Tag Archives: nuclear

The US Government Is Updating Its Nuclear Disaster Plans And They Are Truly Terrifying

“We are looking at 100 kiloton to 1,000 kiloton detonations,” a FEMA official said.

Dan Vergano

Amid concerns over North Korea, federal emergency managers are updating disaster plans to account for large nuclear detonations over the 60 largest US cities, according to a US Federal Emergency Management Agency official.

The shift away from planning for small nuclear devices that could be deployed by terrorists toward thermonuclear blasts arranged by “state actors” was discussed on Thursday at a two-day National Academies of Sciences workshop for public health and emergency response officials held at its headquarters across the street from the US State Department.

“We are looking at 100 kiloton to 1,000 kiloton detonations,” chief of FEMA’s chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear branch Luis Garcia told BuzzFeed News. The agency’s current “nuclear detonation” guidance for emergency planners, first released in 2010, had looked at 1 to 10 kiloton blasts — smaller than the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs that killed more than 200,000 people at the end of World War II. Those smaller size detonations had seemed more reasonable after 9/11, with high concerns about an improvised terrorist bomb.
“The North Koreans have really changed the calculus.”

But last year North Korea tested an apparent thermonuclear bomb with a surprisingly large estimated blast size of 250 kilotons, a “city buster” much bigger than past test blasts and nearly the size of current US intercontinental ballistic missile warheads. The test blast kicked off a new era of nuclear anxiety in the US.
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“The North Koreans have really changed the calculus,” Cham Dallas of the Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia told workshop participants. “We really have to look at thermonuclear now.”

Dallas presented “speculative” analyses of a nuclear detonations in several cities — including New York and Washington, DC — at the workshop, suggesting that a thermonuclear blast roughly doubles the hundreds of thousands of dead and many more wounded (a 1979 analysis of a 1,000 kiloton blast in Detroit estimated 220,000 deaths, for example) compared to the atomic bomb blasts. They also cause many more burn injuries and larger fallout clouds that travel farther away.

The updated FEMA guidance would be for the 60 largest urban areas in the US and will rely on newer detonation models created by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These models take into account weather patterns that direct and distort weapon clouds, as well as the shelter provided by concrete structures. “A 10 times larger [explosion] yield does not make things 10 times worse,” LLNL’s Brooke Buddemeier said at the workshop. People remaining in shelters in the hours and days after a blast greatly lower their chances of getting radiation sickness.

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Gantz says Lebanon will pay if Hezbollah attacks


Gantz says Lebanon will pay if Hezbollah attacks

Israel will face elevated terror threat when rebels have ousted Syria’s Assad, says IDF Chief of Staff
By Elhanan Miller

Israel will respond to an attack from Hezbollah by striking Lebanese infrastructure, IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz said on Monday evening in a sharply worded warning to the Shiite group sitting on Israel’s northern border.

“We will know how to act with Hezbollah and with Lebanon, including its infrastructure,” Gantz told the audience of the Herzliya Conference, a local policy convention. “Lebanon cannot claim sovereignty but not bear responsibility. If a conflagration erupts, I would rather be an Israeli citizen than a Lebanese.”

Israel may even “find itself in a war tomorrow” Ganz warned, although it will not be the one to initiate it.

Gantz said that despite the semblance of security calm in Israel, “not a week goes by, not to say hardly a day, when I don’t have to deal with an issue that you didn’t even hear about, that could have resulted in a strategic threat.”

In the past, Gantz said, Israel used to be able to address threats emanating from Lebanon by exerting pressure on Syria. But that is no longer the case.

“Syria has become an exceptionally dangerous place,” he said. The likelihood of a Syrian conventional attack against Israel has dramatically decreased, but has been replaced by a terrorist threat along the Israeli-Syrian border.

“We will be next in line after Assad,” Gantz said, referring to the terror dangers to Israel the day after the expected ouster of the Syrian president.

To counter the new threats facing Israel, the IDF is now going on the offensive, Gantz said, ramping up the readiness of intelligence, land and air forces.

“We will need to operate at a much higher intensity,” he said, adding that Israel will need to strike a delicate balance between the moral imperative to preserve human life and the obligation to ensure the safety of its own citizens. A future war will require an Israeli military presence on the ground, mostly in urban areas, he added.

Gantz also spoke out against expected military budget cuts, noting that the military’s quality could suffer as a result.

“We must not become a hollow army,” Gantz said. “I prefer a smaller army of higher quality than a larger army which is rusty and hollow.” The reference to a smaller army came as potential coalition partners debated possible new legislation to require ultra-Orthodox young males to serve in the IDF.

Including the ultra-Orthodox needed to be a slow and gradual process, Gantz said, adding that the recruitment of the ultra-Orthodox had “been good” thus far, and that those recruited had contributed a great deal to the army. They “come in “ultra-Orthodox and leave ultra-Orthodox,” he said, addressing the notion that ultra-Orthodox troops might be subverted during the IDF experience and become less devout.

“We have to ensure that the right people are in the right places at the right times,” Gantz added.SOURCE

North Korea declares 1953 armistice invalid

North Korea declares 1953 armistice invalid
By Madison Park, CNN

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Hong Kong (CNN) — The North Korean army has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, the official newspaper of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party said Monday.

Since last week, North Korea had been threatening to scrap the armistice after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against it in response to its February 12 nuclear test.

On Monday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that the Supreme Command of North Korea’s army had done so.

“The U.S. has reduced the armistice agreement to a dead paper,” the newspaper said.

North Korea also cut off direct phone links with South Korea at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The phone line was the emergency link for quick, two-way communication between the two sides.

The armistice agreement, signed in 1953, ended the three-year war between North and South Korea in a truce.

Since the two sides remain technically at war, it remains to be seen whether the invalidation means that either side can resume hostilities.

What’s in a threat?
A look at North Korea’s escalating rhetoric — and actions

The Rodong Sinmun reported the Supreme Command saying that it can now make a “strike of justice at any target anytime, not bound to the armistice agreement and achieve the national reunification, the cherished desire of the Korean nation.”

However, the North has nullified the agreement on several occasions in the past.

A look back at the history of the armistice.

What is the armistice agreement?

It is the agreement that ended the war between North and South Korea. It is a truce, rather than a peace treaty.

Has the North ended the armistice before?

Yes. In 2003, Pyonyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced that it may have “no option” but to stop honoring the armistice because of the United State’s “persistent war moves.”

In 2009, North Korea said its military would no longer be bound by the agreement because South Korea was joining a U.S.-led anti-proliferation plan.

Part of the reason for the latest move are the joint exercises between the United States and South Korea. A bigger reason is tougher sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council against North Korea in response to its nuclear test on February 12.

Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, despite international condemnation.

What caused the division of Korea?

For most of the first half of the 20th century, Japan controlled the Korean peninsula as its colony. By the end of the World War II as Japan neared defeat, the allies agreed to an independent Korea. The United States and Soviet Union divided postwar occupation of Korea along the 38th parallel and the two sides were ideologically opposite.

Pyongyang scraps armistice amid heightened saber rattling

Why did war break out?

On June 25, 1950, a surprise attack by North Korean soldiers who crossed the 38th parallel easily overwhelmed South Korean forces. The United States leapt to the defense of the South. As South Korean, U.S. and U.N. forces fought back and gained ground into North Korea, Chinese forces joined the war on the North’s side later that year. To this day, China remains a crucial ally of North Korea and the U.S. of South Korea.

What toll did the war take?

The toll of the war included about 1.2 million deaths in South Korea, 1 million deaths in North Korea, 36,500 deaths for U.S. troops and 600,000 deaths for Chinese soldiers.

What are the lasting effects of the war?

The brutal war separated thousands of families, and created the world’s most heavily fortified border. It also drew the alliances that exist today.

When was the armistice signed?

The armistice was signed in July 1953.

What were its terms?

The terms of the armistice included the creation of the Demilitarized Zone, aheavily fortified 155-mile long (250 kilometers) 2.5-mile wide line separating the two countries.

Why the Korean War still matters

How have relations between the North and South been since then?

In the last 60 years, diplomacy between North and South has zigzagged from conciliatory to bellicose.

During more friendly times, the two countries arranged emotional family reunions for those separated by the war in 2000, their leaders shook hands in a 2007 Pyongyang summit and ran freight trains across the border.

But periods of rapprochement have been counterpointed by flareups.

More recently, the North shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong leaving two marines and two civilians dead. Pyongyang claimed Seoul provoked the 2010 attack by holding a military drill off their shared coast in the Yellow Sea.

That same year, North Korea was also accused of sinking a South Korean warship, killing more than 40 sailors.

Without an armistice, what can happen?

The two sides can resume hostilities if they so choose.

What are the risks of a military clash?

A military clash could risk drawing in the United States, which has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as part of the security alliance between the two countries.SOURCE

North Korea Forces Await ‘Final Strike Order’ from Kim Jong-un

North Korea Forces Await ‘Final Strike Order’ from Kim Jong-un
South Korea vows strong response if provoked

By Vasudevan Sridharan:

North Korea’s armed forces are reported to be awaiting a “final order” from the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un before launching a campaign against South Korea.

Ahead of a ten-day joint computer-simulated drill to be conducted by the US and South Korea on 11 March, the North’s most widely circulated mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun said: “Our front-line military groups, the army, the navy and the air force, the anti-aircraft units and the strategic rocket units, who have entered the final all-out war stage, are awaiting the final order to strike.”

The mouthpiece said the North’s nuclear weapons are also in full readiness.

“Puppet regimes in the US and South Korea will be turned into a sea of fire in the blink of an eye,” said the daily, raising tensions further in the Korean peninsula.

South Korea and the US have been conducting a joint field training exercise codenamed Foal Eagle since 1 March, and this is likely to go on until the end of April.
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Nearly 10,000 South Korean troops and 3,500 American forces along with fighter planes are involved in the manoeuvres.

South Korea says the exercises are intended to secure its territories, but Pyongyang charges that they are aimed at the North.

The North has also announced that it will conduct a two-day nationwide military exercise in response to the US-South Korea drill.

Local reports suggest that Kim has also been visiting strategically important military installations in the country in the wake of the volatile situation.

A military source in Seoul has told the Yonhap news agency that Pyongyang is likely to fire short-range missiles or resort to other forms of attack during the drill. The source vowed to retaliate with greater force if South Korean sovereignty is violated.

SOURCE

Concrete message: Iran ‘supershield’ to thwart US ‘superbomb’

>Concrete message: Iran ‘supershield’ to thwart US ‘superbomb’

Pentagon’s joy at getting tons of money for a bigger, badder bomb was, apparently, premature. Iran claims to have invented “super concrete” – of a type that will stop the Massive Ordnance Penetrator from penetrating…well, anything.

­Iran is known for being one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. As a result, their scientists have gotten really good at creating ultra-high performance concrete, or UHPC, which is one of the toughest and most rigid building materials in the world. And like any dual-use technology, it can have military applications as well – something the Iranians are keen to utilize.What they’ve done is the exact opposite of that age-old adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But it will allegedly allow Iran to effectively stop any potential bombing of strategic facilities that are in the Pentagon’s scope. No breaking, no fixing. Just good old stonewalling of the literal variety.

­The move will most likely cause a lot of anxiety in Washington. But the irony is that not only did Iran make an unexpected knight’s move, but it did so by mirroring the steps taken by the US Department of Defense.

With tensions around Iran’s nuclear program mounting, US defense secretary Leon Panetta said the existing modification of the bunker-buster MOP bomb wasn’t up to scratch; that it wouldn’t, in fact, even make a scratch on facilities like the Fordo research center, hidden under 300 feet of Iranian bedrock. So they took the massively limited ordnance penetrator and added $86 million worth of modifications – all to increase the bunker buster’s range.

It’s not known exactly how much money Iran spent on improving their UHPC, but it’s unlikely to be on the same scale as the US. The Pentagon has so far spent over $400 million on a bunker-buster bomb that looks unlikely to ever bust anything other than a hole in the budget.

And one thing is certain: this is a concrete stumbling block for the American military.

SOURCE

DOES THE BIBLE PREDICT ISRAEL’S “NUCLEAR SHIELD?”

DOES THE BIBLE PREDICT ISRAEL’S “NUCLEAR SHIELD?”

By Rev. Ted Pike

The Bible predicts a global drift toward world government with incredible accuracy. How did its writers know, 2,700 years ago, that many of the descendants of a tiny Mideast country would someday be corrupting and controlling the nations, maneuvering for world domination? (See ‘Babylon the Great’ is Israel)

In Ezekiel 38 and 39, the prophet records his vision of a “wicked,” “profane” Israel (Ezek. 39:23-26) someday “gathered from the nations” to Palestine, safely dwelling “at rest.” Jews “live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,” and there is “no one to make them afraid.” (Ez. 38, 11, 12, and 39:26) Similarly, Revelation 17:18 says Babylon the Great (Israel) “reigns over the kings of the earth.” It portrays an awed world saying of Israel’s partner, the anti-Christ, “Who is able to wage war with him?” (Rev. 13:4) Ezekiel foresaw Israel not needing traditional military defense. This suggests that someday the Zionists will have successfully neutralized their enemies.

Last week The Guardian described how Israel is boldly increasing its nuclear capability toward intercontinental “second strike” potential. This would enable the Jewish state to rain atomic destruction on the world via nuclear missiles, submarines, and aircraft, even if Israel is destroyed.

Israel threatens to attack Iran just for being suspected of developing a nuclear bomb. But Israel has up to 400 nuclear-tipped missiles. Each of them might possess a hundred times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. With the help of Germany, Israel already deploys an increasing fleet of submarines capable of firing such nuclear warheads against any nation in the world.

Portrayed as the victim of terrorism, could Israel exert a disproportionate terror among the nations by threatening nuclear holocausts against any who came against her? Might Israel even suggest that, if overwhelmed, she is willing to destroy herself along with the whole world? Incredibly, such bullying is already used by Israel to deter nations, including Russia and the US, from opposing the Jewish state. It’s called the “Samson Option,” patterned after the Hebrew strong man who was willing to pull down the pillars of a Philistine temple filled with revelers, in order to destroy more of God’s enemies in death than in life.

These quotes confirm the Samson Option is alive in Israel today:

Originally a strategy of last resort retaliation – even if it means Israel’s annihilation – it has developed into being a nuclear bullying strategy to further Israel’s territorial goals through threats and blackmail. Israel has bullied not only Arab and Muslim nations, but the United States and Russia with its Samson Option threats. Mordechai Vanunu has alleged that Israel uses for purposes of blackmail its ability to “bombard any city all over the world, and not only those in Europe but also those in the United States.”
…as Seymour Hersh documents in detail in his book The Samson Option, from 1973 these weapons have been used to discourage the Soviet Union – now Russia – from intervening militarily on behalf of Arab nations. Obviously an Israeli nuclear attack on Russia by the United States’ great ally Israel would result in Russia sending thousands of nuclear weapons towards the U.S. and the U.S. responding in kind.”

Not surprisingly, no nation state has attempted to attack Israel since 1973. A former Israeli official justified Israel’s threats. “You Americans screwed us” in not supporting Israel in its 1956 war with Egypt. “We can still remember the smell of Auschwitz and Treblinka. Next time we’ll take all of you with us.” General Moshe Dayan, a leading promoter of Israel’s nuclear program, has been quoted as saying “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” Amos Rubin, an economic adviser to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, said “If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large…”

Then-Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon said things like “We are much more important than (Americans) think. We can take the middle east with us whenever we go” and “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”

To dissuade the Soviet Union from interfering with its plans, Prime Minister Begin immediately “gave orders to target more Soviet cities” for potential nuclear attack. Its American spy Jonathan Pollard was caught stealing such nuclear targeting information from the U.S. military in 1985.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has admitted that nuclear weapons are used by Israel for “compellent purposes” – i.e., forcing others to accept Israeli political demands…

Israeli Israel Shahak wrote in 1997: “Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East…without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones.” Zeev Schiff opined in 1998 that “Off-the-cuff Israeli nuclear threats have become a problem.” In 2003 David Hirst noted that “The threatening of wild, irrational violence, in response to political pressure, has been an Israeli impulse from the very earliest days” and called Israel a candidate for “the role of ‘nuclear-crazy’ state.” Noam Chomsky said of the Samson Option “the craziness of the state is not because the people are insane. Once you pick a policy of choosing expansion over security, that’s what you end up getting stuck with.” Efraim Karsh calls the Samson Option the “rationality of pretended irrationality,” but warns that seeming too irrational could encourage other nations to attack Israel in their own defense.

Two Israel supporters are frequently quoted for their explicit support of the Samson Option. Martin Van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has been quoted as saying: “Most European capitals are targets for our air force….We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

In 2002 the Los Angeles Times, published an opinion piece by Louisiana State University professor David Perlmutter in which he wrote: “What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens? For the first time in history, a people facing extermination while the world either cackles or looks away–unlike the Armenians, Tibetans, World War II European Jews or Rwandans–have the power to destroy the world. The ultimate justice?”

Can Critics Restrain Israel?

Is it possible that increasing condemnation of Israel could restrain her nuclear blackmail? There is no doubt that escalating public disapproval may indeed slow the Jewish supremacist agenda— particularly proliferation of ADL-inspired hate laws and pro-homosexual legislation. Gaza and Israel’s flotilla attack, as nothing else, enflamed world opinion against her. The UNESCO vote last week was yet another blow for Israel as the majority voted for Palestinian membership.

Yet does such opposition really hold back Israel for long? Following such defeats, Israel defiantly builds more illegal settlements on Arab land, flouting world opinion and international law. She continues her nuclear proliferation. Kabbalistic, conspiratorial Jews have never depended upon popularity – they survive by shrewd, long-range thinking and deception. Even if Palestinians obtain full membership in the UN, Israel will not voluntarily return an acre of property to them. She will relentlessly continue her historic agenda of attempting to drive all Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories. Even if Israel becomes the most hated, isolated, pariah state on the planet, it is clear Israel is intent on raw survival through the only means that really matters—nuclear threat and invincibility.

What’s Next?

During the 20th century, Israel powerfully fulfilled much of Ezekiel 38 and 39 by occupying the Holy Land in defiance of God’s law – a counterfeit return. (See List of Conditional Occupation Verses) The next stages in the prophetic sequence are for Israel to expel the Palestinians and impose effective, overwhelming power against all who might come against her. With Palestine under Jewish control, Israel may then dismantle the Dome of the Rock and build her new temple, as Christ prophesied (Matt. 24:15). Once that is finished and Jewish world government is a reality, the Zionists will appoint their “Messiah.” Such will almost be a formality since it is largely taken for granted in Judaism that the “Messiah” is the Jewish people, i.e. full realization of Jewish power. A “covenant” (Dan. 9:27) or “marriage” between Israel and her new husband “Gog,” the “wicked profane prince of Israel” (Ezek. 21:25) from Russia follows.

For nearly three and a half years, Israel and anti-Christ rule the nations as “the man of sin” “causes craft to prosper in his hand” (Dan. 8:25), and the merchants of Israel enthrall the nations with affluence (Rev. 18:3). By this time the present love affair of Christian evangelicals toward Zionism will have turned into bitter disillusionment. The Sanhedrin is now finishing the persecution of Christians it began 2,000 years ago in the book of Acts and is “drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6). Descendants of today’s Israel-first evangelicals will be crying to God for vengeance (Rev. 18:6).

Yet something happens to sour Israel’s marriage to Antichrist. Scripture implies Jewish leaders may inflict on him a “deadly wound.” In imitation of Christ, the Antichrist rises from the dead. As Satan incarnate, he goes on rampage against those likely to have done him in, the Jews. His armies encircle and invade Jerusalem, killing most of its Jewish inhabitants. He proclaims himself God in the temple and desecrates it. This is the “Abomination of Desolation” predicted by Daniel. Along with the encirclement of Jerusalem, this act was foretold by Christ as the only definitive sign that His return is near (Mark 13.7, 14). A remnant of Jews are now exiled to the nations and endure “great tribulation.” Yet as they near extinction, Christ returns in glory. He judges the nations from the heavens with terrible plagues, including horrific wrath on the armies of the Beast in the battle of Armageddon. The remnant Jews are now worthy to occupy Palestine and dwell there with Christ for 1,000 years.

So much for the “nuclear shield” which empowered the Great Harlot to proclaim “I sit as a queen, and… will never see mourning” (Rev. 18:7).

Ironically, it is probably treachery within the highest echelons of Judaism that spells the end of Israel’s world dominion. She is then destroyed by the rage of the nations who are even now increasingly angry with the Jewish state. The collapse of Zionism finally negates the nuclear shield in which Israel increasingly trusts. It will prove as powerless to protect her as France’s Maginot Line or the Great Wall of China.

After millennia of trusting those who crucified Israel’s true Husband Jesus, a battered and disillusioned remnant of Jews will gladly trust the One whom all must trust to have peace of soul and salvation. He is the One King David described as the only “shield” worth hoping in—“…my rock, my stronghold and my deliverer; my shield and he in whom I take refuge.” (Ps. 144:1,2)

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Prelude to Attack?

Israeli prisoner swap may be prelude to attack on Iran

By Abraham Rabinovich

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to execute a 1,000-for-1 prisoner exchange last week despite his frequently voiced opposition to such lopsided deals is seen by several Israeli military commentators as an effort to “clear the deck” before possibly undertaking an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Amir Oren, the veteran military analyst for Ha’aretz newspaper, took note of Israel’s exchanging 1,027 Palestinian convicts for army Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who had been captured by Hamas in 2006. Mr. Oren wrote that the price paid by Mr. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak “can be interpreted only in a context that goes beyond that of the Gilad Schalit deal.”

He noted that Israeli leaders in the past have shown a readiness to absorb “a small loss” in order to attain a greater success, generally involving “some sort of military adventure.”

Mr. Oren also noted that, until recently, Mr. Netanyahu had faced opposition to attacking Iran from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad intelligence chief Meir Dagan. Both retired earlier this year and have been replaced by men believed to hold a different view on Iran.

The Islamic republic has not been a top agenda item since the outbreak of the Arab Spring. Yet Iran’s nuclear program, which Western nations believe is geared for making an atomic bomb, has remained a key concern, despite Tehran’s denials that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

According to Israeli media reports, a shift in the Israeli government’s views on Iran might have prompted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s Middle East visit in April: His main mission was to pass on a warning from President Obama against any unilateral attack on Iran.

At a press conference with Mr. Barak in April, Mr. Panetta stressed that any steps against Iran’s nuclear program must be taken in coordination with the international community.

This week, Jerusalem Post military correspondent Yakov Katz wrote that, with the Schalit chapter behind it, “Israel can now move forward to deal with some of the other strategic problems it faces in the region, such as Iran’s nuclear program.” Had Israel first attacked Iran, Hamas‘ patron, it would have endangered the Schalit deal, Mr. Katz said.

Writing in Yediot Achronot, Alex Fishman said that for Mr. Netanyahu, who built a political career as a warrior on terror, the Schalit deal was a very courageous step, particularly in view of an estimate by Israel’s security services that 60 percent of Palestinians who are released in such exchanges return to terror.

“He took a risk in a certain area and thereby focused all our attention on much more troubling fronts — in distant Iran and in the Arab revolutions around us,”
Mr. Fishman wrote. To deal with these problems, national consensus is necessary and the freeing of Gilad Shalit went far toward achieving that.

Mr. Oren offered another insight that he says may point Mr. Netanyahu toward military action against Iran.

Although the prime minister failed to make any enduring mark on history during his previous term or so far during his present term, Mr. Netanyahu may see Iran as an opportunity to achieve his Churchillian moment, Mr. Oren wrote. “The day is not far off, Netanyahu believes, when Churchill will emerge from him.”

SOURCE

US Resists Calls for Action as Saudis say Iran Must, ” Pay The Price”!

Saudis say Iran must ‘pay the price’ for alleged plot as US resists retaliation

Ewen MacAskill and Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Tehran denies it was behind plot to kill Saudi ambassador and says US is using it to divert attention from problems at home

The Saudi Arabian government has issued a menacing warning to Iran that it will have to “pay the price” for the alleged plot to hire a Mexican drugs cartel to assassinate its ambassador in Washington.

The threat from the Saudis came as the Obama administration resisted calls from within the US, mainly from the conservative right, to retaliate against Iran with military action.

But Iran denied it was behind the alleged plot, with officials claiming Washington had fabricated the story to divide Sunni Muslims – the dominant group in Saudi – and Shias, the dominant group in Iran. Tehran’s leadership claimed Barack Obama was using the story to divert attention from the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

The foreign ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador, who handles US interests in the country, to condemn what it called “baseless claims” and warn “against the repetition of such politically motivated allegations.”

A Saudi prince, Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington and a former head of the Saudi intelligence service, told a conference in London: “The burden of proof and the amount of evidence in the case is overwhelming, and clearly shows official Iranian responsibility for this. This is unacceptable. Somebody in Iran will have to pay the price.”

The US justice department announced on Tuesday that two men had been charged over the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, in a bomb explosion at one of his favourite restaurants.
Manssor Arbabsiar Manssor Arbabsiar

One of the men, Manssor Arbabsiar, an American-Iranian, is alleged to have sought the help of a Mexican drugs cartel, Zetas, to provide explosives and carry out the attack. The other man, Gholam Shakuri, is in Iran, according to the US.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have long been strained, exacerbated this year by the Saudis sending forces into neighbouring Bahrain to help put down protesters, many of them Shia Muslims.

In spite of increased tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a result of the episode, the alleged plot is being met with scepticism within the diplomatic community, as well as from foreign affairs analysts specialising in Iran, who said the plot was amateurish and did not fit in the usual Iranian modus operandi, and questioned what Iran would gain from such an episode.

A former western diplomat with an intimate knowledge of Iranian affairs said: “I don’t believe Iran’s regime was behind the plot. If we assume it was Iran’s plot, it would seem like a group of professional gangsters hiring a careless agent for their most important project. It’s impossible.

Fresh details emerged on Wednesday about Arbabsiar, the man at the centre of the supposed plot, who appeared in court in New York on Tuesday charged with conspiracy, and who is allegedly linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

He was a car salesman in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he ran a number of businesses, largely unsuccessful. He does not fit the usual profile of an Iranian agent, who tend to be professional.

The US is taking the issue to the UN security council to seek action against Iran – but it will need to offer evidence to back its claim. One of the main pieces of evidence is a $100,000 sum transferred to the US, allegedly from Iran, as a downpayment for the assassination attempt.

Susan Rice, the UN ambassador to the UN, and a team of experts from the justice department, were briefing individual members of the security council about the plot on Wednesday.

“It is a dangerous esclation of Iran’s long-scale use of violence,”
Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters at a briefing. On a possible military response, he said no options had been taken off the table, but emphasised that the US was focusing on diplomatic and economic measures against Iran, including new sanctions against an airline accused of transporting revolutionary guard personnel.

The vice-president Joe Biden, in an ABC television interview, said the administration was focused on mounting a major diplomatic effort to persuade its allies in Europe and elsewhere to impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran.

As the State Department issued a three-month worldwide travel alert for American citizens, secretary of state Hillary Clinton described the alleged plot as a “reckless act”.

“Such worn-out approaches are … part of the special scenarios staged and pursued by the enemies of Islam and the region to sow discord among Muslims,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

Fars also quoted Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the head of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, who said: “No doubt this is a new American-Zionist plot to divert the public opinion from the crisis Obama is grappling with.

Today, the United States is witnessing a popular uprising called Wall Street protests which have targeted the hostile policies of that country’s statesmen.

“Thus, Americans are seeking to derail the public opinion from the Wall Street uprising.”

SOURCE

Mutually Assured Destruction

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?

By Ed Koch

Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying.

Since the “Arab Spring” revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union.

So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the “Arab Spring.” That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world.

Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere. In my view, it was harmful to our own – the U.S. – national security needs to throw the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak under the bus by demanding his removal as President Obama did. Yes, he was a despot, described as an authoritarian in a world of Muslim dictatorships, but he believed in keeping good relations with the U.S. and keeping the peace with Israel established back in 1978 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at Camp David. Those who overthrew him have made clear that their intention is to end that peace. The forces that are dominant in Egypt today are the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The goal of the military is to preserve their special niche as the principal governing power. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions are the strongest politically and most organized of all the civilian groups vying for power in the next presidential election.

As a result of the recent occupation and sacking of the Israeli embassy in Cairo while Egyptian police and army stood by, we know that the current interim Egyptian government has decided to cast aside peace with Israel and go with the Islamists. The Times of September 11th reported, “Egyptian military and security police officers largely stood by without interfering with the demolition. Instead, they clustered at the entrance to the embassy to keep protesters out. The security forces had pulled back from Tahrir Square and other areas before the start of the day to avoid clashes with the protesters, although the military had issued a stern warning on its Facebook page against property destruction.” The Israeli ambassador, his family and other Israeli officials were forced to flee the embassy in fear of their lives. Because of the entreaties of President Obama to the Egyptian government, they were saved from violence and permitted to board Israeli jets to go home to Israel.

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And what of the situation with Turkey? Once a friend of Israel, it now has an Islamist government led by its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has issued a statement tantamount to a declaration of war. The Times reported on September 10th, “The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.”

While the United Nations, not normally a defender of Israel, recently issued a report that Israel had a right to blockade Gaza so as to prevent weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip, now governed by Hamas, Turkey has rejected the report, and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Hamas has declared that it is at war with Israel, and that if it is ever in a position to do so, it will expel every Jew living in Israel who came to Palestine after 1917, and will use violence to achieve its goals. It has intentionally killed innocent civilians, sending thousands of rockets into southern Israel or allowing other terrorist groups to do so.

In addition to Hamas on its southern border, Israel is now facing an increasingly hostile Egypt, with an army of nearly one million and a population of 81 million. To Israel’s north is not only hostile Lebanon and Syria, but now Turkey with an army of one million and a population of 73 million.

It is also disturbing that there is a rising tide of Jew-hatred in Great Britain and in France. In Great Britain, that hatred was recently demonstrated by those who called themselves artists, who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta in London on September 1st. The police arrested no one who for a time prevented the audience of 5,000 from enjoying the evening. No speaker supporting Israel is permitted to speak at British universities. They are not invited or hooted down if invited.

France is working with the Palestinians to achieve their admission to the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s only apparent defender on the European continent is Germany because of the continuous ongoing support of Israel by Chancellor Angela Merkel. I met and heard Chancellor Merkel in 2004 when I attended in Berlin the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on rising anti-Semitism, when I served as chairman of the U.S. delegation. I was impressed by the depths of her sincerity in denouncing anti-Semitism and recognizing the depravity of the German nation under Hitler in its efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

The Muslim nations are undoubtedly licking their chops at what they would do if they were ever to be successful in defeating Israel on the battlefield or at the U.N. which is prepared to serve as the site of today’s Munich. If Assad of Syria is willing to kill innocent men, women and children in the streets and cities in Syria, what do you think he would do if his soldiers patrolled Tel Aviv?

The Arab countries’ threats to destroy Israel, a nation with a total population of 7.7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims, is not receiving front page coverage or denunciations from NATO nation leaders. The revolutionaries making up the “Arab Spring” are lauded by the opinion-makers here in the U.S. and even more so in Europe.

This past Sunday, we commemorated in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent civilians on 9/11, committed by Islamic terrorists whose supporters run into the millions and are now located in at least 62 countries. Our NATO allies never supported the U.S. to the extent they promised when we invaded Afghanistan to punish the Afghan government for providing a refuge for al-Qaeda, which perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities and many others. In my judgment, as harsh as it sounds, many of those NATO countries, including Britain and France, would deliver the Jewish nation into the hands of their putative murderers if it gave them “peace in our time,” just as Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Are we willing here in the U.S. to continue to fight for our precious liberties and support countries like Israel having the same moral and cultural values?

We in America, led by President Obama and Congress, must make it absolutely clear to the Islamist terrorists that we will never surrender. We will hunt them down as we did their leader, Osama bin Laden, and kill them.

The U.S. is Israel’s only friend and ally. It is not foolish or premature to ask what will the U.S. do when and if the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, this time led by Egypt and Turkey, supported by others, assault the Jewish nation? Will the President and the Congress come to its aid? Shouldn’t Israel know now? Shouldn’t the Muslim nations know?

I urge the President and the Congress to do for Israel what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. President Kennedy said “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

SOURCE

” I am become Death, the destroyer of Worlds” – Israels Doomsday Weapon: Leviathan

Doomsday weapon: Israel’s submarines

Alex Fishman

The day the Twin Towers collapsed in Manhattan, September 11, 2001, IDF submarine “Leviathan” of the advanced Dolphin model was on a training sail somewhere at sea – the exact location of Israel’s submarines will always remain classified, even dozens of years after the fact.

At one point, the submarine rose to the surface to take a break. The sub’s commander, then-Lt. Colonel Oded, looked through the periscope and saw a calm, blue sea. However, one crew member soon informed him that he just saw the New York towers collapsing on television. Oded’s first reaction was laughter: What kind of movie are you watching there? How could the Twin Towers collapse? Yet soon after, the official announcement arrived from Israel.

The training session ended abruptly. Orders started to pour in from Navy headquarters. The submarine went into high alert and sank into the water for a lengthy period of several weeks. “In such case,” Oded says, “nobody knows where you are except for your crew and your direct commanders. Even your family doesn’t know. They don’t know what you’re doing or when you’ll be back. They know nothing.”


What does a terror attack at the World Trade Center have to do with an Israeli submarine going on high alert? This question shall remain unanswered as well. We can only guess: When the US experiences an unprecedented terror event whose implications are still unclear, nobody knows how the superpower would respond and what will happen in the Middle East as result. At such moments of uncertainty, Israel’s first walls of defense are its long-range strategic arms – the most secretive one is the submarine fleet.

Israel’s enemies must be made to understand that should they dare use any weapon of mass destruction, their own fate will be sealed. According to foreign reports, Israel’s Dolphin fleet plays a crucial role in the game of deterrence with its second strike capability.


Virtual passport

Just like Israel’s submarine fleet is secretive, so are its commanders. Colonel Oded, 44, has recently completed his tenure as the fleet’s commander, ending a chapter of more than 20 years where he performed almost every command post in the fleet. “If a layman would see submarine troops from the side, he would not understand how we can withstand it,” Oded says in a rare interview. “It’s a group of people who perform missions at very certain locations and feel like home there. People wake up for their shifts, eat breakfast and follow a routine in the least trivial locations one can imagine.”

When I ask Oded whether his troops’ passports would be filled with stamps, had they theoretically stamped them at border control, he smiles and says nothing. Indeed, we can imagine that these virtual passports would have been full of stamps. The Navy’s submarines, as opposed to other vessels, never dock at foreign ports, including friendly ones. This is the nature of the service: The submarines only dock in Israel.


Exceptional soldiers

In order to serve on a submarine, one needs more than to excel at school and accumulate more and more knowledge. Such soldiers need a specific mental makeup that enables them to be isolated for lengthy periods of time from their natural environment, while living with 40 other people under crowded conditions and an intensive, tense operational atmosphere.


“People who cannot withstand the pressure drop out in the screening process and during the courses,
” Oded says. “There is only one way to minimize the fear and improve the ability to function during emergencies: Sisyphean training. For that reason we constantly engage in simulating extreme scenarios, so when things happen in real life the soldiers are trained and already experienced those things during training sessions.


“When you arrive at the sub after the course, you feel that nobody is better than you, but very quickly you realize that you have much to learn from the people around you,
” Oded says. “The veteran non-commissioned officer is much more professional than you in his area of expertise. The secret of the submarine’s power is the accumulated knowledge of everyone on board. Each soldier is an expert, so you learn to appreciate and trust them…you learn very quickly that the quality of the soldiers is so high that you cannot just issue orders.”


Not like in the movies

So what happens to a young man who one day becomes privy to the State of Israel’s deepest secrets? “If we developed the right person, and his ego is at a healthy place, not much happens,” Oded says. “The heavy responsibility and significance of the work merely increase the need for modesty. Even though it’s quite surprising and fascinating to discover what this country can do, we don’t tell our parents or anyone else. Never. Everything stays within the submarine. This is one of the reasons why the friendships formed between the soldiers and officers don’t exist elsewhere. We develop a culture where secrecy means life or death.

In the movies we often see a submarine commander receiving a mysterious message, walking over to the safe, pulling out an envelope and discovering a dramatic mission for the first time. Yet when Oded is asked whether this happens in real life, he bursts into laughter. “This happens in the movies. These are precisely the things that are not done in real life, because the sub commander works completely independently, and at times has no contact whatsoever with his superiors. Hence, he must have all the information available to him and be familiar with the mission’s big picture, so he can make the right decisions.


Having fun in the shower

At the end of the 1980s, Oded completed a degree in electrical engineering and physics at the Technion. Upon graduation, he was appointed as commander of a missile boat that specializes in anti-submarine warfare (the Navy ensures that future sub commanders serve on such boats first, as there is no better way to learn how they behave when confronting a submarine.) After two years, Oded embarked on a submarine commander’s course – an intensive eight-month track with a personal mentor. In 1999 he was assigned to command the old-model submarine “Gal.” The only thing he is willing to say about that period is: “It was a very operational year, with plenty of counter-terror activity.” In 2001, he was appointed as the second commander of “Leviathan,” a new model Dolphin sub.

When asked how it feels to command “Leviathan,” a submarine that is three-times larger than the previous sub he led, Oded first speaks about the improved shower experience. “When you are sailing for weeks and your only way to take a shower is to use the air-conditioner’s water, yet suddenly you have a shower, only then you understand the meaning of this,” he says.

“Suddenly there is a convenient space for service, in submarine terms of course. Suddenly your sub has more than one floor. There are also more arms and more advanced sonar systems. There is also a leap in atomization and in command and control capabilities. It’s like flying into space. Moreover, it’s a very quiet submarine that can perform its mission with greater secrecy.

Doubling the fleet

At this time the Navy is preparing to double Israel’s submarine fleet from three to six in the next five years, making it one of the region’s largest and most advanced fleets. As result of this process, Oded was not only required to double the submarine fleet’s manpower, but also to create a larger cadre career officers for a lengthy service term, as the need for professional expertise will only be growing. Hence, the Navy realized it must offer these soldiers the army’s best service terms. For example, sub troops can study almost anything they want, as long as they stay in the force. Notably, a sub officer is required to serve nine years at least.

Oded says that doubling the fleet’s size is “not only a challenge for the army; it’s a challenge for the State.” When asked whether Israel needs such large fleet, especially in an era of cutbacks, Oded has no hesitation: “I have no doubt we need it. A large submarine fleet gives us much more than a multiplier effect in strategic and security terms.”

SOURCE

‘Nuclear’ cloud over Saint Petersburg

‘Nuclear’ cloud over Saint Petersburg

People in northern St. Petersburg on Thursday evening witnessed a strange mushroom-like cloud which bore an unnerving resemblance to a nuclear explosion.

Thoughts of a disaster passed through the minds of alarmed citizens, but the Emergencies Ministry gave reassurances that none had been reported.

Meteorologists say the strange-shaped cloud may have formed as a result of rare atmospheric conditions in the area, which had been experiencing alternating sun and rain showers.

Doubt has been cast on the explanation by skeptics who pointed out that clouds are formed high in the sky, while the mushroom cloud appeared to be rising from the ground.

Some St. Petersburg residents say photos of the cloud suggest it must have been produced artificially.

“We had fog yesterday, but it’s a morning event. Of course a mushroom-shaped cloud could appear, because there were many rain clouds. But it happens at great altitude. It’s unlikely to happen near the ground,
” meteorologist Aleksandr Kolesov said.

However, the cloud in question only gives the appearance of touching the ground but is actually as high as it is supposed to be, he added.

“The photo was taken from afar, and that’s why it looks like that,” he said.

Atmospheric phenomena can sometimes be very peculiar. In December 2009, for instance, a Russian missile test resulted in a spiral cloud appearing in Norway’s sky.

SOURCE

Nuclear Plants and Disasters: NRC Inspection Results

Nuclear Plants and Disasters: NRC Inspection Results

by John Sullivan and Ariel Wittenberg, Special to ProPublica, June 29

The NRC ordered the inspection in response to the March earthquake and tsunami that crippled Fukushima’s reactors. The purpose was to conduct a fast check on the equipment and procedures that U.S. plants are required to have in place in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster or a terrorist attack.

Agency officials unveiled the results in May, stating in a news release that “out of 65 operating reactor sites, 12 had issues with one or more of the requirements during the inspections.”

But ProPublica’s examination of the reports found that 60 Plant sites had discrepancies. that ranged from broken machinery, missing equipment and poor training to things like blocked drains or a lack of preventive maintenance. Some of the more serious findings include:

At the Arkansas Nuclear Oneplant outside Russellville, several portable pumps dedicated to flood control didn’t work.
At the Clintonplant outside Bloomington, Ill., a fire pump broke down during a test.
At the Sequoyah plant outside Chattanooga, Tenn., inspectors couldn’t find drain valves needed for flood control.
At the Diablo Canyon plant in California, a fence blocked the path for a hose to pump emergency water.

Plant officials said they have moved to fix those problems and that none would have prevented them from responding in an emergency. The NRC told ProPublica that all the issues raised by inspectors “fell well short of being imminent safety concerns” and were being addressed.

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In a summary attached to the inspection findings, however, the NRC expressed some concern.

“While individually, none of these observations posed a significant safety issue, they indicate a potential industry trend of failure to maintain equipment and strategies required to mitigate some design and beyond design-basis events,” the summary says.

The NRC reported fewer problems at the plants than ProPublica because it only counted those in which a plant had a problem demonstrating how its emergency preparedness plan would work. The agency said that, despite these questions, all the plants could protect their reactors.

The special inspection covered equipment and procedures for use in disasters that are beyond the scope of the plant’s design — major earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and terrorist attacks.

Many of the items covered in the special inspection are supposed to be checked by NRC inspectors on a regular basis. Items that were required after the 9/11 attacks to respond to large explosions and fires — like extra pumps, hoses and generators — are supposed to be reviewed as part of regular triennial fire protection inspections.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, says the large number of problems uncovered in the special inspection shows that NRC must strengthen oversight.

“I think they need to look at the inspections,” said Lochbaum, whose group monitors safety matters. “Why did they find so much in these inspections? Shouldn’t these have been found sooner?”

Nuclear plants conduct emergency drills every two years, and Lochbaum said that one possible improvement would be for inspectors to check the condition of the emergency response equipment then.

Mary Lampert, executive director of the advocacy group Pilgrim Watch in Massachusetts, said many of the deficiencies uncovered by the NRC may seem minor but could quickly turn into bigger problems in an emergency situation.

“They all add up. They cannot wait for a disaster to start looking around for a screwdriver that is required to open a valve because time is typically of the essence,” she said.

Lampert said it is important for the NRC to keep an eye on the problems they found and not simply assume the nuclear companies will fix everything.

The Fukushima accident has focused the NRC’s attention on the risk that a natural disaster or attack could knock out a plant’s safety systems for an extended period and lead to a radiation release.

Although all plants are designed to withstand natural disasters, U.S. nuclear facilities are aging. Recent studies have shown that earthquake risks are now higher than they were predicted when some plants were built, although the NRC says reactors can still withstand the highest expected quake. Now historic flooding on the Missouri River is testing design limits at two Nebraska plants.

Flood waters are expected to come within a few feet of levels the Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear plants were built to withstand. At Fort Calhoun, a special berm providing backup protection collapsed Sunday after being damaged. Operators briefly turned on emergency diesel power but said there was no risk to reactor cooling systems. The plant has been shut down for refueling since early April.

On April 1, the NRC launched a task force of senior agency managers to examine the ability of plants to respond to events that might overwhelm existing safety systems and procedures. The panel is concentrating on disaster preparedness and the ability to survive a lengthy blackout, as at Fukushima.

The six-member group is scheduled to report its findings to the commission on July 19, and the NRC has held two briefings on the subject so far. Until the task force reports back, the NRC said it would not comment on what, if any, changes the agency might propose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and other watchdog groups have said that Fukushima points to the need for some obvious improvements, such as adding backup generators and moving used nuclear fuel out of cooling pools and into safer storage locations.

The nuclear industry’s main trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, is teaming up with the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations and the research organization the Electric Power Research Institute to develop disaster preparedness guidelines for nuclear companies, said Thomas Kauffman, a spokesman for NEI.

Kauffman said U.S. nuclear plants have survived hurricanes, tornadoes and extended power outages without damage to their reactors, but the industry is looking hard at Fukushima nevertheless. “We want to take the lessons learned and make sure they are applied across the industry,” he said.

Chairman Gregory Jaczko raised the issue of emergency preparedness this month at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna. According to a copy of his speech, he brought up the post-Fukushima inspection results.

“While I see nothing that calls into question the safety of our plants, I see areas where performance was not as good as would be preferred,”
Jaczko said. Changes are likely, he added, “although it is too early to say right now precisely what those changes might be.”

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Jaczko visited the Nebraska plants this week and declared that, while flood conditions were likely to continue for some time, the plants are safe.

“Water levels are at a place where the plant [workers] can deal with them,” Jaczko said at Fort Calhoun on Monday, according to the Iowa Independent. “The risk is really very low that something could go wrong.”

ProPublica intern Ariel Wittenberg contributed to this story.

SOURCE

If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism. – Vladimir Lenin

Will Washington Foment War Between China and India?

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Smedley Butler, two Congressional Medals of Honor, for capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914, and for capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917, Distinguished Service Medal, 1919. Republican primary candidate for Senate, 1932. – I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. … I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. in ‘Common Sense’, Nov., 1935.

Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
June 18, 2011

What is Washington’s solution for the rising power of China?

The answer might be to involve China in a nuclear war with India.

The staging of the fake death of bin Laden in a commando raid that violated Pakistan’s sovereignty was sold to President Obama by the military/security complex as a way to boost Obama’s standing in the polls.

The raid succeeded in raising Obama’s approval ratings. But its real purpose was to target Pakistan and to show Pakistan that the US was contemplating invading Pakistan in order to make Pakistan pay for allegedly hiding bin Laden next door to Pakistan’s military academy. The neocon, and increasingly the US military position, is that the Taliban can’t be conquered unless NATO widens the war theater to Pakistan, where the Taliban allegedly has sanctuaries protected by the Pakistan government, which takes American money but doesn’t do Washington’s bidding.

Pakistan got the threat message and ran to China. On May 17 Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, as he departed for China declared China to be Pakistan’s “best and most trusted friend.” China has built a port for Pakistan at Gwadar, which is close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz. The port might become a Chinese naval base on the Arabian Sea.

Raza Rumi reported in the Pakistan Tribune (June 4) that at a recent lecture at Pakistan’s National Defense University, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, asked the military officers whether the biggest threat to Pakistan came from within, from India, or from the US. A majority of the officers said that the US was the biggest threat to Pakistan.

China, concerned with India, the other Asian giant that is rising, is willing to ally with Pakistan. Moreover, China doesn’t want Americans on its border, which is where they would be should Pakistan become another American battleground.

Indo-China War of 1962

India Predicts China War in 2012 or by 2017

Therefore, China showed its displeasure with the US threat to Pakistan, and advised Washington to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, adding that any attack on Pakistan would be considered an attack on China

I do not think China’s ultimatum was reported in the US press, but it was widely reported in India’s press. India is concerned that China has stepped up to Pakistan’s defense.

The Chinese ultimatum is important, because it is a WWI or WWII level of ultimatum. With this level of commitment of China to Pakistan, Washington will now seek a way to maneuver itself out of the confrontation and to substitute India.

The US has been fawning all over India, cultivating India in the most shameful ways, including the sacrifice of Americans’ jobs. Recently, there have been massive US weapons sales to India, US-India military cooperation agreements, and joint military exercises.

Washington figures that the Indians, who were gullible for centuries about the British, will be gullible about the “shining city on the hill” that is “bringing freedom and democracy to the world” by smashing, killing, and destroying. Like the British and France’s Sarkozy, Indian political leaders will find themselves doing Washington’s will. By the time India and China realize that they have been maneuvered into mutual destruction by the Americans, it will be too late for either to back down.

With China and India eliminated, that only leaves Russia, which is already ringed by US missile bases and isolated from Europe by NATO, which now includes former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire. A large percentage of gullible Russian youth admires the US for its “freedom” (little do they know) and hates the “authoritarian” Russian state, which they regard as a continuation of the old Soviet state. These “internationalized Russians” will side with Washington, more of less forcing Moscow into surrender.

As the rest of the world, with the exception of parts of South America, is already part of the American Empire, Russia’s surrender will let the US focus its military might on South America. Chavez will be overthrown, and if others do not fall into line, more examples will be made.

The only way the American Empire can be stopped is for China and Russia to realize their danger and to form an unbreakable alliance that reassures India, breaks off Germany from NATO and defends Iran.

Otherwise, the American Empire will prevail over the entire world. The US dollar will become the only currency, and therefore be spared exchange rate depreciation from debt monetization.

Gold and silver will become forbidden possessions, as will guns and a number of books, including the US Constitution.

SOURCE

Going underground? Sales of spaces in U.S. doomsday bunker soar 1000% after Japan quake reawakens nuclear fallout fears

Going underground? Sales of spaces in U.S. doomsday bunker soar 1000% after Japan quake reawakens nuclear fallout fears

Aerial of Scientology bunker in New Mexico

By Daily Mail Reporter

Artist’s impressions of luxury shelter to house 950 people in Nebraska

Reservations for a doomsday bunker in the U.S. have rocketed since Japan’s catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

The 137,000sq ft bunker – designed to house 950 people for a year and withstand a 50 megaton blast – is currently being built under the grasslands of Nebraska.

Vivos, the California-based company behind it, is taking $5,000 (£3,100) deposits, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 (£15,600) to secure a place.

Our bunkers are safety and survivability in a durable, scientifically-designed structure. It is rock-solid protection from the widest imaginable array of potentially deadly events, from armed or explosives attacks to the worst hurricane or tornado. It’s there to keep people alive and functioning when little else can.


Cower in luxury: Vivos’s doomsday shelters are to be kitted out with all the modern conveniences American consumers would expect

Social space: The company is building one bunker under the grasslands of Nebraska with the capacity to house 950 for a year



Paranoia: Vivos says applications for its luxury bunkers have gone up 1,000 per cent since the Japan earthquake

It says applications have soared 1000 per cent in the wake of the disasters in Japan. And the bunkers will be kitted out with all the modern conveniences the American consumer has come to expect.

Once finished the complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room, a fully stocked wine cellar and even a prison to detain any misbehaving residents.

There will also be a 350ft tall lookout tower so residents can see what is going on around them – and if it’s safe to emerge.

‘People are afraid of the earth-changing events and ripple effects of the earthquake, which led to tsunamis, the nuclear meltdown, and which will lead to radiation and health concerns,’ said Vivos CEO Robert Vicino.

Self-contained community: Once finished the bunker complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room and a fully stocked wine cellar



Limited space: The firm is taking $5,000 deposits for their bunker, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 to secure a final spot

The news comes after low levels of radiation were detected in milk in two U.S. states, the first sign Japan’s nuclear crisis is affecting American food.

At least 15 states have now reported radioactive particles from the stricken Fukushima reactor. Earlier in the week the Environment Protection Agency confirmed radiation was found in air filters in Alabama and in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Though the trace levels are very low and not hazardous to health, residents have been warned not to use rainwater which has been collected in cisterns.

Rebuilding society: The bunker even features a prison in case any residents misbehave and become a liability to others

Safe space: The company claims its bunkers are designed to withstand a range of catastrophic events, from nuclear terrorism to the gravitational havoc caused of a rogue planet sweeping across the solar system

Intimate: Space is limited in the bunker, the floor-plan of which resembles a youth hostel in this graphic

Mr Vicino added: ‘Where it ends, I don’t know. Does it lead to economic collapse? A true economic collapse would lead to anarchy, which could lead to 90 per cent of the population being killed off.’

The company claims its bunkers are designed to withstand a range of catastrophic events, from nuclear terrorism to the gravitational havoc a rogue planet sweeping across the solar system could cause.

Interest in doomsday bunkers has grown over recent years, but critics say developers are simply trying to cash in on public panic. Oleg Repchenko, the head of Russian analytical centre ‘Indicators of Real Estate Market‘, told The Voice of Russia: ‘These fears emerged in the US a long time ago back in the Cold War era.

‘September 11, 2001 has seriously affected the psychology of common Americans and part of the population is afraid of disasters and terrorist attacks.

‘Panicking is quite typical for Americans even when a disaster happens not on their territory but across the ocean in Japan. Once something terrifying happens it makes people think more about their future.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372289/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-Sales-doomsday-nuclear-bunkers-soars-1000.html#ixzz1IJELNCOu

Japan under pressure to widen nuclear evacuation zone, coastal waters see high levels of radioactive iodine

Japan under pressure to widen nuclear evacuation zone


• High levels of radiation detected outside current 20km zone
• Prime minister plans to review nuclear energy policy
• Concerns over water contaminated by reactor cooling operation

Justin McCurry in Tokyo
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 31 March 2011 09.16 BST

Pressure is mounting on Japan to expand the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, as the prime minister says he plans to review the country’s nuclear energy policy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Japanese authorities should consider expanding the zone beyond its current 20km (12-mile) radius after high levels of radiation were detected at a village about twice that distance from the plant.

The government has so far resisted calls to evacuate more people from the area, but said its policy was under constant review, and that monitoring of radiation levels was being increased.

More than 70,000 people living inside the 20km zone have been evacuated, but another 136,000 living between 20-30km away have been told to stay in their homes. The US has recommended that its citizens stay at least 80km away.

Some have taken government advice to leave voluntarily, but many others have spent almost three weeks living in an area with few supplies and services, their plight compounded by rising radiation levels and speculation that stabilising Fukushima Daiichi could take months.

Radiation fears have prevented authorities from collecting the bodies of as many as 1,000 people living in the evacuation zone who died in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Kyodo news agency cited police sources as saying the corpses had been exposed to high radiation levels and would probably have to be decontaminated before they could be collected and examined by doctors.

Left as they were, the bodies could pose a health threat to relatives identifying them at morgues, the agency said. Cremating them could create radioactive smoke, while burying them could contaminate soil.

The IAEA said measurements taken at Iitate, 40km from the plant, were above the level at which the United Nations body normally orders evacuations. Earlier this week, Greenpeace issued a similar warning after recording high levels of radiation in the village.

“We have advised [Japanese officials] to carefully assess the situation, and they have indicated that it is already under assessment,” Denis Flory, a senior IAEA official, said in Vienna.

“The highest values were found in a relatively small area in the north-west from the Fukushima power plant and the first assessment indicates that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded in Iitate village.”

The agency said its latest readings were conducted over a wide area from 18-26 March, and that the samples contained radioactive iodine-131 and caesium-137.

But the chief government spokesman, Yukio Edano, said the evacuation zone would stay unchanged for the time being. “At the moment, we have no reason to believe that the radiation will have an effect on people’s health,” he said. “We need to step up our monitoring, and if necessary take steps to deal with it.”

Media reported that 140 members of a US military team specialising in radiation control would arrive soon to help deal with the crisis.

Nuclear safety officials said rising contamination in the sea near the plant pointed to a constant leak of radiation. On Thursday, Japan’s nuclear and industrial safety agency said radioactive iodine near drains running from the plant was 4,385 times higher than the legal limit.

Experts said workers at the plant, 240km north of Tokyo, faced the problematic task of cooling overheating reactors with seawater while ensuring that contaminated runoff does not end up in the surrounding sea and soil.

“There’s definitely a conflict now between trying to keep the reactors cool and managing the contaminated waste water being generated by the operation,” said Ed Lyman, of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

The deepening of the crisis exposed a dispute between the government and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power company about the plant’s future. The firm has said four of the six reactors are beyond repair, but that two could function again. The prime minister, Nato Kan, however, said the entire plant should be decommissioned.

Kyodo reported that Kan is to order a review of plans to increase Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy from 30% to 50% by 2030. With public confidence in the industry severely dented by the Fukushima emergency, few communities are expected to grant approval for the construction of 14 atomic power plants over the next 20 years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/31/japan-pressure-nuclear-evacuation-zone

Japan fears radioactive contamination of marine life

Fukushima coastal waters see high levels of radioactive iodine, which could build up in seaweed commonly eaten in Japan

Ian Sample , science correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 March 2011 18.57 BST

A boy carries a fish at Ohara port, Japan Radioactivity fears deliver a double whammy to Japanese fisheries which have already been badly hit by the tsunami. Photograph: Everett Kennedy Brown/EPA

High levels of radiation in the sea off the coast of Fukushima have raised concerns over harm to local marine life and the risk of contaminated fish, shellfish and seaweed entering the food chain.

Tests on seawater near the nuclear power plant showed that levels of radioactive iodine reached 3,355 times the legal limit on Monday, one of several peaks in recent days that have fallen rapidly as radioactive substances decayed and were steadily diluted and dispersed by ocean currents.

Officials are watching levels of iodine-131 in seawater because although it has a half-life of eight days, meaning it is half as radioactive after that time, the substance builds up in seaweed, a common food in the Japanese diet. If consumed, radioactive iodine collects in the thyroid and can cause cancer.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said iodine-131 in seawater would “soon be of no concern” presuming there are no further discharges of contaminated water from the power station into the sea.

The IAEA added that Japanese authorities have released the first analyses of fish, caught at the port of Choshi, in Chiba prefecture south of Fukushima, which found one of five to be contaminated with a detectable level of caesium-137, a far more persistent radioactive substance, though at a concentration that was far below safety limits for consumption.

Many countries, including Britain, have begun radiation testing of fish, shellfish and other fresh produce from Japan or have imposed wider bans on imports from the region. Fisheries are not entering waters within the 20km (12-mile) exclusion zone around Fukushima, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

The fate of many local seafood and shellfish farms, including scallops, oysters, sea urchins and sea snails, was sealed more than two weeks ago when the tsunami wiped out beds and destroyed fishing vessels and ports around Fukushima. In Iwate prefecture, authorities say the disaster may have wiped out businesses that account for 80% of the revenue of the region’s fisheries.

At the Fukushima power plant, engineers continued the arduous task of trying to pump contaminated water from turbine rooms and trenches, which is hampering work to connect the reactor cooling systems to the national grid.

Tepco, the power station operator, plans to spray parts of the site with a resin to stop radioactive dust blowing off the site and is considering shrouding the reactor buildings with sheets to reduce radiation being released into the air.

Fish and other sea creatures are unlikely to be seriously harmed by the radioactive leaks, even in the most contaminated areas. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, fish in three freshwater lakes within the exclusion zone became contaminated with radioactive caesium but showed no obvious health problems, though some fish were born with reproductive abnormalities which may have been caused by radiation, said James Smith, an environmental physicist at Portsmouth University who studied fish in the area.

While fish accumulate radioactive contamination, this happens less in the ion-rich waters of the oceans than in freshwater lakes.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/30/japan-radioactive-contamination-marine-life