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Part II: The Spectre of a World “Nuclear” Komodo – Elizabeth Border

Image: WashingtonIndependent.com

One of the surprising “aftershocks” of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear tragedy is Germany’s resolute stand to abandon nuclear energy.

Associated Press reporter Juergen Baetz reports that Germany [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/03/23-7] is “betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks.” Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the Japanese disaster a “catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions.”

Berlin’s decision to take seven of its seventeen reactors offline for three months for new safety checks could become a model for the U.S. to follow. Apparently France, relying on nuclear energy for more than seventy percent of its power, will stay nuclear.

Baetz states:

Nuclear power has been very unpopular in Germany ever since radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster drifted across the country. A center-left government a decade ago penned a plan to abandon the technology for good by 2021, but Ms. Merkel’s government last year amended it to extend the plants’ lifetime by an average of twelve years. That plan was put on hold after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami compromised nuclear plants in Japan.

Germany’s transition would cost an estimated $28 billion a year. According to Baetz, in 2010 German investment in renewable energy topped $37 billion and included 370,000 jobs.

Germany’s leaders seem determined to end nuclear power, perhaps with a 2020 deadline. Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle said, “We must learn from Japan,” including safety checks and putting workable alternatives into place.

Above-market prices are paid to German renewable energy producers – including a homeowner with solar roof panels and a windmill “farmer.” This is financed by a 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour tax paid by all electric customers. This results in a typical German family of four paying $1,420 annually for 4,500 kilowatt-hours, taxed $223.

But “Komodo” never sleeps. Baetz warns: “But even if Germany abandons nuclear energy, some of Europe’s 143 nuclear reactors will still sit right on its borders.”

Chancellor Merkel, pushing for common standards, a topic at the European Union Brussels Summit, says the 27-nation bloc has been able to standardize “the size of apples as the shape of bananas.” So, it urgently needs common standards for nuclear power plants. “Everybody in Europe would be equally affected by an accident at a nuclear power plant in Europe,” said the Chancellor.

What about the U.S.? Misbegotten potential radiation monsters thrive in areas prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. Are you comforted to know that both of California’s nuclear power plants are near faults? Diablo Canyon [http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17768860?nclick_check=1] is near two faults, the Hasgri Fault and the Shoreline Fault. In addition, San Onofre [http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/31/local/la-me-0331-san-onofre-20110331] located next to I-5 in San Diego County, sits close to both the Oceanside and Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon Faults.

The NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) [http://www.nrc.gov/] requires that all nuclear facilities be built to withstand 7 to 7.5 magnitude earthquakes. But, voila, Japanese “Komodo Nuclear” emerged from a 9.0!

According to Richard Allen, associate director of the Seismological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, California has a 99 % chance of being hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or greater within the next thirty years.

How safe are the other nuclear power plants? [http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf06.html] ABC News reports [http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/03/are-us-nuclear-plants-safe-cant-reach-that-conclusion-leading-house-dem-says.html] “Records Show 56 Safety Violations at U.S. Power Plants in the Past 4 Years.” This ABC news review of four years of NRC safety records includes numerous violations: “missing or mishandled nuclear material, inadequate emergency plans, faulty backup power generators, corroded cooling pipes and even marijuana use inside a nuclear plant.”

In 2007, nuclear materials went missing from the Exelon Corporation [http://www.exeloncorp.com/Pages/home.aspx]’s Dresden Nuclear Plant, located within fifty miles of seven million Chicagoans. Two fuel pellets and equipment with nuclear materials could not be accounted for. Exelon merely paid a fine. At Indian Point Nuclear Plant, just outside New York City, the NRC discovered that an earthquake safety device has been leaking for 18 years.

Helen Caldicott, MD

Anti-nuclear activist and author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer, Dr. Helen Caldicott [http://www.helencaldicott.com/], says in Newsweek [http://www.newsweek.com/2011/03/20/the-manhattan-meltdown-scenario.html] (March 28/April 4, 2011):

“Imagine the scene: more than 300,000 people are running and driving away from the stricken reactor along winding roads, trying to reach their children, their spouses, and their mates. Then they begin to taste a strange metallic flavor in their mouths. The radio blasts out dire warnings, yet nobody knows what they are doing and nobody is in control. The economic consequences of a meltdown would be stupendous. New York could be rendered uninhabitable.”

Dorchester County, Maryland is within twenty miles of where Lou and I live. Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant is only 7 ½ miles from Taylor’s Island in Dorchester County and within the 10 mile emergency warning zone. Plant manager Thomas Trepanier, reported by Capital News Service [http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2011-editions/03-March-editions/110323-Wednesday/CalvertShutdown_CNS-UMCP.html], warned about “tolerating degraded roof conditions” at the 35-year-old plant in 2010 after water damage shorted out backup power systems leading to a week long shutdown.

Is it acceptable to have a “Nuclear Komodo” in your neighborhood and mine? This goes beyond serious. Taken collectively, the potential is real to maim and destroy all the people, animals and plants on God’s green globe.

Part I: The Spectre of a World “Nuclear” Komodo – Elizabeth Border

 

Image: WashingtonIndependent.com

Komodo-like, except for not preying on its victims only by day and hiding in a cave at night, the Fukushima nuclear nightmare (would it were only an apparition) never stops, day and night. Radioactive contamination will continue to haunt, harm and/or kill thousands for decades to come – some in Japan, others throughout the world.

The Guardian broke the story of the radioactive core melting through Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 containment vessel. The UK’s signature newspaper interviewed a former GE nuclear expert who stated Japan has “lost the race” to save the reactor.

Komodo’s evil talons are mercurial and unpredictable, for experts cannot really predict where the radiation will end up. Risk factors depend on things like the characteristics of the specific radioactive element released, directional wind patterns and rain or no rain.

According to Elisabeth Rosenthal (New York Times, March 21, 2011), “Ten days after … in Japan, officials are detecting abnormal levels of radiation in … milk, from Fukushima Prefecture; … spinach from Ibaroki Prefecture to the south;… canola from Gunma Prefecture to the west; and chrysanthemum greens from Chiba to the south. Shipments of the milk and spinach have been banned.

After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, scientists were able to detect radioactive particles thousands of miles away.

T. Ward Whicker, Colorado State University professor emeritus, developed a prime model to track radiation through the food chain. Whicker says: “It’s natural that people worldwide will be monitoring for this just in case it is far worse than we now expect.”

Rosenthal states that more than fifteen years after Chernobyl (Ukraine region), wild Croatian boar and Norwegian reindeer still had detectable levels of cesium 137 – levels high enough to cause potential danger to people who ate meat heavily.

Long-lasting cesium 137’s particles enter plants when they are taken up by root systems from the soil. Sandy soils allow more radiation than clay soils to pass into growing plants. This eco-disaster can keep cycling on for decades.

Rutger’s University professor of marine science and geology, Paul Falkowski, warns of drastic reactor meltdowns’ dire possible result: a major ocean current that travels up the coast of Japan, across the Pacific and into the Gulf of Alaska could carry radiation to Alaska fisheries months from now.

The “spin” that the west coast of America will remain pristinely unaffected requires everyone’s vigilance to demand valid data as “Komodo Nightmare’s” radiation levels are tracked (or hidden).

After Chernobyl, it is instructive that relatively distant villages were contaminated with iodine 131. Cows ate the radioactive grass, children drank their milk and contracted high rates of thyroid cancer.

The monster is out of the cave. But there are MORE CAVES, more Chernobyls and Fukushimas, accidents waiting to happen in the flawed, antiquated nuclear reactors worldwide. Part two of this series will update and amplify these concerns.

EYES WIDE OPEN: Part Four – by Lou Blanchard

   Earlier in this series, this writer expressed concern that the “Patriot” Act might be the Reichstag Fire of our own day. Jesse Ventura’s crucial new book, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read, gives this startlingly incisive analysis:

Here’s what should concern us all: if you look back at the US Patriot Act that Congress passed almost unanimously in the wake of 9/11, the Bill of Rights was already in peril. Let me offer a brief outline of how things changed.

The First Amendment is about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble. The Patriot Act says that the government is free to monitor religious and political institutions without any suspicion of criminal activity. The government can also prosecute librarians or the keepers of any other records (including journalists) related to a “terror investigation.”

The Fourth Amendment speaks to our right to be secure “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Patriot Act says the government can search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause.

The Sixth Amendment entitles anyone accused of a crime to “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” The Patriot Act says the government can jail Americans without a trial.

The Sixth Amendment says an accused person has “compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” The Patriot Act says the government can monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and even deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

The Sixth Amendment also says an accused criminal must “be confronted with the witnesses against him.” The Patriot Act says Americans can be jailed without even being charged, let alone face any witnesses.

What troubles me more than anything is how Congress can simply vote to supersede the Constitution. They’re not allowed to do that, to vote in new rules arbitrarily. Changing the Constitution requires you to go through many hoops. How can we allow this kind of unprecedented change to happen?

At the same time, it’s recently been reported that our government is building up a huge domestic spying network to collect information on us all, involving local police, state and military authorities feeding information into a database on people who’ve never been accused of wrongdoing. Homeland security has given billions of dollars in grants to state governments since 9/11, and there are now more than 4,000 organizations in the domestic apparatus. The FBI keeps the ultimate file, with profiles of tens of thousands of Americans reported to be “acting suspiciously.” (I’m sure I’m one of them.) Also the technologies we’ve developed for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now being used by law enforcement agencies at home – hand-held fingerprint scanners, biometric data devices, unmanned aircraft monitoring our borders with Mexico and Canada.

In other words, we the taxpayers are funding our own government to keep tabs on what we do. This is outrageous, but it’s been a long time coming. Our tax dollars have paid for mind control experiments and assassination attempts and fake attacks to draw us into war. Our tax dollars have funded drug runners and “extraordinary rendition” of detainees. And they’ve not been used in places where they should be going – like to help our veterans cope with Gulf War Syndrome and to keep the nation of Rwanda from mass genocide. What right does the government have to abuse our money like that?

I’ve put together this book because it’s become crystal-clear that our democracy has been undermined from within and it’s been going on for a long time. We the people have got to wake up and start demanding accountability! Let’s never forget the words of Patrick Henry: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

EYES WIDE OPEN: Part Three – by Lou Blanchard

  Winding the spool of history forward once again from the “found terrors” of 1945, this writer must reiterate one question: “Is history about to repeat itself?” Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s new book, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want you to Read, is a real beacon of warning – everything used in the book is in the public domain. Here are some incredibly vital excerpts:

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, there are now 854,000 American citizens with Top Secret clearances. The number of new secrets rose 75 percent between 1996 and 2009, and the number of documents using those secrets went from 5.6 million in 1996 to 54.6 million last year. There are an astounding 16 million documents being classified Top Secret by our government every year!

In September 2010, the Obama Justice Department cited the so-called “state secrets doctrine” in successfully getting a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit on “extraordinary rendition” (a phrase that really means we send suspected terrorists to other countries to get held and tortured). In fact, Attorney General Eric Holder was hell-bent on upholding the Bush administration’s claims in two major cases involving illegal detention and torture.

Also in September, the Pentagon spent $47,300 of taxpayer dollars to buy up and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of Operation Dark Heart, a memoir about Afghanistan by ex-Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer Anthony A. Shaffer. We first interviewed Lt. Colonel Shaffer for American Conspiracies, because his outfit (Able Danger) had identified Mohammed Atta as a terrorist threat long before he became the supposed lead hijacker on 9/11.

With Operation Dark Heart, publishing executives and intel outfits couldn’t remember another instance where a government agency set out to get rid of a book that was already printed. Some months earlier, the Army reviewers who’d asked for and received some changes and redactions said they had “no objections on legal or operational security grounds” to the final version. But when the DIA saw the manuscript and showed it around to some other spy operations, they came up with 200-plus passages that might cause “serious damage to national security.” By that time, several dozen copies of the book had already gone out to reviewers and online booksellers. (Those went on sale on eBay for between $1,995 and $4,995.)

So Operation Dark Heart was hastily reprinted with a number of paragraphs blanked out and, guess what? It became a best seller.

Here are a few things we’ve learned from WikiLeaks’ document releases that we didn’t know before: The CIA has a secret army of 3,000 in Afghanistan, where the U.S. Ambassador in Kabul says there’s no way to fix corruption because our ally is the one that’s corrupt (one Afghan minister was caught carrying $52 million out of the country). In Iraq, there are another 15,000 civilian casualties that haven’t been brought into the light, and our troops were instructed not to look into torture tactics that our Iraqi allies were using. U.S. Special Operations forces are in Pakistan without any public knowledge, and our Pakistani “allies” are the main protectors of the Taliban in Afghanistan!

I’ve divided the book into five parts, starting out first to show links between deeds our government perpetrated in the past and what’s going on today… You’ll come across documents on some pretty scandalous behavior, including:

• The CIA’s secret assassination manual and experiments to control human behavior with hypnosis, drugs, and other methods.

• The military’s Operation Northwoods, a chilling attempt by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to stage a terror attack on our own citizens and make it look like Cuba was behind it – using a hijacked airliner, no less.

• After President Kennedy was trying to get our troops out of Vietnam, the military faked the Gulf of Tonkin attacks in order to expand the war.

• Our chemical and biological warfare capability back in 1969, leading you to wonder about the real origin of things like AIDS and lyme disease.

• The CIA’s “Propaganda Notes” designed to shore up the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman conclusion.
• How Oliver North collaborated with Panama drug-running dictator Manuel Noriega.

• What America knew, and ignored, about the genocide happening in Rwanda in the mid-1990s.

• How we still turn a blind eye to Gulf War Illness and our veterans.

• The frightening background for our military to intervene in domestic affairs, set up “emergency relocation facilities” for our citizens, and establish a Civilian Inmate Labor Program.

• How failed inspections and ignored science are impacting our food supply and our bees, while we push to promote Monsanto’s biotech agenda.

• What our military really knows about the dangers of climate change.

• How companies like CitiGroup and Koch Industries promote their “plutocracies” at the expense of the rest of us.

• A think tank called the Project for a New American Century anticipating “a new Pearl Harbor” to promote the agenda for “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”

• Clear warnings the Bush Administration ignored that something was coming.

• The “Stand Down” order that kept our military form responding on 9/11.

• Evidence that Building 7 was taken down by a controlled demolition.

• The role of insider stock trading in advance of 9/11.

• And finally, part five examines the so-called “war on terror” and the terrible price we’re paying in terms of our liberties and the lives being lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’ll first read excerpts from a long memo by Bush’s Justice Department that subverts the Constitution by shredding a number of civil rights, followed by Bush’s justification of America’s torture of “unlawful combatants.”

• The “Media Ground Rules” that keep the truth hidden at Guantanamo.

• The torture techniques, and some medical experiments being conducted there and the paper trail on the CIA’s destruction of 92 torture videos.

• Decapitation of a detainee in Iraq, by our own troops!

• How the CIA “spins” the war in Afghanistan, and the fact that drugs are fueling that country’s economy.

• The State Department’s revelation that Saudi Arabia is actually “a critical source of terrorist funding.”

EYES WIDE OPEN: Part Two – Dachau, A Letter Home, 1945 by Lou Blanchard

 It is always instructive to see what people thought as events of great historic importance were taking place. While eyewitness accounts are not scholarly history, they grip the reader with the immediate authenticity of their reporting. This is especially true of letters written during wartime, letters that tell what life was really like at moments of crisis, of victory or defeat.

One such letter was penned in the spring of 1945 by Private First Class Harold Porter, a medic with the 116th Evacuation Hospital of the U.S. Army, who was suddenly an eyewitness to the liberation of a German concentration camp. The letter was written on Waffen SS stationery and dated May 7, 1945. Here are some excerpts from that letter:

Dear Mother and Father,

You have, by this time, received a letter mentioning that I am quartered in the concentration camp at Dachau. It is still undecided whether we will be permitted to describe the conditions here, but I’m writing this now to tell you a little, and I will mail it later when we are told we can.

It is difficult to know where to begin. By this time I have recovered from my first emotional shock and am able to write without seeming like a hysterical gibbering idiot. Yet, I know you will hesitate to believe me no matter how objective and factual I try to be… Certainly, what I have seen in the past few days will affect my personality for the rest of my life…

It is easy to read about atrocities, but they must be seen before they can be believed. I think that I once scoffed at Voltaire’s book “Out of the Night” as being preposterous! I’ve seen worse sights than any he described…

As we came to the center of the city [Dachau] we met a train with a wrecked engine – about fifty cars long. Every car was loaded with bodies. There must have been thousands of them – all obviously starved to death. This was a shock of the first order and the odor can best be imagined. But neither the sight nor the odor were anything compared with what we were about to see.

Marc Coyle reached the camp two days before I did and was a guard so as soon as I got there I looked him up and he took me to the crematory. Dead SS troopers were seated around the grounds… When we reached the furnace house we came upon a huge stack of corpses piled up like kindling, all nude so that their clothes wouldn’t be wasted by the burning. There were furnaces for burning six bodies at once, and on each side of them was a room twenty feet square crammed to the ceiling with more bodies – one big stinking rotten mess… They were nothing but bones and skin. Coyle had assisted at ten autopsies the day before (wearing a gas mask) on ten bodies selected at random. Eight of them had advanced TB All had typhus and extreme malnutrition symptoms. There were both women and children in the stack in addition to the men…

Behind the furnaces was the execution chamber, a windowless cell twenty feet square with gas nozzles every few feet across the ceiling. Outside, in addition to a huge mound of charred bone fragments, were the carefully sorted and stacked clothes of the victims – which obviously numbered in the thousands. Although I stood there looking at it, I couldn’t believe it. The realness of the whole mess is just gradually dawning on me, and I doubt if it ever will on you…

Today was a scorching hot day after several rainy cold ones. The result of the heat on the corpses is impossible to describe, and the situation will probably get worse because their disposal will certainly take time.

My arm is sore from a typhus shot so I’m ending here for the present. More will follow later. I have lots to write about now.

Love,
Harold

This was one young soldier’s reaction to the horrors of Dachau. His experience was shared by many other American military men, of high and low rank, as the next parts in this series will demonstrate.

EYES WIDE OPEN: Part One – 2011 by Lou Blanchard

                 

Can we trust prominent observers who claim America is headed for a Nazi-like tyranny? Is William Lewis and Gary Francchi’s DVD documentary on FEMA camps pure fantasy? Was Jesse Ventura’s television conspiracy expose′ on the American “Gulag” only a fairy tale? If so, why was his program taken off the air? Astute political and military watchers who document camp “aspects,” such as barbed wire turned inward and much more, include Alex Jones, Dr. Carl Sanders and retired Joint Chiefs Action Officer, Alexander B. Cuppett. Whether or not these reports are true, another very tangible indication that America is headed for tyranny is the Patriot Act.

It doesn’t take a sophisticated eyewitness to feel shock upon hearing that the newly elected “Tea Party” House of Representatives voted to renew the Patriot Act. Can we relax, drifting along, secure in the knowledge that all these draconian provisions will continue to “preserve” our liberties in the coming years? Secretive “National Security Letters,” warrantless searches continuing and even eventual detention camps?

History teaches that things are not always what they appear to be in complacent times – times when it seems no sudden vicissitudes will ever shake our reality. One might do well to consider this excerpt from William L. Shirer’s The Nightmare Years [http://www.traces.org/shirer.html]:

There were some Jews in those early years of the Nazi dictatorship who did not seem to realize the predicament they were in and that it was bound to get worse. A rather surprising number, we thought, especially among the more affluent, believed that somehow things would get better for them. They had their roots and their stake in Germany, felt they were good Germans, and were loath to leave. The virulent anti-Semitism, they thought, would pass. They did not take kindly to our counsel that they ought to leave while they could. They begged us to mind our own business. We ran into a number of them one weekend at Bad Saarow a popular resort not far from Berlin. I noted in my diary:

Bad Saarow, April 21, 1935. (Easter) [http://bit.ly/jRxLxA]

Taking the Easter weekend off. The hotel mainly filled with Jews and we are a little surprised to see so many of them still prospering and apparently unafraid. I think they are unduly optimistic.

These people could not grasp the fact that new laws were in place that would put them in grave danger. Many of these laws came about as a response to a 1933-style “terrorist” attack, the burning of the German Reichstag [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Burning_the_Reichstag]

(parliament) building. It was this act of arson (now almost universally acknowledged to have been perpetrated by the Nazis themselves) that allowed Adolf Hitler to assume absolute power. The day after the fire, February 28, 1933, President Hindenburg signed a decree “for the Protection of the People and the State.” Ironically, this suspended sections of the German constitution that guaranteed civil liberties. Then, on March 23, not even two months after Hitler had been appointed Chancellor, the Reichstag adopted the “Enabling Act” – the “Law for Removing the Distress of People and Reich.” By this act the Reichstag surrendered its powers to Hitler. As Shirer remarks, “Thus was parliamentary democracy finally interred in Germany. Except for the arrest of the Communists and some of the Social Democratic deputies, it was all done quite legally, though accompanied by terror.” [Interestingly, March 23, seventy-two years later, 2005, marked the signing by the US, Mexico and Canada of the “Security and Prosperity Partnership,” weakening national sovereignty and validating “open borders.”]

In a similar way, the United States Congress adopted the Patriot Act [http://w2.eff.org/patriot/] soon after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It, too, was a response to terrorism, though various analysts claim it had been at least partially written up even before 9-11. The 2003 version had the Orwellian “double-speak” title: “The Domestic Security Enhancement Act.” We know how effectively and diabolically the Nazi regime made use of their new powers during their twelve years of control over Germany and, later, much of Europe. Hitler and his henchmen used the Enabling Act and similar legislation to bring the German populace into total submission and perpetrate unspeakable evil.

No American can be complacent in the next few years ahead. We must not be like the unfortunate Jews that William L. Shirer saw at the resort in 1935. Each of us must become fully aware and vocal, so that no new “Nuremberg Laws” and subsequent Hitlerian “decrees” can come about in America. We cannot choose apathy that leads to the continued erosion of freedom, and perhaps much more horrific events in our cherished America.

Throughout the late 1990’s in the Clintonian years, my wife Elizabeth had often asked me whether my knowledge of World War II led me to believe that Hitlerian control could ever overtake America. “Never!” was always my vociferous reply.

Then, as Almighty God began opening to us doors of knowledge about history’s secret rulers and machinations, Elizabeth again posed the question to me on the way home from a Saturday evening concert. I recounted to her Shirer’s account of the 1935 Bad Saarow incident. I then surprised my wife by saying I was no longer sure such things could never happen in our country. When we got home, my wife walked over to turn on a light in our living room. A book tumbled down on her foot. “This is an amazing coincidence!” she cried. “Shirer’s The Nightmare Years… What we were just talking about!”

Three days later, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the World Trade Towers came down. America had changed.

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