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The Windscale nuclear accident 1957, and still not cleaned up. – a warning from history

Nuclear power: the warnings from history. The PM wants to keep the lights
on with eight new atomic plants. He’s in denial if he thinks the
catastrophes of the past won’t happen again.

If Johnson is going to use nuclear history to justify his strategy, perhaps he needs to look a little
deeper, because Windscale was also the site of one of the world’s first
serious nuclear accidents. In October 1957, a fire raged for three days in
one of the reactors after changes to increase production.

Through the heroism of staff, and a significant degree of luck, the catastrophe was
contained. But significant radiation was released. Milk from cows within
200 square miles was contaminated. In 1982 officials estimated 260 people
developed cancer and 32 people died as a result. The two first reactors at
Windscale were closed, but the clean-up is still under way today.

Last November the top of the chimney in which the fire blazed was removed as
part of the demolition. The renowned nuclear historian Serhii Plokhy
describes the episode in a forthcoming book and points out: “The existing
nuclear industry is an open-ended liability.” No nuclear power station
has ever been fully decommissioned.

In Atoms and Ashes, Plokhy, 64, a
Ukrainian historian at Harvard, explores the causes and consequences of
Windscale and five other nuclear accidents: at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific
in 1954, Kyshtym in Russia in 1957, Three Mile Island in the US in 1979,
Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 and Fukushima in Japan in 2011.While most of
these accidents took place in the formative years of nuclear science,
Plokhy argues they could easily happen again. “Technology was improved as
a result, and every accident contributed to the shaping of subsequent
safety procedures and culture,” he writes.

“And yet nuclear accidents
occur again and again. Many of the political, economic, social, and
cultural factors that led to the accidents of the past are still with us
today, making the nuclear industry vulnerable to repeating old mistakes in
new and unexpected ways.”

 Times 9th April 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nuclear-power-latest-warnings-history-chernobyl-ph9q7w80j

April 11, 2022 Posted by | history, incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Ukraine war – the Nazi factor

Make Nazism Great Again   https://www.opednews.com/articles/Make-Nazism-Great-Again-by-Pepe-Escobar-Azov-Battalion_Nazis_War-In-Ukraine-220325-46.html

BPepe Escobar  , 25 Mar 22,  

The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.

All eyes are on Mariupol. As of Wednesday night, over 70% of residential areas were under control of Donetsk and Russian forces, while Russian Marines, Donetsk’s 107th batallion and Chechen Spetsnaz, led by the charismatic Adam Delimkhanov, had entered the Azov-Stal plant – the HQ of the neo-Nazi Azov batallion.

Azov was sent a last ultimatum: surrender until midnight – or else, as in a take no prisoners highway to hell.

That implies a major game-changer in the Ukrainian battlefield; Mariupol is finally about to be thoroughly denazified – as the Azov contingent long entrenched in the city and using civilians as human shields were their most hardened fighting force.

There’s no intention whatsoever in Washington to facilitate a peace plan in Ukraine – and that explains Comedian Zelensky’s non-stop stalling tactics. The supreme target is regime change in Russia, and for that Totalen Krieg against Russia and all things Russian is warranted. Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.

This also means that the 14,000 deaths in Donbass for the past 8 years should be directly attributed to the Exceptionalists. As for Ukrainian neo-Nazis of all stripes, they are as expendable as “moderate rebels” in Syria, be they al-Qaeda or Daesh-linked. Those that may eventually survive can always join the budding CIA-sponsored Neo-Nazi Inc. – the tawdry remix of the 1980s Jihad Inc. in Afghanistan. They will be properly “Kalibrated” city and using civilians as human shields were their most hardened fighting force.

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.

Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)

Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.

Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Fuhrer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.

They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.

That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.

It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z.

All of the above, in fact just a quick recap, shows that in Ukraine there’s no difference whatsoever between white neo-Nazis and brown-colored al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh, as much as neo-Nazis are just as “Christian” as takfiri Salafi-jihadis are “Muslim”.

When Putin denounced a “bunch of neo-Nazis” in power in Kiev, the Comedian replied that it was impossible because he was Jewish. Nonsense. Zelensky and his patron Kolomoysky, for all practical purposes, are Zio-Nazis.

Even as branches of the United States government admitted to neo-Nazis entrenched in the Kiev apparatus, the Exceptionalist machine made the daily shelling of Donbass for 8 years simply disappear. These thousands of civilian victims never existed.

U.S. mainstream media even ventured the odd piece or report on Azov and Aidar neo-Nazis. But then a neo-Orwellian narrative was set in stone: there are no Nazis in Ukraine. CIA offshoot NED even started deleting records about training members of Aidar. Recently a crappy news network duly promoted a video of a NATO-trained and weaponized Azov commander – complete with Nazi iconography.

Why “denazification” makes sense

The Banderastan ideology harks back to when this part of Ukraine was in fact controlled by the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire and Poland. Stepan Bandera was born in Austro-Hungary in 1909, near Ivano-Frankovsk, in the – then autonomous – Kingdom of Galicia.

WWI dismembered European empires into frequently non-viable small entities. In western Ukraine – an imperial intersection – that inevitably led to the proliferation of extremely intolerant ideologies.

Banderastan ideologues profited from the Nazi arrival in 1941 to try to proclaim an independent territory. But Berlin not only blocked it but sent them to concentration camps. In 1944 though the Nazis changed tactics: they liberated the Banderanistas and manipulated them into anti-Russian hate, thus creating a destabilization force in the Ukrainian USSR.

So Nazism is not exactly the same as Banderastan fanatics: they are in fact competing ideologies. What happened since Maidan is that the CIA kept a laser focus on inciting Russian hatred by whatever fringe groups it could instrumentalize. So Ukraine is not a case of
“white nationalism” – to put it mildly – but of anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism, for all practical purposes manifested via Nazi-style salutes and Nazi-style symbols.

So when Putin and the Russian leadership refer to Ukrainian Nazism, that may not be 100% correct, conceptually, but it strikes a chord with every Russian.

Russians viscerally reject Nazism – considering that virtually every Russian family has at least one ancestor killed during the Great Patriotic War. From the perspective of wartime psychology, it makes total sense to talk of “Ukro-nazism” or, straight to the point, a “denazification” campaign.

How the Anglos loved the Nazis

The United States government openly cheerleading neo-Nazis in Ukraine is hardly a novelty, considering how it supported Hitler alongside England in 1933 for balance of power reasons.

In 1933, Roosevelt lent Hitler one billion gold dollars while England lent him two billion gold dollars. That should be multiplied 200 times to arrive at today’s fiat dollars. The Anglo-Americans wanted to build up Germany as a bulwark against Russia. In 1941 Roosevelt wrote to Hitler that if he invaded Russia the U.S. would side with Russia, and wrote Stalin that if Stalin invaded Germany the U.S. would back Germany. Talk about a graphic illustration of Mackinderesque balance of power.

The Brits had become very concerned with the rise of Russian power under Stalin while observing that Germany was on its knees with 50% unemployment in 1933, if one counted unregistered itinerant Germans.

Even Lloyd George had misgivings about the Versailles Treaty, unbearably weakening Germany after its surrender in WWI. The purpose of WWI, in Lloyd George’s worldview, was to destroy Russia and Germany together. Germany was threatening England with the Kaiser building a fleet to take over the oceans, while the Tsar was too close to India for comfort. For a while Britannia won – and continued to rule the waves.

Then building up Germany to fight Russia became the number one priority – complete with rewriting of History. The uniting of Austrian Germans and Sudetenland Germans with Germany, for instance, was totally approved by the Brits.

But then came the Polish problem. When Germany invaded Poland, France and Britain stood on the sidelines. That placed Germany on the border of Russia, and Germany and Russia divided up Poland. That’s exactly what Britain and France wanted. Britain and France had promised Poland that they would invade Germany from the west while Poland fought Germany from the east.

In the end, the Poles were double-crossed. Churchill even praised Russia for invading Poland. Hitler was advised by MI6 that England and France would not invade Poland – as part of their plan for a German-Russian war. Hitler had been supported financially since the 1920s by MI6 for his favorable words about England in Mein Kampf. MI6 de facto encouraged Hitler to invade Russia.

Fast forward to 2022, and here we go again – as farce, with the Anglo-Americans “encouraging” Germany under feeble Scholz to put itself back together militarily, with 100 billion euros (that the Germans don’t have), and setting up in thesis a revamped European force to later go to war against Russia.

Cue to the Russophobic hysteria in Anglo-American media about the Russia-China strategic partnership. The mortal Anglo-American fear is Mackinder/Mahan/Spykman/Kissinger/Brzezinski all rolled into one: Russia-China as peer competitor twins take over the Eurasian land mass – the Belt and Road Initiative meets the Greater Eurasia Partnership – and thus rule the planet, with the U.S. relegated to inconsequential island status, as much as the previous “Rule Britannia”.

England, France and later the Americans had prevented it when Germany aspired to do the same, controlling Eurasia side by side with Japan, from the English Channel to the Pacific. Now it’s a completely different ball game.

So Ukraine, with its pathetic neo-Nazi gangs, is just an – expendable – pawn in the desperate drive to stop something that is beyond anathema, from Washington’s perspective: a totally peaceful German-Russian-Chinese New Silk Road.

Russophobia, massively imprinted in the West’s DNA, never really went away. Cultivated by the Brits since Catherine the Great – and then with The Great Game. By the French since Napoleon. By the Germans because the Red Army liberated Berlin. By the Americans because Stalin forced to them the mapping of Europe – and then it went on and on and on throughout the Cold War.

We are at just the early stages of the final push by the dying Empire to attempt arresting the flow of History. They are being outsmarted, they are already outgunned by the top military power in the world, and they will be checkmated. Existentially, they are not equipped to kill the Bear – and that hurts. Cosmically.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | history, politics, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Understanding the war in Ukraine

Understanding the war in Ukraine,  https://independentaustralia.net/article-display/understanding-the-war-in-ukraine,16151 By Vijay Prashad | 14 March 2022  The war between Russia and Ukraine began long before 24 February 2022, the date provided by the Ukrainian Government, NATO and the United States for the beginning of the Russian invasion.

According to Dmitry Kovalevich, a journalist and a member of a now-banned communist organisation in Ukraine, the war actually started in the spring of 2014 and has never stopped since.

He writes to me from the south of Kyiv and recounts an anecdote: “What’s there at the front line?” asks one person. “Our troops are winning as usual!” comes the response. “Who are our troops?” the first person inquires and is told, “We’ll soon see.” In a war, everything is in dispute, even the name of Ukraine’s capital (Kyiv in Ukrainian, and Kiev in Russian, goes the debate online).

Wars are among the most difficult of reporting assignments for a journalist. These days, especially, with the torrent of social media and the belligerence of network news television channels, matters on the ground are hard to sort out. Basic facts about the events taking place during a war are hard to establish, let alone ensuring the correct interpretation of these facts.

Videos of apparent war atrocities that can be found on social media platforms like YouTube are impossible to verify. Often, it becomes clear that much of the content relating to war that can be found on these platforms has either been misidentified or is from other conflicts. Even the BBC, which has taken a very strong pro-Ukrainian and NATO position on this conflict, had to run a story about how so many of the viral claims about Russian atrocities are false.

Among these false claims, which have garnered widespread circulation, is a video circulating on TikTok that wrongly alleges to be that of a Ukrainian girl confronting a Russian soldier, but is instead a video of the then-11-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi confronting an Israeli soldier in 2012. The video continues to circulate on TikTok with the caption, ‘Little girls stand up to Russian soldiers’.

Meanwhile, disputing the date for the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war as 24 February, Kovalevich tells me:

“The war in Ukraine didn’t start in February 2022. It began in the spring of 2014 in the Donbas and has not stopped for these eight years.”

Kovalevich is a member of Borotba (Struggle), a communist organisation in Ukraine. Borotba, like other communist and Marxist organisations, was banned by the previous U.S.-backed Ukrainian Government of Petro Poroshenko in 2015 (as part of this ongoing crackdown, two communist youth leaders – Aleksandr Kononovich and Mikhail Kononovich – were arrested by Ukrainian security services on 6 March).

“Most of our comrades had to migrate to Donetsk and Luhansk,” Kovalevich tells me. These are the two eastern provinces of mainly Russian speakers that broke away from “Ukrainian Government control in 2014” and had been under the control of Russian-backed groups.

In February, however, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised these ‘two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent,’ making this contentious move the stepping stone for the final military invasion by Russia. Now, Kovalevich says, his comrades “expect to come back from exile and work legally”.

This expectation is based on the assumption that the Ukrainian Government will be forced to get rid of the existing system, which includes Western-trained-and-funded anti-Russian right-wing vigilante and paramilitary agents in the country and will have to reverse many of the Poroshenko-era illiberal and anti-minority (including anti-Russian) laws.

‘I feel nervous’

“I feel quite nervous,” Kovalevich tells me. [This war] looks very grim and not so much because of the Russians but because of our [Ukrainian] armed gangs that are looting and robbing [the country].” When the Russians intervened, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy handed out weapons to any citizen who wanted to defend the country.

Kovalevich says:

My area was not affected by military actions — only by the terror of [right-wing] nationalist gangs.”

During the first days of the Russian military intervention, Kovalevich took in a Roma family who had fled from the war zone. “My family had a spare room,” Kovalevich tells me. Roma organisations say that there are about 400,000 Roma in Ukraine, most of them living in the western part of Ukraine, in Zakarpatska Oblast (bordering Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia).

Kovalevich says:

“The Roma people in our country are regularly assaulted by [right-wing] nationalists. The nationalists used to attack them [Roma] publicly, burning their encampments, calling it ‘cleansing garbage’. The police didn’t react as our far-right gangs always work in cooperation with either the police or with the security service.”

This Roma family, who was being sheltered by Kovalevich and his family, is on the move toward western Ukraine, where most of the Ukrainian-Roma population lives. “But it is very unsafe to move,” Kovalevich tells me. “There are nationalists [manning these] checkpoints [along] all roads [in Ukraine, and they] may shoot [anyone] who may seem suspicious to them or just rob refugees.”

Minsk agreements

The war in the Donbas region that began in 2014 resulted in two agreements being signed in Belarus in 2014 and 2015, which were named after the capital of Belarus and were called the Minsk agreements. These agreements were aimed at [ending] the separatist war by Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine”.

The second of these agreements was signed by two leading political figures from Ukraine (Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine from 1994 to 2005) and from Russia (Mikhail Zurabov, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine, 2009-2016), respectively. It was overseen by a Swiss diplomat (Leonid Kuchma, who chaired the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, 2008-2009).

This Minsk II agreement was endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution 2022 on 17 February 2015. If the Minsk agreements had been adhered to, Russia and Ukraine would have secured an arrangement that would have been acceptable in the Donbas.

Kovalevich tells me:

“Two Ukrainian governments signed the Minsk agreements but didn’t fulfil [them]. Recently Zelenskyy’s officials openly mocked the agreement, saying they wouldn’t fulfil it (encouraged by the U.S. and the UK, of course). That was a sheer violation of all rules — you can’t sign [the agreements] and then refuse to fulfil [them].”

The language of the Minsk agreements was, as Kovalevich says, “liberal enough for the Government”. The two republics of Donetsk and Luhansk would have remained a part of Ukraine and they would have been afforded some cultural autonomy (this was in the footnote to Article 11 of the 12 February 2015, Minsk II Agreement).

Kovalevich says to me:

“This was unacceptable to our nationalists and [right-wing nationalists]. [They] would like to organise purges and vengeance there [in Donetsk and Luhansk].”

Before the Russian military intervention, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights found that more than 14,000 people had been killed in the ongoing conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk despite the Minsk agreements. It is this violence that provokes Kovalevich to make his comments about the violence of the ultra-nationalists and the right-wing paramilitary.

“The elected authorities are a cover, masking the real rulers of Ukraine,” Kovalevich says. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy and his allies in the parliament do not drive the governing process in their country but have “an agenda imposed on them by the far-right armed groups

Peace?

Negotiations are ongoing on the Ukraine-Belarus border between the Russians and the Ukrainians. Kovalevich is, however, not optimistic about a positive outcome from these negotiations. Decisions, he says, are not made by the Ukrainian President alone, but by the right-wing ultra-nationalist paramilitary armed groups and the NATO countries.

As Kovalevich and I were speaking, the Washington Post published a report about plans for a U.S.-backed insurgency in Ukraine; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implied an Afghanistan-style guerrilla war in Ukraine, saying“We have to keep tightening the screws.”

Kovalevich says:

“This reveals that they [the U.S.] don’t really care about Ukrainians. They want to use this as an opportunity to cause some pain to the Russians.”

These comments by Clinton and others suggest to Kovalevich that the United States wants “to organise chaos between Russia and the Europeans”. Peace in Ukraine, he says, “is a matter of reconciliation between NATO and the new global powers, Russia and China”. Till such a reconciliation is possible and till Europe develops a rational foreign policy, “we will be affected by wars,” says Kovalevich.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

March 17, 2022 Posted by | history, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Serbian parliament president: When Hitler entered Ukraine, the U.S. did not declare war — Anti-bellum

B92March 2, 2022 “We have died for the sake of others; they aren’t against Russia, but against Serbia” ==== Also see: Serbia is only free country in Europe, only one not obeying NATO’s orders – official Serbia: West plans to oust Russia from UN, trigger total collapse of existing order ==== Speaker of the National […]

Serbian parliament president: When Hitler entered Ukraine, the U.S. did not declare war — Anti-bellum

March 10, 2022 Posted by | history, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Setting the record straight on the background to events in Ukraine

First, both the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 in resistance to a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February of that year. The independence vote came just eight days after neo-Nazis burned dozens of ethnic Russians alive in Odessa.  To crush their bid for independence, the new U.S.-installed Ukrainian government then launched an “anti-terrorist” war against the provinces, with the assistance of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which had taken part in the coup. It is a war that is still going on eight years later, a war that Russia has just entered.

During these eight years, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Azov have used artillery, snipers and assassination teams to systematically butcher more than 5,000 people (another 8,000 were wounded) — mostly civilians — in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, according to the leader of the DPR, who provided these figures in a press conference recently. In the Luhansk People’s Republic, an additional 2,000 civilians were killed and 3,365 injured. The total number of people killed and wounded in Donbass since 2014 is more than 18,000.

This has received at most superficial coverage by The New York Times; it has not been covered by Western corporate media because it does not fit the official Washington narrative

Ukraine & Nukes     After a New York Times reporter grossly distorted what Putin and Zelensky have said and done about nuclear weapons, Steven Starr corrects the record and deplores Western media, in general, for misinforming  and leading the entire world in a dangerous direction.  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/03/ukraine-nukes/ By Steven Starr,

   The New York Times recently published an article by David Sanger entitled “Putin spins a conspiracy theory that Ukraine is on a path to produce nuclear weapons.”  Unfortunately, it is Sanger who puts so much spin in his reporting that he leaves his readers with a grossly distorted version of the what the presidents of Russia and Ukraine have said and done.

Ukrainian Volodymyr  Zelensky’s recent statements at the Munich conference centered around the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which welcomed Ukraine’s accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in conjunction with Ukraine’s decision to return to Russia the nuclear weapons left on its territory by the Soviet Union.

In other words, the Budapest Memorandum was expressly about Ukraine giving up its nukes and not becoming a nuclear weapon state in the future. Zelensky’s speech at Munich made it clear that Ukraine was moving to repudiate the Budapest Memorandum; Zelensky essentially stated that Ukraine must be made a member of NATO, otherwise it would acquire nuclear weapons.  

This is what Zelensky said, with emphasis added: 

“I want to believe that the North Atlantic Treaty and Article 5 will be more effective than the Budapest Memorandum.

Ukraine has received security guarantees for abandoning the world’s third nuclear capability [i.e. Ukraine relinquished the Soviet nuclear weapons that had been placed in Ukraine during the Cold War]. We don’t have that weapon. … Therefore, we have something. The right to demand a shift from a policy of appeasement to ensuring security and peace guarantees. 

Since 2014, Ukraine has tried three times to convene consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times without success. . . I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt. . . 

I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt.”

Sanger’s Times article implies that it was a “conspiracy theory” that Zelensky was calling for Ukraine to acquire nuclear weapons. Sanger was not ignorant of the meaning of the Budapest Memorandum, rather he chose to deliberately ignore it and misrepresented the facts. 

President Vladimir Putin, along with the majority of Russians, could not ignore such a threat for a number of historical reasons that The New York Times and ideologues such as Sanger have also chosen to ignore. It is important to list some of those facts, since most Americans are unaware of them, as they have not been reported in the Western mainstream media. Leaving parts of the story out turns Putin into just a madman bent on conquest without any reason to intervene.

First, both the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 in resistance to a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February of that year. The independence vote came just eight days after neo-Nazis burned dozens of ethnic Russians alive in Odessa.  To crush their bid for independence, the new U.S.-installed Ukrainian government then launched an “anti-terrorist” war against the provinces, with the assistance of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which had taken part in the coup. It is a war that is still going on eight years later, a war that Russia has just entered. 

During these eight years, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Azov have used artillery, snipers and assassination teams to systematically butcher more than 5,000 people (another 8,000 were wounded) — mostly civilians — in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, according to the leader of the DPR, who provided these figures in a press conference recently. In the Luhansk People’s Republic, an additional 2,000 civilians were killed and 3,365 injured. The total number of people killed and wounded in Donbass since 2014 is more than 18,000.

This has received at most superficial coverage by The New York Times; it has not been covered by Western corporate media because it does not fit the official Washington narrative that Ukraine is pursuing an “anti-terrorist operation” in its unrelenting attacks on the people of Donbass.  For eight years the war instead has been portrayed as a Russian “invasion,” well before Russia’s current intervention.

Likewise, The New York Times, in its overall coveragechose not to report that the Ukrainian forces had deployed half of its army, about 125,000 troops, to its border with Donbass by the beginning of 2022. 

In other words, acquiring tactical nuclear weapons will be much easier for Ukraine than for some other states I am not going to mention here, which are conducting such research, especially if Kiev receives foreign technological support. We c

The importance of neo-Nazi Right Sektor politicians in the Ukraine government and neo-Nazi militias (such as the Azov Battalion) to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, also goes unreported in the mainstream corporate media.  The Azov battalion flies Nazi flags; they have been trained by teams of U.S. military advisers and praised on Facebook these days. In 2014, Azov was incorporated in the Ukrainian National Guard under the direction of the Interior Ministry.

The Nazis killed something on the order of 27 million Soviets/Russians during World War II (the U.S. lost 404,000). Russia has not forgotten and is extremely sensitive to any threats and violence coming from neo-Nazis. Americans generally do not understand what this means to Russians as the United States has never been invaded.  

So, when the leader of Ukraine essentially threatens to obtain nuclear weapons, this is most certainly considered to be an existential threat to Russia. That is why Putin focused on this during his speech preceding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sanger and The New York Times must discount a Ukrainian nuclear threat; they can get away with doing so because they have systematically omitted news pertaining to this for many years.

Sanger makes a very misleading statement when he writes, “Today Ukraine does not even have the basic infrastructure to produce nuclear fuel.”

Ukraine is not interested in making nuclear fuel — which Ukraine already purchases from the U.S. Ukraine has plenty of plutonium, which is commonly used to make nuclear weapons today; eight years ago Ukraine held more than 50 tons of plutonium in its spent fuel assemblies stored at its many nuclear power plants (probably considerably more today, as the reactors have continued to run and produce spent fuel). Once plutonium is reprocessed/separated from spent nuclear fuel, it becomes weapons usable. Putin noted that Ukraine already has missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, and they certainly have scientists capable of developing reprocessing facilities and building nuclear weapons.

In his Feb. 21 televised address, Putin said Ukraine still has the infrastructure leftover from Soviet days to build a bomb. He said:

“As we know, it has already been stated today that Ukraine intends to create its own nuclear weapons, and this is not just bragging.

Ukraine has the nuclear technologies created back in the Soviet times and delivery vehicles for such weapons, including aircraft, as well as the Soviet-designed Tochka-U precision tactical missiles with a range of over 100 kilometers.

But they can do more; it is only a matter of time. They have had the groundwork for this since the Soviet era.

If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia. We cannot but react to this real danger, all the more so since let me repeat, Ukraine’s Western patrons may help it acquire these weapons to create yet another threat to our country.”

NATO-US Refuse Binding Nuclear Treaties

In his Times piece, Sanger states, “American officials have said repeatedly that they have no plans to place nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”

But the U.S. and NATO have refused to sign legally binding treaties with Russia to this effect. In reality, the U.S. has been making Ukraine a de facto member of NATO, while training and supplying its military forces and conducting joint exercises on Ukrainian territory. Why wouldn’t the U.S. place nuclear weapons in Ukraine — they have already done so at military bases within the borders of five other European members of NATO.  This in fact violates the spirit of the NPT, another issue that Sanger avoids when he notes that Russia has demanded that the U.S. remove nuclear weapons from the European NATO-member states.

For years the U.S. proclaimed that the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) facilities it was placing in Romania and Poland, on the Russian border, were to protect against an “Iranian threat,” even though Iran had no nuclear weapons or missiles that could reach the U.S. But the dual-use Mark 41 launching systems used in the Aegis Ashore BMD facilities can be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, and will be fitted with SM-6 missiles that, if armed with nuclear warheads, could hit Moscow in five-to-six minutes. Putin explicitly warned journalists about this danger in 2016; Russia included the removal of the U.S. BMD facilities in Romania and Poland in its draft treaties presented to the U.S. and NATO last December. 

I wonder if Sanger has ever considered what the U.S. response would be if Russia placed missile launching facilities on the Canadian or Mexican border? Would the U.S. consider that a threat, would it demand that Russia remove them or else the U.S. would use military means to do so?

30 Years Ago 

Sanger states that today Russia takes a “starkly different from the tone Moscow was taking 30 years ago, when Russian nuclear scientists were being voluntarily retrained to use their skills for peaceful purposes.”

Russians would reply that 30 years ago NATO had not moved to Russian borders and was not flooding Ukraine with hundreds of tons of weapons and the U.S. had not yet overthrown the government in Kiev to install an anti-Russian regime.

While the Times is still considered the U.S. “paper of record,” during the last few decades it has devolved into the primary mouthpiece for the official narratives coming from Washington.

There is a real danger to the nation when a free press is replaced with corporate media that stifles and censors dissent. Rather than a free press, we now have a Ministry of Propaganda that acts as an echo chamber for the latest diktats from the White House. The systematic creation of false narratives by corporate media, designed to serve the purposes of the federal government, have so misinformed the American public about world events that we find the nation ready to go to war with Russia. 

This is suicidal course for not only the U.S. and the EU, but for civilization as a whole, because this would likely end in a nuclear war that will destroy all nations and peoples.  

Steven Starr is the former director of the University of Missouri’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program, and former board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  His articles have been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Federation of American Scientists and the Strategic Arms Reduction website of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He maintains the Nuclear Famine website.

March 5, 2022 Posted by | history, media, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Brief summary of Ukraine, background and now

david john, (of http://www.tstga.com) 2 March 22, News Ukraine and News Today, Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. The capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukraine is bordered by Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland and Slovakia to the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south.

Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe, after Russia, with a total area of 603,700 square kilometres (233,100 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe.

The territory of present-day Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following the Partition of Poland in 1772, the western part of Ukraine became a constituent republic of the Russian Empire, while the eastern part remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. A 1917 Russian Revolution led to the establishment of the Soviet Ukraine, which later evolved into the modern Ukraine.

Ukraine declared independence on 24 August 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The country is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, the capital, and Sevastopol, a port city on the Crimean Peninsula.

Ukraine is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, and the Partnership for Peace. It is a founding member of the Community of Independent States (CIS).

A referendum on the future of Crimea was held on 16 March 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans voted in favour of joining Russia. This vote was controversial, with the international community refusing to recognize the results. Ukraine considers the vote to be illegitimate and maintains that Crimea is an integral part of its territory.

The ongoing War in Donbass, which started in April 2014, has caused the deaths of over 10,000 people and has left over 1.6 million internally displaced persons.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | history, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

What You Should REALLY Know About Ukraine

the United States is standing with missiles on our doorstep.” Putin asked, “How would the Americans react if missiles were placed at the border with Canada or Mexico?”

The US Wants to Expand NATO  In addition to integrating Ukraine into the US-dominated economic sphere, Western planners also want to integrate Ukraine militarily. For years, the US has sought the expansion of NATO, an explicitly anti-Russian military alliance. NATO was originally billed as a counterforce to the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, but after the demise of the Soviet Union, the US promised the new Russia that it would not expand NATO east of Germany. Despite this agreement, the US continued building out its military alliance,growing closer and closer to Russia’s borders and ignoring Russia’s objections.

The West Wants Investor-Friendly Policies in Ukraine   The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations

The US Helped Overthrow Ukraine’s Elected President……. US Officials Were Caught Picking the New Government    …

Washington Used Nazis to Help Overthrow the Government   The Washington-backed opposition that toppled the government was fueled by far-right and openly Nazi elements like the Right Sector. One far-right group that grew out of the protests was the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary militia of neo-Nazi extremists.

What You Should Really Know About Ukraine   https://fair.org/home/what-you-should-really-know-about-ukraine/, BRYCE GREENE  28 Jan 22, As tensions began to rise over Ukraine, US media produced a stream of articles attempting to explain the situation with headlines like “Ukraine Explained” (New York Times12/8/21) and “What You Need to Know About Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia” (Washington Post11/26/21). Sidebars would have notes that tried to provide context for the current headlines. But to truly understand this crisis, you would need to know much more than what these articles offered.These “explainer” pieces are emblematic of Ukraine coverage in the rest of corporate media, which almost universally gave a pro-Western view of US/Russia relations and the history behind them. Media echoed the point of view of those who believe the US should have an active role in Ukrainian politics and enforce its perspective through military threats.

The official line goes something like this: Russia is challenging NATO and the “international rules-based order” by threatening to invade Ukraine, and the Biden administration needed to deter Russia by providing more security guarantees to the Zelensky government. The official account seizes on Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as a starting point for US/Russian relations, and as evidence of Putin’s goals of rebuilding Russia’s long-lost empire.

Russia’s demand that NATO cease its expansion to Russia’s borders is viewed as such an obviously impossible demand that it can only be understood as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Therefore, the US should send weapons and troops to Ukraine, and guarantee its security with military threats to Russia (FAIR.org1/15/22).

Continue reading

February 10, 2022 Posted by | history, media, politics international, Reference, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear incidents and meltdowns – far more than we realised

THe diagram above is quite inadequate. Read on.

Incidents AND MELTDOWNS AND THERE ARE FAR MORE THAN WE REALISED
FUKUSHIMA
CHERNOBYL SELLAFIELD THE INLAND SANTA SUSANA FIRES SANTA SUSANNA MELTDOWNS. INCIDENTS ANS WILDFIRES AT LOS ALAMOS
WILD FIRES AT HANFORD
THE GREEN RUN
THE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN IN 1969 IN SWITZERLAND
The recent chinese reactor nuclear incident.

INCIDENTS 1957 to 2011

with multiple fatalitIies

September 29, 1957 Mayak, Kyshtym, Soviet Union The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination accident (after a chemical explosion that occurred within a storage tank) at Mayak, a Nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union.

October 10, 1957 Sellafield, Cumberland, United Kingdom Windscale fire was a fire at the British atomic bomb project (in a plutonium-production-reactor) damaged the core and released an estimated 740 terabecquerels of iodine-131 into the environment. A rudimentary smoke filter constructed over the main outlet chimney successfully prevented a far worse radiation leak.

MarchJuly 1959 ,  Santa Susana Field Lab ,  Western San Fernando Valley, USA. At least four of the ten nuclear reactors suffered accidents incl Partial meltdown, 1964, 1969 further accidents

January 3, 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States Explosion at SL-1 prototype at the National Reactor Testing Station. All 3 operators were killed when a control rod was removed too far.

October 5, 1966 Frenchtown Charter Township, Michigan, United States Meltdown of some fuel elements in the Fermi 1 Reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. Little radiation leakage into the environment

January 21, 1969 Lucens reactor, Vaud, Switzerland On January 21, 1969, it suffered a loss-of-coolant accident, leading to meltdown of one fuel element and radioactive contamination of the cavern, which before was sealed.
December 7, 1975 Greifswald, East Germany Electrical error in Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps

January 5, 1976 Jaslovské Bohunice, Czechoslovakia Malfunction during fuel replacement. Fuel rod ejected from reactor into the reactor hall by coolant

March 28, 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, United States Loss of coolant and partial core meltdown due to operator errors and technical flaws. There is a small release of radioactive gases.

September 15, 1984 Athens, Alabama, United States Safety violations, operator error and design problems force a six-year outage at Browns Ferry Unit 2

March 9, 1985 Athens, Alabama, United States Instrumentation systems malfunction during startup, which led to suspension of operations at all three Browns Ferry

April 11, 1986 Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States Recurring equipment problems force emergency shutdown of Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power

April 26, 1986 Chernobyl, Chernobyl Raion (Now Ivankiv Raion), Kiev Oblast, Ukraininan SSR, Soviet Union A flawed reactor design and inadequate safety procedures led to a power surge that damaged the fuel rods of reactor no. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant. This caused an explosion and meltdown, necessitating the evacuation of 300,000 people and dispersing radioactive material across Europe (see Effects of the Chernobyl disaster).
Around 5% (5200 PBq) of the core was released into the atmosphere and downwind.

May 4, 1986 Hamm-Uentrop, West Germany Experimental THTR-300 reactor releases small amounts of fission products (0.1 GBq Co-60, Cs-137, Pa-233) to surrounding area 0 267
December 9, 1986 Surry, Virginia, United States Feedwater pipe break at Surry Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers 4
March 31, 1987 Delta, Pennsylvania, United States Peach Bottom units 2 and 3 shutdown due to cooling malfunctions and unexplained equipment problems 0 400

December 19, 1987 Lycoming, New York, United States Malfunctions force Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to shut down Nine Mile Point Unit 1 0 150
March 17, 1989 Lusby, Maryland, United States Inspections at Calvert Cliff Units 1 and 2 reveal cracks at pressurized heater sleeves

October 19, 1989 Vandellòs, Spain A fire damaged the cooling system in unit 1 of the Vandellòs nuclear power plant, getting the core close to meltdown. The cooling system was restored before the meltdown but the unit had to be shut down due to the elevated cost of the repair

March 1992 Sosnovyi Bor, Leningrad Oblast, Russia An accident at the Sosnovy Bor nuclear plant leaked radioactive iodine into the air through a ruptured fuel channel.

February 20, 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, United States Leaking valve forces shutdown Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2, multiple equipment failures found 0 254
September 2, 1996 Crystal River, Florida, United States Balance-of-plant equipment malfunction forces shutdown and extensive repairs at Crystal River

September 30, 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan Tokaimura nuclear accident killed two workers, and exposed one more to radiation levels above permissible limits.

February 16, 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, United States Severe corrosion of reactor vessel head forces 24-month outage of Davis-Besse reactor

April 10, 2003 Paks, Hungary Collapse of fuel rods at Paks Nuclear Power Plant unit 2 during its corrosion cleaning led to leakage of radioactive gases. It remained inactive for 18 months.

August 9, 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan Steam explosion at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers and injures 7

July 25, 2006 Forsmark, Sweden An electrical fault at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant caused multiple failures in safety systems that had the reactor to cool down

March 11, 2011 3 meltdowns Fukushima, Japan A tsunami flooded and damaged the plant’s 3 active reactors, drowning two workers. Loss of backup electrical power led to overheating, meltdowns, and evacuations.] One man died suddenly while carrying equipment during the clean-up. The plant’s reactors Nr. 4, 5 and 6 were inactive at the time.

September 12, 2011 Marcoule, France One person was killed and four injured, one seriously, in a blast at the Marcoule Nuclear Site. The explosion took place in a furnace used to melt metallic waste.

And this is the tip of the iceberg

January 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history, incidents, Reference | Leave a comment

Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro  

Anniversary Of The Night Nuclear Bombs Fell Near Goldsboro   https://www.goldsborodailynews.com/2022/01/24/anniversary-of-the-night-nuclear-bombs-fell-near-goldsboro/January 24, 2022 Ken Conners

It’s the 61st anniversary of the big bang that, fortunately, never happened.

Around midnight on January 24th, 1961, a B-52G aircraft based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base experienced a fuel leak and broke up in midair over Wayne County.

Five crewmen were able to successfully eject or bail out of the aircraft, but three did not survive the crash.

Two Mark 39 nuclear bombs being carried on the bomber plummeted to the earth, landing with the wreckage in the farmlands of Faro, about 12 miles north of Goldsboro.

Declassified information eventually showed one of the bombs came very close to detonating with 3 of 4 arming mechanisms being tripped in the crash.    One of the bombs was recovered while portions of the second sank into a muddy field never to be seen again.

January 25, 2022 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference | Leave a comment

We the People: What led to the Cold War?

We the People: What led to the Cold War? Fear of nuclear weapons annihilating all life on Earth, for one thing https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/dec/19/we-the-people-what-led-to-the-cold-war-fear-of-nuc/ 19 Dec 21   By Pip CawleyFor The Spokesman-Review

Each week, The Spokesman-Review examines one question from the Naturalization Test immigrants must pass to become United States citizens.

Today’s question: During the Cold War, what was one main concern of the United States?

There are two official answers to this question. One is that the U.S. was concerned about the spread of communism. The other is that the U.S. was concerned with the possibility of nuclear war. The myriad ways the fear of communism influenced the United States are too numerous and complex for this brief article.

Instead, I want to discuss the fear of nuclear war. It is easy to forget that since the invention and proliferation of nuclear weapons, we now have the technology available to exterminate our entire species. The fear of nuclear war was ever-present and influenced every aspect of American life. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the celebrated author William Faulkner stated, “Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up?”

Let’s discuss how we got to this point.

The Cold War, so named because the two major powers, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, never “heated up” or fought open war in Europe, lasted from 1945 to 1990.

Some historians argue the Cold War started during the end of World War II and that the use of the first nuclear weapons on Japan was intended, among other things, to intimidate the Soviets.

The Cold War impacted not just military concerns but was a ubiquitous concern for everyday Americans. A real fear of nuclear war was ever-present in American society. Government-backed films like “The Red Menace” reminded the public of the threat of nuclear war, and families built bomb shelters in their yards and basements.

Schools practiced drills where children were taught to hide under their desks in the case of nuclear war. Obviously, a small desk won’t protect a child from nuclear bombs, but it was part of what is called “security theater.” Security theater is the performance of security or safety measures that realistically do nothing to increase the individual’s safety but give a small sense of control and comfort. They are doing something, and even if what they’re doing is useless, it still helps them feel better.

In reality, there is nothing we could do to protect ourselves from the devastation nuclear weapons bring. Those not killed in the blast instead die of radiation exposure. If enough nuclear weapons are detonated, it will cause a nuclear winter in which the sun’s rays are blocked by clouds of dust and debris. Without warmth from the sun, temperatures on Earth would radically drop, killing all plant and animal life on the planet. This was, and still is, a new and frightening reality.

We arrived at this new reality thanks to what is called the arms race. The U.S. and the USSR sought to get or maintain a technological and tactical advantage over each other. Both countries invested immense amounts of resources to develop new and more powerful weapons. For example, if the U.S. built one aircraft carrier, the USSR would build two, which would prompt the U.S. to build three more even larger aircraft carriers, and so on. The constant one-upmanship of the arms race led to the development of nuclear weapons, first in the U.S. and then in the USSR.

Eventually, these stockpiles of weapons became so large that the two countries each had the capability of destroying all human life on Earth. If one country attacked, the other would retaliate and the conflict could eventually escalate to the use of nuclear weapons, which would then lead to our own extinction.

For that reason, the two countries agreed not to directly attack each other in what is called Mutually Assured Destruction.

Since neither side wanted to end all life on Earth, they agreed not to directly attack each other. This kept an all-out war from breaking out between the two countries.

They did wage proxy wars against each other all over the globe. The U.S. and the USSR demanded that other countries pick a side, theirs or their enemy’s. The USSR expanded its sphere of influence toward Europe, drawing an Iron Curtain across the territory.

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and spent 10 years fighting for control of the country. On the other hand, the U.S. invaded Korea and later Vietnam in order to prevent the countries from “falling to communism.” Meanwhile, the push for decolonization in Africa led to armed conflicts, often funded or supplied by one of the major powers. In Iran and several South American countries, clandestine plans and espionage were used to unseat governmental leaders, some of whom were democratically elected, and replace them with new leaders who would be friendly to U.S. interests.

Today, the U.S. and Russia possess the most nuclear weapons, and despite disarmament treaties and downsizing of stockpiles, both still possess enough nuclear devices to destroy the planet several times over. In the years since the Cold War ended, other countries have obtained nuclear capabilities. There are nine countries with nuclear weapons; some others are seeking to obtain their own.

While fear of nuclear war no longer influences our daily lives, as it did during the Cold War, it remains a real concern in international relations.

Pip Cawley received her Ph.D. in political science from Washington State University in Pullman.  This article is part of a Spokesman-Review partnership with the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University

December 20, 2021 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How Bodega Head almost ended up with a nuclear power plant – but a resistant commmunity won.


How Bodega Head almost ended up with a nuclear power plant,  
https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/how-bodega-head-almost-ended-up-with-a-nuclear-power-plant/. TOM AUSTIN. November 8, 2021   Bodega Bay, and nearby Bodega, have deeper histories than most Sonoma County towns. Being a pristine, protected natural harbor will do that for you. Bodega Bay was nearly the landing spot for Sir Francis Drake, although recent finds have pretty conclusively held that Drake’s Bay in nearby Pt. Reyes is properly named. Bodega Bay was named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, an explorer for the Spanish Navy –except where HE landed was nearby Tomales Bay. And of course both seaside hamlets are famous for being the locale for the classic Hitchcock thriller “The Birds.”

However, the most significant happening in Bodega Bay is of much more modern vintage. In 1958, four full years before Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” ignited the modern environmental movement, PG&E was planning the world’s first commercially viable nuclear power plant. In an absolutely characteristic example of Big Power’s public instincts, they had chosen scenic Bodega Head as the location for this Atomic Age wonder. “What could go wrong?” they chirped. “Nuclear power is clean, safe and limitless!”

Of course, it wasn’t just scenic wonder at stake here. Bodega Head, as most people know, is within spitting distance of the San Andreas Fault (running along the shoreward side of the bay), and even closer to two smaller faults straddling Bodega Head itself.

The full story of the fight over the Bodega Head nuclear plant would be book-length, so please pardon my brevity here. The cast of characters are timeless: on the “pro” side: PG&E itself, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and nuclear advocates across political spectra (at the time, nuclear was considered by many environmentalists to be less damaging than, for example, hydroelectric power from dams). On the “con” side was the whole spectrum: The Sierra Club (or at least factions within it) was concerned about the loss of a wild and scenic place: the local ranchers and fishermen were concerned about the dangers to their livelihood; the nascent New Left that started gaining steam in the early ‘60s were concerned about the antidemocratic nature of the pro-business, pro-development organizations pushing for the plant.

The fight was long, protracted and dirty. From 1958 to 1962, as opposition was just coalescing, PG&E continued planning and started building, getting a series of approvals and permits from apparently compliant state and local governments. The building for the main reactor, located on the harbor side of the Head, included a 70-foot-deep circular pit. As construction continued, the opponents were educating far and wide about the dangers of nuclear power, the earthquake danger, the thermal effects on local fisheries and more. In 1962, “Silent Spring” was published, and the environmental movement grew ever faster: musicians were performing at benefits and writing anti-nuclear songs. However, it was the earthquake danger that eventually served as the deal-breaker: UC Berkeley Conservation Editor David Pesonen, one of the leaders of the opposition, hired Geologist Pierre Saint-Amand to consult on the suitability of the proposed plant site. Saint-Amand found a “spectacular” earthquake fault slicing directly through the deep pit. His testimony that “a worse foundation condition… would be difficult to envision.” His argument was the tipping point, as political supporters started peeling away from PG&E, who at length threw in the towel and suspended construction in October 1963.

What remains at the site today is a quiet spot favored by songbirds. Rainwater filled the pit and turned it into a pond. The rest, you know: when you spot whales at the Head, or walk the trails nearby. If you venture a little bit north, you find the Kortum trail, named after local environmentalist Bill Kortum (1927-2014), one of many citizen leaders of the fight. The reverberations are still being felt today.

November 9, 2021 Posted by | history, opposition to nuclear, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Maralinga – ushered in Australia’s nuclear age

A picture in time: Maralinga, the blinding flash that ushered in Australia’s atomic age.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/27/a-picture-in-time-maralinga-when-the-atomic-age-reached-australia

Nuclear tests conducted in South Australia from 1956 resulted in swaths of countryside obliterated and decades of highly contaminated land.

The atomic age reached Maralinga with a blinding flash. At 5pm on 27 September 1956, a 15-kilotonne atomic device was detonated at the site in the western plains of South Australia.

The ensuing blast had as much explosive strength as the weapon which fell on Hiroshima 11 years earlier.

More than a decade after that horror struck Japan, Australia had become tangled up in the UK’s nuclear testing program, which saw swaths of countryside obliterated to further the nuclear arms race.

The atomic test at Maralinga was carried out by the British government as part of Operation Buffalo, run by the UK’s Atomic Weapons Research establishment.

In the moments after the detonation, RAAF personnel flew through the mushroom cloud to carry out tests with little instruction or protective equipment to shield them from the radiation.

For the next seven years, major and minor nuclear tests were carried out at Maralinga. The minor tests led to contamination of the area with plutonium-239, which has a radioactive half-life of 24,000 years.

Prior to the test, very little effort was put into finding and notifying the Anangu Pitjantjatjara people who lived on the land. In addition to the obvious immediate dangers of nuclear fallout in the area, the Indigenous community would endure the long term hazards of poisoned land and water for more than thirty years.

Maralinga was not the first nuclear weapons test conducted on Australian soil. Three years earlier, on 3 October 1952, Britain detonated a nuclear weapon on the Montebello Islands off the coast of Western Australia.

A further two detonations were carried out at Emu Field. Britain moved the testing site to Maralinga after previous locations were deemed to be too remote for nuclear weapons tests.

When Maralinga was eventually closed as a testing site in 1967, the British government began the process of cleaning the 3,200 sq km of contaminated land.

By 1968, the Australian and British governments agreed that Britain has successfully decontaminated the area by covering contaminated debris in concrete and ploughing the plutonium-laden soil into the ground.

In 1984, as the land was slated to be returned to the Tjarutja people, scientists found the land was still highly contaminated.

Nine years later, in 1993, following a royal commission, and after mounting pressure, the British government agreed to pay a portion of the estimated $101m cleanup cost.

It wasn’t until 1994, 38 years after the initial blast, that the Australian government paid $13.5m to the Indigenous people of Maralinga as compensation for what had been done to the land.

September 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, indigenous issues, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Maralinga – ushered in Australia’s nuclear age

A picture in time: Maralinga, the blinding flash that ushered in Australia’s atomic age.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/27/a-picture-in-time-maralinga-when-the-atomic-age-reached-australia

Nuclear tests conducted in South Australia from 1956 resulted in swaths of countryside obliterated and decades of highly contaminated land.

The atomic age reached Maralinga with a blinding flash. At 5pm on 27 September 1956, a 15-kilotonne atomic device was detonated at the site in the western plains of South Australia.

The ensuing blast had as much explosive strength as the weapon which fell on Hiroshima 11 years earlier.

More than a decade after that horror struck Japan, Australia had become tangled up in the UK’s nuclear testing program, which saw swaths of countryside obliterated to further the nuclear arms race.

The atomic test at Maralinga was carried out by the British government as part of Operation Buffalo, run by the UK’s Atomic Weapons Research establishment.

In the moments after the detonation, RAAF personnel flew through the mushroom cloud to carry out tests with little instruction or protective equipment to shield them from the radiation.

For the next seven years, major and minor nuclear tests were carried out at Maralinga. The minor tests led to contamination of the area with plutonium-239, which has a radioactive half-life of 24,000 years.

Prior to the test, very little effort was put into finding and notifying the Anangu Pitjantjatjara people who lived on the land. In addition to the obvious immediate dangers of nuclear fallout in the area, the Indigenous community would endure the long term hazards of poisoned land and water for more than thirty years.

Maralinga was not the first nuclear weapons test conducted on Australian soil. Three years earlier, on 3 October 1952, Britain detonated a nuclear weapon on the Montebello Islands off the coast of Western Australia.

A further two detonations were carried out at Emu Field. Britain moved the testing site to Maralinga after previous locations were deemed to be too remote for nuclear weapons tests.

When Maralinga was eventually closed as a testing site in 1967, the British government began the process of cleaning the 3,200 sq km of contaminated land.

By 1968, the Australian and British governments agreed that Britain has successfully decontaminated the area by covering contaminated debris in concrete and ploughing the plutonium-laden soil into the ground.

In 1984, as the land was slated to be returned to the Tjarutja people, scientists found the land was still highly contaminated.

Nine years later, in 1993, following a royal commission, and after mounting pressure, the British government agreed to pay a portion of the estimated $101m cleanup cost.

It wasn’t until 1994, 38 years after the initial blast, that the Australian government paid $13.5m to the Indigenous people of Maralinga as compensation for what had been done to the land.

September 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, indigenous issues, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Cold War near disasters at RAF Lakenheath could have left Suffolk as a nuclear wasteland

Boeing B-47B rocket-assisted take off on April 15, 1954. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Cold War near disasters at RAF Lakenheath could have left Suffolk as a nuclear wasteland https://www.suffolknews.co.uk/mildenhall/go-anywhere-just-get-away-from-here-how-suffolk-almost-9215663/ By Dan Barker – dan.barker@iliffepublishing.co.uk , 13 September 2021  During the height of the Cold War nuclear bombs were dotted across the country, ready to wipe the USSR off the face of the map at a moment’s notice: but, on two separate occasions, Suffolk almost became victim to the very weapons which were meant to protect it.

July 27, 1956 was like any other summer’s day. Across the country attention was glued to the Ashes fourth test at Old Trafford, and four American airmen were in a B-47 bomber, on a routine training mission from RAF Lakenheath.  But, as they were practising touch-and-go landings, their bomber careered out of control and went off the runway.

it ploughed into an igloo containing three Mark-6 nuclear weapons, tearing the building apart.

The plane then

exploded, killing all four men on board, and showered the world-ending weapons with burning aviation fuel.

Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo. “Preliminary exam by bomb disposal officers says a miracle that one Mark Six with exposed detonators sheared didn’t go. Firefighters extinguished fire around Mark Sixes fast.” – Telegram from RAF Lakenheath to Washington DC

Fortunately the atomic power of the bomb was missing that day, with the cores un-installed in all three for storage, but the explosives needed to trigger the deadly nuclear reaction were still in place.

With 8,000 pounds of high explosives combined with depleted uranium-238, they were a nuclear ticking time bomb as firefighters fought to put out the blaze.

Had they exploded the radioactive uranium would have been scattered over a wide area, and, depending on the wind, tens of thousands of people would have been at risk from the toxic dust across Suffolk.

Knowing the enormity of the situation base fire chief Master Sgt L. H. Dunn ordered his crew to ignore the burning wreckage of the bomber, and the airman inside, and douse the flames engulfing the nuclear storage building.

At the time it had been shrouded in secrecy, but decades later one senior US officer made it very clear how lucky Suffolk was to have narrowly missed out on a nuclear disaster.  “It is possible that part of Eastern England would have become a desert,” the then former officer told Omaha World Herald in Nebraska, who revealed the potentially catastrophic incident in November 1979.

Another said that “disaster was averted by tremendous heroism, good fortune and the will of God”.

A top secret telegram sent to Washington DC from the base, which has since been revealed, told of the near miss. “Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo.

Another said that “disaster was averted by tremendous heroism, good fortune and the will of God”.

A top secret telegram sent to Washington DC from the base, which has since been revealed, told of the near miss. “Most of A/C [Aircraft] wreckage pivoted on igloo and came to rest with A/C nose just beyond igloo bank which kept main fuel fire outside smashed igloo.

Suffolk was lucky this time, but the incident caused great alarm in the British government, and it was decided it would try and block US authorities from ordering base evacuations because of the concern of causing mass panic in the country.

But what would happen if word got out that its most important ally had, almost, accidentally, made a huge part of the United Kingdom a nuclear wasteland?

Simple: Its policy for decades, if the press ever caught wind of the near miss, was to just deny it. After the news was broken in the American press in 1979, only then was it acknowledged something happened.

On November 5 that year the US Air Force and the Ministry of Defence would only admit the B-47 did crash.

In fact it took until 1996, some four decades after the near disaster, for the British state to accept the true scale of the accident in public.

But that near miss wasn’t the only one.

For on January 16, 1961, an F-100 Super Sabre, loaded with a Mark 28 hydrogen bomb caught on fire after the pilot jettisoned his fuel tanks when he switched his engines on.

As they hit the concrete runway the fuel ignited and engulfed the nuclear weapon – a 70 kilotons – and left it “scorched and blistered”.

Suffolk was saved again by the brave work of base firefighters who brought the blaze under control before the bomb’s high explosive detonated or its arming components activated.

T

errifyingly it was later discovered by American engineers that a flaw in the wiring of Mark 28 hydrogen bombs could allow prolonged heat to circumvent the safety mechanisms and trigger a nuclear explosion.

Had it gone, thousands of people would be dead within seconds, and thousands more would have been injured. As with the first incident, as well as the immediate blast, radioactive debris could have fallen in towns as far away as Ipswich and Lowestoft, given the right wind direction, spreading the toxic dust across Suffolk.

Since Clement Attlee ordered the scientists to investigate the creation of a nuclear bomb in August 1945, the British state has known that being a nuclear power comes with risk as well as reward.

It also knew it paid to be part of a nuclear alliance,

NATO, and with it came American nuclear bombs and the risk they brought.


Beyond the maths of working out how large the explosion would have been, it is impossible to know the true implications.

RAF Lakenheath was listed as a probable target for Soviet attack according to now released Cold War era documents, and intelligence agencies and war planners expected two 500 kiloton missiles to hit the site if the West was under attack.

Disaster creates uncertainty. Nobody would have known it was an accident within the minutes and hours after a blast, they would have just been dragged into a nuclear bunker and told of a large explosion at an airbase in Suffolk.

Where would that have left a British prime minister, an American president, and the rest of NATO, thinking they have come under attack?

In July 1956, and again in January 1961, those firefighters didn’t just save Suffolk … they might have saved the world.

September 14, 2021 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Inventor of video games was also part of developing atomic bomb – later opposing it.

If nothing else, William Higinbotham was a man with range Kotaku.com ByJohn Walker ”…………….. . In 1958 the American physicist 

William Higinbotham learned that the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s fancy new computer, the Donner Model 30, could simulate trajectories with wind resistance. So, like any good scientist, he figured, “Hey, I’ll invent video games.” Teaming up with Robert V Dvorak, three weeks later they’d done exactly that, creating a little tennis sim drawn in green lines on the circular oscilloscope screen. It was a hit at the lab’s annual public exhibition.

……..   some 25 years earlier, he’d been part of the damn Manhattan Project, heading a group involved in building the first ever atomic bomb.During World War II: Germany Strikes Back, Higinbotham was working at the infamous Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was in charge of the electronics department. He led a team that created the electronic triggers for those first A-bombs. However, as his 1994 New York Times obituary points out, Higinbotham very quickly went on to establish the Federation of American Scientists, a group that lobbied for tight controls over nuclear weapons. He spent the rest of his career campaigning for nuclear nonproliferation……….. https://kotaku.com/nuclear-bombs-and-video-games-were-created-by-the-same-1847481382

August 14, 2021 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment