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BBC embarrassed at furore after it reported a “nuclear attack warning”

BBC forced to deny reporting outbreak of nuclear war after fake news clip goes viral Telegraph UK,  

The BBC was last night forced to distance itself from a fake news clip reporting the outbreak of nuclear war after a video purporting to show hostilities between Russia and Nato was widely circulated online.

The three-minute clip, which appears to be set in the BBC News studio and uses the BBC logo, features a British presenter claiming armed conflict has broken out in the Baltic after a Russian aircraft was shot down.

It features footage of Russian naval ships launching cruise missiles, nuclear mushroom clouds, and shows the Queen being evacuated from Buckingham Palace.

 “This video clip claiming to be a BBC news report about NATO and Russia has been circulating widely… We’d like to make absolutely clear that it’s a fake and does not come from the BBC,” the corporation said on Twitter.

The clip is a shortened version of an hour-long video that has been uploaded to YouTube several times since 2016 with the disclaimer that it is a “fictional dramatization.”

It began widely circulating on social media, particularly WhatsApp, after it was edited and re-uploaded to YouTube on Monday without that disclaimer.

The video also features a new ending purporting to be a “nuclear attack warning” with the logos of the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.

 The presenter of the video told The Daily Telegraph he was employed by Benchmarking Assessment Group, an Irish talent headhunting company, to shoot the video that would be used as a “psychometric test” to see how “their clients react in a disaster scenario”.

“From the original YouTube posting it says very clearly that it is fictional. You’d have to be an idiot to believe it anyway, it doesn’t even look like a genuine BBC news report. It was never meant to,” said Mark Ryes, a British voice actor……..

The BBC said it felt the need to respond after its journalists were contacted by viewers who believed the video could be real. …….https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/19/bbc-denies-reporting-outbreak-nuclear-war/

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April 20, 2018 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

Helen Caldicott speaks frankly about the media, nuclear weapons, future prospects

 Interview A conversation with Helen Caldicott From the forthcoming issue (May 2018)Taylor and Francis online, 17 Apr 18
 “…………Helen Caldicott:

Yeah, though I think the election was about racism and the fact that CNN and Foxput Trump on for free for hours and hours and hours, because it sold a lot of Viagra and hemorrhoid cream. And they acknowledged that. They said he’s good for business.

There was one occasion when CNN and Fox were looking at an empty stage for about half an hour waiting for him to appear, and there’s Bernie Sanders with an audience of tens of thousands and they never paid any attention to that. Now that’s evil. The networks put Trump in. Not the Russians, whose role was minor in comparison – bad as it was.

Why don’t people write about that? It’s so obvious.

Dan Drollette:

Do you have any suggestions about what could be done …

Helen Caldicott:

Well the media should not be used just to sell stuff. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that the media itself has become a product, and no longer a public service. And the person who’s led this approach is Rupert Murdoch, of News Corporation [parent company of Fox News]. I keep wishing that he would shuffle off this mortal coil, but his mother lived to 101.

Dan Drollette:

Speaking of the media, Ira Helfand said that he feels that there is a strong prejudice in the media towards the idea that nuclear weapons are here to stay. In his words, there is a “dogma among some elements of the press” that even talking about eliminating nuclear weapons is unrealistic. And he said it’s a perception he’s always fighting. Do you think that that’s true?

Helen Caldicott:

I do. And more than that, I think that there’s an attitude that my nuclear stockpile has to be bigger than yours; I even wrote a book called Missile Envy, a la Freud. And

the generals in the Pentagon hated it, but they all had a copy on their book shelf.

And it really is very sexual: They talk about missile erectors, soft lay downs, deep penetration, hard lines and soft lines. And they talk about this like this in front of women, with no sense of embarrassment at all. The missiles are penile surrogates.

Some of the jokes in the movie Dr. Strangelove were not much of an exaggeration. After Dan Ellsberg saw it, he said it was like a documentary. It wasn’t fiction.

It would be hilarious except it’s scary as hell.

Dan Drollette:

Speaking of movies, you were 19 years old when you saw On the Beach. Considering that this is International Women’s month, do you have any suggestions you’d like to make to any 19-year-old women out there?

Helen Caldicott:

Yes, they should watch my film, If You Love This Planet(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FjgBBQFmGs). It is 30 minutes long, it was made by the Canadian Film Board, and it won an Oscar for short documentary. But it says everything that anyone needs to know. The haircuts are different because it was made about 30 years ago, but that film cracks people’s psychic numbing.

Dan Drollette:

So you want them to watch films like that, and become more aware of what the issues are?

Helen Caldicott:

If they want to survive they have to know what the story is. And then they have to use their democracy. They have to vote, and they have to run for Congress. And one thing that heartens me is that very many women at the moment are running for Congress. Because in 1978, I started what’s called the Women’s Party for Survival. Because I noticed that although 52 percent of us are women and we have the nurturing hormones, and we have no power. The organization has changed names a few times, but it encourages and helps women run for Congress. And it’s quite powerful.

Dan Drollette:

Okay. Just a couple more questions. What do you think are the prospects for the future? Do you think there’s a lot more nuclear saber-rattling lately? Are things getting worse?

Helen Caldicott:

Yes. And I don’t think … I’d never say this in public, but I don’t think we’re going to make it, Dan.

Dan Drollette:

Seriously?

Helen Caldicott:

My prognosis is grim.

Dan Drollette:

Seriously? I would like to put you on the record for this, if that’s okay.

Helen Caldicott:

(pause) Yeah, okay. That’s my prognosis as a physician, and as someone who really knows about the subject inside-out and back-to-front.

Dan Drollette:

I just want to repeat that. Your prognosis is that we’re not going to make it?

Helen Caldicott:

Yep.

Dan Drollette:

Wow.

Helen Caldicott:

Well, certainly from global warming, but I’m now talking about nuclear holocaust. And I don’t … In fact if you look at the record and the number of mistakes that have been made and errors, I actually don’t know how or why we are still here. Looking at it as a physician, collating all the data, etcetera, I don’t actually understand how we are still here.

Dan Drollette:

You’re thinking of all those mistakes? Flights of geese that were mistaken as incoming flights of B-52 bombers? The accidental dropping of bombs off Palomares in Spain and other places? The belligerent tweets and whatnot by people like Trump? That’s the kind of thing that you’re thinking about?

Helen Caldicott:

Yes. And there are so many other examples. I’ve put some of them in one of my books, The New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial Complex. For example, in 1995, America launched a weather satellite from Norway. They had informed the Kremlin that this was going to happen but the Kremlin lost the data, because the Russians are pretty hopeless when you deal with them. So often they have interviewed me and then the camera didn’t work, so they had to do it again.

So, the Kremlin lost the data, they saw this missile go up, and they thought: “America’s launched a weapon from a Trident just off the coast.” And for the first time ever, the [Russian nuclear] football was opened.

Yeltsin was in charge – a hardened alcoholic – and he had three generals over his shoulder, he had three minutes to decide whether or not to launch, and the generals were advising him to launch. And at the last minute, about three seconds before it was going to hit, it veered off in another direction and they closed the football.

Now that is not the only situation. There have been many such situations, but they don’t really get reported. But this is what’s going on a lot. How is it that we’re still here? They only have seconds to decide.

Dan Drollette:

Is it a sudden burst of rationality at the last minute? Luck?

Helen Caldicott:

Luck. It’s pure, pure luck. Especially when you consider that America won’t rule out a first-strike policy: the idea that you can decapitate Moscow and take out all their nuclear missiles, so what the Russians saw on their radar was in line with an American attack.

And the Russians don’t want to lose a nuclear war, because they’ve got the same mentality. So they’ve got a system called the “Dead Hand” – essentially a system based in a deep underground bunker in the Ural Mountains that allows them to launch a missile that tells their other missiles to launch before the American missiles can land. In other words, it was an automatic system that would allow the Russians to strike back with nuclear weapons even if the Kremlin leadership was decapitated. One of the Russian who oversaw and designed the installation of the system later revealed it to the Western press.

Dan Drollette:

It sounds a lot like the plot-line of the imaginary “Doomsday Machine” in Dr. Strangelove.

Helen Caldicott:

Yeah, but this is for real. Let me send you information about it; I’ve got it somewhere here on my bookshelf. The author came to Australia, and he was such a lovely man. And I took him out to my daughter’s and he stayed there, and he just fell in love with Australia and the surfing beaches and the lifestyle.

[Editor’s note: Nearly a decade after the Dead Hand system was installed, Russian military specialist Col. Valery Yarynich shared details with Bruce Blair of the Brookings Institution; with Blair’s help, Yarynich published a book about it in 2003, titled C3: Nuclear Command, Control, Cooperation. When Yarynich was asked by a reporter why he chose to speak so openly and candidly to the West, Yarynich informed him that “it was utter stupidity to keep the Dead Hand secret; such a retaliatory system was useful as a deterrent only if your adversary knew about it.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/valery-varynich-the-man-who-told-of-the-soviets-doomsday-machine/2012/12/20/147f3644-4613-11e2-8061-253bccfc7532_story.html)]

Dan Drollette:

Okay, sounds good. Before we sign off, I do have to ask you: Do you ever get discouraged? And if so, how do you deal with it?

Helen Caldicott:

Well, I’m going to be 80 this year. And I was going to write one more book, called Why Men Kill and Why Women Let Them. But I think I won’t write it.

I actually personally have been a bit depressed, and I think it’s because when I look at the world and what is happening, it’s very, very, very grim. Trump is dismembering the infrastructure of America. There are terrible things happening around the world, and I just think we’re out of control.

Previously, I’d always felt that I should educate people and take action, and that I must practice global preventive medicine.

When I wrote If You Love This Planet back in 1991 – a book about global warming, toxic pollution, deforestation, overpopulation, the whole thing – I had a sort of notion that everyone would read it and they would stop global warming and everything. But, of course they didn’t… You have to get the majority of people to understand where things are, so that they can use their democracy to change things. But if you’ve got an uneducated population on everything, then our society really is sleepwalking on its way to Armageddon.

Though I do take heart from what happened in the ‘80s. Within five years, 80 percent of Americans were opposed to the notion of nuclear war. Now that was the second American revolution. It was peaceful, sagacious, and it was a revolution of thinking, it was really amazing. And it laid the groundwork for some amazing things; the movement helped lead Reagan meeting with Gorbachev. Two mere mortals met over a weekend, and they almost agreed to abolish nuclear weapons. So it’s not impossible.

Dan Drollette:

So hopefully we can get a reprise of the ‘80s kind of thing?

Helen Caldicott:

Well, hopefully you’ve got leaders who will lead, and who are inspirational, and who can corral this technical jargon down to lay language so that ordinary people can understand that their lives and the lives of their children are in great danger.

Dan Drollette:

Were there any last comments that you wanted to make before I sign off?

Helen Caldicott:

If you want me to be really frank, I sometimes feel that my life has been a failure. That we almost did get to a point to eliminate nuclear weapons, but it hasn’t happened. So, I want on my tombstone the words: “She tried.”

And while getting the number of nuclear weapons down from 70,000 to 15,000 is good, we have to go farther. And we can’t settle for half-measures, like getting the number down to 1,000 nuclear weapons – even 1,000 bombs dropping on 100 cities would cause nuclear winter and the end of our life on Earth. So, we need to get our data straight. One thousand bombs on 100 cities equals annihilation. Counting the numbers is just silly. It’s like saying: “How many metastases of a melanoma do you need before you die” sort of thing.

Dan Drollette:

We have to remove all of them?

Helen Caldicott:

If you have only one, you know it will metastasize again. The whole idea of keeping any sort of stockpile is just crazy. The whole thinking is so masculine – a “mine’s bigger than yours” sort of thing. It goes right back to that, still. And that’s why 52 percent of the population, which are women, will have to step into their power and stop being so pathetic. Stop being wimps.

So often, I’ll give a talk in America and people will crowd around, and a man will make a suggestion, and I’ll say, “You know that’s a great suggestion, you should run for Congress” and he’ll say “Yeah.” But when a similar situation happens with a woman, she literally takes two steps backwards and says “Who, me?”

And that’s the problem. We’ve got to be like a lioness, and protect her cubs. We’ve got to tap into that ferocity and that nurturing instinct.

We’re on the short course to annihilation, and we need to say to men: “Look, stand aside, you need your bottom smacked. We’re taking over.” https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/MBkXvHtz5QyAfikSM8Cv/full

    April 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

    URANIUM FILM FESTIVAL 2018 – THE FIRST FILMS SELECTED 

     http://uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/uranium-film-festival-2018-the-first-films-selected  

     ATOMIC HOMEFRONT(LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    USA, 2017, Director: Rebecca Cammisa, 100 min, Documentary,  English, Trailer https://www.atomichomefront.film(link is external)

    The City of St. Louis has a little known nuclear past as a uranium-processing center for the Atomic bomb. Government and corporate negligence led to the dumping of Manhattan Project uranium, thorium, and radium, thus contaminating North St. Louis suburbs, specifically in two communities: those nestled along Coldwater Creek – and in Bridgeton, Missouri adjacent to the West Lake-Bridgeton landfill. Another tragic and bizarre occurrence has been unfolding in Bridgeton, Missouri. In 1973, approximately 47,000 tons of the same legacy radioactive waste was moved from Latty Avenue and was illegally dumped into a neighborhood landfill named West Lake. This landfill became an EPA Superfund site in 1990. For the last seven years, an uncontrolled, subsurface fire has been moving towards an area where the radioactive waste was buried. Atomic Homefront is a case study of how citizens are confronting state and federal agencies for the truth about the extent of the contamination and are fighting to keep their families safe.

    HALF LIFE: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S LAST URANIUM MILL (LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    USA, 2016, Director: Justin Clifton, Documentary, 12 min, English

    In southeastern Utah, not far from many of America’s famed national parks, lies America’s last remaining uranium mill. After more than 36 years in operation, the leaders of the nearby Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa community worry that lax regulations and aging infrastructure are putting their water supply, and their way of life, at risk. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/161080821(link is external)

    NABIKEI(LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    India, 2017,  Director Shri Prakash, Documentary, English, 66 min

    The American Southwest—especially the sovereign Indigenous nations of Acoma, Laguna, and the Diné or Navajo Nation—has a long history of uranium mining. Once home to a booming economy and proudly called the Uranium Capital of the World, these Indian reservations and poor White communities are now littered with old mines, tailings dams, and other uranium contamination, which is the legacy of this deadly industry.  On the Navajo Nation alone, there are more than 500 abandoned uranium mine sites that need to be addressed. This film explores how colonialism, which came to the Southwest with Spanish conquest, has changed face in modern time, as it is played out in a new quest for mineral resources. Contaminated land, water, and air have left these poor communities helpless. Their  efforts to gain justice have failed. Indigenous and poverty-stricken communities who suffered the most are trapped and exploited, as new mining companies continue to disregard the health and environment of these people with the lure of a better economy, jobs and new In Situ Leach uranium mining methods. Unfortunately, this is the same sad story repeated in other parts of the world including India, but in India it is the government itself undertaking the enterprise and repeating the same degradation in Jadugoda (Jharkhand).

    SHRI PRAKASH is the first filmmaker from Jharkhand to bring a National Award in 2008 for his film ‘Buru Gara’ also his regional language fiction film ‘Baha’ received first international award for the state 2010. Using audio visual medium as a tool for social transformation and empowerment, National Award winner film maker, teaching film studies in St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi. https://www.facebook.com/Shriprakash23(link is external)

    TALE OF A TOXIC NATION(LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    USA, 2018, Director Louis Berry, Producer Louis Berry, Documentary, 12:30 min, English

    Tale of a Toxic Nation is the story of a nation rich in resources but weak in political influence. The Navajo Reservation has been left with over 500 abandoned uranium mines, toxic surroundings and an impossible clean up. The story has never been more relevant under an administration threatening to reinstate uranium mining in the area. https://vimeo.com/258337365(link is external)

    BOBBY BROWN HOMELANDS – LIVING WITH THE LEGACY OF BRITISH NUCLEAR TESTING(LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    Australia, 2015, Produced and Directed by Kim Mavromatis and Quenten Agius, MAV Media
    in Association with NITV (National Indigenous TV Australia). Documentary, 5 min, Australian English and Australian Aboriginal (Antikirrinya), English subtitles Trailer: https://vimeo.com/119231410(link is external)

    In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Australian government authorised British Nuclear testing at Emu Field and Maralinga in Outback South Australia. We journey with Antikirrinya Elder, Ingkama Bobby Brown to his homelands in outback South Australia where he explains the legacy of living with British Nuclear testing – how he witnessed the first tests on the Australian mainland at Emu Field (1953) and experienced the devastating affects of radioactive fallout on his family, people and country. This is the first time Bobby has spoken out about what he witnessed when he was a boy – what happened to his family and country and the people who went missing – during British Nuclear testing. British Nuclear testing was a breach of the King’s Letters Patent, the founding document that established the state of South Australia (1836), which granted Aboriginal people the legal right to occupy and enjoy their land for always. How could they occupy and enjoy their land when their land was being blown up and irradiated by nuclear fallout. www.kingsseal.cosm.au (link is external)

    KUANNERSUIT / KVANEFJELD(LINK IS EXTERNAL)

    UK, 2017, Directors Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena, Producer Lise Autogena, Documentary, 30 min, Danish and Greenlandic with English subtitles, Trailer:  https://vimeo.com/214697146(link is external)

    Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway’s film Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld is a work in-progress, forming the first part of the artists’ long-term investigation into the conflicts facing the small, mostly indigenous, community of Narsaq in southern Greenland. Narsaq is located next to the pristine Kvanefjeld mountain;  site of one of the richest rare earth mineral resources deposits in the world, and one of the largest sources of uranium. Greenland is a former colony of Denmark, which is now recognised as an “autonomous administrative division” of Denmark, supported economically by the Danish state. Many people see exploitation of mineral deposits as the only viable route to full independence. For generations the farming near Kvanefjeld has been Greenland’s only agricultural industry. This way of life may soon be threatened, as Greenland considers an open pit mine proposed by Greenland Minerals and Energy, an Australian company. The mine would be the fifth-largest uranium mine and second-biggest rare earth extraction operation in the world. Autogena and Portway’s film portrays a community divided on the issue of uranium mining. It explores the difficult decisions and trade-offs faced by a culture seeking to escape a colonial past and define its own identity in a globalised world.

    More films soon!

    The Uranium Film Festival welcomes any support. Join us. 

     

    April 2, 2018 Posted by | media, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

    For social media it’s a watershed moment – the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

    Aral described Cambridge Analytica as “a nefarious actor with a very skewed understanding of what’s morally right and wrong.” He pointed out that there’s an important line to be drawn between the appropriate uses of technology “to produce social welfare” through platforms like Facebook, and the work that Cambridge Analytica did. “It would be a real shame if the outcome was to, in essence, throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that the only solution to this problem is to pull the plug on Facebook and all of these social technologies because you know there’s no way to tell the difference between a bad actor and a good actor.”

    All said, sophisticated data analytics “may also be used for generating a lot of good,” said Nave. “Personalized communication may help people to keep up with their long-term goals [such as] exercise or eating healthier, and get products that better match one’s needs. The technology by itself is not evil.”http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/fallout-cambridge-analytica/

    Why the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Is a Watershed Moment for Social Media, Wharton University of Pennsylvania, 24 March 18      (MIC LISTEN TO THE PODCAST  – on original)  Jennifer Golbeck from the Univeristy of Maryland and MIT’s Sinan Aral discuss the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Serious concerns have arisen in the past week over how social media firms guard the privacy of their users’ personal data, and how the analytics of such data can influence voter preferences and turnout. Those worries follow a whistleblower’s account to The Observer newspaper in the U.K. about how Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm with offices in London and New York City, had unauthorized access to more than 50 million Facebook profiles as it micro-targeted voters to benefit Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    In the fallout, Facebook faces its toughest test on privacy safeguards, and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been summoned by MPs in the U.K.He faces similar calls from the U.S. Congress and from India, with revelations that Cambridge Analytica worked to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum and elections in India, Nigeria and other countries as well.

    U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller is already examining Cambridge Analytica’s ties with the Trump campaign as part of his probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Significantly, U.S. billionaire and conservative fundraiser Robert Mercer had helped found Cambridge Analytica with a $15 million investment, and he recruited former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has since left the firm. The firm initially sought to steer voters towards presidential candidate Ted Cruz, and after he dropped out of the race, it redirected its efforts to help the Trump campaign.

     In order to gain insights into the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Knowledge@Wharton spoke to Wharton marketing professors Ron Berman and Gideon NaveJennifer Golbeck, director of the social intelligence lab and professor of information studies at the University of Maryland; and Sinan Aral, management professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Golbeck and Aral shared their views on the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM channel 111. (Listen to the full podcast using the player at the top of this page.)

    “We’re experiencing a watershed moment with regard to social media,” said Aral. “People are now beginning to realize that social media is not just either a fun plaything or a nuisance. It can have potentially real consequences in society.”

    The Cambridge Analytica scandal underscores how little consumers know about the potential uses of their data, according to Berman. He recalled a scene in the film Minority Report where Tom Cruise enters a mall and sees holograms of personally targeted ads. “Online advertising today has reached about the same level of sophistication, in terms of targeting, and also some level of prediction,” he said. “It’s not only that the advertiser can tell what you bought in the past, but also what you may be looking to buy.” ……..

    Nave said the Cambridge Analytica scandal exposes exactly those types of risks, even as they existed before the internet era. “Propaganda is not a new invention, and neither is targeted messaging in marketing,” he said. “What this scandal demonstrates, however, is that our online behavior exposes a lot about our personality, fears and weaknesses – and that this information can be used for influencing our behavior.”

    In Golbeck’s research projects involving the use of algorithms, she found that people “are really shocked that we’re able to get these insights like what your personality traits are, what your political preferences are, how influenced you can be, and how much of that data we’re able to harvest.”

    ………….An Expanding Scandal

    Although Cambridge Analytica’s work in using data to influence elections has been controversial for at least three years, the enormity of its impact emerged last Saturday. The whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, who had worked with Cambridge Analytica, revealed to The Observer how the firm harvested profiles of some 50 million Facebook users. The same day, the New York Times detailed the role of Cambridge Analytica in the Trump campaign.

    Facebook had allowed Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan access to data for an innocuous personality quiz, but Kogan had passed it on without authorization to Cambridge Analytica. Wylie told The Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

    Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Channel 4 News captured in a video sting the strategies Cambridge Analytica used in its work to “change audience behavior,”………

    Finding a Solution

    Golbeck called for ways to codify how researchers could ethically go about their work using social media data, “and give people some of those rights in a broader space that they don’t have now.” Aral expected the solution to emerge in the form of “a middle ground where we learn to use these technologies ethically in order to enhance our society, our access to information, our ability to cooperate and coordinate with one another, and our ability to spread positive social change in the world.” At the same time, he advocated tightening use requirements for the data, and bringing back “the notion of informed consent and consent in a meaningful way, so that we can realize the promise of social media while avoiding the peril.”

    Regulation, such as limiting the data about people that could be stored, could help prevent “mass persuasion” that could lead them to take action against their own best interests, said Nave. “Many times, it is difficult to define what one’s ‘best interest’ is – ……

    Legitimate Uses of Data

    Golbeck worries that in trying to deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook might restrict the data it makes available to researchers. “You don’t want this big piece of how society operates just blocked off, accessible only to Facebook and basically the people who are going to help them make money,” she said. “You want academic researchers to be able to study this.” But balancing that with the potential for some academic researchers to misuse it to make money or gain power is a challenge, she added

    Aral described Cambridge Analytica as “a nefarious actor with a very skewed understanding of what’s morally right and wrong.” He pointed out that there’s an important line to be drawn between the appropriate uses of technology “to produce social welfare” through platforms like Facebook, and the work that Cambridge Analytica did. “It would be a real shame if the outcome was to, in essence, throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that the only solution to this problem is to pull the plug on Facebook and all of these social technologies because you know there’s no way to tell the difference between a bad actor and a good actor.”

    All said, sophisticated data analytics “may also be used for generating a lot of good,” said Nave. “Personalized communication may help people to keep up with their long-term goals [such as] exercise or eating healthier, and get products that better match one’s needs. The technology by itself is not  evil.”http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/fallout-cambridge-analytica/

    March 23, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

    The power of the people – Safecast gets the facts on Fukushima radiation

    Safecast operates using measurements captured by volunteers. Data is verified and validated when two randomly selected people take the same measurement of the same place. Safecast’s reliable system means local people could count on its data and stay informed. Around 3,000 Safecast devices are deployed worldwide, and 100 to 150 volunteers regularly contribute their time and effort to the project.

    As Safecast’s power and influence in society — both inside and outside of Japan — expanded, so did its technologies.

    “We are a pro-data group, we are not an activist group,”

    Radiation monitoring group formed during Fukushima nuclear disaster now a source of global data https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/09/national/radiation-monitoring-group-formed-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-now-source-global-data/#.WqLraB1ubGg  BY NAOMI SCHANEN STAFF WRITER 

    Back in 2011, soon after the 3/11 disaster, Safecast was born. Today, the global volunteer-centered citizen science organization is home to the world’s largest open data set of radiation measurements.

    Safecast was a response to the lack of publicly available, accurate and trustworthy radiation information. The group initially set out to collect radiation measurements from many sources and put them on a single website. What the volunteers quickly realized was that there was simply not enough official data available.

    Soon after the disaster, members attached a homemade Geiger counter to the side of their car and drove around Fukushima taking measurements. They quickly noticed that radiation levels were radically different even between streets, and that the government-issued city averages were far from sufficient as data that could be used by citizens to determine the safety of their areas.

    Within weeks the group’s members decided to build their own Geiger counters and collect the data themselves. They picked the name Safecast the following month.

    For months after the nuclear disaster began, the government released only very limited information about the spread of radiation. The first informative map of radiation levels in Fukushima, based on aerial surveys, was not available until May 2011. The first map with an adequate level of detail to show contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including infamous “hot spots” in cities such as Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, was not released until October that year. As confusion spread and triggered panic among citizens, Safecast was determined to commit itself to one thing: openness. “What Safecast proves is that all the preparation in the world — all the money in the world — still fails if you don’t have a rapid, agile, resilient system,” explains Joi Ito, Safecast co-founder and director of MIT Media Lab, on Safecast’s website.

    In 2012, Safecast began working with municipal governments in Fukushima to put Geiger counters on postal delivery cars and collect data. As international attention on the group’s activities grew, Safecast was invited to present its findings at an expert meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency in February 2014.

    Safecast operates using measurements captured by volunteers. Data is verified and validated when two randomly selected people take the same measurement of the same place. Safecast’s reliable system means local people could count on its data and stay informed. Around 3,000 Safecast devices are deployed worldwide, and 100 to 150 volunteers regularly contribute their time and effort to the project. “How do you make a trustworthy system where the people don’t have to trust each other?” Azby Brown, Safecast’s lead researcher, asked during a recent interview at its Shibuya office.

    As Safecast’s power and influence in society — both inside and outside of Japan — expanded, so did its technologies. The group’s first mobile device, named “bGeigie” with b standing for bento (boxed lunch), was built and deployed in April 2011. The first of these needed to be tethered to a laptop for data collection. But the group soon developed all-in-one devices. They were gradually shrunk, and the “bGeigie Nano” sold as a kit is now the organization’s main machine. It’s compact and able to accumulate all of the data it captures onto a memory card.

    In December, Safecast members were given a special tour of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings’ gutted Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The operator allowed them, for the first time ever, to bring their sensors on site and openly measure radiation there during the hourlong tour, with the clear understanding that they would publish the data and radiation maps openly online. “We consider it an important step towards transparency on Tepco’s part,” Brown said in an email. Then in January, Safecast managed to install a “Solarcast Nano,” a solar-powered real-time radiation monitor, on the fence of an abandoned facility for the elderly about 2 km from Fukushima No. 1. It is the closest independent real-time data-collection point to the crippled plant. Over the years, the group has collected over 90 million data points worldwide. Each data point comes with a string of data containing the time, GPS coordinates and a radiation measurement.

    It’s been seven years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of the nuclear power plant, so why is Safecast’s work still relevant today?

    “We are a pro-data group, we are not an activist group,” said Pieter Franken, another Safecast founding member. Safecast is constantly supplying local people with up-to-date information on radiation conditions, allowing them to make crucial decisions such as where and when evacuees can move back. Many locals are also volunteers, motivated by their emotional attachment to the area and determined to do their part in rebuilding their hometown, the group said.

    While most of Safecast’s volunteers in Japan are Japanese who wanted to help out as much and as quickly as they could with the skills that were available, the unique composition of the group’s core members — many of whom are non-Japanese and hailing from diverse academic and professional backgrounds — has given the group the advantage of an outside perspective, and an agility that locals lacked. Franken is a computer scientist who has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years, while another founding member, Sean Bonner, has worked in community activism and is currently an associate professor of media and governance at Keio University. And Brown, who is a senior adviser at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and also teaches at other Japanese universities, is a design and architecture expert. “A true Japanese company would have spent two years making the perfect Geiger counter before they would have released anything,” said Franken. “You need a little bit of extra impulse,” he added. “I think that is where, if you look at the composition of this group, some of us were in a unique position because of our ability to work in Japan, but also work with people outside to provide that spark to go and do it.”

    In fact, as Brown explained, they have the ability to work as foreigners in Japan — without facing the social consequences of speaking out, criticizing or breaking rules that have prevented many Japanese and local firms from being able to help out as much as they wanted to. At the same time, most key members of Safecast are long-term residents of Japan and their desire to help amid the disaster was deeply rooted. “Not one of us flew away or would even think of abandoning our home just because there is a disaster. We live in Japan; this is our home,” said Joe Moross, a Safecast engineer and expert on radiation and environmental sensors.

    Unfortunately, the environmental effects of the nuclear disaster will persist for decades. Brown believes that because cesium is known to migrate slowly into the soil, there is a possibility that some plants and trees will show higher levels of radioactivity in five to 10 years as the cesium reaches their roots.”We have to keep the pressure up and the only way to do this is to consistently keep on going, even if there is no disaster,” explained Franken. Holding workshops for high school and college students both in Japan and around the world, Safecast is continuing to expand its dominance in the field of independent radiation monitoring. Franken explained that by hosting these events, Safecast hopes to increase its volunteers and people’s awareness about the nuclear issues at hand.

    “It’s been an amazing experience to be able to create something positive out of something so negative,” Franken said.

    There’s no slowing down for Safecast. “Globally, we still have a lot to fill in,” said Bonner, noting there are still many places that have no or little data, such as Russia and China. “(At the) beginning of last year we started to measure air quality as well, so that’s another effort that we’re starting to reach out to. Between those two things, that’s a significant amount of stuff.

    “We haven’t finished what we started,” he said. “We can’t even begin to think of what’s the next thing. We still have a lot of work to do that we’re still deeply engaged in doing.”

    March 10, 2018 Posted by | investigative journalism, Japan, radiation, safety | Leave a comment

    Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a “false’ radiation alert scare

    ‘False’ Radiation Alert Causes Scare In Russia https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-yaroslavl-radiation-scare/29037176.html  Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a scare when local TV and radio stations broadcast a radiation warning, but the Emergency Situations Ministry said the broadcast was a mistake.

    The prerecorded warning, which aired at about 9 a.m., alerted residents to what it said were high levels of radiation in the atmosphere in the region 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

    It advised people to protect themselves, tightly close their homes or offices and stay inside, and secure food and water from possible contamination by radiation.

    In a statement, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said that a technical glitch caused the “false” warning to be broadcast. It urged residents to “remain calm” and said radiation levels were “within the norm.”

    In a short video statement, the senior regional emergency official, Yevgeny Shumilin, said the authorities were investigating what caused the message to be broadcast.

    February 14, 2018 Posted by | media, Russia | Leave a comment

    As Facebook fiddles with its publishing methods, visibility of free news posts might be threatened

    The testing of a new Facebook news feed worries news sites and businesses http://www.lefigaro.fr/secteur/high-tech/2017/10/24/32001-20171024ARTFIG00214-le-test-d-un-nouveau-fil-d-actualite-facebook-inquiete-sites-d-information-et-entreprises.php, By Elsa Trujillo  24/10/2017

    Facebook is testing in six countries the separation into two separate threads of friends’ posts and advertisements on the one hand and media, association or business posts on the other. Consequence: the free visibility of the pages is in danger.

    Facebook is currently testing a feature that can be highly detrimental to content creators online. The company is experimenting in six countries (Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala and Cambodia) a new formula in which it divides its newsfeed in two. On the one hand, your friends’ posts, advertisements and sponsored posts. On the other hand, posts sent by news sites, business pages, associations and native content such as non-sponsored videos for example.posts, advertisements and sponsored posts. On the other hand, posts sent by news sites, business pages, associations and native content such as non-sponsored videos for example.

    In Slovakia, the change quickly translated into a significant drop in the country’s media interactions, according to Filip Struharik, a Slovak journalist who first spotted this test. Less exposed to these contents, Facebook users were in fact less inclined to share them

    “The reach of several Facebook pages dropped between Thursday and Friday last two-thirds from previous days,” he says. According to him, the Facebook pages of the sixty main Slovakian media have generated four times fewer interactions since the beginning of the test. The analyst firm Crowdtangle, acquired by Facebook in November 2016, has similar results in Cambodia and Guatemala.

    Network dependence The deployment of such a feature worldwide threatens both small sites and large news sites, which have become partially dependent on social networks for their traffic. In France, some media even bet on a diffusion exclusively based on social networks.
    For example, Brut, Explicite or Minute Buzz online media. The change would also cause Pages publishers to pay for advertising in order to reach their audience. The organic reach of their content, namely reaching readers without paying distribution, would be considerably reduced.

    Aware of the intense emotion provoked in the media and community managers by the discovery of this test, Facebook said Tuesday evening in a statement: “The purpose of this test is to understand if users prefer to have two separate spaces for personal publications and public posts. People tell us that they want easier access to the publications of their friends and family, “says Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s news feed.

    “We do not currently plan to extend this test to other countries or ask pages to pay Facebook to appear in the newsfeed,” says the social network. He added that he will take into account the results of the tests in the six countries, to understand if it is an “idea that deserves to be continued”.For several months, Facebook has been trying to renew its news feed and get rid of filter bubbles, this algorithmic straitjacket that only offers users of its network content recommended according to their tastes. In early August, the network tested the introduction of political content in the news feed. The company intends to put forward publications, images and videos of politicians to allow users to see messages on a political edge different from theirs. Since the US presidential election, the social network is struggling with the problem of “fake news”, or false information, which are shared on its pages and can influence voters.

    January 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

    Time for new movies to raise awareness of nuclear bombing

    Millennials need new movies about nuclear war, a ninth-grader says, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 8 JANUARY 2018 Cassandra Williams Movies hold the power to teach and to persuade. Today, there is one subject that appears to be largely absent from popular movies: nuclear war. Nuclear war movies were huge in Hollywood from the 1960s to the 1980s. Today, however, they are rare.

    Nuclear war is, and will be, a threat for as long as nuclear weapons exist. Everyone needs to understand this threat, especially millennials. They are the future, after all. But many millennials are too young to have seen the eye-opening movies of an earlier era, which revealed what would happen in the event of a nuclear war. These movies include On the Beach from 1959, Testament from 1983, and many more.

    The movie that really had people talking was the 1983 film The Day After. This movie affected many people, including President Ronald Reagan. In his diary, he wrote about the sorrow the movie left him feeling. While the movie got mixed reviews, there is no denying that it made millions of people think more deeply about the possibility that nuclear war could occur. Because nuclear war movies are outdated, they don’t hold the attention of millennials today; we need new movies to warn of the nuclear war threat………

    The movie [The Day After] left me completely stunned. (The 1984 British film Threads, which follows a similar narrative, is reportedly even more unsettling.) I had learned about the power of nuclear weapons, but never had I seen just how devastating nuclear war could be. You can read about it, and you can hear about it, but actually seeing it is a different story. To see thousands of people vaporized in less than a second, buildings toppling on people faster than they can react, and everyone slowly dying of cancer is as eye-opening as it gets.

    The words that filled the screen at the end of the film made it even more disturbing: “The catastrophic events you have just witnessed are, in all likelihood, less severe than the destruction that would actually occur in the event of a full nuclear strike against the United States. It is hoped that the images of this film will inspire the nations of the earth, their peoples and leaders, to find the means to avert that fateful day.” Based on the tense relations in the world today, and the unpredictable behavior of North Korea and our current US president, I fear this fateful day may be closer than we think……

    Modern movies. Why don’t Americans see these kinds of movies anymore? Nuclear weapons still exist. World relationships are still tense. President Donald Trump tends to make some questionable and reactionary decisions based on emotion, as does North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Because these leaders are unpredictable, the public needs something to make us think about how devastating a nuclear war would be. We need something that will affect people as much as The Day After……… https://thebulletin.org/millennials-need-new-movies-about-nuclear-war-ninth-grader-says11416

    January 10, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

    Governments can use social media to target activists – UK and the Iran protests

    Could GCHQ influence Iran protests? They’ve done it before, claims researcher https://www.rt.com/uk/414831-gchq-influence-hack-protest/#.WkwCv_uo99Q.facebook 

    January 3, 2018 Posted by | Iran, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

    Facebook now willing to be censored by U.S. government

    FACEBOOK NOW SEEMS to be explicitly admitting that it also intends to follow the censorship orders of the U.S. government.

    the Trump administration — has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list.

    Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli GovernmentsThe Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, December 31 2017IN SEPTEMBER OF last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country.

    The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials. Indeed, Israeli officials have been publicly boasting about how obedient Facebook is when it comes to Israeli censorship orders:

    Shortly after news broke earlier this month of the agreement between the Israeli government and Facebook, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tel Aviv had submitted 158 requests to the social media giant over the previous four months asking it to remove content it deemed “incitement.” She said Facebook had granted 95 percent of the requests.

    She’s right. The submission to Israeli dictates is hard to overstate: As the New York Times put it in December of last year, “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.”

    What makes this censorship particularly consequential is that “96 percent of Palestinians said their primary use of Facebook was for following news.” That means that Israeli officials have virtually unfettered control over a key communications forum of Palestinians.

    In the weeks following those Facebook-Israel meetings, reported The Independent, “the activist collective Palestinian Information Center reported that at least 10 of their administrators’ accounts for their Arabic and English Facebook pages — followed by more than 2 million people — have been suspended, seven of them permanently, which they say is a result of new measures put in place in the wake of Facebook’s meeting with Israel.” Last March, Facebook briefly shut down the Facebook page of the political party, Fatah, followed by millions, “because of an old photo posted of former leader Yasser Arafat holding a rifle.”

    2016 report from the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms detailed how extensive the Facebook censorship was:……….

    Though some of the most inflammatory and explicit calls for murder are sometimes removed, Facebook continues to allow the most extremist calls for incitement against Palestinians to flourish. Indeed, Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has often used social media to post what is clearly incitement to violence against Palestinians generally…….

    FACEBOOK NOW SEEMS to be explicitly admitting that it also intends to follow the censorship orders of the U.S. government. Earlier this week, the company deleted the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Ramzan Kadyrov, the repressive, brutal, and authoritarian leader of the Chechen Republic, who had a combined 4 million followers on those accounts. To put it mildly, Kadyrov — who is given free rein to rule the province in exchange for ultimate loyalty to Moscow — is the opposite of a sympathetic figure: He has been credibly accused of a wide range of horrific human rights violations, from the imprisonment and torture of LGBTs to the kidnapping and killing of dissidents.

    But none of that dilutes how disturbing and dangerous Facebook’s rationale for its deletion of his accounts is…….

    What this means is obvious: that the U.S. government — meaning, at the moment, the Trump administration — has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list. Does anyone think this is a good outcome? Does anyone trust the Trump administration — or any other government — to compel social media platforms to delete and block anyone it wants to be silenced? ……..

    Does Facebook’s policy of blocking people from its platform who are sanctioned apply to all governments? Obviously not. It goes without saying that if, say, Iran decided to impose sanctions on Chuck Schumer for his support of Trump’s policy of recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Facebook would never delete the accounts of the Democratic Party Senate minority leader — just as Facebook would never delete the accounts of Israeli officials who incite violence against Palestinians or who are sanctioned by Palestinian officials. Just last month, Russia announced retaliatory sanctions against various Canadian officials and executives, but needless to say, Facebook took no action to censor them or block their accounts.

    Similarly, would Facebook ever dare censor American politicians or journalists who use social media to call for violence against America’s enemies? To ask the question is to answer it. https://theintercept.com/2017/12/30/facebook-says-it-is-deleting-accounts-at-the-direction-of-the-u-s-and-israeli-governments/

    January 1, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, media, World | Leave a comment

    Net Neutrality, the Open Internet, and Nuclear Information – theme for January 2018

    Before the Internet, information to the public was very much controlled by the established media – print, radio, television. With the world wide web came the opportunity for just about anyone to set up a site, just like this one, and to provide information on any generalist or specialised subject. (Of course, there are disadvantages – e.g. the new sites could lack the fact checking rigour expected of professional journalism).

    From the point of view of examining nuclear issues, the Internet provided a timely opportunity to bypass the propaganda that is fed to the public via the mainstream media.  That has become more important now, as investigative journalists lose their jobs in the shaky world of commercial media.  The secretive nuclear industry has been having  a field day, or a field few decades, in handing out propaganda to mainstream journalists, who most often swallow it uncritically.

    It was only  a matter of time before corporations worked to gain the same kind of control over the Internet, as they used to have over the media in pre-Internet days.

    It’s in this context, that, on December 15th, the Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission voted to end the 2015 Open Internet Order which protects net neutrality in the United StatesNet neutrality requires all internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally, without blocking, “throttling” or censoring services or websites.

    There is opposition in Congress to this move. So – it’s early days, to find out what effect it will have.

    Still, I think that this is the first clear salvo in what could become a corporate war against independent media. A second salvo just arrived – as Glenn Greenwald reported on Facebook now obeying USA government, in censoring Palestinians’ posts.

    The nuclear lobby would love that. They have the money, the corporate and government connections, to make a renewed campaign to stifle the truth about nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and the real state of affairs in Fukushima, as the 2020 Olympic Games approach.

     

    December 27, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, media | Leave a comment

    Google filters nuclear-news.net website, so much for net neutrality anyway!

    what-is-net-neutrality-video-blocked
    Published on 15 Dec 2017
    Published by Shaun McGee aka arclight2011

    It seems fighting against environmental issues, nuclear madness and supporting peace strategies is not wanted on the web April/May 2017 Google algorythm changes. This has been widely reported by Democracy Now and many other websites! This is a quick video showing our blog getting hit as well. Bookmark https://nuclear-news.net/ before its to late! Evidence for the filtering is on this video;

    December 16, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, media | 6 Comments

    Wikileaks ruled by UK tribunal to be a media organisation

    Julian Assange welcomes UK ruling that WikiLeaks is a media organisation, WikiLeaks founder welcomes ruling by UK tribunal. IBT ,By Jason Murdock, December 14, 2017  WikiLeaks has been recognised as a “media organisation” by a UK tribunal in a ruling that flies in the face of claims by US officials who have branded it a “hostile intelligence agency”.

    The anti-secrecy website – helmed by Julian Assange – has faced the ire of CIA director Mike Pompeo, who has compared its work to Hezbollah, Isis and al-Qaeda. Over the years, WikiLeaks has disclosed countless documents pilfered from the US government……….

    The tribunal, in a section detailing the public interest for disclosing any withheld information, described Assange as “the only media publisher and free speech advocate in the Western world who is in a situation that a UN body has characterised as arbitrary detention”.

    It added: “The circumstances of his case arguably raise issues about human rights and press freedom, which are the subject of legitimate public debate.”….http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/julian-assange-welcomes-uk-ruling-that-wikileaks-media-organisation-1651567

    December 16, 2017 Posted by | UK, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

    Media to blame for focussing on Trump trivia, minimising climate change

    Climate change is the story you missed in 2017. And the media is to blame https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/07/climate-change-media-coverage-media-matters   Lisa Hymas

    Some of Trump’s tweets generate more national coverage than devastating disasters. As the weather gets worse, we need journalism to get better, 

    December 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

    Nuclear arms industry controls public discussion on weapons – funding “think tanks”

    The Sway of the Nuclear Arms Industry Over Donald Trump and Congress Is Terrifying  “The devastation is very important to me.”  Mother Jones his story originally appeared on TomDispatch.com. “……..Another way the nuclear weapons industry (and the rest of the military-industrial complex) tries to control and focus public debate is by funding hawkish think tanks. The advantage to weapons makers is that those institutions and their “experts” can serve as front groups while posing as objective policy analysts. Think of it as intellectual money laundering.

    One of the most effective industry-funded think tanks in terms of promoting costly, ill-advised policies has undoubtedly been Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. In 1983, when President Ronald Reagan first announced his Strategic Defense Initiative (a.k.a. “Star Wars”), the high-tech space weapons system that was either meant to defend the country against a future Soviet first strike or—depending on how you looked at it—free the country to use its nuclear weapons without fear of retaliation, Gaffney was its biggest booster. More recently, he has become a prominent purveyor of Islamophobia, but the impact of his promotional work for Star Wars continues to be felt in weapons contracts to this day.

    Just as George W. Bush was entering the White House, another industry-backed think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy, released a report on nuclear weapons policy that would be adopted almost wholesale for the new administration’s first key nuclear posture review. It advocated such things as increasing the number of countries targeted by US nukes and building a new, more “usable” bunker-busting nuclear weapon. At that time, NIPP had an executive from Boeing on its board. Its director was Keith Payne, who would become infamous in the annals of nuclear policy for co-authoring a 1980 article at Foreign Policy entitled “Victory Is Possible,” suggesting that the United States could actually win a nuclear war, losing “only” 30 million to 40 million people. This is the kind of expert the nuclear weapons complex funded to promulgate its views.

    Then there’s the Lexington Institute, a think tank that never met a weapons system it didn’t like. Lexington front man Loren Thompson is frequently quoted in news stories on defense issues, but it is rarely disclosed that he is funded by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other nuclear weapons contractors.

    Just as George W. Bush was entering the White House, another industry-backed think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy, released a report on nuclear weapons policy that would be adopted almost wholesale for the new administration’s first key nuclear posture review. It advocated such things as increasing the number of countries targeted by US nukes and building a new, more “usable” bunker-busting nuclear weapon. At that time, NIPP had an executive from Boeing on its board. Its director was Keith Payne, who would become infamous in the annals of nuclear policy for co-authoring a 1980 article at Foreign Policy entitled “Victory Is Possible,” suggesting that the United States could actually win a nuclear war, losing “only” 30 million to 40 million people. This is the kind of expert the nuclear weapons complex funded to promulgate its views.

    Then there’s the Lexington Institute, a think tank that never met a weapons system it didn’t like. Lexington front man Loren Thompson is frequently quoted in news stories on defense issues, but it is rarely disclosed that he is funded by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other nuclear weapons contractors.

    Examples include Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a former board member at General Dynamics; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who worked for a number of defense firms and was an adviser to DynCorp, a private security firm that has done everything from (poorly) training the Iraqi police to contracting with the Department of Homeland Security; former Boeing executive and now Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood, nominated as undersecretary of defense for policy; former Raytheon Vice President Mark Esper, newly confirmed as secretary of the Army; Heather Wilson, a former consultant to Lockheed Martin, who is now secretary of the Air Force; Ellen Lord, a former CEO for the aerospace company Textron, who is undersecretary of defense for acquisition; and National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg, a former employee of the major defense and intelligence contractor CACI, where he dealt with “ground combat systems” among other things.

    Keep in mind that these high-profile industry figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the corporate revolving door that has been installed in the Pentagon for decades, as journalist Lee Fang has documented in the Intercept.

    Given the composition of his national security team and Trump’s love of all things nuclear, what can we expect from his administration on this front? In addition to the $1.7 trillion nuclear build-up, Trump’s impending nuclear posture review seems to include proposals for dangerous new weapons like a “low-yield,” purportedly more usable nuclear warhead. He’s spoken privately with his team about expanding the arsenal in a staggering fashion—the equivalent of a 10-fold increase. He’s wholeheartedly embraced missile defense spending, pledging to put billions of dollars more into that overfunded, under-producing set of programs. And of course, he is assiduously trying to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, one of the most effective arms control agreements of recent times, and so threatening to open the door to a new nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

     Unless the nuclear spending spree being pushed by President Trump as the best thing since the invention of golf is stopped thanks to public opposition, the rise of an antinuclear movement, or congressional action, we’re in trouble. The nuclear weapons lobby will again have won the day—just as it did almost 60 years ago, despite the opposition of a popular president and decorated war hero.

    And Donald Trump, “bone spurs” and all, is no Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    This article was adapted from the author’s essay “Nuclear Politics” in the collection Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/11/devastation-very-important-nuclear-weapons-industry-donald-trump-1/

    November 19, 2017 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | 1 Comment