We have new details on Goldman Sachs’ $5 billion legal settlement


We have new details on Goldman Sachs’ $5 billion legal settlement

Evan Vucci/APGoldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Jamie Dimon Lloyd Blankfein

Wells Fargo just agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle ‘shoddy’ mortgage practices

We now know more about the $5 billion settlement Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay related to residential mortgage-backed securities it sold between 2005 and 2007.

Regulators announced details of the settlement on Monday.

Goldman initially announced the settlement in January. That nearly wiped out fourth-quarter earnings for the firm.

“Today’s settlement is yet another acknowledgment by one of our leading financial institutions that it did not live up to the representations it made to investors about the products it was selling,” said one regulator, US Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California, in a statement.

“We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement. “Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust.”

Morgan Stanley announced a similar settlement in February. It agreed to pay $3.2 billion over charges that it misled investors on the quality of mortgage loans it sold.

And on Friday, the US Justice Department announced that Wells Fargo had agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle “shoddy” mortgage-lending practices.

Here’s what we learned about the Goldman settlement on Monday:

  • $2.385 billion in a civil-monetary penalty
  • $875 million to settle claims by various federal and state entities, including:
    • $575 million to settle claims by the National Credit Union Administration
    • $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines as successor to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle
    • $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
    • $190 million to settle claims by the state of New York
    • $25 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois
    • $10 million to settle claims by the state of California
  • $1.8 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers who were allegedly harmed

Here’s a press release from the Department of Justice:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, announced today a $5.06 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs related to Goldman’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007. The resolution announced today requires Goldman to pay $2.385 billion in a civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) and also requires the bank to provide $1.8 billion in other relief, including relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities, in the form of loan forgiveness and financing for affordable housing. Goldman will also pay $875 million to resolve claims by other federal entities and state claims. Investors, including federally-insured financial institutions, suffered billions of dollars in losses from investing in RMBS issued and underwritten by Goldman between 2005 and 2007.

“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery. “This $5 billion settlement includes a $1.8 billion commitment to help repair the damage to homeowners and communities that Goldman acknowledges resulted from its conduct, and it makes clear that no institution may inflict this type of harm on investors and the American public without serious consequences.”

“Today’s settlement is another example of the department’s resolve to hold accountable those whose illegal conduct resulted in the financial crisis of 2008,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Viewed in conjunction with the previous multibillion-dollar recoveries that the department has obtained for similar conduct, this settlement demonstrates the pervasiveness of the banking industry’s fraudulent practices in selling RMBS, and the power of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act as a tool for combatting this type of wrongdoing.”

“Today’s settlement is yet another acknowledgment by one of our leading financial institutions that it did not live up to the representations it made to investors about the products it was selling,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California. “Goldman’s conduct in exploiting the RMBS market contributed to an international financial crisis that people across the country, including many in the Eastern District of California, continue to struggle to recover from. I am gratified that this office has developed investigations, first against JPMorgan Chase and now against Goldman Sachs, that have led to significant civil settlements that hold bad actors in this market accountable. The results obtained by this office and other members of the RMBS Working Group continue to send a message to Wall Street that we remain committed to pursuing those responsible for the financial crisis.”

The $2.385 billion civil monetary penalty resolves claims under FIRREA, which authorizes the federal government to impose civil penalties against financial institutions that violate various predicate offenses, including wire and mail fraud. The settlement expressly preserves the government’s ability to bring criminal charges against Goldman, and does not release any individuals from potential criminal or civil liability. In addition, as part of the settlement, Goldman agreed to fully cooperate with any ongoing investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

Of the $875 million Goldman has agreed to pay to settle claims by various other federal and state entities: Goldman will pay $575 million to settle claims by the National Credit Union Administration, $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines as successor to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, $190 million to settle claims by the state of New York, $25 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois and $10 million to settle claims by the state of California.

Goldman will pay out the remaining $1.8 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by its unlawful conduct. $1.52 billion of that relief will be paid out pursuant to an agreement with the United States that Goldman will provide loan modifications, including loan forgiveness and forbearance, to distressed and underwater homeowners throughout the country, as well as financing for affordable rental and for-sale housing throughout the country. This agreement represents the largest commitment in any RMBS agreement to provide financing for affordable housing—a crucial need following the turmoil of the financial crisis. $280 million will be paid out by Goldman pursuant to an agreement separately negotiated with the state of New York.

The settlement includes a statement of facts to which Goldman has agreed. That statement of facts describes how Goldman made false and misleading representations to prospective investors about the characteristics of the loans it securitized and the ways in which Goldman would protect investors in its RMBS from harm (the quotes in the following paragraphs are from that agreed-upon statement of facts, unless otherwise noted):

  • Goldman told investors in offering documents that “[l]oans in the securitized pools were originated generally in accordance with the loan originator’s underwriting guidelines,” other than possible situations where “when the originator identified ‘compensating factors’ at the time of origination.” But Goldman has today acknowledged that, “Goldman received information indicating that, for certain loan pools, significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations made to investors about the pools of loans to be securitized.”
  • Specifically, Goldman has now acknowledged that, even when the results of its due diligence on samples of loans from those pools “indicated that the unsampled portions of the pools likely contained additional loans with credit exceptions, Goldman typically did not . . . identify and eliminate any additional loans with credit exceptions.” Goldman has acknowledged that it “failed to do this even when the samples included significant numbers of loans with credit exceptions.”
  • Goldman’s Mortgage Capital Committee, which included senior mortgage department personnel and employees from Goldman’s credit and legal departments, was required to approve every RMBS issued by Goldman. Goldman has now acknowledged that “[t]he Mortgage Capital Committee typically received . . . summaries of Goldman’s due diligence results for certain of the loan pools backing the securitization,” but that “[d]espite the high numbers of loans that Goldman had dropped from the loan pools, the Mortgage Capital Committee approved every RMBS that was presented to it between December 2005 and 2007.” As one example, in early 2007, Goldman approved and issued a subprime RMBS backed by loans originated by New Century Mortgage Corporation, after Goldman’s due diligence process found that one of the loan pools to be securitized included loans originated with “[e]xtremely aggressive underwriting,” and where Goldman dropped 25 percent of the loans from the due diligence sample on that pool without reviewing the unsampled 70 percent of the pool to determine whether those loans had similar problems.
  • Goldman has acknowledged that, for one August 2006 RMBS, the due diligence results for some of the loan pools resulted in an “unusually high” percentage of loans with credit and compliance defects. The Mortgage Capital Committee was presented with a summary of these results and asked “How do we know that we caught everything?” One transaction manager responded “we don’t.” Another transaction manager responded, “Depends on what you mean by everything? Because of the limited sampling . . . we don’t catch everything . . .” Goldman has now acknowledged that the Mortgage Capital Committee approved this RMBS for securitization without requiring any further due diligence.
  • Goldman made detailed representations to investors about its “counterparty qualification process” for vetting loan originators, and told investors and one rating agency that Goldman would engage in ongoing monitoring of loan sellers. Goldman has now acknowledged, however, that it “received certain negative information regarding the originators’ business practices” and that much of this information was not disclosed to investors.
  • For example, Goldman has now acknowledged that in late 2006 it conducted an internal analysis of the underwriting guidelines of Fremont Investment & Loan (an originator), which found many of Fremont’s guidelines to be “off market” or “at the aggressive end of market standards.” Instead of disclosing its view of Fremont’s underwriting, Goldman has acknowledged that it “[u]ndertook a significant marketing effort” to tell investors about what Goldman called Fremont’s “commitment to loan quality over volume” and “significant enhancements to Fremont underwriting guidelines.”  Fremont was shut down by federal regulators within several months of these statements.
  • In another example, Goldman was aware in early-mid 2006 of certain issues with Countrywide Financial Corporation’s origination process, including a pattern of non-responsiveness and inability to provide sufficient staff to handle the numerous loan pools Countrywide was selling. In April 2006, while Goldman was preparing an RMBS backed by Countrywide loans for securitization, a Goldman mortgage department manager circulated a “very bullish” equity research report that recommended the purchase of Countrywide stock. Goldman’s head of due diligence, who had just overseen the due diligence on six Countrywide pools, responded “If they only knew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”
  • Meanwhile, as Goldman has acknowledged in this statement of facts, “[Around the end of 2006], Goldman employees observed signs of uncertainty in the residential mortgage market [and] by March 2007, Goldman had largely halted new purchases of subprime loan pools.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colleen Kennedy and Kelli Taylor of the Eastern District of California investigated Goldman’s conduct in connection with RMBS, with the support of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) and the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

“Goldman Sachs had a fiduciary responsibility to investors, which they blatantly side stepped,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigation Rene Febles of FHFA-OIG. “They knowingly put investors at risk and in so doing contributed significantly to the financial crisis. The losses caused by this irresponsible behavior deeply affected not only financial institutions but also taxpayers and one can only hope that Goldman Sachs has learned the difference between risk and deceit. Two Federal Home Loan Banks suffered significant losses so we are pleased to see both entities receive a portion of this settlement. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold those accountable who have engaged in misconduct.”

“Goldman took $10 billion in TARP bailout funds knowing that it had fraudulently misrepresented to investors the quality of residential mortgages bundled into mortgage backed securities,” said Special Inspector General Christy Goldsmith Romero for TARP. “Many of these toxic securities were traded in a taxpayer funded bailout program that was designed to unlock frozen credit markets during the crisis. While crisis investigations take time, SIGTARP is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect taxpayers and bring accountability and justice.”

The settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, which has recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of American consumers and investors for claims against large financial institutions arising from misconduct related to the financial crisis. The RMBS Working Group brings together attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from multiple state and federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, SIGTARP, the Federal Reserve Board’s OIG, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and multiple state Attorneys General offices around the country. The RMBS Working Group is led by Director Joshua Wilkenfeld and five co-chairs: Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Director Andrew Ceresney of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, U.S. Attorney John Walsh of the District of Colorado and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. This settlement is the fifth multibillion-dollar RMBS settlement announced by the working group.

Here’s a press release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined members of the state and federal working group he co-chairs to announce a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the bank’s deceptive practices leading up to the financial crisis. The settlement includes $670 million—$480 million worth of creditable consumer relief and $190 million in cash—that will be allocated to New York State. The resolution requires Goldman Sachs to provide significant community-level relief to New Yorkers, including resources that will facilitate a significant expansion of the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program enabling distressed homeowners to restructure their debt, as well as first-lien principal forgiveness, and funds to spur the construction of more affordable housing. Additional resources will be dedicated to helping communities transform their code enforcement systems, and invest in land banks and land trusts.

The settlement was negotiated through the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, a joint state and federal working group formed in 2012 to share resources and continue investigating wrongdoing in the mortgage-backed securities market prior to the financial crisis.

New York has now received $5.33 billion in cash and consumer relief from the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) and all five Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group settlements (RMBS). The combined $3.2 billion in cash and consumer relief from RMBS settlements is more than any other state.

“Since 2012, my number one priority has been getting New Yorkers the resources they need to rebuild,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “These dollars will immediately go to work funding proven programs and services to help New Yorkers keep their homes and rebuild their communities. We’ve witnessed the incredible impact these programs and services can have in helping communities recover from the financial crisis. This settlement, like those before it, ensures that these critical programs—such as mortgage assistance, principal forgiveness, and code enforcement—will continue to get funded well into the future, and will be paid for by the institutions responsible for the financial crisis.”

The settlement includes an agreed-upon statement of facts that describes how Goldman Sachs made multiple representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors, its process for screening out questionable loans, and its process for qualifying loan originators. Contrary to those representations, Goldman Sachs securitized and sold RMBS backed by large numbers of loans from originators whose mortgage loans contained material defects.

In the statement of facts, Goldman Sachs acknowledges that it securitized thousands of Alt-A, and subprime mortgage loans and sold the resulting residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) to investors for tens of billions of dollars. During the course of its due diligence process, Goldman Sachs received pertinent information indicating that significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations it made to investors. Goldman also received and failed to disclose negative information that it obtained regarding the originators’ business practices. Indeed, Goldman’s due diligence vendors provided Goldman with reports reflecting that the vendors had graded significant numbers and percentages of sampled loans as EV3s, i.e., not in compliance with originator underwriting guidelines. In certain circumstances, Goldman reevaluated loan grades and directed that such loans be waived into the pools to be purchased or securitized.

Even when the percentage of problematic loans in pools sampled by it vendors indicated that the unsampled portions of the pools likely contained additional such loans, Goldman typically did not increase the size of the sample or review the unsampled portions of the pools to identify and eliminate any additional such loans. In many cases, 80 percent or more of the loans in the loan pools Goldman purchased and securitized were not sampled for credit and compliance due diligence. Nevertheless, Goldman approved various offerings for securitization without requiring further due diligence to determine whether the remaining loans in the deal contained defects. A Goldman employee overseeing due diligence for a particular loan pool noted that the pool included loans originated with “[e]xtremely aggressive underwriting” and “large program exceptions made without compensating factors.” Despite this observation, Goldman did not review the remaining portion of the pool, and subsequently securitized thousands of loans from the pool.

Goldman made statements to investors in offering documents and in certain other marketing materials regarding its process for reviewing and approving originators, yet it failed to disclose to investors negative information it obtained about mortgage loan originators and its practice of securitizing loans from suspended originators.

Beginning in mid-2006, Goldman recognized that Fremont, a “key originator, was experiencing an increasing level of early payment defaults (“EPDs”) (i.e., loans for which the borrowers had failed to make one or more of their first payments). Goldman was aware that EPDs were a sign of originators’ bad credit decisions and could be indicators of potential borrower fraud. However, Goldman did not put Fremont on its “no bid” list and continued to purchase loan pools from Fremont during the period Fremont’s EPD claims remained unpaid. Moreover, Goldman “[u]ndertook a significant marketing effort” to tell investors about what Goldman called Fremont’s “commitment to loan quality over volume” and “significant enhancements to Fremont underwriting guidelines.” Likewise, Goldman identified issues with Countrywide’s origination practices. Goldman’s head of due diligence, when presented with a “very bullish” equity report on Countrywide, another large originator, exclaimed “[i]f they only knew  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”

Attorney General Schneiderman was elected in 2010 and took office in 2011, when the five largest mortgage servicing banks, 49 state attorneys general, and the federal government were on the verge of agreeing to a settlement that would have released the banks—including Bank of America—from liability for virtually all misconduct related to the financial crisis. Attorney General Schneiderman refused to agree to such sweeping immunity for the banks. As a result, Attorney General Schneiderman secured a settlement that preserved a wide range of claims for further investigation and prosecution. In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the formation of the RMBS Working Group. The collaboration brought together the Department of Justice (DOJ), other federal entities, and several state law enforcement officials—co-chaired by Attorney General Schneiderman—to investigate those responsible for misconduct contributing to the financial crisis through the pooling and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Under today’s settlement, Goldman Sachs will be required to provide a minimum of $480 million in creditable consumer relief directly to struggling families and communities across the state. The settlement includes a menu of options for consumer relief to be provided, and different categories of relief are credited at different rates toward the bank’s $480 million obligation, including at least:

  • $220 million for debt restructuring
  • $30 million for land banks and land trusts
  • $30 million for code enforcement
  • $150 million for first-lien principal reduction
  • $50 million for the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing

In addition to the settlement with Goldman Sachs, the RMBS working group has reached settlements with four other major financial institutions since 2012:

  • J.P. Morgan Chase: $13 Billion
  • Bank of America: $16.6 Billion
  • Citibank: $7 Billion
  • Morgan Stanley: $3.2 Billion

The National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), reached with the five largest national mortgage servicers, has provided $51 billion in consumer relief and cash nationwide. The combined amount of cash and consumer relief that has been returned to New York as a result of all the RMBS and NMS deals is $1.481 billion in cash and $3.857 in consumer relief, for a total of $5.338 billion. This matter was led by Senior Enforcement Counsel for Economic Justice Steven Glassman and Assistant Attorneys General Desiree Cummings and Kenneth Haim, both of the Investor Protection Bureau.

 

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Professor: “It’s really a dead zone” in areas of Fukushima — “Huge impacts… there are no butterflies, no birds… many dramatically fewer species” — “Why does it matter to you (in the U.S.)? The reason is, it’s coming, it is coming” (VIDEO)


ENEews:
http://enenews.com/professor-really-dead-zone-areas-fukushima-huge-impacts-butterflies-birds-many-dramatically-fewer-species-matter-reason-coming-coming-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Published: October 11th, 2015 at 11:37 pm ET
By ENENews

Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina,

published Oct 3, 2015:

18:30 in — “We don’t see these kind of patches of white feathers anywhere else around the world… Whats really interesting is that 2 years ago we started finding birds in Fukushima with patches of white feathers as well… The frequencies are increasing, its related to the radiation exposure… White spots, they first started noticing these white spots on these cows shortly after the disaster.”

30:30 in — “Fukushima… After 4 years of repeated sampling this is what we find: huge impacts, dramatically fewer birds in the areas of high radiation, many dramatically fewer species of birds as well.”

32:00 in — “Since it was July, I think I’ll… have to go with ‘Silent Summer’ effect… It’s really a dead zone. There are no butterflies, no birds. Very few, and it’s very, very clearly the result of the radiation contaminants.”

34:30 in — (Showing images of the radioactive contamination crossing the Pacific Ocean) “Why does it matter to you?… The reason is… it’s coming — it is coming.”

ENENews: “Red Alert!” “Levels spike 400,000% under plant — Almost 1,000,000,000 becquerels per cubic meter”


Report: “Red Alert! Sharp increase in radiation… at Fukushima” — Levels spike 400,000% under plant — Almost 1,000,000,000 becquerels per cubic meter — TV: Officials investigating cause
Published: December 10th, 2015 at 4:15 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/report-red-alert-sharp-increase-radiation-fukushima-levels-spike-400000-plant-tv-officials-investigating?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

NHK World, Dec 9, 2015: Radiation spikes in Fukushima underground ducts — The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels of radioactivity in underground tunnels have sharply risen. Tokyo Electric Power Company has detected 482,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium in water samples taken from the tunnels on December 3rd. That’s 4000 times higher than data taken in December last year. The samples also contained 500,000 becquerels of a beta-ray-emitting substance, up 4,100 times from the same period… They plan to investigate what caused the spike in radiation.

Rossiya Segodnya (Russian gov’t news agency) – Sputnik: Red Alert! Radiation Spike Registered Under Fukushima Nuclear Plant — A sharp increase in radiation levels was detected in one of the underground tunnels at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to media reports. According to a press release issued by TEPCO, Fukushima plant’s operator, the water samples retrieved from the tunnels on December 3rd contained 482,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium and about 500,000 of beta-ray-emitting substance becquerels per liter of a beta-ray-emitting substance, which is about 4,000-4,100 times higher compared to the samples taken a year ago, Japanese NHK TV channel reports.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (translated by Google), Dec 9, 2015: About the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we will inform you as follows… As part of the accumulated water survey in the trench duct that is connected to each building, it is a confirmation of the radioactivity concentration of appropriate standing water, but the waste treatment building between the contact duct taken on December 3 analytical results of stagnant water is, ensure that it is following values.

Cesium-134: 9.2 × 10^4 Bq/L [92,000 Bq/L]
Cesium-137: 3.9 × 10^5 Bq/L [390,000 Bq/L]
All beta: 5.0 × 10^5 Bq/L [500,000 Bq/L]
Tritium: 6.7 × 10^3 Bq/L [6,700 Bq/L]
Reference (December 11… 2014):

Cesium-134: 2.7 × 10^1 Bq/L [27 Bq/L]
Cesium-137: 9.4 × 10^1 Bq/L [94 Bq/L]
All beta: 1.2 × 10^2 Bq/L [120 Bq/L]
Tritium: 3.1 × 10^2 Bq/L [310 Bq/L]
According to TEPCO’s data, total cesium increased 3,984 times (~400,000%) and all beta-emitting radionuclides including strontium-90 increased 4,167 times (~420,000%).

The total concentration of radionuclides in the Dec. 3, 2015 sample is 988,700 Bq/L or 988,700,000 Bq/m^3.

From ENENews: Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” —


Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations (MAP) “Very significant” explosion at dam next to U.S. nuclear site — ‘Plasma’ created due to tremendous amount of heat — Same type of phenomenon as lightning — Nuclear site’s fire department responds to blast (VIDEO) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/explosion-washington-state-dam-injures-multiple-employees-n441456 »

Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” — Experts: Wave of radiation will be 10 times more than entire world’s nuclear tests combined
http://enenews.com/former-japan-official-fukushimas-unstoppable-contamination-pacific-ocean-seriously-menacing-west-coast-disaster-be-brought-control-single-state-limitless-steam-coming-reactors-evokes-possibility
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
By ENENews

Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nov 1, 2015 (emphasis added):

The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis. Fukushima is now undeniably a global security issue. The unstoppable contamination of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere with ionizing radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors is seriously menacing the West Coast of the United States. Japan should make utmost efforts to cope with the Fukushima crisis by retreating from the Tokyo Olympic Games that disseminate the false impression that Fukushima is under control.

Deteriorating situation in Fukushima — Japan is laboring under the consequences of the Accident never before experienced by humanity, including the simultaneous destruction and meltdown of three commercial nuclear reactors. Four and half years after the 3.11 disaster, it has been shown that a severe nuclear accident cannot be brought under control by a single state… It is questioned if Japan is in possession of the governability and the capacity needed to cope with the impending crisis. The melted cores of the reactors from Units 1, 2 and 3 remain inaccessible… If the molten nuclear fuel rods are exposed through cracks to the atmosphere due to a mega earthquake or the liquidization of soils on the site that could cause the collapse and breach of Fukushima’s spent fuel pools, Japan’s landmass would become uninhabitable to a large extent… The whole of Japan is threatened by the worsening situation emanating from the molten fuel rods, which continue to widely disseminate large amounts of dangerous radionuclides into the sea and atmosphere. Limitless steam observed evokes the possibility of re-criticality at the site. The undeniable necessity for international verification of the suspected re-criticality at the site should bring about the indispensable international cooperation to cope effectively with the Accident. The ongoing radioactive contamination of the sea with no prospect for a solution is dishonoring Japan, causing it to be criticized for harming the global environment. In spite of all this, attempts are shamefully being made to hide Fukushima…

World is menaced by the spreading contamination… The consequences of the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the West Coast of the United States are drawing increased attention. Some experts now estimate that the wave of radiation from Fukushima will be 10-times bigger than all of the radiation from the entire world’s nuclear tests throughout history combined…

The Tokyo Olympic Games belittle the Fukushima crisis — It is undeniable that the Tokyo Olympic Games constitute serious impediments for coping with the consequences of the March 11 Disaster… My interview article was published in the magazine “Monthly Japan” (September 2015). It is entitled “An honorable retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games” and is given a central place. Reactions are noteworthy and expanding… The Tokyo Olympic Games diverts attention from Fukushima and gives the false impression to the world that Fukushima no longer poses a threat. The advancement of the Tokyo Olympic Games comes at the expense of the funds needed to address the host of environmental disasters created by the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors… The future of the Olympic Games is at stake. It is as a believer in the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement that I am pleading for an honorable retreat, and this, in order for Japan to devote maximum efforts to controlling the Fukushima crisis.

From last month: Former Japan Ambassador: Uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions could be underway at Fukushima — “Troubling indications of recurring criticality” as Tellurium-132 detected over 100 miles from plant — ‘Recriticality’ discussed by Japan’s top nuclear official

Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
By ENENews

ENENews: Giant whales found dead up & down Pacific NW coast, scientists ‘baffled’ over surge — 25+ carcasses reported in past month



Giant whales found dead up & down Pacific NW coast, scientists ‘baffled’ over surge — 25+ carcasses reported in past month — Gov’t: “Troubling… Definitely a pulse of deaths” — Experts: “Alarming spike… Exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback” — Concerns about unidentified pathogen (PHOTOS)
Published: August 13th, 2015 at 3:54 pm ET
By ENENews
Email Article Email Article
http://enenews.com/giant-whales-found-dead-pacific-northwest-scientists-baffled-25-carcasses-reported-month-west-coast-govt-troubling-definitely-pulse-deaths-expert-exceptionally-rare-dead-humpback-concerns


Vancouver Sun, Aug 13, 2015 (emphasis added): Four B.C. whale deaths in a week baffle scientists; Necropsies hope to provide answers as carcasses continue to pop up… four dead humpback whales in B.C. waters in a single week, just as Alaska is experiencing a surge of whale deaths, has scientists searching for a possible connection… 21 humpback and fin whales have been found dead in southeast Alaska during the past month, according to Paul Cottrell, Pacific marine mammal coordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “It’s definitely a pulse of deaths and something that we’re going to keep our eye on,” Cottrell said. No cause has been pinpointed for any of the deaths… “These samples are very important… to see if there’s any relationship — whether there’s a pathogen that may be causing this,” Cottrell said… Media reports have suggested [one] died after becoming entangled in fishing gear, but Cottrell said it is far too early to come to that conclusion… The scientists also noticed wounds on the whale’s body… “if there’s anthropogenic or human-caused things affecting the recovery, those are things that we want to know about.”
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Four+whale+deaths+week+baffle+scientists/11285810/story.html


CTV, Aug 12, 2015: … Cottrell said the number of recent discoveries is troubling. “It’s definitely a pulse and it’s something we are concerned about… We’re hoping we don’t get any more.”
http://bc.ctvnews.ca/four-dead-humpback-whales-found-off-b-c-coast-in-one-week-1.2514429


Globe & Mail, Aug 12, 2015: A humpback whale that washed up dead on the shore of British Columbia’s northern coast last week was the fourth to die in a week in the province’s coastal waters… a smaller humpback [was found] near Haida Gwaii on Tuesday, and at least two more were reported to be seen floating lifeless in the water within the last seven days… The uptick in reported whale deaths [coincides with] 21 deaths of fin whales and humpback whales in the past two months in [Alaska]… Max Bakken, a field technician for Pacific Wild [is] alarmed at the spike in humpback deaths…
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/fourth-humpback-whale-found-dead-along-bc-coast-in-a-week/article25948881/


CBC News, Aug 12, 2015: Last Friday Spirit Bear Adventures wildlife guide Philip Charles got a call that a humpback whale was drifting… He set off with a team from Pacific Wild Conservation to Nowish Bay where they found the massive animal washed up dead… “It is exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback whale, especially in this relatively intact state,” said Charles…
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/humpback-whale-likely-killed-by-entanglement-near-klemtu-1.3188311

Paul Cottrell, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada: “It’s a concern and it’s something that we’re watching… We’re hoping that if there is something out there that’s common, we can find what that is.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/fourth-humpback-whale-found-dead-along-bc-coast-in-a-week/article25948881/

Reuters, Aug 6, 2015: … a humpback whale [was] found dead in Washington state’s Grays Harbor on Monday, [NOAA’s Vera Trainer] said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/06/us-usa-algae-west-idUSKCN0QB2BJ20150806



Cascadia Research Collective, Aug 12, 2015: Last week Cascadia Research, WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, and the Westport Aquarium examined a 46-foot adult female humpback whale that washed ashore… Cause of death could not be determined…

Westport Aquarium, Aug 4, 2015: Yesterday sure was a big day and here’s a big reason. Westport Aquarium staff helped Cascadia Research and WDFW on the necropsy of a 50′ female Humpback whale that stranded near Markham…

More on surge in whale deaths in Alaska — AP: Unprecedented whale deaths along U.S. Pacific coast — Samples “being tested for radionuclides from Fukushima” (PHOTOS & AUDIO)
http://enenews.com/ap-unprecedented-deaths-along-pacific-coast-scientists-reporting-mass-die-offs-mammals-birds-fish-govt-declared-unusual-mortality-event-being-tested-radionuclides-fukushima-one-sure-whats

Last week in Northern California: “Can’t believe it’s happened again” on San Francisco coast — Mysterious whale deaths baffling scientists — Officials: An “inexplicable” trend (VIDEO)