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

Media avoid the truth about nuclear wastes

the hidden message:

scientists and engineers are still bewildered by a mountain of nuclear waste 80-years high.  Nobody wants it in their neighborhood.  There’s no place to put it

Limp logic of safe nuclear waste storage, 30 Aug 21Enriching uranium requires fossil fuels that leave coal ash and/or fracking waste, both of which degrade the quality of soil, water and air.  There are tons of containers, gloves, booties, and hazmat suits, etc. that must be discarded as radioactive waste in order to fabricate, use, transport and store the spent fuel generated in service to tens of thousands of electricty-users.

Author, Jan Boudart, Nuclear Energy Information Service1.

The August 19, 2021 Mirage News article “ORNL receives spent fuel canister to support long-term storage studies” has prompted us2 to question the superficiality of ORNL’s analogy to the volume of spent nuclear fuel.  

Characterizing spent fuel on less than half of 1000th part of its yearly volume is to ignore, not only the whole story of mining, transporting, milling, transporting, processing, transporting, refueling reactor vessels, storing spent fuel, then more transporting.  Spent fuel volume is but a trivial part of how the nuclear fuel cycle impacts humans, animals, plants and the geological earth.

And acres of concrete, whose manufacture is a strong producer of greenhouse gasses, are required for temporary entombment.  Fossil fuels are used in trucks and trains to haul radioactive fuel, both new and spent, on water and land.  And there are hospital gowns, syringes, and multiple wastes, along with the energy to light, heat and build sophisticated diagnostic and treatment systems to deal with the cancer-stricken victims of the whole fuel cycle of which spent fuel is a small, but important, part.

Relevant metrics easily expose the disconnect between reality and the unsubstantiated and spurious analogy in the article.  For example, (i) the hundreds of thousands of tons which will further degrade our fragile roads, rail and bridges in a nuclear-waste transport scheme3, (ii) the hundreds of billions which have been spent worldwide over 70 years trying to find the ever-vanishing ‘solution’ to nuclear waste, and (iii) the hundreds of thousands of years (a million according to the US National Academies) in which spent fuel will remain hazardous and toxic.

Also, a perennial chortle among anti-nuclear activists is the fact that no insurance company in its right mind would consider taking on the risk posed by a nuclear power plant or its waste.  In case of an accident, taxpayers will foot most of the bill, per The Price-Anderson Act of 19574.  If spent fuel is such a no-big-deal to manage, let the nuclear industry assume full responsibility for paying for and insuring it.

Another egregious statement from the ORNL spokesperson: “The used fuel… can be retrieved at any time for reprocessing and reuse.”  BUT, “Incredibly, not a single dry storage cask, once loaded, has ever been unloaded in the U.S.”5  And no one has volunteered to risk their life taking spent nuclear fuel out of a canister.  To do so in relative safety would require a “hot cell”6, where workers could be protected from “spent” fuel’s deadly radiation — much more fearsome than when it was “new”.

At present, in the U.S. 95 nuclear reactors are functioning, each producing about 2000 Tons of spent nuclear fuel per year.  The inventory of High-Level Nuclear Waste, “Spent” fuel, has exceeded 90,000 tons7.  Transporting this monstrous load would be dangerous and very expensive8.  

Further, the ORNL speaker implied that spent fuel can be “inertly stored”, saying, “The nuclear energy industry is unique among power generation options in that its used fuel is inertly stored in sealed canisters…”.  But it is well-known that the spent fuel, itself, is not inert.  It is, in fact, thousands of times more radioactive than the new fuel whose fission produced the heat to run the reactor.  It costs about 4 million USD for each cask9 and another half million USD to load each one with fuel.  “The concrete pad for casks to sit on costs another 1 million USD.  A rough estimated cost to move all of the fuel in the United States that has cooled in pools for at least five years could cost 7 billion USD.”10  You tell me why private power companies are required to spend $4,500,000+ per cask to “inertly store” this dangerous material.

Later the article discusses the foils against criticality that are being tried at ORNL.  No concern for “critically” would be necessary if the SNF were “inertly stored” as previously claimed.

The fact of the article in question appearing at this stage— when we are 8 decades (counting from 1942) into the Atomic Age — this immediate and present fact — emphasizes the hidden message: scientists and engineers are still bewildered by a mountain of nuclear waste 80-years high.  Nobody wants it in their neighborhood.  There’s no place to put it…………..

Continue reading

August 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, wastes | Leave a comment

Military Contractor CACI Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Hurting Its Profits. It’s Funding a Pro-War Think Tank.

But this outcry didn’t materialize out of nowhere. Think tank “experts,” whose organizations are financed by the very companies profiting from the war, play a key part.

They are trotted out in front of cameras and quoted in major media outlets, presented as above-the-fray observers. They are well-financed, polished and groomed precisely for moments like these. And the companies financing them get to launder their own objectives through institutions that are seen as respectable, academic and rigorous. It’s a grotesque system that is functioning as it was designed.

Military Contractor CACI Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Hurting Its Profits. It’s Funding a Pro-War Think Tank.

By Sarah Lazare, In These Times

26 August 21   

What CACI reveals about the feedback loop between military contractors and think tanks.

n August 12, the military contractor CACI International Inc. told its investors that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is hurting its profits. The same contractor is also funding a think tank that is concurrently arguing against the withdrawal. This case is worth examining both because it is routine, and because it highlights the venality of our “expert”-military contractor feedback loop, in which private companies use think tanks to rally support for wars they’ll profit from.

The contractor is notorious to those who have followed the scandal of U.S.-led torture in Iraq. CACI International was sued by three Iraqis formerly detained in Abu Ghraib prison who charge that the company’s employees are responsible for directing their torture, including sexual assault and electric shocks. (The suit was brought in 2008 and the case is still ongoing.)

In 2019, CACI International was awarded a nearly $907 million, five-year contract to provide “intelligence operations and analytic support” for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

During an August 12 earnings call, CACI International noted repeatedly that President Biden’s withdrawal from the 20-year Afghanistan War harmed the company’s profits. John Mengucci, president and CEO of CACI International, said, “we have about a 2 percent headwind coming into FY 2022 because of Afghanistan.” A “headwind” refers to negative impacts on profits.

Afghanistan was mentioned 16 times throughout the call — either in reference to the dent in profits, or to assure investors that other areas of growth were offsetting the losses. For example, Mengucci said, “We’re seeing positive growth in technology and expect it to continue to outpace expertise growth, collectively offsetting the impact of the Afghanistan drawdown.”

Similar themes were repeated in an April 22 earnings call, where the company lamented the “headwinds” posed by the Afghanistan withdrawal. (Industry and defense publications have picked up on this them, but framed it in the company’s terms, by emphasizing the offsets to its losses.)

Despite CACI International’s clear economic interest in continuing the war, on the August 12 call, company officials were careful not to editorialize about the Biden administration’s decision. The closest they came was a cautious statement from Mengucci: “At least as of today we’ve watched the administration make the decision to completely exit Afghanistan by 9 – 11 and all I can say is they’re executing on that decision.”

But CACI International does not have to broadcast its positions on the war: Instead, it is funding a think tank that has been actively urging the Biden administration not to leave Afghanistan.

CACI International is listed as a “corporate sponsor” of the Institute for Study of War, which describes itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.” Dr. Warren Phillips, lead director of CACI International, is on the board of the think tank. (Other funders include General Dynamics and Microsoft.)

When it comes to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, the think tank is extremely partisan. In an August 20 paper, the think tank argued that “Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey are weighing how to take advantage of the United States’ hurried withdrawal.”

Jack Keane, a retired four star general and board member of the Institute for Study of War, meanwhile, has been on a cable news blitz arguing against the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as reported by Ryan Grim, Sara Sirota, Lee Fang and Rose Adams for The Intercept.

Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War, told Fox News on August 17 that the U.S. withdrawal could cause Afghanistan to become the “second school of jihadism.” She warned, “It is not clear that the Taliban, which seeks international recognition and legitimacy, is going to want to tolerate or encourage direct attacks on the U.S. from al Qaeda or other extremist groups based in Afghanistan.”

The think tank’s backing from a military contractor was not discussed in these media appearances.

The case of CACI International is not unique. The Intercept notes, “Among the other talking heads who took to cable news segments or op-ed pages without disclosing their defense industry ties were retired Gen. David Petraeus; Rebecca Grant, a former staffer for the Air Force secretary; Richard Haass, who worked as an adviser to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell; and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”

This cacophony of voices matters because Biden is facing a media uproar over the withdrawal. Pundits and mainstream press outlets that have been ignoring civilian deaths for years are suddenly expressing moral outrage at their hardships now that the war is ending. While there are legitimate concerns about the fate of Afghans as the Taliban seizes control, the vast majority of the firestorm stems from a reflexively pro-war perspective, in favor of the indefinite extension of an occupation that has proven brutal and lethal for civilians. The overwhelming effect is to send the message to Biden, and any future presidents, that they should think twice before withdrawing from a war, lest they have a media revolt on their hands.

But this outcry didn’t materialize out of nowhere. Think tank “experts,” whose organizations are financed by the very companies profiting from the war, play a key part. They are trotted out in front of cameras and quoted in major media outlets, presented as above-the-fray observers. They are well-financed, polished and groomed precisely for moments like these. And the companies financing them get to launder their own objectives through institutions that are seen as respectable, academic and rigorous. It’s a grotesque system that is functioning as it was designed.

In its August 12 call, CACI International simply acknowledged the company’s economic interests out loud.

August 28, 2021 Posted by | media, politics, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Corporate Media Politicize WHO Investigation on Covid Origins to Vilify China

Corporate Media Politicize WHO Investigation on Covid Origins to Vilify China, JOSHUA CHO  FAIR (10/6/20, 6/28/21) has previously critiqued Western news media’s credulous coverage of evidence-free “lab leak” speculations. One key factor in spreading suspicion that the coronavirus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is media’s early and ongoing politicization of the World Health Organization’s investigation into the pandemic’s origins. Much of this politicization weaponizes Orientalist tropes about China being especially, perhaps genetically, untrustworthy—the sort of people who would unleash Covid-19 on the world.

While no new evidence has emerged suggesting that the virus emerged from the WIV, many more Americans now believe it did. A Politico/Harvard poll in July, following an increase of uncritical Western media coverage on the lab leak theory, found that 52% of US adults now believe Covid-19 leaked from a lab, up from 29% in March 2020. This is contrary to the assessment of most scientists, who believe, based on available evidence, that a natural origin for the virus is more likely…………

August 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | 1 Comment

Nuclear energy is anything but clean, despite the media hype

Nuclear energy is anything but clean

The nuclear power industry has successfully rebranded an appallingly toxic energy industry by never mentioning the terrible legacy of nuclear waste, writes Ann Denise Lanes 26 Aug 21  Re your report (Nuclear storage plans for north of England stir up local opposition, 23 August), it is no surprise that ongoing discussions to choose locations for the dumping of nuclear waste are cloaked in secrecy.

Over the last decade, the nuclear power industry has successfully rebranded an appallingly toxic energy industry as “zero carbon” and even “clean” (Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019, 1 January 2020) by never mentioning the terrible legacy of nuclear waste. Nuclear energy is neither clean nor zero-carbon when you consider its complete fuel cycle, from uranium mining overseas to the energy-intensive production of fuel rods to the management of highly toxic radioactive waste products such as plutonium.

The nuclear lobby has done a very effective PR job in diverting attention away from everything other than the electricity feed into the National Grid. It knows that there is no safe long-term solution for storing nuclear waste – how could you guarantee safety from the most dangerous chemical element on the planet for 24,000 years (the half-life of plutonium)? The last thing this industry wants is an open discussion. It would reopen the debate on nuclear waste that it has, up to now, successfully buried in millions of pounds’ worth of rebranding. Hence the secrecy.

August 26, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

White Man’s Media: Rupert Murdoch and the US Imperium

White Man’s Media: Rupert Murdoch and the US Imperium, By John Menadue|August 24, 2021, Western media, a tool of the political, military and business establishment, have played a part in the killing of millions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, writes John Menadue. In turn, Australia’s media is a tool of this “US Imperium”. This is the first in White Man’s Media, a series to be published in Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations

Australia’s media does not just have a problem being dominated by legacy US and UK media. We have a particular problem. Its name is Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen who owns two-thirds of Australia’s metropolitan dailies, a monopoly Pay TV licence in Foxtel, and more.

News Corp was a key supporter of the unmitigated disaster which was the Iraq War. Of the 173 Murdoch papers worldwide only one, the Hobart Mercury, opposed that war, a war sometimes described as ‘the Murdoch War’. 

Murdoch told us in 2003, “I think (George W) Bush acted very morally, very correctly. US troops will soon be welcomed as liberators”. 

His Foreign Editor on The Australian Greg Sheridan could not contain himself. “The bold eagle of American power is aloft, high above the humble earth. For as it soars and sweeps it sees victory, power and opportunity”. 

Sheridan is still in his job. Murdoch prefers loyalty to competence in all those around him, including his family.

Warmongers and profiteers

In wars, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation see “victory, power and opportunity” too. Rupert Murdoch himself is still in his job.

Even some of the legacy media apologised for their support of the illegal war in Iraq. But never Rupert Murdoch or, for that matter, former Australian prime minister John Howard.

News Corp in Australia, for well over a decade, has also led the campaign of denial on climate change. This company has become a key part of a US military/business/security complex which has exercised destructive power for generations, and is now demonising China.

As  Alex Lo wrote in August, “It has long been known that the Department of Defense in the US and other governments such as the CIA, not only support film and cable production in Hollywood but also actively intervene and manipulate their content”.

And in June, Lo described how a long list of former US security chiefs such as John Brennan and James Clapper joined US media – NBC, MSNBC and CNN.

Australian security heads have been leading the demonisation of China with help from the Five Eyes. But we get a double-whammy when our derivative media draws heavily on US legacy media that in turn is heavily influenced by former US security chiefs with their ‘expert opinions’.

This legacy media frames our view of the world, a view which we accept as almost god-given, a colonial Western media mindset with racist undertones.

We need to break free of that mindset if we are to build a secure future in our region and avoid being drawn into one folly after another by the US Imperium.

This legacy media frames our view of the world, a view which we accept as almost god-given, a colonial Western media mindset with racist undertones.

We need to break free of that mindset if we are to build a secure future in our region and avoid being drawn into one folly after another by the US Imperium.

For John Menadue’s full story, please visit Australia’s leading public policy journal Pearls and Irritations

John was once the top executive for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in Sydney. He has also served as Ambassador to Japan, chief executive of Qantas and the top political adviser to both Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media | Leave a comment

Japanese Nuclear Drama ‘Gift of Fire’ Heads for U.S Theaters

Japanese Nuclear Drama ‘Gift of Fire’ Heads for U.S Theaters Variety, By Patrick Frater 13 Aug 21,

Gift of Fire,” a fact-based drama film about Japan’s secret nuclear bomb program, will play in U.S. cinemas from November this year. Produced in 8K digital, it opened in Japanese theaters last week, distributed by Aeon and scored a top ten ranking.

Yagira Yuya, the Japanese actor who won the acting prize in Cannes for his role in Koreeda Hirokazu’s “Nobody Knows,” heads the cast. He plays a nuclear scientist who struggles with his conscience while working Japan’s own nuclear weapon effort, a secret program that remained largely unknown until a decade ago.

The film is directed by Kurosaki Hiroshi, whose past work includes multi award-winning “Goldfish” (aka “Hi No Sakana”) and 2011’s “Second Virgin.” It was produced in partnership between Japanese public broadcaster NHK and Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts

Eleven Arts will now handle the U.S. release and has set a launch date of Nov. 12, 2021.

“When I first read the script for Gift of Fire I didn’t know that during WWII, Japan was developing an atomic bomb alongside the rest of the world,” said producer Mori Ko. “Instead of being a grand WWII film, the story focuses on the intimate details of three youthful characters’ lives. They deal with the same struggles as the rest of us, while also taking part in the life-changing scientific developments of the era and a war of epic proportions.”

………… “On one hand, the story reflects the romanticism present when floating on the surface of the ocean and looking up at the starry skies to imagine the vastness of the universe. On the other hand, the story explores the crimes that can be committed in the name of science and discovery,” said writer-director Kurosaki.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Japan, media, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

The real photos of the Hiroshima bombing tell the story – no need for fictionalised ones.

Bad Idea: The New Yorker’s Nuclear Option,  Peta Pixel AUG 12, 2021  ALLEN MURABAYASHI, On August 6, 1945, the U.S. detonated the world’s first wartime nuclear bomb over Hiroshima. An estimated 70,000 people died that day with another 70,000 perishing within four months from injury and radiation poisoning. On the ground, photojournalist Yoshito Matsushige miraculously survived unharmed despite living 1.7 miles from ground zero. Over the course of 10 hours, he could only bring himself to take 7 photos.

photo description:  West end of Miyuki Bridge. This photograph was taken moving in closer to the people after taking the photograph on the left.From in front of the police box, both sides on Miyuki Bridge were full of dead and injured people. From that evening, the injured were taken by truck to Ujina and Ninoshima Island.Just after 11 a.m. Photo by Yoshito Mastushige

In an account of the bombing, Matsushige recalled passing by a girls junior high school, “Having been directly exposed to the heat rays, they were covered with blisters, the size of balls, on their backs, their faces, their shoulders, and their arms. The blisters were starting to burst open and their skin hung down like rugs.”

Three days later, the U.S. detonated a second nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. The following day, Yosuke Yamahata, a military photographer, spent 12 hours photographing the devastation. His 100 photos are a graphic and disturbing reminder about the horrors of nuclear war.

Photo by Yosuke Yamahata.

Yamahata died on his forty-eighth birthday in 1965 from terminal cancer of the duodenum. After retiring from his newspaper job, Matsushige spent the rest of his life as a dedicated peace activist…………….

A few days ago, journalist Max McCoy recounted his 1986 interview with Matushige. They hoped to meet again but never did. Matsuhige died in 2005 at the age of 92. In 2015, during a return trip to Japan, McCoy was approached by a close friend of Matsushige who relayed an untold part of his Hiroshima bombing story. McCoy wrote:

After developing the film, he was overcome by regret. In one of the photos from the bridge, at the edge of the frame, was a mother clutching a dead baby. He remembered the woman calling the child’s name. Using the point of a pair of scissors, he scratched the woman’s face from the negative, to save her — and himself — from the shame.

The horrors of nuclear war are unfathomable. The indiscriminate and instantaneous killing of tens of thousands of civilians needs no fictionalized reimagining. ……..

August 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

Jailing of a British Blogger Should Worry Journalists on Both Sides of the Atlantic

AUGUST 10, 2021Jailing of a British Blogger Should Worry Journalists on Both Sides of the Atlantic, FAIR. ARI PAUL   IN A Conversation with C-SPAN‘s Brian Lamb (11/7/83) in 1983, then-Nation columnist Christopher Hitchens explained the United Kingdom’s Official Secrets Act, which, he said, says that “anything the government defines as a secret is a secret…. You can define something that is well-known by everybody as a secret under that law.” It gives the government a legal mallet to employ against investigative journalists probing national security.Lamb asked Hitchens, a British expatriate living in Washington, DC, if American journalists were freer than the ones in his home country. “Infinitely,” Hitchens replied, noting that Americans “have a constitution” that protects the freedom of the press.

Americans are accustomed to thinking that Britain is the European nation most like the United States, and with its robust market of salacious tabloid newspapers and saucy pop culture, Americans think of it as a free society. But Hitchens, like many British journalists, constantly challenged this myth. And the current imprisonment of blogger Craig Murray is a reminder of that gap.

‘Chilling effect on reporting’

Murray is a Scottish former diplomat who is vocal about his support for Scottish independence. He is also an outspoken advocate for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (New York Times1/4/21). According to the Scotsman (8/1/21), however, Murray “was judged to have been in contempt of court over blogs he wrote during the trial of former First Minister Alex Salmond”

Murray’s] posts contained details which, if pieced together, could lead readers to identify women who made allegations against Mr. Salmond, who was acquitted of all 13 charges, including sexual assault and attempted rape in March last year.An official at Reporters Without Borders said that a “prison sentence on charges related to his blogging is disproportionate and highly concerning,” adding that “journalistic activity should not lead to prison sentences anywhere,” because “imprisonment in connection with any journalistic activity should only ever be a measure of absolute last resort—if at all.”

Scottish PEN (Twitter7/30/21) said that Murray “is the first person to be imprisoned in Scotland for media contempt for over 70 years,” and the organization feared the “ruling will have a chilling effect on reporting and free expression.”But the New York Times hasn’t reported on Murray’s jailing, nor has AP. A search for his case at NPR and the Wall Street Journal yielded no results.

Why is this not big news? Belarus arresting a journalist who was flying outside the country (NPR5/25/21) was major news in the US press. The New York Times (12/28/20) made a big deal about the Chinese government clamping down on citizen journalists who challenged the government’s narrative about Covid-19. And NPR (2/4/21) reported on a Russian journalist who was briefly imprisoned for publicizing an anti-government protest on Twitter. It should be at least as alarming to American media that a key US ally would use jail as a weapon against any journalist…………..

History gives anyone concerned about the free press a right to be worried, as there are other examples of how the British press is censored to protect the powerful. The voice of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was once banned from BBC broadcasts (BBC4/5/05). The BBC cited “legal reasons” for not naming one of the soldiers on trial for the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland (BBC7/14/21). The Guardian (8/20/13) was forced to destroy leaked documents from Edward Snowden because of “a threat of legal action by the [British] government that could have stopped reporting on the extent of American and British government surveillance revealed by the documents.”………….

An attack on all journalists

Laura Poitras, co-founder of the Intercept and one of the principal journalists involved in the Snowden leaks, said in the New York Times (12/21/20) that the prosecution of Assange is an attack on all journalists, and that use of the Espionage Act, which forbids the leaking of classified materials, could be used against the journalists who receive that information. She said: 

I have experienced the chilling effect of the Espionage Act. When I was in contact with Mr. Snowden, then an anonymous whistleblower, I spoke to one of the best First Amendment lawyers in the country. His response was unnerving. He read the Espionage Act out loud, and said it had never been used against a journalist, but there is always a first time. He added that I would be a good candidate, because I am a documentary filmmaker without the backing of a news organization.

As a British blogger, Murray is simply not protected by the First Amendment, and at first glance it would seem improbable that he would face this predicament if he was working in the United States. But given the aforementioned instances of the state going after leakers, the censorious trends in the Anglophone media are reasons for concern. US media should pay more attention.

August 12, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

How the USA fabricated a movie, full of falsehoods about the nuclear bombing in 1945.

Over and over we’re told that bigger bombs will bring peace and end war.

We’re told and shown completely fabricated nonsense

At the time The Beginning or the End was being scripted and filmed, the U.S. government was seizing and hiding away every scrap it could find of actual photographic or filmed documentation of the bomb sites.

Hiroshima Is A Lie    Endangerment  By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, August 5, 2021 ”……………………… In Greg Mitchell’s 2020 book, The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood — and America — Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, we have an account of the making of the 1947 MGM film, The Beginning or the End, which was carefully shaped by the U.S. government to promote falsehoods.[xxiii] The film bombed. It lost money. The ideal for a member of the U.S. public was clearly not to watch a really bad and boring pseudo-documentary with actors playing the scientists and warmongers who had produced a new form of mass-murder. The ideal action was to avoid any thought of the matter. But those who couldn’t avoid it were handed a glossy big-screen myth. You can watch it online for free, and as Mark Twain would have said, it’s worth every penny.[xxiv]

The film opens with what Mitchell describes as giving credit to the UK and Canada for their roles in producing the death machine — supposedly a cynical if falsified means of appealing to a larger market for the movie. But it really appears to be more blaming than crediting. This is an effort to spread the guilt. The film jumps quickly to blaming Germany for an imminent threat of nuking the world if the United States didn’t nuke it first. (You can actually have difficulty today getting young people to believe that Germany had surrendered prior to Hiroshima, or that the U.S. government knew in 1944 that Germany had abandoned atomic bomb research in 1942.[xxv]) Then an actor doing a bad Einstein impression blames a long list of scientists from all over the world. Then some other personage suggests that the good guys are losing the war and had better hurry up and invent new bombs if they want to win it.

Over and over we’re told that bigger bombs will bring peace and end war. A Franklin Roosevelt impersonator even puts on a Woodrow Wilson act, claiming the atom bomb might end all war (something a surprising number of people actually believe it did, even in the face of the past 75 years of wars, which some U.S. professors describe as the Great Peace). We’re told and shown completely fabricated nonsense, such as that the U.S. dropped leaflets on Hiroshima to warn people (and for 10 days — “That’s 10 days more warning than they gave us at Pearl Harbor,” a character pronounces) and that the Japanese fired at the plane as it approached its target. In reality, the U.S. never dropped a single leaflet on Hiroshima but did — in good SNAFU fashion — drop tons of leaflets on Nagasaki the day after Nagasaki was bombed. Also, the hero of the movie dies from an accident while fiddling with the bomb to get it ready for use — a brave sacrifice for humanity on behalf of the war’s real victims — the members of the U.S. military. The film also claims that the people bombed “will never know what hit them,” despite the film makers knowing of the agonizing suffering of those who died slowly.

One communication from the movie makers to their consultant and editor, General Leslie Groves, included these words: “Any implication tending to make the Army look foolish will be eliminated.”[xxvi]

The main reason the movie is deadly boring, I think, is not that movies have sped up their action sequences every year for 75 years, added color, and devised all kinds of shock devices, but simply that the reason anybody should think the bomb that the characters all talk about for the entire length of the film is a big deal is left out. We don’t see what it does, not from the ground, only from the sky.

Mitchell’s book is a bit like watching sausage made, but also a bit like reading the transcripts from a committee that cobbled together some section of the Bible. This is an origin myth of the Global Policeman in the making. And it’s ugly. It’s even tragic. The very idea for the film came from a scientist who wanted people to understand the danger, not glorify the destruction. This scientist wrote to Donna Reed, that nice lady who gets married to Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, and she got the ball rolling. Then it rolled around an oozing wound for 15 months and voilà, a cinematic turd emerged.

There was never any question of telling the truth. It’s a movie. You make stuff up. And you make it all up in one direction. The script for this movie contained at times all sorts of nonsense that didn’t last, such as the Nazis giving the Japanese the atomic bomb — and the Japanese setting up a laboratory for Nazi scientists, exactly as back in the real world at this very time the U.S. military was setting up laboratories for Nazi scientists (not to mention making use of Japanese scientists). None of this is more ludicrous than The Man in the High Castle, to take a recent example of 75 years of this stuff, but this was early, this was seminal. Nonsense that didn’t make it into this film, everybody didn’t end up believing and teaching to students for decades, but easily could have. The movie makers gave final editing control to the U.S. military and the White House, and not to the scientists who had qualms. Many good bits as well as crazy bits were temporarily in the script, but excised for the sake of proper propaganda.

If it’s any consolation, it could have been worse. Paramount was in a nuclear arms film race with MGM and employed Ayn Rand to draft the hyper-patriotic-capitalist script. Her closing line was “Man can harness the universe — but nobody can harness man.” Fortunately for all of us, it didn’t work out. Unfortunately, despite John Hersey’s A Bell for Adano being a better movie than The Beginning or the End, his best-selling book on Hiroshima didn’t appeal to any studios as a good story for movie production. Unfortunately, Dr. Strangelove would not appear until 1964, by which point many were ready to question future use of “the bomb” but not past use, making all questioning of future use rather weak. This relationship to nuclear weapons parallels that to wars in general. The U.S. public can question all future wars, and even those wars it’s heard of from the past 75 years, but not WWII, rendering all questioning of future wars weak. In fact, recent polling finds horrific willingness to support future nuclear war by the U.S. public.

At the time The Beginning or the End was being scripted and filmed, the U.S. government was seizing and hiding away every scrap it could find of actual photographic or filmed documentation of the bomb sites. Henry Stimson was having his Colin Powell moment, being pushed forward to publicly make the case in writing for having dropped the bombs. More bombs were rapidly being built and developed, and whole populations evicted from their island homes, lied to, and used as props for newsreels in which they are depicted as happy participants in their destruction.

Mitchell writes that one reason Hollywood deferred to the military was in order to use its airplanes, etc., in the production, as well as in order to use the real names of characters in the story. I find it very hard to believe these factors were terribly important. With the unlimited budget it was dumping into this thing — including paying the people it was giving veto power to — MGM could have created its own quite unimpressive props and its own mushroom cloud. It’s fun to fantasize that someday those who oppose mass murder could take over something like the unique building of the U.S. Institute of “Peace” and require that Hollywood meet peace movement standards in order to film there. But of course the peace movement has no money, Hollywood has no interest, and any building can be simulated elsewhere. Hiroshima could have been simulated elsewhere, and in the movie wasn’t shown at all. The main problem here was ideology and habits of subservience.

There were reasons to fear the government. The FBI was spying on people involved, including wishy-washy scientists like J. Robert Oppenheimer who kept consulting on the film, lamenting its awfulness, but never daring to oppose it. A new Red Scare was just kicking in. The powerful were exercising their power through the usual variety of means.

As the production of The Beginning or the End winds toward completion, it builds the same momentum the bomb did. After so many scripts and bills and revisions, and so much work and ass-kissing, there was no way the studio wouldn’t release it. When it finally came out, the audiences were small and the reviews mixed. The New York daily PM found the film “reassuring,” which I think was the basic point. Mission accomplished.

August 7, 2021 Posted by | media, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mainstream media ignores how Israel continues sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal 

Mainstream media ignores how Israel continues sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal again, the danger of conflict between Israel and Iran is rising. Once again, the mainstream U.S. media is either ignoring or distorting the news.BY JAMES NORTHAUGUST 4, 2021  Once again, the danger of conflict between Israel and Iran is rising. Once again, the mainstream U.S. media is either ignoring or distorting the news.

A drone attacked an Israeli-linked oil tanker in the Arabian Sea last week, and after a few days the U.S., Britain and Israel all accused Iran. The Washington Post report briefly noted that the drone strike is the latest in “tit-for-tat attacks” by both Israel and Iran, but stopped there. The Post nowhere mentioned that Israel is credibly charged with sponsoring attacks inside Iran, including assassinating Iranian scientists. At least the Post carried a report: the New York Times so far has ignored the latest escalation. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a “collective response” to the allegedly Iranian drone attack, but the new Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel could act against Iran on its own.

You have to turn to Fred Kaplan in Slate to find out what’s really going on here. Kaplan, who is not known as a foreign policy dove, accurately points out that the escalation must be considered against the backdrop of the negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal, which have reportedly stalled. He starts by noting that in the past two years “Israel has launched at least 10 attacks on Iranian vessels,” a statistic missing in the Post and Times. Even more vitally, Kaplan explains that Israel stokes the tension to try and sabotage the deal. He says that once Biden took office, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “stepped up attacks on Iran — knowing that Iran would strike back, which would make a new nuclear deal still more unpalatable politically.”

Kaplan connects the dots:

On April 6, hours before U.S., Iranian and European diplomats assembled in Vienna to reopen talks on the nuclear deal, an elite commando unit of the Israeli Navy attacked an Iranian military vessel.

Netanyahu is gone, for now, but Kaplan argues that Bennett must maintain the same hardline, anti-nuclear deal policy: “Israel’s fragile new government is in no position to take daring moves toward engaging with Iran.”

Contrast Kaplan’s insights about the Iran deal with a July 31 New York Times report on the same subject. The Times article does warn that the negotiations have stalled. But somehow the paper does not mention Israel one single solitary time. 

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Israel, media | Leave a comment

Facebook apologises for blocking access to the website of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), – but does not explain why it happened

 The Ferret 27th July 2021, Facebook has issued an apology to the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament (CND) after blocking people from accessing the peace
organisation’s website from its platform. The Ferret reported last week
that Scottish CND was considering a complaint to Ofcom because people
trying to access its website from its Facebook page were advised the URL
breached “community standards”. Facebook has now resolved the issue but
Scottish CND criticised the social media giant for failing to explain why
its site was blocked in the first place. The peace group thinks it may have
been a “malicious complaint” or the word “bomb” in its URL which
proved problematic.

 The Ferret 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

The military-industrial-media complex renders the American populus ill-informed in matters regarding war .

[and – it’s the same i Australia C.M.]

“How real is all this influence? Does the military-industrial-media complex (MIMC) actually affect the information we receive and our perception of war?”

The military-industrial-media complex renders the American populus ill-informed in matters regarding war — Rise Up Times

“The media has been a major player in ‘hyping up’ the sense of danger and need for military action in many situations.”

By HELEN JOHNSON  The Miscellany News, Vassar College  May 20, 2021

This is the fifth article in a five-part series about the military-industrial-media complex. The fourth article,“The (im)proper meshing of the corporate media and the military-industrial complex,” can be found here.
I have now examined the military-industrial complex (MIC) and the corporate media each individually; explained how the MIC has expanded to include not only the arms makers, Congress and the military, but also oil companies, service and equipment providers, surveillance and technology companies and think tanks; examined how the consolidation of corporate power within the media industry has resulted in a handful of companies controlling 90 percent of our media, and how these huge corporations hold incredible political power, not just to influence politicians and legislation directly, but to subtly shape entire ideologies. In this installment, I illustrated how the corporate media is linked in many ways to the MIC, including through outright ownership, interlocking directorates, revolving doors and overreliance on the government and the military for information and access to the battlefield during war.

But how real is all this influence? Does the military-industrial-media complex (MIMC) actually affect the information we receive and our perception of war? In this article I’ll explain that yes, because of its enormous reach, the extreme consolidation of its power and its entanglement with the gigantic machine that is the MIC, the media today has failed to properly inform the American citizenry on matters concerning war. The MIMC manufactures pro-military opinion among the public; suppresses information relevant to military activities; provides a sanitized coverage of war; fails to investigate, criticize, or thoroughly debate issues of military involvement; too easily bends to pressure from government and military officials and sometimes even spreads outright lies and false information.

This has resulted in an American populus that, in general terms, is ill-informed, uneducated and misled in matters regarding military involvement, as well as overly militaristic and pro-war. Americans are thus unable to hold their government accountable for unnecessary or inappropriate use of military force, and are complicit in the perpetuation of American imperialism, colossal defense budgets that strip the country of severely lacking social programs and never-ending wars that kill and destroy while a handful of corporations reap immense profits.

The media has been a major player in ‘hyping up’ the sense of danger and need for military action in many situations. Douglas Kellner—American academic and sociologist—explains in his bookMedia Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy: Terrorism, War and Election Battles, how Sept. 11 was a prime example of the media spreading hysteria and fear among an already panicked and traumatized nation. He notes how the media obsessively focused on terrorism, possible threats and retaliation in the weeks and months after Sept. 11. It also handed a megaphone to extremism and did little to weed out the potentially dangerous or incorrect information being spread on its platforms.

Spreading hysteria and panic throughout the population had two effects: First, it made Americans feel heavily reliant on the government for protection and, according to Kellner, made any disagreement with or questioning of the Bush administration seem “unpatriotic and even treasonous.” Second, it was extremely profitable for the media companies themselves; with millions of eyes glued to TVs, newspapers and other media platforms, media consumption spiked and profits went up. Thus, the corporate media and the military-industrial complex both benefited from this collaboration……………

An important note here is that this type of behavior is by no means limited to right-wing or conservative news outlets. In its analysis, FAIR cited The New York Times, The Hill, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post—in addition to Fox News—as all contributing to this culture of hysteria. A separate FAIR article’s headline directs a pointed accusation at CNN: “CNN’s Iran Fearmongering Would Make More Sense Coming Directly From Pentagon.” No mainstream media outlet is innocent of pro-war fear mongering.

The media has also suppressed or downplayed information relevant to military activity on multiple occasions. For example, although the media did everything in their power to vilify Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to and during the Iraq war, they completely ignored how the United States backed Hussein in the past. The United States played an integral role in Hussein’s rise to power and actively supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War—including going along with Hussein’s use of chemical weapons. However, this seemed to be irrelevant once Bush Jr. had made up his mind to invade Iraq.

Another instance of the U.S. media suppressing or failing to report information came during the middle of the Iraq War in 2004. On Jun. 28, 2004, the United States transferred sovereignty of Iraq in a secret ceremony, immediately after which Paul Bremer—who had been seen by Iraqis as a dictator—left the country. Bremer had heavily controlled Iraqi politics and privatized a huge portion of the economy, including handing out contracts to American firms like Halliburton. However, Bremer’s replacement wasn’t much better. The U.S. chose Ayad Allawi, who had ties to the CIA, to serve as interim prime minister until elections could be held, and the U.S. handpicked the rest of the Iraqi council as well. The two months following the transfer of power saw escalated violence and a continuation of the chaos that had been produced by Bremer.

But watching the news in the United States, you would think “we had turned a corner,” as President Bush repeated over and over again. If the media had thoroughly reported on the situation in Iraq, it could have led to a nationwide understanding that the war was doing more harm than good and serving the interests of huge corporations at the expense of American and Iraqi lives. A truly informed citizenry could have put public pressure on the Bush administration to end the war, or an electorate dissatisfied with the situation could have voted him out of office. Instead, it would be seven more years before the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Suppressing or downplaying information isn’t the only way the mainstream media—in complicity with the MIC—has warped our understanding of war. The media also produces an extremely sanitized coverage of war: it avoids printing and broadcasting images of death and destruction; sidesteps discussions of American casualties and almost entirely refuses to mention casualties on the other side (which are usually much higher); and uses euphemisms like “collateral damage” and “air campaign” that hold very different connotations from what these phrases actually mean—i.e., innocent civilian death and continuous bombing.

Kellner notes that during the Iraq war, “Entire networks like Fox and the NBC cable networks provided little but propaganda and jingoism, as did for the most part CNN. All of the cable networks, as well as the big three U.S. broadcasting networks, tended to provide highly sanitized views of the war, rarely showing Iraqi casualties, thus producing a view of the war significantly different than that shown in other parts of the world.”……………….

Not only do reporters and news anchors oftentimes receive direct instructions from higher-ups on what to and what not to say, but there is also careful screening of experts and guests brought onto the TV networks during wartime. And, as noted in my previous article, many of these “experts” are former generals and Pentagon officials, whose talking points have been carefully scripted and who have been trained on how to speak about matters of war in order to paint the U.S. military and government in the best possible light.

The U.S. corporate media has also chronically failed to properly investigate, criticize and debate issues of war and military involvement. It tends to take the current administration’s account of the situation as fact, and during times of war or military tension, it is branded unpatriotic to criticize the government. Although there are many examples of the media’s failure to investigate and report the truth when it comes to war, the most egregious case was in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had planned from day one of their administration to invade Iraq. As explained in this article, Bush and Cheney—as well as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and others in and around the Bush administration—were either directly a part of or tangentially related to the neoconservative think tank PNAC, which was advocating for a regime change in Iraq as early as 1998. The fact that Bush planned to invade Iraq from the get-go has been confirmed by multiple officials close to the administration.

From the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration waged a propaganda war to convince the nation that Saddam Hussein was linked to Al Qaeda and that he possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These claims turned out to be false. Not only did Saddam Hussein have nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, but Iraq was not in possession of WMD nor were they in the process of making any.

Even so, these allegations were widely circulated in the mainstream media. The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity documented a total of 935 false statements made by top administration officials regarding the threat from Iraq before the war, and the majority of these assertions “were broadcast widely by U.S. media with little or no investigation of their credibility, and few rebuttals from war skeptics or dissenters.”

Not only did the media outlets completely fail to properly investigate these claims before broadcasting them to the nation—even The Washington Post and The New York Times admitted that they had uncritically published information fed to them by the Bush administration—but they continued to circulate the misinformation long after it had been disproven. Even after ABC, NBC and The Washington Post reported that the claims were false, Fox Television and other U.S. cable networks continued to play the stories about Iraq’s alleged connection with Al Qaeda and supposedly threatening weapons program.

The Bush administration had accomplished its goal: to convince enough of the American population, still reeling and traumatized from Sept. 11, that Saddam Hussein was dangerous—so that they could have their war. The failure on the part of the corporate media to investigate and criticize the Bush administration’s claims, and the continued circulation of these claims even after they were proven false, would lead to a disastrous eight-year long conflict resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

There are many, many more instances of skewed reporting when it comes to war and military involvement. Not all of these instances involve outright lying to the American public or regurgitating government pro-war propaganda; many of the ways in which the corporate media influences our perception of war are small and relatively unnoticeable……….. more

June 14, 2021 Posted by | media, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Rio de Janeiro International Uranium Film Festival 2021 has awarded two film-makers on nuclear disarmament issues.

HONORARY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS  INTERNATIONAL URANIUM FILM FESTIVAL The Rio de Janeiro International Uranium Film Festival 2021 has awarded two in the world of nuclear disarmament well known personalities with the festival’s Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award: Sérgio Duarte, former Brazilian diplomat who served as Ambassador in several countries and has dedicated his life to end the nuclear threat. And Emmy Award-Winning Producer and Director Robert Frye from New York City who created “The Nuclear World Project“ and directed two important documentaries on Nuclear Disarmament: „The Nuclear Requiem“ and „In My Lifetime“.

Sérgio de Queiroz Duarte 

Sérgio de Queiroz Duarte(link is external) is a former Brazilian diplomat who served as Ambassador to Nicaragua, Canada, China and Austria. Duarte was the President of the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and was United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. He was his country’s Permanent Representative to the UN at Vienna and Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors. Duarte is President of „Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs“, an organization founded in 1957 by philosopher Bertrand Russell and Sir Joseph Rotblat to contain the proliferation of atomic weapons. Pugwash won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

Robert E. Frye 

Robert E. Frye(link is external) is an Emmy award-winning producer of network news programs and independent documentaries for over five decades. He was born in Syracuse, NY USA, and studied political science and history at Hobart College. In 1958 he joined the U.S. Army. Frye worked on nuclear weapon planning while serving in Germany. The experience fostered a lifelong interest, which led him to create “The Nuclear World Project“. 

Starting in the ’60s the Emmy and Peabody Award winner worked in New York City; Toronto; Washington, D.C.and London. His credits at ABC News include Executive Producer of “Good Morning America” and “ABC World News Tonight” with Peter Jennings; senior Producer at CBC’s Weekend, and as an independent director & producer of several films for public television which include “In My Lifetime” and “The Nuclear Requiem”. At the age of 81, Frye said, the obligation of his generation is to tell the story of nuclear weapons, to make clear the indescribable damage they have caused and their potential to end life on the planet entirely. is external)

Robert E. Frye says: “The recognition from the Uranium Film Festival  comes as a completely unexpected surprise and may I say honor. The Festival trophy will be a reminder to me of the work ahead. Of course, may I say that the continuing work of Sergio Duarte is so important to the world, especially his words of wisdom and leadership over the years, now as the President of Pugwash International. The Uranium Film Festival is such a unique institution, with all the films chosen that honor the dedicated filmmakers, whose work appears in the Festival, calling the world’s attention to the challenges dealing with the continuing presence of nuclear weapons, as well as, the conundrum of nuclear power. On the wall in my office I have the following quote from  musician Leonard Cohen: Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Thank you for providing the opportunity for all these stories to be told. Keep the bells ringing!”

Nuclear Hotseat Radio Show Interview with Robert E. Frey(link is external)

Watch also the festival’s live with Sergio Duarte, Robert E. Frye, Cristian Wittmann & filmmaker Miguel Silveira (Portuguese/English)(link is external)
The 10th Rio de Janeiro International Uranium Film Festival has streamed in May 2021 during 10 days 34 films on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy online and free of charge…………….

June 7, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Critique No 3 [a boys-with-toys view] -BBC documentary Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Station

Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Station, BBC2, review: A boys-and-their-toys view of a divisive build. Much of the programme is devoted to emphasising just how big the plant will be: we are shown a tunnelling machine so enormous it requires a police cavalcade; we are treated to front-row seats for the “largest continuous cement pour in the UK”; we learn that Hinkley’s canteens consume 316 tons of baked beans a year.

iNews 2nd June 2021

June 5, 2021 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

Critique No 2 of BBC documentary Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Station

Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Station, review: why didn’t this film ask the real questions? It seemed a little odd for one local’s (admittedly very valid) complaints about traffic to be given more airtime than, say, worries over industrial espionage in a project part-funded by the Chinese state, or of ballooning budgets (from £18 billion to
£22 billion).

Two of its three intended predecessors in Finland and France remain on ice owing to “concerns over cost and quality”, a phrase both vague and serious enough to warrant further enquiry, yet any doubts were confined to the voiceover and not put to the people involved.

Telegraph 2nd June 2021

June 5, 2021 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment