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”Nuclear Games” expose Japanese government’s spin about the Olympic Games.

In the runup to July 23 opening ceremony, the Olympic torch relay was deliberately routed through Fukushima Prefecture, including the towns where the plant is located, and others nearby that were long abandoned in the wake of the disaster. Olympic baseball and softball competitions are also being held in a stadium in Fukushima Prefecture.

Billions will watch the Olympics and get the carefully crafted message that everything in Fukushima is fine, and that nuclear meltdowns are quickly lived down. But that’s dangerous denialism. We need a global education effort to promote basic literacy about nuclear dangers in order to make future nuclear disasters less likely.”

Games for the young coincides with Tokyo Olympics, Saily News, 26 July 21,

Perhaps it was also a reflection of the longstanding cat-and-mouse game played by the world’s nine nuclear powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – violating the Olympic ideals of peace and humanity with a resurgent nuclear arms race.

The coalition says Nuclear Games shines a light on nuclear issues which are deliberately downplayed by governments, including by Japan as it presents the Olympics with a virtually empty stadium because of Coronavirus restrictions.

Japan experienced nuclear bombings in 1945 and also suffered one of the world’s most devastating nuclear power accidents in 2011 and remains deeply affected by them.Tuesday, July 27, 2021 -Coinciding with the opening ceremony, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), anti-nuclear activists and youth leaders launched Nuclear Games, an innovative film and online platform addressing nuclear history and the risks and impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy……………..In a press release, the coalition of NGOs said that nuclear dangers and tensions are rising today. According to the Pentagon, the risk of nuclear war is growing. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock advanced this year to 100 seconds to midnight – closer to nuclear war even than during the Cuban Missile Crisis……

Nuclear Games was developed by interactive video books pioneer Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio, with support from Basel Peace Office, Youth Fusion, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Switzerland and the World Future Council.

It is offered in English and German and aimed at non-usual suspects: people who don’t typically watch political documentaries or engage in anti-nuclear advocacy work, says the coalition.

“It will have particular resonance with younger viewers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the history it conveys of nuclear disasters, near misses, and ongoing threats and impacts.”

Joseph Gerson, President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, and Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau, told IDN: “In addition to appreciating the film’s pointing to the ongoing existential nuclear dangers on the eve of the 76th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombings, I am glad that the Games’ press release points to the hypocrisy of the Olympics being held midst the pandemic.”

He said the Japanese Government has cynically spent trillions of Yen to prepare for the Olympics and then insisted on holding them against the opposition of most people in Japan.

“With only a quarter of the Japanese population vaccinated against Covid-19, we should reflect on how many more Japanese people would be alive today and next year were those Yen, and others spent on building one of the world’s most advanced militaries, instead been devoted to developing and purchasing vaccines. I hope that Japanese voters will bear this in mind when it is election time this fall,” Gerson declared.

In the runup to July 23 opening ceremony, the Olympic torch relay was deliberately routed through Fukushima Prefecture, including the towns where the plant is located, and others nearby that were long abandoned in the wake of the disaster. Olympic baseball and softball competitions are also being held in a stadium in Fukushima Prefecture.

“This is government spin, deliberately minimizing and normalizing the disaster, and ignoring Fukushima’s ongoing impacts and threats to public safety,” said Dr Andreas Nidecker, MD, Basel Peace Office president and the originator of the Nuclear Games concept.

Billions will watch the Olympics and get the carefully crafted message that everything in Fukushima is fine, and that nuclear meltdowns are quickly lived down. But that’s dangerous denialism. We need a global education effort to promote basic literacy about nuclear dangers in order to make future nuclear disasters less likely,” he declared.  http://www.dailynews.lk/2021/07/27/features/254937/nuclear-games-young-coincides-tokyo-olympics

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The need for integrity in epidemiological research: investigation of uranium miners’health to be carried out by pro nuclear bodies

They want to show that it doesn’t cause cancer. I think they want to find that result.”

for years, the CNSC has served both as a regulator and promoter of the nuclear industry

“It is concerning that health standards are set by physicists and industries, based on financial and technological convenience, rather than by those educated in and committed to public health and safety.”


Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to Investigate Lung Cancer Rates Among Uranium Workers,
Mother Jones

What’s happened to 80,000 people who have worked in Canada’s mines and processing facilities?CHARLES MANDEL, 25 July 21, The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is leading a national study examining incidences of lung cancer in uranium workers from across the country.

The Canadian Uranium Workers Study (CANUWS) will examine health data from 80,000 past and present employees at Canada’s uranium mines, mills and processing and fabrication facilities. The study, which is now underway and set to end in 2023, is the largest examination of lung cancer in Canadian uranium workers to date.

Rachel Lane, one of the lead researchers on the new study, told Canada’s National Observer she believes it will reassure workers they face less risk than before from lung cancer arising from exposure to radon, ……..

The $800-million mining and milling uranium industry employs over 2,000 people—of whom more than half are residents of northern Saskatchewan—at mine sites. The researchers plan to examine causes of death in uranium workers from 1950 on and chart their cancer data from 1970 onwards, using research from previous studies.

The new study will build on the results of two historical studies: the Eldorado study and the Ontario Uranium Mine Workers Study, both of which found elevated risks of lung cancer in uranium workers. During numerous follow-ups ending in 2015, both studies found lung cancer among miners was still more prevalent than in the general population………….

deaths from lung cancer associated with radiation were historically higher for uranium workers than the general male population……….

In 2015, a follow-up to the 2007 Ontario Uranium Miner Cohort study was done. It examined approximately 28,546 male and 413 female uranium miners who had worked at least one week in the Elliot Lake and Bancroft regions or at the Agnew Lake Mine between 1954 and 1996.

The conclusion: “Significant elevations in lung cancer mortality and incidence, as well as silicosis and injury mortality were observed in comparison with the general Canadian population.”……….

Anne Leis, the department head of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, will administer the project and analyze the data. Her colleague, Punam Pahwa, a professor of biostatistics, will lead the statistical analysis of the health data……….

Uranium mining companies Cameco, Orano, and BWXT are co-funding the study, contributing $60,000. The CNSC is providing $125,000, while the Saskatchewan government is kicking in $60,000, and the University of Saskatchewan is contributing $90,000 of in-kind funding.………… 

Concerns Over Possible Bias

While former employees and industry watchers applaud efforts to study the health of uranium workers, some are skeptical about the ability of CNSC to produce an unbiased report.

Jamie Kneen, communications and outreach coordinator at Mining Watch Canada, says it’s important to understand the longer-term impacts of radon on the miners. But he cautions that the peer review and oversight of the study must be carefully examined because it is being led by CNSC.Kneen contends that for years, the CNSC has served both as a regulator and promoter of the nuclear industry. “Their tendency has been to extend license periods and to give operators, whether it’s in the uranium industry or the nuclear power industry, more space, more time in terms of licensing and more leeway rather than the kind of tight supervision and oversight that the public probably would expect.”

Therefore, it’s a question of scrutinizing who’s doing the work and reviewing the study to ensure that it really is independent, according to Kneen. He notes that’s a difficult task given that the methodology around radiation is intricate and that not many people can decipher the technical details.

“So there’s a lot of potential for not necessarily deliberate manipulation, but for error to creep in and biases to creep in.”

Rod Gardiner, a former general foreman at the now-defunct Cluff Lake Mine in Saskatchewan, expresses his own concerns about the industry. Gardiner was at the mine for 33 years, working his way up to general foreman and acting mine manager.

He alleges management at Cluff Lake, which was owned by the multinational mining corporation Orano Group, consistently boasted that working in the mine was as safe as working in a supermarket and putting prices on soup cans. “That’s what they used to say, the company.”

He hopes a new study might answer questions about workers’ health. But others aren’t sure whether results will be trustworthy, primarily because the CNSC is partially funding and leading the study.

The CNSC’s work has been subject to just those kinds of complaints in the past.

Writing in the journal Canadian Family Physician in 2013, Dale Dewar and two other authors expressed concern over the CNSC’s ability to act independently of government and industry. The authors noted the former Conservative federal government fired the commission’s CEO when she applied safety guidelines to shut down the Chalk River reactor in Ontario.

The authors observed: “It is concerning that health standards are set by physicists and industries, based on financial and technological convenience, rather than by those educated in and committed to public health and safety.”

Dewar, a longtime general physician in northern Saskatchewan, recently told Canada’s National Observer: “They want to show that it doesn’t cause cancer. I think they want to find that result.”

Dewar expressed surprise that the CNSC has opted for a focused study when northerners have been asking for decades for a baseline health study to determine such things as whether or not there have been increases in autoimmune diseases or cancers that couldn’t be explained by diet, for example.

“I think not only is it virtually a sin that they’ve never done this, but I think it’s a really huge missed opportunity because if they had a study done like this, they would have researchers around the world trying to get information out of it.”…………

Compensation for Uranium Workers

Another, less discussed issue is compensation for uranium miners. In the United States, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) administered by the Department of Justice has awarded over US$2.4 billion in benefits to more than 37,000 claimants since its introduction in 1990. https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2021/07/canadian-nuclear-safety-commission-to-investigate-lung-cancer-rates-among-uranium-workers/

July 26, 2021 Posted by | Canada, employment, health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Softball match in Fukushima was intended to showcase ”recovery from nuclear disaster”, but that has fallen flat.

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, was among those clinging to the hope that a softball match would help convince a worldwide TV audience that life in Fukushima had returned to normal. But the opening day of the Tokyo Games, held in the shadow of coronavirus, ended up conveying a different message: that collective trauma unleashed by a nuclear accident, and now by a global pandemic, was never going to be extinguished by the swing of a bat

The Games were supposed to be an opportunity to show the current status of Fukushima

No entry: symbolism in Fukushima as Olympics begin in empty stadium, Guardian,  Justin McCurry at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, Wed 21 Jul 2021 

Silence and sadness greets a softball match meant to signal the recovery of a city devastated by earthquake and tsunami in 2011

After a year’s delay and months of rancour, finally some Olympic sport. Few will remember the details of Yukiko Ueno’s opening pitch to Michelle Cox in Japan’s softball match against Australia in Fukushima on Wednesday morning. But her delivery, witnessed by the organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, signalled that the most bizarre Games of modern times really are happening.

Depending on how deep the world’s reserves of optimism run, the first action of the 2020 Games could mark a turning point for the troubled Olympics or, more likely, bring only ephemeral relief from the viral cloud that hangs over the host city, Tokyo.

There was, though, a symbolism to Japan’s 8-1 victory over Aussie Spirit that predates the pandemic by almost a decade. In one sense, Japan’s Olympic project came full circle at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, located in a region whose proximity to tragedy inspired its pitch for the “recovery Games”. Forty miles east of the stadium stands the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. On the afternoon of 11 March 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake triggered a towering tsunami that destroyed huge swaths of Japan’s north-east coast, killing more than 18,000 people and sweeping away entire towns.

The same waves crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering meltdowns in three of its reactors and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes while plant workers, firefighters and soldiers battled to cool the reactor cores. Ten years on, many are still unable or unwilling to return to their old neighbourhoods.

The decision to award Fukushima softball and baseball matches was intended to prove to the world that the wider region had recovered from the tsunami and the nuclear crisis was “under control,” as the then Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, told the International Olympic Committee in 2013 in a last-ditch effort to rescue Tokyo’s bid. But the virus’s recent surge in the host nation, centred on Tokyo, meant that one convincing sign of recovery – the communal enjoyment of sport – was missing in Fukushima……….

The teams lined up for national anthems observed in near silence, watched by a large contingent of Japanese reporters and officials sheltering beneath a small section of the stadium not exposed to the blazing morning sunshine. After Uchibori overturned organisers’ plans to allow a limited number of spectators, hundreds of local volunteers were told their services were no longer needed. ………….

“The Games were supposed to be an opportunity to show the current status of Fukushima, and we had various plans in mind before the decision to ban spectators,” said Seiichi Anbai, the chairman of the Fukushima city softball association, according to the Kyodo news agency. “Our emotions are polarised because, considering the coronavirus situation, it is sort of understandable but at the same time, we wanted the Games to take place in front of an audience.”

A Fukushima hotelier, who asked not to be named, felt the region had been exploited. “They said they would put on the Olympics for the sake of Fukushima, but I don’t think many people here feel like that’s really happening,” she told the Guardian. “It all comes down to politics.”

“The government has taken advantage of Fukushima right from the start,” she added, referring to the decision to begin the Japan leg of the torch relay at J-Village, a football training complex that functioned for years as a logistics hub for crews working to control and decommission the damaged nuclear plant 12 miles away………

Fukushima has come a long way since wild animals roamed streets where atmospheric radiation made it too dangerous for residents to return. But its recovery will continue long after the softball and baseball Olympians have gone home.

In the next couple of years, the operator of Fukushima Daiichi – Tokyo Electric Power – will begin releasing more than a million tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific ocean, a move opposed by local fishermen who have spent years repairing the reputational damage to their industry. The plant itself will take decades to decommission, and at a cost of billions of dollars.

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, was among those clinging to the hope that a softball match would help convince a worldwide TV audience that life in Fukushima had returned to normal. But the opening day of the Tokyo Games, held in the shadow of coronavirus, ended up conveying a different message: that collective trauma unleashed by a nuclear accident, and now by a global pandemic, was never going to be extinguished by the swing of a bat.  https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/21/no-entry-symbolism-in-fukushima-as-olympics-begin-in-empty-stadium

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s weapons lobby drumming up fear of nuclear attack by China, against all logic

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?

War with China: zero logic yet the weapons lobby has 42% of Australians believing it   Michael West Media, by Marcus Reubenstein | Jul 16, 2021  Incredibly, a survey finds 42% of Australians believe China will attack Australia, this despite exports to China surging 36% over in the last six months, and despite there being no logical rationale for war with China, or an attack by China. Marcus Reubenstein analyses the ludicrous position of Australia’s China hawks and the mainstream media pushing their agendas. 

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, Scene 1

China is a rapidly growing economic power, seeking to exert considerable influence in its region and beyond. And like every great power it is a bully which tries to entice, cajole or intimidate other nations into adopting its view of the world.

How is this such a difficult concept for Australians to embrace?

Since Federation we’ve tied our fortunes to two great powers, the declining British Empire then the rising, and rising even more, US global hegemony……….

Who is threatening whom?

new report from the Australia Institute begins with the following words:

“In April this year, Australians were warned by no less an expert than the former Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, that they may need to engage in a ‘kinetic’ war with China in the next five to ten years.”

Perhaps, in the realm of China policy, ‘no lesser expert’ better describes his authority on the subject.

The same Pyne, famously discussed his role as a defence industry consultant with EY whilst he was a sitting member of the Federal Cabinet, a matter which prompted a Senate investigation.

He still works for EY, sits on the board of defence contractor XTEC, is Chair of the Advisory Board of another defence contractor NIOA, and in June last year Arawa Capital announced him as Chair of its Advisory Board and Investment Committee for a fund investing in weapons systems.

In heralding that appointment Arawa specifically referred to the, still unsubstantiated, Scott Morrison announcement of a malicious cyber attack by an unnamed “state-based” actor. Arawa trumpeted Pyne has “unrivalled knowledge of the cyber, intelligence and national security landscape.”    

With Pyne on board, Arawa said it “anticipates closing out the initial $50mil capital raising swiftly.” It transpired there was a swift “closing out”, ASIC records show six months later Arawa Capital Pty Ltd was deregistered as a company.  

According to research from Michael West Media’s “Revolving Doors” series, Pyne’s numerous board memberships and consultancies put him in direct, or indirect, contact with more than a dozen weapons makers and contractors.

Clearly, talking up a war with China is of no financial benefit to these companies.

Why would China attack Australia?

Should Australia go to war with China in defence of Taiwan? is the title of the Australia Institute report and 42% of its six hundred respondents think China is poised to attack Australia.

How and why?

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?


If Australia has something China wants, it is many times cheaper and easier to buy it than to send your army half way around the world to steal it.              

China’s current leadership is presiding over a great deal more diplomatic disasters than triumphs but, if nothing else, the Chinese are pragmatic.

Australia’s rabid China hawks will no doubt dismiss such assessments, saying China doesn’t need to deploy military assets it would simply launch a nuclear strike on a target—which they ignore is home to 1.2 million ethnically Chinese people.

My counter argument?

The policy wonks in Washington, who made you their lapdogs, didn’t throw you a bone because they thought you were smart, they threw you the bone because they knew you were dumb enough to catch it!

This survey’s inconvenient truth

The same number of respondents were polled in Taiwan and only a few more (49 percent) expressed fears of an attack from the mainland. Bear in mind the Taiwanese are of the same Han ethnicity as the majority of Chinese, who moved over from the mainland in the 1680s; the PRC has never given up its claim to what was once part of China; and the island sits just 161 kilometres off the coast of China.

That four in ten Australians should think Beijing—a mere 9,000 kilometres from Canberra—is gearing up for invasion is staggering.

Report author Allan Behm noted, “Given Australia and Taiwan’s historical and geographical differences, it is astounding that Australians could be more fearful than Taiwan in anticipating an attack from China.”

This anticipation is undoubtedly fuelled by Australia’s China hawks, all with close ties to US-funded research groups and patronage from US weapons makers.

However, they should not be too smug in thinking their “drums of war” are resonating.

73 percent of Australians regard the United States as an aggressive nation, while only six in ten Australians believe the US would come to our aid in the event of war with China.

Given Australia has followed the United States into 100 percent of its wars, that Australians would only rate America a 60 percent chance of leaping to our defence is a sobering statistic.

Totally at odds with Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Maris Payne’s unquestioned support of the US antagonism towards China, 75 percent of Australians think it is in our interests that China and the US “work together towards world peace”. Of concern to the spin merchants inside the government an even higher number of coalition supporters, 79 percent, think peace with China is a good idea.

Despite the US, and Morrison’s, rhetoric of Taiwan being a like-minded democracy of shared values, 76 percent of Taiwanese rate America as an aggressor. Should the US come to Taiwan’s aid in a war with China, only 18 percent of Taiwanese people think they would win.

How reliable are drummers?

By any sensible strategic logic, the dogs of war should remain in their box. Let the drums of war continue to drum up business for the China threat industry and their death-merchant patrons.  …..

 https://www.michaelwest.com.au/war-with-china-zero-logic-yet-the-weapons-lobby-has-42-of-australians-believing-it/  

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Reaching net zero without nuclear

Our latest Talking Points makes the case

Not only is it possible, it’s essential   https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/07/11/reaching-net-zero-without-nuclear/

The fourth in our series of Talking Points draws on the new report by Jonathon Porritt, New Zero Without Nuclear: The Case Against Nuclear Power. Given the far-off illusory promise of new reactor designs; the enormous costs; the limited capacity for carbon reductions compared to renewables; the unsolved waste problem; and the inflexibility and outdatedness of the “always on” baseload model, nuclear power is in the way of — rather than a contributor to — climate mitigation. You can download the Net Zero Without Nuclear Talking Points here. This is the fourth in our series. You can find all four here.

By Jonathon Porritt 10 July 21

 I first took an interest in Greenpeace back in 1973, before I joined Friends of the Earth, CND and the Green Party (then the Ecology Party) a year later. I’d followed the campaigns against the testing of nuclear weapons in Amchitka (one of the Aleutian islands in Alaska), and then in the French nuclear testing area of Moruroa in the Pacific. I was 23 at the time, with zero in-depth knowledge, but it just seemed wrong, on so many different fronts.

That early history of Greenpeace seems much less relevant now, given all its achievements over the last 50 years in so many other areas of critical environmental concern. But it still matters. Greenpeace has been an ‘anti-nuclear organisation’ through all that time, sometimes fiercely engaged in front-line battles, sometimes maintaining more of a watching brief, and nuclear power plays no part in Greenpeace’s modelling of a rapid transition to a Net Zero carbon world. It’s been very supportive of my new report, ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’.

I wrote this report partly because the nuclear industry itself is in full-on propaganda mode, and partly because that small caucus of pro-nuclear greens (that’s existed for as long as I can remember) seems to be winning new supporters.

And I can see why. The Net Zero journey we’re now starting out on for real (at long last!) is by far the most daunting challenge that humankind has ever faced. Writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books in June 2019, author and Army veteran Roy Scranton put it like this:

‘Climate change is bigger than the New Deal, bigger than the Marshall Plan, bigger than World War II, bigger than racism, sexism, inequality, slavery, the Holocaust, the end of nature, the Sixth Extinction, famine, war, and plague all put together, because the chaos it’s bringing is going to supercharge every other problem. Successfully meeting this crisis would require an abrupt, traumatic revolution in global human society; failing to meet it will be even worse.’

Not many people see it like that – as yet. But more and more will, as signals of that kind of chaos start to multiply. And we already know that the kind of radical decarbonisation on which our future depends is going to be incredibly hard. So why should we reject a potentially powerful contribution to that decarbonisation challenge?

I became Director of Friends of the Earth in 1984. The same year that my first book, ‘Seeing Green’, was published. Looking back on what I said then, I was indeed fiercely critical of nuclear power, but have to admit that my advocacy of renewables (as the principal alternative) was somewhat muted. Apart from a few visionaries in the early 1980s (including Friends of the Earth’s Amory Lovins and Walt Patterson), no-one really thought that renewables would be capable of substituting for the use of all fossil fuels and all nuclear at any point in the near future. And anyone expressing such a view in official circles was rapidly put back in their box.

Given the scale of the challenge we face, we need to have very strong grounds for keeping nuclear out of today’s low/zero-carbon portfolio. Not least as nuclear power, historically, has already made a huge contribution to low-carbon generation. Since the early 1960s, nuclear power has provided the equivalent of 18,000 reactor years of electricity generation. We’d be in a much worse place today if all that electricity had been generated from burning coal or gas.

Happily, there is no longer any doubt about the viability of that alternative. In 2020, Stanford University issued a collection of 56 peer-reviewed journal articles, from 18 independent research groups, supporting the idea that all the energy required for electricity, transport, heating and cooling, and all industrial purposes, can be supplied reliably with 100% (or near 100%) renewable energy. The solutions involve transitioning ASAP to 100% renewable wind – water – solar (WWS), efficiency and storage.

The transition is already happening. To date, 11 countries have reached or exceeded 100% renewable electricity. And a further 12 countries are intent on reaching that threshold by 2030. In the UK, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology says we can reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032. Last year, we crossed the 40% threshold.

There is of course a world of difference between electricity and total energy consumption. But at the end of April, Carbon Tracker brought out its latest analysis of the potential for renewables, convincingly explaining why solar and wind alone could meet total world energy demand 100 times over by 2050, and that fears about the huge amount of land this would require are unfounded. The land required for solar panels to provide all global energy would be 450,000 km2, just 0.3% of global land area – significantly less than the current land footprint of fossil fuel infrastructures. As the Report says:

The technical and economic barriers have been crossed and the only impediment to change is political. Sector by sector and country by country the fossil fuel incumbency is being swamped by the rapidly rising tide of new energy technologies. Even countries where the technical potential is below 10 times energy demand. . . have devised innovative approaches to energy generation.

The fossil fuel industry cannot compete with the technology learning curves of renewables, so demand will inevitably fall as wind and solar continue to grow. At the current 15-20% growth rates of solar and wind, fossil fuels will be pushed out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s and out of total energy supply by 2050.‘

The unlocking of energy reserves 100 times our current demand creates new possibilities for cheaper energy and more local jobs in a more equitable world with far less environmental stress.‘

Poor countries are the greatest beneficiaries. They have the largest ratio of solar and wind potential to energy demand and stand to unlock huge domestic benefits.’

Nuclear plays no part in any of these projections, whether we’re talking big reactors or small reactors, fission or fusion. The simple truth is this: we should see nuclear as another 20th century technology, with an ever-diminishing role through into the 21st century, incapable of overcoming its inherent problems of cost, construction delay, nuclear waste, decommissioning, security (both physical and cyber), let alone the small but still highly material risk of catastrophic accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. My ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’ report goes into all these inherent problems in some detail.

So why are the UK’s politicians (in all three major parties) still in thrall to this superannuated technology? It’s here we have to go back to Amchitka! Some environmentalists may still be taken aback to discover that the Government’s principal case for nuclear power in the UK today is driven by the need to maintain the UK’s nuclear weapons capability – to ensure a ‘talent pool’ of nuclear engineers and to support a supply chain of engineering companies capable of providing component parts for the nuclear industry, both civilian and military. The indefatigable work of Andy Stirling and Phil Johnston at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit has established the depth and intensity of these interdependencies, demonstrating how the UK’s military industrial base would become unaffordable in the absence of a nuclear energy programme.

What that means is that today’s pro-nuclear greens are throwing in their lot not just with a bottomless pit of hype and fantasy, but with a world still dangerously at risk from that continuing dependence on nuclear weapons. That’s a weird place to be, 50 years on from the emergence of Greenpeace as a force for good in that world.

July 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics, Reference, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Tokyo Olympics

“There was a very clear political agenda by Shinzo Abe, to use the Olympics to rehabilitate the impression of both Fukushima and the nuclear disaster domestically and globally,”

“It’s hard for me to support the idea of using the Olympics to present a narrative of recovery, where so much recovery remains to be done.”

The Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Tokyo Olympics, Engineering and Technology, By Max Bernhard

 Wednesday, June 16, 2021  Before Covid-19 forced a delay, Japan’s government saw the ‘Recovery Olympics’ as a way to show the Fukushima nuclear disaster was under control. 10 years on, critics say many issues remain unresolved.

Members of the Japan women’s soccer team began the Olympic torch relay on 25 March this year, kicking off a four-month countdown to the Tokyo Summer Games after a year-long delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The brief opening ceremony – closed to the public and attended only by a small number of dignitaries – took place on a football pitch in J-Village. The sports complex lies just 20km south of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a triple nuclear meltdown in 2011. J-Village was used as a base for the thousands of clean-up workers tasked with decommissioning the plant.

Long before the pandemic forced Japan to delay the Games, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pegged the sporting mega-event as a way to show that Japan had overcome the disaster and to promote reconstruction efforts in the region. Ten years on, questions over radiation in the area, its prospects for recovery, and the decommissioning of the reactor, as well as Japan’s overall energy policy, remain.

Abe’s successor Yoshihide Suga has said the Games would also be a sign of overcoming another tragedy. Going ahead with the event would be “proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic”, he said last year. But here, too, not everyone agrees. With less than two months to go until the official start of the Olympics, the Japanese government has recently extended its state of emergency in Tokyo and several other prefectures until at least 20 June. While the number of new Covid-19 infections has been going down and cases remain relatively low in an international comparison, a stretched-out fourth wave has strained the country’s medical sector.

Meanwhile, Japan’s vaccination efforts have been significantly lagging behind other developed nations. Less than 3 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated as of 27 May 2021 and polls show that most of the public wants the Games cancelled. Despite that, Suga has been iterating his commitment to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

To assure members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the event in Tokyo would be safe, then-Prime Minister Abe promised in his 2013 pitch to host the 2020 Games that the situation at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant was “under control”.

Three years later, Junichiro Koizumi, a former prime minister and fellow member of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, called this promise a lie. “I think Abe understands the arguments on both sides of the debate, but he has chosen to believe the pro-nuclear lobby,” Koizumi, who became an outspoken critic of nuclear energy following the catastrophe, said at a press conference in Tokyo in September 2016.

“There was a very clear political agenda by Shinzo Abe, to use the Olympics to rehabilitate the impression of both Fukushima and the nuclear disaster domestically and globally,” says Sean Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace East Asia, who has surveyed radiation in Fukushima dozens of times since the nuclear meltdowns happened.

Following the disaster, Japan halted all its nuclear reactors. Since then, it has restarted only nine out of a possible 42 across five power plants, while more than 20 are set to be decommissioned. Before the 2011 disaster, Japan generated about a third of its energy from nuclear power, and there were plans to increase that to around 40 per cent. The Japanese government’s current energy policy plans for 30 to 35 reactors operating by 2030, meaning about 20 per cent of the country’s power would come from nuclear energy. That target is also part of the government’s plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the country by the end of the next decade. This target requires at least a further 21 reactors to be back online.

One of the major obstacles to those restarts is public opinion, says Burnie. “The perception of Fukushima is that because you have an accident, you can’t rehabilitate, you can’t bring people back to live there, it’s not safe, and the decommissioning of the plant will take many, many decades, or centuries longer,” he adds. “So trying to create a new image, a new perception of Fukushima on the nuclear issue is really important [to the Japanese government].”

Changing public perception played a significant role in the government’s decision to host events in Fukushima and to use the framework of the ‘Recovery Olympics’, Burnie says, adding that the desire of the prefectural government and general society in Fukushima to communicate their region’s recovery was also a factor. “I think it creates a sense of slight schizophrenia because people want to have some good news … the Olympics were seen as perhaps a positive.”

At the same time, there was widespread criticism because the significant investments into the Olympics were seen as taking resources away that could have gone towards the area’s general reconstruction. The entire cost of hosting the 2020 Games is projected to be more than $15bn (£10.6bn), including $2.8bn for the postponement and an estimated $900m for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Tokyo Games are the most expensive to date, according to a 2020 University of Oxford study that looked at Olympic costs since 1960. “There are still tens of thousands of people displaced, people still living in emergency housing. Obviously, the whole radiological situation is still complex and hazardous. There were mixed feelings about it,” Burnie says.

A year ago, when international visitors to the Games were still considered a possibility, some questioned whether it was safe for athletes and spectators to visit sporting venues in Fukushima or even Japan in general. South Korea reportedly considered providing its own food for athletes out of radiation concerns, although the move was seen as political by some.

Levels of radiation in Japan have decreased thanks in part to a massive programme by the government to remove the top layer of soil in affected areas. The contaminated soil is stored in millions of black one-cubic-metre bags that are piled up on temporary open-air areas scattered across the prefecture before being transported to interim storage sites. As of April 2020, about 6.7 million of the black bags were still stored in Fukushima, according to the Ministry of Environment.  

While the plant’s operator managed to stabilise the damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, melted nuclear fuel buried deep into the ground below the plant is still to be located and removed – an endeavour that is projected to take at least four more decades. Meanwhile, in April, the government approved plans to gradually release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea…………………

at the end of 2019 Greenpeace conducted radiation measurements around J-Village, where the Olympic torch relay would later kick off, and found several hotspots.

Continue reading

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Countering a love letter to the nuclear industry 

We’re not in the business of debating paid shills.

Countering a love letter to the nuclear industry  https://thecoastnews.com/commentary-countering-a-love-letter-to-the-nuclear-industry/by commentaryJune 18, 2021

By Bart Ziegler

In his May 27 commentary, “Correcting the record on SONGS,” Al Bates writes a love letter to the nuclear industry.   Bates fiercely defends the safety measures at San Onofre’s nuclear waste storage facilities. This impassioned defense comes from — you guessed it — a career man in the nuclear industry who took that nuclear engineering degree straight to San Onofre for a job starting in 1980.

We’re not in the business of debating paid shills.

But we stand by the point we made in April to the Encinitas Environmental Commission — that San Onofre needs a facility where nuclear waste canisters can be repaired and replaced without exposing the environment to deadly, radioactive contamination.

This month, to Protect Our Coast, we are bringing Southern California Edison and the California Coastal Commission to court to demand such a facility. Call it a Plan B. Find out how you can support this case by visiting our website.

While Bates and company are quick to obfuscate with technical hairsplitting, we present simple truths:

  • Edison is storing 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel just 100 feet from the ocean;
  • Sea levels are rising;
  • Climate change increases risks associated with nuclear waste storage;
  • Waste canisters at San Onofre are prone to corrosion and cracking;
  • No one has a plan to move the waste; and
  • Scientific information that Bates says we’re missing can be found on our website.

Learn more at www.samuellawrencefoundation.org.   Bart Ziegler is president of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation.

June 19, 2021 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby spins its frenzied propaganda – with flimsy arguments for new nuclear power.

Nuclear industry’s propaganda war rages on  https://climatenewsnetwork.net/nuclear-industrys-propaganda-war-rages-on/

June 3rd, 2021, by Paul Brown  With renewable energy expanding fast, the nuclear industry’s propaganda war still claims it helps to combat climate change.

To maintain the assertion that it is still a key part of the struggle to limit the climate crisis, the global nuclear industry’s propaganda war is unremitting in its attempt to avoid oblivion in the world’s democracies.

At stake are thousands of well-paid power station jobs, but also a potential rise in electricity prices if funds are diverted away from cheaper options for generating power. Central to the debate is how governments can best cut fossil fuel use in time to save the world from catastrophic climate change.

There is not much middle ground. On one side are trade unions with many members in the nuclear industry, large companies with political clout and a vested interest in building the infrastructure needed, and numerous politicians, many of them in nuclear weapons states.

On the other are most climate scientists, environmental campaigners, economists, and cutting edge industries that see wind, solar and tidal power, batteries and other emerging technologies as the path to far more jobs, a cleaner future, and a possible route out of potential disaster. There are also those who fear the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Lack of balance

Very little of this debate takes place where it should, in national parliaments. In some countries, like the UK and the US, nearly all politicians support the nuclear industry, so there is little discussion of its merits.

Many of the “news” clips and pro-nuclear articles that appear in the media are carefully crafted and come from “think tank” sources close to − and often indirectly funded by − the nuclear industry. They are designed to show nuclear science in a good light.

This lack of balance is not surprising. Journalists find it difficult to penetrate an opaque and highly technical industry that has a wildly optimistic view of its own potential. Its costs, construction timetables, and beliefs in its probable sales have hardly ever actually been met in the industry’s 70-year history. Yet it goes on making its rosy predictions.

There has been a series of announcements in the West in the last five years about SMRs, advanced and IV generation reactors. Lost already? That is the idea: bamboozle politicians and the public with jargon and false hopes of a technical miracle, and you are halfway to getting your hands on taxpayers’ money to fund further research and create a new generation of reactors, to be built some time soon – although that time never seems to arrive.


Just to demonstrate what often seems deliberate obscurity: an SMR can be a small modular reactor, or a small to medium reactor. It could also be an advanced reactor. All this is explained on a helpful World Nuclear Association website which takes you through the potential sizes of reactors and explains the 70 or so designs.

Take one example. Rolls-Royce offers SMRs on its UK website. They turn out not to be small, having grown to 470 megawatts, much larger than the 300 megawatt maximum official definition of a small reactor. The company would now describe them as advanced reactors, although they are based on a generic design as old as the industry.

Modular also has two meanings in this context. It could mean the reactor is made in sections in a factory and assembled on site, thus (it is claimed) dramatically reducing costs. But it can also mean that each reactor becomes a module in a much larger nuclear station.

Rolls-Royce reckons it needs an order book of 16 reactors to justify building a factory that could turn reactors out, like its cars, on a production line. It is both trying to persuade the UK government to place a large number of orders and is combing the world for other governments willing to do so.


Military link

Nuclear detractors point out that creating a factory able to provide production line economies of scale for nuclear reactors is a tall order. Also, neither the UK government nor Rolls-Royce has come up with sites where any reactors could be placed. Perhaps the most telling point is that there is no need for that much expensive electricity when renewables plus energy storage could provide it more cheaply and quickly.

Most nuclear weapons states acknowledge the link between their civil and weapons industries. Canada is one of the few non-nuclear weapons states that has bought into the nuclear industry’s hype and is still actively promoting SMRs.

There is a backlash from academics who fear nuclear proliferation, as well as from those who question the economics and viability of the “new” designs.

In one sense the nuclear enthusiasts are winning the propaganda war because many governments are actively encouraging work on the design of SMRs – and still shelling out billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to support research and development.

On the other hand everything is still in the prototype stage and has been for years. As yet no foundation stones for nuclear reactor factories have been laid. And while we wait for the long-promised nuclear breakthrough, cheaper wind and solar farms are being built rapidly across the planet. As each comes on stream it helps to erode the already flimsy case for nuclear power.  Climate News Network

June 5, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | 2 Comments

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett’s piddly little ”Natrium” nuclear reactor – greenwashing, while keeping fossil fuels going.

The key to understanding this story is found in Governor Gordon’s use of the words “all of the above.” That’s free market speak for “We’rehappy to have a piddly little 350 MW facility of over here, just so long as we can continue supporting coal- and gas-powered generating plants that churn out hundreds of gigawatts over there.”

In other words, it’s asmokescreen designed to allow fossil fuel interests to kick the can down the road a little further and add some greenwashing to their corporate portfolios at the same time. Being rich does not necessarily make a person all that smart. America needs more nuclear power like a fish needs a bicycle.

People in Wyoming may be fooled by this blather, but CleanTechnica readers aren’t taking the bait. Natrium was probably selected as the name of thus new nuclear technology because it sounds a little like “nature” or “natural.” That’s a great marketing ploy, but we’re not buying it. Frankly, the Bill and Warren show is more than a little disappointing.

 Clean Technica 3rd June 2021

https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/03/bill-gates-warren-buffett-to-build-a-new-kind-of-nuclear-reactor-is-that-good-news/

June 5, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby’s desperate push to be included in COP26. Note the biased agenda of their speakers.

Let’s look at these speakers:

Corporate Astroturf Nuclear for Climate” is really a lobby group of 140 pro nuclear societies.

Professor Geraldine Thomas and nuclear scientific misconduct.

The Young Generation Networka part of the Nuclear Institute, which purports to be a charity, but is really a propaganda machine for the industry.

Nuclear societies call for COP26 to support nuclear  World Nuclear News, 02 June 2021   ……  They are calling on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, COP26 President Alok Sharma and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa to acknowledge nuclear’s crucial position alongside renewables in attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In February this year, Nuclear for Climate – a grassroots [?] initiative published its COP26 Position Paper, titled Net Zero Needs Nuclear.

Geraldine Thomas, well known schill for the nuclear industry

“It’s time we used scientific facts rather than urban myths to decide our future energy policy,” said Geraldine Thomas,…..

Fiona Rayment, Chief Science and Technology Officer at the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, added: “Nuclear is a clean, reliable and sustainable energy source” 

Hannah Paterson, Chair of the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network. ..

June 3, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

“Unqualified” —who is allowed to talk about nuclear power ?

Who is allowed to talk about nuclear power?

“Unqualified” — Beyond Nuclear International Nuclear trolls turn on the aggression as industry collapses around them  

By Linda Pentz Gunter, 31 May 21, “My advice is to look out for engineers. They begin with sewing machines and end up with nuclear bombs.” Marcel Pagnol
My normal rule of thumb is to ignore the unrelenting pro-nuclear trolls who pepper our sites with incessant nay-saying and, occasionally ad hominem name-calling. After all, they have only one goal in mind — other than to get up one’s nose — which is to dominate and thereby control the narrative.
But recently, a recurring theme has emerged which needs addressing, because it speaks to who is allowed to talk about nuclear power.

In the view of the trolls, if you have no scientific credentials, you are unqualified to comment on nuclear power. In my case, because I have a degree in English literature, albeit garnered many decades ago, I have, according to the trolls, no authority to expound on the negatives of nuclear anything.

There are some rather obvious flaws in this argument, the first being that it pre-supposes the human brain is incapable of learning anything new after the age of 21. 

But it also exemplifies the theme of a recent conference held virtually in Linz by three Austrian anti-nuclear groups which examined the “Atomic Lie.” How has this lie been perpetuated? Answer: by those who promote the nuclear power industry anointing themselves as the only authority deemed knowledgeable enough to either comment about it or make decisions on its use and safety.

What kind of a world we will end up with if, heaven forfend, we allow only engineers to decide what is in our best interest (with all due respect to my friends who are engineers and who, I suspect, would be the first to agree)? Hence the Pagnol quote at the top of this page.

This would mean, for example, that the Western Shoshone should have no say in the fate of the land in Nevada they steward, because nuclear engineers have decided it is perfectly alright to dig a big hole in the volcanic ground and bury nuclear waste there.

It would mean that Marshall Islanders should have nothing whatever to say about the generations of cancers and birth defects they have suffered as the unwilling guinea-pigs of atomic “testing,” because after all it was scientists who decided that it was perfectly alright to detonate 67 atomic bombs there and obliterate islands………..

This intent to dominate the narrative — in our case the nuclear power one — and silence critics, was aptly described by Arnie Gundersen in his presentation during the Linz conference. He talked about the origins of the nuclear cabal — under its alias, Atoms for Peace — in which its originator, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, described the program as solving “‘the fearful atomic dilemma’ by finding some way in which the ‘miraculous inventiveness of man’ ‘would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life’”.

Gundersen looked up the Oxford Dictionary definition of “consecrate” and found it to mean “to make sacred or declare sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.”

This nuclear priesthood into which believers were ordained did not welcome skeptics gladly, however. Quite the reverse. When Gundersen, a nuclear insider at the time, blew the whistle on a safety issue, he was told to his face that “in this business, you’re either with us or against us, and you just crossed the line.” He was not only fired but persecuted in further attempts to silence him.

Luckily for our movement, the nuclear inquisition was largely unsuccessful in this latter endeavor, but it came at a steep price for Gundersen and his family personally.

As evidenced by Gundersen’s experience, these attacks are by no means restricted to us “lay” advocates, but they have grown observably more vitriolic. This disturbing trend was flagged recently by Andy Stirling of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex in the UK, responding to an aggressive critique of an article he co-authored in Nature Energy.

His detractor, Jeremy Gordon, “goes beyond pejorative labelling to actively ridicule any position not in-principle supportive of nuclear power,” Stirling wrote in a letter published in Nuclear Engineering International. “This is exemplified by Gordon’s intemperate ad hominem attack on my fellow author (the globally leading energy scholar Benjamin Sovacool).” Stirling concludes that it is “reasoned policy discourse that forms the lifeblood of democracy itself”.

We are a grand collective of experts. We do have scientists and engineers —Gundersen is one — to whom we can turn in order to unravel the deeper complexities of the workings of nuclear power plants or uranium mines or reprocessing facilities. But it is not the only dimension that matters. So we need Indigenous people, and writers, and lay advocates, and economists, and historians, and artists, and humanitarians to tell this story and set the agenda, too. 

Even if it is rocket science, rocket scientists aren’t the only ones who count when decisions are made about whether to put missiles into space or send a nuclear-powered probe to Mars.

As Pagnol implied, when you leave it to the scientists and engineers, you get a Manhattan Project, where consciences pricked far too late. Imagine if humanitarian voices had held sway inside Los Alamos. Would things have turned out differently?

The Japanese mothers, evacuated from Fukushima, who shout on street corners through bullhorns about their experiences, warning Japan never to re-embrace nuclear power, don’t hold engineering degrees. But they know a lot more about the real, lived consequences of using nuclear power than any of the nuclear industry trolls.

Those voices of truth need to be heard, along with those who practice sound science and honest engineering and who are willing to call out the dangers, not control the lies.

It’s one thing to have command of the facts, which of course we must. But it’s another to accompany these with a hefty dose of integrity. And that’s what we are here for, even if we can quote Shakespeare while we are doing it.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for, curates and edits Beyond Nuclear International. https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/05/30/unqualified/

June 1, 2021 Posted by | culture and arts, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

How the American war industry infiltrates education (extract from A People’s Guide to the War Industry )

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception Consortium News 26 May 21, ”…………..Academia

Education in the United States exists within narrow confines. The working class educated in elementary and secondary schools are not given the opportunity to learn about capitalism, let alone the horrific nature and devastating effects of the U.S. war industry. They are not taught about how the interests of the ruling class (including the Pentagon’s leadership, industry executives, Wall Street financiers, and Congress) clash head-on with the interests of the working class. An uneducated population will not mobilize effectively against its oppressors. This atmosphere of ignorance greatly benefits the MIC.

The war industry and the Pentagon fund extensive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives across the U.S. and in allied countries. By attracting students into STEM careers, the war industry and the Pentagon prepare and safeguard their future. Industry promotion of STEM lays the groundwork for future design, engineering, and production capacity, while the Pentagon promotes STEM in order to foster a technologically literate workforce and future generations of enlisted troops who are capable enough to operate the war industry’s products. STEM efforts are comprehensive, covering a wide geographical area and all ages, from elementary through university.

Many universities in the United States are part of the U.S. war industry. The role of these academic institutions is threefold: research and develop technology, serve as a holding station (e.g. Harvard’s Belfer Center) for MIC elites before they rotate into government or corporate suites, and accept philanthropy from war profiteers thereby whitewashing capitalist brutality. The main academic participants in the war industry include but are not limited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of Dayton, and Georgia Tech.

The U.S. government runs many research labs pursuing military and intelligence R&D. The Army Research Lab and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity are located in Maryland. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research are in Arlington, Virginia. The Air Force Research Lab is run out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, northeast of Dayton, Ohio, with branches in New Mexico and upstate New York. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research & Development Center is in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Most work in and for these labs is carried out by corporations and academic institutions, not uniformed military personnel.

report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in September 2020 detailed, “DOD does not know how contractors’ independent R&D projects fit into the department’s technology goals.”

“Brain drain” happens when industry herds intelligent people toward purposes of war, like when a graduate of an engineering school goes to work for a war corporation instead of a municipality. Humanity thus loses skilled human beings as a result. Brain drain is a great tragedy, and the war industry’s biggest success. In Boston, the U.S. Air Force alone funds ninety different research projects, according to the Air Force Secretary. And that’s just the publicly declared actions of one branch of the military in one city.

Lockheed Martin alone employs nearly 50,000 scientists and engineers, according to its CEO in her presentation to the Society of Women Engineers. Imagine if these minds were working on problems and projects for the betterment of humanity and the planet, instead of devising more ingenious ways to surveil or murder. Imagine the possibilities.

Effective science is based on free, open discussion. Military funding and stipulations (compartmentation, shoehorned focus, classification, near-term deadlines, stove-piped fields) oppose free, open discussion. Breakthroughs benefitting humanity rarely happen when people are tied to military-industry funding priorities, schedules, and narrow cognitive confines. Military and industry shun and condemn the polymath, the free thinker, and the uninhibited tinkerer. Military and industry embrace and fund the careerist, the complicit academic, the rigid functionary, the greedy corporatist, and the aspiring bureaucrat. Military-industry science may possess strong minds, but it does not often make the scientific breakthroughs society needs…… https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

A People’s Guide to the War Industry, by Christian Sorensen — Rise Up Times

“The main role of the federal government under capitalism is to maintain the capitalist economic system and set the general conditions by which large corporations and billionaires are able to accrue more and more profit.”

A People’s Guide to the War Industry, by Christian Sorensen — Rise Up Times A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/May 26, 2021   Christian Sorensen maps out the global system of weapons mongering. Second in a series of five articles on the U.S. military-industrial-congressional complex.   By Christian Sorensen

Special to Consortium News   War corporations are spread across the United States. The top war industry hubs in the U.S. are Huntsville, Alabama; greater Boston; greater Tampa, Florida; the Dallas-Fort Worth region; southern California; and the corridor stretching from northeast Virginia, through Washington, to Baltimore (consistently home to the wealthiest counties in the country).

The U.S. war industry profits well through global supply chains, including setting up subsidiaries in allied capitalist countries and using those countries’ industrial bases to produce parts of a weapons platform (such as the costly, underperforming F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, parts of which are built in locations as diverse as Italy and Japan).

War corporations manage global chains by organizing, coordinating, and enforcing a hierarchical command structure upon disparate locations. Orders flow down the chain and capital flows up, allowing the corporation’s executives, and ultimately Wall Street — not workers who make the products — to harvest enormous amounts of wealth. This exacerbates inequality, not just in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania, and Marietta, Georgia, but also Rochester, England, and Aire-sur-l’Adour, France — all locations where U.S. war products are made. War corporations paint these actions as “building lasting capacity” and other euphemisms.

A euphemism is a kinder, gentler term used in place of a direct, often more accurate one. The MIC employs euphemisms adeptly. Public relations gurus know the English language very well. Recall George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language:”

”In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

With the care of a sommelier, MIC propagandists select the perfect euphemisms to mask their activities and present death and destruction in comfortable terms. Getting rid of euphemism, pursuing an honest language, is one step toward achieving a system that benefits people and planet.

Globe-Spanning Installations

Military installations are avenues through which corporations route goods and services. Sometimes the U.S. military sets up an installation overseas with permission from the allied capitalist regime. Sometimes the ruling class orders the military to take the land by force. It stole land in Guam, compensating locals a paltry sum or nothing at all. It took the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It stole Vieques, Puerto Rico. It teamed up with the Danish government to remove the indigenous Inughuit to make way for Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland. And the Pentagon and State Department teamed up with the United Kingdom to remove Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean in order to set up what is now called Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia.

Incredible corporate profit (e.g. base operations, ordnance, platforms, construction, fuel, maintenance) runs through each military installation. Most U.S. military bases overseas are not located in active war zones. The largest concentrations of U.S. troops are on bases in the Persian Gulf, Europe, and the Western Pacific.

There are thousands of U.S. military installations inside the United States (land stolen from the Native Americans). As contract announcements indicate, Corporate America is sometimes put in charge of studying and documenting the effect a planned base or weapons range might have on the surrounding community — aircraft noise, potential for mishaps and accidents, and the extent to which land use works with or against local designs — even though Corporate America stands to benefit if the base or range gets established.

Duping Workers

In the capitalist economic system, relatively few people control the means of production (e.g. machinery, factories). In order to survive, most people (the working class) sell their ability to work. They receive a wage in return. A worker’s work is what makes money for the ruling class. This is true across all industries, including the war industry.

Workers who design and assemble the major weapons of war form the core of the working class within the war industry. They put together missiles at Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona. They manufacture drones at General Atomics’ factory in Poway, California. They fabricate land vehicles at AM General’s factory in South Bend, Indiana. They build landing craft at Textron’s factory in New Orleans, Louisiana. Whatever the workers produce is not theirs to use or sell. Instead, their output belongs to the capitalist class. These rulers (literally sitting in corporate suites) decide what to produce, how to produce it, and to whom to sell it.

The ruling class profits by underpaying the workers. A given worker on a given day produces value, which we’ll call A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The corporation pays the worker a wage comparable to F and G. The rest (A, B, C, D, E) is “surplus value.” This difference between what a worker is paid in wages and the value a worker creates is how the corporation profits

Those profits go toward executives’ compensation (CEO pay at the top five war corporations totaled almost half a billion dollars over the course of 2015-2019); boost stock price and allow for stock buybacks; and are invested to make more profit. Money used to expand business to increase future profits is functioning as capital. An example of this is General Dynamics building a 200,000-square-foot building for submarine assembly at its Groton, Connecticut, shipyard in order to make more goods to sell for profit.

The ruling class inundates the working class with various forms of advertising, public relations gimmicks, propaganda, and disinformation in order to keep the working class (which greatly outnumbers the ruling class) passive and compliant. Many within the working class have swallowed such deception.

Working class jobs within the war industry are various, and include administrative assistant, analyst, armed mercenary, astrophysicist, data officer, engineer, lawyer, lobbyist, linguist, mathematician, public relations specialist, technician, and tradesperson. From the haughtiest academic to the humblest welder, what propaganda have they seized in order to justify working in the war industry?

Civilian Use

Unlike products from other industries, the public cannot eat, consume, play with, learn from, or interact with most goods and services sold by the war industry. Employees of war corporations invoke civilian applications of military technology: The internet, the jet engine, radar, and satellite technology all came about from military funding.

But these are ancillary benefits. Imagine what technological benefits society could achieve if $750 billion per year was directed intentionally toward research and development of technology that benefits human wellbeing and the natural world, not military and war.

We can harness the human mind in many ways. Nonetheless, so far — by the numbers — the U.S. government has only spent significant monies on military and war. Try throwing that kind of money at the sciences and arts every year — via other federal departments, such as Interior, Agriculture, Health & Human Services, Transportation — and see where unpressured, non-militarized research and development lead.

Distancing 

Lockheed Martin’s director of communications once said, “The missile has nothing to do with the manufacturer… Lockheed Martin was not the one that was there, firing the missile” (Robert Fisk, Independent,May 18, 1997).

Such distancing is no different from an engineer at a U.S. university who justifies her work on nuclear weapons along the lines of, “Well it’s not me pushing the button. Surely, there are military professionals in charge of these weapons.” Other workers in the war industry rationalize by arguing, “I might disagree with the wars, but I’m not the one elected to make such decisions. I’m just doing my job.” Those who resort to distancing focus on their own daily, incremental tasks, blocking out all consequence.

Traditional Patriotism 

Traditional patriotism rallies a person around the flag and shuns holding authority to account. Traditional patriotism allows the wars to continue. True patriotism, however, involves questioning government, making government accountable, and changing government when it is polluted and corrupt. True patriotism, as retired Major Danny Sjursen puts it, is “participatory and principled.”

Support the Troops 

Some people justify working for the war industry by saying they do it for the troops. Journalist Jeffrey Stern describes how one machinist at a missile factory rationalizes his role:

“[T]he thing that he said made him most proud about working at Raytheon was helping to keep American servicemen and women safe. The company makes a point of hiring veterans with combat injuries, which reminds him of whom he’s working for and why. He feels it when he sees the gigantic photos of service members that the company hangs in the most prominent parts of the plant. The photos, he explained, are of relatives of Raytheon workers. When he’s at work, the notion of helping American servicemen and women is not abstract. It’s almost tactile.”

Well played, Raytheon! The phrase “support the troops” is a clever slogan through which the MIC throws a blanket of patriotism over the underlying issue: supporting the wars. “Support the troops” has been very effective in getting the working class to line up in favor of war.

Delusion & Moral Bankruptcy 

Many people within the war industry are deluded or morally bankrupt and therefore have no problem working in such a destructive industry. Delusion and moral bankruptcy are the direct result of decades of refined capitalist propaganda and indoctrination. Many workers don’t understand that the system exists because of their exploitation. Many don’t understand that the war industry exists as a means of profit. Nor does the increasingly privatized and standardized public-school system emphasize the critical thinking needed to alter such a sad state of affairs.

Lack of Courage

Many smart people, blissfully comfortable with the paycheck that being part of the war industry work brings, lack the courage to act. Consider one plucked at random from the middle ranks of a war corporation. The man’s résumé is impressive: degree from a prestigious university, awards from industry and the Pentagon, and not one ounce of moral courage. His participation in the war industry leads directly to the deaths of innocents abroad and perpetuates war.

This flexible, powerful recipe allows one to justify working in the war industry.

A few people within the MIC recognize the gravity of the situation — that funneling so much money toward military, espionage, and war has a negative effect on U.S. security because it drains manpower, time, and capital, and forestalls social care — but are afraid of the consequences of speaking up.

Group think, hierarchy, compartmentation, economic incentive, and chain of command enforce the status quo. Violence and social isolation deter the few who push back against the machinery of war. The minor whistleblower is ostracized and demoted, the leaker fined and locked up. When just a few people push back, the MIC crushes them. When the working class pushes back, united and together, the MIC has a problem on its hands.

The ruling class employs other devices to ensure the workers continue to sell their labor power. Divide and conquer is a popular device: pit the workers against one another, profiting the capitalist while exhausting the worker. Wedge issues, such as race and nationalism, further split the working class along arbitrary, divisive lines, as seen when U.S. workers buy into the demonization of Arab, Persian, or Chinese workers.


Capitalists also elevate a few workers here and there above other fellow workers (think of the foreman in a Virginia shipyard or a taskmaster in an office producing signals intelligence software). These elevated few are given a tad more money in exchange for keeping the majority of the workers in line.

Replacing workers with machines and automating jobs keeps the workforce desperate. With so many people unemployed and underemployed, capitalist rulers get to pick the most passive laborers for war industry jobs, the ones who will keep their heads down and not raise a fuss about the relative pittance they’re paid. Purchasing the necessities of life (e.g. food, exorbitant healthcare, sky-high rent, utilities) requires that workers continue to sell their labor (the products of which maim and kill the working class in other countries) through which the ruling class becomes fantastically wealthy.

Academia

Education in the United States exists within narrow confines. The working class educated in elementary and secondary schools are not given the opportunity to learn about capitalism, let alone the horrific nature and devastating effects of the U.S. war industry. They are not taught about how the interests of the ruling class (including the Pentagon’s leadership, industry executives, Wall Street financiers, and Congress) clash head-on with the interests of the working class. An uneducated population will not mobilize effectively against its oppressors. This atmosphere of ignorance greatly benefits the MIC.

The war industry and the Pentagon fund extensive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives across the U.S. and in allied countries. By attracting students into STEM careers, the war industry and the Pentagon prepare and safeguard their future. Industry promotion of STEM lays the groundwork for future design, engineering, and production capacity, while the Pentagon promotes STEM in order to foster a technologically literate workforce and future generations of enlisted troops who are capable enough to operate the war industry’s products. STEM efforts are comprehensive, covering a wide geographical area and all ages, from elementary through university.

Many universities in the United States are part of the U.S. war industry. The role of these academic institutions is threefold: research and develop technology, serve as a holding station (e.g. Harvard’s Belfer Center) for MIC elites before they rotate into government or corporate suites, and accept philanthropy from war profiteers thereby whitewashing capitalist brutality. The main academic participants in the war industry include but are not limited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of Dayton, and Georgia Tech.

The U.S. government runs many research labs pursuing military and intelligence R&D. The Army Research Lab and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity are located in Maryland. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research are in Arlington, Virginia. The Air Force Research Lab is run out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, northeast of Dayton, Ohio, with branches in New Mexico and upstate New York. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research & Development Center is in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Most work in and for these labs is carried out by corporations and academic institutions, not uniformed military personnel.

report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in September 2020 detailed, “DOD does not know how contractors’ independent R&D projects fit into the department’s technology goals.”


“Brain drain” happens when industry herds intelligent people toward purposes of war, like when a graduate of an engineering school goes to work for a war corporation instead of a municipality. Humanity thus loses skilled human beings as a result. Brain drain is a great tragedy, and the war industry’s biggest success. In Boston, the U.S. Air Force alone funds ninety different research projects, according to the Air Force Secretary. And that’s just the publicly declared actions of one branch of the military in one city.

Lockheed Martin alone employs nearly 50,000 scientists and engineers, according to its CEO in her presentation to the Society of Women Engineers. Imagine if these minds were working on problems and projects for the betterment of humanity and the planet, instead of devising more ingenious ways to surveil or murder. Imagine the possibilities.

Effective science is based on free, open discussion. Military funding and stipulations (compartmentation, shoehorned focus, classification, near-term deadlines, stove-piped fields) oppose free, open discussion. Breakthroughs benefitting humanity rarely happen when people are tied to military-industry funding priorities, schedules, and narrow cognitive confines. Military and industry shun and condemn the polymath, the free thinker, and the uninhibited tinkerer. Military and industry embrace and fund the careerist, the complicit academic, the rigid functionary, the greedy corporatist, and the aspiring bureaucrat. Military-industry science may possess strong minds, but it does not often make the scientific breakthroughs society needs.

Influence

Strategy involves establishing priorities, making choices, and then matching available resources to goals, means to ends. Capitalists running the war industry utilize a five-step strategy to capture government:

  • Pull retiring military officers into war corporations
  • Stack the deck by placing ex-industry officials in the Pentagon’s leadership
  • Finance congressional campaigns
  • Lobby creatively and expansively
  • Fund think tanks & corporate media

War corporations recruit retired high-ranking military officers. War corporations use these eager retirees to open doors, influence policy, and increase sales. Generals and admirals retire from the U.S. Armed Forces and then join war corporations where they set to work converting their knowledge (about the acquisition process, senior military and civilian leaders, long-term military policy, and how the Pentagon works) and connections into profit.

Corporate jobs for these retired officers include manager, vice president, lobbyist, consultant, and director. Only a small number of 3- and 4-star officers declines this systemic corruption. War corporations have plenty to pull from, as there are more generals and admirals in uniform today in 2021 than there were at the end of World War II. Mere issuance of a bulletin announcing the hiring of a former high-ranking general or admiral often leads to a boost in stock price.

U.S. military officers benefit professionally and financially from implementing MIC aggression. There is no downside for high-ranking officers who support nonstop war. They’ll soon retire with full benefits, and likely go work for a war corporation. Officers who make it to the highest military ranks are very good at conforming to the system.

These officers support nonstop wars of choice and broad military deployments, and defer to pro-war pretexts and jargon coming from industry think tanks and pressure groups. They judge military activity in terms of numbers (dollars spent, weapons purchased, bases active, troops deployed) instead of clear soldierly goals.

Many officers are unable or unwilling to distinguish between the needs of a war corporation and the needs of a professional uniformed military. These U.S. military officers don’t see war corporations; they see a total force in which military and industry work together. An officer who dissents in a forceful manner risks their career. As the MIC crafts pretexts to justify its own existence and expansion, officers who go against the system from the inside are isolated, shed, or spit out.

Reality is difficult to stomach: There is an absolute dearth of class consciousness and moral courage within the Pentagon. The upper ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces are rife with a caliber of officer predisposed to seek out profit and reward upon retirement.


Executives move smoothly from corporations to the Pentagon, particularly the sundry civilian offices (secretary, deputy secretary, and assistant deputy secretary). These men and women who run the Pentagon have been raised in an environment of profiteering; they are steeped in corporate thought; their allegiance is to corporate success. They bring with them their industry contacts and an exploitative ideology. They turn to corporate products when presented with a military problem. They benefit professionally and financially.

Industry executives, the most rapacious of the capitalist class, enter “public service” and influence programs and policies. This invariably boosts the profits of former industry employers, who, thenceforth, capture and direct more of the U.S. military establishment. (Such actions, profit invested to make more profit, is money functioning as capital.)

Giant corporations finance the campaigns of people running for congressional office. Those people, once in office, help out the corporations. Washington is so corrupt that they’ve basically legalized this process — they’ve legalized bribery. In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that limits on election spending are unconstitutional; in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court distorted the First Amendment’s free speech clause, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political contributions; and in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014), the Supreme Court got rid of limits on the total number of political contributions one can give over a two-year period.

We are told that the Supreme Court defends liberty and provides a check against the executive and legislative branches, however, the function of the Court, as its rulings demonstrate, is to abet corporate authority and financial interest in line with what the Executive and Legislative branches pursue.

The war industry targets both houses of Congress, particularly elected officials on relevant committees (Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence, Foreign Relations). The war industry finances many political action committees, or PACs. These are tax-exempt organizations that aggregate donations to fund political campaigns or influence federal elections. Super PACs (a.k.a. independent expenditure-only committees) allow unlimited contributions. Funding congressional campaigns directly impacts the way U.S. elected officials vote.

Politicians and their war industry bosses are proficient at claiming the “defense” industry creates jobs. Take caution when a war corporation throws the word “jobs” around. Many of these jobs are part-time, temporary, or menial (e.g. painter, welder, roustabout), parsed out to an increasingly desperate workforce. Some are construction jobs that vanish in a year or so. Working-class jobs in the war industry are often in difficult conditions.


Industry jobs that pay very well typically require advanced degrees, which the majority of the population does not have. Furthermore, some jobs are non-U.S. jobs (e.g. microchips manufactured overseas). Other jobs are induced (e.g. the mom making less-than-minimum wage on a ridesharing app driving an industry executive from work to a pub, or the waiter at a St. Louis restaurant where a missile engineer dines). Industry inflates job tallies. The goal is to confine the congressional side of the MIC, which cites the inflated jobs numbers and goes along for the ride.

The claim that the “defense” industry brings jobs is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth: Spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on the military.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability coming from Washington: Capitol Hill is largely content letting Corporate America police itself. Readers are likely familiar with cases where corporations get to inspect their own product (e.g. the airline industry, the pork industry) instead of external government inspectors doing the job.

Corporations policing corporations is rampant in the war industry, like when the advertising agency GSD&M measures the effectiveness of its own efforts at recruiting working class youth into the military. Sometimes one corporation polices part of industry, like when Calibre Systems conducts “cost and economic analysis of major weapons system programs and associated acquisition/financial management policies and procedures.”

The claim that the “defense” industry brings jobs is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth: Spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on the military.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability coming from Washington: Capitol Hill is largely content letting Corporate America police itself. Readers are likely familiar with cases where corporations get to inspect their own product (e.g. the airline industry, the pork industry) instead of external government inspectors doing the job.

Corporations policing corporations is rampant in the war industry, like when the advertising agency GSD&M measures the effectiveness of its own efforts at recruiting working class youth into the military. Sometimes one corporation polices part of industry, like when Calibre Systems conducts “cost and economic analysis of major weapons system programs and associated acquisition/financial management policies and procedures.”


Second in a five-part series by the author. Part 3 on Friday: ‘Bribery and Propaganda’

Christian Sorensen is an independent journalist mainly focused on war profiteering within the military-industrial complex. An Air Force veteran, he is the author of the recently published book, Understanding the War Industry. He is also a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of independent veteran military and national security experts. His work is available at War Industry Muster

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Education, employment, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canadian government hand in glove with the nuclear lobby for a ”NICE” nuclear future

Canada pegs its energy future on nuclear power, but not everyone’s buying it,  Canada’s National Observer, By Charles Mandel  May 12th 2021…………….. The development of SMRs in Canada isn’t just a matter of happy coincidence; the federal government has been lobbying hard on behalf of the industry since at least 2019. The Department of Natural Resources, for instance, is a member of the international initiative Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future, or as it’s better known, NICE. Besides Canada, members include Japan, the U.S. and a number of nuclear associations. The goal “is to ensure that nuclear energy receives appropriate representation in high-level discussions about clean energy.”


Freelance researcher Ken Rubin turned up a number of documents using freedom-of-information requests that showed the federal government is collaborating with NICE and others to promote nuclear power and SMRs. The federal government, for example, offered $150,000 for the development of a “Top 20 book of short stories” on “exciting near-term nuclear innovations” designed to showcase nuclear power as an environmental force for good. The book includes stories on the safe storage of nuclear waste as well as on the emerging SMR market.

According to the book, uses for the latter technology include “energy parks” providing heat for industrial processes, steam for heating and electricity for cooling homes, offices and shops, all without emissions. The story breathlessly declares: “This isn’t science fiction.”

No matter how hard the government lobbies the public for a NICE future, though, it’s going to remain a tough sell to Canadian environmentalists. While the environmentalists have nothing specific to fight yet, given that a viable SMR has yet to be built, they’ll be ready when the technology reaches development. Already, a who’s who of groups has signed a letter protesting the next thing in nuclear.

Theresa McClenaghan, CELA’s executive director and counsel, told Canada’s National Observer: “It’s not a climate answer for many reasons, including the fact it’s not realistic and it’s way too far down the road for us to meet any serious climate targets. We’ve characterized it as a dirty, dangerous distraction.”

Susan O’Donnell, a researcher and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick and a nuclear activist, says SMRs are too slow and costly as a climate crisis solution. “It’s important to remember that these technologies basically don’t exist yet,” she said. “They’re at a very early stage in development. They are speculative technologies. It will take at least a decade to get them off the drawing board and then it will take much longer than that to find out if they work.”

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Canada, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Breakthrough Institute comes apart – Michael Shellenger started new nuclear front propaganda group – Environmental Progress

The New Denial Is Delay at the Breakthrough Institute (Part 3)

The DisInformation Chronicle, 5 May 21,

This is Part Three of “The New Denial Is Delay at the Breakthrough Institute,” a three-part series examining the Breakthrough Institute and ecomodernism. In Part Two, we discussed their annual meetings to which they invite climate skeptics and Monsanto propagandists, the odd credentials for many of their affiliates, and their promotion of nuclear energy and GMO agriculture as techno-fixes to electrify and feed the world. To start at Part One, click here.

Months after the Breakthrough Institute released their 2015 ecomodernist manifesto, the declaration’s ideological binding started coming unglued. Breakthrough’s Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger met ridicule trying to sell the manifesto at a public event in England, and the duo later parted ways, as Shellenberger founded a new organization called Environmental Progress to publicize nuclear energy. The split has been somewhat acrimonious as both try to break from a past that neither seems capable of escaping.

The event in England focused on restoring science to environmentalism, and it was there that they planned to sell ecomodernism to British reporters. Conservative MP Owen Paterson, a climate denier who almost halved the UK’s climate preparedness budget when he was environmental secretary, hosted the media event. 

When announcing the press conference, Paterson called on the public to abandon the “relentless pessimism of the environmental movement” and warned in a Telegraph op-ed that “the Green Blob still infests the official bureaucracy with its influence.” Other conference panelists included Mark Lynas, a co-author of the the ecomodernist manifesto, and Matt Ridley, a British science writer noted for climate denial screeds

But after critics argued that the event provided a platform for climate denialists, DesmogBlog reported that Shellenberger dismissed those who warned the group not to participate in a press conference with Paterson.

Fuck you all, we’re going to go to the press conference,” Shellenberger said. “Owen will say his thing, we’re going to say our thing, if people can’t deal with it, fuck ‘em. I’m done with the tribalism on this.” 

Shellenberger’s cavalier attitude did not seem to impress the crowd, however, and many complained that Breakthrough had made the wrong decision by choosing to associate with climate denialists and anti-environmentalists

In a recent interview, Nordhaus explained this strategy as sort of a means to an end. “I’ve given talks to groups of climate skeptics, climate deniers—you know, real climate deniers,” he said. “You can have a variety of viewpoints on this question without having to put a tin foil hat on. And the thing is, you get to the end of those talks and if you go, ‘OK, so who supports nuclear energy?’ Everybody in the room supports nuclear energy.”

Neither Nordhaus nor Shellenberger responded to detailed questions sent by e-mail.

By late 2015, Shellenberger had left the Breakthrough Institute and started Environmental Progress. A photo at the organization’s website shows Shellenberger clad in a yellow t-shirt giving a Ted Talk. The summer after founding his group, Shellenberger partnered with employees of the nuclear energy industry to lead the March for Environmental Hope, which was billed as the “first-ever pro-nuclear march.” 

As part of their march, the group held protests outside the Bay area offices of Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and attendees included a half dozen Exelon employees, who flew in from jobs working at nuclear reactors scattered across the country. 

Months later, Shellenberger led a pro-nuclear march in Chicago that was said to be inspired by the Civil Rights March on Washington, the Stonewall Riots, and Gandhi’s Salt March. Counter protestors denounced Environmental Progress as “astroturf.” 

When not writing for the Environmental Progress website, Shellenberger sometimes has his views echoed on Spiked, a British website funded in part by the Koch Brothers that traffics in climate denial. He also runs a blog at Forbes where he ridicules climate policy while advocating for nuclear energy. In one example at Forbes, he cited studies by Ed Calabrese, a professor of toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as proof that fears of nuclear radiation are overblown. Shellenberger’s story picked up on a theme first introduced by the Breakthrough Institute where they interviewed Calabrese about his research.

As reported by The Los Angeles Times and HuffPost Investigations, Calabrese has long excited the tobacco, chemical, and nuclear industries with research called “hormesis” that argues tiny amounts of pollution and radiation are actually good for people. Public health experts have dismissed Calabrese’s hormesis studies as a type of religion, although Trump officials showed interest.

Shellenberger is a propagandist,” said Paul Dorfman, Founder and Chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group and Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University College London. Dorfman said that while some experts can make a case for nuclear energy that he disagrees with, Shellenberger is not one of them. 

“He’s not a scientist. He just comes up with stuff,” said Dorfman. Dismissing the hormesis theory as “quasi science” and “tosh,” Dorfman said there is no safe dose of radiation. “This is a fact. And all the regulatory bodies know this.” ………

To promote his recent book “Apocalypse Never,” Shellenberger added another piece to the canon of environmental apologist lit, with a post on his Forbes blog titled “On behalf of environmentalists, I apologize for the climate scare.” Forbes removed the blog shortly after, which Shellenberger decried as censorship. Nonetheless, Shellenberger references his blogging at Forbes to claim that he is a “leading environmental journalist.” 

But once again, reality diverges from the Shellenberger storyline.

Forbes has long been a breeding ground for industry messaging and corporate propaganda. Back in 1997, Forbes ran a takedown of EPA Administrator Carol Browner, warning the public that she was ignoring science to gain control over American lives. “Watch out for this woman,” read the scary headline splashed across the cover of Forbes magazine, “The EPA’s Carol Browner is exploiting health and the environment to build a power base.” 

The story’s co-author was Bonner R. Cohen, who also operated EPA Watch, a newsletter that Philip Morris described as an “asset” that they established to attack the EPA on second hand smoke. After EPA Watch disappeared, Cohen then joined various climate denial groups, including the Heartland Institute. ………

“We flood the American public with a tsunami of crap every day in the media,” said Gary Schwitzer, an adjunct professor at U of Minnesota School of Public Health, and Publisher of Health News Review. He said Forbes is particularly terrible because it hosts fringe contributors with undeclared industry ties, and who write dreck. This is harmful, Schwitzer said, because it distracts the public from real news: “That’s what really pisses me off.”

“In some ways, it’s just like a fabulous performance art piece that he’s doing right now,” Nordhaus told Drilled News of Shellenberger’s campaign to promote his latest book. “It’s like Andy Kaufman doing environmentalism in a way that environmentalists could sort of see how dogmatic it gets. How sort of shrill it gets, and how angry it gets. How kind of dark and conspiratorial it gets.”

Despite attempts to create space between themselves and Shellenberger, Breakthrough has also helped to prop him up. When both Shellenberger and Bjorn Lomborg published books last year, climate scientists rushed to condemn them. Writing in The Guardian, climate expert Bob Ward dismissed both books as “classic examples of political propaganda.” ………

Breakthrough’s troubling ties to climate denial continue to this day as a member of their board is Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute. Four years back, 19 Senators took to the Senate floor in a week-long event to denounce the Manhattan Institute and other fossil fuel-funded groups that deny climate science and stymie legislation. According to Exxon Secrets, the Manhattan Institute has received $1.39 million from Exxon since 1992, with $75,000 donated in 2018, the last year for which records are available.

…….. Breakthrough has other links to the fossil fuel industry, through the chair of their advisory board, the heiress Rachel Pritzker. Besides funding the Breakthrough Institute, the Pritzker Innovation Fund supports the Natural Gas Initiative at Stanford University. Other Natural Gas Initiative funders include Anadarko Petroleum, Gulf Energy, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute. 

………. “If there’s one thing these guys are good at, it is getting the media to move a story for them,” said Kert Davies of the Climate Investigations Center. Complimenting Breakthrough’s skills in public relations, Davies said that their counterintuitive “man bites dog” message gives Breakthrough an advantage over environmental organizations, which keep selling the same tired story.

“They are good at PR,” he said. “It’s where they came from. They’re good PR guys pretending to be policy experts.”https://disinformationchronicle.substack.com/p/the-new-denial-is-delay-at-the-breakthrough-c97

May 6, 2021 Posted by | spinbuster, UK, USA | Leave a comment