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Rare Pediatric Cancers Persist 63 Years After Nuclear Accident

Melissa Bumstead is one of those residents. She and her family live 3.7 miles from the Santa Susana site. When her toddler Grace was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2014, doctors told Bumstead there were no known links between her daughter’s cancer and environmental contamination.

But during Grace’s treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, her mother began meeting other parents who lived near her and had children facing equally rare cancers.

They plotted their homes on Google Maps and found that they all lived within roughly 10 miles of one another. It would take another year for them to realize that the SSFL site was at the center of the circle.

WebMD Cancer news, By Neil Osterweil, March 11, 2022 –– Chernobyl. Fukushima. Three Mile Island.

The world knows these names all too well because of accidents there: complete or partial meltdowns of nuclear reactors that released massive amounts of cancer-causing radiation into the air, soil, and water.

The Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) is far less well-known, but no less infamous for what took place at this former rocket engine and nuclear energy test site just 28 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

In July 1959, an accident involving one of 10 experimental nuclear reactors at the SSFL sitereleased a cloud of harmful radiation and toxic chemicals over the surrounding area, including Simi Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Chatsworth, and Canoga Park. The small reactor had no containment vessel.

This accident resulted in a release of radioactive iodine estimated to be as much as 250 times that of the partial meltdown that would occur 2 decades later at Three Mile Island, a much larger commercial reactor that had a containment vessel.

Six decades later, hundreds of potentially carcinogenic chemicals remain in the surrounding environment. And local children are being diagnosed with rare cancers at a rate that far outpaces what experts would predict.

Decades-Long Cover-Up

In 1959, the public knew nothing about what had happened at the site.

According to John Pace, then an employee at SSFL, the accident was covered up. Pace recounted the cover-up in the documentary In the Dark of the Valley, which first aired in November 2021 on MSNBC.

In fact, the accident at SSFL remained under wraps for 2 decades, according to Daniel Hirsch, former director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and now president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy nongovernmental organization.

“Students working with me while I was teaching at UCLA in 1979 uncovered these Atomic Energy Commission reports from Atomics International,” he said in an interview. “We had to order the documents from the annex to the UCLA Engineering Library. They were stored offsite, and it took a few days, and when we got them, we opened them up, and there were these fold-out photographs of the fuel [rods]. As we folded out the photographs further, we saw one photo with an arrow labeled ‘longitudinal cracks,’ and then other arrows showing other kinds of cracks, and then another arrow labeled ‘melted blob.’”

Hirsch and his students found that other accidents had occurred at SSFL, including a fuel fabrication system that leached plutonium, fires in a “hot” lab where irradiated nuclear fuel from around the United States was handled, and open-air burn pits where radioactive and toxic chemical wastes were illegally torched.

According to the Committee to Bridge the Gap, when the 2,800-acre SSFL site was being developed under the name Rocketdyne by aircraft maker North American Aviation, the area was sparsely populated, with nearly as many grazing animals as people in its hills and valleys.

North American Aviation later became part of Rockwell International, which in turn sold its aerospace and defense business units to the Boeing Company in 1996. Boeing, now in charge of the site and the cleanup efforts, is doing everything in its power to shirk or diminish its responsibility, Hirsch and other critics say.

Parents Against SSFL

Today, more than 150,000 people live within 5 miles of SSFL, and more than half a million live within 10 miles.

Continue reading

June 6, 2022 Posted by | environment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Joe Biden’s huge move against Russia: ‘This is how nuclear war begins’

Yahoo News Australia and agencies, Thu, 2 June 2022

The US overnight has unveiled a new US$700 million package ($975 million) of sophisticated weapons for Ukraine in an urgent effort to prevent Russia from seizing the final swaths of land in the Donbas region.

But the most advanced rocket systems will take at least three weeks to reach the battlefront, raising questions of whether they will arrive in time to stop Russia’s slow but steady gains as the war inches closer to global catastrophe.

The Biden administration’s decision to send four medium-range rocket systems came after weeks of debate over whether the precision-guided weapons would provoke a strong military reaction from Russian President Vladimir Putin. It suggests the US believes it has zeroed in on what weapons deliveries are worth the risk…….

“The Ukrainians have given us assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday (local time).

“There is a strong trust bond between Ukraine and the United States.”

Nuclear war beings ‘one step at a time’

But not everyone has such faith in the latest decision by the US.  

“The Ukrainians have given us assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday (local time).

“There is a strong trust bond between Ukraine and the United States.” 

“This is a textbook example of how a nuclear war begins. One step at a time,” tweeted popular author Jim Rickards on Wednesday.

The Kremlin is also making threatening noises about the move.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday the US is “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire.” He added that Russia doesn’t trust 

Kyiv’s assurances that the multiple rocket launch systems supplied by the US will not be used to attack.

“In order to trust (someone), you need to have experience with situations when such promises were kept. Regretfully, there is no such experience whatsoever,” Peskov said.,……………….

The Pentagon would not say how many rockets it will provide to Ukraine, only that it is sending four of the truck-mounted HIMARS systems. The trucks each carry a container with six precision-guided rockets, which can travel about 70 kilometres……………… https://au.news.yahoo.com/joe-bidens-huge-move-against-russia-nuclear-war-223931012.html

June 4, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

U.S. government must increase the cleanup of Hanford’s very toxic nuclear wastes

In a worst case scenario, cleanup of Hanford might not be completed for another 150 years, or possibly never, Inslee wrote. He pointed out that Hanford’s older single-walled storage tanks are between 58 and 78 years old, which exceeds their designed lifespan of 20 to 30 years. At least two of those tanks are known to be leaking radioactive and other hazardous waste into the ground.

Inslee: Feds need to increase nuclear waste cleanup funds. https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/business/national-business/article262083272.html    By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS and TED WARREN Associated Press June 03, 2022  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has recently criticized the slow pace of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, toured the former nuclear weapons production site on Thursday and said more federal money is needed to finish the job. Hanford created more than two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium for nuclear weapons, including the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of World War II. Left behind was the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation. Inslee wants the Biden administration to request $3.76 billion for Hanford cleanup in fiscal 2024, up from its current request of $2.52 billion for fiscal 2023. The $3.76 billion would help meet legal obligations, including court-ordered cleanup deadlines.

“We need the federal government to step up to the plate and do it’s job,” Inslee said Thursday. “This is an environmental justice issue.” Much of the waste is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, some of which are leaking.

The 580-square mile (1,500 square kilometer) Hanford site is located near Richland in southcentral Washington state. In a May letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget at the Biden White House, Inslee wrote that Hanford budgets need to be far higher to avoid disaster, meet legal obligations and prevent the cleanup from continuing until as late as 2178, if not longer. “As the earliest possible date for cleanup continues to extend farther into the future, the harms to the surrounding communities and the danger of catastrophic impacts to the Pacific Northwest are occurring right now,” Inslee, a Democrat, said in the May 23 letter to OMB Director Shalanda Young.

In a worst case scenario, cleanup of Hanford might not be completed for another 150 years, or possibly never, Inslee wrote. He pointed out that Hanford’s older single-walled storage tanks are between 58 and 78 years old, which exceeds their designed lifespan of 20 to 30 years. At least two of those tanks are known to be leaking radioactive and other hazardous waste into the ground.

In addition. a tunnel storing highly contaminated equipment partially collapsed five years ago, and the collapse of a second waste storage tunnel was averted at great expense two years later, he wrote. “If the idea of investing in the cleanup today is unpalatable, consider this — whether calamity comes in the form of a release of radiation, groundwater contamination reaching the Columbia River, harmful exposures to workers at the site, or something else, the bill will eventually come due,” Inslee wrote. Relying on DOE data, Inslee said that even if cleanup is sufficiently funded every year, the earliest cleanup would be completed is 2064, but it could stretch to 2178 or later, if it ever is completed.

Each year that Hanford is underfunded adds 18 months to three years to the cleanup timeline as taxpayer dollars end up being spent on maintaining aging facilities and responding to emergency infrastructure failures, he said. “The slower this pace goes, the more it’s going to cost the American taxpayers,” Inslee said Thursday.

In a Senate subcommittee hearing in May, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended the administration’s latest budget request for Hanford, telling Washington’s Democratic Sen. Patty Murray it had to balance cleanup needs at all DOE sites. About a third of the nation’s defense-related environmental cleanup money goes to Hanford. ___ Geranios reported from Spokane, Washington.

June 4, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The Next Crapshot Reactor Explosion Will Dwarf the Next Psychotic School Shooting

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

https://buzzflash.com/articles/harvey-wasserman-for-buzzflash-the-next-crapshot-reactor-explosion-will-dwarf-the-next-psychotic-school-shooting May 31, 2022, By Harvey Wasserman
The next explosion at an atomic reactor will dwarf the latest school shooting 

There’s a clear GOP stamp on this week’s mass slaughter of our beautiful school children and their teachers—-AND on the next. 

Likewise the next nuke irradiation of countless downwind humans already has its horde of unrepentant enablers

To put it in the plainest possible terms:  those now advocating continued operation of our increasingly dangerous, decrepit atomic fleet are personally responsible for upcoming explosion(s) at the individual reactors they refuse to evaluate. 

And we can be sure that the blame dodging we’re now seeing in Texas will pale before the crocodile tears that will come with the next avoidable apocalypse. 

So let’s be clear:  

X  No private insurance company will fully insure any US atomic reactor. https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/nuclear-insurance.html

X  Under federal law, your homeowner’s policy bars meaningful owner/operator liability for any melt-down’s fatal fallout.

The limited federal liability fund for an apocalyptic reactor disaster represents a minuscule fraction of the likely damage.

X  Just 45 miles from the San Andreas, California’s two Diablo reactors are surrounded by a dozen earthquake faults.

X  Dr. Michael Peck, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Diablo site inspector, demanded it shut for seismic dangers.

X  The NRC purged Dr. Peck and trashed his warnings.

X  Seismic shocks have already damaged Ohio’s Perry reactor and Virginia’s North Anna.

X  Critical concrete is crumbling at New Hampshire’s Seabrook and Ohio’s Davis-Besse.

X  Critical components at the South Texas Nuclear Plant recently froze.

X  Vital core metals at Diablo are dangerously embrittled, cracked and decayed.

X  Diablo’s owner-operator, PG&E, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges involving the avoidable deaths of nearly 100 people.

X  Perry and Davis-Besse’s owners are linked to a $61 million legislative bribe meant to buy a $1 billion bail-out.

Like laws allowing psychopaths to buy assault weapons, nuclear non-regulation makes major catastrophes virtually certain.

All reactors regularly emit radiation, carbon, heat.  

All can be replaced by renewables that are cheaper, cleaner, safer, more job-producing, quicker to deploy, free of radioactive wastes.  

Nearly 800,000 Americans now work in wind, solar, batteries and/or efficiency.  

Some 70,000 Californians now work in solar and wind, more than all Americans who mine coal.  Just 1500 work at Diablo.  

As with those who defend gun sales to mass murderers, reactor promoters can’t personally cover the unconscionable risks they so glibly demand we all take.  

Come the next melt-down, their Texas-style moments of “silence and prayer” will reek of predictable hypocrisy.

As assault weapons must be banned, so these reactors must be shut.

In both cases, the ultimate gamble is being imposed by irresponsible crapshooters who can never pick up the pieces, cry as they might when their snake eyes bite the rest of us.

Harvey Wasserman’s THE PEOPLE’S SPIRAL OF US HISTORY narrates the atomic delusion (www.solartopia.org).  Most Mondays at 5pm ET he co-convenes the Green Grassroots Election Protection Zoom (www.electionprotection2024.org) 

June 2, 2022 Posted by | safety, USA | 1 Comment

DHS ‘concerned’ over Nazis returning to US after fighting in Ukraine. Why isn’t the media?

The GrayZone , ALEXANDER RUBINSTEIN·, MAY 31, 2022

US corporate media has provided glowing coverage to Paul Gray, a notorious American white nationalist fighting in Ukraine. A DHS document warns he’s not the only US fascist drawn to Kiev.

As the United States undergoes a national mourning process over a spate of mass shootings, American white nationalists with documented histories of violence are attaining combat experience with advanced US-made weapons in a foreign proxy war.

That’s according to the Department of Homeland Security, which has been gathering intelligence on Americans who have joined the ranks of the more than 20,000 foreign volunteers in Ukraine.

The FBI has indicted several American white nationalists associated with the Rise Above Movement after they trained with the neo-Nazi Azov Battaliion and its civilian wing, the National Corps, in Kiev. But that was almost four years ago. Today, federal law enforcement has no idea how many US neo-Nazis are participating in the war in Ukraine, or what they are doing there. 

But one thing is for certain: the Biden administration is allowing the Ukrainian government to recruit Americans – including violent extremists – at its embassy in Washington DC and at consulates across the country. As this report will show, at least one notorious extremist fighting in Ukraine has received extensive promotion from mainstream media, while another who is currently wanted for violent crimes committed in the US was mysteriously able to evade FBI investigators looking into war crimes he previously committed in Eastern Ukraine.

According to a Customs and Border Patrol document released thanks to a May 2022 Freedom of Information Act request by a nonprofit called Property of the People, federal authorities are concerned about RMVE-WS’s, or “racially-motivated violent extremists – white supremacy” returning to the US armed with new tactics learned on the Ukrainian battlefield.

“Ukrainian nationalist groups including the Azov Movement are actively recruiting racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist white supremacists to join various neo-Nazi volunteer battalions in the war against Russia,” the document states. “RMVE-WS individuals in the United States and Europe announced intentions to join the conflict and are organizing entry to Ukraine via the Polish border.”

The document, which was drafted by Customs and Border Protections, the Office of Intelligence, and other Homeland Security sub-agencies, contains write-ups of interviews conducted by law enforcement with Americans en route to Ukraine to fight Russia………….

 as this report will illustrate, the presence of hardcore American neo-Nazis in the ranks of the Ukrainian military is far from a deception cranked out by the Kremlin’s propaganda mills.

From fascist street brawler to volunteer fighter in US-backed unit

Among the most prominent American white nationalists currently serving in the ranks of the Ukrainian military is Paul Gray. The US military veteran has spent almost two months fighting among the Georgian National Legion, a Ukrainian military outfit that has been celebrated by US lawmakers and has committed multiple war crimes……………………..

 He is the real deal: a former member of several bonafide fascist groups including the now-defunct Traditionalist Workers Party, American Vanguard, Atomwaffen Division, and Patriot Front.

……………

 This January while in Ukraine, he joined the Georgian National Legion, an outfit led by a notorious warlord who has enjoyed friendly visits with high profile members of US Congress while boasting of authorizing gruesome war crimes in Ukraine. 

In fact, Gray is among at least 30 Americans currently fighting with the Georgian National Legion. The unit is therefore at the heart of the ratline channeling US weapons and fascist foreign militants into the Ukrainian military, while Congress and American corporate media cheer it on. 

Indeed, Fox News has featured Gray no less than six times, painting him as a heroic GI Joe sacrificing himself to defend democracy. Fox did not inform its viewers of Gray’s identity until his most recent appearance, obscuring his record of neo-Nazism from its viewers. 

………………………………….. Gray has also been associated with the Traditionalist Workers Party, a lead organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, as well as with Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization whose members have trained with Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, and which was designated as an illegal terrorist organization by the United Kingdom and Canada. …………………………………

During the first four of Gray’s appearances on Fox News, his name was not disclosed. However, two local media reports identified the Fox favorite by his full name during the same period. None of the reports mentioned his close association with neo-Nazis.

………………………. Gray now joins a growing list of Georgian Legion veterans with extremist backgrounds. The roster includes Joachim Furholm, a Norwegian fascist activist who was briefly imprisoned after attempting to rob a bank in his native country.

After signing up for the Georgian Legion, Furholm made several attempts to recruit American neo-Nazis into the ranks of the Azov Battallion, which had set up housing for him near Kiev as well as “training facilities for foreign volunteers he attempted to recruit.” 

“It’s like a Petri dish for fascism. It’s the perfect conditions,” Furholm said of Ukraine in a podcast interview. Referring to Azov, he stated that “they do have serious intentions of helping the rest of Europe in retaking our rightful lands.” 

………………………….. There is one Georgian Legion veteran whose violent exploits made him more notorious than even Furholm. He is an American military veteran named Craig Lang……………

 Lang continued to cycle in and out of prison before gravitating to Ukraine, where he linked up with fellow Army veteran Alex Zwiefelhofere. Both men joined the ultra-nationalist Right Sector organization in 2015, while Lang reportedly recruited dozens of fighters from the West.

…………………………….. While on the front lines in 2017, Lang and sixth other Americans fell under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI, as they were believed to have “committed or participated in torture, cruel or inhuman treatment or murder of persons who did not take (or stopped taking) an active part in hostilities and (or) intentionally inflicted grievous bodily harm on them.”

Leaked documents from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division of the Office of International Affairs claim Lang and the other suspects “allegedly took noncombatants as prisoners, beat them with their fists, kicked them, clobbered them with a sock filled with stones, and held them underwater.” Lang, who is said to be the “main instigator” of the torture, “may have even killed some of them before burying their bodies in unmarked graves.”

………………………………………………………………………………. Discovered by this reporter, Lang’s Twitter account offers a strong hint that he belongs to Right Sector, the former street gang now incorporated into the Ukrainian military. This was the same unit Lang belonged to when he allegedly tortured a woman to death.

While previously a hot topic, the shocking saga of Craig Lang conveniently disappeared from the media’s radar following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. Politico’s May 24th report contained his first mainstream media mention in months, with his name buried deep in the article.

Paul Gray, for his part, continues to receive glowing media coverage despite the exposure of his ties to neo-Nazi organizations. Meanwhile, the thirty Americans allegedly fighting by his side remain unidentified. 

As the Department of Homeland Security has privately acknowledged, extremists like Gray and his compatriots are likely to return to the home front before long, bringing along a wealth of combat tactics and new connections with an international network of fascist militants and war criminals. What happens then is anyone’s guess. https://thegrayzone.com/2022/05/31/american-neo-nazi-ukraine-hero-corporate-media/

June 2, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

As Elon Musk’s SpaceX Grows, So Do Complaints From Environmentalists, Indigenous Groups and Brownsville Residents

Elon Musk’s private space company has evolved into a sprawling industrial complex. But concerns are increasing about beach closures, noise and potential harm to threatened species.

Inside Climate News, By Aman Azhar, May 23, 2022

“They told us that SpaceX was testing a rocket engine and access to the beach was restricted for safety reasons,” Mancias said.

“I asked them to let us go to the beach,” he said, “and even quoted the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to get access because it was a sacred day for us.” The officers, however, still wouldn’t let them through. 

Tired of blocked access to the only public beach in the area, the Comecrudo Tribe, along with two local environmental groups, have filed suit against the county, the Texas General Land Office, and its Commissioner George P. Bush over the road closures during SpaceX operations. Restricting access to a public beach violates the Texas Constitution, the coalition of plaintiffs said, in announcing the legal action……………. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23052022/spacex-elon-musk-brownsville-boca-chica/

June 2, 2022 Posted by | environment, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Palisades atomic reactor’s shutdown for good, leaving high risk radioactive wastes

No More Risk of Reactor Core Meltdown, No More Radioactive Waste Generation, but Significant Waste and Contamination Risks Continue

Beyond Nuclear, Kevin Kamps, COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI and TAKOMA PARK, MD, MAY 21, 2022–“We are thankful that Palisades shut down before it melted down. The 51-year old atomic reactor has the worst embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the U.S., which was at increasing risk of catastrophic failure due to pressurized thermal shock. To accommodate Palisades’ operation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) simply weakened and rolled back the safety standards, multiple times over decades. Palisades also has a severely degraded reactor lid, and worn out steam generators that needed replacement for the second time in the reactor’s history. All three were major pathways to core meltdown, which an NRC commissioned report, CRAC-2 (short for Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences, also known as the 1982 Sandia Siting Study or as NUREG/CR-2239) estimated would have caused a thousand peak early fatalities (acute radiation poisoning deaths), 7,000 peak early radiation injuries, 10,000 peak cancer deaths (latent cancer fatalities), and $52.6 billion in property damage. When adjusted for inflation alone, property damages would have surmounted $150 billion in Year 2021 dollar figures.  

And as Associated Press investigative reporter Jeff Donn wrote in his four-part series “Aging Nukes,” shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began in Japan in 2011, populations have soared around U.S. atomic reactors, so casualties would now be even higher. Donn cited reactor pressure vessel embrittlement and pressurized thermal shock risk as the top example of NRC regulatory retreat. Thank goodness no such nuclear nightmare unfolded at Palisades during its operations, but Consumers Energy (from 1971 to 2007) and Entergy (from 2007 to 2022) were willing to take those risks on the shoreline of the Great Lakes, drinking water supply for more than 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a very large number of Native American First Nations downstream and downwind, as well as up the food chain. Now, by definition, once the irradiated nuclear fuel is removed from the core, a reactor meltdown cannot happen at Palisades.

But the likely more than 700 metric tons of forever deadly irradiated (euphemistically called spent or used) nuclear fuel, containing more than 1,800 pressurized water reactor assemblies, and comprising more than 150 million curies of hazardous radioactivity, still represent a very significant risk. The vast majority is still stored in the indoor wet storage pool, at risk of a loss of cooling water leading to a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment. While transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel into dry cask storage represents an increase in safety, it involves the movement of very heavy loads over the pool, and must be done very carefully. In October 2005, a 107-ton transfer cask containing irradiated nuclear fuel dangerously dangled over the pool for two days, and was nearly dropped from its crane by operator error. Had that happened, the ensuing pool fire could have dwarfed even CRAC-II’s casualties and property damage figures cited above, as Palisades’ pool is not even located in a radiological containment structure. Recently, in its careless rush job to empty a storage pool, Holtec, which plans to takeover at Palisades by the end of June, with NRC’s complicit rubber-stamp, caused a radioactive water spill that doused and dosed a worker at its Oyster Creek, New Jersey decommissioning project. In 2018, Holtec’s flawed dry cask storage design at San Onofre, California nearly caused a 50-ton loaded canister to fall nearly 20-feet. For these and many other reasons, Beyond Nuclear, Don’t Waste Michigan, and Michigan Safe Energy Future have legally challenged Holtec’s takeover of Palisades. But the NRC has refused for 15 months to grant us our day in court. We do call for expedited transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel out of the vulnerable pool, but not into Holtec’s dubious and defective dry casks, but rather into safe and secure Hardened On-Site Storage, in order to protect health and environment for the decades the irradiated nuclear fuel will likely be stuck at Palisades with nowhere to go. But Palisades’ shutdown for good means no more high-level radioactive waste will be generated there, which is a very good thing.

Due to all the risks above, Governor Whitmer and Energy Secretary Granholm’s unwise last-second scheme to bail out Palisades with many hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, and keep it operating for nine more years, must be stopped. So too is Holtec CEO Krishna Singh’s bait and switch to construct and operate a so-called Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactor at the Palisades site an outrageous, high-risk non-starter.

It is now time to safeguard and secure the high-level radioactive waste stored on-site, to clean up the widespread radioactive contamination of the property before it further threatens Lake Michigan and adjacent groundwater aquifers, and to carry out a just transition for the workforce and host region, into the long overdue clean, safe, and affordable renewable and efficient energy system of the future.”e a so-called Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactor at the Palisades site an outrageous, high-risk non-starter.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Elon Musk’s satellites for the war in Ukraine

From CNGNN Italy, 29 May 22, Elon Musk, the richest man in the world whose wealth nearly doubled in the two pandemic years, offered $ 44 billion to buy Twitter, which he says would become “the platform for free speech across the country world“. Elon Musk owns SpaceX, an aerospace company based in California.

SpaceX makes rockets and satellites to build Starlink, a broadband Internet system that once is completed will cover the entire world. SpaceX has so far put 2,500 satellites into orbit with rockets carrying 50 satellites at a time and plans to place 42,000 Starlink satellites in low orbit occupying 80% of this space.

Starlink was presented as a commercial satellite system but has fundamental military applications. In fact, satellites in low orbit transmit signals at a much higher speed than those in geosynchronous orbit around the equator. The US Army and Air Force fund and test Starlink to use its military capabilities. For example, last March, the US Air Force reported that conventional and nuclear dual-capacity F-35A fighters had carried out data transmission using Start link satellites at speed 30 times faster than traditional connections.SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are already being used by the Ukrainian military to guide drones, artillery shells, and missiles into Russian positions. This is confirmed by General Dickinson, head of the US Space Command, who declared to the Senate that “Elon Musk’s Starlink demonstrates in Ukraine what the mega-constellations of satellites can do“. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is part of the group of ten largest commercial satellite operators collaborating with US Space Command at the Vandenberg military space base in California.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

”Commercial” nuclear power in space? – it’s all about weapons and war.

US military wants to demonstrate new nuclear power systems in space by 2027,By Elizabeth Howell , Space.com , 29 May 22,

That’s just one year after DARPA plans to test out its own nuclear power prototypes.Add the Defense Innovation Unit to a growing list of U.S. government organizations furthering their work in nuclear power in pace.

The organization, which seeks to get the military ready to use emergent commercial products, announced two prototype contracts on May 17 “to demonstrate the next generation of nuclear propulsion and power capability for spacecraft.” The ultimate aim is an orbital flight demonstration in 2027, DIU officials said in a statement(opens in new tab)

The contracts went to two companies, Ultra Safe Nuclear and Avalanche Energy,  to demonstrate nuclear propulsion and power capabilities for small spacecraft that would operate in cislunar (Earth-moon) space. (The values of the contracts were not disclosed in the release.)

It’s part of the U.S. military’s pressing focus on cislunar activities to keep an eye on commercial and government activities that will ramp up there in the coming decades, including the international NASA-led Artemis program that seeks to put people on the moon in the 2020s…………………………   https://www.space.com/nuclear-power-propulsion-space-defense-innovation-unit-contracts

May 30, 2022 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S – UK row over purchases of nuclear submarine equipment

US officials have threatened to limit defence cooperation with Britain in
a row about the takeover of a supplier of secret tech to nuclear
submarines. Intelligence sources said that Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business
Secretary, will jeopardise future partnerships between the two countries if
he blocks the £2.6bn sale of Ultra Electronics to Boston-based private
equity business Advent International.

They accused Mr Kwarteng of unfairly
discriminating against US companies after he ordered a national security
investigation into the takeover of Ultra, which makes military
communications equipment including highly classified kit for Trident
nuclear submarines.

 Telegraph 27th May 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/27/us-threatens-limit-intelligence-cooperation-row-britains-secret/

May 30, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Col. Richard Black — U.S. Leading World to Nuclear War

Video: Col. Richard Black — U.S. Leading World to Nuclear War, The International Schiller Institute,  27 May 22,   Mike Billington with Executive Intelligence Review interviews Col. Richard Black (ret.). 

(Ed. First a lengthy discussion on ColBlack’s military background, and his analysis of the history of the First  –war in Syria)

”……………………… BLACK:   ……  the United States has a strategic policy of using proxies to engage in war. ………

  a highly secretive CIA special activities center—these are kind of the James Bond guys of the Central Intelligence Agency, total Machiavellian; they will do anything, there’s no it’s no holds barred with these guys.

…………throughout you see this Machiavellian approach, where we use unlimited force and violence. And at the same time, we control the global media, to where we erase all discussions of what’s truly happening. So, to the man or the woman in the street, they think things are fine. Everything is being done for altruistic reasons, but it’s not……………………

BILLINGTON: Part of your military service was as a JAG officer, and for a period of time, you were the Army’s head of the criminal law division at the Pentagon. And in that light, what do you see as of how these Caesar sanctions—how would you look at those from the perspective of international law and military law?

BLACK: Well, now, I was not the international law expert. I was the criminal law expert. But I would say that making war on a civilian population is a crime of grave significance in the law of war. 

…………………  When we fight these wars, we have no limits on the cruelty and the inhumanity that we’re prepared to impose on the people, making them suffer, so that somehow that will translate into overthrowing the government, and perhaps taking their oil, taking their resources.

BILLINGTON: Clearly, the policy against Russia today, by the current administration.

BLACK: Yes. Yes. You know, Russia is, perhaps more blessed with natural resources than any other nation on Earth. They are a major producer of grain, of oil, of aluminum, of fertilizers, of an immense number of things that tie into the whole global economy. And no doubt there are people who look at this and say, “if we could somehow break up Russia itself, there will be fortunes made, to where trillionaires will be made by the dozens.” And there’s some attraction to that. Certainly you’ve seen some of this taking place already, with foreign interests taking over Ukraine, and taking their vast resources. 

But, we began a drive towards Russia, almost immediately after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. The Soviet Union dissolved, the Warsaw Pact dissolved. And unfortunately, one of the great tragedies of history is that we failed to dissolve NATO. The sole purpose of NATO was to defend against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union no longer existed. NATO went toe toe with the Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was gone; it no longer existed. There was no purpose in NATO’s continuing to exist. However, we retained it, and it could not exist unless it had an enemy. Russia was desperate to become part of the West. 

BILLINGTON:  So, the U.S. and U.K. position on the war in Ukraine, just over these last few weeks has now become not only supporting the war, but victory at all costs. This has been declared by Defense Secretary Austin and others. And they are pumping in huge quantities of not only defensive but offensive military weaponry to the Kyiv regime. What do you see as the consequence of this policy?

BLACK: I think one thing that it will do is it will ensure that a tremendous number of innocent Ukrainian soldiers will die needlessly. A lot of Russian soldiers will die needlessly. These are kids. You know, kids go off to war. I went off to war as a kid. You think your country, right or wrong, everything they’re doing is fine. It just it breaks my heart, when I look at the faces of young Russian boys, who have been who have been gunned down—in some cases very criminally by Ukrainian forces. And likewise, I see Ukrainian young men, who are being slaughtered on the battlefield. 

We don’t care! The United States and NATO, we do not care how many Ukrainians die. Not civilians, not women, not children, not soldiers. We do not care. It’s become a great football game. You know, we’ve got our team. They’ve got their team, rah rah. We want to get the biggest score and run it up. And, you know, we don’t care how many how many of our players get crippled on the playing field, as long as we win. 

Now, we are shipping fantastic quantities of weapons, and it’s caused the stock of Raytheon, which creates missiles, and Northrop Grumman, which creates aircraft and missiles, all of these defense industries have become tremendously bloated with tax dollars. I don’t think it’s ultimately going to change the outcome. I think that Russia will prevail. The Ukrainians are in a very awkward strategic position in the East.  

But if you look at the way that this unfolded, President Putin made a desperate effort to stop the march towards war back in December of 2021. He went so far as to put specific written proposals on the table with NATO, peace proposals to defuse what was coming about. Because at this point, Ukraine was massing troops to attack the Donbas. And so, he was trying to head this off. He didn’t want war. And NATO just blew it off, just dismissed it; never took it seriously, never went into serious negotiations. 

At that point, Putin seeing that armed Ukrainians, with weapons to kill Russian troops were literally on their borders, decided he had to strike first. Now, you could see, that this was not this was not some preplanned attack. This was not like Hitler’s attack into Poland, where the standard rule of thumb, is that you always have a 3-to-1 advantage when you are the attacker. You have to mass three times as many tanks and artillery and planes and men, as the other side has. In fact, when Russia went in, they went in with what they had, what they could cobble together on short notice. And they were outnumbered by the Ukrainian forces. The Ukrainian forces had about 250,000. The Russians had perhaps 160,000. So instead of having three times as many, they actually had fewer troops than the Ukrainians. But they were forced to attack, to try to preempt the battle that was looming, where the Ukrainians had massed these forces against the Donbas.

Now, the Donbas is adjacent to Russia. It is a portion of Ukraine that did not join with the revolutionary government that conducted the coup in 2014 and overthrew the government of Ukraine. They refused to become a part of the new revolutionary government of Ukraine. And so they declared their independence. And Ukraine had massed this enormous army to attack against the Donbas. And so Russia was forced to go in to preempt that planned attack by Ukraine. And you could see that Russia very much hoped that they could conduct this special operation without unduly causing casualties for the Ukrainians, because they think of the Ukrainians, or at least they did think of the Ukrainians as brother Slavs; that they wanted to have good relations. But there is a famous picture with a Russian tank, that had been stopped by a gathering of maybe 40 civilians who just walked out in the road and blocked the road and the tank stopped. I can tell you, in Vietnam, if we had had a bunch of people who stood in the way of an American tank, going through, that tank would not have slowed down, in the slightest! It wouldn’t honk the horn, it wouldn’t have done anything; wouldn’t have fired a warning shot. It would have just gone on. And I think that’s more typical—I’m not I’m not criticizing the Americans. I was there and I was fighting, and I probably would have would have driven the tank straight through myself.

But what I’m saying is that the rules of engagement for the Russians were very, very cautious. They didn’t want to create a great deal of hatred and animosity. The Russians did not go in—they did not bomb the electrical system, the media systems, the water systems, the bridges and so forth. They tried to retain the infrastructure of Ukraine in good shape because they wanted it to get back. They just wanted this to be over with and get back to normal. It didn’t work. The Ukrainians, the resistance was unexpectedly hard. The Ukrainian soldiers fought with great, great valor, great heroism. And. And so now the game has been upped and it’s become much more serious.

But it is amazing to look and to see that Russia dominates the air. They haven’t knocked out the train systems. They haven’t knocked out power plants. They haven’t knocked out so many things. They’ve never bombed the buildings in the center of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine; they haven’t bombed the buildings where the parliament meets. They’ve been incredibly reserved about these things, hoping against hope that peace could be achieved. 

But I don’t think I don’t think Ukraine has anything to do with the decision about peace or war. I think the decision about peace or war is made in Washington, D.C. As long as we want the war to continue, we will fight that war, using Ukrainians as proxies, and we will fight it to the last Ukrainian death.

BILLINGTON: How do you project the potential of a war breaking out directly between the United States and Russia? And what would that be like?

…………………….   We need to recognize the risk of playing these games of chicken. Where, for example, the Turkish media just published an article saying that at Mariupol, where there was a great siege, that the Russians ultimately won. The one area they haven’t taken over is this tremendous steel plant. There are a lot of Ukrainian soldiers who are holed up there. And now it has come to light that apparently there are 50 French senior officers, who are trapped in that steel plant along with the Ukrainians. The French soldiers have been on the ground fighting, directing the battle. And this was kept under wraps, ultra-secret, because of the French elections that just occurred. Had the French people known that there were a large number of French officers trapped and probably going to die in that steel plant, the elections would have gone the other way: Marine Le Pen would have won. And so it was very important that for the entire deep state, that it not come to light that these French officers were there.

………………   And you can see we’re taking these very reckless actions, and each time we sort of up the ante—I happen to be a Republican—but we have two Republican U.S. senators who have said that, “well, we might just need to use nuclear weapons against Russia.” That is insane. I think it’s important that people begin to discuss what a thermonuclear war would mean. 

Now, we need to understand, we think, “oh, we’re big, and we’re bad, and we have all this stuff.” Russia is roughly comparable to the United States in nuclear power. They have hypersonic missiles, that we do not have. They can absolutely evade any timely detection, and they can fire missiles from Russia and reach San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City. 

And if you think about just Virginia, where I happen to live, if there were a nuclear war—and keep in mind, they also have a very large and effective fleet of nuclear submarines that lie off the coast of the United States. They have a great number of nuclear-tipped missiles, and they can evade any defenses we have. So just in Virginia, if you look at it, all of Northern Virginia would be essentially annihilated. There would hardly be any human life remaining in Loudoun County, Prince William County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria. The Pentagon lies in in Arlington County: The Pentagon would simply be a glowing mass of molten sand. There would be no human life there. And there would be no human life for many miles around it. Just across the Potomac, the nation’s capital, there would be no life remaining in the nation’s capital. The Capitol building would disappear forever. All of the monuments, all of these glorious things—nothing would remain. 

If you go to the coast of Virginia, you have the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, you have the Port of Norfolk. You have you have the greatest accumulation of naval power on the face of the Earth. This is where we park all of our aircraft carriers, our nuclear submarines, all of those things. There would be nothing remaining. There would be nothing remaining of any of those shipping industries there. 

And you can carry this on. You talk about New York City, probably New York City itself, not only would everybody be killed, but it would probably be impossible for people to inhabit New York City for hundreds of years afterwards. But not only would it cease to be a place of vibrant human life, but probably going out for maybe half a millennium, it would not recover any sort of civilization. 

We need to understand the gravity of what we’re doing. Perhaps if it were a matter of life and death for the United States, what happens in Ukraine, that would be one thing. Certainly when the Soviet Union put missiles in Cuba, that targeted the United States, that was worth taking the risk, because it was right on our border and it threatened us. And it was it was a battle worth fighting for and a risk worth taking. The Russians are in this in exactly the mirror image of that situation, because for them, the life of Russia depends on stopping NATO from advancing further right into Ukraine, right to their borders. They cannot afford not to fight this war. They cannot afford not to win this war. 

So I think, toying with this constant escalation in a war that, really, in a place that has no significance to Americans—Ukraine is meaningless to Americans; it has no impact on our day-to-day lives. And yet we’re playing this reckless game that risks the lives of all people in the United States and Western Europe for nothing! Just absolutely for nothing! …………………………………………………….. https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2022/04/26/video-col-richard-black-u-s-leading-world-to-nuclear-war/

May 28, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No credibility in the way that the Ukraine war is being reported – says Colonel Richard Black (ret)

Video: Col. Richard Black — U.S. Leading World to Nuclear War, The International Schiller Institute,  27 May 22,   Mike Billington with Executive Intelligence Review interviews Col. Richard Black (ret.). 

”…………………………..BILLINGTON: Many flag grade officers certainly understand the consequences that you just described in a rather hair-raising way. Why is it that, while there are some generals speaking out in Italy, in France, in Germany, warning that we are pursuing a course that could lead to nuclear war, why are there not such voices from flag grade officers—retired, perhaps—saying what you’re saying here today?

BLACK: You know, there’s been a tremendous deterioration in the quality of flag officers………. we now have “yes men.” These are not people whose principal devotion is to the United States and its people. Their principal devotion is to their careers and their ability to network with other military officers upon retirement. There’s a very strong network that can place military generals into think tanks, where they promote war, into organizations like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, and all of these defense operations, where they can get on boards and things like that. So there’s quite a personal price that you pay for saying, “Hey, stop. War is not in the interests of the American people.” If we had a better quality of individual, we would have people with the courage who would say, “I don’t care what it costs me personally.” But it is very difficult to get into the senior ranks, if you are an individual guided by principle, and patriotism, and devotion to the people of this nation. That’s just not how it works. And at some point, we need a President who will go in and shake the tree, and bring a lot of these people falling down from it, because they’re dangerous. They’re very dangerous to America.

……………….  Just like I asked what’s keeping the generals from speaking out, why, and what will it take, to get Americans to recognize that we can and must sit down with Russians, and with Chinese, and with all other nations and establish a true, just world based on the dignity of man and the right to development and security?

………. at this point, the media have been so totally censored and so biased that the American people really don’t have a perception of the need for anything of that sort. It’s going to be difficult. 

…………  The idea that somehow we have this enormously just cause, it doesn’t strike a great deal of the world that it is just, and much of the world does not accept the latest propaganda about war crimes: this thing about Bucha. That’s probably the most prominent of all the war crimes discussions. 

And what was Bucha? There was a film taken of a vehicle driving down the road in Bucha, which had been recaptured from the Russians. And every hundred feet or so there was some person with his hands, zip tied behind his back, and he’d been killed. It was not announced until four days after the Ukrainians had retaken Bucha. 

Now, we knew almost nothing about it. We actually didn’t even have proof that people had been killed. But assuming they had, we didn’t know where they had been killed. We did not know who they were. We did not know who killed them. We did not know why they were killed. No one could provide an adequate motive for the Russians to have killed them. The Russians held Bucha for a month. If they were going to kill them, why didn’t they kill them during that month? And if you’re going to slaughter a bunch of people, wouldn’t they all be in one place and wouldn’t you gun them all down there? Why would they be distributed along a roadside, a mile along the way? It makes no sense! 

What we do know is that four days after the mayor of Bucha joyously announced that the city was liberated, four days after the Ukrainian army had moved in, and their special propaganda arm of the Ukrainian military were there, all of a sudden there were these dead people on the road. How come they weren’t there when the Russians were there? How come they only appeared after the Russians were gone? 

If I were looking at it as simply a standard criminal case, and I was talking to Criminal Investigation Division or the FBI, or military police or something, I’d say, “OK, the first thing, let’s take a look at the Ukrainians.” My guess would be, and you start with a hunch when you’re investigating a crime—my hunch is that the Ukrainians killed off these people after they moved in, and after they looked around, and said, “OK, who was friendly towards the Russian troops while the Russians were here? We’re going to execute them.” That would be my guess. Because I don’t see any motive for the Russians to have just killed a few people on their way out of town. 

And nobody questions this, because the corporate media are so monolithic. We know for a fact, from the mouth of the head of a Ukrainian hospital, the guy who ran the hospital, he boasted that he had given strict orders to all of his doctors, that when wounded Russian POWs, when casualties were brought in, they were to be castrated. Now, this is a horrific war crime, admitted from the mouth of the hospital administrator, and the Ukrainian government said, “we’ll kind of look into that,” Like it’s no big thing. I can’t think of a more horrific, horrific war crime, ever. Where did you hear about it, on ABC and MSNBC and CNN and FOX News? Not a whisper. And yet the proof is undeniable. We had another clip where there was a POW gathering point, where the Ukrainians would bring POWs to a central point for processing—and this is about a seven-minute video—and the Ukrainian soldiers simply gunned them all down. 

 And they had probably 30 of these wounded Russian soldiers lying on the ground, some of them clearly dying from their wounds. Some of them, they put plastic bags over their heads. Now, these are these are guys who are laying there, sometimes fatally wounded with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, and they’ve got plastic bags over their heads, making it difficult to breathe. And because they can’t raise their hands, they can’t take the bags off, so that they can breathe. At the end of the video, the Ukrainians bring in a van, and there are three unwounded Russian POWs. Without the slightest thought or hesitation, as the three come off, and their hands are bound behind their backs, they gunned down two of them, right on camera and they fall over. And the third one gets on his knees, and begs that they won’t hurt him. And then they gun him down! These are crimes. And these were not refuted by the Ukrainian government. But you’d never even know that they occurred! So far, I will tell you that the only proven—I’m not saying that there aren’t war crimes happening on both sides. I’m just telling you, that the only ones where I have seen, fairly irrefutable proof of war crimes, have been on the Ukrainian side. 

Now, often you hear it said, well, the Russians have destroyed this or destroyed that. Well, I’ve got to tell you, you go back to the wars that we fought when we invaded Iraq, the “Shock and Awe,” we destroyed virtually everything in Iraq, everything of significance. We bombed military and civilian targets without much discrimination. The coalition flew 100,000 sorties in 42 days. You compare that to the Russians, who have only flown 8,000 sorties in about the same period of time. 100,000 American sorties versus 8,000, in about the same time.  I think the Russians have tended to be more selective. Whereas we went out — the philosophy of Shock and Awe is that you destroy everything that is needed to sustain human life and for a city to function. You knock out the water supply, the electrical supply, the heat, the oil, the gasoline; so that you knock out all of the major bridges. And then you just continue to destroy everything. 

So it’s really ironic. And keep in mind, Iraq is a relatively small country. Ukraine is a huge country. 100,000 sorties in 42 days, 8,000 sorties in about the same time. A tremendous difference in violence between what we did in Iraq, and what they have done in Ukraine. So there’s simply no credibility when you actually get down to the facts and you look at the way that the war has been conducted…………… https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2022/04/26/video-col-richard-black-u-s-leading-world-to-nuclear-war/

May 28, 2022 Posted by | media, Religion and ethics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Michigan’s dead old nuke is Diablo’s early warning

  https://www.downwithtyranny.com/post/michigan-s-dead-old-nuke-is-diablo-s-early-warning-by Harvey Wasserman, 27 May 22,

Michigan’s Palisades nuke has just shut early for the same reason California’s two reactors at Diablo Canyon must now go down– immediate safety concerns at a badly deteriorated reactor. Safe energy activists fought for decades to close Palisades. Opened in 1971, it was costly, wasteful and grew increasingly dangerous as it inevitably decayed. Finally scheduled to close on May 31, Entergy– one of America’s biggest nuke operators– stunned the world by taking it down on May 20, reducing the US reactor fleet from 93 to 92.

Cause for shut-down was a defect in the plant’s vital control rod mechanism. The alarm bells were global. Simply put: with 11 days left on the clock, the deeply entrenched Entergy Corporation was worried enough about its most bitterly contended reactor’s rotted internals to pull the plug early.

With a 51-year-old reactor now in the graveyard, what else are they not telling us? And what have they admitted about the rest of the nation’s reactor fleet, which averages 39 years of age?

Such safety concerns are equally vital at Diablo Canyon, whose two reactors opened in the mid 1980s. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own senior resident inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, has warned that Diablo’s twin nukes might not survive seismic shocks from the dozen-plus fault lines surrounding the site. The San Andreas is just 45 miles away; the shock that destroyed the four reactors at Fukushima was twice that distance. That quake may itself have set Fukushima I melting even before it was ever hit by a tsunami.

The energy industry and its shoot-from-the-hip supporters have long assured the world its uninsured reactors at Diablo must be safe because it’s regulated by the NRC. But Dr. Peck worked in his official capacity on a daily basis at the Diablo site for five years, and knew its dangers as well as anyone.

May 28, 2022 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Are Americans Prepared To Fight A Nuclear War Over Taiwan?

1945, By Doug Bandow, 25 May 22,

The consequences of a U.S.-China war over Taiwan need to be understood: A president suffering from an occasional case of verbal diarrhea about political infighting is an embarrassment. A president repeating loose comments about international affairs is dangerous.

For the third timePresident Joe Biden declared a new U.S. policy toward Taiwan, only to have his officials insist that nothing has changed. That might mollify the public, but other nations, especially the People’s Republic of China, aren’t fooled.

On his trip to East Asia, intended to convince friends and allies that Uncle Sam can walk and chew gum at the same time, the president’s statement roiled the region. When asked if he would defend Taiwan, he responded “yes,” adding that “it’s a commitment we made.” His words circled the globe at warp speed, appearing to yet again repudiate the policy of “strategic ambiguity,” by which Washington refused to clarify its position toward a Chinese attack on Taiwan.

Since the Carter administration dropped diplomatic ties with Taiwan, legally the Republic of China, and recognized the PRC, America’s defense ties with Taipei have been ambiguous. Washington retains unofficial diplomatic ties with the island state and is committed by law to sell the latter defensive weapons. However, Taiwan enjoys neither a defense treaty, as possessed by Japan and South Korea, nor any other formal military commitment. Making U.S. policy a straightforward “maybe.”

The Strategy of Strategic Ambiguity 

In theory, the uncertainty and possibility of forfeiting U.S. support are supposed to deter Taipei from recklessly challenging Beijing. At the same time, the PRC is supposed to avoid taking military action, lest Washington decides to intervene. Voila, America achieves the best of both worlds. However, the opposite result also is possible. The Taiwanese might believe eight decades of cooperation in war and peace mean the U.S. would intervene on the former’s behalf. And the Chinese might decide that no rational American president would risk Los Angeles for Taipei.

In fact, strategic ambiguity looks like an excuse to avoid deciding. As long as policymakers need not give a clear yes or no, they need not clearly decide yes or no. And they can simply hope the contingency never arises.

China is Not Ambiguous About Reunification

However, this strategy is becoming increasingly untenable. There is no sign of an imminent Chinese military action, but noted by the Quincy Institute’s Michael Swaine: “this possibility cannot be discounted over the longer term if present trends continue.” Beijing’s patience appears to be diminishing:……………….

of the many possible lessons of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the most important for Xi might be the importance of a quick victory.

…………………….   Is America Ready for Strategic Clarity?

However, the American people should be consulted, starting now, Admitted Rep. Michael McCaul, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I don’t know how many Americans would want to go to war over a tiny island they know nothing about,” he said. And if they fully understood the cost of defending Taiwan from China – the possibility of conventional defeat and nuclear disaster – they might firmly oppose doing so.

………………………….  Alas, fighting the PRC over Taiwan would be nothing like America’s recent military experience. Iraq and Afghanistan were cakewalks compared to high-intensity war against the well-armed and highly motivated People’s Liberation Army, generously stocked with missiles and an expanding nuclear arsenal. At its worst, air and naval combat between the U.S. and PRC would take Americans back to World War II’s Pacific war, which surely no one wants to relive, with a possible nuclear twist if such weapons were used against America.

And Beijing appears ready for war, if necessary, though that certainly is not its preference. …………………………………

In short, the American people could find themselves risking national bankruptcy and destruction to confront this one contingency: defending Taiwan from China.

The more than 23 million people of Taiwan deserve to set their own destinies. They have created a democratic policy, market economy, and vibrant society. However, risking their homeland is a high price for Americans to pay, too high. War with China means personnel killed, planes downed, ships sunk, and bases bombed. War with China also means the possibility of nuclear-tipped missiles hitting American cities. And even a U.S. victory likely would be transitory, as China could retreat and prepare for another round, rather like Germany between World Wars I and II.

Better to seek a regional modus vivendi, which ensures that Taipei eschews claims of independence and military relationships with other nations, while Beijing reduces military threats and affirms peaceful reunification. 

Washington also should consider the lessons of Ukraine: arming and training Taiwanese forces, preparing global sanctions in response to an attack, and developing asymmetric military responses. The goal should be to put the greatest responsibility on Taiwan while raising the price more for China than for America.

The president’s inability to control his mouth is dangerous. Failing to consider the full consequences of war with China over Taiwan is worse. And expecting Americans to accept without debate the costs and risks of full-scale combat with the PRC is a political crime. The Biden administration should address all three issues before the Taiwan Strait becomes the world’s latest crisis. https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/05/are-americans-prepared-to-fight-a-nuclear-war-over-taiwan/

May 26, 2022 Posted by | Taiwan, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Twenty-Two House Republicans Demand Accountability on Biden’s $40b War Spending

The aid package approved by Congress provides unprecedented funding for a foreign conflict in which the United States is not fighting, while there have been no significant hearings or substantive briefings on the use of the money and weapons being provided at taxpayer expense.” The lawmakers raised the prospect of sophisticated weaponry falling into the hands of terrorist organizations, citing a documented history of illicit arms-trafficking within Ukraine, a market which is one of the largest in Europe: 

A cohort of Republicans, part of the dissenting vote on Biden’s Ukraine war package, seeks oversight and specifics about the destination of U.S. money and weapons.

Glenn Greenwald and Anthony Tobin, May 25

The House of Representatives, on May 10, approved President Biden’s $33 billion package for the war in Ukraine, and then, on its own initiative, added $7 billion on top of it. That brought the new war spending authorization to $40 billion, on top of the $14 billion already spent just 10 weeks into this war, which U.S. officials predict will last years, not months. The House vote in favor was 368-57. All 57 NO votes were from GOP House members. All House Democrats, including the Squad, voted YES.

A similar scene occurred when the Senate, “moving quickly and with little debate,” overwhelmingly approved the same war package. All eleven NO votes were from Senate Republicans. All Senate Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), voted in favor, seemingly in direct contradiction to Sanders’ February 8 op-ed in The Guardian warning of the severe dangers of bipartisan escalation of the war. Efforts by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to delay passage of the bill so that some safeguards and accountability measures could be included regarding where the money was going and for what purposes it would be used were met with scorn, particularly from Paul’s fellow Kentucky GOP Senator, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who condemned Paul as an “isolationist.” Following the Senate vote, a jet was used to fly the bill across the world to President Biden in South Korea, where he signed it into law.


But the lack of any safeguards over the destination of the money and weapons prompted close to two dozen House Republicans, led by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM), to send a letter to the Biden White House on Monday demanding greater specificity and assurances about legal requirements on how weapons are used. The letter urges a public reckoning on the dangers of the U.S.’s bankrolling of the war in Ukraine: “We write today to express grave concern about the lack of oversight and accountability for the money and weapons recently approved by Congress for Ukraine,” it began.

“The aid package approved by Congress provides unprecedented funding for a foreign conflict in which the United States is not fighting, while there have been no significant hearings or substantive briefings on the use of the money and weapons being provided at taxpayer expense.” The lawmakers raised the prospect of sophisticated weaponry falling into the hands of terrorist organizations, citing a documented history of illicit arms-trafficking within Ukraine, a market which is one of the largest in Europe: 

“According to a 2017 Small Arms Survey briefing on arms trafficking, over 300,000 small arms disappeared from Ukraine between 2013 and 2015 and only 13 percent were recovered. Criminal networks, corrupt officials, and underpaid military personnel can make a profitable business from the sale of arms from Ukrainian military stockpiles. For example, in 2019, the Ukrainian Security Service uncovered a plot by Ukrainian soldiers to sell 40 RGD-5 grenades, 15 grenade launchers, 30 grenade detonators, and 2,454 rounds of ammunition for 75,000 Ukrainian hryvnia or around $2,900.”

Indeed, the relentlessly war-supporting CNN last month acknowledged that “the US has few ways to track the substantial supply of anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other weaponry it has sent across the border into Ukraine.” Biden officials admitted the “risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in unexpected places.” ……………………… more  https://greenwald.substack.com/p/twenty-two-house-republicans-demand?s=r

May 26, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment