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Largest onshore oil discovery in US in decades claimed by companies in Alaska

An oil reserve of a potential 1.2 billon barrels has been discovered in Alaska's North Slope...

UK Government Uses Aid Money to Back Oil Drilling in UNESCO World Heritage Site

British officials are using aid money to support oil drilling in a World Heritage Site in Africa, according to an Energydesk investigation. Government documents,...

UK Government Backs British Oil Firm's Drive Into African National Park

The British government has offered support to a controversial multi-billion pound plan to drill for oil in one of Africa's oldest national...

British bacon hogged by China as pork exports sizzle… but UK consumers squeal at...

Pork prices are soaring because China is taking advantage of the weak post-Brexit pound to...

China-UK relationship at ‘crucial historical juncture’ over Hinkley nuclear deal, says ambassador

China warns that its relations with the UK have been put at risk by doubts...

‘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. ...

Mass surveillance, deportations & nuclear weapons: What to expect from UK’s new PM

Theresa May will replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday. What do we...

How Japanese Officials Can Atone for Fukushima

Despite the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters, nuclear energy continues to thrive. Pictured: Fukushima shortly after the disaster. (Photo: Warren Antiola / Flickr Commons) The meltdowns...

House of Sad? Ex-UK general says Gulf States feel ‘let down’ by UK

Britain’s theocratic Gulf allies feel “nervous” and “let down” by Western criticism, according to a former UK general now working as Middle East advisor...

‘Scandal of privatized aid’: Free-market consultants cream off £450mn in UK govt funds

Free-market consultants in Britain are taking hundreds of millions of pounds ring-fenced to alleviate poverty...

Big Energy rips off UK households £1.7bn per year – competition watchdog

Fuel poverty campaigners have slammed the competition watchdog for suggesting customers “switch provider” in order...

UK energy firms rake in profits as “fuel poverty” escalates

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Emily Wilson and Robert Stevens British Gas, the UK’s largest domestic energy...

Some of the Latest News on Ukraine, from Deutsche Wirtschaft Nachrichten

Eric Zuesse Here are summaries of recent news-reports about Ukraine, in the German Economic News, or Deutsche Wirtschaft Nachrichten: –– NATO Gives Russia No Guarantee that Ukraine’s...

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...

No power to the people? UK govt watchdog blocks new grassroots energy co-ops

The British government’s financial watchdog has been accused of blocking new community projects aimed at challenging the dominance of big energy corporations. In the past...

Canada providing military aid to Ukrainian regime as it wages war

Richard Dufour In a significant escalation of Canada's involvement in the US-led campaign of aggression against Russia, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper announced last...

British Gas forced to pay a sum of £1m for mis-selling energy packages

In the latest scandal to hit the UK Energy sector, British Gas has agreed to pay £1m to customers who were mis-sold energy deals....

Has the US-UK War for Oil Detonated the “New Iraq”?

Felicity Arbuthnot What a black, tragic irony. Just two months ago, on the 11th anniversary of the (illegal) invasion of Iraq, the Guardian reminded that...

UK to hush fracking victims with $1.35mn as vast new reserves uncovered

The UK government will attempt to buy off communities by increasing compensation for fracking operations after announcing plans to deny them the use of...

The Folly of Playing High-Stakes Poker with Vladimir Putin: More to Lose than Gain...

Johanna C. Granville RINF Alternative News In the weeks following the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, both the United States and European Union have issued...

Sanctions on Russia’s Energy Sector: Shale Gas ‘Fracking’ Will Invade Europe?

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - Fracking will be “good for our country,” was a statement made by British Prime Minister David Cameron at a recent Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague according to the UK based news agency The Guardian.  Cameron believes that the fracking industry will have the public’s support since reliance on Russia’s energy sources will be halted if sanctions are imposed due to the political crisis in the Ukraine.  The Obama administration is also proposing a joint US-EU trade deal with its European partners that would reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s energy resources.  The Guardian reported Cameron’s statement regarding shale gas fracking in Europe:

The prime minister said that once wells are up and running later this year, there would be more public enthusiasm, and exploiting shale gas reserves could help Europe wean itself off reliance on exports from Russia” and that “The Ukraine crisis has increased the urgency of European efforts to find alternative sources of energy to reduce the leverage Russia’s oil and gas supplies give it across the continent 

Has the Ukraine crisis opened the doors for shale gas fracking in Europe? The United States and the European Union are currently negotiating an agreement since July of 2013. In a recent report titled ‘No Fracking Way: How the EU-US trade agreement risks expanding fracking’ by Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory and the Transnational Institute among others stated what the Transalantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is capable of in terms of the rights of corporations involved in the fracking industry:

The TTIP deal threatens to give more rights to companies through a clause called an ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS). If included in the deal, this would enable corporations to claim damages in secret courts or ‘arbitration panels’ if they deem their profits are adversely affected by changes in a regulation or policy. This threatens democratically agreed laws designed to protect communities and the environment. Companies which claim their investments (including expectations of future profits) are affected by a change in government policies could have the right to seek compensation through private international tribunals. US companies (or any company with a subsidiary in the US) investing in Europe could use these far-reaching investor rights to seek compensation for future bans or other regulation on fracking. These tribunals are not part of the normal judicial system, but are specifically set up for investment cases. Arbitrators have a strong bias towards investors – and no specialised knowledge about our climate or fracking. Companies are already using existing investment agreements to claim damages from governments, with taxpayers picking up the tab. Investor-state dispute settlement is becoming increasingly controversial as mining and energy firms use it to challenge public policies. For example, the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall is seeking more than €3.7 billion from Germany in compensation after the country voted to phase out nuclear power; Pacific Rim, a Canadian-based mining company is demanding US$315 million in compensation from El Salvador after the government refused permission for a potentially devastating gold mining project4; and Lone Pine Resources is suing Canada for Cdn$250 million over a fracking moratorium in the Canadian province of Quebec 

“Claim damages in Secret courts” should be worrisome for communities all across Europe who is in opposition to fracking on their lands. The European Commission’s fact sheet ‘Investment Protection and Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement in EU agreements’ describes one of the provisions within the agreements:

In addition, in EU trade agreements the key investment protection standards are drafted in a detailed and precise manner, in particular making clear that the States’ right to regulate is preserved. 

In this context clarifications to two key provisions are made: 

Firstly, ‘indirect expropriation’ is one of the most controversial provisions in the investment protection system. Indirect expropriation is when government measures, while not directly taking property away, have the effect of doing so (e.g. the removal of a license required to operate a factory). This provision has been used by some investors to challenge public authorities’ bans for health reasons of chemical products or the introduction of new stricter environmental legislation. 

Future EU agreements will provide a detailed set of provisions giving guidance to arbitrators on how to decide whether or not a government measure constitutes indirect expropriation, thus aiming at preventing abuse of the system.  

In particular, when the state is protecting the public interest in a non-discriminatory way, the right of the state to regulate should prevail over the economic impact of those measures on the investor. These much needed clarifications will make sure that companies cannot be compensated just because their profits have been reduced through the effects of regulations enacted for a public policy objective. The Commission has negotiated provisions with Canada and Singapore which makes this clear, and the language will also be included in future agreements

If the European Union and the United States finalize the TTIP agreement then the anti-fracking opposition will grow through a grassroots movement. With Austerity measures being met with protests and violence throughout Europe, fracking would sure add fuel to the fire in an already tense situation. This past week the “March of Dignity” in Spain took place ending in violent clashes between the police and protesters. In the UK, anti-fracking protesters are growing despite PM David Cameron’s recent statement when he said that “I think something positive should come out of [the situation in Ukraine] for Europe which is to take a long hard look at its energy resilience, and its energy independence. And I hope it will lead to some really useful work being done” he continued “Britain is not reliant on Russian gas to any extent, it’s just a few percentage points of our gas intake. But the variety around Europe is very, very wide. Some countries are almost 100% reliant on Russian gas so I think it is something of a wake-up call and I think action will be taken.” New energy sanctions imposed on Russia will affect the European Union economically, environmentally and politically as the realization of the fracking technology breeds grassroots awareness in Europe’s already fragile state.

European leaders are not interested in democracy for the Ukrainian people or in their own countries economic woes; it is interested in profits that would generate jobs and growth. The UK based ‘The Independent’ reported in 2012 what Lord Browne, a former BP chief executive, who is a director of the shale gas “fracking” company Cuadrilla said regarding shale gas fracking “We could potentially double the reserves of gas in the UK, we could add 50,000 jobs maybe, and probably even reduce the price of gas.” In an article released by www.ecowatch.com in 2013, disagrees with the shale gas fracking industry’s assessment on job creation. “Industry supporters have exaggerated the jobs impact in order to minimize or avoid altogether taxation, regulation and even careful examination of shale drilling” said Frank Mauro, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York” according to the article:

Shale drilling has created jobs, particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and cushioned some drilling-intensive areas in those states from the worst effects of the Great Recession and the weak recovery. As this report documents, however, the number of shale jobs created is far below industry claims and remains a small share of overall employment

Fracking will be at the expense of local communities throughout Europe that would eventually lead to violent demonstrations against their governments who are interested in corporate profits over the people and the environment. Sanctions on the resource rich Russian Federation will backfire on the citizens of the European Union most of all. The US-EU plan to surround Russia with American and NATO bases over the crisis in the Ukraine is not the only intended goal.  It also supports the idea to force the European community to accept shale gas fracking as an alternative right under their feet without depending on Russia’s natural resources.  How convenient!

Fukushima Radiations are Killing Children, TEPCO Employees

Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba, a town near the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant, is warning his country that radiation contamination is affecting Japan’s...

Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips over Ukraine

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe....

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

Eastern Ukrainian Resistance

by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Perhaps millions. They want local sovereignty. They want autonomy rights.

They want them respected. They reject fascist rule. They demand their own referendum. They want Ukraine federalized.

Protests continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Nikolayev and elsewhere.

They're growing. They're spreading. They have legs. Maybe parts of Western Ukraine will join them.

Ukrainians are long-suffering. They rejected Orange Revolution rule years earlier. Perhaps Orange Revolution 2.0 won't fare better. It remains to be seen what happens going forward.

Will Eastern Ukrainian resistance spread? Will it do so nationwide? Will Ukrainians overwhelmingly reject fascist/predatory IMF rule? Will they demand equitable change? 

Will they protests en masse like before? Will they sustain it long enough to matter? Will they refuse what demands rejection?

Eastern Ukrainians reacted first. On April 7, RT International headlined "Pro-Russian protesters seize govt buildings in Ukraine's Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov."

Included was Donetsk's Security Service building. "The people's militia seized Ukraine’s Security Service in 15 minutes, at 3:32 in the morning," its members said.

It's blocked to protect against local security forces. On Sunday, thousands rallied in Eastern Ukrainian cities.

They flooded streets. They waved Russian flags. They chanted "Russia! Russia!" 

They demanded local sovereignty. They called Kiev putschists an "illegal junta."

They demand Kiev appointed governor/oligarch Sergey Taruta "get out." They burned a Nazi zealot's effigy publicly.

They called doing so "an act of annihilation of fascism." Clashes with police broke out. Protesters seized their riot shields.

They entered the Security Service building. They replaced the Ukrainian flag with the Russian one.

According to activist Aleksandr Borodin:

"The situation is pretty tense. The demonstrators are occupying the city council building and are demanding that an independence referendum is held to determine the future of the region of Donetsk."

"The protesters are calling on officials to conduct a special session over the referendum situation." 

"If it doesn't take place, the demonstrators say they will organize an initiative group to settle the issue." 

They won't "acknowledge the Kiev-appointed authorities and are also demanding freedom for the recently elected so-called 'public governor.' "

On April 7, Itar Tass headlined "Legislature of just proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic asks Putin move in peacekeepers."

They formed a Republican Council of the Donetsk's People's Republic. They adopted legislation saying:

"The territory of the republic within the recognized borders is indivisible and inviolable."

They ruled on holding a referendum. They'll do so no later than May 11. They'll decide whether or not to join Russia.

"On March 1," said Itar Tass, "Russia's Federation Council gave its consent to the president for using the armed forces on the territory of Ukraine." 

"The relevant decision was unanimously adopted by the upper house of Russian parliament at an extraordinary session." 

"Earlier, Vladimir Putin submitted to the Federation Council an address on using the armed forces of Russia on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country." 

"This initiative was proposed with regard to a plea by Ukraine's legitimate president Viktor Yanukovych."

At issue is protecting the security of Russian-speaking nationals. It's securing their rights.

Lugansk events are unfolding like Donetsk's, said RT. Around 1,000 people rallied outside the local Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) building.

They demand protest leader Aleksandr Kharitonov's release. He's been lawlessly detained since mid-March.

So were 15 pro-Russian activists on Saturday. People carried Russian flags. They chanted "Shame on the SBU." "Freedom to political prisoners."

Clashes erupted. Injuries were reported. Kiev appointed governor released six anti-putschist activists.

Violence erupted in Kharkov. Pro-Russian protesters clashed with Right Sector extremists. Police separated both sides. No injuries were reported.

Around 1,500 pro-Russian supporters occupied the putschist UNIAN news agency building.

According to RT:

"Pro-Russian rallies are taking place almost every weekend in major cities in the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine since the nationalist coup ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, in late February."

Things remain fluid. The struggle for Ukraine's soul continues. RT highlighted Donetsk activists declaring a local republic.

They want one independent from Kiev. They reject putschist rule. They want legal governance replacing it. They proclaimed their Regional Council the sole legitimate governing body.

They did so pending a planned referendum. It'll be held by May 11 or sooner. Ukrainian activism is spreading. So far in Eastern cities. Perhaps nationwide soon.

At the same time, Russia bashing continues relentlessly. So do US-led Western efforts to marginalize, isolate, weaken and contain Moscow. 

Political and military cooperation was suspended. Other options include positioning US-led NATO forces closer to Russia's border. 

Provocative military exercises are planned. Challenging Moscow is madness. It's happening in real time. It's escalating dangerously. Doing so risks potential major conflict madness.

A previous article discussed Zero Hedge headlining "Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares to Announce 'Holy Grail' Gas Deal With China," saying:

If Washington and EU partners intended greater Sino/Russian unity, "one (nation) a natural resource…superpower and the other a fixed capital/labor output…powerhouse, in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely 'going according to plan.' "

Moscow/Beijing unity against Western imperialism is their best defense. Conditions head both nations more closely together against it.

Russia is preparing a "Holy Grail" energy deal with China. Doing so will send "geopolitical shockwaves around the world," said Zero Hedge.

It'll lay "groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency…" It'll bypass dollar transactions. It'll weaken petrodollar strength.

Moscow's "Holy Grail" is a major natural gas deal with Beijing. Negotiations are close to complete. It involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

It'll do so via pipeline. It's the first one between both nations.

Putin plans visiting China in May. He's expected to close the deal. The more Western nations pressure Russia, the closer it's drawn to China.

Bilateral ruble/renminbi trade weakens dollar strength. Perhaps other countries may follow in their own currencies. 

India and Iran are prime candidates. Perhaps Brazil and others will follow suit.

Washington reacted as expected. According to Zero Hedge, it threatened Russia. It did so over a "petrodollar-busting deal."

It warned against "possible oil barter(ing)" transactions. It warned Iran against them. US-led Western sanctions are counterproductive.

Perhaps Washington shot itself in the foot. Russia has plenty of retaliatory ammunition. What better way than by weakening petrodollar strength.

It's a pillar of America's geopolitical/military might. It furthers US supremacy. It does so at the expense of other nations.

It finances America's global military machine. It advances US imperialism. It furthers financial speculation. 

It facilitates corporate takeovers. It does so at the expense of beneficial social change, human and civil rights. It prevents potential democratic change outbreaks.

Global central banks recycle dollar inflows. They do so into US Treasuries. They finance America's deficit. It matters with QE diminishing. Perhaps ending.

Moscow/Beijing bilateral trade in their own currencies "is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of (US) weakness," said Zero Hedge.

"Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and perhaps gold) and shortly other 'regional' currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar," it added.

It's "hardly the intended outcome of the western blockade, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar."

"If Washington can't stop this deal," perhaps others will follow. Perhaps a groundswell among leading nations.

Petrodollar trading gives America major unfair advantages. According to Voice of Russia, "Moscow is ready to take (them) away."

So is China. Imagine a combination petroruble/petrorenminbi weakening petrodollar strength. Imagine other petrocurrencies doing it further.

Imagine petrodollar might becoming a shadow of its former self. Imagine destructive US policies waning. Imagine a world safer to live in.

Imagine a fairer one. Imagine what won't happen easily or soon. Imagine what one day perhaps is possible. Top Russian officials support petrodollar weakening.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev urged Russian energy companies to ditch the dollar. "They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and (partner country) currencies," he said.

Last month, VTB CEO Andrei Kostin said gas giant Gazprom, state-own oil company Rosneft, and exclusive defense-related weapons/ technologies/dual-use products/and services company  Rosoboronexport "can start trading in rubles."

They don't mind switching, they said. They need a "mechanism" to do so. Russian upper house Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said no efforts will be spared to create one.

Putin intends challenging Washington responsibly. Chinese leader Xi Jinping appears willing to join him. Together they're a formidable combination.

Perhaps Moscow/Beijing commodity exchanges will exclude dollar transactions. Maybe they'll replace them with ruble/renminbi ones.

Rosneft signed large oil contracts with China. It's close to major ones with Indian companies. They exclude dollar transactions.

Russia heads toward trading goods for oil with Iran. If Rosneft deals in rubles, petrodollar strength will suffer.

According to Zero Hedge, "US sanctions have opened a Pandora's box of troubles for the American currency." Russian retaliation promises unpleasant consequences.

What if other countries follow Russian and Chinese examples? What if avoiding dollar transactions catches on?

What if long prevented US comeuppance happens? What if America met its match? What if it's responsibly weakened? The sound you hear is overwhelming popular approval.

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


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

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Meet Obama’s New Ukrainian Friends

Meet Obama's New Ukrainian Friends

by Stephen Lendman

On February 27, 2014, they announced their so-called "Ukrainian government of people's trust."

It includes a rogue's gallery of societal misfits. Many are militant fascists. They're thugs. They're criminals.

They're illegitimate putschists. They're xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites. Combined they represent mob rule. 

They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison. They threaten world peace. They vowed to fight. They urge NATO intervention. 

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power. They hold major government posts.

In December 2012, European parliamentarians expressed concern about "rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter" Ukraine's parliament.

Their "racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views go against the EU's fundamental values," they said.

Europe's parliament "appeal(ed) to pro-democratic parties in (Ukraine's legislature) not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with" these elements.

All is forgiven. EU officials look the other way. They turn a blind eye. They embrace what they denounced months earlier. 

They march in lockstep with Washington hardliners. They mock democratic values they claim to support.

Olexander Turchynov serves as illegitimate president. He chairs Ukraine's coup d'etat parliament (its Verkhovna Rada).

He's a politician/economist/screenwriter. He replaced democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych.

He's Ukrainian armed forces commander-in-chief. He's Batkivshchyna/All-Ukrainian Union/Fatherland party deputy chairman.

He was acting prime minister earlier. From March 3 - 11, he served until Mykola Azarov replaced him. He's a wolf in wolf's clothing. 

Arseniy Yatsenyuk serves as Ukraine's illegitimate prime minister. On March 12, Obama welcomed him at the White House.

He came to meet his new boss. He did so to get marching orders. He learned more about Obama's plans to rape and pillage Ukraine.

He's super-rich. He's a former central banker/economy/foreign minister and parliament (Verkhovna Rada) speaker. 

He's a Batkivshchya/All-Ukrainian Union (Fatherland) leader. He betrayed his people. He sold out for greater wealth and power. 

Billionaire mega-thief Yulia Tymoshenko heads it. She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious "abuse of public office."

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use. 

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She was an illegitimate Orange Revolution prime minister. 

She has presidential aspirations. She may head Ukraine's illegitimate government after sham May elections.

On March 7, the London Independent headlined "Exclusive: UK banks in row over Yulia Tymoshenko 'millions,' " saying:

"...(N)umerous foreign accounts were set up in (her) name (and) her family."

At least 85 bank accounts "containing millions of pounds were linked to (her) and relatives."

It bears repeating. She's a billionaire mega-thief. She accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way. She stole it.

Lawrence Graham is a UK lawyer. In March 2013, Ukraine's legitimate government enlisted him to investigate Tymoshenko's "allegedly misappropriated" wealth.

He reviewed 278 bank accounts in 26 countries. He learned Tymoshenko or family members "were either beneficiaries or signatories to accounts which included a number of UK banks."

They're now closed. At least 13 accounts worldwide remain open. Her lawyer, Sergey Vlasenko, denied reports of foreign accounts, saying:

"She has had no property, no assets, no accounts in USA, UK or Switzerland." He claimed reports otherwise were "falsified." He called them "part of a big dirty propaganda war."

Ukraine's legitimate government hired Graham "to trace more than $200 million (allegedly) siphoned off by Tymoshenko and another former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, among others," said The Independent.

From the mid-1990s, the funds "disappeared." They did so when Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems (UES).

Lazarenko awarded it monopoly rights to import Russian natural gas. In 2004, a US court convicted him of money laundering, theft, and hiding funds in foreign accounts.

His indictment called his crime "part of a conspiracy (related to) receiv(ing) money from companies owned or controlled by Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems, in exchange for which (he) exercised his official authority in favour of (her) companies."

US prosecutor Martha Moerosch cited "evidence that companies controlled by Tymoshenko took part in the schemes for transferring money to Lazarenko's accounts."

"There were bank statements" proving it, she said. Graham discovered London's NatWest bank involvement. It held 40 million pounds in the name of UES.

Prosecutors found Tymoshenko funds worldwide. Ukrainian analyst Orysia Lutsevych calls her typical of "old generation" Ukrainian politics.

As Orange Revolution prime minister, "she did nothing to reform the economy and establish rule of law," she said.

"Instead, she focused her attention on infighting inside the Orange Revolution in order to prepare her presidential race." 

"Most (Euromaidan protesters) were not demanding her release." Her shady business practices earned her the nickname "gas princess."

Ukraine's coup d'etat government is infested with criminal extremists. Obama embraces them.

Yatsenyuk's job is serving Western bankers. Paying them comes first. Ukrainians bear the burden. 

Force-fed austerity is planned. IMF larceny features it. Onerous loans come with strings. They assure longterm debt bondage. 

Terms demand mass layoffs, huge social benefit cuts, privatizing state enterprises at fire sale prices, letting Western corporations plunder Ukrainian resources freely, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

Andriy Parubiy co-founded the ultranationalist neo-Nazi Social National party. It's now called Svoboda. He did so with Oleh Tyahnybok. 

Parubiy and Yulia Tymoshenko co-led Washington's 2004 Orange Revolution. He heads Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council.

Right Sector hard right neo-Nazi hate-mongering anti-Semite Dmytro Yarosh is his deputy. He openly boasts about "…fighting Jews and Russians till I die."

He calls Russia Ukraine's "eternal enemy." He said war between both countries is inevitable.

He openly supports Chechen militants. He backed Georgia's 2008 aggression against South Ossetia.

Doku Umarov is Russia's most wanted criminal. Yarosh urged him to terrorize Sochi's Winter Olympics. 

He claimed responsibility for attacking Domodedovo airport in 2011 as well as Moscow's 2010 metro bomb incident.

He supports efforts to topple Syria's Assad. He self-appointed himself Russian North Caucasus emir.

Right Sector extremists are the worst of a bad lot of rogues running Ukraine.

They're gun-toting, radicalized terrorists. Imagine them and likeminded scoundrels in charge of Ukraine's government.

Imagine Obama embracing them. Next thing you know he'll call them freedom fighters. They're cold-blooded killers. They believe in barrel-of-a-gun rule.

State terrorism defines their agenda. Anyone opposing them is targeted for elimination. Yarosh has presidential aspirations. Perhaps he intends achieving them one way or another.

Oleh Tyahnybok heads Svoboda. He chose no portfolio after putschists seized power. Perhaps he has greater aspirations in mind. He's a force to be reckoned with.

Unaffiliated Vitaly Yarema is first vice prime minister. He formerly headed Ukraine's Internal Affairs Ministry. His portfolio includes law enforcement.

Svoboda's Oleksandr Sych is one of two lower-level vice prime ministers. Like fellow party members, he's ideologically over-the-top.

Unaffiliated Volodymyr Groysman is Ukraine's other vice prime minister. He's a former deputy prime minister for regional policy as well as regional development, construction, housing and communal services minister.

Batkivshchyna's deputy chairman Pavlo Petrenko is justice minister. He's a politician, jurist and lawyer.

Andrii Deshchytsia is foreign minister. He's a politician and diplomat. He formerly was Ukraine's ambassador to Finland.

Oleksandr Shlapak is finance minister. He's a former economy minister.

Pavlo Sheremeta is economical development and trade minister. Formerly he was Kiev School of Economics president.

Svoboda's Ihor Tenyukh is defense minister. He's Ukraine's former naval commander. Yanukovych sacked him for supporting Kiev putschists.

Batkivshchyna's Arsen Avakov is internal affairs minister. He's a former parliamentarian. He held various administrative posts.

Svoboda's Oleg Makhnitsky is prosecutor-general (Ukraine's attorney general). He's a politician and lawyer.

Six Svoboda members hold top government posts. Others include ecology minister Andriy Mokhnyk and agriculture minister Ihor Shvaika.

Neo-Nazi Ukrainian National Assembly/Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) members Tetyana Chernoval, Dmytro Bulatov, and Yegor Sobolev hold government portfolios.

Chernoval chairs Kiev's anti-corruption committee. Perhaps she's in charge of dispensing spoils.

Bulatov is youth and sports minister. Sobolev is lustration (mass disqualification) committee chair. 

He's charged with purging Yanukovych loyalists. Everyone pro-Russian is targeted. So is anyone left of far right.

Obama's new friends are ideological extremists. Imagine what Ukrainians can expect. 

Their agenda makes peace activists cringe. They threaten civil war. Regional war could follow. They risk spreading it globally.

Yatsenyuk vowed never to give up "a centimeter" of Ukraine to Russia. "This is our land," he said. "Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land." 

"And we won't budge a single centimeter from (it). Let Russia and its president know this."

Washington pledged full support. Obama pledged financial aid. Doing so violates US law. It's spurned by supplying Israel, Egyptian putschists and other rogue governments with military and financial aid.

The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibit doing so.

AECA permits military related sales only for defense or internal security. FAA forbids aiding governments that engage:

"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

The 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act's (FOAA) Leahy Law provision states:

"None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken."

FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations unless its government "is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice."

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and numerous other rogue state US allies commit the worst of high crimes against peace and humanity. 

It doesn't matter. They're close US allies. They receive generous support.

FAA prohibits giving all forms of aid to putschist regimes. Obama pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees. Doing so violates US law.

It doesn't matter. Washington does what it wants. Russia's Foreign Ministry commented, saying:

According to US law, FAA prohibits aiding " 'the government of any country whose whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.' "

"Thus, by all criteria, the provision of funds to the illegitimate (Kiev) regime, which seized power by force, is unlawful and goes beyond the boundaries of the US legal system."

"The US administration will most probably continue to close its eyes on the dominance of the ultranationalist forces in Kiev, which have launched a hunt for dissidents across the country, increasing pressure on the Russian-speaking population and our compatriots, threatening the people in the Crimea with punishment for their desire for self-determination."

Neo-Nazi putschists threaten all Ukrainians. Ruthless hardline rule runs things. Fascists tolerate no opposition. State terrorism targets outliers. Darker than ever dark times loom.

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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President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next secretary of energy is drawing criticism for his deep ties to the fossil fuel, fracking and nuclear industries. MIT nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz has served on advisory boards for oil giant BP and General Electric, and was a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, a Saudi Aramco-backed nonprofit organization. In 2011, Moniz was the chief author of an influential study for MIT on the future of natural gas. According to a new report by the Public Accountability Initiative, Moniz failed to disclose that he had taken a lucrative position at a pro-drilling firm called ICF International just days before a key natural gas "fracking" study was released. Reaction to his nomination has split the environmental community. Advocacy groups such as Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch are campaigning against Moniz’s nomination, but the Natural Resources Defense Council has praised his work on advancing clean energy based on efficiency and renewable power. We speak to Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative and ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott, who have both authored investigations into Moniz’s ties to industry.

TRANSCRIPT:

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next energy secretary is drawing criticism for his deep ties to the fossil fuel, fracking and nuclear industry. Obama nominated MIT Professor Ernest Moniz last month to replace outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I could not be more grateful to Steve for the incredible contribution that he’s made to this country. And now that he’s decided to leave Washington for sunny California, I’m proud to nominate another brilliant scientist to take his place, Mr. Ernie Moniz. So, there’s Ernie right there.

Now, the good news is that Ernie already knows his way around the Department of Energy. He is a physicist by training, but he also served as undersecretary of energy under President Clinton. Since then, he has directed MIT’s Energy Initiative, which brings together prominent thinkers and energy companies to develop the technologies that can lead us to more energy independence and also to new jobs. Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate.

AMY GOODMAN: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Ernest Moniz’s nomination as energy secretary on April 9th. Reactions to his nomination has split the environmental community. Advocacy groups such as Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch are campaigning against his nomination, but the Natural Resources Defense Council has praised his work on advancing clean energy based on efficiency and renewable power.

Much of the criticism of Moniz centers on his extensive ties to industry. He has served on advisory boards for oil giant BP and General Electric and was a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, a Saudi Aramco-backed nonprofit organization. In 2011, Moniz was the chief author of an influential study for MIT on the future of natural gas. According to a new report by the Public Accountability Initiative, Moniz failed to disclose that he had taken a lucrative position at a pro-drilling firm called ICF International just days before the study was released.

We’re joined now by two guests. In New York, Justin Elliott, a reporter at ProPublica, he recently wrote a piece called "Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick." And in Los Angeles, we’re joined by Kevin Connor, director of the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit watchdog group which recently published a report called "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet? How MIT’s Influential Study of Fracking Was Authored, Funded, and Released by Oil and Gas Industry Insiders." We invited MIT to join us on the show or send a comment to read on air, but we did not receive a response.

Kevin Connor, Justin Elliott, we welcome you to Democracy Now! Justin, let’s begin with you. Talk about Ernest Moniz’ record.

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Right, well, I mean, and to some extent, this is kind of the classic revolving door situation. As President Obama mentioned when he nominated him to be energy secretary earlier this month, Moniz was an undersecretary in the department in President Clinton’s second term. After, he went back to MIT, but he also took a number of positions on boards of large energy companies or advisory councils, as you mentioned, that includes BP. It included a uranium enrichment company called USEC.

And I think there’s sort of two reasons why this is important. One is, some of these companies do business with the Energy Department and seek contracts and loan guarantees from the department. The other is, people in the environmental community think that this may inform how Ernest Moniz sets research priorities, so people are concerned that he’s—that he’s going to call for research on fossil fuels to the detriment of research on renewables, for example.

AMY GOODMAN: BP. Talk about his relationship with BP.

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Well, there’s kind of two prongs on that front. One is, personally, Moniz did a six-year stint—paid, although BP won’t tell me how much—on BP’s science advisory council. It’s not really clear what he did. They don’t—BP doesn’t have to reveal much about it in their public SEC filings. At the same time, BP is one of the main funders of the MIT Energy Initiative. I think they have given—given or pledged a total of $50 million over the past few years. So he’s clearly—he’s clearly close to that company.

AMY GOODMAN: And how typical is this for a university professor?

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Well, I think, in the science—in sciences and, in particular, in sort of the energy secretary, it’s increasingly—it’s increasingly common. I mean, Steven Chu, the outgoing energy secretary, who’s also an academic, actually also had close ties to BP. BP had given a bunch of money to Steven Chu’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley, and Chu picked a BP executive to be one of his undersecretaries. And Chu was later involved in the government’s response to the Gulf oil spill. So, I mean, I think this is—this is certainly common if you’re going to be picking an academic who’s involved in energy, and particularly fossil fuel research.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to comments of the executive director the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC. Earlier this month, Peter Lehner posted on the NRDC blog a "To-Do List for the New Energy Secretary." In it, he wrote, quote, "As a scientist, Moniz is obviously a firm believer in the power of clean energy technology. [MIT’s Energy Initiative] projects under his tenure included windows that generate electricity, batteries built by viruses, and a biofuel made from yeast. But he also believes that technology must be complemented by policy in order to effect real change. As he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2006, in order to address global warming, we must 'have the will to take more than baby steps.'" NRDC is supporting Moniz’s nomination.

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Right, Amy, and it’s completely true. Moniz has spoken in favor of renewable energy. I mean, I think the best way to sort of interpret his nomination is that he fits in with what Obama has called his "all-of-the-above" energy policy, which is to embrace things like fracking, continued use of oil, nuclear energy, but also develop wind and solar. And I think that that’s where Ernest Moniz is on energy policy.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to our guest in Los Angeles, Kevin Connor, and what you found in your report. Talk about the report that you did that looks at—well, the title of the report is "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet? How MIT’s Influential Study of Fracking Was Authored, Funded, and Released by Oil and Gas Industry Insiders."

KEVIN CONNOR: Sure. Moniz’s nomination prompted us at the Public Accountability Initiative to take a closer look at an influential study that MIT did on "The Future of Natural Gas," as it was called, in 2011. It was issued by the Energy Initiative, which Moniz was the director of. And it gave a very pro-gas—put a very pro-gas spin on fracking and shale gas extraction, said that natural gas was a bridge or will be a bridge to a low-carbon future, said that the environmental impacts related to fracking are challenging but manageable, and also endorsed natural gas exports, which is a very industry-friendly position to take.

It immediately, you know, prompted some criticism from people who pointed to the fact that the report was actually industry-funded, much like the initiative itself. But it was extremely influential. It was designed to influence policymakers. Moniz testified before Congress on the report. It had immediate impact, as well. And it came at a critical time for the industry, which was facing significant questions about the safety of fracking, the relative environmental impacts of fracking. And we took a closer look at the study and found that beyond just the industry funding of the study, there were significant conflicts of interest that went undisclosed in the report itself and in presentations of the report, and those involved Moniz and several other key authors of the study. So, as it turns out, it was not only just funded by industry, it was also authored by industry representatives.

AMY GOODMAN: Kevin Connor, I wanted to turn to a 2011 press conference at the MIT Energy Initiative, where Ernest Moniz introduced the study now under contention, "The Future of Natural Gas." In his opening remarks, Professor Moniz emphasized the report’s independent of its sponsors and advisers.

ERNEST MONIZ: I do want to emphasize a disclaimer, if you like, that while their advice was absolutely critical, they are not responsible for the recommendations and the findings. We have not asked for endorsement. We asked for their advice; we received it. But the results, then, are our responsibility.

AMY GOODMAN: Later in the presentation, co-chair Anthony Meggs introduces the MIT report’s findings, saying environmental impacts associated with fracking are, quote, "challenging but manageable." However, Meggs failed to disclose he had joined the gas company Talisman Energy prior to the release of the study.

ANTHONY MEGGS: ... messages are very simple. First of all, there’s a lot of gas in the world, at very modest cost. As you will see, gas is still, globally speaking, a very young industry with a bright future ahead of it. Secondly, and perhaps obviously at this stage, although not so obvious when we started three years ago, shale gas is transformative for the economy of the United States, North America, for the gas industry, in particular, and potentially on a global scale. Thirdly, the environmental impacts of shale development, widely discussed and hotly debated, are—and we use these words carefully—challenging but manageable.

AMY GOODMAN: Kevin Connor, your response?

KEVIN CONNOR: It’s absolutely outrageous for the Energy Initiative, for Moniz and MIT to pretend this is independent of industry, well, first of all, given the fact that the sponsors of the report are all, you know, industry organizations and companies like Chesapeake Energy. Moniz was attempting to say that it was somehow insulated from the influence of these gas companies, when in fact authors of the study, such as Moniz and Meggs, were—had industry positions at the time.

Meggs’s quote there is particularly insidious, the fact that he is saying that fracking is safe for the environment, when he had actually joined Talisman Energy, a gas company, one of the most active frackers in the Marcellus Shale, a month before the study was released. So he is speaking to a roomful of journalists there, presenting a report designed to influence policy, and not disclosing that he is on the industry payroll. That is perhaps the last person in that room who should be presenting that finding or having anything to do with authoring that kind of report. And yet MIT and Moniz thought it was appropriate to put that spokesperson forward. So, it just goes to the fact that MIT was really sort of presenting an industry brochure here with a lot of pro-gas, industry advocacy talking points, and not revealing that there were significant conflicts of interest here.

AMY GOODMAN: Justin Elliott, would you like to weigh in?

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, one thing to note is, Ernest Moniz is getting a confirmation hearing next month, and as part of that, he has to release a personal financial disclosure, and also, at some point later, he’ll have to—an ethics agreement will become public. So we should actually learn more about his current and recent involvement in these companies and possibly also stock holdings and that sort of thing, so it should be interesting. I think this story isn’t over yet.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and come back to this discussion. Our guests are Justin Elliott—he’s a reporter with ProPublica—and Kevin Connor, who has put out a report on—from the Public Accountability Project called "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet? How MIT’s Influential Study of Fracking Was Authored, Funded, and Released by Oil and Gas Industry Insiders." This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: In October of 2009, Obama’s energy secretary nominee, Ernest Moniz, introduced Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, before he delivered a speech at the MIT Energy Initiative. This took place six months before the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

ERNEST MONIZ: Tony, I think it’s fair to say, without getting into great details, faced a significant number of challenges at that time of transition and is, these days, getting quite good press, I might say, in terms of having the company operating well, producing and maintaining, I think, its stance, taken quite early, in terms of recognizing the need and acting on the need to address climate risk mitigation, for example, with its diversified portfolio. We are very pleased to have BP here as a member of the Energy Initiative—in fact, the founding—founding member of the MIT Energy Initiative. And in fact, as President Hockfield said just a few minutes ago to Tony, that that confidence shown in where we were going here at MIT, in terms of our focus on energy and environment, was very, very important, and we really appreciate that early support and the continuing relationship. In fact, many of you may know that besides the Energy Initiative, BP has a major presence in terms of a Projects Academy and Operations Academy with the Sloan School of Engineering. And in fact, I just heard, again, in the discussion a few moments ago, that 300 of BP’s 500 senior executives have, one way or another, interacted with MIT, so it’s really quite a substantial relationship.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s energy secretary nominee Ernest Moniz speaking in October 2009, praising BP CEO Tony Hayward six months before the BP oil spill. Justin Elliott of ProPublica?

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: I mean, one of the things that surprised me, actually, as I was researching this story, is the extent to which the MIT Energy Initiative is working with industry. I mean, it’s well known that they and other energy research projects get industry funding. But if you look at their annual reports and even their website, they say, if you give us money as a company, we will help you achieve specific business goals. So, I mean, in a lot of the coverage of Moniz, he has been presented as an academic, which he is, but in some ways I think the traditional categories are sort of failing us—sort of academic versus business executive. I mean, this really is a part of—I mean, it’s not formally part of BP, but they’re working as essentially a subcontractor for BP. So I think that’s really—and again, I mean, President Obama specifically praised Ernest Moniz’s ties with business when he introduced him. So, I mean, it’s up for interpretation whether or not these ties are a good thing, but I think that’s really the proper way to see his background and who he is.

AMY GOODMAN: Kevin Connor, I wanted to ask you about the broader issue of what some call
"frackademia," gas-industry-funded academic research. In February of 2012, a year ago, University of Texas Professor Charles Groat published a study that suggested fracking did not lead to groundwater contamination. However, the study did not disclose Groat’s seat on the board of major Texas fracker Plains Exploration and Production Company, for which he was reportedly given $400,000 in 2011. That’s more than double his university salary. I want to go to a clip of Professor Groat explaining his study’s finding.

CHARLES GROAT: The immediate concern with shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing was that fracturing at several thousand feet below the surface would put chemicals into groundwater that people drank that would be very bad for your health, and so people were very much opposed to hydraulic fracturing from that point of view. So, an important part of our study was to determine whether or not there is any direct, verified evidence that hydraulic fracturing itself was producing contaminated waters that ended up in that process in groundwater. Our preliminary finding is we have found no demonstrated evidence that that—demonstration that that has happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Kevin Connor, your response?

KEVIN CONNOR: Well, as you noted, Groat, when he was saying this, had a serious stake in a gas company called PXP, $1.6 million stake, made several hundred thousand dollars a year, over $400,000 a year in 2011, and was going before the public and saying fracking is safe, without disclosing any of these related interests. I mean, there’s some question as to whether someone with that sort of stake in the industry should be working on this at all, but at the very least it should be disclosed to the public, to journalists.

And because Groat didn’t disclose it, it resulted in a lot of blowback in Texas. The journalists were very concerned that Groat had not highlighted this for them when the report was released, and it resulted in quite a bit of media coverage. The University of Texas ended up commissioning an external review of the study, which concluded that the study should actually be retracted and noted that Groat’s conflict of interest was quite serious and should have been disclosed. So, the sorts of transgressions that we see at MIT have actually resulted in real accountability at other universities. Groat actually retired as a result of this episode. And the director of the Energy Institute at Texas, which is sort of an analog to MIT’s Energy Initiative—the director actually resigned in the wake of this external review. So there have been real consequences. There has been real pushback against this trend at other universities. And there’s some question as to whether that will happen with MIT.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, going back to Moniz, because you’re talking about Groat here, not to be confused with the energy secretary nominee of President Obama, talk about what he makes at MIT, both as a university professor but also his outside funding.

KEVIN CONNOR: I’m actually not sure of his salary at MIT. I don’t believe it’s publicly disclosed there, though it will be released in his financial disclosures. But as a board member at ICF International, which is an oil and gas—well, it’s a consulting firm with a significant energy practice and significant oil and gas ties—he’s made over $300,000 in the past two years since joining the board. This is a position where he attends several meetings a year. It’s certainly not a full-time position, and yet he’s making over $150,000 a year in stock and cash compensation. So these are not insignificant financial ties he has.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Justin Elliott, Ernest Moniz is a nuclear physicist. Can you talk about the significance of that for energy policy, if he were to become the next energy secretary?

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Sure. I mean, actually, the Department of Energy, the majority of its budget goes to maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, and also they’re in charge of cleanup of old nuclear waste. He’s been a strong and public supporter of nuclear power. And that’s actually the area where some of these business ties get into areas of potential conflicts. As I mentioned earlier, he was previously on an advisory council of a uranium enrichment company called USEC, one of the—one of the largest, and they’ve been seeking a $2 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department to build a centrifuge plant in Ohio. That’s been on hold for a few years while they look into it further. So, it will be interesting to see whether Moniz has to recuse himself from that or whether it gets mentioned in any of the congressional hearings, but that’s certainly one of the big areas the Energy Department is active in.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Moniz wrote in Foreign Affairs in 2011, "It would be a mistake, however, to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits." He wrote, "Electricity generation emits more carbon dioxide in the United States than does transportation or industry, and nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country."

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Right. And again, I mean, I think this is in keeping with President Obama’s, quote, "all-of-the-above," unquote, energy policy. I mean, this is—this is Obama nominating someone as energy secretary who is in keeping with the administration’s stated policy.

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama has long been pro-nuclear power—in fact, is the one who is restarting nuclear power plants after, what, some 40 years of the last one being built.

JUSTIN ELLIOTT: Right. And I think the only reason that effort has stalled is the price of natural gas, because of fracking, going down so low that nuclear power plants have become less economically feasible than they were five years ago.

AMY GOODMAN: Final comments, Kevin Connor, as you release your report, director of Public Accountability Initiative, the report that you did called "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet?" has MIT responded? And were you able to speak with Professor Moniz?

KEVIN CONNOR: I did call the Energy Initiative but was not able to speak with Dr. Moniz. And the Energy Initiative did actually respond, through a spokesperson, with a statement that didn’t really speak to questions I had raised about how the conflicts of interest surrounding the report were managed and disclosed. One critical conflict of interest I didn’t note earlier was that one of the study authors, John Deutch, was on the board of Cheniere Energy, a liquefied natural gas company, LNG export company. That wasn’t disclosed in the study. The study actually endorsed natural gas exports. He has a $1.6 million stake in that company. MIT Energy Initiative—

AMY GOODMAN: Central Intelligence Agency?

KEVIN CONNOR: —basically had no response, just said that the authors aren’t biased, which is hard to believe, given these connections.

AMY GOODMAN: Kevin, John Deutch, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency?

KEVIN CONNOR: Exactly. Former director of the CIA was actually a study author here and is on the board of the only company in the U.S. to receive permits to export LNG from the lower 48 states. And again, this study endorsed LNG exports on fairly—a fairly thin basis of evidence and didn’t disclose this connection, which is really, again, quite outrageous.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to leave it there; of course, we’ll continue to follow the nominee. The confirmation hearings will take place on April 9th. Justin Elliott, ProPublica reporter, and Kevin Connor, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Justin wrote "Drilling Deeper," looking at "The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick." And Kevin Connor wrote the study, "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet? How MIT’s Influential Study of Fracking Was Authored, Funded, and Released by Oil and Gas Industry Insiders." We will link to it at democracynow.org.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. And when we come back, we’ll be joined by a well-known anchor here in New York, Cheryl Wills, who in this month of Women’s History Month—and we’ve just come out of African-American History Month—we’ll talk about what she found about her family. She wrote the book, Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale. Stay with us.

Byting back: UK govt to share hack data with businesses to fight cyber-crime

Published time: March 27, 2013 10:39
AFP Photo/Fred Dufour

The UK is opening a cyber-crime center to fight the “astonishing” number of hack attacks on Britain. The initiative follows an EU plan that forces companies to disclose hacked data, potentially damaging reputations and share prices.

The new initiative will combine information from government communications headquarters GCHQ, MI5, the police and various businesses. The idea behind the body is to orchestrate quicker responses to cyber-attacks that hit UK companies.

The so-called Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership will share information between governments and businesses to gather a more complete picture of the attacks being carried out on computer systems in the UK.

Currently, 160 companies are involved in the initiative, from the fields of finance, defense, energy, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.

UK companies have previously voiced concerns over releasing data on cyber-attacks, fearing that such information would damage their credibility and share prices if it were disseminated publically.  

“The government is understandably wary about divulging information to outsiders about cyber threats which has been derived from secret sources and agencies,” cyber-security expert Nigel Inkster told the Financial Times.

However, the UK government has insisted that the statistics paint a clear picture of the growing threat and the need to act. Last year, MI5 head Jonathan Evans called the cyber-threat to Britain “astonishing,” and said that one anonymous

UK company had lost over $1 billion in an act of intellectual property theft.

And the year previous, cyber-security specialist BAE Systems Detica estimated that British companies lost around $40 billion a year in revenues through hacking attacks.

At first glance, it appears the UK is following a recent EU draft bill that seeks to force companies to declare when they fall victim to a cyber-attack. However, the UK initiative differs by giving businesses the choice of whether to participate.

David Garfield, managing director of cyber security at BAE Systems Detica, told the Financial Times that the EU measure could end up being counterproductive: “The real effect of a system of compulsory disclosure might ultimately be to encourage companies to turn a blind eye to attacks, pretending they have not seen them.”

The European Commission’s ‘Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace’ plan would be a massive operation involving 42,000 companies dealing with banking, transport, energy, health, the Internet and public administrations. 

The companies would be required to immediately inform EU authorities in the event of a hack attack, “to share early warnings on risks and incidents through a secure infrastructure, cooperate and organize regular peer reviews.”

UK officials have voiced concerns over the bill, saying they would be uncomfortable with a law making it mandatory for companies to disclose data on attacks.

Cold snap adds to recession woes in UK

Death toll from Britain’s cold snap has soared by more than 2,500 this year as compared with past years as people struggle to keep their homes warm, according to fresh figures revealed by the British media.

The bitterly cold weather is killing more people in England as millions of pensioners and families lack the financial capability to heat their homes, media reports said.

According to reports, in the week ending March 15, 11,180 deaths were registered - 1,300 more than the average for the past five years - which included 9,500 pensioners. There were 11,245 deaths registered in the previous week, 1,265 more than usual.

The soaring death toll is set to spark fresh anger among the public over rising gas bills as energy companies make bumper profits. The figures also sparked calls for people to check on their elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

“It’s a time when all of us should have heightened awareness about our neighbours’ health and well-being”, said former health secretary Stephen Dorrell.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: “This prolonged cold snap will be taking its toll on many older people, both physically and mentally. It’s crucial that people keep in touch with their older neighbours and relatives to make sure that they are keeping warm and healthy.”

The number of deaths registered in London has risen slightly in the two weeks ending March 15, compared with last year, but is down over the eight-week period.

Economists have warned that the enduring cold snap could push Britain into a triple dip recession.

MOL/JR/HE

UK Budget Protects Corrupt Energy Corps

Surprise surprise, as the mainstream media subserviently celebrates the announcement that a pint of beer will now be 1p cheaper, what is seemingly an act of misdirection, George Osborne has gotten away with it again.

Hope from Fukushima

As we mark the second memorial of the March 11, 2011 triple disaster, we see tragedy, but also hope in Japan.

While people mourn for the mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and children that were lost in the earthquake and tsunami, many of those that fled the natural disaster have been able to return home and rebuild their lives and communities as best they can.

The tragedy continues, however, for those still suffering from the impacts of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear accident. Many areas remain uninhabitable, leaving 160,000 evacuees stuck in limbo, unable to go home, but also unable to rebuild their lives as they lack proper compensation and support.

Families and communities are breaking up, financial ruin is common, as is divorce and mental breakdowns. Recent estimates suggest cancer rates are likely to increase in Fukushima, which weighs heavily on people’s minds, and suicides are increasing in the area. It is untrue to say nobody has lost their lives as a result of the nuclear accident.

This ongoing tragedy for the victims of the nuclear disaster is the fault of a system that is supposed to provide fair compensation when there is a nuclear disaster, but doesn’t. This system essentially protects the nuclear industry, not people.Greenpeace activists join tens of thousands of people marching on the Japanese parliament on March 10, 2013 in remembrance of the 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima , and to demand the Japanese government to abandon its dangerous nuclear program. (Photo: Courtesy of Greenpeace)

That the nuclear industry is protected before people is a sad and totally unjust reality for most of the world.

The cost of the Fukushima disaster is estimated at US$250 billion, but costs so far have already crushed owner TEPCO so badly it had to be nationalised. TEPCO is one of the largest energy utilities in the world, yet it had to be protected from its responsibilities. Taxpayers are now picking up the tab.

Worse still is that the system offers even greater protection to companies like General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba. They built the Fukushima plant based on a flawed reactor design. Yet the regulations allow them to walk away and pay nothing to help victims. They also do not show much moral responsibility to help.

The big gap between the costs of a nuclear disaster and what the nuclear industry pays should make everyone angry.
This reality, like other painful truths about nuclear power, has hit home with many Japanese people. They are standing up in protest.

Last year I wrote about hope and the emerging “Hydrangea revolution”. Hundreds of thousands of protestors flooded the streets of Tokyo around the Prime Minister’s residence and the parliament. These protests continue, and the support for a total nuclear phase-out in Japan is growing.

People are angry, first at the previous government’s decision to restart a nuclear power plant after all were switched off following the Fukushima meltdowns, and now they are angry at the new government’s plans to restart more reactors, and to resume building them.
This mobilisation has already had some success, as only two of Japan’s reactors are currently online. The rest remain offline, and it will not be long until the lone two reactors working at the Ohi plant are once again shut down for maintenance, leaving Japan nuclear-free once more. We want an end to our disastrous experiment with nuclear power. We showed that we can live without it last summer, and we will do so again.

The hope coming out of Fukushima is that the people continue to speak out, loudly and clearly, about this man-made disaster, to speak out against nuclear power.

Over the last week they have again been joined by people in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, India, Jordan, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the USA calling for nuclear companies to be made responsible for the damage they can, and do, cause.

We cannot stop natural disasters, but we can prevent man-made ones.

We cannot give the people of Fukushima back what they have lost, but we can stand together and ensure they get compensated, that they are remembered, and that no one has to suffer through a nuclear meltdown ever again.

We hope that the Japanese government will listen to the voices of its people, stop talking about nuclear, and push renewables much harder.

You can help – sign here and demand that nuclear companies, like General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba, are responsible for nuclear disasters.

© 2013 Greenpeace

Junichi Sato

Junichi Sato is the Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan

32% Of Ministers Linked To Corrupt ‘Finance-Energy Complex’

New research by anti-poverty campaign group, the World Development Movement (WDM), has revealed that 32% of ministers in the UK government, including top cabinet ministers, are linked to UK finance and energy companies fuelling climate change.

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

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Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.

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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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Fleeced Britain: How The Gov Allows Energy Mega-Corps To Profiteer

Despite anti-monopoly measures the ‘big 6’ energy companies (that is the 6 major companies who between themselves account for around 80% of the supply market) not only supply energy but they also generate that energy too.

Harnessing Rebel Energy: Making Green a Threat Again

“The climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback.”

–Naomi Klein

The energy was there. It was an overcast spring morning in April 2011 in the nation’s capita1. Thousands had shown up to take action on climate change. The earlier march led us to the Chamber of Commerce, BP’s Washington D.C. offices, the American Petroleum Institute and other office buildings associated with oil spills, coal mining, carbon emissions and more. We heard speakers. We saw street theater. It was all very tame and managed. It lacked confrontation.

It was almost a year to the day after the Gulf oil spill, yet offshore drilling continued as usual with little consequence for oil giant British Petroleum. Out west, the Obama administration had just opened up thousands of acres for coal mining in the Powder River Basin. Appalachia’s mountains were still under attack by the coal industry. Natural gas extraction, also known as “fracking,” was spreading like an epidemic through the countryside.

Over 15,000 youth, students and climate activists had gathered at Powershift for weekend of education, networking and keynote speakers. There were keynote speeches by Al Gore and Bill McKibben, yet little was offered in the way of taking action against Big Oil and Big Coal. We are faced with the greatest crisis in the history of the world, so we were told, yet the Beltway green groups had only produced failure in Copenhagen and Washington.

Globally, we had watched the Arab Spring throw out dictators; anti-austerity movements in Iceland and Greece rise up against corrupted regimes and massive protests in the Wisconsin state house fighting for labor rights. We were only a few months away from Occupy Wall Street.

Needless to say, the North American climate movements wanted in on the action.

As the morning march ended that day at Lafayette Park, the unofficial march, spearheaded by Rising Tide North America, formed and headed into the streets of Washington D.C. Tim DeChristopher of Salt Lake City, who had become something of a folk hero to climate activists after derailing a federal land auction and protecting thousands of acres of southern Utah wilderness, announced on the microphone that it was time for more drastic action. Anyone that wanted to take that step should join the Rising Tide march that was heading down 17th St NW to the Dept. of Interior.

The crowd quickly swelled to over a thousand, both singing “We Shall Overcome” and chanting “Keep It in the Ground” and “Our Climate is Under Attack, What’ll We Do? Act Up, Fight Back!”

As we approached the Dept. of Interior, the small group of twenty that had been pre-organized to occupy the lobby began to more towards the doors. Then to much our surprise and shock, a crowd of over 300 stormed in after them and joined the sit-in. As they sat in, they chanted “We’ve got power! We’ve got power!” It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was powerful.

Direct action is supposed to push a person’s comfort zone, but even veteran direct action organizers felt their comfort zones pushed when many in the march joined the occupation.

In the end, 21 were arrested as part of the sit-in. The Dept. of Interior action began a shift for the youth and grassroots activists with the North American climate movements. Soon, they would become a force to be reckoned with.

Corporations and Politicians Stall, Nature Doesn’t

The clock is ticking and the science is not just a theory, its science. Yet, corporate and political decision-makers continue to ignore these warnings for short term profit.

A new scientific report put out by the United Nations on the second day of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP18) in Doha this week reports that thawing of the Arctic permafrost will “significantly amplify global warming.” Permafrost emission spurred by rising global temperature will contribute up to 39% of global emissions. On the third day of COP18 negotiations, the World Meteorological Organization warned the delegates that the Arctic ice melt had reached an alarming rate and that “far-reaching changes” would from climate change would impact the Earth.

Despite these dire warnings from the scientific community, wealthy industrialized nations continue to stall any sort of climate progress in Doha. The top topic at COP18 has been an extension of the Kyoto Protocol –up for renewal this year—to 2020. The Associated Press reports, a number of wealthy nations including Japan, Russia and Canada have joined the ranks of the U.S. and “refused to endorse the extension.” The U.S. has never endorsed Kyoto and continues to block any progress on agreements to reduce global emissions or pass legislation to regulate its own emissions.

Not surprisingly, the fossil fuel holds a chokehold on the American political system. In 2012, oil and gas industries combined with Big Coal to spend over $150 million elections to both parties.

U.S. deputy climate envoy Jonathan Pershing told the media in Doha that the Obama administration plans to stick to its 2009 goal of reducing emissions by 17% by 2020. Pershing went on to say that U.S. efforts to curb emissions are “enormous.”

Yet, Obama recently signed into law a bipartisan bill to shield the U.S. airline industry from a European Union carbon tax. Furthermore, Obama’s top candidate to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Dept., UN Ambassador Susan Rice, has been revealed to be a major investor in companies developing Canadian tar sands and building the Keystone XL pipeline.

While the politicians in Doha and Washington stall, Mother Nature has thoughts of her own. Global warming is no longer an abstract notion. Rising temperatures and extreme weather are spreading at unprecedented levels. 11 of the past 12 years are among the hottest since 1850. This summer in Colorado, wildfires brought on by scorching heat, high winds and drought conditions killed four people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of homes.

In late Oct., Hurricane Sandy battered the Atlantic seaboard from the Caribbean to New England. It took over 100 lives and cost tens of billions of dollars in damage. Millions were displaced while politicians scrambled for photo ops and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s finance network declared “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

Harnessing Rebel Energy

Presented with these stark facts, it begs the question: Why haven’t governments and corporations been forced to act on climate change?

To begin with, the mainstream strategy, which controls large portions of resources to fight climate change, is too rooted in working within the existing political and economic system. In 2009, the environmental establishment comprised of small grouping of donors and environmental non-profits primarily based in Washington D.C. (aka the Beltway Greens) placed its faith in the Obama administration. They hoped that his ability to regulate emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency, combined with lobbing Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation in 2010 and pressuring world governments to secure a unilateral agreement on climate at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP15) in Copenhagen would turn the tide on global emissions. These strategies are fraught with compromise on a global crisis that pays no heed to politics as usual.

Second, the environmental establishment was completely unprepared for the power that Corporate America, particularly Big Oil and Big Coal, wielded in Washington D.C. In 2009, oil and gas companies spent $121 million to dispatch 745 lobbyists to Congress in 2009 to influence the climate bill. Before the 2010 election, Big Oil put $19,588,091 into the U.S. election cycle. Big Coal put in $10,423,347. The Beltway Greens were outgunned, outspent and outmatched.

Finally, turning the tide on the most powerful industry in history requires more than lobbyists and policy people. It requires rebel energy fueling people power and non-violent direct action. In the 1970’s when activists were doing battle to end the war in Vietnam and stop the proliferation of nuclear power, author and activist George Lakey wrote in the pamphlet “The Sword that Heals:”

“You can’t pull off powerful nonviolent direct action without rebel energy. You’ve run this campaign as a conventional lobbying operation and you can’t — at the last minute — switch gears and become a nonviolent protest movement!”

Political parties and non-profits did not drive the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia or Iceland; it was People Power that had been organized for decades. In Egypt, the established opposition groups only joined in after the masses took over the streets in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez calling for President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. In North America, Corporate America, the political establishment and the media has convinced us that national politicians and well paid non-profit staff are the change agents we’ve been waiting for. Thus far, they’ve only delivered epic failures in Copenhagen and Washington D.C. We mustn’t let the priorities of big well-resourced institutions trump planetary or community survival.

The momentum to stop climate change is going to come from the rebel energy that challenges not only the established order, but the established opposition as well.

Know Your History

As daunting as it sounds, climate rebels wouldn’t be re-inventing the environmental movement’s wheel in building a grassroots mass climate movement. Far from it, in fact, greens have threatened corporate power with non-violent direct action and people power for decades.

During the 1970’s and early 1980’s, emerging from the anti-war and burgeoning environmental movement, the anti-nuclear, or “No Nukes,” movement rose up to challenge the Nixon administration’s plant to build 100 new nuclear power plants by the year 2000. In 1976 and 1977, thousands with the Clamshell Alliance used non-violent direct action to occupy the site of a proposed nuclear plant in Seabook, NH. Similar mass actions followed Seabrook. The Three Mile Island disaster was a watershed event that by the early 1980’s put millions into the streets against U.S. nuclear power. While Seabrook and few other plants were built, the vast majority of plants proposed remain halted.

Similarly, in the early 1980’s, a group of disgruntled redneck tree-huggers fed up with constant compromise on wilderness protection in western states by the Beltway Greens formed the radical ecological movement known as “Earth First!” Their politics of “No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth” manifested into the direct action tactics of road blockades and tree-sits that strengthened and emboldened the environmental movement. Their campaigns and tactics targeted corporate logging and development companies, but also created much needed political space for grassroots activists on environmental issues

Former Sierra Club director and Friends of the Earth founder David Brower remarked “I thank God for the arrival of Earth First!, they make me look moderate.”

A third movement that challenged corporate power for the betterment of the environment was the global justice movement. This grassroots street wing of anti-austerity, human rights and environmental movements emerged from the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle in 1999. Rooted in direct action, direct democracy and anti-capitalism of movements both in the U.S. and abroad, the global justice movement undermined global trade talks set to privatize labor, environmental and human rights protections across the globe.

In the laboratory of resistance we call “social change,” the “No Nukes” movement, Earth First! and the global justice movement all had at least one strategy that set them apart from the establishment: they did their most important work out of Washington D.C. The anti-nuclear movement didn’t organize their massive rallies in Washington until they had built power on the highways and byways of the country. Likewise Earth First! and the organizers coming out of the WTO protests rejected Beltway politics as usual to build and embolden their own anti-establishment movements.

Hope & Climate Change

Fortunately, the rebel energy is alive and well in today’s climate movement. Outside of Washington D.C., grassroots activists, direct action organizers, smaller environmental, faith-based and student groups, rank and file Sierra Club members and environmental and climate justice groups have mobilized a very different climate movement from the air conditioned offices of the Beltway Greens.

Climate activists, the youth climate movement in particular, are fed up and hungry to make some real change and take real action. Just this summer, numerous actions from a mass civil disobedience in West Virginia at the Hobet Mine to a week of civil disobediences opposing the western coal exports in the Montana state capitol to community-led direct actions against fracking in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania have created space for groups to make meaningful progress both on their issues and internally within the movement. While this work has been complimentary and cumulative, it’s not always necessarily collaborative, nor should it be.

The fight over tar sands development and the Keystone XL pipeline has galvanized climate activists of all ages. Over the past year, we have witnessed people from the Lakota nation in South Dakota and from Moscow, Idaho putting their bodies in roads and highways blocking large transport trucks carrying oil refining equipment to develop further tar sands extraction.

In Texas a young marine veteran named Ben Kessler returned from the war in Afghanistan to witness oil and gas companies ravaging North and East Texas with fracking and the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. He got involved in environmental and climate organizing, and with friends, formed a student environmental group at the University of North Texas. In April 2011, some of them attended Powershift in Washington D.C. At the Dept. of Interior, Kessler took his first civil disobedience arrest. But more importantly the group went back to Denton, TX and transformed their group into an anchor for a grassroots direct action campaign called the Tar Sands Blockade. The Tar Sands Blockade joined with Texas landowners to form the Tar Sands Blockade which has organized dozens of actions and a two month old tree blockade to stop the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

People are hungry for climate action that does more than asks you to send emails to your climate denying congressperson or update your Facebook status with some clever message about fossil fuels. Now, a new anti-establishment movement has broken with Washington’s embedded elites and has energized a new generation to stand in front of the bulldozers and coal trucks and, in the words of Naomi Klein to make “one hell of a comeback.”

Department of Energy Wants to Let Radioactive Scrap Metal Back into Consumer Products

lethal silverware

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that any amount of radiation – no matter how small – can cause cancer and other serious health effects.

(Current safety standards are based on the ridiculous assumption that everyone exposed is a healthy man in his 20s – and that radioactive particles ingested into the body cause no more damage than radiation hitting the outside of the body. In the real world, however, even low doses of radiation can cause cancer. Moreover, small particles of radiation – called “internal emitters” – which get inside the body are much more dangerous than general exposures to radiation. See this and this. And radiation affects small children much more than full-grown adults.)

But the Department of Energy – the agency which is responsible for the design, testing and production of all U.S. nuclear weaponspromotes nuclear energy as one of its core functions, which has been covering up nuclear accidents for decades, and has used mutant lines of human cells to promote voodoo, anti-scientific arguments – proposes letting radiation into our silverware.

Counterpunch notes:

Even the deregulation-happy Wall St. Journal sounded shocked: “The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products.”

Having failed in the ‘80s and ‘90s to free the nuclear bomb factories and national laboratories of millions of tons of their radioactively contaminated scrapand nickel, the DOE is trying again. Its latest proposal is moving ahead without even an Environmental Impact Statement. Those messy EISs involve public hearings, so you can imagine the DOE’s reluctance to face the public over adding yet more radiation to the doses we’re already accumulating.

Congressman Markey writes:

A Department of Energy proposal to allow up to 14,000 metric tons of its radioactive scrap metal to be recycled into consumer products was called into question today by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) due to concerns over public health. In a letter sent to DOE head Steven Chu, Rep. Markey expressed “grave concerns” over the potential of these metals becoming jewelry, cutlery, or other consumer products that could exceed healthy doses of radiation without any knowledge by the consumer. DOE made the proposal to rescind its earlier moratorium on radioactive scrap metal recycling in December, 2012.

The proposal follows an incident from 2012 involving Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in America recalling tissue holders made in India that were contaminated with the radio-isotope cobalt-60. Those products were shipped to 200 stores in 20 states. In response to that incident, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson advised members of the public to return the products even though the amount of contamination was not considered to be a health risk.

This is not the first time this has happened.

As the Progressive reported in 1998, radioactive scrap metal was ending up in everything fromsilverware to frying pans and belt buckles:

The Department of Energy has a problem: what to do with millions of tons of radioactive material. So the DOE has come up with an ingenious plan to dispose of its troublesome tons of nickel, copper, steel and aluminum. It wants to let scrap companies collect the metal, try to take the radioactivity out, and sell the metal to foundries, which would in turn sell it to manufacturers who could use it for everyday household products: pots, pans, forks, spoons, even your eyeglasses.

You may not know this, but the government already permits some companies under special licenses, to buy, reprocess and sell radioactive metal: 7,500 tons in 1996, by one industry estimate. But the amount of this reprocessing could increase drastically if the DOE, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the burgeoning radioactive metal processing industry get their way.

They are pressing for a new, lax standard that would do away with special permits and allow companies to buy and resell millions of tons of low-level radioactive metal.

***

The standard the companies seek could cause nearly 100,000 cancer fatalities in the United States, by the NRC’s own estimate.

(A couple of years later, Congressman Markey successfully banned most radioactive scrap … but now DOE is trying to bring it back.)

Radioactive scrap is a global problem. As Bloomberg reported last year:

“The major risk we face in our industry is radiation,” said Paul de Bruin, radiation-safety chief for Jewometaal Stainless Processing, one of the world’s biggest stainless-steel scrap yards. “You can talk about security all you want, but I’ve found weapons-grade uranium in scrap. Where was the security?

More than 120 shipments of contaminated goods, including cutlery, buckles and work tools such as hammers and screwdrivers, were denied U.S. entry between 2003 and 2008 after customs and the Department of Homeland Security boosted radiation monitoring at borders.

The department declined to provide updated figures or comment on how the metal tissue boxes at Bed, Bath & Beyond, tainted with cobalt-60 used in medical instruments to diagnose and treat cancer, evaded detection.

***

The general public basically isn’t aware that they’re living in a radioactive world,” according to Ross Bartley, technical director for the recycling bureau, who said the contamination has led to lost sales. “Those tissue boxes are problematic because they’re radioactive and they had to be put in radioactive disposal.”

Abandoned medical scanners, food-processing devices and mining equipment containing radioactive metals such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60 are picked up by scrap collectors, sold to recyclers and melted down by foundries, the IAEA says.

Dangerous scrap comes from derelict hospitals and military bases, as well as defunct government agencies that have lost tools with radioactive elements.

Chronic exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cataracts, cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A 2005 study of more than 6,000 Taiwanese who lived in apartments built with radioactive reinforcing steel from 1983 to 2005 showed a statistically significant increase in leukemia and breast cancer.

***

India and China were the top sources of radioactive goods shipped to the U.S. through 2008, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Bartley, a metallurgist who has tracked radioactive contamination since the early 1990s, said there’s no evidence the situation has improved.

***

Two years after an Indian scrap-metal worker died from radiation exposure, the world’s second-most populous country hasn’t installed alarms, the Ministry of Shipping said in December.

***

The same thing could easily happen again tomorrow,” said Deepak Jain, 65, who owns the yard where the worker died. “We have no protection. The government promised a lot, but has delivered absolutely nothing.”

Indeed, we are being bombarded with low-level radiation from all sides:

  • In Japan, radioactive crops are being mixed into non-irradiated foods

(The government has even treated some people as guinea pigs.)

What can we do? Counterpunch notes:

You can tell the DOE to continue to keep its radioactive metal out of the commercial metal supply, commerce, and our personal items. You can demand a full environmental impact statement. Comment deadline is Feb. 9, 2013. Email to:[email protected] (with an underscore after “scrap_”). Snail mail to: Jane Summerson / DOE NNSA / PO Box 5400, Bldg. 401K. AFB East / Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185

Guest Post: Energy Industry Doesn’t Understand Algeria Attack

Submitted by Jen Alic of OilPrice.com,

The attack on BP-operated Amenas gas facilities in the Algerian Sahara was a spectacular lesson for the energy industry: No amount of high-tech security is invulnerable to Sahelian militants.

Billions will now be spent on securing Western energy interests across the region and investment will take a hit at a time when the big news was that the industry’s junior players - particularly American and Canadian - were growing ever so bold and willing to take risks in unstable regions. Their markets may not be able to sustain this bravery much longer.

An exodus - or relocation - of Western energy industry workers got underway immediately, not only in Algeria.

Not only will security costs rise; so will insurance premiums along with the cost of relocating personnel.  Projects will be delayed, and production will take a small hit, but this will be only temporary.

While this incident will boost business in a big way for providers of physical and technical security, this will be money misplaced, and misspent. Amenas’ security was said to be stronger than an army barracks. What foreign oil and gas companies really need is the kind of strategic security analysis that is hard to come by, and that US agencies, for instance, don’t have themselves.

The biggest mistake the industry makes is to ignore regional and geopolitical dynamics. It’s complicated, and the corporate world doesn’t have the patience for it. But what has happened in the Sahel since the Western intervention in Libya is the stuff of geopolitical analysis, and while it would have been difficult to predict the attack on Amenas because it was less about events in Mali than it was about an internecine struggle for the leadership throne of Sahelian jihad, it was easy to predict an urgent security situation from Libya across the Sahel and all the way to Syria.

But while the security focus is most extensively right now on Algeria, the choice of the Algerian gas field as a target had nothing to do with Algeria or its energy industry.  Algeria is much more secure, and its security forces much more capable, than its Sahelian neighbors.

Key to assessing the real security risk to Western energy firms is understanding why the BP field was chosen as a target. The short answer is this: There are two key figures running Islamic jihad operations in the Sahel and they are vying for power after a leadership dispute. The group that launched the attack on Amenas chose Algeria because of geography (Amenas is in the desert and easily accessible from the Libyan border, 100 kilometers away) and because this is the rival jihadist leaders’ stomping ground. While the attack fit the overall Islamist agenda of sending France a message about its intervention in Mali, the intent was to send a bigger message to the group’s rival jihadist leadership.

It was an amazingly spectacular attack that netted some 700 hostages. None of the hostages were executed, and the 30 or so who died were killed in the Algerian Special Forces rescue operation. The attackers also made no attempt to destroy or sabotage the gas facilities. This was an extremely high-profile publicity stunt that serves as the calling card of a specific individual, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The message was that under his leadership, the jihadists have massive capabilities. Belmokhtar’s leadership rival, Abdelmalek Droukdel, will have to respond to this challenge with an equally spectacular attack. It is not likely to be Algeria.

The energy industry’s biggest security concerns right now should be Niger, the home of France’s massive Areva uranium interests, and Libya, already destabilized. In both places, security is easily infiltrated. In Libya, security is provided by roving militias whose loyalty is at best questionable. Those loyalties could easily shift as militants move across the border from Mali into Libya. In Niger, the weak structure of government and the rampant corruption of security forces means that security is extremely vulnerable.

The markets - like the industry - do not respond to complicated geopolitics. They respond to specific incidents and there will be another one. That is to say, the markets will not take the Algerian incident as seriously as it should.

Your rating: None

Obama Inaugurates Renewed Energy on Climate Change

Hurricane Sandy as seen from space. (Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.)President Barack Obama included a call to action on climate change in his inaugural speech on 21 January, surprising those who believed gun violence and immigration reform would take top billing. It's not the first time he's talked about the issue, by any means, but few thought he would return to it with such emphasis now.

President Obama should call on us to be the next “greatest generation.”

During his 2008 campaign, he spoke of working for the moment when the rise of the oceans would begin to slow and our planet would begin to heal. During the 2012 election campaign, he was mocked for that statement.

But no one was laughing this fall when waves swept over lower Manhattan and towns up and down the eastern seaboard; nor this summer when much of the US midwest suffered from drought and brave firefighters battled unprecedented fires across the west. Obama spoke in Monday's inaugural address of our responsibility to "preserve our planet", recognizing that "the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations".

So can we expect the president to take the sort of leadership on the climate that many have hoped for since his 2008 campaign? In particular, will he stand up to the pressure of the fossil fuel lobby?

Here are the top things he can do to turn those intentions into the actions that would be up to the scale of the problem. Many of them can happen without the consent of congressional Republicans.

First, President Obama proposed a national conversation on climate during his first post-2012 election press conference. He should launch that conversation with clear statements about the urgency of the climate science, an explanation of what is at stake, and a call to all Americans to be part of the change.

It's important that he not dumb this down. We need to know what it means to have experienced record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts, wild fires, melting ice caps, and extreme storms. When given a full account of a threat, the American people have risen to big challenges in the past. We did it during the second world war when millions enlisted in the military, grew "victory gardens", recycled, and went to work in factories to aid the war effort. He should call on us to be the next "greatest generation."

The billions of dollars raised by such a tax could help pay down the deficit, pay for investments in the clean energy economy, or be rebated directly to every American.

Second, he should drop the "all of the above" approach to energy development. As Bill McKibben of 350.org shows, 80 percent of the fossil fuel now in the ground must stay there if we are to stabilize an increasingly chaotic climate. That means instead of giving subsidies, tax breaks, and a regulatory pass to fossil fuel companies, these advantages should instead be given to businesses developing renewables and energy efficiency.

Third, he should propose a straightforward tax on carbon. This approach actually has the support of such Republicans as George Shultz, as well as former top aides to Mitt Romney and John McCain. Even ExxonMobile says it could support such a tax. A carbon tax would send the right market signal, nudging our economy toward one that is safe for the planet. The billions of dollars raised by such a tax could help pay down the deficit, pay for investments in the clean energy economy, or be rebated directly to every American.

Finally, Obama should use the regulatory authority he already has. He should put a permanent stop to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport some of the most carbon-intensive, polluting oil on the planet across the American heartland. He should instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to move ahead aggressively with regulation of existing power plants, which account for 40 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Stepping up to the climate challenge need not compete with the other goals he outlined in his inauguration speech. Building a clean energy economy will produce good jobs that lift more people into the middle class and build a sustainable and widely shared prosperity. Reducing fossil fuel pollutants will improve our health and reduce healthcare costs.

Less reliance on fossil fuels will bolster our security. And we could avoid spending untold sums cleaning up after massive storms and adapting to droughts and rising sea levels.

Obama's speech shows he has the potential to be not just an historic president but a transformational one. Hopes have been raised and dashed before, though. If there was ever a moment for Barack Obama to take a stand and establish a legacy, this is it.

Eighty percent of Americans agree that inaction on climate change would have serious consequences. The fact that he need not run for re-election frees him from the need to placate the oil and coal lobby. And scientists agree we have only a few years to change directions if we are to avert a climate catastrophe that would dash the hopes of generations to come.

This project is far too big for any one person, even the president of the United States. Our best hope is an inside-outside strategy – one in which the Obama administration reaches out to those who are already on the front lines battling the climate crisis, as well as those who are just now coming to recognize the threat we face. And those on the outside must reciprocate.

Obama says we can lead the way together. People across the country and the globe have been doing so. Now is the time for the president to join them and take the bold actions that will serve generations to come.

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder and executive editor of YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. She is also editor of the new book: "This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement."

Obama Inaugurates Renewed Energy on Climate Change

Hurricane Sandy as seen from space. (Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.)President Barack Obama included a call to action on climate change in his inaugural speech on 21 January, surprising those who believed gun violence and immigration reform would take top billing. It's not the first time he's talked about the issue, by any means, but few thought he would return to it with such emphasis now.

President Obama should call on us to be the next “greatest generation.”

During his 2008 campaign, he spoke of working for the moment when the rise of the oceans would begin to slow and our planet would begin to heal. During the 2012 election campaign, he was mocked for that statement.

But no one was laughing this fall when waves swept over lower Manhattan and towns up and down the eastern seaboard; nor this summer when much of the US midwest suffered from drought and brave firefighters battled unprecedented fires across the west. Obama spoke in Monday's inaugural address of our responsibility to "preserve our planet", recognizing that "the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations".

So can we expect the president to take the sort of leadership on the climate that many have hoped for since his 2008 campaign? In particular, will he stand up to the pressure of the fossil fuel lobby?

Here are the top things he can do to turn those intentions into the actions that would be up to the scale of the problem. Many of them can happen without the consent of congressional Republicans.

First, President Obama proposed a national conversation on climate during his first post-2012 election press conference. He should launch that conversation with clear statements about the urgency of the climate science, an explanation of what is at stake, and a call to all Americans to be part of the change.

It's important that he not dumb this down. We need to know what it means to have experienced record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts, wild fires, melting ice caps, and extreme storms. When given a full account of a threat, the American people have risen to big challenges in the past. We did it during the second world war when millions enlisted in the military, grew "victory gardens", recycled, and went to work in factories to aid the war effort. He should call on us to be the next "greatest generation."

The billions of dollars raised by such a tax could help pay down the deficit, pay for investments in the clean energy economy, or be rebated directly to every American.

Second, he should drop the "all of the above" approach to energy development. As Bill McKibben of 350.org shows, 80 percent of the fossil fuel now in the ground must stay there if we are to stabilize an increasingly chaotic climate. That means instead of giving subsidies, tax breaks, and a regulatory pass to fossil fuel companies, these advantages should instead be given to businesses developing renewables and energy efficiency.

Third, he should propose a straightforward tax on carbon. This approach actually has the support of such Republicans as George Shultz, as well as former top aides to Mitt Romney and John McCain. Even ExxonMobile says it could support such a tax. A carbon tax would send the right market signal, nudging our economy toward one that is safe for the planet. The billions of dollars raised by such a tax could help pay down the deficit, pay for investments in the clean energy economy, or be rebated directly to every American.

Finally, Obama should use the regulatory authority he already has. He should put a permanent stop to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport some of the most carbon-intensive, polluting oil on the planet across the American heartland. He should instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to move ahead aggressively with regulation of existing power plants, which account for 40 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Stepping up to the climate challenge need not compete with the other goals he outlined in his inauguration speech. Building a clean energy economy will produce good jobs that lift more people into the middle class and build a sustainable and widely shared prosperity. Reducing fossil fuel pollutants will improve our health and reduce healthcare costs.

Less reliance on fossil fuels will bolster our security. And we could avoid spending untold sums cleaning up after massive storms and adapting to droughts and rising sea levels.

Obama's speech shows he has the potential to be not just an historic president but a transformational one. Hopes have been raised and dashed before, though. If there was ever a moment for Barack Obama to take a stand and establish a legacy, this is it.

Eighty percent of Americans agree that inaction on climate change would have serious consequences. The fact that he need not run for re-election frees him from the need to placate the oil and coal lobby. And scientists agree we have only a few years to change directions if we are to avert a climate catastrophe that would dash the hopes of generations to come.

This project is far too big for any one person, even the president of the United States. Our best hope is an inside-outside strategy – one in which the Obama administration reaches out to those who are already on the front lines battling the climate crisis, as well as those who are just now coming to recognize the threat we face. And those on the outside must reciprocate.

Obama says we can lead the way together. People across the country and the globe have been doing so. Now is the time for the president to join them and take the bold actions that will serve generations to come.

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder and executive editor of YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. She is also editor of the new book: "This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement."

Gazprom says NO to private companies in Russia’s shelf

Igor Sechin (L) Alexei Miller (RIA Novosti / Yana Lapikova)

Igor Sechin (L) Alexei Miller (RIA Novosti / Yana Lapikova)

The Russian gas monopoly is determined not to allow private companies access to the shelf, where potential resources are greater than the rest of the country. “We’ll continue to work there and won’t give it to anybody” says Gazprom boss.

Under Russia’s Subsoil legislation adopted in 2008 just a handful of state controlled companies have access to Russia’s shelf, with private companies struggling to get a foothold. The potential resources of the area are estimated at 76bn tones of standard fuel, while discovered stock in the entire Russia stands at 10bn tones.

There was an attempt to find a consensus at a Tuesday meeting of PM Dmitry Medvedev, where Sergey Donskoy, Russia’s Minister for Natural Resources offered to retain a priority for state companies in the shelf, at the same time allowing a chance for private ones. Under the plan, private players may get a license for geological exploration without a bid, but in case they find a huge deposit they will need to allow an option to explore 50% + 1 share of it to a state company. The Ministry also offered to lift shelf limitations on the development of the areas where state companies had refused to operate, letting private companies in as they would do on land.

However, Gazprom boss Alexey Miller was unshakeable, stating openly he wouldn’t give up even the least interesting areas.

“There is no answer to the question why access by private companies to gas resources in the shelf is necessary. We’ll continue to work there and won’t give it to anybody,” Vedomosti daily quotes Gazprom officials quoting company boss Aleksey Miller.

The gas monopoly is due to receive a license to develop 17 fields in the shelf out of the total 29, according to Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich.

Analysts agree that Gazprom should be afraid of competition in export markets from private companies. “In case of deliveries to Europe this shelf gas will surely compete with pipe exports by the gas monopoly, which Gazprom will naturally dislike,” Andrey Tolstousov, asset manager at Grandis Capital told Vedomosti daily. On top of that, huge deposits could be used to access foreign markets on a share swap basis, the way Rosneft did it, added Andrey Polishyuk, an analyst at Raiffeisenbank.

Head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, who used to be another strong opponent of letting private companies onto Russia’s shelf has now changed his tone.

“Different options are being discussed. Since a Government decision is taken and confirmed, we’ll be acting according to it,” Sechin said.

The most likely reason why the Rosneft chief changed his mind seems to be the company’s current tight finances, which means co-investors in shelf development would be more than welcome. Now Russia’s oil major is involved in the so – called“deal of the century” to buy out the Russian – British oil consortium TNK-BP for an estimated $55 bn, where $45 bn is needed to be raised in cash, and the remainder is expected to comefrom the sale of 12.84% of Rosneft treasury notes.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities are considering idea to end the Gazprom export monopoly and allow independent energy firms to sell LNG abroad. The country’s Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) reportedly backed the proposal by independent gas producer Novatek to abolish the gas export monopoly last December.

Bankrupt retailers increasing in UK

British retailers suffered a bruising in 2012 with 194 bankruptcy filings.

A new survey has found that more retail companies gone into administration in the UK in 2012 compared with the previous year, marking a six-percent increase, local media report.

The research by global auditing firm Deloitte found that a total of 194 retailers fell into bankruptcy in 2012 compared with 183 in 2011 and 165 in 2010, British media reported.

“These figures are a stark reminder of the difficulties which continue to face the high street,” said Lee Manning, restructuring services partner at Deloitte.

Manning predicted that the retail sector would face more distress situation next year because household budgets are getting more constrained and the sector is facing structural challenges.

Big retails firms entering administration last year included Peacocks, La Senza, Blacks, Game, Clinton Cards, JJB Sports and Comet, according to reports.

“There will always be a need for physical retail space but at present, too many retailers have too many stores and 2013 is likely to be marked by further closure programs, both within and outside of formal insolvency processes,” Manning stated.

Other sectors beside retail which underwent notable increases in insolvencies include financial services, up from 30 to 47, and the mining and energy sector, up from 22 to 28, the survey showed.

MOL/HSN/HE

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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 work to benefit hugely wealthy agribusiness corporations, while serving to cripple the agricultural sectors of poorer countries. The massive subsidies doled out by the US to its giant agribusiness companies lower global produce prices and buck markets in favour of Washington. The US has also included non-trade barriers (such as various health standards and regulations) to keep agricultural imports out. At the same time, India has opened its markets and support for its own farmers is being cut. Farmers are thus being left to the vagaries of a global market slanted in favour of US interests.

As India's farmers face increasing financial distress and foreign private players try to move in to secure land and the seed, food processing and food retail sectors, what is happening courtesy of compliant politicians is tantamount to cannibalizing the country at the behest of foreign interests. 

Western agribusiness has already gained an influential foothold in India and many of the country’s national public bodies. Along with US food processing giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, agribusiness aims to recast the rural economy (and thus Indian society, given that hundreds of millions depend on it for a living) according to its own needs. This would mean eventually moving over 600 million (never mind the previously mentioned figure of 400 million) who depend on agriculture and local food processing activities into urban areas.

Monsanto already dominates the cotton industry in the country and is increasingly shaping agri-policy and the knowledge paradigm by funding agricultural research in public universities and institutes (see here). Moreover, public regulatory bodies are now severely compromised and riddled with conflicts ofinterest where decision-making over GMOs are concerned. 

But this is the nature of the 'globalization' agenda: the goal is to ‘capture’ and ‘exploit’ foreign markets and their policy/regulatory bodies. The culture of neoliberalism is exemplified by APCO Worldwide, a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company that Narendra Modi has been associated with in the past. In APCO’s India Brochure, there is the claim that India’s resilience in weathering the global downturn and financial crisis has made governments, policy-makers, economists, corporate houses and fund managers believe that India can play a significant role in the recovery of the global economy in the months and years ahead. APCO describes India as a trillion dollar market.

No mention of ordinary people or poor farmers. The focus is on profit, funds and money because for the readers of such documents all of this constitutes ‘growth’ – a positive sounding notion sold to the masses that in reality means corporate profit. It forms part of an ideology that attempts to disguise the nature of a system that has produced austerity, disempowerment and increasing hardship for the bulk of the population and the concentration of ever more wealth and power in the hands of the few who now dictate policies to nation states.

Take a brief look at what happened in Britain when the neoliberal globalization strategy took hold there. As with Modi, Margaret Thatcher was a handmaiden to rich interests.

During the eighties, the Thatcher government set the wheels in motion to shut down the coal mining industry. The outcome destroyed communities across the country, and they have never recovered. Crime-ridden, drug-ridden and shells of their former selves, these towns and villages and the people in them were thrown onto the scrapheap. The industry was killed because it was deemed ‘uneconomical'. And yet it now costs more to keep a person on the dole than it would to employ them at the minimum wage, the country imports coal at a higher cost than it would to have kept the pits open and Britain has to engage in costly illegal wars to secure its oil and gas energy needs, which coal could largely provide (Britain has over 1,000 years of coal supply in the ground). In fact, before 1970, Britain got all its gas from its own coal.

The economics just do not add up. Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill fought to save the mining industry and now asks where is the sense in all of this (see thisthis and this).   

The same happened across the manufacturing sector, from steel to engineering to shipbuilding. And a similar process occurred in the fishery and agriculture sectors. In 2010, there were over eight million unemployed (over 21 percent of the workforce), despite what the official figures said.

Britain decided to financialize its economy and move people out of manufacturing to integrate with a neoliberal globalized world order. Ordinary people’s livelihoods were sacrificed and sold to the lowest bidder abroad and the real economy was hollowed out for the benefit of giant corporations who now have near-monopolies in their respective sectors and record massive profits. People were promised a new service-based economy. Not enough jobs materialized or when they did many soon moved to cheap labour economies or they were automated. 

Although it’s a vastly different country, if we look at agriculture in India, a similar trend is seen. Almost 300,000 farmers have taken their lives in India since 1997 and many more are experiencing economic distress or have left farming as a result of debt, a shift to cash crops and economic ‘liberalization’.

In a recent TV interview, Devinder Sharma highlighted the plight of agriculture:

“Agriculture has been systematically killed over the last few decades… the World Bank and big business have given the message that this is the only way to grow economically… Sixty percent of the population lives in the villages or in the rural areas and is involved in agriculture, and less than two percent of the annual budget goes to agriculture… When you are not investing in agriculture, you think it is... not performing. You are not wanting it to perform... Leave it to the vagaries or the tyranny of the markets… agriculture has disappeared from the economic radar screen of the country… 70 percent of the population is being completely ignored…”

As policy makers glorify ‘business entrepreneurship’ and ‘wealth creation’ and acquiesce to hugely wealthy individuals and their corporations, it largely goes unrecognized that farmers have always been imbued with the spirit of entrepreneurship and have been creating food wealth for centuries. They have been innovators, natural resource stewards, seed savers and hybridization experts. But they are now fodder to be sacrificed on the altar of US petro-chemical agribusiness interests.

In his interview, Devinder Sharma went on to state that despite the tax breaks and the raft of policies that favour industry over agriculture, industry has failed to deliver; but despite the gross under-investment in agriculture, it still manages to deliver bumper harvests year after year:

“In the last 10 years, we had 36 lakh crore going to the corporates by way of tax exemptions... They just created 1.5 crore jobs in the last ten years. Where are the exports? … The only sector that has performed very well in this country is agriculture... Why do you want to move the population... Why can’t India have its own thinking? Why do we have to go with Harvard or Oxford economists who tell us this?” (36 lakh crore is 36 trillion; 1.5 crore is 15 million)

It all begs the question: where are the jobs going to come from to cater for hundreds of millions of former agricultural workers or those whose livelihoods will be destroyed as transnational corporations move in and seek to capitalize industries that currently employ tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions)?

The genuine wealth creators, the farmers, are being sold out to corporate interests whose only concern is to how best loot the economy. As they do so, they churn out in unison with their politician puppets the mantra of it all being in the ‘national interest’ and constituting some kind of ‘economic miracle’. And those who protest are attacked and marginalised. In Britain during the eighties, it was a similar situation. Workers' representatives portrayed as the 'enemy within'. 

Through various policies, underinvestment and general neglect, farmers are being set up to financially fail. However, it is corporate-industrial India which has failed to deliver in terms of boosting exports or creating jobs, despite the massive hand outs and tax exemptions given to it (see this and this). The number of jobs created in India between 2005 and 2010 was 2.7 million (the years of high GDP growth). According to International Business Times, 15 million enter the workforce every year (see here).

Again, this too is a global phenomenon.

Corporate-industrial India is the beneficiary of a huge global con-trick: subsidies to the public sector or to the poor are portrayed as a drain on the economy, while the genuinely massive drain of taxpayer-funded corporate dole, tax breaks, bail outs and tax avoidance/evasion are afforded scant attention. Through slick doublespeak, all of this becomes redefined necessary for creating jobs or fueling ‘growth’. The only growth is in massive profits and inequalities, coupled with unemployment, low pay, the erosion of welfare and a further race to the bottom as a result of secretive trade agreements like the TTIP.

India is still a nation of farmers. Around two thirds of the population in some way rely on agriculture for a living. Despite the sector’s woeful neglect in favour of a heavily subsidized and government-supported but poorly performing industrial sector, agriculture remains the backbone of Indian society.

Notwithstanding the threat to food security, livelihoods and well-being, the type of unsustainable corporate-controlled globalized industrial agriculture being pushed through in India leads to bad food, bad soil, bad or no waterbad health, stagnant or falling yields and ultimately an agrarian crisis. It involves the liberal use of cancer-causing pesticides and the possible introduction of health-damaging but highly profitable GMOs.

There was a famous phrase used in the eighties in Britain by the former Prime Minister Harold McMillan. He accused the Thatcher administration of 'selling the family silver' with its privatization policies and the auction of public assets that ordinary people had strived to build over many decades of dedicated labour. 

As Modi presses through with his strident neoliberal agenda and seeks to further privatize India's agricultural heritage, it begs the question: is it not tantamount to turning in on yourself and destroying the home in which you live? 

Globalization – Global Agribusiness Hammering Away At The Foundations Of Indian Society 

According to the World Bank in the nineties, it was expected (and hoped) that some 400 million people in Indian agriculture would be moving...

The 2015 British General Election: Capitalism’s One-Horse Race

RINF, Global Research, Countercurrents, Counterpunch

Britain is currently in the grip of a general election campaign. Voting takes place on 7 May and election fever in the media is building as various commentators and politicians engage in empty rhetoric about British values and democratic principles. Due to the nature of the 'first past the post' voting system, the only two parties with a realistic hope of achieving a majority of seats in parliament are Labour and the Conservatives. As in the outgoing parliament, the party most likely to achieve third place, the Liberal Democrats, might hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.

On TV last week there was a ‘leaders’ debate’. The issues debated revolved around the economy, the National Health Service and immigration. Leaders of the three main parties embraced a cosy consensus based on the need to continue with ‘austerity’ but quibbled over the nature or speed of cuts to the public sector and public services. The debate has set the tone for the unfolding campaign.

All three main parties are pro-big business and are aligned with the neoliberal economic agenda set by the financial cartel based in the City of London and on Wall Street and by the major transnational corporations. The likes of Chatham House, Centre for Policy Studies, Foreign Policy Centre, Reform, Institute of Economic Affairs and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (most of which the British public have never heard of) have already determined the pro-corporate and generally pro-Washington policies that the parties will sell to the public. Pressure tactics at the top level of politics, massively funded lobbying groups and the revolving door between private corporations and the machinery of state have also helped shape the policy agenda.

As if to underline this, in 2012 Labour MP Austin Mitchell described the UK’s big four accountancy firms as being "more powerful than government." He said the companies’ financial success allows them privileged access to government policy makers. Of course, similar sentiments concerning 'privileged access' could also be forwarded about many other sectors, not least the arms industry and global agritech companies which armed with their poisons, unsustainable model of industrial agriculture and bogus claims have been working hand in glove with government to force GMO's into the UK despite most people who hold a view on the matter not wanting them.

The impact and power of think tanks, lobbying and cronyism means that the major parties merely provide the illusion of choice and democracy to a public that is easily manipulated courtesy of a toothless and supine corporate media. The knockabout point-scoring of party politics serves as entertainment for a public that is increasingly disillusioned with politics.

The upshot is that the main parties have all accepted economic neoliberalism and the financialisation of the British economy and all that it has entailed: weak or non-existent trade unions, an ideological assault on the public sector, the offshoring of manufacturing, deregulation, privatisation and an economy dominated by financial services.

In Britain, long gone are the relatively well-paid manufacturing jobs that helped build and sustain the economy. In its place, the country has witnessed the imposition of a low taxation regime, low-paid and insecure ‘service sector’ jobs (no-contract work, macjobs, call centre jobs - much of which soon went abroad), a real estate bubble, credit card debt and student debt, which all helped to keep the economy afloat and maintain demand during the so-called boom years under Tony Blair. Levels of public debt spiraled, personal debt became unsustainable and the deregulated financial sector demanded the public must write down its own gambling debts.

The economy is now based on (held to ransom by) a banking and finance-sector cartel that specialises in rigging markets, debt creation, money laundering  and salting away profits in various City of London satellite tax havens and beyond. The banking industry applies huge pressure on governments and has significant influence over policies to ensure things remain this way.

If you follow the election campaign, you will see no talk from the main parties about bringing the railway and energy and water facilities back into public ownership. Instead, privatisation will continue and massive profits will be raked in as the public forks out for private-sector subsidies and the increasingly costly ‘services’ provided.

There will be no talk of nationalising the major banks or even properly regulating or taxing them (and other large multinationals) to gain access to funds that could build decent infrastructure for the public benefit.

Although the economy will be glibly discussed throughout the campaign, little will be mentioned about why or how the top one percent in the UK increased their wealth substantially in 2008 alone when the economic crisis hit. Little will be said about why levels of inequality have sky rocketed over the past three decades.

When manufacturing industry was decimated (along with the union movement) and offshored, people were told that finance was to be the backbone of the ‘new’ economy. And to be sure it has become the backbone. A spineless one based on bubbles, derivatives trading, speculation and all manner of dodgy transactions and practices. Margaret Thatcher in the eighties sold the economy to bankers and transnational corporations and they have never looked back. It was similar in the US.

Now Britain stands shoulder to shoulder with Washington’s militaristic agenda as the US desperately seeks to maintain global hegemony - not by rejecting the financialisation of its economy, rebuilding a manufacturing base with decent jobs and thus boosting consumer demand or ensuring the state takes responsibility for developing infrastructure to improve people's quality of life - but by attacking Russia and China which are doing some of those very things and as a result are rising to challenge the US as the dominant global economic power.

The election campaign instead of focusing on 'austerity', immigrants or welfare recipients, who are depicted by certain politicians and commentators as bleeding the country dry, should concern itself with the tax-evading corporate dole-scrounging super rich, the neoliberal agenda they have forced on people and their pushing for policies that would guarantee further plunder, most notably the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

However, with a rigged media and all major parties representing the interests of an unaccountable financial-corporate-state elite, we can expect Britain to continue to fall in line behind Washington’s militarism and a further hollowing out of what remains of the economy and civil society.

No matter who wins on 7 May, the public is destined for more of the same. The real outcome of the election has already been decided by the interlocking directorate of think tanks, big business and its lobby groups and the higher echelons of the civil service. The election will be akin to rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.

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GMOs And Green Blob Hallucinations: The Twisted World Of Mr Paterson


RINF, Global Research, Countercurrents, The Nation (Sri Lanka, on 8/3/2015)

Speaking last week in Pretoria, former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson described critics of GMOs as comprising part of a privileged class that increasingly fetishizes food and seeks to turn their personal preferences into policy proscriptions for the rest of us. He called them backward-looking and regressive. He claimed their policies would condemn billions to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment because of their insistence on mandating primitive, inefficient farming techniques.

He called them:

“… the ‘Green Blob’ – a reference to a 1950s Sci-Fi movie starring Steve McQueen in which a blob-like alien attacks Earth and swallows everything in its path: the environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interest of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.”

He went on to state:

“There are many impediments standing between the vision of agricultural progress and Africa, of course, but none is more pernicious than the Blob. It is supported by massive funding provided by the EU itself, as well as numerous church and humanitarian groups, and the well-meaning but misguided generosity of the privileged classes in Europe and elsewhere. It has undue influence in the media, government and international institutions. Unfortunately, few question either its credentials or motives.” (see the full text of the speech here)

Paterson then proceeded to proclaim the virtues of GMOs and laid out a series of slurs, falsehoods and cherry-picked proclamations that anyone would be forgiven for thinking had come straight from the pen of a GMO agribusiness employee. But it wouldn’t have been the first time would it? In the case of this bit of poetry that Paterson likes so much, it came courtesy of Syngenta.

No, such practices are commonplace. Indeed, across the globe uncaged corporate parrots seem to be perched on the highest of ledges:

“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 in the PMO 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, 'uncaged corporate parrots'?” Aruna Rodrigues, writing about the situation in India here in The Hindu.

Some points to consider for any rational thinking person

What would you do when presented with the option of sanctioning the commercialisation of genetically engineered food that is fundamentally different to conventional food? And have no doubt, it is: see this analysis by Steven Druker. Forget about those will try to confuse you that humans have always been tampering with food and genetic engineering represents more of the same. It doesn’t.

Would you engage in doublespeak about ‘substantial equivalence’ to try to convince people that it is just the same as conventional food in order to prevent public/scientific scrutiny (see this), and (as Druker shows to be the case) would you then ignore any fears, concerns and evidence in order to commercialise it?

You would if you are the US government, which has done exactly that, as described in Drukers new book 'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government and Systematically Deceived the Public' (Clear River Press, March 2015).  

In fact, if you are among the pro-GMO lobby, you would dream up some ideology about giving consumers and people greater choice by offering them the option of GMOs. You would also forward the myth that the corporations behind GMOs have humanity’s best interests at heart and that critics are anti-science ideologues whose policies and attitudes would leave billions dead or at least impoverished and starving. As part of this deception, you would forward the lie that GMOs are safe, even though there has not been one long-term epidemiological study conducted to show this, and are needed to feed the world. (See these claims debunked here).

And if you are part of this lobby or so gullible to unwittingly become its foot soldier by propagating the ideology in the media or on website comment threads, you would be part of a $100-million-dollar PR campaign (that figure is for the US alone).

And back to Owen Paterson

These powerful and extremely wealthy corporations or their foot soldiers in a display of glaring hypocrisy accuse critics of being part of a lavishly funded conspiracy against them and indeed humanity.

Yes, the same corporations whose financial clout has bought them political influence in so far that they exert huge control over WTO (see this), have captured regulatory bodies and public research institutions (see this and this), have had a key role in driving trade policies (see this) and are the biggest lobbiers (see this) for the world’s largest (secretive, pro-corporate) trade deal, the TTIP, which will constitutionally hand over regulatory and economic policies to a cartel of lawyers, officials and high-level corporate executives (see this).  

So maybe it’s time to slightly rearrange parts of Paterson’s attack on his critics to provide him with a reality check. Paterson would have more truthfully presented the case by stating:

“It is these powerful corporations (not a ‘green blob’), whose owners are part of the privileged class that seek to turn their vested interests into policy proscriptions for the rest of us. It is this backward-looking and regressive class whose policies have already condemned tens of millions to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment. It is this privileged class (not a ‘green blob’) that has swallowed up everything in its path facilitated by public officials who are well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and ‘green revolution’ rhetoric. This tangled triangle of unelected, unaccountable corporations claims to have the interest of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely. There are many impediments standing between the vision of agricultural progress and Africa, of course, but none is more pernicious than this group that is supported by massive profits often secured from fraudulent practices and by often well-meaning but gullible people who buy into its rhetoric. It has undue influence in the media, government and international institutions. Fortunately, there are many who question its credentials and motives.”

Readers are urged to read this to appreciate why Paterson has got is so wrong.

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So You Want A Thatcherite Revolution? Free Trade, Corporate Plunder And The War On...

Countercurrents 12/6/2014, Global Research 13/6/2014, The 4th Media 15/6/2014

Prior to the recent national elections in India, there were calls for a Thatcherite revolution to fast-track the country towards privatisation and neo-liberalism (1). Under successive Thatcher-led governments in the eighties, however, inequalities skyrocketed in Britain (2) and economic growth was no better than in the seventies (3).

Traditional manufacturing was decimated and international finance became the bedrock of the ‘new’ economy. Jobs disappeared over the horizon to cheap labour economies, corporations bought up public utilities, the rich got richer and many of Britain’s towns and cities in its former industrial heartland became shadows of their former selves. Low paid, insecure, non-unionised labour is now the norm and unemployment and underemployment are rife. Destroying ordinary people’s livelihoods was done in the name of ‘the national interest’. Destroying industry was done in the name of ‘efficiency’.


In 2010, 28 percent of the UK workforce, some 10.6 million people, either did not have a job, or had stopped looking for one (4). And that figure was calculated before many public sector jobs were slashed under the lie of ‘austerity’.

   

Today, much of the mainstream political and media rhetoric revolves around the need to create jobs, facilitate ‘free’ trade, ensure growth and make ‘the nation’ competitive. The endless, tedious mantra says ordinary people have to be ‘flexible’, ‘tighten their belts, expect to do a ‘fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ and let the market decide. This creates jobs. This fuels ‘growth’. Unfortunately, it does neither. What we have is austerity. What we have is an on-going economic crisis, a huge national debt, rule by profligate bankers and corporate entities and mass surveillance to keep ordinary people in check.


So what might the future hold? Unfortunately, more of the same.


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (formerly TAFTA) being negotiated between the EU and US is intended to be the biggest trade deal in history. The EU and US together account for 40 percent of global economic output. The European Commission tries to sell the deal to the public by claiming that the agreement will increase GDP by one percent and will entail massive job creation.


However, these claims are not supported even by its own studies, which predict a growth rate of just 0.01 percent GDP over the next ten years and the potential loss of jobs in several sectors, including agriculture. Corporations are lobbying EU-US trade negotiators to use the deal to weaken food safety, labour, health and environmental standards and undermine digital rights (5). Negotiations are shrouded in secrecy (6) and are being driven by corporate interests (7). And the outcome could entail the bypassing of democratic processes in order to push through corporate-friendly policies (8). The proposed agreement represents little more than a corporate power grab.


It should come as little surprise that this is the case. Based on a recent report, the European Commission’s trade and investment policy reveals a bunch of unelected technocrats who care little about what ordinary people want and negotiate on behalf of big business. The Commission has eagerly pursued a corporate agenda and has pushed for policies in sync with the interests of big business. It is effectively a captive but willing servant of a corporate agenda. Big business has been able to translate its massive wealth into political influence to render the European Commission a “disgrace to the democratic traditions of Europe” (9).


This proposed trade agreement (and others like it being negotiated across the world) is based on a firm belief in ‘the market’ (a euphemism for subsidies for the rich, cronyism, rigging and cartels) and the intense dislike of state intervention and state provision of goods and services. The ‘free market’ doctrine that underpins this belief attempts to convince people that nations can prosper by having austerity imposed on them and by embracing neo-liberalism and ‘free’ trade. This is a smokescreen that the financial-corporate elites hide behind while continuing to enrich themselves and secure taxpayer handouts, whether in the form of bank bailouts or other huge amounts of corporate dole (10).


In much of the West, the actual reality of neo-liberalism and the market is stagnating or declining wages in real terms, high levels of personal debt and a permanent underclass, while the rich and their corporations to rake in record profits and salt away wealth in tax havens.


Corporate plunder in India 


Thatcher was a handmaiden of the rich (11). Her role was to destroy ‘subversive’ or socialist tendencies within Britain and to shatter the post-1945 Keynesian consensus based on full employment, fairness and a robust welfare state. She tilted the balance of power in favour of elite interests by embarking on a pro-privatisation, anti-trade union/anti-welfare state policy agenda. Sections of the public regarded Thatcher as a strong leader who would get things done, where others before her had been too weak and dithered. In India, Narendra Modi has been portrayed in a similar light.


His newly elected government is expected to move ahead with pro-market reforms that others dragged their feet on. To date, India has experienced a brand of ‘neo-liberalism lite’. Yet what we have seen thus far has been state-backed violence and human rights abuses to ‘secure’ tribal areas for rich foreign and Indian corporations, increasing inequalities, more illicit money than ever pouring into Swiss bank accounts, massive corruption and cronyism (12).


With a new administration in place, can we now expect to witness an accelerated ‘restructuring’ of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness? Will more farmers be forced from their land on behalf of commercial interests? Officialdom wants to depopulate rural areas by shifting over 600 million to cities (13). It begs the question: in an age of increasing automation, how will hundreds of millions of agriculture sector workers earn their livelihoods once they have left the land?


What type of already filthy and overburdened urban centres can play host to such a gigantic mass of humanity who were deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ in rural India and will possibly be (indeed, already are) deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ once in the cities?     


Gandhi stated that the future of India lies in its villages. Rural society was regarded as India’s bedrock. But now that bedrock is being dug up. Global agritech companies have been granted license to influence key aspects of agriculture by controlling seeds and chemical inputs and by funding and thus distorting the biotech research agenda and aspects of overall development policy (14,15).


Part of that ‘development’ agenda is based on dismantling the Public Distribution System for food. Policy analyst Devinder Sharma notes that the government may eventually stop supporting farmers by doing away with the system of announcing the minimum support price for farmers and thereby reduce the subsidy outgo. He argues that farmers would be encouraged to grow cash crops for supermarkets and to ‘compete’ in a market based on trade policies that work in favour of big landowners and heavily subsidised Western agriculture.


By shifting towards a commercialised system that would also give the poor cash to buy food in the market place, rather than the almost half a million ‘ration shops’ that currently exist, the result will be what the WTO/ World Bank/IMF have been telling India to for a long time: to displace the farming population so that agribusiness can find a stronghold in India (16).


We need only look at what happened to the soy industry in India during the nineties (17), or the recent report by GRAIN (18), to see how small farmers are forced from their land to benefit powerful global agritech. If it cannot be achieved by unfair trade policies and other duplicitous practices, it is achieved by repression and violence, as Helena Paul notes:


“Repression and displacement, often violent, of remaining rural populations, illness, falling local food production have all featured in this picture. Indigenous communities have been displaced and reduced to living on the capital's rubbish dumps. This is a crime that we can rightly call genocide - the extinguishment of entire Peoples, their culture, their way of life and their environment.” (19)
Although Helena Paul is referring to the situation in Paraguay, what she describes could well apply to India or elsewhere.

In addition, the current secretive corporate-driven free trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and India could fundamentally restructure Indian society in favour of Western corporate interests and adversely impact hundreds of millions and their livelihoods and traditional ways of living (20). And as with the proposed US-EU agreement, powerful transnational corporations would be able to by-pass national legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. Governments could be sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of national courts if laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments (21).


A massive shift in power and wealth from poor to rich


Current negotiations over ‘free’ trade agreements have little to do with free trade. They are more concerned with loosening regulatory barriers and bypassing democratic processes to allow large corporations to destroy competition and siphon off wealth to the detriment of smaller, locally based firms and producers.  


The planet’s super rich comprise a global elite (22). It is not a unified elite. But whether based in China, Russia or India, its members have to varying extents been incorporated into the Anglo-American system of trade and finance. For them, the ability to ‘do business’ is what matters, not national identity or the ability to empathise with someone toiling in a field who happened to be born on the same land mass. And in order 'to do business', government machinery has been corrupted and bent to serve their ends. In turn, organisations that were intended to be ‘by’ and ‘for’ ordinary working people have been successfully infiltrated and dealt with (23).


The increasing global takeover of agriculture by powerful agribusiness, the selling off of industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports and airports, and secretive corporate-driven trade agreements represent a massive corporate heist of wealth and power across the world. Through their financial institutions and corporate entities, the world’s super rich regard ‘nations’ as population holding centres to be exploited whereby people are stripped of control of their livelihoods for personal gain. Whether it concerns rich oligarchs in the US or India’s billionaire business men, corporate profits and personal gain trump any notion of the ‘national interest’.


Still want a Thatcherite revolution?



Notes


























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Fast-Tracking Neoliberalism In India

Global Research 21/5/2014

Apparently, the results of the national general election in India mark a turning point. We are told that the nation has spoken and has given the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP party a ‘landslide victory’. Despite the euphoria, however, only 31% of votes cast were for the BJP. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement. But it was enough to give the BJP a ‘landslide’ in terms of parliamentary seats. No party in India has ever won over half the seats with such a low share of the vote. The previous lowest vote share for a single-party majority was in 1967, when Congress gained 40.8% of the votes polled.


With calls from some of Modi’s advisors for a Thatcherite-style, pro-privatisation revolution in India (1), it is worth recalling how successive Thatcher-led governments in Britain brought immense damage to the social and economic fabric of the country to profit her rich backers on the back of similar ‘landslide’ victories based on similar shares of the vote (2).


There was never a ringing endorsement in Britain for the policies of Thatcher. The opposition was weak and split and many bought into to her platitudes about privatisation, the feckless poor, the virtues of the free market and rolling back the state as a proxy for Britain’s woes at the time. Similarly, notwithstanding a fragmentation of the vote which has helped the BJP into power, disillusionment with the Congress Party in India has led many voters to buy into the rhetoric of the charismatic Modi who is regarded by many as someone that can get things done. Like Thatcher, he is seen as a strong leader who will act when others have fudged and procrastinated. 


The type of ‘development’ being pushed through in India is underpinned by unconstitutional land takeovers, cronyism, corruption, violence and the trampling of democratic rights (3,4,5). And for all the talk of the wonders of opening up markets and economic neo-liberalism, the poverty alleviation rate in India remains around the same as it was back in 1991 (0.8 percent), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percents of the population has doubled during this period (6).


In Gujarat, which has fully embraced the neo-liberal model of ‘development’ under the leadership of Chief Minister Modi, hundreds of thousands of farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and agricultural workers have been displaced from their land. Since 2001, some 16,000 farmers and workers have committed suicide due to economic distress (7). Gujarat has the highest prevalence of hunger and lowest human development indices among states with comparable per capita income. The high level of malnutrition is a consequence of extremely low wage rates, malfunctioning nutrition schemes and lack of potable water supplies and sanitation. Over two thirds of households defecate in the open, resulting in high levels of jaundice, diarrhoea, malaria and various other diseases (8). Unregulated pollution has destroyed farmers and fishermen’s livelihoods and has subjected local populations to diseases and death (9). Moreover, GDP ‘growth’ in Gujarat is underpinned by debt. The state's debt increased from approximately 7,716 million US dollars in 2002 to 23,672 million US dollars in 2013 (10).


Hand in hand with privatisation, Gujarat has also witnessed massive corruption (this is not unique to Gujarat, it is a symptom of neo-liberalism: since 1991, whenIndia began to embrace neo-liberalism, the outflow of illicit money from the Indian economy has accelerated, 11). Writer Rohini Hensmen provides details about the levels of “stupendous” corruption and argues that those who have campaigned against it have “not fared well” (12). He goes on to state that Gujarat's growth has been achieved at the cost of handing over complete control over the economy to private interests. Economist Shipra Nigram agrees: 
“Key sectors – traditionally held to be the preserve of the state – such as ports, roads, rail and power have been handed over to corporate capital. This has meant, inevitably, that the government has abdicated all decision making powers, as well as functional and financial control over such projects. Nowhere else in the country has this abdication of responsibility been so total, nowhere else has the state given over the economy so entirely to the corporates and private investors.” (13)

Fast-tracking plunder


With a new national BJP administration headed by Narendra Modi coming to power and the backing of India’s ruling corporate elite, is this the type of ‘development’ we can expect to see being fast tracked? Can we also expect to witness an accelerated ‘restructuring’ of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness and more farmers to be forced from their land? Can we expect ever increasing population displacement on behalf of commercial interests and rich resource-extraction companies?


Environmentalist Vandana Shiva has argued that what has been happening constitutes the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history. According to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry and chaired by the then minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, it involves the biggest illegal land grab since Columbus.


It is no secret that officialdom wants to depopulate rural areas. In 2008, the then Finance Minister P.Chidambaram envisaged 85% of the population living in cities (14). That would entail at least 600 million being displaced from rural India. And it is no secret who is driving this and who would benefit. US corporate agriculture interests have been granted license to influence key aspects of agriculture and food policy in India via not only controlling seeds and chemical inputs, but by also funding, controlling and thus distorting the scientific biotech research agenda in Indian universities and institutions (15) as a result of it having secured a pivotal role in negotiations between India and the US, not least the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (16).


Can we also expect to see the current corporate-driven, undemocratic free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India gain added impetus? As it stands, that agreement would see powerful trans-national corporations by-passing national legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. We could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments. This is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations. Such agreements cement corporations’ ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to dictate national policies and legislation (17). Even the threat of legal action can compel governments to shelve legislation.


Is this now to be India’s future? One that mirrors what we have seen in the US, Britain and elsewhere - an unmitigated corporate heist and increased state surveillance via the all pervasive Central Monitoring System to help dampen dissent from those at the sharp end of the full-frontal assault of fast-tracked neo-liberalism and cronyism – because history shows that whenever a state spies on its own people, this is usually the reason why (18).


Can we expect ever more industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and infrastructure support for agriculture to be sold off?  


Hostage to neo-liberalism 


Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or lop-sided ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade?


Neo-liberalism (the paradigm for modern day ‘globalisation’) is by its very nature designed to fail the majority and benefit the relative few. And its outcome is and will continue to be endless conflicts for fewer and fewer resources. Globally, expect more Syrias, more Iraqs, more Libyas, more Congos and more threats, bullying, sanctions and military encirclements of states like we see happening to Iran, Russia or China, courtesy of the US.


Its outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda by rich eugenicists who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’ to feed (19). Those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation under guise of free market ideology.


We must look behind the rhetoric of those who espouse the virtues of the free market or neo-liberalism. The US achieved its level of affluence by way of thuggery not free market economics. Major General Smedley Butler, the US’s most decorated marine, said as much and listed various corporations on whose behalf he fought for during his various military campaigns. Little has changed since Smedley wrote about his experiences in 1935, if we turn our attention to US-backed conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine and the banking, oil, gas and agri-tech firms that fuel and/or are intended to benefit from them.


Corporate-backed politicians in India have also seen little wrong in using the machinery and violence of the state to work hand in glove with rich interests to secure access to the nation’s resources, while attempting to justify its brand of plunder, human rights abuses, killings and cronyism by hiding behind platitudes about ‘opening up’ this or that sector of the economy, ‘progress’ and baseless claims about the wonders of the ‘free’ market.


Is this the type of 'development' that Indian people want to see fast tracked? Ultimately, this is what the minority who handed the BJP its landslide victory voted for. This is the type of 'development' they could well get. 
“Since the cross-ownership of businesses is not restricted by the ‘gush-up gospel’ rules, the more you have, the more you can have... corporations buy politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media houses, hollowing out democracy, retaining only its rituals. Huge reserves of bauxite, iron ore, oil and natural gas worth trillions of dollars were sold to corporations for a pittance, defying even the twisted logic of the free market... leading to the siphoning off of billions of dollars of public money. Then there’s the land grab – the forced displacement of communities, of millions of people whose lands are being appropriated by the state and handed to private enterprise.” Arundhati Roy (20).


Notes























Irresponsible China Bashing

Irresponsible China Bashing

by Stephen Lendman

China bashing reflects official US policy. Washington does it numerous ways. 

It's reprehensible. It's confrontational. It's potentially belligerent. Rogue states operate this way.

No nation spies on more nations than America. None more intrusively. None more aggressively. None more lawlessly.

None for more reasons. None in more ways. None more duplicitous about it. None more involved in cybercrime. More on this below.

China is a major US economic, political and military rival. Washington wants it marginalized, weakened and isolated.

It wants its sovereign independence eliminated. It want pro-Western puppet governance replacing it.

It wants its resources plundered. It wants its people exploited. Bashing China risks open conflict. So does pursuing America's overall imperial objectives.

On May 19, Washington declared unprecedented cyberwar on China. 

The Justice Department headlined "US Charges Five Chinese Military Hackers for Cyber Espionage Against US Corporations and a Labor Organization for Commercial Advantage"

"First Time Criminal Charges Are Filed Against Known State Actors for Hacking"

A federal grand jury indicted five Chinese Peoples Liberation Army officials. Doing so was unprecedented. It was provocative. 

Individuals charged didn't matter. Washington confronted the People's Republic of China directly. It did so by targeting its military.

Charges include "computer hacking, economic espionage and other offenses directed at six American victims in US nuclear power, metals and solar products industries."

They allege conspiracy "to hack into American entities, to maintain unauthorized access to their computers and to steal information from those entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs)."

Attorney General Eric Holder claimed "economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represents the first ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking."

"The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response," he said.

FBI Director James Comey claimed "(f)or too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries."

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said:

"State actors engaged in cyber espionage for economic advantage are not immune from the law just because they hack under the shadow of their country’s flag."

Third Department Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Unit 61398 officials named include Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui.

Alleged companies targeted include Westinghouse, SolarWorld subsidiaries, US Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Alcoa, "the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, (and) Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW)."

Charges include:

  • One count of "conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse."

  • Eight counts of "accessing (or attempting to access) a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain."

  • Fourteen counts of "transmitting a program, information, code, or command with the intent to cause damage to protected computers."

  • Six counts of "aggravated identify theft."

  • One count of "economic espionage."

  • One count of "trade secret theft."

Xinhua is China's official press agency. It's a ministry-level department. It provides electronic and print news and information.

On May 20, it headlined "China strongly opposes US indictment against Chinese military personnel," saying:

"China lodged protests with the US side following the announcement, urging the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the indictment."

"(T)he position of the Chinese government on cyber security is consistent and clear-cut. China is steadfast in upholding cyber security." 

"The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets." 

"The US accusation against Chinese personnel is groundless with ulterior motives."

Evidence shows "terminals of Chinese military access to the internet have suffered from great number of foreign cyber attacks in recent years, and a considerable number of such attacks originated from the United States."

"China demands that the US side explain its cyber theft, eavesdropping and surveillance activities against China and immediately stop such activities."

America is "the biggest attacker of China's cyber space."

US attacks "infiltrate and tap Chinese networks belonging to governments, institutions, enterprises, universities and major communication backbone networks." 

"Those activities target Chinese leaders, ordinary citizens and anyone with a mobile phone."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said:

"This US move, which is based on fabricated facts, grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-U.S. cooperation and mutual trust."

Nine or more major online companies cooperate with lawless NSA spying. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Skype, YouTube and others are involved.

They do so through NSA's Prism. It gains access to search histories, emails, file transfers and live chats. 

It's gotten directly from US provider servers. Doing so facilitates mass surveillance. NSA spies globally. Its activities reveal rogue agency lawlessness.

NSA targets China intensively. It lawlessly hacks its computer and telecommunications networks. 

It focuses on strategically important information. It does so through its ultra-secret China hacking group.

It conducts cyber-espionage. Huang Chengquing is Beijing's top Internet official. China has "mountains of data," he said.

It reveals widespread US hacking. It's designed to steal government secrets. NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) in involved.

It's ultra-secret. Most NSA personnel and officials know little or nothing about it. Only those with a need to know have full access.

TAO operations are extraordinarily sensitive. They penetrate Chinese computer and telecommunications systems.

They've done so for nearly 16 years. They generate reliable intelligence. They learn what's ongoing in China.

They obtain what Washington most wants to know. It's done by surreptitious hacking.

It cracks passwords. It penetrates computer security systems. It decrypts successfully. It steals hard drive data.

In October 2012, Obama authorized cyber-attacks. He did so by secret presidential directive.

His Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) "offer(s) unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging."

Washington "identif(ies) potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power."

Domestic spying works the same way. Anything goes defines policy. Constitutional protections don't matter. Or US statute laws. Or international ones. Or relations with other nations.

Washington rules alone apply. TAO's mandate is penetrating, destroying, damaging, or otherwise compromising targeted sites.

It's the largest, most important NSA Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate component.

Well over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers are involved.

Their job is identifying sensitive computer systems and supporting telecommunications networks. Their mandate is penetrating them successfully.

They exceed the capability of other US intelligence gathering agencies. Their activities expand exponentially.

China knows what's going on. So do Russia and other nations. They're acutely aware of NSA activities. They knows the threat. They take appropriate countermeasures.

Cyber-attacks constitute war by other means. Doing so compromises freedom. It risks confrontation. It threatens world peace.

It doesn't matter. America operates solely for its own self-interest. For control. For economic advantage.

For being one up on foreign competitors. For information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations. NSA's get it all mandate explains.

June 5 is a landmark date. It marks the first anniversary of Edward Snowden revelations. He connected important dots for millions.

He revealed lawless NSA spying. He did so in great detail. He's the gift that keeps on giving. 

Western nations collaborate irresponsibly. They do so with major corporations. Privacy no longer exists. 

There's no place to hide. Big Brother watches everyone. Spying goes way beyond protecting national security.

All electronic communications can be monitored, collected and stored. Legal restraints are absent. 

Obama heads the most rogue administration in US history. He exceeds the worst of his predecessors. Congress and American courts permit the impermissible. 

Mass US surveillance is standard practice. It's global. It's all- embracing. It targets world leaders. It's after everything and everyone of possible interest.

No constraints exist. No standards. Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst.

Bashing China turns a blind eye to US high crimes. They're too egregious to ignore. 

America is a pariah state. It exceeds the worst in world history. It risks global confrontation. Stopping it matters most. 

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Today is the most perilous time in world history. World peace hangs in the balance.

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. 


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

NYT Editors Defend the Indefensible

NYT Editors Defend the Indefensible

by Stephen Lendman

Jill Abramson is gone. Dean Baquet replaced her as executive editor. Deplorable policy remains unchanged.

It's featured daily. It's done so in articles, commentaries and editorials. Disgraceful op-eds are standard practice. 

Scoundrels are invited. Truth-tellers aren't welcome. Misinformation rubbish is featured. What readers most need to know is buried.

Lies, damn lies and Big Ones infest Times pages. Yulia Tymoshenko is a former illegitimate Orange Revolution prime minister.

She's billionaire mega-thief. She accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way. She stole it.

She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious "abuse of public office."

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use. 

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She has presidential aspirations. She enjoys weak support.

Earlier she had dozens of secret offshore bank accounts in over two dozen countries. Reportedly most are closed. 

At least 13 worldwide remain open. They hide her ill-gotten wealth. She conspired with former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko among others.

From the mid-1990s, enormous funds were stolen. They disappeared. They did so when Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems (UES).

Lazarenko awarded it monopoly rights to import Russian natural gas. In 2004, a US court convicted him of money laundering, theft, and hiding funds in foreign accounts.

His indictment called his crime "part of a conspiracy (related to) receiv(ing) money from companies owned or controlled by Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems, in exchange for which (he) exercised his official authority in favour of (her) companies."

US prosecutor Martha Moerosch cited "evidence that companies controlled by Tymoshenko took part in the schemes for transferring money to Lazarenko's accounts."

"There were bank statements" proving it, she said. Prosecutors found Tymoshenko funds worldwide. 

As Orange Revolution prime minister, "she did nothing to reform the economy and establish rule of law," she explained.

"Instead, she focused her attention on infighting inside the Orange Revolution in order to prepare her presidential race." 

"Most (Euromaidan protesters) were not demanding her release." Her shady business practices earned her the nickname "gas princess."

On May 18, she headlined her NYT op-ed "A Vote for Ukrainian Freedom."

She lied about Ukraine's upcoming sham May 25 elections. She called fascist governance democratic.

She ludicrously cited "threats of invasion and sabotage by fifth-column separatists." She outrageously suggested putschist-run Ukraine resembles America under Lincoln.

She quoted his 1864 reelection comment, saying:

"We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone, a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us."

"Like Lincoln, we Ukrainians are resolved to go to the polls to choose a new president, in defiance of every threat." 

"We will not grant victory to those who would discredit and dismember our country by allowing the May 25 vote to be canceled." 

"Our election must go ahead if only to prove that the 100 and more men and women who died for our liberty in the protests around Maidan, Kiev's Independence Square, did not die in vain."

Fact: Coup-appointed putschists rule Ukraine.

Fact: They're lawless fascists.

Fact: Washington elevated them to power.

Fact: They include neo-Nazi militants.

Fact: They're Obama's new friends.

Fact: He pretends they're democrats.

Fact: They have no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballots.

Fact: Fascist putschists intend anointing likeminded ideologues.

Fact: They murdered scores of Maidan civilians and special Berkut police in cold blood.

Fact: They planned it well in advance.

Fact: Shots came from nearby Philharmonic Hall windows. Its rooftop.

Fact: Ukraine's toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Fact: Police died doing their job.

Fact: They showed remarkable restraint.

Fact: Washington's dirty hands bore full responsibility.

Fact: Stooge putschists shared it.

Fact: Right Sector thugs were trained to commit what happened.

Fact: CIA operatives were involved.

Fact: Tymoshenko represents the worst of Ukrainian society.

Fact: She belongs in prison serving hard time.

She lied claiming Putin intends "transform(ing) our democratic country into a Russian vassal state."

"No one should doubt that Mr. Putin's primary aim is to hollow out our democracy." 

"But Americans, and free people everywhere, must not be deceived by Russia's aggression, or by Mr. Putin's current peace offensive."

"The separatist cause fomented by Russia would never win on its merits in any free and fair vote of Ukrainians."

"Russia's separatist mafia can win only sham elections of the type that Mr. Putin has imposed on Russia since he came to power 14 years ago, and which he recently forced upon our fellow citizens, now hostages, in Crimea."

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine excludes democracy.

Fact: Putin represents responsible geopolitical leadership.

Fact: He's polar opposite Obama.

Fact: He believes rule of law principles are inviolable.

Fact: He respects sovereign self-determination.

Fact: Democracy in Russia shames America's sham process.

Fact: Crimeans voted near unanimously for reunification with Russia.

Fact: They reject Kiev fascists.

Fact: They want fundamental democratic rights.

Fact: They want what everyone deserves.

Fact: They merit universal support.

Tymoshenko lied called Putin Russia's "strongman." He's overwhelmingly popular. He enjoys over 85% support.

It's for good reason. He governs democratically. He opposes imperial lawlessness. He's polar opposite Kiev fascists.

Tymoshenko lied claiming "Ukraine's liberty is a mortal threat to the authoritarian, state-capitalist system that Mr. Putin has unleashed on Russia's citizens."

"If Ukrainians…can build an open society and a free economy…then ordinary Russians may recognize the scale of the liberties and the economic opportunities that have been stolen from them under Mr. Putin's misrule."

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine is polar opposite Tymoshenko's Big Lie.

Fact: Times editors are complicit.

Fact: They embrace it.

Fact: They featured it.

Fact: It's longstanding Times policy.

Fact: Reprehensible rubbish substitutes for what readers most need to know.

"(W)e must man the barricades of freedom…if Ukraine is to remain free," Tymoshenko claimed.

She turned truth on its head saying so. She wants more Western aid. She wants weapons and other military aid.

She wants it straightaway. She wants it to murder Ukrainian freedom fighters.

She wants democracy supporters crushed. She wants hardline fascist rule solidified.

She wants greater opportunities for more grand theft. She wants her share of plundered Ukrainian resources.

She wants her own people exploited. She wants freedom entirely crushed. She wants what most Ukrainians reject.

Perhaps it's just a matter of time before thousands, maybe millions, of Ukrainians nationwide realize they were had.

Perhaps they'll rebel and demand better. Real democracy replacing illegitimate putschist power. 

Maybe they'll defeat Obama's imperial ambitions. Maybe handing him another defeat. 

Maybe preserving rights too precious to lose. Maybe saving Ukraine at the same time. Maybe achieving real change.

Maybe inspiring others to emulate them. Maybe people everywhere wanting to live free.

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. 


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

India’s Sham Democracy

India's Sham Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

India is like America. Democracy is fantasy. Two major parties dominate. 

In India most often. Others compete. At most, some become junior coalition partners.

Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governance control things. They take turns. They're largely two sides of the same coin.

Indian elections ran in nine phases. From April 7 to May 12. The longest election in Indian history. Over 800 million were eligible to vote.

Over 8,000 candidates competed. They did so for India's Lok Sabha. It's House of the People. Its lower house. Parliamentarians represent 543 constituencies.

Turnout exceeded 66%. Highest ever for general elections. On May  16, results were announced. 

Ruling Congress party candidates were trounced. They won 44 of 554 seats. BJP aspirants won a majority 282 seats. The BJP National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336 seats.

Money power triumphs no matter who wins. Like in America. In Europe. In Israel. Most elsewhere . Democracy is fantasy.

Narendra Modi is India's new prime minister. He's no democrat. Or agent of change. 

He's pro-business writ large. He's notoriously anti-populist. He's neoliberally one-sided. He represents strongman rule. His Gujarat tenure was ruthless. 

He was responsible for its 2002 massacre. Up to 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered. Thousands more were injured. Hundreds went missing.

Children were burned alive. Rape and other atrocities were committed. Widespread looting occurred. Property destruction was vast.

Modi initiated what happened. He condoned it. He remains unaccountable. In 2012, a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team cleared him of involvement.

Muslims justifiably were enraged. Cold-blooded mass murder was whitewashed. State terrorism triumphed. Perhaps more of the same ahead with Modi in charge.

Not according to New York Times editors. They headlined "With Narendra Modi, a Change in India."

They praised what demands denunciation. They lied claiming Modi's victory "reflects a changing country more willing to extend governance to those outside the established elite."

Obama congratulated him. He invited him to Washington. Modi promised "economic revival."

"He set a good tone…(He) promised to work for the good of all Indians," said Times editors. He omitted explaining which ones he means.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined "India's Modi Moment," saying:

"(H)e has a rare mandate to enact (greater) market-opening reforms" than already. "Indian equities soared…"

"Mr. Modi's record offers reason for optimism." He's an "archetypal energetic executive…(He) welcomes foreign investment."

"He has a gut sense of the economic aspirations of ordinary Indians."

"Picking (men) of ideas to balance his own strength as a man of action would be a winning combination."

Washington Post editors called Modi "a compelling alternative as a leader with a record of overseeing a decade-long boom in the state of Gujarat, primed by aggressively tackling infrastructure and energy bottlenecks, paring excessive regulation and attracting private investment." 

"He has promised to do the same for the country at large, sketching ambitious plans for new cities linked by bullet trains."

Arundhati Roy calls India's model one "designed to uphold the consensus of the elite for market growth" at the expense of fairness. 

It "metastasized into something dangerous." High-level corruption reflects it. So does hardline rule.

Roy compared Hindu persecution of Muslims to Hitler's treatment of Jews. "What kind of India do they want," she asked earlier?

She described a "limbless, headless, soulless torso left bleeding under the butcher's clever with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart?"

She commented on India's election, saying:

"…"(W)e're always told there's going to be a trickle-down revolution."

"You know, that kind of opening up of the economy that happened in the early '90s was going to lead to an inflow of foreign capital, and eventually the poor would benefit."

"Well, trickle down hasn't worked, but gush up has. After the opening up of the economy, we are in a situation where…100 of India's wealthiest people own 25 percent of the GDP."

"Whereas more than 80 percent of its population lives on less than half a dollar a day."

Roy noted horrendous malnutrition, hunger and human misery.
India's growing middle class comes at the expense of a "much larger (permanent) underclass."

Small farmers among others suffer. Around 250,000 committed suicide. "If you try to talk about (it) on Indian television channels, you actually get insulted…"

Roy's new book is titled "Capitalism: A Ghost Story." It explains well. It makes a strong case. It shows globalized capitalism created unprecedented inequality, violence, racism and ecocide.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian/journalist/sharp critic of New Delhi policy.

He called BJP candidates winning decisively a clear mandate. He's not encouraged. He expects worse of what voted rejected ahead.

He commented on Hinduism's strong pro-Israeli sentiment. "Hindutva and Zionism shared a muscular nationalism that developed - because of their context - a programmatic apathy to Islam and Muslims," he said.

In 1884, BJP candidates won two seats. This year "the tide turned," said Prashad.

It did so despite Modi's genocidal legacy. Anti-Congress sentiment mattered more.

India has "a powerful Hindu Right government with a very weak opposition," Prashad added. "It is the worst of all worlds."

Congress prioritized neoliberal policies. They combined "liberalization, privatization and globalization."

Prashad calls it "an explosive mix that brought India in line with the planet's rising inequality."

It's grown steadily for years. Especially so in the new millennium. Extreme depravation affects around "680 million Indians."

Congress policies exacerbated things. Inequality escalated during its tenure. Voters reacted.

Its candidates were rejected. BJP ones replaced them and then some. Both parties represent monied elites. Corruption is deep-seated.

BJP and Congress largely govern the same way. Prashad said Modi's Gujarat "malnutrition rate is so high that it is worse than the average…in sub-Saharan Africa."

Its development model is exclusively pro-business. Modi family-controlled companies profit handsomely.

He "ran as a development candidate with a carefully calibrated argument," said Prashad.

He turned truth on its head. He claimed neoliberalism didn't create inequality. He blamed corruption. He "tied it to the mast of Congress."

He rode an anti-ruling party wave. He did so successfully. He reflects hard right Hindu nationalist extremism.

He'll form his government going forward. He'll have to decide whether it's "the ideology he concealed in plain sight or from the campaign rhetoric…he delivered," said Prashad.

Election results showed India's left considerably weakened. Its alternative is rebuilding "strength outside parliament through popular political struggles," Prashad stressed.

Did ordinary Indians get what they wanted, he asked? Was it "good governance or Hindu nationalism?"

On the one hand, they get what they voted for, good or bad.

On the other, they're stuck with the worst of both worlds they deplore. Hardline pro-business Hindu nationalists are empowered for the next five years.

For hundreds of millions of deeply impoverished Indians, it'll feel like a lifetime.

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. 


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

Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov Opt Out of Sham May 25 Elections

Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov Opt Out of Sham May 25 Elections

by Stephen Lendman

They mock legitimate ones. Choices exclude democracy. Fascist ones alone will compete. 

Results are largely pre-determined. No matter who wins, ordinary Ukrainians lose.

Eastern regions won't participate. Days earlier, Donetsk and Lugansk leaders opted out. On May 18, Kharkov's Yuri Apukhtin said:

His "region will hold a referendum on independence following Donetsk and Lugansk." 

"Our task is not to participate in Ukrainian presidential elections in any case." 

"We should meet on this square on May 25. We do not recognise these elections."

On May 17, second round sham national unity talks were held in Kharkov. Freedom-fighter activists were excluded from participating. 

Pro-coup supporters alone were invited. Apukhtin justifiably criticized what everyone should denounce.

On Sunday, Sergey Lavrov spoke to his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Russia's Foreign Ministry said:

They "expressed concern about the continuing clashes and agreed that the situation must be de-escalated urgently." 

"The violence should be stopped in order to avoid further fatalities and favorable conditions should be created for a truly comprehensive national dialogue on constitutional reform."
\
They discussed "the importance of roundtable discussions, taking into account that the interests of the country's southeastern regions must be duly represented."

Steinmeier said Western countries should avoid confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.

At the same time, he faced Bundestag criticism. Various members oppose Berlin's anti-Russian policies. Ones harming German interests.

Both countries are major trading partners. They want nothing interfering with business. They want Ukrainian crisis conditions resolved diplomatically.

Steinmeier promised support. He can't guarantee success, he said.

He's concerned about sanctions. He calls them "dead end" policy. He fears "we will all have to bear the costs."

Days earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a campaign event. She was roundly booed. Protesters oppose her agenda.

Signs read "Europe is strong only with Russia." "Stop the Nazis in Ukraine."

German industrial giants reacted sharply to sanctions. They want longstanding valued business relations protected. 

A leaked German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Trade letter said:

"Deeper economic sanctions would lead to a situation where contracts would increasingly be given to domestic firms, projects would be suspended or delayed by the Russian side, and Russian industry and politicians would turn to Asia, in particular China."

German and other European firms fear losing market share. They're concerned about "longterm and sustained irreparable damage."

They want East/West squabbles handled politically, not economically or financially. They want nothing harming their bottom line interests.

Over 6,000 German companies do business in Russia. Around 300,000 German jobs are at stake.

Germany's Economic Minister/Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel largely blamed Russia for Ukrainian crisis conditions. He admitted flawed EU policy.

"It was certainly not smart to create the impression in Ukraine that it had to decide between Russia and the EU," he said.

John Laughland heads the Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.

"The West is engaged in all-out ideological and geopolitical struggle with Russia, which it intends to win," he said. 

"There are all sorts of things Europe can do. It can ratchet up what it's already done." 

"It can publish longer lists of people who are subject to personal sanctions." 

"It will definitely abandon the visa liberalization program, which Russia has been requesting for nearly a decade now." 

"And it can even reduce economic exchanges. Russia should not be under any illusions." 

"The European elites are prepared to cut off their nose to spite their face." 

"In other words, they are prepared to undergo or make other people undergo severe economic pain in order to justify and entrench their ideological hostility to Russia."

In some ways perhaps. Not others. Nothing harming valued economic ties. Business wants bottom line interests protected.

Politicians depend on its support. They won't bite valued hand feeding them. Other than token anti-Russian policies largely too minor to matter.

Washington may be tougher. Despite domestic business opposition. US/Russian trade is small compared to Europe's.

Whether losses can be made up elsewhere remains to be seen.

Moscow and Beijing are close to consummating a "Holy Grail" trade deal. It'll bond both countries more closely together. It'll do so politically and economically.

They'll trade increasingly in their own currencies. They'll bypass dollar transactions. They'll weaken it doing so.

Russia will supply China with around 38 billion cubic million meters of natural gas annually. It'll do do for the next 30 years.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said supplies could rise up to 60 billion cubic meters annually. It depends on Beijing's needs going forward.

Northwest and Northeast pipelines will ship Russian gas. They'll feed China's huge appetite.

Last year, it imported 53 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Putin's visit is his first since Xi Jinping became president in March 2013.

Both countries are close to a whopper of a trade deal. It's "98% ready," said Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovksy.

On May 20, Putin arrives in China. Top Russian political and business officials are coming with him.

They include Gazprom's Miller. Annual Sino/Russian trade runs around $100 billion. It'll increase going forward.

Both countries are major trading partners. Worsening US relations solidifies stronger ties.

Putin and China's Xi Jinping reached consensus months earlier.

China's Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said companies from both nations discussed pricing.

"We will strive to get (them) to (finalize deal terms and have things) witnessed by both state leaders while Putin is in China," he said.

At the same time, coup-appointed Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia urged tougher sanctions. 

He wants what he called "preventative ones." He wants what EU countries won't impose. Valued economic ties won't be jeopardized.

Alexey Pushkov is Russia's lower house State Duma International Relations Committee Chairman.

"There will be an election in Ukraine," he said. 

"The question is, however, whether Donetsk and Lugansk will participate in it." 

"Evidently not but that's got nothing to with Russia. It’s the free choice of the population of those regions." 

"I hope that after the election, more pragmatic politicians will come to power in Kiev, who will realize that the problems facing Ukraine cannot be solved without Russia."

Post- election, they'll have to deal with Russia, he added. Confrontation is self-defeating.

"The price of gas, the export of Ukrainian goods, the tariffs, the contracts needed to keep lots of Ukrainian industries running."

"They will have to discuss all those issues with us. Without Russia, and this is acknowledged both in Germany and France, there is no solving the Ukrainian crisis."

On Sunday, RT International said Kiev forces targeted Russian journalists Oleg Sidyankin and Marat Saichenko.

They're LifeNews employees. They were attacked last week. They escaped unharmed. At the time, they were with RT's Ruptly video crew. 

On May 18, Ukrainian forces confronted them. They arrested them. They harassed them. They handcuffed them. They detained them.

They're missing. Their whereabouts is unknown. Communication was cut off. Before abduction, Sidyankin text-messaged "things look bad."

EuroMaidan posted their photos on Twitter. A caption read: "Lifenews employees captured near Kramatorsk."

Sidyankin was wounded earlier. Saichenko is a prominent photojournalist/cameraman. Earlier he worked during Libyan and Syrian conflicts.

He photographed oligarch Mkhail Khordorkovsky in prison. He was the first person to do it. He gained prominence at the time.

He and Sidyankin are endangered. Fascists give free people everywhere cause for concern.

LifeNews asked Lavrov for help. General Director Ashot Gabrelyanov issued a statement, saying:

"We bring to your attention the fact that a LifeNews TV crew of reporter Oleg Sidyakin and cameraman Marat Saichenko went missing on May 18, while on an editorial mission to cover developments in the southeast of Ukraine."

"Journalists of LifeNews TV channel were in Ukraine legally, and were working in accordance with international rules without violating law." 

"We ask you to help free journalists of a Russian television channel."

They'll likely need plenty. Fascists give no quarter. Police states operate this way. 

Kiev putschists resemble Nazi era thugs. No one in Ukraine is safe with them in charge. 

Eliminating them is top priority. Restoring democracy matters most. Courageous Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters aim to do so. 

They deserve universal support! Their struggle is ours! It's everyone's wanting to live free!

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. 


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

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Kiev Losing Control?

Kiev Losing Control?

by Stephen Lendman

Growing thousands of Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Perhaps it's just a matter of time before Western ones join them.

Slavyansk is in the center of the storm. Ukrainian military forces blockaded the city. On Friday, an assault followed. Minimum casualties so far.

A self-defense force press statement said:

"The attack is targeting a few checkpoints at the same time." 

"A few armored vehicles and airborne combat vehicles arrived and airborne troops descended from the helicopters and attacked the checkpoints. Some forces were dropped off around the train station, where we didn't have anyone."

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said 10 self-defense forces checkpoints were seized. Slavyansk's broadcast facility was captured. So was a police station.

A Ukrainian Ministry statement said:

"Outside of Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region, two Ukrainian military Mi-24 helicopters, which were carrying out aerial patrols, were downed." 

"According to preliminary information, the military machines were taken down by unidentified individuals using mobile Zenit rocket systems." 

"As a result, two military personnel were killed and several others have been injured."

Reports said a third helicopter was damaged. At midday Friday local time, Itar Tass reported two Ukrainian soldiers killed. 

Several others wounded. One self-defender dead. Another injured.

Russian TV news channel Rossiya-24 reported a third Ukrainain military helicopter downed. An explosion destroyed it. Its crew's fate is unclear.

Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters vow continued resistance. Growing thousands fill their ranks. They're challenging US-supported illegitimate coup-appointed fascists.

They reject their authority. They control over a dozen Eastern Ukrainian cities. They want Ukraine federalized. They want local autonomy. They want fundamental rights everyone deserves.

Kiev is incrementally losing control. Elements of its military reject them. They refused to fight their own people. Fascist Right Sector thugs were deployed to do so. Foreign mercenaries joined them.

On Friday, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:

 "We decisively demand that the West stop its destructive policies in regard to Ukraine and to those who have announced themselves the authorities in Kiev to immediately stop the punitive operation and any violence against its own people, to release political prisoners, and to provide complete freedom to journalists in their activities."

"Russia is concerned over the beginning of a punitive military operation in Slaviansk using terrorists from the Right Sector and other ultranationalist organizations."

"As we have repeatedly warned, the use of the army against its own people is a crime and will lead Ukraine to a catastrophe."

Attacking Slavyansk militarily bears close watching. Resistance weakens Kiev control. It may end up lost altogether.

Power depends of people accepting it. Otherwise it's too weak to govern effectively. Perhaps its days are numbered. 

Most likely if Eastern Ukrainian resistance spreads nationwide. For sure if it's full-blown. It may just be a matter of time.

Fascists make more enemies than friends. IMF force-fed austerity heads Ukraine for Greek-style Depression. 

Ukrainians are deeply impoverished. Hitting them harder assures inciting widespread anger. People take so much before rebelling. When pain thresholds exceed tolerable levels, all bets are lost.

According to Gerald Celente: "When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it." Revolutions erupt this way. 

Perhaps in Ukraine. Perhaps challenging Kiev putschists effectively. Perhaps letting people power prevail. Perhaps reclaiming Obama's imperial trophy. The fullness of time will tell.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Washington. Ukrainian crisis conditions dominated discussions. 

On May 2, the Wall Street Journal headlined "German Businesses Urge Halt on Sanctions Against Russia," saying:

Merkel arrived with a message. "…Germany's business lobby to the White House: No more sanctions. Major companies oppose them." 

They include financial giant Deutsche Bank, Siemens AG, BASF SE, Volkswagon and Adidas AG among others.

They "made their opposition to broader economic sanctions against Russia clear in recent weeks, both in public and in private," said the Journal.

Germany is Russia's largest European trade partner. Annual volume exceeds $100 billion. Berlin is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. So is Europe overall.

According to the Journal:

"As the Ukraine crisis has worsened, German officials have faced a barrage of telephone calls from senior corporate executives, urging them not to take steps that would damage business interests in Russia, people familiar with the matter say."

Some German corporate bosses went public. They warned against harsher measures.

Former Daimler AG official Eckhard Cordes heads Ostauschuss. It's German industry's Eastern Europe lobbying arm. He spoke for corporate Germany, saying:

"If there's a single message we have as business leaders, then it's this: sit down at the negotiating table and resolve these matters peacefully."

BASF has close ties to Russia's gas giant Gazprom. Its CEO Kurt Bock said:

"It's up to politicians and historians to determine the efficacy of boycotts, but I have my doubts."

Many German companies depend heavily on business with Russia. It's a key growth market. It provides substantial revenue and profits.

US companies do far less business. They voiced concerns privately. They worry about losing sales to foreign competitors.

Other US allies reject harsh measures. They include Japan, Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Israel among others. They voiced concern about permanently rupturing Russia's Western ties.

Germany has clout. It's Europe's largest economy. It's an economic powerhouse.

Around 6,200 German companies do business in 
Russia. They oppose political interference. Lost trade means thousands of lost jobs, they say.

According to German economist Klaus-Jurgen Gem:

"There's no question that Germany's economic interests would be best served by avoiding sanctions."

Imposing tough ones could slow German economic growth by up to 2%, he added. Berlin estimates as many as 300,000 lost jobs.

On April 30, Der Spiegel headlined "Little Love for Sanctions: Ukraine Crisis A Tightrope Walk for German Businesses," saying:

Longstanding "economic ties make disengagement next to impossible." On the one hand, EU governments warned Russia of "additional and far-reaching" sanctions.

On the other, they're reluctant to impose them. They cut both ways. They hurt European sales and profit. They harm their economies. 

According to Spiegel, "politicians appear to be having a difficult time agreeing to far-reaching and painful sanctions, given Europe's energy dependence on Russia." 

"The business community…has no interest in such punitive measures."

According to lobbyist Eckhard Cordes, "(w)e won't let the constructive work of the last decades be ruined for us."

Hundreds of German business officials feel the same way. For sure many throughout Europe and America.

According to BASF executive Rainer Seele, "(t)he Russians are dependable allies."

"Embargoes don't do anything for anyone. We shouldn't be frivolously be putting years of built-up trust in jeopardy."

German exports already suffered. In January and February, they're down 10% year-over-year. Russian state-owned companies began shifting to Asian suppliers.

Expect much more of the same ahead. Expect it whether or not tougher sanctions are imposed. Russia is defensively shifting East.

Later in May, Putin heads for Beijing. Consummating a major gas deal is planned. It involves supplying 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. 

It'll do so via pipeline. It's the first one between both nations. It's expected to cost about $22 billion to complete.

When fully implemented, energy trade will bypass dollar transactions. It'll weaken petrodollar strength. 

Bilateral ruble/renminbi trade weakens dollar strength overall. Perhaps other countries may follow in their own currencies. 

Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss increasing other bilateral trade. It includes timber and military contracts.

In 2013, China was Russia's largest trade partner. Moscow is Beijing's ninth. Both countries want closer economic ties. 

Establishing them weakens Western interests. Sino/Russian unity provides a powerful counterweight to US-led Western economic, political and military dominance.

According to Analysis of Strategies and Technologies' Vasily Kashin:

“The worse Russia's relations are with the West, the closer Russia will want to be to China. If China supports you, no one can say you're isolated."

Both countries know Washington wants them weakened and controlled. Unity goes a long way toward preventing it.

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


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

Putin v. Kerry

Putin v. Kerry

by Stephen Lendman

Putin's statesmanship embarrasses Kerry. Both men are geopolitical opposites. 

Putin represents responsible leadership. Kerry shames the office he hold.

On April 29, Putin addressed Ukrainian crisis conditions forthrightly. On the same day, Kerry irresponsibly addressed the Atlantic Council.

In 1961, it was established to support NATO. It's headquartered in Washington. It supports America's global agenda. 

Past and current members include a rogue's gallery of reliable US imperial supporters. 

They include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Schlesinger, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Jones, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, and an array of current and former top military officials.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel formerly served as chairman. Kerry's comments reflected US imperial arrogance. More on them below.

Putin pointed fingers the right way. What's ongoing in Ukraine "shows us who really was mastering the process from the beginning," he said.

"But in the beginning, the United States preferred to remain in the shadow(s)."

In addressing crisis conditions, Washington is "telling that they originally were behind this process, but now they just have emerged as (its) leaders."

US officials encouraged Maidan protesters. They supported them. They did so against Ukraine's democratically elected government.

They manipulated events. They aided and abetted Viktor Yanukovych's ouster. 

They helped empower illegitimate fascist putschists. They did so lawlessly.

"It is necessary to understand that the situation is serious and try to find serious approaches to the solution," said Putin.

He called on coup-appointed officials to "treat equally the rights of those living in other areas of Ukraine, first of all, I mean, the east and southeast, establish a dialogue, find a compromise."

He addressed illegitimate US/EU sanctions, adding:

"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response." 

"But if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how."

Major US companies are involved. They include ExxonMobil and Chevron.

"Regarding (sanctions imposed on Moscow), it's not clear at all what this is linked to, because there is no cause and effect link with what is happening now in Ukraine and Russia," said Putin.

At the same time, US/EU policy won't deter Russia's Eurasian integration process, he explained. It involves Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Putin prioritizes resolving Ukrainian crisis conditions responsibly. US policy is polar opposite.

Kerry fronts for power. He represents longstanding US imperial arrogance. 

His comments leave no doubt where he stands. Big Lies infest them. They do so repeatedly.

He addressed the Atlantic Council's "Toward a Europe Whole and Free" conference.

Washington wants Europe co-opted. It wants full control. It wants it united against Russia.

It bullies, pressure and threatens European leaders to bend to its will. Outliers aren't tolerated. They're targeted for replacement. Washington rules apply.

The year 2014 marks NATO's 65 anniversary. Its mission is offense, not defense.

It's a machine for the manufacture of mass slaughter, destruction and unspeakable human misery.

Not according to Kerry. He lied saying "over (its) decades-long history, I think NATO, without any question, has done more to promote security, more to promote prosperity, and more to promote freedom than any other alliance in human history."

He cited nonexisting threats. Ukraine is Exhibit A, he suggested.

Its crisis "calls us back to the role that this alliance was originally created to perform, and that is to defend alliance territory and advance transatlantic security."

False! US-led NATO is a destabilizing machine. It prevents global security. 

It advances America's imperium. It does so through lawless violence, belligerence and full-blown aggression.

"The events in Ukraine are a wake-up call," said Kerry. 

He lied claiming "(o)ur European Allies have spent more than 20 years with us working to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community." 

"It is not as if we really haven't bent over backwards to try to set a new course in the post-Cold War era." 

"And so we've pursued serious bilateral engagement…But what Russia's actions in Ukraine tell us is that today Putin's Russia is playing by a different set of rules." 

"And through its occupation of Crimea and its subsequent destabilization of Eastern Ukraine, Russia seeks to change the security landscape of Eastern and Central Europe."

"So we find ourselves in a defining moment for our transatlantic alliance, and nobody should mistake that." 

"And we are prepared to do what we need to do, and to go the distance, to uphold that alliance." 

"Our strength will come from our unity. And the strength of our alliance always has come from our unity over the course of the 65 years."

"So together, we have to push back against those who want to try to change sovereign borders by force."

"Together, we have to support those who simply want to try to live as we do or as others do."

Fact: Washington wants sovereign Russian independence eliminated.

Fact: It wants subservient pro-Western governance replacing it.

Fact: Longstanding US policy wants all independent governments replaced.

Fact: Eliminating major rivals matter most.

Fact: Russia and China are top targets.

Fact: Both countries deplore war.

Fact: They prioritize peaceful coexistence.

Fact: Advancing America's imperium prevents it.

Fact: Kerry lied suggesting otherwise.

"(W)e have to support those folks who want to live free, making their choices about their own future. Together, we have to continue our strong support for Ukraine," he said.

"(W)e have to make it absolutely clear to the Kremlin that NATO territory is inviolable. We will defend every single piece of it."

"(F)rom day one, Ukraine undertook to implement both the spirit and substance of" Geneva four-party agreement terms.

"(N)ot one single step has been taken by Russia."

"Every time you have a conversation, it’s pointing the finger at what the Ukrainians haven't done, without even tallying up what they have done or acknowledging their own zero in the column with respect to what they have undertaken."

"(I)t's fair to say they have escalated the crisis even further." 

"There is strong evidence that I laid out several days ago of the degree to which Russian engagement exists directly in the east and has been building up over some period of time."

Russian policy persists "to pursue (its) own goals and…ends." 

It has "a clear choice: Leave Ukraine in peace and work with us together to create a strong Ukraine, a Ukraine that is not a pawn, pulled and tugged at between East and West…"

"…I can guarantee this: The United States and our allies will stand together in support of Ukraine."

"This crisis is a wake-up call for us to accelerate the other work that we’ve been doing to promote a stronger, more prosperous transatlantic community."

Fact: Kerry repeated one Big Lie after another.

Fact: He's a serial liar.

Fact: He's a world class thug.

Fact: He makes lesser rogue officials look pacifist.

Fact: He makes mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

Fact: He makes serial killers look like pussy cats.

Fact: "NATO, without a question, has done more to (subvert) security, more to (prevent) prosperity, and more to (destroy) freedom than any other alliance in human history."

Fact:  NATO "was originally created" for offense, not defense.

Fact: "European allies have spent more than 20 years with (Washington) working to" marginalize, weaken and isolate Russia.

Fact: "(W)hat Russia's actions in Ukraine tell us is that today Putin's Russia" represents responsible geopolitical leadership.

Fact: No Russian "occupation of Crimea and its subsequent destabilization of Eastern Ukraine" occurred.

Fact: Moscow did nothing "to change sovereign borders by force" or any other way.

Fact: Washington and rogue EU partners want free people subjugated.

Fact: They want their fundamental freedoms eliminated altogether. 

Fact: They want their futures destroyed.

Fact: "(F)rom day one, Ukraine (violated) both the spirit and substance of" Geneva four-party agreement terms.

Fact: (I)t's fair to say" Washington and rogue EU partners "escalated the crisis even further." 

Fact: No evidence suggests Russian involvement with Eastern Ukrainian activists.

Kerry represents the worst of Washington's dark side. Lawless aggression reflects it. 

Millions of corpses attest to America's barbarity. Don't expect Kerry to explain.

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


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

Fact Checking Scoundrel Media Lies

Fact Checking Scoundrel Media Lies

by Stephen Lendman

Edward Herman and David Peterson contributed an important chapter to a forthcoming cutting edge book on Ukraine.

It's titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Watch for it. It's coming soon. Amazon lists it.

Herman and Peterson explain Western propaganda "in overdrive," saying:

"(D)eeply ingrained Cold War ideology remains in Western capitals and their political and intellectual culture."

"It's best understood as a dichotomous or binary system: One side is 'good,' the other side is 'evil.' "  

"One side acts on behalf of universal values, the other acts out of narrow self-interests."  

"One side helps other countries and peoples to build democratic institutions and good governance, and supports the rights to self-determination, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all countries -the other side as a matter of principle rejects these rights and strives for power and territorial expansion."

Orwell explained his way saying: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

Bad guys 'R us. Media scoundrels twist truth their way. Irresponsible Russia bashing persists daily. Big Lies repeat ad nauseam.

News, information and analysis people most need to know are systematically buried. Malicious daily propaganda substitutes.

Herman and Peterson pull no punches saying:

"The misrepresentations of the US media in dealing with the Ukraine crisis have been spectacular, reaching and perhaps surpassing their performance during the 50-year-long Cold War era, with the notion of 'objectivity' buried beneath a landslide of biased tone and word usage, rewritten or suppressed history, use of selective evidence, and double-standards."

Their detailed, documented analysis provides proof positive. Media scoundrels regurgitate official Big Lies. Truth is a powerful disinfectant. Burying it is prioritized. 

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. So-called New York Times news fit to print isn't fit to read. It's rubbish. 

It's ideologically driven. It's one-sided. It's over-the-top. It's hypocritical garbage. 

It violates fundamental journalistic principles. Truth-telling matters most. It's nowhere in sight. Bad fiction substitutes.

On April 29, Times editors headlined "Not Getting Through to Mr, Putin," saying:

US and EU imposed sanctions followed "Russia's involvement" with Eastern Ukrainian anti-Kiev activists. Times editors quoted Washington and Brussels. They lied calling it "indisputable."

Times editors call sanctions "justified." They accused Putin of "bluster." 

He "demonstative(ly) disdain(s)" four-party "Geneva agreement" terms "along with the aggressive behavior of Russian troops massed on Ukraine's borders and the continued occupation of administrative and security buildings in southeastern Ukrainian cities by Moscow-directed secessionists," they said.

"(T)argeted penalties are not likely to change Russia's behavior."

Times editors urge tougher ones. "(T)here will be…costs" otherwise…"Europe and America (must) join in a unified response."

"(A) weak and fragmented response would call into question a longstanding trans-Atlantic commitment to protect international law and democratic values against the kind of aggression Mr. Putin is engaging in."

Fact: Sanctions imposed are illegitimate.

Fact: They have no legal standing.

Fact: They violate international law.

Fact: Russia alone abides by four-party agreement terms responsibly.

Fact: Washington, rogue EU partners and Kiev putschists systematically violated them.

Fact: No Russian hoards threaten Ukraine.

Fact: Anti-Kiev activists act on their own volition.

Fact: No evidence shows Russian involvement.

Fact: UN Charter provisions support all people's self-determination rights.

Fact: US and rogue EU states deplore international law and democratic values.

Fact: Lawless aggression is longstanding US/EU policy.

Fact: Putin champions peace and stability.

Fact: He deplores violence in all forms.

Fact: He denounces aggression.

Fact: He speaks out forthrightly against it.

Fact: Times editors lied claiming otherwise.

Putin "poses" "danger," they said. They urged "rein(ing) him in."

"His authoritarian behavior at home, his disdain for the Geneva agreement and, most recently, the capture of a European military observer mission in Slavyansk" demand tough measures against him, they said.

Crisis conditions will worsen "unless the West is prepared to unite behind serious economic sanctions that hurt Russia’s financial, energy and military sectors."

Fact: So-called military observers were exposed as NATO spies.

Fact: Putin responsibly challenges Washington's hegemonic ambitions.

Fact: He's humanity's best hope to curtail it.

Fact: He deserves worldwide praise.

Fact: He warrants universal support.

Fact: He forthrightly observes Geneva terms.

Fact: No evidence suggests otherwise.

Fact: Russian democracy shames America's sham version.

Fact: Putin heads a free and open society.

Fact: Obama heads a ruthless homeland police state apparatus.

Fact: US freedom is endangered.

Fact: It's being systematically destroyed.

Fact : Full-blown tyranny is a hair's breadth away.

Fact: Permanent war is official US policy.

Fact: Unchallenged global dominance is sought.

Fact: One country after another is ravaged and destroyed to achieve it.

Fact: Don't expect Times editors to explain. 

Fact: Big Lies substitute for full and accurate reporting.

Fact: Regurgitating official Big Lies is longstanding Times policy.

Fact: Propaganda masquerades as real news and analysis.

Fact: Readers are systematically deceived.

Slawomir Sierakowski masquerades as a left-of-center political observer. His opinions reveal otherwise. 

Times editors gave him featured op-ed space. On April 28, he headlined "Putin's Useful Idiots," saying:

"(M)any American and Western European intellectuals do all they can to minimize the dangerous aggression by Vladimir V. Putin."

Sierakowski turned truth on its head. He claimed putschist-run Ukraine represents "democracy." He called Russian truth-telling "propaganda."

He called neo-Nazi extremist Dmytro Yarosh legitimate because he's "deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council."

Sierakowski ignored his illegitimate appointment. He turned a blind eye to his open boast about "…fighting Jews and Russians till I die."

He lied claiming Yarosh pledged to "fight all instances of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and chauvinism." He ludicrously claimed "fascist phantoms in Ukraine."

He said independent "Western intellectuals" claiming otherwise support "not just with the autocrat in the Kremlin, but the legions of far-right parties across Europe that have come to Russia's defense…"

"Who says Russia needs propaganda," he asked? "It already has its useful idiots."

No self-respecting editors would touch Sierakowski's trash. Times editors featured it.

On April 28, neocon Washington Post editors headlined "Obama's half-measures give Vladimir Putin little to fear," saying:

His "assault on Ukraine has been relentless and increasingly reckless: Forces working with Russian personnel in eastern Ukraine are torturing and murdering opponents and holding international observers hostage."

"In contrast, President Obama's response has been slow and excruciatingly measured." 

"New US sanctions announced Monday fall well short of the steps that senior officials threatened when the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine began three weeks ago."

It bears repeating. No evidence whatever shows Russian Eastern Ukrainian involvement.

None suggests self-defense activists commit torture or murder. So-called "hostages" are NATO spies.

Putin "made a mockery of the administration's diplomacy, blatantly ignoring the agreement accepted by his foreign minister in Geneva 11 days ago," said WaPo editors.

False! Putin acted responsibly. Obama, rogue EU leaders and coup-appointed putschists violated Geneva terms straightaway.

WaPo editors lied saying "Russia invaded Ukraine." US supported fascist putschist claims were cited as evidence. None whatever exists. 

Inventing them out of whole cloth doesn't wash. Nor claiming Crimean reunification with Russia represents "the first forcible change of borders in Europe since World War II."

Nearly 97% of Crimeans voted to do so. They did peacefully, fairly, openly and democratically. International law supports them. 

Don't expect WaPo editors to explain. Or call US wars on humanity lawless aggression. Or forthrightly denounce them.

On April 29, Wall Street Journal editors headlined "From Kharkiv (aka Kharkov, Ukraine's second largest city) to Brussels," saying:

Obama's "penalties look robust by comparison to the European Union's latest sanctions list." 

"The 15 persons now facing EU travel bans and asset freezes include no companies; a lot of provincial nobodies; and some obvious malefactors who should have been sanctioned months ago…"

"Events in Ukraine are moving fast, and the next time EU officials meet to make their token sanctions list there may be much less of Ukraine to pretend to care about."

Daily Journal Russia bashing twists fundamental truths irresponsibly. Propaganda bad enough to make PR wizards blush substitutes.

Other US media scoundrels operate the same way. Official Big Lies are regurgitated. They repeat ad nauseam.

They read like bad fiction. They mock legitimate journalism. They substitute for the real thing.

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


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

F$%k the EU! (The EU is F*#ked) — The Geneva Business Insider

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From Havana to Kiev: The US State Department as a Covert Operative

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War, Economic Catastrophe and Environmental Degradation. Under the Guise of Progress and Development

Global Research and Countercurrents 27/4/2014
Indian finance minister P.Chidambaram once claimed that his government’s policies were pro growth and pro equity (1). He talked of alleviating poverty in India‘in our lifetime’ by implementing the type of development policies currently being pursued. The minister envisages 85 percent of India’s population eventually living in well-planned cities with proper access to water, health, electricity, education, etc. Based on today’s population size, which is set to continue to rise, that would mean at least 600 million moving to cities. He stated that urbanisation constitutes ‘natural progress’.
The type of urbanisation being pursued in India is not ‘natural’, however, nor does it represent ‘progress’. It has thus far been largely based on unconstitutional land takeovers, the trampling of democratic rights, increasing and unsustainable resource usage and air and water pollution. But for Chidambaram and other supporters of cronyism, cartels and the manipulation of markets (2,3,4), which all go under the guise of economic ‘neo-liberalism’, such processes increase the amount of money flowing around the economy, which therefore increases the GDP figure and thus represent progress. In this respect, chopping down an ancient forest and selling the timber represents progress, and removing people’s access to traditional lands by handing them to corporations to somehow make cash profits from is also positive.
This warped notion of development has seen the poverty alleviation rate in India remain around the same as it was back in 1991 or even in pre-independence India (0.8 percent) (5), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percents of the population has doubled during this period. According to the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development, this doubling of income inequality has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies (6).
This is the type of development being forced through by Indian politicians on behalf of national and international elite interests via the World Bank, WTO, and the G8, etc, and it is based on the idea that shifting people from agriculture to what are a number of already overburdened, filthy, polluted mega-cities to work in factories, clean the floors of a shopping mall or work as a security guard improves the human condition; or, more realistically, to live in slum-like conditions and be unemployed or underemployed, given that hundreds of millions are to be booted from the land to achieve Chidambaram’s 85 percent urbanisation figure.
Urbanisation is being forced through by what Vandana Shiva says is the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history and involves one of the biggest illegal land grabs since Columbus, according to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry and chaired by the then minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
In the West, urbanisation was not ‘natural’ and involved the unforeseen outcomes of conflicts and struggles between serfs, lords, peasants, landowners, the emerging bourgousie and class of industrialists and the state. The outcomes of these struggles resulted in different routes to modernity and levels of urbanisation (7,8).
Similar struggles are now taking place in India. The naxalites and Maoists in India are referred to by the dominant class as left wing extremists who are exploiting the poor. How easy it is cast legitimate protesters together and create an ‘enemy within’. How easy it is to ignore the state-corporate extremism across the world that results in the central state abdicating its responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street-backed ‘structural adjustment’ pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows, massive profits justified on the basis of ‘investment risk’ and unaccountable cartels which aim to maximise profit by beating down labour costs and grabbing resources at the cheapest possible costs. That’s the real nature of extremism. It is the type of extremism that is regarded as anything but by the mainstream media.
Powerful corporations are spearheading the agenda for ‘development’ in India and have been handed the rights to this process via secretive Memorandums of Understanding. The full military backing of the state is on hand to forcibly evict peoples from their land in order to fuel a wholly unsustainable model of development that strips the environment bare and ultimately negatively impacts the climate and ecology.
Moreover, due to the restructuring of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness, over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997. And yet the corporate-controlled type of agriculture being imposed only leads to bad food, bad soil, bad or no water, bad health and bad or falling yields (9,10,11,12). Unconstitutional land grabs for SEZs, resource extraction, nuclear plants and other projects have additionally forced many others from the land.
With GDP growth slowing and automation replacing human labour the world over in order to decrease labour costs and boost profit, just where are the jobs going to come from to cater for India’s increasing population, never mind hundreds of millions of former agricultural workers?
To push through the type of progress and development Chidambaram wants, it is clear that farmers represent a ‘problem’ to be removed from the land and a problem to be dealt with once removed. Food producers, the genuine wealth producers of a nation, only became a problem when Western agribusiness was given the green light to take power away from farmers and uproot traditional agriculture in India and recast it in its own profiteering, corporate-controlled image. This is who is really setting the ‘development’ agenda. The processes involved constitute the ‘progress’ and ‘natural’ move towards depopulating rural areas that Chidambaram spoke of.
If it can’t be done via mass suicide and making it economically non-viable to continue farming as a result of world trade policies, ‘free’ trade agreements and ‘structurally adjusting’ (plundering) traditional agricultural practices and economies to ultimately ensure petro-chemical farming (and thus oil and the US dollar (13) remains king, let tens of thousands of militia into the tribal areas to displace hundreds of thousands, place 50,000 in camps and carry out rapes and various human rights abuses (14,15).
If anyone perceives that this ‘natural progress’ is not based on acquiescing to foreign corporations, they should take a look at the current corporate-driven, undemocratic free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India (16,17,18).It all adds up to powerful trans-national corporations trying to by-pass legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. Kavaljit Singh of the Madhyam research institute argues that we could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments; this is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations (19). Such free trade agreements cement the corporate ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers even further via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to wholly dictate national policies and legislation.
Of course, the links between the Monsanto/Syngenta/Walmart-backed Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the US sanctioning and backing of the opening up of India’s nuclear sector to foreign interests (on the back of a cash for votes scandal in parliament (20)) have already shown what the models of ‘development’ being pushed onto people really entails in terms of the erosion of democracy and the powerful corporate interests that really benefit (21,22).
Industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and seeds and infrastructure support for agriculture are being sold off. And how is this all justified? By the amount of cash sloshing around the formal economy (notwithstanding the massive amounts of money being siphoned off via corrupt deals and hidden from public gaze) and the reference to GDP growth – a single, warped, narrow definition of ‘development’ – a notion of development hijacked by economists and their secular theology which masquerades as economic ‘science’.
Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade? At best, it shows a lack of foresight. At worst, it displays complete subservience to elite interests at home and abroad.
Finally, if anyone perceives the type of ‘development for all’ being sold to the masses is actually possible in the first instance, they should note that ‘developing’ nations account for more than 80 percent of world population, but consume only about a third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians (23).
The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and if you scale this to 46 years then humans have been here for just four hours. The Industrial Revolution began just one minute ago, and in that time, 50% of the Earth’s forests have been destroyed (24). Forests are just part of the problem. We are using up oil, water and other resources much faster than they can ever be regenerated. We have also poisoned the rivers, destroyed natural habitats, driven some wildlife species to extinction and altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere – among many other things.
Levels of consumption were unsustainable, long before India and other countries began striving to emulate Western levels and high energy use. The current model of development is based on a totally misguided dream; or, to put it another way, a deceitful ideology that attempts to justify and sell a system that is designed to fail the majority of the global population and benefit the relative few (25).
Capitalism has for a long time succeeded in making most people blind to the chains that bind and which make them immune to the falsehoods that underpin the system. This wasteful, high-energy system is tied to what ultimately constitutes the plundering of peoples and the planet by powerful transnational corporations. And, as we see all around us, the outcome is endless conflicts over fewer and fewer resources. Such conflicts are likely to gather pace as wars are not only fought to grab resources, but are also manufactured in order to destroy states from within by fomenting civil wars and thus destabilize economies and reduce demand for resources (26). The outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda being forwarded by rich eugenicists who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’: those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation. The super rich who currently run the world regard most of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with’ (27).
Finally, it is worth considering that the US as a nation and its oligarchs in particular achieved the level of affluence that they did more by way of ‘gansterism’, not by ‘freedom and democracy’ or ‘free market’ economics as that nation’s leaders like to tell the world. That much was admitted by the late Major General Smedley Butler, the US’s most decorated marine: he listed various corporations on whose behalf he fought for during his various military campaigns (28). Of course, little has changed since Smedley wrote about his experiences in 1935.
Maybe Smedley’s description of this aspect of the US’s route to ‘development’ are what certain Indian politicians really respect, as the strong (and soft) arm of the state works to secure access to the nations resources for powerful corporations.
Notes
7) Robert Brenner (1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe”.Past and Present 70
8) Barrington Moore (1993) [First published 1966]. Social origins of dictatorship and democracy: lord and peasant in the making of the modern world (with a new foreword by Edward Friedman and James C. Scott ed.). Boston: Beacon Press.

Kiev-Style Democracy

Kiev-Style Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Kiev putschists have total control. They usurped it illegitimately. Challengers aren't tolerated. Democracy is pure fantasy. Police state lawlessness replaced it.

Dissenters are targeted. So are Russian nationals. Sham May elections will be farcical when held. Fascism operates this way.

Thought control is official policy. Aleksandr Panteleyonov learned the hard way. He was National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU) acting CEO. A previous article discussed him.

Last month, neo-Nazi thugs stormed his office. He was accused of airing anti-Ukrainian programming. He was threatened, bullied and beaten.

He was forced to resign. He's lucky to be alive. "Write your resignation," he was told. "Sit down. I told you, sit down."

"You are feating in my Ukraine…Here is a paper (and) pen. Write the resignation now quickly, you animal…You are Moskal garbage." It's a Ukrainian ethnic Russian slur.

Panteleymonov said he's Ukrainian, not Russian. Putschists called him "sh.t!"

"You campaigned for Moscow," they said. "You lied to Ukrainians for our money. NTU is Ukraine's largest state broadcaster.

Putschists want their message alone aired. They want dissenting views silenced. Independent voices are prohibited. 

So are Russian TV channels. RT International said its former satellite service provider was "threatened by unknown gunmen."

Days earlier, radicalized masked elements stormed a Kiev city council meeting. They came armed with bats and hammers. 

They forced anti-regime members to resign. Lots more disturbing incidents followed. Democratic governance is gone.

Oleg Tsarev is a presidential aspirant. A previous article discussed him. He's a former Yanukovych-led Party of Regions people's deputy. 

On April 7, he was lawlessly expelled. During months of US-manipulated violent Maidan protests, he forthrightly opposed them.

He participated in a Svoboda Slova talk show. He paid dearly for doing so. Neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs attacked him. 

He was brutally beaten. He was seriously injured. His candidacy stands. He won't withdraw. He's barred from presidential debates.

"I am the sole presidential candidate who has been stripped of the right to use government-provided bodyguards," he said. 

"I agreed to participate in the TV debates via a video channel. In response, I was told that the national television company (NTU) is unable to arrange for this." 

"Too bad. It would be a good chance to explain the way the people in the country's southeast feel to the authorities and to the whole of Ukraine." 

Presidential candidate Mikahil Dobkin participated on the same talk show as Tsarev. En route, Right Sector thugs confronted him. 

They blocked his car. They damaged it. His aides were attacked. Dobkin explained on air. He was doused with flour and green antiseptic solution.

He and Tsarvev are independent candidates. He vowed to revive diplomatic relations responsibly with Moscow if elected. 

Putschists intend having one of their own become president. Unchallenged rule is planned.

Violent incidents aren't isolated. Tsarev was attacked in Odessa. His press service reported him missing.

Possible kidnapping was suggested. Later he resurfaced. Earlier, he and presidential candidate Sergey Tigipko were pelted with eggs.

These type incidents are "being carried out by the fighters, hired by local (pro-Kiev) authorities," said Tsarev.

"In all areas of the south and the east, these questions are supervised by first deputies newly appointed by the governors." 

"Everyone has around 200 fighters on their allowance," he added. Right Sector neo-Nazis and "local small criminals" are enlisted. 

"Present day authorities in Kiev with their Right Sector and the National Guard, consisting of former militants, have not invented anything new," Tsarvev added.

They use "language of threats and individual terror." They enforce hardline rule. They aim to "discourage not only historical memory, but also very fresh memories of 'Eurorevolution.' "

Putschists "ignored adopted laws which they passed themselves, for example, an amnesty for all participants in the riots."

They call Eastern Ukrainian protests "separatist." They call participants "terrorists (and) bandits."

Obama's new friends are militant fascist thugs. He calls them democrats. One fascist regime supports another. 

Ukrainians nationwide have much to fear. So do peace-loving people everywhere. Escalating crisis conditions threaten much worse ahead.

Russian journalists are persona non grata. Over 20 were denied entry to Ukraine. Reasons given were spurious. 

Moscow expressed outrage. So did the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), saying:

"Democratic governments have no business barring journalists from working based on nationality."

"Restricting media access only increases suspicion and misunderstanding."

Russian TV channel Avezda correspondent Maksim Dodonov explained his ordeal, saying:

"I spent nearly seven hours in a room they called either a hotel or a lounge." 

"It was a small, very hot stuffy room with nothing but a bed and a table there." 

"There are no people there. They just lock you in and leave."

Crews from a dozen other Russian news agencies were blocked. They included Russian business daily Kommersant, RT International and Forbes Russia.

Forbes journalist Pavel Sedakov said "(w)e showed our press cards, but that only made things worse."

"They told us we’re being denied entry for three years. They interrogated us for quite a long time and then filmed all the equipment we had with us."

A joint CPJ Europe/Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ornianova statement said:

"We call on Ukrainian authorities to ensure that all journalists, foreign and domestic, are able to report freely and without obstruction on the unfolding events in Ukraine."

OSCE Media Freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic called on Kiev to stop attacking Eastern Ukrainian journalists violently.

She ignored Kiev-imposed thought control nationwide. Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced her, saying:

"The emphases are often put in the anti-Russian mood. Dunja Mijatovic focuses attention on the developments that took place around the buildings of television companies in Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk on April 7." 

"But she says nothing about the fact that the actions of the protesters were triggered by the limitations of their right to receive information after the closure of Russian television channels."

Last month, Kiev blocked four Russian TV channels. Doing so violated internationally recognized media freedom standards.

Moscow's Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov said banning Russian content violated "every (one's) right to watch television and have access to media in Russian."

A Reporters Without Borders statement said:

"Since Crimea's incorporation into Russia, several Russian media have reported cases of their journalists being turned back at the Ukrainian border."

"When Kommersant reporter Andrey Kolesnikov and photographer Dmitry Azarov tried to visit Kharkov on April 8 to cover the events there, border guards denied them entry on the official grounds that they did not have enough money on them."

Anti-regime figures are targeted. In early March, Donetsk's people's governor Pavel Gubarev was arrested.

He's charged with "organizing mass disorder (and) infringing the territorial integrity and independence of the state." 

He's a political prisoner. He's isolated. He's on hunger strike for justice. 

According to his wife, Ekaterina, his lawyer said it's "in solidarity with guys who are on the barricades now, defending our land and people."

"He would really want to be with them, but he is a hostage of the Kiev junta."

Russia's Foreign Ministry human rights commissioner Dolgov said his deteriorating health "causes concern."

His lawyer, Aleksandr Groshinsky, said he acted following the "shooting of civilians" in Slavyansk.

"This way, he wants to demonstrate that he is with those who are fighting for their civil rights and civil position."

"When Pavel learned that on Easter the Right Sector shot our militia men at the checkpoint, he voiced his discontent," his wife added.

His Facebook people's governor page said a dispute between him and Ukrainian Security Force (SBU) personnel occurred in detention.

In response, "the jail keepers took away his mattress and bed linen, so that he permanently feels uncomfortable."

On March 7, he was detained for two months. On May 7, rubber-stamp regime judges may order his term extended. Maybe indefinitely.

Geneva four-party agreement terms mandate freeing all political prisoners. It doesn't matter. 

Fascists say one thing. They do another. Perhaps they want Gubarev dead. He's very much endangered. So are others like him.

Hundreds of political prisoners languish in Kiev's gulag. They're denied all rights.

Sergey Lavrov expressed concern about Ukrainians "arrested and thrown into prison because they participated in political actions."

Moscow wants immediate access to Gubarev and other political prisoners. It filed an official document with the OSCE and Red Cross demanding it.

Four-party officials discussed Gubarev in Geneva. According to Lavrov:

"He has never taken part in the seizure of administrative buildings, never carried arms." 

"He simply spoke at a meeting and said that he was ready to work in interests of reforms and would speak up for a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine."

Lavrov and Kerry discussed Gubarev by phone. On Friday, Lavrov said they'd "do so again today."

"Every time I remind John Kerry about the necessity to address the problem, but he cannot say anything clear."

"Yesterday we received information that Pavel Gubarev is seriously ill, and that he has been beaten and tortured."

Police states operate this way. Kiev putschists threaten fundamental freedoms. They intend eliminating them altogether. 

It bears repeating. They enjoy full US support. Two fascist states march in lockstep. Democracy is strictly verboten. 

It's pure fantasy. Police state harshness gives no quarter. Dark side politics rules.

A Final Comment

G-7 partners plan new sanctions on Russia. Washington bullied its allies to do so. They'll target Putin "cronies." Perhaps Russian companies. On Monday, they're expected to be announced.

Imposing them follows Russia's failure to implement four-party agreement terms, they said.

"Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military maneuvers on Ukraine's border," they added.

"We have now agreed (to) move swiftly (against) Moscow." 

"We have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia's actions."

"We underscore that the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis."

They duplicitously "praised" Kiev putschists. They claimed they implemented agreed on terms. Straightaway they violated them egregiously.

Russia's Foreign Ministry calls sanctions "inappropriate and counterproductive."

EU politicians and businessmen fear negative blow back. Various banks and energy related companies deplore sanctions. 

They want them eased. They want them eliminated. They're bad for business.

According to BASF Wintershall subsidiary chairman Rainer Seele:

"Neither in energy terms, nor politically, should we turn away from Russia. Sanctions will not help anybody, they would not just hurt Russia, but also Germany and Europe as a whole."

Austrian energy supplier OMV has longstanding Gazprom relations. CEO Gerhard Roiss said:

"You cannot talk about sanctions if you don't know the outcome of sanctions Europe has developed over the last 50 years into a region where we have a division of labor and a division of resources, and this means in concrete terms that energy is imported from Russia and products automotive or machinery are exported from European countries into Russia."

Other EU executives feel the same way. Sanctions cut both ways. Targeting Russia harms their companies. In some cases more-so.

Politics trumps reason. Washington rules apply. EU partners are bullied to accept what harms their interests. 

Expect heightened tensions to escalate. Unpredictable dire consequences may follow.

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


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

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Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement Consultation: A smokescreen For A Corporate Agenda


Global Research and Countercurrents 28/3/2014

The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU aims to ‘protect’ investment and remove ‘unnecessary regulatory barriers’. Corporate interests are driving the agenda, the public have been sidelined and unaccountable, pro-free-trade bureaucrats are facilitating the strategy (1). 


There is growing concern that the negotiations could result in the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas (fracking) in Europe, the threatening of digital and labour rights and the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike.


One of the key aspects of the negotiations is that both the EU and US should recognise their respective rules and regulations, which in practice could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The official language talks of ‘mutual recognition’ of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. For the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, including food and agriculture, which are lower than the EU’s.


Even the leaders of the US Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.


Food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), has welcomed the negotiations, with one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved GM crops.


The TAFTA negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and are closed to proper public scrutiny (2,3,4). They amount to little more than grubby back room deals, while striving to give the appearance of somehow being democratic, and effectively constitute part of the ongoing corporate hijack of democracy and the further restructuring of economies in favour of elite interests (5,6,7).


However, despite claims by the European Commission that there is no secrecy (8), the notes of European Commission meetings with business lobbyists released to Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) under the EU’s freedom of information law were heavily censored. The documents showed that the EC invited industry to submit wish lists for ‘regulatory barriers’ they would like removed during the negotiations. There is no way for the public to know how the EU has incorporated this into its negotiating position as all references have been removed (4). The documents show clearly that removing differences in EU and US regulations is the key issue in the talks: in other words, a race to the bottom in setting the lowest barriers possible.


A leaked EU document (9) from the winter of 2013 shows the Commission proposing an EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council, a permanent structure to be created as part of the TAFTA deal. Existing and future EU regulation will then have to go through a series of investigations, dialogues and negotiations in this Council. This would move decisions on regulations into a technocratic sphere, away from democratic scrutiny. Also, there would be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade. This would be ideal for big business lobbies: creating a firm brake on any new progressive regulation in the very first stage of decision-making.


As if all of this isn’t bad enough, there is also the highly contentious trade-investor dispute settlement provision in TAFTA. It would enable UScompanies investing in Europe to bypass European courts and challenge EU governments at international tribunals whenever they find that laws in the area of public health, environmental or social protection interfere with their profits. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US.


This constitutes a charter for the systematic destruction and dismantling of legislation that exists to protect the hard-won rights of workers and ordinary people.


Across the world, big business has already used such investor-state dispute settlement provisions in trade and investment agreements to claim massive sums in compensation.  Tribunals, consisting of ad hoc three-member panels hired from a small club of private lawyers riddled with conflicts of interest, have granted billions of euros to companies, courtesy of taxpayers (10).


EU and US companies have used these lawsuits to destroy any competition or threats to their profits by for example challenging green energy and medicine policies, anti-smoking legislation, bans on harmful chemicals, environmental restrictions on mining, health insurance policies and measures to improve the economic situation of minorities.


If governments and parliaments fail to act to protect the public's interests, powerful corporations will acquire carte blanche to rein in democracy and curb policies devised for the public good.


Despite such major concerns, campaigners from the Seattleto Brussels Network(11) have criticised the European Commission’s recently implemented consultation on the investor rights in the EU-US trade deal as a mock consultation aimed at selling its pro-industry agenda, rather than an honest attempt to have a much-needed open debate on the issue.


Roos van Os of the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), a member of the Seattleto Brussels Network, has said:


“Those who reject the undemocratic and dangerous investor-state dispute settlement system will have no opportunity in this consultation to voice their opposition because the Commission’s biased questions provide no option for that. The Commission should make itself available for a real debate, not a cowardly advertising campaign for its corporate agenda.”

In meetings with the Commission, members of its civil society advisory group on the EU-US trade deal had stressed the need for the consultation to be intelligible for non-experts and for there to be balanced questions. But the Commission’s consultation questionnaire only contains questions about its agenda for minor reforms to salvage the controversial investor-state dispute settlement system, in a 40-page legalistic text which will be difficult for members of the public to understand.


Marc Maes of the Belgian development organisation and also a member of the Seattleto Brussels Network:


 “The Commission’s so-called reform agenda does nothing to address the basic flaws of the investor-state dispute settlement system. Therefore foreign companies will continue to have greater rights than domestic firms and citizens. And international tribunals consisting of three for-profit lawyers will continue to decide over what policies are right or wrong, disregarding domestic laws, courts and democracy.”

Analyses of leaked investment texts from the EU-Canada trade negotiations indicate that the EU’s approach to investment protection does very little to protect the right to regulate (in fact it sometimes does the exact opposite) and it will establish an arbitration system that is far inferior to domestic legal systems in the EU and North America (12).


Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with CEO, another member of the Seattleto Brussels Network, said:

<