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A new moral low – Trump Selling Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia

Trump Selling Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia Is a New Moral Low,  Inderjeet Parmar, The Wire, 27 Feb 19

In doing so, he has declared the return of great power global rivalries, with China and Russia as the biggest threats to US power.

The Trump administration’s plan to sell nuclear technologies to the Saudi Arabian regime is a case study in the decay of American imperial power, the essential corruption of the Trump White House and the self-serving and reckless character of the military-industrial complex. After two years of this administration, it is shocking, if unsurprising, that President Trump shows flagrant disregard for the law, is hypocritical with regard to his claimed desire to ‘drain the swamp’ of big money lobbying and is enabling the intensified militarisation of great power geopolitical rivalries.

In so doing, Trump has accelerated longer-term trends begun under successive previous presidents since the end of Second World War. He has declared the return of great power global rivalries, with China and Russia as the biggest threats to US power.

But Trump is not alone in this drive to further destabilisation: the Saudis have also shortlisted Russia, China, France and South Korea to bid for nuclear contracts. Russia has already signed nuclear power agreements or understandings with Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. And China’s Belt and Road Initiative features plans to build nuclear plants in dozens of countries on the Silk Road; China has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Armenia and the UK.

There have been reports that Russian and Chinese firms would cooperate with other states’ nuclear plans in West Asia, including Trump’s, but that Obama-era US sanctions on Russia stood in the way. If taken seriously by the numerous investigating bodies focused on the Trump White House, this may well prove to be a key driver of Trump’s relatively non-hostile rhetoric towards President Putin.

But this ramped up cooperative competition for markets and contracts, and other pending arms deals, may also explain the immediate reasons why the Republican president ignored CIA intelligence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered and directed the killing and dismemberment of regime critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The gruesome killing of the journalist – a member of Trump’s “enemy of the people” fake media, as opposed to his supporters at Fox News – could hardly be expected to hold up the brutal jockeying for advantage in the world’s most volatile – and tragic – region.

An interim report by the Democrat Elijah Cummings-chaired House Committee on Oversight and Reform, based largely on credible whistleblower accounts – including emails and other documents from within the White House itself – suggests that Trump and his trusted lieutenants, in particular, Jared Kushner, regardless of legal advice to the contrary, are finalising plans that may violate the Atomic Energy Act 1954, which provides powers to Congress to oversee the sale and use of nuclear technologies……..

Conflicts of interest abound in this matter. Trump acolytes are looking to make billions of dollars by winning fees, commissions and contracts in Saudi Arabia. What is sold as an attempt to make Saudi Arabia less reliant on fossil fuels for revenues, and more secure against regional powers like Iran and Syria, appears to be a rather unsubtle money grab. At the centre of the controversy is IP3 International, a firm whose leadership reads like the membership list of the morally and intellectually bankrupt military-industrial complex. Its name, according to its website, is an abbreviation for ‘international peace, power and prosperity’.  

Before digging a little deeper into IP3 International, it’s worth looking at where within the Trump camp this scheme originated and developed. Retired General Michael Flynn’s name is all over this plan. His Flynn Intel Group consultancy is closely linked with IP3 International’s plan to build dozens of nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia and across the Gulf states. Flynn pushed the Saudi plan before and after the 2016 election, once he was named national security adviser and even after he had been dismissed for lying about his discussions with the Russian ambassador about US sanctions; he’s currently awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI, among other things.

Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, troubleshooter and West Asia peace envoy, has been praising and protecting the Saudi crown prince as some sort of Kemal Ataturk-like visionary set to drag the kingdom and the region into the 21st century. Kushner has links with Westinghouse Electric Company – a nuclear services breakaway from the original Westinghouse Electric Corporation – and its current major shareholder, Brook Asset Management, which is closely linked with IP3 International.

Trump’s inauguration lead and close confidant, Tom Barrack, was reported by the New York Times as having raised investments topping $7 billion since Trump’s nomination, with a quarter of that deriving from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Barrack justified his and the Trump administration’s business dealings with Saudi Arabia by praising the economic vision of the kingdom’s “young, brilliant new leader”. He justified the killing of Khashoggi thus: “Whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal or worse than the atrocities in Saudi Arabia.” Skullduggery, falsehood and self-interest justified by a self-serving admission of truth, while Trump’s brutal anti-immigrant policies and defence of police killings continue apace.

IP3 International and Flynn Intel Group are core drivers of the programme, as are ACU Strategic Partners – a nuclear power consultancy led by Alex Copson, who was advised by Michael Flynn; and Colony NorthStar, Tom Barrack’s real estate investment firm.

IP3 International’s leadership team is almost a case study of the military-industrial complex. Of its leadership team of 21, there are five retired US generals and four retired US Navy admirals. Among its three co-founders are General John ‘Jack’ Keane and Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane. An architect of Reagan’s Star Wars nuclear programme, McFarlane is a convicted felon from the Iran-Contra scandal – found guilty of illegally selling arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war to illegally fund the Contras fighting the revolutionary-democratic Sandinista administration in Nicaragua. Congress had banned US aid to the Contras at the time. McFarlane spends some of his time promoting US wars via the Committee on the Present Danger. He is a non-executive director of the British military corporation Aegis Defence Services, which has ‘offices’ across West Asia.

General Keane retired from the military in 2003, became an analyst with Fox News and advised on the US occupation of Iraq. He was an architect, along with Fred Kagan, of the murderous 2007 “surge” in Iraq. Keane is a director of General Dynamics, consultant-advisor for the Erik Prince-founded private military company Blackwater, now called Academi, and executive chair of the Humvee manufacturer AM General.

Finally, ambassador Denis Ross is on IP3 International’s advisory board. Ross, a Democrat, has faithfully served American imperial power for decades – under both Republican and Democratic presidents. IP3 International opens its coffers and serves both parties. Ross is an arch-Zionist, indeed named as such in Walt and Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby as a key supporter of AIPAC. He advised Hillary Clinton on West Asian affairs, and considers the Saudi crown prince a true “revolutionary”……….

Kushner heads off to West Asia in the final days of this month to continue discussions on the nuclear programmes. President Trump is reported to have attended a meeting on February 12 at the White House with private nuclear corporations including Westinghouse, General Electric, and AECOM, “led by General Keane… ,” according to the congressional report.

The military-industrial complex has made the US government and geopolitical interests inseparable from their own personal and corporate interests. A remarkable March 4, 2017 email from McFarlane to the National Security Council’s Derek Harvey, titled “We’re Very Close to Losing Our Position in the Middle East” and reproduced in the House committee’s interim report, makes this all too clear……..https://thewire.in/world/trump-selling-nuclear-technology-to-saudi-arabia-is-a-new-moral-low

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February 28, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Banned from covering Trump-Kim dinner are reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters

White House bans four journalists from covering Trump-Kim dinner, SMH, By Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey
February 28, 2019 Hanoi, The White House abruptly banned four US journalists from covering President Donald Trump’s dinner on Wednesday with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after some of them shouted questions at the leaders during their earlier meetings.Reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters were excluded from covering the dinner because of what White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said were “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays”. Among the questions asked of Trump was one about the congressional testimony of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The White House’s move to restrict press access was an extraordinary act of retaliation by the US government, which historically has upheld the rights of journalists while a president travels overseas. It was especially remarkable because it came during Trump’s meeting with the leader of a totalitarian state that does not have a free press.

Trump’s exchanges with Kim were being covered by the standard 13-member travelling White House press pool, but ahead of the dinner Sanders sought to exclude all reporters from the pool and permit only the photographers and television crew, citing “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays”.

After loud pushback, including from photojournalists who protested, Sanders allowed a single reporter in the pool for the dinner: Vivian Salama of the Wall Street Journal, who was serving as the print pooler and did not ask a question at the dinner. In addition, at least two members of the North Korean media contingent, a photographer and cameraman, were seen covering the dinner.

Reporters for the three wire services, as well as a second print pooler, were excluded. They included two journalists who had asked Trump questions in the earlier appearances: Jonathan Lemire of the AP and Jeff Mason of Reuters. Also excluded were Justin Sink of Bloomberg and Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times………..

Lauren Easton, a spokeswoman for the AP, said in a statement: “The Associated Press decries such efforts by the White House to restrict access to the president. It is critically important that any president uphold American press freedom standards, not only at home but especially while abroad.” .

…… Trump has long complained about reporters asking him questions at photo opportunities, especially when he is in the presence of foreign leaders, which aides have said he views as disrespectful and lacking in decorum. The White House occasionally has punished reporters for their questioning, including CNN’s Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins……https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/white-house-bans-four-journalists-from-covering-trump-kim-dinner-20190228-p510qg.html

February 27, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s Dept of Industry kept terrorist and other dangers secret from communities selected to host nuclear wastes

Risk of terrorism at radioactive waste site kept secret from residents near earmarked sites, Jade Gailberger, Federal Political Reporter, The Advertiser February 24,
The risk of terrorist activity at a radioactive waste site, including the removal of drums for use in a “dirty bomb”, has been kept secret from residents near two sites earmarked for a new national dump.
As the communities of Hawker and Kimba remain divided on the site selection for a new waste site, documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal the Defence Department identified a potential risk of terrorist activity at a dump at Woomera.
The revelation has cemented the security concerns of residents, who say they have been ignored by Government officials.

The now closed Koolymilka dump, situated on Defence land at Woomera, was licensed for temporary radioactive waste storage but has not taken new material since 2010.

An emergency response plan for the site, which still houses waste that is anticipated to be transferred to a national facility, details scenarios that may affect it including:

    • TERRORISTS removing drums to make a “dirty bomb”.
    • MISSILE and aircraft strikes, fire, flood or a storm in Woomera that could damage the building and cause contamination if drums ruptured.
    • CIVILIAN protest activity.

Defence has said it has no responsibility to inform the public of the risks because the new waste dump is an Industry Department project.

Kimba farmer Peter Woolford, who is opposed to radioactive waste storage on agricultural land, said security, terrorism and fire concerns at a national site had been raised but “fobbed off” by officials who claimed it “would be safe”.
“The (Industry) Department continually says it is going to be open and transparent but you have to obtain FOI documents to get the full story,” he said. “It’s an issue that the department should be … explaining.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said communities had been denied information needed to make an informed decision about a dump in their region.
At a Senate estimates hearing last week, Mr Patrick asked if the Industry Department had briefed the communities about potential terrorism. Industry Minister Matt Canavan said: “I have never been provided with any advice that this is at all a risk … this has never been raised as an issue”.
The Industry Department said the new dump would pose “no security or safety risk to the community” and “significant detail” on safety and security had been made public.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation said 14 of 45 jobs at the new dump would be security.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

Senior White House officials, retired generals and Trump’s close relatives continuing secret deal to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

Guardian 23rd Feb 2019 The idea that the US might sell state-of-the-art nuclear technology to
Saudi Arabia, potentially enabling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reckless regime to build nuclear weapons, sounds so far-fetched as to be almost grotesque.

After all the near-hysterical American and Israeli warnings about the risk of Iran, the Saudis’ arch-rival, acquiring the
bomb, surely even Donald Trump would balk at such breathtaking – and dangerous – hypocrisy? Apparently not.

According to a congressional inquiry, senior White House officials, retired generals and Trump’s close relatives and business cronies have been secretly pursuing a multibillion-dollar scheme to cut a nuclear deal with Riyadh.

The talks are said to be continuing, despite increased public scrutiny and legal advice that a technology transfer lacking strict conditions could contravene US law, breach international counter-proliferation safeguards, and fuel a
nuclear arms race.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/23/trump-cronies-secret-talks-nuclear-tech-saudi-arabia

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump involved in murky effort to get Qatari investment for the Tennessee nuclear power project.

Trump introduced Qatari to donor pursuing nuclear power project, report says, Al-Monitor, WASHINGTON — Last spring, President Donald Trump introduced a potential Qatari investor to a friend and inauguration donor seeking a few billion dollars in investment to buy an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, according to interviews the donor gave to a Tennessee media outlet published this week.

Tennessee businessman Franklin Haney, 78, told the University of Memphis’ Institute for Public Service Reporting that Trump introduced him to the Qatari at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, of which Haney is a longtime member. He said the introduction to the Qatari, whose name he said he did not recall, came a couple weeks after he was introduced in March to Trump’s then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen, whom Haney briefly hired as a consultant.

Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress, financial crimes and violating federal campaign finance laws related to hush money payments made to two women who alleged affairs with Trump before the 2016 US presidential election. Cohen is slated to testify next week before three congressional committees ahead of reporting for a three-year federal prison sentence in May.

“As best as Haney recalls, he and Cohen were introduced in March,” the Institute for Public Service Reporting wrote in a detailed investigative report published by the Daily Memphian on Feb. 19. “A couple weeks later, the president introduced Haney to a Qatari official whose name Haney said he doesn’t recall.”

The institute quoted Haney as saying, “He (Trump) says, ‘I know you’re working on this nuclear plant. They (the Qataris) are going to invest $45 billion (in the U.S.) and they’ll loan money for nuclear plants.’”

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Haney, who contributed a million dollars to Trump’s Inaugural Committee through a limited liability corporation, had hired Cohen as a consultant in an effort to get Qatari investment for the Tennessee nuclear power project.

But it had not previously been reported until now that Trump himself had been directly involved in the effort.

The White House did not respond to a query from Al-Monitor about the report.

Trump’s alleged role in linking a potential Qatari investor to a reported longtime friend and donor came amid a striking shift in Trump’s public statements about the gas-rich Gulf nation, which has been the target of a Saudi-led blockade since 2017.

Trump warmly welcomed Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the White House on April 10, 2018, and praised the Qataris for buying lots of US military equipment…………

The Qatari roadshow and encounters with several figures in Trump’s close orbit coincided with intensifying federal scrutiny of Cohen.

The FBI raided Cohen’s home and offices on April 9.

Haney told the Institute for Public Service Reporting in a series of interviews that he paid Cohen about $200,000 before canceling the contract to try to help secure $2 billion in Qatari investment for his plans to buy the Tennessee Valley Authority’s unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, in northeastern Alabama, and then sell power to the Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division. Haney said he ended the consulting contract with Cohen after Cohen was revealed to be under federal investigation, he told the Institute.

Haney also said Trump had no role in his decision to hire Cohen to try to pursue the Qatari investment. “I see Donald Trump every time he comes to Florida,” the Tennessee businessman told the Institute. “I don’t need him (Cohen) to introduce me to Donald Trump.’’

Cohen is scheduled to testify behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, publicly before the House Oversight and Reform committee on Wednesday and behind closed doors to the House Intelligence committee Feb. 28.

The more detailed accounts of consultations between Trump associates and the Qataris on possible investment in a US nuclear power project last spring comes as a new interim staff report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee raises concerns about Trump National Security Council officials having aggressively pursued a private company’s proposal to sell sensitive US nuclear technology to the Saudis.

“Multiple whistleblowers came forward to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law — efforts that may be ongoing to this day,” the interim staff report said. “The Trump Administration’s interactions with Saudi Arabia have been shrouded in secrecy, raising significant questions about the nature of the relationship.”

The report also warned that the efforts to lobby the Trump administration to sell US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may be ongoing, with reported possible internal administration interest in the plan from Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and Trump himself. Trump met with a consortium of US nuclear energy developers and retired US Army Gen. Jack Keane, co-founder of IP3 International and a chief proponent of the plan to sell US nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia, at the White House on Feb. 12, Bloomberg reported.

Kushner and Trump Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt are slated to travel this weekend to the Middle East, in part to brief officials in six countries about the economic components of the administration’s forthcoming peace plan. “Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt leave this weekend for the region to build on the momentum from the Warsaw Ministerial,” a White House official, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor. “There will be stops in Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.”  https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/02/trump-introduce-qatar-donor-nuclear-power.html

February 23, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Bill Gates at Global Energy Forum just quietly did not mention his $7 billion involvement in unsatisfactory radioactive waste management company

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 22 Feb 19,  Stanford Energy, has touted Bill Gates as a entrepreneur while denouncing wind and solar calling it unreliable, at a recent Global Energy Form.

However the uncomfortable looking Bill Gates fails to mention his vested interest in the nuclear arena with 108,502,519 shares worth about $7 billion in the company “Republic Services” that manages radioactive waste, and has failed at satisfying the general public and residents of St Louis with the cleanup of Bill and other shareholders toxic waste. Placing money before the health of people in a estranged community can be easy when void of a conscience. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

February 23, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia

Donald Trump rushing to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology

House launches probe of US nuclear plan in Saudi Arabia, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47296641, 20 February 2019 

The US is rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new congressional report.

A Democratic-led House panel has launched an inquiry over concerns about the White House plan to build nuclear reactors across the kingdom.

Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation.

Firms linked to the president have reportedly pushed for these transfers.

The House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee report notes that an inquiry into the matter is “particularly critical because the Administration’s efforts to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia appear to be ongoing”.

President Donald Trump met nuclear power developers at the White House on 12 February to discuss building plants in Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia.

And Mr Trump’s son-in-law, White House adviser Jared Kushner, will be touring the Middle East this month to discuss the economics of the Trump administration’s peace plan.

Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme.

They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region.

Saudi Arabia has said it wants nuclear power in order to diversify its energy sources and help address growing energy needs.

But concerns around rival Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to US media.

Previous negotiations for US nuclear technology ended after Saudi Arabia refused to agree to safeguards against using the tech for weaponry, but the Trump administration may not see these safeguards as mandatory, ProPublica reported.

What does the report say?

The House report is based on whistleblower accounts and documents showing communications between Trump administration officials and nuclear power companies.

It states that “within the US, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia”.

These commercial entities could “reap billions of dollars through contracts associated with constructing and operating nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia”.

Mr Trump is reportedly “directly engaged in the effort”.

The White House has yet to comment on the report.

The report includes a timeline of events and names other administration officials who have been involved with the matter, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Mr Kushner, Mr Trump’s inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn was found guilty of lying to the FBI about Russian contacts as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and security officials that organised a group of US companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by British-American Alex Copson
  • Colony NorthStar, Mr Barrack’s real estate investment firm
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy and lobby set up by Michael Flynn
  • The report states that Flynn had decided to develop IP3’s nuclear initiative, the Middle East Marshall Plan, during his transition, and while he was still serving as an adviser for the company.In January 2017, National Security Council staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest.Following Flynn’s dismissal, however, IP3 continued to push for the Middle East Plans to be presented to Mr Trump.

    According to the report, one senior official said the proposal was “a scheme for these generals to make some money”.

    And whistleblowers described the White House working environment as “marked by chaos, dysfunction and backbiting”.

  • What next?

    The report says an investigation will determine whether the administration has been acting “in the national security interests of the United States or, rather, [to] serve those who stand to gain financially” from this policy change.

  • These apparent conflicts of interest among White House advisers may breach federal law, and the report notes that there is bi-partisan concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s access to nuclear technology.The oversight committee is seeking interviews with the companies, “key personnel” who promoted the plan to the White House, as well as the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Defence, State, Treasury, the White House and the CIA.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 2 Comments

Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner linked to unusual dealings about nuclear reactor sales to Russia – Congressional report

February 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear kickback scheme in tickets for sports events

Contractor used Masters and NASCAR tickets in failed nuclear plant kickback scheme, Nick Bromberg

Yahoo Sports, Feb 21, 2019, A contractor involved with a failed nuclear power plant construction project allegedly made some nice cash in a kickback scheme that involved tickets to sporting events. And, like most alleged illegal kickback schemes, the contractor got caught.

According to a court filing in a lawsuit filed by the United States Government, Wise Services Inc. submitted nearly 500 fake invoices during construction of a Savannah River nuclear facility. The South Carolina project was ended in 2018 and won’t be finished.

The government said in the suit that the kickbacks for the submission of fake invoices to project manager CB&I AREVA MOX Services LLC included tickets to the Masters, NASCAR races and college football events. And even Yeti coolers!…..https://sports.yahoo.com/contractor-used-masters-nascar-tickets-failed-nuclear-plant-kickback-scheme-164311675.html

February 21, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Deception and mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, over secret plutonium shipment


The Indy Explains: How a secret plutonium shipment exacerbated mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg 18 Feb 19,  The secretive Nevada plutonium shipment that has spawned angry rhetoric from Nevada politicians has a history that starts with Russia. In 2000, the United States entered into a pact with Russia to set aside excess weapons-grade plutonium for civilian use in nuclear reactors. Congress then passed a law that it would turn the excess 34 metric tons of plutonium into MOX, or mix-oxide fuel, at a newly built facility in South Carolina.

But that statute came with a firm deadline: If the MOX facility was not operational by 2014, the Department of Energy would be required to move one metric ton of plutonium stored at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility built in the 1950s, within two years.

After years of cost overruns and technical challenges, the Trump administration scrapped the facility. Meanwhile, the state of South Carolina obtained a court order in 2017 requiring the Department of Energy enforce the deadline and move the metric ton of plutonium by 2020.

Less than one year later, the agency said it moved a half-ton of that plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site. The action came after months of questioning from state officials, and its furtive nature has spurred a lawsuit, driving a deep chasm between the state and the agency.

Four months after South Carolina obtained the court order, Nevada officials heard that the federal government might be sending some of the plutonium to the state, according to court records. From August to November, state officials began asking questions about the potential shipment. But Nevada officials received few assurances from Department of Energy officials.

Beyond a general ‘expectation’ that any plutonium would be removed by approximately 2026-27, [a November 20] letter did not contain any of the requested assurances,” Pam Robinson, the policy director for then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, wrote in a December affidavit.

What Nevada officials didn’t know: the United States had already moved the plutonium.

Who knew what when

That surprising disclosure came months later — on January 30 — when a general counsel for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disclosed that the agency had made a half-ton plutonium shipment from South Carolina to the Nevada Test Site prior to November.

Gov. Steve Sisolak responded to the revelation with a heated statement, pledging to continue existing litigation and keep the Department of Energy accountable.I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said to the media. “The department led the state of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along.”

Members of the state’s congressional delegation also released fiery responses.

State officials worry that the plutonium shipment to the testing facility, which is about 65 miles outside of Las Vegas and occupies an area the size of Rhode Island, could set a precedent for the federal government to send more nuclear materials to the state.

In court filings, lawyers for Attorney General Aaron Fordalso argued the federal government failed to fully inventory the environmental impacts of the size and type of plutonium being sent to the highly guarded site.

They also view the action as a backdoor move to open Yucca Mountain, the controversial nuclear waste repository that sits in the remote desert about 100 miles outside of Las Vegas.

The NNSA disputes all of these claims. ………

“Plutonium is nasty stuff,” said Allison Macfarlane, a George Washington University science and technology professor who chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012 to 2014. “But we’ve made so much of it on the weapons side in this country — and the civilian side in other countries — that we really need to manage it very carefully unless we eliminate it.”

With South Carolina’s MOX facility mothballed, the options are more limited…….. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/indy-explains-how-a-secret-plutonium-shipment-created-mistrust-betw

February 19, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

South Africa inquiry hears how former president Jacob Zuma pressed for ‘astronomically expensive’ nuclear deal

#StateCaptureInquiry: ‘If nuclear had proceeded, SA would’ve been in trouble’ https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/statecaptureinquiry-if-nuclear-had-proceeded-sa-wouldve-been-in-trouble-19365917 18 FEBRUARY 2019, ZINTLE MAHLATI  JOHANNESBURG – Former National Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile has corroborated former minister Nhlanhla Nene’s evidence regarding pressure to implement the nuclear deal.

Fuzile returned to the state capture inquiry on Monday to finalise aspects of his testimony.
He told the commission of a meeting with former president Jacob Zuma where the nuclear deal was discussed.
He said Zuma made various comments that were concerning. And even with doubts from Treasury and Nene, there was pressure to go ahead with the deal.
Nene had testified when he appeared last year at the inquiry that the nuclear deal would have cost a lot of money and place massive risk on the country’s fiscus.
“The costs associated with it were astronomical. The envisaged 9.6 GW programme would have constituted the largest investment project in SA history. The investment required would have been estimated at R200 billion for a phased approach,” said Nene.
Fuzile said in a meeting with Zuma on the eve of Nene’s firing, officials from Treasury explained to Zuma and other officials why the project would be a risk yet Cabinet moved to approve the first phase of the deal.
“This was the biggest procurement ever in the history of the country, yet the processes were rushed and some of the stuff that was talked about was not followed. If nuclear had proceeded, this country would have been in trouble. The process that was followed was seriously flawed. There was a brushing aside of the true cost of the project,” said Fuzile.
Zuma commented that Fuzile and former minister Pravin Gordhan had stopped the PetrolSA Engen deal and said it was Treasury’s job to find the money.
Nene had testified that he suspects he was fired because of his objection to the nuclear deal.
Lungisa also touched on the PetroSA deal which did not go through, something Zuma appeared unhappy about.
He also testified about concerns from some board members at South Africa Airways (SAA) about the Airbus deal.
Lungisa also noted the resistance for the removal of former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni. He said it did not make sense why there was so much resistance especially as lenders for SAA did not enjoy working with the SAA board led by Myeni
Lungisa’s testimony was largely focused on corroborating information already provided by Nene and Gordhan when they appeared at the inquiry last year.
The inquiry continues.

February 19, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

U.S. Dept. of Justice sues CBand I AREVA MOX Services for false claims

Dept. of Justice 14th Feb 2019 The Department of Justice announced today that the United States has filed suit against CB&I AREVA MOX Services LLC (MOX Services) and Wise Services Inc. under the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act in connection with a contract between MOX Services and the National Nuclear Security
Administration relating to the design and operation of the MOX Fuel
Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at the NNSA Savannah River Site in Aiken, South
Carolina.
MOX Services is a South Carolina Limited Liability Corporation with headquarters in Aiken, South Carolina. Wise Services, which  subcontracted with MOX Services, is an Ohio corporation with headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. Under the MOX Contract, MOX Services agreed to design, build, operate (and ultimately decommission) the MFFF.
The MFFF is designed to transform weapons-grade plutonium into mixed oxide fuel rods that may be irradiated in commercial nuclear power plants.
In performing the MOX Contract, MOX Services entered into a series of subcontracts with Wise Services between 2008 and 2016. Each of these subcontracts provided for
Wise Services to supply labor, materials, equipment, and supervision for unplanned construction activities (e.g. general labor, plumbing, electrical, carpentry) deemed necessary to support MOX Services’ efforts at the MFFF.
The government’s complaint alleges that Wise Services falsely claimed reimbursement under its subcontracts with MOX Services for construction materials that did not exist, and that in turn MOX Services knowingly submitted $6.4 million in claims to NNSA for the fraudulent charges submitted by Wise Services. The complaint further alleges that Wise Services’ Senior Site Representative Phillip Thompson paid kickbacks to MOX Services officials with responsibility for the subcontracts to improperly obtain favorable treatment from MOX Services. On Feb. 27, 2017, Mr. Thompson entered a guilty plea on charges of conspiring to commit theft of government funds.
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/united-states-files-false-claims-act-lawsuit-connection-mox-fuel-fabrication-facility 

February 18, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Corruption scandals involving engineering and nuclear build company SNC Lavalin

A closer look at SNC-Lavalin’s sometimes murky past  CBC, 12 Feb 19 One of Canada’s biggest engineering companies is at the centre of what appears to be a growing scandal engulfing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government.

The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that SNC-Lavalin lobbied the government to agree to a deferred prosecution agreement or remediation agreement. The company faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

Trudeau denies he directed his former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the prosecution. Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her position last month and has refused to comment on the story. Days after the story broke, the federal ethics commissioner confirmed he will investigate claims the prime minister’s office pressured Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution.

SNC-Lavalin has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case is at the preliminary hearing stage. If convicted, the company could be banned from bidding on any federal government contracts for 10 years.

But the Libya case is just one scandal among many linked to SNC-Lavalin in the past decade.

Allegations of criminal activity are what led to the resignations in February 2012 of top executives Riadh Ben Aïssa and Stéphane Roy. CEO Pierre Duhaime followed them out the door the following month.

MUHC contract scandal…….

Corruption scandal in Bangladesh …….

Libya scandal……

Elections Financing

In late November 2018, former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Normand Morin quietly pleaded guilty to charges of violating Canada’s election financing laws.

According to the compliance agreement reached with the company in 2016, Morin orchestrated a scheme between 2004 and 2011 that used employees to get around the restrictions on companies donating directly to federal political parties. Morin would get employees to donate to political parties, riding associations or Liberal leadership candidates. The company would then reimburse them for their donations through false refunds for personal expenses or fictitious bonuses.

In total, $117,803 flowed from SNC-Lavalin to federal party funds during that period. The Liberal Party of Canada got the lion’s share — $83,534 to the party and $13,552 to various riding associations. Another $12,529 went to contestants in the 2006 Liberal Party leadership race won by Stephane Dion. The Conservative Party of Canada received $3,137 while Conservative riding associations got $5,050.

Which politicians received the money remains a mystery. Because Morin accepted the plea deal, the evidence gathered for the trial was never presented in court.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/snc-lavalin-corruption-fraud-bribery-libya-muhc-1.5010865

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

At Soviet Union’s Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, civilian population were used as radiation guinea pigs

WW3 SHOCK: How Soviets used OWN population as ‘NUCLEAR GUINEA PIGS’ during secret tests.  https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1086621/WW3-soviet-union-russia-guinea-pigs-nuclear-tests-polygon-spt

THE Soviet Union used its own population as “guinea pigs” to tests the effects of its secret nuclear weapons as tensions rose with the United States, a former member of the European Parliament for Scotland revealed. By CALLUM HOARE,  Feb 13, 2019 The Semipalatinsk Test Site, also known as The Polygon, was home to at least 456 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989, during the height of the Cold War. These top-secret missions were carried out with little regard for human or environmental impact in the surrounding area, just 11 miles away. Locals were told their area had been selected to help counter the threat from the US but were not aware of the full extent of the radiation damage.

“They were not told these weapons were nuclear and there would be the question of radioactive fallout that would affect all of them.
“The KGB doctors would wait until the wind was blowing towards the villages, then detonate the bombs and spend days afterwards checking the effects on the locals.

“They were being used as human guinea pigs.”

Mr Stevenson claimed the KGB manipulated locals so they could test the full potential of their nuclear weapons.

He continued: “The KGB ordered them to pack books and bedding behind the windows of their houses and actually stand outside.

“The women were there holding their babies and the KGB told them ‘you will witness the might of Soviet technology’ and they were actually celebrating this massive bomb, not knowing it would make them severely ill.

“Igor Kurchatov and Andrei Sakharov were the fathers of the Soviet nuclear weapons.

“[Joseph] Stalin gave an order that if the bomb did not explode, the professors and all their team would be executed.”

In 1989, the anti-nuclear movement was started in Kazakhstan called “Nevada Semipalatinsk”, led by poet Olzhas Suleimenov.

The site was officially closed by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on 29 August 1991, denuclearising the country.

It has now become the best-researched atomic testing site in the world and is open to the public to visit.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, history, Russia, weapons and war | 5 Comments

Nuclear files removed from UK National Archives so that they can no longer be accessed by the public.

The National 11th Feb 2019 ACCIDENT reports and safety reviews into nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes in Scotland are among hundreds of documents to have been suddenly withdrawn from public view.

According to a report on the Sunday Post website, following a “security review” the files at the National Archives in Kew were removed so that they can no longer be accessed by the public.

The move has been described as “very concerning” by the Campaign  for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The documents relate to a range of topics on Britain’s nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes, including the nuclear power plant in Dounreay, Caithness, as well as Chapelcross in
Dumfries and Galloway and the Hunterston A and Hunterston B power stations which are located in Ayrshire.
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17423745.scotlands-nuclear-history-suddenly-disappears-from-public-archive/

February 14, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment