Archive for the ‘secrets and lies’ Category

Australian Prime Minister Menzies let Britain exploit Australia

May 18, 2017

Australian tolerance of the British and their obsessive secrecy may be explained by the deference and loyalty to the ‘motherland’. Prime Minister Menzies identified so strongly with Britain that he considered British national interest as Australia’s national interest.

Another factor which underlay Australian deference during the course of the testing program was the role of Sir Ernest Titterton.

The full legal and political implications of the testing program would take decades to emerge. The secrecy which surrounded the British testing program and the remoteness of the tests from major population centres meant that public opposition to the tests and awareness of the risks involved grew very slowly.

Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 

“…..Admittedly, in the 1950s knowledge of radiation hazards was not as advanced as it is today. At the time it was not generally recognised that small doses of low level radiation might increase the risk of cancer years later. But even in the light of knowledge of the time, the information on which Menzies based his decisions was seriously deficient.

There seems little doubt that the secrecy in which the entire testing program was cloaked served British rather than Australian interests.From the outset, the British were under pressure to demonstrate to the Americans that they were able to keep secrets at all. Full disclosure of the hazards and potential costs to Australia entailed in the testing program were out of the question. Information passed to Australian officials was kept to the minimum necessary to facilitate their assistance in the conduct of the testing program. The use of plutonium in the minor trials was not disclosed.

Australian tolerance of the British and their obsessive secrecy may be explained by the deference and loyalty to the ‘motherland’. Prime Minister Menzies identified so strongly with Britain that he considered British national interest as Australia’s national interest. Although he was later to seek assurances that hazards inherent in the testing program would be minimal and that appropriate safeguards would protect the Australian public, his enduring faith in the British was to blunt his critical faculties.

It is perhaps illustrative that on the occasions chosen by Australian authorities to assert themselves on matters of policy, the issues of concern were purely symbolic. The Antler series of tests was renamed, after Australians objected to the proposed name ‘Volcano’ (Milliken 1986, p. 226). On another occasion, a detonation scheduled for a Sunday was postponed in deference to Australian sensibilities (Australia 1985, p. 287).

Another factor which underlay Australian deference during the course of the testing program was the role of Sir Ernest Titterton. A British physicist, Titterton had worked in the United States on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first nuclear weapon.

After the war, he held a position at the British Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and in 1950 he was appointed to the Chair of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University. Among Titterton’s earliest tasks in Australia was that of an adviser to the British scientific team at the first Monte Bello tests. In 1956, the Australian government established an Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee (AWTSC) responsible for monitoring the British testing program to ensure that the safety of the Australian environment and population were not jeopardised. To this end, it was to review British test proposals, provide expert advice to the Australian government, and to monitor the outcome of tests. Titterton was a foundation member of the Committee and later, its Chairman.

While Menzies had envisaged that the Committee would act as an independent, objective body, evidence suggests that it was more sensitive to the needs of the British testing program than to its Australian constituents.

Members tended to be drawn from the nuclear weapons fraternity, as was Titterton; from the Defence establishment, from the Commonwealth Department of Supply, from the Commonwealth X-Ray and Radium Laboratory, and from the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Although the expertise of these individuals is beyond dispute, one wonders if they may have been too closely identified with the ‘atomic establishment’ to provide independent critical advice. The nuclear weapons fraternity have often been criticised as a rather cavalier lot; no less a person than General Leslie Groves, who headed the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb, has been quoted as having said ‘Radiation death is a very pleasant way to die’ (Ball 1986, p. 8). In retrospect, the Australian safety committee suffered from the absence of biologists and environmental scientists in its ranks.

The plight of Aborigines in the vicinity of the prohibited zone was in many respects a reflection of their status in Australia at the time. In a revealing statement to the Royal Commission, Sir Ernest Titterton was quoted as having said that if Aboriginal people objected to the tests they could vote the government out (Australia 1985, p. 121). It is naive to suggest that such a small disadvantaged minority might wield electoral influence; doubly so since Aboriginal people were denied full voting rights at the time of the tests, and indeed, were even excluded from census enumeration until 1967. There is no dearth of evidence of the low regard in which Aborigines were held at the time. The chief scientist of the Department of Supply, a British expatriate, criticised an officer whom he regarded as overly concerned with Aboriginal welfare for ‘placing the affairs of a handful of natives above those of the British Commonwealth of Nations’ (Australia 1985, p. 309).

Because of their unique lifestyle, and often their lack of clothing, footwear and permanent shelter, Aboriginal residents in remote parts of Australia were particularly vulnerable to radiation. Although this was recognised and acted upon later in the testing program, the AWTSC was initially ignorant of or unconcerned with these risks.

Disinformation, whether deliberate or unintentional, was all too common during the testing programs. In order to provide accurate meteorological data for the weapons tests, a small weather station was constructed across the Western Australian border from Maralinga. The Australian Minister of Supply at the time, Howard Beale, quite falsely claimed that it was sited very carefully away from Aboriginal watering places (Australia 1985, p. 373). In fact, the site was chosen without seeking the advice of the native patrol officer. Moreover, the roads which were built to provide access to the weather station contradicted the assurances made by the government in 1947 that no roads would encroach upon the Aboriginal reserve.

In the aftermath of the second Monte Bello tests in 1956, the AWTSC filed a reassuring report which failed to refer to complications with the tests and to levels of fallout on the mainland which were higher than expected (Australia 1985, pp. 257-9).

In 1960, the British advised the AWTSC that ‘long lived fissile elements’ and ‘a toxic material’ would be used in the ‘Vixen B’ tests. Titterton requested that the materials be named, and later announced ‘They have answered everything we asked.’ The substances in question were not disclosed (Australia 1985, p. 414). In recommending that the Australian government agree to the tests, he appears to have been either insufficiently informed of the hazards at hand, or to have failed to communicate those hazards to the Safety Committee, and through it, to the Australian government. Earlier, before the Totem tests, he had reassured the Australian Prime Minister that

the time of firing will be chosen so that any risk to health due to radioactive contamination in our cities, or in fact to any human beings, is impossible. . . . [N]o habitations or living beings will suffer injury to health from the effects of the atomic explosions proposed for the trials (quoted in Australia 1985, p. 467).

There were other examples of Titterton’s role in filtering information to the Australian authorities, a role which has been described as ‘pivotal’ (Australia 1985, p. 513). He proposed that he be advised informally of certain details of proposed experiments. In one instance, he advised the British that ‘It would perhaps be wise to make it quite clear that the fission yield in all cases is zero’, knowing that this would be a misrepresentation of fact (Australia 1985, p. 519). Years later, the Royal Commission suggested that Titterton may have been more a de facto member of the British Atomic Weapons Research Establishment than a custodian of the Australian public interest.

The Royal Commission’s indictment of Titterton would be damning:

Titterton played a political as well as a safety role in the testing program, especially in the minor trials. He was prepared to conceal information from the Australian Government and his fellow Committee members if he believed to do so would suit the interests of the United Kingdom Government and the testing program (Australia 1985, p. 526).

British secretiveness and imperfect review of test proposals and consequences by Australian officials notwithstanding, the degree to which Australian authorities went in limiting debate and discussion of the testing program and its effects cannot be ignored.

Such media coverage of the tests as was permitted by British and Australian authorities tended to be trivial and generally celebratory (Woodward 1984). Restrictions were onerous, in some occasions to the point of absurdity. D-notices were applied in such a manner that Australian journalists were forbidden from reporting items which had already been published freely in the United Kingdom.

Dissent or criticism by Australian personnel involved in the testing program was not tolerated. One patrol officer who objected that the development of testing sites was proceeding without due regard for the protection and welfare of local Aborigines was ‘reminded of his obligations as a Commonwealth Officer’ (Australia 1985, p. 304), and warned against speaking to the press.

Occasionally, when Aborigines were sighted in restricted areas, reports of these sightings were disbelieved, or less than subtly discouraged. One officer who reported sighting Aborigines in the prohibited zone was asked if he realised ‘what sort of damage [he] would be doing by finding Aboriginals where Aboriginals could not be’ (Australia 1985, p. 319).

After the Milpuddie family was found in the restricted area at Maralinga, the Range Commander invoked the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 (Cwlth) to prevent disclosure of the incident by any personnel on the scene.

The flow of information within government departments was at times impeded, with adverse consequences. According to one account, incomplete information about plutonium contaminations at Maralinga was given to Vic Garland, a Minister in the McMahon government, causing him to mislead Parliament in 1972 (Toohey 1978).

The full legal and political implications of the testing program would take decades to emerge. The secrecy which surrounded the British testing program and the remoteness of the tests from major population centres meant that public opposition to the tests and awareness of the risks involved grew very slowly.

But as the ban-the-bomb movement gathered momentum in Western societies throughout the 1950s, so too did opposition to the British tests in Australia. An opinion poll taken in 1957 showed 49 per cent of the Australian public opposed to the tests and only 39 per cent in favour.

Evatt and Calwell, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition, called for an end to the tests. Following the conclusion of the Antler series in October 1957, the British conducted their large thermonuclear tests at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean; only the so-called ‘minor’ trials continued at Maralinga.

By the early 1960s, the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain signed an agreement to cease atmospheric nuclear tests. The British, having finally gained the confidence of the United States, were invited to conduct underground tests at United States facilities in Nevada. It was thus decided to close the Maralinga facility……..http://aic.gov.au/publications/previous%20series/lcj/1-20/wayward/ch16.html

Russia’s secret nuclear weapons build-up, and waste dumps, close to Norway

May 18, 2017

The satellite images, however, only reveal what is visible on the surface. Most of the actual warheads are underground.  

What now takes place in regard to submarine-launched ballistic missiles’ facilities hasn’t been seen at the naval bases on Kola since the large-scale infrastructure construction to support the Typhoon submarines at the Nerpichya base in Zapadnaya Lista happened in the 1980s.

Norway pays for nuclear safety While nuclear weapons are stored inside the mountain on the east side of the Litsa fjord, huge amounts of nuclear waste are stored just two kilometers away, across the fjord in the infamous Andreeva Bay. Thousands of cubic meters of solid radioactive waste and nearly 22,000 spent nuclear fuel elements from submarine reactors are stored here. Neighbouring Norway, along with other donor countries, have spent hundres of millions kroner (tens of millions euros), on nuclear safety projects aimed at upgrading the infrastructure in Andreeva Bay.

Satellite images show expansion of nuclear weapons sites on Kola, Barents Observer [excellent pictures]  By Thomas Nilsen, May 08, 2017 The reverse gear seems to hang up for continuing disarmament of nuclear weapons in the Arctic. Barents Observer has made a comprehensive review of satellite images from naval base-level storage facilities that confirms heavy construction works.

The New START Treaty says USA and Russia must limit the numbers of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 by February 5, 2018. Over the last two years, Russia has increased the number of deployed warheads and is now 215 over the max limit to be reached.

There are extensive construction work at two of the Northern Fleet’s facilities for storage of warheads and ballistic missiles for submarines (SLBM) on the coast of to the Barents Sea. The Barents Observer has studied satellite images of the Kola Peninsula open available via Google Earth, combined with open-source data on numbers of nuclear warheads in Russia. The results are frightening.

Expansion of the two base-level storages in Okolnaya Bay near Severomorsk and Yagelnaya Bay in Gadzhiyevo are clearly visible. At both locations, new reinforced bunkers, auxiliary buildings and infrastructure partly finished and partly still under construction can be seen.

The satellite images, however, only reveal what is visible on the surface. Most of the actual warheads are underground.

What now takes place in regard to submarine-launched ballistic missiles’ facilities hasn’t been seen at the naval bases on Kola since the large-scale infrastructure construction to support the Typhoon submarines at the Nerpichya base in Zapadnaya Lista happened in the 1980s.

There are four storages for nuclear weapons on Kola. From satellite images, these storages are not too difficult to find. All are surrounded by double or triple layer barrier of barbed wire fences with extraordinary security at the single entry-exit checkpoints. Also inside the outer fences, the different sections of the facilities are separated with similar security fence barriers. Comparing satellite images with photos posted on internet by naval officers or their family members makes it possible to get a pretty good impression of the current situation.

Several of the storage locations are visible on photos, although mainly in distance, available by searching Yandex, Russia’s own search engine.  Also, Wikimapia, an online editable map where people can mark and describe places, has been a good source to information when writing this article.

Zaozersk is the nuclear weapons storage nearest to Norway in a distance of 65 kilometers to the border in Grense Jakobselv. The Norwegian town of Kirkenes is 94 kilometers away. Distance to Finland is 120 kilometers. All four storage sites on Kola are within a radius of 190 kilometers from Norway and 180 kilometers from the Finnish border………..

Today, Kristian Åtland estimates that around 60 percent of Russia’s more than 700 sea-based strategic nuclear warheads are concentrated on the Kola Peninsula, whereas the remaining 40 percent is based with the Pacific Fleet at Kamchatka.

«The numerical increase in Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, including the part of it that is based on submarines operating from the Kola Peninsula, is neither dramatic nor unexpected. The increase is to be understood in the context of Russia’s long-standing and still on-going defense modernization. The modernization of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces has been a key priority in the State Armaments Program for the period up to 2020 (“GPV-2020”), which was launched in 2010. In addition, the general deterioration of Russia’s relationship with the West, particularly since 2014, seems to have led to a renewed focus on the issue of nuclear deterrence, in Russia as well as in the United States,» Åtland elaborates.

Gorbachev called for nuclear-free zone

2017 marks the 30-years anniversary since Michael Gorbachev’s famous Murmansk-speech on October 1st 1987 where he called for a nuclear-free zone in Northern Europe. Since then, the numbers of nuclear warheads based on the Kola Peninsula saw a continuing decrease until 2015, five years after Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed the New START Treaty in Prague. In July 2015, Russia reportedly had less deployed strategic nuclear warheads than the United States, 1,582 versus 1,597, the Bureau of Arms Control with the U.S. Departement of State reported.

215 over New START Treaty limit

Latest exchange and verification numbers from the same bureau dated April 1, 2017 shows that Russia now has 1,765 versus the United State’s 1,411. In other words; Russia has 215 warheads more than the maximum set to be achieved nine months ahead. The questions is whether Moscow is likely to dismantle over 200 warheads in less than a year.

Katarzyna Zysk, Associate Professor with the Norwegian Defense University College, says to the Barents Observer that Russia has a vested interest in maintaining the New START agreement. «Russia has a vested interest in maintaining the New START given that it keeps the development of the US strategic nuclear capabilities under control, provides Russia transparency measures and valued insight into to the US nuclear forces, thus increasing predictability,» she says, but underscore that the numbers must down.

«In order to meet the New START Treaty limits when it enters into effect in February 2018, Russia will have to decrease the numbers. However, Russia has been moving toward meeting the obligations as the number of Russia’s deployed strategic warheads has been decreasing compared with 2016. The US is now below the treaty limit and is in fact increasing the number of strategic deployed warheads,» Zysk explains.

Åtland agrees and underscores that today’s numbers do not constitute a treaty violation.

«The fact that Russia is now above the maximum warhead limits of the new START Treaty, which entered into force in 2011, does not in itself constitute a treaty violation. The treaty does not mandate any particular schedule for reductions other than that the agreed-upon limits must be met by February 2018, which is in nine months from now. Reductions in the number of deployed warheads are fairly easy to achieve once the political will is there, either by phasing out old delivery platforms or by removing deployed warheads to central storage. Thus, the identified “peak” may be temporary,» Åtland says. He hopes both the United States and Russia will work towards an extension of the Treaty.

«Hopefully, Russia will stand by its commitments under the current START Treaty regime. In any event, it is important that Russia and the U.S. continue to exchange data about the status of their nuclear arsenals and that they provide for mutual inspections and other transparency measures outlined in the START Treaty and other documents. The parties should also work towards an extension or replacement of the Treaty when it expires in February 2021.»…………..

Norway pays for nuclear safety

While nuclear weapons are stored inside the mountain on the east side of the Litsa fjord, huge amounts of nuclear waste are stored just two kilometers away, across the fjord in the infamous Andreeva Bay. Thousands of cubic meters of solid radioactive waste and nearly 22,000 spent nuclear fuel elements from submarine reactors are stored here. Neighbouring Norway, along with other donor countries, have spent hundres of millions kroner (tens of millions euros), on nuclear safety projects aimed at upgrading the infrastructure in Andreeva Bay.

On June 27, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, travels to Andreeva Bay to mark the first shipping of spent nuclear fuel out of the area, a job that is likely to continue for more than five years. Meanwhile, Russia continues to spend huge amounts of money on new nuclear weapons in the border areas. ………..

Bolshoye Ramozero – the most secret

The most secret of all secret nuclear weapons storages on the Kola Peninsula is located some 20 kilometers to the northeast of the mining town Olenegorsk, on a side road towards Lovozero. The location, diffcult to find referances to on the internet, has several names; Katalya is one, Bolshoye Ramozero is another (the nearby lake). Like other secret towns in the Soviet Union, also this one had a post-code name; Olenegorsk-2. The nickname is Tsar City, allegedly because of the priviliges the inhabitants had. The town is also simply known as Military Unit 62834 or Object 956.

While it is easy to find selfies and blogposts from most Russian military garrisons and bases, few can be found from this town. Not too strange; the town is under full supervison of the 12th Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Defense. This directorate is responsible for all of Russia’s nuclear weapons, including storages, technical maintenance and transportation.

The 12th Chief Directorate is probably the most secretive organization in the Russian Armed Forces, even more than the foreign military intelligence agency GRU and the strategic missile forces, according to Wikipedia.

Bolshoye Ramozero serves a national-level nuclear weapons facility, one of 12 such storages across Russia, according to a recent report written by Pavel Podvig and Javier Serrat. The report, focusing on non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, is published by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

It is believed that all non-strategic nuclear warheads possible aimed for naval, air force and army weapons for the Kola area, and maybe even more, are stored at the central national level storage in Bolshaya Ramozero. According to the UNIDIR report, the 12th Chief Directorate is responsible for providing the nuclear warheads to the different military units “when deemed necessary.” If a threatening situation occurs, warheads can be transported by trucks from this site to the different military units on the Kola Peninsula which holds weapons systems that could be armed with tactical nuclear weapons, like naval cruise missiles or torpedoes, or cruise missiles carried by aircrafts.

The nearest airbase to the central storage on Kola is Olenogorsk where Tu-22 bombers are stationed.

Inside the underground storage bunkers in Bolshaya Ramozero are only the warheads stored.

Satellite images show that there are two storage areas just north of the town. The first area has three internal sites, of which only two seems to be actively used. The second area is located another kilometer further north. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/content/satellite-images-show-expansion-nuclear-weapons-sites-kola

Independent World Health Organisation challenges WHO

May 18, 2017
In reality, IAEA is a commercial lobbying org promoting use of the atom, yet at the same time, it dictates WHO procedures, standards, and published articles on the matter of nuclear radiation, prompting a very pregnant question: Is this a conflict of interest for WHO? Answer: Yes, it is!

Not only is there a serious conflict of interest, Katz claims WHO fails, time and again, to meet its mandate to the public, as for example:

1) WHO remained absent from Chernobyl for five years even though the WHO mandate requires it to be present the “day after a catastrophe” to evaluate and provide assistance. But, WHO was MIA for 5 years.

2) WHO does not issue independent reports on radiation issues. All nuclear-related reports are written by IAEA but published “in the name of the WHO.”

3) Following Chernobyl, there were two international conferences held to analyze the implications of the catastrophe; one held in Geneva in 1995 and the second in Kiev in 2001. The “Proceedings of the Conferences” were never published by WHO.

Hidden Radiation Secrets of the World Health Organization, CounterPunch  MAY 2, 2017 Imagine the following hypothetical: The World Health Organization (“WHO”) is deeply involved in a high level cover up of the human impact and dangers of ionizing radiation, intentionally hiding the facts from the public, a chilling storyline!

After all, the world community depends upon WHO as an independent org t0 forewarn the general public of health dangers and to help in times of crises, not hide pivotal health facts from public eye.

As it happens, that nightmarish hypothetical comes to life in an interview with Alison Katz, who claims: “We are absolutely convinced that if the consequences of nuclear radiation were known to the public, the debate about nuclear power would end tomorrow. In fact, if the public knew, it would probably be excluded immediately as an energy option.”

Alison Katz heads a NGO known as Independent WHO, and she spends a lot of time arranging sandwich boards with messages like: “Complicity in Scientific Crime” or “Crime of Chernobyl – WHO Accomplice” in front of WHO headquarters/Geneva. For 10 years now on a daily vigil from 8:00-to-6:00 she and/or other protestors expose alleged misbehavior committed by WHO, right outside of the headquarters building. Imagine this: Ten years on the same street corner every working day. It’s commitment and determination sans pareil.

“The aim of the silent vigil is to remind the World Health Organisation of its duties. It was Hippocrates who formulated the ethical rules for health practitioners. The World Health Organisation ignores these rules, when it comes to protecting the health of the victims of the consequences of the nuclear industry”.

Which brings forth: Ten years of hard work combating a difficult and challenging issue warrants public adulation beyond carrying posters back and forth, come rain or shine, trudging away in the heat of the sun or the freezing cold and snow in front of WHO Hdqs. Hopefully, this article serves that purpose for Alison Katz.

The mission of Independent WHO is to expose WHO’s failings whilst calling for WHO independence away from influence by the worldwide nuclear syndicate: According to WHO Independence’s Web Site: “The World Health Organization (WHO) is failing in its duty to protect those populations who are victims of radioactive contamination.”

Ms Katz worked inside the WHO for 18 years. She insists that WHO, in cahoots with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), dangerously misrepresents the inherent dangers of ionizing radiation, an insinuation that smacks in the face with egregiousness galore.

Ms Katz’s April 2017 interview, which this article is based upon, can be heard in its entirety.

This article condenses and summarizes her one-hour interview. As such, according to Ms Katz: “The health consequences of nuclear activity, whether they are civil or military, are not known to the public… There has been a very high level cover up… including the WHO.”

For over 50 years WHO provided “a clean bill of health for nuclear power.” However, according to Ms Katz, that clean bill of health is not based upon independent science. It’s based upon “pseudo science” manipulated and largely controlled by the nuclear lobby and International Atomic Energy Agency, the Queen Bee of the pro-nuke Hive.

Furthermore, within the “United Nations family hierarchy,” WHO is entirely subservient to IAEA. In turn, IAEA reports to the Security Council of the UN or the very top echelon of the power hierarchy of the world, including France, China, UK, U.S., and the Russian Federation. Far and away, these are the world’s biggest nuke heads.

Connecting the dots leaves one breathless within a telling trail of pro-nuke advocacy of the highest order… hm-m-m, thus raising the question: How is it humanly possible for WHO to objectively, impartially, squarely and soberly analyze and recommend ionizing radiation issues on behalf of the general public?

Is it at all possible, even a little bit?

As it goes, the IAEA has two mandates, which sound innocent enough: (1) to prevent proliferation of nuclear power and (2) promotion of the use of the atom on a peaceful basis, ah-ah-ah… oh well, never mind. In reality, IAEA is a commercial lobbying org promoting use of the atom, yet at the same time, it dictates WHO procedures, standards, and published articles on the matter of nuclear radiation, prompting a very pregnant question: Is this a conflict of interest for WHO? Answer: Yes, it is! WHO is a creature of the dictates of IAEA, which is the world’s largest promoter of the atom. Whereas, WHO is supposed to “independently serve the public interest,” not kowtow to a nuclear advocacy powerhouse that reports to nuclear powerhouse countries that have a deepening love affair with nuclear power, warts and all.

For example, sixty (60) reactors are currently under construction in fifteen countries. In all, one hundred sixty (160) power reactors are in the planning stage and three hundred (300) more have been proposed. That’s a love affaire.

Meanwhile, as for WHO’s mandate: It serves as the leading authority of standards for public health, coordinating research, advising member states, and formulating ionizing radioactivity health policies. However, IAEA has been usurping WHO’s mandate for the past 50 years. In fact, a 1959 Agreement (WHA 12-40) between the two says WHO needs prior approval of IAEA before taking any action or publishing material dealing with nuclear, period!

As a result of this 50-year conflict of interest, which is deeply embedded by now, Ms Katz claims WHO must, absolutely must, become independent, thus breaking the stranglehold of numero uno promoter of nuclear power over WHO, which is mandated to serve the public, not IAEA.

Not only is there a serious conflict of interest, Katz claims WHO fails, time and again, to meet its mandate to the public, as for example:

1) WHO remained absent from Chernobyl for five years even though the WHO mandate requires it to be present the “day after a catastrophe” to evaluate and provide assistance. But, WHO was MIA for 5 years.

2) WHO does not issue independent reports on radiation issues. All nuclear-related reports are written by IAEA but published “in the name of the WHO.”

3) Following Chernobyl, there were two international conferences held to analyze the implications of the catastrophe; one held in Geneva in 1995 and the second in Kiev in 2001. The “Proceedings of the Conferences” were never published by WHO; thus, never made public even though WHO claims the proceedings are publicly available. Confusing? Yes! To this day, the relevant question remains: What did “the analyses” show?

As a result of WHO’s egregious conflicts, the world community has no independent arms-length source on nuclear radiation. That is a situation fraught with conflict and extremely difficult to accept, sans grimacing with a lot of teeth grinding.

Once again, with emphasis: There is no independent international authority reporting to the public on nuclear radiation…. none whatsoever. All information about nuclear radiation ultimately comes from the primary users/promoters of nuclear power even though they have a very big heavy axe to grind.

Of course, there are independent scientists, but they face enormous obstacles in coming forward with the truth, thereby risking monetary grants and risking personal positions, as well as family livelihood.

Not only that, but over the years all departments within WHO that dealt with nuclear radiation have been highly compromised. Even worse, according to Ms Katz, no senior radiation scientists work for WHO, none… nada.

What constitutes the “nuclear establishment” is a fair question; it consists of the major governments of the world like France and the U.S but led by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the top dog, establishing standards for the world. Strangely enough, there are no health experts at ICRP, prompting a logical question: Why not?

There is more to be concerned about, e.g., another shocking fact regarding ICRP, as if there are not already enough shockers with the thread that runs throughout nuclear power’s closely-knit network: Even though “ionizing radiation is mutagenic and always causes mutations, causing damage at the cellular level, there are no molecular biologists working in the ICRP” (Katz). Thus, the world’s largest institution for determination of radiation standards for the public has no molecular biologists on staff. That fact is beyond belief, an eye-opener beyond all other eye-openers.

It’s almost as if the regulators don’t give a damn about the effects of radiation on the general public. Do they?………….

Fukushima…….

Consequences of Chernobyl……..

Effects of Radiation

The genetic effects of radiation likely exceed anything understood by the general public, as WHO and other health orgs do not properly educate the public about radiation’s risks: “The genetic effects, far from diminishing with time, increase” (Katz), which is extra bad.

Years of research around Chernobyl show that the genetic impact of radiation to the human body becomes much, much worse as time passes. Thus, “radiation is both a continuing and a worsening catastrophe as time passes” (Katz). Radiation’s impact gets worse over time; it does not heal, does not dissipate, does not go away; it grows progressively worse, like the film sequels to Godzilla, which was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons in the early 1950s.

Indisputably, all organ systems of the human body are affected by radioactive contamination. Cancer is not the only nasty result of radiation exposure. Radioactive contamination affects the entire human immune system from head to toe, thus impacting every organ system in the body, e.g. musculoskeletal, etc. This damage to organs is in addition to the various cancer risks.

After all, consider this, 30 years after the fact, horribly deformed Chernobyl Children are found in over 300 asylums in the Belarus backwoods deep in the countryside.

Equally as bad but maybe more odious, as of today, Chernobyl radiation, since 1986, is already affecting 2nd generation kids.

According to a USA Today article, Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, April 17, 2016: “There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma.”

It’s taken 30 years for the world, via an article in USA Today, to begin to understand how devastating, over decades, not over a few years, radiation exposure is to the human body. It is a silent killer that cumulates in the body over time and passes from generation to generation to generation, endless destruction that cannot be stopped.

Where is WHO is kinda like Where is Waldo, but sadly the effects of ionizing radiation are not part of a game. It is deadly serious, forevermore. In the meanwhile, Fukushima irradiates and irradiates, limitlessly and so far, unstoppable. Where does its radiation go?

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com  http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/02/hidden-radiation-secrets-of-the-world-health-organization/

World Health Organisation’s bizarre response to Chernobyl radiation

May 18, 2017

Hidden Radiation Secrets of the World Health Organization, CounterPunch  MAY 2, 2017

“………..WHO held a Chernobyl Forum in 2004 designed to “end the debate about the impact of Chernobyl radiation” whilst WHO maintains that 50 people died.

Here’s the final conclusion of that Chernobyl Forum ‘04: The mental health of those who live in the area is the most serious aftereffect, leading to strong negative attitudes and exaggerated sense of dangers to health and of exposure to radiation. Mental health was thus identified as the biggest negative aftereffect.

Because that conclusion is so brazenly bizarre, the Chernobyl Forum ‘04 must’ve been part of an alternative universe, way out there beyond the wild blue yonder, maybe the Twilight Zone or maybe like entering a scene in Jan Švankmajer’s Alice, a dark fantasy film loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Here’s reality: Chernobyl Liquidators fought the Chernobyl disaster. Eight hundred thousand (800,000) Liquidators from the former USSR, largely recruits from the army, with average age of 33, fought the Chernobyl disaster.

According to an interview (2016) with a Liquidator, “We were tasked with the deactivation of the third and fourth reactors, but we also helped build the containment sarcophagus. We worked in three shifts, but only for five to seven minutes at a time because of the danger. After finishing, we’d throw our clothes in the garbage” (Source: Return to Chernobyl With Ukraine’s Liquidators, Aljazeera, April 25, 2016).

“Estimates of the number of liquidators who died or became ill as a result of their work vary substantially, but the men of the 633rd say that out of the 259 from their group, 71 have died. Melnik says that 68 have been designated as invalids by a state committee, which investigates their health and determines whether or not their diseases are attributable to Chernobyl… Dr Dimitry Bazyka, the current director-general of the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine in Kiev, says that approximately 20,000 liquidators die each year,” Ibid.

As for total deaths, the Chief Medical Officer of the Russian Federation reported that 10% of its Chernobyl Liquidators were dead by 2001. The disaster occurred in 1986 with 80,000 dead within 16 years. Authorities out of Ukraine and Belarus confirmed Russian death numbers. Yet, WHO claims 50 died.

Eighty-thousand (80,000) Liquidators, as of 16 years ago, dead from Chernobyl, and that body count, according to Ms Katz, leaves out the people most contaminated by Chernobyl, meaning evacuees and also 57% of the fallout for Chernobyl came down outside of the USSR, Belarus, and Ukraine, and in 13 European countries 50% of the countryside was dangerously contaminated.

As for studies of the radiation impact of Chernobyl: “Thousands of independent studies in Ukraine, Belarus, and the Russian Federation and in many other countries, that were contaminated to varying degrees by radionuclides, have established that there has been significant increase in all types of cancer, in diseases of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, endocrine immune, lymph node nervous systems, prenatal, perinatal, infant child mortality, spontaneous abortions, deformities and genetic anomalies….” (Katz)

Hence, WHO’s handling and analysis and work on Chernobyl leaves the curious-minded speechless, open-mouthed, agape, and confounded……..http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/02/hidden-radiation-secrets-of-the-world-health-organization/

Capture of academic research by fossil fuel corporations

May 18, 2017

The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/mar/13/the-fossil-fuel-industrys-invisible-colonization-of-academia

Corporate capture of academic research by the fossil fuel industry is an elephant in the room and a threat to tackling climate change, Guardian, Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran, 13 Mar 17, On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

Wrong.

The event’s sponsor was Shell Oil Company. The producer of the film series was Shell. The film’s director is Vice President of a family-owned oil and gas company, and has taken approximately $300,000 from Shell. The host, Harvard Kennedy School, has received at least $3.75 million from Shell. And the event’s panel included a Shell Executive Vice President. 

The film “The Great Transition” says natural gas is “clean” (in terms of carbon emissions, it is not) and that low-carbon, renewable energy is a “very long time off” (which is a political judgment, not a fact). Amy Myers Jaffe, identified in the film as the Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, says, “We need to be realistic that we’re gonna use fossil fuels now, because in the end, we are.” We are not told that she is a member of the US National Petroleum Council.

The film also features Richard Newell, who is identified as a Former Administrator at the US Energy Information Administration. “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims. The film neglects to mention that the Energy Initiative Newell founded and directed at Duke University was given $4 million by an Executive Vice President of a natural gas company.

Michelle Michot Foss, who offers skepticism about battery production for renewables, is identified as the Chief Energy Economist at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. What’s not said is that the Energy Institute she founded at UT Austin is funded by Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other fossil fuel interests including the Koch Foundation, or that she’s a partner in a natural gas company.

You may notice a pattern. The very experts we assume to be objective, and the very centers of research we assume to be independent, are connected with the very industry the public believes they are objectively studying. Moreover, these connections are often kept hidden.

To say that these experts and research centers have conflicts of interest is an understatement: many of them exist as they do only because of the fossil fuel industry. They are industry projects with the appearance of neutrality and credibility given by academia.

After years conducting energy-related research at Harvard and MIT, we have come to discover firsthand that this pattern is systemic. Funding from Shell, Chevron, BP, and other oil and gas companies dominates Harvard’s energy and climate policy research, and Harvard research directors consult for the industry. These are the experts tasked with formulating policies for countering climate change, policies that threaten the profits – indeed the existence – of the fossil fuel industry.

Down the street at MIT, the Institute’s Energy Initiative is almost entirely fundedby fossil fuel companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron. MIT has taken $185 million from oil billionaire and climate denial financier David Koch, who is a Life Member of the university’s board.

The trend continues at Stanford, where one of us now works. The university’s Global Climate and Energy Project is funded by ExxonMobil and Schlumberger. The Project’s founding and current directors are both petroleum engineers. Its current director also co-directs Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, which is named after (and was co-founded by) the CEO of a natural gas company (now owned by Shell). Across the bay, UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute is the product of a $500 million deal with BP – one that gives the company power over which research projects get funded and which don’t.

Fossil fuel interests – oil, gas, and coal companies, fossil-fueled utilities, and fossil fuel investors – have colonized nearly every nook and cranny of energy and climate policy research in American universities, and much of energy science too. And they have done so quietly, without the general public’s knowledge.

For comparison, imagine if public health research were funded predominantly by the tobacco industry. It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to understand the folly of making policy or science research financially dependent on the very industry it may regulate or negatively affect. Harvard’s school of public health no longer takes funding from the tobacco industry for that very reason. Yet such conflicts of interest are not only rife in energy and climate research, they are the norm.

This norm is no accident: it is the product of a public relations strategy to neutralize science and target those whom ExxonMobil dubbed “Informed Influentials,” and it comes straight out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. The myriad benefits of this strategy to the fossil fuel industry (and its effects on academic research) range from benign to insidious to unconscionable, but the big picture is simple: academia has a problem.

As scientists and policy experts rush to find solutions to the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, our institutions are embroiled in a nationwide conflict of interest with the industry that has the most to lose. Our message to universities is: stop ignoring it.

We are not saying that universities must cut all ties with all fossil fuel companies. Energy research is so awash with fossil fuel funding that such a proposal would imply major changes. What we are saying is that denial – “I don’t see a conflict,” MIT’s Chairman told the Boston Globe – is no longer acceptable.

Two parallel approaches can help. First, mandatory standards should be established in climate policy and energy research for disclosing financial and professional ties with fossil fuel interests, akin to those required in medical research. And second, conflicts of interest should be reduced by prioritizing less conflicted funding and personnel.

One way or another, the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry must be confronted. Because when our nation’s “independent” research to stop climate change is in fact dependent on an industry whose interests oppose that goal, neither the public nor the future is well served.

Dr. Benjamin Franta is a PhD student in the Department of History at Stanford University, an Associate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a former Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has a PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University. 

Top salesman for nuclear war – Lockheed Martin

March 9, 2017

Lockheed Martin Used Pentagon Dollars to Lobby Congress for Nuclear Weapons Funding One of the uses of the billions of dollars from these contracts is to recycle them back into lobbying the government to push for additional conventional and nuclear weapons spending, as reported by William Hartung and Stephen Miles. Of course, in addition, these funds are used to support a general environment of fear and insecurity, through contributions supporting hawkish think tanks.


Trump Is Bankrupting Our Nation to Enrich the War Profiteers
 March 06, 2017 By Jonathan King and Richard KrushnicTruthout | News Analysis

“……..Corporations that contract with the Department of Defense (DOD) for nuclear weapons complex work do not report revenues and profits from this work separately from their other military work, although they do break up government work from civilian work, and sometimes break up military work from other government work. Hence, it is not possible to determine profits made from nuclear weapons complex work from the annual reports and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings of large military corporations. However, it is possible to estimate, and to demonstrate how a significant amount of military R&D and production not recorded as nuclear weapons work is in fact partially nuclear weapons work. The nuclear weapons work financed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) is (not surprisingly) carried out in a semi-secret insiders club that insulates it from public knowledge and oversight. The first contracts for the upgrading of the nuclear weapons triads have already been awarded — one to Northrop Grumman — for a new generation of long-range bomber. But the public remains in the dark as to how many tens of billions of their tax dollars will be spent on the project.

From 2012-2014, according to Lockheed Martin’s 2014 annual report, the company realized an average of $46 billion a year in revenue, with an average of $3.2 billion in profits — 7 percent of revenue, and a 76 percent return on $4.2 billion of investor equity. The annual report informs us that 59 percent of 2014 revenue came from the Pentagon. We know from other sources that $1.4 billion a year is coming from the DOE for operation of the Sandia nuclear weapons lab, and we are estimating that an additional $600 million a year is coming for DOE nuclear weapons complex work. Information in the annual report indicates that around $6.1 billion came from foreign military sales. This adds up to around $35 billion of military revenue, or 75.3 percent of total 2014 revenue. The single biggest revenue earner in recent years is the F-35 jet fighter, bringing in $8.2 billion, 17 percent of total corporation revenue, in 2014. (William Hartung’s recent report describes additional aspects of Lockheed Martin’s military business, and his book Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex provides extensive background).

The only references to Lockheed Martin’s nuclear weapons complex work in its 2014 annual report is a sentence noting provision of infrastructure and site support to the DOE’s Hanford complex, and a phrase noting continuing work on the Trident missile. The words “nuclear weapons” never appear in the report.

Lockheed Martin’s Nuclear Weapons Operations

In spite of the lack of mention in the annual report, Lockheed Martin is a partner with Bechtel ATK, SOC LLC and subcontractor Booz Allen Hamilton in Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC (CNS), in running the DOE Pantex Plant and the Y-12 Complex. Pantex does nuclear weapons life extension, dismantlement, development, testing and fabrication of high explosive nuclear warhead components. Y-12 stores and processes uranium, and fabricates uranium weapons components.

Lockheed Martin produced the Trident strategic nuclear missile for the 14 US Ohio-class nuclear submarines and for the four British Vanguard-class submarines. The 24 Tridents on each Ohio-class submarine each carry either eight or 12 warheads, all of them 20 to 50 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Each warhead is capable of killing most of the people in any one of the world’s largest cities — either immediately or later, from radiation, burns, other injuries, starvation and disease. Lockheed MArtin is not producing new Trident missiles now, but it maintains and modifies them. Previously, Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors received $65 million for each of the 651 Trident missiles, in addition to the $35 billion in earlier development costs.

The other primary strategic nuclear weapon delivery vehicle is Boeing’s land-based Minuteman III strategic missile, also with many warheads per missile. About 450 of them are in silos in Colorado and northern plains states. Lockheed Martin produced and continues to produce key systems for the Minuteman III, and plays a large role in maintaining them. It was awarded a $452 million contract for this work in 2014.

Lockheed’s Sandia Subsidiary

Regarding the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons upgrades planned for the next decade; particularly important is the role of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). Outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, this DOE lab’s 10,600 employees make 95 percent of the roughly 6,500 non-nuclear components of all seven US nuclear warhead types. Components arm, fuse, fire, generate neutrons to start nuclear reactions, prevent unauthorized firing, preserve the aging nuclear weapons stockpile and mate the weapons to the missiles, planes and ships that deliver them to targets. Sandia Corporation LLC, wholly owned by Lockheed Martin, operates Sandia. The DOE is spending at least $1.4 billion a year on Sandia nuclear weapons work. The secret Lockheed Martin nuclear warhead assembly plant uncovered in Sunnyvale in 2010 is an extension of Lockheed Martin’s Sandia operations. Again, none of this received any mention or revenue numbers in Lockheed Martin’s 2014 annual report.

Lockheed Martin Used Pentagon Dollars to Lobby Congress for Nuclear Weapons Funding

One of the uses of the billions of dollars from these contracts is to recycle them back into lobbying the government to push for additional conventional and nuclear weapons spending, as reported by William Hartung and Stephen Miles. Of course, in addition, these funds are used to support a general environment of fear and insecurity, through contributions supporting hawkish think tanks. Technically, the federal government does not allow military contracting firms to use awarded funds to lobby Congress. Lobbying funds must come from other parts of the companies’ businesses. In reality, this is a non-functional restriction, since profits from various business segments are fungible; that is, once they are profits, they are intermingled, so in reality, the firms can use the profits from military contracts to lobby Congress. But Lockheed Martin went ahead and spent military contract funds from 2008-2012 as part of the contract expenditures. It didn’t even bother to book the lobbying expenditures as expenditures of profits. In 2015, the US Department of Justice required Lockheed Martin’s Sandia subsidiary to repay $4.9 million of a Sandia contract award to the Pentagon that the firm had spent under the contract for lobbying of Congressman the DOE secretary and the secretary’s family and friends………http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39712-trump-is-bankrupting-our-nation-to-enrich-the-war-profiteers

Transatomic Power’s false claims about Generation IV nuclear reactors

March 9, 2017

It’s interesting the way that, for dubious nuclear enterprises, they like to put a young woman at the top. Is this to make the nuclear image look young and trendy? Or is it so they she can cop the flak when it all goes wrong?


Nuclear Energy Startup Transatomic Backtracks on Key Promises The company, backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, revised inflated assertions about its advanced reactor design after growing concerns prompted an MIT review. MIT Technology Review by James Temple  February 24, 2017 
Nuclear energy startup Transatomic Power has backed away from bold claims for its advanced reactor technology after an informal review by MIT professors highlighted serious errors in the company’s calculations, MIT Technology Review has learned.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, founded in 2011 by a pair of MIT students in the Nuclear Science & Engineering department, asserted that its molten salt reactor design could run on spent nuclear fuel from conventional reactors and generate energy far more efficiently than them. In a white paper published in March 2014, the company proclaimed its reactor “can generate up to 75 times more electricity per ton of mined uranium than a light-water reactor.”

Those lofty claims helped it raise millions in venture capital, secure a series of glowing media profiles (including in this publication), and draw a rock-star lineup of technical advisors. But in a paper on its site dated November 2016, the company downgraded “75 times” to “more than twice.” In addition, it now specifies that the design “does not reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel,” or use them as its fuel source. The promise of recycling nuclear waste, which poses tricky storage and proliferation challenges, was a key initial promise of the company that captured considerable attention.

“In early 2016, we realized there was a problem with our initial analysis and started working to correct the error,” cofounder Leslie Dewan said in an e-mail response to an inquiry from MIT Technology Review.

The dramatic revisions followed an analysis in late 2015 by Kord Smith, a nuclear science and engineering professor at MIT and an expert in the physics of nuclear reactors.

At that point, there were growing doubts in the field about the company’s claims and at least some worries that any inflated claims could tarnish the reputation of MIT’s nuclear department, which has been closely associated with the company. Transatomic also has a three-year research agreement with the department, according to earlier press releases.

In reviewing the company’s white paper, Smith noticed immediate red flags. He relayed his concerns to his department head and the company, and subsequently conducted an informal review with two other professors.

“I said this is obviously incorrect based on basic physics,” Smith says. He asked the company to run a test, which ended up confirming that “their claims were completely untrue,” Smith says.

He notes that promising to increase the reactor’s fuel efficiency by 75 times is the rough equivalent of saying that, in a single step, you’d developed a car that could get 2,500 miles per gallon.

Ultimately, the company redid its analysis, and produced and posted a new white paper………

The company has raised at least $4.5 million from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Acadia Woods Partners, and Daniel Aegerter of Armada Investment AG. Venture capital veteran Ray Rothrock serves as chairman of the company.

Founders Fund didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry……https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603731/nuclear-energy-startup-transatomic-backtracks-on-key-promises/

Ben Heard sets up Australian nuclear front group; 25 prominent South Australians sign up

February 1, 2017

12 Dec 16 Australian nuclear lobbyists have had remarkable success in making themselves famous internationally, which is probably their main aim. . Barry Brook set this off, with a thin veil of environmentalism covering his dedication to the nuclear industry, in Brave New Climate. He got a heap of well-meaning environmentalists to sign up to a pro nuclear letter.

Now Ben Heard has gone a step further, with HIS nuclear front group – Bright New World. He’s got 25 important people to sign up to a pro nuclear campaign for South Australia.  As with Brook’s disciples, some of these people seem quite altruistic and disconnected with the nuclear and mining industries.

Others do not:

Dr Ian Gould:   chairing South Australia Energy and Resources Investment Conference 23-24 May 2017  Adelaide, geologist with  40 years experience in the minerals industry in diverse and senior positions, mainly within the CRA/Rio Tinto Group, current Chancellor of the University of South Australia and was awarded an AM in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to mining.

David Klingberg is a South Australian businessman, civil engineer and former Chancellor of the University of South Australia. director of ASX listed companies E & A Ltd and Centrex Metals Ltd. Klingberg is chair of a technical sub-group working on the Australian Government‘s National Radioactive Waste Management Project. 

Dr Leanna Read is South Australia’s  Chief Scientist, Expert Advisory Committee of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in South Australia.] Read is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering,[which advocated for nuclear power in Australia in August 2014.. Read is also the Chair of the South Australian Science Council.

Stephen Young  director or Chairman on a number of companies including ,Electricity Trust of South Australia, Australian Submarine Corporation ,The University of Adelaide ,E&A ltd and its Subsidiaries.

Mr Jim McDowell Chancellor of the University of South Australia   Jim McDowell is currently Chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and non-Executive director of a number of private and listed companies. He advises the Federal Government in a number of areas of Defence and Defence Procurement. He is a member of the First Principles Review of the Department of Defence and is currently on the Expert Advisory Panel for the Future Submarine. Formerly CEO OF BAE Systems Australia, the nation’s largest defence contractor.

Michael John Terlet  Primary qualification in Electrical EngineeringNon Executive Chairman of Sandvik Mining and Construction Adelaide Ltd, a Director of Australian Submarine Corporation Pty. Ltd. Served as the Chief Executive Officer at AWA Defence Industries, Chairman of SA Centre for Manufacturing, Defence Manufacturing Council SA (MTIA)

Graham Douglas Walters AM, FCA Mr. Graham Douglas Walters, AM, FCA, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Minelab Electronics Pty Ltd. Mr. Walters serves as Chairman and Director at Minelab International Pty Ltd.

Mystery of the uranium disappearance from Pennsylvania

February 1, 2017

What Lies Beneath In the 1960s, hundreds of pounds of uranium went missing in Pennsylvania. Is it buried in the ground, poisoning locals—or did Israel steal it to build the bomb?

BY SCOTT C. JOHNSON FOREIGN POLICY, 20 DEC 16 As a kid in the 1960s, Jeff Held thought that having a nuclear company in his backyard made life more exciting in Apollo, Pennsylvania. About 2,400 people lived alongside the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC), the town’s main employer. Held’s neighborhood subsisted on atomic lore: Just 33 miles down the road in Pittsburgh, the Westinghouse Corporation had helped construct the world’s first nuclear submarine, and in Apollo, NUMEC consequently manufactured the requisite nuclear fuel, a source of stirring pride minted by the Cold War

To Held, the plant, its lights flickering over the western edge of town on the banks of the Kiskiminetas River, was “kind of neat.” When one of the town’s radiation monitors went off, children would dash through neighbors’ backyards to reach the facility—it was housed inside a refurbished steel mill with dirt floors, big windows, and dozens of smokestacks—to see what had happened.

As Held grew older, the plant that inspired his boyish thrill evolved into something more puzzling, and more sinister. NUMEC closed its doors in 1983, and in the mid-1990s, the federal government swooped in and declared several city blocks contaminated. Various agencies rolled in with bulldozers, razed the plant, and carted off the radioactive pieces, barrel by barrel, for disposal. Ever since, Apollo’s residents have been grappling with fears that NUMEC poisoned their town.

One bitterly cold day this January, Held—now 53 and Apollo’s mayor—drove me north on State Route 66, which cuts along one side of the old NUMEC site. A green chain-link fence outlines the desolate acreage where the factory once stood. Held, a stout man with a graying beard, gestured up a hill toward several decaying Victorian houses. The residents, he said, have suffered from various cancers: lung, thyroid, prostate, brain. They have argued that years of radiation soaking into their soil, air, water, clothes, and homes had led to their afflictions. To date, owners of the NUMEC property have shelled out tens of millions of dollars in compensation to locals who’ve filed suit.

Apollo’s woes didn’t end with those payouts, however. Held told me that events shifted, alarmingly, one day in September 2011, two years before he was elected mayor. That’s when he saw several white SUVs, with blue U.S. Homeland Security decals emblazoned on their sides, stationed on the road just five miles north, in Parks Township. As he drove up the road, Held said, men with high-caliber military assault rifles milled around. It looked like a Hollywood blockbuster about a terrorist attack.

In Parks, a second NUMEC facility had produced plutonium starting in 1960, but it also had served another purpose: nuclear disposal. From 1961 to 1970, the corporation dug at least 10 shallow trenches, spread across about 44 acres, into which it dumped radioactive waste; some locals speculate that other companies around the country shipped their waste to Parks to be buried too. Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had been put in charge of cleaning up the site in 2002, under congressional authorization, the process didn’t begin until almost a decade later—right before Held encountered the madness on the road.

In October 2011, the USACE announced that excavation activities at the site were suspended. The work was halted after Cabrera Services, a Connecticut-based contractor hired to clean up Parks, mishandled materials, which the company acknowledged. The following year, the USACE uncovered an unexpected variety of “complex” radioactive contaminants in the ground, but it didn’t say all of what it had found or how much of it. In a December 2014 report, the USACE noted that among the contaminants it expects to find are several “radionuclides of concern,” including americium-241, radium-228, uranium-235, and various types of plutonium, which, under the right conditions, could be used as ingredients for a dirty bomb. It seems the material buried at Parks is more dangerous than anyone had previously imagined.

The USACE immediately ceased the excavation and established a 24-hour patrolled security perimeter that’s still in effect today. Bidding for a new cleanup contractor starts this summer, and the work, now forecast to begin in 2017, is expected to cost roughly half a billion dollars—10 times the original estimate in 2002.

The nuclear mess in Parks could hold clues to yet another mystery in this Pennsylvania community, one that has bedeviled nuclear analysts for decades. Beginning in the early 1960s, investigators from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the agency that regulated U.S. nuclear facilities at the time, began to question how large amounts of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium had gone missing from NUMEC. Any nuclear site had a certain amount of loss, from seepage into walls and floors, for instance. In fact, between 1952 and 1968, lax standards at 20 of the country’s commercial nuclear sites resulted in an apparent loss of 995 kilograms (2,194 pounds) of uranium-235. But investigators found that at NUMEC, hundreds of pounds went missing, more than at any other plant.

NUMEC’s founder, Zalman Shapiro, an accomplished American chemist, addressed the concern in 1978, telling Arizona Congressman Morris Udall that the uranium simply escaped through the facility’s air ducts, cement, and wastewater. Others, such as the late Glenn Seaborg, the AEC’s chairman in the 1960s—who had previously helped discover plutonium and made key contributions to the Manhattan Project—have suggested that the sloppy accounting and government regulations of the mid-20th century meant that keeping track of losses in America’s newborn nuclear industry was well near impossible. Today, some people in Apollo think that at least a portion of the uranium might be buried in Parks, contaminating the earth and, ultimately, human beings.

But a number of nuclear experts and intelligence officials propose another theory straight out of an espionage thriller: that the uranium was diverted—stolen by spies working for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. In the 1960s, to secure nuclear technology and materials, Israel mounted covert operations around the world, including at least one alleged open-ocean transfer of hundreds of pounds of uranium. Some experts have also raised questions about Shapiro himself. He had contacts deep within Israel’s defense and intelligence establishments when he ran NUMEC; several of them even turned up at his facility over time and concealed their professional identities while there.

Fifty years after investigations began—they have involved, at various times, the AEC and its successors, Congress, the FBI, the CIA, and other government agencies—NUMEC remains one of the most confounding puzzles of the nuclear era. ……….

Today, many people in the nuclear and intelligence communities are still convinced that a diversion occurred. “I tend to think it happened,” Stockton told me. “In fact, I’m damn sure it happened.” But the believers also concede that the evidence against Shapiro remains largely circumstantial; the nail in the coffin, they say, would be a confession from the aging founder of NUMEC or the release of a yet-to-be-identified document that would show definitive proof…….http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/23/what-lies-beneath-numec-apollo-zalman-shapiro/

Science, Government and the Press Conspire to Misinform the Public on Nuclear Industry

November 21, 2016

the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure have consistently been downplayed, distorted or concealed by scientists, the nuclear industry and the government.

It seems that while the US and the USSR had a hard time cooperating on nuclear arms at that time, they had a tacit agreement to cover up each other’s nuclear power mistakes.

these facts, like all those about nuclear power and nuclear weapons testing, were kept secret and released only through the efforts of private citizens and a few courageous researchers and journalists.

At least 250,000 American troops were directly exposed to atomic radiation during the 17 years of bomb testing here and in the Pacific, but they have been totally ignored by the government and the Army.

There is little doubt that hundreds died and that countless others developed illnesses that led to death from various cancers, blood disorders and chronic body ailments. Today the government still rejects all claims for such illnesses.

The press also played a role in soothing public fears.

the US has led the world in setting examples of deliberate deceit, suppression of information and harassment of nuclear critics

Professionals, in order to perform their work, resist truth strongly if it calls the morality of their work into question. They sincerely believe they are helping humankind. In addition, scientific research involves so many uncertainties that scientists can, with an easy conscience, rationalize away dangers that are hypothetical or not immediately observable. They also have an intellectual investment if not a financial one in continuing their work as well as families to support, and nuclear science in particular has been endowed not only with government money and support but great status and prestige.

In order to perform professional work, one must not only believe one is doing good but must also rationalize the dangers. Indeed, with regard to ionizing radiation, this is quite easy inasmuch as the risks of radiation exposure at any level are statistical and not immediately manifested.


Pro Nuclear Propaganda: How Science, Government and the Press Conspire to Misinform the Public
 http://www.lornasalzman.com/collectedwritings/pro-nuclear.html by Lorna Salzman Hunter College, Energy Studies program, 1986  After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Soviet Union, there was much finger-wagging in the US about the suppression of information there, and the purported differences in reactor design and safety requirements between Russia and the US, which made a similar accident here unlikely if not impossible

For example, there was and is nothing in this country to prevent a scientist or journalist or academic researcher from reporting fully and accurately on the consequences of the Chernobyl accident. In this respect we are indeed fortunate to have had independent and impartial scientists like Dr. John Gofman, the leading radiation health expert in the US and formerly of the government-supported Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California.But the similarities between how technical information and failure are handled there and here, as well as those in reactor design and the potential for reactor failure are striking. These similarities extend to the press as well as government, but in this respect there is a major difference. In the Soviet Union censorship is imposed by the central government. In the US it is self-imposed.

Dr. Gofman, using the admittedly incomplete data released by Russia and other European countries, applied rigorous analysis in the context of what is known about Chernobyl-type and size reactors and in the context of highly responsible statistical and epidemiological calculations based on standard radiation dose/response relationships. What Gofman came up with, and what no one in government or the nuclear industry has been able to refute, is an estimate that about one million people throughout the world will develop cancer from Chernobyl fallout, half of whom will eventually die.

Gofman delivered the results of his study before the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Anaheim, California. His figures pointed to 424,300 cancers in the Soviet Union, and 526,700 in Europe and elsewhere over a 70-year period as a result of cesium exposure and ingestion from the accident of April 1986, plus another 19,500 leukemias and an unknown number of thyroid and other cancers from other radioisotopes. These figures are over five times greater than the highest previous estimates, which range from 2000 to 75,000 premature deaths.

The reasons for this huge discrepancy – reasons never explored by the press nor revealed by our government and therefore unknown to the public – lie in the fact that the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure have consistently been downplayed, distorted or concealed by scientists, the nuclear industry and the government. Even though a patient search of government information can sometimes reveal the phrase “There is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation”, this simple sentence conceals multitudes of information. Gofman says: “There is no dose so small that the body can perfectly repair all resulting damage to DNA and the chromosomes”. The nuclear industry and the government have long promoted the notion that non-observable, long-term latent effects of low doses of radiation are in effect non-existent; they can safely do this because such effects are not manifested for years or decades, and a specific cancer or genetic defect cannot be traced back to any particular radiation exposure. Accordingly, as Gofman puts it, nuclear power is “mass, random, premeditated murder”.

“Undetectable” of course does not mean non-existent. For each amount of radioactivity released into the environment, there will be a statistically certain number of cancers, leukemias and other ill effects that will occur somewhere at some time; only the date and victims’ names are unknown. Right down to a zero radiation dose, these victims will appear. And, as Gofman’s Chernobyl figures show, people outside the immediate area can be at greater risk than those closer in. As a means of comparison, Gofman notes that the malignancies that arise from one nuclear reactor accident rival the number caused by all the above-ground nuclear bomb tests of the US, UK and USSR combined.

An information blackout occurred in this country as a result of directives from the White House, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Dept. of Energy (DOE), and the Dept. of Agriculture (DOA) right after Chernobyl. Government scientists were instructed not to talk to journalists. Even United Press International (UPI) backed down by saying that it could not stand by its initial estimate of 2000 immediate deaths, all of which led the public to conclude that the Soviets were the victims of censorship, while we here in the US had a free press.

It seems that while the US and the USSR had a hard time cooperating on nuclear arms at that time, they had a tacit agreement to cover up each other’s nuclear power mistakes. In 1957, what was probably the worst nuclear accident in the world before Chernobyl took place in the Ural Mountains at what is believed to be a nuclear waste dump. Over a thousand square kilometers in the southern Urals were drenched with radioactivity and rendered permanently uninhabitable. Hundreds died immediately, and long-term effects will never be known. The entire industrial area was evacuated; whole rivers, lakes and watersheds became irreversibly contaminated and the area was fenced off to prohibit entry.

Zhores Medvedev, a renowned Soviet scientists, knew about the accident, and in 1973, living in England, was astounded to learn that no one in the West knew about (or cared to admit they knew) the accident. Medvedev published an article in 1976 about the accident which was then reprinted in many western newspapers. The response from the UK, France and the US nuclear establishment was unanimous: they denied that such an accident was technically possible. The then-chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Sir John Hill, called Medvedev’s report “rubbish” and his comments were printed in the NY Times on Nov. 8, 1976 in a Reuters dispatch. Though Medvedev’s research, published later in his book “Nuclear Disaster in the Urals”, provided detailed information that indicated a nuclear waste accident, nuclear scientists preferred to blame the Soviets for poor radioactive waste handling, thus averting the issue of nuclear power safety entirely. Medvedev’s Freedom  of Information Act requests to the US Energy Research & Development Authority and the CIA came back to him heavily censored; most documents he had requested were classified and never released.

The Soviets were not the only ones willing to kill their own people, however. In the 1950s, the US Army, with the complicity of Congress, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), nuclear scientists and physicians, and top levels of government, deliberately marched American soldiers to within 100 yards of ground zero in nuclear bomb tests in Nevada; those victims are still dying today as may any defective offspring. Here are some of the testimonials to those tests:

“Nuclear testing, by and large, has been one of the safest things that was ever done”, Robert Newman, Nevada test site manager.

“No one has ever been crippled, killed or severely maimed in a nuclear weapons test”, Gordon Jacks, former Army Colonel, 18-year veteran of atomic testing.

“People have got to learn to live with the facts of life, and part of the facts of life are fallout”, Willard Libby, AEC Commissioner, AEC meeting of Feb. 23, 1955.

What was behind these blanket denials of the truth? First, keep in mind that these facts, like all those about nuclear power and nuclear weapons testing, were kept secret and released only through the efforts of private citizens and a few courageous researchers and journalists. The AEC, in the 1950s, was fearful of being put out of business and in particular of the consequences if the public became suspicious about nuclear fallout, especially because they had gone to such lengths to separate the civilian nuclear power program from the military nuclear weapons program. Data on actual fallout as well as human exposure and the resultant health effects were held only by the AEC lab at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The AEC in fact dismissed the notion that humans could ingest strontium from milk and insisted they could ingest it only from eating bone splinters from poorly butchered animals. Regarding radioactivity in the food chain, from animals eating plants growing in fallout areas, they said: “…experiments have indicated that there is no hazard to human health from this source”, although it is doubtful that such experiments ever took place.

At least 250,000 American troops were directly exposed to atomic radiation during the 17 years of bomb testing here and in the Pacific, but they have been totally ignored by the government and the Army. Receiving continual unabated assurances of complete safety, these troops were employed literally as human guinea pigs to demonstrate how people could function in a fallout-contaminated area in the event of a nuclear war. It took 30 years before the US government even agreed to conduct any studies of health effects on these troops, and even now the government and Army reject the notion that they are liable in any way for the horrendous and pitiful condition of the survivors and the families of those who died. The Smoky test in Nevada in 1957 showed over twice the normal leukemia rate among servicemen, and later this was amended to three times the rate…and this test exposed only 1% of all those servicemen exposed to nuclear test fallout. There is little doubt that hundreds died and that countless others developed illnesses that led to death from various cancers, blood disorders and chronic body ailments. Today the government still rejects all claims for such illnesses.*

How did the media handle this? On Sept. 28, 1980, on CBS” “Sixty Minutes”, there were brief interviews with some atomic veterans but the program concentrated mainly on the Defense Nuclear Agency director, Vice-Admiral Robert Monroe. Monroe stated to Morley Safer and millions of viewers that the Army took “meticulous precautions to insure that exposures were within limits” and denied that there was any statistical increase in cancer deaths from the tests, adding: “This weapon testing is a very, very, very, very tiny amount of low-level radiation”. No opposing views were presented on the program, nor was any mention made of the Center for Disease Control’s new study that showed a leukemia rate for veterans of over twice the expected rate. In response to angry viewers, which included some atomic veterans, CBS told them to get in touch with –you guessed it – the Defense Nuclear Agency.

The press also played a role in soothing public fears. NY Times science writer William Laurence, writing about the Bikini tests in the Pacific, said: “Before Bikini, the world stood in awe of this new cosmic force. Since Bikini, this feeling of awe has largely evaporated and has been supplanted by a sense of relief…”

The Nevada test site fallout didn’t stay put, however. It drifted downwind into Mormon areas in Utah. Several years later, leukemias, lymphomas and other cancers and genetic defects began emerging in this area, particularly among children. The AEC continually stated to local residents that “There is no danger”, and most studies done about this area and about nuclear tests in general were secret until 1979. An AEC booklet distributed six years after testing said: “…Nevada test fallout has not caused illness or injured the health of anyone living near the test site”.

The effects of weapons testing fallout wasn’t limited to nearby residents. The cast and film crew of a Howard Hughes movie, filmed near St. George, Utah in 1954 for three months, took an enormous toll over the next 25 years. John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Powell all died of cancer between 1960 and 1979. Of a total number of 220 in cast and crew, 91 had gotten cancer by 1980 and half of those had died by then, not counting the native Americans who served as extras in the film.

What did the press do about public protests? The Los Angeles Examiner writer Jack Lotto, in March 1955, blamed these on a Communist scare campaign to stop weapons testing. US News & World Report published an article by Willard Libby citing AEC evidence that fallout would “not likely be at all dangerous”. Syndicated columnist David Lawrence cited “world-wide propaganda” that was duping people and “some well-meaning scientists” were “playing the Communist game unwittingly by exaggerating the importance of radioactive substances known as ‘fallout’, and contended that the Nevada tests were “for a humanitarian purpose”.

It is interesting to note that two years prior to the Smoky test, in 1955, AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss suppressed a paper by geneticist Hermann Muller on the genetic effects of radiation. Muller was the discoverer in 1927 of the fact that X-rays caused increased mutations in plants and animals, for which he later received the Nobel Prize. The AEC also was responsible for removing his paper from a UN meeting on “peaceful uses of the atom”, held that year in Geneva, mostly, they said, because he mentioned Hiroshima, which they considered “definitely inadmissible” at such a conference.

The fact is that the US has led the world in setting examples of deliberate deceit, suppression of information and harassment of nuclear critics, of which the best example was the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. Just twelve days before the accident, Gov. Richard Thornburgh had appointed as state Secretary of Health a distinguished doctor and engineer, Gordon MacLeod, in order to restore the reputation of the state health department. Eight months after the accident, only a little over one-quarter into the two-year term MacLeod had agreed to serve, Thornburgh called MacLeod into his office and requested his resignation, claiming a “difference in institutional style”.

More to the point was the fact that MacLeod had been a critic of the Thornburgh administration’s handling of the TMI accident. The day after the accident news got out, MacLeod urged the governor to evacuate pregnant women and children from a five-mile radius around the plant (later he said he should have urged this for puberty-age children too, who are extremely radiation-sensitive). But no one else in the state agencies agreed and said the evacuation was unnecessary. Thornburgh finally, two days later, agreed to the evacuation after consulting with the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Joseph Hendrie.

MacLeod tried valiantly to take all possible steps to minimize radiation exposure. He requested, in vain, a Federal radiation health expert from the NRC and was told they had no radiation physicians on staff or anyone trained in radiation medicine. He tried to get potassium iodide pills from the Federal government, to block thyroid absorption of iodine-131. Five days later, far too late to be of any use, 11,000 vials arrived, more than half of which were unlabelled. Many had only half the dose required, some droppers did not fit the vials, and others had visible contamination. MacLeod also took issue publicly with the testimony of Pennsylvania’s chief of radiation monitoring, Thomas Gerusky, before the Federal Kemeny investigative commission and stated his objections in a letter to Kemeny. That seemed to be the “last straw for the Thornburgh administration”, and MacLeod was removed soon after.

Meanwhile, what scientists call “cooked” statistics started emerging from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Epidemiological Research, headed by Dr. George Tokuhata. Vital statistics on infant mortality began looking inordinately small, but Tokuhata claimed “printing error”. The NY Times enthusiastically printed the state’s claims about no increase in infant mortality. The statistics, still being held confidential by the state, did begin leaking out through anonymous calls to MacLeod, who then released what he knew in a church sermon to force the state to release them. The figures showed a sharp increase in the six-month period after TMI. It was later shown that the state had deliberately eliminated the black population in Harrisburg when calculating the data, because of their higher rate of infant mortality than whites. Such subtraction had been done only for the 1979 statistics, the year of the TMI accident, not for any other years, and when the black infant mortality was added in, the local rates for the area under study showed a sharp increase.

Similar withholding and distortion of information occurred regarding thyroid deficiency problems in young children to the southeast of the plant; again, Tokuhata trimmed off some cases to bring the state’s figures down to a normal rate. MacLeod pointed out that even accepting Tokuhata’s subtractions, there was still a five- to ten-fold increase. Again the NY Times accepted Tokuhata’s figures unquestioningly, and printed an editorial about “scare stories” regarding radiation damage from TMI,savagely attacking MacLeod who, they said, “irresponsibly publicized some of the raw data suggesting the existence of health problems”.

The question I am most often asked by the public is: if the nuclear establishment and its families are equally at risk from nuclear power as the rest of us, why do they lie about its dangers? There are various reasons. Professionals, in order to perform their work, resist truth strongly if it calls the morality of their work into question. They sincerely believe they are helping humankind. In addition, scientific research involves so many uncertainties that scientists can, with an easy conscience, rationalize away dangers that are hypothetical or not immediately observable. They also have an intellectual investment if not a financial one in continuing their work as well as families to support, and nuclear science in particular has been endowed not only with government money and support but great status and prestige. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which publishes the journal Science, just chose a nuclear physicist and former Assistant Director of Research for the AEC, Alvin Trivelpiece, as its executive director.

In order to perform professional work, one must not only believe one is doing good but must also rationalize the dangers. Indeed, with regard to ionizing radiation, this is quite easy inasmuch as the risks of radiation exposure at any level are statistical and not immediately manifested. If the odds of dying from a given amount of exposure are one in 100,000, it is easy for a scientist to rationalize that it won’t be him. A recent article in the NY Times on the obituary page caught my eye; a man named Mack, aged 52, died of cancer. The article noted that he and his sister were the first two children who ventured onto the site of a nuclear test in the 1950s, where their father worked as a scientist. The article also noted that Mack’s sister had died of cancer the previous year. I wondered if the father is still alive, and if he ever had second thoughts about allowing his young children onto that site, or whether his pride (or guilt) had prevented him from acknowledging that he had literally sacrificed his children to the nuclear priesthood.

As you may have noticed, there is no relationship between these incredible conspiracies of silence and distortion and the political party in power. Those in Congress who permitted these things have first loyalty to the institution in which they serve, not to truth; anything that threatens that institution is subversive, even if what they are doing harms the public. It is the same in foreign policy. The illegal violent intervention – state terrorism actually -committed by the US government against innocent Nicaraguans is a policy whose roots were planted deeply not by right-wingers or Republicans but by New Deal-type democrats, primarily Pres. Harry Truman, as was the virulent anti-Communism of that same era.

With regard to the various US interventions in Latin America, and specifically Nicaragua, the press meekly accepts the government handouts as fact, along with the myth that Commnists will take over the world and south Texas unless we overthrow the Sandinistas. But the facts are otherwise and indisputable as any reading of Nicaraguan history will show. Ignoring such history the US Congress readily accepts the Reagan-Kennedy-Truman doctrine of “containing” Communism at all costs, accompanied by “excuse us, we’re really sorry about the deaths of those innocent farmers, doctors, teachers, nurses and babies”.

Some of this history is in order. Nicaragua is not a Marxist-Leninist state. Most of its directorate were Social Democrats, some were Christian Democrats and some were Conservatives. What none of them were was Communist. Communists were excluded from the Sandinista directorate because they OPPOSED the revolution against Somoza (not the first or last time the Communist Party would oppose popular pro-democracy uprisings). Why did they oppose it? Because the revolution was not inspired or controlled by Moscow and the Communist Party. It was, rather, a homespun, nationalist, socialistic revolution stressing social welfare reforms, not a centralized authoritarian revolution. Some Left critics of the Sandinistas are upset because land reform has not gone far enough. The notion that Nicaraguans pose a threat to the US is on a par with the notion that Grenada’s former left government posed such a threat. Half of Nicaragua’s population is under the age of sixteen, and Nicaragua does not even possess an air force.

The Reagan doctrine of hegemony was developed long ago, and is best expressed by a statement made by George Kennan, in a 1948 document, when he headed the planning staff of the Dept. of State. He wrote: “…we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction…We should cease to talk about vague and -for the Far East – unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better”.

After a democratic civilian government was overthrown with US help in El Salvador, John F. Kennedy said that “governments of the civil-miltary type of El Salvador are the most effective in containing Communist penetration in Latin America”. Of course what he and modern-day “liberals” call Communism has nothing to do with Soviet Russia. Rather, as a 1955 study of the National Planning Association and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation noted, the main threat of “Communism” is that it could lead to transformation of Communist powers “in ways which reduce their willingness and ability to complement the industrial economies of the West”. Such complementary roles were and are played magnificently not only by the former Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua but by similar military dictatorships in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Thus, the real threat posed by Nicaragua lies in its nature as a nationalist, non-aligned, independent revolution not beholden to and controlled by the US interests – in other words, that it was a true popular democratic revolution that put human social welfare and equity first, in direct confrontation with foreign hegemonic powers, US or Soviet. Such popular-based revolutions set a powerful example to other oppressed nations, hence their unacceptability to the US.

That Congress, the press, academia, the military and Big Science collaborate and conspire with whichever faction rules the White House is not recent nor surprising. Their interests and the continuation of political and economic conditions that reinforce their powers and the institutions that support them – corporations, universities, research institutions, think tanks, mass media, often the courts, supranational agencies like the World Bank and other international agencies not accountable to the public – are what both rule this country and facilitate domestic and foreign policy. This is a lesson that political activists need to heed. American society, in its diversity and tolerance, supported by a remarkable Constitution, has many ways of absorbing various demands such as equal rights for minorities, welfare state programs, etc. Such incremental reforms pose no threat whatsoever to either the economic or foreign policy hegemony exerted over the rest of the world. Social issues can and will eventually be accommodated, without rocking the real boat.

What is threatening, however, are movements that directly challenge such hegemony, whether in the form of Star Wars nuclear weapons in space or ecologically based movements questioning the US (and global) model of untrammeled economic growth and resource consumption, and of course anti-intervention movements. These go to the heart of the very values and objectives of the central state, which in the case of the US is not readily indistinguishable from the Soviet Union. In fact, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the existence of civil rights and liberties in the US has functioned to draw attention away from the execrations of foreign policies that assist in, directly or indirectly, the commission of some of the most revolting human rights violations in history, accurately called state terrorism.

The Philadelphia Inquirer courageously printed a series of articles on the Pentagon’s’ “Black Budget” the $35 billion or so of under-the-counter money given them, with carte blanche with Congressional approval. The Iran-Nicaragua arms deal to support the contras in Nicaragua was part of this, as are indeed many of the other assassinations and subversions of the CIA and NSA. There is no public oversight over this budget or over the use of these funds; it is the equivalent of the KGB in the Soviet Union. The Philadelphia Inquirer stood virtually alone in sticking out its neck, to show the dirty underside of what purports to be a democracy. Let us hope others follow their example.

(Sources: Cover Up: What you are not supposed to know about Nuclear Power, Karl Grossman, Permanent Press; The Washington Connection & 3rd World Fascism, Noam Chomsky & Edward S. Herman, South End Press; The Turning Tide, Noam Chomsky, Pluto-South End Press;

Killing Our Own, Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon, Delta (Dell) Publishing.)

*As of 2001, the DOE has acknowledged culpability and has agreed to compensate survivors for damages.

(Lecture delivered by Lorna Salzman at Hunter College, Energy Studies program, 1986).