Sunday, September 22, 2013

"The Crisis at Fukushima 4 Demands a Global Take-Over" -- Harvey Wasserman at War Is a Crime Blog

We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  
There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.  
Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.  
Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.  
The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.  
Why is this so serious?  
We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.  
Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool.Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.  
Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. Fresh reports show that Tepco has just dumped another thousand tons of contaminated liquids into the sea ( ).   
The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.  
More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.  
Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl 
Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.  
The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.  
Just prior to the 3/11/11 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air 
Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.  
Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.  
According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged. 
The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.  
Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.  
Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries 
Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.” 
Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers. 
We have two months or less to act 
For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety
You can sign the petition at:
If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.  
The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Free Leonard Peltier! Call the White House Regarding Clemency! Birthday Wish for Leonard: Freedom. @PeltierHQ

Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 23:16:00 -0400
Subject: [LPDOC] Action is the Best Gift of All

For all of my friends and family out there celebrating my birthday,

I wish I was out there with you! But since I can't be, enjoy the
day. Have extra kind words for each other. Put a smile on someone's
face. Wipe the tears from someone who is crying. Be a brother or
sister to someone in the struggle. Do something kind for our elderly
and something gentle for our babies. Be the voice for those who
are afraid to speak. Be the protector for the weak. In doing that,
you are a warrior for our people. It is my prayer that the Creator
touches you with good health and happiness and that you live to
enjoy many, many more years to come.

Thank you for remembering me on this day, the day the Creator
breathed life into me. I am truly blessed with your friendship.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier
Mass Call-In to the White House on September 12
The best way for Peltier supporters to communicate with the
White House is by telephone, i.e., the White House comment line
at 202-456-1111. The White House comment line is open from 9:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST. In the U.S., please make your calls
to the White House from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., and from 1:00
to 2:00 p.m., regardless of your time zone. This will ensure
that calls in support of Peltier will be received by the White
House throughout the day and from all time zones. Outside of
the U.S., schedule the time to call the WH from your time zone:
Please quickly get to the point of your call.

An innocent man has been imprisoned for nearly 40 years. Big
problem right? The solution is simple. President Obama must right
the wrongs of the past and grant clemency to Leonard Peltier. *
Hurry off of the phone to give other supporters the opportunity to
weigh in.

Help Kickstart World War III!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Statement from Leonard Peltier #FreeLeonard

September 9, 2013

My dear friends and family,

There is a lot being said about the scheduled "Leonard Peltier
International Tribunal on the Abuse of Indigenous Human Rights" on
October 2-4, 2013, on the Oneida Reservation in Oneida/Green Bay,
WI. I want to express support for and appreciation to my team for
all of the hard work they are putting in to make this a documented
historical event. My team and I feel the time has come to address
the many years of abuse suffered by Indigenous people all over the
world. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for justice and equal
treatment for our people. We cannot sit back and wait for change and
"hope" that conditions will get better. We have to get involved in
making that change happen.

We have to develop the resources for our children and grandchildren
using education as a tool. We need Indigenous doctors working side
by side with our Medicine men using traditional knowledge to heal
our communities. We need Indigenous attorneys who aren't motivated
by money to represent the overwhelming number of Natives who are
locked in prison cells. We need Indigenous teachers who are willing
to encourage, support and motivate our many gifted and talented
children. We have to take charge of our destiny.

The goal of our Tribunal is to document our many struggles with
the U.S. government. The government was involved in outlawing every
freedom we valued, from the way we talked to the Creator with our
ceremonies to the way we parented our children. Don't ever forget
the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental damage that came
from ripping Native children as young as 3 and 4 years old from
the arms of their parents and putting them into the hands of cold,
hard matrons in the boarding schools. Men who normally provided
for their families by fishing and hunting found themselves on the
wrong side of the law and hunger became common. Acres and acres of
beautiful gardens in Native homelands were destroyed for the harvest
of uranium flowing through the veins of our Sacred mother earth.

I am a prime example of what happens when you try to stand up and
protect the elders, babies and communities from corruption and
disruption of our sacred way of life. The very justice system,
supposedly designed to uphold the laws of our land, will use
any method necessary to get the outcome they want. Intimidating
witnesses, manufacturing or withholding evidence, and judge shopping
are all tactics used to achieve a conviction. These conditions are
unacceptable. While the current Administration has done more for
our people than any in recent history, we can not stand idly by. We
must be involved with bringing about the change we need. If we don't
demand accountability from the very government entrusted with our
future, who will? If not us, then who? If not now, then when??

We as Indigenous people have always supported each other. We
have a history of Native trade between Nations in all four
directions. We didn't create or recognize borders. We communicated
internationally. That is the goal we now have in front of us. We
want to re-establish that relationship. As Indigenous peoples, we
must never forget that we are all related. The time has come for us
to come together again, to mend the sacred hoop that forever keeps
us as one mind in one family. Let no man divide us forever. Please
join us as we begin the healing process.

I am very humbled that this Tribunal has been named after me.
I promise to do my very best to be worthy of this honor.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Launched into cyberspace by the
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
N5679 Skylark Drive, DePere, WI  54115

Peace Is Our Common Interest-Aid The Role Of Syrian Civil Society -- Madani via @RaniaKhalek

via Rania Khalek

After more than two years of crisis and the transformation of what started as a political conflict into a violent one leading to tragic catastrophe on all levels, humanitarian, political and economic, resulting in the death of more than 100,000 Syrians and the vast destruction of the infrastructure, hospitals, schools leaving nearly 50% of the Syrian people under poverty line, and a similar rate of unemployment, causing severe cracks in the social structure and an armed conflict that has led to the displacement of more than six million Syrians. After all of this, a new threat is now facing Syria with increasing calls for military action against Syria after the use of chemical weapon. We may know when such attack may start but we will never know when and how it may end. This will exacerbate the ongoing catastrophe that the peace seeking Syrians are living. The concerns and priorities of these Syrians are hardly expressed or heard. Their desires are neglected by many sides.
Accordingly, out of our commitment to uphold the priorities of the Syrian society and as a Syrian non -governmental organization active in Syria, it is our duty to make the following points regarding the strike and its impact on the Syrian society:
1. The largest areas of concentrated population density are controlled by the regime, with large numbers of internally displaced. Many of these areas are near or within sites that could be targets by a military strike, which poses great danger to hundreds of thousands of civilians.
2. The strike will expand the areas of armed clashes, which increase the possibility of opening new fronts for fighting and increasing the suffering of civilians.
3. Extreme militants are playing a growing role in the fights and the management of the rebel held areas and it does not present any valid model for regional and international or even local interaction. There is a fear that the spread of war and absence of law and security would be exploited for committing acts of revenge, reprisals and mass murders from all parties
4. The military strike weakens the prospects for a democratic transition through the process of political settlement; according to a new study published by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, parts of which were discussed at the conference "towards resolving the strategic to the Syrian crisis: the role of civil society," According to this study the strike increases the likelihood of the “continuing armed conflict” and the “collapse of the state” scenario, and significantly reduces the chances of a “negotiated political solution” scenarios.
5. Medical and health services are at their lowest levels in all areas of Syria and most of the hospitals out of service due to ongoing military operations. This is in addition to the difficulty of access to the affected areas due to closed roads and insecurity. This all will be worsened with a military strike in parallel with the increased need for these basic services.
6. The logistic capabilities for all non-governmental organizations and civil society groups were depleted completely in dealing with merely fractions of the disastrous results of the current crisis, and therefore there will be next to zero capability on the ground to respond to any catastrophic consequences that will affect civilians after the strike.
7. The regime holds captive hundreds of thousands of Syrians civilians and detainees, and a lot of them are held in places that could be targets for military strike. There is a great fear for the fate of these detainees who will be at the risk of retaliation or being used as human shields by the regime or death in a military strike.
8. The use of non-conventional weapons could be committed by any party to the conflict in the chaos and the absence of the ability to determine responsibility during the war. This can even be done by a third party who has an interest in perpetuating the fighting. There is no logistical capacity in the Syrian territory now capable of responding to such catastrophe. There is also a complete absence of any neutral international party or even media that can play a monitoring role here.
9. The Syrians have exhausted most of their savings during the past two years, and they don't have the ability to carry the burden of new level of war that may last a long time, which threatens poverty, hunger, and massive exodus to neighboring countries, as well as economic collapse.
10. The Middle East has witnessed military interventions in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, this intervention brought devastation and destruction in addition to suffering and tragedies in the West.
Based on the above, the Madani organization asks decision makers involved in considering the military strike against Syria to take into account the common interest of all parties here in achieving peace and ending the ongoing war. They should push for negotiations leading to a peaceful political solution that aims primarily at ending the armed conflict in Syria and transforming it into a peaceful political conflict, and enables the Syrians to eliminate tyranny and opens the space for civil society organizations to play an active role in building a unified Syria, a civil and pluralistic state for all its people .
The armed conflict has considerably weakened the role of the Syrian civil society in the process of democratic transition and stifled its chances of growth to deal with the post-conflict era and to contribute to the process of political and economic development, increasing the challenge for the civil society that is already oppressed by the regime. Nevertheless, the Syrian civil society continues to play a very important role today in maintaining stability in many areas and in responding to the disastrous results of the crisis.
We also call for the support of all NGOs and civil society organizations in the world to pressure their governments to hear the voice of the Syrians in their refusal to use more force in their country and to engage it in wars that will not be in anyone’s interest.
Only the power of peace will enable peoples of different countries to build positive relationships with each other and ending the civilizational and cultural polarizations that is leading to tensions all over the world

US Senate Delays Syria Strike Vote over Russian 'Chemical Handover' Proposal [We (the world) backed them down!?]

President Obama is willing to “absolutely” put on pause a military strike on Syria if Bashar Assad accepts Russia’s proposal to hand over control of the country’s chemical weapons to the international community.
"Let's see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used," the US president said in an ABC News interview with Diane Sawyer.
The US leader said that “he would consider this a modestly positive development"after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed surrendering the chemical stockpile to international observers to avoid a potential US military strike on Syria. Obama assured that US Secretary of State John Kerry would follow up on the proposal with Moscow. 
Earlier on Monday, Syria’s foreign minister announced that Damascus “welcomes” Russia’s solution to the stalemate.
“[The] Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, based on the Syrian’s government care about the lives of our people and security of our country,” Walid al-Muallem said in response to the proposal. 
“We are calling on the Syrian authorities [to] not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Moscow earlier Monday. 
But in an interview with ABC, President Obama said that Capitol Hill would still seek to approve the military strike option.
"I don't think we would have gotten to this point unless we had maintained a credible possibility for a military strike and I don't think now is the time for us to let up on that,"Obama said. 
Obama is continuing his diplomatic efforts to persuade American politicians to authorize a military strike on Syria, after the US and some of its allies accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against civilians during an August 21 attack near Damascus.  
"I don't anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or anytime in the immediate future," Obama said. "So I think there will be time during the course of the debates here in the United States for the international community, the Russians and the Syrians to work with us and say is there a way to resolve this."
In an interview to PBS Newshour on Monday, President Barack Obama told the audience that he discussed a potential diplomatic solution and a plan for Damascus to turn over its chemical weapons with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.
"I did have those conversations. And this is a continuation of conversations I've had with President Putin for quite some time," Obama said during one of six interviews that he gave to major American news networks.
While speaking about a congressional vote on a military strike in Syria, Obama told NBC Nightly News that he knew there might not be a consensus “around even a limited strike.” 
“I am taking this vote in Congress and what the American people are saying very seriously,” he said. “I recognize how important that debate is. It’s my belief that for me, the President, to act without consensus in a situation where there is no direct imminent threat to the homeland or our interests around the world – that’s not a kind of precedent that I want to set,” Obama said.
The US Senate was set to vote on Wednesday whether to authorize President Obama to use "limited military action" against Syria. But following a day of debates, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he would not file for a test vote on a resolution to strike Syria.
"I'm not going to file cloture this evening on the motion to proceed to the Syria resolution," he said on the Senate floor.
"Tomorrow the president is going to brief the Democratic caucus and the Republican caucus separately," Reid said.
"He's going to address the nation tomorrow night. As we all know, the international discussions continue relative to the matter in Syria. Normally, what I would do in a situation like this is file cloture today. But I don't think that's to our benefit. I don't think we need to see how fast we can do this. We have to see how well we can do this matter." 
In reference to the potential strike, Obama said he would “prefer not having to do it but I think it is important for us to understand that if in fact the choice is between a world in which dictators and other countries believe it is acceptable to use chemical weapons on civilians and children, that will make it more dangerous for us.”

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Syria's Blood -- Bendib's-Blood.jpg

PRESS RELEASE: National Lawyers Guild Opposes Military Action Against Syria

NEW YORK – The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls on Congress to vote against the illegal strike on Syria being planned by the administration. NLG president Azadeh Shahshahani said, "The military intervention in Syria is undeniably illegal, and any supposed framework the Obama administration constructs to defend it is based, not upon legality, but upon impunity." The United States is once again poised to violate international and domestic law to impose its will.

President Obama's threats to take military action against Syria are predicated on hypocrisy and obfuscation, as Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have vocalized, respectively. While Kerry said that the United States must “assure that there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons,” the U.S. has historically used chemical weapons against other nations – Agent Orange in Vietnam, white phosphorous in Iraq, and depleted uranium, napalm, and other toxic chemicals and metals (including TNT and mercury) in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Hagel carefully avoided the assertion that military intervention would be legal, and instead vaguely promised that “any action taken [would be] within the framework of legal justification.” According to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, the U.S. and other NATO countries are only legally entitled to intervene militarily when their own states have been attacked or threatened with chemical weapons. 

The use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot be ignored. But military force, especially by the U.S., has never been a viable or effective response to international human rights abuses. Furthermore, the mandates of the UN Charter prohibit the use of military force without Security Council authorization except when a country is attacked and must defend itself pending Security Council action. While the Obama administration is lobbying Congress to support a “limited” strike on Syria, the National Lawyers Guild strongly opposes any U.S. threats of military intervention – irrespective of congressional approval. Instead, the NLG calls for renewed diplomatic initiatives with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Russia. 

# # #

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

More Join Ranks as Human Shields in Syria (via Friday Lunch Club Blog)

"No Boots on the Ground" by Cindy Sheehan

The President of the USA, aka, Able Servant of Empire, claims that his planned assault on Syria will be “limited” and he won’t order any “boots on the ground” as if he is angling for praise from the almost non-existent antiwar movement and/or to prove that he really earned that Noble Peace Prize!
Besides the fact that the US now has troops on the ground in 35 African countries; destroyed Libya for regime change; is bombing “al Qaeda” in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; AND is already arming and training “al Qaeda” in Syria, the Able Servant of Empire is chomping at the bit of more mass murder to launch a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria.
My friend Ann Wright, who is a retired Colonel, US Army and a former diplomat who resigned when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, wrote in this piece about what could be the possible consequences of Obama’s “limited” assault on Syria:
Syrian anti-aircraft batteries will fire their rockets at incoming U.S. missiles.
Many Syrians on the ground will die and both the U.S. and Syrian governments will say the deaths are the fault of the other.
The U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be attacked and burned, as may other U.S. Embassies and businesses in the Middle East.
Syria might also launch rockets toward the U.S. ally in the region—Israel.
Israel would launch bombing missions on Syria as it has three times in the past two years and perhaps take the opportunity to launch an attack on Syria’s strongest ally in the region Iran.
Iran, a country with a population of 80 million and has the largest military in the region untouched by war in the past 25 years, might retaliate with missiles aimed toward Israel and toward nearby U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, Turkey, Bahrain and Qatar.
Iran could block the Straits of Hormuz and impede the transport of oil out of the Persian Gulf.
These likely outcomes don’t even take into account that the nuclear powers of Russia and China are also very opposed to further intervention in Syria from the Empire.
Besides the fact that there is no evidence that the Syrian regime gassed its “own people,” what gives The Able Servant of Empire the right to bomb Syrians with Tomahawk missiles? (At 300 million dollars, each: CHA-CHING, War Machine!)
Today (August 31) the Able Servant of Empire gave a speech in the Rose Garden of the White House and among other things, he said something that was at once chilling and revealing at the same time: “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.”
What are those “values that define us?” I wonder? I have a strong suspicion that my values and Obama’s values (a person can have rotten values) are diametrically opposed. Among the values that “define me” are unconditional peace for all the children in the world. I am afraid the values that define the Empire are the quest for profits over peace and power instead of protecting the lives, homes, and planet where the children live. The Able Servant of Empire has already ordered the murders of thousands of children and if there was a god, Obama would choke on his obvious and repetitive lies taken right out of the Empire’s Playbook for World Domination.
How dare the Empire embark on another horrendous war to “save” people by killing them? I always think of my son killed for lies of the previous Able Servant and my surviving children and four grandbabies.
“No boots on the ground” in Syria? I look at the container my daughter has at the front door that holds various sizes and types of shoes for her family and I think of the doomed innocents in Syria.
Maybe there won’t be US boots on the ground there, but there are already sandals, bare feet, sneakers, dress shoes, and most importantly of all, baby shoes. Their lives are so precious and they have not done anything to harm, or even threaten the war criminal Obama or America.
The innocents in Syria do not deserve the fate that some dude in an expensive suit and tie thousands of miles away will deal out to them for the benefit of the war profiteers.
No more US intervention in Syria.
Peace in Palestine.
US Troops out of everywhere.
For the babies.