on the Dounreay shoreline
and Sandside beach, with 73% of them being described as “significant”.

Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT) and the Scottish Nuclear Free
Local Authorities (NFLA) claim this information was spread through the
press rather than properly shared at a meeting of the Dounreay Stakeholder
Group. Both groups have joined forces to seek answers from Dounreay bosses
and to dispel “sketchy” and “incomplete” information.

Press & Journal 20th Dec 2022


December 25, 2022 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Atomic Bomb Effects Cover-up Reported in New York Times Dec 22

The below article is an excellent example of how even the New York Times has twisted the facts and manipulated public opinion in order to support a deeper agenda. This revealing story covers the bombing of Hiroshima back in 1945, yet the same deceptive techniques of distortion and manipulation continue to be used today to support the profit-making war machine.

The New York Times itself acknowledged government and media complicity in hiding the effects of the Atomic bomb in an Aug. 3, 2005 Reuters article they published titled “U.S. Suppressed Footage of Hiroshima for Decades.” Read this revealing article on the Times website on this webpage.

[Note: Since this message was originally posted in 2004, the New York Times removed the article at the above link. A web search shows that no other major media have this revealing story posted. Thankfully, you can still read a copy of this Reuters article on a foreign news website.]

Here’s a quote from this Reuters article, “In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. authorities seized and suppressed film shot in the bombed cities by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams to prevent Americans from seeing the full extent of devastation wrought by the new weapons.” The below article goes into greater detail on the depth of deception. Please help to inform others by sharing this revealing news with your friends and colleagues and exploring the “What you can do” section below.

Hiroshima Cover-up:
How the War Department’s Timesman Won a Pulitzer

by Amy Goodman and David Goodman, Aug. 10, 2004

At the dawn of the nuclear age, an independent Australian journalist named Wilfred Burchett traveled to Japan to cover the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The only problem was that General Douglas MacArthur had declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the press. Over 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. The world’s media obediently crowded onto the USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the surrender of the Japanese.

Wilfred Burchett decided to strike out on his own. He was determined to see for himself what this nuclear bomb had done, to understand what this vaunted new weapon was all about. So he boarded a train and traveled for thirty hours to the city of Hiroshima in defiance of General MacArthur’s orders.

Burchett emerged from the train into a nightmare world. The devastation that confronted him was unlike any he had ever seen during the war. The city of Hiroshima, with a population of 350,000, had been razed. Multistory buildings were reduced to charred posts. He saw people’s shadows seared into walls and sidewalks. He met people with their skin melting off. In the hospital, he saw patients with purple skin hemorrhages, gangrene, fever, and rapid hair loss. Burchett was among the first to witness and and describe radiation sickness.

Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: “In Hiroshima, thirty days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly – people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.”

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: “Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.”

Burchett’s article, headlined THE ATOMIC PLAGUE, was published on September 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation. Burchett’s candid reaction to the horror shocked readers. “In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show. “When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles. You can see hardly a building. It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.”

Burchett’s searing independent reportage was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. General MacArthur had gone to pains to restrict journalists’ access to the bombed cities, and his military censors were sanitizing and even killing dispatches that described the horror. The official narrative of the atomic bombings downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed reports of the deadly lingering effects of radiation.

Reporters whose dispatches [conflicted] with this version of events found themselves silenced: George Weller of the Chicago Daily News slipped into Nagasaki and wrote a 25,000-word story on the nightmare that he found there. Then he made a crucial error: He submitted the piece to military censors. His newspaper never even received his story. As Weller later summarized his experience with MacArthur’s censors, “They won.”

U.S. authorities responded in time-honored fashion to Burchett’s revelations: They attacked the messenger. General MacArthur ordered him expelled from Japan (the order was later rescinded), and his camera with photos of Hiroshima mysteriously vanished while he was in the hospital. U.S. officials accused Burchett of being influenced by Japanese propaganda. They scoffed at the notion of an atomic sickness. The U.S. military issued a press release right after the Hiroshima bombing that downplayed human casualties, instead emphasizing that the bombed area was the site of valuable industrial and military targets.

Four days after Burchett’s story splashed across front pages around the world, Major General Leslie R. Groves, director of the atomic bomb project, invited a select group of thirty reporters to New Mexico. Foremost among this group was William L. Laurence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for The New York Times. Groves took the reporters to the site of the first atomic test. His intent was to demonstrate that no atomic radiation lingered at the site. Groves trusted Laurence to convey the military’s line; the general was not disappointed.

Laurence’s front-page story, U.S. ATOM BOMB SITE BELIES TOKYO TALES: TESTS ON NEW MEXICO RANGE CONFIRM THAT BLAST, AND NOT RADIATION, TOOK TOLL, ran on September 12, 1945, following a three-day delay to clear military censors. “This historic ground in New Mexico, scene of the first atomic explosion on earth and cradle of a new era in civilization, gave the most effective answer today to Japanese propaganda that radiations [sic] were responsible for deaths even after the day of the explosion, Aug. 6, and that persons entering Hiroshima had contracted mysterious maladies due to persistent radioactivity,” the article began. Laurence said unapologetically that the Army tour was intended “to give the lie to these claims.”

Laurence quoted General Groves: “The Japanese claim that people died from radiation. If this is true, the number was very small.” Laurence then went on to offer his own remarkable editorial on what happened: “The Japanese are still continuing their propaganda aimed at creating the impression that we won the war unfairly, and thus attempting to create sympathy for themselves and milder terms. Thus, at the beginning, the Japanese described ‘symptoms’ that did not ring true.”

But Laurence knew better. He had observed the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945, and he withheld what he knew about radioactive fallout across the southwestern desert that poisoned local residents and livestock. He kept mum about the spiking Geiger counters all around the test site.

William L. Laurence went on to write a series of ten articles for the Times that served as a glowing tribute to the ingenuity and technical achievements of the nuclear program. Throughout these and other reports, he downplayed and denied the human impact of the bombing. Laurence won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.

It turns out that William L. Laurence was not only receiving a salary from The New York Times. He was also on the payroll of the War Department. In March 1945, General Leslie Groves had held a secret meeting at The New York Times with Laurence to offer him a job writing press releases for the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop atomic weapons. The intent, according to the Times, was “to explain the intricacies of the atomic bomb’s operating principles in laymen’s language.” Laurence also helped write statements on the bomb for President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson.

Laurence eagerly accepted the offer, “his scientific curiosity and patriotic zeal perhaps blinding him to the notion that he was at the same time compromising his journalistic independence,” as essayist Harold Evans wrote in a history of war reporting. Evans recounted: “After the bombing, the brilliant but bullying Groves continually suppressed or distorted the effects of radiation. He dismissed reports of Japanese deaths as ‘hoax or propaganda.’ The Times’ Laurence weighed in, too, after Burchett’s reports, and parroted the government line.” Indeed, numerous press releases issued by the military after the Hiroshima bombing – which in the absence of eyewitness accounts were often reproduced verbatim by U.S. newspapers – were written by none other than Laurence.

“Mine has been the honor, unique in the history of journalism, of preparing the War Department’s official press release for worldwide distribution,” boasted Laurence in his memoirs, Dawn Over Zero. “No greater honor could have come to any newspaperman, or anyone else for that matter.”

“Atomic Bill” Laurence revered atomic weapons. He had been crusading for an American nuclear program in articles as far back as 1929. His dual status as government agent and reporter earned him an unprecedented level of access to American military officials – he even flew in the squadron of planes that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. His reports on the atomic bomb and its use had a hagiographic tone, laced with descriptions that conveyed almost religious awe.

In Laurence’s article about the bombing of Nagasaki (it was withheld by military censors until a month after the bombing), he described the detonation over Nagasaki that incinerated 100,000 people. Laurence waxed: “Awe-struck, we watched it shoot upward like a meteor coming from the earth instead of from outer space, becoming ever more alive as it climbed skyward through the white clouds. It was a living thing, a new species of being, born right before our incredulous eyes.”

Laurence later recounted his impressions of the atomic bomb: “Being close to it and watching it as it was being fashioned into a living thing, so exquisitely shaped that any sculptor would be proud to have created it, one . . . felt oneself in the presence of the supranatural.”

Laurence was good at keeping his master’s secrets – from suppressing the reports of deadly radioactivity in New Mexico to denying them in Japan. The Times was also good at keeping secrets, only revealing Laurence’s dual status as government spokesman and reporter on August 7, the day after the Hiroshima bombing – and four months after Laurence began working for the Pentagon. As Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell wrote in their excellent book Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, “Here was the nation’s leading science reporter, severely compromised, not only unable but disinclined to reveal all he knew about the potential hazards of the most important scientific discovery of his time.”

Radiation: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

A curious twist to this story concerns another New York Times journalist who reported on Hiroshima; his name, believe it or not, was William Lawrence (his byline was W.H. Lawrence). He has long been confused with William L. Laurence. (Even Wilfred Burchett confuses the two men in his memoirs and his 1983 book, Shadows of Hiroshima.) Unlike the War Department’s Pulitzer Prize winner, W.H. Lawrence visited and reported on Hiroshima on the same day as Burchett. (William L. Laurence, after flying in the squadron of planes that bombed Nagasaki, was subsequently called back to the United States by the Times and did not visit the bombed cities.)

W.H. Lawrence’s original dispatch from Hiroshima was published on September 5, 1945. He reported matter-of-factly about the deadly effects of radiation, and wrote that Japanese doctors worried that “all who had been in Hiroshima that day would die as a result of the bomb’s lingering effects.” He described how “persons who had been only slightly injured on the day of the blast lost 86 percent of their white blood corpuscles, developed temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, their hair began to drop out, they lost their appetites, vomited blood and finally died.”

Oddly enough, W.H. Lawrence contradicted himself one week later in an article headlined NO RADIOACTIVITY IN HIROSHIMA RUIN. For this article, the Pentagon’s spin machine had swung into high gear in response to Burchett’s horrifying account of “atomic plague.” W.H. Lawrence reported that Brigadier General T. F. Farrell, chief of the War Department’s atomic bomb mission to Hiroshima, “denied categorically that [the bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.” Lawrence’s dispatch quotes only Farrell; the reporter never mentions his eyewitness account of people dying from radiation sickness that he wrote the previous week.

The conflicting accounts of Wilfred Burchett and William L. Laurence might be ancient history were it not for a modern twist. On October 23, 2003, The New York Times published an article about a controversy over a Pulitzer Prize awarded in 1932 to Times reporter Walter Duranty. A former correspondent in the Soviet Union, Duranty had denied the existence of a famine that had killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933.

The Pulitzer Board had launched two inquiries to consider stripping Duranty of his prize. The Times “regretted the lapses” of its reporter and had published a signed editorial saying that Duranty’s work was “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.” Current Times executive editor Bill Keller decried Duranty’s “credulous, uncritical parroting of propaganda.”

On November 21, 2003, the Pulitzer Board decided against rescinding Duranty’s award, concluding that there was “no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception” in the articles that won the prize.

As an apologist for Joseph Stalin, Duranty is easy pickings. What about the “deliberate deception” of William L. Laurence in denying the lethal effects of radioactivity? And what of the fact that the Pulitzer Board knowingly awarded the top journalism prize to the Pentagon’s paid publicist, who denied the suffering of millions of Japanese? Do the Pulitzer Board and the Times approve of “uncritical parroting ” – as long as it is from the United States?

It is long overdue that the prize for Hiroshima’s apologist be stripped.

The original of the above article published on Aug. 10, 2004 is available here.

Amy Goodman is host of the national radio and TV show “Democracy Now!.” This is an excerpt from her new national bestselling book The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them, written with her brother journalist David, exposes the reporting of Times correspondent William L. Laurence. Democracy Now! is a national radio and TV program, broadcast on more than 240 stations.

Important Note: A profound 22-minute video features interviews of a number of “atomic soldiers” who were ordered to watch the nuclear bomb blasts from as close as a mile away. They were sworn to secrecy under a penalty of a $10,000 fine (roughly $100,000 in today’s dollars) or 10 years in jail and instructed never to talk to their wives or their fellow soldiers about anything they saw or experienced. Don’t miss this incredible film, available on this webpage, that the U.S. government doesn’t want you to see.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It’s worse than they’re telling you in Ukraine

December 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Faith Leaders Call for Xmas Truce in Ukraine as Zelensky Visits D.C. Seeking More Arms & Money

Democracy Now 22 Dec 22,

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has wrapped up a one-day visit to Washington, D.C., where he called on the Biden administration and lawmakers to provide more military and financial aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. This was Zelensky’s first overseas trip in nearly a year, since the war began. Ahead of the trip, over 1,000 faith leaders in the United States called for a Christmas truce in Ukraine. For more on the war and hopes for peace, we speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, theologian Cornel West and Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, senior adviser to the Fellowship of Reconciliation……………………

AMY GOODMAN: During his speech to a joint session of Congress later in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said aid to Ukraine should be viewed as investment, not charity.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahead of President Zelensky’s trip to Washington, over a thousand faith leaders in the United States called for a Christmas truce in Ukraine. The signatories included the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bishop William Barber and members of the Russian Orthodox Church. The letter was initiated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, CodePink and the National Council of Elders. The groups also released this short video featuring some of the signatories.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by three guests involved in this call by over a thousand faith leaders for a Christmas truce in Ukraine.- Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler….. Cornel West … Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink………………..

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We feel that this war is not going to be won on the battlefield. This is something that the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said. We see that the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, who has been so hawkish on this, was asked his greatest fear; he said, “Spinning out of control. If it goes wrong, it could go horribly wrong.” We see us no longer marching towards a nuclear Armageddon with their eyes closed; it’s with our eyes opened. There will not be a military victory. There must be negotiations.

And we don’t want the moral center questioning this war to be coming from people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, who are the people now questioning this war. We want it to come from the moral center of this country. That means the faith-based community, who understands that we have to protect all of God’s creations and that our moral obligation is to stop the killing, stop the fighting, stop the war. And that’s why we have called for this Christmas truce.

CORNEL WEST: ……………………… we have to be willing to have a moral witness that keeps track of the organized greed, of the routinized hatred, of the manipulated fear and the chronic hypocrisy of the wounded Russian empire and the American empire, that is, of course, 800 — has 800 military troops units around the world and doesn’t want to be honest about its own role. We know that if there were missiles in Canada or Mexico or Venezuela or Cuba, the U.S. military would blow them to smithereens. So we have no moral authority when it comes to dealing with the gangster activity of Putin. We have American gangster activity in our military-industrial complex tied to the White House.

…………….. AMY GOODMAN: And, Reverend Graylan Hagler, if you can talk about what this truce would mean, as a minister in Washington, D.C., and senior adviser to the Fellowship of Conciliation? It seems that in the United States — this is unlike even the media in France, for example, and Germany — that negotiation is viewed as capitulation. In other places, it’s viewed as how to save the planet. But talk about what it would look like here and what your response was to yesterday’s joint session of Congress, to the plea that President Zelensky made, with his people under fire across Ukraine, what it means for President Biden to agree to send this Patriot missile system. Clearly, Zelensky, to laughter, has said he’ll be asking for more.

REV. GRAYLAN SCOTT HAGLER:………………………………………….. What we’re looking at is, in 1914, on Christmas Eve, in World War I, people came out of the trenches, combatants, and celebrated for a moment an atmosphere of peace. And we’re saying that that history is speaking to us right now and calling upon us right now to create an atmosphere where we can begin the road towards peace and reconciliation, because the issue is, is weapons are not going to take us there, and combatants are not going to take us there. It’s only when we sit down and say, “Enough is enough, and we need to reason from the heart and the spirit of justice.”

…………………..MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, I think it’s important to understand that Angela Merkel, in her interview, also said, “Why would Putin ever trust the West in peace negotiations?” Basically, using those peace negotiations not to stop the inflow of weapons into Ukraine, but to start pouring them in even more. And so, there is no trust on any side at this point.

But there is a need for negotiations. Both sides have staked out their positions, maximalist positions on each side, Zelensky now saying they want every inch of Donbas and all of Crimea back, and the Russians saying they now control and owned these four regions of Ukraine that they can’t even control on the battlefield. But these are positions for negotiations. But the call for negotiations has to come from Biden. And it is not happening. We see that after he met with Macron, the head of France, Macron said there are legitimate security interests of Russia that have to be taken into account. So that all has to be dealt with at the peace table.

And so, what we are saying with this Christmas truce call is that let’s be realistic with the American people. We keep pouring more money. Now it will be another $45 billion that will be approved by the end of this week. That’s over $100 billion, without a year going by, that could have been used for so many essential needs here in this country, and instead poured into a war that is not winnable on the battlefield. 

So, we need to be honest about this. And that’s why we have this call for a Christmas truce. That’s why Reverend Barber will be giving a Christmas Eve sermon on the moral imperative of a truce. That’s why we’re having a week of protests, starting January 13th; February 19th, the Libertarian Party and the People’s Party calling for a protest in Washington, D.C.; March 8th, International Women’s Day, an international call of women to say, “Stop this war, and end all wars.” That’s what we need to do.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to two clips of President Biden. This was the joint news conference that he held with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday afternoon at the White House.

…………… (Biden – ) the United States is committed to ensuring that the brave Ukrainian people can continue, continue to defend their country against Russian aggressions as long as it takes.

AMY GOODMAN: And Biden went on to indicate he would let Zelensky set the timetable for any negotiated settlement with Russia.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It can succeed in the battlefield with our help, and the help of our European allies and others, so that if and when President Zelensky is ready to talk with the Russians, he will be able to succeed, as well, because he will have won on the battlefield……………………..

AMY GOODMAN: ………………………………….There’s also discussion that this moment that President Biden and President Zelensky have seized for Zelensky’s joint session of Congress address is right before the House changes hands to Republicans, because a number of Republicans — not clear if the House speaker will be McCarthy — are demanding that this money and weapons flow stop. How do you feel as a progressive antiwar activist — two things — being allied with far-right Republicans and, secondly, being called by some a Russian apologist?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: I feel that if I were in Russia, I would be in jail for protesting this war. I also feel terrible that my congresspeople in the Progressive Caucus were cowed and silenced. I think the 30 who signed on that letter, in their heart of hearts, probably believe that negotiations is the only way. And we have to pressure them more to come out and say that their original stance was right………………. So, it’s our job to put the pressure on our members of Congress, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, to come out with the only rational position right now.

The U.S., unfortunately, and the Biden administration, has been against negotiations, nixed the negotiations that were going on in late March, early April, and told the Ukrainians, basically, “You don’t have to negotiate, because we’re going to keep pouring more weapons in.” This is only helping the weapons companies, who actually were the sponsors of a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on December 8th, brought to you by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. They are the ones who are getting rich in this. The Ukrainians are suffering. ………. …………………………………more

December 25, 2022 Posted by | politics, Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Getting rid of plutonium pits — so many questions 25 Dec 22. A Department of Energy proposal to dilute and dispose of plutonium waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad is ready for public comment — the draft environmental impact statement, all 412 pages of it, has been released.

The public can weigh in, whether in writing or by showing up for public hearings that will take place early next year.

Buckle up. This is going to be a contentious discussion.

The U.S. wants to be rid of 34 metric tons of plutonium bomb cores, or pits, stored at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo. The pits are Cold War legacies; because WIPP is restricted in the type of waste it can take, before disposing of it, the material must be diluted. Thus, the term, dilute and dispose. The Department of Energy’s decision about the waste was announced two years ago, but with no details.

At one point the Energy Department wanted to turn Cold War plutonium into a mixed oxide fuel for use in commercial nuclear plants. That would have happened at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, but billions in cost overruns and delays hamstrung the effort, and the Trump administration killed the project in 2018.

It chose the dilute-and-disposal plan.

The draft statement fleshes out just what would happen to prepare the pits for disposal — in a facility, we might point out, that currently is seeking a renewal of its hazardous waste permit from the state of New Mexico. WIPP is open, but state Environment Department Secretary James Kenney and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham want more oversight of waste disposal at the plant.

That back and forth is separate from the Energy Department dilute-and-disposal proposal, but the permit discussion provides context for the coming fierce debate.

Here’s what community members already are questioning. The Energy Department plan includes considerable time on highways carrying radioactive material, including trucking the stuff at least twice through New Mexico. That would include trips on congested corridors inside the southern edge of Santa Fe. First, the material would be shipped to LANL, where workers would convert it to oxidized powder. From Los Alamos, the powder would be transported to Savannah River

There, crews would add an adulterant to make the powder unusable in weapons. The dilution portion taken care of, the material would be taken to WIPP, the underground disposal site.

That’s a lot of time on the highway for radioactive material, especially considering conditions on Interstate 40. It seems an expensive and inefficient way of disposing of plutonium — a 3,300-mile trip, ending with the materials deep beneath the ground at WIPP.

That’s a site, by the way, that only was supposed to store low-level transuranic waste — the contaminated gloves, equipment, clothing, soil and other materials that need to be disposed of safely. The WIPP mission continues to be expanded, another reason the state must increase its oversight. We expect elected officials — whether the governor or members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation — to speak up further about possible plutonium pit disposal, too.

There are questions about whether the pits need to be removed from Pantex at all, or whether work to make them inoperable in weapons could take place where they currently are being held. That would mean improving storage facilities, but eliminate a lot of highway traffic. Barring keeping the pits in place, all waste roads lead to New Mexico, That why residents here have a huge stake in determining what happens to these pits.

Stay alert for notices of meetings and time for public comment. There’s no guarantee informed opposition will change plans by agencies intent on certain action, but speaking up beats staying quiet. Oh, and think about this: before rushing full speed ahead to produce even more plutonium pits, it’s time to at least try to find a way to dispose of the waste we’ve already created.

Maybe, just maybe, not all the waste has to be buried in New Mexico. Or driven across New Mexico highways. It’s a big country.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

The Democrats are Now the War Party

The Democratic Party has become the party of permanent war, fueling massive military spending which is hollowing out the country from the inside and flirting with with nuclear war.

Chris Hedges Substack, 26 Dec 22,

The Democrats position themselves as the party of virtue, cloaking their support for the war industry in moral language stretching back to Korea and Vietnam, when President Ngo Dinh Diem was as lionized as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. All the wars they support and fund are “good” wars. All the enemies they fight, the latest being Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, are incarnations of evil. The photo of a beaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris holding up a signed Ukrainian battle flag behind Zelensky as he addressed Congress was another example of the Democratic Party’s abject subservience to the war machine.

The Democrats, especially with the presidency of Bill Clinton, became shills not only for corporate America but for the weapons manufacturers and the Pentagon. No weapons system is too costly. No war, no matter how disastrous, goes unfunded. No military budget is too big, including the $858 billion in military spending allocated for the current fiscal year, an increase of $45 billion above what the Biden administration requested. 

The historian Arnold Toynbee cited unchecked militarism as the fatal disease of empires, arguing that they ultimatley commit suicide. 

There once was a wing of the Democratic Party that questioned and stood up to the war industry: Senators J. William Fulbright, George McGovern, Gene McCarthy, Mike Gravel, William Proxmire and House member Dennis Kucinich. But that opposition evaporated along with the antiwar movement. When 30 members of the party’s progressive caucus recently issued a call for Biden to negotiate with Putin, they were forced by the party leadership and a warmongering media to back down and rescind their letter. Not that any of them, with the exception of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have voted against the billions of dollars in weaponry sent to Ukraine or the bloated military budget. Rashida Tlaib voted present. 

The opposition to the perpetual funding of the war in Ukraine has come primarily from Republicans, 11 in the Senate and 57 in the House, several, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, unhinged conspiracy theorists. Only nine Republicans in the House joined the Democrats in supporting the $1.7 trillion spending bill needed to prevent the government from shutting down, which included approval of $847 billion for the military — the total is boosted to $858 billion when factoring in accounts that don’t fall under the Armed Services committees’ jurisdiction. In the Senate, 29 Republicans opposed the spending bill. The Democrats, including nearly all 100 members of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus, lined up dutifully for endless war. 

This lust for war is dangerous, pushing us into a potential war with Russia and, perhaps later, with China — each a nuclear power. It is also economically ruinous. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven U.S. debt to over $30 trillion, $6 trillion more than the U.S. GDP of $24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spend more on the military than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined. Congress is also on track to provide an extra $21.7 billion to the Pentagon — above the already expanded annual budget — to resupply Ukraine.

“But those contracts are just the leading edge of what is shaping up to be a big new defense buildup,” The New York Times reported. “Military spending next year is on track to reach its highest level in inflation-adjusted terms since the peaks in the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars between 2008 and 2011, and the second highest in inflation-adjusted terms since World War II — a level that is more than the budgets for the next 10 largest cabinet agencies combined.”

The Democratic Party, which, under the Clinton administration aggressively courted corporate donors, has surrendered its willingness to challenge, however tepidly, the war industry. 

“As soon as the Democratic Party made a determination, it could have been 35 or 40 years ago, that they were going to take corporate contributions, that wiped out any distinction between the two parties,” Dennis Kucinich said when I interviewed him on my show for The Real News Network. “Because in Washington, he or she who pays the piper plays the tune. That’s what’s happened. There isn’t that much of a difference in terms of the two parties when it comes to war.”

In his 1970 book “The Pentagon Propaganda Machine,” Fulbright describes how the Pentagon and the arms industry pour millions into shaping public opinion through public relations campaigns, Defense Department films, control over Hollywood and domination of the commercial media. Military analysts on cable news are universally former military and intelligence officials who sit on boards or work as consultants to defense industries, a fact they rarely disclose to the public. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star army general and military analyst for NBC News, was also an employee of Defense Solutions, a military sales and project management firm. He, like most of these shills for war, personally profited from the sales of the weapons systems and expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…………………………………………..

By not opposing a Democratic Party whose primary business is war, liberals become the sterile, defeated dreamers in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Notes from the Underground.” 

A former convict, Dostoevsky did not fear evil. He feared a society that no longer had the moral fortitude to confront evil. And war, to steal a line from my latest book, is the greatest evil

December 25, 2022 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canada’s Feds forgo environmental assessment for controversial nuclear project

By Cloe Logan | News | December 23rd 2022

The federal government has decided not to require a controversial nuclear project to undergo an environmental assessment, prompting criticism from experts opposed to the technology who fear the rejection sets an “unfortunate precedent.”

New Brunswick’s primary energy provider, Énergie NB Power, has proposed the project, which relies on a small modular reactor (SMR) — a portable nuclear technology still in the development stage. The federal government and some provincial governments are betting on SMRs, which don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions, to replace coal and other fossil fuels as an energy source. However, many experts say the risks heavily outweigh the benefits: SMRs are expensive, experimental, produce toxic nuclear waste and are unlikely to be financially viable.

NB Power has plans to operate two SMRs and a spent fuel reprocessing facility at its current site on the Bay of Fundy, the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. The Moltex SMR and spent fuel reprocessing unit are expected to be in operation by the early 2030s, while the ARC SMR will be up and running by 2029, according to the company. The latter project was being considered for federal assessment after a request from the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB) since it does not automatically fall under the federal assessment process. The Moltex project does because it will require recycling nuclear waste, according to CBC News.

The federal government is currently pushing the new technology through its SMR Action Plan, touting its ability to play an essential role in the pathway to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have signed a memorandum of understanding expressing support for SMR technology.

However, because SMRs are still in the development stage, any potential benefits they might have in slashing greenhouse gas emissions wouldn’t happen soon enough to contribute to Canada’s goal of cutting emissions 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, CRED-NB told Canada’s National Observer in March.

CRED-NB, comprised of 20 citizen groups and businesses and more than 100 individuals across the province, asked federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault in July to consider the importance of evaluating the SMR project under the Impact Assessment Act, a federal process that examines the environmental impacts of major projects, including all oil and gas, refineries, pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. The group raised concerns about its potential impacts to the surrounding environment, nuclear waste and Indigenous treaty rights.

The Passamaquoddy Recognition Group, representing the Peskotomuhkati Nation and the Wolastoq Grand Council, which has spoken out about how the storage of nuclear waste and continued funding for nuclear goes against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP), also sent letters of support.

In the initial request, CRED-NB notes concerns with “project splitting,” which is the “intentional breaking up of the project in its components parts” in order to get around the need for an impact assessment. In 2019, the federal government exempted nuclear reactors with fewer than 200 megawatts of thermal power and SMRs on pre-existing nuclear sites with fewer than 900 megawatts from the Impact Assessment Act. This came after lobbying from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal-level independent regulator of nuclear power, which raised concerns the assessment process would hurt the SMR industry in briefing notes obtained by Greenpeace.

Since there are two SMRs slated for the Point Lepreau site, the coalition argues they are essentially one project with different operators. However, assessing the ARC SMR individually means it falls under the megawatt limit.

In Guilbeault’s decision, he said an impact assessment for the SMR project was “unwarranted” because current legislative processes will address the issues raised by CRED-NB and that his decision was based on analysis from the Impact Assessment Agency. The project is set to undergo provincial assessment and will need to be licensed by the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, he noted.

In a submission to the Impact Assessment Agency, New Brunswick’s environmental assessment branch said concerns raised “would be expected to be addressed as part of the provincial [environmental impact assessment] review.”

However, CRED-NB stressed the federal government process is more thorough than a provincial assessment, which will come in 2023.

“The mechanism we had to uphold environmental justice has been denied,” said Kerrie Blaise, an environmental lawyer who assisted CRED-NB with the impact assessment request.

“The many unknowns and the potential for not only severe but irreversible impacts to the health of communities and the environment will not be subject to a rigorous public and cumulative effects assessment that an IA (impact assessment) provides. This is quite simply something that cannot be achieved by the nuclear regulator in their licence-specific assessment.”

December 25, 2022 Posted by | Canada, environment, politics | Leave a comment

National Guard informs troops last paycheck before Christmas will be late as Biden admin sends $billions to Ukraine

PM, 23 Dec 22, The National Guard Bureau “is currently working the issue with DFAS time now,” the letter read, “we would hope the issue is rectified today or tomorrow.”

On Friday it was revealed that the Biden administration failed to pay numerous National Guard troops their final year end pay on time during the week of Christmas. The failure came after approving a contoversial additional $45 billion aid package to Ukraine, and the House passing a $1.7 trillion spending plan.

“Hello gents,” began a letter sent to members of the National Guard, obtained by The Post Millennial, “if you have been tracking, the pay issue that has been plaguing the unit and the division as well.” Reports came in from Pennsylvania, Georgia, and South Carolina from troops angered and upset that their pay hadn’t yet come through……………………………………………….

Congress approved the $1.7 trillion spending plan on Friday, which allows for funds outlays through September. 

Update: Sources tell The Post Millennial that paychecks were processed at approximately 12 am on December 24.

The Pentagon was reached for comment.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A pretentious and dishonest story-telling conference of Small Nuclear Reactor salesmen in Atlanta 2022

Markku Lehtonen in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists covered this conference  – “SMR & Advanced Reactor 2022” event in Atlanta – in a lengthy article.

The big players were there, among  over 400 vendors, utility representatives, government officials, investors, and policy advocates, in “an atmosphere full of hope for yet another nuclear renaissance.

The writer details the claims and intentions of the SMR salesmen – in this “occasion for “team-building” and raising of spirits within the nuclear community.’, in relation to climate change and future energy needs, and briefly mentioning “security”, which is code for the nuclear weapons aspect.

It struck me that “team building” might be difficult, seeing that the industry representatives were from a whole heap of competing firms, with a whole heap of different small reactor designs, (and not all designs are even small, really)

This Bulletin article presents a measured discussion of the possibilities and the needs of the small nuclear reactors. The writer recognises that this gathering was really predominantly a showcase for the small nuclear wares, – the SMR salesmen  “must promise, if not a radiant future, at least significant benefits to society. “

“Otherwise, investors, decision-makers, potential partners, and the public at large will not accept the inevitable costs and risks. Above all, promising is needed to convince governments to provide the support that has always been vital for the survival of the nuclear industry.”

He goes on to describe the discussions and concerns about regulation, needs for a skilled workforce, government support, economic viability. There were some contradictory claims about fast-breeder reactors.

Most interesting was the brief discussion on the political atmosphere, the role of governments, the question of over-regulation .

” A senior industry representative …. lamenting that the nuclear community has “allowed too much democracy to get in

“The economic viability of the SMR promise will crucially depend on how much further down the road towards deglobalization, authoritarianism in its various guises, and further tweaking of the energy markets the Western societies are willing to go”

The Bulletin article concludes:

Promises and counter-promises. For the SMR community that gathered in Atlanta, the conference was a moment of great hope and opportunity, not least thanks to the aggravating climate and energy security crises. But the road toward the fulfilment of the boldest SMR promises will be long, as is the list of the essential preconditions. To turn SMR promises into reality, the nuclear community will need no less than to achieve sufficient internal cohesion, attract investors, navigate through licensing processes, build up supply chains and factories for module manufacturing, win community acceptance on greenfield sites, demonstrate a workable solution to waste management, and reach a rate of deployment sufficient to trigger learning and generate economies of replication. Most fundamentally, governments would need to be persuaded to provide the many types of support SMRs require to deliver on their promises.

Promising of the kind seen at the conference is essential for the achievement of these objectives. The presentations and discussions in the corridors indeed ran the full gamut of promise-building, from the conviction of a dawning nuclear renaissance along the lines “this time, it will be different!” through the hope of SMRs as a solution to the net-zero and energy-security challenges, and all the way to specific affirmations hailing the virtues of individual SMR designs. The legitimacy and credibility of these claims were grounded in the convictions largely shared among the participants that renewables alone “just don’t cut it,” that the SMR supply chain is there, and that the nuclear industry has in the past shown its ability to rise to similar challenges.

Two questions appear as critical for the future of SMRs. First, despite the boost from the Ukraine crisis, it is uncertain whether SMR advocates can muster the political will and societal acceptance needed to turn SMRs into a commercial success. The economic viability of the SMR promise will crucially depend on how much further down the road towards deglobalization, authoritarianism in its various guises, and further tweaking of the energy markets the Western societies are willing to go. Although the heyday of neoliberalism is clearly behind us and government intervention is no longer the kind of swearword it was before the early 2000s, nothing guarantees that the nuclear euphoria following the Atoms for Peace program in the 1950s can be replicated. Moreover, the reliance of the SMR business case on complex global supply chains as well as on massive deployment and geographical dispersion of nuclear facilities creates its own geopolitical vulnerabilities and security problems.

Second, the experience from techno-scientific promising in a number of sectors has shown that to be socially robust, promises need constructive confrontation with counter-promises. In this regard, the Atlanta conference constituted somewhat of a missed opportunity. The absence of critical voices reflected a longstanding problem of the nuclear community recognized even by insiders—namely its unwillingness to embrace criticism and engage in constructive debate with sceptics. “Safe spaces” for internal debates within a like-minded community certainly have their place, yet in the current atmosphere of increasing hype, the SMR promise needs constructive controversy and mistrust more than ever.”

December 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, marketing, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | 2 Comments

The Claim That The Ukraine War Advances US Interests Discredits The Claim That It’s “Unprovoked”

Caitlin Johnstone 23 Dec 22

One of the most illustrative examples of how the mainstream worldview is based on narratives rather than facts is the way Republican officials like senate minority leader Mitch McConnell have been branded servants of Russia despite consistent track records as virulent Russia hawks.

“Moscow Mitch”, as Democrats absurdly titled him during the height of Russiagate hysteria in 2019, gave a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday arguing that the primary reason to back Ukraine in its war against Russia is because doing so serves US interests.

“President Zelensky is an inspiring leader,” McConnell said in his speech ahead of the Ukrainian president’s visit to Washington. “But the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests. Helping equip our friends in Eastern Europe to win this war is also a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies, and contest our core interests.”

McConnell argued that backing Ukraine “will massively wear down the arsenal that is available to Putin for future efforts to use bullying and bloodshed,” taking a stab at the Biden administration for not requesting more money for this immensely useful proxy war.

“So I’ll say it one more time. Continuing our support for Ukraine is morally right, but it is not only that. It is also a direct investment in cold, hard, American interests,” McConnell said. “That’s why Republicans rejected the Biden Administration’s original request for Ukraine assistance as insufficient.

“Finally, we all know that Ukraine’s fight to retake its territory is neither the beginning nor end of the West’s broader strategic competition with Putin’s Russia,” McConnell concluded. “Increasing the pressure on Putin’s regime can and should be a bipartisan priority.”

You see US empire lackeys gushing all the time about how extraordinarily efficient and cost-effective the proxy war in Ukraine is for furthering US interests against Russia, which is funny because they spend the rest of the time talking about how this invasion was “unprovoked” and rending their garments about how horrible it is. The official imperial position is somehow simultaneously (A) “We hate this war and never wanted it,” and (B) “This war benefits us tremendously.

The only way to reconcile these two positions is to believe that Vladimir Putin acted against the interests of Russia in the service of the United States by invading Ukraine, for no other reason than because he is too stupid and evil to do otherwise. The other choice is to do what most empire loyalists do and simply not think very hard about those obvious contradictions.

Alternatively, you can consider the possibility that Putin was pressured into choosing between two bad options by the many aggressive provocations the empire has been making for years. Empire apologists always claim that western provocations had nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine, but if that’s true then why did so many western experts spend years warning that western provocations would lead to an invasion of Ukraine? 

Plainly the claim that the US is just an innocent bystander helping its good buddy Ukraine because it loves freedom and democracy is discredited by the claim — often made by those very same claimants — that this war serves US interests. But you hear them bounce seamlessly between the two all the time.

There’s a viral thread making the rounds on Twitter right now by a historian named Brett Devereaux that exemplifies this perfectly. In the first tweet in the thread he’s enthusing about how “for just 5% of the US military budget, we’ve disabled 50% of Russia’s military power,” then in the very next post in the thread he’s weeping about what a humanitarian crisis the war is and how we just want peace, and then in the very next post after that he’s saying “from a pure realpolitik perspective, Putin’s war was a massive blunder that has strengthened the US global position, degrading Russian capabilities (which frees up resources for other threats) and strengthening our alliances.”

California representative Adam Schiff, who has been calling this war “unprovoked” since the invasion, was saying all the way back during the Trump impeachment hearings of 2020 that “the US aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Another congressman, Dan Crenshaw, said on Twitter this past May that “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”

“It is in America’s interests to help Ukraine defeat one of our most powerful foes,” tweeted The Atlantic’s David French in the wake of Zelensky’s PR appearance in Washington.

“It is in America’s national security interests for Putin’s Russia to be defeated in Ukraine,” tweeted warmongering senator Lindsey Graham.

Statements like these should fully discredit the official narrative that the US is helping Ukraine fight off an unprovoked attack by a reckless tyrant. These are mutually contradictory positions; either it’s a completely unprovoked invasion that Washington didn’t want, or it’s an excellent way of getting Washington everything it wants. It’s nonsensical and naive to believe both.

But of course they do not discredit the official Ukraine narrative in the eyes of the public, because the US has the most effective propaganda machine that has ever existed. The many glaring inconsistencies and misdeeds of the empire are simply airbrushed away with a little spin and sweet talk.

If it weren’t for the imperial spin machine, nobody would believe the US just coincidentally stumbled its way into a lucky proxy war that happens to help it advance its agendas of global domination.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | 1 Comment

Comments on a Jerusalem Post article that praised Ukraine’s Nazi Azov battalion.

The AZOV regiment is visiting Israel. But not all Jews are taken in by this whitewashing of the Nazi history and influence in Ukraine. Below are some of the comments on the rather fawning Jerusalem Post article.

george130556, 21 December, 2022 Eternal shame on Israel for receiving these modern-day Nazis, who worship the murderers of tens of thousands of Jews in Ukraine during WWII.

Maurits2307 21 December, 2022 – “associated with neo-Nazi and far-right symbolism and ideologies, the Azov Regiment today insists that it has largely purged those sentiments from the regiment.” Russia is doing the purging. In the field, Ukranians still act like Nazis with multiple recorded war crimes. They wear Nazi insignia on their uniforms. Their vehicles have Nazi military insignia. If it looks like a Nazi, acts like a Nazi. It´s a Nazi.

Boris_SF 21 December, 2022, It is the Ukrainian establishment that glorify monsters like Chmelnitcki, Petliura, Bandera, Shukhevych and many officers of the Ukrainian SS Galicia Division on streets, squares and statues, all over Ukraine. It is true.

Jack, 20 December, 2022 Ukraine has this weird fixation with Israel

Israel should not be getting involved, Ukraine is soaked in Jewish blood, how Jews can want to help them defies belief.

Maybe read some history re pogroms and ww2, before you fall all over yourself to help them.

bjashka, 20 December, 2022 Don’t understand why we are welcoming Ukraine nationalist of contraversal Azov battalion. Part of the battalion members are public n@zis and were banned in US and Europe for this.

Baruch Baruch 20 December, 2022 As a Jew, an Israeli and a human being I am shocked that we are befriending these guys. I dont care about their battles with Russians. Their history, imagery and ideology as well as themed youth and adult training camps speaks for itself. Disgraceful to host these Na…. fascists

Jossef Perl, 20 December, 2022 Zelensky, his foreign minister and his ambassador to Israel have been putting a lot of outlandish demands on Israel (more than on many other European countries), yet at the same time Ukraine has continued to vote against Israel in the UN. Outrageous!

Adam Burman, 20 December, 2022 Over 230 missiles fired by the Ukraine armed forces at Donetsk peoples republic yesterday, hitting 20 residential buildings, 6 civil infrastructure facilities, and Kalinin hospital.

but hey, keep cheerleading your pet Ukronutsis, right?

PS: That hospital was bombed by the Ukronazis using Swedish Howitzers.

“…………….. The visit was initiated by the Israeli Friends of Ukraine organization and with the support of the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel and the Nadav Foundation.

T. Hoekstra, 20 December, 2022 This reeks of a whitewashing of Azov from their neonaughty brand.

Neonoughties however generally are not just anti-semites but white supremacist.

Also Masada was the place the defenders got into cannbalism or suicide.

Not really heroic, but tragic.

When it comes to Mariupol just look for how they arrived in Mariupol.

And how they took care of the protesting local population.

Any Pro Maidan apologist should get sick of these Azov guys.

Chikwa, 21 December, 2022 Terribly sad that Israelis ignoring their history. Those who do so are doomed to repeat it. We witnessed on TV how the Ukrainian soldiers discriminated vs African and Asian students trying to leave the Country as the Fled Putins army. Annti Semitismbis on the rise in EU and America. Liberal Jews turn a blind eye !

Miroslav Iliaš, 21 December, 2022 Half of the article is about how Azov Regiment distances itself from its neonazi past. We will see at the end of the bloody day – when the war finishes, how the Ukrainian society will deal with its dark past.

Ghost of kiev, 20 December, 2022 Well done JPost, just whitewash the azov n@zis.

democritique21 December, 2022, I can’t seem to quite get this! We allow a self-proclaimed natsi battalion to enter Eretz Israel and complain about the NYT’s natsi symbol stylized crossword???

maria992, 21 December, 2022 Total ignorance in history and secondary no comparison to Masada as Ukrainian are of Russian origin.

Adam Burman, 20 December, 2022 Ha Ha Ha! Jpost is actually running hasbara for Ukronazis.

National Socialists of the world Unite, I suppose, huh…

pizzaparty2579, 21 December, 2022 Is Israel a Jewish state? If so, how could Israel let these monsters in? Guess they are here to beg for money and we are the masochists.

ErastF , 21 December, 2022, I’m baffled. How was decided that just the Azov people will represent the Ukrainian interests in Israel? I don’t expect anything from the Ukrainian ambassador but didn’t the Israel friends of Ukraina hear something about the Azov regiment?

george130556, 21 December, 2022, Israel welcomes mass murderers, who carried out the massacres of civilians in Mariupol, Kramatorsk, Bucha, and Izyum.

wolfsonia, 21 December, 2022 , If Israel wants to stay or at least look neutral then hosting Azov is a stupid idea.

TCohen 19 Dec 22, The Azov Battalion ARE Nazis, so Israel’s allowance of entry IS UNACCEPTABLE and DEAD WRONG!

Yrraf, 21 December, 2022 Yes, every picture of the regiment shows how “distanced” they are from nazi ideology. For all people in the comment section go to the army recognition site and check for news that Ukrainian soldiers captured enough Russian BMP-3 IFVs to equip one battalion. Not a Rusian source, and without any hesitation, they are showing captured Rusian IFV with Wehrmacht insignia in Azov service. That’s how modern “journalists” in Izrael respect dead ancestors slaughtered by that same sick ideology.

MJandecka, 21 December, 2022 Azov? Neo Nazis.


Ukraine’s Azov Regiment visits Israel: ‘Mariupol is our Masada’, Azov officer Ilya Samoilenko, one of the defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, led the delegation to Israel. Jerusalem Post, By TZVI JOFFRE DECEMBER 20, 2022

December 25, 2022 Posted by | Israel, politics international, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Democrats Are Making a Devil’s Bargain on Pentagon Funding. It’s Not Paying Off.

The Pentagon is not just another government agency. It’s the embodiment of a U.S. foreign policy that prizes militarism and force over diplomacy and multilateralism. 

Progressives can’t win unless Pentagon spending is put on the chopping block. By Lindsay Koshgarian , TRUTHOUT, December 23, 2022

The year 2022 confirmed yet again that accepting massive military budget increases in exchange for a smattering of social benefits funding — a common devil’s bargain struck by Democrats in Congress — will never deliver the kind of world we dream of.

The military budget deal just reached by Congress will put Pentagon spending at $858 billion — more than $118 billion higher than when President Biden came into office, and more than $180 billion higher than the last budget approved under President Obama. That increase would have been more than enough to cover the costs of the entire Build Back Better agenda.

By comparison with the ever-growing Pentagon budget, wins on big progressive spending priorities in the last two years have been hit or miss, with plenty of notable misses. Political fortunes for the successful Inflation Reduction Act and the failed Build Back Better plan were widely understood to rest on a couple of high-profile swing votes, but a larger and longer-running political dynamic was also at play.

Members of Congress who favor progressive spending priorities regularly make deals to accept big military increases in exchange for a smattering of domestic spending increases, a pattern that’s set to play out again this year. The result of this tacit understanding in Congress has been that the priorities in the annual discretionary budget have remained frozen, with more than half of the annual budget going to the military in a typical year.

With the exception of pandemic relief, even when the budget pie grows, domestic spending never takes a significantly larger portion. To win more progressive priorities, that balance must shift. Pentagon spending has to be put on the chopping block — both because the military budget is far too high, and because the current dealmaking consensus means an eternally limited budget share for progressive priorities.

Progressive Goals Lose When the Pentagon Gains

It’s been a mixed year for progressive spending priorities. The Inflation Reduction Act, the first major act by Congress to address climate change, was a historic moment and a huge win for progressives — but it was also far too small to address the massive challenge posed by the climate crisis……………………………………

How Pentagon Spending Gets a Pass

The $858 billion budget that Congress just approved for the military, on a bipartisan basis, is part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is widely considered “must-pass” legislation, having passed with wide bipartisan support every year for more than 60 years. No other piece of legislation except the budget deal (and possibly the debt limit) is regarded as required in the same way………………..

There is no shortage of reasons why so many members continue to support the NDAA and Pentagon budget increases in general. Many in Congress still conflate military spending with security, and think there can never be too much of it — or else it’s purely political maneuvering to avoid being seen as weak on defense. And with Pentagon contractors sprinkling campaign contributions and federally funded jobs on congressional districts like so much fairy dust, there are plenty of politically expedient reasons to vote for a Pentagon budget increase.

But a less recognized part of the problem is the now-ingrained practice of trading off higher Pentagon spending for more domestic spending. The commonly accepted practice of negotiating bigger Pentagon budgets in exchange for a smattering of smaller domestic spending increases has greased the wheels of politically treacherous budget negotiations for years. It has also meant that Pentagon budget increases sail through with far too little scrutiny, even at a time like now when the agency has just failed its fifth audit.

It Wasn’t Always Like This

The long-accepted pattern of trading higher Pentagon spending in exchange for higher domestic spending solidified with the 2011 Budget Control Act, which explicitly locked in shares of the annual discretionary budget for military and non-military purposes.

The Budget Control Act locked in budget patterns that were in place at the height of the post-9/11 wars, a time of historically high Pentagon spending. But the legislation expired in 2021, and the negotiations have stayed stuck in the same mold.

Fifteen years before the Budget Control Act was passed, Congress had just completed a historic drawdown of the Pentagon budget. In the years after the end of the Cold War, it was widely agreed that the U.S. could pull back militarily, and the nation did go through a period of decreased military spending. That ended with the post-9/11 wars — but now that the U.S. has officially ended those wars, pulling the last troops out of Afghanistan last year, no military cutbacks have materialized. It’s the first time on record that no “peace dividend” resulted from the end of a major U.S. war.

The Pentagon Is a Losing Trade

Year after year, the saga continues: Democrats accept a big Pentagon increase in exchange for a smattering of little increases that even put together, don’t quite add up to what the Pentagon gets.

The progressive movement has had some wins, but in many ways, it has stalled on major spending priorities. The failure to seriously take on Pentagon spending is one of the reasons.

That’s beginning to change. In recent years, progressive movements and progressive champions in Congress have begun to take on Pentagon spending. The Poor People’s Campaign and the People Over Pentagon coalition have connected the need for a lower Pentagon budget to winning other progressive priorities. This year, a majority of House Democrats voted to remove $37 billion that the House Armed Services Committee had voted to add to the Pentagon budget. Also this year, Representatives Barbara Lee and Representative Mark Pocan introduced The People Over Pentagon Act, to cut $100 billion from the Pentagon budget and reinvest it in domestic priorities.

Those efforts haven’t been successful yet. But they’re necessary both ethically and practically. The Pentagon is not just another government agency. It’s the embodiment of a U.S. foreign policy that prizes militarism and force over diplomacy and multilateralism. It’s the agency that executed the wars after the 9/11 attacks, leading to more than 900,000 deaths. The list of ongoing damage done by the Pentagon runs long, from poisoned drinking water, to complicity in unjust wars and unaddressed harm to its own service members.

Practically, fighting to cut the military budget is also necessary because politics as usual will keep leading to the same results as usual. If progressives want more wins on progressive investments ranging from health care to child care to climate change, the Pentagon budget has to become a target.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Without national debate, radical nuclear policy shift intolerable

But the most fundamental and intractable challenge is how to deal with spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from nuclear plants, inevitable byproducts of nuclear power generation.

The grim reality is that there is no prospect for establishing a nuclear fuel recycling system or securing a site for final disposal of nuclear waste in the foreseeable future.

Let us not forget the lessons of the 2011 nuclear disaster and consider how best to fulfill our responsibility to future generations. December 23, 2022 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is embarking on yet another radical policy shift without weighing the possible consequences. The government devised new policy guidelines for expanding the use of nuclear energy while turning a blind eye to fundamental and intractable issues that inevitably will result. It also failed to address a host of doubts and questions.

The Kishida administration spent only four months on this policy initiative without making any serious effort to win broad public support. The attempt to chip away at important policy principles comes on the heels of its recent decision to drastically beef up Japan’s defense capabilities.

The administration’s new agenda calls for accelerating the process of restarting idled nuclear reactors, extending the life span of aging reactors and constructing new ones to replace moribund facilities. It deviates sharply from the restrictive policy in place since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. We beg the administration to retract this unacceptable policy about-face.


Kishida in late August called for debate on promoting nuclear power generation. He did not mention any potentially controversial key elements of the proposal during the July Upper House election, such as “reconstruction” of old reactors, even though this represents a major regime shift. After the election, the administration raced to develop new policy guidelines in a manner that were far from democratic.

It amounts to keeping the nation heavily dependent on nuclear energy for decades to come. This will hollow out the principle of reducing the nation’s reliance on nuclear power “as much as possible,” which has been upheld since the catastrophic triple meltdown more than a decade ago.

The administration is also using distorted logic and dubious arguments to support the policy change.

Kishida cited the “ongoing crisis” of a power crunch and rush to realize a carbon-neutral future as reasons for expanding the use of nuclear power.

But the government’s plan to promote nuclear power generation will not help ride out the current energy crisis. Restarting an offline reactor requires following established procedures, so this approach will not increase the nation’s power supply quickly or significantly. Extending the life span of aging reactors and building new ones to replace those destined to be decommissioned will only start producing benefits after 10 or more years. The outlook of these plans is murky and a strong case cannot be made for rushing into the decision.

The government also has its policy priorities askew. The overriding priority is to secure a stable energy supply and reduce the nation’s carbon footprint. This should be accomplished by promoting domestic renewable energy sources, not on expanding nuclear power generation. The government has promised to develop renewable energy into a major power source. It should first make all-out efforts to ramp up power generation using renewable energy sources and, if shortages remain, consider ways to tap other energy sources.


The proposal to bolster nuclear power generation raises numerous questions.

The older a reactor grows the more uncertain its safety becomes. The legal life span of a nuclear reactor is 40 years in principle but can be extended to 60 years in certain cases. This rule was introduced under a bipartisan agreement after the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and incorporated into the related law under the jurisdiction of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

But the government has decided to transfer this rule to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which champions nuclear power generation. The move is aimed at paving the way for extending the life span of reactors beyond the 60-year limit by establishing a new system of periodical reactor inspections for safety checks at intervals of 10 years or less. This amounts to nothing more than a fait accomplis to secure reactor operations beyond 60 years without engaging in meaningful policy debate. It could also gut the principle of “the separation between promotion and regulation.”

Rebuilding aged reactors is also questionable from an economic viewpoint. The cost of building new reactors keeps ballooning. The government has offered to subsidize the costs in response to a request from the power industry. That could lead to an excessive and unreasonable financial burden on the public.

The government’s plan also calls for developing and constructing “next-generation innovative reactors.” The only next-generation innovative reactor that appears technologically feasible in the near term, however, is a conventional light-water reactor equipped with a better safety mechanism than the current version. These reactors are already in operation in some countries. But it remains doubtful whether this is really a safety innovation.

In addition to Japan’s susceptibility to major natural disasters, potentially grave nuclear safety hazards include its ability to deal with a a possible military attack like the one that occurred in Ukraine.

But the most fundamental and intractable challenge is how to deal with spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from nuclear plants, inevitable byproducts of nuclear power generation.

The grim reality is that there is no prospect for establishing a nuclear fuel recycling system or securing a site for final disposal of nuclear waste in the foreseeable future.

The new nuclear policy guidelines offer no answers to these questions. Just as it did in making a radical shift in the nation’s security policy, the Kishida administration is taking advantage of public anxiety to rush headlong into a major nuclear policy change by simply stressing the benefits of the move without responding to legitimate questions and concerns.

The four-month process of making the decision on this policy change indicates the government only acted in line with predetermined conclusions and a certain timeframe in mind.


The advisory council for the industry ministry that discussed the proposal did not even scrutinize the core question of how nuclear power generation will help secure a stable energy supply, which is supposed to be the core purpose of the new policy initiative.

Instead, the panel spent ages discussing approaches to extending the life of reactors and building new ones, apparently on the assumption that promoting nuclear power is a given.

Members of the panel were mostly proponents of expanded use of atomic energy. A small number who remained cautious called for national debate on the matter over the next 12 months, but the idea was brushed aside.

Nuclear power remains a sharply divisive policy issue. Ensuring stability in this field requires broad public support. If the government gives short shrift to the process of listening to a wide range of views to build broad public consensus, it cannot hope to recover public trust in its nuclear policy that was dashed by the disaster.

The government says it will solicit public opinions and hold meetings with concerned parties to alleviate any fears. But such steps would be meaningless if they are intended only to placate disgruntled citizens to ease the political pressure of opposition.

Meaningful debate requires the involvement of a wider spectrum of experts, including those who have no interest in nuclear power generation and those who remain skeptical. The country deserves a meticulous and multifaceted debate on all key issues and questions, including whether it is really vital to produce more electricity with nuclear power to achieve a carbon-free future.

The Diet has an important role to play. All the political parties should start independent discussions on this issue.

Any rash change in nuclear policy is unacceptable. Let us not forget the lessons of the 2011 nuclear disaster and consider how best to fulfill our responsibility to future generations.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Fusion Energy: the Nuclear Weapons Connection


In 1980, in my book Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power published that year, I wrote: “What about fusion? This has been held out by the nuclear establishment as a somewhat cleaner form of nuclear power—as the hydrogen bomb, a fusion device, is somewhat cleaner in fall-out than an atomic bomb. Somewhat.”

“Fusion is theoretically supposed to get its power from fusing nuclei together,” I continued. “This would be the opposite of fission, which blasts the nuclei apart. But to start the process, extremely high temperatures are required—100 million degrees Centigrade, more than six times the estimated temperature of the sun’s interior.”

“Although Dwight Eisenhower, when he was President, suggested that the AEC keep the public ‘confused about fission and fusion,’ fusion is a dirty, radioactive process, too.

The theory is to fuse deuterium and tritium atoms. Large amounts of tritium would be used. Tritium is highly radioactive…”

(I provided in a footnote the source of Eisenhower’s declaration in what had been classified Atomic Energy Commission documents made public at Congressional hearings that year focusing on the U.S. government’s responsibility for cancers caused by the testing of nuclear weapons. It was a 1953 memo from Gordon Dean, chairman of the AEC, stating after speaking to Eisenhower: “The President says, ‘keep them confused about fission and fusion.’” Another of many examples of what we were and have not been supposed to know about nuclear power.)

Last week on CounterPunch I wrote about the great hoopla—largely unquestioned by media— with the announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy of a “major scientific breakthrough” in the development of fusion energy. “This is a landmark achievement,” declared Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Her department’s press release about the experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California said it “produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it” and will “provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy.”

On CounterPunch I focused on an article by Dr. Daniel Jassby, for 25 years principal research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab working on fusion energy research and development, and his conclusion in his 2017 article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, that fusion power “is something to be shunned.” It was headed “Fusion reactor: Not what they’re cracked up to be.”

“Unlike what happens” when fusion occurs on the sun, “which uses ordinary hydrogen at enormous density and temperature,” he wrote, on Earth “fusion reactors that burn neutron-rich isotopes have byproducts that are anything but harmless,”

The key radioactive substance in the fusion process on Earth would be tritium, a radioactive variant of hydrogen. Thus there would be “four regrettable problems”—“radiation damage to structures; radioactive waste; the need for biological shielding; and the potential for the production of weapons-grade plutonium 239—thus adding to the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, not lessening it, as fusion proponents would have it,” he continued.

Jassby is still around and speaking out about fusion. As he told GRID magazine this May, “Fusion power absolutely cannot contribute to solving the climate crisis,” refuting the claim it could. The GRID article was headed. “Nuclear fusion companies are selling the sun, and venture capital is buying.”

companies are selling the sun, and venture capital is buying.”

My CounterPunch focused on the radioactivity involved in fusion—that it is not “clean” despite what the press release of the Department of Energy asserted.

Here is more on the nuclear weapons connection.

Dr. M.V. Ramana, a professor and also the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, authored an article that ran last week on Science The Wire titled “Clean Energy or Weapons? What the ‘Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion Really Means.”

He wrote that the “chief purpose” of the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory where the fusion experiment was conducted “is not generating electricity or even finding a way to do so. NIF was set up as part of the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program, which was the ransom paid to the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories for forgoing the right to test after the United States signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”

Ramana noted the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s webpage has “proudly” proclaimed: “NIF’s high energy density and inertial confinement fusion experiments, coupled with the increasingly sophisticated simulations available from some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, increase our understanding of weapon physics, including the properties and survivability of weapons-relevant materials”.

NIF, then,” said Ramana, “is a way to continue investment into modernizing nuclear weapons, albeit without explosive tests, and dressing it up as a means to produce ‘clean’ energy.”

Also, Ramana went on: “NIF might even help with developing new kinds of nuclear weapons.

Ramana said: “The tremendous media attention paid to NIF and ignition amounts to a distraction—and a dangerous one at that. As the history of nuclear fusion since the 1950s shows, this complicated technology is not going to produce cheap and reliable electricity to light bulbs or power computers anytime in the foreseeable future. But nuclear fusion falls even shorter when we consider climate change, and the need to cut carbon emissions drastically and rapidly.”

“In the meanwhile,” Ramana continued, “nuclear fusion experiments like those at NIF will further the risk posed by the nuclear arsenal of the U.S., and, indirectly, the arsenals of the eight other countries known to possess nuclear weapons. The world has been lucky so far to avoid nuclear war. But this luck will not hold up forever. We need nuclear weapons abolition, but programs like NIF offer nuclear weapons modernization, which is just a means to assure destruction forever.”

Ramana is co-editor of the book Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream.

Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, in a letter last week to Canadian Pugwash, wrote that in “my opinion, the most important thing about the fusion ‘breakthrough’” is “the misrepresentation of the nature of the research as energy related rather than weapons related—disguising the fact of the fundamentally military rather than civilian rationale and applicability of the entire fusion Ignition Facility located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a long-standing weapons lab.”

Indeed, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has through the decades been all about fusion—and the hydrogen bomb. It is where under its director, nuclear physicist Edward Teller, the hydrogen bomb—Teller called it the “super”—was developed.

“The Energy Department’s fusion breakthrough: It’s not really about generating electricity,” was the headline last week in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Wrote John Mecklin, its editor-in-chief “Because of how the Energy Department presented the breakthrough in a news conference headlined by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, news coverage has largely glossed over its implications for monitoring the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile.”

The nuclear cover-up continues.

Folks interested in my book Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power can get a free download of the entire book—courtesy of the publisher—by going to my website,, and clicking on the Books button. The part about fusion, from 42 years ago, is on Pages 251-252.

December 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Trawsfynydd as a nuclear waste dump?

Low levels of radioactive waste could be buried at the site of a former
nuclear power station, under new plans. Magnox, owner of the Trawsfynydd
site in Gwynedd, said it was considering burying some of the waste below
ground and capping it with concrete. The company described the proposal as
“unordinary” and said it was one of two options being looked at.
Anti-nuclear group Cadno said it would cause “serious safety issues” and
wants the waste stored safely above ground. Trawsfynydd stopped generating
electricity in 1991 after operating for 25 years and is in the long process
of being decommissioned.

BBC 23rd Dec 2022

December 25, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment