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The Guardian Distorts Nicaragua’s Indio Maiz Fire

teleSUR | April 14, 2018

Under the headline ‘Nicaragua fires: aid from Costa Rica rejected as blaze destroys rainforest,’ the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper has published another politically skewed report smearing Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. This time, the pretext is a devastating forest fire affecting the peripheral buffer zone of the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve. Falsely alleging that Nicaragua has rejected the offer of help from Costa Rica, the Guardian report uses the standard NATO propaganda attack recipe, blending false reports from hostile opposition media and anti-government NGOs.

The article argues that Nicaragua’s government has been negligent in protecting the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve; has not sought international help, and has deliberately facilitated invasion of the reserve by impoverished rural families seeking land.

Reality completely contradicts the report’s main assertions. The Guardian refers to a statement by the Costa Rican government saying that a unit of Costa Rican firefighters was turned away, but the Guardian report offers neither a link to the alleged statement nor any quote from it.

Here’s the Costa Rican fire service spokesman on the matter: “We are fully ready to cooperate in any other incident. From what we can see, this incident has already been controlled by the army. We were at the border and had to return. We see no problem. In the moment (we offered to help) Nicaragua they didn’t have the personnel to fight the fire; thankfully, over the last few hours, it now has the personnel to deal with this emergency and they are engaged in controlling and extinguishing the fire.”

In fact, the decision not to use the help offered by Costa Rica was taken jointly by the chiefs of the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican fire services during a meeting in Managua on April 8, when they agreed that “the realistic possibilities of controlling the fire by the firefighting services of Nicaragua and Costa Rica were limited due to the characteristics of the fire and that the effective means to control and extinguish the fire is from the air.” In any case, access to the area of the fire was impractical overland, with access being possible almost exclusively by air or sea along the region’s Caribbean coast.

Nicaragua’s Vice-President Rosario Murillo said on April 9, in relation to coordination with the director of operations of the Costa Rican Fire Fighting Service: “We have been in meetings with him all weekend, looking precisely at what is being done, the difficulty of reaching the place… There, where the fire has broken out, it’s impossible to reach with trucks or pick-ups. What’s really needed, urgently, are airplanes equipped with all the technical means to fight forest fires.”

Murillo also explained on April 10 that the Sandinista government led by President Daniel Ortega had “coordinated with Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Mexico, the Russian Federation, the air forces of each one of these countries, requesting air resources to fight the fires.” Currently, helicopters from Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador are helping control and extinguish the fire, contradicting the impression given by the Guardian’s report that the government had not sought international help.

The Nicaraguan government has also coordinated support from U.S. authorities, with a specialist team sent from USAID’s Office of Disaster Assistance and the U.S. Forestry Service. The team leader arrived in Nicaragua on April 10. The Guardian’s April 11 report includes none of this information, which contradicts the impression that report gives by citing environmentalists calling on the government to seek international support, as if it had not already done so a week before the Guardian’s report was published.

The report quotes criticism from well-known Nicaraguan environmentalist Jaime Incer Barquero. Now in his 80s, Incer Barquero has made distinguished contributions to environmental conservation in Nicaragua. However, his pronouncements on the fire in the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve demonstrate ignorance of the measures taken by the Nicaraguan government to control the fire. The Guardian report also quotes a representative of the Fundacion Rio NGO, who noted ‘relations between the countries have not been the best’ due to a long-running border dispute. But as Costa Rica’s cooperation with Nicaragua makes clear, diplomatic relations take a back seat in the context of a major regional ecological threat like the Indio Maiz forest fire.

The Fundacion Rio NGO has solicited funds supposedly to support community authorities and firefighters in the Indio Maiz area, a function well beyond the organization’s statutory objectives. It has now been warned by the Nicaraguan government not to solicit funds for purposes it was not established to carry out: functions which are the government’s responsibility and which the government is fulfilling. The self-serving propaganda of this kind of environmentalist NGO is no doubt the basis for the Guardian’s allegation that “the fires are believed to have been started by illegal homesteaders, who were attempting to clear land for planting crops.”

In fact, the fires began in a marshland area completely unsuitable for agricultural activity, either arable farming or pasture for cattle. One of Nicaragua’s leading environmental scientists, Efrain Acuña, has dismissed the accusation that the area was set on fire so as to facilitate arable or cattle farming: “The soils in this zone do not lend themselves to those activities, among other reasons because the acidity is high, the fertility percentages for grazing are very low and so the nutritional value for cattle is insufficient.”

The Guardian quotes Gabriel Jaime of Fundacion Rio as saying that the government has encouraged rural workers and their families to encroach on land belonging mainly to the Indigenous Rama people, but gives no context to that allegation. Jaime’s solution is “removing people and telling them ‘You can’t live in a protected area.”’ Jaime also criticizes the government’s provision of health and education services in the area, as if these did not benefit the local Indigenous population. This is another example of a neocolonial NGO patronizing local Indigenous people who own their land and have a strong say in how it is used.

The same false neocolonial argument has been used to misrepresent the potential displacement of Indigenous people should Nicaragua’s interoceanic canal go ahead. The canal company HKND and the Nicaraguan authorities consulted with local Indigenous people who agreed terms for the canal’s construction across their land, but that fact has been systematically omitted or misrepresented by environmentalists in the same way as the complex issue of migration by rural workers families to areas of the Caribbean coast has been.

Western NGOs and the local organizations they fund around the world undermine the role and functions of sovereign national governments. That is why Western corporations finance them. It is also why foreign news coverage by Western corporate media systematically distorts and misrepresents the reality of events around the world. The Guardian report on the Indio Maiz forest fire categorically demonstrates that fact one more time.

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute

Example of How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda

By Stansfield Smith | Dissident Voice | April 4, 2018

As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

This NACLA article is a recent excellent example of many. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and right-wing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Webber (and here), Jacobin, ROAR, Intercontinentalcry, Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS (or oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency) and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

(a) The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”.

(b) The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.

(c) “The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.

Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a right-wing, anti-Evo Morales political party.

(d) The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.”

REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

(e)These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”). Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets.

The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

Therefore, this liberal-left media is not actually defending “the indigenous.” They are choosing sides within indigenous ranks, choosing the side that is funded and influenced by the US government.

(f) The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.

(g) Anti-highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.

(h) They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.

US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds. That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.

This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”

Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyor belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking too closely into it.

It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. Upside Down World is an excellent example of this.

Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from Western domination.

Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences as we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played. To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity, is a long time Latin America solidarity activist, and presently puts out the AFGJ Venezuela Weekly. He is also the Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout

By Chris Busby | CounterPunch | March 20, 2018

George Monbiot, who has now been diagnosed with prostate cancer at the young age of 55, was therefore born in 1963, at the peak of the atmospheric test fallout. He is thus a peak exposed (at risk) member of a cohort of those exposed in the womb to the fallout (1959-63) and currently suffering the consequences of exposure to Strontium-90 in the milk, and (measured) in the childrens’ bones.

In his article in the Guardian, he says that he has always done all the healthy things, done lots of exercise, eaten vegetables, didn’t smoke or drink, all that stuff. He is clearly puzzled about being singled out by the three ladies. But the cause was something that he had no control over, and neither had anyone else who was born in the fallout period. George writes that he is happy. This insane response to his predicament, (which I personally am not happy about despite his intemperate attacks on me in his Guardian column and blogs) must go alongside his equally insane response about the Fukushima events where he publicised his road-to-Damascus conversion to nuclear power.

The effect of the genetic damage of the fallout on babies can be seen in the graph below, Fig 1, taken from a recent paper I published (Busby C (2017) Radiochemical Genotoxicity Risk and Absorbed Dose. Res Rep Toxi. Vol.1 No.1:1.).  The babies that did not die were just those with insufficient genetic damage to kill, but this damage would have affected them in later life in various ways. The most measurable effect (apart from genetic defects and congenital diseases) is higher cancer risk which is presented as early cancer onset. The issue of the 1959-63 cancer cohort was discussed in my 1995 book Wings of Death, and a letter I published in 1994 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The issue is one of Absorbed Dose. If internal exposure to radionuclides like Strontium-90 and Uranium-238 and Uranium-235 bind to DNA, which is the target for genetic damage, then Dose, which is an average quantity over kilograms of tissue, is an unsafe way of quantifying genetic damage. The issue of genetic damage from radioactive pollution was first raised in 1950 by Herman Muller, the Nobel Prize winning geneticist who discovered the effects of radiation, but his warnings were ignored, though they are now found to be accurate.

The serious effects of internal radionuclide exposures on Prostate Cancer were revealed in a study of UK Atomic Energy Agency workers also published in 1993 in the BMJ (Fraser P, Carpenter L, Maconochie N, Higgins C, Booth M and Beral V (1993) Cancer mortality and morbidity in employees of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority 1946-86. Brit. J. Cancer 67 615-624.) This paper showed a 2-fold excess cancer risk in workers who had been monitored for internal radionuclides versus those who had not been. Prostate cancer mortality was significantly high. Although later cover-up studies by the nuclear industry, using a larger cohort reduced this effect for prostate cancer, the internal/ external exposure result for all cancers has not been satisfactorily followed up.

Fig 1. First day neonatal mortality USA shows the effects of the fallout. Because of advances in medicine and better social conditions, infant mortality was falling everywhere. But as soon as the atmospheric tests began, rates went up in time with the fallout. 1st day neonatal mortality is a measure of congenital damage: the baby survives in the mother by using the mothers’ oxygenation and other support but because the babies own organs are damaged and it cannot survive after birth. Strontium-90 was measured in bone where it built up to a peak in 1964. It will also have attached to chromosomes due to its affinity for DNA.

The fallout cohort is now entering the cancer bracket and these people are driving up the cancer rates in the Northern hemisphere, especially for breast cancer and prostate cancer. I have been studying this group since 1995, but now my predictions are appearing in the data.

But the true picture of the fallout effects is even more scary. Not only are the babies born over the peak fallout period, like George, at higher risk of more and earlier cancer, but it is now emerging that their children, born around 1980- 1990 are carrying the same genetic (or rather genomic) curse. I am in the process of putting together a scientific paper on this. There is a sudden increase in cancer rates in young people aged 25-35 which began after 2008. This is an extraordinary development. The finding was confirmed for colon cancer in the USA in a paper published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Rebecca L. Siegel, Stacey A. Fedewa, William F. Anderson, Kimberly D. Miller, Jiemin Ma, Philip S. Rosenberg, Ahmedin Jemal Colorectal Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1974–2013 JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2017) 109(8): djw322). The authors were unable to explain their findings of increases in colon cancer in young people but decreasing colon cancer rates in older people. They were “puzzled”. The explanation is simple. These were children born to those who were themselves born during the fallout and genomically damaged at birth. The damage is passed to the children (and will be in turn passed to theirs and so on). The effect is clear also in the England and Wales data.

So, for the logical positivists, let’s have a look at the prostate cancer data in England and Wales.

In Table 1 below I show some data from the official ONS government annual reports on prostate cancer incidence in some selected years from 1974 to 2015.

 

No argument there then. The amazing thing is that there are huge amounts of money received and spent on cancer research: but no-one looks at the cause. Or rather that those who do look at the cause are attacked and marginalised and their work is not reported.

For example, and relevant here, are the serious genetic effects of small dose internal exposures in Europe after Chernobyl reviewed by Prof Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Dr Sebastian Pflugbeil and myself in a peer review publication in 2016 (Schmitz-Feuerhake, Busby C, Pflugbeil P  Genetic Radiation Risks-A Neglected Topic in the Low Dose Debate. Environmental Health and Toxicology.  2016. 31Article ID e2016001. .) You would think that this evidence, which was reported in the peer review literature from 20 studies from countries all over Europe, might make it into one of the newspapers. But nothing.

My attempts to draw attention to these internal genetic damage issues have also been ignored or dismissed by the British establishment. This year, in September, I was to have presented this evidence to British Government Minister Richard Harrington at a meeting of the NGOs and the government at Church House Westminster. My flight from Sweden was sabotaged but I made it to the meeting nevertheless, to find that the Minister had made some excuse, and had not come. )

At the meeting, the government radiation expert committee members (COMARE) refused to consider anything I said.

This behaviour by the British can be compared with the Swedish Environmental Court in Stockholm to which I had been presenting the same findings the previous week. In January 2018, the 8 judges of the Swedish Court told the Swedish government that they must not permit the development of the nuclear waste facility at Forsmark. This landmark decision was also omitted from any newspapers in the UK, which itself is currently busy trying to find a local council they can bribe to allow them to bury nuclear waste somewhere in England and (more probably) Wales.

When I presented the same genetic damage evidence in the nuclear test veteran case in the Royal Courts of Justice in 2016, I submitted reports by 4 eminent radiation experts, including Prof Schmitz-Feuerhake/ All gave evidence under cross examination. We filed the evidence of genetic damage in the Test Veteran children: a 10-fold excess risk for congenital malformations and in the grandchildren 8-fold. The British Judge, Sir Nicholas Blake, refused to listen to any of this evidence and dismissed our experts. Blake found for the Ministry of Defence. I am taking a new Test Veteran case this summer. We shall see what happens.

But no surprise about judge Blake. In a recent survey of judges in Europe, it was found that Britain was only exceeded by Albania in the percentage of judges (45%) who reported that their decisions had been made at the direction of the establishment. The lowest rates of interference with judges was found (1%)  in—guess where—Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

It seems that we live in a corrupt society here in Britain and I am ashamed to be part of this State which has poisoned its citizens consistently since 1945 and continues to do so, and to cover it all up, aided by dishonest scientists and celebrity reporters like George Monbiot. Those who have a magical view of events might delight in thinking that George has received his just due; for myself I just hope that this may make him look into the issue more deeply and change his mind about the effects of radioactive contamination.

Dr Chris Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Riskand the author of Uranium and Health – The Health Effects of Exposure to Uranium and Uranium Weapons Fallout (Documents of the ECRR 2010 No 2, Brussels, 2010). For details and current CV see chrisbusbyexposed.org. For accounts of his work see greenaudit.orgllrc.org and nuclearjustice.org.

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

From the End of History to the End of Truth

teleSUR | March 11, 2108

Making nonsense of Fukuyama’s premature triumphalist screed, it is commonplace now to note that the United States corporate elites and their European and Pacific country counterparts are increasingly losing power and influence around the world. Equally common is the observation that these Western elites and the politicians who front for them have acted over the last twenty years to reassert their control in their respective areas of neocolonial influence. The European Union powers have done so in Eastern Europe and Africa, most obviously but not only, in Ukraine, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali and the Central African Republic. Likewise, the United States has acted to reassert its influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, effectively declaring war on Venezuela, maintaining its economic and psychological warfare against Cuba and intervening elsewhere with varying degrees of openness.

Before they died, among the main Western media bogeymen were Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Muammar al Gaddhafi. Now Vladimir Putin and Bashar al Assad have been joined by Xi Jinping and Nicolas Maduro. Along with these and other world leaders, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has also constantly been the object of endlessly repetitive Western media hate campaigns. This longstanding, plain-as-day media strategy, regularly and blatantly prepares mass opinion to facilitate Western government aggression against the latest target government. No one following these processes with any attention will have failed to notice the leading role played by non governmental organizations in the Western elites’ offensive against resistance to them by political leaders and movements around the world.

In almost every case of recent Western provoked interventions, from Venezuela in 2002, through Haiti in 2004, Bolivia in 2008, Honduras in 2009, Ecuador in 2010, Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria in 2011, Ukraine in 2014, Western media have used deliberately misleading and downright deceitful reports from Western NGOs to support their own false misreporting of events. In Nicaragua’s case, the usual untrustworthy NGO suspects like Amnesty International, Transparency International and Global Witness constantly publish misleading reports and statements attacking or undermining President Daniel Ortega and his government. In general, their reporting is grossly biased and disproportionate given the regional context of incomparably horrific events and deplorable conditions elsewhere in Latin America, but, as often as not, it is also downright untrue.

In a recent example, Global Witness stated that Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal “wasn’t preceded by any environmental impact reports, nor any consultation with local people”. Both those assertions are completely untrue. But this Big Lie repetition is the modus operandi of the Western elites who fund outfits like Global Witness, Amnesty International, and other influential NGOs like International Crisis Group and Transparency Intenational. For example, Amnesty International claims “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion”. But it bears constant repetition that many of Amnesty International’s board and most of its senior staff responsible for the organization’s reports are deeply ideologically committed with links to corporate dominated NGO’s like PurposeOpen Society InstituteHuman Rights Watch, and many others.

Also worth repeating is that Global Witness in 2016 received millions of dollars from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, the Ford Foundation and NATO governments. The boards and advisory boards of these NGOs are all made up overwhelmingly of people from the Western elite neocolonial non governmental sector. Many have a strong corporate business background as well. All move easily from one highly paid Western NGO job to the next, serving NATO country foreign policy goals. Cory Morningstar has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like US based Avaaz and Purpose, noting “the key purpose of the non-profit industrial complex is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose”.

Back in 2017 it was already a truism to note that Western NGOS “operate as the soft, extramural arm of NATO country governments’ foreign policy psychological warfare offensives, targeting liberal and progressive audiences to ensure their acquiescence in overseas aggression and intimidation against governments and movements targeted by NATO. To that end, they deceitfully exploit liberal and progressive susceptibilities in relation to environmental, humanitarian and human rights issues.” What is now becoming even more clear in the current context is that these Western NGOs and their media accomplices are confident enough to publish downright lies because reporting the facts no longer matters. Western public discourse has become so debased, incoherent and fragmentary that the truth is almost completely irrelevant. All that matters is the power to impose a version of events no matter how false and untruthful it may be.

This sinister media reality is intimately related to the politicization of legal and administrative processes in the national life of countries across Latin America. The spurious legal processes against Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva in Brazil, against Milagro Sala and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, against Jorge Glas and, no doubt very soon, Rafael Correa in Ecuador are all based on the same faithless virtual association and complete disregard for factual evidence as Western media and NGO propaganda reports attacking Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua. It is imperative to overcome the ridiculous liberal presupposition that the region’s elites, with the advantage of designing and controlling their countries’ legal systems and communications media for over 200 years, are somehow going to respect high falutin’ avowals about “separation of powers”.

Note: this article borrows from previous articles here and here.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How 1960’s French Nuclear Tests Are Still Claiming Lives in Algeria

Sputnik – 15.02.2018

On February 13, 1960, France carried out its first nuclear test in Algeria’s southern Reggane region. According to official statistics, 17 nuclear tests were carried out in total over the next 6 years. The area remains affected, and local scientists say that radioactive contamination has caused genetic mutations and irreversibly changed the region.

There are no official statistics on the number of victims. The only figures can be found in the records kept by the French representative of the local church, which lists 42,000 victims of nuclear tests. Three years ago, the French Ministry of Defense issued a statement, putting the number at 27,000 people. The victims include French soldiers as well as local Algerians who lived in the surrounding areas.

However, these figures do not take into account the untimely deaths of the descendants of these people, who were affected by cancer and other nuclear radiation-related illnesses. To this day, the contaminated areas pose a danger to life and health.

A representative of the ‘Desert Detainees’ (a community of people who served sentences in prisons located in the desert regions of Algeria from 1992 to 1996), Nureddin Mauhub, said that many prisoners were exposed to radiation while serving their sentences in jails in the desert.

Nuclear engineer Ammar Mansuri told the newspaper Arabi al-Jadid, that in fact, there were more nuclear tests carried out in Algeria.

“France conducted 13 underground nuclear tests, 4 ground tests, 4 plutonium tests and 35 other tests,” he said.

According to him, the nuclear tests documentation was passed on to the Algerian government only 10 years ago.

Some of the documents are still classified. For these reasons, no systematic observations or studies have been conducted in the area in the past century. Therefore, no timely measures were taken to reduce the negative impact on the environment. It is difficult to say how the level of contamination has changed over the past decades and what to expect in the future.

The Algerian government claims that the contaminated area is more than 100 square km, according to the Al-Arabi al-Jadid website. However, problems aren’t limited to this exclusion zone. The desert winds carry contaminated particles to formally clean areas. There’s now a need to study the level of radiation in the desert to accurately determine the boundaries of the contaminated area.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Review by Martin Kokus | February 7, 2018

Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The origin of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by Bernie Lewin.
Published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Paperback $16.00, Kindal $7.00. Available from Amazon

This book is a must read for those interested in the current climate debate and its origin. The book does not argue the science as much as it challenges the narrative of the “consensus.” It challenges the popular notion that the primary drivers of climate change are greenhouse gases and that the theory originated in climate and environmental science departments. One cannot read the book without concluding that the theory hadn’t originated anyplace but the national nuclear labs of the United States government. Lewin’s is the first book on the subject I have read compatible with the history of the modern theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming that I lived through.

In 1973 I hoped to dedicate my life to studying human impacts on climate and weather. I went to the University of Virginia which had perhaps the only department in the US which was actively studying the subjects. My research concerned the lower atmosphere and the effect that changes in its heat capacity and albedo had on atmospheric circulation.  I took what I believe was the first course offered on human impacts on climate, titled Urban Meteorology which was taught by Roger Pielke and Mike Garstang. We spent many hours discussing the effects of deforestation, desertification, aerosols and urbanization on climate.  We did not spend much time on the greenhouse effect.  Estimates of the effect were small compared to the other effects and the planet was not warming.

There are many things which could cause the climate to change. There is the natural variation of the sun and a periodic variation of volcanic dust. Human industry can throw smoke into the atmosphere which clouds out the sun’s energy. Cutting, draining, plowing, and paving can change the amount of energy the earth absorbs and how fast it heats up and cools off. This was the subject of decades of research, strong correlations, and reasonable models. Most of which are now ignored.

The first time I heard a positive discussion of the theory that CO2 could catastrophically change earth climate, it was from speakers sponsored by the Nuclear Engineering department.  Their motivation was obvious.

Lewin describes how the funding for the study of non-greenhouse gas mechanisms of climate change was cut while funding for the study of greenhouse gas effects was increased. I lived through this and I appreciate that someone finally wrote it down.

So I thank Bernie Lewin for assembling an accurate history of the climate debate.

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Cancer: Monsanto knew glyphosate could cause it

RT America | February 2, 2018

Mike Papantonio and Author Carey Gillam discuss her new book which reveals how Monsanto viciously worked to cover-up the fact that their weed-killer could cause cancer.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 3 Comments

The World’s Most Dangerous Document Hits the Front Pages…

No it didn’t.

By Jan OBERG  | The Transnational | February 2, 2108

The mainstream media are totally irresponsible in their priorities. At the moment of writing, five hours after the world’s most dangerous document was presented, no major Western media has featured it prominently. This means it won’t be. No chance it would go viral. The increasing risk of nuclear war isn’t important.

While people talk about fake, a much larger issue is omission:

What is hidden to you? What world order issues are deliberately down-graded?

What threats to humanity end up at the bottom of page 38 after 10 pages of sports, entertainment and celebrity stories?

Another technique is cover-up, talking about something else such as the ever convenient North Korean “threat” or Russia’s latest evil plot.

It’s not only ignorance. There are media and other power elites who know exactly what to hand out to you and how. And what to fake, omit and cover up instead of covering.

Time to wake up: The dominant Western media are rapidly becoming the largest single obstacles to understanding our world. One proof is this story.

* * *

The Transnational has already posted a few articles about this scary, absurd and anti-ethical document, the Nuclear Posture Review, NPR:

• Huffington Post’s first article based on a leak from January 14, 2018.

• Pentagon advocates nukes against a cyber attack, in the New York Times, January 16, 2018.

• Paul Rogers, Sliding towards nuclear war?

• And in a larger perspective, a world expert on it all – Daniel Ellsberg and his new book, The Doomsday Machine. Confessions of a Nuclear Planner.

* * *

And then tonight happened the Pentagon “rollout” of this formal document on which the U.S. is going to base its nuclear policies in the future.

Watch the whole event here on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist.

Watch and listen carefully to how the Pentagon experts explain and rationalize it all, from within their box: So natural as if talking about pleasant everyday affairs.

And take note of the lame, cliquish questions asked by what must be highly selected media people who, it seems, have never read a book about nuclear policies. Don’t challenge a single underlying assumption or point to dangers.

The central words are ‘the safety of the American people’, the capabilities and it’s all held within the weapons technological framework and blurred security environment and deterrence. Not a single, intellectually defensible argument given.

No questioning of the framework – legal, political, ethical, psychological, civilisational…

* * *

This is not only what the leading US psychiatrist of war, Nazi doctors and sect psychology, Robert Jay Lifton calls ‘psychic numbing’.

Or what Yale psychologist Irving Janis in his classical study called ‘groupthink’.

No, seldom has the Theatre of the Absurd of the MIMAC – the Military-industrial MEDIA-Academic Complex – been performed so well.

In a calm and rational manner, we learn how natural it is to perceive, to talk about – and never question – what is in reality directly and fundamentally related to the unthinkable omnicide – destruction of humanity and the world as we know it.

All in the name, of course, of maintaining the US-based, military-dominated post-1945 world order against America’s beloved enemies. What would it do without them? How would it develop new nukes at trillions of dollars if it did not invent enemies all around. Imagine it had a policy of co-operation with the world instead of dominating it?

It’s well known that one of the defining characteristics of terrorism is the targeting, wounding or killing of innocent people, of people who are in no way fighters or otherwise related to the conflict – like children on a school bus, patients at a hospital.

The Nuclear Posture Review is a plea for mega-terrorism, dwarfing ISIS and everybody else.

It’s about the use of nuclear weapons – NUTs meaning Nuclear Use Theory – not for the deterrence business as usual, or MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction.

It is a document that argues in favour of nuclear weapons being usable, for the theory that the US can start, fight and survive a nuclear exchange. In other words, for making the unthinkable not only thinkable but acceptable.

You can’t use nuclear weapons without killing and wounding millions and making life uninhabitable for billions. Every thought about nuclear use is based on a terror philosophy – and practised today only by the United States of America.

The NPR 2018 lowers the psychological threshold and increases the likelihood vastly that nuclear weapons will be used in the future.

This kind of thinking brings huge dangers to the world. There are lots of vested interests that don’t want you to know.

This document should be condemned – as it would have been throughout the homogenised Western mainstream media had it been Russia or China or some other nuclear weapons state that had presented a similarly perversely dangerous and exceptionalist nuclear-use policy.

There is a simple solution to this nuclear madness: Nuclear abolition. That’s what the world’s huge majority wants and has voted for at the UN.

And if you don’t believe that, let’s try a little experiment in democracy – after all that’s what the US is, isn’t it? Get all the nuclear weapons states to hold free and fair referendums asking their citizens whether they want their own countries defended by nuclear weapons.

For the first time in human history. Then we take the struggle for nuclear abolition from there…

February 4, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Monbiot Is a Hypocrite and a Bully

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | January 15, 2018

It is time for George Monbiot’s legion of supporters to call him out. Not only is he a hypocrite, but he is becoming an increasingly dangerous one.

Turning a blind eye to his behaviour, or worse excusing it, as too often happens, has only encouraged him to intensify his attacks on dissident writers, those who – whether right or wrong on any specific issue – are slowly helping us all to develop more critical perspectives on western foreign policy goals than has ever been possible before.

I do not lightly use such strong language against Monbiot, someone I once admired. But his column this week drips with hypocrisy as he accuses the right wing media of being the real villains when it comes to “no-platforming”. Monbiot writes:

But perhaps the real discomfort is that the worst no-platforming of all takes place within our newspapers. In the publications most obsessed with student silliness, there is no platform for socialism, no platform for environmentalism, no platform for those who might offend the interests of the proprietors. …

I believe that a healthy media organisation, like a healthy university, should admit a diversity of opinion. I want the other newspapers to keep publishing views with which I fiercely disagree. But they – and we – should also seek opposing views and publish them too, however uncomfortable this might be.

What free speech advocate would disagree with that? Except it is Monbiot himself who has been using his prominent platforms, at the Guardian and on social media, to discredit critical thinkers on the left – not with reasoned arguments, but by impugning their integrity.

Denied a platform

It started with his unsubstantiated claim that scholars like Noam Chomsky and the late Ed Herman, as well as the acclaimed journalist John Pilger, were “genocide deniers and belittlers”. It now focuses on childish insinuations that those who question the corporate media’s simplistic narrative on Syria are Assad apologists or in Vladimir Putin’s pay.

But worse than this, Monbiot is also conspiring – either actively or through his silence – to deny critics of his and the Guardian’s position on Syria the chance to set out their evidence in its pages.

The Guardian’s anti-democratic stance does not surprise me, as someone who worked there for many years. I found myself repeatedly no-platformed by the paper – even while on its staff – after I started taking an interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict and writing about the discomforting issue of what a Jewish state entails. My treatment is far from unique.

Now the paper is denying a platform to those who question simplistic and self-serving western narratives on Syria. And Monbiot is backing his employer to the hilt, even as he professes his commitment to the publication of views he fiercely disagrees with. That’s the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

‘Selfless’ White Helmets?

The latest installment of the Guardian and Monbiot’s long-running battle to silence Syria dissidents arrived last month when Olivia Solon, the paper’s technology writer living in San Francisco, developed a sudden and unexpected expertise in a controversial Syrian group called the White Helmets.

In the western corporate media narrative, the White Helmets are a group of dedicated and selfless rescue workers. They are supposedly the humanitarians on whose behalf a western intervention in Syria would have been justified – before, that is, Syrian leader Bashar Assad queered their pitch by inviting in Russia.

However, there are problems with the White Helmets. They operate only in rebel – read: mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS-held – areas of Syria, and plenty of evidence shows that they are funded by the UK and US to advance both countries’ far-from-humanitarian policy objectives in Syria.

There are also strong indications that members of the White Helmets have been involved in war crimes, and that they have staged rescue operations as a part of a propaganda offensive designed to assist Islamic extremists trying to oust Assad. (Solon discounts this last claim. In doing so, she ignores several examples of such behaviour, concentrating instead on an improbable “mannequin challenge”, when the White Helmets supposedly froze their emergency operations, in the midst of rescue efforts, apparently as part of a peculiar publicity campaign.)

Guardian hatchet job

Whatever side one takes in this debate, one would imagine that Monbiot should have a clear agenda in support of hearing evidence from all sides. One might also imagine that he would want to distance himself from Solon’s efforts to tie criticism of the White Helmets to a supposed “fake news” crisis and paint those critical of the group as Putin-bots. According to Solon:

The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

Those are the same algorithms that have been changed in recent months to make sure that prominent leftist websites are increasingly difficult to find on internet searches and their writers’ views effectively disappeared.

Yet Monbiot has been using social media to promote Solon’s cheerleading of the White Helmets and her hatchet job against on-the-ground journalists who have taken a far more critical view of the group.

As set out by Prof Tim Hayward, the Guardian’s response to criticism of Solon’s piece has been typical. The comments section below the article was hastily closed after many criticisms were voiced by readers. The journalists who were singled out for attack by Solon were denied a right of reply. A group of concerned academics led by Hayward who submitted their own article, which detailed publicly available evidence to counter Solon’s simplistic account of the White Helmets, were ignored. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s editors and the reader’s editor have ignored all efforts by these parties to contact them.

Given his claim to be an uncompromising defender of free speech and a fierce advocate of providing platforms to those who can back up their arguments with evidence, however discomforting, one might have assumed that Monbiot would at the very least have lobbied on behalf of Hayward and his fellow scholars. But not a bit of it. Yet again he has joined the dogs of the corporate media baying for blood. Instead he turned to Twitter to claim Hayward and Piers Robinson, an expert on propaganda, had “disgraced” themselves.

Undermining climate concerns

The many tens of thousands of leftists who defend Monbiot, or turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy, largely do so because of his record on the environment. But in practice they are enabling not only his increasingly overt incitement against critical thinkers, but also undermining the very cause his supporters believe he champions.

Climate breakdown is a global concern. Rewilding, bike-riding, protecting bees and polar bears, and developing new sustainable technologies are all vitally important. But such actions will amount to little if we fail to turn a highly sceptical eye on the activities of a western military-industrial complex ravaging the planet’s poorest regions.

These war industries fill their coffers by using weapons indiscriminately on “enemy” populations, spawning new and fiercer enemies – while often propping them up too – to generate endless wars. The consequences include massive displacements of these populations who then destabilise other regions, spreading the effect and creating new opportunities for the arms manufacturers, homeland security industries, and the financial industries that feed off them.

A true environmentalist has to look as critically at western policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and many other areas of the globe as he does at UK policy in the Welsh hills and the Lake District.

All indications are that Monbiot lacks the experience, knowledge and skills to unravel the deceptions being perpetrated in the west’s proxy and not-so-proxy wars overseas. That is fair enough. What is not reasonable is that he should use his platforms to smear precisely those who can speak with a degree of authority and independence – and then conspire in denying them a platform to respond. That is the behaviour not only of a hypocrite, but of a bully too.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amnesty International Is Barking Up The Wrong Tree

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | January 15, 2108

I have received a letter from Margaret Huang, Amnesty International’s executive director. She is fundraising on the basis of President Trump’s “chilling disregard for our cherished human rights” and his exploitation of “hatred, misogyny, racism and xenophobia,” by which he has “emboldened and empowered the most violent segments of our society.”

Considering the hostility of Identity Politics toward Trump, one can understand why Ms. Huang frames her fundraiser in this way, but are the Trump deplorables the most empowered and violent segments of our society or is it the security agencies, the police, the neoconservatives, the presstitute media, and the Republican and Democratic parties?

John Kiriakou, Ray McGovern, Philip Giraldi, Edward Snowden, and others inform us that it is their former employers, the security agencies, that are empowered by unaccountability and violent by intent. Certainly the security agencies are emboldened by everything they have gotten away with, including their conspiracy to destroy President Trump with their orchestration known as Russiagate.

The violence that the US government has committed against humanity since the Clinton regime attacked Serbia was not committed by Trump deplorables. The violence that has destroyed in whole or part eight countries, murdering, maiming, and displacing millions of peoples, was committed by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, their secretaries of state such as Hillary Clinton, their national security advisers, their military and security establishments, both parties in Congress. The murder of entire countries was endorsed by the presstitute media and the heads of state of Washington’s European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese vassals. Trump and his deplorables have a long way to go to match this record of violence.

Whether she understands it or not, Ms. Huang with her letter is shifting the violence from where it belongs to where it does not. The consequence will be to increase violence and human rights violations.

The most dangerous source of violence that we face is nuclear Armageddon resulting from the neoconservative quest for US hegemony. Since the Clinton regime every US government has broken tension-easing agreements that previous administrations had achieved with Moscow. During the Obama regime the gratuitous aggressions and false accusations against Russia became extreme.

Why doesn’t Amnesty International address the reckless and irresponsible acts of the US government that are violating the rights of people in numerous countries and pushing the world into nuclear war? Instead, there have been times when Amnesty International aligns with Washington’s propaganda against Washington’s victims.

By jumping on the military/security complex’s get Trump movement, human rights and environmental organizations have increased the likelihood that rights and environment will be lost to war.

There can be no doubt that Trump is undoing past environmental protections and opening the environment and wildlife to more destruction. However, the worst destruction comes from war, especially nuclear war.

Would things be different if the liberal/progressive/left had rallied to Trump’s support in reducing tensions with Russia, in normalizing the hostile relations that Obama had established with Moscow? Would the support of the liberal/progressive/left have helped Trump resist the pressures from the neoconservative warmongers? In exchange for support for his principal goal, would Trump have mitigated industry’s attacks on the environment and vetoed the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that violates human rights?

We will never know, because the liberal/progressive/left could not see beyond the end ot its nose to comprehend what it means for the environment and for human rights for nuclear powers to be locked into mutual suspicion.

Thanks to the failure of the liberal/progressive/left and to the presstitute media to understand the stakes, the military/security complex has been successful in pushing Trump off his agenda. The damage that a mining company and offshore drilling can do to the environment is large, but it pales in comparison to the damage from nuclear weapons.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Canadian Research Adds to Worry Over an Environmental Threat the Pentagon Has Downplayed for Decades

By Abrahm Lustgarten | ProPublica | January 9, 2018

New research by Canadian scientists into the spread of a chemical commonly used in military explosives has confirmed some of the worst fears of U.S. environmental regulators tracking the threat posed by the Pentagon’s handling of its munitions in this country.

The Canadian research analyzed soil and water samples at nine sites where military explosives were detonated between 1990 and 2014, and came up with data about where and in what concentrations the explosive compound known as RDX, a possible human carcinogen, had turned up. Calling RDX “an internationally known problem,” which “has led to an international warning on possible soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination on military training sites,” the research described with actual measurements how RDX floats on the wind and seeps through soils into water supplies.

The researchers took water samples from groundwater at the explosives sites and found that in 26 out of 36 samples, the RDX that had made its way into aquifers exceeded levels considered safe. As a result, the researchers suggest that the data can be used to model RDX contamination at any site where munitions are routinely detonated, and for the first time, give environmental experts a way to quantify how much of it is spreading into surrounding communities.

RDX was considered a major military breakthrough when it was first developed for large-scale use on the eve of World War II, and to this day it remains a staple of the U.S. military’s war-making abilities, used in bombs, missiles and other weapons. And for decades, the Pentagon has known about RDX’s potential health and environmental threat. But the Pentagon has long maintained that the risk is not great, and it has both financed research and flexed its political muscle to have its view prevail. Most recently, the Pentagon has waged an intense fight to not have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency upgrade its classification of RDX’s health threat, a move that could expose the Department of Defense to billions of added dollars in cleanup costs.

At a minimum, the Canadian research — published Nov. 17 in the Journal of Environmental Quality — will add to the store of knowledge about RDX contamination. The research found that while the highest concentrations of RDX remained in a ring around the sites where munitions had exploded, pieces of explosive, perhaps as large as a centimeter, were carried on the wind and later settled in the soil. Surface and groundwater samples showed that the RDX ultimately did not quickly dissolve or degrade as it sank deeper into the earth, where it usually was carried into water supplies.

Harry Craig, one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s foremost experts on explosives contamination, has described RDX as the single greatest problem the U.S. faces when it comes to cleaning up thousands of toxic munitions sites across the country. In an email to agency colleagues, Craig described the Canadian research as both novel and useful.

ProPublica reported on the history of RDX and the Department of Defense’s long-standing campaign to minimize its risks and fight EPA regulation in December. RDX has been discovered at dozens of U.S. defense sites, and increasingly in public drinking water supplies around them. After early research by the U.S. Army determined that RDX was likely responsible for cancerous tumors in rats and mice, the Department of Defense has produced dozens of reports portraying RDX as more benign.

The new report from Canadian scientists confirms some things that the Pentagon had long sought to deny: that RDX contamination was likely to be present in most places where munitions were exploded or detonated, and that once it was present in soil, RDX moved easily into water supplies. The Canadian findings suggest that RDX contamination on or around defense sites in the U.S. could be even more widespread than is already known.

The Canadian report, authored by researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement, and at Defence Research and Development Canada, both in Quebec, lists several U.S. sites with concentrations of RDX contamination that had not been previously disclosed in environmental data the Pentagon had provided to ProPublica. At Fort Hood, in Texas, RDX was present at dangerous levels. The same was true at Fort Greely in Alaska and Fort Bliss in New Mexico.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Earth is ‘Pretty Prepared’ for Upcoming Mini Ice Age – Researcher

Sputnik – December 29, 2017

Fluctuations in solar activity could mean a mini ice age on Earth in the 2030s, according to a mathematical model of the sun’s magnetic field produced by scientists in the UK and Russia. Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, who led the research, told Radio Sputnik that the Sun regularly goes through a “hibernation stage.”

Sputnik: Are there any historical records of similar ice ages and what impact did they have on the environment and people?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: Yes, of course there are. The closest was the Maunder Minimum the 17th century, which lasted from 1655 to 1715, about 70 years, and we will have a slightly shorter ice age than there was 300-370 years ago.

Prior to that was the Wolf Minimum, which was something similar, during Roman times. They keep repeating every 350-400 years because the Sun goes through this [period of] minimum activity.

Sputnik: You’ve previously said that the magnetic waves from the Sun could become more active again in the 2050’s and that we have to be ready for the next big solar activity. What measures can be taken to prepare our planet for this?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: The planet is pretty prepared, it’s obviously been doing this for billions of years and survived. It has natural mechanisms which respond to solar activity in different ways. The problem will be for us to pass through the minimum of current magnetic field activity, which will come in the next 30 years, because I can only guess that the vegetation period will start reducing.

If you have less [solar] emissions, less radiation and a dropping temperature it means that vegetables won’t be able to grow properly, wheat can’t grow properly, so we might have a problem with some sorts of food which we will probably need to think through.When the Sun comes back, it will be like the previous 100-200 years, there will be some fluctuating activity but mostly a standard which people at the moment are very used to and have very nice models describing it.

Sputnik: Have you had any communication or reaction from other researchers regarding your study?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: I have strong support from a few hundred [researchers], maybe more. They invite me to international conferences for talks. I also have some people who criticize [my work] very strongly, these are mostly people who rely on the single [solar] dynamo model.

We just invited a Russian dynamo expert Elena Popova to help us to understand what we found, and this is how we got involved with the model. In our case, we assume there are two layers where the dynamo layers are generated and this is how our observations can be explained.

Those people who have worked all their lives producing rays from a single layer, they strongly resist [a different theory] for the reason that they invested so much time and effort in papers and other work. To some extent, it takes a while to accept new ideas but things are moving on because seismic observations show that the Sun has two cells with different regional circulations in the solar interior.

So, this idea of two dynamos is not alien, the Sun is trying to tell us, “Guys, look at me more carefully! And if they look more carefully they will discover that indeed it has these two cells which have been discovered.

We found two waves from magnetic field observations, not from theory. We got two of them [waves] with similar values. So, the Sun is telling us, “look, we have two waves, not one!” This is how we came up with the two dynamo waves, because the Sun has shown us this during observations.

December 30, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment