Sunday, September 01, 2013

PNN - 9/1 - Healthcare and more... but not WAR!

Guests:

RWS
Anna Vishkaee Eskamani - Women's Sufferage 2013
Linda Saenz - Healthcare Access
Rebeca Marquez - Ocean Testing
Alan Maki - War & Peace Making
Keith McHenry - Food Not Bombs
Leah Barber-Heinz - Healthcare Expansion
Leslie Stanton - Poet
Brian Stettan - Progressive Journalist

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1. TEPCO - TOKYO –  Japan's nuclear regulator on Wednesday upgraded the rating of a leak of radiation-contaminated water from a tank at its tsunami-wrecked nuclear plant to a "serious incident" on an international scale, and it castigated the plant operator for failing to catch the problem earlier.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority's latest criticism of Tokyo Electric Power Co. came a day after the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant acknowledged that the 300-ton leak probably began nearly a month and a half before it was discovered Aug. 19.
In a meeting with agency officials Tuesday night, TEPCO said radioactivity near the leak and exposure levels among patrolling staff started to increase in early July. There is no sign that anyone tried to find the source of that radioactivity before the leak was discovered.
On Wednesday, regulatory officials said TEPCO has repeatedly ignored their instructions to improve their patrolling procedures to reduce the risk of overlooking leakages. They also said TEPCO underestimated the potential impact of the leak because underground water is shallower around the tank than the company initially told regulators.
Earlier this week, Japan's industry minister said the government will take over cleanup efforts.
The authority originally gave a Level 1 preliminary rating -- an "anomaly," to the tank leak. Last week the authority proposed raising that to Level 3 -- a "serious incident" -- and it made that change after consulting with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA's ratings are designed to inform the international community, and changing them does not affect efforts to clean up the leak by the government and TEPCO. The 2011 Fukushima disaster itself was rated the maximum of 7 on the scale, the same as the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
"What's important is not the number itself but to give a basic idea about the extent of the problem," said authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka. "I've seen reports that this is a dire situation but that's not true."
Tanaka said there is a much larger ongoing problem at the plant: massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea. But that problem cannot even be rated under the IAEA's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because it is unknown exactly how much ground water is escaping, how contaminated it is and what effect it is having on the sea and marine products.
TEPCO has recovered some of the water that leaked from the tank but says some of it may have reached the sea through a rainwater gutter.
TEPCO has built hundreds of tanks to hold radioactive water, some of which is ground water that made its way to the plant, but hundreds more tons of contaminated water are believed to be entering the sea each day.
The plant suffered triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. TEPCO is putting tons of water into its reactors to cool them and is struggling to contain the resulting waste water.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/08/28/japanese-agency-labels-radioactive-fukushima-leak-serious/#ixzz2dGuAQybK

2. TEPCO IGNORED

On Wednesday, regulatory officials said TEPCO has repeatedly ignored their instructions to improve their patrolling procedures to reduce the risk of overlooking leakages. They said TEPCO lacked expertise and also underestimated potential impact of the leak because underground water is shallower around the tank than the company initially told regulators.

"Their instructions, written or verbal, have never been observed," Toyoshi Fuketa, a regulatory commissioner, said at the agency's weekly meeting Wednesday.

TEPCO acknowledged recently that only two workers were assigned to check all 1,000 storage tanks at the plant during their twice-daily, two-hour walk without carrying dosimeters, and their inspection results were not adequately recorded. TEPCO said it will increase patrolling staff to 50 from the current eight.

Earlier this week, Japan's industry minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said the government will take over cleanup efforts and allocate funding for long-term contaminated water management projects.
The nuclear authority originally gave a Level 1 preliminary rating — an "anomaly," to the tank leak. Last week the authority proposed raising that to Level 3 — a "serious incident" — and it made that change after consulting with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA's ratings are designed to inform the international community, and changing them does not affect efforts to clean up the leak by the government and TEPCO. The 2011 Fukushima disaster itself was rated the maximum of 7 on the scale, the same as the 1986 Chernobyl accident.


"What's important is not the number itself but to give a basic idea about the extent of the problem," authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a news conference after the agency's meeting. "I've seen reports that this is a dire situation but that's not true."

Tanaka said there is a much larger ongoing problem at the plant: massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea. But that problem cannot even be rated under the IAEA's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because it is unknown exactly how much ground water is escaping, how contaminated it is and what effect it is having on the sea and marine products.  Tanaka said TEPCO's handling of the water leaks was slow, illogical and lacked risk management. TEPCO has yet to determine the cause of the latest leak.
"I'm baffled," he said. "It may take time to stabilize the plant but we must put it on a right track."
TEPCO has recovered some of the water that leaked from the tank but says some of it may have reached the sea through a rainwater gutter. It says most of the leakage is believed to have seeped into the soil, triggering fresh concern of further contamination of underground water downstream.
TEPCO has built hundreds of tanks to hold radioactive water, some of which is ground water that made its way to the plant, but hundreds more tons of contaminated water are believed to be entering the sea each day.

3. NO SCRUTINY FOR U

Police forces around the world have had the problem that when their officers get a bit carried away and start pepper spraying tied captives there is someone on hand filming the event on their mobile phones.
While six police lay into prone grannies on the floor with long batons, the pictures can be on the net in seconds, meaning supervisors have to answer embarrassing questions.
But they may not need to fear scrutiny much longer - Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, whenever they like.

All the coppers have to do is decide that a public gathering or venue is deemed "sensitive", and needs to be "protected from externalities" and Apple will switch off all its gear.
The police can then get on with the very difficult task of kettling protesters without having to worry about a few beating anyone to death.
Apple insists that the affected sites are mostly cinemas, theatres, concert grounds and similar locations, but it does admit that it could be used in "covert police or government operations which may require complete 'blackout' conditions".
According to RT it could also be used to prevent whistleblowers like Edward Snowden from taking pictures and broadcasting them on the interent.
Apple said that the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security.
But it said that this sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.
Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, commanding them to disable recording functions.
The policies would be activated by GPS, and wi-fi or mobile base-stations, which would ring-fence ("geofence") around a building or a "sensitive area" to prevent phone cameras from taking pictures or recording video.
Odd that the company made famous by its 1984 Big Brother video can't really see what it is doing. Perhaps its own secretive culture and an overzealous security treatment of its staff have fostered sympathy for Big Brother after all.

Read more: http://news.techeye.net/security/apple-patents-tech-to-let-cops-switch-off-iphone-video-camera-and-wi-fi#ixzz2dJkN9S9C

4, Face the Future

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 7:08 am by Sumayyah Waheed

POLICE SURVEILLANCEThe New York Times recently reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is developing a 3-D facial recognition surveillance system. According to documents released through a FOIA request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the technology is intended to allow the government to collect, store, and compare images in a variety of situations in order to identify persons on federal watch lists. In a test last fall, the Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) had not achieved the level of speed and accuracy required. However, researchers are confident that the system will be ready for use in only a matter of time.

This is the latest in a steady stream of technologies employed by the government to record and monitor ever-expanding aspects of Americans’ lives. Initially intended for military use, the DHS is now developing the technology for domestic police use. It raises significant questions, as Americans become increasingly distrustful of the federal government’s surveillance practices, particularly in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s  (NSA) vast electronic surveillance programs. Perhaps most troubling, and yet unsurprising, is that privacy safeguards are not mentioned once in the documents.

Once fully optimized, a few clicks of these cameras would allow police to capture quality images of masses of people from distances of 100 meters. We already know that the FBI monitors constitutionally protected activities such as protests and religious gatherings.  And the NYPD is being sued for spying on Muslims at school, work and play. BOSS would vastly enhance law enforcement officers’ abilities to track countless residents, encompassing ever more individuals who choose to engage in their communities. Locally, it promises to add to an already spectacular level of surveillance, as frighteningly illustrated in Oakland’s forthcoming Domain Awareness Center.

Faster and more accurate surveillance technology will serve to further chill political and religious speech, as people are forced to expose themselves to scanners, cameras, and soon BOSS, whenever they leave their homes. That’s not to mention the illegal monitoring already happening in the home, of the public’s phone, email and other internet-based communications. Without adequate restrictions, this new technology will fundamentally violate Americans’ constitutional right to privacy and widen the door for federal agencies and the police to continue profiling and targeting select communities without reasonable suspicion.

Although it may be years before BOSS comes to a police department near you, now is the time for communities to demand strong safeguards for civil liberties. As the New York and Oakland examples illustrate, local law enforcement is certainly not waiting to up its surveillance efforts. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee developed the Local Civil Rights Restoration (LCRR) toolkit, which provides model legislation that cities across the country can adopt to restrict local law enforcement’s ability to surveil residents. It’s a powerful way to reverse encroaching state surveillance, and join the movement to reclaim our civil rights.

The Department of Homeland Security is currently developing new facial 3D mapping technology to make it easier for government and the police to collect, store, and compare images in a variety of situations in order to identify persons on federal watch lists. If unrestricted, the potential for millions of Americans to lose their right to privacy, be profiled, falsely targeted, detained or worse is incredibly high. This isn't a future we want for our children, selves or the nation. Read on to learn about what DHS is planning and can be done to reverse encroaching state surveillance.

5. Third-generation fisherman Fumio Suzuki sets out into the Pacific Ocean every seven weeks, not to catch fish to sell, but to catch fish that can be tested for radiation.

For the last 2½ years, fishermen from the port of Yotsukura near the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant have been mostly stuck on land with little to do. There is no commercial fishing along most of the Fukushima coast. In a nation highly sensitive to food safety, there is no market for the fish caught near the stricken plant because the meltdowns it suffered contaminated the ocean water and marine life with radiation.
The plant suffered triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., is putting tonnes of water into its reactors to cool them and is struggling to contain the resulting waste water.
A sliver of hope emerged after recent sampling results showed a decline in radioactivity in some fish species. But a new crisis spawned by fresh leaks of radioactive water from the plant last week may have dashed those prospects.
Authorities discovered that a massive amount of partially treated, radioactive water was leaking from tanks at Fukushima, the fifth and so far the worst, breach. The water, stored in 1,000 tanks, is pumped into three damaged reactors to keep their melted fuel cool. Much of the water leaked into the ground but some may have escaped into the sea through a rain-water gutter.
On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulation Authority upgraded its rating of the leak to a "serious incident," or level 3, up from a level 1 on the international scale of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It remains unclear what the environmental impact from the latest contamination will be on sea life. Scientists have said contamination tends to be carried by a southward current and largely diluted as it spreads.
Fishermen like Suzuki, 47, now wonder whether they ever will be able to resume fishing, a mainstay for many small rural communities like Yotsukura, 45 kilometres south of the Fukushima plant. His son has already moved on, looking for work in construction.
"The operators [of the plant] are reacting too late every time in whatever they do," said Suzuki, who works with his father Choji, 79, after inheriting the family business from him.
"We say, 'Don't spill contaminated water,' and they spilled contaminated water. They are always a step behind so that is why we can't trust them," said Suzuki, who has little faith in the future of his trade.
"People in the fishing business have no choice but to give up," he said. "Many have mostly given up already."

6. Why Syria Intervention Plan Is Being Pushed by Oil Interests, Not Concern About Chemical Weapons
Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines

Photo taken August 21, 2013 shows an oil well near Tioga, North Dakota. New York oil rallied to the highest level for more than two years on Wednesday, with concerns about Middle East supplies intensifying as Western powers prepare for possible military a
August 30, 2013  |

On 21 August, hundreds - perhaps over a thousand - people were killed in a chemical weapon attack in Ghouta, Damascus, prompting the US, UK, Israel and France to raise the spectre of military strikes against Bashir al Assad's forces.
The latest episode is merely one more horrific event in a conflict that has increasingly taken on genocidal characteristics.
The case for action at first glance is indisputable. The UN now confirms a death toll over 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom have been killed by Assad's troops. An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. International observers have  overwhelmingly confirmed Assad's complicity in the preponderance of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people. The illegitimacy of his regime, and the legitimacy of the uprising, is clear.

Experts are unanimous that the shocking footage of civilians, including children, suffering the effects of some sort of chemical attack, is real - but  remain divided on whether it involved  military-grade chemical weapons associated with Assad's arsenal, or were a more amateur concoction potentially linked to the rebels.
Whatever the case, few recall that US agitation against  Syria began long before recent atrocities, in the context of wider operations targeting Iranian influence across the Middle East.
In May 2007, a  presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorised CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the  New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had "cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations" intended to weaken the Shi'ite Hezbollah in Lebanon. "The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria," wrote Hersh, "a byproduct" of which is "the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups" hostile to the United States and "sympathetic to al-Qaeda." He noted that "the Saudi government, with Washington's approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria," with a view to pressure him to be "more conciliatory and open to negotiations" with Israel. One faction receiving covert US "political and financial support" through the Saudis was the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

According to former French foreign minister  Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009: "I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business", he told French television:
"I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria."
The 2011 uprisings, it would seem - triggered by  a confluence of domestic energy shortages and climate-induced droughts which led to massive food price hikes - came at an opportune moment that was quickly exploited. Leaked emails from the  private intelligence firm Stratfor including notes from  a meeting with Pentagon officials confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting "collapse" of Assad's regime "from within."
So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about?
According to  retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to "attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years", starting with Iraq and moving on to "Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran." In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region's vast oil and gas resources.
Much of the strategy currently at play was candidly described in a 2008 US Army-funded RAND report, Unfolding the Future of the Long War(pdf). The report noted that "the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely heavily on  oil, thus making it a strategically important resource." As most oil will be produced in the Middle East, the US has "motive for maintaining stability in and good relations with Middle Eastern states":

"The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized... For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources... The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war."
In this context, the report identified several potential trajectories for regional policy focused on protecting access to Gulf oil supplies, among which the following are most salient:
"Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces... the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace... US leaders could also choose to capitalize on the 'Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict' trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.... possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran."
Exploring different scenarios for this trajectory, the report speculated that the US may concentrate "on shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf." Noting that this could actually empower al-Qaeda jihadists, the report concluded that doing so might work in western interests by bogging down jihadi activity with internal sectarian rivalry rather than targeting the US:
"One of the oddities of this long war trajectory is that it may actually reduce the al-Qaeda threat to US interests in the short term. The upsurge in Shia identity and confidence seen here would certainly cause serious concern in the Salafi-jihadist community in the Muslim world, including the senior leadership of al-Qaeda. As a result, it is very likely that al-Qaeda might focus its efforts on targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East and Persian Gulf while simultaneously cutting back on anti-American and anti-Western operations."

The RAND document contextualised this disturbing strategy with surprisingly prescient recognition of the increasing vulnerability of the US's key allies and enemies - Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, Syria, Iran - to a range of converging crises: rapidly rising populations, a 'youth bulge', internal economic inequalities, political frustrations, sectarian tensions, and environmentally-linked water shortages, all of which could destabilise these countries from within or exacerbate inter-state conflicts.

The report noted especially that Syria is among several "downstream countries that are becoming increasingly water scarce as their populations grow", increasing a risk of conflict. Thus, although the RAND document fell far short of recognising the prospect of an 'Arab Spring', it illustrates that three years before the 2011 uprisings, US defence officials were alive to the region's growing instabilities, and concerned by the potential consequences for stability of Gulf oil.

These strategic concerns, motivated by fear of expanding Iranian influence, impacted Syria primarily in relation to pipeline geopolitics. In 2009 - the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria - Assad  refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would  run a pipeline from the latter's North field, contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets - albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad's rationale was "to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas."

Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for  an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 - just as Syria's civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo - and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.


The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a " direct slap in the face" to Qatar's plans. No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be  "completely" in Saudi Arabia's hands and will "not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports", according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

It would seem that contradictory self-serving Saudi and Qatari oil interests are pulling the strings of an equally self-serving oil-focused US policy in Syria, if not the wider region. It is this - the problem of establishing a pliable opposition which the US and its oil allies feel confident will  play ball, pipeline-style, in a post-Assad Syria - that will determine the nature of any prospective intervention: not concern for Syrian life.

What is beyond doubt is that Assad is a war criminal whose government deserves to be overthrown. The question is by whom, and for what interests?

7. Radiation at a tank holding contaminated water at a crippled Japanese nuclear power plant has increased by a factor of 18, the plant's supervisor announced Sunday.

The storage tank at the Fukushima nuclear power plant contained a radiation of 1,800 millisieverts per hour near its bottom Saturday, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, as it is commonly called. That amount of radiation would kill an exposed person in four hours. A spokesman for the company also said that a new leak had been detected from a pipe connecting two other tanks.  By contrast, a reading of the same tank taken on August 22 found radiation of just 100 millisieverts per hour.

The Fukushima plant suffered triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. TEPCO must constantly cool the reactors with water, and is struggling to contain the waste.
TEPCO recently acknowledged the chronic leaking of radiation-tainted underground water into the Pacific, plus a 300-ton (300,000-liter, 80,000-gallon) seepage from one of more than 1,000 storage tanks. The leak was the firth and worst from a tank since the crisis began.

The tank leak prompted the nuclear authority to upgrade its rating Wednesday to a level-3 "serious incident," from a level 1 on the International Atomic Energy Agency radiological event scale.
"We cannot fully stop contaminated water leaks right away. That's the reality. The water is still leaking in to the sea, and we should better assess its environmental impact," Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said in a speech in Tokyo. The agency said Thursday that TEPCO would have to monitor the situation closely.
Tanaka said his agency recently set up a team to collect data more systematically and comprehensively to assess the extent of contamination and evaluate the impact on the ocean.
Scientists have said contamination tends to be carried by a southward current and gets largely diluted as it spreads into the sea.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/01/radiation-readings-spike-at-japan-fukushima-nuclear-plant/#ixzz2deUB6IJY

8. Syria's NCB: "The Americans Have Cheated."

http://warisacrime.org/content/syrias-ncb-americans-have-cheated ;
Haytham Manna is the Paris-based foreign spokesman for the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change in Syria.  The NCB was formed in June 2011 by 15 opposition groups and several independent figures who were leading anti-government protests in Syria. They have consistently agreed on three basic principles: non-violence, non-sectarianism and opposition to foreign intervention.
A review of the 15 parties that make up the NCB helps to explain why Western capitalist governments and their monarchist Arab allies have tried to marginalize it. It is chaired by Hassan Abdul Azim, the leader of the Democratic Arab Socialist Union, and it includes the Arab Revolutionary Workers' Party; the Communist Labor Party; the Democratic People's Party; Together for a Free Democratic Syria; the Arab Socialist Movement; and the Syrian Union Party; along with four Kurdish parties and several regional parties. 
On Tuesday, August 27th, Haytham Manna spoke to Francois Janne d'Othee of Le Vif, Belgium's largest weekly French language news magazine, about the current crisis surrounding Syria.  If you can read French, here's the original: http://www.levif.be/info/actualite/international/syrie-les-attaques-chimiques-sont-un-coup-monte/article-4000384171801.htm

If you can't read French, here's my translation:
Le Vif: The use of chemical weapons in Syria could lead the West to "punish" the regime.  What do you think about that?
Manna: I am totally against it, as is the coordinating body I run.  That will only strengthen the regime.  What's more, an intervention risks stirring up even more violence, piling destruction on top of destruction and further demolishing the capacity for political dialogue.  The regime is mainly responsible because it chose the military-security option.  But how can anyone talk about a war on terrorism and at the same time give a helping hand to extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda?
Le Vif: So is the West choosing the worst option, in your opinion?
Manna: From the beginning, it's been a succession of political errors.  The United States, France and the United Kingdom have pushed the parties to radicalize.  They didn't prevent jihadis from traveling to Syria and waited a very long time before even acknowledging that phenomenon.  Where is democracy in this whole project that aims to destroy Syria?  And do you think that it's morality that guides them?  At the time of the massacre in Halabja (in Iraq in 1988), they closed their eyes.  I'm also surprised to see that the victims of chemical weapons are given so much more consideration than the 100,000 dead we have already counted since the beginning of the conflict.
Le Vif: Who is responsible for the latest massacre with chemical weapons?
Manna: I'm still not certain, but our information doesn't match that of President Hollande.  People speak of thousands of victims, but we have a list of less than 500.  So we are into propaganda, psychological warfare, and certainly not the truth.  What's more, the chemical weapons were improvised.  Do you really think that the super-militarized loyalist army needs that?  In fact videos and photos were put out on the Internet before the attacks began.  Now this material serves as proof for the Americans!
Le Vif: Do you think one party to the conflict wanted to provoke the West to intervene?
Manna: It's a staged operation.  We know that chemical weapons have already been used by Al Qaeda.  Now the Free Syrian Army and the groups linked to Al Qaeda conduct 80% of their operations jointly in the North.  A month ago, Ahmad Jarba (armed opposition leader) claimed he was going to change the balance of forces on the ground.  Now it's the opposite that's happened, the loyalist army has regained ground.  Only a direct intervention could help the rebels to get out of this… So, let's wait.  If Al Qaeda is responsible, we should say so loud and clear.  If it's the regime, we'll need a UN resolution.  And we mustn't let two or three countries organize an alliance of their otherwise not so reputable friends.
Le Vif: Between the West and the Russians, which position seems the most coherent to you?
Manna: The Russians are the most coherent because they are working seriously on the Geneva II negotiations.  The Americans have cheated.  Two or three times they have withdrawn at the very moment that an agreement was in the works.
Le Vif: Is a political solution still possible?
Manna: Everything is possible but that will depend mainly on the Americans.  The French are content to follow.  A political solution is the only one that could save Syria.  But the armed opposition can't agree on a delegation.
Le Vif: What will become of Bashar al Assad?
Manna: He's not going to stay.  If negotiations succeed, they will lead to a de facto parliamentary regime.  If one at least accepts the basic text of Geneva 2, which is the best text, backed up by an international compromise.  But let me say this: when we talk about massacres of minorities, and that the president is from a minority, how do we ask him to withdraw or not withdraw?  Today Western politics has strengthened his position as the defender of Syrian unity and minorities.  Having said that, nobody will be able to claim victory: the violence has become so blind that it will take a broadened front of the opposition and the regime to reach that goal.  

9. Atlantic Fish showing Fuke Contamination
Fillet samples of marine fish collected from the East/West Greenland current (GC) and from the Baltic Sea (BS), have been investigated by gamma-ray spectrometry within the regular German monitoring program. In samples of the second half of 2011 134Cs traces have been detected, suggested to originate from the Fukushima fallout being deposited in March/April 2011 over the northern North Atlantic and accumulated by fish. The radionuclide 134Cs (half-live 2 yr) was indeed detected with quite small activities at about 0.0036 Bq kg−1 w.w. [...] Model results confirmed the level of 134Cs measured in BS fish and showed its maximum to have occurred in winter 2011/2012 followed by a continuous decrease. It was also determined that 134Cs activity, but not that of 134Cs, showed a significant negative correlation with sampling depth (150–400 m) of GC fish; this strengthens our Fukushima fallout assumption. [...]

[...] the aims of our study were (i) to determine the activity concentration of caesium isotopes in cod and redfish as economically relevant fish species 5 in the North Atlantic Ocean and its marginal seas, (ii) separate the FD-NPP input from that from Chernobyl and Global Fallout, and (iii) validate the determinations and estimate the future behaviour of caesium isotopes in fish of the Baltic Sea [...]

The sea is boiling off of the coast of Fukushima, Japan, and the picture of this devastating phenomenon has recently been called the photo of the day by Coolbuster. While it certainly can’t be good for any plant or animal life left off of the coast of Japan, it might have even worse consequences for the North American continent. If Fukushima radiation keeps leaking, the boiling seas are likely to spread all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of the US causing massive environmental catastrophe.

Contamination levels skyrocket at Fukushima plant, up nearly 2,000% — NHK: Quadrillions of becquerels already released;
Kyodo News, September 1, 2013: Very high radiation levels were observed Saturday at three tanks and one of the pipes connecting them at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, pointing to the possibility that radioactive water may have newly leaked, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The radiation readings were from 70 to 1,800 millisieverts per hour [...]

Shunichi Tanaka, Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman (Aug. 28, 2013)

JIJI PRESS, Aug. 31, 2013: Saturday’s highest reading [of 1,800 millisieverts per hour] was measured at one of the two tanks, with the radiation level jumping from 100 millisieverts.
CBS News, Aug. 28, 2013 (Emphasis Added): “What’s important is not the number itself but to give a basic idea about the extent of the problem,” authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka said [...] Tanaka said there is a much larger ongoing problem at the plant: massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea. But that problem cannot even be rated under the IAEA’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because it is unknown exactly how much ground water is escaping, how contaminated it is and what effect it is having on the sea and marine products. [...] “I’m baffled,” he said.
WSJ, Aug. 28, 2013: “It could be much more or much less,” [Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority] added, saying that Tepco calculated the amount based on the assumption that the tank had been full. [...] A Tepco spokeswoman said “it’s true that we calculated 300 tons. We cannot say whether we will or we won’t change it later.”

NHK, Aug. 30, 2013: Major leak [...] releasing several quadrillion becquerels of radioactive particles [...] the government needs to take charge entirely.

From last week: 'Growing Alarm': 25 trillion becquerels of Fukushima radioactive material leaks into ground -- Kyodo News Advisory: Exact source of extreme contamination unknown; Tank missing 300,000 liters (VIDEO)

Bloomberg, Aug 28, 2013: “This is becoming rapidly an international issue, so I think there is some pressure from countries in the region, including China Korea and others,” said Tom O’Sullivan, founder of Tokyo-based energy consultant Mathyos. [...]

The Japan Times (Professor Andrew Dewit and Dr. Chrisopher Hobson), Aug 29, 2013: Tepco’s abysmal track record is characterized by repeated blunders. Even now there are few signs that Tepco fully understands the magnitude of the situation they — and we — collectively face. It is therefore vital, literally a matter of national security, that Fukushima No. 1′s decommissioning be taken over by the government with the assistance of an international task force of experts.

CNBC, Aug. 29, 2013: Peter Storey, a professor in Nuclear Policy and Regulation at a the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K., who was part of an international mission to advise Japan after the Fukushima disaster, told CNBC that the Japanese regulators and operators have waited “weeks and weeks” to attempt to solve the plant’s waste water problem. “It does their credibility no good and will have a massive impact on public confidence. Something must be failing if they’re not on top of these problems – removing waste water is not rocket science,” he told CNBC on Wednesday.
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