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The Times hails Belgian royal’s conservation of the Congo – a place ravaged by Belgian royals

RT | November 7, 2017

“Why would a Belgian royal risk his life to save a Congolese wilderness?” reads a somehow unironic headline in the Times Magazine this weekend. The question is posed alongside an introduction to Belgium’s Prince Emmanuel de Merode.

According to the profile, de Merode is “battling to preserve the Virunga National Park – and the people and animals who live there.” The story follows de Merode’s conservation efforts in the eastern Congo where the royal is leading the redevelopment of Virunga’s internal infrastructure, including the costly construction of a two-mile canal and a series of hydroelectric plants.

Referring to de Merode’s “staggering ambition” for the country’s power grid, the article reads: “For this plant alone has raised $22million, plus $12million for a 250-mile network to distribute its electricity to three towns on Virunga’s border.”

The piece includes dazzling tales of de Merode evading machine gun fire while flying his Cessna jet over territories held by militiamen, his battle to defeat poachers targeting endangered animals and his “visionary” bid to remake the region.

But given the brutal history of the Belgian monarchy in the Congo, and the historic transfer of wealth out of the country to its rulers in Europe, some readers quickly declared the piece not only tone deaf, but also a stunning display of ignorance.

It is estimated that more 10 million people were killed during King Leopold II’s reign over the Congo, a country allocated to Belgium in 1884 during the Berlin Conference to regulate Europe’s colonization of West Africa.

Rising demand for rubber worldwide meant that land in the resource-rich Congo was divided up by the king and given to private mining companies in order to boost production. These companies were allowed to operate with impunity, forcing local Congolese into labor to collect the rubber cheaply.

The Force Publique, the 19,000-strong native paramilitary army set up to protect the interests of the mining firms, were notorious for cutting off the hands of workers who refused to collect rubber, or failed to meet their quotas. Soldiers also took women and family members hostage in order to force people into work.

For some, De Merode’s fundraising to build his hydroelectric dam might be more easily taken on its merits if his ancestors had not used profits from the Congo to fund large-scale urban renewal projects back in Belgium.

Leopold himself claimed he never profited personally from colonialism, but the Belgian scholar Jules Marchal has estimated that he drew around 220 million francs – more than $1billion in today’s money – from the Congo in his lifetime.

For his part, de Merode does acknowledge some of his country’s crimes, namely King Albert’s theft of two million acres worth of subsistence farms to create the national park in the first place.

“Enormous benefit was given to the whole of humanity, but the price is being paid by the local people who are among the poorest on earth,” he said. “You have an enormous case of social injustice… Local people are extremely hostile. Many of them are desperate, with no livelihood, no income and nowhere to go.”

One wonders if his concerns about social justice extend as far as reparations.

READ MORE: Prince William warns there are too many humans

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

A Few More Who Think The Poor Ought To Have Access To Cheap Energy

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | October 31, 2017

If you were asked to name the most immoral thing going on in the world today, you would be hard pressed to come up with a better candidate than the campaign to keep the world’s poor in poverty. This campaign usually goes under the banner of “saving the planet” or “sustainability” or something similar. There are times when it feels very lonely out here in the small group pointing out the deep immorality of this campaign. For example, one such time was last April, when some hundreds of thousands of spoiled, wealthy Americans conducted what they called the “March for Science,” demanding that cheap and reliable energy be restricted and that the price of energy be increased to a level to make sure that the poor could never afford it. The entire progressive press and media cheered these people on.

In the camp of people calling out the “sustainability” campaigners for their immorality, I particularly favor the ones who don’t mince their words. These campaigners need to be harshly condemned. So today I’ll give a shout out to a couple of voices that aren’t afraid to say the obvious on this subject.

First, Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK participated in a debate at Cambridge University on October 26, where the question before the house was “This House would rather cool the planet than warm the economy.” Cambridge, like all elite universities these days, has become a center for advocacy of de-carbonization, of de-industrialization, and of making sure that poor countries cannot get energy that is cheap and reliable and that works. Benny’s full presentation can be found at the link. Here are a few excerpts:

[T]he fact that stopping economic development is even being advocated by some of the world’s most privileged students in Cambridge reveals how far removed this green bubble is from the harsh reality of billions of people who are desperately trying to escape poverty. Let’s not beat about the bush: If today’s motion would ever be implemented by some radical green government, it would lead to the death of millions of poor people in the developing world, astronomical mass unemployment and economic collapse. That’s because poor nations without economic growth have no future and are unable to raise living standards for impoverished populations. . . .

Climate and green energy policies have lead to is the biggest wealth transfer in the history of modern Europe — from the poor to the rich. . . . The proponents of today’s motion argue that economic growth should be sacrificed or at least curtailed in order to cut global CO2 emissions. Denying the world’s poor the very basis on which Britain and much of Europe became wealthy — largely due to cheap coal, oil and gas — amounts to an inhumane and atrocious attempt by green activists to sacrifice the needs of the world’s poor on the altar of climate alarmism.

“Inhumane” and “atrocious.”  I could have come up with even more such words, but that’s a pretty good start. Good job, Benny!

And here is another one, this time from reader Mikko Paunio, who sent me a link to his recent (October 30) article discussing why restricting fossil fuels and requiring expensive and intermittent renewables threatens public health in poor countries. The title is “Sustainability Threatens Public Health In The Developing World.”

Paunio points out that good public health requires large amounts of clean water, which in turn requires reliable and affordable power.

We take sanitary practices for granted in wealthier countries but hygienic practices require water in quantity and uninterrupted power to supply that water and related sewage systems.

And it’s not just clean drinking water that is at issue. Good hygiene and sanitation require water not only for drinking, but also for things like laundry, dishes, toilets and sewers.

Painstaking research has shown that the provision of clean drinking water brings down children’s diarrhoea risk by [only] around 20-25 per cent in a developing country setting (31,32). This is partly because purified water is a harsh environment for those enteric pathogenic microbes that would otherwise enter the system. However more importantly, it is because so many water washable diseases remain transmissible under unhygienic conditions. . . . [H]ygienic practices include personal hygiene, household hygiene i.e. linen and other laundry, kitchen hygiene (utensils and food), cleanliness of suitable surface materials especially in bathrooms. These require water in substantial quantities for ensuring hygiene by de-contamination and human-waste disposal, in addition to providing solely drinking water.  

And then there’s the question of air pollution, particularly the indoor variety. In countries without cheap and reliable electricity, the people of necessity turn to indoor fires of wood or animal dung for heating and cooking. The result:

Decentralized heating and cooking in homes in the urban areas of the developing world account for most ambient air pollution and perhaps 80-90 % of the WHO estimate of up to 6.5 million annual deaths linked to such air pollution.

So where are our national and international bureaucracies on addressing these critical issues?

Instead of addressing those [water and air pollution] issues in the most practical way possible, the US in 2013 declined multilateral (World Bank) aid to build centralized power plants in the poorest countries – because to be affordable they had to use coal. Instead, the US government sided with WHO and Dr. Margaret Chan and insisted on climate change mitigation for poor countries while giving China unlimited emissions until 2030.

Where did we go wrong? When guiding the “Our Common Future” report, Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland chose to deny crucial infrastructural urban development, such as the provision of fresh water supplies and the installation of sewerage systems, unless it could be done “sustainably”. But the countries that need such infrastructure are often unable to raise capital on their own and need multilateral assistance from rich countries. By mandating they could only have loans if they agreed to build things that would be too expensive, we doomed those countries to failure.

I guess I can understand how the bureaucracies can get involved in these efforts that lead to mass impoverishment and millions of deaths. After all, bureaucracies have an internal dynamic that makes them only interested in increasing their own power and prerogatives; the poor are just collateral damage. But how is it that the faculties and students of all elite universities, and the entire progressive media, have become part of this immoral endeavor? It’s impossible to understand.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | Leave a comment

International Community Starts Call for US to Ban All Nuclear Explosions

Sputnik – 21.10.2017

For over 20 years, the US has been signatory but not party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a 1996 UN ban on all nuclear explosions, for any purpose. With nuclear weapons back in the international spotlight, nonproliferation advocates have called on the US Senate to at last ratify the treaty.

Six of the nine nuclear states have not passed the CTBT: China, India, Israel (although Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons), North Korea, Pakistan and the United States. France, Russia and the United Kingdom are the only nuclear states to have signed and ratified the treaty — but the treaty can only go into effect when all 44 Annex 2 countries, nations that had or were researching nuclear power, ratify the treaty. In addition to the six nuclear state holdouts, Egypt and Iran are also Annex 2 states that have not ratified. The other 36 have done so.

Hans Blix, who once headed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), expressed skepticism that the US would ever pass the treaty, because Washington wished to keep “freedom of action for the United States.” He pushed for the US Senate to ratify the treaty, as it was signed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Bans of nuclear tests “should be the least difficult of all arms control issues,” Blix said to the press on Wednesday.

​On Sputnik Radio’s Loud and Clear, hosts Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek spoke to two prominent figures in the nonproliferation movement: Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear disarmament advocacy organization; and Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste watchdog with anti-nuclear power and nuclear weapon organization Beyond Nuclear.

Kamps chastised former US President Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress of 2009-2010 for not ratifying the treaty. “It’s not so easy to ratify a treaty,” said Mello. “You need two thirds, in other words, you need 67 [US Senate votes]. Complicating it is that there are some Democrats that are part of the ‘war party.’ Whenever an arms control treaty comes into the Senate, there the war party — in both political parties — wants to attach conditions: benefits to the arms contractors and to the nuclear weapons labs. They demand a very high ransom for ratifying any treaty, and so the ransom required for the CTBT signing was the resuscitation of the nuclear weapons establishment after its bad years after the end of the Cold War.”

Mello also discussed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by the two largest nuclear powers, Russia and the US, in 2010. The treaty was meant to limit nuclear missiles, bombers and launchers. To pass it through the US Senate, Mello said, “the ransom required was basically the modernization and renewal of every single warhead and every single delivery system in the US stockpile, along with the factories.”

“So in other words, the Republicans, which held New START hostage, got everything they possibly could have gotten. To get that thing ratified, the cost ended up being so high that it can completely obviate the original purpose of the treaty, which was thought to be a step by some toward nuclear disarmament. But if you’re adding nuclear armament to get the treaty signed, then you can end up going one step forward, two steps back.”

“There’s a war party,” Kamps agreed. “It has its clutches in the United States Senate and it certainly has its clutches in the Pentagon. There are elements of our government, elements of our military that really like to have that option of nuclear weapons.”

They like it enough, Kamps goes on to say, to openly lie to the American people. “You know, from the early 60s until the early 90s, it turns out — we just found out from the National Security Archives a few years ago — that a lot of those underground [nuclear] tests leaked into the environment. Something like a third of the tests in the United States, a third of the tests in the Soviet Union, a third of the tests perhaps even in a place like China, were leaking through cracks and fissures — and sometimes even intentional venting of the radioactive contamination.”

“All the countries helped the others keep it secret for fear that their domestic populations would then start asking questions about their own nuclear weapons testing. The CIA, for example, helped to keep the Soviet and Russian underground test leaks quiet so that Americans would not ask any questions here about our own.”

Although the heyday of nuclear testing has ended, Mello claims that the tests continue in the form of subcritical tests. These are tests that use a very small amount of fissile material, such as uranium or plutonium, that cannot sustain a chain reaction. These “nuclear tests which don’t involve the significant fission yield are nonetheless nuclear tests just the same,” said Mello, “and they’re taking place in Nevada and also Novaya Zemlya [in Russia] and in the laboratories. With combining the data from these [subcritical] tests with computer models and very fast computers that are available to both countries, fast enough in Russia and plenty fast here, too, it is possible to get a lot of data and do a lot of nuclear weapon design.”

In other words, the superpowers stopped test-detonating monstrous bombs because advances in computer technology meant they no longer needed to. The US and Russia can keep their arsenals cutting-edge without exploding megaton-yield devices as they once did.

Kamps adds that there is a “trillion dollar nuclear modernization plan, under first Obama and now under Trump. They’re dabbling with new designs: new military applications, new military uses. It’s very dangerous, very problematic… we’re really in a race against time to try to abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ugly Canadian face now belongs to Trudeau

By Yves Engler · October 14, 2017

The “Ugly Canadian” is on the march, but now with a much prettier face at the helm. Across the planet, Canadian mining companies are in conflict with local communities and usually have the Trudeau government’s support.

A slew of disputes have arisen at Canadian run mines in recent weeks:

Last week in northern central Mexico, community members blockaded the main access road to Goldcorp Inc.’s Penasquito mine. They are protesting against the Vancouver-based company for using and contaminating their water without providing alternative sources.

In Northern Ireland two weeks ago, police forced activists out of a Cookstown hotel after they tried to confront representatives from Dalradian Resources. Community groups worry the Toronto firm’s proposed gold and silver mine will damage the Owenkillew River Special Area of Conservation.

Last weekend, an Argentinian senator denounced Blue Sky Uranium’s exploration in the Patagonia region. Magdalena Odarda said residents living near the planned mine fear the Vancouver company’s operations will harm their health.

On Wednesday more than 40 US congresspeople, as well as the Alaska’s Governor, criticized the removal of restrictions on mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to half the world’s sockeye salmon production. In May, Northern Dynasty CEO Thomas Collier met the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency to ask for the lifting of restrictions on its Pebble Mine, which is expected to destroy the region’s salmon fishery. In a bid to gain government permission to move forward on the project, the Vancouver firm appointed a former chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior as its new CEO.

At the end of September, hundreds of families were displaced by the Filipino Army to make way for a mine jointly run by Australian and Canadian firms MRL Gold and Egerton Gold. The community in the Batangas Province was blocking a project expected to harm marine biodiversity.

In eastern Madagascar, farmers are in a dispute with DNI Metals over compensation for lands damaged by the Toronto firm.

In August, another person was allegedly killed by Acacia (Barrick Gold) security at its North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Last week, Barrick Gold agreed to pay $20-million to a Chilean a group after a year-long arbitration. The Toronto company had reneged on a $60-million 20-year agreement to compensate communities affected by its Pascua Lama gold, silver and copper project.

In mid-September, Eldorado Gold threatened to suspend its operations in Halkidiki, Greece, if the central government didn’t immediately approve permits for its operations. With the local Mayor and most of the community opposed to the mine, the social-democratic Syriza government was investigating whether a flawed technical study by the Vancouver company was a breach of its contract.

And in Guatemala, Indigenous protestors continue to blockade Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine despite a mid-September court decision in the company’s favour. Fearing for their water, health and land, eight municipalities in the area have voted against the Vancouver firm’s project.

The Liberals have largely maintained Stephen Harper’s aggressive support for Canada’s massive international mining industry. Last month Canada’s Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne backed El Dorado, denouncing the Greek government’s “troublesome” permit delays. Canada’s Ambassador to Madagascar, Sandra McCadell, appears to have backed DNI Metals during a meeting with that country’s mining minister.

As I detailed previously, the Trudeau government recently threw diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. Amidst dozens of deaths at Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine in Tanzania and an escalating battle over the company’s unpaid royalties/tax, Canada’s High Commissioner Ian Myles organised a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli. After the meeting Myles applauded Barrick’s commitment to “the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility.”

Two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on their repeated promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. Despite this commitment, they have adopted no measures to restrict public support for Canadian mining companies responsible for significant abuses abroad.

The ‘Ugly Canadian’ is running roughshod across the globe and pretty boy Justin is its new face.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

US vows to destroy its chemical weapons… despite being 5yrs behind schedule

RT | September 28, 2017

The US is already more than five years past its initial deadline for eliminating its chemical weapons arsenal, but doesn’t plan to complete the job before 2023. Russia, which had a similar amount of toxic agents, has just destroyed them all.

The US and Russia both declared some 40,000 tons of chemical weapons when they joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the late 1990s

The Americans pledged to destroy their stockpile by the end of April 2012, but still have two sites storing toxic agents, the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. As of 2015, the Colorado site had about 780,000 World War II-era artillery shells containing 2,611 tons of mustard agent. Their disposal is expected to be completed by 2019. The site in Kentucky stores over 500 tons of sarin, VX and mustard agents. A disposal facility there is scheduled to go online next year.

Washington’s failure to fulfill its obligation was highlighted on Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Russia eliminated the last few artillery shells filled with chemical weapons.

“Historically, Russia was one of the largest holders of chemical weapons and the US remains one. Unfortunately, the US is not observing the deadline for disposing of its chemical weapons. They have pushed the date back three times, citing a lack of funding. This, frankly, sounds strange,” Putin said.

Responding to the Russian president’s criticism, a US State Department spokesperson said the country is committed to completing the disposal of chemical weapons by 2023.

“The US government continues to focus on destroying the remaining portion of the chemical weapons stockpile stored in Pueblo, Colorado, and Richmond, Kentucky,” Sputnik cited the unnamed US official as saying. “The United States remains committed to the complete destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile by the end of 2023.”

The OPCH, the watchdog of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), marks its 20th anniversary this year. Currently, 192 nations are parties to the convention, with the exceptions being UN members Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan. Myanmar was the latest nation to join in 2015.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Destruction of Last Chemical Munition in Russia is ‘Historic Event’ – Putin

Sputnik – September 27, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the destruction of the last chemical munitions in the country a “historic event.”

The last kilogram of Russia’s 40,000-tonne stockpile of chemical warfare agents, which was contained in two artillery shells, was destroyed on Wednesday at the Kizner facility in Udmurtia.

Attending the event via video link, Putin said that it is “a huge step towards” a more balanced and secure world, stressing that Russia had held the largest chemical stockpiles in the world. Putin also said Russia was working closely with partners to save mankind from the threat of the use and spread of chemical weapons.

“In this regard, I would like to recall the key role of our country in solving the problem of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

The president pointed out that Moscow is fulfilling all of its obligations under the non-proliferation treaties and expects that other countries, including the United States, will follow in Russia’s footsteps.

“As is known, Russia was the largest holder and possessor of chemical weapons, and so far the United States, which unfortunately does not fulfill its obligations on the timing of the destruction of chemical weapons, has already three times postponed the destruction on the pretext of lack of funds, which sounds very strange,” he pointed out.

The elimination of chemical materials was conducted under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an arms control treaty that prohibits the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. The treaty, which came into force in 1997, has been signed by 192 states as of April 2016.

Russia joined the CWC in 1997 and was initially expected to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles by December 31, 2018.

September 27, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Plans to Dump Nuclear Waste on Australian Aboriginal Sacred Site May Be Halted

Sputnik – 26.09.2017

Plans to transport nuclear waste from Britain to a sacred Aboriginal site in southern Australia could now be put on hold.

Proposals to ship nuclear waste from northern Scotland to a heritage site considered important to indigenous groups in Australia may be halted.

Campaigners acting for Aboriginal Australians are challenging a bid to transfer the waste from Dounreay, Caithness, to a proposed new dump located at Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide.

They insist the potential location for what would be Australia’s first nuclear dump would infringe on a historical site rich in burial mounds, fossilized bones and stone tools and considered sacred by Aboriginals.

Under an agreement reached in 2012, all waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy that is processed at the Scottish facility must be returned to the country of origin.

Now the Scottish government has indicated that all concerns voiced by indigenous peoples must be taken into account before the waste is transferred by ship, presently planned for 2020.

A government spokesman said it would continue to work with the UK government and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to decide where the shipment should be sent.

“Any concerns expressed by indigenous peoples must be addressed in full and action taken, to ensure that vulnerable communities do not suffer future adverse impacts. We recognize that the management of nuclear waste must take full account of human rights and equality obligations, including the importance of ensuring that security and waste management arrangements protect public safety and avoid harmful environmental impacts,” the government said in a statement.

‘Creating More Problems’

Earlier Gary Cushway, a dual Australian-British citizen, had written to the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon raising the concerns of the residents from the Adnyamathanha community, who live on land adjacent to the proposed dump site at Wallerberdina.

“Radioactive waste is a problem we need to deal with, but shifting the problem on to remote indigenous communities isn’t fixing the problem. It is just creating more problems for indigenous communities that have been mistreated for centuries already,” Mr. Cushway wrote.

In pressing the Scottish government, Mr. Cushway said it was an opportunity to correct the past mistakes of the UK government who tested nuclear weapons on indigenous homelands in South Australia, forcing many of them to be moved from their properties.

The federal Australian government has identified two possible locations for the national waste dump site, having previously been thwarted by campaigns by indigenous and community groups since the 1990s.

No date has, so far, been set for a final decision, although federal government ministers are aware they face a strong backlash if they select the Wallerberdina option as it borders an Indigenous Protected Area where they are still permitted to hunt.

In addition, the state government of South Australia took the decision in June, 2017, to reject plans to cite any of the sites there.

September 26, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Israel to Pay Compensation to About 170 Nuclear Scientists Suffering From Cancer

Sputnik – 18.09.2017

Israeli authorities agreed to pay a compensation to some 170 scientists working for Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), who are suffering from cancer, local media reported Monday.

According to The Jerusalem Post newspaper, the government agreed to pay a compensation to the IAEC’s Nuclear Research Center NEGEV (NRCN) workers after a dispute that had lasted for more than 20 years.

The news outlet added that the decision was made in accordance with guidelines of a specialized commission. The commission did not find clear evidence that the workers from the IAEC facility suffered from cancer more often than other Israeli citizens, however, it recommended compensating the employees due to their important contributions to the state.

The IAEC was established in 1952 in order to develop the country’s nuclear energy[sic]. According to the commission’s website, in 1959, the agency started to work on the NRCN located in southern Israeli desert of Negev.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 4 Comments

‘Even without nukes, military conflict with N. Korea will turn South into desert’

RT | August 30, 2017

Solving the Korean Peninsula crisis through diplomacy is in everyone’s interests, geopolitical experts have told RT, citing potential scenarios of South Korea being turned “into a desert,” or other states, not directly involved, being severely affected by a “stray missile.”

If the current situation in East Asia is not resolved, a number of countries “will be living under a threat of a nuclear volcano erupting,” Russian diplomat and an expert in Asian studies, professor Georgy Toloraya told RT.com.

“Everyone understands perfectly well that for North Korea, if it initiates an aggressive strike, a military conflict will mean a complete and immediate destruction, because no one can deny the US military might,” Toloraya said.

“However, for the US, attempts to solve this problem militarily also bring on a retaliatory strike by North Korea that would turn South Korea into a desert,” he warned, saying the North doesn’t even need nuclear weapons for that.

While Pyongyang’s artillery is able to reach Seoul, the entire territory of South Korea will also “be no good for life,” as Pyongyang’s missiles – even without nuclear warheads – might hit nuclear facilities in the South, he explained. He said there are some 30 such sites close to North Korea’s border.

“Japan will suffer damage too, as well as the US military bases there,” the expert added. Toloraya emphasized that “diplomacy and negotiations” are the only way out of the crisis.

“All kinds of pressure [on Pyongyang] have been tested over the years, including sanctions. But none led to any change in North Korea’s position,” he said.

“No one in their right mind can be really thinking about the doomsday scenario. In my opinion, Americans are bluffing when they scare not so much Pyongyang but rather China with a possibility of a military conflict.”

Pointing out that Moscow has been long insisting on diplomatic channels to ease tensions in the region by listening to all sides, Toloraya underlined that “it’s in everyone’s interests to diminish the threat,” as the possibility of an accidental and irreversible mistake can never be excluded.

“The thing is, the most bloody wars sometimes begin by accident or by mistake, this has happened in history. The higher the level of armament and the hotter the tensions in the Korean Peninsula, the bigger a chance of an accidental turn of events, with the subsequent escalation,” he said.

Another expert in military history, international relations and conflict resolution studies, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov also spoke about the threat of such “accidental” scenarios.

“There is always danger, especially when such imperfect missiles as the ones used by North Korea are involved. There is a risk that a missile might veer off course, that it won’t reach its destination,” he told RT.com.

A military conflict in the region will affect not only North Korea, South Korea and Japan, but also Russia and China, he said. Beijing, he said, “might not to be harmed military-wise, but will suffer in other respects.”

“Certain forces in the US are striving to de-stabilize the situation in the region, in the same way that they have destabilized it in the Middle East,” Ivashov suggested, saying that diplomatic initiatives should be aimed at both Washington and Pyongyang, “for the first not to conduct military games, and the other to stop test launches.”

“We should treat North Korea with understanding too. What North Koreans are asking for is a guarantee of their security, which no one gives them. They are a pariah-state. They want to save their regime, which does exist – whether people like it or not. They don’t like [the] joint US and South Korean drills being held near their borders. This can all be solved, if only there is a will from the US before all.”

Moscow, together with Beijing, have long been advocating a “double freeze” strategy which would see Pyongyang suspend its missile launches in exchange for an end to the military exercises near its borders. The proposal has been rejected by Washington, with the State Department categorically stating that the US, along with its ally South Korea, are within their rights and will continue their joint military maneuvers.

August 31, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

US Marine Live-Fire Range to Be Constructed on ‘Pristine’ Land in Guam

Sputnik – 29.08.2017

Guam will soon be the site of a US military live-firing range to support Marines relocating from Okinawa, following an $87 million contract that was awarded to Black Construction Corp last week.

Between 2022 and 2026 there are plans for about 4,100 Marines to relocate from Okinawa to Guam. This drawdown is part of a 2013 agreement between Japan and the US for Washington to reduce its footprint on Okinawa, which houses most of the United States’ military bases in Japanese territory.

Andersen Air Force Base will situate the complex near what community members say is the last pristine area on the island: a wildlife refuge that will have to be partially closed when the range is in use.

Col. Brent Bien, who oversees US Marine activity in Guam, said in a statement, “We are committed to Guam, and our forward presence here will play an essential role in strengthening the military’s ability to maintain regional security and protect the nation’s interests in the Pacific.”

One of the groups opposing the range’s construction is Prutehi Litekyan, who has been reaching out to local political leaders to put a halt to what spokeswoman Sabina Perez called a “toxic legacy.”

Guam congresspeople Sen. Fernando Esteves (R-Yona), Speaker Benjamin Cruz (D-Tumon) and Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje (D-Yona) have expressed support for the group.

“No amount of money can compensate for the permanent destruction, loss of access and other adverse impacts to Guam’s historic sites,” Terlaje said on Friday. “One hundred eighty-seven acres of limestone forests, endangered species and fishing areas that are part of this particular live-fire training range project.”

“The Department of Defense has not kept its promises to avoid these adverse impacts to Guam and in fact continues to expand its control over lands and waters of Guam and the Marianas,” she added, according to AP.

Perez said the group is trying to schedule meetings with military officials, and Terlaje is appealing to Gov. Eddie Calvo to meet with federal officials to try and avoid the range’s potential impact

The complex is expected to be complete by November 2020.

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Scotland ‘wholly unprepared’ for nuclear weapons accident on its roads – report

© Nukewatch UK / Facebook
RT | August 22, 2017

Nuclear warheads surrounded by explosives are regularly transported on British roads, yet authorities are “wholly unprepared” to handle an accident, a damning report has revealed.

A “critical gap” in the protection of Britons has been identified by Nukewatch UK, amid claims public safety is being put at risk by the Scottish Government.

The report, ‘Unready Scotland’, reveals weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are driven across the country around eight times every year, without police accompanying them and without public knowledge.

The convoys travel with a potentially-deadly cocktail of explosives and nuclear weapons packed inside – yet those traveling alongside the huge trucks remain blissfully unaware of the dangerous cargo.

Scottish councils have failed to carry out individual assessments of the routes taken by the massive convoys. This means vital evacuation time could be lost and the number of casualties could rise rapidly should there be an incident.

The potential contamination zone for an accident involving nukes is 24 miles, according to some experts, meaning entire villages and towns could be engulfed.

“The radioactive material in the warheads includes both plutonium and uranium, with a potential dispersal range of at least 5km,” Nuke Watch reports. “In addition to this, warhead materials include a number of toxic and hazardous substances.”

Unready Scotland suggests there is “no evidence” that authorities would be able to cope with a disaster on the route between the Aldermaston and Burghfield atomic weapon plants in Berkshire and RNAD Coulport on Loch Long.

In the event of nuclear fallout, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would prioritize the mobilization of troops to secure the weapons – and the safety of the public would fall squarely on the shoulders of local authorities and emergency responders.

Yet the frightening report shows that those who would be first on the scene would be “unprepared” and unable to launch into action.

The researchers warn that police, paramedics and the Scottish Government, who would need to handle a mass evacuation, are “wholly unprepared to discharge that responsibility.”

Although some claim an accident involving a convoy is unlikely, there have already been underreported incidents. In May, a military convoy of nuclear warhead carriers was left stranded on the side of the M40 motorway when the escort broke down. Fortunately in this instance there were no live warheads onboard.

Despite authorities claiming potential terrorist plots make it impossible for them to reveal details of the convoys to the public, activists claim the information is already in the public domain.

The report claims there is “no justification for not informing the public about the existence of the convoy traffic and its attendant risks.”

“The simple fact that these trucks carry nuclear bombs on public roads is enough to cause very serious concern, amounting to alarm,” said Nuke Watch. The report says the police officers manning the convoy “very frequently” have no idea what they are protecting – and would be unable to react in an emergency, the report says.

Astonishingly, some authorities “rely on generic risk assessments conducted within their Resilience Partnerships.”

Practice runs have been carried out on a small scale, according to Local Authority and Emergency Services Information (LAESI) reports, but nowhere close to the scale of the potential damage.

In 1990 it was predicted by nuclear engineer John Large that an accident involving nuclear warheads could spread contamination “at least 40 kilometres.”

Nuke Watch has called for an urgent review into the country’s response to a nuclear accident.

It claims since community safety is wholly devolved to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, the Scottish National Party (SNP) Government has failed in its duty to put adequate plans in place.

RT has contacted the SNP for comment.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Algal biofuel production is neither environmentally nor commercially sustainable

By Kevin Flynn, Chair Professor, Swansea University | The Conversation | August 8, 2017

Modern biofuels have been touted as a greener alternative to petrol and diesel since the early 1900s. It seems like a good idea on paper, and they do work – but their use and production doesn’t come without problems.

The first generation of biofuels – mainly ethanol made from plant crops – and second generation, derived from plant and animal waste streams, both had environmentalists and others concerned about the competition for land and nutrients between biofuels production and food production.

It was with a lot of hope, and hype, that production of the third generation of biofuels was started. Unlike their predecessors, these biofuels are derived from algae, and so in theory the food vs fuel dilemma of crop-based biofuels would be solved.

Fossil fuel oil and gas originated from ancient algae in large measure, so the concept here is to replicate the essence of the creation of fossil fuels, albeit accelerated and optimised with modern chemical engineering. It was claimed that using algae would be much more efficient than creating biofuels from terrestrial plants and that the technology would make use of poor quality land not able to grow other crops.

Millions of dollars, euros and other currencies have been spent trying to get the algal marvel to work. Much of the money has been directed at refining the engineering process, electrically lighting the crop – which grows in a liquid suspension – harvesting and draining it. The solution to optimisation was seen as primarily technological non-biological, though species selection and growth conditions were also acknowledged as important factors.

Damp squib

However, it turns out that the hype has been misplaced. Our research has found that the production of algal biofuels is neither commercially nor environmentally sustainable. The attainable production levels are a fraction of those that were claimed. The amount of biofuel produced from prolonged culture of algae in pilot-scale systems is actually not too dissimilar from those of terrestrial plants: around 5,000 to 10,000 litres per hectare per year.

In fact, the rate of production from algae growing in the vast ponds required for truly massive production is, for a given area of land, similar to that seen in the most productive areas of the ocean. It amounts to around 4g of carbon from CO₂ fixed into biomass per square metre every day.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t algal biofuels as good as had been hoped? Quite simply, it’s biology.

The dream has been broken not by failings in engineering, but by the inefficiency of biochemistry. Simulations of microalgal biofuel production show that to approach the 10% of EU transport fuels expected to be supplied by biofuels, ponds three times the area of Belgium would be needed. And for the algae in these ponds to produce biofuel, it would require fertiliser equivalent to 50% of the current total annual EU crop plant needs. Ironically, such ponds would also need to be located near heavy industry which produces CO₂ to provide the level required by the microalgae for photosynthesis.

Problems of scale

The problem with third-generation biofuels has always been scaling up the production rates measured in small culture flasks to growth in thousands of cubic metres in size. In the larger cultures, the biomass density of the algae – needed to make the culture and harvesting processes economical – defeats desired growth rates because the organisms shade light from each other. This means that they do not get the sunlight needed to photosynthesise and produce the carbon-rich compounds needed for to make the biofuel fast enough.

There have also been misunderstandings of how the algae react to their environment. Importantly, those vital carbon-rich compounds only really accumulate in cells that are nitrogen-limited and so are growing slowly. Early production estimates assumed high carbon-rich content in fast-growing cells but this has not proved to be the case.

Could we not genetically modify a solution to the inherent biological inefficiency? Perhaps, but should we really tamper with factors that are so fundamental to life on Earth and risk generating unstoppable harmful algal species that could destroy fisheries and damage drinking water supplies? Even if we did create the perfect algae for biofuels production, the need for all that fertiliser and CO₂ would remain.

Ultimately the public have paid for this failed vision – but their money has not been wasted. If there’s one thing that humans need more than fuel it is food – and this work can help us understand how to better grow microalgae to support the farming of fish and shellfish, and produce dietary supplements, like Omega-3. Mass microalgal production could also create food containing omega fatty acids to farmed fish, for example, meaning that we would no longer need to fish in rivers and oceans to make fishmeal for them.

The future for mass microalgal cultivation is still literally and metaphorically green, it just does not rest with biofuels production.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment