The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Shadow Courts – The Secret Tribunals That Corporations Use to Sue Countries

book-shadow-courtsUS trade negotiators are now working to include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in as many new treaties as possible, including both of the massive new free trade deals coming down the pike. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Obama signed in February 2016 and which Congress will likely ratify before he leaves office, already includes ISDS.

The Secret Tribunals That Corporations Use to Sue Countries, Moyers and company

These ad hoc courts are a main reason why so many politicians and activists are against  trade agreements like the TPP.   BY HALEY EDWARDS | SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK SHADOW COURTS: THE TRIBUNALS THAT RULE GLOBAL TRADE BY HALEY EDWARDS.


The environmental activist Jane Kleeb was driving down Highway 281 near Lincoln, Nebraska, on a gray day in January 2016, when she got a call from a reporter.

At the time, Kleeb was still riding high off of her success organizing local farmers, ranchers and environmentalists in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have carried petroleum products from Canada’s tar sands across the Nebraska plains to the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to her and other activists’ efforts, President Barack Obama had announced in November 2015 that his administration would deny the Canadian company TransCanada permission to move forward with the project, ending an eight-year-long effort to get the pipeline built.

The reporter was calling to ask Kleeb about a new twist in the saga. Earlier that day, TransCanada had announced it was suing the US government for $15 billion on the grounds that Obama’s decision to block the project violated the North American Free Trade Agreement. It was the first Kleeb had heard of the suit. “I’m an organizer, so my reaction was, ‘When are the hearings? Where is this happening? Who’s the judge?’” she said recently. If TransCanada was challenging the decision in court, she wanted to be there. Could she protest on the courthouse steps? Arrange for a rally in a nearby town?

But that, Kleeb learned, was not how this case would go down. TransCanada wasn’t suing the US in a US court, or in a Canadian court for that matter. Its argument would not be heard by a judge, and the merits of the case would not be considered under the auspices of either country’s legal system. There would be no protest on any courthouse steps. Instead, the case would be heard by a tribunal, manned by three private arbitrators, operating under a supranational legal system that Kleeb had never heard of. “It was totally strange,” she told me. “A foreign company can sue us in some secret tribunal? How is that even possible?”

Investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, first appeared in treaties in 1969. The idea behind the mechanism was straightforward: If a foreign investor believed that his host country — the nation where his company was operating had violated an international treaty by seizing or destroying his factories, oil fields or other assets, he could file an ISDS claim directly against that country. He could do that without involving his own government and without having to wait endlessly for a developing country’s corrupt or biased court system to dispense judgment……..

ISDS was supposed to be a cool, efficient and apolitical dispute resolution system that kept powerful nations from interfering in the affairs of weaker countries, and that offered an extra layer of protection for foreign investors operating in countries with unreliable courts. But in the last 20 years, the mechanism has quietly changed, evolving into something much more powerful — and very political indeed……..

That modern interpretation has only cropped up in the last 20 years, but it has opened up a vast new gray area. Where ISDS claims were once about seized oil fields and bulldozed factories, now they are about tax increases and environmental regulations. Where is the line between a government’s right to regulate in the public interest and a foreign corporation’s claim to its own property?

US trade negotiators are now working to include ISDS in as many new treaties as possible, including both of the massive new free trade deals coming down the pike. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Obama signed in February 2016 and which Congress will likely ratify before he leaves office, already includes ISDS. Whether the mechanism will be inserted into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, linking the US and Europe, is a subject of controversy…….

September 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change will expose top-secret US nuclear project in Greenland

Greenland’s receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project Camp Century – part of Project Iceworm – is underground cold war network that had been thought buried forever, until climate change made that highly unlikely, Guardian, , 28 Sept,  A top-secret US military project from the cold war and the toxic waste it conceals, thought to have been buried forever beneath the Greenland icecap, are likely to be uncovered by rising temperatures within decades, scientists have said.


The US army engineering corps excavated Camp Century in 1959 around 200km (124 miles) from the coast of Greenland, which was then a county of Denmark.

Powered, remarkably, by the world’s first mobile nuclear generator and known as “the city under the ice”, the camp’s three-kilometre network of tunnels, eight metres beneath the ice, housed laboratories, a shop, a hospital, a cinema, a chapel and accommodation for as many as 200 soldiers………

Project Iceworm, presented to the US chiefs of staff in 1960, aimed to use Camp Century’s frozen tunnels to test the feasibility of a huge launch site under the ice, close enough to fire nuclear missiles directly at the Soviet Union.

At the height of the cold war, as the US and the USSR were engaged in a terrifying standoff over the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba, the US army was considering the construction of a vast subterranean extension of Camp Century.

A system of about 4,000 kilometres of icy underground tunnels and chambers extending over an area around three times the size of Denmark were to have housed 600 ballistic missiles in clusters six kilometres apart, trained on Moscow and its satellites.

Eventually the engineers realised Iceworm would not work. The constantly moving ice was too unstable and would have deformed and perhaps even collapsed the tunnels.

From 1964 Camp Century was used only intermittently, and three years later it was abandoned altogether, the departing soldiers taking the reaction chamber of the nuclear generator with them.

They left the rest of the camp’s infrastructure – and its biological, chemical and radioactive waste – where it was, on the assumption it would be “preserved for eternity” by the perpetually accumulating snow and ice……..

Greenland’s temperatures broke new records this spring and summer, hitting 24C (75F) in the capital, Nuuk, in June – a figure that shocked meteorologists so much they had to recheck their measurements.

Between 2003 and 2010, the ice that covers much of the island melted twice as fast as during the whole of the 20th century. This year it began melting a month earlier than usual.

The researchers studied US army documents and drawings to work out how deep the camp and its waste – estimated to include 200,000 litres of diesel fuel, similar quantities of waste water and unknown amounts of radioactive coolant and toxic organic pollutants such as PCBs – were buried………

The Pentagon has said it “acknowledges the reality of climate change and the risk it poses” for Greenland, adding that the US government has pledged to “work with the Danish government and the Greenland authorities to settle questions of mutual security”.

September 28, 2016 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Widespread public mistrust f South African government’s nuclear power plans

corruptionFears mount over true motivations for SA’s planned nuclear deal, Mail and Guardian, Hartmut Winkler 27 Sep 2016  Nuclear energy in South Africa is a very contentious issue. The decision on whether to proceed with the construction of a fleet of nuclear power plants is destined to become the financially most far-reaching and consequential defining moment of the Jacob Zuma presidency.

There is widespread public mistrust of the nuclear expansion process. Its roots lie in the extraordinary announcement in 2014 that the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom had secured therights to build the new South African nuclear plants. The South African government played down the announcement, claiming that it was inaccurate.

But this precipitated a series of media investigations. These uncovered evidence that individuals close to the president and groups linked to the ruling ANC have significant financial interests in the matter.

Civil society organisations are taking government to court in an attempt to have the deal declared illegal. Their attempts to have details of the Russian agreement released are being resisted. This is likely to strengthen their case, and sway public opinion further.

It appears that those with a stake in the nuclear build are hoping to fast-track the process in the face of growing public opposition. This is evident from revelations that, bizarrely, contracts are being awarded, even though a formal process has not been set in motion by government.

 The most recent revelation was that a member of a business family with close links to President Jacob Zuma has been awarded a massive R171 million tender for a nuclear build programme management system.

The meaning of this is unclear. It has largely confirmed the fears that the nuclear build is being driven for the benefit of the politically connected rather than the national good.

Burning questions
The debate surrounding the nuclear project centres on three highly contested questions:

  • Is the country’s future energy generating potential and demand such that an expensive nuclear power station build is effectively unavoidable?
  • Can South Africa afford the associated costs and debt, especially in view of massive funding demands in other sectors such as education?
  • If approved, would the nuclear build lead to massive overspends, corruption and beneficiation ofpolitically connected individuals?…….

it is difficult to understand why the renewable fraction is not being increased further, and why the national power utility Eskom, under the leadership of Brian Molefe, a nuclear disciple, now opposes new renewable energy developments.

The promotion of nuclear energy at the expense of renewables bucks global trends………

The ANC’s internal nuclear war
The often obscure processes and overhasty developments require an insight into the present machinations within the governing party.

Tensions within the ruling party have escalated to the point where calls for the president’s resignation are now made openly. And even party leaders acknowledge that factions in their ranks are thriving on corruption.

The organisational fracture is equally evident in attitudes towards the nuclear build. Tensions over the issue have been cited as the major reason for Zuma’s dismissal of the financially prudent former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.

The official position…….

the legitimacy of the procurement process has already been undermined.

Looking ahead, actual construction would need to be preceded by the closure of funding agreements, the settling of legal disputes and further public engagement. This takes time.

In the unlikely event that the nuclear build actually does come to fruition, it will not commence any time soon.

Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article

September 28, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Investigation of spending by South Africa’s Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa)

Nuclear corporation’s spending comes under scrutiny of Auditor-General, Times Live, Linda Ensor | 27 corruptionSeptember, 2016  The Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa) incurred R128 million in irregular expenditure in its 2015 financial year because it failed to comply with the government’s preferential procurement regulations‚ the Auditor-General has found.

The annual report of Necsa‚ which processes nuclear material and undertakes research and development in the nuclear field‚ was tabled one year late in Parliament on Tuesday.

Necsa management and its board are currently being investigated by a task team appointed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. The investigation related to “serious mismanagement”‚ the auditor-general said in his report‚ included in the annual report.

The board has been wracked by division and court battles with CEO Phumzile Tshelane put on a suspended suspension last year. No mention of these post-budget developments were made in the annual report.

The auditor-general’s report‚ which was included in the annual report‚ said the full extent of the irregularities was only quantified by the end of March 2016. The Necsa board condoned the irregularities.

Despite the auditor-general’s reservations‚ Necsa received an unqualified audit opinion on its financial statements.

The auditor-general noted that management did not take effective steps to prevent irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Non-compliance could have been prevented had compliance been properly reviewed and monitored.

The auditor-general also cast doubt on the going-concern status of the state-funded entity‚ which made a R21m net loss in the 2015 financial year…….

The state funded Necsa to the tune of R580m in 2015 and R599m in the current year.

– TMG Digital/BDLive

September 28, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Contradictory and confusing statements by climate science deniers

text-orwell-on-liesHow climate science deniers can accept so many ‘impossible things’ all at once 23 September 2016 by Guest Author,   Sometimes, climate science deniers will tell you that we can’t predict global temperatures in the future. Sometimes, they’ll say we’re heading for an ice age.

Occasionally, contrarians will say that no single weather event can prove human-caused global warming. But then they’ll point to somewhere that’s cold, claiming this disprovesclimate change.

Often, deniers will tell you that temperature records show that global warming stopped at some point around 1998. But also they’ll insist that those same temperature records can’t be relied on because Nasa and the Bureau of Meteorology are all communist corruption monkeys. Or something.

Black is also white. Round is also flat. Wrong is also right?

A new research paper published in the journal Synthese has looked at several of these contradictory arguments that get thrown around the blogosphere, the Australian Senate and the opinion pages of the (mostly) conservative media.

The paper comes with the fun and enticing title: “The Alice in Wonderland mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism.”

Why Alice? Because, as the White Queen admitted: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The three authors, including Dr John Cook, of the University of Queensland, look at both rhetorical and scientific arguments put by deniers.

One example is the popular theme that casts “sceptics” as “dissenting heroes” who bravely oppose “political persecution and fraud”. You know, like modern-day Galileos.

But the authors write that deniers will also try and convince the public that there is no consensus among scientists about the causes of climate change (there is and it’s us). They write:

Either there is a pervasive scientific consensus in which case contrarians are indeed dissenters, or there is no consensus in which case contrarian opinions should have broad support within the scientific community and no fearless opposition to an establishment is necessary.

The authors unleash similar jujitsu-style logic on other contradictory arguments and give examples of where the same individuals have apparently argued against themselves.

One of the authors’ examples of incoherent logic comes from the Australian geologist and mining industry figure Prof Ian Plimer and his 2009 book, Heaven and Earth – a book favourably cited by the likes of the former prime minister Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell.

On page 278, Plimer writes that “temperature and CO2 are not connected” but, on page 411, writes that “CO2 keeps our planet warm”.

According to the authors, their examples of “incoherence” only hold together in the minds of the deniers if you apply types of glue known as “conspiracist ideation” and “identity-protective cognition”.

So what’s that all about?

Conspiracist ideation, or conspiratorial thinking, is the tendency to entertain suggestions: for example that Nasa and the Bureau of Meteorology are conspiring to deliberately manipulate temperature data just to make global warming seem worse than it really is, rather than to correct for known issues.

An example of “identity-protective cognition” in this case, the authors explain, is where people who advocate for small governments and “free markets” face a dilemma.

Accepting the scientific consensus would likely see increased levels of regulation, which challenges their identity as free-market advocates. So instead, the authors argue, the only options open are to either deny the consensus or try and discredit it.

Because cutting GHG emissions requires interventions – such as regulation or increased taxation – that interfere with laissez-faire free-market economics, people whose identity and worldview centres around free markets are particularly challenged by the findings from climate science.

Lead author Prof Stephan Lewandowsky, an expert in cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol, has written several research papers finding links between the rejection of science, “conspiracist ideation” and the belief in free market economic principles.

One argument that deniers may try with this Synthese paper is that climate scientists also contradict each other and have offered several explanations for the supposed global warming “pause” or “slowdown” (this was never really a thing).

Lewandowsky told me:

Click here to read the rest from Graham Readfearn in the Guardian

September 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear programme will be a disaster.

The nuclear killer lurking in our midst, Pambazuka News Gerard Boyce Sep 22, 2016

South Africa’s nuclear programme will be a disaster. Besides the fallouts being witnessed in the jostling for gains by greedy politicians, the project is likely to gobble up huge amounts of public funds that will be difficult to account for as the government will cite national security concerns of nuclear power, thereby curtailing citizens’ right to accountability.

Nuclear power kills. If ever one had any doubts about the truthfulness of this statement, the past few months in South African politics have surely dispelled them. During this time, the government’s nuclear plans effectively killed the political career of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene whilst indications are that the career of current Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will soon suffer the same fate. It has slain any semblance of unity in the upper echelons of the ruling African National Congress. It is rumoured that the public spats in which members of various ruling party factions are engaged and that have come to hog national headlines each week are a result of ongoing palace intrigue that is caused by their jostling for position which will enable them to secure the maximum benefits from the potential bonanza that awaits when tenders for the construction of nuclear plants are awarded.

The open hostility exhibited by erstwhile comrades has exposed as a sham the image of a strong and united party and revealed a picture of an organisation riven by factionalism and bitter internal disputes. It is widely predicted that, if this deal is pushed through (as current indications are that it will), the country’s credit rating will be downgraded to junk status. A downgrade will likely plunge the economy into a coma and cause it to be put on life support………

it can become relatively easy for governments to be drawn into continuing to invest in their nuclear programmes even if they see little or no justification for doing so. One has only to observe the decades long (and seemingly never-ending) construction periods of many nuclear plants internationally for evidence thereof. Needless to say, this set of circumstances provides the ideal conditions in which graft and patronage networks are able to thrive and is likely to increase both the opportunity and propensity for certain individuals to engage in corrupt practices.

Secondly, given the destructive purposes to which nuclear technology can be put, a raft of laws and regulations have to be passed in order to prevent this technology falling into the wrong hands. Since each reactor is potentially a national calamity, policymakers justify these regulations as being necessary to protect the welfare and safety of citizens. These laws also serve to provide convenient cover behind which the less than savoury aspects of these deals can be hidden.


To shore up this cover, the global nuclear industry seems to have a built-in failsafe against closer public scrutiny and unwanted attention in that, once established, stakeholders in the industry can always appeal to the nebulous concept of the ‘national interest’ in an attempt to conceal their actions from the public. By elevating every investigation of their operations to a potential national security concern, they are able to shield their operations from investigation and thus to avoid criticism. Arguably, this has the effect of lowering the degree to which this industry feels accountable to the public since being open to investigation and subject to criticism (and thence learning) forms the basis of public accountability…….. Dr Gerard Boyce is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He writes in his personal capacity.

September 26, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Another secret and dangerous trade deal – the Trade In Services Agreement

secret-dealsThe new TTIP? Meet TISA, the ‘secret privatisation pact that poses a threat to democracy’

Government insists ‘public services are under no threat whatsoever from this deal’

  • Ian Johnston
  • Wednesday 31 August 2016An international trade deal being negotiated in secret is a “turbo-charged privatisation pact” that poses a threat to democratic sovereignty and “the very concept of public services”, campaigners have warned.But this is not TTIP – the international agreement it appears campaigners in the European Union have managed to scupper over similar concerns – this is TISA, a deal backed by some of the world’s biggest corporations, such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Walt Disney, Walmart, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

    Few people may have heard of the Trade In Services Agreement, but campaign group Global Justice Now warns in a new report: “Defeating TTIP may amount to a pyrrhic victory if we allow TISA to pass without challenge.”

    Like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TISA is being negotiated in secret, even though it could have a major impact on countries which sign up.

  • While TTIP is only between the EU and US, those behind TISA have global ambitions as it involves most of the world’s major economies – with the notable exceptions of China and Russia – in a group they call the “Really Good Friends of Services”.

    The Department for International Trade dismissed the idea that public services were at risk from TISA, adding that the UK was committed to securing an “ambitious” deal.

    But according to Global Justice Now’s report, the deal could “lock in privatisation of public services”; allow “casino capitalism” by undermining financial regulations designed to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 recession; threaten online privacy; damage efforts to fight climate change; and prevent developing countries from improving public services.

  • Nick Dearden, director of group, said: “This deal is a threat to the very concept of public services. It is a turbo-charged privatisation pact, based on the idea that rather than serving the public interest, governments must step out of the way and allow corporations to ‘get on with it’.

    “Of particular concern, we fear TISA will include clauses that will prevent governments taking public control of strategic services, and inhibit regulation of the very banks that created the financial crash.”

    He suggested pro-Brexit voters should be concerned at the potential loss of sovereignty.

    “Many people were persuaded to leave the EU on the grounds they would be ‘taking back control’ of our economic policy,” Mr Dearden said.

    “But if we sign up to TISA, our ability to control our economy – to regulate, to protect public services, to fight climate change – is massively reduced. In effect, we would be handing large swathes of policy-making to big business. “

  • The report says the widespread opposition to TTIP, a deal between only the EU and US, had not yet been repeated over TISA.

    “It is vital for elected representatives, campaigners and ordinary citizens to unite against this threat,” it adds.

    “TISA threatens public services. From postal services to the NHS, TISA could lock in privatisation and ensure that big multinationals increasingly call the shots on areas like health, education and basic utilities.”

    A so-called “ratchet” clause in the deal means that after a service – like trains or water or energy – is privatised, this is almost impossible to reverse even if it fails.

  • According to the report, a “standstill” clause also means “no new regulation can be passed that gives foreign companies worse treatment” than when TISA is passed.

    “Taken together, the standstill and ratchet clauses could make it much harder for a future government to renationalise the railways, a move backed by a majority of the British public,” it says.

    “Similarly, it could mean that the creeping privatisation of the NHS becomes more and more irreversible with greater involvement of companies from countries like the US. And forget taking control of the electricity system back from the big six energy firms.”

  • Migrant workers could be classified as “independent service suppliers”, the report says, meaning they would not be eligible for the minimum wage or be allowed to join a union.

    People going to another country may find their visa is tied to their job, so if they were sacked, they would be deported.

    “This sort of system of modern indentured labour is wide open to abuse by unscrupulous employers who may get away with illegal practices safe in the knowledge that they can threaten any employee with deportation if they complain,” the report says.

    “This sort of system is used in countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar and has resulted in working conditions that have been described as being close to slavery.”

    The global economic crash of 2008 was precipitated by the sale of complex financial products linked to unsafe “sub-prime” mortgages. The report says there is a danger the final TISA deal would “undermine efforts to regulate risky financial products” with a proposal that firms should be allowed to offer “any new financial service”.

  • “The danger is that TISA will deter governments from limiting the use of such ‘innovative’ financial products and leave us powerless to stop the next financial crisis,” it says.

    TISA could also potentially prevent governments from favouring renewable energy over fossil fuels – despite the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the health effects of air pollution.

    Private firms would also be allowed to move online data from one country to another under one proposal being considered. While the original country’s privacy laws would have to be respected, the report said it was “not clear how this will be … enforced”.

    While developed countries in Europe have established public services that would not be threatened unless a state’s government decided to open them up to private firms, the same is not true of many developing countries. If they signed up to the deal, it could effectively prevent them from setting up public institutions taken for granted in the West.

  • The TISA negotiations were held behind closed doors for about 18 months until they were publicly revealed by the global trade union group Public Services International (PSI). Information about some of the proposals has been also disclosed through Wikileaks and similar sites.

    Daniel Bertossa, PSI’s director of policy, said: “Anybody who’s interested in maintaining democratic control of national institutions should be very concerned about the Trade in Services Agreement that is being negotiated in secret.

    “It will remove large sections of national sovereignty and the ability of any government, including the UK Government, to regulate important service sectors [on issues] such as energy, such as transport, such as privacy. The Trade in Services Agreement is part of a radical project to limit governments’ sovereign right to regulate and freeze it almost in permanence in the interests of foreign corporations.”

    According to the European Commission, TISA is about “facilitating trade in services”.

    “The EU is the world’s largest exporter of services with tens of millions of jobs throughout Europe in the services sector. Opening up markets for services will mean more growth and jobs,” its website says.

  • The Independent has contacted “Team TISA”, a group of mainly American companies in favour of the deal, asking for a comment. On its website, it says: “Services are the fastest growing sector of the global economy and account for two thirds of global output, one third of global employment and nearly 20 per cent of global trade.

    “The TISA provides an opportunity to expand services trade among over 50 countries, covering nearly 70 per cent of global trade in services.

    “The potential expansion TISA provides will benefit not only global growth, but also US domestic growth.

    “As the world’s largest services exporter, with over $1.3 trillion (about £1 trillion) in annual cross-border and foreign-affiliate sales, the US will benefit tremendously from elimination of services barriers.”

    A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “Public services are under no threat whatsoever from this deal or any other trade agreement. The UK remains committed to an ambitious Trade in Services Agreement.”

September 23, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, EUROPE, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Energy Minister is asked to release all nuclear-bid information

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaMinister will have to release all nuclear-bid information’, IOL News,  21 September 2016, Craig Dodds Cape Town – The chairman of Parliament’s energy oversight committee is to write to Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to request all documents related to nuclear procurement by October 11, after she refused to release them on the basis that they were “sensitive”.

This comes after a legal opinion sought by another parliamentary committee confirmed that it had the right in terms of the National Assembly rules to “summon any person to produce any document it requires in carrying out its functions”………

In a written reply to a request from Mackay earlier this month, Joemat-Pettersson refused to provide a number of key documents related to nuclear procurement.

 These included the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure review by the International Atomic Energy Agency; terms of reference for the National Nuclear Energy Executive Co-ordinating Committee (NNEECC); the phased decision-making approach of the NNEECC for implementing the government’s nuclear programme; and a 2004 bilateral international agreement with the Russian Federation…….

Majola said the National Assembly rules provided a mechanism for the committee to deal with confidential documents, which gave the chairperson of the committee, and not the minister, the authority to determine what should be kept from public view, and how.

“We will have to ask for the documents. We will go through legal advice to see which of the documents can be dealt with by the committee differently, not which of the documents will not be seen by the committee,” Majola said.

He committed to write to Joemat-Pettersson immediately, requesting that the department furnish the committee with all the documents.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Media censors coverage of depleted uranium’s use, and its devastating effects on health

Fallujah-babyDeadly Radioactive Dust and Dying Children: US-NATO Use of Depleted Uranium (DU) Ammunition

Award-Winning Filmmaker Shunned for Exposing the Truth The fate of Frieder Wagner is a peculiar example of what happens when you stand up to the establishment’s injustice. A notable director who won the prestigious German Grimme Award, responsible for numerous documentaries for the ARD and ZDF channels, he quickly became a pariah after making a movie called Deadly Dust (Todesstaub) about the use of depleted uranium (DU) shells by NATO forces in the Middle East and in the former Yugoslavia.

In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, Wagner explained that Deadly Dust is based on an earlier documentary called The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra) that he filmed for WDR. In April 2004 the movie was screened during the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But even though that autumn it received the ÖkoMedia award, it was never screened again. And no matter what ideas he came up with, the TV channels that he previously worked with stopped sending him new orders for some reason.

“I contacted a head of the WDR editorial office whom I’d worked with before and asked him what happened. He paused for a second and then told me “The WDR editorial office considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you”,” Wagner explained.

He added that about a year ago he met with Siegesmund von Ilsemann, an editor at Spiegel magazine who wrote a comprehensive report about the ‘deadly dust’ and its effects, and who revealed to the astonished director that the use of depleted uranium by the military literally became a taboo subject in Germany.

“He told me that the issue of DU munitions use and its consequences became taboo in Germany. And no TV channel or newspaper would allow even him – a person who worked on this subject for a long time – to publish anything related to it,” Wagner added.

DU shells are made of byproducts of uranium enrichment. Their superior armor-piercing capabilities make them a potent anti-tank weapon, especially considering that when an armored vehicle gets hit by such a shell, the impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite, incinerating the target’s interior. But it’s the ‘deadly dust’ produced by a DU shell detonation that is probably the most insidious aspect of this type of ordnance.

“At such a high temperature the substance – depleted uranium – burns down to nano-particles, each of them a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell. And due to their extremely small size, these particles ‘travel’ through a human body, infiltrating brain, lungs, kidneys, placenta, bloodstream and even sperm and egg cells which causes severe developmental diseases in newborns,” Wagner said.

According to him, US forces actively used DU munitions in Kosovo, Somalia, Libya and during both Iraqi campaigns, not to mention that they keep using them in Afghanistan up to this day.

“I’ve travelled to Iraq and Kosovo myself. We collected soil, water and tissue samples. All tissue samples contained depleted uranium particles, and even worse, they contained the so called uranium-236 which can only be produced artificially,” he said.

He also pointed out that the families of 16 out of 109 Italian soldiers who died of cancer sued the Italian government. During the trials, which the plaintiffs won, it was established that the fatal disease in all cases was caused by the use of DU munitions in Iraq and Kosovo.

And yet, much to Wagner’s surprise, no global wave of outrage spearheaded by the UN, Amnesty International and similar organizations took place over these developments.

“It should’ve happened a long time ago. In 2001 in Germany and in many other European nations the press wrote a lot about the first deaths among the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers in Kosovo. The then-Defense Minister of Germany Rudolf Scharping nearly lost his position. But then NATO and the UN decreed that this topic must be removed from the media – and they succeeded,” Wagner surmised.

September 19, 2016 Posted by | children, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) demands truth on secretive nuclear contract

text politicsDA DEMANDS ANSWERS OVER NUCLEAR CONTRACT  The party has called on the Energy Ministry to answer questions about an apparent nuclear contract. Gia Nicolaides | a day ago

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the Energy Ministry needs to answer questions about an apparent nuclear contract that has left South Africans in the “dark”.

The Mail & Guardian is reporting that Shantan Reddy, the son of President Jacob Zuma’s friend Vivian Reddy, clinched a contract worth R171 million for the procurement of a nuclear build programme management system.

It’s been listed on the Energy Department‘s website under the “awarded bids” section, despite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recently saying that a final decision to proceed with a nuclear build programme will only be made once there’s been a request for proposals.

The DA’s energy spokesperson Gordan Mackay says, “Since the president made the announcement in 2014 about the nuclear build programme, not a single document has surfaced in Parliament. We have submitted questions again three weeks ago, which she has declined on the basis that the information was sensitive.”

Empire Technology appears to have clinched the multi-million rand contract. (Edited by Shimoney Regter)

September 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Serious questions about South Africa’s nuclear power tender process

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaEnergy department to co-operate with Treasury on nuclear deal, BUSINESS NEWS / 18 September 2016, Pretoria – The energy department will fully co-operate with National Treasury regarding the nuclear new build programme, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson insisted on Saturday……………….

–Democratic Alliance spokesperson Gordon Mackay said earlier the first beneficiary of the proposed nuclear deal appeared to be none other than Shantan Reddy, the son of President Jacob Zuma’s close friend and ally, Vivian Reddy, with his company having been awarded a R171-million contract for the “nuclear new build programme management system”.

The awarding of the contract to Reddy’s company was highly irregular considering that both Joemat-Pettersson and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had been at pains to assure South Africans that no deal had been concluded.

“If there is in fact no nuclear deal yet, why the need to procure a R171-million system to manage it?” Mackay asked.

Alarmingly, the contract with Reddy was awarded on the back of an as yet unidentified tender in the Free State and not publically advertised on the department’s website, as was standard practice. That notwithstanding, the deal with Reddy was personally signed off by the department’s director general.

“This raises serious questions surrounding the tender process that was followed, not least of which is what knowledge the minister had of the deal with Reddy.”

The DA would submit parliamentary questions to Joemat-Pettersson to ascertain, among other things, the reasons for the deviation from the department’s standard procurement process and the basis on which Reddy’s company, an entity with no experience in the nuclear field, was awarded the contract.

Also, whether the minister had any involvement in, or knowledge of the contract and why a contract for the management of the new build programme had been awarded if, by the minster’s account, no deal had been concluded.

“The move is premature at best and once again suggests that protestations by government are a smokescreen to hide the fact that the nuclear new build is a done deal. Moreover, the development ads to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the primary motivation being Zuma’s pursuit of the ill-advised and unaffordable nuclear deal is to enrich his cronies and fund his patronage network.

“The DA has long maintained that the nuclear deal has potential for corruption the likes of which South Africa has never seen. One thing is increasingly clear – the only really beneficiary of the nuclear deal will be Zuma Inc at the expense of an already highly indebted and fragile South African economy,” Mackay said.

African News Agency (ANA)

September 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

South African govt says no nuclear deals made, but now there is one!

flag-S.AfricaZuma pals clinch first nuclear deal, Mail and Guardian, Jessica Bezuidenhout 16 Sep 2016 Shantan Reddy, the son of President Jacob Zuma’s friend Vivian Reddy, has clinched what appears to be a landmark deal for the country’s controversial multibillion-rand nuclear programme.

Details of the R171-million contract for “the procurement of the nuclear build programme management system” emerged after an innocuous-looking entry appeared on the department of energy’s website.

Listed under the category “awarded bids”, it is scant on detail, simply naming the winning bidder of BAC-10/2016 as Central Lake Trading 149, a company trading as Empire Technology.

The little-known company’s sole director is Shantan Reddy, the son of flamboyant power and property mogul Vivian Reddy, a longtime friend of the president.

Although there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of Reddy or his company, the awarding of this contract has set off alarm bells with industry experts and politicians because the government continues to maintain that it has not entered into any nuclear deal.

The contract awarded to Reddy’s company, if indeed linked to the “nuclear build”, as stated by the energy department, suggests that work may have already begun behind the scenes.

“Considering that the minister of energy is on record stating no deal has been signed and the deputy president [has said] that South Africa will not commence on nuclear if it can’t afford it, the issuance of a contract is highly irregular,” said Gordon Mackay, the Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson on energy.

The Mail & Guardian briefly spoke to Shantan Reddy about the energy department deal. He asked for questions to be sent on SMS but did not respond by deadline….. (subscribers only)

September 17, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Australia’s secret shame – the Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

This March, documents obtained exclusively by revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,”    “This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

Book Maralinga Anangu StoryThe secret destruction of Australia’s Hiroshima,, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 WHEN nuclear explosions tore through Australia’s vast, arid centre, some people living there didn’t even know it was coming.

It devastated the country for miles around, annihilating every bird, tree and animal in its path.

Even today, the effects of our very own Hiroshima are still felt by the families it ripped apart, and those suffering horrific health problems as a result.

The British military detonated seven nuclear bombs in remote Maralinga, around 800km north-west of Adelaide, plus two at Emu Fields and three off the coast near Karratha, Western Australia.

They also staged hundreds of minor trials investigating the impact of non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons, involving tanks, gun, mannequins in uniforms and even tethered goats. In many ways, these smaller tests were equally dangerous, spraying plutonium in all directions.

Yet most Australians know very little about the blasts that shattered communities, and the dramatic story now buried under layers of dust.

Archie Barton was just a child when the nuclear testing took place between 1956 and 1963, stretching across a huge now uninhabitable 120km of land where he and thousands of others lived.

“He was taken away from his mother,” his stepson Steve Harrison tells “He was part of the Stolen Generations. He grew up in homes around Australia, and led a very rough life.

“Before my mum, he was a full-blown alcoholic. He wanted to go back to his birthplace.

 “With his brother, he fought a battle with the British government to come back to clean up the area.

“He came into my life at a very young age. I was 14. I knew him as a strong, proud Aboriginal black man. He ended up getting an OBE.”


Mr Barton’s family was not the only one scattered by the bombs. Many walked for days or even weeks to find new homes, deliberately going barefoot so their relatives could follow behind. British soldiers repeatedly turned them back south when they tried to head north.

Unsurprisingly, many never found each other.

“They were dispersed pretty much to the four points of the compass,” said Paul Brown, creative director of new showcase Nuclear, featuring Mr Harrison’s artwork. “It represented a massive dislocation from the watering holes and places that were important to Aboriginal people.

“If Aboriginal people weren’t caught up in the blast, it was by sheer luck, not design.

“People were very close at the time of the blast, they even had to take people into the decontamination area to scrub them down.”

Decades later, 57-year-old Mr Harrison’s village still isn’t a safe place for humans to live, despite numerous attempts to decontaminate the area, in 1967, 1985 and the late 1990s.

Ian Anderson’s 1993 New Scientist article “Britain’s dirty deeds at Maralinga” exposed negotiations between the UK and Australia to dispose of toxic plutonium that had been lightly covered with soil instead of being buried in concrete bunkers.

And as recently as 2007, nuclear engineer Alan Parkinson claimed the latest $100 million clean-up was a “cheap and nasty solution”.


The Anandu people fled to Oak Valley, Yalata, Renmark and almost anywhere between Kalgoorlie in WA and Adelaide.

Torn from family members and their homes, indigenous communities saw the consequences travel down the generations. Alcoholism is one of the biggest problems, along with drugs, crime, homelessness and lack of acceptance from new towns where these displaced people live on the fringes.

The Royal Commission found evidence of terrible disabilities caused by likely radiation impacts on both veterans and Aboriginal communities.

This March, documents obtained exclusively by revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

A 2008 Department of Veterans’ Affairs study reported that the doses to Australians were small, with a spokesman that studies into the descendants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs survivors showed they “do not have an increased frequency of chromosome abnormalities or major birth defects.”

Yet a 1999 study for the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association found that 30 per cent of involved veterans had died from cancer, mainly in their 50s.

Troops flew through mushroom clouds from explosions without protection and marched to ground zero immediately after bomb detonation. Airborne drifts of radioactive material resulted in “radioactive rain” being dropped on Brisbane and Queensland country areas.

“When they created this problem, they didn’t picture it at the end,” says Mr Harrison. “People are fighting for their existence.

“We can go back, but cannot go back and live there. It’s ruined quite a lot of lives.

“I see people who’ve been taken away coming back trying to reconnect with family. Most now live in Yalata on the Nullabor Plains.

“It was so sad, so hard. You need to grow up with family from a young age. Now they’re telling people they’ve got to leave communities in the Northern Territory, they’re closing down a lot of these communities.”


The Maralinga bombs were set off in a way that officially satisfied safe firing requirements. The detonations were even celebrated as a “great success” in The Advertiser.

But Mr Brown says there is evidence the military was “deliberately misleading the public about the likely impact.”

Britain’s Parliament last year issued a statement of recognition and set up a benevolent fund for veterans who took part in the nuclear tests.

Mr Brown hopes his exhibition, 60 years on from the blasts, will show that these are not simply stories about victims. “Often people have gone on the front foot,” he said. “In Japan, the Hibakusha are world leaders in the peace movement. They’ve taken it upon themselves to campaign for disarmament and world peace.”

Mr Harrison, who has visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors in Japan and presented them with a sculpture, says his main concern is making sure Australians know what happened in their own country.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,” he added.

“This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

September 17, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret nuclear management contract given to donor to South Africa’s President Zuma

‘Predatory elite’ eye nuclear deal The looming nuclear deal that seems to be President Jacob Zuma’s biggest pet project (and will be South Africa’s biggest financial and construction deal ever, if it happens) has been questioned by many commentators, including MPs and civil society groups. The deal, which already has links with Russia’s notoriously oligarchic government, worries anyone who can see in it the largest opportunity yet for the looting of state resources by the group currently devoting all their means to that end.

The nation was told, in the National Assembly, that all the necessary checks would be put in place and that the legal and other hurdles would be diligently cleared before the deal went ahead. The intimation was that any serious obstacles to the deal would come to light and could possibly scupper it entirely – a prospect many would welcome.

But the nation was also told, by a different minister in the other House of Parliament, that it was full steam ahead on the project – with the intimation that no objections would be allowed to stand in its way.

The first utterance came from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who seems to have been given the job of placating the objectors and the intelligentsia, or anyone concerned about the ongoing plans of what unionist Zwelinzima Vavi long ago called “the predatory elite”.

The second utterance came from Zuma’s extremely loyal energy minster, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, so it was to be expected that she would show every sign of wanting to do his bidding as soon as possible.

And, as we report this week, the signs appear to be that it’s the Zuma-Joemat-Pettersson agenda that is forging ahead – and the careful investigation mooted by Ramaphosa will fall by the wayside, obviously simply an effort to quieten the opposition to the nuclear deal.

It has emerged that a contract worth R171-million for a “programme management system” to help get the nuclear deal off the ground has been awarded, in practical secrecy, to a company called Empire Technology. This is wholly owned by Shantan Reddy, the son of controversial businessperson Vivian Reddy, who has given Zuma considerable financial support over the years, including a contribution to the building of the president’s family complex in Nkandla.

That so little is known about the company, and that the deal appears to have gone through so quickly, is cause for concern.

Is the nuclear deal going ahead or not? Will South Africa be taking adequate precautions to ensure that it doesn’t overly indebt the nation? Was the evidence collated and presented to Zuma’s Cabinet? There are no clear answers to any of these questions.

Without a rational and sensible evaluation of the logic of the deal, and an accounting of the costs and benefits to South Africa if it goes ahead, it can’t be seen as much more than another way for the predatory elite to milk money from the state.

September 17, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Britain’s Tories stand to gain financially from Hinkley nuclear decision: what a conflict of interest!!

When you have EDF granted access to the heart of government, former ministers now acting as lobbyists for the nuclear industry, and top-level Conservatives with their fingers in Hinkley’s financial pies, what’s best for the UK goes out of the window.


Hinkley: where Tories’ private bank balances are going nuclear, The Canary SEPTEMBER 15TH, 2016“……….a quietly released report by Greenpeace shows that the deal was probably always
may-theresagoing to go ahead.

EDF: in bed with the UK governmentAnalysis done by Greenpeace found that ten advisers and civil servants who worked at the former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the last five years had links to EDF. One was recently employed by the DECC and was also a manager at the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the regulator for the nuclear industry. This was before they became a licensing officer for EDF.

An EDF Strategy Manager had a 13-month secondment to the DECC commercial team while working for auditors KPMG. As Greenpeace notes, the DECC commercial team “played a crucial role in deciding to press ahead with the Hinkley project”. It was this team which had oversight on who invested in Hinkley Point C. Additionally, a communications officer for EDF was previously the Senior Ministerial Visits Manager at DECC until early 2016. And a policy adviser and analyst for the now-defunct department had previously done the same job at EDF.

This is on top of the fact that former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, now works as a lobbyist for MHP Communications – where EDF just happens to be a client. As Martin Williams describes in his book Parliament Ltd: A journey to the dark heart of British politics:

When he lost his seat in 2015, he [Davey] went off to join MHP Communications. He had connections with the firm already: MHP acted as lobbyists for EDF Energy, who Davey “had dealings with as a minister”… When MHP’s Chief Executive announced Davey’s appointment he was able to speak candidly about the benefits of employing a former energy minister. “Ed’s unique insight into the energy sector will be particularly valuable to the companies that we work with in that sector. His knowledge of the top-level workings of Britain’s political system will also prove immensely useful to a range of our clients and to MHP itself”.

It was Davey who was responsible for the initial agreement between the government and EDF. But the links to EDF Energy and the Tory government run deeper than the Greenpeace analysis. And go right to the top of the Conservative Party.

Tories: in bed with EDF

Sir Richard Lambert heads EDF’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel. It gives EDF “strategic advice and direction”. Knighted under David Cameron, he’s a non-executive director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, acting as lead advisor to the Foreign Secretary. He was in this role under Philip Hammond, who appears to have been crucial in getting the Hinkley deal pushed through. Lambert said of the Hinkley deal:

Tory peer Lord Patten of Barnes is the former governor of Hong Kong and a former Conservative Party Chairman. But currently, he too sits on EDF Energy’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel. On 9 September, Patten co-authored an open letter to the Financial Times (FT), calling on May to “press ahead with Hinkley Point”.

Also on the EDF panel is Sir Simon Robertson. Another Tory peer, who is a party donor to the tune of £765,000, he was knighted in 2010, just after the Tories came to office. Robertson was also Deputy Chairman of HSBC until April 2016. In 2014, HSBC arranged the financial backing for EDF to carry out the project at Hinkley. Robertson also signed the letter in the FT. He is also a long-standing member of the Tory “Leader’s Group“. This “club” costs £50,000 a year to be a member of and gives access to the likes of May and Hammond at exclusive private dinners.

Hinkley: benefitting everyone, except the public

And in another twist of ‘fate’, it would seem the Prime Minister may well benefit from Hinkley Point C going ahead. May’s husband, Philip, works for investment company Capital Group. It, in turn, has a nearly 10% stake in French company Schneider Electric, which has been awarded a contract at Hinkley.

It would seem that the Tories’ push for the Hinkley project is not driven so much by “energy security”, but more by vested interests.

When you have EDF granted access to the heart of government, former ministers now acting as lobbyists for the nuclear industry, and top-level Conservatives with their fingers in Hinkley’s financial pies, what’s best for the UK goes out of the window. Meanwhile, the cost to every household is around £25 per year extra on the energy bill.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the deal strikes the “right balance between foreign investment and national interest”. But the only “interests” being served, judging by who’s involved, are those of Tory bank balances.

Get Involved!

– Sign the petition against Hinkley Point C.

– Write to your MP to oppose the development.

– Find out when a protest is taking place.

September 16, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment