nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Here’s an example of the uncritical journalistic hype over the nuclear lobby’s new filmic advertisement

(Low on facts – high on uncritical enthusiasm)

A new documentary puts fresh, young faces on the old debate over nuclear power, Grist , “…….. David Schumacher’s new documentary, The New Fire,…. profiles young people working to invent better versions of nuclear power plants. There’s the couple with a simple reactor design who started the company, Oklo. And there’s the Bill Gates-backed TerraPower. …..the movie serves up hope and enthusiasm……..

I discovered these young people starting companies to build nuclear reactors. It was so audacious. They were so heroic and charming and just completely iconoclastic. They shattered the standard image of nuclear engineers……
I’ve had people come up to me and say this has totally changed my mind. At the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, this couple approached me and said, “We started a chapter of the Sierra Club downwind of Three-Mile Island.” These are folks who would have been young adults at the time [1978, when the Three Mile Island plant had a partial meltdown]. “So we’ve been very anti-nuclear, but this film really changed our minds.” ……
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October 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, media | Leave a comment

Countering the media’s very unfair attacks on Britain’s Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn

UpFront – Hans Blix backs Corbyn’s call to scrap UK’s Trident

As the media attacks Labour’s nuclear position, there’s one video we all need to watch https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2018/09/28/as-the-media-attacks-labours-nuclear-position-theres-one-video-we-all-need-to-watch/ SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2018 PETER BOLTON Labour’s position on nuclear weapons has hit the headlines this week, after Piers Morgan and shadow chancellor John McDonnell clashed on air. But one video from 2016 exposes the attacks from the right-wing media for the smears they are.

Keeping Trident

On 24 September, shadow chancellor John McDonnell confirmed that a Labour government would keep the UK’s nuclear arsenal. He said, however, that as prime minister Jeremy Corbyn would only use it in consultation with the cabinet, parliament, and the “wider community”.

Right-wing attacks

In spite of the comments, the right-wing media attacked McDonnell’s statement as too soft. The Sun, for example, said that McDonnell “sparked ridicule” for suggesting that a Corbyn-led government would only launch a nuclear strike after “ask[ing] for the British public’s permission”.

A favourite weapon

Indeed, Corbyn’s former opposition to renewing the UK’s nuclear arsenal, known as Trident, has been one of the right’s favourite weapons with which to attack him. Some right-wing media outlets have called him “loony left” for his life-long commitment to nuclear disarmament.

And some from the Blairite wing of his own party have also piled on the abuse. In 2015, then Labour MP John Woodcock, for instance, called Corbyn’s position on Trident “childish” and “dangerously naïve”.

Expert view

But a scarcely viewed video on YouTube shows that the anti-Trident position is actually supported by one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear weapons. In a 2016 interview on Al-Jazeera with Mehdi Hasan, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix backed Corbyn’s call to scrap Trident.

Asked by Hasan whether he supports the scrapping of Trident, he replied:

Yes, I think it’s a tremendous cost, and I do not see that it really, perceptively adds to British security

Blix is a Swedish diplomat and served as minister of foreign affairs in the Ola Ullsten administration in the 1970s. He became famous for his role as a senior UN weapons inspector in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. He has also served as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Sentimental status-seeking”

And for Blix, it’s apparently the pro-Trident people who are being childish and naïve. He said that holding on to Trident is “more a question of sentimental status-seeking”. He added that the UK will keep its permanent seat at the UN Security Council regardless of whether it holds on to nuclear weapons. Interestingly, Blix also says that he does not “see any enthusiasm in Washington for Trident, either.”

The hard-hitting video makes nonsense of the right’s endless fear-mongering, and provides a welcome antidote to the attacks on the Labour leadership.

Fortunately, shadow peace minister Fabian Hamilton is reportedly drawing up a nuclear disarmament proposal for the shadow cabinet’s consideration. And it would be well served to heed Blix’s advice.

September 29, 2018 Posted by | media, politics, UK | Leave a comment

What to expect from media and politicians when we want action on nuclear wastes

We have to create such a social movement that the press cannot ignore it, and then the press starts reporting.
people, when they get themselves mobilized, can really have an effect on events

A conversation with Dr. Gordon Edwards: contemporary issues in the Canadian nuclear industry, and a look back at the achievements of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), http://www.ccnr.org/Montreal, August 25, 2018,   Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking. DiaNuke.org, 24 Sept 2018  “………… What to expect from media and politicians
I think you appear sometimes on CBC and they give you five minutes or ten minutes, so has any of that sort of transformed into journalists picking up the issue and working with it more seriously, or politicians bringing up the issue in parliament?

We live in a very scattered society right now with what’s going on with President Trump in the United States, and what’s going on with the media. The concentration of ownership of the media, the elimination of a lot of independent journalism, like neighborhood newspapers and that sort of thing, community newspapers. Even within the mainstream media there is the idea that journalists are now being shunted into media conglomerates where the reporting is expected to go simultaneously into numerous papers, and so this makes it more and more difficult for these kinds of things to be done. However, as I point out to my friends, we’ve had many, many examples like, for instance, apartheid South Africa, or the Soviet Union before its demise, where there was no free press, and yet people got things done. The thing is that I don’t think the absence of a vital press should be a serious obstacle. I think we have to use whatever tools we have available to us, and we in North America have all kinds of freedom to express ourselves, and so we have to use what tools are available to us. For example, we’ve had many victories.

19. VictoriesI could tell you a few stories because without knowing specific examples, it all sounds very airy-fairy. It all sounds very theoretical, but, for example, we have Bruce Power, which is a private company that rents publicly owned nuclear reactors in Ontario, eight of them, and operates them for profit. They wanted to ship sixteen contaminated steam generators through the Great Lakes and through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and across the ocean to Sweden for their convenience basically. It was for their convenience so that they could have these things dismantled in Sweden. And also some of the radioactive left leftovers would be in fact secretly blended, and I say secretly. They would not reveal the names of the companies involved. Those are secret because those companies would not want the public to know what they’re engaged in. And that was actually recorded in public hearings. They wanted to secretly blend some of this less radioactive metal with non-contaminated metal. So they wanted to deliberately contaminate scrap metal. They wanted to deliberately contaminate the scrap metal market without any knowledge or notification that this scrap metal contained post-fission radioactive waste. And of course more and more of this is going to be happening as time goes on.

So we managed to stop that, and we managed to stop that through very word-of-mouth methods. We managed to get hundreds of communities passing resolutions against it on both sides of the border, both in the United States and Canada. We got lawmakers in the United States sending letters objecting, and the press was never playing a leadership role in this, but as the story became more interesting they would report on it just because it’s a good news story.

But to expect the press to play any leadership role is dreaming in technicolor, I think, especially in today’s world. We have to create such a social movement that the press cannot ignore it, and then the press starts reporting. And the same thing goes with the government. In certain respects you could say that our government leaders are not leaders. They’re followers, and the largest voices, the loudest voices are usually the voices of industry, and so they follow what they’re being told by industry or by other countries, big players like the United States, for example, but occasionally the public voice becomes loud enough that it drowns out the industrial voice or at least rivals it. In those cases a government can finally act, in their own self-interest, but not totally in their own self-interest. I hope that there’s a glimmer of concern, genuine concern about the future and the environment and doing the right thing.

But you’ve got to have a combination. It’s often said, for example, in lawsuits that behind the technical judgment where a judge might make some technical decision which lets somebody off the hook or which convicts somebody of some crime, there’s often a non-technical reason behind. Certain evidence has been heard and certain issues have been raised which, if a judge is touched by those issues, and feels that this is a case which deserves very careful consideration, then without breaking the law or even bending the law, the judge can find some legal aspect which will allow her or him to do the right thing. That’s not the judge’s main prerogative. His or her main prerogative is to ensure that the law is obeyed, and that can be done, but there has to be some kind of a conscience involved there, too, and I think there often is.

I think it’s the same thing with government. As I’ve said to people here, even if you yourself were the Minister of Energy all of a sudden, you couldn’t just do what you wanted. You have to have the support of your colleagues in cabinet. You have to have the support of people who have contributed to the party, and so on. These are all considerations, but if you have a vocal public who are clamoring to have something done, and it’s something you agree should be done, it strengthens your hand as a political person to be able to enact a law or to be able to take some political step which can be justified to colleagues. I don’t know if I’m making much sense here, but we’ve had some very good examples of this, not only with the steam generators.

20. Cross-border activism for environmental protectionI’ll give you one other example. In Vermont, the US Department of Energy were hunting for a repository in crystalline rock for high-level radioactive waste. This is back in the 90s. We had a busload of people here from Quebec who went down to Vermont and participated in public meetings and so on, and the Vermonters were delighted to see us there. And we raised some very pointed questions which the industry found difficult to answer. For example, the first question I asked at a public meeting was, “If this project is so safe, why is low population density one of your criteria?” And the man from the Department of Energy said that’s a good question, and he went red in the face, and he couldn’t give an answer.

So this thing blew up until the point where we had many public meetings in Vermont and we, as Quebecers, were invited to attend, and the US Department of Energy said, “Look, we have no choice. We have to obey the law, and the law has been written by the US Congress, the highest law of the land, and they passed a law saying that there will be a repository in crystalline rock in the Northeast United States, so don’t blame us. We can’t just snap our fingers and say we’re not going to do this.” But the voices of the people were so strong, and what really happened here was that it became an international incident because a lot of the people who were interacting within this debate were from the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Sherbrooke in particular, and the Member of Parliament from Sherbrooke was Jean Charest, who subsequently became the premier of Quebec. He was at that time a federal member of parliament. He went to his bosses in his own party, and who were the ruling party at that time, and they had a diplomatic note delivered to the Americans through the Canadian ambassador in Washington, saying that Canada would not look kindly on a nuclear waste repository right on our border where the water flows into Canada from the United States.

So to make a long story short, what happened was the impossible was done. The law was rewritten, and there was no repository in Vermont. Now you might say, “Well, that’s just postponing the problem or pushing it off.” True. But it’s a victory for us, and it shows that people, when they get themselves mobilized, can really have an effect on events, and we’ve had many successes of that sort, here in Quebec, in particular, and we hope to have many more. But the purpose is not to pursue a NIMBY idea (not in my backyard). The purpose is to call attention to the fact that this whole exercise is really an exercise based on dishonesty. It’s based on the dishonest claim that they in fact know what they’re doing, and that they in fact know that this will be a solution. It is really the survival strategy for the nuclear industry rather than a strategy that will ensure the safety of future generations. So we don’t feel that we’re acting in bad faith. We feel that we’re acting in good faith, and we’re doing our best to enlighten people as to the nature of this bad deal, and the nature of the fact that the wrong people are in charge of the program.

21. High, medium or low-level waste: similar ingredients in all of themGE: We have concentrated a lot here on the high-level waste, but in fact this consortium is not dealing with high-level waste. They’re dealing with low-level waste, medium-level waste. I hate these words because, of course, it’s the same material in many cases. They are exactly the same isotopes that you find in the high-level waste in many cases. They’re just at lower concentrations, so it’s bad language from the nuclear industry that is again fundamentally dishonest. But it’s really the decommissioning and the storage of all those other post-fission wastes that most people have never even given a thought to because they’ve been misled into thinking they don’t exist…….. https://www.dianuke.org/a-conversation-with-dr-gordon-edwards-contemporary-issues-in-the-canadian-nuclear-industry-and-a-look-back-at-the-achievements-of-the-canadian-coalition-for-nuclear-responsibility-ccnr-http-ww/

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Canada, media | 2 Comments

Youtube – a far right propaganda machine?

Here’s how YouTube became a powerful far-right propaganda machine, Raw Story , NICOLE KARLIS, SALON –19 SEP 2018 

YouTube, long under fire for its role in disseminating far-right propaganda, was recently lauded for its decision to remove fringe conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ page from its platform. Yet a new report reveals the depths to which the Google-owned online video platform is adept at propagating far-right propaganda, running the gamut from white supremacy to racist alt-right ideologies.

A new report published on Tuesday by Data & Society Research Institute, an independent nonprofit, brings to light an entire network identified as the Alternative Influence Network (AIN), which, via the report, is defined as a network of 65 political influencers across 81 channels who profit from broadcasting their views. Many of these influencers openly support racism, misogyny, and white nationalism on the platform. Researcher Rebecca Lewis of Data & Society penned the report, which was published on Tuesday.

“The platform’s motto, ‘Broadcast Yourself,’ encourages individuals to build audiences and promote themselves outside of the confines of legacy media outlets,” Lewis explains in the white paper.  “YouTube also provides financial incentives for individuals to broadcast and build audiences.”

Specifically, Lewis points to a partner program the platform has, called the Youtube Partnership Program (YPP), which is accessible to content creators who have received more than 4,000 “watch hours” in one year, and who have at least 1,000 subscribers.

“YouTube gives these content creators a small proportion of advertising revenue for the videos they post (YouTube keeps the rest),” Lewis explains. “Content creators can also relay their popularity on YouTube into monetary gains on other platforms.”

As a result — and with the help of outside sources like Patreon which allows YouTubers to solicit donations — content creators can turn their YouTube channels into lucrative careers. While YouTube and YPP were not designed explicitly to fund fringe ideologues like Alex Jones and his wannabes, they have inadvertently helped their cause.  As I have previously written, YouTube’s incentivized creator programs likely enable sensationalist and oft-controversial YouTube stars like Logan Paul, too.

Lewis manually collected data between January 1, 2017 and April 1, 2018, and discovered influencers via what she described as a “snowball approach.”……..https://www.rawstory.com/2018/09/heres-youtube-became-powerful-far-right-propaganda-machine/

September 21, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

The Fukushima nuclear crisis: How communities, doctors, media, and government have responded

Chapter Title: Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management Chapter Author(s): Adam Broinowski Book Title: New Worlds from Below [extensive footnotes and references on original]

Faced with the post-3.11 reality of government (and corporate) policy that protects economic and security interests over public health and wellbeing, the majority of the 2 million inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture are either unconscious of or have been encouraged to accept living with radioactive contamination. People dry their clothes outside, drink local tap water and consume local food, swim in outdoor pools and the ocean, consume and sell their own produce or catches. Financial pressure after 3.11 as well as the persistent danger of social marginalisation has made it more difficult to take precautionary measures (i.e. permanent relocation, dual accommodation, importing food and water) and develop and share counter-narratives to the official message. Nevertheless, some continue to conceal their anxiety beneath a mask of superficial calm.

As Fukushima city resident Shiina Chieko observed, the majority of people seem to have adopted denial as a way to excise the present danger from their consciousness. Her sister-in-law, for example, ignored her son’s ‘continuous nosebleeds’, while her mother had decided that the community must endure by pretending that things were no different from pre-3.11 conditions.75 Unlike the claim that risk is evenly distributed, it is likely that greater risk is borne by those who eat processed foods from family restaurants and convenience stores, as well as infants, children and young women who are disproportionately vulnerable to internal radiation exposures. Most mothers, then, have an added burden to shield their children while maintaining a positive front in their family and community.

Some, such as Yokota Asami (40 years old), a small business owner and mother from Kōriyama (60 km from FDNPS), demonstrated initiative in voluntarily evacuating her family. She decided to return (wearing goggles and a mask, she joked) in September 2011 when her son’s regular and continuous nosebleeds (in 30-minute spells) subsided. The Yokotas found themselves the victims of bullying when they called attention to radiation dangers, and were labelled non-nationals (hikokumin 非国民) who had betrayed reconstruction efforts. Her son was the only one to put up his hand when he was asked along with 300 fellow junior high school students if he objected to eating locally produced school lunches. He also chose not to participate in outdoor exercise classes and to go on respite trips instead. When it came time to take the high school entrance exam, he was told by the school principal that those who took breaks could not pass. He took the exam and failed. When he asked to see his results he found that he had, in fact, enough points to pass (the cut-off was 156 while he received 198 out of 250 points). The Yokotas decided that it was better to be a ‘non-national’ and protect one’s health. Their son moved to live in Sapporo.76

In March 2015, Asami reported that doctors undertook paediatric thyroid operations while denying any correlation (inga kankei 因果 関係) with radiation exposures. They also urged their patients to keep their thyroid cancer a secret to enhance their employment or marriage prospects, although it would be difficult to conceal the post-operation scar.77 Yokota also indicated she knew of students having sudden heart attacks and developing leukaemia and other illnesses.78

This seems to be supported by Mr Ōkoshi, a Fukushima city resident, whose two daughters experienced stillbirths after 3.11. WhileŌkoshi found that doctors have regularly advised women in the area to abort after 3.11, presumably to avoid miscarriages and defects, they do not discuss direct causes. He also observed regular illnesses experienced by many of his friends, and some sudden deaths. After a friend (62 years old) started saying strange things, he was diagnosed with brain dysfunction. He died quickly. Another friend (53 years old) was advised by a doctor to monitor a polyp in her breast. When she sought second opinions, she discovered she had accumulated an internal dose of 22 mSv and had a rapidly developing liver cancer. She also died quickly.79 There are many more such stories that are being actively ignored by the authorities. As Shiina put it, ‘we’re getting leukaemia and cataracts and we die suddenly. The TEPCO registrar has been inundated with complaints’.80

While radiation contamination is clearly a health and environmental issue, state-corporate methods deployed by executives to protect (transnational) financial, industry and security interests and assets also make it a political issue.81 As things do not change by themselves, rather than turning one’s frustration inward in self-blame, turning to prayer or deceiving oneself into returning to pre-3.11 lifeways in contaminated areas, Shiina states that people, particularly those most affected, must develop political consciousness.

To achieve this ambitious objective is not as complicated as it might sound. Nishiyama Chikako (60 years old), for example, returned to Kawauchi village to run for the local assembly after the mandatory order was lifted in December 2011. She found, as she commented in her blog, a link between TEPCO and the tripling of the Kawauchi budget post-3.11. Subsequently, she reported that her blog was shut down by unknown hackers on several occasions.82

This sort of information and communication control appears to be widespread. After 3.11, the central government hired advertising companies Dentsū and Hakuhōdō (formerly McCann Ericson Hakuhodo) to run a ‘public acceptance’ campaign. Young teams were dispatched nationwide to conduct ‘public opinion guidance’ (yoron yūdō 世論誘導). The teams consisted of casual labour (earning 2,000–4,000 yen per hour) hired under a confidentiality clause (shuhi gimu 守秘義務) to manipulate information (jōhō kōsaku 情報工作) and harass internet users.83

Media professionals have been subjected to similar tactics. The Asahi TV journalist Iwaji Masaki (Hōdō Station), one of the few mainstream journalists covering the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in depth, for example, was intimidated by police for interviewing (December 2012) informal nuclear workers who showed shoddy decontamination practices that entailed contaminated waste disposal rather than removal and the mother of a child with thyroid cancer. Airing the program was delayed until August 2013. Before he could complete his planned segments on the US$1 billion class action for compensation for unusual and serious illnesses filed against TEPCO, General Electric, Hitachi and Tōshiba in 2015 by sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan (which provided assistance quickly after the disaster, and among whose crew 250 were ill and three had died),84 on 29 September 2013, Iwaji was reportedly found dead in his apartment (having suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in a sealed room as he slept). Much speculation followed on social media, including both plausible reasons for suicide and testimonies from friends that knew him well that Iwaji himself stated he would never commit suicide, but the story was conspicuously ignored by major news channels.85

The former mayor of Futaba village Idogawa Katsuichi was harassed on social media for calling attention to illnesses and for the resettlement of pregnant women and children. When Kariya Tetsu characterised Idogawa in his popular manga series (Oishinbo 美味しんぼ), and depicted the manga’s main character as suffering from nosebleeds after visiting Fukushima, Kariya’s editors shut the series down following accusations of ‘spreading rumours’ from some readers, media commentators and high level politicians. Similarly, Takenouchi Mari, a freelance journalist and mother who evacuated from Fukushima in 2011, received thousands of slanderous messages and threats to her two-year-old son and her property after criticising the co-founder of Fukushima ETHOS on her blog in mid-2012. She too reported that her internet account was suspended and her request for a police investigation ignored. She was counter-sued for harassment and subjected to a criminal investigation and civil law suit.86

Among the activists who have been arrested for anti-nuclear protests, the academic Shimoji Masaki of Hannan University (9 December 2012) was arrested by Osaka Prefectural Police and charged with ‘violating the Railway Operation Act’ for walking through an Osaka station concourse while participating in a demonstration against radioactive waste incineration (17 October 2012). Shimoji had reiterated that residents, due to radioactive incineration (which was due to commence in Osaka in February 2013), would be forced to bear the burden of air, food and water contamination.8

Despite such obstacles to developing a political consciousness as well as the obvious difficulties in permanently resettling large populations, it has been not only evacuees who have had to think about their fundamental life priorities after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear distaster. Some have adopted real (not only psychological) self-protection mechanisms. The  voluntary Fukushima Collective Health Clinic (Fukushima Kyōdō Shinryōjo 福島共同診療所), for example, is founded on three principles: respite (hoyō 保養), treatment (shinryō 診療) and healing (iryō 医療). Co-founder Dr Sugii, advocates a return to the 1 mSv/y limit, and seeks to inform those who for whatever reason cannot move from contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture.88 This is modelled on Belrad, the independent health clinic in Belarus run by Alexey Nesterenko, which prioritises knowledge, safety and open information on radiation and its health impacts. 86

To counteract the misinformation residents were exposed to post Chernobyl, over time and with limited resources, Belrad and other organisations have disseminated information and organised respite trips for children in affected areas. In 2015, for example, subsidised respite trips were organised for 50,000 children, and results have shown that  over  two  continuous years of respite those who accumulated 25– 35 Bq/kg had reduced the amount to 0 Bq/kg. Unlike the flat limit of 100 Bq/kg of Caesium in food in Japan (50 Bq/kg for milk and infant foods, 10  Bq/kg for drinking water), Belrad recommends an internal radiation limit of 10–30 Bq/kg in the body (although it advises below 10 Bq for infants to avoid lesions and heart irregularities).89 It should be noted that these limits do not guarantee safety against the effects of repeating internal radiation exposure from consuming contaminated foods, which is relative to the length of time the radiation remains and its location in the body.

While some communities, such as the town of Aketo in Tanohama, Iwate Prefecture, have struggled to block the siting of nuclear waste storage facilities,90 others are also organising to reduce radio-accumulation in their children through respite trips,91 as well as concentrating on indoor activities, measuring hotspots and decontaminating public areas and pathways, pooling funds for expensive spectrometers to monitor internal exposure and food and water, incorporating dietary radioprotection, as well as finding ways to reduce anxiety

Many local farmers cannot admit the already near-permanent damage to their land (which may continue for hundreds of years) because it would imply the devaluation of their property and produce as well as threatening their ancestral ties to the land, commitments and future plans. While many are keenly aware of their responsibilities, the push by the Fukushima and central governments to identify and gain access to markets for produce from irradiated areas would make it easier to overlook uncomfortable factors. Some have argued that given the reassurances of safety from the highest authorities, these offical figures should therefore relocate to contaminated areas and consume these products regularly. Despite the fairness of this statement, a more utilitarian logic has prevailed. In the name of reconstruction and revitalisation of Fukushima and the nation, the dilution of Fukushima produce with unirradiated produce to return measurements just under the required limits, radiation spikes in soil and food or the mutation of plants as Caesium replaces potassium (K40), for example, tend to be minimised. In this climate, the distribution and relabelling of Fukushima produce for urban and international markets (i.e. in a black market of cut-price bulk produce picked up by yakuza and other brokers) is likely to continue.

To date, the majority of evacuees have refused to return to (de)contaminated areas. Some claim they are yet to receive accurate information to justify it. Independent specialists such as Hosokawa Kōmei (Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy), who develops models for transition to renewable alternatives, anticipate an increase in evacuee populations as they predict increased resettlement of Fukushima residents over 20–30 years.92 As some evacuees recognise the potential for second or third Fukushimas, they have sought to strengthen their collective identities and rights. Through local organisation and alternative life practices, whether in micro-scale ecovillages and transition towns93 with communal occupancies and squats, parallel currencies and local exchange systems (roughly 70 substantive projects), organic food co-ops, self-sufficient energy systems, local production and recycling, carpools and free kindergartens, such groups are seeking to reconstruct and model core social priorities, focusing on clean food, health and community cooperation rather than the internalised and dreary competition for material accumulation.

Although the accountability of authorities with prior knowledge has yet to be properly investigated, one of the largest groups of collective legal actions  to be mounted in Japanese history includes some 20 lawsuits by  10,000 plaintiffs. The Fukushima genpatsu kokuso-dan (Group of Plaintiffs for Criminal Prosecution 福島原発告訴団), formed on 20 April 2012, filed a criminal case (lodged 3 September 2013, Fukushima District Court) against 33 previous and present officers of TEPCO, government officials and medical experts for ‘group irresponsibility’ and the neglect of duty of care, environmental damage and harm to human health. Mutō Ruiko, one of the key plaintiffs, declared the main aim to be symbolic: to publicly record injury, reclaim the victims’ sense of agency and protect the next generation. In short, they were seeking recognition of wrong and harm done rather than primarily financial redress. This moderate aim was undoubtedly tempered by recognition of regulatory capture: those who were cavalier with safety procedures ‘were now in charge of restarts; those responsible for the “safety” campaign were now in charge of the Health Survey; [there has been] no responsibility for the SPEEDI cover-up; and TEPCO is not being held responsible for [faulty] decontamination’.94

The judgement of this case was handed down at the Tokyo District Court on the same day as the announcement of Tokyo’s successful Olympics bid (9  September 2013). The case was dismissed on the grounds that the disaster was beyond predictability (sōteigai 想定外), which made negligence  hypothetical.95 A citizens’ panel (Committee for inquest of Prosecution) overturned the dismissal and renewed the claim against three TEPCO executives on 18 December 2013. They demanded, alongside a  ruling of negligence against three former TEPCO executives, the inclusion of physical, economic, social and psychological harms: illness, paediatric underdevelopment (radiation exposures, excessive isolation indoors), financial losses (unemployment, loss in property value, rental costs of two homes, relocation, travel, etc.), family and community division, ijime (bullying いじめ) and stress. Many plaintiffs also claimed that their disrupted reliance upon nature,96 as inviolable and precious,97 should be recognised as harm. This too was dismissed and again a citizen’s panel found against the three TEPCO executives.98 In May 2015, 10 groups of plaintiffs formed a network named Hidanren (被弾連, Genpatsu Jiko Higaisha Dantai Renrakukai) comprising 20,000 people. The Fukushima kokuso-dan again made a claim to another citizens’ panel, which found in July 2015 in favour of indicting the three TEPCO executives for trial.99 In addition, a civil case filed in June 2015 by 4,000 plaintiffs from Iwaki seeking to prove negligence and not just harm sought to use previously withheld evidence to show fair warning of a 3.11-type scenario was given. This case focused the court on the operator’s calculation of risk probability of a tsunami of that size and, rather than aiming at financial compensation, it sought to deter nuclear operators from future negligent practices if ruled in favour. In anticipation of out-of-court settlements, the Japanese Government increased the budget for compensation payments to 7 trillion yen (US$56 billion). https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctt1pwtd47.11.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Af507747c78b2f0fba7a19d91222e4a72

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Japan, media, politics, psychology - mental health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Extreme heat is reported on news media, but climate change is rarely mentioned

Newspapers are failing to connect extreme heat to climate change https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/07/27/Newspapers-are-failing-to-connect-extreme-heat-to-climate-change/220822

During the recent heat wave, only about 11 percent of articles mentioned global warming, a new report finds  EVLONDO COOPER 

Almost 90 percent of articles about the recent heat wave in the biggest 50 U.S. newspapers failed to mention hot weather’s connection to climate change, according to a new report published by the nonprofit Public Citizen.

This unfortunate trend extends beyond newspapers. Media Matters has documented how rarely broadcast TV networks cover climate change. Our most recent study looked at how the major broadcast networks covered the links between climate change and extreme heat and found that over a two-week period from late June to early July, only one segment out of 127 about the heat wave mentioned climate change.

Public Citizen looked at coverage of extreme heat in the top 50 U.S. newspapers by circulation over the first half of 2018 and found that less than 18 percent of the articles mentioned climate change:

In the top 50 newspapers, a total of 760 articles mentioned extreme heat, heat waves, record heat, or record temperatures from January 1 to July 8, 2018. One hundred thirty-four of these pieces (17.6 percent) also mentioned climate change or global warming.

During the period June 27 to July 8, only 23 of 204 heat-related articles (11.3 percent) mentioned climate.

During the heat wave, there were 673 articles, with 26 (3.9 percent) mentioning climate.

In late June and early July, when a heat wave was afflicting much of the U.S., the percentage of articles mentioning climate change was even lower:

Public Citizen also looked beyond the top 50 papers to see how extreme heat was covered in papers in 13 states where 10 or more local areas broke heat records from June 27 to July 8. This more localized newspaper coverage was even worse:

While writers and editors may want to exercise caution in attributing any individual event to climate change, the science is clear that our warming climate is making extreme events like heat waves, floods, and fires more intense and more frequent. That’s why environmental journalists and communicators have been calling on major news outlets to do a better job of covering climate change and the environmental rollbacks that could make things worse.

Public Citizen’s report did highlight notable exceptions when newspapers did strong reporting to connect extreme heat to climate change — such as a story by Austin American-Statesman reporter Roberto Villalpando that explained how climate change is bringing 100-degree days to Austin earlier in the year. Despite this, the report concluded, “U.S. news outlets continue to tell only half the story. These exceptions need to become the norm if the public is going to wake from its slumber on climate change in time to take the bold action we urgently need to avoid catastrophic harm, and possibly even an existential threat to the U.S., later this century.”

July 30, 2018 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

Public opinion being influenced by biased and inaccurate reporting on North Korea

They have thus obscured the reality that the fate of the negotiations depends not only North Korean policy but on the willingness of the United States to make changes in its policy toward the DPRK and the Korean Peninsula that past administrations have all been reluctant to make.

These stories also underscore a broader problem with media coverage of the US-North Korean negotiations: a strong underlying bias toward the view that it is futile to negotiate with North Korea. The latest stories have constructed a dark narrative of North Korean deception that is not based on verified facts. If this narrative is not rebutted or corrected, it could shift public opinion—which has been overwhelmingly favorable to negotiations with North Korea—against such a policy.

How the Media Wove a Narrative of North Korean Nuclear Deception 38 North, BY: GARETH PORTER, JULY 26, 2018

Since the June 12 Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US media has woven a misleading narrative that both past and post-summit North Korean actions indicate an intent to deceive the US about its willingness to denuclearize. The so-called intelligence that formed the basis of these stories was fed to reporters by individuals within the administration pushing their own agenda.

The Case of the Secret Uranium Enrichment Sites

In late June and early July, a series of press stories portrayed a North Korean policy of deceiving the United States by keeping what were said to be undeclared uranium enrichment sites secret from the United States. The stories were published just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was preparing for the first meetings with North Korean officials to begin implementing the Singapore Summit Declaration.

The first such story appeared on NBC News on June 29, which reported: Continue reading

July 28, 2018 Posted by | media, North Korea, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Prosecuting Julian Assange – a dangerous precedent threatening journalists’ rights

Judges Hear Warning on Prosecution of WikiLeaks https://www.courthousenews.com/judges-hear-warning-on-prosecution-of-wikileaks/  July 24, 2018MARIA DINZEO   NAHEIM, Calif. (CN) – Prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents related to the 2016 presidential election would set a terrible precedent for journalists, the top lawyer for The New York Times said Tuesday.

Addressing a room full of federal and circuit judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference, David McCraw, the deputy general counsel for The New York Times, explained that regardless of how one feels about Assange and traditional news outlets receiving the same kind of deference over publishing leaked materials, his prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech.

“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

McCraw went on to clarify that while Assange employs certain methods that he finds discomfiting and irresponsible, such as dumping unredacted documents revealing the personal information of ordinary people, Assange should be afforded the same protections as a traditional journalist.

“Do I wish journalism was practiced in a certain way, like it is with The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal? Of course. But I also think new ways of publishing have their value. Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report,” McCraw said.

“But if someone is in the business of publishing information, I think that whatever privilege happens to apply – whatever extension of the law that would apply – should be there. Because the question isn’t whether he’s a journalist. It’s in that instance was he committing an act of journalism.”

Assange has long considered himself a journalist operating no differently than other news outlets. This has complicated matters, because if Assange can be prosecuted for publishing leaked information, why not prosecute news organizations like The New York Times?

Earlier this month, a grand jury returned an indictment against twelve Russian military spies for hacking into the servers and emails of the Democratic National Committee and state election officials, stealing documents and staging the release of those documents to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. While the indictment did not name Assange and WikiLeaks specifically, it has been widely suggested that WikiLeaks received the materials and could very well be the group referred to in the indictment as “Organization Number 1.”

Barry Pollack, who represents Assange in an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, weighed in on the indictment Tuesday.

“If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week,” Pollack said. “He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.

“There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’”

Pollack and McCraw spoke as part of a panel titled “The Law of Leaks,” a session on how the United States has ramped up efforts to prosecute people who have leaked state secrets. Thirteen people have been prosecuted under the first law against leaking state secrets, the Espionage Act of 1917, most under the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump has waged an unprecedented war against the media, taking to Twitter last year to call the media “the enemy of the American people.”  Yet no publisher has ever been indicted over leaks, and both McCraw and Pollack expressed doubts about whether it will happen any time soon.

“Unlike firing off a tweet, bringing a prosecution requires a career professional prosecutor to sign off on the prosecution, so there also is a tremendous check there that doesn’t exist in some of the rhetoric we hear,” Pollack said.

“Prosecutions of journalists would be difficult,” McCraw said. “I think they’d be unpopular, I think they’d be wrong, and I think they’d be unsuccessful. I see this PR campaign against the press as almost an alternative to legal measures.”

 

July 28, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, media, USA | Leave a comment

TV News Media is letting the world down as it fails to cover unprecedented global heat wave

Global heat wave: an epic TV news fail https://thebulletin.org/2018/07/global-heat-wave-an-epic-tv-news-fail/?utm_source=Bulletin%20newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=July20  By Dawn Stover, July 19, 2018

This month’s scorching heat wave broke records around the world. The Algerian city of Ouargla, with a population of half a million, had a temperature of 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit on July 6, the hottest reliably measured temperature on record in Africa. In Ireland and Wales, the unusually hot weather revealed ancient structures normally hidden by grass or crops. In Chino, California, the mercury soared to 120 degrees. Another round of hazardous summer heat is expected this week, with record high temperatures possible in the southern United States.

The prolonged heat wave has been a staple of television news for weeks. However, most of the coverage has been sorely lacking in context: Humans are warming the planet, and scientists have already linked some heat waves to climate change. A recent analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes that human-driven climate change, rather than natural variability, will be the leading cause of heat waves over the western United States and Great Lakes region as early as the 2020s and 2030s, respectively.

Like the heat itself, much of the media coverage was stupefying. “Major broadcast TV networks overwhelmingly failed to report on the links between climate change and extreme heat,” according to a Media Matters survey. “Over a two-week period from late June to early July, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired a combined 127 segments or weathercasts that discussed the heat wave, but only one segment, on CBS This Morning, mentioned climate change.”

TV coverage would undoubtedly improve if weather forecasters were better informed about climate science. But four Republican senators with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are trying to eliminate government funding for a National Science Foundation designed to help forecasters (and by extension, the general public) “become more familiar with the science behind how their local weather and its trends are related to the dynamics of the climate.”

July 21, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, media | Leave a comment

UK media ignores UK Committee on Climate Change’s report – renewables quicker and cheaper than nuclear

 

 

David Lowry’s Blog 2nd July 2018 , A key message from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC’s) 267-page
annual report 2018 “If new nuclear projects were not to come forward, it is likely that renewables would be able to be deployed on shorter timescales and at lower cost.”

But you would not find this very important assessment in the British media coverage. Why might this be? Perhaps because on the day before, the UK Government published its long-trailed so-called ‘Nuclear Industry Sector Deal’on which the media clearly had been well briefed in advance.
http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2018/07/nuclear-threat-to-sustainable-energy.html

July 6, 2018 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

The world needs to hear, repeatedly, the simple message on urgency of climate change (and of nuclear threat, too)

SELLING THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE , Climate One, 4 May 18, The scientific consensus is that human activity is cooking the planet and disrupting our economies. Yet many people still don’t  believe that climate change will affect them personally. Or they deny that the problem is urgent enough to take action that would disrupt their lifestyles. Why has communicating the facts about climate change to the public been such a challenge?

“Facts don’t work by themselves,” says David Fenton, founder and chairman of Fenton Communications. “Facts only really work when one, they’re embedded in moral narratives.  Secondly, facts don’t work unless they’re embedded in stories. And third, the brain only absorbs messages that are simple and that are repeated.”…….

“Part of my job,” he explains, “is to help scientists speak English and acceptable accurate drama.”

Fenton believes in exploiting the findings of cognitive science to deliver otherwise complex messages. “Only campaigns work,” he stresses, “Only the repetition – I’m repeating myself I know – of simple messages changes public opinion and affects the brain.”

Fenton notes that while it’s hard to be optimistic when you hang out with climate scientists, he remains so because the climate movement has never really tried to reach the general public at a scale similar to a national advertising campaign – let alone the disinformation campaign of the fossil fuel industry…….    Climate One is presented in association with KQED Public Radio.   https://climateone.org/audio/selling-science-climate-change

 

May 5, 2018 Posted by | climate change, media | Leave a comment

The Destruction of an Independent Press 

Chris Hedges With Mark Crispin Miller on the Destruction of an Independent Press https://www.truthdig.com/videos/chris-hedges-with-mark-crispin-miller-on-the-destruction-of-an-independent-press/  posted by Emily Wells APR 27, 2018 

In a recent episode of “On Contact,” his video series on the RT network, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges speaks with Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University, about the destruction of the independent press in the United States.

Hedges calls attention to the algorithms of Facebook, Google and Twitter, and how they steer traffic away from anti-war and progressive websites, while Miller speaks of the frightening historical precedent of the homogenization of the press.

“I think what we have seen over the decades since the mid-’70s, and I’m going to make a provocative comparison here, is something analogous to what the Nazis called gleichschaltung, which means streamlining,” Miller says. “When they came to power, they made it their business to make sure that not only all media outlets but all industries, all sectors of the culture, would be streamlined, which meant getting rid of anyone who was not fully on board with the Nazi program.”

Miller adds that this is “unprecedented in American experience.” He says, “Even ten years ago I would have flinched if someone compared our press to the Nazi press.”

Watch the full conversation in the player above. [on original]

April 30, 2018 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

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/

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 | 1 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!

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