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Sailors on nuclear aircraft carrier cheer their captain who put their health above his career

The USA government and military/naval big-wigs are very reluctant to allow any information about their nuclear-powered ships to get out. And even when such news does get out, the word “NUCLEAR” is dropped from the media coverage.
So – news of the Covid 19 on nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Roosevelt, DID get out. Then, the captain’s plea to authorities (NOT to the press) for the health of the nearly 5000 sailors on board got out – result? Captain sacked, of course

The Navy Fired the Captain of the Theodore Roosevelt. See How the Crew Responded.  The rousing show of support provided another gripping scene to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic: the rank and file cheering a boss they viewed as putting their safety ahead of his career.  By Helene CooperThomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt

  • April 3, 2020   WASHINGTON — It was a send-off for the ages, with hundreds of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt cheering Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the commander who sacrificed his naval career by writing a letter to his superiors demanding more help as the novel coronavirus spread through the ship.
  • The rousing show of support provided the latest gripping scene to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic: the rank and file shouting their admiration for a boss they viewed as putting their safety ahead of his career.

……..   in removing Captain Crozier from command, senior Navy officials said they were protecting the historic practice that complaints and requests have to go up a formal chain of command. They argued that by sending his concerns to 20 or 30 people in a message that eventually leaked to news organizations, Captain Crozier showed he was no longer fit to lead the fast-moving effort to treat the crew and clean the ship.

His removal from prestigious command of an aircraft carrier with almost 5,000 crew members has taken on an added significance, as his punishment is viewed by some in the military as indicative of the government’s handling of the entire pandemic, with public officials presenting upbeat pictures of the government’s response, while contrary voices are silenced.
……. The cheering by the sailors is the most public repudiation of military practices to battle the virus since the pandemic began. At the Pentagon, officials expressed concern about the public image of a Defense Department not doing enough to stay ahead of the curve on the virus…….
a Navy official familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it said that the captain had repeatedly asked his superiors for speedy action to evacuate the ship. His letter, the official said, came because the Navy was still minimizing the risk.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/us/politics/coronavirus-brett-crozier-theodore-roosevelt.html

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sailors on nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt applaud their fired captain

Sailors on aircraft carrier give their fired captain a rousing sendoff Capt. Brett Crozier advocated for stronger measures to protect his crew. abc news, By Luis Martinez, 4 April 2020,  

Videos have emerged on social media showing sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt giving their fired captain a rousing sendoff as he left the ship.

Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of duty for a “loss of confidence” following the leak of a letter in which he advocated for stronger measures to protect his crew from an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the ship.

The videos show hundreds of sailors gathered in the ship’s hangar clapping and cheering loudly for Crozier as he walked down a ramp towards the pier in Guam where the ship is docked. ……

In one of the videos capturing that moment, voices can be heard saying “We love you, too!” and “Thank you skipper!”

Later, the ship’s crew is heard rhythmically clapping and chanting, “CAPTAIN! CROZIER!”

Earlier on Thursday, Crozier was relieved of duty by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly who said he had lost confidence in his leadership abilities following the leak of a letter where Crozier advocated for stronger measures to protect his ship’s crew from further infection by the coronavirus.

Modly said Crozier had expressed valid concerns for the safety of his ship but had exercised “poor judgment” in distributing the letter to senior commanders to a broad group of people when he could have expressed his concerns to the admiral aboard the carrier.

In the letter Crozier advocated Navy leaders to speed up the removal of the nearly 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier to appropriate accommodations on Guam that met social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The day after the letter appeared in the San Francisco Examiner the Navy announced that 2,700 of the ship’s crew were being brought ashore and that suitable housing would be found in hotel rooms on the island. …..https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/sailors-aircraft-carrier-give-fired-captain-rousing-sendoff/story?id=69957655

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, employment, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Navy fires captain who sought help for coronavirus-stricken nuclear aircraft carrier

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, employment, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 in gaol for 2 years, awaiting sentence for their protest action against nuclear weapons

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

U.S. Navy fires captain who warned of Covid 19 on nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Sailors cheer for aircraft carrier commander who was removed after issuing coronavirus warning By Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN April 3, 2020  Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier cheered for Capt. Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an overwhelming show of support for their leader who was relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd gathered to give Crozier a warm and loud send off, clapping and chanting his name as he left the ship. It was a clear expression of appreciation for their former commander who was removed for what the acting Navy Secretary called “poor judgment.”
“Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker,” acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Thursday,
The decision came days after Crozier wrote a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship’s crew. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN.
News of Crozier’s removal comes after a US defense official told CNN Friday morning that 137 sailors from the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus, representing more than 10% of all cases across the US military…..

Escalating outbreak

The outbreak on the ship is escalating rapidly. Last week the Pentagon confirmed three sailors on the Roosevelt had tested positive, and that number had risen to 25 two days later. It rose to at least 70 on Tuesday and more than 100 on Thursday. On Monday, a US defense official told CNN that a second US aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is facing a “handful” of positive cases.
In his memo, Crozier implored Navy leaders to take immediate steps to address the situation.
“Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure,” his memo said.

“This is a necessary risk. It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors. Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care,” Crozier added……. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/03/politics/uss-theodore-roosevelt-aircraft-carrier-captain-send-off/index.html

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, employment, health, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Doctors warn on coronavirus danger for Julian Assange, imprisoned without conviction, in a coronavirus incubator

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Doctors Warning on Assange in a Covid-19 Breeding Ground, Consortium News,April 1, 2020 •  In a prison cited for failing to curb infections, Doctors4Assange warn that Julian Assange is at high risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus. According to a report Wednesday in The Daily Maverick, imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is one of only two prisoners of 797 inmates in Belmarsh Prison who are being held for skipping bail. The majority are violent criminals, including 20 percent for murder and 16 inmates on terrorism offenses. The facility was also repeatedly criticized by prison inspectors for a lapse in preventing infections to inmatesFollowing Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision to deny Assange bail last week, Doctors4 Assange released the following statement:

Doctors4Assange Statement on Assange
Bail Hearing over Coronavirus Risk,
March 27, 2020  Doctors4Assange strongly condemns last Wednesday’s decision by UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny bail to Julian Assange. Despite our prior unequivocal statement[1] that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus, and the evidence of medical experts, Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic: “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”[2]

Notably, however, Baraitser did not address the increased risk to Mr Assange relative to the general UK prison population, let alone prisoners at HMP Belmarsh where Assange is incarcerated. Nor did she address the rapidly emerging medical and legal consensus that vulnerable and low-risk prisoners should be released, immediately.

As the court heard, Mr Assange is at increased risk of contracting and dying from the novel disease coronavirus (COVID-19), a development which has led the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern[3] and a global pandemic.[4] The reasons for Mr Assange’s increased risk include his ongoing psychological torture, his history of medical neglect and fragile health, and chronic lung disease.

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, representing Mr Assange, said, “These [medical] experts consider that he is particularly at risk of developing coronavirus and, if he does, that it develops into very severe complications for him… If he does develop critical symptoms it would be very doubtful that Belmarsh would be able to cope with his condition.”[5]

Baraitser’s casual dismissal of Mr Assange’s dire situation in the face of the COVID-19 emergency stood in stark contrast not only to the expert medical evidence, but the proceedings themselves. The hearing took place on the third day of the UK’s coronavirus lock-down. Of the two counsels representing Mr Assange, Edward Fitzgerald QC wore a facemask and Mark Summers QC participated via audiolink. US attorneys joined the proceedings by phone.

Mr Assange himself appeared by videolink, which was terminated after around an hour, rendering him unable to follow the remainder of his own hearing, including the defence summation and the District Judge’s ruling. Mr Assange’s supporters attending in person observed social distancing measures. Overall only 15 people were in attendance, including judge, counsel, and observers……..

Adding their legal voices to these medical and human rights authorities, the day after Mr Assange’s bail hearing, three professors in law and criminology recommended “granting bail to unsentenced prisoners to stop the spread of coronavirus”.[12]

Julian Assange is just such an unsentenced prisoner with significant health vulnerability. He is being held on remand, with no custodial sentence or UK charge in place, let alone conviction.

Doctors4Assange are additionally concerned that keeping Assange in Belmarsh not only increases his risk of contracting coronavirus, it will increase his isolation and his inability to prepare his defence for his upcoming extradition hearing, in violation of his human right to prepare a defence…… https://consortiumnews.com/2020/04/01/assange-extradition-doctors-warning-on-assange-in-a-covid-19-breeding-ground/

April 2, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Kansai Electric Power Co’s history of nuclear corruption

While the depth of the scandal has surprised many, stories of collusion and bribery in Fukui towns hosting Kepco’s plants are quite common and date back to the 1970s when the first power plants opened.

Naito, who died in 2018, claimed to have directed illicit cash payments to prime ministers and key politicians in the ruling and opposition parties between 1972 and 1990 in exchange for favorable legislation regarding nuclear power and electricity policies.

A closer look at Kansai Electric and its gift-giving scandal  https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/03/29/business/kansai-electric-gift-giving-scandal/#.XoEN-YgzbIU  BY ERIC JOHNSTON, STAFF WRITER  OSAKA – Earlier this month, Kansai Electric Power Co. concluded that scores of its employees had received cash and gifts worth hundreds of millions of yen from an influential politician in a Fukui Prefecture town where the utility operates a nuclear power plant. The revelations by Kepco’s investigative panel once again showed the dark side of Japan’s nuclear industry.

What is Kepco?

Kepco is the major utility providing electric power to the Kansai region, including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga and Wakayama prefectures. With over 20,000 direct employees and 77 affiliated companies, it is one of Kansai’s largest and most influential corporations economically, but also politically. Kepco executives have long held high leadership positions in local business lobby groups such as the Kansai Economic Federation, which played a leading role in convincing local and national politicians, as well as the appropriate ministries in Tokyo, to approve and fund projects ranging from Kansai Airport to the 2025 Expo. Kepco’s largest shareholder is the city of Osaka, which owned about 7.3 percent of Kepco’s stock as of September 2019.

What’s the role of the Takahama plant?

Fukui Prefecture is home to 11 Kepco nuclear reactors at three plants. One of these is the Takahama plant, which hosts some of Japan’s oldest reactors. The No. 1 and 2 reactors are now over 40 years old but scheduled to be restarted later this year. The No. 3 and 4 reactors, which are 35 and 34 years old, are offline and currently being upgraded to better protect against terrorism threats. But construction is running behind schedule and the exact date of their restart is unclear.

In 2010, just before the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting nuclear disaster in Fukushima, nuclear power at Kepco’s three Fukui plants accounted for 51 percent of its electricity sources. That figure sat at 29 percent as of the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

What was the scandal all about? Continue reading

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry exploits coronavirus, seeking tax-payer funds

March 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Meet the Climate Science Deniers Who Downplayed COVID-19 Risks

March 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

6 Ways Trump’s Denial of Science Has Delayed the Response to COVID-19 (and Climate Change)

6 Ways Trump’s Denial of Science Has Delayed the Response to COVID-19 (and Climate Change)   https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19032020/denial-climate-change-coronavirus-donald-trump  Misinformation, blame, wishful thinking and making up facts are favorite techniques.  Katelyn Weisbrod,  20 Mar 20

 The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for rigorous science, demonstrating—in realtime—what the consequences can be when world leaders pay inadequate attention to what that science says. In his response to COVID-19, Presdient Donald Trump has made statements that ignore, question or distort mainstream science. But long before the virus arrived—even before he became president—he was using similar techniques to deny climate change. Here are some examples:

Wishing Away the Science. 

Coronavirus Feb. 28, 2020     “[Coronavirus is] going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.” 

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview on CNN that the virus was likely here to stay, possibly for months.

Climate Change   September 2015“I’m not a believer in global warming, I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming and it’s gonna start to cool at some point.”

 The scientific consensus is clear that global warming is happening and is a threat to the planet; The New York Times illustrates the basics of global warming and climate change here.

Misusing Scientific Data  

Coronavirus  Feb. 10, 2020  “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do—you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though.”

Some coronaviruses are seasonal. But scientists still don’t know whether the virus that causes COVID-19 will be. Findings of a recent study suggest that the virus is spreading most readily in cooler temperature zones, The Washington Post reports; however, the study does not conclude from that evidence that the virus will be significantly reduced in the summer. 

Climate Change   Nov. 11, 2019  “You know, I actually heard the other day, some pretty good politician. I’ve seen him around for a long time. Nice white hair. Everything is like central casting. You could put the guy in a movie. He was talking. I don’t know if he believes this—but he was a Democrat—he said, ‘We have 11 years.’ It’s the first time I’ve heard it; I heard 12. But now, see, it’s been a year, so now they think we have 11 years to live. I don’t know, folks. I think these people have gone totally loco.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report in 2018 that said global carbon emissions would need  to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This does not mean we have 11 years to live, as Trump asserted, but rather 11 years to shift energy production away from fossil fuels to keep warming within the goals of the Paris accord. 

Making Stuff Up

Coronavirus  March 6, 2020  “Anybody that needs a test can have a test. They are all set. They have them out there. In addition to that they are making millions more as we speak but as of right now and yesterday anybody that needs a test that is the important thing…”

Contrary to Trump’s assertion, patients and health care workers were complaining that they could not get access to coronavirus tests. A few days later, testifying to a House committee, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged tests were not yet widely available. “The idea of anybody getting it

easily the way people in other countries are doing it—we’re not set up for that,” he said.

Climate Change  Sept. 4, 2019 In September, 2019, Trump showed the press an image of Dorian’s projected trajectory that had apparently been altered using a Sharpie to include Alabama in the path of the storm.

Earlier, Trump had tweeted that Alabama would probably be hit by Hurricane Dorian. The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, then contradicted the president with a tweet saying Alabama was not at risk. Trump used the altered image a few days later. 

Blaming China  

Coronavirus  March 18, 2020 on Twitter  “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China—against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!” 

Trump has been urged to stop calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus,” a term he has used repeatedly and that some have called racist and dangerous. And many public health experts have criticized the administration’s lack of preparation and failure to act quickly when the virus was first recognized.

Climate Change  Nov. 6, 2012 on Twitter

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

There is a widespread scientific consensus about the reality of human-driven global warming. 

Blaming the Democrats  

Coronavirus  Feb. 28, 2020 “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it … And this is their new hoax.”

By this time, the U.S. had confirmed 60 cases of coronavirus. The CDC had already warned the public to prepare for the virus to spread, assuring them that this was not a hoax.

Climate Change  Sept. 11, 2019   “Over 100 Democrats have signed up to support the $100 trillion Green New Deal. That’s a beauty. No more cows. No more planes. I guess, no more people, right?”

Washington Post fact check shows that the Green New Deal resolution supported by most Democrats did not include mention of halting air travel or doing away with cows.

Ignoring Expert Advice  

Climate Change  Nov. 26, 2018, Commenting to reporters on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report saying climate change would hurt the economy.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, it’s fine. Yeah, I don’t believe it.”

The report, produced by climate experts and Trump’s own administration, said climate change would damage the economy.

Coronavirus  March 13, 2020 during a press conference on the coronavirus. Trump is seen shaking hands with Walgreens president Richard Ashworth, despite CDC warnings that shaking hands can spread the virus and recommending elbow bumps instead.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change, health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Politicians exploit false conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a bioweapon

Why do politicians keep breathing life into the false conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a bioweapon? https://thebulletin.org/2020/03/why-do-politicians-keep-breathing-life-into-the-false-conspiracy-theory-that-the-coronavirus-is-a-bioweapon/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter03192020&utm_content=DisruptiveTech_PoliticiansConpiracyCoronavirus_03132020#

By Matt FieldJohn Krzyzaniak, March 19, 2020   Editor’s note: Don’t miss our special report, produced in collaboration with The New Yorker magazine, on the questionable safety of biological laboratories, “Hot Zone in the heartland?” 

You’ve probably heard the rumor: The new coronavirus is a bioweapon. Some malicious country—perhaps the United States, maybe China, depending on who’s talking or tweeting—purposefully unleashed the virus that causes Covid-19 on the world. You might have also heard that the idea was widely dismissed by disease and defense experts. A good bioweapon, some note, wouldn’t spread as easily and indiscriminately as the new coronavirus does. But for political opportunists and conspiracy theorists, the rising number of Covid-19 infections, the growing ranks of the dead, and the mass disruptions to the daily rhythms of life have created fertile conspiratorial ground.

The Covid-19 bioweapon conspiracy theory has not only failed to be debunked; it even seems to be getting a second wind, and prominent politicians from countries around the world are embracing it. “For a while, it seemed the pushback on the bioweapons narrative from the Washington Post and Foreign Policy was effective,” biodefense researcher Filippa Lentzos said. “But in recent days, the narrative seems to be coming back with a vengeance.” Current and former government officials, including former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao, and US Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas have given credence to some version of the theory in the last month.

In the United States, Cotton isn’t fully letting up on his suggestion last month that the virus was a Chinese military creation. In a Fox News interview in February, he appeared to suggest just that, before walking back the idea, sort of. (In a series of tweets, he said the bioweapon theory was just one of several hypotheses.) Bioweapon or not, Cotton still believes someone is responsible for the pandemic, someone Chinese. In a statement Thursday announcing that he’d be temporarily closing his Senate office, he called the virus the “Wuhan coronavirus” five times, vowing, “We will hold accountable those who inflicted it on the world.” In a later clarifying tweet, he said that, yes, he meant China.

A March 12 article in Britain’s Express tabloid added fuel to fire, reporting that University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, who helped draft the legislation that implemented the Biological Weapons Convention in the United States, had identified a “smoking gun” that showed the coronavirus was a bioweapon leaked from a Chinese research lab near Wuhan, the city where the outbreak originated. Boyle reportedly based his theory on a paper on ScienceDirect that noted a “gain-of-function” in the virus that makes it better than other coronaviruses at spreading among humans. But as the Express itself notes in a correction, the research paper Boyle cited does not speculate on what caused the gain-of-function in the virus. “It was therefore incorrect when our article claimed ‘the paper suggested Covid-19 has been tampered with,’” the correction notes.

That didn’t stop Manish Tewari, a prominent Indian parliamentarian and spokesperson for the Indian National Congress, the country’s leading opposition party, from re-tweeting the Express article to his more than 380,000 followers, adding his own highly charged twist: the disease outbreak is a terrorist act.

“CoronaVirus is a bioweapon that went [rogue] or that was made to go [rogue]. It is an act of terror,” Tewari tweeted on March 12. “International investigation conducted either under auspices of ICJ or ICC is necessary to unearth the truth & bring focus back on eradicating Biological Weapons.”

Lentzos worries that the parade of prominent figures promoting the bioweapons conspiracy theory could weaken the global taboo against possessing bioweapons—making biological weapon research appear to be widespread. “It’s being pushed at senior political levels, most prominently from Iran, but also from Russia and to some extents China,” she said. “It’s important we call this out. We can’t afford to have it seem like states have bioweapons and are getting away with it, or even that states would want to pursue these sorts of weapons. It significantly degrades the taboo against biological weapons.”

In early March, Iran had over 3,500 confirmed cases spanning all 31 of its provinces, and Iranian officials began jumping on the bioweapons conspiracy bandwagon. Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said that the Covid-19 outbreak was “perhaps a bioterror attack” carried out by the United States. The following day, a conservative Iranian lawmaker repeated the claim, telling an Iranian state-run news outlet that the virus had been intentionally spread throughout Iran and China and proposing an independent bioterror defense organization.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president who seems unable to resist a good opportunity to propagate falsehoods (even Al-Qaida once asked him to stop making things up), also got in on the coronavirus conspiracy action. In an open letter to the UN secretary-general, he wrote that it was clear that the virus was “produced in laboratories … by the warfare stock houses of biologic war belonging to world hegemonic powers.”

Naturally, it didn’t take long for these conspiracies to percolate to the top. On March 12, Iran’s supreme leader issued an edict endorsing the idea that “this incident might be a biological attack” and creating a “health and treatment headquarters” within the armed forces to help control the spread of the virus.

The Chinese government, meanwhile, the bogymen in Cotton’s telling, has at least one prominent conspiracy-monger in its ranks. On March 12, Zhao, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, demanded answers from the US government by tweeting, “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”

The new coronavirus is thought to have jumped from animals to people, but researchers still haven’t pinned down which species to blame. The pangolin, an ant-eating animal prized for its meat and scales in China, is one candidate, according to an article in Nature. But scientists haven’t found a close-enough genetic match between viruses found in pangolins and those found in humans to reach a definitive conclusion

And so the source of Covid-19 remains ambiguous, and, like a certain US senator from Arkansas, conspiracy theories thrive on ambiguity.

“We ought to be transparent with the American people about all this,” Cotton said last month to defend his controversial musings. “Maybe some of these so-called experts think they know better. I don’t. And they really don’t either.”

March 21, 2020 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Plants: Tritium is a lot more hazardous than they say

tests for statistical significance have been misused in epidemiological studies on cancers near nuclear facilities. These in the past have often concluded that such effects do not occur or they downplayed any effects which did occur. In fact, copious evidence exists throughout the world – over 60 studies – of raised cancer levels near NPPs.

Most (>75%) of these studies found cancer increases but because they were small, their findings were often dismissed as not statistically significant. In other words, they were chucked in the bin marked “not significant” without further consideration.

Just as people were misled about tobacco smoking in previous decades, perhaps we are being misled about raised cancers near NPPs nowadays.

The Hazards of Tritium, Dr Ian Fairlie, March 13, 2020

Summary

Nuclear facilities emit very large amounts of tritium, 3H, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen.  Much evidence from cell/animal studies and radiation biology theory indicates that tritium is more hazardous than gamma rays and most X-rays. However the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) continues to underestimate tritium’s hazard by recommending  a radiation weighting factor (wR) of unity for tritium’s beta particle emissions.  Tritium’s exceptionally high molecular exchange rate with hydrogen atoms on adjacent molecules makes it extremely mobile in the environment. This plus the fact that the most common form of tritium is water, ie radioactive water, means that, when tritium is emitted from nuclear facilities, it rapidly contaminates all biota in adjacent areas. Tritium binds with organic matter to form organically bound tritium (OBT) with long residence times in tissues and organs making it more radiotoxic than tritiated water (HTO). Epidemiology studies indicate increases in cancers and congenital malformations near nuclear facilities. It is recommended that nuclear operators and scientists should be properly informed about tritium’s hazards; that tritium’s safety factors should be strengthened; and that a hazard scheme for common radionuclides be established. Continue reading

March 19, 2020 Posted by | radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Doctors again call on Australian govt about Julian Assange’s precarious health, risk of coronavirus

Almost 200 medical doctors say Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from coronavirus,   https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-news/2020/03/18/almost-200-medical-doctors-say-julian-assanges-health-is-at-increased-risk-from-coronavirus/  
John McEvoy
 18th March 2020  On 18 March, almost 200 medical doctors wrote to Australian foreign minister Marise Payne to warn that Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from the new coronavirus.

“Mr Assange could die in prison”

This is the latest in a number of letters sent by Doctors for Assange to express concern over the WikiLeaks publisher’s deteriorating health.

On 22 November, the group signed an open letter addressed to UK home secretary Priti Patel, saying: “we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison”.

In a follow-up letter published on 4 December, the doctors wrote:

When the UK, as a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, repeatedly ignores not only the serious warnings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, but also its unequivocal investigative and remedial obligations under international and human rights law, the credibility of the UK’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law is fatally undermined.

Fertile breeding grounds”

The latest letter, signed by medical doctors from countries including the UK, Australia, Sweden, and the US, was written in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

The letter reads:

We wrote to you on December 15 2019 that Julian Assange’s life is at risk due to nearly a decade of human rights abuse including arbitrary detention, psychological torture and medical neglect. Now, with the president of the Prison Governor’s Association warning that prisons provide “fertile breeding grounds” for coronavirus, Julian Assange’s life and health are at heightened risk due to his arbitrary detention during this global pandemic. That threat will only grow as the coronavirus spreads. …

We therefore stand by our previous calls for the Australian Government to urgently intervene to protect the life, health and human rights of its citizen Julian Assange, before it is too late, whether due to coronavirus or any number of catastrophic health outcomes.

Coronavirus is the latest threat to Assange’s life, adding onto years of arbitrary punishment and psychological torture.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Dr Ian Fairlea on Epidemiological Evidence of Cancer Risks

The Hazards of Tritium,https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/the-hazards-of-tritium/ , Dr Ian Fairlie, March 13, 2020   “……….Epidemiological Evidence of Risks Because of methodological limitations, epidemiology studies are a blunt tool for discovering whether adverse effects result from radiation exposures. These limitations include:

  • under-ascertainment, …
  • strict data requirements….
  • confounding factors: the true causes of morbidity or mortality can be uncertain due to confounding factors such as socio-economic status and competing causes of death.
  • bias: ……
  • poor signal to noise…..
  • uncertain doses:……
  • wide confidence intervals……
Many epidemiology studies are ecologic studies, that is, quick inexpensive studies which look at health statistics in tables and notate individual data. Their findings are usually regarded as indicative, but not conclusive. If their findings suggest an adverse effect then these should be investigated further by more detailed cohort or case-control studies. The latter match “cases” (i.e. those with an adverse health effect) with randomly-selected similar individuals without an adverse effect, in order to minimise under-ascertainment. However few of these are actually carried out because of their expense and long time-spans. Sometimes they are not carried out for political reasons because findings of increased cancers are not welcome.
A disconcerting finding is that a substantial number of epi studies near NPPs conclude there are no findings of ill health even though positive increases were in fact observed. That is, the researchers were unable to accept the evidence of their own work. It is difficult to comment on this cognitive dissonance (few studies seem to exist on this phenomenon) but it is apparently often due to unacknowledged biases or to group-think re the impossibility for ill-health effects to exist near nuclear facilities. In their conclusions, such authors have discounted their findings using a variety of reasons ………
However there is a serious problem here. If similarly increased health effects had been observed near, say, a lead smelting factory or an asbestos mine, would they be dismissed by referring to these rationales? I rather doubt it. In other words, what is occurring here is that hidden biases in favour of nuclear power are in play. In my view, such conflicts of bias should be declared at the outset just as conflicts of interest are nowadays.

The Abuse of Statistical Significance Tests

Many epi studies of cancer near NPPs have found increased risks but dismissed them as not “statistically significant”. This wording often misleads lay readers into thinking that a reported increase is unimportant or irrelevant. But, in statistics, the adjective “significant” is a specialist word used to convey a narrow meaning, ie that the likelihood of an observation being a fluke is less than 5% (assuming a p = 5% test were used). It does not mean important or relevant.
Also this phrase is usually employed without explaining that the chosen significance level is quite arbitrary. There is no scientific justification for using a 5% level or any other test level: it is merely a matter of convenience. In other words, it is quite possible for results which are “not significant” when a 5% test is applied, could become “significant” when a 10% or other test level were used.
The existence of this practice has historical parallels. In the 1950s, dozens of health studies financed by tobacco companies acted to sow seeds of doubt about the health effects of cigarette smoking for many years. Continue reading

March 19, 2020 Posted by | radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Murky links between the nuclear and coal lobbies in South Africa

Anatomy of a lobby: How, and why, coal and nuclear interests are converging https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/anatomy-of-a-lobby-how-and-why-coal-and-nuclear-interests-are-converging-20200315, Sarah Evans

  The coal industry remains at the centre of the South African energy mix, with a strong push still being made to add nuclear energy into the equation. Who are the groups and individuals behind these lobby groups, and what do they want? Sarah Evans reports. 

While in South Africa, there is little proof of such an organised, funded campaign being conducted by the coal industry itself, a motley crew of intersecting interests has coalesced around common policy goals: Attempting to stop government’s policy of introducing renewable energy onto the national grid by purchasing power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and pushing a narrative that says that Eskom needs to keep buying coal, and that the life of its ageing power stations needs to be extended.

The narrative is also centred around the idea that government must once again pursue a large nuclear building programme, once favoured by former president Jacob Zuma, but since shelved by the Cyril Ramaphosa administration.

Many of the anti-IPP lobbyists are strongly sympathetic to the former president.

The is despite the release of the Integrated Resource Plan last year – the country’s energy roadmap – which seeks to phase out coal, gradually, over the coming decades, increase the use of renewable energy onto the grid, with a reduced role for nuclear energy.

Lobbying efforts by the industry itself have cropped up all over the world as governments are pressured to radically reduce their reliance on burning fossil fuels.

The Guardian reported last year that such a campaign had been launched on a global scale by mining giant Glencore.

But in South Africa, the campaign has taken on the face of a coalition of forces, more than an organised and well-funded propaganda effort, as far as we know.

To the one side of the anti-IPP coalition are some unions, some obscure pro-Zuma lobby groups, coal truckers and disgruntled individuals such as former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko.

This campaign has played out in the mainstream media, but seems to have the most traction on social media.

The campaign reached Eskom’s physical doors last week when the EFF entered the fray on the side of the lobbyists. The party took its message to the power utility in the form of a protest, flanked by nuclear energy industry lobbyists like Adil Nchabaleng of pro-Zuma lobby group Transform RSA.

On the other side of the campaign is the coal industry itself, which appears to be in the initial stages of an advocacy campaign.

Transform RSA teamed up with Numsa and the Coal Truckers Association in 2018 in a failed court bid to stop the signing of IPP agreements – a case that Nchabaleng tried to link to a break-in at his home where his housekeeper was tied up and held at gunpoint.

He is also a Member of Parliament, representing the African People’s Convention.

Transform RSA’s politics were made clear when, also in early 2018, it threatened to take legal action against the ANC’s leadership if they moved against former president Jacob Zuma by discussing his recall at a meeting.

On the social media front, the South African Energy Forum (SAEF_ZA) has been actively opposing IPPs, and has advocated for more nuclear energy in South Africa’s energy mix in a “People’s IRP” released on behalf of itself and sister organisations last year.

Another vocal advocate of nuclear energy, and of abandoning the IPP project, is Khandani Msibi, who heads up Numsa’s investment arm.

The SAEF’s members are all APC party members, with the exception of one Ronald Mumyai. His social media accounts show that he is a former EFF member, supporter of Zuma, and homophobe, although the homophobic tweet in question has since been deleted.

Another obscure entity that appears only to exist online is the Anti-Poverty Forum, which, when it is not laying complaints with the Public Protector over IPPs, spends its days campaigning against Zuma’s nemesis, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
The forum is fronted by ANC Brian Bunting branch member Phapano Phasha, also formerly associated with the Gupta’s failed television station ANN7, who laid a complaint against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan with the ANC’s integrity commission last year.

Coal industry advocacy

As for the industry itself, it seems clear that many players feel coal is unfairly under attack, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of its contribution to climate change.

At a gathering of coal industry leaders in Cape Town in February, Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) senior economist Bongani Motsa said there was a need for a “strong coal advocacy group” to lobby for the industry, against what it views as an onslaught from the “renewables lobby”.

Motsa likened the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to an abusive spouse that was unkind to the industry, in spite of its willingness to invest in “clean coal” technologies.

Motsa did not provide any details as to what this would look like.

In February 2018, when heated talks over the IRP were ongoing behind closed doors at Nedlac, the MSCA released a document titled “Coal Strategy 2018” in which it outlined plans to counter the narrative around coal.

The plan’s executive summary states: “The Chamber of Mines Coal Leadership Forum, consisting of coal executives, commissioned a report to determine what needs to be done to increase the profile of the coal mining industry in the face of seemingly ineluctable negative public opinion around the use of coal in industrial processes. Negative views on coal and its impact on the environment have resulted in a precipitous decline in the use of coal by the major economies of the world…”

The plan decried the introduction of strict laws to protect the environment that would stifle the coal industry, and implied that the industry’s contribution to the economy and jobs needed to be punted in public.

For now, the links between the pro-coal, anti-IPP actors are murky. But what is clear is that their interests align around policy and political goals, and it remains to be seen whether they carry enough weight to have real impact on either front.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment