Via: Philadelphia Inquirer:
The independent panel investigating Pennsylvania State University’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal has determined that the school’s top leaders, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, tried to cover up the abuse for 14 years.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who led the investigation, outlined the findings of the panel’s 162-page report in prepared remarks coinciding with its release this morning.
The report is available at www.philly.com/freeh
“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” Freeh said. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
Naming Paterno, former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a university vice president once in charge of the campus police, Freeh said they “never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”
“Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University . . . repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large,” Freeh said.
The conclusion of a report of a Japanese parliamentary panel issued last week that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry “collusion” and thus was “man-made” is mirrored throughout the world. The “regulatory capture” cited by the panel is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the six Fukushima plants] and the lack of governance by said parties,” said the 641-page report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission released on July 5.
“They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made,’” said the report of the panel established by the National Diet or parliament of Japan.
“We believe the root causes were the organizational and regulatory system that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions,” it went on. “Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organization that deals with nuclear power.” It said nuclear regulators in Japan and Tepco “all failed to correctly develop the most basic safety requirements.”
The chairman of the 10-member panel, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a medical doctor, declared in the report’s introduction: “It was a profoundly man-made disaster—that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.”
He also placed blame on cultural traits in Japan. “What must be admitted—very painfully,” wrote Dr. Kurokawa, “is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan.’ Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture; our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the programme’; our groupism; and our insularity.”
In fact, the nuclear regulatory situation in Japan is the rule globally.
In the United States, for example, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear power plant anywhere, anytime. The NRC has been busy in recent times not only giving the go-ahead to new nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. but extending the operating licenses of most of the 104 existing plants from 40 to 60 years—although they were only designed to run for 40 years. That’s because radioactivity embrittles their metal components and degrades other parts after 40 years making the plants unsafe to operate. And the NRC is now considering extending their licenses for 80 years.
Moreover, the NRC’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, recently resigned in the face of an assault on him by the nuclear industry and his four fellow NRC members led by William D. Magwood, IV. Magwood is typical of most NRC and AEC commissioners through the decades—a zealous promoter of nuclear power. He came to the NRC after running Advanced Energy Strategies through which he served as a consultant to various companies involved with nuclear power including many in Japan—among them Tepco.
Before that, Magwood served as director of nuclear energy for the U.S. Department of Energy. He “led the creation,” according to his NRC biography, of DOE programs pushing nuclear power, “Nuclear Power 2010” and “Generation IV.” Prior to that, he worked for the Edison Electric Institute and Westinghouse, a major nuclear power plant manufacturer.
Jaczko, although a supporter of nuclear power, with a Ph.D. in physics, repeatedly called for the NRC to apply “lessons learned” from the Fukushima disaster to its rules and actions—upsetting the industry and the other four NRC commissioners. As Jaczko declared in February as the other four NRC commissioners first approved the construction of new nuclear plants since Fukushima, giving the go-ahead to two plants in Georgia: “I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima had never happened.”
The NRC was set up to be an independent regulator of nuclear power to replace the AEC which was established by Congress under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The AEC was given the dual missions of promoting and regulating nuclear power—a conflict of interest, Congress realized in 1974, so it eliminated the AEC and created the NRC as regulator and, later, the Department of Energy as promoter of nuclear power. But both the NRC and DOE have ended up pushing nuclear power with revolving doors between them and the government’s national nuclear laboratories—and the nuclear industry.
The International Atomic Energy Agency was established as an international version of the AEC by the United Nations after a speech made at it by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 in which he espoused “Atoms for Peace.” Its dual missions are serving as a monitor of nuclear technology globally while also seeking “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.”
Its first director general was Sterling Cole who as a U.S. congressman was a big booster of nuclear power. Later came Hans Blix after he led a move in his native Sweden against an effort to close nuclear plants there. Blix was outspoken in seeking to spread nuclear power internationally calling for “resolute response by government, acting individually or together as in the [IAE] Agency.”
Blix’s long-time IAEA second-in command was Morris Rosen—formerly of the AEC and before that the nuclear division of General Electric (which manufactured the Fukushima plants)—who said after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster: “There is very little doubt that nuclear power is a rather benign industrial enterprise and we may have to expect catastrophic accidents from time to time.”
Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt followed Blix, and as he told an “International Conference on Nuclear Power for the 21st Century” organized by the IAEA in 2005: “There is clearly a sense of rising expectations for nuclear power.”
The current IAEA director general is Yukiya Amano of Japan. In Vienna at the heaquarters of the IAEA, marking the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in March, Amano said: “Nuclear power is now safer than it was a year ago.”
Shuya Nomura, a member of the Japanese investigation commission and a professor at the Chuo Law School, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that the panel’s report tried to “shed light on Japan’s wider structural problems, on the pus that pervades Japanese society.” And, noted the Times, he added, “This report contains hints on how Japanese society needs to change.”
Those “wider structural problems” are far wider than Japan—they are global. The “regulatory capture” cited in the Japanese panel’s report has occurred all over the world—with the nuclear industry and those promoting nuclear power in governments making sure that the nuclear foxes are in charge of the nuclear hen houses. The “pus that pervades Japanese society” is international. With some very important exceptions, people have not adequately taken on the nuclear authorities. And we all must. The nuclear promoters have set up a corrupt system to enable them to get their way with their deadly technology. They have lied, they have connived, they have distorted governments. The nuclear industry is thus allowed to do whatever it wants. The nuclear pushers must be firmly challenged and they and nuclear power must be stopped.
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.
The US says it has been worried by a Russian bill that would force non-governmental organizations (NGOs) financed by other states to register as “foreign agents.”
“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to be heard and have a voice in government. That’s why we’ve raised our concerns about the potential passage of this new NGO legislation,” said Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the US Department of State.
The comments came after Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has passed the bill in its first reading.
The bill, if passed in the second reading of the state Duma on Friday, would force the NGOs to publish a report of their activities twice a year and carry out an annual financial audit.
The founders of the non-governmental organizations would face four-year jail sentences and/or fines of up to 300,000 rubles (USD 9,200) if they failed to comply with the law.
The legislation is expected to be reviewed by the Federation Council upper house on July 18.
The use of the term of “foreign agents” in the law was equivalent with “spying and treason” in the Soviet era.
Disputes over who has been funding Russian NGOs have increased after some controversial remarks made by the US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul who said in April that the Obama administration would like to set up a ‘civil society fund’ in Russia.
Rejecting reports about US involvement in anti-government protests that hit Moscow during the country’s presidential elections, McFaul said the US government funds no organization in Russia except independent NGOs.
Three people, including a heavily pregnant woman, suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation on Tuesday night in what Israeli police are calling a racist attack.
Micky Rosenfeld of the Israeli police reported that there was an arson attack on an apartment in west Jerusalem on Wednesday night. Three Eritrean’s were seriously injured in the attack. One suffered severe burns while two others were being treated for smoke inhalation.
There has been a sharp increase in racist attacks and demonstrations by Israelis in recent months. There have been riots in Tel Aviv and many asylum seekers have been beaten and abused on the street. In another arson attack in June, four migrants were injured when their home was set ablaze and racist graffiti sprayed on the walls.
Right wing Israelis see immigrants from Africa and elsewhere as a possible threat to maintaining Israel as a Jewish majority state. They have called on the government to deport asylum seekers.
Their sentiments are widely supported in the Israeli government. Earlier in June Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in an interview with Maariv newspaper, stated “The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream,” adding “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man.”
- French activist injured as Israeli troops attack Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- African Immigrants in Tel Aviv Attacked by Racist Israeli Mobs (alethonews.wordpress.com)