Censorship in America??? Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech. Alex had been warning us of this for months, it is of no surprise, the only surprise is if we are going to take it!



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Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Published time: 6 Aug, 2018 23:19
Edited time: 7 Aug, 2018 07:13
https://www.rt.com/usa/435271-alex-jones-inforwars-censorship/

Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Alex Jones at a rally during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016 © Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The US Constitution explicitly forbids government censorship. So Silicon Valley big-tech companies made themselves the gatekeepers of ‘goodthink,’ de-platforming anyone who runs afoul of their arbitrary ‘community standards.’

Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars, has often been derided by establishment media as a conspiracy theorist. Yet on Monday, Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook proved right the motto of his show – “There’s a war on for your mind!” – by blocking or deleting InfoWars accounts from their platforms, saying he allegedly engaged in “hate speech” and violated their “community standards.”

Simply put, these corporations appointed themselves arbiters of acceptable political thought, and censored Jones for failing to comply with arbitrary political standards set in Silicon Valley boardrooms, not at the ballot box.

Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech? https://t.co/DWroGYaWvk
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) August 6, 2018

The First Amendment to the US Constitution says that Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” There is no “hate speech” exemption, either. In fact, hate speech is not even a legal category in the US. However, a chorus of voices all too glad Jones was purged immediately chimed up to argue that Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Spotify are private companies and this does not apply to them.

There is a wrinkle in that argument, though: civil rights outfits such as the ACLU have argued that social media amount to a “designated public forum” in cases where government officials tried to avail themselves of blocking, muting and other functions put forth by Big Tech as a way to police “toxicity” on their platforms.

“When the government designates social media a public forum, the First Amendment prohibits it from limiting the discourse based on viewpoint,” the ACLU said in a brief submitted last year in a case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. “When a government actor bans critics from speaking in a forum, it silences and chills dissent, warps the public conversation, and skews public perception,” the ACLU brief went on.
Read more


© Adrees Latif Censorship or justice? Twitter debate rages over tech giants’ simultaneous InfoWars ban

In a separate but obviously related case, a federal judge used the “designated public forum” definition to demand that President Donald Trump allow critics access to his personal Twitter account – not the official @POTUS one – because he is a public official.

However, if social media platforms are a “designated public forum” that government is not allowed to exclude people from on First Amendment grounds, how is it OK for corporations that operate these platforms to do so? Or is chilling dissent, warping conversation and skewing perception only bad when a government actor does it, thereby creating a legal system in which the what is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is who/whom?

There is something deeply cynical about people who until yesterday denounced discrimination and evil corporatism – and will do so again tomorrow – suddenly defending private property and freedom to discriminate against political viewpoints. That’s because this isn’t about principles, but about power.

Liberals were once all for free speech, starting a movement by that name at Berkeley in the 1960s. Now that the media and academia overwhelmingly march in lockstep with the Democratic Party, however, they’re all about “no-platforming” opposing views and calling them “hate speech,” all in an effort to limit the range of permissible thought and expression in America.

Alex Jones’ Warning To The World On Internet Censorship pic.twitter.com/DNdiR6goHb

— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) August 6, 2018

This has manifested in many forms, from literal riots in Berkeley to “shadowbanning” of several Republican lawmakers on Twitter. That platform, which has so far refrained from banning InfoWars, didn’t hesitate to block conservative African-American activist Candace Owens after she pointedly echoed the hateful tweets of a liberal journalist hired by the New York Times. Needless to say, the same people up in arms about Alex Jones argued that Sarah Jeong’s tweets were fine, because one “cannot be racist against white people.”

If Infowars has been removed for pushing conspiracy theories and “glorifying violence and hate speech…”

Then what’s the plan for outlets who still push ‘Russian collusion’ and promote violent ANTIFA protests/harassing Trump admin officials?
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) August 6, 2018

This ideological conflict in American society actually goes back years, maybe even decades. However, the victory of Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, even though most of the media and all of the Silicon Valley were #WithHer, flushed it out in the open. Democrats quickly latched onto a claim of “Russian meddling,” intended to delegitimize Trump’s presidency but also, as it turns out, create an excuse for corporate censorship.

Consider the November 1, 2017 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where lawyers for Google, Facebook and Twitter were subjected to a barrage of demands to regulate their platforms against “Russians” – or else.

“You have to be the ones to do something about it, or we will,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California). She also pressed for the removal of RT from YouTube, only to have a Google representative say that despite looking very hard, the company hasn’t found any policy violations that would justify such a move.

“I’m not really satisfied with that,” said Feinstein.
Read more
YouTube is also banning channels unrelated to the InfoWars brand, but have livestreamed Jone’s show daily. © Dado Ruvic/Reuters War on InfoWars? YouTube shuts down Alex Jones’ channel with 2.5mn subscribers

Now, imagine how much more chilling this would be if Feinstein represented the ruling party, rather than the opposition. It isn’t that far-fetched: during the 2016 election, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta that she “badly” wanted Clinton to win, while Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, actually spent election night at Clinton HQ with a “staff” badge. More recently, this April actually, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described as a “great read” an article describing how Democrats should fight and win the “civil war” currently being waged in the US.

This isn’t about how much one likes or dislikes Alex Jones or InfoWars. This is about corporations deciding for you what you should be allowed to hear, read, say or think – and the people normally criticizing such behavior cheering it on, because it suits their political agenda.

As Jones’s colleague Paul Joseph Watson put it, “The great censorship purge has truly begun.”

Ask not for whom the censorship bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Nebojsa Malic, RT

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.

“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.

ENENews: “It’s on the brink of pandemonium”


State of Emergency now underway for L.A. gas blowout — Oil begins raining down on homes — Official: “It’s on the brink of pandemonium” — Many worry plume will ignite, cause explosion — Concern over geysers, sinkholes being created — Company: Experts have “never seen anything like this” (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/state-emergency-issued-la-gas-blowout-oil-begins-raining-down-homes-concern-sinkholes-geysers-being-created-official-brink-pandemonium?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Published: January 8th, 2016 at 11:40 am ET
By ENENews

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-porter-ranch-20160105-story.html
Los Angeles Times, Jan 5, 2016 (emphasis added): Utility is installing screens to contain oily mist at leaking well near Porter Ranch… The structures under construction on the west side of the well head are designed to capture airborne droplets of a brine solution that “may have contained trace amounts of oil naturally occurring within the leaking well’s reservoir,” said Trisha Muse, a spokeswoman for SoCal Gas… Now, a mixture of brine water and oil is rising up into the gas company’s natural gas storage zone, then traveling up the well and into the air. As a result, local residents are finding droplets of dark brown residue on their homes, vehicles, fish ponds and gardens… [The company] acknowledged that some residents had asked about “dark brown spots on their property.” “We sampled it and, according to our retained toxicologist and medical expert,” the company said, “the residue contained heavier hydrocarbons (similar to motor oil) but does not pose a health risk.”… On Monday, plaintiffs’ attorneys sent a letter to state regulatory officials [and] demanded that state regulators “explain what is happening with the petroleum now surfacing.”… “There is a complete lack of information in the well files,” their letter says, “to show where the gas and petroleum migrates underground and the risk for creating sink holes and geysers.”


Los Angeles Daily News, Jan 5, 2015: [A]n oily mist… has been surfacing… The seepage is the result of changing dynamics deep underground… “They (the demister pads) are necessary because as the reservoir pressure declines, fluids (oil and water) encroach into the reservoir and are then carried to surface with the gas.
http://www.dailynews.com/environment-and-nature/20160105/oily-mist-surfaces-at-porter-ranch-gas-leak-as-well-pressure-drops

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-35257861
BBC, Jan 8, 2016: Residents… point out cars, outdoor furniture and houses which have been marked with brown, oily spots… Tim O’Connor, a lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund, has called it “an environmental and public health catastrophe,” said . “In terms of timelines this is going to surpass the gulf oil problem by a mile.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/us/california-governor-declares-emergency-over-los-angeles-gas-leak.html?_r=0
New York Times, Jan 6, 2016: Gov. Jerry Brown, faced with mounting public anger and no end in sight to the leak, declared a state of emergency… Mitchell Englander, the Los Angeles city councilman who represents Porter Ranch [said] “This is one of the most disruptive, catastrophic environmental events that I’ve seen. It’s a truly chaotic crisis.”… Many who have stayed have taken to wearing surgical masks when they garden to keep out the rotten-egg smell and the oily mist that sometimes leaves brown residue on their cars… Dennis Arriola, the president of Southern California Gas Company [said] that experts had “never seen anything like this.”

Newsweek, Jan 7, 2016: SoCalGas and public officials have turned [Porter Ranch’s Matt Pakucko] and his fellow residents into “guinea pigs.”… [Sally Benson, who runs an energy storage lab at Stanford University] shares a worry of many in Porter Ranch as they deal with the mundanities of the leak: that the gas plume will somehow become ignited, leading to [an] explosion… “They’re really fortunate that this one hasn’t caught fire,” Benson says… [The FAA] has imposed a no-fly zone above Porter Ranch “out of concerns that fumes from the gas leak could be ignited from the air.” Schwecke, the SoCalGas vice president, says workers near the relief well are taking every precaution, not using their cellphones and working with brass hammers, which don’t spark… [David Balen, a local businessman on the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council] showed me photographs of a white dust that had collected on concrete surfaces around his property; an expert was coming to test the substance, which Balen thought was something toxic.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-35244634
BBC, Jan 7, 2016: The governor of California has declared a state of emergency in a suburb of Los Angeles over the leaking of methane gas… the company is installing large mesh screens around the leak site to try and hinder the oily mist from spraying down on the community.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-01-05/l-a-residents-flee-as-sempra-s-gas-leak-menaces-neighborhood
Bloomberg, Jan 5, 2016: The sulfurous scent of a natural-gas leak hangs in the air as mail carriers wearing gas masks make rounds… “This is the biggest community and environmental disaster I’ve ever seen, bar none,” said Mitchell Englander, who has represented Porter Ranch on the Los Angeles City Council since 2011. “Life there is not on hold — it’s on the edge and it’s on the brink of pandemonium.”

See also: Doctors: “Very unusual” infections being reported around massive gas blowout in LA… “If you’re able to leave do it now, I’m telling you it’s really critical” — Official: Plume is spreading far away, it’s a national disaster — TV: “We’re a living science experiment”
http://enenews.com/doctors-very-unusual-infections-being-reported-around-massive-gas-blowout-los-angeles-youre-able-leave-im-telling-really-critical-official-plume-spreading-away-national-disaster-tv-living-scienc
(VIDEO)

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: TV: ‘Scary’ mystery illness killing off animals “at such a rapid rate”


TV: ‘Scary’ mystery illness killing off animals “at such a rapid rate” on West Coast — Hundreds of marine mammals found dead in small area — Gov’t Expert: “Something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… Something is hitting them harder and faster… Something else seems to be involved” (VIDEO)
Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
By ENENews

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Oct 8, 2015 (emphasis added): More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in [Alaska’s] Kachemak Bay region in 2015… A team of experts… are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population… [T]he cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.

Anchorage Daily News, Oct 10, 2015: Researchers see spike in Kachemak Bay sea otter deaths… [A news release from gov’t agencies] said the recent deaths and sickness could significantly affect the population.

KTVA transcript, Oct. 8, 2015: Hundreds of sea otters have been found dead in the Katchemak Bay area near Homer this year. Veterinarians at the Alaska Sea Life Center are working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to figure out what’s making the otters so sick… It’s an unsettling mystery, killing off some of Alaska’s favorite furry animals.

KTVA, Oct 8, 2015: Unusually high number of sea otter deaths reported in Kachemak Bay… experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to figure out what’s killing off the otters at such a rapid rate. “More recently, animals have appeared otherwise healthy and seemed to have died very quickly,” said Dr. Carrie Goertz… “it’s scary to know there’s something out there in the wild that we may or may not be able to do anything about.”

Peninsula Clarion, Oct 10, 2015: Spike in otter deaths in Kachemak Bay… “They were pretty healthy-looking, other than they were dead” [said Marc Webber, U.S. Fish & Wildlife]… The otters are clearly unwell… nonresponsive and unable to move, [Dr. Carrie Goetz, SeaLife Center veterinarian] said. “There haven’t been any obvious causes of death,” Goetz said. “That’s been limiting our understanding of what’s going on.”… Reports of dead animals of multiple species have risen in the Kachemak Bay area in the last few months, including birds and barnacles… Increased numbers of dead whales had been spotted as well…

KBBI, Oct 13, 2015: [Webber said] when something is going wrong with them, something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… [Dr. Goetz] says they’ve been tracking a streptococcus illness… But the otters that have died since August seem different. “[They] have died acutely… in the last couple of months,” Goertz said… [What Webber is] seeing seems different than what he’s seen in the past. “Something is hitting them harder and faster… something else seems to be involved,” Webber said.

AP, Oct 14, 2015: “We’re finding otters all over the Homer area”… [the] otters are turning with neurological conditions that cause them to twitch, said Webber… dying otters could be an indicator that something is wrong with the entire ecosystem, according to Webber. The Alaska Sea Life Center has been tracking a streptococcus illness… but what’s happened since August is something new, said veterinarian Cari Goertz…

USGS California Sea Otter Stranding Network 2014 Stranding Summary: The number of sea otter strandings in 2014 (386) was the highest on record, 18 above the 368 sea otters that stranded in 2012. There were 340 strandings in 2013… A stranded sea otter is one that washes ashore dead or alive… NOTE: Stranding numbers only account for sea otters that people find… possibly less than 50% of sea otters that die in the wild end up on the beach…

Watch KTVA’s broadcast here

Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
By ENENews
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By Bruce Moyer: March 2015: The Most Powerful Court You Have Never Heard Of



Washington Watch | March 2015
By Bruce Moyer

Long The disclosures by Edward Snowden about the size and scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, both in the United States and abroad, has prompted a flurry of Congressional proposals aimed at reframing the foreign intelligence- gathering process. While the thrust of these proposals is aimed at the intelligence-gathering process itself, several would also alter the operations of the federal court in Washington that provides judicial oversight of intelligence gathering and, in fact, authorized the con- troversial NSA telephone metadata collection effort disclosed by Snowden.

The court we’re talking about is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC. Described by CNN as “the most power- ful court you have never heard of,” the panel plays a significant role in the sensitive balance of foreign intelligence-gathering and civil liberties. Established in 1978 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the FISC hears applications from the government and decides whether to issue orders approving certain electronic surveil- lance activities for foreign intelligence purposes. Another Article III tribunal co-located in Washington, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR), reviews the rulings of the FISA court. Collectively these are referred to as the FISA courts.

Unique Among Federal Courts
The FISC is unique among federal courts in its narrow jurisdiction, the selection of its judges, and the secret conduct of its day-to-day operations. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court plays an especially engaged role in the affairs of the court. The FISC’s 11 district court judges and review court’s judges are “designated” by the Chief Justice, foregoing the usual process of presidential appoint- ment and Senate confirmation. Similarly, the Chief Justice designates the chief judge of the FISC and the FISCR. The judges of both courts serve one term of seven years and are not eligible for a second term. Because of the sensitive nature of its docket, the FISC and the Review Court operate largely in secret and in a nonadversarial fash- ion. Since its creation in 1978, the FISC has operated primarily in an ex parte manner with the government as the only party presenting arguments to the court and seeking warrants approving of electronic surveillance, physical searches, the use of a pen register or a trap- and-trace device, or the access to business ecords for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

The FISC operates out of a secure location in the federal court- house in Washington, D.C. Each week, one of the eleven district court judges that comprise the FISC is on duty in Washington. Most of the FISC’s work is handled by the duty judge with the assistance of a small group of attorneys and clerk’s office personnel who staff the court. On occasion, judges outside of the duty-week rotation handle more complex or time-consuming matters, at the direction of the Presiding Judge.

The secret and nonadversarial nature of the FISC’s proceedings and the revelation of the court’s approval of the NSA telephone meta- data collection effort have spurred several Congressional proposals that would change some of the underlying practices of the FISA courts. The most controversial proposal involves the court’s appoint- ment of a special advocate when the court is considering a novel or significant interpretation of law. Other proposals would establish en banc panels of the FISC and would alter the voting rules of the FISC in an attempt to create a higher bar for the approval of government surveillance activities.

A Special Advocate Before the FISA Courts?
The appointment of a special advocate within the FISA courts has stirred the greatest controversy. The House last year passed legislation (H.R. 3361) giving the FISA courts substantial discretion to determine when to appoint an advocate, as well as decide the nature and scope of the assistance to be provided by the advocate. A broader Senate measure (S. 2685) last year would have more rigidly mandated the appointment of an advocate to make specific argu- ments involving privacy and civil liberties. The Senate bill stalled at the end of 2014, carrying the debate into 2015 with some urgency. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes electronic foreign intelligence surveillance activities, expires on June 1.

Proponents of the appointment of a special advocate argue that the nature of a non-adversarial process prevents the FISA courts from hearing opposing viewpoints on difficult legal issues, especially ones involving privacy and civil liberty interests. The Federal Judiciary is not so sure. In a letter to Congress last year, Judge John Bates, then director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (and a for- mer FISC judge) embraced the House legislation’s approach, which imparts to the FISA court the discretionary authority to appoint an advocate, a power the court already inherently maintains. Bates criticized the Senate’s approach, which directs the FISC to appoint an advocate in certain kinds of cases. “… [W]e are concerned that insert- ing into FISA court proceedings an advocate with a statutory mandate to make specific arguments would raise substantial legal questions and impede the courts’ work without furthering the interests of privacy or civil liberties,” Bates wrote. Those questions involve separation of powers and judicial independence considerations.

FBA Panel Session on the FISA Courts
These concerns and the broader challenge of balancing national security, privacy, and civil liberties will be spotlighted at the FBA Mid-year Meeting on Saturday morning, March 28, in Arlington, Virginia, when an esteemed panel of judges, lawyers, and academics will debate the pros and cons of altering the FISA courts and their operations. Consult the FBA website for further details.

Bruce Moyer is government relations counsel for the FBA. © 2015 Bruce Moyer. All rights reserved.