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UK’s Privy Council used to steamroller press regulation

By Chris Marsden1 November 2013 Across-party Royal Charter on press regulation in the UK has been granted by the Privy Council, after a court...

‘It’s an epidemic’: Phones, drugs & drones in UK prisons – Tories ‘buying magic...

Speaking into the camera phone he has hidden inside his prison cell – the inmate...

‘Weapons for tyrants’: UK blasted for inviting human rights abusers to arms trade fair

Britain’s biggest arms fair starts Tuesday, and will play host to several countries labelled ...

Donald Trump working on ‘big’ UK trade deal, takes a swipe at EU

Published time: 25 Jul, 2017 14:44 US President Donald Trump says he is working on...

Drones to be registered in UK, users to take safety tests

Published time: 22 Jul, 2017 17:38 Drone enthusiasts will face new restrictions in the UK...

Nuclear nightmare worse than Fukushima could hit US because of ignored risks – study

The US has underestimated the risks to its nuclear safety as a single nuclear fuel fire...

Monsanto and GMO Propagandists Softening-up UK Public for GM After Brexit

On the back of Brexit, the UK government is planning what could be a disastrous trade deal with the Trump administration. It would likely...

Trump’s 2-for-1 deregulation executive order challenged in court

Another of President Donald Trump’s executive orders is headed to court. Requiring the removal of two...

Press freedoms clampdown? UK govt urged to bin Section 40 proposals

The government is coming under mounting pressure to drop proposals that would force newspapers to...

Press freedom shouldn’t be left to a ‘vindictive tycoon’… says Murdoch-owned newspaper

Rupert Murdoch’s flagship tabloid has warned against letting a mean millionaire control press regulation, after ex-motorsport boss Max Mosley donated £4 million ($4.9 million)...

UK: Appalling warehouse working conditions exposed at JD Sports

By Joe Mount 3 January 2017 A Channel 4 News investigation has revealed that sportswear retailer JD Sports imposes draconian working conditions at its warehouses in...

Cannabis medicine will soon be legally available in UK

One of the main ingredients in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), is to be classed as a medicine in the UK. The decision by the Medicines...

Oklahoma Political Elite Fan the Flames of Environmental Deregulation in Trump's US

Activists occupy the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on November 18, 2016. (Photo: Oceti Sakowin Camp) The famous 1973 occupation of Wounded...

‘These Agreements Depend on Secrecy in Order to Pass’ – CounterSpin interviews with Lori...

The July 22, 2016, episode of CounterSpin brought together three classic interviews on corporate trade pacts. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

In the Shadow of Monsanto: GMO Regulation and the Right to Know

Colin Todhunter The GMO agritech sector and food companies have spent tens of millions of dollars in the US to prevent the labelling of foods containing genetically...

Will the UK Write Freedom History?

We are one week away from the EU referendum, the moment when the British people will be called upon to make a historic decision...

Matt Ridley’s Pro-GMO Blunders and Ignorance in the British Press

In his recent piece for The Times newspaper in the UK, Viscount Matt Ridley argues that a new report from the American National Academies of Sciences (NAS) leaves...

U.S., UK, and EU, Are Now Dictatorships

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org How can it be that in virtually all of the U.S. Presidential-candidate head-to-head Democratic versus Republican polling that was done...

‘Prove you were spied on,’ secret UK court tells 650 claimants

Hundreds of claimants who say they were subjected to illegal surveillance have been told by Britain’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) they must prove they...

‘Unprecedented’: UK activist fearing US extradition, 99yr sentence awaits landmark court ruling

UK authorities have hijacked a civil suit launched by a cybersecurity expert from Suffolk accused...

UK govt driving EU's democratic deficit but Brexit would derail vital reform – UK...

British government policy has played a key role in heightening the EU’s democratic deficit by...

Anti-nuke campaigners question plan to fly enriched uranium from Scotland to US

Peace campaigners launched an action on Wednesday against government plans to transport acutely radioactive enriched...

Cryptowars: UK activist fears US extradition, 99yr sentence for refusal to surrender encryption keys

UK authorities are trying to force a 31-year-old computer scientist accused of hacking into the...

Cameron’s haven hypocrisy? PM pushed for offshore trusts to be shielded from EU regulation

Besieged Prime Minister David Cameron is under fire yet again after a 2013 letter was...

Dramatic fall in Employment Tribunal cases in UK

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Dennis Moore In November 2015, Dick Palmer, the father of three sisters,...

Boris Johnson ‘deluded’ on EU regulations, Treasury chair says

London Mayor Boris Johnson was forced to backtrack on his claims that EU regulations dictate...

UK to advance anti-BDS legislation

The UK is reportedly planning to legally challenge any organization which supports a movement to boycott Israel. Reports say that Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock...

Dwindling UK sovereignty may push attorney general to back Brexit

Britain’s Attorney General Jeremy Wright may vote for a Brexit amid mounting concern that European courts are whittling away the UK’s sovereignty, it has...

UK, global hub of private military industry

A new report says Britain is the “mercenary kingpin” of global private military industry which has been booming ever since the “war on terror”...

The West Suppresses Report on Ukraine’s Suppression of Journalists

OSCE Squelches Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights Speaker Eric Zuesse At a 21 September 2015 meeting of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe),...

MPs to review UK’s £13m overseas ‘war on drugs’ linked to execution of non-violent...

Claims the execution of “innocent scapegoats” in Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia are funded by millions of British pounds funneled into counter-narcotics operations overseas...

UK government rips up restrictions on fracking

By Trevor Johnson The UK government decision to allow fracking in and around Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), places designated by law for the protection...

Ukraine Is Ripe for the Shock Doctrine

Like many states in crisis before it, Ukraine serves as a perfect opportunity for neoliberal transformation. by Sean Guillory While a crisis of faith, of sorts, has...

Under Shadow of Trade Deal, US Pesticide Lobby Pressured EU to Dump Toxic Pesticide...

Report details how corporate lobbyists mobilized to stop the EU from regulating hormone disrupting chemicals known to have significant health and environmental impacts (Common Dreams)...

UK Elections: Business As Usual Triumphs

UK Elections: Business as Usual Triumphs

by Stephen Lendman

May 7 general elections approach. Britain is like America. It's all over before polls open. Monied interests win every time.

Ordinary people lose out more than ever in modern memory. It shows in opinion polls. 

Only 16% of voters trust politicians. Why anyone besides well-off Brits do they'll have to explain.  

It doesn't matter who wins on Thursday. Torries and New Labour are even in polls. They're like Republicans and Democrats in America - two sides of the same coin, not a dime's worth of difference between them.

Neither major party is expected to win a majority. Expect coalition government with smaller parties to follow. They largely support the same regressive policies.

All politicians lie. Nothing they say can be believed. New Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the standard saying Britain's "clear choice on Thursday (is) between a Labour government that will put working people first or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few."

Britain's "clear choice" is none at all. Monied interests run things. Bankers top the pecking order.

Politicians come and go. One major party or the other wins. Things stay the same.

Neoliberal harshness, financialization, weak unions, offshoring manufacturing, privatizing state enterprises, deregulation, and disappearing social justice characterize Britain's economy.

London's Guardian warned of a "hit list of (more) welfare cuts" coming.

Voltaire once explained British society saying its people "are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent."

Today's froth never had it better. Poor Brits are enduring their hardest times since post-WW II recovery.

Middle class society is fast disappearing - like in America. Britain's weekly Spectator magazine says it's "shrinking and sinking."

"The lifestyle that the average earner had half a century ago -  reasonably sized house, dependable healthcare, a decent education for the children and a reliable pension - is becoming the preserve of the rich." 

"Middle-class pensioners look on amazed at how their children, now into adulthood, seem to have a far harder time."

Rich elites run things more than ever. They doubled their wealth since 2009. The average worker earns less when adjusted for inflation and wage cuts.

Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said middle class society is enduring the longest squeeze in living memory. Rich folks never had it better.

London is unaffordable to live in. House prices average over $750,000. The average wage is less than $50,000.

In January, thousands participated in a March for Homes rally. They demanded solutions to unaffordable housing prices - worsening as they escalate.

They carried banners saying "People before profit." Build council homes (reasonably priced ones for working class people)." "Take the wealth of the 1%."

Rents surged an average 13% annually since 2010. So have repossessions and evictions. Britain increasingly is unfit to live in - just like America.

New Labour claiming "Britain can be better" rings hollow for millions enduring increasing hardships.

They're "all the same," growing numbers of voters say about a system increasingly ignoring their needs.

They promise one thing. They do another. Serving monied interests and allying with Washington's war machine matter most.

Respect Party Bradford West MP George Galloway is running for reelection. He calls himself "your traditional, much-loved black cab."

"You don't know what you've got until it's gone. There are not a lot of us black cabs around any more."

His constituency is one of Britain's poorest. It's struggling to reinvent itself. Despite his best  best efforts, he's up against a corrupted, uncaring system.

He's one of 650 House of Commons members. "Recovery, what recovery," he asks?

"We keep hearing that the economic recovery is better in Britain than in any other European country."

"Well it may be in London and the Home Counties, but it certainly isn't here" and most other places in Britain.

Millions are suffering. Food banks are proliferating, Galloway explained. "Can you imagine what the country will look like by 2020 if these barbarians are returned" to power, he stressed.

"We need investment in jobs and infrastructure…But it won't come under the Tories or this miserable local Labour administration." Or New Labour if it bests the Torries nationwide.

Social justice is fast disappearing. Force-fed austerity is official UK policy. 

So is growing wealth inequality. It's risen four times faster since 2008 compared to the seven preceding years.

It bears repeating. Britain is like America - governed of, by and for its privileged elites alone.

It's corrupt, fundamentally unfair and ruthlessly anti-democratic. Young people have no futures.

An entire generation is lost. Social welfare cuts hits Britain's most disadvantaged hardest.

Inequality is booming. Politicians able to make a difference don't care. Increasing amounts of public wealth in private hands is a slippery slope to third world status.

Margaret Thatcher escalated inequality. She oversaw one of the greatest ever transfers of wealth to British society's most well-off.

David Cameron is worse. New Labour's Ed Miliband is no better. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul is official bipartisan policy.

It's endorsed by Liberal Democrats, Britain's third ranked party. It's neither liberal nor democratic. It's hard right like the rest.

On Thursday, voting options are death by hanging or firing squad. Ballot choices exclude government serving everyone equitably.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Greenpeace, Dissent And Freedom Of Expression In India

RINF, Global Research, CounterPunch
Before being voted out of office last year, India’s Congress-led United Progressive Alliance administration sanctioned open-field trials of GM food crops in India and Monsanto’s share prices rocketed. This decision prompted Rajesh Krishnan of the Coalition for a GM Free India to state that the government was against the interest of citizens, farmers and the welfare of the nation. He went on to state that the government had decided to work hand in glove with the multinational GM seed industry that stood to gain immensely from the open field trails. Since then, the Modi-led administration has continued the policy to drive GMOs into India.
Writing in The Hindu last year, Aruna Rodrigues noted that the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Final Report (FR) is the fourth official report exposing the lack of integrity, independence and scientific expertise in assessing GMO risk (see here). The four reports are: The ‘Jairam Ramesh Report’ of February 2010, imposing an indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal, overturning the apex Regulator’s approval to commercialise it; the Sopory Committee Report (August 2012); the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) Report on GM crops (August 2012) and the TEC Final Report (June-July 2013). 
The TEC recommended an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of GM crops until the government devised a proper regulatory and safety mechanism. No such mechanism exists, but open field trials are being given the go ahead, regardless of a history of blatant violations of biosafety norms, hasty approvals, a lack of monitoring abilities, general apathy towards the hazards of contamination and a lack of institutional oversight mechanisms (see this).
Despite this, the BJP-ruled Maharashtra government recently granted ‘no-objection certificates’ for GM open-field trials of rice, chickpeas maize, brinjal and cotton. Some regard this as a game changer in the push to get GM crops into India. (Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh have given NOCs for field trials of some biotech crops, while states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have banned such research activities.)
Aruna Rodrigues argues there is increasing evidence that: GMOs pose health and environment risks; GM yields are significantly lower than yields from non-GM crops; and pesticide use, instead of coming down, has gone up exponentially. Rodrigues moreover argued that in India, notwithstanding the hype of the industry, the regulators and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Bt cotton yield is leveling off to levels barely higher than they were before the introduction of Bt.
In her piece in The Hindu, she stated:
“The IAASTD was the work of over 400 scientists and took four years to complete. It was twice peer reviewed. The report states we must look to small-holder, traditional farming (not GMOs) to deliver food security in third world countries through agri-ecological systems which are sustainable. Governments must invest in these systems. This is the clear evidence.”
The MoA strongly opposed the TEC Committee’s report. This, according to Rodrigues, was to be expected given the conflict of interests:
“The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) promotes public-private-partnerships with the biotechnology industry. It does this with the active backing of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The MoA has handed Monsanto and the industry access to our agri-research public institutions placing them in a position to seriously influence agri-policy in India. You cannot have a conflict of interest larger or more alarming than this one. Today, Monsanto decides which Bt cotton hybrids are planted and where. Monsanto owns over 90 per cent of planted cotton seed, all of it Bt cotton.”
All the other staggering scams that have rocked the nation have the possibility of recovery and reversal, but, as Rodrigues argues, the GM scam will be of a scale hitherto unknown:
“We have had the National Academies of Science give a clean chit of biosafety to GM crops – doing that by using paragraphs lifted wholesale from the industry’s own literature! Likewise, ministers who know nothing about the risks of GMOs have similarly sung the virtues of Bt Brinjal and its safety to an erstwhile Minister of Health. They have used, literally, “cut & paste” evidence from the biotech lobby’s “puff” material. Are these officials then, “un-caged corporate parrots?”
Arun Shrivastava notes that as early as 2003, when the first ever Bt cotton crop was harvested in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Gene Campaign evaluated the performance of Bt Cotton. These studies proved that GE seeds don’t increase yield. He goes on to note that the impleadment to ban GMOs was backed by 6.5 million farmers through their respective associations. It was admitted by the Supreme Court in April 2007 and contains a long list of hard scientific evidence.
Shrivastava states that the Standing Committee on Agriculture in Parliament unanimously and unequivocally concluded that GE seeds and foods are dangerous to human, animal and environmental health and directed the Government of Manmohan Singh to ban GMOs. The 400-page report was submitted to Parliament in October 2012.
Officials in India are working closely with global biotech companies to force GMOs into fields and onto the public, despite evidence pertaining to the deleterious impacts of GMOs on various levels (for example, see thisthis and this). These companies are in fact playing a key role in determining the overall development agenda for India (see thisthis and this).
Despite the evidence pertaining to the risks and efficacy of GMOs, organisations and activists opposing such crops are being singled out for putting a break on development and growth and for being in the pocket of foreign interests.
An Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, ‘Impact of NGOs on Development’, was leaked in June of last year and had a special section on GMOs. It was clearly supportive of the introduction of GM crops into India. The IB said foreign NGOs and their Indian arms were serving as tools to advance Western foreign policy interests in various areas, of which GMOs comprise one aspect.
Aruna Rodrigues, Vandana Shiva and Kavitha Kuruganti, who were all mentioned in the report, in their joint statement noted the report’s hypocrisy by saying that the IB was conspiring with global corporate interests to haemorrhage India’s agricultural economy. The report even quoted Dr Ronald Herring of Cornell University, who is a known promoter of genetically-modified organisms and Monsanto’s monopoly.
Speaking to The Statesman newspaper in India, Aruna Rodrigues said:
“Here is a real foreign hand that informs the IB report. Cornell University, where Dr Herring works, was one of the main forces, along with USAID and Monsanto, behind the making of Bt brinjal in India.”
The joint statement of all three activists went asserted that:
“… the biggest foreign hand by ‘STEALTH’ and official ‘COVER-UP’ will be in GMOs/GM crops if introduced into Indian agriculture. All that stands between a corporate takeover of our seeds and agriculture is the committed and exemplary work by the not-for-profit sector… In conspiring with deeply conflicted institutions of regulation, governance and agriculture… to introduce GM crops into India, the IB will in fact aid the hand-over of the ownership of our seeds and foods to multi-national corporations. This will represent the largest take-over of any nation’s agriculture and future development by foreign-hands… (and)… will plunge India into the biggest breach of internal security; of a biosecurity threat and food security crisis from which we will never recover…. GM crops have already demonstrated no yield gain, no ability to engineer for traits of drought, saline resistance etc and have some serious bio-safety issues which no regulator wishes to examine.”
The statement said that India’s Bt cotton is an outstanding example of the above scenario:
“This ‘VALUE CAPTURE’ for Monsanto which was contrived and approved by our own government mortgaging the public interest has ensured that in a short 10 years, 95% of cotton seeds in the form of Bt cotton are owned by Monsanto… It is Monsanto now that decides where cotton should be planted and when by our farmers… The Royalties accruing to Monsanto that have been expatriated are approximately Rs 4800 Crores in 12 years, (excluding other profit mark-ups)… The IB is thus conspiring with global corporate interests to hemorrhage India’s agricultural economy… We call for an investigation on the foreign influence in writing the GMO section in the IB report.”
The statement concluded:
“If India’s intelligence agencies become instruments of global corporations working against the public interest and national interest of India, our national security is under threat. This IB report is deeply anti-national and subversive of constitutional rights of citizens in our country. It does India no credit.”
Apart from attacking those campaigning against GMOs, the report accused Greenpeace and other groups of receiving foreign funds to damage economic progress by campaigning against power projects and mining.
The IB is India’s domestic spy service and garners intelligence from within India and also executes counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism tasks. Its report attempted to portray certain NGOs like Greenpeace and critics of GMOs as working against the ‘national interest’ and being in the pay of foreigners.
Discrediting certain sections of civil society as being ‘unpatriotic’, by working to undermine some bogus notion of the ‘national interest’, always sits well with ruling elites that are all too ready to play the nationalist card to garner support. Yet, in this case the report itself sides with powerful foreign corporations and, as far as GMOs are concerned, their agenda to secure control over Indian agriculture.
Those who are exercising their legal right to challenge and protest corporate-driven policies that are all too often based on staggering levels of corruption and rampant cronyism – and are non-transparent and secretive – are being discredited and smeared. However, this should come as no surprise. Various nation states such as the US and UK have used their intelligence agencies to monitor, subvert and undermine grass-root activists and civil organizations that have (by acting legitimately and within the law) attempted to hold power to account (seethis and this). Governments the world over have a tendency to dislike genuine democracy and transparency.
Greenpeace India’s actions were singled out for particular criticism in the IB report. It responded by saying:
“We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth.”
Since the report, Greenpeace India has experienced a good deal of pressure. After the report described Greenpeace’s activities as “a threat to national economic security,” the government has gone on to restrict the organisation’s international funding. On 9 April 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered Greenpeace India’s bank accounts to be frozen and its ability to receive funding from abroad to be suspended. According to Amnesty International India, this violates constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the acceptance of foreign funds by Greenpeace India had “prejudicially affected” public interest and the economic interest of the country.
Ananth Guruswamy, Executive Director at Amnesty International India:
“It is clear that Greenpeace is being targeted because its strong views and campaigns question the government’s development policies. The extreme measures taken by the government to disable an organisation for promoting the voices of some of the country’s most powerless people will damage and shame India. Intolerance to dissent will only weaken our society.”
Claims that Greenpeace India is acting against public interest have been dismissed by the judiciary twice. In January, the Delhi High Court directed the government to release frozen funds, observing:
“Non-Governmental Organizations often take positions, which are contrary to the policies formulated by the Government of the day. That by itself…cannot be used to portray petitioner’s action as being detrimental to national interest.”
On 11 January 2015, the government prevented a Greenpeace campaigner from travelling to the UK to speak about human rights abuses related to a coal mine in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh. In March, the Delhi High court ruled that the travel restrictions violated fundamental rights, and observed that “contrarian views held by a section of people…cannot be used to describe such section or class of people as anti-national.” The court also noted there was nothing to suggest that Greenpeace India’s activities “have the potentiality of degrading the economic interest of the country.”
Ananth Guruswarmy:
“The Ministry of Environment and Forests has agreed that the Mahan coal block is located in a protected forest, where no mining should take place. Instead of dubbing Greenpeace anti-national, the government should focus on the vital issues that it raises. Amnesty International India is particularly concerned about the rights of Adivasis affected by state policies, and urges the government to strengthen protections for these communities.”
Attempts to dampen dissent in India are nothing new. State repression and physical violence. as well as the structural violence resulting from particular economic policies, affect many regions and impact tens of millions of the country’s poorest and most powerless citizens.
As the current administration seeks to speed up the opening of India’s economy to private interests and to more fully embrace the tenets of neo-liberal economic doctrine, more difficult times may lie ahead for dissenting voices.

Greenpeace, Dissent and Freedom of Expression in India

Before being voted out of office last year, India’s Congress-led United Progressive Alliance administration sanctioned open-field trials of GM food crops in India andMonsanto’s...

Contaminating the Nation’s Food: GM Food on the Shelves of UK supermarkets

Colin Todhunter From the US to India, the GMO biotech industry appears to have a ‘contaminate first then push for regulatory authorisation later’ policy. The...

What’s Behind Lower Gas-Prices and the Bombings of Syria and of Southeastern Ukraine

Obama Represents U.S. & Arabic Aristocracies, Against Those of Russia & Iran. Eric Zuesse   INTRODUCTION: Why is the Ukrainian Government, which the U.S. supports, bombing the pro-Russian...

UK GMO lobby wants “genome edited” products to escape GMO regulation and labelling

Parts of the UK scientific establishment are attempting to overturn existing GMO regulations and deceive consumers, writes Claire Robinson There's a massive lobbying effort in...

Met conducted 38 press leak investigations in five years – RIPA used in ‘vast...

The Metropolitan Police investigated 38 press leaks over a five-year period - and according to one well-placed source the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act...

Ukraine’s President in Ottawa and Washington

Stephen Lendman RINF Alternative News Petro Poroshenko is Washington's man. He has no legitimacy whatever. He replaced ousted democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych. He represents putschist power. He's...

Understanding Ukraine in 15 Minutes

Mike Whitney RINF Alternative News If you want to understand what is going on in Ukraine, then you need to watch this 15 minute video with Putin advisor...

Critic: Censored Report Shows UK Government has ‘Something to Hide’ About Fracking

Department of Environment report on fracking impacts redacted 62 times in just 13 pages Lauren McCauley Critics of fracking in the United Kingdom assailed the British...

UK’s Lords and EU Take Aim at Online Anonymity

DANNY O'BRIEN Last week, the UK's House of Lords Select Committee on Communications released a report on"social media and criminal offences." Britain has faced a number...

Lobbyists Bidding to Block Government Regulations Set Sights on Secretive White House Office

When Washington lobbyists fail to derail regulations proposed by federal agencies, they often find a receptive ear within the Office of Information and Regulatory...

UK tribunal hears evidence of mass surveillance

Robert Stevens A five-day hearing before the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) on the operations of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spying operations concluded July...

Fukushima lessons: US nuclear plants ‘must be better equipped for offsite disasters’

US nuclear plants must be better prepared in case of emergencies, especially those connected with natural disasters, says a new nuclear report, adding that...

Law before equality: Non-UK residents may face ‘discriminatory’ cuts to legal aid

The UK government’s attempt to make residence tests a requirement for those seeking legal aid in Britain has been mitigated by the high court...

UK Moves to Legalize Mass Surveillance

New bill would reinstate controversial law struck down for invading privacy of citizens Nadia Prupis The UK government is pushing to pass an emergency law that...

Every Internet user in the UK can be spied on without a warrant

Robert Stevens RINF  Alternative News The UK government has acknowledged that every UK citizen who uses Google and accesses web site services Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,...

The Propaganda War About Ukraine: How Important It Really Is

Eric Zuesse RINF Alternative News Recently, Germany's Der Spiegel featured a lengthy editorial damning Russia regarding Ukraine; it was titled "How Russia Is Winning the Propaganda War," and it made...

Web of Deceit: The Bilderberg Group and Elite Powerbrokers Linked to the UK’s Stealth...

Matthew Butler As a curtain of censorship falls over the UK internet, this special investigation uncovers the deception and elite players behind the murky system...

US Vice President Biden’s son, Kerry fundraiser take positions with Ukrainian gas firm

Patrick Martin RINF Alternative News The younger son of Vice President Joseph Biden has taken the position of member of the board of directors and...

Plundering Ukraine for Profit

Plundering Ukraine for Profitby Stephen LendmanOn March 27, an IMF press release headlined "IMF Staff Level Agreement with Ukraine on US $14 - 18 billion Stand-By Arrangement." Nikolay Gueorguiev is IMF Mission Chief for Ukraine. He's loan shark c...

Fukushima: They Knew

This week marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. By Greg Palast for FreePress.org "Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake" The Fukushima story you didn't hear on CNN I've seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level. Here was the handwritten log kept by [...]

Cheerleading Ukrainian Fascism

Cheerleading Ukrainian Fascismby Stephen LendmanMajor media scoundrels praise what demands condemnation. They reinvent history doing it. Managed news misinformation substitutes for legitimate journalism. More on this below.Ukraine's fascist coup agains...

Beyond the Bubble, Beyond Fukushima: Reconsidering the History of Postwar Japan

Christopher Gerteis and Timothy S. George RINF Alternative News Christopher Gerteis and Timothy S. George make a case for revisiting Japan’s postwar history in the second...

Ukraine: Coup Plotters Consolidate Power

Ukraine: Coup Plotters Consolidate Powerby Stephen LendmanEvents continue fast moving. The Wall Street Journal headlined "White House Backs Political Change in Ukraine," saying:"The Obama administration Saturday issued a cautiously worded statement abo...

Unconditional Surrender in Ukraine

Unconditional Surrender in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

As things now stand, Obama won. EU partners won. Fascist extremists won. Russia lost. 

So did ordinary Ukrainians. Months of struggling for something better apparently turned out in vain. More on this below.

Events remain fast-moving. Overnight negotiations produced an early Friday morning deal.

Talks lasted eight hours. Opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok and Vitali Klitschko were involved.

So were Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian Human Rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

Ukraine's ruling Party of Regions called on "everyone involved in the confrontation to lay down their arms."

"This deed will be your greatest contribution to Ukraine's future," it said. "We should all consolidate around the common goal of restoring peaceful life on our soil."

"We should stop this fratricidal war for the sake of peace, for the sake of justice and for the sake of Ukraine's future."

On Thursday, Ukraine's parliament passed a resolution near unanimously. It condemned the use of force against protesters.

It prohibits Ukrainian Security Council counterterrorism. Yanukovych expressed willingness to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections later this year.

He's amenable to constitutional change before summer. He's willing to form a national unity government in days. 

In a Friday national address, he said:

"I am announcing steps needed to restore peace and avoid further victims of the standoff."

"There are no steps we should demur from taking together in order to restore peace to Ukraine."

His web site said "I declare the initiation of early presidential elections. I also invoke a return to the Constitution of 2004 with the redistribution of powers in the direction of a parliamentary republic."

"I summon to begin formation of the government of national trust."

His comments sounded more like unconditional surrender. If so, it's bad news for most Ukrainians.

It likely means new pro-Western government. Spurning EU membership last November let him dodge a bullet.

He did the right thing. EU countries covet Eastern expansion. Doing so adversely affects Russia. 

It's disastrous for vulnerable populations like Ukraine's. EU membership involves harsh neoliberal austerity. 

Financial demands include mass layoffs, deregulation, deep social spending cuts, wage freezes or cuts, unrestricted free market access for Western corporations, corporate friendly tax cuts, marginalized trade unionism, and harsh crackdowns on nonbelievers. 

Ukraine will be pushed to join NATO. Doing so encroaches further on Russia's borders. It makes future confrontations more likely.

Ukrainians were manipulated against their own self-interest for months. They've been through this before. They ended up losers.

Promises made were broken. Exploitation followed. They should have known better. Once deceived should be enough. EU membership assures harder than ever hard times.

Poland's Sikorski said progress was made "but important differences remain." A statement released said the peace deal would be formally signed at noon Friday Kiev time. No further details were given.

An unnamed EU diplomat called it a "temporary agreement." The devil is more than in the details. 

It resides in Washington. Obama wants regime change. He orchestrated violence to achieve it.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "we cannot say anything definitive before the end of the morning."

"The opposition…wants to be able to consult with some of its members..."

"In this sort of situation, as long as things haven't really been wrapped up, it's important to remain very cautious."

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said an agreement hadn't been reached - "only the content of an eventual agreement, since the proper subjects to build such an agreement are people."

Reuters quoted opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko saying: "We will sign the deal. We are prepared to do everything to obtain a peaceful solution."

"All arguments must be considered before it comes to a signature," he added.

Voice of Russia said Moscow's ombudsman Lukin "refused to sign the final document." 

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin met with Security Council members to discuss ongoing events.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a toughly-worded statement. He aimed it at Yanukovych, saying:

"We shall, of course, continue cooperating with our Ukrainian partners in all areas that have been agreed."

"We shall bend every effort to honor the pledges we have taken with regard to Ukraine."

"But for this to happen, our partners should be in good shape. Ukraine's authorities should be legitimate and effective and should not allow anyone to walk all over them."

Veronica Krasheninnikova heads the Russian Institute for Foreign Policy Studies. Opposition leaders Yatsenyuk, Tyagnibok and Klitschko by no means represent most Ukrainians, she said.

Yanukovych lost credibility by surrendering to their demands, she added. He's "part of the problem," she stressed.

He "opted out of the use of the mechanisms that he's been invested with by the constitution."

He failed to "tak(e) required measures to preserve the constitutional system, which is his presidential duty."

On Friday, thousands of protesters remained in Kiev's Independence Square. Violence continues. Ukraine's Interior Ministry said:

"Rioters opened fire at police officers and tried to break through in the direction of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament)."

Reuters quoted one protester calling the deal "just another piece of paper. We will not leave the barricades until Yanukovych steps down."

Ukraine's Health Ministry said at least 77 people died since Tuesday. Dead bodies remain on Kiev streets.

Accurate death and injury counts are hard to come by. Calm may not be easy to restore.

Events so far very much benefit Washington and EU partners. They disadvantage Russia. Days earlier, Putin offered to buy $2 billion worth of Ukrainian eurobonds straightaway.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said it's part of the $15 billion loan agreed on earlier. On Friday, doing so remains undecided in the wake of ongoing events.

Russia is very much concerned about possible new pro-Western Ukrainian government if new elections are held. 

It wants clarity before committing cash. The advantage it gained earlier looks lost. It's a huge setback. 

How Moscow reacts remains to be seen. Expect ordinary Ukrainians to awaken too late to realize they've been had again.

They endured plenty for something better. Opposition leaders duped them to expect it. 

They deserve better than they got. As things now stand, they lost out entirely. Harder than ever hard times await them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Western Officials Collaborating Against Ukraine's Government

by Stephen Lendman

US and other Western officials do it openly. They're doing it lawlessly. They're violating international law.

UN Charter Article 2(7) states:

"Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter."

Under no circumstances may one nation, or combination thereof, intervene against another without Security Council authorization.

Article 8 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties says: "No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another."

Under Article 10, differences between states "should be settled by recognized pacific methods."  

Article 11 calls sovereign state territory "inviolable...."

The following charters affirm non-intervention:

  • the Organization of American States;

  • Organization of African Unity; and

  • League of Arab States.

Various conferences affirmed non-intervention. They include Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Chapultepec, and First Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade, among others.

Washington ignores rule of law principles. So do rogue EU partners. They're allied against Ukraine's government. They want it co-opted. 

They want its relationship with Russia subverted. They want control of all former Soviet republics. They want Moscow increasingly isolated. They want Caspian oil and gas resources exploited.

They're waging war by other means. Financial/economic/political brinksmanship is potentially more menacing than standing armies. At issue is exploiting developing nations for profit.

Ukraine is special. It's one of Europe's largest countries. It's the most important former Soviet Republic. 

It's resource rich in iron ore, coal, manganese, titanium, Black Sea oil and gas, sulfur, graphite, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land and more.

It's Central European location is strategically important. It borders the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. They provide Mediterranean Sea access. Sevastopol, Ukraine is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Moscow supplies about one-fourth of EU's natural gas. Around 80% of it transits Ukraine. It's historically been called Europe's "bread basket."

Its rich dark soil is valued. Its grain producing area matches Texas in size.

It produces 25% of former Soviet republics' agricultural output. Its exports include wheat, corn, barley, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat and milk.

Russia is Ukraine's largest market. China is increasingly important. About one-fourth of Ukrainian workers are in agriculture or forestry related areas.

A previous article said street protests are manipulated. Washington's dirty hands are involved. Young militants were recruited. They're paid to protest. Radical nationalists joined them.

Ukrainian sovereignty is at stake. EU foreign ministers are in Kiev. They're attending an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit. 

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland represents John Kerry. He opted not to attend. He snubbed Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych.

He's currently in Jerusalem. He arrived Wednesday night. He's trying to revive dead on arrival peace talks. He offers Palestinians sticks, not carrots.

Ukraine got the same one-sided option. Yanukovych abandoned an EU alliance for good reason.

EU officials are meddling in Ukrainian affairs. Politics First editor Marcus Papadopoulus told Voice of Russia:

"EU officials and European politicians going to Ukraine to a sovereign independent country and urging for people to rise up, to oppose the government." 

"I mean, that's completely a violation of state's sovereignty. That's completely a violation of the norms of the UN." 

"These politicians shouldn't be traveling to another country and encouraging, I would argue, effectively a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine."

On Thursday, Nuland met with Ukrainian opposition figure Vitaly Klitschko and other protest leaders. They're lawlessly occupying Kiev's Trades Union building.

It's a de facto protest headquarters. Nuland met them there. Doing so created an illusion of disruptive legitimacy. On December 5, she addressed OSCE delegates. In part, she said:

"The whole world is watching" Ukraine. OSCE "principles and values…hang in the balance...sovereignty, freedom of choice, freedom of association, democracy and constitutional governance, peace and stability."

"This is Ukraine's moment to meet the aspirations of its people or to disappoint them, and risk descending into chaos and violence."  

"What happens here matters to all of us and to this Organization. There should be no doubt about where the United States stands on this."  

"We stand with the people of Ukraine who see their future in Europe and want to bring their country back to economic health and unity."

Russia is very much part of Europe. It's the world's largest country geographically by far. It has Europe's largest population. Perhaps Nuland needs a geography lesson.

She represents Washington's imperial agenda. It's polar opposite what benefits Ukrainians. They're wise to turn East, not West.

Nuland urged "respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms." Washington by far is the world's leading human rights abuser. It spurns fundamental freedoms and other democratic principles. 

It does so at home and abroad. It does it egregiously. Nuland is very much involved. Advancing America's imperium matters most.

Doing so involves ruthless exploitation. Washington sees Ukraine as low-hanging fruit. It wants it plucked away from Russia. It wants unchallenged Eurasian control. It wants it globally.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized Western officials. He accused them of "interfer(ing) in Ukraine's internal affairs."

Among others, he named German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. He visited Kiev's Independence and European Squares. They're the main protest venues.

He met with opposition leader Vitali Klitschko. "Excuse me," said Medvedev, "but taking part in such actions is called simply interference in internal affairs."

"I wonder how our German partners would feel if, for instance, the Russian Foreign Minister just went to some gathering, which was violating German regulations. I doubt they would take it as a friendly step."

Imagine the US uproar if Russian and/or Chinese officials met openly or otherwise with Americans against Washington's imperial lawlessness.

Imagine if they did it in front of the White House. Imagine if they spoke publicly. Imagine if they urged ending US occupations. Imagine how long it would take before getting arrested.

Westerwelle is one of a number of EU figures violating Ukrainian sovereignty. 

Others cheerleading protesters publicly include Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, Netherlands Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, Poland's former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Lithuania's parliament Speaker Loreta Brauziniene.

Medvedev said Ukraine's government and people alone must resolve internal issues. "(O)ther countries must act correctly," he added.

He dismissed accusations about Moscow pressure behind Ukraine's decision to abandon an EU alliance.

"They made calculations and realized that they are not prepared for it at the moment," he said. 

"It's their own business. We simply pointed their attention to the problems and said they would face them."

On December 6, Putin met with Yanukovych in Sochi. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov explained, saying:

"The Ukrainian President made a stop in Sochi on his way home from China." 

"His brief working visit highlighted bilateral issues and an upcoming session in Moscow of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission."

On December 3, NATO foreign ministers issued a joint statement on Ukraine, saying:

"We condemn the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine." 

"We call on all parties to refrain from provocations and violence."

"We urge Ukraine to fully abide by its international commitments and to uphold the freedom of expression and assembly." 

"We urge the government and the opposition to engage in dialogue and launch a reform process."

"A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security." 

"Ukraine remains an important partner of NATO and the Alliance highly values Ukraine’s contributions to international security." 

"Our partnership will continue on the basis of the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law." 

"NATO remains committed to supporting the reform process in Ukraine."

NATO is a US-led rogue killing machine. It's responsible for mass slaughter and destruction. 

It spurns rule of law principles. It violates fundamental civil and human rights. It's anti-democratic. 

It threatens humanity's survival. It's high-sounding rhetoric rings hollow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to its comments, saying:

"I do not understand why NATO adopts such statements. We encourage everybody not to interfere."

He addressed NATO head Fogh Rasmussen implying possible Russian military intervention.

"I cannot understand why such questions are asked," he said. "It helps to create a distorted picture and sends a wrong signal which may cause wrong understanding."

He criticized "the scope of the aggressive actions of the opposition." He stopped short of explaining they're Western instigated.

He criticized NATO expansion as "a continuation of the old logic of the Cold War."

"It implies not only preserving the dividing lines, it's moving (them) further to the East."

Doing so is counterproductive. It undermines mutual security. Russia seeks cooperative relations. 

Washington wants regional dominance. It wants Russia weakened and isolated. It wants control of Ukraine. 

Its dirty hands are manipulating street protests. It remains to be seen how far things go. They're very much unresolved so far.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


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“They could not have chosen a worse site for a mega nuclear power plant – we have a history of earthquakes and fear a Fukushima type disaster in the Gulf of Khambat where the GNPP is coming up,” said Gohil. “Also, Gujarat borders Pakistan, a hostile neighbour. What if this nuclear facility is bombed in a future war?”

On Mar. 5  Gohil and some 5,000 villagers silently walked out of a public hearing  held by the local administration seeking approval for construction for the GNPP which is due to be equipped with six Westinghouse-Toshiba nuclear reactors, each with a 1,000 megawatt capacity.

“We did not want to be party to an illegal public hearing that was seeking endorsement for an environment impact assessment (EIA) report that was flawed and ignored many safety aspects which we are soon going to publish in a parallel document,” Rohit Prajpati, leader of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (Environment Protection Group), a voluntary agency active in Gujarat told IPS.

“To begin with, the EIA was drawn up by Engineers India Limited (EIL), a public sector consultancy that does not have the required accreditation – a fact which is apparent on the government’s own website,” Prajapti said. “An attempt was made to hoodwink the villagers, but they did not buy it.”

According to the terms of reference, EIL was supposed to carry out a detailed risk assessment and provide a disaster management plan, but the final document avoids that responsibility. “We have made written protests about this flawed EIA to the environment ministry,” Prajapati said.

According to V. T. Padmanabhan, independent researcher and member of the Brussels-based European Commission on Radiation Risk, basic safety aspects are being glossed over in the EIAs in the rush to set up a string of nuclear parks along India’s vast coastline.

“The EIA drawn up for the Mithi Virdi project, for instance, ignores the fact that there has been no study conducted on maximum flood levels – and that in an area that is seriously prone to tidal floods,” Padmanabhan told IPS.

On Mar. 6, answering questions in parliament concerning the new nuclear parks, V. Narayanswamy, minister in the prime minister’s office, said coastal nuclear power parks are designed with consideration given to possible earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges and tidal flooding.

“Safety is a moving target in nuclear power plants and is continuously evolving based on the reviews by utilities and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)  besides internationally evolving standards,” Narayanaswamy informed parliament.

But, it is not just the villagers and activists who are worried at the haste with which the public sector Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is going about setting up coastal nuclear power projects – the courts have been lending a sympathetic ear to the protestors.

On Mar. 12, the high court of the southern Andhra Pradesh state halted plans for a 9,000 megawatt nuclear park at Kovvada in coastal Srikakulam district following a petition filed on behalf of local residents and fishermen by J. Rama Rao, a retired naval engineer.

The high court took notice of the petitoners’ plea that the government was going about attempting to acquire land for the 6,000 megawatt nuclear facility even though the project is yet to gain clearance from the AERB.

Kovvada villagers have been on a relay hunger strike since December 2012 against the proposed nuclear power plant. Their petition cited the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear meltdowns to say that in the event of an accident, future generations would be affected by radiation contamination.

But, in spite of the protests and intervention by the court the government appears determined to push ahead with plans to generate 40 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2020, most of it from nuclear parks in various stages of completion along India’s peninsular coastline.

Narayanasamy stated in parliament that electricity will begin to flow from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in southern Tamil Nadu by April. The KNPP, which is designed to generate 9,200 megawatts, has been in the making since 1988 when a deal was signed for its construction between India and Russia.

KNPP is yet to have valid Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. Last November, NPCIL also admitted in the Supreme Court that it had constructed a desalination plant without mandatory environmental clearance, showing how existing rules are being bypassed.

“CRZ clearance is not a technical formality, but an important procedure designed to protect India’s sensitive coastal region,” said Padmanabhan, adding that the haste in setting up coastal nuclear plants contrasts with the bureaucratic red tape that India is known for.

“What we are seeing is a repeat of the Fukushima experience where investigations by a parliamentary committee have shown that although triggered by a tsunami, the meltdown of the rectors was man-made and a result of collusion between the government, the regulators and the utility Tokyo Electric Power Company,” Padmanabhan said.

Poor governance and lack of independent regulatory oversight in the construction of nuclear plants have already been pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General, India’s powerful government watchdog.

© 2013 Inter Press Service

Murdoch attacks UK PM over press deal

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has attacked British Prime Minister David Cameron for agreeing tougher press regulation, saying that the deal puts media under influence of politicians.

Earlier this week, British politicians from three main political parties in the country finally clinched a deal on press regulation which aimed at curbing the abuses of the past, including the phone-hacking scandal.

Murdoch, whose 168-year-old newspaper The News of the World has been closed over the same scandal, criticized the decision by the politicians, describing the new regulator as a “holly mess”.

“UK holy mess with internet unworkably included. Cameron showing true colors shocking many supporters," Murdoch tweeted on Thursday, March 21.

The deal on Britain’s press regulation is running into difficulty as some key newspaper groups, including News International, the Telegraph Media group, and the Express publishers, refused to endorse it.

The deal was introduced after it emerged that journalists had hacked thousands of phones in their attempts to get first time news reports.

The scale of the long-running phone hacking scandal in the country has led to dozens of arrests and the resignation of several senior police officers so far.

MOS/HE

New York Times Slams Britain’s Press Crackdown

The US newspaper that helped expose the phone-hacking scandal has slated proposed new controls for Britain's press.

The New York Times said the "unwieldy" measures agreed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg would "chill free speech."

new york times

The New York Times helped expose phone-hacking

The newspaper played a key role in uncovering the scale of phone-hacking at the News of the World, with a 2010 investigation uncovering widespread abuse.


Tom McTague
Nail. Head. NY Times: "Misdeeds far better handled as violations of existing British criminal and civil laws." http://t.co/3sy1QDidxP

On Monday Britain's three main parties agreed a Royal Charter - backed up by law - to enforce the power of a new independent regulator to manage the press in the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry.

  • Sir Christopher Meyer: Britain's international humiliation over Leveson

The measures were welcomed by Hugh Grant's pressure group, Hacked Off, but have been criticised by most national newspapers.

The New York Times said the shakeup would "threaten the survival of small publishers and Internet sites."

"Publishers who do not agree to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of this body — and many have already said they will not — could still take their chances in court but could be hit with higher, punitive fines if they were found liable."

Cameron has insisted that using a Royal Charter means there is no press law needed.

But the New York Times editorial adds: "That is a distinction largely without substance.

"In reality the proposal would effectively create a system of government regulation of Britain’s vibrant free press, something that has not happened since 1695, when licensing of newspapers was abolished."

Phone-hacking and other abuses are already catered for by the criminal and civil law, it said.

Fukushima Rescue Mission Lasting Legacy: Radioactive Contamination of Nearly 70,000 Americans

Who are the victims of Japan’s great 3.11 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown? Japan Focus has documented the heavy price paid by the more than 20,000 who died in the tsunami, the hundreds of thousands driven from their homes by the combination of tsunami and meltdown, and the nuclear workers who have fought to bring the radiation at the Tepco plants under control at risk of their lives. Roger Witherspoon extends this analysis to the US servicemen and women of Operation Tomodachi who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation with little preparation or protection. This is the first of two major articles on their plight and their fight.

The Department of Defense has decided to walk away from an unprecedented medical registry of nearly 70,000 American service members, civilian workers, and their families caught in the radioactive clouds blowing from the destroyed nuclear power plants at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.

The decision to cease updating the registry means there will be no way to determine if patterns of health problems emerge among the members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, Corps of Engineers, and Navy stationed at 63 installations in Japan with their families. In addition, it leaves thousands of sailors and Marines in the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group 7 on their own when it comes to determining if any of them are developing problems caused by radiation exposure.

The strike group was detoured from its South Pacific duties and brought to Fukushima for Operation Tomodachi, using the Japanese word for “friend.” It was an 80-day humanitarian aid and rescue mission in the wake of the earthquake and massive tsunami that decimated the northern coastline and killed more than 20,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The rescue operation was requested by the Japanese Government and coordinated by the US State Department, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Departments of Defense and Energy. In addition to the USS Ronald Reagan with its crew of 5,500, the Strike Group included four destroyers – The Preble, McCampbell, Curtis Wilbur, and McCain – the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, and several support ships.

It was the participants in Operation Tomodachi – land based truck drivers and helicopter crews, and carrier based aircraft and landing craft – who were repeatedly trying to guess where the radioactive clouds were blowing and steer paths out of the way. It was unsuccessful on more than one occasion, according to Defense Department records and participants, resulting in efforts to decontaminate ships travelling through contaminated waters and cleansing helicopters only to send them right back into radioactive clouds.

So far, however, more than 150 service men and women who participated in the rescue mission have since developed a variety of medical issues – including tumors, tremors, internal bleeding, and hair loss – which they feel were triggered by their exposure to radiation. They do not blame the Navy for their predicament, but are joined in an expanding law suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, for providing false information to the US officials about the extent of spreading radiation from its stricken reactors at Fukushima. And the decision by the Defense Department to abandon the registry leaves them on their own.

Jobs are compartmentalized at sea explained Navy Quartermasters Maurice Enis and Jaime Plym, two of the navigators on the carrier Reagan. Few of those on board knew there were dangerous radioactive plumes blowing in the wind and none knew what ocean currents might be contaminated. They did know there were problems when alarms went off.

“We make our own water through desalinization plants on board,” said Plym, a 28-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida. “But it comes from the ocean and the ocean was contaminated. So we had to get rid of all the water on the ship and keep scouring it and testing it till it was clean.

“You have a nuclear power plant inside the ship that uses water for cooling, and they didn’t want to contaminate our reactor with their reactors’ radiation.”

But avoiding it was not easy. It meant going far enough out to sea where there were no contaminated currents, washing down the ship and its pipes, and then going back towards shore.

“We could actually see the certain parts of the navigation chart where radiation was at, and to navigate through that was nerve wracking,” said Enis. “The general public, like the ship, didn’t really know where it was or what it was and relied on word-of-mouth and rumors. We have more information, but there was no absolute way for us to know how much radiation was out there because we were still being told by the (Japanese) power company that we shouldn’t worry.

“We stayed about 80 days, and we would stay as close as two miles offshore and then sail away. It was a cat and mouse game depending on which way the wind was blowing. We kept coming back because it was a matter of helping the people of Japan who needed help. But it would put us in a different dangerous area. After the first scare and we found there was radiation when they (the power company) told us there was none, we went on lockdown and had to carry around the gas masks.”

When it came to getting timely information on radiation, the Americans on land were just as much at sea. Gregory Jaczko, then Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, urged the evacuation of all Americans within 50 miles of the stricken reactors. And the Defense Department evacuated women and children from the Yokosuka Naval Base, located 300 miles south of Fukushima, after sensors picked up increases in background radiation.

Information was hard to come by, exacerbated by the rigidity of the Japanese bureaucracy. Two nuclear experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Lochbaum, who has worked as a consultant for the NRC and industry, and Ed Lyman, a nuclear physicist, have examined thousands of government emails and cable traffic during a confusing period when the data base shifted by the hour and concrete information was hard to come by.

“After the explosion in Fukushima Daiichi Unit #4 the Japanese were not able to get enough water into the building to keep the spent fuel pool cool,” Lochbaum said. “So the US airlifted a concrete pumper truck all the way from Australia to an American naval base in the northern part of the island. And the Japanese would not let it leave the base because it wasn’t licensed to travel on Japanese roads. Given the magnitude of their problems, that seemed to be the wrong priority.

“But the Japanese culture is more like a symphony, where everyone follows the conductor’s lead. Whereas American society is more like a jazz ensemble where everyone is playing together, but improvisation is prized.”

The inability to get cohesive, trustworthy information from the Japanese hampered the American rescue effort.

Michael Sebourn, senior chief mechanic for the helicopter squadron based at Atsugi,about 60 miles from Fukushima, recalled that “after the earthquake and tsunami we were given one day notice to pack up the command and go to Misawa, Japan Air Base to provide relief efforts to the Sendai and Fukushima areas. All of the other squadrons were evacuating to Guam. There was a big possibility that the base at Atsugi would be shut down and we would never be returning. We were told to put our names and phone numbers on the dashboards of the cars because we would probably not get them back.

“We were in Misawa 3 ½ weeks, working every day, flying mission after mission after mission to pick people up, rescue people, ferry supplies and things like that. There were a few nuclear technicians scanning individuals coming back from missions. Many times they would cut off their uniforms.” The decontamination team cut off their uniforms to avoid touching them and further contaminating them.

Sebourn was sent to Guam for three days of intensive training and became the designated radiation officer. It wasn’t easy.

“This was a completely unprecedented event,” he said. “We had never dealt with radiation before. We were completely brand new to everything and everyone was clueless. We had had drills dealing with chemical and biological warfare. But we never had any drills dealing with radiation. That was nuclear stuff and we didn’t do nuclear stuff. The aviation guys had never dealt with radiation before. We had never had aircraft that was radiated. So we were completely flying blind.”

There were rules for Sebourn’s group of mechanics. They scanned the returning helicopters for radiation, and then removed any contaminated parts and put them in special containers filled with water and stored on an isolated tarmac. It began snowing in Misawa so the group moved back to their base at Atsugi, closer to Fukushima. Sebourn tracked varying radiation levels in units called Corrected Counts Per Minute on their electronic detectors.

“Normal outside radiation exposure is between five and 10 CCPM,” he said. “And that’s from the sun. At Atsugi, the background readings were between 200 and 300 CCPM in the air. It was all over. The water was radiated. The ground was radiated. The air was radiated.

“The rule was if there was anything over a count of 500 you needed special gloves. Over 1,000 CCPM and you needed a Tyvek radiation suit. And if it was over 5,000 you needed an entire outfit – suit, respirator, goggles, and two sets of gloves. You couldn’t put a contaminated radiator back into the helicopters – they had to be replaced. I remember pulling out a radiator and it read 60,000 CCPM.”

But in the end, the safety equipment may not have been enough.

The Tomodachi Medical Registry, developed over a two year-period and completed at the end of 2012, was a collective effort of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs launched at the insistence of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

It was an exhaustive registry essential to develop a medical baseline from which to determine if there were any long lasting repercussions from exposure to radioactivity – particularly iodine and cesium – spewing for months from the Fukushima Daiichi reactor units 1 through 4 into both the air and the sea.

The Registry was unparalleled in its depth. The Defense Department’s 252-page assessment of radiation doses the 70,000 Americans may have been exposed to is broken down by a host of factors, including proximity to Fukushima, the type of workbeing done and its impact on breathing rates, changing weather patterns, sex, size, and age. In the latter category children were divided into six different age groups, reflecting their varying susceptibility to radiation. (link)

In addition, the report states, “over 8,000 individuals were monitored for internal radioactive materials and the results of those tests were compared with the calculated doses.”

In the end, however, the Department concluded that their estimates of the maximum possible whole body and thyroid doses of contaminants were not severe enough to warrant further examination.

Navy spokesman Lt. Matthew Allen, in a written statement, said “The DoD has very high confidence in the accuracy of the dose estimates, which were arrived at using highly conservative exposure assumptions (i.e., assuming individuals were outside 24 hours a day for the 60 days in which environmental radiation levels were elevated and while breathing at higher than normal rates).

“The estimated doses were closely reviewed by the Veterans' Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction and by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements who both agreed that the methods used to calculate the estimates were appropriate and the results accurate. In addition the dose estimates were consistent with the estimates made by the Japanese government and by the World Health Organization.”

Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith added that as a result of the agency’s decision that there was no serious contamination, “There are no health surveillance measures required for any member of the DoD-affiliated population who was on or near the mainland of Japan following the accident and subsequent radiological release from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station beginning on or about March 11, 2011.”

But there are skeptics of the Defense Department’s blanket conclusion that there was not enough radiation poured into the environment to warrant continuous monitoring of the men, women, and children living and working there.

“Radiation does not spread in a homogenous mix,” said Lochbaum. “There are hot spots and low spots and nobody knows who is in a high zone or in a low zone. Who knows what the actual radiation dose to an individual is? There are no measurements of what they consumed in water and food.

“This is the Navy’s best attempt to take a few data points they have and extrapolate over the entire group. They took a lot of measurements, but those represent just a point in time. It’s like taking a strobe light outside to take a picture of a nighttime scene. Every time the strobe flashes you will get shots in spots of the area. But do you really capture all of the darkness?”

The Navy Life – Into the Abyss

To the US Government, Operation Tomodachi was just another big humanitarian aid and rescue mission in which the nearest Navy fleet and many land-based personnel rushed to the aid of an ally in need. In this case, the northeast coast of Japan had been flattened by a massive earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed infrastructure, killed some 20,000 citizens and left 315,000 refugees, many of whom may never return to their homes in contaminated areas.

Operation Tomodachi – named after the Japanese word for Friend – began as a large logistical exercise. It seemed that way to the American sailors, both land based and in the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier Strike Group. The view from Washington was that Operation Tomodachi would enhance the long ties between allies.

Then everything changed.

The nuclear fuel in reactors 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi overheated and melted down, creating a hydrogen cloud in the process, which exploded, spiking radiation readings on detection monitors across Japan. Hydrogen from Unit 3 migrated through a shared venting system into Unit 4 and blew off its roof as well, exposing the spent fuel pool and its 1,500 bundles of fuel rods containing a lethal mix of cesium, iodine and plutonium.

Transcripts of meetings and conference calls hosted by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko showed steadily increasing concern as newer data contradicted previous data and measurements of radiation from the Navy differed markedly from the information coming from the Japanese government and TEPCO, the giant utility which owned the stricken reactors. (NRC’s Operation Center Fukushima Transcript. Note large censored passages, including the identity of the speaker)

The NRC itself was flying blind. The agency had believed it was virtually impossible to have multiple meltdowns at the same site. As a result, their emergency models all involved the healthy plant using its working systems to control critical systems in the stricken plant until the problems were solved. Jaczko had publicly urged calm and for Americans in Japan to follow the guidelines of the Japanese government. NRC press releases in the United States all stated prominently that there was no danger from radioactive fallout.

But the transcripts tell another story.

On March 14 Jaczko’s conference call was interrupted by Jack Grobe, Deputy Director for Engineeringin the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, with bad news:

“JACK GROBE: Okay, guys, I apologize for bothering you, but things are degenerating quickly. This reminds me of the drill. [...]

what’s really troubling is that we, we have had that wind shift — the Chairman’s here, by the way — we’ve had that wind shift and the wind is out of the northeast blowing towards the southwest. That’s inland and towards Tokyo. And there’s an aircraft carrier in the port just south of Tokyo. It’s about 180 miles from the site, about 10 miles southwest of Tokyo, and they’re measuring on the order of 10 to 20 millirem over a 12-hour period total effective dose and roughly five to 10 times that, thyroid. [...]

JACK GROBE: The, the answer is the dose rates don’t seem to be consistent either with what would be released or with the timing that it would take for a plume to get 180 miles away from the site to the southwest.

MIKE WEBER: Yeah, well, that’s what struck me when you told us what’s going on.

JACK GROBE: Yes, but the, the feedback through Trapp from the admiral is that they used multi* instruments and confirmed this in multiple ways [BLACKED OUT]

MIKE WEBER: Wow.

JACK GROBE: They do operate nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, so they must have a level of competence that’s fairly decent. [...]”

This was new territory, and they could not trust data from the Japanese.

For the Americans in Operation Tomodachi, this meant they would be improvising throughout the crisis. They faced the dual needs to conduct search and rescue missions in a devastated landscape with little functioning infrastructure while guarding against unseen and unforeseen contamination from the stricken reactors.

To officials at the Defense and State Departments, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Operation Tomodachi was a successful, limited duration event in which the military worked in a civilian humanitarian mission. It was requested, logged, and finished.

But military operations are carried out in real time by people implementing orders from half a world away who have to live with the consequences of making the mission succeed.

And for some of the Americans sent into action, Operation Tomodachi would mean the end of a career and dream of service in the US Navy, and the start of a new life laced with anxiety.

The Junkie’s Kid

Michael Sebourn was just another kid nobody wanted, from a neighborhood nobody cared about, with a future leading towards jail or death and a life nobody would have missed. Then he met the US Navy.

“My mother was a drug addict and my father was killed when I was 18 months old trying to rob a drug dealer,” he said. “We lived in the housing projects in Charleston, South Carolina. My stepfather was abusive and spent all the money my mother made on drugs and alcohol. I was malnourished and underweight.”

At age five he was sent to live with his grandparents, who died two years later. He moved in with an aunt in Gary, Indiana, a poor white kid in a predominantly poor, black part of a decaying city.

“I never thought I would ever be able to accomplish anything,” Sebourn said. “I knew college was out of the question because I was poor. I worked in a factory for a while after high school, but that didn’t work out and I was homeless for three months, living out of a truck and driving to Wal-Mart parking lots to sleep.”

He moved back in with his aunt. He had a bad attitude, made bad choices, and “had a couple of run-ins with the law. I needed something new. I had nothing going for myself at all and I wanted a fresh start. I asked my aunt if I should join the military and she ran into the kitchen and got her car keys and said ‘let’s go’. Two days later I was gone.”

He did well in the Navy’s Great Lakes training station and when he was offered a choice of assignments, it turned out to be administrative. “Something clicked,” he said of his entry into the Navy in 1993. “I got my pride back. I got a sense of worth and I started succeeding. I decided serving in the Navy was something I needed to do.

“It was the first time I felt I had a home. It was the first time I felt I had a family.”

It would not be his only family.

He landed in Japan 17 years ago, loved it and stayed at the Navy’s Misawa naval air base, working his way up to head mechanic for the helicopter squadrons based there. He married a Japanese woman and, eventually they had a son. He was half a world and a full life away from the drug dens of South Carolina. He was a Navy man.

The Athlete and the Musician

Maurice Enis was a tall, strapping kid from the frost belt of Rochester, Minnesota whose world revolved around sports and physical fitness. “I was running track at Century High School in Rochester,” he recalled, “doing the 400 and 200 meters and wanted to continue.

“My coach was an ex-Marine who had traveled the world, competing for the military. It sounded like a great life and I wanted to compete for the Navy, too. When I was 19, we went down to the recruiting station and talked about the opportunities they had, and I enlisted. It was 2007, but there was a lot of crying at home because my Mom was afraid I would get hurt because of the war and 9/11. But I told her that this is what I want to do with my life.

“And it was good. It saved me, in a way. I was aimless and it taught me a lot more about my time and what you can do and accomplish. Being deployed, you have no time to do anything extra. Every minute of the day is accounted for. When you get out and have 24 hours to play with, I can accomplish so much more now because I can manage my time and I learned how to prioritize.

“I really did grow up in the Navy. They didn’t have track and field in the Navy anymore, so I chose navigation and general quartermaster. There is the old school way, navigation using different celestial bodies, and the new way, which is all math and computers. You learn to use all the different navigation systems that we have. You apply it to the paper nautical charts and use the satellites and you can actually figure out exactly where we are in the water.”

He also fell in love.

Jaime Plym came from as far away from the snow as one can get without swimming in the Caribbean, which she also enjoyed. She grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, one of the nation’s oldest cities and went on to attend Jacksonville University for two years as a music major, playing bass clarinet.

I decided I wanted music in my life,” Plym said, “but I didn’t want it as my job. I quit school and just worked as a pre-school teacher in Gainesville. I wanted to go back to school, but I had been on a music scholarship and I didn’t have the money for any other major.”

She felt aimless, and went home and loafed on the beach as 2007 drew to a close. She had a brother who was in the Marines and decided she, too, could join the service. “But I wanted to be out to sea,” she said. “I wanted to be on a big ship.”

Plym and Enis were in the same class at the Great Lakes training center and came together at the end. “I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. “They told me about quartermaster, which meant we worked at the command center and were responsible for navigation. I signed up for it.”

Navigation is critical, especially on an aircraft carrier. Other naval craft can move and shift to be in the most favorable position regarding the wind and the currents, with their navigators finding the best and quickest routes to take. That is especially important if there is danger approaching, like a slow moving radioactive cloud.

Navigators on an aircraft carrier do not have that luxury. Their quarter-mile deck slowly rolls side to side, and up and down in accordance with the sea. They must find the smoothest spot and hold it for the duration of the mission, regardless of what comes. After the aircraft leave the deck, the ship must remain at that spot so they can find their way back.

That makes dodging dangerous winds and radioactive currents problematic.

But they didn’t know that when they graduated from the training camp and began life as quartermasters and navigators on the USS Ronald Reagan, head of a carrier battle group plying the South Pacific.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Plym. “We were friends at first, and then we started dating.”

On March 11, 2011, the USS Ronald Reagan and Carrier Strike Group 7 were headed for port in South Korea as a tsunami struck the northeastern coast of Japan.

“We knew right away they were going to redirect us to go to Japan and provide aid,” Plym said. “We were there by 5 AM the next morning.

“We didn’t know about the reactors,” said Enis. “Wedidn’thave outside contact like the internet or cable to know what was going on on land. We just knew there was a major crisis. We had no idea about the nuclear plants till they notified the captain of a possible radiation scare. That’s when we found out that there might be a possible radiation leak.

Something New: Radiation

Operation Tomodachi began with the request for help from the Japanese Embassy to Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs who quickly turned to Gregory Jaczko, then chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who would regularly brief President Barak Obama on the escalating difficulties on land.

What had begun as a rescue mission was being increasingly complicated by spreading radiation from Unit 1 at the six-reactor, Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex. At least three other reactors were in danger of failing, including the spent fuel pool of reactor Unit 4, holding 1,535 bundles of irradiated fuel.

On March 12, as the USS Ronald Reagan and Carrier Strike Group 7 arrive two miles off the coast, Fukushima Unit 1 blows up. Unit 3 would explode March 14, and the hydrogen gases migrating through a shared vent would also destroy the containment building at Unit 4, exposing the spent fuel pool to the air. Unit 2 would explode March 15. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) would announce that most of the fuel in Units 1,2, and 3 are intact. They were not. They had fused into a molten mass and were oozing through the bottom of their destroyed reactors.

The Japanese government, not wanting to acknowledge that the situation was getting out of control, did not activate its military, the Self Defense Forces, to airlift water to the stricken Unit 4 and continuously drop it on the spent fuel to keep it from exploding in a nuclear fuel fire. According to Asahi Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper, which obtained the communications between Tokyo and Japan’s embassy in Washington, Mullen sent a cable to Fujisaki Ichiro, Japan’s ambassador to the US, stating that the SDF should be used to cool the reactors:

“The U.S. military believes the No. 4 reactor is in danger. It feels every step should be taken to cool the reactor, including using the SDF,” the cable said. “The United States has made various preparations to deal with the nuclear accident. The president is also very concerned…” (link)

At the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Jack Grobe is leading a crisis team in the 24-hour Operations Center in nearly constant conference calls with Jaczko and a team in Japan. Their previous scenarios – including the long held belief that it was impossible to have multiple meltdowns in a single nuclear complex, and that the containment structure would stop radiation from spreading from a reactor to the environment – have proved disastrously wrong and their scenarios for keeping people safe from spreading radiation are being called into question.

The NRC’s redacted transcript of those conversations shows that after the explosion at Unit 4 Grobe says in exasperation, “The projections on releases with the containment intact are completely insignificant now.

“I mean, this is beginning to feel like an emergency drill where everything goes wrong and you can’t, you know, you can’t imagine how these things, all of them, can go wrong.”

But the NRC released several daily press releases, all reassuring the public that there was no danger to the public.

And on the high seas and at the American naval installations, the sailors of Operation Tomodachi were on their own.

This is part one of a two part series by Roger Witherspoon.

UK papers refuse to endorse press deal

The deal on Britain’s press regulation is running into difficulty as some key newspaper groups refused to endorse it, saying that the deal includes “contentious issues” which have not been discussed with them.

Earlier this week, British politicians from three main political parties in the country finally clinched a deal on press regulation which aimed at curbing the abuses of the past.

Several biggest newspapers, including News International, the Telegraph Media group, and the Express publishers, however, said in a statement that the deal included "several deeply contentious issues which have not yet been resolved with the industry".

The deal on press regulation which was proposed for the first time by people outside the industry was strongly opposed by the groups.

A senior executive in one newspaper group said, "This is a political deal between the three parties and Hacked Off. It is not a deal with the newspapers.”

The deal was introduced after it emerged that journalists had hacked thousands of phones in their attempts to get first time news reports.

The scale of the long-running phone hacking scandal in the country has led to dozens of arrests and the resignation of several senior police officers so far.

The scandal also led to the closure of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 168-year-old British newspaper The News of the World.

MOS/HE

One step from meltdown: Fukushima NPP avoids another crisis

Published time: March 20, 2013 08:44
Spent fuel pool of the unit four reactor at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture on May 7, 2011 (AFP Photo / HO / TEPCO)

A blackout of unknown origin that put all Fukushima NPP cooling systems out of action has finally been resolved. The latest technical glitch at the plant comes as Japan returns to the use of nuclear power halted after the 2011 disaster.

The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant devastated by a tsunami two years ago continues to bring bad news to Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).

On Monday, March 18, at 6:57am local time, an electricity outage disabled nine facilities at the Fukushima plant, including cooling systems of the four storage pools for used fuel rods.

TEPCO dispatched 25 specialists to deal the problem, but it took all of 30 hours for technicians to repair the systems.

On Wednesday, just 12 minutes after midnight (15:12 GMT), power supply to the cooling systems was fully restored, reported TEPCO. However, certain questions remain.

 MOX fuel storage pool inside the Tokyo Electric Power CO's (TEPCO) Fukushima No.1 plant third reactor building at Okuma town, Futaba district in Fukushima prefecture with the reactor situated behind the poolon August 21, 2010 (AFP Photo / JIJI Press)

Speaking at a briefing in Tokyo, TEPCO’s general manager Masayuki Ono was honest: “We haven’t found the cause,” he said.

Ono explained that due to cable repairs the cooling systems of the nuclear station have been without a back-up power supply since March 6, relying on a single source of electricity. That source failed.

The general manager did not specify whether the back-up electric supply of nuclear power plants is mandatory or whether any regulations have been violated this time.

Masayuki Ono made a supposition that the electricity outage could possibly be caused by failure of a distribution box affected by sand and wind.

Another questionable moment of the emergency is exactly the same as during the initial disaster two years ago.

Back in 2011, TEPCO was well aware of the disastrous consequences of the earthquake and tsunami striking the Fukushima plant, but opted to play down the scale of the catastrophe for several months for fear of the reputational and financial costs.

This time, TEPCO informed the government's regulatory agency immediately about the blackout, but the company waited for three hours before issuing an official public press release.

Though no radiation spikes have been registered near Fukushima plant during the blackout, a real problem was imminent. If not cooled, even used uranium fuel tends to heat up because of the fission that continues within it. Uncontrolled heating leads to increasing fission and, as a result, a meltdown of the rods, exactly as it happened with the fuel from three of the four reactors at Fukushima Dai-Ichi after the March 2011 events put plant’s cooling systems out of order.

TEPCO has particularly stressed that the temperatures of all the fuel pools remained below the maximum safety limit of 65 degrees Celsius.

The latest incident at Fukushima Dai-Ichi comes as the newly–elected Japanese government is opting to revive the national nuclear power industry.

After winning national elections in December with a landslide victory, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and its leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, promised to reconsider plans of the previous government to give up nuclear energy altogether by the end of the 2030s.

PM Shinzo Abe believes that nuclear energy and plans to revive the world’s third-biggest economy are inseparable.

The Fukushima catastrophe became the biggest nuclear incident after the Chernobyl tragedy in 1986. Japanese authorities had to evacuate 160,000 citizens living in the 20km no-go zone that became uninhabitable because of radiation fallout.

Press scheme ‘will work and endure’

Newspapers are considering whether to sign up to a new regulator agreed by the main political parties, amid deep divisions over the implications for Britain's centuries-old tradition of press freedom.

Some of the biggest national newspaper publishers warned that there were a number of "deeply contentious issues" surrounding the scheme unveiled in Parliament which had still to be resolved.

There was outright condemnation from the Newspaper Society, representing the UK's 1,100 local newspapers, which warned the plans - including fines of up to £1 million - would place a "crippling burden" on local press. "A free press cannot be free if it is dependent on and accountable to a regulatory body recognised by the state," said Newspaper Society president Adrian Jeakings.

Meanwhile, the 57-nation Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) urged Britain not to abandon a tradition of press self-regulation regarded around the world as best practice.

In the Commons, David Cameron said the deal hammered out in late night talks between the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, would safeguard investigative journalism and freedom while protecting the victims of press intrusion, in line with the recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson. But there was immediate division between the parties as to the extent to which the new regulator had the "statutory underpinning" demanded by the Hacked Off group campaigning for tighter press regulation.

Under the plan, a royal charter - set to be approved by the Queen at the May meeting of the Privy Council - will establish a "regulation panel" to oversee the new system of press self-regulation. At the same time, bills going through the Lords and Commons were amended to prevent the charter being changed without the support of a two-thirds "super majority" in both Houses and to enable the courts to impose "exemplary" damages on newspapers which do not sign up to the new system.

Mr Cameron insisted they did not "cross the Rubicon" of creating a press law, which could be used by future governments to suppress free speech. But Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained it did have "statutory underpinning", while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg - who sided with Labour against his Conservative coalition partner - said it was "a royal charter protected by legislation".

A joint statement signed by the Mail and Telegraph groups, News International and Northern and Shell, made clear they had serious concerns about the plan. It stressed that - unlike Hacked Off who had four representatives at the talks in Mr Miliband's Commons office where the deal was clinched - they were not involved in the discussions.

"We have only late this afternoon seen the royal charter that the political parties have agreed between themselves and, more pertinently, the recognition criteria, early drafts of which contained several deeply contentious issues which have not yet been resolved with the industry," the statement said. "In the light of this we are not able to give any response on behalf of the industry to this afternoon's proposals until we have had time to study them."

For the Newspaper Society, Mr Jeakings, the chief executive of the Archant group, said local newspapers were fiercely opposed to any form of statutory involvement or underpinning in the regulation of the press. "The royal charter proposals agreed by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour - with huge financial penalties for newspapers which choose to be outside the system and an arbitration service which would open the floodgates to compensation claimants - would place a crippling burden on the UK's 1,100 local newspapers, inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish," he said.

Freedom of press under pressure: UK to launch media regulator

Published time: March 18, 2013 11:49
Britain's Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and with Liberal Democrat Party Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg react as they answer a question from the media during a joint press conference inside 10 Downing Street to mark the half-way point in the five-year term of the coalition government in London on January 7, 2013. (AFP Photo/Peter Nicholls)

A new press watchdog is reportedly set to be established in the UK, despite fears voiced by Conservative Party leader Prime Minister David Cameron that it could jeopardize freedom of the press in the country.

MPs have reportedly reached a last-minute compromise over new press regulations following a parliamentary vote.  It has allegedly been agreed that the press watchdog will have the authority to levy six-figure fines of up to $1.5 million, as well as require newspapers to print apologies when necessary.

Negotiators initially disagreed on the terms of the proposed watchdog, which would protect individuals from malicious newspaper reporters. While all agreed that the press cannot be trusted to govern itself, many insisted – the Prime Minister among them – that if regulation of the press is necessary, it should be without political involvement.

Cameron argued that enshrining media restrictions could erode the concept of the free press:  "The idea of a law, a great, big, all-singing, all-dancing media law ... would have been bad for press freedom, bad for individual freedom," the Conservative Party leader was quoted as saying.

Members of the Hacked Off Campaign stage a photocall to illustrate how many people have signed the petition for a free but accountable press in the United Kingdom out side of Parliament in London on December 3, 2012. (AFP Photo/Andrew Cowie)

He proposed to protect victims of unruly newspapers through a royal charter, an executive document that does not require a vote in Parliament.

Opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband urged lawmakers to "stand up for the victims" of press abuse by formalizing the new press regulations into law.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, whose privacy has been repeatedly violated by the media, said she and other victims “have been hung out to dry” by the government.

Talks reportedly continued through the night on March 18, with Cameron allegedly failing to rally support for his regulatory scheme. It was reported he was forced to compromise and accept the opposition parties’ terms, some of which he had earlier described as “bad for press freedom,” in order to avoid an inevitable defeat in the House of Commons.

“After five-and-a-half hours of talks in Ed Miliband's office which ended at 2:30am, we are confident we have the basis of an agreement around our royal charter entrenched in statute,” a senior Labour source told the Daily Mail.

The heated debate over media regulation in the UK was triggered by Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press ethics, following revelations of the illegal practice of phone-hacking by tabloid journalists.

The scandal resulted in the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s ‘News of the World’ tabloid in 2011 and a wave of resignations after it emerged that journalists had regularly eavesdropped on voicemails and hacked into computers in search of dirt on celebrities.

The UK already has one government-approved regulatory authority, Ofcom, established in 2003 to protect against “scams and sharp practices.” The Office of Communications operates under the so-called ‘Communications Act 2003,’ a parliamentary act that defines the authority of this ‘super-regulator’ in protecting the public from what might be considered harmful or offensive material.

Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

I-Book No. 3, January 25  2012

Global Research’s Online Interactive I-Book Reader brings together, in the form of chapters, a collection of Global Research feature articles and videos, including debate and analysis, on a broad theme or subject matter. 

In this Interactive Online I-Book we bring to the attention of our readers an important collection of articles, reports and video material on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and its impacts (scroll down for the Table of Contents).

To consult our Online Interactive I-Book Reader Series, click here.

INTRODUCTION

The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.

The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:

“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”

Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.

While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, which resulted in almost one million deaths (New Book Concludes – Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer Global Research, September 10, 2010, See also Matthew Penney and Mark Selden  The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima, Global Research, May 25, 2011)

Moreover, while all eyes were riveted on the Fukushima Daiichi plant, news coverage both in Japan and internationally failed to fully acknowledge the impacts of a second catastrophe at TEPCO’s (Tokyo Electric Power Co  Inc) Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant.

The shaky political consensus both in Japan, the U.S. and Western Europe is that the crisis at Fukushima has been contained.

The realties, however, are otherwise. Fukushima 3 was leaking unconfirmed amounts of plutonium. According to Dr. Helen Caldicott, “one millionth of a gram of plutonium, if inhaled can cause cancer”.  

An opinion poll in May 2011 confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the Japanese population do not believe the government’s information regarding the nuclear crisis. (quoted in Sherwood Ross, Fukushima: Japan’s Second Nuclear Disaster, Global Research, November 10, 2011)

The Impacts in Japan

The Japanese government has been obliged to acknowledge that “the severity rating of its nuclear crisis … matches that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster”. In a bitter irony, however, this tacit admission by the Japanese authorities has proven to been part of  the cover-up of a significantly larger catastrophe, resulting in a process of global nuclear radiation and contamination:

“While Chernobyl was an enormous unprecedented disaster, it only occurred at one reactor and rapidly melted down. Once cooled, it was able to be covered with a concrete sarcophagus that was constructed with 100,000 workers. There are a staggering 4400 tons of nuclear fuel rods at Fukushima, which greatly dwarfs the total size of radiation sources at Chernobyl.” ( Extremely High Radiation Levels in Japan: University Researchers Challenge Official Data, Global Research, April 11, 2011)

Fukushima in the wake of the Tsunami, March 2011

Worldwide Contamination

The dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination. Radioactive elements have not only been detected in the food chain in Japan, radioactive rain water has been recorded in California:

“Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). Entering the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer”. (Helen Caldicott, Fukushima: Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation, The Age,  April 26, 2011)

While the spread of radiation to the West Coast of North America was casually acknowledged, the early press reports (AP and Reuters) “quoting diplomatic sources” stated that only “tiny amounts of radioactive particles have arrived in California but do not pose a threat to human health.”

“According to the news agencies, the unnamed sources have access to data from a network of measuring stations run by the United Nations’ Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. …

… Greg Jaczko, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told White House reporters on Thursday (March 17) that his experts “don’t see any concern from radiation levels that could be harmful here in the United States or any of the U.S. territories”.

The spread of radiation. March 2011

Public Health Disaster. Economic Impacts

What prevails is a well organized camouflage. The public health disaster in Japan, the contamination of water, agricultural land and the food chain, not to mention the broader economic and social implications, have neither been fully acknowledged nor addressed in a comprehensive and meaningful fashion by the Japanese authorities.

Japan as a nation state has been destroyed. Its landmass and territorial waters are contaminated. Part of the country is uninhabitable. High levels of radiation have been recorded in the Tokyo metropolitan area, which has a population of  39 million (2010) (more than the population of Canada, circa 34 million (2010)) There are indications that the food chain is contaminated throughout Japan:

Radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit was detected in tea made in a factory in Shizuoka City, more than 300 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Shizuoka Prefecture is one of the most famous tea producing areas in Japan.

A tea distributor in Tokyo reported to the prefecture that it detected high levels of radioactivity in the tea shipped from the city. The prefecture ordered the factory to refrain from shipping out the product. After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, radioactive contamination of tea leaves and processed tea has been found over a wide area around Tokyo. (See 5 More Companies Detect Radiation In Their Tea Above Legal Limits Over 300 KM From Fukushima, June 15, 2011)

Japan’s industrial and manufacturing base is prostrate. Japan is no longer a leading industrial power. The country’s exports have plummeted. The Tokyo government has announced its first trade deficit since 1980.

While the business media has narrowly centered on the impacts of power outages and energy shortages on the pace of productive activity, the broader issue pertaining to the outright radioactive contamination of the country’s infrastructure and industrial base is a “scientific taboo” (i.e the radiation of industrial plants, machinery and equipment, buildings, roads, etc). A report released in January 2012 points to the nuclear contamination of building materials used in the construction industry, in cluding roads and residential buildings throughout Japan.(See  FUKUSHIMA: Radioactive Houses and Roads in Japan. Radioactive Building Materials Sold to over 200 Construction Companies, January 2012)

A “coverup report” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (May 2011), entitled Economic Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Current Status of Recovery  presents “Economic Recovery” as a fait accompli. It also brushes aside the issue of radiation. The impacts of nuclear radiation on the work force and the country’s industrial base are not mentioned. The report states that the distance between Tokyo -Fukushima Dai-ichi  is of the order of 230 km (about 144 miles) and that the levels of radiation in Tokyo are lower than in Hong Kong and New York City.(Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Current Status of Recovery, p.15). This statement is made without corroborating evidence and in overt contradiction with independent radiation readings in Tokyo (se map below). In recent developments, Sohgo Security Services Co. is launching a lucrative “radiation measurement service targeting households in Tokyo and four surrounding prefectures”.

A map of citizens’ measured radiation levels shows radioactivity is distributed in a complex pattern reflecting the mountainous terrain and the shifting winds across a broad area of Japan north of Tokyo which is in the center of the of bottom of the map.”

“Radiation limits begin to be exceeded at just above 0.1 microsieverts/ hour blue. Red is about fifty times the civilian radiation limit at 5.0 microsieverts/hour. Because children are much more sensitive than adults, these results are a great concern for parents of young children in potentially affected areas.

SOURCE: Science Magazine

The fundamental question is whether the vast array of industrial goods and components “Made in Japan” — including hi tech components, machinery, electronics, motor vehicles, etc — and exported Worldwide are contaminated? Were this to be the case, the entire East and Southeast Asian industrial base –which depends heavily on Japanese components and industrial technology– would be affected. The potential impacts on international trade would be farreaching. In this regard, in January, Russian officials confiscated irradiated Japanese automobiles and autoparts in the port of Vladivostok for sale in the Russian Federation. Needless to say, incidents of this nature in a global competitive environment, could lead to the demise of the Japanese automobile industry which is already in crisis.

While most of the automotive industry is in central Japan, Nissan’s engine factory in Iwaki city is 42 km from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Is the Nissan work force affected? Is the engine plant contaminated? The plant is within about 10 to 20 km of the government’s “evacuation zone” from which some 200,000 people were evacuated (see map below).


Nuclear Energy and Nuclear War

The crisis in Japan has also brought into the open the unspoken relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear war.

Nuclear energy is not a civilian economic activity. It is an appendage of the nuclear weapons industry which is controlled by the so-called defense contractors. The powerful corporate interests behind nuclear energy and nuclear weapons overlap.

In Japan at the height of the disaster, “the nuclear industry and government agencies [were] scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan’s civilian nuclear power plants”.1  (See Yoichi Shimatsu, Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant? Global Research,  April 12, 2011)

It should be noted that the complacency of both the media and the governments to the hazards of nuclear radiation pertains to the nuclear energy industry as well as to to use of nuclear weapons. In both cases, the devastating health impacts of nuclear radiation are casually denied. Tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb are labelled by the Pentagon as “safe for the surrounding civilian population”.

No concern has been expressed at the political level as to the likely consequences of a US-NATO-Israel attack on Iran, using “safe for civilians” tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state.

Such an action would result in “the unthinkable”: a nuclear holocaust over a large part of the Middle East and Central Asia. A nuclear nightmare, however, would occur even if nuclear weapons were not used. The bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities using conventional weapons would contribute to unleashing another Fukushima type disaster with extensive radioactive fallout. (For further details See Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, Montreal, 2011)

The Online Interactive I-Book Reader on Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War

In view of the official cover-up and media disinformation campaign, the contents of the articles and video reports in this Online Interactive Reader have not trickled down to to the broader public. (See Table of contents below)

This Online Interactive Reader on Fukushima contains a combination of analytical and scientific articles, video reports as well as shorter news reports and corroborating data.

Part I focusses on The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: How it Happened? Part II  pertains to The Devastating Health and Social Impacts in Japan. Part III  centers on the “Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe”, namely the cover-up by the Japanese government and the corporate media. Part IV focusses on the issue of  Worlwide Nuclear Radiation and Part V reviews the Implications of the Fukushima disaster for the Global Nuclear Energy Industry.

In the face of ceaseless media disinformation, this Global Research Online I-Book on the dangers of global nuclear radiation is intended to break the media vacuum and raise public awareness, while also pointing to the complicity of  the governments, the media and the nuclear industry.

We call upon our readers to spread the word.

We invite university, college and high school teachers to make this Interactive Reader on Fukushima available to their students.

Michel Chossudovsky, January 25, 2012

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: How it Happened

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: What Happened on “Day One”?
– by Yoichi Shimatsu – 2011-04-16
Fukushima is the greatest nuclear and environmental disaster in human history
- by Steven C. Jones – 2011-06-20

Nuclear Apocalypse in Japan
Lifting the Veil of Nuclear Catastrophe and cover-up
- by Keith Harmon Snow – 2011-03-18

Humanity now faces a deadly serious challenge coming out of Japan — the epicenter of radiation.

VIDEO: Full Meltdown? Japan Maximum Nuclear Alert
Watch now on GRTV
-by Christopher Busby- 2011-03-30

Fukushima: Japan’s Second Nuclear Disaster

- by Sherwood Ross – 2011-11-10

Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant?
U.S.-Japan security treaty fatally delayed nuclear workers’ fight against meltdown
- by Yoichi Shimatsu – 2011-04-12

The specter of self-destruction can be ended only with the abrogation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, the root cause of the secrecy that fatally delayed the nuclear workers’ fight against meltdown.

Fukushima: “China Syndrome Is Inevitable” … “Huge Steam Explosions”
“Massive Hydrovolcanic Explosion” or a “Nuclear Bomb-Type Explosion” May Occur
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-11-22

Accident at Second Japanese Nuclear Complex: The Nuclear Accident You Never Heard About

- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-01-12

VIDEO: New TEPCO Photographs Substantiate Significant Damage to Fukushima Unit 3
Latest report now on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-10-20

PART II

The Devastating Health and Social Impacts in Japan

VIDEO: Surviving Japan: A Critical Look at the Nuclear Crisis
Learn more about this important new documentary on GRTV
- by Chris Noland – 2012-01-23

Fukushima and the Battle for Truth
Large sectors of the Japanese population are accumulating significant levels of internal contamination
- by Paul Zimmerman – 2011-09-27

FUKUSHIMA: Public health Fallout from Japanese Quake
“Culture of cover-up” and inadequate cleanup. Japanese people exposed to “unconscionable” health risks
- by Canadian Medical Association Journal – 2011-12-30

FUKUSHIMA: Radioactive Houses and Roads in Japan. Radioactive Building Materials Sold to over 200 Construction Companies

- 2012-01-16

VIDEO: Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated
Watch this important new report on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2012-01-19

VIDEO: The Results Are In: Japan Received Enormous Exposures of Radiation from Fukushima
Important new video now on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen, Marco Kaltofen – 2011-11-07

The Tears of Sanriku (三陸の涙). The Death Toll for the Great East Japan Earthquake Nuclear Disaster

- by Jim Bartel – 2011-10-31

The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima

- by Prof. Matthew Penney, Prof. Mark Selden – 2011-05-24

Uncertainty about the long-term health effects of radiation

Radioactivity in Food: “There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period,” – by Physicians For Social Responsibility – 2011-03-23

71,000 people in the city next to the Fukushima nuclear plant “We’ve Been Left to Die” - 2011-03-19

Tokyo Water Unsafe For Babies, Food Bans Imposed – by Karyn Poupee – 2011-03-23

 

PART III

Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe: Cover-up by the Japanese Government and the Corporate Media

VIDEO: Japanese Government Insiders Reveal Fukushima Secrets
GRTV Behind the Headlines now online
- by James Corbett – 2011-10-06

Fukushima and the Mass Media Meltdown
The Repercussions of a Pro-Nuclear Corporate Press
- by Keith Harmon Snow – 2011-06-20

Scandal: Japan Forces Top Official To Retract Prime Minister’s Revelation Fukushima Permanently Uninhabitable

- by Alexander Higgins – 2011-04-18

Emergency Special Report: Japan’s Earthquake, Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe
- by Yoichi Shimatsu – 2011-03-13

The tendency to deny systemic errors – “in order to avoid public panic” – is rooted in the determination of an entrenched Japanese bureaucracy to protect itself…

VIDEO: Fukushima: TEPCO Believes Mission Accomplished & Regulators Allow Radioactive Dumping in Tokyo Bay
Learn more on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2012-01-11

The Dangers of Radiation: Deconstructing Nuclear Experts
- by Chris Busby – 2011-03-31

“The nuclear industry is waging a war against humanity.” This war has now entered an endgame which will decide the survival of the human race.

Engineers Knew Fukushima Might Be Unsafe, But Covered It Up …
And Now the Extreme Vulnerabilty of NEW U.S. Plants Is Being Covered Up
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-11-12

COVERUP: Are Fukushima Reactors 5 and 6 In Trouble Also?
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-11-14

Fukushima’s Owner Adds Insult to Injury – Claims Radioactive Fallout Isn’t Theirs

- by John LaForge – 2012-01-17

PART IV

The Process of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

VIDEO: Japan’s Nuclear Crisis: The Dangers of Worldwide Radiation

- by Dr. Helen Caldicott – 2012-01-25

An Unexpected Mortality Increase in the US Follows Arrival of Radioactive Plume from Fukushima, Is there a Correlation?
- by Dr. Joseph J. Mangano, Dr. Janette Sherman – 2011-12-20

In the US, Following the Fukushima fallout, samples of radioactivity in precipitation, air, water, and milk, taken by the U.S. government, showed levels hundreds of times above normal…

Radioactive Dust From Japan Hit North America 3 Days After Meltdown
But Governments “Lied” About Meltdowns and Radiation
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-06-24

VIDEO: Fukushima Will Be Radiating Everyone for Centuries
New report now on GRTV
- by Michio Kaku, Liz Hayes – 2011-08-23

Fukushima: Diseased Seals in Alaska tested for Radiation

- 2011-12-29

Radiation Spreads to France

- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-11-15

Radioactive rain causes 130 schools in Korea to close — Yet rain in California had 10 TIMES more radioactivity

PART V

Implications for the Global Nuclear Energy Industry

Science with a Skew: The Nuclear Power Industry After Chernobyl and Fukushima
- by Gayle Greene – 2012-01-26

After Fukushima: Enough Is Enough

- by Helen Caldicott – 2011-12-05

VIDEO: Radiation Coverups Confirmed: Los Alamos, Fort Calhoun, Fukushima, TSA
New Sunday Report now on GRTV
- by James Corbett – 2011-07-04

VIDEO: Why Fukushima Can Happen Here: What the NRC and Nuclear Industry Don’t Want You to Know
Watch now on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen, David Lochbaum – 2011-07-12

VIDEO: Safety Problems in all Reactors Designed Like Fukushima
Learn more on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-09-26

VIDEO: Proper Regulation of Nuclear Power has been Coopted Worldwide
Explore the issues on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-10-05

VIDEO: New Nuclear Reactors Do Not Consider Fukushima Design Flaws
Find out more on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-11-24

Nuclear Energy: Profit Driven Industry
“Nuclear Can Be Safe Or It Can Be Cheap … But It Can’t Be Both”
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-12-23

VIDEO: Fukushima and the Fall of the Nuclear Priesthood
Watch the new GRTV Feature Interview
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-10-22

Why is there a Media Blackout on Nuclear Incident at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska?

- by Patrick Henningsen – 2011-06-23

Startling Revelations about Three Mile Island Disaster Raise Doubts Over Nuke Safety

- by Sue Sturgis – 2011-07-24

Radioactive Leak at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station

- by Rady Ananda – 2011-07-01

VIDEO: US vs Japan: The Threat of Radiation Speculation
Dangerous double standards examined on GRTV
- by Arnie Gundersen – 2011-06-25

Additional articles and videos on Fukushima and Nuclear Radiation are available at Global Research’s Dossier on The Environment


TEXT BOX

 Nuclear Radiation: Categorization

At Fukushima, reports confirm that alpha, beta, gamma particles and neutrons have been released:

“While non-ionizing radiation and x-rays are a result of electron transitions in atoms or molecules, there are three forms of ionizing radiation that are a result of activity within the nucleus of an atom.  These forms of nuclear radiation are alpha particles (α-particles), beta particles (β-particles) and gamma rays (γ-rays).

Alpha particles are heavy positively charged particles made up of two protons and two neutrons.  They are essentially a helium nucleus and are thus represented in a nuclear equation by either α or .  See the Alpha Decay page for more information on alpha particles.

Beta particles come in two forms:  and  particles are just electrons that have been ejected from the nucleus.  This is a result of sub-nuclear reactions that result in a neutron decaying to a proton.  The electron is needed to conserve charge and comes from the nucleus.  It is not an orbital electron.  particles are positrons ejected from the nucleus when a proton decays to a neutron.  A positron is an anti-particle that is similar in nearly all respects to an electron, but has a positive charge.  See the Beta Decay page for more information on beta particles.

Gamma rays are photons of high energy electromagnetic radiation (light).  Gamma rays generally have the highest frequency and shortest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum.  There is some overlap in the frequencies of gamma rays and x-rays; however, x-rays are formed from electron transitions while gamma rays are formed from nuclear transitions. See the Gamma Rays  for more” (SOURCE: Canadian Nuclear Association)

A neutron is a particle that is found in the nucleus, or center, of atoms. It has a mass very close to protons, which also reside in the nucleus of atoms. Together, they make up almost all of the mass of individual atoms. Each has a mass of about 1 amu, which is roughly 1.6×10-27kg. Protons have a positive charge and neutrons have no charge, which is why they were more difficult to discover.” (SOURCE: Neutron Radiation)

“Many different radioactive isotopes are used in or are produced by nuclear reactors. The most important of these are described below:

1. Uranium 235 (U-235) is the active component of most nuclear reactor fuel.

2. Plutonium (Pu-239) is a key nuclear material used in modern nuclear weapons and is also present as a by-product in certain reprocessed fuels used in some nuclear reactors. Pu-239 is also produced in uranium reactors as a byproduct of fission of U-235.

3. Cesium (Cs-137 ) is a fission product of U-235. It emits beta and gamma radiation and can cause radiation sickness and death if exposures are high enough. …

4. Iodine 131 (I-131), also a fission product of U-235, emits beta and gamma radiation. After inhalation or ingestion, it is absorbed by and concentrated in the thyroid gland, where its beta radiation damages nearby thyroid tissue  (SOURCE: Amesh A. Adalja, MD, Eric S. Toner, MD, Anita Cicero, JD, Joseph Fitzgerald, MS, MPH, and Thomas V. Inglesby MD, Radiation at Fukushima: Basic Issues and Concepts, March 31, 2011)


Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He has taught as Visiting Professor at universities in Western Europe, South East Asia, Latin America and The Pacific, acted as adviser to governments of developing countries and as a consultant to several international organizations. Prof. Chossudovsky is a signatory of the Kuala Lumpur declaration to criminalize war and recipient of the Human Rights Prize of the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity (GBM), Berlin, Germany. He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.

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UK police under fire for seducing activists, stealing dead infants’ names

Published time: March 01, 2013 15:27

AFP Photo / Shaun Curry

British MPs have condemned practices used by undercover police, including sleeping with those they were investigating and using dead infants’ names for their covert identity. The MPs have called for legislation to regulate undercover work.

The UK House of Commons held a Home Affairs Select Committee probe into a series of scandals involving undercover police officers. In an interim report published on Friday, the committee addressed three separate issues.

First: Undercover officers became intimate with those they were investigating. Second: The practice of using the names of dead infants to create cover identities for the officers. And last, but not least: MPs criticized the overall system of undercover police work.

Unauthorized, but ‘almost inevitable’ sex

The MPs highlighted several cases in which undercover officers infiltrated various activist groups and initiated long-term intimate relationships with members of those groups. The affairs were then broken off when the agents finished their work. Some incidents reviewed by the commission dated as far back as the 1980s.

Several of the women are now claiming damages over the incidents. While MPs refrained from commenting on the legality of the officers’ actions, “the terrible impact on the lives of those women who had relationships with undercover officers is beyond doubt,” they said, adding that the officers “were not unaffected” either.

“There is an alarming degree of inconsistency in the views of Ministers and senior police officers about the limits of what may and may not be lawfully authorized,” the report said. Officials offered MPs different views on whether such relationships were justified, could be prevented or should be banned outright. One official said such closeness “could almost be inevitable” is some cases.

One practical consideration, former Minister for Policing Nick Herbert explained, is that an explicit ban on such intimacy “would provide a ready-made test for the targeted criminal group to find out whether an undercover officer was deployed among them.” However, there must be strict rules for officers becoming intimate with their targets, the MPs said.

“We do not believe that officers should enter into intimate, physical sexual relationships while using their false identities undercover without clear, prior authorization, which should only be given in the most exceptional circumstances,” the report said.

The report outlined that it is clearly unacceptable to conceive a child as result of such relationships, which reportedly happened to one of the officers. “This must never be allowed to happen again,” the MPs said.

British policemen in south London. (AFP Photo / Carl de Souza)

‘Ghoulish and disrespectful’

Another dubious practice condemned by the MPs was the use of the names of dead infants to create aliases for undercover agents. The practice was “ghoulish and disrespectful,” and potentially dangerous to the bereaved families, they said.

One witness told the commission how she found the home address of the people she believed to be the parents of her missing partner, who was an undercover officer using a fake name. Her intention was not malevolent, but “it is easy to see how officers infiltrating serious, organized criminal and terrorist gangs using the identities of real people could pose a significant risk to the living relatives of those people,” the report stressed.

“The families who have been affected by this deserve an explanation and a full and unambiguous apology from the forces concerned,” the commission continued. “We would also welcome a clear statement from the Home Secretary that this practice will never be followed in future.” 

The Metropolitan Police is currently conducting an investigation into the use of dead infants’ names. To the shock of the commission, the practice was “apparently a surprise to senior officers and it is vital that the investigation establish quickly how high up the chain of command this practice was sanctioned,” the report said.

The commission pledged to request updates on the progress of the probe every three months, including the remaining amount of work, costs, disciplinary proceedings, arrests made, and the families involved being identified and informed. The probe should be concluded by the end of 2013, and the results will be published on the commission’s website every three months.

“It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that using the identities of dead children was not only abhorrent, but reflects badly on the police. It must never occur again,” the MPs said.

The House of Commons. (Reuters)

Reform pending

During the investigation, the MPs found that “standards in undercover operations are jeopardized by lack of clear lines of responsibility between… the different forces and units involved.” They cite discrepancies in training, tactics and review, and called for the establishment of a coherent set of operational instructions.

Of particular concern for the commission was the weak oversight for undercover agents who were gathering intelligence, and how there was no expectation that the evidence gathered must stand up in court.

The MPs argued that undercover police activity should be limited to genuine threats to public safety or national security. They also expressed doubts over the practice of infiltrating activist groups engaged in peaceful protest in the hopes of reaching more radical groups.

The report said that a compelling case exists for a fundamental review of the legislative framework governing undercover policing, including 2000’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

“We recommend that the Government commit to the publication of a Green Paper on the regulation of investigatory powers before the end of this Parliament, with a view to publishing draft legislation in the Session after the next general election,” the report said.


Ed Miliband Under Pressure On The Economy

Ed Miliband will use a major speech on Thursday to attempt to regain lost ground on the economy and set out his vision of how the nation's finances should be run.

Living standards will be at the centrepiece of his message and, in an interview in the Guardian ahead of his speech, the Labour leader says he is "offering a choice between an economic recovery made by the many, not just a few at the top, and a Conservative strategy that consists of trickle-down from the top, a squeeze on the middle and a race to the bottom."

Channeling Ronald Reagan, he adds: "I will be asking the question 'are you better off than you were four years ago?' and I don't think it is in dispute – people are worse off. The Office for Budget Responsibility figures are showing earnings behind inflation, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows the same. It would be a good start if David Cameron could just admit the facts."

In a deliberate dig at the Tories, Miliband will make his speech in Bedford, where 'One Nation' Conservative prime minister Harold Macmillan famously declared, in 1957: "You've never had it so good."

However, the latest polls suggest the public is still more likely to trust the Tories to handle the economy and the leader of the opposition has been warned by his party's own policy chief, MP Jon Cruddas, that 'simply opposing the cuts without an alternative is no good.'

On Wednesday, at PMQs, Miliband was mocked by Prime Minister David Cameron, who claimed publicity for the speech said it would contain 'no new policies', after the Labour leader had attacked Cameron on the key issue of living standards, demanding to know whether people would be better off at the 2015 general election than they were in 2010.

In an exclusive article for The Huffington Post UK, to accompany the Labour leader's speech, one of the key figures in Miliband's inner circle sets out "the battle for the middle".

Writing for HuffPost UK, (Lord) Stewart Wood, a shadow cabinet minister and one of Miliband's most senior advisers, says the plight of people on middle incomes - previously labelled the 'squeezed middle' by Labour - is "the central economic challenge facing our country."

In an article that helps contextualise Miliband's approach to the economy, Wood says the UK is "too dependent on a low-skill, low-wage model of competitiveness," and castigates Cameron's 'global race' mantra. "The [Tory] idea that the key to our economic turnaround is further deregulation of one of the most deregulated economies in the advanced industrial world is somewhere between dubious and ridiculous."

For Wood, "strengthening the high-skill/high-wage parts of our economy, and thereby boosting productivity-per-worker of those in the Middle, is essential to altering the relative shares of national income that go to the top and the rest of Britain’s workforce."

The shadow cabinet minister insists that Labour has "begun to flesh out" its approach, pointing to pledges to tackle the power of banks, pension and utility companies. He hints at future support for the 'Living Wage' and "new methods of setting pay in the workplace".

Gideon Skinner, head of political research of the pollster Ipsos Mori, told The Huffington Post UK that living standards formed "an important part" of the debate on the economy. The overall economic outlook is overwhelmingly ranked at the top of voters' concerns, he said, underlining how important it is for both parties to get their tactics right.

Skinner said the Conservatives and Labour had exchanged the lead in recent polls, suggesting it is still up for grabs in 2015.

"No party is particularly owning the economy issue," he added.

EU Officials ‘Should Oversee Press’, Committee Urges

A "high level" committee set up by the European Commission to produce proposals for EU-wide regulation of the press has attacked David Cameron for rejecting the Leveson Report.

The High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism, established in October 2011 and chaired by the former president of Latvia, Professor Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, reported back on Monday.

Among the recommendations likely to outrage eurosceptic Tory MPs is that press regulation bodies in individual countries should ultimately answer to Brussels.

"Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status," the report suggests.

"The national media councils should follow a set of European-wide standards and be monitored by the Commission to ensure that they comply with European values."

The report is also heavily critical of the prime minister's decision to oppose Lord Justice Leveson's call for the statutory underpinning of independent press regulation in Britain.

"The gross abuses revealed in the Leveson inquiry have led its author to propose much more stringent institutional supervision, where the media would be much more closely monitored, become far more accountable to the public and be subject to heavy fines in the case of infractions," it says.

"That judge Leveson’s recommendations should have been rejected out of hand by some politicians in high office, is not very reassuring. If nothing else, this resistance by itself underscores the urgent need for supervisory bodies that can and do act, instead of being supervisory in name only."

Tory MP Douglas Carswell told the Daily Telegraph the report showed the EU was "incompatibile with the notion of a free society".

“Having EU officials overseeing our free press - and monitoring newspapers to ensure they comply with "European values" - would be quite simply intolerable,” he said.

“This is the sort of mind-set that I would expect to find in Iran, not the West. This kooky idea tells us little about the future of press regulation."

A DCMS spokesperson said: "We have no intention of allowing Europe to regulate the British press. We have been clear that, as set out in the Leveson report, we expect the British press industry to implement tough, independent, self-regulation, in adherence with the Leveson principles.”

European Publishers Council executive director Angela Mills Wade said: “The free and independent press faces deeply challenging times in spite of soaring audiences online but where profits are elusive. In the consultation that now follows we must work together to nurture a truly independent press that promotes democracy and cultural diversity throughout the world."

“We are quite taken aback by some of the report’s recommendations. The EU does not have legal competence under the treaties to harmonise substantive media laws such as defamation. Any notion of harmonised rules of the game, monitored by the EU, is anathema to press freedom – the very thing the group was tasked to protect.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the European plan was "a flagrant attack on press freedom by the European Commission".

"To think that unelected bureacrats in Brussels want the power to ultimately fine and suspend journalists is just outrageous," he said.

"National governments and the EU should stay out of media control. Regulation is something the media can well do themselves. With this new grab for EU regulation of the national media supervisors, it really is becoming like Orwell's 1984. Commisioner Neelie Kroes wants to send out the the thought police. Well, don't let her succeed. Politicians always want to control the media but it is something which should always be resisted."

Related on HuffPost:

Treat Depression … Naturally. Little-Known Secrets to Boosting Mood

mind

Little-Known Secrets to Boosting Mood …

If you’re depressed, you might consider asking your doctor to prescribe anti-depressants.

But as best-selling author Christiane Northrup, MD, notes:

In 2008, we learned that the benefits of antidepressants had been greatly overstated. Former FDA psychiatrist Erick H. Turner, M.D. uncovered some startling information about Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), including Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. In reviewing all the medical literature, he learned that 94 percent of the reports showing the therapeutic benefits of SSRIs were published compared to only 14 percent of the reports showing either no benefits or inconclusive results (of taking SSRIs were published). When he weighed all the literature, Dr. Turner determined that SSRIs were no more effective than a placebo for treating most depressive patients. Those with severe depression were helped, sometimes greatly, but those with mild to moderate depression, the majority of cases, received little relief. British researchers using the Freedom of Information Act uncovered identical findings.

In January 2010, another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirms these findings. The newest study also evaluated another class of antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants. Again, researchers determined that the typical patient, one with mild to moderate depression, gets the same amount of relief from a placebo as from an antidepressant.  The first author of the study, Jay C. Fournier, MA, told Medscape, “I think the most surprising part of the findings was how severe depression has to be in order to see this clinically meaningful difference emerge between medication and placebo, and that the majority of depressed patients presenting for treatment do not fall into that very severe category.”

The New York Times reported that the co-author of the study, Robert J. DeRubeis, shared this important insight: “The message for patients with mild to moderate depression is ‘Look, medications are always an option, but there’s little evidence that they add to other efforts to shake depression–whether it’s exercise, seeing the doctor, reading about the disorder or going for psychotherapy.’”

(In addition, modern SSRI anti-depressants have been shown to increase violent and suicidal behavior in a certain percent of the population.)

So what can those with depressive tendencies do?

Secret of Human Evolution

Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is also crucial in preventing depression. As Science Daily notes:

Researchers from Inserm and INRA and their collaborators in Spain collaboration, have studied mice fed on a diet low in omega-3 fatty acid. They discovered that reduced levels of omega-3 had deleterious consequences on synaptic functions and emotional behaviours.

Details of this work are available in the online version of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

***

The researchers studied mice fed a life-long diet imbalanced in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They found that omega-3 deficiency disturbed neuronal communication specifically ….This neuronal dysfunction was accompanied by depressive behaviours among the malnourished mice.

***

Consequently, the researchers discovered that among mice subjected to an omega-3 deficient dietary regime, synaptic plasticity … is disturbed in at least two structures involved with reward, motivation and emotional regulation: the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens.

***

“Our results can now corroborate clinical and epidemiological studies which have revealed associations between an omega-3/omega-6 imbalance and mood disorders,” explain Olivier Manzoni and Sophie Layé. “To determine if the omega-3 deficiency is responsible for these neuropsychiatric disorders additional studies are, of course, required.”

In conclusion, the authors estimate that their results provide the first biological components of an explanation for the observed correlation between omega-3 poor diets, which are very widespread in the industrialized world, and mood disorders such as depression.

Dr. Northrup writes:

One of the best ways to support health brain chemistry is by taking fish oil. Fish oil has been shown time an again to relieve mild to moderate depression. The omega-3 fatty acids are essential to brain health and, according to Capt. Joe Hibbeln, M.D., these important fats support the serotonin system, may help reduce stress and lower your risk of all kinds of mental illness. Dr. Hibbeln, Chief of Outpatient Services for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is one of the world’s leading researchers on omega-3 fats. His findings have been compelling and encouraging.

***

Also encouraging is the largest ever clinical trial presenting in 2009 showing that fish oil may benefit half of all people with moderate to severe depression.

How could something as obscure as Omega 3s be so critical in preventing depression?

We’ve previously explained that humans evolved to eat a lot of Omega 3s:

Wild game animals have much higher levels of essential Omega 3 fatty acids than domesticated animals. Indeed, leading nutritionists say that humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more), and that a low Omega 3 diet is a very new trend within the last 100 years or so.

In other words, while omega 3s have just now been discovered by modern science, we evolved to get a lot of omega 3s … and if we just eat a modern, fast food diet without getting enough omega 3s, it can cause all sorts of health problems.

So something just discovered by science can be a central fuel which our bodies evolved to use.

Here’s further detail focusing on beef:

For all of human history – until the last couple of decades – people ate beef from cows (or buffalo or bison) which grazed on grass. The cows were usually strong and healthy. Their meat was lean, with very little saturated fat, as the critters ate well and got outdoor exercise. Their meat was high in good Omega 3 fats. See this and this, and humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more).

Today, on the other hand, beef is laden with saturated fat and almost entirely lacking healthy fats like Omega 3s, because the cows are force-fed food which makes them sick. Specifically, instead of their natural menu – grass – they are force-fed corn, which makes them sick. Because their diet makes them ill, they are given massive amounts of antibiotics.  Even with the antibiotics, the diet and living conditions would kill them pretty quickly if they aren’t slaughtered.

Science Daily explains:

In industrialized nations, diets have been impoverished in essential fatty acids since the beginning of the 20th century. The dietary ratio between omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3 increased continuously over the course of the 20th century. These fatty acids are “essential” lipids because the body cannot synthesize them from new. They must therefore be provided through food and their dietary balance is essential to maintain optimal brain functions.

So insufficient Omega 3s is a major source of depression in modern industrialized countries.

The flip side of getting enough healthy Omega 3s is to stay away from the kind of fats which cause depression: trans fats.

(Contrary to what you’ve heard, getting enough of the right kind of healthy cholesterol also decreases depression.)

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants …

Antioxidants also help to prevent depression.  Specifically, oxidative stress has been correlated with depression (and see here).

On the other hand, antioxidants reduce depression. See this, this and thisHere are the tricks for finding the least expensive, most powerful antioxidants.

Moreover, a multivitamin might be smart.  Specifically, Hugh D. Riordan, M.D., argues:

It is possible to become depressed because of the lack of a sufficient amount of a single trace element.

And as we’ve previously noted, modern foods can be nutritionally depleted:

We evolved eating foods which were high in vitamins and minerals ….

But as the Journal Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology notes:

With soil depletion, overfarming and transportation of foods over hundreds of miles with loss of nutrients en route, together with the increased use of convenience and fast foods, women can be over-fed, but under-nourished in our modern society.

The Nutrition Journal points out:

In 1927 a study at King’s College, University of London, of the chemical composition of foods was initiated … to assist with diabetic dietary guidance. The study evolved and was then broadened to determine all the important organic and mineral constituents of foods, it was financed by the Medical Research Council and eventually published in 1940. Over the next 51 years subsequent editions reflected changing national dietary habits and food laws as well as advances in analytical procedures. The most recent (5th Edition) published in 1991 has comprehensively analysed 14 different categories of foods and beverages. In order to provide some insight into any variation in the quality of the foods available to us as a nation between 1940 and 1991 it was possible to compare and contrast the mineral content of 27 varieties of vegetable, 17 varieties of fruit, 10 cuts of meat and some milk and cheese products. The results demonstrate that there has been a significant loss of minerals and trace elements in these foods over that period of time.

Scripps Howard News Service noted in 2006:

The nutritional content of America’s vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years — in some cases dramatically.

Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines — protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.

“It’s an amazing thing,” said Davis, adding that the decline in nutrient content has not been widely noticed.

Many other studies have reported ongoing soil depletion around the world.

***

And many people eat highly processed foods in which most antioxidants have been destroyed.

So – just as with the low levels of omega 3s – there might be less antioxidants like vitamin C in the modern diet than the levels we evolved to run on.

Good Bugs

Live Science reports:

Researchers have increasingly begun to suspect the gut was somehow linked with the brain. For instance, bowel disorders seem linked with stress-related psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression in people.

To learn more, scientists experimented with mice by feeding them a broth containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1. This species naturally lives in our gut, and scientists are exploring whether strains of it can be used as “probiotics” to improve our health. They discovered these rodents displayed significantly less behavior linked with stress, anxiety and depression than mice fed plain broth. Bacteria-fed mice also had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in response to stressful situations such as mazes.

“By affecting gut bacteria, you can have very robust and quite broad-spectrum effects on brain chemistry and behavior,” researcher John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, told LiveScience.

“Without overstating things, this does open up the concept that we could develop therapies that can treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut,” Cryan added. “You could take a yogurt with a probiotic in it instead of an antidepressant.”

***

The investigators found that one GABA receptor component was present in higher levels in bacteria-fed mice in parts of the brain where it is normally lowered during depression. In addition, several GABA receptor components were reduced in parts of the brain where they are normally increased in stressed or anxious animals.

Next, the researchers severed the vagus nerve, which helps alert the central nervous system to changes in the gastrointestinal tract. They found the bacteria-induced effects on behavior and GABA receptors were diminished, suggesting this nerve is the pathway by which changes in the gut can influence the brain.

Vagal nerve stimulations have been used at times to treat depression resistant to other therapies, but “that’s a surgical technique,” Cryan said. “By targeting the gut with probiotics, we could indirectly target the vagus nerve without surgery.”

And see this.

As with Omega 3s, this sounds strange until you realize how humans evolved.

As NPR notes, our bodies are largely made up of – and supported by – bacteria:

Jeffrey Gordon, a professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, who studies the microbes that live on and in us, offers this factoid: “We think that there are 10 times more microbial cells on and in our bodies than there are human cells. That means that we’re 90 percent microbial and 10 percent human. There’s also an estimated 100 times more microbial genes than the genes in our human genome. So we’re really a compendium [and] an amalgamation of human and microbial parts.”

***

Gordon’s research shows that these microbes living in our bodies aren’t just there for the ride — they’re actively contributing to the normal physiology of the human body. He points to the trillions of microbes that live in our gut, doing everything from encoding enzymes to serving as pathways for vitamin production to digesting the parts of food we can’t digest on our own.

Many native cultures ate a lot of fermented foods containing healthy bacteria.  Think yogurt, miso and Inuit fermented seal blubber (gross, we know …)

In addition, antibiotics kill a lot of the healthy bacteria in our gut.  (The over-use of antibiotics has also been linked to obesity and other health problems. See this and this.  Indeed, the prestigious journal Nature suggests that antiobiotics may permanently kill off healthy gut bacteria.).

Given that the modern diet contains less fermented foods, and that antibiotics have killed off some of our healthy intestinal flora, probiotics – sold in health food stores – are an important preventative measure against depression.

Sunshine …

The New York Times points out:

A new, carefully designed randomized controlled trial— of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine — suggests bright light therapy deserves a closer look.

The study was small, involving only 89 patients ages 60 and older, but the results were remarkable. Compared with a placebo, light therapy improved mood just as well as conventional antidepressant medications, said Dr. Ritsaert Lieverse, the paper’s lead author and a psychiatrist at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

The effect sizes we found in this study are comparable to those reported for antidepressants, so I think efficacy is of comparable magnitude,” Dr. Lieverse said in an e-mail.

***

Since depression is often accompanied by poor sleep and other symptoms suggestive of circadian rhythm disruption, the scientists also examined markers of circadian function. The theory is that bright light therapy may act to elevate mood by activating the brain’s so-called circadian pacemaker, a structure called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. As part of the study, researchers assessed sleep quality and measured patients’ melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep-wake cycles, and urinary cortisol and salivary cortisol levels, measures of stress.

Dr. Lieverse said bright light therapy may also work by targeting depression-associated neurotransmitter systems that regulate serotonin and dopamine.

Sunshine has many if not all of these properties.  So getting some sun will help with depression.

Exercise and Sex

Many studies show that exercise reduces depression.   For example, see these reports by the Mayo Clinic, New York Times and WebMD.

Sex also helps to prevent depression.

Testosterone

And naturally boosting your testosterone level also wards off depression.

Mindfulness Meditation

Last – but not least – meditation can prevent depression.  Psychology Today reports:

Imagine if you could cure depression with a therapy that was more effective and long-lasting than expensive drugs, and which did not have any side effects. These are the claims being made for a form of Mindfulness meditation.

Psychologists from the University of Exeter recently published a study into “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” (MBCT), finding it to be better than drugs or counseling for depression. Four months after starting, three quarters of the patients felt well enough to stop taking antidepressants.

***

MBCT was developed in the mid-Nineties by psychologists at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Toronto to help stabilize patients’ moods during and after use of antidepressants. About half of patients relapse into depression – even if they continue taking the medication. One common reason for a relapse is when a normal period of sadness turns into obsessive brooding.

***

The MBCT technique is simple, and revolves around “mindfulness meditation”. In this, you sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. (See box for details). Concentrating on the rhythm of the breath helps produce a feeling of detachment. The idea is that you come to realize that thoughts come and go of their own accord, and that your conscious self is distinct from your thoughts. This realization is encouraged by gentle question-and-answer sessions modeled on those in cognitive therapy.

In the University of Exeter study, funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council, 47 per cent of patients with long-term depression suffered a relapse; the figure was 60 per cent among those taking medication alone. Other studies, including two published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, had comparable outcomes. As a result, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended MBCT since 2004. Availability is still patchy though, with many sufferers seeking courses at Buddhist centers.

“One of the key features of depression is that it hijacks your attention,” says Professor Williams. “We all tend to bring to the forefront of our minds the thoughts and feelings that reflect our current mood. If you are sad, depressed or anxious, then you tend to remember the bad things that have happened to you and not the good. This drives you into a downward spiral that leads from sadness into a deeper depression. MBCT prevents and breaks that spiral.”

Psychology Today provides an example of a typical MBCT meditation:

1. Sit upright in a straight-backed chair, with your spine about an inch from the back of the chair, and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Close your eyes. Use your mind to watch your breath as it flows in and out. Observe your sensations without judgment. Do not try to alter your breathing.

3. After a while your mind will wander. Gently bring your attention back to your breath. The act of realizing that your mind has wandered – and bringing your attention back – is the key thing.

4. Your mind will eventually become calm.

5. Repeat every day for 20-30 minutes.

Postscript:  If you are severely depressed and suicidal, contact a mental health professional. 

We are not health professionals, and this does not constitute mental health or medical advice.

Treat Depression … Naturally

If you’re depressed, you might consider asking your doctor to prescribe anti-depressants.

But as best-selling author Christiane Northrup, MD, notes:

In 2008, we learned that the benefits of antidepressants had been greatly overstated. Former FDA psychiatrist Erick H. Turner, M.D. uncovered some startling information about Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), including Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. In reviewing all the medical literature, he learned that 94 percent of the reports showing the therapeutic benefits of SSRIs were published compared to only 14 percent of the reports showing either no benefits or inconclusive results (of taking SSRIs were published). When he weighed all the literature, Dr. Turner determined that SSRIs were no more effective than a placebo for treating most depressive patients. Those with severe depression were helped, sometimes greatly, but those with mild to moderate depression, the majority of cases, received little relief. British researchers using the Freedom of Information Act uncovered identical findings.

In January 2010, another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirms these findings. The newest study also evaluated another class of antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants. Again, researchers determined that the typical patient, one with mild to moderate depression, gets the same amount of relief from a placebo as from an antidepressant.  The first author of the study, Jay C. Fournier, MA, told Medscape, “I think the most surprising part of the findings was how severe depression has to be in order to see this clinically meaningful difference emerge between medication and placebo, and that the majority of depressed patients presenting for treatment do not fall into that very severe category.”

The New York Times reported that the co-author of the study, Robert J. DeRubeis, shared this important insight: “The message for patients with mild to moderate depression is ‘Look, medications are always an option, but there’s little evidence that they add to other efforts to shake depression–whether it’s exercise, seeing the doctor, reading about the disorder or going for psychotherapy.’”

(In addition, modern SSRI anti-depressants have been shown to increase violent and suicidal behavior in a certain percent of the population.)

So what can those with depressive tendencies do?

Secret of Human Evolution

Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is also crucial in preventing depression. As Science Daily notes:

Researchers from Inserm and INRA and their collaborators in Spain collaboration, have studied mice fed on a diet low in omega-3 fatty acid. They discovered that reduced levels of omega-3 had deleterious consequences on synaptic functions and emotional behaviours.

Details of this work are available in the online version of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

***

The researchers studied mice fed a life-long diet imbalanced in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They found that omega-3 deficiency disturbed neuronal communication specifically ….This neuronal dysfunction was accompanied by depressive behaviours among the malnourished mice.

***

Consequently, the researchers discovered that among mice subjected to an omega-3 deficient dietary regime, synaptic plasticity … is disturbed in at least two structures involved with reward, motivation and emotional regulation: the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens.

***

“Our results can now corroborate clinical and epidemiological studies which have revealed associations between an omega-3/omega-6 imbalance and mood disorders,” explain Olivier Manzoni and Sophie Layé. “To determine if the omega-3 deficiency is responsible for these neuropsychiatric disorders additional studies are, of course, required.”

In conclusion, the authors estimate that their results provide the first biological components of an explanation for the observed correlation between omega-3 poor diets, which are very widespread in the industrialized world, and mood disorders such as depression.

Dr. Northrup writes:

One of the best ways to support health brain chemistry is by taking fish oil. Fish oil has been shown time an again to relieve mild to moderate depression. The omega-3 fatty acids are essential to brain health and, according to Capt. Joe Hibbeln, M.D., these important fats support the serotonin system, may help reduce stress and lower your risk of all kinds of mental illness. Dr. Hibbeln, Chief of Outpatient Services for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is one of the world’s leading researchers on omega-3 fats. His findings have been compelling and encouraging.

***

Also encouraging is the largest ever clinical trial presenting in 2009 showing that fish oil may benefit half of all people with moderate to severe depression.

How could something as obscure as Omega 3s be so critical in preventing depression?

We’ve previously explained that humans evolved to eat a lot of Omega 3s:

Wild game animals have much higher levels of essential Omega 3 fatty acids than domesticated animals. Indeed, leading nutritionists say that humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more), and that a low Omega 3 diet is a very new trend within the last 100 years or so.

In other words, while omega 3s have just now been discovered by modern science, we evolved to get a lot of omega 3s … and if we just eat a modern, fast food diet without getting enough omega 3s, it can cause all sorts of health problems.

So something just discovered by science can be a central fuel which our bodies evolved to use.

Here’s further detail focusing on beef:

For all of human history – until the last couple of decades – people ate beef from cows (or buffalo or bison) which grazed on grass. The cows were usually strong and healthy. Their meat was lean, with very little saturated fat, as the critters ate well and got outdoor exercise. Their meat was high in good Omega 3 fats. See this and this, and humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more).

Today, on the other hand, beef is laden with saturated fat and almost entirely lacking healthy fats like Omega 3s, because the cows are force-fed food which makes them sick. Specifically, instead of their natural menu – grass – they are force-fed corn, which makes them sick. Because their diet makes them ill, they are given massive amounts of antibiotics.  Even with the antibiotics, the diet and living conditions would kill them pretty quickly if they aren’t slaughtered.

Science Daily explains:

In industrialized nations, diets have been impoverished in essential fatty acids since the beginning of the 20th century. The dietary ratio between omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3 increased continuously over the course of the 20th century. These fatty acids are “essential” lipids because the body cannot synthesize them from new. They must therefore be provided through food and their dietary balance is essential to maintain optimal brain functions.

So insufficient Omega 3s is a major source of depression in modern industrialized countries.

The flip side of getting enough healthy Omega 3s is to stay away from the kind of fats which cause depression: trans fats.

(Contrary to what you’ve heard, getting enough of the right kind of healthy cholesterol also decreases depression.)

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants …

Antioxidants also help to prevent depression.  Specifically, oxidative stress has been correlated with depression (and see here).

On the other hand, antioxidants reduce depression. See this, this and thisHere are the tricks for finding the least expensive, most powerful antioxidants.

Moreover, a multivitamin might be smart.  Specifically, Hugh D. Riordan, M.D., argues:

It is possible to become depressed because of the lack of a sufficient amount of a single trace element.

And as we’ve previously noted, modern foods can be nutritionally depleted:

We evolved eating foods which were high in vitamins and minerals ….

But as the Journal Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology notes:

With soil depletion, overfarming and transportation of foods over hundreds of miles with loss of nutrients en route, together with the increased use of convenience and fast foods, women can be over-fed, but under-nourished in our modern society.

The Nutrition Journal points out:

In 1927 a study at King’s College, University of London, of the chemical composition of foods was initiated … to assist with diabetic dietary guidance. The study evolved and was then broadened to determine all the important organic and mineral constituents of foods, it was financed by the Medical Research Council and eventually published in 1940. Over the next 51 years subsequent editions reflected changing national dietary habits and food laws as well as advances in analytical procedures. The most recent (5th Edition) published in 1991 has comprehensively analysed 14 different categories of foods and beverages. In order to provide some insight into any variation in the quality of the foods available to us as a nation between 1940 and 1991 it was possible to compare and contrast the mineral content of 27 varieties of vegetable, 17 varieties of fruit, 10 cuts of meat and some milk and cheese products. The results demonstrate that there has been a significant loss of minerals and trace elements in these foods over that period of time.

Scripps Howard News Service noted in 2006:

The nutritional content of America’s vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years — in some cases dramatically.

Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines — protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.

“It’s an amazing thing,” said Davis, adding that the decline in nutrient content has not been widely noticed.

Many other studies have reported ongoing soil depletion around the world.

***

And many people eat highly processed foods in which most antioxidants have been destroyed.

So – just as with the low levels of omega 3s – there might be less antioxidants like vitamin C in the modern diet than the levels we evolved to run on.

Good Bugs

Live Science reports:

Researchers have increasingly begun to suspect the gut was somehow linked with the brain. For instance, bowel disorders seem linked with stress-related psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression in people.

To learn more, scientists experimented with mice by feeding them a broth containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1. This species naturally lives in our gut, and scientists are exploring whether strains of it can be used as “probiotics” to improve our health. They discovered these rodents displayed significantly less behavior linked with stress, anxiety and depression than mice fed plain broth. Bacteria-fed mice also had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in response to stressful situations such as mazes.

“By affecting gut bacteria, you can have very robust and quite broad-spectrum effects on brain chemistry and behavior,” researcher John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, told LiveScience.

“Without overstating things, this does open up the concept that we could develop therapies that can treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut,” Cryan added. “You could take a yogurt with a probiotic in it instead of an antidepressant.”

***

The investigators found that one GABA receptor component was present in higher levels in bacteria-fed mice in parts of the brain where it is normally lowered during depression. In addition, several GABA receptor components were reduced in parts of the brain where they are normally increased in stressed or anxious animals.

Next, the researchers severed the vagus nerve, which helps alert the central nervous system to changes in the gastrointestinal tract. They found the bacteria-induced effects on behavior and GABA receptors were diminished, suggesting this nerve is the pathway by which changes in the gut can influence the brain.

Vagal nerve stimulations have been used at times to treat depression resistant to other therapies, but “that’s a surgical technique,” Cryan said. “By targeting the gut with probiotics, we could indirectly target the vagus nerve without surgery.”

And see this.

As with Omega 3s, this sounds strange until you realize how humans evolved.

As NPR notes, our bodies are largely made up of – and supported by – bacteria:

Jeffrey Gordon, a professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, who studies the microbes that live on and in us, offers this factoid: “We think that there are 10 times more microbial cells on and in our bodies than there are human cells. That means that we’re 90 percent microbial and 10 percent human. There’s also an estimated 100 times more microbial genes than the genes in our human genome. So we’re really a compendium [and] an amalgamation of human and microbial parts.”

***

Gordon’s research shows that these microbes living in our bodies aren’t just there for the ride — they’re actively contributing to the normal physiology of the human body. He points to the trillions of microbes that live in our gut, doing everything from encoding enzymes to serving as pathways for vitamin production to digesting the parts of food we can’t digest on our own.

Many native cultures ate a lot of fermented foods containing healthy bacteria.  Think yogurt, miso and Inuit fermented seal blubber (gross, we know …)

In addition, antibiotics kill a lot of the healthy bacteria in our gut.  (The healthy bacteria-killing property of antibiotics has also been linked to obesity and other health problems. See this and this.).

Given that the modern diet contains less fermented foods, and that antibiotics have killed off some of our intestinal flora, probiotics are an important preventative measure against depression.

Sunshine …

The New York Times points out:

A new, carefully designed randomized controlled trial— of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine — suggests bright light therapy deserves a closer look.

The study was small, involving only 89 patients ages 60 and older, but the results were remarkable. Compared with a placebo, light therapy improved mood just as well as conventional antidepressant medications, said Dr. Ritsaert Lieverse, the paper’s lead author and a psychiatrist at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

The effect sizes we found in this study are comparable to those reported for antidepressants, so I think efficacy is of comparable magnitude,” Dr. Lieverse said in an e-mail.

***

Since depression is often accompanied by poor sleep and other symptoms suggestive of circadian rhythm disruption, the scientists also examined markers of circadian function. The theory is that bright light therapy may act to elevate mood by activating the brain’s so-called circadian pacemaker, a structure called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. As part of the study, researchers assessed sleep quality and measured patients’ melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep-wake cycles, and urinary cortisol and salivary cortisol levels, measures of stress.

Dr. Lieverse said bright light therapy may also work by targeting depression-associated neurotransmitter systems that regulate serotonin and dopamine.

Sunshine has many if not all of these properties.  So getting some sun will help with depression.

Exercise and Sex

Many studies show that exercise reduces depression.   For example, see these reports by the Mayo Clinic, New York Times and WebMD.

Sex also helps to prevent depression.

Testosterone

And naturally boosting your testosterone level also wards off depression.

Mindfulness Meditation

Last – but not least – meditation can prevent depression.  Psychology Today reports:

Imagine if you could cure depression with a therapy that was more effective and long-lasting than expensive drugs, and which did not have any side effects. These are the claims being made for a form of Mindfulness meditation.

Psychologists from the University of Exeter recently published a study into “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” (MBCT), finding it to be better than drugs or counseling for depression. Four months after starting, three quarters of the patients felt well enough to stop taking antidepressants.

***

MBCT was developed in the mid-Nineties by psychologists at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Toronto to help stabilize patients’ moods during and after use of antidepressants. About half of patients relapse into depression – even if they continue taking the medication. One common reason for a relapse is when a normal period of sadness turns into obsessive brooding.

***

The MBCT technique is simple, and revolves around “mindfulness meditation”. In this, you sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. (See box for details). Concentrating on the rhythm of the breath helps produce a feeling of detachment. The idea is that you come to realize that thoughts come and go of their own accord, and that your conscious self is distinct from your thoughts. This realization is encouraged by gentle question-and-answer sessions modeled on those in cognitive therapy.

In the University of Exeter study, funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council, 47 per cent of patients with long-term depression suffered a relapse; the figure was 60 per cent among those taking medication alone. Other studies, including two published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, had comparable outcomes. As a result, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended MBCT since 2004. Availability is still patchy though, with many sufferers seeking courses at Buddhist centers.

“One of the key features of depression is that it hijacks your attention,” says Professor Williams. “We all tend to bring to the forefront of our minds the thoughts and feelings that reflect our current mood. If you are sad, depressed or anxious, then you tend to remember the bad things that have happened to you and not the good. This drives you into a downward spiral that leads from sadness into a deeper depression. MBCT prevents and breaks that spiral.”

Psychology Today provides an example of a typical MBCT meditation:

1. Sit upright in a straight-backed chair, with your spine about an inch from the back of the chair, and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Close your eyes. Use your mind to watch your breath as it flows in and out. Observe your sensations without judgment. Do not try to alter your breathing.

3. After a while your mind will wander. Gently bring your attention back to your breath. The act of realizing that your mind has wandered – and bringing your attention back – is the key thing.

4. Your mind will eventually become calm.

5. Repeat every day for 20-30 minutes.

Postscript:  If you are severely depressed and suicidal, contact a mental health professional. 

We are not health professionals, and this does not constitute mental health or medical advice.

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Fish with radiation over 2,500 times safe levels found near Fukushima plant

The unit No.1 (L) and No. 2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are seen through a window in a bus while Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects the nuclear power plant power plant in Fukushima Prefecture December 29, 2012.(Reuters / Pool New)

The unit No.1 (L) and No. 2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are seen through a window in a bus while Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects the nuclear power plant power plant in Fukushima Prefecture December 29, 2012.(Reuters / Pool New)

A fish containing over 2,500 times Japan's legal limit for radiation in seafood has been caught in the vicinity of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the facility's operator reported.

­A ‘murasoi’ fish, similar to a rockfish, was caught at a port inside the plant, according to AFP. Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) indicated that the amount of cesium measured 254,000 becquerels per kilogram – 2,540 times Japan's legal limit for radiation in seafood.

In October, TEPCO admitted that radiation leaks at the plant had not fully stopped.

In 2011, after a March earthquake and tsunami devastated the region, Japan barred beef, vegetables, milk, seafood and mushrooms grown near the affected area from both domestic markets and exports over safety concerns.

Science magazine published an article revealing that the levels of cesium in seafood around the disaster-battered area had not decreased since 2011. In October 2012, around 40 percent of bottom-dwelling marine species demonstrated elevated radiation levels, with cesium-134 and 137 levels above Japan's legal limit. August samples collected by author Ken Buesseler had cesium levels 250 times what Japanese authorities consider safe.

Seafood from the area near Fukushima has turned out to be a health hazard abroad, as well as within the country.

In July, Russia expressed concern over fish caught off its coast near Japan. In May, a contaminated tuna was found near the California coastline. Japan stressed that they understood the numbers of contaminated seafood are “extremely high,” but also pointed out that radiation was detected only in the kinds of fish found closest to the plant.

In October 2012, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, announced that it would relax regulations on imports of Japanese food starting on November 1. The restrictions were introduced after the quake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, with many countries such as the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the UK either halting food imports or starting additional inspections of Japanese imports.

Lord Fowler Says A Royal Charter For Press Regulation Is ‘Absurd’

The government will look “absurd” if it rejects the Leveson Report’s recommendations for the regulation of the press in favour of a Royal Charter, a former chairman of the Conservative Party has said.

Lord Fowler, also a former chairman of the House of Lords Communications Committee, has urged David Cameron to reverse his opposition to Lord Justice wrLeveson’s suggestion for the statuatory underpinning of the independent self-regulation of the press.

On Friday peers will debate the Leveson Report, the recommendations of which has split parliament, the coalition and the Tory party down the middle.

The prime minister dismayed many anti-phone hacking campaigners when he decided to reject Leveson’s call for a new system of press regulation to be backed by a new law.

Opponents of the plan, including editors of national newspapers and magazines, have argued that any state involvement in regulation will seriously threaten the freedom of the press.

However Lord Fowler told The Huffington Post UK that in reality the Leveson plan as “modest and moderate” and should be adopted as soon as possible

“The whole thing is in a bit of a muddle, I think that the obvious thing to do would be implement the Leveson report and the proposal on statutory underpinning,” he said.

“There has been enormous amount of black propaganda about what all this is going to mean and a number of people have accepted what they say.

“There was an ex-cabinet colleague of mine who couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, they said [Leveson] was a very modest measure, and that’s true.

“Those who say this is statutory control, I think that that’s inaccurate. I think it's simply not statutory control; it’s a very modest underpinning."

It has been reported that in an effort to find a solution to the impasse, the government is considering an alternative option that would see a new system of press regulation overseen by a Royal Charter - granted by the privy council and independent of parliament.

The privy council is headed by Nick Clegg and made up of other cabinet ministers and other members of the government – leaving open the possibility government could withdraw any new regulator the right to regulate the press if it dislikes how it acts.

Lord Fowler said because of this the idea in many ways was “worse than the Leveson proposals” as it went too far the other way towards state control.

“I think it’s a bad idea. First of all a Royal Charter is a very arcane and antique system,” he said. “It gives power to the privy council, which is not exactly a democratic body.”

“It effectively is saying the government is going to take a big part of the control.

“Behind close doors my understanding is, and I wouldn’t swear to this, my understanding is they trying to make the Royal Charter thing work.

He added: “But I think it will just look absurd if the government says we’re not going to have underpinning, but instead now have a Royal Charter.”

The former Tory chairman observed that a Royal Charter, which he said is in effect “stitch-up” between the government and the Corporation, oversees the BBC.

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Amazon’s revolutionary approach to deliveries has one-upped itself by solving the long-standing issue of drone landings...

'EU voters are more anti-immigration than I am,' Farage rants at MEPs

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has accused Eurocrats of “despising” their own voters, who he...

With 'Valentine to Corruption,' Trump Officially Kills Big Oil Transparency

In a move global rights groups are decrying as a Valentine's Day gift to Big Oil, President Donald Trump on Tuesday officially voided a...

Trump is a Catastrophe, But So was the TPP

Since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I’ve found myself talking for the first time with a lot of my 20-something...

Iraq abuse lawyer faces £3.2mn lawsuit for ‘hounding’ British soldiers

The lawyer accused of aggressively pursuing UK troops over claims of abuse during the war in Iraq faces a lawsuit to recover the millions...

Downing Street insists British dual nationals will not be affected by Trump’s travel ban

Theresa May’s government issued a statement on Monday afternoon insisting British citizens with dual nationality...

Executive hyperdrive: Trump’s first week in White House

President Donald Trump’s first week was a bumpy ride of executive orders, with the commander-in-chief and...

The British Government Has Colluded with Monsanto and Should Be Held Accountable in the...

“The British Government has colluded with Monsanto and should be held accountable in the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity...

EU nurses working in Britain could pose public health risk, warns watchdog

Britain’s nursing regulator has warned the government that a lack of checks on foreign nurses working in UK hospitals could be putting public health...

Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters

The push to commercialise the growing of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is currently held up in court due to a lawsuit by...

British PM Theresa May to meet Trump on Friday — White House

British Prime Minister Theresa May will become the first foreign leader to meet with US...

Rex Tillerson Would Put the Dollar Sign on the American Flag

“I feel,” Nebraska Senator George Norris warned a century ago, “that we are about to put the dollar sign on the American flag.” Decrying...

Economist admits BoE’s Brexit financial collapse warnings were ‘a misjudgement’

Economists failed to predict the 2008 financial crash and completely misjudged Brexit’s impact, the executive...

From Agriculture to Demonetisation: Not ‘Make in India’ but Made in Washington

Colin Todhunter A version of the following piece was originally published in June 2016. However, since then, India’s PM Narendra Modi has embarked on a...

British councils used covert surveillance to monitor petty crimes such as ‘dog fouling’ –...

British councils were given permission to gather surveillance using covert methods over the course of...

Obama’s Nonexistent Legacy

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org “Trump did more than any democrat to deflate the neocon/neoliberal agenda that liberals themselves screamed was fascist when Bush...

Obama admin nixes Arctic drilling in final plan

The Obama administration has announced its five-year plan for new oil and gas drilling leases in...

Why Are Public Officials Protecting the Pesticides Industry? Digging Down into the Cesspool of...

Colin Todhunter It is based on a cesspool of corruption that is most probably responsible for more death and disease than the combined efforts of...

Stateless ‘ghost’ people needlessly locked up in British prisons – legal experts

Stateless people are being locked up in prison despite the fact there is nowhere to deport them to, a group of lawyers and academics...

Have We Just Avoided a Devastating Nuclear War?

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Thankfully humanity is freed from the scourge of a third Hillary and Bill Clinton crime family co-presidency - she in...

Brain stimulation to help US drone operators, airmen perform better at multitasking – study

Many military jobs are mentally draining, so much so that US military scientists have developed a...

France and Britain bicker over last abandoned refugee children in Calais

France is blaming Britain for failing to take responsibility for a group of 100 abandoned migrant children who remain sleeping in makeshift conditions in...

How the 2004 Presidential Election Was Stolen by George W. Bush

Eric Zuesse (RINF) - In 2006, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. headlined at Rolling Stone “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” and he presented an argument that...

Exposed: Coca-Cola’s Evil Lobbying Campaign

A treasure trove of emails released by hactivist site DC Leaks reveals that corporate giant Coca-Cola has launched a worldwide campaign to stop the...

Agrochemicals and the Cesspool of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes to the US EPA 

Colin Todhunter (RINF) - In her recent open letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason documents what amounts to...

Bought and Paid For: The Corporate Media Riggs Elections

(RINF) - The 2016 Republican presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by the Republicans, the Democrats, Russians, space aliens, or voters. It was...

World Wide Fund for Nature: Stop Greenwashing Capitalism, Start Holding Corporations to Account (Dr Rosemary...

Colin Todhunter (RINF) - In the 1970s, the agrochemicals industry was able to evade effective regulation in the UK. Robert van den Bosch, wrote in 1978...

Seeds of Occupation: India’s Stockholm Syndrome

Colin Todhunter Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their...

Toxic Allegiances and Corporate Power: Open Letter to the Oxford Martin Commission

Colin Todhunter The Oxford Martin School is based at Oxford University in the UK. In what seems to be a laudable aim, the school has...

Why Are Billionaires Backing Hillary And Icing Trump?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org No U.S. Presidential candidate since William McKinley in 1896 has received as nearly-unanimous financial backing from America’s wealthiest 0.01%...

I’m a Bernie Sanders Voter: Here’s Why I’ll Vote Trump

By Eric Zuesse Sometimes, things in politics are the opposite of the way they seem. The Presidential contest between the ‘liberal’ Hillary Clinton’ and the...

The Lost Language of Integration

(Photo: Ars Electronica / Flickr) In a recent This American Life episode, investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones discusses the perils of America’s segregated school system. She points...

A System Of Food Production For Human Need, Not Corporate Greed

Colin Todhunter There has been an adverse trend in the food and agriculture sector in recent times with the control of seeds and chemical inputs...

Big Pharma spent $880mn on keeping opioids available – report

In the midst of one of the worst drug epidemics in the US, a report found that the money spent on keeping painkillers regularly...

‘You Know That It’s Not a Few Rotten Apples’ – CounterSpin interview with William...

Janine Jackson interviewed William Black on Wells Fargo fraud for the September 16, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. MP3 Link Janine...

Ofcom to begin regulating BBC in major Tory shakeup

Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, will soon come under the watchful eye of Ofcom like every other media channel in the country, Culture Secretary...

Brexit fatal threat to War on Terror, says Europol chief

Britain’s departure from the European Union might prove fatal to international police efforts against terrorism,...

Blocking online porn could be against EU law

Broadband providers who restrict online access to pornography and block ads could be breaking EU...

Murdoch-owned Fox News censured by Ofcom over pro-Brexit broadcast

Fox News broke UK broadcasting rules on the day of the EU referendum when it...

‘It’s a Kind of Original Sin of the Modern Democratic Party’ – CounterSpin interview...

Janine Jackson interviewed Felicia Kornbluh on the 20th anniversary of welfare ‘reform’ for the August 19, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly...

US agrees to give up power over internet to private company in October

The US is going to surrender its oversight of the internet to a multi-stakeholder body as...

‘Ironic’: Artist takes AK-47s to Texas as part of exhibit, items barred from entry

US customs has refused entry to contemporary art installations featuring three decommissioned AK-47 assault rifles brought...

America’s Aristocracy Facing Resistance from American Public Regarding Russia

Eric Zuesse, updated from strategic-culture.org The subterranean reality of U.S. foreign policy is that it serves the U.S. aristocracy, the owners of controlling blocs of...

Media Silence and the Agrochemicals Industry: The Slow Poisoning of Health and the Environment  

Colin Todhunter It’s an all too common tale of dirty deeds, shady deals and propaganda. Rosemary Mason’s recent open letter to journalists at The Guardian...

The Scandal of the EU Commission and their Revolving Doors

The Goldman Sachs employment of former EU Commission President Barroso has placed the EU’s revolving door problem firmly on the political agenda. Although many...

Europeans say no single market access … unless migrants are still welcome in post-Brexit...

Citizens of several European Union member states called on Britain to keep its borders open...

BBC accused of silence over possible conflict of interest among journalists

After being accused of blatant bias against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the BBC is now...

Monsanto in India: Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss?

In capitalism, the state’s primary role is to secure the interests of private capital. The institutions of globalised capitalism - from the World Bank,...

President Hillary and World War III

I recently sat down with Casey Research founder Doug Casey to discuss this. Doug is a former classmate of Bill Clinton and has met...

Brexit could result in more animal testing, warn campaigners

Campaigners fear more animals will be used for testing after Brexit, as the latest government...

How Britain’s Aristocracy Are Playing the Brexit Thing

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org on July 6th; now updated in this version’s closing paragraphs HISTORICAL PRELIMINARY The European Union, and opposition to Brexit (or...

What the coup against Jeremy Corbyn reveals about the Labour Party

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Chris Marsden Just ten months ago, Jeremy Corbyn was elected labour leader,...

Britain’s Scramble for Africa: The New Colonialism

Colin Todhunter Africa is facing a new and devastating colonial invasion driven by a determination to plunder the natural resources of the continent, especially its...

Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well

Democracy no longer exists in the West. In the US powerful private interest groups, such as the military-security complex, Wall Street, the Israel Lobby,...

Hillary’s Religion

Few books have as misleading a title as Hard Choices. For Hillary Clinton, as this tedious memoir of her years as Secretary of State...

Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”

Colin Todhunter Unlike their predecessors, early 21st century missionaries do not come armed with bibles. They come as members of a scientific priesthood, spouting slick...

Why There Will Probably Be a Second Referendum on Brexit

Opinion, by Eric Zuesse PRELIMINARY Brexit (British exit from the European Union) would be a ferocious kidney-blow to the international aristocracy, the people (and their agents)...

The Hangover (British Version)

(Photo: justified sinner / Flickr) It’s the morning after. The British have woken up, dazed and woozy. They’re not exactly sure what happened a few days...

Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?  

Colin Todhunter Describing itself as a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company, APCO Worldwide is a lobby/PR agency with firm links to the Wall...

Who will stand up to corruption?

To some, corruption may appear a victimless crime. But for a vast number of people, especially in the developing world, corruption manifests itself as...

Living High on the Government Hog

A defining characteristic of socialism in all its forms in all places and at all times is a relatively small political elite (and its...

Not Neutral on Net Neutrality: All Things Considered Considered Only One Side

An NPR blogger’s report (6/14/16) on a court ruling approving net neutrality rules was accompanied by a photo of FCC commissioners celebrating. But the...

Down the memory hole? Why are police refusing to release Mateen 911 call?

Orlando police are refusing to release the 911 call that Omar Mateen placed the night he killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub, raising questions...

False Promises, Smears and Golden Rice: Is This the Solution for Disease, Poverty and...

Colin Todhunter  The pro-GMO lobby relies on fraud, regulatory delinquency, opaque practices, smear campaigns, dirty tricks, slick PR and the debasement of science. While choosing to sideline the root causes of...

Majority of mentally ill who committed suicide with gun bought it legally – study

People with serious mental illnesses who use firearms to commit suicide usually bought them legally, according...

MI5 was bulk collecting public’s data, with little or no oversight

MI5 was allowed to escape regular scrutiny of its bulk collection of communications data by the watchdog charged with overseeing it, newly-released confidential correspondence...

John Prescott to probe ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone as guest host of RT’s News...

Tony Blair’s deputy prime minister will host RT’s News Thing comedy show on Saturday night,...

First Deposition Released on Clinton Email Case

Eric Zuesse U.S. Ambassador Lewis Lukens’s sworn testimony in the case of Hillary Clinton’s privatization of the U.S. Secretary of State’s email is the first...

Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe

This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)...

Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe: An Open letter to the EFSA Chief Attorney...

This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)...

Pesticides, GMOs and Corporate Control: The Poster Child is Monsanto but Neil Young is...

Neil Young has a long history of activism. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, which works to support small and family farmers in North...

Chamber of Secrets? Harry Potter actress Emma Watson named in Panama Papers

Millionaire Harry Potter actress and self-styled champion of social and feminist causes Emma Watson has...

Triumph of Love: British security agency loses legal bid to force hacker to reveal...

Campaigners have welcomed a UK court ruling against Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA), which was...

Cameron proposes global anti-corruption body … with zero law enforcement powers

A global anti-corruption agency designed to track dirty money and crack down on tax evasion,...

LEAKED: Explosive TTIP documents expose corporate takeover, dismantled climate protection

Climate protection, jobs, food safety and online privacy rights will be whittled away under the...

Journalism, Pro-GMO Triumphalism And Neoliberal Dogma In India

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar is a senior Indian journalist. He is also a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington. The Cato Institute has a...

Hillary Clinton's wealthy donors revealed in Panama Papers

Names in the Panama Papers link Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, fresh off a big win...

Dominatrix-scandal Tory MP could be probed… by spies

Amid allegations of relationships with sex workers and letting former Playboy models see confidential papers,...

“We are being silently poisoned by thousands of untested and unmonitored chemicals” The case...

On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in...

Capitalism And Global Agribusiness: From Ford To Monsanto, It’s For Your Own Good

“We must… build our own local food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly agroecological food production... We cannot allow Agroecology to...

The Globalisation of Bad Food and Poor Health: Sustainable Development or Sustainable Profits?

The proportion of deaths due to cancer around the world increased from 12 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2013. Globally, cancer is already...

Bill Clinton on Brexit: N. Ireland will ‘get whacked’ if Britain leaves the EU

Northern Ireland will be dealt a serious blow if UK citizens vote for a Brexit...

Leaked: Secret EU plan could see 80,000 Afghans deported, civil liberties group claims

Tens of thousands of Afghans could be deported back to the collapsing state from Europe...

GMO and the Right to Know: But What’s Hidden Beneath the Label?

Rachel Parent’s campaign (Kids Right To Know) on GMO labelling has been the subject of a GM industry strategy aimed at countering her message. Despite this,...

Feeding the Bank Balance or Feeding the World: GMOs, Development and the Politics of...

Modern state-corporate capitalism is stripping the environment bare through unsustainable levels of consumption. It is legitimised by a deceitful ideology that attempts to justify and...

For Indigenous Peoples, Megadams Are ‘Worse than Colonization’

COPINH participating in a march against a U.S. military base in Palmerola, Honduras, 2011. (Photo: Felipe Canova / Flickr) Early in the morning of March...

British base workers exposed to Trident radiation

A new report says safety breach at a nuclear weapons base in the United Kingdom exposed workers to radiation in 2012. 20 workers received ‘low...

Nobel-Prize-Winning Economist Condemns Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals

Eric Zuesse The Nobel-Prize-winning former chief economist of the World Bank, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the U.S. President, Joseph Stiglitz,...

For an active boycott of the Brexit referendum!

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. For an active boycott of the Brexit referendum! Statement of the Socialist...

Breaking the Backbone of Indian Society: The Small Farmer

This is an updated and amended version of an article originally published in August 2015 which includes new information and new links to journal...

‘Dogs of war’: Profiteering military contractors must be regulated, warns charity

Private firms based in Britain are reaping huge profits by exploiting conflict and instability around the world in the absence of proper regulation, a...

Bangladesh tea estate workers oppose government’s land seizures

Wimal Perera Over 15,000 tea estate employees in northeastern Bangladesh’s Habiganj district are fighting government’s moves to seize land on which they cultivate paddy rice....

Sorry, but the Super Bowl Promotes War

David Swanson Super Bowl 50 was the first National Football League championship to happen since it was reported that much of the pro-military hoopla at football games — the...

Treasury officials wined & dined by arms giants & ‘rogue banks’

Treasury officials regularly accepted invitations to lavish dinners with lobbyists for banks that were being investigated for market rigging, a new report has found. The...

ISIS financing: ‘Follow the money, disrupt the flow,’ say experts

Britain’s role in thwarting financial flows destined for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was examined on Tuesday, as a panel of experts advised the...

Why doesn’t the U.S. government track prescription drug death statistics more diligently … since...

Recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on the heads of state of countries allied with the United States – even after...

Corporate Power Doesn’t Always Win: Remembering the FTAA

(Photo: Shooting Chris / Flickr) In retrospect, it sounds like a dream come true: a mobilized population, intercontinental organizing, cooperative left-wing governments – all culminating...

A Balanced View of the Obama Presidency

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Barack Obama’s Presidency turns out to have been what neither his supporters nor his opponents expected. A balanced historical...

From Copenhagen to India, Restoring the Link Between Farmer and Consumer and Challenging the...

  “Food systems have been reduced to a model of industrialised agriculture controlled by a few transnational food corporations together with a small group of...

Spain Says “No” to Austerity

Spain’s left-wing Podemos party made impressive gains in the Spanish election. (Photo: Thierry Ehrmann / Flickr Commons) For the third time in a year, the...

Batting for GM in India: Smears, Misinformation and Depoliticising the Political

Sir Richard John Roberts is a biochemist and molecular biologist and currently works at New England Biolabs in the US. He is also a...

Why Is Britain Being Prepared For A World War?

After the outbreak of world war in 1914, many new rules and regulations came to Britain. This is of course understandable given the scale...

Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe

 If sanctioned, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be the biggest trade deal ever seen. Yet the public continue to be kept...

America’s Awesome Corruption – Especially in the Military

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On November 16th, the great journalist on international strategic and military issues, F. William Engdahl, headlined at journal-neo, “Do We...

TPP Ignores Global Warming & Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama’s capstone to his Presidency, his proposed megalithic international ‘trade’ treaties, are finally coming into their home-stretch, with the Pacific...

Strong Links between Glyphosate and a Multitude of Cancers that are “reaching epidemic proportions”:...

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The use of glyphosate is widespread throughout Europe. However, on 20 March the World Health Organisation’s...

Hillary Clinton Pretends to Be Progressive; She’s Actually Conservative

Eric Zuesse The contrast between Hillary Clinton’s stated positions and her actual record, is stark. The record shows that she actually supports international trade treaties that...

They Profit, We Die: Toxic Agriculture and the Poisoning of Soils, Human Health and...

Our food system is in big trouble. It’s in big trouble because the global agritech/agribusiness sector is poisoning it, us and the environment with...

George Will’s Freedom to Be Unequal Depends a Lot on Government Coercion

George Will: The fundamental producer of income inequality is freedom.” (cc photo: Penn State) George Will really took it to Bernie Sanders in his Washington...

Europe Secretly Starts Imposing TTIP Despite the Public’s Overwhelming Opposition

Eric Zuesse The terms of Obama’s proposed TPP ‘trade’ treaty with Asian countries won’t be made public until the treaty has already been in force...

London is hub of police sexual misconduct

A London police officer has been charged with seven counts of rape alleged to have occurred between December 24, 2013 and September 2, 2014. According...

TTIP: The Aristocracy Aren’t Satisfied; They Demand More

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org A new analysis of the Obama-proposed TTIP ‘trade’ treaty, which the U.S. would have with Europe, finds that it...

Another Way Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Help International Corporations Privatize Government

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Recently, the issue was raised regarding the profits that would flow to international corporations by Obama’s proposed trade-deals encouraging...

Newborn baby died after family evicted from social housing

A 10-week old baby, born prematurely, died after his parents and sister were evicted from social housing in Warwickshire following the withdrawal of tenancy...

“Marketplace” Program, from ‘Nonprofit’ NPR, Pumps Fascism

Eric Zuesse Here’s a pretty blatant example: On October 7th, U.S. National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) “Marketplace’ show headlined glowingly "How the TPP will drive domestic reform in Asia,” and...

No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined US Tech and Europeans’ Privacy

Danny O'Brien The spread of knowledge about the NSA's surveillance programs has shaken the trust of customers in U.S. Internet companies like Facebook, Google, and...

The Western Alliance Is Crumbling

EU Is Abandoning U.S. on Overthrowing Assad Obama Cannot Defeat Assad without EU’s Help EU Also Rejects Obama’s TTIP & TISA Demands Obama’s Presidential ‘Legacy’ Heads to...

Ten Reasons to Oppose the Saudi Monarchy

During the discussion on the Iran nuclear deal, it has been strange to hear US politicians fiercely condemn Iranian human rights abuses while remaining...

Modi and Monsanto: A Wake Up Call For India

Immediately prior to Narendra Modi being elected India’s PM last year, there were calls from some quarters for him to usher in a Thatcherite-style...

Can Jeremy Corbyn Stem the Tide of Neoliberalism and Militarism?

Jeremy Corbyn has won the British Labour Party’s leadership election by a landslide. Corbyn comes from the left of the party, a party that...

False Reports of Russian Military Intervention in Syria

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - After numerous US-led Western reports of nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, how could anyone believe its military intervened in Syria...

TTIP smokescreen: Documents on EC talks with Big Tobacco heavily redacted

Redacted documents detailing covert meetings between the European Commission (EC) and powerful tobacco lobbyists have compounded fears a secretive EU-US trade deal would allow...

Financial war for profit – Monied Interests Run America

Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Powerful Wall Street headquartered monied interests run America - in league with corrupt federal, state and local officials, waging financial war...

Where the TPP Could Lose

Activists in Chile have made their government draw red lines on the corporate-friendly investment deal. North Americans could take a lesson. Julia Paley After years of...

Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture

We are about to enter August. And that's a special month in India. Each year, on the 15th, the country commemorates the anniversary of independence...

Watchdogs Reveal Chamber of Commerce ‘Blowing Smoke’ for Big Tobacco

New report sheds light on joint efforts to undermine public health protections against tobacco by Sarah Lazare A new report sheds light on the shadowy and coordinated...

A Case Study of Israeli Murder

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Since 2000 alone, Israel killed around 10,000 Palestinians, including over 2,000 children. The Occupied Territories are virtual free-fire zones. Israeli soldiers,...

The Nazi past of Germany’s post-war political elite

By Verena Nees Fifty years ago, the Brown Book: War criminals and Nazis in the Federal Republic–in government, business, administration, the army, the judiciary and science...

How Fascist Capitalism Functions: The Case of Greece

Eric Zuesse There is democratic capitalism, and there is fascist capitalism. What we have today is fascist capitalism; and the following will explain how it...

A 12 Step Guide to the EU’s Crisis of Political Responsibility

Why are European institutions incapable of implementing values that honour fraternity, solidarity, and a dignified life? by Donatella della Porta (Open Democracy) - Progressive social movements have...

NPR Ombud Responds on ‘All-Corporate Lobbyist’ Alert – Report not as one-sided as FAIR...

NPR ombud Elizabeth Jensen’s commentary was illustrated with a photo of Barack Obama signing Fast Track; with the voice of an outside observer, NPR‘s...

Capture, Smear, Contaminate: The Politics Of GMOs

When rich companies with politically-connected lobbyists and seats on public bodies bend policies for their own ends, we are in serious trouble. It is...

Food Security: a Hostage to Wall Street

In October of last year, World Food Day celebrated ‘Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth’. According to the UN Food and...

Obama Wants Regime Change in Ecuador

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Obama is no man of the people. He never was throughout his political career. He serves powerful monied interests exclusively. As...

How Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Are Designed to End Democracy

Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations – but excluding Russia and China, since he is...

Neil Young is Starving the Poor! The Pro-GMO Lobby’s Latest Scapegoat 

“Not since the original Luddites smashed cotton mill machinery in early 19th century England, have we seen such an organised, fanatical antagonism to progress...

The Two Contending Visions of World Government

The Origin & Broader Context of Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed ‘Trade’ deals are actually about whether the world is heading...

Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S. Health Care System

WASHINGTON - The latest secret document from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations — published today by WikiLeaks — shows that the pact could expose...

20,000+ Police March In Force Against G7 Protests in Germany

(Common Dreams) - Though outnumbered by police by approximately two-to-one, thousands of people took to the streets of the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in...

Orson Welles born 100 years ago

  By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier (WSWS) - May 6 marked one hundred years since the birth of Orson Welles, one of the most remarkable figures in...

FBI Misuse of Patriot Act Authority

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - America is a police state. The FBI is the nation's Gestapo. It's abuse of power and misconduct are longstanding. It's an...

Why Are Exchange-Traded Funds Preparing For A ‘Liquidity Crisis’ And A ‘Market Meltdown’?

Some really weird things are happening in the financial world right now.  If you go back to 2008, there was lots of turmoil bubbling just underneath the surface during the months leading up to the great stock market crash in the second half of that year.  When Lehman Brothers finally did collapse, it was a [...]

The post Why Are Exchange-Traded Funds Preparing For A ‘Liquidity Crisis’ And A ‘Market Meltdown’? appeared first on The Economic Collapse.

War Threat Rises As Economy Declines – Paul Craig Roberts

War Threat Rises As Economy Declines Paul Craig Roberts, Keynote Address to the Annual Conference of the Financial West Group, New Orleans, May 7, 2015 The defining events of our time are the collapse of the Soviet Union, 9/11, jobs…

The post War Threat Rises As Economy Declines — Paul Craig Roberts, appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

What’s Obama Up to, with His TPP & TTIP?

Eric Zuesse The motivation behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s trans-Pacific trade-deal TPP, and his trans-Atlantic trade-deal TTIP – the motivation behind both of these enormous...

NYT Gives Former Peruvian Strongman/Human Rights Abuser Feature Op-ed Space

NYT Gives Former Peruvian Strongman/Human Rights Abuser Feature Op-Ed Space

by Stephen Lendman

Alejandro Toledo served as Peruvian President from 2001 - 2006. He led opposition against former despot Alberto Fujimori (1990 - 2000).

He was elected on populist promises to create more jobs, alleviate dire poverty, deliver social justice, and end years of corrupted hardline rule including serious human rights abuses.

As president, he continued business as usual Washington Consensus policies - same old, same old neoliberal harshness.

They include obeying IMF/World Bank diktats, paying bankers first, privatization of state enterprises, deregulation, ignoring social needs, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

He targeted anyone challenging his agenda. Independent journalists were harassed, threatened and attacked. So were human rights worker. 

Public protesters faced harsh recrimination. Torture remained official policy. Peruvians suffered hugely during his tenure.

Times editors ignored his ruthlessness. They featured his op-ed criticizing Venezuela's model democracy - polar opposite Peru during his tenure and today.

He blamed President Nicolas Maduro for Obama's political and economic war - including US manipulated street violence and failed February coup d'etat.

He called violent anti-government protesters "peaceful." He ignored clear evidence against coup plotters - and other opposition figures in league with Washington to topple Venezuela's government.

He ludicrously claimed Bolivarian fairness fosters inequality. His solution includes failed policies during his tenure - serving monied interests at the expense of all others, dressed up in populist rhetoric without meaning or follow-through. 

He outrageously accused Maduro of "conspiratorial mindset (thinking) and authoritarian instincts...carried over from the regime of his predecessor, Hugo 
Chavez…"

Venezuela is the region's model democracy - polar opposite America's sham version, what Peruvians got throughout his tenure and conditions today.

Dissent was crushed. In Venezuela it's cherished. Toledo wants criminal opposition figures freed. He wants monied interests alone served.

He wants external and internal pressure maintained against sovereign Venezuelan independence. He wants pro-Western rogue leadership replacing its democracy.

Times editors share his extremism. They waged war on Venezuela throughout Chavez's tenure.

It continues against Marduro. They support wealth, power and privilege. They back every imperial war America wages. 

They want monied interests alone served. They support exploiting all others to make them richer.

A Final Comment

Venezuela represents model Bolivarian fairness. Peru is polar opposite. Why the IMF and World Bank selected it for their October 5 - 12, 2015 meeting - their first in Latin America in half a century.

Thousands of neoliberal advocates will meet in Lima - in recognition of Peru following strict IMF/World Bank diktats at the expense of its own people greatly harmed.

Toledo's legacy remains in place. He urges all Latin America to follow his failed agenda - enforced by harsh crackdowns against nonbelievers.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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How America’s Aristocracy Extends Its Global Control

Eric Zuesse As has been well documented even by the BBC, in their 1992 classic documentary about the CIA’s (still-ongoing) Gladio Operation, America’s CIA basically took...

Globalization: Global Agribusiness Hammering Away At The Foundations Of Indian Society


RINF, Countercurrents, Global Research

https://twitter.com/colin_todhunter

According to the World Bank in the nineties, it was expected (and hoped) that some 400 million people in Indian agriculture would be moving out of the sector by 2015. To help them on their way, farming had to be made financially non-viable and policies formulated to facilitate the process.

Food and trade policy analyst Devinder Sharma describes the situation: 

“India is on fast track to bring agriculture under corporate control... Amending the existing laws on land acquisition, water resources, seed, fertilizer, pesticides and food processing, the government is in overdrive to usher in contract farming and encourage organized retail. This is exactly as per the advice of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as the international financial institutes.” 

He notes that in its 2008 World Development Report, the World Bank wanted India to hasten the process by accelerating land acquisitions and launching a network of training institutes to train younger people in rural areas so as to make them eligible for industrial work. This is now happening, especially the highly contentious push to facilitate private corporations' access to land, which has been sparking mass protests across the country. 

Sharma describes how US subsidies and global trade policies