With the distracting meme of “Russian Influence,” we are avoiding a fact-based analysis of the 2016 election – at our own peril.
By James Heddle, EON
Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington 1561-1612 – (Also credited with being the inventor of the flush toilet.)
[ Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article is posted on ReaderSupportedNews.org and FreePress.org Also cross-posted on NoNukesCA.net ]
Tragedy, Comedy and Farce All Rolled Into One
The official mythic revisionism of the recent US electoral debacle now seems to be settling firmly into place: Putin did it – the outcome was a result of ‘Russian influence.’
One can see how the Russian Influence Mind Fogging Meme might be mutually convenient for the elites of both parties to unite behind.
For the Dems it deflects attention away from their terminal corruption and incompetence.
For the GOP it deflects attention away from their gargantuan election theft apparatus, patiently assembled by the ruthless radical right-wing billionaires over the past decades .
For the deluded and dis-informed members of the American populace it provides someone to hate besides themselves and each other.
For nuclear crackpots and war profiteers, it inches us all closer to self-obliteration.
The only parties not served by the meme are the bemused and beleaguered President-Select Himself and his converging wrecking crew of nabobs and knuckleheads. Not only have they no mandate, but their entire tenure will now be indelibly tarred by the Putin brush.
As for the GOP, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll really be comfortable with being known henceforth as the Putative Party of Putin.
All this brought to us thanks to ‘the intelligence community,’ whose professional stock-in-trade, after all, is propaganda and ‘psyops’ mind-fogging operations and whose recent reputation is rife with examples of falsified evidence, screw-ups and failures.
Why not just declare the election a ballsup and do it all over again? (No one can hear your screams.)
Anything but the facts, M’am
Unfortunately for the future prospects of democracy in America, the claim that ‘Russian influence’ was more determinative of the election’s outcome than the vast GOP vote rigging complex, the Dems’ own incompetence, and the systematic disenfranchisement of millions of voters does not fit the easily available, verifiable ‘facts- on-the-ground.’
It is well known common practice, in the rough and tumble, cloak and dagger machinations of normal geopolitics, for governments to seek to influence the outcomes of foreign elections in ways favorable to their own interests.
Washington is a past master at this game, so is Russia, and so are all the other players having the capacity. This is not news, this is history.
So, with the latest ‘revelations’ – shown at this writing only to Obama, top officials and the President-Select – the intelligence community has reportedly concluded that ‘Russia developed a desire to influence the election in favor of Trump.’ Given the candidates’ respective publically declared attitudes toward Russia – Hillary, bellicose; Donald, friendly – that’s no surprise there either.
But were whatever ‘influences’ the Russians attempted to unleash on public perceptions so effective that – although Hillary won the popular vote by over 3 million ballots – Trump carried the key states that gave him the Electoral College victory?
Was the Russian ‘influence’ on the election outcome more significant than the systematic gerrymandering since 2011 of those key battleground states by GOP operatives using the REDMAP computer software and strategy, as documented in David Daley’s Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy?
Was it more effective than the massive voter suppression, purging and disenfranchisement tactics carried out by the Crosscheck computer program and discriminatory ID laws in battleground states, which blocked hundreds of thousands – if not millions – from voting, as documented by investigative reporter Greg Palast in his new documentary The Best Democracy Money Can Buy? https://thebestdemocracymoneycanbuy.com/
Was it more ‘influential’ than the $ billions in strategically targeted investments of the Koch donor network over the last decade and its multi-state army of astro-turf front-groups revealed in Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right and on the interactive site Koch Cash – Tracking the Single Largest Source of Private Money Corrupting Democracy published by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG)? https://kochcash.org/the-kochtopus/
Was it more determinative than the partisan private ownership of the secretly programed, ‘Black Box’ electronic poll books, voting, ballot scanning and central tabulating machines that tallied the ‘official’ count, as predicted in Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman’s prescient book THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft?
[Their important post-election analysis can be found at https://freepress.org/
The EON YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/eon3/videos
See also Bev Harris’s invaluable https://blackboxvoting.org/ ]
Was it more significant than the unvarifiable, ‘adjusted exit polls’ supplied by the suspect Edison Research organization hired by the mainstream media consortium to ‘verify’ the vote, as revealed in Jonathan Simon’s CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century: Election 2016 Edition? The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency on International Development treat un-adjusted exit polls as the gold standard of election integrity… everywhere but here at home.
If you can believe the ‘Russian influence’ meme after examining just those few easily available sources, I have a bridge to sell you, cheap.
And, if such gullibility is widespread, there is little hope that the massively corrupted US electoral system will ever be unfixed.
Onward Through the MindFog
Since he famously doesn’t need to read much, Mr. Trump could well have groped his way into the White House without even knowing about the vast vote rigging apparatus painstakingly constructed over the years by the GOP and the ruthless radical rich who have now taken it over. But he and his billionaire band of crackpots and scoundrels are for sure taking advantage of it now. And so are the GOP operatives happily consolidating control over the states caught up in the nationwide ‘Red Sweep’ that has resulted from the most flawed election in US history.
But that history is a sine wave, not an arc. Progressives at home and abroad can still effectively resist the worst effects of the emerging Trumpocalypse, but our elections will never have integrity unless we arm ourselves with a fact-based understanding of what really went wrong in our electoral system provided by just those few sources listed above.
Meanwhile, goaded by the Russian Hacker scare, President Obama has imposed sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 of its diplomats on suspicion of being ‘enemy agents.’ The chorus of Putin bashing rises in volume and intensity…as does the likely possibility of crackpot nuclearists pushing the US toward nuclear war with Russia, even China.
All this because we are unwilling or incapable of facing the fact-based reality of our systematically U.S. insider-compromised elections system.
The Assent of the Trumpskyite Ruthless Radical Rich Wrecking Crew
While all this is going on President-Select Trump – described by one European observer as ‘the latest “bobble head doll on the dashboard of real [U.S.] power,”’ has been busy appointing an administration peopled by the largest assembly of ideologically extremist billionaires and rabid militarists that have ever been gathered under one roof.
Cabinet appointees will work to pervert, hamstring or abolish the departments and regulatory agencies which they now head. https://commondreams.org/news/2017/01/06/new-resource-exposes-corporate-chieftains-filling-trump-cabinet
Simultaneously, the Captured Congress got off to an inglorious start, first revealing its true nature by attempting unsuccessfully to gut ethics oversight, then debating the abolition of Obamacare and the dismantling of Medicare.
The Planetarian Perplex – Surviving in the Nuclear Antropocene
Because of the widespread willful ignorance about our radically rigged election system, we are now about to be ruled for an indefinite – possibly terminal – period by an extremist regime of climate change denialists, fossil fuel moguls, crackpot nuclearists and racist neo-fascist billionaires.
No less an authority than Noam Chomsky tells us that the twin converging threats of nuclear war and climate change now present the greatest peril to survival ever faced by our species. Scientists have now identified human activity as the main factor in geological change and dubbed this new geologic era the ‘Anthropocene.’ Given recent developments, it might better be called the Nuclear Anthropocene. https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/2/noam_chomsky_with_trump_election_we
President-select-without-a-mandate Trump recently tweeted “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In a subsequent interview he added, “Let it be an arms race… we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This from the guy who believes climate change is a Chinese hoax, while the Forces of Fossil Fuels have – at least temporarily – captured the machinery of government.
If all this doesn’t worry you much, check out Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You?
John F. Harris and Bryan Bender’s Politico interview with a former US Defense Secretary turned nuclear abolitionist. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/william-perry-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-214604
Thus do we find ourselves in a domestically triggered existential crisis, global in scope, ripe with danger and opportunity, in which the question is starkly posed: can we, working with others at home and abroad, avert apocalypse and planetary ecocide in the Nuclear Anthropocene?
Since all that now seems left of ‘American exceptionalism’ is our nation’s overarching negative impacts on the planet and all its beings and ecosystems, it seems incumbent on those of us who have experienced the trauma of awakening to the realities of our situation to devote the rest of our lives to that planetarian purpose.
Don’t Mourn, Organize
Maybe the current crisis is triggering the immune cells in the body politic into action. Whether or not they have parsed all the contributing causes, people are clear they don’t like the result. Protests and campaigns of resistance are taking form across the nation and around the world.
One example is a Plan currently circulating in progressive circles called Indivisible:
A practical guide For resisting the Trump agenda, in which ‘Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.’
Indivisible, with no apparent sense of irony, calls for the adoption of Tea Party tactics – “If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.” Unlike the radical right they plan to mount “a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness….”
Others, who do view Trump as “the latest bobble head doll on the dashboard of real [U.S.] power,” are counting on non-compliance at home and international opposition abroad to precipitate transformative system-wide change and forestall a self-imposed extinction event.
[See: ‘Social Self-Defense’: Protecting People and Planet Against Trump and Trumpism by Jeremy Brecher
Margaret Mead famously advised, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The rigging of the US electoral process by a relatively small network of the ruthless, the radical, and the rich has shown that Maggie’s aphorism can cut both ways.
To paraphrase a recent statement by ninety-year-old activist-icon Harry Bellefonte, we have some serious ass kicking to do in the Nuclear Anthropocene. Lets get started….
[ https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/2/noam_chomsky_harry_belafonte_in_conversation ]
James Heddle co-directs EON, the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan. https://eon3.net/
They blog at https://planetarianperspectives.net/
Their popular YouTube channel has featured video reports on vote rigging and the election protection movement since 2004. https://www.youtube.com/user/eon3/videos
They are currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection. https://www.shutdowndoc.tv/
Thanks for Your Help in Engaging the Key Issues of Our Time in 2016.
Please Make a Year-End Donation to Help Us in 2017!
Tax-deductible contributions can be made on-line
Just a quick scan of this past year’s video reports on our popular YouTube Channel [on left] will give you a taste of the topics and events we’ve covered – with your support – in 2016:
- The biological effects of the on-going Fukushima disaster;
- The emergence of a New Nuclear Arms Race;
- The fight to shutdown Diablo Canyon before the Big One hits;
- The links between nuclear energy, weapons and waste;
- Former Japanese PM Koizumi’s support for Fukushima-injured US sailors:
- The trans-pacific solidarity of Japanese and US nuclear abolitionists;
- Corruption our election system by the ruthless, radical rich .01%.
But that would only be part of the story. You would also need to look at our blogs – PlanetarianPerspectives.net, NoNukesCA.net, and eonEMFblog.net. And don’t forget checking out our daily posts on FaceBook and Twitter.
We’re also proud of our fiscal sponsorship of organizations like Positive News, EMFAnalysis and the EMF Safety Network, and our cooperation with the latter in flow-funding other US groups working on wireless electromagnetic pollution issues.
Yet even that wouldn’t give you the full picture. That’s because our major, on-going focus since 2011 has been on an 2017 premiere of our documentary SHUTDOWN – The California-Fukushima Connection.
Six years in the making – and now in its post-production phase – this timely, empowering documentary telling California’s nuclear stories also exposes the myths about the usefulness of nuclear power to confront climate change and the usefulness of nuclear weapons to resolve conflict.
President-select Trump recently tweeted “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes….Let it be an arms race… we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This documentary is a passionate call to consciousness by nuclear war protesters and activists from local reactor communities who have recognized the looming existential threat of nuclear energy, weapons and waste – the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Their hard won knowledge is now even more necessary than ever – crackpot nuclearism is on the rise.
Please continue to contribute what you can to help us raise the $50,000 needed to bring SHUTDOWN to the fine-cut stage by early 2017 and keep the rest of our operation going.
EON – the Ecological Options Network is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Tax-deductible contributions can be made on-line at EON3.net/donate. Checks may be made out to EON and mailed to EON, PO Box 1047, Bolinas, CA 94924. For more information please call 415-868-1900.
EON Co-Directors Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle,
ably assisted by the multi-talented Morgan Peterson, are now at work on their forthcoming documentary
SHUTDOWN – The California-Fukushima Connection
The Woodward and Bernstein of Election Integrity
Every presidential election since 2004, we have traveled to Columbus, in key swing state of Ohio, to video document election protection efforts by Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis and the Columbus Free Press team (FreePress.org). We made the trip again this year and have just returned from filming post-recount interviews with both of them in Columbus last week.
Harvey Wasserman – an author, historian, celebrated journalist and lifelong activist, and Bob Fitrakis – a practicing attorney who holds doctorates in both political science and law – are also both popular professors in Columbus colleges.
Dubbed by admirer Jesse Jackson as ‘the Woodward and Bernstein of election integrity’ – after the Washington Post reporters that famously broke the Watergate story in the Nixon era – Fitrakis and Wasserman’s research and reporting on election theft has twice won Project Censored awards.
The Free Press and its sponsoring organization the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) has been in operation since 1970 and run since the ‘90s by life-partners Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer and their colleague Harvey Wasserman. Their work has been a vital epicenter not only of local community organizing and investigative reporting, but also of the national US Election Protection movement.
At the same time, they have either been consistently ignored or repeatedly denounced by mainstream media as “conspiracy theorists.”
Nevertheless, their ground-breaking findings have consistently been validated by subsequent developments. They were unfortunately right on target with their prescient analysis of the 2016 election in their book “The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows and Electronic Election Theft,” published in early 2016, months before the Nov. 8 vote.
For more than a decade, from their unique vantage point in one of the country’s main ground zero’s of vote rigging, they‘ve documented the multiple methods by which America’s elections have been stolen…and helped to galvanize grassroots awareness and resistance not only in Ohio, but across the country.
EON is proud to help give their important work wider exposure. Here are four recent video interviews done as the election saga unfolded, and links to recent articles.
[ In the works: A report from inside the recount saga and post-Electoral College analysis. ]
Losers Win, Winners Lose
Bob Fritakis and Harvey Wasserman on the seriously flawed US voting and electoral college system and the outcome of the 2016 election. The FreePress,org reporting team that Jesse Jackson dubbed the Woodward and Bernstein of Election Protection comment on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and why the American election system needs a total overhaul from top to bottom.
The Illegitimate Election 2016
What are the legitimate grounds for calling the recent election awarding the Presidency to Donald Trump illegitimate? Political scientist and attorney Dr. Robert Fitrakis and investigative historian Harvey Wasserman – editors of FreePress.org – summarize the evidence in this exclusive EON interview.
They are the co-authors of the book STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 – Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, available here –
Greg Palast interviews Bob Fitrakis on Voter Purges
How did the Ohio Republican Sec. of State purge and disenfranchise so many voters from the voter rolls? A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.
Palast Interviews Fitrakis on Election Theft
Why before the Nov. 8, 2016 election, did Republican authorities in key swing state Ohio turn off the safety features for ballot records even though this security measure is already programmed into their electronic voting machine software?
A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.
Clips from this interview were aired as part of Greg Palast’s report on Democracy Now
Election Coverage Links
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
Outing California’s Doomsday Factory – ‘The Smartest Place on Earth”
Kissinger, Perry, Schultz, Chomsky, Castro, Caldicott,and Ellsberg all agree –nuclear weapons are obsolete, sooo 20th century, and have got to go.
By James Heddle, EON
It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing….
Dwight D. Eisenhower
General LeMay: The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb.
Reporter: You mean that, sir? Without the Russians and the atomic bomb?
General LeMay: The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war.
Major General Curtis E LeMay, U.S. Army Air Forces
Sept. 20, 1945, press conference
The Way It Really Happened
Contrary to widespread popular belief and official U.S. propaganda, there was no military need to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Neither densely populated city was an important center for the Japanese, and Nagasaki was chosen from the B-list of targets because the A-class target-for-the-day was clouded over and the plane was running out of fuel.
But, in the minds of two key decision-makers, President Harry S. Truman and his close friend and advisor, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, there was a geostrategic & political consideration that, for them, overrode any all others – including moral, legal and humanitarian ones.
The Japanese were already making overtures for a face-saving surrender that would protect the Emperor, who they considered divine. The US was demanding an unconditional surrender.
The Russian army, fresh from its victory over the Nazis in Europe, was scheduled to shortly invade Japanese-occupied Manchuria and so ensure Japan’s speedy defeat.
A scheduled Big Three conference of Stalin, Churchill and Truman – to carve up war-torn Europe and the defeated Third Reich – had already been postponed by Truman.
He was waiting for something.
The historic Potsdam Conference finally did go ahead, with US negotiators feeling more than a bit vulnerable before the victorious Soviets. Truman and his team were not looking forward to going up against the formidable Joseph Stalin.
Then, with the Conference already in full swing, word came from the Manhattan Project that its atomic bomb test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, code-named ‘Trinity,’ had been a success. Witnesses reported that Truman was suddenly ‘like a changed man.’
That was because Truman and Byrnes had realized that now –as they put it, with the bomb in their pocket – they could really get tough with Uncle Joe in carving up the spoils.
The Die is Set: GeoPolitics Trumps Ethics
The Potsdam Conference was held from July 16th, 1945 to August 2nd 1945. Though they had once urged Stalin to commit to invade Manchuria and finally defeat Japan, now, in order to increase their post-war clout, Byrnes and Truman wanted to beat him to the knock-out punch.
That was why, less than a week after Potsdam had ended, against the advice of many of his top diplomatic and military officials, Truman, with Byrnes’ urging, gave the order for Nagasaki and Hiroshima to be obliterated. Not from military necessity, or to ‘save American lives’ – as the official story went – but to demonstrate and establish America’s hegemonic power in the post-war world.
There was also a secondary purpose. The Hiroshima bomb used a uranium-based detonator. The Nagasaki bomb’s detonator used plutonium. The destruction of the two cities and the mass murder of their populations was a test to compare the effectiveness of detonation methods.
The complex facts of this story are laid out in the definitive book on the subject, celebrated historian Gar Alperovitz’ meticulously documented 1995 opus The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. In it Alperovitz also examines the question of, as he puts it, “how the American people came to believe what most still believe about the bombing…: ’To save perhaps a million lives by making an invasion unnecessary.’”
“It is an awful responsibility that has come to us,” Truman read somewhat awkwardly to a contemporary newsreel camera.
“We thank God that it has come to us instead of to our enemies, and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.” [‘Truman thanks God for the atomic bomb’ ]
“In Hiroshima,” writes Felicity Arbuthnot, “a millisecond after 8.16 a.m., on 6th August 1945, the temperature at the core of the hundreds of feet wide fireball reached 50,000,000 degrees. Flesh burned two miles distant from it’s outer parameters. 80,000 people were killed or mortally injured instantly.”
According to Wikipedia,
“The atomic bombings killed 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizable military garrison.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki
Truman and Byrnes were not evil men, but they embodied what Hannah Arendt was later to term – in relation to Nuremburg war criminals – “the banality of evil.” In their own minds, like many deluded decision-makers then and now, they believed they were acting in the best interests of their country. But their misguided decisions unleashed a curse upon the world that humanity will be dealing with far into the deep future – if there is one.
Unintended consequences were immediate and far-reaching. As former Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was later to regretfully observe, dropping the bombs destroyed the relative parity, trust and cooperation that had developed between the three allies and their leaders in the course of the war.
With the partitioning of Europe in response to Washington’s new-found aggressiveness , the Soviet ‘Iron Curtain’ went up, and soon the Cold War and the first nuclear arms race began, with its attendant atmospheric nuclear tests by all three former allies, poisoning the lands and lives of indigenous peoples from the deserts, to the tundra, to the Pacific Islands.
After the massive carnage and horrific suffering caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb, it was an amazing triumph of America’s public relations and propaganda machine, when it went on to persuade the recently bombed Japanese into embracing nuclear power, and then made them into a market for American nuclear technology – including the GE Mark I reactors, known to be faulty, that melted down and blew up at Fukushima.
The 21st Century’s New Nuclear Arms Race
Fast forward to today when – despite his famous Apr 5, 2009 Prague claim that America ‘as the first nation to use the atomic bomb’ would lead the way to ‘a world free of nuclear weapons’ – 2-term President Obama has committed to a $1 trillion ‘life extension program’ for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
That pricy upgrade will include the production and deployment of the new B61-12 guided nuclear missile. Termed a ‘Long Distance Stand-off Weapon,’ the B61-12 can be air-launched from a plane flying far from its target, has maneuverable fins, can burrow deep into the earth, and sports 4 different dial-able megaton ‘yields’ – all of which, in the minds of American war planners, makes it ‘more usable’ in a tactical first strike scenario. [see: Andrei Akulov’s ‘B61: US Nuclear Weapon Nobody Needs’]
Recently, in an apparent bid to slightly burnish the out-going President’s ‘legacy,’ the Obama administration floated a test balloon about adopting a ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy. The idea was hailed by abolitionists. Even the New York Times editorialized in support.
The Times even went so far as advocating elimination of one leg of the ‘nuclear triad,’ land-based missiles.
Phasing out land-based missiles and shifting to a reliance on submarines and bombers would save about $100 billion over the next three decades. The elimination of smaller, tactical nuclear weapons would save billions more.
President Obama could begin the phaseout of land-based missiles before he left office by instructing the Department of Defense to remove 550 weapons from the operationally deployed category and transfer them to long-term storage, thereby reducing the operationally deployed inventory to about 1,000 strategic warheads. These missiles are surplus weapons no longer needed for deterrence.
A no-first-use policy would also reduce the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. By scrapping the vulnerable land-based missile force, any need for launching on warning disappears. Strategic bombers can be sent aloft on warning of an apparent incoming attack, which may or may not be a false alarm, and stay up until the situation clarifies.
Strategic submarines are extremely survivable and exert no pressure on decision-makers to fire them quickly. They can patrol for months waiting for instructions. Both bombers and submarines are also less vulnerable to cyberwarfare than the strategic missiles on land.
Finally, no-first-use would help ensure that democratically elected officials maintained control over nuclear weapons.
But the suggestion caused panic in ‘defense’ circles and among some allies taking delusional shelter under America’s ‘nuclear umbrella.’ Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz all opposed the adoption of a no first use policy, according to the Wall Street Journal. [‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy Proposal Assailed by U.S. Cabinet Officials, Allies’ https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-first-use-nuclear-policyproposal-assailed-by-u-s-cabinet-officials-allies-1471042014 ]
Keeping ‘everything on the table’ in the nuclear weapons department is vital for the
careers and profits for those whose business is war, and Washington’s aggressive posturing toward both Russia and China has triggered predictions of a booming weapons market… and a looming WW III.
This is the atmosphere in which a New Nuclear Arms race is developing. No less an authority than former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry says,
“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons. Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over.
Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.
“The antagonism between Russia and the United States has reached a point now where I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. It breaks my heart.
“Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…” https://www.planetarianperspectives.net/?p=2741
Bill Perry has teamed up with other senior statesmen of similar stature, Sam Nunn, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger to mount a public nuclear consciousness-raising campaign aimed especially at the generation that will have to deal with the legacy of the Atomic Age.
Its impossible to miss the irony in the fact that these ‘elder statesmen’ are now finally in agreement with Noam Chomsky, Fidel Castro and long-time international nuclear abolition advocate Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has been trying unsuccessfully to get their attention for decades.
As we are all surely aware [sic], we now face the most ominous decisions in human history. There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war. For the first time in history, we face the possibility of destroying the prospects for decent existence – and not in the distant future. Who Rules the World? P.181.
The 90 year-old Castro, who threw capitalism out of Cuba – and, as a result, has so far survived 630 documented assassination attempts by the CIA and other nefarious U.S. agencies – puts it this way: “Humankind today faces the greatest risk of its history.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/16/the-birthday/
“It could happen tonight,” said Caldicott in a recent talk in Berkeley, CA.
“It could happen right now. We are closer now to nuclear annihilation than ever, even closer than we were during the Cold War. North Korea and Iran cannot end the world. But the sociopaths in charge of our nuclear weapons can. For instance, Clinton has never seen a war that she doesn’t like.”
She pointed out that every single city in America is targeted by the Russians right now.
“Twelve H-bombs are targeted on New York City alone. Every city in America is targeted with at least one nuclear missile. And Russian cities are targeted the same way by America. And all this insanity is at the mercy of human fallibility too.”
Helen Caldecott: “America Still Thinks It Can Win a Nuclear War”
Protesting ‘The Smartest Place on Earth”
All this was in the minds of the over 200 people who assembled at 9am, on August 9 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
The one-mile square facility in Livermore, CA – which bills itself on its website as “the smartest square mile on Earth” – is a key hub in the new nuclear arms race. Though it claims to have worked for 60 years ‘to make the world a safer place,’ the Lab is California’s bomb factory. https://www.llnl.gov/about
The two main sponsors of the yearly protest event are Tri-Valley CAREs, led by Marylia Kelly and the Western States Legal Foundation headed by Jacqueline Cabasso, have labored for years to keep the issue of nuclear weapons and Livermore’s part in it clearly in the public eye.
It’s a hard sell, despite the clear and present danger, in an information environment beset by delusions, distractions, disinformation and news of multiple looming disasters.
The theme of this year’s event, was “Disarm Now: We Stand With Nuclear Survivors for Global Justice.”
A banner across the back of the stage read “Failure to Disarm: Holding Our Government Accountable.” A second banner hanging from stage front, by the celebrated artist Mayumi Oda, portrayed the ‘Two-Headed Dragon” of nuclear weapons and power, which have remained inextricably connected from the birth of the Atomic Age into the present day.
The well-organized event, with a dynamic line-up of speakers including Daniel Ellsberg, went like clockwork. Here are the event’s speakers and its dramatic conclusion (including a moving interview with celebrated artist/activist Mayumi Oda) in eight viewable video segments.
Pt. 1 – Welcome & Purpose Statement – Patricia St. Onge & Wilson Riles, Jr.
Two long-time Bay Area activists set the context and purpose of a rally, march and non-violent civil disobedience action at Livermore Lab, California’s bomb factory. Patricia St. Onge is Founder of Seven Generations Consulting. Wilson Riles, Jr. is a Former Oakland City Council Member. Together they founded the Nafsi ya Jamii Retreat Center.
Pt. 2 – Nagasaki Remembered – Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka
Nagasaki A-bomb survivor and retired United Methodist Church minister Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka talks about the personal and spiritual aspects of his experiences and why humankind must evolve beyond nuclear weapons and war.
Pt. 3 – Making the Connections – Chizu Hamada
Chizu Hamada, Coordinator of No Nukes Action Committee, traces the links between the human suffering caused by the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the current situation in post-Fukushima Japan, and the nuclear policies of the Obama Administration – in which Livermore Lab plays a key role.
Pt. 4 – The Livermore Connections – Tara Dorabji
Young mother Tara Dorabji, Board Member and former Outreach Director of Tri-Valley CAREs, talks about the local human and environmental impacts of California’s bomb factory on the surrounding community and region.
Pt. 5 – Challenge to Disarm: The Marshall Island Lawsuits – John Burroughs
John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, gives the context and update of the historic lawsuits he is currently arguing before the International Court of Justice and a the U.S. Federal District Court on behalf of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the still genetically devastated site of 67 U.S. nuclear tests in the 1940s and ’50s. He is part of a team of attorneys representing the tiny Pacific Island nation’s landmark lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed nations for failing to comply with their obligations under international law to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
For more info: Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy https://lcnp.org/
and Nuclear Zero https://www.nuclearzero.org/
Pt. 6 – The Growing Dangers of Nuclear Wars – Jackie Cabasso
Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, lays out the Growing Dangers of Wars Among Nuclear-Armed States.
For more info: https://www.wslfweb.org/
Pt. 7 – Daniel Ellsberg – Politics, Trump & U.S. Nuclear Policy
Celebrated Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg compares official American nuclear weapons policy with the campaign statements of Donald Trump.
Pt. 8 – March, Die-In & Arrests – The Nagasaki-Livermore Connection
Nuclear disarmament supporters march and risk arrest at the gate of Livermore Lab, California’s nuclear bomb factory, in solidarity with Nagasaki and Hiroshima victims and survivors – featuring a moving interview with celebrated international artist and activist Mayumi Oda.
James Heddle co-directs EON, The Ecological Options Network. https://eon3.net/ with Mary Beth Brangan. They are currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection. https://www.shutdowndoc.tv/
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
“If its accidents do not end nuclear power, its economics will.” Ralph Nader 1992
Nine More Years
On June 28, 2016, the California State Lands Commission (SLC) voted unanimously to extend a lease agreement that will allow PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear generating station to run for nine more years until its operating license runs out in 2025.
Both celebrated and condemned by groups on virtually all sides of the nuclear energy issue, the decision essentially gives the go-ahead to a Joint Proposal drafted by a group of parties including PG&E, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environment California, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, and the Alliance For Nuclear Responsibility.
CEQA Si, CEQA No?
The issue before the SLC was essentially whether or not continued operation of the aging plant – seriously impacting sealife and located over 13 earthquake faults – by a company currently under Federal indictment for safety violations, should require an environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In saying ‘no,’the Commission, which includes Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and state Comptroller Betty Yee, chose not to exercise its prerogatives under public trust doctrine and the CEQA law. Some groups are reportedly planing to sue the Commission on those issues, claiming that its decision will allow PG&E to run out the remainder of Diablo’s license virtually without oversight and regulation, while enjoying ‘full cost recovery.’
Seen from afar, the shutdown plan can be seen as confirmation that nuclear energy is not cost effective and will eventually be phased out – a blow to nuclear proponents. But for local and regional stakeholders, who will be living with the existential risks posed by the two aging reactors for the next decade, the slow motion shutdown plan seems like playing nuclear roulette with their lives, livelihoods and property. A recent study shows links between radiation spikes in Bakersfield and refueling shutdowns and restarts at Diablo.
Events at Diablo Canyon do closely fit with the beta radiation spikes. The start of the spikes begins as they power up unit 2 from a refueling outage. The other spikes match power up or power down events including the known feedwater pre-heater leak. Radiation releases are known to increase during refueling outages. Purges of decay tank gasses or areas of the reactor building during shutdown and startup activities have the potential to release radioactive contamination to the air. Leaking equipment such as a feedwater pre-heater (what leaked at Diablo Canyon #1) could potentially lead to leaks to the environment. Diablo Canyon May Have Leaked Significant Radioactivity In Recent Years
Seems like this finding alone should trigger a CEQA review.
Some say now that the shutdown has been agreed to in principle, it can and should be sped up with a more rapid transition to renewables – to which Diablo’s continued operation is a serious barrier.
In the interest of casting some light on the complex issues involved, EON offers the following video clips about this important decision making process.
[For more on this issue see: Anatomy of a nuke closure: How PG&E decided to shutter Diablo Canyon In a policy environment that prizes renewables, PG&E saw no cost-effective route to keeping the giant nuclear plant open
Mothers for Peace Rally for an Enviro Review of Diablo Canyon
San Luis Obispo, CA – June 28, 2016 – Mothers for Peace holds a rally calling for a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of Diablo Canyon’s environmental impacts.
The rally was held ahead of a California State Lands Commission meeting on a Joint Proposal by PG&E and environmental and labor groups to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant running until its licenses run out nine years from now.
Mothers for Peace Spokeswomen Linda Seeley and Jane Swanson make the case for a CEQA environmental impact review, given the plant’s aging components, seismic risks and PG&E’s Federally indicted safety record. They are joined by Dr. Jerry Brown and Rinaldo Brutoco from the Santa Barbara-based World Business Academy.
PG&E’s Geisha J. Williams on Diablo Shutdown Proposal 6-28-2016
California State Lands Commission – June 28,2016 – PG&E President, Electric, Geisha J. Williams describes a Shutdown Proposal for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant which the company arrived at in negotiation with a small group of environmental and labor organizations.
The Joint Proposal – provisions of which must still be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – plans for the nuclear facility to be shut down at the end if its operating license, nine years from now.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
The full California Lands Commission meeting for Jun 28, 2016 is available on-line at https://www.cal-span.org/media.php?folder=CSLC
PG&E’s Geisha J. Williams – Q&A on Diablo Shutdown Proposal
July 28, 2016 – PG&E President, Electric, Geisha J. Williams responds to State Land Commission questions on the shut down Proposal for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which the company arrived at in negotiation with a small group of environmental and labor organizations.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
John Geesman & Rochelle Becker on Diablo Shutdown Proposal 6-28-2016
Attorney John Geesman and Executive Director Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (A4NR.org) speak at the July 28, 2016 State Lands Commission meeting about the Joint Proposal to shut down Diablo Canyon at the end of nine years. The Alliance is one of the Parties in the Joint Proposal with PG&E.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
Betty Yee on the Diablo Shutdown Proposal – 6-28-2016
At the June 28, 2016 meeting of the California State Lands Commission, Chairwoman Betty Yee had this to say before she voted in favor of extending PG&E’s lease on Diablo Canyon land controlled by the Commission.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
Gavin Newsom on the Diablo Shutdown Proposal – 6-28-2016
At the June 28, 2016 meeting of the California State Lands Commission, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom had this to say before he voted in favor of extending PG&E’s lease on Diablo Canyon land controlled by the Commission.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
NEXIT: WHY NATO NEEDS TO EXIT
Guest Blog by Cecile Pineda
[ Author of Apology to a Whale: Words to Mend a World, available from Wingspress.com
“An urgent re-framing of current ecological thinking, Apology To A Whale addresses what the intersection of relative linguistics and archeology reveals about the present world’s power relations, and what the extraordinary communication of plants and animals can teach us.” ]
The North Atlantic Treat Organization (that’s NATO to you) is scheduled to hold a three-day summit in Warsaw, Poland starting July 8. U.S. Peace organizations have been contacted to join the international protest.
Why we urgently need to get involved:
The U.S. through its NATO surrogates, has established bases fronting Russia’s western borders, furnishing them with troops, and equipping them with long range missiles targeting Moscow and other Russian Cities, sharply increasing the very real risk of all-out nuclear war.
Polish and all other International Organizers are calling for:
•No troops or maneuvers at Russia’s Western border
•No further armament of NATO member states, especially at the expense of health, education and welfare
•No new nuclear weapons and no modernization of existing arsenals worldwide
•No missile defense system in Eastern Europe
•No NATO operations against refugees
The SF-BAY AREA SAYS ‘NO’ TO NATO.
In solidarity with European protesters, and in coalition with other peace and anti-nuclear organizations, Code Pink will focus its monthly Bridge Walk for Peace to protest NATO’s increasingly threatening maneuvers on the West’s border with Russia. All Bay Area peace organizations are invited to join the events and to help spread the world.
When: Sunday, July 10. Rally and March at Noon (gather at 11:45 AM)
Where: Golden Gate Bridge. Gather at South End plaza for a rally; followed by a bridge walk.
Parking (carpooling highly recommended): arrive by 11:15 to grab a parking spot in either lot to the east or west side south bridge lots. OR park at Crissy Field and climb the stairs to the South End Plaza. The Plaza is also accessible by Muni bus route #28. To co-sponsor this event and for more information or: Toby Blome, email me
BAITING THE BEAR,POKING THE PANDA: NATO at 67 years old
It’s time to retire NATO, which has been kicking around since 1949, 67 years of making sure the world is ready-or-not for democracy – U.S. style. Even dwarves start small. The original Western European Defense Organization of 5 countries prompted the U.S. to step in and enter into diplomatic/military talks resulting in the North Atlantic Treaty. Newly constituted, NATO, added 7 more countries, the U.S., Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. The 12-nation NATO’s goals articulated by Lord Ismay were “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Greece and Turkey joined in 1952, and the organization became the NATO 14. When the USSR proposed joining the organization only to be rejected, the snub resulted in the Warsaw pact, signed in 1955, which aligned the non-NATO countries including the USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and East Germany in a defense pact of their own.
The geopolitical power struggle seems to have had no choice but to escalate. In response, NATO added more arrows to its quiver. Shortly thereafter West Germany was included., and, following the formation of the apparently chummy NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland were invited to join, and parlaying the breakup of the Czech and Soviet Republics, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania joined to become the NATO-25.
Starting in 2004, as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing program, jet fighters were deployed in countries bordering the former USSR, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, culminating in the 2006 Riga Summit, the first NATO summit to be held in a former part of the Soviet Union. Another such summit, in 2008 held in Bucharest, expanded NATO-now-26 to include Albania and Croatia, and both the Ukraine and Georgia were told they eventually could become members (but, ah, ah, ah, not before the Ukrainian coup!) and provided for an anti-ballistic missile system to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, provoking harsh criticism from Russia.
World War/Nuclear war
The 1954 North Atlantic Council document, MC 48, emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of any war with the then-USSR whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first, i.e. a First-Strike policy. So far, NATO has intervened by declaring no-fly zones and with bombings in the 1992 Bosnian War in 1999 in Kosovo, and in 2001, invoking Article 5, it responded with several official actions, culminating in its 2003 agreement to take command of the International Security Assistance Force including troops from 42 countries, eventually expanding its control of military operations throughout Afghanistan.
During the Iraq war, NATO provided trainers to assist the Iraqi security forces. It provided warships protecting maritime traffic from incursions by Somali “pirates,” whose aims were to prevent illegal fishing in their own Somali waters; and it was alert and ready to intervene in Libya by enforcing a no-fly zone, and supporting an arms embargo, going so far as to interdict any vessel suspected of carrying either illegal arms or mercenaries.
Running out of bullying energy?
But in June of 2011, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates noticed that some member nations were sloughing off. He accused Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey and Germany of not pulling their weight. Subsequently Norway scaled down, Danish fighters were (horrors!) running out of bombs., and the UK Royal Navy opined the Libya conflict was “unsustainable.”
Is it time for NATO to EXIT? Some speculations are in order:
1) Could the incursions of the NATO-28 amount to World War III under a rosier name?
2) Although NATO presents itself as a peace-keeping operation, its various commissions and subsidiaries all qualify as military operations; no peace commissions form any part of it.
3) Its pattern of expansion suggests conquest by a game of “Baby Steps” as in mother-may-I swallow up the Balkanized states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union one by one in a slow dance toward total domination.
4) The not-entirely-surprising BREXIT vote seems to indicate popular opinion senses that bloated geopolitical amalgamations such as the European Union may have outlived their usefulness. Can BREXIT signal the eventual collapse an imperial enterprises such as NATO?
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[Used with permission]
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How are our votes being stolen?
Let us count the ways…
By James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan
As the fateful June 7 primary election day approached in 6 states, including California, a stellar group of election protection luminaries gathered on Memorial Day weekend in a private home in Santa Monica with about 100 of their closest friends. Their purpose, as that great American philosopher W.C. Fields once advised, was ‘to seize the bull by the tail and stare the situation squarely in the face.’
[ See videos of the meeting at the end of this article, or here: Don’t Let Them Steal Your Vote – Part 1
Part 2 ]
Not a Pretty Picture
Chaired by movie star and long-time political activist Mimi Kennedy, a panel including Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis, Greg Palast, Bev Harris and John Blakey compared notes on the myriad methods their investigations have uncovered that are destroying the validity of U.S. elections. Facing these facts is the first step in the daunting task of restoring election integrity in America’s very broken electoral system.
In this year’s primary season alone we have seen:
• Massive disenfranchisement caused by arbitrarily changing voters’ assigned precincts and then giving incorrect information on the changes.
• Chaos caused in predominately minority districts by reducing the number of precincts – and the number of machines per precinct – causing long lines and hours-long waits which turned away many voters with jobs or other time commitments.
• Arcane regulations which instructed poll workers to give unprecedented numbers of voters ‘provisional ballots,’ which are rarely counted.
• For example, in California, voters who registered ‘NPP’ for No Party Preference and were mailed a ballot, were not permitted to vote in the Democratic primary unless they took both the ballot and its envelope to a polling place and said the magic words, “I surrender this ballot and request a cross-over ballot.” Without those exact words, poll workers were instructed not to supply a ‘cross-over’ ballot AND not to inform the voter of the rule.
• Media outlets prematurely calling elections before all ballots are counted – or, in some cases, even cast.
• As of this writing, 2.6 million ballots yet to be counted for the California primary
But it gets worse.
Strip & Flip
The theme of the Santa Monica panel was set by a hot-off-the-press book just published by Fitrakis and Wasserman titled ‘The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: The Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft.’ [ Get it here: https://freepress.org/store.php ] This is the latest in a string of books the team has written in the last decade. They have had a ringside seat to both observe – and also fight against – the increasing corruption of the U.S. electoral system, based, as they are in Columbus, Ohio, capitol of a key swing state. In 2012, Fitrakis’s threatened lawsuit in Ohio state court prevented the planned electronic theft of the election and saved Obama’s election victory.
[See “Swing State: How the Fix Was Nixed in Ohio 2012” ]
Election Theft, as American as Apple Pie
Intentional disenfranchisement of potential voters in order to favor selected demographic sectors is simple in concept, if complex in means. It has been a part of the American electoral landscape from the git-go. Eliminating legitimate voters from the voter rolls by various tactics – that’s the ‘strip’ part. Skewing the ballot count in order to produce desired outcome percentages – that’s the ‘flip’ part – also achieved by multiple mechanisms, as we shall see.
“Not every conspiracy is a theory.”
The ad slogan for the current thriller ‘Money Monsters’ actually gets it right. Though poo-pooed as ‘conspiracy theory’ by pundits and vote fraud denialists across the political spectrum, Bob & Harvey’s work – in combination with the work of many other investigator/activists including co-panel members Bev Harris, Greg Palast,, Mimi Kennedy and John Blakey – has incontrovertibly revealed the plethora of means by which America’s electoral system has now been stripped of the last vestiges of whatever trustworthiness it may have ever actually possessed.
A short run down follows – to be expanded upon below – of issues discussed by the panel.
But, keep in mind that, for brevity, the list does not include additional key related issues, such as: unlimited campaign spending by anonymous persons and non-voting corporate entities and their surrogates – even from foreign states or agents; mainstream media’s biased reporting; manipulations by party officials; ‘super delegate’ and ‘contested convention’ schemes; the counter-democracy Electoral College; or the ‘gerrymandering-on-steroids’ REDMAP redistricting process carried out by Republicans following the 2010 election, which left them in control of the House of Representatives and many key state legislatures until at least 2020, when the next census-based re-districting is scheduled. The latter major ploy is well documented in David Daley’s recent book “Rat F**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy.”)
Here’s the short list from the Santa Monica panel presentations:
• Massive electronic purging of legitimate voters from voter rolls across the country
• Massive vote suppression and disenfranchisement by myriad means on a national scale
• Virtually decisive control of voter rolls without detection; vote counting and reporting by privately owned, secret, electronic devices and computer programs specifically designed to steal elections through cyber chicanery.
The Five Jim Crows
It all started with the constitution, Wasserman explained, a document drafted in secret, behind closed doors by a tiny elite of propertied white men, and rammed through to ratification by the states through electoral manipulation. It denied voting rights to women and to males without property, but contained the “3/5ths clause” that gave slave owners congressional representation for their slaves despite the fact that the slaves themselves couldn’t vote.
The so-called Three-Fifths Compromise is in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
The effect, according to Wikipedia, “was to give the southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free persons had been counted equally, allowing the slaveholder interests to largely dominate the government of the United States until 1861.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise
It was also a divide-and-conquer strategy to make sure black and white laborers would never again unite in revolting as they did in Virginia in 1675 in what’s called Bacon’s Rebellion.
Fitrakis and Wasserman call that ‘the First Jim Crow.’ After the Civil War and emancipation, they explain, Supreme Court rulings, KuKluxKlan terror, black lynchings, literacy tests and other apartheid strategies established the ‘Second Jim Crow,’ that “again guaranteed that blacks in the South (and parts of the North) would not be allowed to vote, and that they would be carefully divided from whites by caste as well as class.”
The Third Jim Crow was/is the ‘War on Drugs’ initiated by Richard Nixon to combat the liberalization of the southern Democratic Party, the anti-war movement and the rise of the Black Power movement. As Nixon administration official John Erlichman recently explained to Harper’s interviewer Dan Blum,
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/
Young, left-leaning Latinos were also caught up in the Drug War dragnet. Now, 45 years later, 41 million (mostly people of color) have been jailed for pot and other controlled substances, making private corporate prisons a growth industry, and giving the U.S. the highest prison population in the world. Though having no significant impact on drug use, the Drug War has disenfranchised millions of potential voters, and continues to do so today. Michelle Alexander’s recent book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness shows how one system of race-based disenfranchisement has been replaced by another.
The Fourth Jim Crow, explain the authors, was born of America’s push to establish what they call “a race-based global empire” with a long series of foreign interventions – also continuing today – which “involved the white-ruled US interfering with the political systems of non-white nations.”
The impact of these interventions on our own political system, say Wasserman and Fitrakis, has been catastrophic. “They’ve established the US as a corporate-ruled race-based empire, fueling the growth of a military whose intrinsic power overshadows our entire electoral process…and set the stage for…the Fifth Jim Crow – the electronic flipping of our elections.”
Engineering Vote Fraud Abroad Comes Home to Roost
Manipulation of election outcomes in other countries has been developed into a high art by such US agencies as the CIA, USAID and other so-called ‘democracy promotion’ projects fielded abroad by both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Note the authors, “Overseas, the CIA began to apply advanced electronics to the art and science of election theft. By the 1970’s, in front of the Church Committee, the Agency admitted to already having manipulated countless Third World elections to protect America’s corporate and ‘national security’ interests.” They trace the subsequent development of electronic voting technology techniques, corporations and institutions up to the present day, when up to 80% of US votes in the coming presidential election will be electronically mediated. In line with the adage that ‘what goes around, comes around,’ American expertise in foreign nations’ electronic vote rigging has now come home to compromise the integrity and validity of our own system, big time.
The New Jim Crow – “Interstate Crosscheck”
Panel member investigative journalist Greg Palast has been researching and reporting on this process for going on two decades for such outlets abroad as the BBC and the Guardian news paper. Still, like the proverbial ‘prophet without honor in his own country,’ Palast states with deep frustration that he still has a hell of a time getting American so-called ‘mainstream’ media to pay any attention to his explosive exposes.
Now reporting for Rolling Stone, he is also using crowd funding to produce a forth-coming documentary titled, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits
In his presentation in Santa Monica Palast debunked claims by Donald Trump and others that ‘millions of people’ are committing ‘voter fraud’ by ‘voting more than once.’ Describing what he calls ‘the next, or Sixth Jim Crow,’ he reported that 29 state election officials across the country have announced the creation of what they call ‘The Interstate Crosscheck.’ Touted as a defense against mythical individual ‘voter fraud’ the system purports to identify people who are voting more than once, sometimes in multiple states, and purge them from polling lists.
In actuality, in violation of the Voting Rights Act, says Palast, the program uses census data to identify African American voters – tagged ‘BLA’ for black– with similar common names and fraudulently remove them from voter lists.
In the history of the South, when slaves were finally freed, they were often registered by their masters’ surnames. As a result, to this day, many black persons carry the same or similar names, thus facilitating the “Interstate Crosscheck” scam.
Based on his findings, Palast says, “We expect 1 million voters – almost all of them voters of color – to lose their right to vote in 29 Republican-controlled states before the November election.”
But, he is quick to point out, it isn’t just Republicans who regularly mess with elections. As questionable outcomes in this primary suggest, “the Democrats are dirty,” Palast says, pointing out that Democrats invented Jim Crow, which Nixon just adopted for his so-called ‘southern strategy.’
Palast admits to being tired of being a ‘reporter in exile,’ and hopes that, now that he is reporting for Rolling Stone, he can finally come home and report his investigative findings to his own countrymen “who need to know this stuff!”
“Fraction Magic” – A Digital Thumb on the Scale: Fractionalization & Decimalization of Votes
Harking back to the infamous “3/5ths clause” described above, what if you were hired to write a vote-counting program that could assign various arbitrary decimal or fractional values to each and all of the votes counted and come up with desired percentages for every candidate and contest?
To use a simple-minded butcher’s scale analogy: What if your program assigned a vote for Hillary the arbitrary ‘weight’ of 2 pounds, and assigned a Bernie vote just a weight of 1 pound?
Then, in a given race, Bernie got 200 votes and Hillary got 150 votes.
If you just added up the total votes for each candidate, you would call the election for Bernie with a 50-vote lead.
But, if your private, proprietary, secret counting program totaled their votes by the artificial ‘weights’ it arbitrarily assigned to them, you would announce Hillary the winner with a 300 to 200-vote lead.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the intentionally programed ‘glitch’ that BlackBoxVoting.org founder Bev Harris and her colleague, IT expert Bennie Smith have discovered in a significant number of America’s vote counting systems. It is achieved via ‘fractionalization’ or ‘decimalization.’
They explain that it works like this: “Instead of “1” the vote is allowed to be 1/2, or 1+7/8, or any other value that is not a whole number.”
That allows ‘weighting’ of selected electoral contests. “Weighting a race removes the principle of ‘one person-one vote’ to allow some votes to be counted as less than one or more than one. Regardless of what the real votes are, candidates can receive a set percentage of votes. Results can be controlled. For example, Candidate A can be assigned 44% of the votes, Candidate B 51%, and Candidate C the rest.”
On her excellent webite BlackBoxVoting.org, Harris and Smith report,
…the results of our review of the GEMS election management system, which counts approximately 25 percent of all votes in the United States. The results of this study demonstrate that a fractional vote feature is embedded in each GEMS application which can be used to invisibly, yet radically, alter election outcomes by pre-setting desired vote percentages to redistribute votes. This tampering is not visible to election observers, even if they are standing in the room and watching the computer. Use of the decimalized vote feature is unlikely to be detected by auditing or canvass procedures, and can be applied across large jurisdictions in less than 60 seconds.
“GEMS vote-counting systems are and have been operated under five trade names: Global Election Systems, Diebold Election Systems, Premier Election Systems, Dominion Voting Systems, and Election Systems & Software, in addition to a number of private regional subcontractors. At the time of this writing, this system is used statewide in Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont, and for counties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It is also used in Canada.”
Read more: https://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-1/
Adjusted Exit Polls
Around the world, so-called exit polls – which ask a sampling of exiting voters how they voted – are viewed as the Gold Standard for checking the accuracy of the ballot count. In most countries, if the ballot count and the exit poll numbers don’t match, there is either a recount or the election is declared ‘not free and fair.’
Not so in America. Here, as Jonathan Simon documents in his book Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century, the exit poll numbers are instead adjusted to match the official vote count.
In the US, the exit pollster of record has been Edison/Mitofsky https://www.edisonresearch.com/election-polling/ working for a consortium of news organizations that comprise the National Election Pool (NEP): ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press. As Wasserman relates, when election researcher and statistician Dr. Steve Freeman called the late Warren Mitofsky personally to request the raw data from the 2004 exit polls, the response was “Go f**k yourself.”
Maybe that’s why respected international election observer Former President Jimmy Carter can say the USA “is not a functioning democracy.” Maybe that’s why, as Fitrakis and Wasserman point out:
In March 2015, the Harvard Electoral Integrity Project reported that over fourteen hundred international election experts gathered data the year before and pronounced the United States was 45th in election integrity among the world’s long-standing democracies. The Project reported that on a 100-point scale, the U.S. received an integrity rating of 69.3% – one notch ahead of the narco-drug state Columbia….
What this means in practice is revealed in a recent study of three decades of data by liberal mainstream political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton, and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. Their analysis confirmed that the U.S. political system has become “an oligarchy” – as Carter himself has said – where wealthy elites and their corporations “rule,” regardless of which party is in Congress and the White House.
“The central point that emerges from our research,” Gilens and Page wrote, “is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
As Gilens explained in an interview, “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.”
Citizen Exit Polls
Edison Research was scheduled to do exit polling for the NEP media consortium in the California primary. But when Ohio election protection attorney Cliff Arnebeck gave notice that he intended to sue for the raw data, the California exit poll was canceled.
Into the breach jumped California activist/funder Lori Grace and her Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity (www.trustvote.org), engaging professional pollsters to sample selected districts in Northern and Southern California. The results will be forthcoming at TrustVote.org
Already the site reports:
In other eleven states besides California, there has been noted a significant difference between the Edison Research exit polls and the electronic vote totals presented on the morning after the primaries. These totals do not include anything from California. These differences show votes appear to be shifted from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton. The chances of this kind of shift happening are considered to be statistically impossible between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in these eleven states….
…In addition, some people may have concerns that [private election system or voting machine] companies like Scytl/SOE and ES&S which managed the votes in Kentucky, New York and Arizona, have directors who are also on the boards of other companies involved in wire-tapping, the defense industry and military interrogations.
A System Designed for Cheating
Corroborating the findings of the other Santa Monica presenters with his own recent experience, John Blakey of Audit Arizona reported that, in this very primary, in Maricopa County, domain of infamous Sherrif Joe Arpaio, 150,000 voters appear to have been ‘suppressed.’ Possibly that’s because 85% of Arizona voters use vote-by-mail ballots, which, extensive evidence shows, rarely get counted.
Blakey is suing the State of Arizona for access to records. “We have the right language for it now,” Blakey says, thanks to the work of the other panel members. “It’s not ‘voter fraud,’ it’s vote fraud. It is a system designed for cheating.”
STD – Software Transmitted Disease
Well-known actor Mimi Kennedy is a fierce, long-term election protection activist in private life. In this election she received poll worker training that has taken her into the heart of California’s election system. She says her friend Bev Harris’ ‘fraction magic’ findings show how deeply what she calls “STD, Software Transmitted Disease” has infected our electoral system. She explains, “There are seven thousand small voting jurisdictions all over America. State law controls elections. Seven thousand jurisdictions within and among those states can have some say in process, procedure, choice of private contractors, common servicer software and hardware. Outside IT ‘experts’ are hired who may or may not be honest or bright. That means that fraud capacity is there. People ask me ‘Who are the ‘them’ that may be stealing our votes?’ I tell them, ‘someone in any of those jurisdictions who can.’”
The Ohio Plan, ‘How to Nix the Fix’
Wasserman and Fitrakis admit that, “as we approach the 2016 election, the prospects for a truly democratic outcome are grim.”
However, lest we despair in the face of all these discouraging revelations, they insist that the fixes in our badly compromised electoral system CAN be nixed.
“The only cure,” they conclude, “is a bottom-up revolution in human consciousness and action.” They hope their work “will help inform and motivate an energized grassroots uprising” based on what they call The Ohio Plan.
The Ohio Plan:
1. Universal, automatic, same-day voter registration.
2. A four-day national voting holiday.
3. Votes counted by students & elders, paid the minimum wage.
4. Universal use of hand-counted paper ballots.
5. A universal automatic recount.
May it be so.
Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle co-direct EON, The Ecological Options Network. Since 2004, they have produced many video reports in cooperation with FreePress.org and the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism which can be viewed on the EON’s YouTube channel Election Protection & Deep Democracy playlist They are currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection.
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
The video co-production that heads this blog edition is a fast-paced cautionary report on how investigative reporting, the Green Party, the Election Protection movement, pre-emptive litigation and just plain angry voters saved the Dems from Karl Rove in a key 2012 battleground state – Ohio – which is also a key swing state in the upcoming 2016 election.
Investigative reporters Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, election protection attorney Cliff Arnebeck and Columbus community activists tell how election theft was – and CAN BE – prevented.
Is Democracy Possible in America? Just maybe.
A recent study of three decades of data by liberal mainstream political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton, and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, found that the U.S. political system has become “an oligarchy,” where wealthy elites and their corporations “rule,” regardless of which party is in Congress and the White House.
“The central point that emerges from our research, Gilens and Page wrote, “is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
As Gilens explained in an interview, “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.”
Former President Jimmy Carter, famous for his work assessing election systems around the world, agrees. “We’ve become now an oligarchy instead of a democracy,”
Says Carter, who ought to know whereof he speakes.
Vote Rigging – American as The Flag, Motherhood, and Apple IPads
Since the beginning of the Republic, vote rigging has been as integral a part of American elections as flag-waving, dirty tricks and un=kept campaign promises. But, never before has it reached the level of dysfunction which has increasingly infected the entire electoral system now for over a decade. The advent of ‘Citizens United,’ manipulatable social Media, electronic voter roles, privately owned electronic ‘black box’ voting machines and tabulation systems with ‘man-in-the-middle’ cyber fraud impenetrable to citizen oversight, and a whole host of means for disenfranchising entire demographic blocks of voters makes the reported outcomes of America’s elections dubious at best, if not totally fraudulent.
When ‘Healthy Skepticism’ Becomes Dysfunctional Denial
More sobering for those of us who have studied the workings of this system in depth, is the level of denial on this most fundamental of all issues common to otherwise well-informed people across the political spectrum. “EEUUU! Conspiracy theory!” is the almost universal response to the mention of this thousand pound gorilla in the corner of our election system. Widespread denial of human-caused climate chaos, and denial of the existential risks of nuclear energy, weapons and waste, are matched by denial of a broken election system. And, without the integrity of electoral choice, how can the policies that cause climate change and nuclear brinksmanship ever be changed?
Curing Electoral Dysfunction and Preventing Unwanted Presidencies
Given this state of affairs, how can we hope to cure electoral dysfunction and prevent unwanted presidencies?
The first of several video offered in this Election Protection blog edition tells one of the few recent success stories from the growing election protection movement.
Since 2004, EON has been honored to collaborate with the FreePress.org team of investigative reporters and election protection litigators on a series of video reports on the election protection movement – over 50, in fact, on our YouTube Election Protection playlist. We offer some highlights below.
The Ohio Plan for Election Protection
This election season, FreePress.org investigative reporters Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are working hard to forewarn voters and election protection advocates of the ‘Strip & Flip’ dirty tricks already in play and provide what they call ‘The Ohio Plan’ to defend against them.
As they explain, the Ohio Plan is this:
1. Voter registration must be universal and automatic for all citizens as they turn 18;
2. Electronic poll books are banned, with all voter registration records maintained manually;
3. All elections happen over a 4-day weekend—-Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday—-which together comprise a national holiday, preferably around Veterans Day in November.
4. All voting happens on paper ballots, using recycled or hemp paper;
5. All vote counting is done manually, with ballots preserved at least two years;
6. Polls are run and ballots counted by the nation’s high school and college students, who will get the days off and be paid a “scholarship” for their work at $15/hour. Read more
Will the GOP Strip & Flip the 2016 Election?
By Mimi Kennedy, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
Why Can’t The Nation & the Left Deal With Election Theft?
By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
Highlights of EON’s Election Protection Series
Code Red – No More Stolen Elections
Harvey Wasserman & Jonathan Simon
Our election system is rigged. Here’s how it got that way,… and how to fix it.
For more info: CodeRed.com facebook.com/electronicelectionfraud
The Price of Liberty – America’s Election Protection Movement 2008
58-minute DVD documentary produced in cooperation with the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism & FreePress.org.
This fast-moving 58-minute documentary by award-wining filmmakers James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan explores the issues and strategies embodied in America’s growing grassroots, people-powered ‘Election Protection’ movement.
Scientists, journalists, activists, attorneys and whistleblowers reveal how, why and by whom the last two presidential elections were stolen, even as they fight to keep it from happening again.
Help America Vote…On Paper
– A citizen call for election integrity 18 mins.
An empowering, fast-moving 18-minute briefing on the dangers to democracy posed by privately owned electronic voting machines, what patriotic citizens, activists and officials of all parties are doing about it – and how you can help.
Leading researchers, journalists and activists from around the country present massive evidence of the unacknowledged electoral crisis in the United States… and what we can do about it.
A Little Light’ll Do Ya
Blacked out or dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’ by corporate news outlets, reports of massive vote fraud in the 2004 presidential election circulated on the internet and independent media.
As the Jan. 6th, 2005 deadline for a challenge to the Electoral College vote drew near, a tiny village on the California coast raised funds to send a delegation of its citizens and an award-winning documentary team to Ohio and Washington, D.C. to get the facts.
They found overwhelming evidence of a stolen election – and a small, diverse group of committed people from the street and the elite who were defending democracy against overwhelming odds.
This is their report – a precursor of the subsequent Election Protection movement that is still growing today and that is making a difference in upholding our right to accurate vote counts.
This film was translated into Urdu and broadcast in Pakistan during the 2007 election in which Benizir Bhuto was assassinated.
Cheated – The Comic
Wake up and save your country…
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.
Beyond Obama’s ‘Nuclear Security’ Hokus POTUS
By James Heddle
[ First published on Counterpunch.org ]
‘Nuclear Security’ – The Quintessential Oxymoron?
It ended, with no apparent sense of irony, on April Fools’ Day. Obama’s much-heralded ‘Nuclear Security Summit’ came to a close on April 1st in Washington, D.C., having drawn representatives from about 50 countries…minus Russia, which declined to attend citing a “shortage of mutual cooperation” and the exclusion of some of its allies from the invitation list.
Compared to the lofty vision outlined in Obama’s famous 2009 Prague speech of a ‘world without nuclear weapons,’ the POTUS conference marked a sad measure of how far short of his stated intentions his actual accomplishments have fallen.
To be fair, by no means all of that failure can be said to be Obama’s fault. There are many counter-forces.
There’s a global system that profits handsomely from the combined nuclear energy-weapons-waste economy.
There’s a worldwide elite whose members derive much power and privilege from it.
There’s the domestic ‘deep state’ system of the ‘defense and security’ industry with its revolving door to government, which is heavily invested in the permanent war economy.
Then there are the people the President has chosen to surround himself with, some of whom disagree with him and work to undermine his stated policies.
It remains to be seen if the controversial ‘Iran Deal’ will stand as a signature accomplishment of Obama’s tenure. But the facts remain that, despite his boasts that he has ‘reduced’ the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the actual cuts amount to a mere 5% – from 4,950 operational nuclear warheads to 4,700, according to the Federation of American Scientists. As former Defense Secretary William Perry points out, that’s more than enough to destroy the world many times over.
And, as Perry and other former U.S. officials disapprovingly observe, Obama’s plan to spend over $1 trillion to ‘upgrade’ America’s stockpile of nuclear bombs and their delivery systems not only makes their use more likely, but has also triggered a New Arms Race.
Finally, the President’s ‘all of the above’ energy policy treats nuclear energy generation as ‘clean,’ ignoring the massive carbon footprint of the atomic fuel chain that makes uranium essentially a fossil fuel. It also gives massive funding and support to developing a new generation of nuclear reactors, as well as marketing existing U.S. designs world-wide to such clients as warring Arab oil states. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-05-25/nuclear-power-people
12 Unspeakable Realities
Those who advocate for nuclear energy as a response to climate change, or for new nuclear weapons in pursuit of ‘national security,’ must ignore or deny an overwhelming burden of facts from the history and legacy of these nuclear technologies so far.
Here are just a few:
The Ultimate ‘Kill Switch:’ Power Grid Black Out
Celebrated former anchorman Ted Koppel’s recent book LIGHTS OUT extensively documents the extent to which our country’s aging power grid is subject to being knocked out in whole, or in serious part, by cyber attack, physical attack or an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) – either from solar eruption or nuclear air-burst.
But the book is strangely silent about the fact that nuclear power plants’ attendant used fuel cooling pools are dependent on off-site power from the grid. Back-up generators and battery arrays would be unlikely to outlast an extended grid collapse. Lethally radioactive ‘spent fuel’ storage pool explosions would be at high risk of happening with devastating effects on surrounding communities and environments.
[See Patrea Patrick’s documentary BLACK START ]
Power Reactors as WMDs-in-Place
Want to take out Wall Street and the whole New York metropolitan area? A cyber hack or physical attack on the rickety Indian Point nuclear plant just 30 miles up the Hudson could do the trick. Imagine Wall Street and 5th Avenue as empty and deserted as the abandoned radioactive ghost towns in Japan’s devastated Fukushima prefecture. Imagine Connecticut being uninhabitable for generations.
Recent cyber attacks on nuclear reactors in Ukraine and the discovery that the alleged perpetrators of the Brussels explosions were casing a nuclear power plant as a possible target have sharpened public awareness that all operating reactors world-wide are potential weapons-in-place for would-be terrorists. Karl Grossman calls them ‘pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction.’
Genocidal Impacts on Indigenous Peoples
· Uranium mining and the deadly radioactive wastes left behind continue to have devastating effects on Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians. In the U.S., thousands of abandoned open pit uranium mines contaminate drinking and irrigation water and the air breathed by tribes across the Great Planes and the Four Corners Area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsZ70OEzsr4
· Nuclear weapons testing has done lasting genetic and environmental damage to Pacific Islanders in the Marshall Islands and Polynesia. https://www.nuclearzero.org/
The Guardian lists and ranks 33 serious incidents and accidents at nuclear power stations since the first one was recorded in 1952. Of those, six happened in the US, five in Japan and three apiece in the UK and Russia. That’s an average of nearly 5 per decade.
But a report by Cornell University researchers Spencer Wheatley, Benjamin Sovacool, Didier Sornette entitled Of Disasters and Dragon Kings: A Statistical Analysis of Nuclear Power Incidents & Accidents has a database of 174 major atomic accidents worldwide since 1946 – each with over $1 million in damages and at least one death.
“In fact, the damage of the largest event (Fukushima; March, 2011) is equal to 60 percent of the total damage of all 174 accidents in our database since 1946. In dollar losses we compute a 50% chance that (i) a Fukushima event (or larger) occurs in the next 50 years, (ii) a Chernobyl event (or larger) occurs in the next 27 years and (iii) a TMI event (or larger) occurs in the next 10 years.”
See also: ‘10 Devastating Radiation Accidents They Never Tell You About’
Nuclear energy accidents – US meltdowns
There have been 8 nuclear meltdowns so far in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, the meltdown at Three Mile Island was not the worst. That dubious honor goes to the little-reported July 12, 1959 meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory located a couple of miles from the city of Simi Valley and only about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. The radioactive contamination of the surrounding communities and environment from that event have yet to be fully acknowledged or dealt with.
Nuclear weapons incidents
As part of his research for his book on the nuclear arms race, Command and Control – Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that at least 700 “significant” accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone. The Business Insider has a useful interactive site based on Rudolph Herzog’s A Short History of Nuclear Folly on which you can track 32 nuclear weapons accidents since 1950.
In its Status of World Nuclear Forces, the Federation of American Scientists reports the existence of
Approximately 15,350 warheads as of early-2016. Of these, more than 10,000 are in the military stockpiles (the rest are awaiting dismantlement), of which almost 4,200 warheads are deployed with operational forces, of which nearly 1,800 US, Russian, British and French warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.
Approximately 93 percent of all nuclear warheads are owned by Russia and the United States who each have roughly 4,500-4,700 warheads in their military stockpiles.
Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry says the situation is even worse:
“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons. Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over. Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.
“The antagonism between Russia and the United States has reached a point now where I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. It breaks my heart.
“Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…”
Nuclear Brinksmanship – A ‘Nuclear Winter’ in South Asia?
Perry and his colleagues are not only worried about a nuclear WWIII triggered by a U.S.-Russian, or Israel-Iran confrontation. There are other potential atomic flashpoints as well between nuclear-armed states – the Korean Peninsula is one top candidate.
Even more worrisome at the moment are recent developments on the India-Pakistan border. Pre-armed tactical nuclear weapons line the Pakistani side under the command of individual local commanders. India’s strategic nuclear arsenal is targeted at Pakistani population centers. As tensions heighten, the ‘threat level’ of a mutually suicidal nuclear exchange between the two neighboring countries goes up. The result could be a global ‘nuclear winter’ caused by the smoke and ash from the conflagration. [See: ‘Dilip Hiro, Flashpoint for the Planet’ https://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176123/tomgram%3A_dilip_hiro%2C_flashpoint_for_the_planet/#more ]
Again, the take-home message is clear: Individual local nuclear weapons, reactor and waste sites each pose a potential risk to the entire planet.
Human death toll from Chernobyl
In 2013, the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment was published by the New York Academy of Sciences. Its lead author was the celebrated Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president.
Based on some 5,000 health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports in several languages, concludes that based on records now available, some 985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident between when the accident occurred in 1986 and 2004. It projects that more deaths will continue follow.
It blows away the specious claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000. The book shows that the IAEA is seriously under-estimating, in the extreme, the casualties of Chernobyl – good reason to doubt its pronouncements on Fukushima.
Nuclear worker health impacts
Irradiated, a December, 2015 McClatchy investigative report by Bob Hotakainen, Lindsay Wise, Frank Matt and Samantha Ehlinger, reveals that 70 years of U.S. atomic weaponry production has so far left at least 33,480 Americans dead, with more to come.
Additionally, a recent study by an international team of nine researchers looked at 308,297 workers in the nuclear industry from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of 66,632 known deaths by the end of the study, 17,957 were due to solid cancers. The authors report, “The risk per unit of radiation dose for cancer among radiation workers was similar to estimates derived from studies of Japanese atomic bomb survivors.” They conclude that their results “suggest a linear increase in the rate of cancer with increasing radiation exposure.” Translation: There is no ‘safe’ dose of nuclear radiation. https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5359
Evolutionary biologist Dr. Tim Mousseau shares his alarming findings from his unique research on the biological effects of radiation exposure to wildlife, plants, trees, birds and insects from the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl & Fukushima. He is finding similar catastrophic effects in both disaster areas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xnj5QYBzLs
Genetic Damage from DU Weapons
U.S. use of so-called ‘depleted uranium munitions’ in its wars in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan have left a devastating trail of monster fetuses, grotesquely deformed babies and a permanently damaged gene pool in the affected populations, as well as in the thousands of U.S. and NATO military personnel and their family members sequentially contaminated by exposure to these toxins.
Waste storage build-up, storage incidents
Then there’s the energy-weapons-waste connection, the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Not only are nuclear energy and weapons production joined at the hip from birth, but they share a dysfunctional excretory system. After more than 70 years of trying, no reliable method has been found to keep tons of still- accumulating radioactive waste isolated from the environment for longer into the future than human civilization has yet existed has been found.
An Australian study estimates there are 390,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste in the world, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of intermediate-level waste — all of it produced from nuclear power generation. That amount is growing by approximately 10,000 tons annually. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-15/sa-nuclear-waste-dump-to-meet-‘global-need’-recommended/7167412
It is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
Despite over seven decades of trying, no proven location or method of keeping the waste isolated from the environment has yet been found.
According to the Nuclear energy institute, by the middle of 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 438 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 67 new nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics
The inevitable decommissioning of the aging world reactor fleet will create huge amounts of radioactive wastes. Once they are closed down, most of the world’s nuclear sites will require monitoring and protection for centuries. Wherever and however it is eventually stored, most of the waste will remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years – longer than civilization has yet existed.
For a look at how radwaste management is playing out at California’s recently shut down San Onofre , see Donna Gilmore’s excellent site: SanOnofreSafety.org
Popular Push Back
The rise of the global nuclear establishment has been paralleled by waves of massive and often effective public resistance. In the days of the first nuclear arms race and during the Cold War people around the world – joined by American civil rights leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, Bayard Rustin, Martin and Coretta Scott King – organized and demonstrated against nuclear energy and for abolition of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Freeze Campaign, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and massive campaigns in Europe mobilized millions.
Without their work, and the roll-backs and treaties it generated, the current nuclear energy-weapons-waste challenges we face would have been even greater.
We owe it to their legacy to continue the work in our generation. As the 5th anniversary of the still-ongoing Fukushima disaster’s beginning occurred on March 11, 2016, solidarity is growing between those working for abolition to nuclear energy and power in Japan, the U.S. and around the world. What might be called ‘nuclear consciousness’ is on the rise again in spite of, or because of, renewed propaganda efforts by the nuclear establishment.
That ‘resistance is fertile’ is shown by the fact that – even in Japan’s current repressive climate – because of massive public pressure and legal efforts, three executives of TEPCO, the nuclear power utility responsible for Fukushima, have been brought to trial.
As the President himself seems, on some level to understand, the abolition – not just reduction – of nuclear weapons is a human survival issue. So are the phase-out of nuclear power reactors and the responsible containment and sequestering of nuclear waste.
Hokus POTUS or a Basis for Future Progress?
This year’s POTUS Nuclear Security Summit is the last of seven meetings held in various venues during Obama’s two terms. As he closed the Conference – which had focused not on the new nuclear arms race, but narrowly on keeping civilian commercial nuclear materials ‘out of the hands of terrorists,’ the President harked back to his 2009 Prague speech. He pointed out that he had stated at the time that the goals he was calling for might not be achieved in his lifetime. Perhaps it was his way of acknowledging the shortfall of his initiatives.
He cited the progress in reducing the availability of nuclear materials and in strengthening treaties and the mechanisms of international institutions. In response to a question, he defended his nuclear weapons ‘modernization’ program as a careful balance between keeping nuclear readiness as a deterrent , while staying open to the possibilities of future arsenal reductions.
With the exception of ‘nuclear terrorism’ dangers, it is sadly unlikely that the POTUS Nuclear Security Summit’s outcomes will even acknowledge, much less seriously address the inconvenient nuclear truths listed above. Still, Mr. Obama deserves some credit for at least trying to keep discussion of nuclear policy going. Perhaps, once out of office, he will feel freer to join other former high-level U.S. officials in pushing for more substantive change.
Elsewhere in the news, “Four senior US statesmen with deep national security credentials – former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn – joined together in 2007 to form the Nuclear Security Project (NSP) working for a world without nuclear weapons. “ Check it out: https://www.nti.org/about/projects/nuclear-security-project/
James Heddle co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network. He blogs at PlanetarianPerspectives.net. and NoNukesCA.net He is currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection
Forgetting Fukushima, Denying Dai-ichi
By James Heddle
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.” – Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynahan
Fallout as Blowback
As the 5-year anniversary has rolled around it’s clear to all who care to notice that the Fukushima triple meltdown nuclear disaster is still not ‘under control’ – as Prime Minister Abe claimed to the Olympic Committee in his successful bid to host the coming 2020 Games – but is still on-going, and will be far into the future.
That is to say, radioactive pollution will continue to pour from Dai-ichi into the oceanic, hemispheric and planetary environment with predictably negative, but unknown, effects on the health and DNA of all life forms in the biosphere.
There’s karmic irony here. The U.S. dropped the first devastating atomic bombs on Japan, then used its political influence and propaganda prowess to sell the country nuclear power. Its corporations supplied the faulty reactors that melted down at Fukushima. Now, the U.S. West Coast is on the front line of receiving the radioactive fallout in the form of ongoing oceanic and atmospheric pollution carried eastward by winds and currents.
Faith-Based Nuclear Policy
According to a recent Cornell University study, there have been nuclear reactor 174 accidents worldwide since 1946. The researchers rate the accidents in 2013 dollars and define an accident as “an unintentional incident or event at a nuclear energy facility that led to either one death (or more) or at least $50,000 in property damage.”
Based on their extensive data, they predict
• a 50% chance that a Fukushima event (or larger) will occur in the next 50 years
• a Chernobyl event (or larger) will occur in the next 27 years
• a TMI event (or larger) will occur in the next 10 years.
According to a Guardian study, a major nuclear accident has happened on average every 5 years since 1952.
Recently, alarmed at the failure of their repeated attempts to go through ‘proper channels,’ seven engineers at America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – which then Senator Obama dubbed in 2007 ‘a moribund agency’ – filed a petition as private citizens.
They stated that they have identified a long-undiscovered electrical design flaw common to virtually all U.S. nuclear plants that could prevent cooling and allow meltdowns to occur. Their petition asks that the NRC mandate that plant operators either fix the problem or shut down the reactors.
Not to mention that twenty-three U.S. reactors share the same design flaws as those that melted down at Fukushima.
The obvious take-home lesson: because of the dependence of their cooling systems on off-site power supplies, every nuclear facility, wherever its geographic location, is vulnerable to grid blackouts from cyber attacks and extreme weather events, and constitutes both a potential terrorist weapon-in-place and danger to the entire planet, and should be treated as such by the ‘international community.’ Yet, a New Nuclear Weapons race and a New Nuclear Power race are both currently in progress.
Joined at the Hip
Nuclear weapons and energy have been joined at the hip from the birth of the Atomic Age. They both rely on the same essential core technology. That’s what the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ is all about. That’s why Japan’s current militaristic Abe government being in possession of an estimated 47.8 tons of stock-piled plutonium, with which it could produce 6,000 nuclear weapons, is worrying neighboring countries like China & Japan.
Barak Obama began his presidency with the celebrated April 5, 2009 Prague Speech in which he stated “…clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons….” In practice Obama has
not only re-invigorated nuclear weapons development, but embraced an ‘all of the above’ energy policy including heavy investments in new nuclear reactor construction and design development.
The recipient of an apparently aspirational Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has also committed a projected $1 trillion dollars over the coming decades to upgrading America’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
The program is aimed at smaller (and therefore potentially more usable) weapons, and includes new nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, a new manned bomber for nuclear weapons delivery, and a fleet of new nuclear missile-launching submarines. Termed – with no apparent sense of irony –‘the life-extension program,’ the plans clearly violate U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
According to respected U.S. officials like former Defense Secretary William Perry, ex-Secretary of State George Schultz and even Henry Kissinger, this is triggering a new nuclear arms race. All four are now advocating nuclear weapons abolition. Perry puts it bluntly, “Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war.”
In the domain of nuclear weaponry’s Siamese twin nuclear energy, there are those opinion-maker neo-nuclear luminaries like James Hansen, James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Bill Gates and George Monbiot who advocate for nuclear energy as a ‘carbon-free solution to climate change.’ Never mind that – as Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson and his associates, as well as others, have conclusively shown – the entire nuclear fuel chain from mine to waste dump is more carbon intensive than wind and solar put together. Their work shows a transition to renewables is totally possible…without nuclear energy. https://thesolutionsproject.org/
Brand and Jacobson debate the issue here.
The Atomic Church of the Last Gasp
New Nuclearists avoid coming to terms with the risks and failures of the existing world fleet of aging, ill-designed reactors. Some even advocate re-licensing embrittled reactors from the 1960s to extend their operation decades beyond their 40-year design life.)
NeoNuclearists believe – without operational proof-of-concept – in a pie-in-the-sky, perpetually not-yet-but-soon-to-be-born generation of ‘new, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).’ They will consume and eliminate existing nuclear waste and be so ‘inherently safe’ you can bury them in your back yard. Any day now.
The Obama Administration agrees. According to Forbes, at last November’s White House Nuclear Summit, the Administration announced actions to help sustain and finance nuclear energy, including:
– $900 million in the Department of Energy’s 2016 budget to support commercial nuclear energy
– Supplement DOE’s existing $12.5 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear energy projects
– Launch the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN), coordinated by the Idaho National Laboratory, to provide outside researchers access to nuclear energy-related capabilities and expertise within the DOE complex. This is needed to bring advanced nuclear reactor designs to commercialization, at the same time ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet https://gain.inl.gov/SitePages/Home.aspx
– Make $2 million available in the form of vouchers to small businesses entrepreneur-led start-ups for assistance in obtaining nuclear know-how from our National Lab system
– Provide support to small modular reactor licensing, simulation and control room development for light-water reactors
The blind faith with which latter-day nuclear advocates approach the issues of human, ecological and economic risk associated with nuclear technologies, reminds one of the Melanesian millenarian movement called ‘cargo cults,’ in which indigenous tribes, following charismatic figures, built wooden aircraft replicas on mountain tops in the vain hopes – despite repeated failures – to lure down the western cargo planes loaded with commodities they saw flying overhead as portrayed in the 1962 film Mondo Cane.
Or, if the definition of ‘insanity’ is: ‘persisting in behavior which consistently fails,’ neo-nuclearism is clearly a form of collective insanity – atomic psychosis.
Recovering from Nuclear Delusion
The facts of the failure of the nuclear dream are there, for any who are not blinded by ideology or self-interest to see: in addition to its history of totalitarianism, incompetence and global disasters, nuclear energy deployment is plagued by public opposition, investor disinterest, consistently mounting cost and schedule over-runs and dependence on contiminating dwindling water supplies. Energy consultant Amory Lovins sees nuclear energy “dying a slow death from an overdose of market forces.” Futurist Jeremy Rifkin agrees, “From a business perspective, its dead.” Expert witness and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education puts it succinctly,“nuclear energy is just too expensive and too slow to have an impact on climate change.”
Then there’s the energy-weapons-waste connection, the real ‘nuclear triad.’ Not only are nuclear energy and weapons production joined at the hip from birth, but they share a dysfunctional excretory system.
Waste Storage From Here to Eternity
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, by the middle of 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 438 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 67 new nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics
An Australian study estimates there are 390,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste in the world, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of intermediate-level waste — all of it produced from nuclear power generation. That amount is growing by approximately 10,000 tons annually.
Tons of waste are produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
Despite over seven decades of trying, no proven location or method of keeping the waste isolated from the environment has yet been found.
In addition to thousands of tons of lethal irradiated fuel rods, the inevitable decommissioning of the aging world reactor sites will mean trying to dispose of huge amounts of radioactive metal pipes, concrete and buildings. Thus intense radioactive waste made in production of electricity for 70 years will require monitoring and protection wherever and however it is eventually stored, for hundreds of thousands of years – longer than civilization has yet existed.
The 20th century ‘nuclear dream’ of global full-spectrum dominance and energy too cheap to meter has become a 21st century nightmare. It is time to wake up. As retired top U.S. energy administrator S. David Freeman puts it, “We have to kill nuclear power before it kills us.”
NeoNuclearists are entitled to their own opinions…but not to their own facts.
James Heddle co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network.
He blogs at PlanetarianPerspectives.net. https://www.planetarianperspectives.net/ and NoNukesCA.net
He is currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection