And Here, You Thought Fukushima Had Ended, Silly You!


ENENews.com – Energy News

Report: Massive radiation leak at Fukushima plant — Extremely high levels being detected outside reactor — Officials can’t explain why — Expert warns of global threat: “It’s a disaster of unseen proportions” (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/report-massive-radiation-leak-at-fukushima-plant-extremely-high-levels-found-outside-reactor-expert-warns-of-global-threat-its-a-disaster-of-unseen-proportions-video
Published: February 6th, 2018 at 7:23 am ET
By ENENews

The Independent, Feb 2, 2018 (emphasis added): Fukushima nuclear disaster: Lethal levels of radiation detected in leak… Expert warns of ‘global’ consequences unless the plant is treated properly… [Tepco] found eight sieverts per hour of radiation, while 42 [sieverts] were also detected outside its foundations… It came as Tepco said the problem of contaminated water pooled around the plants three reactors that is seeping into the ground has caused a major headache in its efforts to decommission the plant… Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said that Tepco “hasn’t a clue what it is doing” in its job to decommission the plant. He added that the contaminated water that is leaking at the site could end up in the ocean if the ongoing treatment project fails and cause a “global” disaster, he told The Independent… “I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.” Mr Schneider added that the radiation leaks coupled with the waste from the plant stored in an “inappropriate” way in tanks could have global consequences… “This can get problematic anytime, if it contaminates the ocean there is no local contamination, the ocean is global, so anything that goes into the ocean goes to everyone.” He added: “It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.”

NHK, Feb 1, 2018: High radiation detected at Fukushima plant… A remote-controlled inspection of the Unit 2 reactor containment vessel last month detected a maximum of 8 sieverts per hour of radiation… [Tepco] said the radiation reading was taken near what appeared to be fuel debris, the term used to describe a mixture of molten fuel and broken interior parts… radiation levels remain so high that they present a major challenge to decommissioning work. During the probe, 42 sieverts per hour of radiation was also detected outside the foundations of the reactor. But officials said they have doubts about the accuracy of the reading because a cover had not been removed from the measuring instrument at the time. They added that they don’t know why radiation levels were lower near the suspected fuel debris than around the foundations. They gave a number of possible reasons, such as that cooling water may have washed radioactive materials off the debris…

RT, Feb 2, 2018: An inspection of the Fukushima nuclear plant has detected extremely high amounts of radiation, says operator TEPCO… Experts can’t explain why radiation levels in fuel debris were lower than outside the reactor’s foundations…

Sputnik, Feb 4, 2018: ‘Global Consequences’ of Lethal Radiation Leak at Destroyed Japan Nuclear Plant… While 8 Sv/h is deadly, outside of Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 foundations… a much higher level of 42 Sv/h was detected. A strange occurrence, and experts are still arguing what caused the discrepancy. One possible explanation is that cooling water washed radioactive material off debris, taking it somewhere else. But here’s a truly terrifying catch: according to the report, Tepco highly doubts the new readings, because, as was discovered later, a cover was not removed from the robot-mounted measurement device at the time of the inspection, NHK World reports… While that radiation dosimeter cover negligence prevents precise calculations, the actual picture inside Unit 2 is thought to be much worse…

Watch NHK’s broadcast here:
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/nhknewsline/nuclearwatch/highradiationatfukushimadaiichi7yearson/

Published: February 6th, 2018 at 7:23 am ET

Fukushima is not over, not by a long shot. Every day since March 11, 2011, Japan has allowed the radioactive water to run into the ocean. Japan has threatened their doctors about telling the truth about the illnesses that have plagued the Japanese people since the meltdown, and have arrested and threatened numerous reporters for reporting the truth.
Fukushima has global consequences because all of our oceans connect to one another. Japan is supposed to be readying to release 100 million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

Iowa Supreme Court Rules Civil Forfeiture Laws Violate Fifth Amendment, Upholds Pleading The Fifth


May 30, 2018 @ 02:02 PM 23,367
2 Free Issues of Forbes
Iowa Supreme Court Rules Civil Forfeiture Laws Violate Fifth Amendment, Upholds Pleading The Fifth
https://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2018/05/30/iowa-supreme-court-rules-civil-forfeiture-laws-violate-fifth-amendment-upholds-pleading-the-fifth/#3d1978161655

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Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Nick Sibilla Nick Sibilla , Contributor

The Iowa Supreme Court struck a blow on Friday against the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which allow the government to permanently confiscate property without ever filing criminal charges. In a unanimous, 33-page ruling, the court strengthened the constitutional protection against self-incrimination for owners fighting civil forfeiture, revived a motion to suppress evidence, and rejected a tactic commonly used by prosecutors to prevent owners from being awarded thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.

Iowa has been a surprising hot spot for civil forfeiture, ensnaring motorists, professional poker players, and an entrepreneur who ran a Mexican restaurant for almost four decades. The state even rewards the aggressive pursuit of forfeiture cases: Police and prosecutors can keep up to 100 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property. Little wonder then that forfeiture has become quite profitable for law enforcement. An investigation by the Des Moines Register revealed that Iowa law enforcement agencies had taken over $55 million in cash and more than 4,200 vehicles since 1985.

Spurred by these abuses, last year, Iowa legislators strengthened due process protections for innocent owners, and required a criminal conviction to forfeit property valued at under $5,000. Although Iowa’s conviction threshold is the lowest of the 15 states with a conviction requirement, in 2015, data analysis by the Institute for Justice found that only 14 percent of Iowa’s cash forfeitures topped $5,000. Friday’s ruling should further curtail civil forfeiture.

The case began when Jean Carlos Herrera was driving from New York City to Los Angeles in September 2015. While Herrera was passing through Pottawattamie County, Iowa on Interstate 80, he was pulled over by Sergeant Kevin Killpack for going four miles over the speed limit. During the stop, a drug dog alerted to the car. Without Herrera’s consent, Killpack searched the Expedition, but only found some tools, a cell phone, a hollowed-out ice cream machine, and a Pelican case that “contained drug paraphernalia and remnants of marijuana.” No other drugs were found.

Killpack cited Herrera for speeding but never charged him with a crime. Yet that didn’t stop the sergeant from seizing the car, a 1999 Ford Expedition registered to Herrera’s friend, Fernando Rodriguez, and all the equipment inside.

Less than a week after the Expedition was seized, Rodriguez hired an attorney, who promptly emailed Pottawattamie County that Rodriguez was fighting back as an “innocent owner.” Rodriguez’s attorney also noted that under Iowa law, the government must pay attorney’s fees to property owners who win their civil forfeiture cases. He also noted that “the fees are going to be greater than the vehicle value, so this might be one to let go.”

Soon after, Sergeant Killpack applied for a warrant to search possible hidden compartments within the vehicle, based on the fact that Rodriguez had hired an attorney. According to Killpack, “it does not make financial sense to spend a significant amount of money, in attorney fees, in an attempt to reclaim a vehicle worth $2,132,” which in his mind meant that “there is something much more valuable still inside the vehicle that has not been found by law enforcement in the initial search.”

A district court granted the warrant, though, as the Iowa Supreme Court noted on Friday, Killpack’s warrant application “failed to mention that Rodriguez had argued he was entitled to attorney fees from the State as an innocent owner.” On his second search, Killpack found and seized almost $45,000 in cash hidden inside a false compartment.

In October, prosecutors filed a complaint to forfeit the cash, the car, and the rest of the property taken during the traffic stop, claiming that the property was “drug proceeds” or “used in the transport of drugs.”

The two men (who were now represented by the same lawyer) filed an answer together that stated they had an interest in the seized properties and demanded their return. Herrera also invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to completely comply with the state’s disclosure requirements.

Under state law, property owners who want to reclaim their seized property must fully disclose “the nature and extent” of their interest in the property, as well as “the date, the identity of the transferor, the circumstances of the claimant’s acquisition.” Refusing to comply can result in the property forfeited to the state. Yet those forced disclosures may reveal information that could incriminate the owner or trigger a perjury trap, which would violate the Fifth Amendment.

Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas Waterman noted that Iowa’s forfeiture laws burden owners with a “difficult choice between asserting [their] privilege against self-incrimination or foregoing [their] claim for return of the contested property.”

As Waterman recounted, Herrera omitting that information was “fatal to his claim:” The district court ruled that Herrera’s reply was not a proper answer and so he was not entitled to a forfeiture hearing.

But on appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned that ruling, and held that “assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination excuses compliance” from Iowa’s disclosure requirements for civil forfeiture claims. “The court may not enforce the specific disclosure requirements…over the claimant’s Fifth Amendment objection,” Waterman ruled.

Friday’s ruling also revived Herrera’s motion to suppress evidence, which the district court had dismissed as well. Both the Iowa Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court have ruled that the “exclusionary rule,” which prohibits the government from using evidence that was not lawfully obtained, applies to criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture proceedings.

In this case, Herrera claimed that the stop, search, and seizure of the car violated the Fourth Amendment and should be suppressed accordingly. Justice Waterman ruled that “the district court must first rule on motions to suppress evidence before resolving forfeiture claims,” since that ruling “determines what evidence the state can rely on during the forfeiture proceeding.”

The court’s ruling should strengthen safeguards for property owners facing civil forfeiture. According to Dean Stowers, who represented Herrera and Rodriguez, “this decision will require the state to establish the legality of the seizure” before the state can attempt “to forfeit property or to compel persons to answer questions about their property.”

A representative from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said they were “still looking at the possible impact of the ruling” and declined to comment further.

“It appears that we followed the forfeiture rules as they existed at the time, and we argued that the claimants did not follow the rules,” said Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber. ”The District Court and Court of Appeals agreed with our position. The Iowa Supreme Court has now ordered that they are changing the rules, so we’ll all follow the new rules.”

As for Rodriguez, five months after the state filed its forfeiture complaint, prosecutors decided Rodriguez could get back his Ford Expedition. His attorney then filed to recover nearly $9,000 in attorney’s fees and expenses, which, under Iowa law, are owed to prevailing parties. But because the state dropped its forfeiture case just before a court hearing, the district court ruled that Rodriguez didn’t actually prevail because he didn’t technically win on the merits in court.

Justice Waterman rejected this argument wholesale:

“Rodriguez sought to prevent the State from taking permanent possession of his vehicle. He fulfilled his primary objective of getting his vehicle back after months of contested litigation against the State. On this record, we hold that Rodriguez is a prevailing party even though the district court did not expressly find that he was an ‘innocent owner.’”

Moreover, Waterman noted that fee awards “help level the playing field for persons contesting government seizures,” as they “incentivize attorneys to represent citizens seeking return of their property from the government.”

The Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling contrasts starkly with the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa. In 2016, the Eighth Circuit considered the case of Carole Hinders, who ran Mrs. Lady’s, a cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Based simply on the way she deposited her cash, in spring 2013, the IRS raided Carole’s entire business checking account—almost $33,000. The IRS accused Carole of “structuring” her deposits, or deliberately keeping her deposits under $10,000 to circumvent a reporting requirement. She was never indicted.

Institute for Justice

Carole Hinders.

With help from the Institute for Justice, Carole fought back. In October 2014, The New York Times ran a front-page story on her case. That prompted the IRS to announce it would “no longer pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with ‘legal source’ structuring cases.” Less than two months after the Times article was published, federal prosecutors dropped the case against Carole’s cash.

Under the federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, property owners who “substantially prevail” in their civil forfeiture cases are entitled to interest as well as attorney’s fees and costs. Considering that she recovered her cash and even sparked a policy shift at the IRS, Carole believed she had “substantially prevailed.” Unfortunately, in 2016, the Eighth Circuit ruled that she did not, and instead held that “a voluntary change on the part of a defendant, even if it resulted in the outcome sought by the plaintiff, ‘lack[ed] the necessary judicial imprimatur’ to authorize a fee award.” With this ruling, the Eighth Circuit upheld a loophole for the government to skip out on paying hefty attorney’s fees to innocent property owners.

But with the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision, owners fighting forfeiture in state court now have an easier time to be made whole than if their exact same case were in federal court. One Des Moines-based forfeiture attorney told the Des Moines Register that the new decision should deter the government from seizing property, since prosecutors “risk not only the return of the property but a significant attorney fee as well.”

“The Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling is another potent reminder that the best way to prevent abusive seizures is to end civil forfeiture once and for all,” said Institute for Justice Senior Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath. “Iowa legislators should follow the lead of counterparts in North Carolina, New Mexico and Nebraska and replace it with criminal forfeiture.”

This post has been updated to include comment from the Pottawattamie County Attorney.

“The Black Budget.” This Is What The ‘Secret Government’ Doesn’t Want You To Know Arjun Walia June 29, 2016



“The Black Budget.” This Is What The ‘Secret Government’ Doesn’t Want You To Know
Arjun Walia
June 29, 2016
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/06/29/the-black-budget-this-is-what-the-secret-government-doesnt-want-you-to-know/

Countless amounts of academics, presidents and other politicians have told humanity that a secret government is really pulling the strings when it comes to who holds the balance of power on our planet. Multiple studies have emerged showing that a very small group of people and the corporations they run basically have control over all of the worlds resources. According to the estimates of some, the US government alone classifies up to 500 million pages of documents every single year, for the purpose of protecting ‘national security.’ Our world is drenched in secrecy, and it’s reached a point where we don’t really know what’s happening on our planet. Our main source of information is corporate media, this is a big problem.

Who were these politicians? Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the highest ranking Asian-American politician in United States history, serving the democratic party from 1963 until his death in 2012, stressed the fact that “there exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself (source)

Decades ago, the very first British MP wrote that “the world is government by very different personages to what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” (Coningsby, Book 4, Chap. 15.) – Page 131

The 26th U.S. president, Theodor Roosevelt made a hard-hitting statement about the secret government, revealing that “behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. (source)

To see some more, similar quotes, you can refer to THIS article.
The Black Budget

snowdenA few years ago, Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor has leaked the very first documentation that proves the existence of clandestine black budget operations (1) (programs that are extremely classified dealing with technology, information and more.) Did we really need this leak in order to believe that black budget programs operate in secrecy? No, many people will tell you that the existence of black budget programs was obvious and that we didn’t need any official documentation to prove it, but this still helps. The United States has a history of government agencies existing in secret for years. The National Security Agency (NSA) was founded in 1952, its existence was hidden until the mid 1960’s. Even more secretive is the National Reconnaissance Office, which was founded in 1960 but remained completely secret for 30 years.

We are talking about Special Access Programs (SAP). From these we have unacknowledged and waived SAPs. These programs do not exist publicly, but they do indeed exist. They are better known as ‘deep black programs.’ A 1997 US Senate report described them as “so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress.” (0)(8)

The Washington Post revealed that the “black-budget” documents report a staggering 52.6 billion dollars that was set aside for operations in the fiscal year 2013. Although it’s great to have this type of documentation in the public domain proving the existence of these black budget programs, the numbers seem to be off according to some statements made by some very prominent people who have been involved in the defense sector for years. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that these programs are not using billions of dollars, but trillions of dollars that are unaccounted for. Here is a statement given by Canada’s former Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer in 2008:

It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard. It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief no nothing about(2)

We are talking about large amounts of unaccounted-for money going into programs we know nothing about. There have been several congressional inquiries that have noted billions, and even trillions of dollars that have gone missing from the federal reserve system. On July 16, 2001, in front of the house appropriations committee, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated:

The financial systems of the department of defence are so snarled up that we can’t account for some $2.6 trillion in transactions that exist, if that’s believable (3)

We don’t really hear about black budget programs, or about people who have actually looked into them. However, the topic was discussed in 2010 by Washington Post journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin. Their investigation lasted approximately two years and concluded that America’s classified world has:

Become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employes, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work (4)

Another person was aviation journalist Bill Sweetman. Within the Pentagon, he estimated that approximately 150 special access programs existed that weren’t even acknowledged. These programs are not known about by the highest members of government and the highest ranking officials in the military. He determined that most of these programs were dominated by private contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc.) and that he had no idea as to how these programs were funded(5)(8).

Dwight Eisenhower, former 5 star U.S. general (highest possible rank) and President of the United States also warned us about secrecy and the acquisition of unwarranted influence within the “department of defence” with his farewell speech:

In the council of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential disaster of the rise of mis placed power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes(6)

He warns us about the influence of the military industrial complex, and the influence and power it’s capable of. After Eisenhower the next and only other president that blew the whistle on secrecy beyond the government was president John F. Kennedy in one of his most famous speeches, he is also referring to the military industrial complex:

The very word secrecy is repugnant, in a free and open society. And we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence. On Infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumour is printed, no secret is revealed (7)

The amount that the US sets aside for sensitive operations each year is not allowed to be published for eyes outside of the intelligence community. We are in an age where the US is having a difficult time keeping sensitive information under wraps, and although there is an abundance of blatant information for the world to wake up to, that which is still kept under tight wraps has also become more transparent. Many phenomena previously labelled as merely a “conspiracy theory” are now surfacing as true and verifiable day after day.

Could some of these black budget programs be dealing with UFOs? There is a large amount of evidence to suggest that they do, and possibly even extraterrestrials. Documents from the NSA prove that UFOs and extraterrestrials are of high interest to the agency(9)(10). In fact I would like to mention that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that these black budget programs deal with matters beyond our world. Garry McKinnon has also shed light on this fact, as have thousands of previously classified documents and statements from high level government and military personnel. The world within our own world must be quite fascinating, the fact that we are living in the time of transparency must mean that the truth cannot stay hidden forever.

Do read more of our articles on the UFO/Extraterrestrial phenomenon, you can click HERE.

Black budget programs also deal with, for example, deep underground and under ocean military bases.

You can read the article below for more information on that:

Under Ocean Military Bases: There Is More Than Just One Area 51
Worlds Within Worlds

Excerpt from the book “A.D. After Disclosure” written by Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel (8).

Richard Dolan’s Thoughts on the “Breakaway Civilization”

By now, the classified world has moved far beyond the reach of the public world, and far beyond in its power and capabilities. Consider the story of a former NSA scientist who spoke with the authors. According to this individual, the NSA was operating computers during the mid-1960s with a processing clock-speed of roughly 650 megahertz(MHZ). To put that in perspective, it took 35 years for personal computers in the consumer market to reach that speed. Indeed, in 1965 there were no personal computers at all. Immediately, the near-fatal Apollo 13 mission in 1971 comes to mind, with its reliance on slide-rulers by mission specialist to guide the damaged NASA spacecraft back to Earth. When presented with this image, the NSA scientist shrugged and stated that secret computational capabilities were too important to share with NASA. So in, in computing, the National Security Agency was an amazing 35 years ahead of the rest of the world. This leads one to wonder what its computational powers are today.

Another example was the U.S. air strike against Libya in 1986. The raid employed f-111 fighter aircraft. Left out of the mission, however, was the F-117A Nighthawk, better known as the stealth fighter. It had been operational since 1983, but was still classified in 1986. In a form of logic both perverse and rational, the F-117A was so radically advanced that keeping it secret was more important than using it for this military mission.

Given the mixture of a treasure chest of government money, and private connections, the likelihood exists that six decades later there is a clandestine group that possesses:

Technology that is vastly superior to that of the “mainstream” world.
The ability to explore areas of our world and surroundings presently unavailable to the rest of us.
Scientific and cosmological understandings that give them greater insights into the nature of our world
A significant “built off the grid” infrastructure, partially underground, that affords them a high degree of secrecy and independence of action

This might well qualify them as a separate civilization – one that has broken away from our own, in effect, a breakaway civilization. Still interacting with our own, its members probably move back and forth between the official reality of what we are supposed to believe, and the other reality which encompasses new truths and challenges.

Sources:

(0)http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CDOC-105sdoc2/content-detail.html

(1)http://rt.com/usa/snowden-leak-black-budget-176/

(2) Speech From Paul Hellyer

(3)http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=408

(4)http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america

(5) Sweetman, Bill. “In Search of the Pentagon’s Billion Dollar Hidden Budgets: How the US Keeps Its R&D Spending Under Wraps.” Janes International Defence Reporter, Janurary 5, 2000

(6) Eisenhower’s farewell speech

(7) JFK Speech

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/black-budget-summary-details-us-spy-networks-successes-failures-and-objectives/2013/08/29/7e57bb78-10ab-11e3-8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html

(8) Dolan, M. Richard and Zabel, Bryce. A.D. After Disclosure. New Page Books. 2012

http://www.afterdisclosure.com/2011/04/breakaway.html

http://richarddolanpress.com/book-rd3-a-d-after-disclosure/

http://www.afterdisclosure.com

(9)http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/ufo/comint_part_j.pdf

(10)http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/ufo/key_to_et_messages.pdf

The Pentagon Can’t Account for $21 Trillion (That’s Not a Typo)



Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a 2008 visit to Kosovo with U.S. Army troops on foot patrol in the town of Gnjilane. (The U.S. Army / CC BY 2.0)

The Pentagon Can’t Account for $21 Trillion (That’s Not a Typo)
By Editor May 23, 2018
The Pentagon Can’t Account for $21 Trillion (That’s Not a Typo)
Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a 2008 visit to Kosovo with U.S. Army troops on foot patrol in the town of Gnjilane. (The U.S. Army / CC BY 2.0)
http://www.theeventchronicle.com/news/north-america/the-pentagon-cant-account-for-21-trillion-thats-not-a-typo-2/
By Lee Camp

Twenty-one trillion dollars.

The Pentagon’s own numbers show that it can’t account for $21 trillion. Yes, I mean trillion with a “T.” And this could change everything.

But I’ll get back to that in a moment.

There are certain things the human mind is not meant to do. Our complex brains cannot view the world in infrared, cannot spell words backward during orgasm and cannot really grasp numbers over a few thousand. A few thousand, we can feel and conceptualize. We’ve all been in stadiums with several thousand people. We have an idea of what that looks like (and how sticky the floor gets).

But when we get into the millions, we lose it. It becomes a fog of nonsense. Visualizing it feels like trying to hug a memory. We may know what $1 million can buy (and we may want that thing), but you probably don’t know how tall a stack of a million $1 bills is. You probably don’t know how long it takes a minimum-wage employee to make $1 million.

That’s why trying to understand—truly understand—that the Pentagon spent 21 trillion unaccounted-for dollars between 1998 and 2015 washes over us like your mother telling you that your third cousin you met twice is getting divorced. It seems vaguely upsetting, but you forget about it 15 seconds later because … what else is there to do?

Twenty-one trillion.

But let’s get back to the beginning. A couple of years ago, Mark Skidmore, an economics professor, heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, say that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General had found $6.5 trillion worth of unaccounted-for spending in 2015. Skidmore, being an economics professor, thought something like, “She means $6.5 billion. Not trillion. Because trillion would mean the Pentagon couldn’t account for more money than the gross domestic product of the whole United Kingdom. But still, $6.5 billion of unaccounted-for money is a crazy amount.”

So he went and looked at the inspector general’s report, and he found something interesting: It was trillion! It was fucking $6.5 trillion in 2015 of unaccounted-for spending! And I’m sorry for the cursing, but the word “trillion” is legally obligated to be prefaced with “fucking.” It is indeed way more than the U.K.’s GDP.

Skidmore did a little more digging. As Forbes reported in December 2017, “[He] and Catherine Austin Fitts … conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.”

Let’s stop and take a second to conceive how much $21 trillion is (which you can’t because our brains short-circuit, but we’ll try anyway).

1. The amount of money supposedly in the stock market is $30 trillion.

2. The GDP of the United States is $18.6 trillion.

3. Picture a stack of money. Now imagine that that stack of dollars is all $1,000 bills. Each bill says “$1,000” on it. How high do you imagine that stack of dollars would be if it were $1 trillion. It would be 63 miles high.

4. Imagine you make $40,000 a year. How long would it take you to make $1 trillion? Well, don’t sign up for this task, because it would take you 25 million years (which sounds like a long time, but I hear that the last 10 million really fly by because you already know your way around the office, where the coffee machine is, etc.).

The human brain is not meant to think about a trillion dollars.

And it’s definitely not meant to think about the $21 trillion our Department of Defense can’t account for. These numbers sound bananas. They sound like something Alex Jones found tattooed on his backside by extraterrestrials.

But the 21 trillion number comes from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General—the OIG. Although, as Forbes pointed out, “after Mark Skidmore began inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, the OIG’s webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported “accounting adjustments,” was mysteriously taken down.”

Luckily, people had already grabbed copies of the report, which—for now—you can view here.

Here’s something else important from that Forbes article—which is one of the only mainstream media articles you can find on the largest theft in American history:

Given that the entire Army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress.

That’s right. The expenses with no explanation were 54 times the actual budget allotted by Congress. Well, it’s good to see Congress is doing 1/54th of its job of overseeing military spending (that’s actually more than I thought Congress was doing). This would seem to mean that 98 percent of every dollar spent by the Army in 2015 was unconstitutional.

So, pray tell, what did the OIG say caused all this unaccounted-for spending that makes Jeff Bezos’ net worth look like that of a guy jingling a tin can on the street corner?

“[The July 2016 inspector general] report indicates that unsupported adjustments are the result of the Defense Department’s ‘failure to correct system deficiencies.’ ”

They blame trillions of dollars of mysterious spending on a “failure to correct system deficiencies”? That’s like me saying I had sex with 100,000 wild hairless aardvarks because I wasn’t looking where I was walking.

Twenty-one trillion.

Say it slowly to yourself.

At the end of the day, there are no justifiable explanations for this amount of unaccounted-for, unconstitutional spending. Right now, the Pentagon is being audited for the first time ever, and it’s taking 2,400 auditors to do it. I’m not holding my breath that they’ll actually be allowed to get to the bottom of this.

But if the American people truly understood this number, it would change both the country and the world. It means that the dollar is sprinting down a path toward worthless. If the Pentagon is hiding spending that dwarfs the amount of tax dollars coming in to the federal government, then it’s clear the government is printing however much it wants and thinking there are no consequences. Once these trillions are considered, our fiat currency has even less meaning than it already does, and it’s only a matter of time before inflation runs wild.

It also means that any time our government says it “doesn’t have money” for a project, it’s laughable. It can clearly “create” as much as it wants for bombing and death. This would explain how Donald Trump’s military can drop well over 100 bombs a day that cost well north of $1 million each.

So why can’t our government also “create” endless money for health care, education, the homeless, veterans benefits and the elderly, to make all parking free and to pay the Rolling Stones to play stoop-front shows in my neighborhood? (I’m sure the Rolling Stones are expensive, but surely a trillion dollars could cover a couple of songs.)

Obviously, our government could do those things, but it chooses not to. Earlier this month, Louisiana sent eviction notices to 30,000 elderly people on Medicaid to kick them out of their nursing homes. Yes, a country that can vomit trillions of dollars down a black hole marked “Military” can’t find the money to take care of our poor elderly. It’s a repulsive joke.

Twenty-one trillion.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke about how no one knows where the money is flying in the Pentagon. In a barely reported speech in 2011, he said, “My staff and I learned that it was nearly impossible to get accurate information and answers to questions such as, ‘How much money did you spend?’ and ‘How many people do you have?’ ”

They can’t even find out how many people work for a specific department?

Note for anyone looking for a job: Just show up at the Pentagon and tell them you work there. It doesn’t seem like they’d have much luck proving you don’t.

For more on this story, check out David DeGraw’s excellent reporting at ChangeMaker.media, because the mainstream corporate media are mouthpieces for the weapons industry. They are friends with benefits of the military-industrial complex. I have seen basically nothing from the mainstream corporate media concerning this mysterious $21 trillion. I missed the time when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said that the money we dump into war and death—either the accounted-for money or the secretive trillions—could end world hunger and poverty many times over. There’s no reason anybody needs to be starving or hungry or unsheltered on this planet, but our government seems hellbent on proving that it stands for nothing but profiting off death and misery. And our media desperately want to show they stand for nothing but propping up our morally bankrupt empire.

When the media aren’t actively promoting war, they’re filling the airwaves with shit, so the entire country can’t even hear itself think. Our whole mindscape is filled to the brim with nonsense and vacant celebrity idiocy. Then, while no one is looking, the largest theft humankind has ever seen is going on behind our backs—covered up under the guise of “national security.”

Twenty-one trillion.

Don’t forget.

If you think this column is important, please share it. And check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show, “Redacted Tonight.” Camp also is taping a new live stand-up special in Los Angeles on May 18 and 19. He’ll be doing over an hour of his new comedy, and special guest Jimmy Dore will be on the show. You can purchase tickets here.

Truthdig has launched a reader-funded project—its first ever—to document the Poor People’s Campaign. Please help us by making a donation.

When I read this article, I kept hearing that song “Take It To The Limit One More Time”! They’ve changed the words “Sub-Prime” to “Non-Prime” and we re going to take it to the limit one more time…


Subprime mortgages make a comeback—with a new name and soaring demand
The subprime mortgage industry vanished after the Great Recession but is now being reinvented as the nonprime market.
Carrington Mortgage is now offering mortgages to borrowers with “less-than-perfect credit.”
Demand from both borrowers and investors is exceeding expectations.
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Published 10:45 AM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 Updated 1:54 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018
CNBC.com
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/sub-prime-mortgages-morph-into-non-prime-loans-and-demand-soars.html
Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans
1:41 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 | 01:28

They were blamed for the biggest financial disaster in a century. Subprime mortgages – home loans to borrowers with sketchy credit who put little to no skin in the game. Following the epic housing crash, they disappeared, due to strong, new regulation, and zero demand from investors who were badly burned. Barely a decade later, they’re coming back with a new name — nonprime — and, so far, some new standards.

California-based Carrington Mortgage Services, a midsized lender, just announced an expansion into the space, offering loans to borrowers, “with less-than-perfect credit.” Carrington will originate and service the loans, but it will also securitize them for sale to investors.

“We believe there is actually a market today in the secondary market for people who want to buy nonprime loans that have been properly underwritten,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings. “We’re not going back to the bad old days of ninja lending, when people with no jobs, no income, and no assets were getting loans.”

A home improvement contractor works on a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here’s how much homeowners could cash out in home equity
2:32 PM ET Mon, 2 April 2018 | 01:14
All loans will not be the same


Sharga said Carrington will manually underwrite each loan, assessing the individual risks. But it will allow its borrowers to have FICO credit scores as low as 500. The current average for agency-backed mortgages is in the mid-700s. Borrowers can take out loans of up to $1.5 million on single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. They can also do cash-out refinances, where borrowers tap extra equity in their homes, up to $500,000. Recent credit events, like a foreclosure, bankruptcy or a history of late payments are acceptable.

All loans, however, will not be the same for all borrowers. If a borrower is higher risk, a higher down payment will be required, and the interest rate will likely be higher.

“What we’re talking about is underwriting that goes back to common sense sort of practices. If you have risk, you offset risk somewhere else,” added Sharga, while touting, “We probably are going to have the widest range of products for people with challenging credit in the marketplace.”

Carrington is not alone in the space. Angel Oak began offering and securitizing nonprime mortgages two years ago and has done six nonprime securitizations so far. It recently finalized its biggest securitization yet — $329 million, comprising 905 mortgages with an average amount of about $363,000. Just more than 80 percent of the loans are nonprime.

A ‘who’s who of Wall Street’
Investors in Angel Oak’s nonprime securitizations are, “a who’s who of Wall Street,” according to company representatives, citing hedge funds and insurance companies. Angel Oak’s securitizations now total $1.3 billion in mortgage debt.

Angel Oak, along with Caliber Home Loans, have been the main players in the space, securitizing relatively few loans. That is clearly about to change in a big way, as demand is rising.

“We believe that more competition is positive for the marketplace because there is strong enough demand for the product to support multiple originators,” said Lauren Hedvat, managing director, capital markets at Angel Oak. “Additionally, the more competitors there are, the wider the footprint becomes, which should open the door for more potential borrowers.”

Big banks are also getting in the game, both investing in the securities and funding the lenders, according to Sharga.

“It’s large financial institutions. A lot of people with private capital sitting on the sidelines, who are very interested in this market and believe that as long as the risks are managed well, and companies like ours are particularly good at managing credit risk, that it’s a good investment opportunity,” he said.

As the economy improves, and rents continue to rise, more Americans are trying to become homeowners, but the scars of the Great Recession still stand in the way. One-fifth of consumers today still have very low credit scores, often disqualifying them from obtaining a mortgage in today’s tight lending market.

Relaxed lending standards
Last summer, Fannie Mae announced it would relax its lending standards for prime loans, allowing borrowers with higher debt and lower credit scores to obtain loans without additional risk overlays, such as large down payments and a year’s worth of cash reserves.

Fannie Mae raised its debt-to-income (DTI) limit from 45 percent to 50 percent. DTI is the amount of total debt a borrower can have compared to his or her income. As a result, demand from buyers with higher debt exceeded all expectations. The share of high DTI loans jumped from 6 percent in January 2017 to nearly 20 percent by the end of February 2018, according to a study by the Urban Institute.

“From January to July 2017, Fannie purchased 80,467 loans with DTI ratios between 45 and 50 percent. But from August 2017 to February 2018, Fannie purchased 181,911 loans in the same DTI bucket. This increase of more than 100,000 loans in just seven months exceeded our estimate (85,000 additional Fannie loans annually) and Fannie’s expectations.” – Urban Institute

The mortgage industry expectation was that Fannie Mae would mitigate the additional risk with other factors, like a higher necessary credit score, but that was not added. The mortgage insurers balked, since they would be on the hook for the risk, so last month Fannie Mae “recalibrated” its risk assessment criteria again.

“We got a bigger response than we thought we were going to, so we dialed back to make sure we were in the right spot where our governance kicks in to make sure we’re not taking excessive risk,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

Millennials carry more debt
The outsized demand from borrowers with more debt as well as demand for nonprime mortgages in the private sector show just how many borrowers today would like to become homeowners but are frozen out of the mortgage market.

Millennials, the largest homebuying cohort today, have much higher levels of student debt than previous generations. Members of older generations who went through foreclosures during the housing crisis or other hits to their credit are still struggling with lower FICO scores.

In addition, credit tightened up dramatically. In fact, between 2009 and 2015, tighter credit accounted for just more than 6 million “missing” loans, according to research by Laurie Goodman at the Urban Institute. These are mortgages that would have been granted under more normal historical underwriting standards.

The rebirth of the nonprime market is focused on these missing mortgages. The hope is that the industry will also focus on better standards of underwriting and not take risk to the levels it once did, levels that resulted in disaster.

ENENews: uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station…



TV: “Truly unsettling” discovery at Fukushima… problem “far greater than previously thought” — Boss reveals 600 tons of fuel melted, can’t find it — Top Official: “Nobody really knows where fuel is”… We may never be able to get it and just leave wherever — “Uncontrollable fission” is continuing under site (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/tv-unsettling-discovery-fukushima-problem-greater-previously-thought-plant-chief-reveals-600-tons-nuclear-fuel-melted-location-mystery-top-official-really-fuel-never-be-able-wind-leaving-molten?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Published: June 2nd, 2016 at 1:18 am ET
By ENENews

ABC Australia, May 24, 2016 (emphasis added): [ABC’s Mark Willacy] has been invited on a tour of [Fukushima Daiichi]… What Willacy discovers is truly unsettling… retrieving hundreds of tonnes of melted nuclear fuel turns out to be far greater than previously thought.

ABC Australia transcript excerpts, May 24, 2016:

Willacy: Tonight we go on a journey into the heart of this ongoing crisis… and we reveal the frightening enormity of the clean-up… and how dangerous it still is.
Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: This really is unchartered territory. Nobody really knows where the fuel is… There’s no playbook – they’re making this up as they go along.
Willacy: The man in charge of decontaminating and decommissioning the Fukushima plant, Naohiro Masuda. Has anything like this ever been attempted before?
Masuda: There has never been an accident at a nuclear plant like the one at Fukushima where three reactors had meltdowns. We are currently working on a timetable to decommission the reactors over the next 30 to 40 years.
Naoto Kan, Former Prime Minister: I think it will take longer… This is a major accident, which has never happened anywhere in the world… 40 years is an optimistic view.
Willacy: We are heading to the buildings housing the melted reactors… Tepco is worried about possible nuclear terrorism, and won’t allow us to film certain security sites.
Masuda: This is a job we’ve never done and there is no textbook.
Willacy: [At Reactor 3 there was an] explosion right after the nuclear fuel melted… What happened inside [Reactor 2] no-one really knows… [Reactor 1] is where probably the worst meltdown occurred. They don’t know where the nuclear fuel is.
Masuda: We haven’t actually seen where the melted fuel fell, so it’s important to find it as soon as possible.
Willacy: For the first time, Foreign Correspondent can reveal just how vast the amount of melted nuclear fuel is, the three molten blobs that lie somewhere deep within each of these buildings.
Masuda: It’s estimated that 200 tonnes of debris lies within each unit… 600 tonnes of melted debris fuel and a mixture of concrete and other metals are likely to be here.
Willacy: The most daunting task, one the nuclear industry has never faced, is getting the melted fuel out. TEPCO admits the technology it needs hasn’t been invented.
Jaczko: It may be possible that we’re never able to remove the fuel. You may just wind up having to leave it there and somehow entomb it as it is. I mean that’s certainly a possibility. There is no playbook, they’re making this up as they go along.
Kan: If all the reactors had had a meltdown, there was a risk that half or all of Japan could have been destroyed… the accident took us to the brink of destruction.
Jaczko: You have to now accept that in all nuclear power plants… there’s a chance you can have this kind of a very catastrophic accident… that’s the reality of nuclear power.

ABC Australia, May 24, 2016: Fukushima clean-up chief still hunting for 600 tonnes of melted radioactive fuel… [TEPCO] has revealed that 600 tonnes of reactor fuel melted during the disaster, and that the exact location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery… [C]hief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, said the company hoped to… begin removing it from 2021… “But unfortunately, we don’t know exactly where (the fuel) is” [said Masuda]. [Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the US NRC] at the time of the meltdowns at Fukushima doubts the fuel can be retrieved… “Nobody really knows where the fuel is… It may be possible that we’re never able to remove the fuel. You may just have to wind up leaving it there and somehow entomb it as it is.”… For the first time, TEPCO has revealed just how much of the mostly uranium fuel melted down… [Masuda said] “about 600 tonnes of melted debris fuel and a mixture of concrete and other metals are likely to be there.”

RT, May 24, 2016: 600 tons of melted radioactive Fukushima fuel still not found, clean-up chief reveals… [The fuel] burnt through the respective reactor pressure vessels, concentrating somewhere on the lower levels of the station… fuel from Reactor 1 poured out completely… the exact location of the highly radioactive “runaway” fuel remains mystery for TEPCO. The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station… [TEPCO’s] plan for Fukushima nuclear power plant implies a 30-40 year period… Yet experts doubt the present state of technology is sufficient to deal with the unprecedented technical task.

Watch ABC Australia’s broadcast here

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked”


Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/is-fukushima-getting-worse/
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015

There are some really interesting issues within this article from June 2015.
One of those is this:

“Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked”. (Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011).

Another is:
“Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!”
———————————————————————

Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/is-fukushima-getting-worse/
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015

The Fukushima multiple nuclear disasters continue spewing out hot stuff like there’s no tomorrow. By all appearances, it is getting worse, out-of-control nuclear meltdowns.

On June 19th TEPCO reported the highest-ever readings of strontium-90 outside of the Fukushima plant ports. The readings were 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of strontium-90 at two locations near water intakes for Reactors 3 and 4. TEPCO has not been able to explain the spike up in readings. The prior highest readings were 700,000 Bq/m3.

Strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear reactors or during the explosion of nuclear weapons; e.g., it is considered the most dangerous component of radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon.1 It is a cancer-causing substance because it damages genetic material (DNA) in cells. Strontium-90 is not found in nature. It’s a byproduct of the nuclear world of today; e.g., strontium-90 was only recently discovered, as of August 2014, for the first time ever, by the Vermont Health Department in ground water at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Coincidentally, Vermont Yankee, as of December 29, 2014, is being shut down.

When a fission chain reaction of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 is active in a nuclear power station containment vessel, it produces a vast array of deadly radioactive isotopes. Strontium-90 is but one of those. So, somewhere in Fukushima Dai-ichih a lot of atoms are splitting like crazy (meanwhile Einstein e=mc2 turns over in his grave) and ergo, a lot of strontium-90 pops out and hangs around for decades upon decades. This is not a small problem.

Which may be why Einstein famously said, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”

For example, a large amount of strontium-90 erupted into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (1986), spread over the old Soviet Republics and parts of Europe. Thereby, strontium-90, along with other radioactive isotopes, kills and maims people, a lot of people, to this day, more on this later.

Farming in Fukushima

Because of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, farmers in the greater area have had a tough go of it. For example, on June 6, 2013 Japanese farmers met with TEPCO and government officials, including the official in charge of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Translated and Edited by World Network for Saving Children from Radiation).

The 13-minute video of the farmers’ meeting with officials shows farmers testifying about contaminated food that, “We won’t eat ourselves, but we sell it… I know there is radiation in what we grow. I feel guilty about growing and selling them to consumers.”

Well, sure enough, officials from New Taipei City’s Department of Health (Taipei, Taiwan), and other law-enforcement authorities, seized mislabeled products from Japan. It seems that “more than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers.”2

Meanwhile, within a couple of months of the illicit underhanded devious mislabeling incident, Taiwan draws a line in the sand for Japanese foodstuff.3

Not only that but on the heels of Taiwan’s discovery of the mislabeling gimmick, and only three months later, this past week, Japanese authorities are asking China to remove the restrictions.4 Previously, China banned food imports from ten prefectures in Japan, including Miyagi, Nagano, and Fukushima.

Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked.5

Meantime, Chancellor Merkel (PhD, physics) ordered a shutdown of nuclear power plants throughout Germany. Hmm.

Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean

According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Video- March 2015:

When Fukushima exploded, radioactive gases and particles escaped into the atmosphere. Most fell nearby on land and in the ocean. A smaller amount remained in the air, and within days, circled the globe… in the ocean close to Fukushima, levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.

Nevertheless, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:

Scientists who have modeled the plume predict that radioactivity along the West Coast of North America will increase, but will remain at levels that are not a threat to humans or marine life.

To date, based upon actual testing of water and marine life in the Pacific Ocean by Woods Hole, radioactive levels along the North American West Coast remain low, not a threat to humans, not a threat to marine life, so far.

Fukushima and its Ocean Impact

According to Dr. Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, March 11, 2015, cesium uptake in the marine food web is diluted, for example, when Bluefin tuna swim across the Pacific, they lose, via excretion, about one-half of the cesium intake that is ingested in Japanese waters.

Expectantly, there are no commercial fisheries open in the Fukushima-affected areas of Japan. On a continual monitoring basis, no fishing is allowed in contaminated areas off the coastlines.

When contamination levels of fish in Japan are compared to fish along the coast of North America, the levels of radiation are relatively low in Canada and in the U.S. As a result, according to studies by Woods Hole, eating fish from the U.S. Pacific region is okay.

Not only that, but rather than categorical acceptance of U.S. government statements about safety from radiation in ocean currents, Dr. Buesseler established a citizen’s network called “How Radioactive is Our Ocean?” where individuals contribute by voluntarily taking samples. Every sample from the West Coast had cesium-137, but the numbers are low and at levels harmless to humans, thus far.

But, on a cautionary note, Dr. Buesseler is the first one to admit the situation requires constant monitoring.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s findings are not sufficient to dismiss health concerns for many reasons, among of which Fukushima is white hot with radioactivity, tenuously hanging by a thread, extremely vulnerable to another earthquake or even an internally generated disruption. Who knows? It is totally out of control!

The California Coastal Commission issued a report that agrees with the low levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides detected in air, drinking water, food, seawater, and marine life in California; however, “it should be noted that the long-term effects of low-level radiation in the environment remain incompletely understood….”6

The risk of long-term exposure to low-level radiation is unclear. Studies of radiotherapy patients and others indicate that there is a significant increase in cancer risk if lifetime exposure exceeds 100,000 microsieverts, according to the World Health Organization. A person exposed daily to radiation at the high end of the levels now seen at Miyakoji [a village in Fukushima Prefecture] would reach that lifetime exposure level in fewer than 23 years.7

Current Status of Fukushima Nuclear Site

According to Dr. Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who travels to Japan to measure radiation levels: The site continues to leak radioactive materials. In fact, release of strontium-90 has grown by a factor of 100 when compared to 2011 levels. In other words, the situation is worsening. One hundred times anything is very big, especially when it is radiation.

Strontium-90 is acutely dangerous, and as it happens, highly radioactive water continuing to spew out of the Fukushima Dai-ichih facilities is seemingly an endless, relentless problem. The mere fact that strontium-90 has increased by a factor of 100 since the disaster occurred is cause for decisive sober reflection. Furthermore, nobody on the face of the planet knows what is happening within the nuclear containment vessels, but apparently, it’s not good. More likely, it’s real bad.

According to Dr. Helen Caldicott:

There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.8

Comparison analysis of Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011)

The world’s three most recent nuclear disasters are dissimilar in many respects. However, all three are subject to the same adage: “an accident is something that is not planned.” Thus, by definition, in the final analysis, the risk factor with nuclear power is indeterminate. Fukushima is proof.

Three Mile Island’s containment vessel, in large measure, fulfilled its purpose by containing most of the radiation so there was minimal radiation released. As such, Three Mile Island is the least harmful of the three incidents.

By way of contrast, Chernobyl did not have an adequate containment vessel and as a result, the explosion sent a gigantic plume of radioactive material blasting into the atmosphere, contaminating a 70 square kilometer (approximately 30 sq. mi.) region, a “dead zone” that is permanently uninhabitable, forever unlivable.

To this day, tens of thousands of people affected by Chernobyl continue to suffer, and die, begging the question of whether Fukushima could be worse. After all, the incubation period for radiation in the body is 5-to-40 years (Caldicott). As, for example, it took 5 years for Chernobyl children to develop cancer (Caldicott), and Fukushima occurred in 2011.

“Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but it is potentially worse. It is a multiple reactor catastrophe happening within 150 miles of a metropolis of 30 million people,” claims John Vidal. Whereas, Chernobyl was only one reactor in an area of 7 million people.

John Vidal, environmental editor, The Guardian newspaper (UK), traveled to Chernobyl:

Five years ago I visited the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border where much of the radioactive plume from Chernobyl descended on 26 April 1986. I challenge chief scientist John Beddington and environmentalists like George Monbiot or any of the pundits now downplaying the risks of radiation to talk to the doctors, the scientists, the mothers, children and villagers who have been left with the consequences of a major nuclear accident. It was grim. We went from hospital to hospital and from one contaminated village to another. We found deformed and genetically mutated babies in the wards; pitifully sick children in the homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told us every member of their family was sick. This was 20 years after the accident, but we heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers… Villagers testified that ‘the Chernobyl necklace’ – thyroid cancer – was so common as to be unremarkable.9

There’s more.

Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the ‘liquidators’ who had helped clean up the plant [Chernobyl], told us that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another, but that no one had ever asked him for evidence. There was burning resentment at the way the UN, the industry and ill-informed pundits had played down the catastrophe.10

And still more yet:

Alexy Yablokov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: ‘When you hear no immediate danger [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can’… At the end of 2006, Yablokov and two colleagues, factoring in the worldwide drop in births and increase in cancers seen after the accident, estimated in a study published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that 985,000 people had so far died and the environment had been devastated. Their findings were met with almost complete silence by the World Health Organisation and the industry.11

The environment is devastated and almost one million dead. Is nuclear power worth the risks? Chancellor Merkel doesn’t seem to think so.

Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!

The primary containment vessels at Fukushima may have prevented a Chernobyl-type massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere in one enormous explosion. Even though, Fukushima did have four hydrogen explosions in the secondary containment structures, and as previously mentioned, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:

When Fukushima exploded… levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.

But, more significant, troublesome, and menacing the primary containment vessels themselves are an afflictive problem of unknown dimension, unknown timing, unknown levels of destruction, as the nuclear meltdown left 100 tons of white-hot radioactive lava somewhere, but where?

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” William Shakespeare The Tempest.

Postscript: Quietly into Disaster is an alluring, exquisite, handsome full-length film that examines the consequences of nuclear fission, Produced by: Holger Strohm, Directed by Marcin El.

HyperPhysics, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [↩]
Stephanie Chao, 283 Mislabeled Japanese Food Products Originated Near Fukushima, The China Post, March 25, 2015. [↩]
“Taiwan Enforces Stricter Controls on Japanese Food Imports”, J.R. Wu in Taipei and Ami Miyazaki in Tokyo, Reuters, May 15, 2015 [↩]
“Japan Asks China to Ease Food Import Restrictions Introduced After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster”, South China Morning Post, June 25, 2015. [↩]
Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011 [↩]
Report on the Fukushima Dai-ichih Nuclear Disaster and Radioactivity along the California Coast, California Coastal Commission, April 30, 2014. [↩]
Patrick J. Kiger, “Fukushima Return: At Nuclear Site, How Safe is Safe?” National Geographic, April 2, 2014. [↩]
Helen Caldicott, Speech at Seattle Town Hall, September 28, 2014. [↩]
John Vidal, “Nuclear’s Green Cheerleaders Forget Chernobyl at Our Peril”, The Guardian, April 1, 2011. [↩]
Ibid [↩]
Ibid. [↩]

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com. Read other articles by Robert.

This article was posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 11:11pm and is filed under China, Environment, Germany, Japan, Nuclear Energy, Oceans/Seas.