Boycott Backfires: Film and TV Shows Stay in Georgia After Protest of Heartbeat Bill

Walkingdead1-640x480
(Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Khary Payton, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Sydney Park Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/AMCJackson Lee Davis/AMC)

Boycott Backfires: Film and TV Shows Stay in Georgia After Protest of Heartbeat Bill
KYLE MORRIS3 Sep 2019
2:42
https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/09/03/boycott-backfires-film-and-tv-shows-stay-in-georgia-after-protest-of-heartbeat-bill/

After multiple threats to boycott from Hollywood elites and major production studios from Disney to Netflix, Georgia has become home to nearly 40 movies and TV shows set to film in the state this September, according to a report from Project Casting.

Several companies are attracted to Georgia because the state provides up to 30 percent back in tax incentives. Georgia is also considered the “number one filming location in the world,” as Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office’s deputy commissioner reported.

Scores of Hollywood directors, producers, and actors like Alyssa Milano threatened to pull their productions out of the state. Milano, whose Netflix show Insatiable filmed in Georgia, launched a sex strike in protest of Georgia’s abortion law.

In May, several major film production companies, including AMC Networks and WarnerMedia — the parent company of CNN, HBO, and TNT — threatened to cease filming in Georgia unless the “Heartbeat” bill was repealed.

A statement provided by AMC at the time read:

If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia. Similar bills — some even more restrictive — have passed in multiple states and have been challenged. This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely.

However, according to the Project Casting report, AMC and The Walking Dead have decided to stay in the Atlanta suburbs to continue filming the hit zombie apocalypse drama.

Netflix’s Stranger Things, which is one of Atlanta’s biggest filming TV shows and questioned filming in the state over the abortion law, has decided to remain, according to the report.

In addition to The Walking Dead and Stranger Things, other films and TV shows, including Netflix’s hit crime drama Ozark and the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming 2 America, have decided to take part in Georgia’s incentive including:

For a full list of the movies and TV shows filming in Georgia this September, click here.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed into law the “Heartbeat” abortion bill than bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected on May 7, 2019. At the end of June, the law was challenged in court by pro-abortion advocates who claimed the abortion law is unconstitutional. The law is expected to go into effect on Jan. 1 2020.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

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Voter Fraud: 670 Ballots Cast in Georgia Precinct with 276 Voters (There’s No Place Like Home!)


Image Credits: Joe Raedle / Getty.

Voter Fraud: 670 Ballots Cast in Georgia Precinct with 276 Voters
Voting irregularities come as state investigated other instances of voter fraud
Katherine Rodriguez | Breitbart – August 8, 2018 0 Comments
Voter Fraud: 670 Ballots Cast in Georgia Precinct with 276 Voters

Voter Fraud: 670 Ballots Cast in Georgia Precinct with 276 Voters

Six hundred and seventy ballots were cast in a Georgia precinct with 276 registered voters in the state’s primary election, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

A northeastern Georgia precinct located in Habersham County had 276 registered voters before the state’s primary elections at the end of May, but 670 votes were recorded—indicating that 276 percent of voters turned out in Georgia’s primary election, McClatchy reported.

The recently publicized voting irregularities come as the state investigated other instances of voter fraud—including one where an Atlanta City Hall staffer claimed she had to “print and deliver 500 blank absentee ballots” to an advocacy group staffer and pick up additional ballots from the Atlanta mayor’s campaign office to drop them off at an office in Fulton County.

How REQUIRING A Gun Impacts Crime Rates

How REQUIRING A Gun Impacts Crime Rates
Posted at 12:00 pm on March 9, 2018 by Tom Knighton

How REQUIRING A Gun Impacts Crime Rates

WordPress MaddMedic: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/347470/posts/1790977644

Being a Georgia resident, I’m very familiar with Kennesaw, Georgia. For those of you who aren’t, it’s the city that actually requires each and every household to have a firearm.

Don’t get me wrong, the law isn’t enforced. It’s actually unenforceable. But that’s not the point. It’s a middle finger to communities that think banning guns is a good thing, and in that, it works beautifully.

However, it also has an impact on other things, such as the community’s crime rate.

While the 1982 law isn’t actually enforced, the town’s mayor spoke highly of it nonetheless.

“If you’re going to commit a crime in Kennesaw and you’re the criminal — are you going to take a chance that that homeowner is a law-abiding citizen?” asked Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling, reports CNN.

Lt. Craig Graydon of the Kennesaw Police Department explained the law “was meant to be kind of a crime deterrent.”

And while it’s difficult to prove a causal relationship between the law and crime in the town, Kennesaw, which boasts a population of 33,000 people, has a violent crime rate of less than 2 percent and has only had one murder in the last six years.

“We can’t say that just that gun law contributes x number of percent to why we have a low crime rate. It may be part of it, but it needs to be looked at from a whole picture,” said Graydon, who’s been with the police department for 30 years.

However, anyone with half a brain can look at one simple fact and tell the difference.

You see, about 15 minutes away from Kennesaw is Acworth, Georgia. The two communities are easy to travel between, meaning there’s no barrier for criminals to act in one but not the other.

Yet Acworth’s crime rate is higher than normal for a community of its size. What’s the difference? Kennesaw’s gun requirement law.

It’s important to remember that while the law is basically unenforceable, it serves as a warning to criminals. They recognize that the city won’t provide barriers to the private ownership of firearms. Worse, most people will try and comply with the new law. That means the majority of the people in the town are armed.

Would you want to break into a home in that town?

Of course, anti-gun activists will look at Graydon’s inability to quantify exactly what kind of an impact the law has had as evidence it might not have had any, but that’s just willful self-delusion. To say it’s had no impact is to completely ignore the reality that criminals know there are guns in almost every home in town and thus stay out.

Again, this isn’t rocket science. Criminals are like anyone else. They don’t want to get shot.

As a result, they tend to try to avoid places where there’s a high likelihood of being shot. Kennesaw, with its gun law requiring people to be armed, sure sounds like a place where a criminal’s life expectancy can rapidly approach zero. There’s no way the gun law hasn’t reduced crime.

Kennesaw is probably one of the safest communities in the country, all because of the private ownership of firearms.

God bless America!
________________________
What is an assault rifle?

A blue catfish caught on Georgia’s Altamaha River this past weekend weighed 93 pounds — a new state record

WASV New and Associated Press:

Georgia angler sets new record with 93 lb. catfish caught on Altamaha River

https://mgtvwsav.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/bluecat-richardbarrett-oct2017.jpg?w=172&h=305
WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — A blue catfish caught on Georgia’s Altamaha River this past weekend weighed 93 pounds — a new state record.

Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources says in a Tuesday news release that angler Richard Barrett’s catch beat the old record by more than 12 pounds.

The department says Barrett, who is from Axson, caught the fish Saturday using a live channel catfish caught earlier in the day as bait.

Barrett told the department’s Wildlife Resources Division he was shocked when he got the fish to the surface. He said he was worried he wouldn’t be able to get it into his boat.

John Biagi, chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, said Barrett’s catch was the first state record for 2017.

Our first Fukushima Fish landed in GA!

ENENews: From Cynthia McKinney, Former Member of Congress: “The elephant in the room is Fukushima radiation”


Former US Gov’t Official: “The elephant in the room is Fukushima radiation” when it comes to Pacific Ocean animal die-offs… Gov’t has totally failed to inform public about full extent of fallout… Media’s silence is deafening — Mentions coverage by ENENews

Published: October 20th, 2015 at 6:40 am ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/former-govt-official-elephant-room-fukushima-radiation-when-comes-pacific-ocean-die-offs-govt-totally-failed-inform-public-about-full-extent-fallout-mentions-coverage-enenews?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Cynthia McKinney
After serving in the Georgia Legislature, in 1992, Cynthia McKinney won a seat in the US House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman from Georgia in the US Congress. In 2005, McKinney was a vocal critic of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and was the first member of Congress to file articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. In 2008, Cynthia McKinney won the Green Party nomination for the US presidency.
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/319053-fukushima-fallout-radioactive-japan/

Excerpts from column by Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 19, 2015:

• In the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power meltdown… the international community has totally failed in keeping the public properly informed and protected from the fallout. Scientists and environmental officials continue to express concern, even now, at the unusual events and wonder about the causes. At the same time, the media present the facts, but fail to make any connection whatsoever to the ongoing state of affairs stemming from the tragic 2011 events at Fukushima. Here are a few recent examples… A September 2015 audio report from Robin Corcoran, biologist from the Kodiak Wildlife National Refuge, confirms local reports that “emaciated” bird carcasses are washing up on Kodiak Island shores… The program concluded by stating that multiple species of birds have declined in number in other Alaska regions… A few days before the Kodiak reports… Josh Saranpaa of the Wildlife Center of the North Coast was quoted as saying, “Every bird we’re seeing is starving to death. It’s pretty bad.” Saranpaa added, “When you see so many starving, something is not quite right out there.”… Julia Reis of the Half Moon Bay Review writes with understatement, “There have been noticeable changes in the Pacific Ocean that have caused difficulties for marine life of late.” Gerry McChesney of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge says that the die-off has him all the more “baffled” because of the strip of cold water in his area full of food for these birds. In my mind’s eye, I can see McChesney scratching his head as I read that he considers poisoning, starvation, and El Nino as possible causes for the die-off. The article ends with the following comment by McChesney, “We might have to see some other problem in the ocean before we understand what’s causing the die-off.”

• ENENews.com points to the problem of the massive die-off happening from San Diego to Alaska—all along the West Coast of the U.S. It highlights in various reports words like “strange,” “unprecedented,” “crazy,” “worst,” with this iconic quote from The Sacramento Bee: “Our gut tells us there is something going on in the marine environment.”

• [T]he media provide coverage of marine anomalies mentioning global warming, even El Nino and toxic algae, while the elephant in the room is Fukushima radiation. It is this silence that is deafening!… I do want to know why in the face of what appear to be Pacific Ocean die-offs, El Nino is mentioned and not the Fukushima-related elevated levels of radiation. As long as there is a palpable lack of transparency in the mainstream media’s ordinary coverage of extraordinary environmental events, that includes what one senses as a reticence to discuss the obvious, I predict that there will be a proliferation of citizen journalists and citizen scientists seizing upon each piece of new data trying to make sense out of a government-approved narrative that just doesn’t make sense… We should not rely on government officials to tell us the truth about the full extent of Fukushima’s fallout.

See the ENENews report mentioned by McKinney here:
http://enenews.com/mind-blowing-die-seabirds-underway-california-alaska-experts-unprecedented-theyre-dying-im-baffled-every-bird-starving-death-basically-withering-away-catastrophic-molting-observed-due-unknown

Must Read: From Investment Watch Journalist Devvy Kidd, a Virtual Encyclopedia of Devastating Impact on the Ecosystem Caused by Fukushima

Journalist, Devvy Kidd, has assembled a virtual encyclopedia of the devastating impact on the ecosystem caused by the Fukushima meltdown.
Submitted by IWB, on December 8th, 2015

http://investmentwatchblog.com/journalist-devvy-kidd-has-assembled-a-virtual-encyclopedia-of-the-devastating-impact-on-the-ecosystem-caused-by-the-fukushima-meltdown/

It is an incredible disaster not being acknowledged by governments or reported by mainstream media.

By: Devvy
November 29, 2015
NewsWithViews.com

It’s heart breaking. It’s devastating. How do you clean up a dying ocean?

The predictable tragedy at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, continues to destroy fish, mammals and critically important ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO and the Japanese government have allowed one of the greatest crimes against humanity to spread devastation and destruction not only to the Japanese people in the area who have suffered massive cancer rates, illnesses and loss of their livelihoods, but an ocean now affecting us whether you live on the East coast or San Francisco.

Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl

“Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters. One of the most prominent of them is Dr Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician and long time anti-nuclear activist who warns of “horrors to come” in Fukushima. Chris Busby, a professor at the University of Ulster known for his alarmist views, generated controversy during a Japan visit last month when he said the disaster would result in more than 1 million deaths. “Fukushima is still boiling its radionuclides all over Japan,” he said. “Chernobyl went up in one go. So Fukushima is worse.”

“The official line is that the accident at the plant is winding down and radiation levels outside of the exclusion zone and designated “hot spots” are safe. “But many experts warn that the crisis is just beginning. Professor Tim Mousseau, a biological scientist who has spent more than a decade researching the genetic impact of radiation around Chernobyl, says he worries that many people in Fukushima are “burying their heads in the sand.” His Chernobyl research concluded that biodiversity and the numbers of insects and spiders had shrunk inside the irradiated zone, and the bird population showed evidence of genetic defects, including smaller brain sizes. “The truth is that we don’t have sufficient data to provide accurate information on the long-term impact,” he says. “What we can say, though, is that there are very likely to be very significant long-term health impact from prolonged exposure.”

Fukushima radiation detected in bluefin tuna on California coast, May 29, 2012, CNN

That was in 2012. By 2013, Fukushima was pouring 300 TONS of contaminated water into the ocean EVERY day. I wonder what current testing shows for Bluefin tuna and other species of popular fish? The American people have the right to know, even if the news is bad.

Fukushima: 300 tons of radioactive water leak everyday (August 2013)
Tritium soaring in water at No. 1 plant (July 2013): “A Nuclear Regulation Authority official recently said contaminated groundwater from the plant, which is being fed cooling water from outside, may be seeping into the ocean and that the matter must be addressed carefully because data is limited.” Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
There’s no maybe about it: Toxic groundwater reaching sea: NRA (July 2013)

” The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday it strongly suspects highly radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seeping into the ground and contaminating the Pacific Ocean. “We must find the cause of the contamination . . . and put the highest priority on implementing countermeasures,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a meeting of the body’s commissioners after they had examined recent studies carried out on groundwater samples at the plant that detected high levels of cesium, tritium and other radioactive contamination.”

Radioactive Nightmare – Government turns a blind eye as fallout from Fukushima heads our way, July 5, 2012

All of these are after Fukushima. Are all of them just a coincidence? Why so many mysteries after Fukushima?

Scientists Confirm Fukushima Radiation in California Kelp, February 7, 2014(that’s just one month shy of three years since the melt down began)
Fukushima radioactive contamination is rapidly warming North Pacific seawater, September 2014
Six sick sea lions found in Sonoma County, February 25, 2015, The Press Democrat:
“A crisis among California sea lions that has resulted in nearly 1,000 stranded pups and older animals arriving starved and sick on coastal shores has reached the Sonoma Coast, where six animals have been recovered in recent weeks, according to the Marine Mammal Center near Sausalito.” Photos of the stranded babies is absolutely heartbreaking.

Gov’t Official: Chilling report from Pacific Ocean… “Silence on the seas” — “Quite literally, there isn’t any fish” — Japan Professor: Fukushima posing reproduction risk to marine life, ongoing concern over bio-accumulation of radioactive material

“Senator Penelope Wright, Parliament of Australia, Mar 5, 2015 (emphasis added): “Like many others, I read an article in 2013 by Ivan Macfadyen called ‘The ocean is broken‘. It was published in The Sydney Morning Herald… He is an experienced sailor, so he had the ability to compare his experience then with… other trips. It was chilling. It was heartbreaking really. He had noticed changes in the last years. Basically, he was confronted by the silence that he heard, the silence on the seas, and he realised that this was attributable to the fact that they saw very, very few birds. They also caught very few fish… two fish.”

“Interview with Ivan Macfadyen, Talk Radio Europe, May 24, 2015 (at 14:30 in): “The reality was… if I would have had no spare dry food on the boat — relying on fish this time around — we would have starved to death — because, quite literally, there isn’t any fish. There’s vast tracks where they’re just all gone. Where you could fish reliably, they’re just not there… I used to fish here on exactly the same course, at exactly the same time of year… the same ocean, on the same course, into the same place — and I could catch fish everyday, and for some reason now 10 years later they’re all gone.”

“Though not discussed in the above interview, Macfadyen has attributed his statement “The ocean is broken” to the impact of Fukushima. Host: “What about sea birds and all of that”? Macfadyen: “As you get closer up to Japan they’re all gone, they’re not there anymore… Everything’s all gone, it’s just like sailing in a dead sea… there’s nothing… Host: “After Japan you headed [to] America, did you see any impact from…Fukushima?”

“Macfadyen: It’s dead. That’s where I coined the phrase, ‘The ocean’s broken’ – because, for thousands of miles, there’s nothing. No birds, no fish, no sharks, no dolphins, no turtles… they’re not there… all those beautiful creatures, they’re just all gone… We’d seen a whale, round about probably 1,000 miles [off] Japan, just lying on the surface with like a big tumor… just behind its head… it looked like it was going to die… it didn’t try to get away, it didn’t flap its tail, it didn’t do anything… It had such a profound effect on me… Just talking about it makes me feel like I want to cry.”

“A record 2,250 sea lions, mostly pups, have washed up starving and stranded in Southern California, a 20-fold increase in the level of strandings averaged for the same three-month period over the past decade, and twice the number documented in 2013, the previous worst winter season recorded for Southern California sea lions.” Natural News, April 22, 2015

A 1,000 Mile Stretch Of The Pacific Ocean Has Heated Up Several Degrees And Scientists Don’t Know Why, April 13, 2015, Michael Snyder

“According to two University of Washington scientific research papers that were recently released, a 1,000 mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean has warmed up by several degrees, and nobody seems to know why this is happening. This giant “blob” of warm water was first observed in late 2013, and it is playing havoc with our climate. And since this giant “blob” first showed up, fish and other sea creatures have been dying in absolutely massive numbers. So could there be a connection? And what is going to happen if the Pacific Ocean continues to warm up? Could we potentially be facing the greatest holocaust of sea life in the Pacific that anyone has ever observed? If so, what would that mean for the food chain and for our food supply?…

“Meanwhile, while this has been going on, scientists have also been noticing that sea creatures in the Pacific have been dying in record numbers. In fact, last summer I wrote an article entitled “Why are massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast right now?” Since then, things have continued to get even worse. For instance, it was recently reported that the number of sea lions washing up on Southern California beaches is at an all-time record high…

“A record 2,250 sea lions, mostly pups, have washed up starving and stranded on Southern California beaches so far this year, a worsening phenomenon blamed on warming seas in the region that have disrupted the marine mammals’ food supply. “The latest tally, reported on Monday by the National Marine Fisheries Service, is 20 times the level of strandings averaged for the same three-month period over the past decade and twice the number documented in 2013, the previous worst winter season recorded for Southern California sea lions. “And of course fish are being deeply affected as well. Sardines have declined to their lowest level in six decades, and National Geographic says that a whole host of tiny fish species at the bottom of the food chain are dying off rapidly.”

Radiation Expert: Enormous amount of contamination flowing from Fukushima will probably imperil entire Pacific Ocean — Threatens other countries, food chain — Absolutely can reach U.S. and Canadian shores, August 12 2013: Title: Fukushima Radiation Leakage Still Going on / Source: CCTV (China Central Television of Beijing)

“Anand Naidoo, CCTV anchor: From what we know about what is going on at the plant right now, is this going to get worse?

“Dr. Janette Sherman, radiation expert: I hate say this, but yes I think it will. And my concern is the enormous amount of radioactive material flowing with the water into the Pacific Ocean. And we know that the ocean flows northward along Alaska and down the coast of Canada and the United States. And I think it probably will imperil the entire Pacific Ocean, and the the sea life that’s in it.

“Naidoo: What you’re saying here is that this water can actually reach other shores, can reach other countries as well?

“Sherman: Oh absolutely, we already know that.

“Naidoo: The radioactive content in this water — does it dissipate, or does it just stay in the water all the time?

“Sherman: Well both cesium and strontium have a half-life about thirty years. It takes 10 half-lives for each of these isotopes to decay down to nothing. We contaminate the plankton, and that’s eaten by shrimp and oysters and fish and mammals. And as most of these move up the food chain they get concentrated. Particularly strontium-90 gets concentrated in the bones.”

Leading Scientist On Fukushima Radiation Hitting West Coast of North America: “No One Is Measuring So Therefore We Should Be Alarmed”, January 26, 2014
TEPCO Concedes Failure of Fukushima Ice Wall, August 20, 2014: “TEPCO administrators said Tuesday that although they had injected more than 400 tons of ice and dry ice to freeze radioactive water in this section of the Fukushima ice wall, the temperature did not fall low enough and the strategy did not work.”
NBC: Sea creatures swarming ashore from San Diego to San Francisco, June 19, 2015
CBS: Millions of dead blanketing miles of coastline, “…like a red carpet… 12-16 inches thick… never seen anything like this” — ABC: We wonder if they’re sick, or it’s something in ocean? Scientists don’t have an explanation.
“NBC (Weather Channel) transcript, Jun 16, 2015 (emphasis added): “From San Diego to San Francisco, creatures from the sea are swarming ashore… large slugs are showing up on Bay Area beaches… In the San Diego area, local beaches have taken on a reddish tint… crabs have washed ashore.”
“NBC (Weather Channel), Jun 16, 2015: A pair of bizarre invasions have left California beachgoers perplexed… Large purple blobs… known as sea hares [and] hundreds of miles to the south… tuna crabs washed ashore.

ABC News transcript, Jun 16, 2015: “Like something from a science fiction movie, the invasion of the purple blob… [Experts] tell us it’s unusual to see these slugs show up [over] an extended period of time. Morgan Dill: “We’ve been seeing them wash up since September, going all through winter, and now even more in spring. Perhaps it’s because of the warmer water?”… The slugs are among the creatures that have been mysteriously showing up on land. A number of whales have been beached in the area recently.”

CBS News, Jun 17, 2015:” Millions of red tuna crabs invade California… overwhelming beaches in Orange County… Ben Tracy says these crabs are trying to tell us something… crabs are so thick in places… “It looked like a red carpet — a good foot-to-16 inches thick. It kinda took me back, [I’ve never seen anything like this before].” CBS LA, Jun 16, 2015: “Countless red tuna crabs have washed ashore… covering the Orange County coastline… conditions few [fisherman] have seen in their lifetimes.”

10 giant whales found dead in Pacific off US coast — Victims of ‘mysterious affliction’ — Mass die-off of walruses and seabirds reported nearby — Experts: “Something out of the ordinary is happening” — “Really perplexing… We’re at a loss… Maybe whales ran into a toxin”.

Kodiak Daily Mirror, Jun 19, 2015: “At least nine fin whales have been found floating dead… the exact numbers are still unknown… Daily Mirror columnist Zoya Saltonstall also photographed a dead fin whale at the mouth of Afognak Bay around the last week of May. She said she was told that a “very young fin whale calf” was also found dead, floating nearby. “There were long black and white stripes along the whale’s body and it was bloated and swollen,” she said.

Prof. Kate Wynne, Univ. of Alaska marine mammal specialist: “It is an unusual and mysterious event… We rarely see more than one fin whale carcass every couple of years… It is really perplexing… They appear to have all died around the same time… We are asking people to watch for, report and photograph dead birds, fish or anything that seems unusual… So far there is no ‘smoking gun’ in this environmental mystery.”

Wynne: “The fact that the carcass are intact, it rules out killer whale predation — but other than that, we’re at a loss… It suggests that there’s something, maybe a feeding group of fin whales ran into a toxin or bio-toxin. It is hard to trace a source when dealing only with evidence in the aftermath.”

Deborah Mercy, communications coordinator at the University of Alaska Fairbanks: “They don’t know exactly how many (whales have died). It’s a big mystery.” Bree Witteveen, UAF Sea Grant marine mammal specialist: “It is enough to raise a concern that something unusual, something out of the ordinary is happening.” Andrea Medeiros, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “You don’t usually see large mortality events in that area… I don’t know if there’s a connection or not [between all the bird, walrus, and whale deaths].”

Mass death of seabirds in Western U.S. is ‘unprecedented’ – unexplained changes within ocean to blame, May 19, 2015

OCEAN HEALTH – “In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. Walking half a mile along the beach at Twin Harbors State Park on Wednesday, Wood spotted more than 130 carcasses of juvenile Cassin’s auklets—the blue-footed, palm-size victims of what is becoming one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded. “It was so distressing,” recalled Wood, a volunteer who patrols Pacific Northwest beaches looking for dead or stranded birds. “They were just everywhere. Every ten yards we’d find another ten bodies of these sweet little things.”

“Cassin’s auklets are tiny diving seabirds that look like puffballs. They feed on animal plankton and build their nests by burrowing in the dirt on offshore islands. Their total population, from the Baja Peninsula to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, is estimated at somewhere between 1 million and 3.5 million. Last year, beginning about Halloween, thousands of juvenile auklets started washing ashore dead from California’s Farallon Islands to Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) off central British Columbia. Since then the deaths haven’t stopped. Researchers are wondering if the die-off might spread to other birds or even fish. “This is just massive, massive, unprecedented,” said Julia Parrish, a University of Washington seabird ecologist who oversees the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that has tracked West Coast seabird deaths for almost 20 years.”

Unprecedented emergency statewide fishing closures enacted in Pacific Northwest — “We’ve never had to do anything like this” — “Very alarming” mass die-offs linked to disease outbreak — Nearly 100% infection rate in some areas — Rotting gills, distended bellies

– KTVZ, Jul 16, 2015: Restricting fishing in Oregon streams and rivers for the first time ever… Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife announced it’s taking drastic measures… they’ve never had to do this before… ODFW: “We’re starting to see fish kills in more places than we typically do. This is a pretty extreme set of conditions.”
– Statesman Journal, Jul 16, 2015: “[ODFW is taking] an unprecedented step… The move comes on the heels of multiple fish die-offs… “We’ve never had to do anything like this before — we’re in new territory,” said [ODFW’s] Bruce McIntosh.”
– Mail Tribune (Oregon), Jul 16, 2015: Emergency fishing closures go statewide
– Spokesman Review, Jul 17, 2015: “Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials are enacting fishing restrictions involving 38 rivers… emergency rules take effect on Saturday.”
– AP, Jul 9, 2015: “Fisheries biologist Rod French said [dead salmon] appeared to have been infected with a gill rot disease”

The Oregonian, Jul 10, 2015: “Scores of dead salmon are washing ashore… mortality rates are rapidly rising for juvenile fish near John Day Dam… [French] said it appears the fish are dying from a bacterial infection… “It’s very alarming that we’re seeing them this early,” he said… [Paul Wagner, NOAA fisheries biologist] called it a head scratcher. The die-offs seem to be associated with disease, he said.”

Siskiyou Daily (Calif.), May 19, 2015: “Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team has raised its level of alert… due to an increased detection of a deadly disease…. Chinook salmon tested in two reaches of the Klamath River… reached a 100-percent prevalence of infection [for] one of the deadliest salmon diseases… [Juveniles] have been found with… distended bellies, pale-colored gill and gill erosion… [N]ear the Scott and Klamath rivers confluence… 86 out of 120 showing distended bellies and 87 out of 114 showing pale gills…”

OPB, Jun 9, 2015: “More than half of the 3-inch long Chinook in the [Klamath River] trap are either dead or showing signs of a serious parasitic infection… nearly 100 percent of Chinook caught in this fish trap in early May were infected.”

KATU (Portland), Jul 10, 2015: “Salmon and trout, even sturgeon, are dying like never before… on the Deschutes, Santiam, Mackenzie, Clackamas, and other rivers.”
KGW (Portland), Jul 7, 2015: “It just seems like it’s getting worse… the issue certainly hasn’t improved since we reported on it 2 weeks ago… Chinook salmon, even some sturgeon, continue to wash up… Several fishermen I spoke with down here today, well they’re worried… Pretty much everywhere you look… dead fish… Starting last month, Chinook salmon began washing up… far short of their spawning grounds… It’s all the talk among local fisherman, “I’ve lived here about 25 years, and I’m an avid fishermen. I’ve never seen any fish like this on the bank as much as I’ve seen this year.”

KOIN (Portland), Jun 19, 2015: “Is this a really big concern right now? Very much so… “I’ve never seen it like that before“… The Chinook are on their way back from the ocean… Fishermen are coming up empty and are worried.”

I lived in California 40 years. Through earthquakes and droughts. Scientists are saying all this could be because of the big drought in California, others are saying warming water in the Pacific Ocean. Can’t be Fukushima, oh, no.

Sickened by service: More US sailors claim cancer from helping at Fukushima, December 20, 2013, FOX News

“When the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Navy sailors including Quartermaster Maurice Enis gladly pitched in with rescue efforts. But months later, while still serving aboard the aircraft carrier, he began to notice strange lumps all over his body. Testing revealed he’d been poisoned with radiation, and his illness would get worse. And his fiancé and fellow Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym, who also spent several months helping near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, also began to develop frightening symptoms, including chronic bronchitis and hemorrhaging.

“They and 49 other U.S. Navy members who served aboard the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex now trace illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors to the time spent aboard the massive ship, whose desalination system pulled in seawater that was used for drinking, cooking and bathing. In a lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plaintiffs claim the power company delayed telling the U.S. Navy the tsunami had caused a nuclear meltdown, sending huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and, ultimately, into the ship’s water system.”

As of July 21, 2015, three sailors have died. In an interview with the attorney presenting 250+ sailors, Charles Bonner says: “We had one of the sailors who came home and impregnated his wife. They gave birth to a little baby born with brain cancer and cancer down the spine, lived for two years, and just died in March of this year.”

A heartbreaking Interview – do Americans care? ‘Our’ government does not I can assure you.

Navy Sailor after Fukushima: I’m in a wheelchair, now it’s spreading to my arms and hands, January 17, 2014

Of course they were lied to; they were told it was safe and sailors are now dead. It wasn’t safe and now our sailors along with all those poor souls over there in Japan who have been suffering and will for decades just to keep the true extent of that disaster from the world. You can watch the interview with Bonner here: USS Reagan Sailors Sue for Nuclear Justice

TEPCO and the government over there are still the blind leading the blind: No more half-baked plans for decommissioning Fukushima reactors, June 17, 2015

“Although nobody knew the amount or exact location of melted fuel in the reactors, the old road map indicated the “flooding method” of removal, meaning the containment vessels of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors were to be filled with water. This method is similar to the usual removal method. But probing the conditions of the containment vessels by various means revealed the difficulties of stopping the water leakage and problems regarding earthquake-proofing. It is only natural that the new road map proposes to reject the flooding method for the time being and study other removal methods over the next two years. What we do not understand is why the government and TEPCO continued to reject the recommendation of outside experts to study the matter more broadly.

“Last month, TEPCO announced the “completion” of processing a massive amount of highly contaminated water that had collected in clusters of storage tanks. But work is still continuing on separating radioactive substances from about 300 tons of highly contaminated water, which is generated every day. Any water still contaminated by unremoved tritium continues to remain in the tanks.”

Over four years into that disaster and still no one over there seems to know what they’re doing. All that contaminated water sitting in an earthquake zone. Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan lines on what’s known as the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. Good place to build a nuclear power plant where 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur in that region. On October 15, 2015, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit Fukushima. Wait until another 9.0 hits. It will.

WUS 2015 Impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident: 4 years later. Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, World Uranium Symposium, April 2015 (21:15 in): “[Chernobyl’s] core never hit groundwater, that core stayed in the building and remained dry. We have 3 nuclear cores in contact with groundwater.”

In May 2015, the UN says TEPCO might have to dump all that contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. My God, it’s nothing but unchecked insanity! Where the hell is the U.S. government?

West Coast of North America to be Slammed by 2016 with 80% As Much Fukushima Radiation As Japan, June 10, 2015. “A professor from Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (Michio Aoyama) told Kyodo in April that the West Coast of North America will be hit with around 800 terabecquerels of Cesium- 137 by 2016. EneNews notes that this is 80% of the cesium-137 deposited in Japan by Fukushima, according to the company which runs Fukushima, Tepco…And we’ve noted for years that there is no real testing of Fukushima radiation by any government agency.”

What’s being done over here in the U.S.? The California Coastal Commission is involved in clean up for which the Japanese government and TEPCO should foot all the bills for cleaning up Fukushima debris where ever it’s found. Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, you name it, tons and tons of debris has washed up so far. Tragically, it appears the worst predictions are underway:

“Mind-blowing” die off of seabirds underway from California to Alaska — Experts: “This is unprecedented… Worst I’ve ever seen… Why they’re dying, I’m still baffled” — “Every bird we’re seeing is starving to death… Basically withering away” — “Catastrophic molting” due to unknown cause – a small sampling.

“San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 15, 2015 (emphasis added): [T]housands of common murres… have been found dead… “all signs point to starvation from a lack of forage fish,” [Marine ecologist Kirsten Lindquist] said, adding that the same problem has been documented along the Oregon, Washington and Alaska coastlines… many endemic marine birds and mammals are suffering.

“International Bird Rescue, Sep 22, 2015: An unprecedented number of exhausted, hungry seabirds continue to flood International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center… The sight of so many starving seabirds has raised red flags among seabird scientists…

“Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sep 25, 2015: A troubling number of starved and weak seabirds are washing ashore on beaches from the Monterey Bay to Alaska… “There’s been die-offs in the past, but this is one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen,” said Lupin Egan, an animal technician… “it’s been really crazy,” said spokesman Russ Curtis. “They’re really sick — just feather and bone.”… “At Waddell and Greyhound (Rock) beaches, I saw the most murres I’ve ever seen in 10 years,” said Cori Gibble, seabird health coordinator with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center in Santa Cruz. “You see them on the tide line. They’re kind of strewn all over the beaches… It’s been a really strange year“…

“ABC San Francisco, Sep 22, 2015: The number of birds being delivered to the rescue center daily is the number that usually comes over the entirety of a month, center officials said. “The sheer number of birds we’re seeing is pretty mind-blowing“… Curtis said. “This is unprecedented. Sometimes we get spikes and it dissipates. But it has not stopped.”

“Sacramento Bee, Sep 24, 2015: Rescue center overwhelmed with starving seabirds… Fairfield rescue center has seen 25 times more common murres than normal… Across Northern California… malnourished seabirds have been appearing in alarming numbers, some shrunken to little more than feather and bone… The murres’ presence is significant to scientists because they’re considered a marker species, whose movements and numbers signal changes in the ocean’s food supply… “Our gut tells us there is something going on in the marine environment.”… Some of the birds that are being brought into the center are showing symptoms of catastrophic molting, where large patches of their bodies are missing feathers, said Kelly Berry, wildlife manager with the center. The cause is unknown…

“Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sep 2, 2015: A huge influx of weak, starving seabirds have been overwhelming a Fairfield bird rescue center… “They’re like the canaries in the coal mines,” Curtis said… “the first ones to tell us if… there’s something wrong with our environment.”

“KTVU, Sep 25 2015: Up and down the West Coast, thousands of starving sea birds are washing up… [The murres] resemble penguins, but can fly… “They are washing up extremely skinny… They’re starving to death,” lead rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano told KTVU… “they’re basically withering away“… More heron and egret hatchlings have needed care this summer as well.”

To even suggest this might be from Fukushima is to invite being called a conspiracy nut. This is also very telling and should concern everyone, October 3, 2015: Unpublished gov’t map shows massive plume of Fukushima radioactive material just off West Coast of North America.

I have no doubt some testing is going on at universities up and down the Pacific Coast. Private organizations are doing what the U.S. government should be doing: “The release of radioactive contaminants from Fukushima remains an unprecedented event for the people of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Help scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reveal the ongoing spread of radiation across the Pacific and its evolving impacts on the ocean.”

According to the State of Alaska’s Environmental Health: “The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the lead agency on food safety. Both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and domestic food products, including U.S. seafood, have been tested. FDA has found no evidence that radionuclides of health concern from the Japanese nuclear power plant disaster are present in the U.S. food supply.” Really?

According the much of the mainstream press, radiation from Fukushima has shown up in Canada and the Pacific Ocean but the levels are so low, you shouldn’t worry about it. Nothing to see, move on. Really?

“Millions of salmon mysteriously just disappear” off West Coast — Expert: “Literally within 2 days it disappeared, it just crashed… I have never ever seen, nor can I explain” that — “One of the worst seasons ever” — “Disturbing… Serious trouble… Very dramatic”, November 4, 2015, Enenews

Toxic Algal Bloom Spurred by Pacific ‘Warm Blob’ Wreaks Havoc for West Coast Crab Fishermen, November 24, 2015

“A record-setting toxic algal bloom off the West Coast of North America, that has impacted marine life and fisheries since the spring, has delayed the start of California’s commercial Dungeness crab season. On Nov. 3, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advised consumers not to eat Dungeness and Rock crabs that were caught in waters between the Oregon border and the southern Santa Barbara County line after dangerous levels of toxins produced by the algae were discovered in the shellfish. “Recent test results have shown persistently high levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and Rock crab, which have been caught along the California coastline. The levels have exceeded the state’s action level for the crabs’ body meat as well as the viscera, commonly referred to as crab butter, and therefore pose a significant risk to the public if they are consumed,” the CDPH said.

It’s also spread to Washington. That article also goes on to say: “The size and duration of the bloom, which extends from Alaska to Southern California, has been attributed to the ‘warm blob’ in the Pacific, where water temperatures have been above normal. Algal blooms along the West coast are not uncommon, but they typically have dissipated by the time the Dungeness season starts.”

Blame it on anything but Fukushima. My heart breaks for our fishing families, which I have always supported. A lot of people have read the truth about Fukushima and will not eat any fish coming out of the Pacific even as far away as Alaska. They just don’t feel it’s safe. Here and there I can find wild Atlantic salmon; I NEVER eat farm raised fish.

Our oceans provide us with so many wonderful things besides beautiful mammals, heavenly beaches and delicious fish of all kinds for consumption. Many native American tribes depend on fish like salmon as a food staple. Our oceans also provide critical plant life. Too many do not appreciate the importance of all sea life. TEPCO and the Japanese government are guilty of a monstrous crime against humanity and still they haven’t taken responsibility.

Thousands of sea pups, sea lions, countless whales are starving to death as I write this. What they eat is contaminated and disappearing so those mammals are starving to death. But, oh, no, it’s not Fukushima. Every scientist with a resume two miles long is wrong. It’s only government mouthpieces and lawyers for TEPCO and Japanese government officials are right. Same damn thing as ‘smart’ meters only this time it’s killing an entire ocean.

How do you clean up an ocean? For the love of God, remember this link above? West Coast of North America to be Slammed by 2016 with 80% As Much Fukushima Radiation As Japan, June 10, 2015. More is coming our way. I was out at Monterey Bay two years ago and interviewed fishermen there and in San Diego; mostly crabbers.

Most had never heard of Fukushima or didn’t remember such a monstrous event. Some laughed at me when I told them what was underway and some time in the near future would affect their crab hauls. As I stood there watching those guys it was kind of sad they didn’t seem interested in something that was going to hurt them down the line. I doubt they are laughing now. That means all those fishing families who catch dungeness crab are suffering bad because their season is pretty much dead.

How about all the other fish like salmon, abalone, cod and more that come out of the Pacific? Hundreds, if not thousands of restaurants all up and down the West coast from San Diego to British Columbia are going to feel this financially in a bad way.

This is a VERY important article; the photos are horrible: Catastrophic Pacific Ocean Die-Off, The US Military’s All Out Assault On The Web Of Life, November 19, 2015

“Many have heard about some of the die-offs occurring in our oceans, but most have no understanding of how catastrophic the actual reality is.Fukushima is where all the fingers point as the source of the carnage along the coast, but there is much more to the story. Those who control the US military have virtually no regard for any of the destruction they are wreaking on the entire web of life, including marine life. The US Navy has long since been using live depleted uranium ammunition and devastating sonar devices along the Pacific coast (the US Navy is now also waging electromagnetic warfare along our forests and our coasts). The US (and other nations) have also routinely dumped nuclear waste into our oceans. The excerpt (shown below) from the US Navy’s “Environmental Impact Statement ” is beyond shocking. Their position is this, if there are no studies to prove the harm they are causing, then no harm was caused.”

I want you to go to Rense.com and look at the big photo. It speaks for itself. In Canada, blow the whistle and they arrest you. If you scroll down the right side of the page you’ll see an entire section on nothing but Fukushima. Jeff has been out there from the beginning keeping this deadly issue at the forefront.

This is nothing to smirk at and it’s certainly not some ‘flaky’ issue cooked up by conspiracy nuts. There’s been a conspiracy all right and it’s to keep the American people in the dark. Out of sight, out of mind might seem like a good idea, but a lot of suffering has been going on since that earthquake. As scientists have said, Fukushima is unprecedented. Only a fool or someone who benefits from keeping the truth from the American people would have the audacity at this point to say all of this is not a result of Fukushima.

As I ask earlier: How do you clean up an ocean? What about all those mammals starving to death and not reproducing, all the dead fish?

I don’t have the answer to the first question, but the best minds in this country should be brought together with both federal and western states officials and come up with whatever plans they think can help stop or minimize the destruction and demand TEPCO and the Japanese government not only foot the bill but STOP ANY MORE LEAKAGE OR DUMPING OF RADIATION INTO THE OCEAN NOW BECAUSE IT’S KILLING THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

As for question two above, sea pups, sea lions, dolphins, whales and more will continue to starve to death while no one does a damn thing. PLEASE raise your voice next week to the idiot who represents you in Congress about the killing of the Pacific Ocean AND our military using depleted uranium! INSANE. There’s a long list of individuals who should be thrown in prison never to see the light of day again.

Don’t forget to call or fax governors of Washington, Oregon and California as well as your state legislatures. Emails really don’t go any good because all you get is a form response; “I’ll look into it” BS. A phone call, snail mail or fax is something that will sit on their desks.

Important- Want to drink that water? That plant is due to go on line mid-December 2015.

Desalinization Plants in California & Fukushima

[Just a short note about 9/11. The cost of America’s undeclared “war” (invasion) in Afghanistan has now reached $1 trillion borrowed dollars – massive debt heaped on us all based on what happened on 9/11. Regular readers of my column know I continue to press for the truth about the events of 9/11. Military grade nanothermite is not a conspiracy theory. It was found and tested from the rubble at the twin towers. A new, powerful film has been released: The Anatomy of a Great Deception. For full disclosure I receive no compensation, but I want you to get a copy (or a few) and share it with others or give a copy as a present. I’ve purchased half a dozen copies and given them to individuals I believe seek the truth. It’s very powerful simply because it’s one ‘ordinary’ man’s story who ask a simple question that led him to a not so simple journey. There is factual information in this film that many have never heard about but everyone should. Just a suggestion, order more than one and give one to a friend. Also, must see video on the dangers of Smart Meeters on your home, titled: Take Back Your Power.]

DeKalb County Halts Corruption Investigation!

As DeKalb investigators turned up the heat, top officials resisted

Posted: 4:40 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015

By Alan JuddMark Niesse and Johnny Edwards – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mike Bowers glared into the television cameras, cast again in a familiar role: Georgia’s preeminent corruption-buster.

“We’re going to root out conflicts of interest, corruption, malfeasance and misfeasance,” Bowers said, his index finger wagging, “so help me God.”

Thus began an investigation of unprecedented scope into alleged corruption in DeKalb County, the state’s fourth most-populous county and, arguably, its leading producer of government fraud, waste and graft. Bowers, a former state attorney general, and investigator Richard Hyde would have broad authority to identify DeKalb’s miscreants and bring them to justice.

But their efforts were repeatedly undermined by top county officials, some of whom had come under scrutiny themselves, an examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. The officials declared some targets off limits, refused to answer questions or provide documents, called in other investigators to supplant Bowers and Hyde, and finally cut the investigation out of the county budget.

Now, after a contentious week in which the investigators described DeKalb as “rotten to the core” and county officials accused Bowers and Hyde of padding their bills through an unending inquisition, the investigation seems on the verge of a spectacular implosion. Lee May, the county’s interim CEO, ordered a final report by Aug. 26 — and nothing else. May hired the investigators in March but soon came under suspicion over a check written to him by a county vendor.

Bowers and Hyde came to this investigation after helping expose the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, the largest in U.S. history. In DeKalb, though, they encountered immutable resistance and hostility, even as officials promised to fracture the county’s culture of corruption.

A simmering mutual distrust erupted Tuesday. Bowers went to a county commission meeting, intending to present an update on the investigation. But he quickly left, obviously angry, when he learned he wouldn’t be allowed to speak. Bowers’ presentation would have overshadowed a vote on a high-profile project: incentives worth $12 million for billionaire Arthur Blank’s organization to build a practice complex for Atlanta’s new Major League Soccer team.

A day later, Bowers and Hyde sent May a 2 1/2-page letter that broadly described their findings so far: runaway spending on items “from petty to the absurd,” an alleged bribery scheme, a cover-up of the theft of county property. They labeled the letter “investigative update,” but it read more like an indictment.

“We have been around government employees and elected officials for over 40 years,” they wrote. “We have investigated and prosecuted public officials and others, often at the highest levels of government in our state. The DeKalb County government we have found is rotten to the core. The misconduct starts at the top and has infected nearly every department we have looked at.”

May responded with a letter blasting the investigators’ “tone” and challenging their veracity, saying they had unleashed “generalized personal attacks on the entire county workforce.” If their final report follows the same theme, he said, Bowers’ law firm, Balch & Bingham, will bear “legal responsibility for all of your actions.”

By the end of the week, Bowers and Hyde were not speaking publicly. Through a spokeswoman, May declined to be interviewed.

County commissioners complained in interviews of investigation-fatigue. Years of corruption prosecutions have landed several officials, most notably CEOBurrell Ellis and former CommissionerElaine Boyer, in prison. Four separate entities – the special investigators, the FBI, the district attorney’s office and the county’s Board of Ethics – had open inquiries. Several commissioners applauded May’s effort to rein in Bowers and Hyde.

But Commissioner Nancy Jester, who represents north DeKalb, said May created the monster he now wants to slay.

“What did he think was going to happen when he said, ‘Investigate us from top to bottom?’” Jester said. “I think the investigation is too close to something, something that he’s uncomfortable with.”

‘No prisoners’

A brief history of scandal in DeKalb County in the 21st century:

A newly elected sheriff was assassinated in 2000, on orders of the corrupt incumbent he had unseated.

A kickbacks-for-contracts scheme flourished, according to a grand jury, while Vernon Jones was the county’s CEO from 2001 through 2008.

In 2013, a school-construction scandal ended with a guilty plea from a former school superintendent, Crawford Lewis, and prison terms for his chief operating officer and her former husband.

And so far this year, both Boyer and Ellis have entered prison, the FBI has continued looking into payoffs, and county prosecutors have pored over a grand jury report outlining corruption schemes big and small.

It was in this image-tainting environment that May, appointed interim CEO after Ellis’ indictment in 2013, decided to authorize anindependent investigation. Appearing at a news conference with Bowers on March 18, he seemed to fully appreciate the upheaval that could result.

“He’s a man that takes no prisoners and will do what it takes to preserve the public’s confidence and integrity in our government,” May said.

He added: “I think Mike could throw me in jail if he thinks I’m doing something wrong. This administration is willing to take on an endeavor that could possibly go even to my office, and I’m fine with that.”

In fact, the investigators soon began looking into allegations involving May.

The Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported that May received a $4,000 check from a company the county hired to clean up damage from a sewer-line backup at his home. Five months later, the county awarded the company a $300,000 contract. May has said he never received the check or its proceeds.

But on April 15, according to documents obtained by the Journal-Constitution and Channel 2, an investigator met with a source “regarding knowledge of construction and restoration services … relating to a flood at the home of Lee May.”

Twelve days later, Hyde also interviewed a witness about the same work, the documents indicate. It is not clear whether both interviews were with the same person.

By the end of April, the documents show, the investigators had gathered information from at least 12 confidential informants. This led them to examine several large county contracts, including ones for mobile communications, for garbage receptacles provided to residences, and for the purchase of motor vehicles. The investigators showed special interest in three county agencies: the sanitation, watershed and fleet management departments.

They also began investigating allegations of a bribe paid to a specific county official, identified in documents only as “#5.”

Within weeks, according to bills submitted to the county, the investigators compiled an astonishing amount of documentation. By April 20, material provided by 10 confidential informants filled three binders, each with 1,200 pages.

As eager as whistleblowers were to talk, though, high-ranking DeKalb officials wanted nothing to do with the investigation.

‘We’re not hiding’

On July 28, Bowers had a letter hand-delivered to Robert James, DeKalb’s district attorney. It was a request under Georgia’s Open Records Act to obtain public documents showing how James and 12 of his current or former employees had used their county-issued purchasing cards. The request – one that any citizen could make – seemed straightforward. But not to James.

The district attorney already viewed the special investigators’ work as a waste of taxpayers’ money – especially when his Public Integrity Unit needed more funding to clear a backlog of corruption cases. Two years ago, a special grand jury recommended criminal investigations of a dozen officials and contractors; so far, James’ office has tried only Ellis.

So James balked. He didn’t make the requested documents available within three days, as state law requires, and did not communicate with Bowers. Instead, he complained directly to May.

In interviews last week, James said the CEO told him he didn’t have to comply with Bowers’ request because May’s executive order authorizing the investigation did not cover the district attorney’s office. May followed up with a letter on July 31.

“Dear Robert,” it began. “I would like to sincerely apologize for the recent letter you received from the special investigators regarding the open records request. I will be reaching out to the special investigators to inform them that this action is beyond the scope of the executive order.”

While the executive order didn’t specify the district attorney’s office for investigation, it didn’t exclude it, either. And it was Bowers, not May, who requested the documents. Bowers and Hyde told the county commission last week that department heads who ignored open records requests “today are in violation of state law.”

James bristled at that suggestion.

“Mr. Bowers works for the CEO’s office, correct?” he said Friday. “And Mr. Bowers is asking on behalf of the CEO’s office, correct? … Mr. Bowers is the agent of the CEO’s office. When the person that has the authority tells us that he is rescinding the order, and then he sends out a letter saying it’s beyond the scope, I haven’t violated any laws.”

For the sake of what he called “transparency,” James sent the material Bowers requested to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation – which had not asked for the documents and apparently was not looking into DeKalb’s county government.

“If I’m going to give that information over, I’m going to give it over to the appropriate authorities and not a paid consultant,” James said. “We’re not hiding anything. I’m just not going to participate in an investigation I don’t agree with.”

The GBI has opened a preliminary inquiry at James’ request, said Sherry Lang, a spokeswoman for the agency.

So now five investigations are underway.

Picayune focus

When they began work in DeKalb, Bowers and Hyde were fresh off their house-cleaning investigation of the Atlanta schools. Their work in Atlanta provided a foundation for a criminal case that ended with guilty verdicts for 11 former educators and guilty pleas from 21 others.

But in Atlanta, they had subpoena power to compel witnesses to give statements under oath. They had dozens of GBI agents at their disposal to interview teachers and principals across the city. And they had an unwavering commitment from the man who commissioned their inquiry: then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In DeKalb, May set the parameters for their work. That created complications the investigators would have faced in Atlanta only if they had been appointed by the school superintendent, Beverly Hall, who was later charged with racketeering for her role in the cheating scandal.

“Lee wanted to sort of make it feel like what happened at APS, because that was the beginning of the cleanup at APS,” DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader of west-central DeKalb said. “But the circumstances are different and, moreover, Lee was apparently exerting some discretionary authority over what (Bowers) was investigating. That’s not what the governor did.”

So even though Bowers and Hyde made what seemed to be a pointed reference to May in their letter to the commission – “the misconduct starts at the top” – the CEO and his allies focused on the more picayune misdeeds the investigators cited.

The letter said officials used purchasing cards to buy a Christmas tree, to pay an entertainer, to cover a cruise to the Bahamas. But May and commissioners shot back with explanations: the tree may have been a lobby decoration for a county building, the entertainer performed at an official gathering, the cruise was a customer-service award for a county employee.

“I would have expected more professionalism,” Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson of southeast DeKalb said of the investigators’ letter. “If there’s any wrongdoing (Bowers has) found, I’d like to see it in the report and given to the appropriate authorities. But to indict an entire county as rotten to the core, I feel that’s a little irresponsible.”

Complaints also mounted about the investigation’s cost. Through June, Bowers’ law firm had charged the county $673,504, based on hourly rates as high as $400.

So far, the county has paid less than half the firm’s bill – a fact that May suggested could have motivated the investigators’ inflammatory letter to the commission.

But Viola Davis, a citizen watchdog who leads the DeKalb Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter group, said she had received tips from county employees about matters similar to those cited in the investigators’ letter.

“To tell you the truth,” Davis said, “a lot of this stuff needs to be handled by the FBI, because it’s so easy to come up with excuses and try to cover it up.”


There’s No Place Like Home (sarcasm supplied, mine)

UPDATES: Arrests Made Following SWAT Standoff in Stone Mountain: Police
The standoff began when a suspect pulled a gun on police, officials told reporters.
By Justin Ove (Patch Staff)
February 27, 2015 at 1:29am

UPDATES: Arrests Made Following SWAT Standoff in Stone Mountain: Police
UPDATE (3:30 a.m.): DeKalb County police have made arrests following the end of a SWAT situation in Stone Mountain which began late Thursday night.

Police told 11 Alive News that, “they were investigating SWAT suspect when he pulled gun on them.” No officers were hurt, and crime scene tape is being deployed in the area.

FOX 5 Atlanta reports that three people have been taken into custody at the Park at Hairston complex. Police to 11 Alive News that the situation was sparked when a suspect pulled a gun on investigators. No officers were injured.

According to 11 Alive News, the standoff at the Park at Hairston complex began at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday, with SWAT units arriving some 40 minutes later. An 11 Alive photojournalist has reported seeing the robot, the tanker, and a heavy police presence in the area. It is not currently know what threat the officers are responding to.

ORIGINAL STORY (11:16 p.m.): A SWAT team has been dispatched to Stone Mountain in response to a situation developing there.
According to CBS Atlanta, the team was dispatched to a location near the intersection of South Hairston and Redan roads just before 9:30 p.m.

UPDATE (11:32 p.m.): DeKalb County SWAT personnel are at a Stone Mountain apartment complex alongside with a bomb squad robot, an armored vehicle, and other law enforcement personnel.

UPDATE (11:47 p.m.): DeKalb County police are releasing a few more details about the developing SWAT situation in Stone Mountain.

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Please stay with Patch as further developments come to light.

People Are Complaining About Voter Ids; Those People Should Try Getting a Driver’s License In Georgia!

Ya know, it’s funny…We hear people all the time bitching about Voter ID laws.  Those people that are bitching must not live in Georgia, and the states that they are in, must have relaxed laws on renewing their Driver’s Licenses. 

I had to get my Driver’s license renewed, hell, nobody bothered to tell me that it had expired about six months prior to when I found out it had expired.  James’s renewal time was up too.  Oddly, when I went to the website to apply for the renewal, there were all these rules, if’s and’s and butt’s that we would have to conform to, in order for our licenses to be renewed.  Say what?

It said:  “NOTE: If you are renewing your Georgia driver’s license for the first time since July 1, 2012 or you do not hold a Secure ID driver’s license, you must renew in person”. (http://www.dmv.org/ga-georgia/renew-license.php)

That was not even the worst of it…Check this out:

In-Person Driver License Renewal

To renew your Georgia driver’s license in person, visit your local Georgia Department of Driver Services office and:

  • Provide original or certified copies of:
    • 1 document proving your identity, such as your:
      • Valid U.S. passport.
      • U.S. birth certificate.  (They will not accept your Original Birth Certificate your parents got when you were born, they want the one after that, the one with Registration Numbers on it.  James had his original and they told him that “that is a keepsake”!  A Keepsake?  Hell, it was what the doctor filled out, the day he was born, but that ain’t good enough.  It ended up costing $50 for each of us to obtain a Certified Birth Certificate from the State, what a crock!  I was born here, and had a license for…well let’s just say, that I was not born yesterday,  I have had a license for a good many years.)
      • U.S. citizenship certificate.
    • 1 document proving your SSN, such as your:
      • Social Security card.
      • W-2 form.
      • Social Security annual statement.
    • 2 documents proving your GA residency, such as your:
      • Bank statements.
      • Utility bills.
      • Rental agreements.

    For more details, please see the complete list of accepted documents.

  • Complete an Application for Driver’s License, Permit, or Identification Card (form DDS-23S).
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the renewal fee. (See the “Fees to Renew Your Driver License in Georgia” section below.)
  • (Their little list is ridiculous!  How many hoops does one have to jump through, after having driven in a state almost forever?  I could understand, if you were 16 years old, or moved here from another state or something, but Geezzz, after having driven for lets just say more than thirty years in this state, and they want me to do what?  They not only want you to prove that you are you, but they want you to prove that you were born, where you were born, and why you were born.)

You will receive a temporary driver’s license to use until you receive your new card.

NOTE: If your legal name has changed and is different than your name on your document proving your identity when you renew, you must also provide a document proving your name change, such as a:

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Divorce decree.
  • Court order.

So, quit your whining about Voter ID violating your rights, try to come to Georgia and get a Driver’s License, you will see what a Rights violation really is!

http://enenews.com/nuclear-expert-found-plutonium-fukushima-mysterious-release-fully-understood-expected-govt-expert-dont-down-rabbit-hole-speculation-about-plutonium-speculation-about-other-fuel-video

 

Nuclear Expert: We found ‘mystery’ Fukushima plutonium; Why it’s there is yet to be understood, this was not expected — US Gov’t Expert: I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole too far… There’s speculation about plutonium fuel and about what other fuel they were using (VIDEO)

Published: September 26th, 2014 at 1:06 am ET
By ENENews

Princeton University’s Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM), presentation by Georg Steinhauser of Colorado State University, scheduled for Nov. 5, 2014 (emphasis added): Radionuclide Analysis in Environmental Research after the Fukushima Nuclear Accident — The Fukushima nuclear accident will remain in public memory as one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century…  Radionuclide monitoring is essential to understanding radioecological consequences and effects on food safety… Monitoring also is central to forensic work that may help understand the accident and its chronology. To date most of radionuclide monitoring has focused on… 137Cs, 131I, and 132Te. Relatively little work has been done on the monitoring of difficult radionuclides such as 90Sr or plutoniumthat are highly health relevant… Our analyses revealed relatively high concentrations of 90Sr; however, these activity concentrations were exceeded by 137Cs by usually 3 to 4 orders of magnitude. In two spots within the exclusion zone we could also prove environmental presence of plutonium from Fukushima. Our studies show… amounts of… plutonium have been emitted from the reactors, which was not expected for this accident scenario. Themechanisms of release of these radionuclides are not yet fully understood.

Fukushima

Scientific Reports (Nature), Dec. 2013: Since the 1940s, plutonium isotopes have been produced and released into the environment due to human nuclear activities, including… accidents of nuclear power plants [like the] Fukushima accident… Among the 20 isotopes of Pu, 239Pu and 240Pu with half-lives of 24,110 yr and 6,561 yr, respectively, are the most important ones due to their highly radiological toxicities and long-term persistence… Based on the significantly different isotopic composition of Pu related to its production and releases, the measurement of isotopic ratios and decay products of Pu in the environmental materials can be used to identify its source term and age.

US Defense Threat Reduction Agency presentation ‘Operation Tomodachi Radiological Waterborne Hazards’, 92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (at 12:00 in): At the beginning – I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole too far – this nuclear power plant, as in any radiological event, what are the radionuclides? We don’t know the inventory. We can kind of guess at it because we know what the plant has from a practiced a standard, or whatever they publish for the IAEA. But once again, for the discrete radionuclides, what is that? What are those radionuclides? That was the one part that we really had to grapple with… So we had to actually backtrack, look at the — as much as we could — the time history associated with that particular nuclear power plant. Look at what actually they were using, and the fuel rods they were using. There was speculation about plutonium. There’s speculation about what other they were using.

See also: Secret Japan nuclear bomb program covered up using nuclear power industry — Enough to build arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined

Watch DTRA’s presentation here

Published: September 26th, 2014 at 1:06 am ET
By ENENews
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234 comments

 

Related Posts

  1. A. Times: Speculation that “supercritical fission event” occurred at Fukushima reactor irradiating plutonium, says nuclear expert — Explosion so massive investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile awayMarch 9, 2012
  2. NPR: Scientists test for Fukushima plutonium being transported in Pacific — Study: Plutonium particles found to have “high environmental mobility” — Expert: Fuel materials may be flowing from plant, “What is actually contained in releases?” (AUDIO)February 12, 2014
  3. New Study: Aerosolized plutonium from Fukushima detected in Europe — Spent fuel indicatedJanuary 2, 2012
  4. Gov’t Expert: Plutonium is certainly being discharged into Pacific Ocean from Fukushima plant; Flowing out of ruptured containments — TV: Reactor water turns into ‘yellowish, fizzing liquid’ from damaged fuel rods… “It actually vibrates” (PHOTO & VIDEO)July 1, 2014
  5. Scientists: Plutonium released from Fukushima “is of radiological concern”; Reactor must be source, not spent fuel pool — Study: Plutonium found 120 km from plant; “Pu and non-natural uranium certainly increased in environment”April 21, 2014

September 26th, 2014 | Category: Audio/Video ClipsFukushima DaiichiJapan (Fukushima)Plutonium

« Newly released data shows Florida hit with highest level of radioactive material from Fukushima measured anywhere in world outside Japan — #1 out of more than 1,500 test results — Total radioactive iodine was up to 500% of amount reported

Nuclear Professor: Blast at Fukushima Reactor 3 was like “exploding vortex ring” — Ejection of nuclear fuel implies there was a “criticality excursion” and steam explosion — Black smoke may have been burning MOX and uranium (PHOTOS)

 

 

 

 

http://enenews.com/florida-highest-iodine-131-reading-ctbto-monitoring-station-

world-march-22-23-charts

« NOW: Smoke/steam rising from Fukushima, April 18 at 6:00 am (PHOTO)

Power supply to common spent fuel pool ‘stopped’ at 2:34 pm on April 17 — TEPCO ‘investigating the details of the cause’ »

Melbourne, Florida had highest iodine-131 reading of any CTBTO monitoring station in the world from March 22-23 (CHART)

Published: April 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm ET
By ENENews

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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization measurements, EURAD project via Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Cologne, April 17, 2011:  First measurements are now available from the CTBTO. …Based on these observations a new estimation of the emission rate was done and the transport calculations were updated.

 

Radionuclide Station 72 (USA Sud-Ost) in Melbourne, Florida is the light blue line with triangles:

Click chart to enlarge

Location of 72 (USA Sud-Ost):

Click map to enlarge

 

See also: EPA: Florida rain has third most Cs-134 and fifth most I-131 of 72 samples taken in US (h/t xdrfox)

 

Published: April 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm ET
By ENENews
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23 comments

Related Posts

  1. Florida had highest single day Iodine-131 concentration of any US monitoring station after FukushimaJune 7, 2012
  2. EPA: Florida rain has third most Cs-134 and fifth most I-131 of 72 samples taken in USApril 15, 2011
  3. Radioactive iodine detected by Tampa-area nuclear plant — “Iodine travels through the air very easily”March 26, 2011
  4. SURFACE forecast shows radioactive Xenon-133 lingering over Florida, Eastern Gulf (VIDEO)March 21, 2011
  5. “High concentrations” of radiation hit US and Canada — Plume was rich in Cesium-137 and “close to the surface” from Vancouver southward — See also Hawaii, Florida (MAPS)October 28, 2011

April 17th, 2011 | Tags: CTBTOFloridaJapan (Fukushima)NuclearRadiationRadionuclide StationUS | Category: Florida

« NOW: Smoke/steam rising from Fukushima, April 18 at 6:00 am (PHOTO)

Power supply to common spent fuel pool ‘stopped’ at 2:34 pm on April 17 — TEPCO ‘investigating the details of the cause

 

 

http://enenews.com/report-secret-japan-nuclear-bomb-program-covered-up-by-nuclear-power-industry-enough-to-build-arsenal-larger-than-china-india-and-pakistan-combined

 

*UPDATED* Report: Faxes show Fukushima boss Yoshida aware plants damaged by quakes, not tsunami

Needle goes above scale on alpha radiation detector in Minamisoma — Most sensitive setting (VIDEO) »

NSNS: Secret Japan nuclear bomb program covered up using nuclear power industry — Enough to build arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined

Published: April 9th, 2012 at 12:25 pm ET
By ENENews
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Title: United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium
Source: National Security News Service

Author: Joseph Trento

Date: April 9th, 2012

The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. […] the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.

[…] The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations permitted sensitive technology and nuclear materials to be transferred to Japan despite laws and treaties preventing such transfers. […]

While Japan has refrained from deploying nuclear weapons and remains under an umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, NSNS has learned that the country has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined. […]

That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Political leaders in Japan understood that the only way the Japanese people could be convinced to allow nuclear power into their lives was if a long line of governments and industry hid any military application. For that reason, a succession of Japanese governments colluded on a bomb program disguised as innocent energy and civil space programs. […]

Read the report here

Published: April 9th, 2012 at 12:25 pm ET
By ENENews
Email Article
70 comments

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  1. Mainichi: Japan’s secret promise with U.S. to burn plutonium — “It is abnormal for sure” — “Expected to stir up controversy”July 2, 2013
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  3. Mainichi reveals “Secret” at Japan nuke plant — Country has ‘latent’ possession of nuclear weaponsOctober 29, 2011
  4. ‘Spine chilling’ thought of an uninhabitable Tokyo pushed former Prime Minister to say no to nuclear power — Secret report will add to suspicions that gov’t still downplaying impact of Fukushima radiationJanuary 26, 2012
  5. “Complete Information Control”: Japan newspapers receive much frightening info that’s covered up — Some evacuees died from acute symptoms yet not reported — Journalists scaredAugust 16, 2012

April 9th, 2012 | Category: Coverups?Japan (Fukushima)

« *UPDATED* Report: Faxes show Fukushima boss Yoshida aware plants damaged by quakes, not tsunami

 

 

 

http://www.dcbureau.org/201204097128/national-security-news-service/united-states-circumvented-laws-to-help-japan-accumulate-tons-of-plutonium.html

 

United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium

By Joseph Trento, on April 9th, 2012

National Security News Service | 20 comments

Monju Nuclear Power Plant

The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.

President Reagan and Vice President Bush

The diversion of U.S. classified technology began during the Reagan administration after it allowed a $10 billion reactor sale to China. Japan protested that sensitive technology was being sold to a potential nuclear adversary. The Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations permitted sensitive technology and nuclear materials to be transferred to Japan despite laws and treaties preventing such transfers. Highly sensitive technology on plutonium separation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Hanford nuclear weapons complex, as well as tens of billions of dollars worth of breeder reactor research was turned over to Japan with almost no safeguards against proliferation. Japanese scientist and technicians were given access to both Hanford and Savannah River as part of the transfer process.

While Japan has refrained from deploying nuclear weapons and remains under an umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, NSNS has learned that the country has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined.   This deliberate proliferation by the United States fuels arguments by countries like Iran that the original nuclear powers engage in proliferation despite treaty and internal legal obligations. Russia, France, Great Britain as well as the United States created civilian nuclear power industries around the world from their weapons complexes that amount to government-owned or subsidized industries. Israel, like Japan, has been a major beneficiary and, like Japan, has had nuclear weapons capabilities since the 1960s.

A year ago a natural disaster combined with a man-made tragedy decimated Northern Japan and came close to making Tokyo, a city of 30 million people, uninhabitable. Nuclear tragedies plague Japan’s modern history. It is the only nation in the world attacked with nuclear weapons. In March 2011, after a tsunami swept on shore, hydrogen explosions and the subsequent meltdowns of three reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant spewed radiation across the region. Like the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan will face the aftermath for generations. A twelve-mile area around the site is considered uninhabitable. It is a national sacrifice zone.

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

How Japan ended up in this nuclear nightmare is a subject the National Security News Service has been investigating since 1991. We learned that Japan had a dual use nuclear program. The public program was to develop and provide unlimited energy for the country. But there was also a secret component, an undeclared nuclear weapons program that would allow Japan to amass enough nuclear material and technology to become a major nuclear power on short notice.

That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Political leaders in Japan understood that the only way the Japanese people could be convinced to allow nuclear power into their lives was if a long line of governments and industry hid any military application. For that reason, a succession of Japanese governments colluded on a bomb program disguised as innocent energy and civil space programs. The irony, of course, is that Japan had gone to war in 1941 to secure its energy future only to become the sole nation attacked with nuclear weapons.

Tokyo Electric Power Company

Energy has always been Japan’s Achilles’ heel. Her need for oil in the face of an American embargo triggered Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and the continued shortage was a recurring theme in her defeat in that war. Only one act could take more credit for Japan’s humiliation – the splitting of the atom that gave birth to the nuclear bomb. Now Japan would turn that same atom to its own purposes — to ensure a stable source of energy well into the next century and, equally important, to ensure that the homeland never again suffered the indignity of defeat.

Japan approached the nuclear problem the same way it tackled the electronics and automobile industries. A core group of companies were each given key tasks with long-term profit potential. Then the government nurtured these companies with whatever financial, technological and regulatory support needed to assure their success. The strategy worked brilliantly to bring Japan from post-war oblivion to economic dominance in a single generation.

The five companies designated for the development of nuclear technologies had to make major strides beyond the conventional light water reactors that had become fixtures in Japan under U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program in the 1950s. Japan would have to do what the Americans and Europeans had failed to do – make an experimental breeder program a commercial success. Their hubris convinced them that they could. The Japanese, after all, were the masters of the industrial process. They had turned out automobiles, televisions and microchips superior to the Americans, with better quality and at less cost. Nuclear accidents are almost always the result of human error: sloppy operators without the proper education or training or who did not install enough redundancies. Such things happen to Americans and Russians,but t not to Japanese.

Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato

As China, North Korea, India and Pakistan developed nuclear weapon systems, Japan and her Western allies strengthened their alliances to counter the burgeoning threat. From a secret meeting between U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in the 1960s and the participation of several subsequent American and Japanese leaders, the secret transfer of nuclear technology was part of an international strategy to fortify Japan against an ever-escalating East Asian arms race. This policy culminated during the Reagan administration in legislation that dramatically changed U.S. policy. The United States ceded virtually all control of U.S.-origin nuclear materials shipped to Japan.

To the detriment of the world and her people, the Japanese government exploited the Japanese public’s well-known abhorrence of nuclear weapons to discourage the media and historians from delving into its nuclear weapons activities. Consequently, until the March 2011 tragedy, the Japanese nuclear industry had largely remained hidden from critical eyes. The less than thorough International Atomic Energy Agency, the world’s proliferation safeguard agency, also turned a blind eye.

In a rare glimpse of a Japanese industry that has remained top secret for so many decades, our investigation raises serious concerns about Japanese and Western nuclear policies and the officials who shaped those policies during and after the Cold War. International corporations and officials sacrificed the safety and security of the public to carry out the deception. Under the guise of a peaceful nuclear power program, they made huge profits.

 

Japan Earthquake

F-Go: The First Japanese Nuclear Weapons Program

In the early 1940s, with the world locked in the bloodiest conflict in human history, scientists in Germany, Great Britain, the United States and Japan struggled to unlock from the atom a weapon of almost inconceivable power. This race to turn theory into devastating reality formed a secret subtext to the war that destroyed millions of lives using industrial warfare. In the area of theoretical physics, Japan was as advanced as her European and American rivals. She lacked only the raw materials and the sheer industrial excess to turn those materials into an atomic bomb. But Japan’s war machine was nothing if not resourceful.

Yoshio Nishina

Since 1940, the Japanese had been aggressively researching the science of the nuclear chain reaction. Dr. Yoshio Nishina had been nominated for the Nobel Prize for his pre-war work in nuclear physics. Now he and a team of young scientists worked tirelessly at the Riken, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, to beat the Americans to the bomb. After two years of preliminary research, the atom bomb program called F-Go began in Kyoto in 1942. By 1943, Japan’s Manhattan Project had not only produced a cyclotron that could separate bomb-grade uranium, but also had developed a team of nuclear scientists with the knowledge to unleash the atom’s unknown power. As America built a uranium enrichment plant in the Washington desert so enormous it drew every watt of electricity from the Grand Coulee Dam, the Japanese scoured their empire for enough raw uranium to make their own bomb, with only limited success.

Japan looked to Nazi Germany for help. The Nazis, too, had been pursuing the nuclear bomb. But, by early 1945, the Allies were on the Rhine and the Russians had taken Prussia. In a last-ditch effort, Hitler dispatched a U-boat to Japan loaded with 1,200 pounds of uranium. The submarine never arrived. American warships captured it in May 1945. Two Japanese officers on board the submarine committed suicide and the shipment of uranium was diverted to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for use in the American Manhattan Project. Without the uranium, Japan could not produce more than one or two small atomic bombs.

As the bomb programs in both countries neared completion in 1944, General Douglas MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign drew closer to Japan’s home islands. Fleets of B-29 bombers rained fire on Tokyo and other major cities. Nishina had to move his effort to the tiny hamlet of Hungman in what is now North Korea. The move cost the Japanese program three months.

On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped a single atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The blast killed more than 70,000 people outright, and in the days and weeks to come thousands more succumbed.

When word of the blast reached Nishina, he knew immediately that the Americans had beaten him to the prize. But he also had implicit confirmation that his own atomic bomb could work. Nishina and his team worked tirelessly to ready their own test. Historians such as Robert Wilcox and Atlanta Journal Constitution writer David Snell believe that they succeeded. Wilcox writes that on August 12, 1945 – three days after the Nagasaki bombing and three days before Japan signed the articles of surrender – Japan tested a partially successful bomb in Hungnam. By then the effort was merely symbolic. Japan lacked the means to produce more weapons or to deliver them accurately to the United States.

As Japan rebuilt after the war, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came to represent the folly of Japan’s imperial aspirations as well as American inhumanity toward the Japanese. The Japanese people held nuclear weapons in abhorrence. Japan’s leaders shared that view, but, having been on the receiving end of nuclear warfare, also developed a special appreciation for the bomb’s strategic value.

As the war ended, thousands of American troops occupied Japan. After the nuclear attacks on Japan, the United States feared that the desire and ability to create this power would spread throughout the world. Washington learned that Japan had been much closer to its own nuclear bomb than previously thought. Destroying Japan’s nuclear-weapons capability became a high priority. In addition to negotiating international non-proliferation agreements, U.S. occupation troops destroyed several cyclotrons and other vestiges of Japan’s atomic bomb project to prevent Japan from resuming its nuclear program. Though the troops could demolish the physical remnants of the F-Go project, they could not destroy the enormous body of knowledge Nishina and his team had accumulated during the war.

The Beginning the Japan’s Nuclear Program

In the years to come the men behind F-Go would become the leaders of Japan’s nuclear power program. Their first priority was to stockpile enough uranium to ensure that nuclear research could continue in Japan.

The war and the atomic blasts that ended it left a strong and enduring impression on the Japanese people. They abhorred the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the Japanese leadership recognized that in nuclear power there was an alternative to foreign energy dependence, a dependence that had hindered Japan since her entry into the industrial era.

With the surrender of Japan, the United States became the preeminent power in the Pacific. But that position was challenged in 1949 with the communist victory in China and successful nuclear tests by the Soviet Union. The communists were challenging America in the Pacific, and Japan suddenly shifted from vanquished adversary to valuable ally.

The United States was completely unprepared when North Korean troops swarmed south in 1952. Soon poorly armed, under-trained American Marines were surrounded in Pusan with their backs to the sea. For the first of many times during the Korean War, the American military commander, Gen. Douglass MacArthur, lobbied President Truman to use nuclear weapons.

Those weapons were stored on the Japanese island of Okinawa. While American troops faced annihilation in Pusan, American B-29s waited with engines running to bomb targets in China and Korea. Later in the war, when Chinese troops entered Korea, nuclear-laden bombers flying from Japan would actually penetrate Chinese and North Korean airspace. One jet fighter bomber was shot down.

The Korean War is an important milestone for Japan. Only seven years after the most humiliating defeat in its three-thousand-year history, Japan served as the staging ground for the same military that had defeated her. Japan’s own military at the time was practically nonexistent. As humiliating as the American servicemen who frequented Tokyo’s nickel brothels was the realization that Japan’s defense was wholly in American hands. As Truman played the game of nuclear brinkmanship with the Chinese, it became apparent that Japan’s defense now relied on the same nuclear bombs that had sealed her World War II defeat.

In the early 1950s, the United States aggressively urged Tokyo to get involved in the nuclear power business. Having witnessed the destructive power of nuclear energy, President Eisenhower was determined to keep it under strict control. He also realized that the world would never accept a complete U.S. monopoly on atom-splitting technology, so he developed an alternative — Atoms for Peace. Eisenhower gave resource-starved countries like Japan and India nuclear power reactors as a form of technical, economic and moral support. Lacking the indigenous resources to rebuild its economy and infrastructure, Japan quickly turned to nuclear power as the answer for its chronically energy-starved economy.

With the help of the American Atoms for Peace program, Japan began to develop a full-scale nuclear power industry. The Japanese sent scores of scientists to America for training in nuclear energy development. Desperate to regain a foothold in the international arena and reclaim its sovereignty and power after the war, the Japanese government willingly spent scarce funding on research labs and nuclear reactors.

Japan’s wartime experience had prepared her to build a nuclear industry from scratch, but with Atoms for Peace, it was cheaper to import complete reactors from the West.

Atoms for Peace supported British and Canadian nuclear exports as well as American. Britain went first, selling its Magnox plant to Japan. General Electric and Westinghouse rapidly secured the rest of the industry, selling reactor designs and components to Japan at exorbitant prices. The Japanese industry quickly became a model for other Atoms for Peace countries. A generation of brilliant young Japanese scientists came of age during this period, all committed to the full exploitation of nuclear energy.

Once the industry was vitalized, Japan resumed its own nuclear research independent from the United States. Encouraged by the Americans, in 1956 Japan’s bureaucrats mapped out a plan to exploit the entire nuclear fuel cycle. At that time the concept was only theoretical, no more a reality than the atomic bomb was when Einstein penned his infamous letter to Roosevelt in 1939. According to the theory, plutonium could be separated from the spent fuel burned in conventional reactors and used to fuel new “breeder reactors.” No one had yet been able to make it work, but this was the dawn of the age of technology. Scientists in Japan, America and Europe were intoxicated with the possibilities of scientific advancements. Japan’s central planners and bureaucrats were equally enthusiastic. The breeder reactor plan would make the most efficient use of the raw uranium Japan imported from the United States. It would wean Japan from her dependence on American energy and also create an enormous stockpile of plutonium – the most powerful and difficult to obtain bomb material.

Secret Cold War Nuclear Policies

Prime Minister Sato with President Johnson

In October 1964, communist China stunned the world by detonating its first nuclear bomb. The world was caught by surprise, but nowhere were emotions as strong as in Japan. Three months later Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato went to Washington for secret talks with President Lyndon Johnson. Sato gave LBJ an extraordinary ultimatum: if the United States did not guarantee Japan’s security against nuclear attack, Japan would develop a nuclear arsenal. The ultimatum forced LBJ to extend the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” over Japan. Ironically, this guarantee later enabled Sato to establish Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles: to never own or produce nuclear weapons or allow them on Japanese territory. The policy won Sato the Nobel Prize for Peace. The Japanese public and the rest of the world never knew that these three principles were never fully enforced, and Sato allowed the secret nuclear weapons program to go on.

In the years to come, thousands of U.S. nuclear weapons would pass through Japanese ports and American bases in Japan. Even before Sato’s historic meeting with LBJ, Japan had quietly agreed to officially ignore U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Japan. Japanese officials were shrewd enough to put nothing down on paper, but U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo Edwin O. Reischauer disclosed the pact in a 1981 newspaper interview. In 1960, the Japanese government had verbally agreed to allow nuclear-armed American warships access to Japanese ports and territorial waters. Several current and former U.S. and Japanese officials confirm Ambassador Reischauer’s interpretation, including the former Japanese Ambassador in Washington, Takezo Shimoda.

When asked about these issues in the 1980s, the Japanese government flatly denied there was any such understanding and said it was “inconceivable” that it had a different interpretation of the treaty conditions than the United States. Nonetheless, after Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki ordered his Foreign Ministry to investigate the facts, the best it could do was to say it could find no written records of the pact.

Declassified U.S. government documents make a mockery of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. The papers reveal that Japanese government officials ignored evidence that the United States was routinely bringing nuclear weapons into Japanese ports. American military planners took Japan’s silence as tacit permission to carry nuclear weapons into Japanese harbors. The American aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, home ported for decades in Yokohama, routinely carried a small arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Japan even participated in joint military exercises in which U.S. forces simulated the use of nuclear weapons. These revelations underline the dichotomy between the Japanese government’s public policies and its actions regarding nuclear weapons.

One of the pivotal debates in Japan during the early 1970s was whether to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The treaty basically froze the nuclear status quo. The five nuclear powers retained their arsenals while the rest of the world pledged to abstain from nuclear weapons. More than a hundred countries signed the treaty. The only notable exceptions were the few states that held open the nuclear option: India, Pakistan, Israel and Japan. The debate, like most decisions on these issues in Japan, was not carried out in a public forum. But the Americans were listening, and what they heard put Japan’s nuclear ambitions in a completely new light.

Yasuhiro Nakasone was Director of the Japanese Defense Agency and one of a new generation of pro-nuclear politicians. Though he was not in favor of immediate nuclear armament, he opposed any action that would limit Japan’s right to develop nuclear weapons in the future. Nakasone was one of the principal authors of a 1969 policy paper that said in a chapter on national security: “For the time-being Japan’s policy will be not to possess nuclear weapons. But it will always maintain the economic and technical potential to manufacture nuclear weapons and will see to it that Japan won’t accept outside interference on this matter.”

Six years later Nakasone was again embroiled in the nuclear debate. At stake was Japan’s ability to go nuclear and the biggest prize in Japanese politics – the prime minister’s gavel. Nakasone assured his rise to prime minister by outwardly supporting the NPT. The price for Japan’s cooperation was President Gerald Ford’s pledge not to interfere with Japan’s nuclear programs, even when they included material and technology ideally suited to nuclear weapons use. With Ford’s guarantee, Japan finally ratified the NPT in 1976. Japan’s nuclear commerce continued unabated. The United States continued to supply enriched uranium to Japanese reactors and allowed the spent fuel to be reprocessed in Europe and the plutonium shipped back to Japan, where it was stockpiled for future use in breeder reactors.

Stopping the Spread of Fissile Material

Jimmy Carter Tours TMI Control Room

After Jimmy Carter won the presidency in 1976, he instituted an aggressive policy to control the spread of fissile materials. As a former nuclear reactor engineer on a Navy submarine, Carter knew better than any other world leader the immense power locked up in plutonium and highly enriched uranium. He was determined to keep it out of the hands of even our closest non-nuclear allies – including Japan.

Carter had good reason for this policy. Despite Japan’s ratification of the NPT in 1976, a study conducted for the CIA the following year named Japan as one of the three countries most able to go nuclear before 1980. Only the Japanese people’s historic opposition to nuclear weapons argued against Japanese deployment. Every other factor argued for a Japanese nuclear capability. By now the CIA – and its more secretive sister agency, the NSA — had learned the position of Japan’s inner circle.

Carter knew the incredibly volatile effect plutonium would have on world stability. Plutonium is the single most difficult to obtain ingredient of nuclear bombs. Even relatively backward countries – and some terrorist groups – now possess the technology to turn plutonium or highly enriched uranium into a nuclear weapon. But refining plutonium or enriching uranium is an extremely difficult, costly task. Carter knew that by limiting the spread of plutonium and uranium, he could control the spread of nuclear weapons. He made preventing the spread of plutonium the cornerstone of his nuclear non-proliferation policy.

The Japanese were shocked when Carter entered office and promptly pushed through Congress the 1978 Non-Proliferation Act, which subjected every uranium and plutonium shipment to congressional approval and blocked a host of sensitive nuclear technologies from Japan. Carter was determined not to transfer nuclear technology or materials that Japan could use to make nuclear weapons. The decision was hugely unpopular in America’s nuclear establishment as well. America’s nuclear scientists had expected much from Carter since he was one of them: someone who knew and understood nuclear energy.

Carter’s efforts ended America’s plans to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. Carter stopped reprocessing because he feared the consequences of Korean or Taiwan stockpiling plutonium. He believed it would lead to an Asian arms race involving Japan and China as well as Korea or Taiwan.

Carter’s U.S. nuclear doctrine was enormously unpopular among America’s nuclear science elite, who viewed a plutonium-based fuel cycle as the future of nuclear energy. They saw the atom as the solution to the problems that had stalled America’s great economic boom – acid rain from coal, shortages and embargos of oil. With an almost inexhaustible supply of cheap, clean nuclear energy, America would reclaim its position as the world’s unquestioned economic leader. But for many it went beyond even that. If America could complete the fuel-cycle – complete the nuclear circle, all of humanity could be lifted up by the nuclear bootstrap. At research centers around the country and in the Department of Energy’s Forrestal Building on Washington’s Independence Avenue, enthusiasm for the breeder program reached almost a religious crescendo.

If the breeder reactor was going to revolutionize the world’s nuclear economy, went the thinking in America’s nuclear establishment, the United States would have to share it with her allies in Europe and Japan. The very cornerstone of science is the free exchange of information, and the American scientists shared openly with their European and Japanese colleagues. The cooperation ran both ways. The breeder reactor was proving to be a monumental technical challenge, and DOE was eager to learn from the mistakes of Germany, Britain and France, all of which had been working on the problem nearly as long as the United States. Carter’s policies hindered America’s efforts to develop and share a plutonium-based nuclear energy cycle.

To the chagrin of the powerful nuclear weapons and nuclear power lobbies, Carter abandoned the idea of a new nuclear renaissance. Carter’s administration ushered in an era of reduced nuclear trade and an interruption to the free flow of ideas among scientists. For men like Richard T. Kennedy and Ben Rusche at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Harry Bengelsdorf at the U.S. Department of Energy, the restraints were completely unacceptable. Jimmy Carter’s re-election defeat brought the nuclear establishment another opportunity.

Reversing Course – Reagan Undermines Carter’s Policies

Richard Kennedy

One of the most passionate nuclear believers was a career bureaucrat named Richard Kennedy. A former Army officer, he labored in obscurity at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, his career held hostage by his vehement opposition to President Carter’s nuclear policies. All of that changed after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. One of Reagan’s first acts as president was to effectively reverse Carter’s nuclear doctrine, which had barred the United States from using plutonium in civilian power projects with America’s friends or adversaries.

Reagan made Kennedy his right-hand man for nuclear affairs. From his new post as Ambassador at Large for Nuclear Energy, Kennedy oversaw the dismantling of the Carter policies he despised. The new administration rejuvenated American and international reliance on plutonium.

But one legacy of the Carter years hobbled America’s headlong leap into international nuclear commerce. Carter had pushed through Congress in 1978 the Atomic Energy Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that strictly limited how foreign countries could import and use nuclear materials originating in the United States. Under the Act, Congress had to approve every single shipment of reactor fuel that crossed an international border. The law was an insufferable impediment to Kennedy’s vision of unfettered nuclear commerce. So he set out to circumvent it.

In the early days of the Reagan buildup, as the massive injection of cash into America’s conventional and nuclear war-making industries dramatically increased, the administration force-fed money to the nuclear scientists designing new warheads and attempting to solve the nuclear breeder reactor conundrum.

Clinch River Breeder Reactor Design

At the center of this plan was an experimental facility at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee’s scenic Clinch River valley. Here in the Appalachian foothills, America’s most brilliant scientists were assembling a breeder reactor. The technology held incredible promise. As it generated power, it transformed previously spent nuclear fuel into pure plutonium. The breeder became the Holy Grail of nuclear science, a closed fuel cycle that would open up an almost limitless supply of energy. The Clinch River breeder project was on the cutting edge of technology, and, under Reagan, the Department of Energy flooded the project with money. The project cost $16 billion dollars between 1980 and 1987. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, Congress stopped the program cold.

Despite the efforts of the country’s best minds and nearly limitless budgets, the breeder program did not work. And it was not only the Clinch River team who failed. Breeder programs in Germany, France and the United Kingdom also could not make the leap from lab experiment to commercially viable practice. Reagan’s commitment to new nuclear weapons never flagged, but as the mid-eighties recession dragged on, he could not protect every facet of the military industrial complex from congressional cost-cutting. In 1987, Congress pulled the funding on Clinch River. To the cadre of scientists and Energy Department bureaucrats who had made the breeder reactor their life’s work, it was a disaster. Yet despite their failure and the nation’s lack of support, they remained faithful to the idea of the nuclear fuel cycle.

In the meantime, one country was still doggedly pursuing the breeder technology: Japan. In 1987, the resources of Japan’s runaway economy seemed limitless. If any nation could make the breeder economically viable, it was Japan. But if Japanese scientists were to succeed, they would need to start where the Americans had left off.

To understand what happened next requires an understanding of how American government really works. While administrations change every four or eight years and Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, regularly cycles its membership, the bureaucracy rolls on with almost monolithic continuity. In the bureaucracy, careerists can entrench behind their coveted projects to wait out administrations. Before Congress terminated the breeder program, Reagan left its future in the hands Richard T. Kennedy.

Kennedy looked like a Hollywood casting director’s version of the Washington insider, says long-time adversary Damon Moglen. “He had the nasty, florid appearance of a man who spent a lifetime in smoky back rooms, and his demeanor reeked of influence peddling. You could have seen him coming out of Tammany Hall.” Kennedy’s friends were kinder. Ben Rusche, a colleague at the NRC, praised Kennedy’s political instincts. “He was very attuned, perhaps to a degree greater than many that were in the business, to political realities both internally and externally.” Friend and foe alike agree that Kennedy trampled over lesser bureaucrats who stood in his way. He was the perfect man to orchestrate the salvation of the American breeder program by transferring it part and parcel to Japan.

The plan would require a masterful manipulation of Washington’s byzantine bureaucratic process. A technology transfer of this magnitude requires the approval of hundreds of officials at dozens of agencies. But precisely because it is so large and complicated, a canny insider can shepherd it through channels with the aid of a small cadre of true believers. Eight years of joint breeder development with Japan had created a crop of young scientists and bureaucrats passionately devoted to the cause. And Kennedy was still flush with an improbable victory—forcing Congress to allow the sale of nuclear reactors to Communist China in 1985.

Giving to Both Sides – Nuclear deals with China and Japan

Westinghouse AP 1000 in China

In 1984 the Westinghouse Corporation had struck a deal to supply nuclear reactors to China worth as much as $10 billion. The deal was an incredible windfall for the American nuclear industry and would be a cornerstone in Kennedy’s efforts to make the United States dominate in the world’s nuclear commerce. The only problem was China’s abysmal record of sharing nuclear secrets with all bidders.

In a bitter session on the Senate floor, then Democratic Assistant Majority Leader Alan Cranston charged that the Reagan administration on Kennedy’s watch had “systematically withheld, suppressed and covered up information – known virtually throughout the executive branch – which Congress might find worrisome.” China was already known to have sold nuclear technology to five international nuclear outlaws: Pakistan, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. By 1984, Cranston and most of the American government knew that China had given sophisticated nuclear weapons designs to Pakistan. Beijing had also sold the enriched uranium that would find its way into South Africa’s nuclear bombs. China sold heavy water for use in Argentina’s bomb program, while also selling nuclear materials to arch rival Brazil and negotiating nuclear agreements with Iran. China’s nuclear proliferation track record could hardly have been worse, but instead of negotiating ironclad safeguards, Kennedy returned from Beijing with an agreement so ambiguous that both sides could interpret it however they liked. China had refused to sign a non-proliferation pledge or agree to give the United States the right to prevent China from reprocessing fuel burned in the reactors into plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

Democratic Assistant Majority Leader Alan Cranston

Kennedy returned to Beijing in June 1985 to lead the American side of the nonproliferation negotiations. He brought back a new agreement that was almost identical to the first. But $10 billion projects die hard in Washington, and a threat to cancel Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping’s upcoming visit to Washington provided Kennedy the opening he needed. As the administration promoted its argument that the best way to contain the Chinese nuclear threat was to become its primary supplier, Westinghouse passed out subcontracts that made the deal popular among politicians.

The China agreement had forged Kennedy’s inner circle into an administrative juggernaut, and despite the potential rewards awaiting key players in lobbying firms and Japanese-funded think tanks, the nucleus of Kennedy’s circle remained in the government. Now with the Japanese breeder program on the line, Kennedy’s right-hand man at the U.S. State Department, Fred McGoldrick, and DOE contractor Harold Bengelsdorf, would rally breeder disciples throughout the government. Their goal was to transfer the American taxpayer funded technology of the $16 billion Clinch River project to Japan’s largest utility company for less than one-thousandth the American investment. The plan had already been approved, largely by Japanese and American consultants working for the Big Five Japanese corporations.

Two major obstacles stood in their way. U.S. and international law strictly limited the technology developed in the Clinch River program, particularly reprocessing technology used to separate plutonium from spent nuclear fuel. And the plan would require hundreds of international shipments of weapons-grade plutonium and high level nuclear waste on ships.

Lewis Dunn, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

In the early days of 1986, Kennedy met almost daily with Lewis Dunn, a midlevel functionary in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. ACDA had the contract to write the proliferation threat assessment that would determine in large part whether the deal with Japan would survive.

Dunn had committed his career to opposing the spread of nuclear weapons. But like Kennedy, he believed that the best way to manage nuclear technology was to become the world’s leading nuclear supplier. In his quiet, determined way, Dunn was as powerful an advocate of the Japan agreement as Kennedy. Records of Dunn’s frequent meetings with Kennedy remain classified, but Kennedy’s calendars reveal an extraordinarily close collaboration between the two men.

Dunn worked for ACDA, a semi-autonomous agency housed in the State Department’s office building at Foggy Bottom. At least three times a week for nearly a year, Dunn made the long walk from ACDA’s offices on the third floor to Kennedy’s corner office. They talked for hours about the threat assessment that Congress would use to decide whether or not to allow the transfer to Japan.

The report Dunn penned made the agency rounds in the middle of 1986 and met with immediate skepticism from the Pentagon, the CIA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Central Intelligence Agency had been warning for years that Japan had the technology, and perhaps the will, to go nuclear. Contrary to the popular view inside the U.S. government, Japan had never given up the legal right to go nuclear. In fact, in a series of policy papers and internal debates going back to the early 1950s, Japanese policymakers had explicitly reserved the nuclear option. Most tellingly, an internal planning document that circulated at the highest level of Japanese government in 1969 stated that Japan would maintain —and, if necessary, develop – the technical and financial means to develop nuclear weapons. In an ominous aside, the paper vowed to do so “no matter what foreign pressures were applied.”

The CIA knew of the 1969 planning paper and reams of other evidence that suggested Japan had the will and the means to go nuclear if it felt threatened. Reports the CIA sent to U.S. presidents on the issue beginning in the 1960s shored up the nuclear umbrella commitment Lyndon Johnson had made to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in 1965. The agency made sure that every president since LBJ knew Japan’s nuclear potential. Yet the warnings rarely trickled down to the working levels of the bureaucracy, where nuts and bolts decisions such as the transfer of the Clinch River hardware and research results were hammered out with Japan.

Getting Around The Department of Defense

The CIA had been skeptical of Japan’s nuclear program for decades. The CIA and NSA eavesdropped routinely on America’s allies as well as her adversaries. Over the years, the CIA had consistently reported that Japan had both the potential and – under the right circumstances – the will to go nuclear.

But in 1987, when Kennedy was pushing hard to accelerate the trade in nuclear secrets and materials with Japan, the CIA was out of the loop. Ironically, the agency that knew the most about Japan’s nuclear potential knew the least about the internal deliberations in the United States about transferring nuclear technology to Japan. The CIA is charged with monitoring foreign governments. While it has never completely restrained itself from spying on rival agencies, in this case the agency knew almost nothing about Kennedy’s internal effort to move the Clinch River project to Japan. Ultimately, the CIA was cut out of the decision. The role of chief opponent belonged to the Pentagon.

State, DOE and ACDA favored wholesale collaboration with Japan, while the Pentagon feared terrorists could hijack sea shipments of bomb-grade plutonium carried between Europe and Japan. Leading the Pentagon’s camp was Fred Ikle, Reagan’s Undersecretary of Defense for Nuclear Programs. Ikle’s concern about terrorist attacks was genuine, but a far greater concern lurked beneath the surface of open debate, a subject so politically unpopular that it was barely raised outside the Pentagon. For years intelligence analysts at DOD and the CIA had believed that Japan was capable of developing a formidable nuclear arsenal. Though few in the administration doubted Japan’s technical abilities, Ikle and a few others were alone in their belief that Japan had the political potential to go nuclear.

Captain James Auer

Kennedy had one ally in the Pentagon. Captain James Auer was the Japan officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He was the Pentagon’s first authority on all things Japanese. Auer had spent nearly half his 20-year naval career in Japan, first as commanding officer of a guided missile frigate home-ported in Yokohama, and later as a student at the Japanese equivalent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Like many Westerners who come into close contact with Japanese culture, Auer was a convert. He spoke the language, read the literature and became a connoisseur of the Japanese classic dance form, Kabuki.

That talent would serve him well in the Pentagon in 1986, as the American military bureaucracy squared off against the State and Energy departments over Japan. While the civilian bureaucrats viewed Japan as a vibrant and able partner in world affairs, and particularly in the field of nuclear energy, the warriors in the Pentagon held a far darker view. Since the time of the Korean War, the American military had regarded Japan largely as a freeloader that had built its monstrously successful economy on the backs of American servicemen who held the Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans at bay. Before any evidence had been examined, the Defense Department was far less likely to be sympathetic to Japan’s case than were the other major agencies in Washington.

The chief exception to this rule was Auer, who as a committed Japanophile was also in exactly the right place to help push the U.S.-Japan Agreement through the Pentagon. Early in 1986, Auer’s name begins to appear in Kennedy’s official calendar. As the Japan Desk officer at Defense, Auer was privy to almost all of the paperwork and high-level meetings regarding the proposed plutonium deal. He also was in weekly contact with his many friends and colleagues in the Japanese Embassy and at the Big Five corporate offices that served as a shadow foreign service for Japan. It is not clear whether Auer leaked the Pentagon’s deliberations or strategy to Kennedy or the Japanese. The Pentagon’s chief concern with the U.S.-Japan Agreement was the transport of enormous quantities of weapons-grade plutonium and nuclear waste along sea-lanes that could not be adequately defended.

The Pentagon confronted Kennedy on the security issue. In report after report, the Defense Department concluded that nothing less than a destroyer escort could adequately protect the plutonium shipments. Men like Richard Spear, with twenty years command experience in the Navy, found their warnings overruled by Kennedy and his colleagues on the strength of Lewis Dunn’s ACDA analysis. In the only plutonium shipment through the Panama Canal before the U.S.-Japan Agreement entered force, the Navy deployed a small armada to ensure its safe passage. The operation was coordinated by Lt. Col. Oliver North, of Iran-Contra fame. Now, on the force of an analysis conducted almost entirely within Foggy Bottom by Kennedy and Dunn, the United States was preparing to allow hundreds of tons of plutonium and other fissile materials to transit the high seas protected only by a few policemen on a cargo ship.

Frank Gaffney, then a deputy assistant secretary for defense, recalls the Pentagon’s reaction to the transport plan as one of almost total resistance. “There was just no way we were going to protect those shipments. It would be too much of a drain on our readiness. And the Japanese were neither willing nor able to stop a determined attack halfway around the world.”

The scenario Ikle and Gaffney foresaw was a slow and poorly armed nuclear transport vessel incapable of fighting off even a lone gunboat. A plutonium laden ship would be at the mercy of any nation or terrorist organization that could get its hands on a World War Il-vintage destroyer or even an armed speed-boat.

The Pentagon had favored air transport of the plutonium, but that option had been stymied when supposedly crash-proof casks smashed open in tests. Greenpeace got the tests results and took them straight to the media. That ended the Pentagon’s favored option of transporting plutonium and high-level nuclear waste by air. The Defense Department also had concerns that the Japanese would use the plutonium in their own weapons program. Except for the CIA, no branch of the U.S. government believed more firmly that Japan could one day go nuclear. But a nuclear Japan was not a deal-breaker for Defense as much as it would be for other agencies. In the ongoing industrial, economic and ideological campaign against communism, Japan was perhaps America’s strongest Cold War ally. Although her military was purely defensive, and she did not have the will in 1986 to use it, the long memories at Defense recalled a Japan that had been an extremely formidable military force. Many of the top-ranking officers came from old-line military families and had fathers and uncles who had fought against the Japanese in World War II. If the State Department regarded Japan as an enormous pacifist economic engine, and Energy regarded her as a surrogate womb for its cherished breeder reactor, Defense still saw Japan as a sleeping giant. But this time the giant was on America’s side.

A nuclear-armed Japan would relieve much of the drain on American military resources. The need to keep two divisions on the ground in Korea, as well as nuclear armed ships and aircraft in the Pacific as a hedge against China and the missile bases in the Soviet Far East detracted from the Pentagon’s chief mission – preparing for all-out war on the plains of Central Europe. The Reagan administration’s strategy was to push the Soviet war machine until it broke, taking the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes with it. A more aggressive, nuclear-armed Japan would be a tremendous asset in this effort. So while Defense fought against the sea-shipment of plutonium on tactical grounds, its opposition to plutonium and technology transfer to Japan was only pro forma.

Auer was able to capitalize on this sentiment behind the scenes. Late in 1986, the Pentagon grudgingly signed off on Dunn’s report stating that sea transport of plutonium did not constitute a major proliferation risk. The Pentagon was not the lead agency, Gaffney explains, so even had it fought tooth and nail, State and Energy would probably have been able to muster the support to defeat the opposition, and possibly the career ambitions of its major figures.

Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA.

The Secrets of Savannah River and Hanford

The Pentagon knew that the Clinch River technology was ideally suited for use in nuclear weapons. Most of the project’s theoretical research had been carried out at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. But the hardware development and much of the hands-on research took place at the plutonium separation canyons at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, and at Hanford, Washington, two of the country’s other major nuclear weapons laboratories.

The facilities in Washington State were built to separate plutonium for the Manhattan Project in the early 1940s and had been vastly expanded in a new Savannah River facility in the 1950s and 60s. By the time the Clinch River program was in full swing, the plants that first gave birth to the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki and now were building hydrogen bomb warheads, were accepting dozens of Japanese visiting scientists each year. When the program’s demise became inevitable, the Japanese came in even greater numbers.

Savannah-river-site-2

The breeder reactor runs on plutonium, a substance that is otherwise useful only in nuclear weapons. Any technology that yielded plutonium was by definition a nuclear weapons project. In the United States, such projects are limited to a handful of nuclear weapons facilities owned exclusively by the government. President Harry Truman, recognizing the inherent risk of privatizing nuclear weapons capability, established the American bomb program independent of private industry and the military.

The most sensitive technologies in the Clinch River project were housed on these remote nuclear reservations. And from the very outset, Japanese industry officials wanted onto the American bases to see what they were getting. The U.S.-Japan Agreement called for a five-year period of cooperation in which Japanese and American scientists would work together on breeder projects, funded largely by the Japanese utilities. The idea, as DOE project director William Burch put it, is to “stay in the ball game.” To stay in the game, the United States would have to play by Japan’s rules. And the specific items Japan wanted came straight from the nuclear weapons program.

On top of the list was sophisticated plutonium separation hardware housed at the Savannah River Site, which had churned out weapons plutonium for a generation. Savannah River built and tested centrifuges, which after further testing at the Argonne National Laboratory, were shipped to Japan for use in the Recycle Energy Test Facility (RETF), a deceptively named plant for separating weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel. RETF was central to the Japanese breeder reactor plan. The Japanese needed the high-capacity plant to manufacture their own high-grade plutonium. While the plant was under construction, Japan contracted the refining job to France and Great Britain.

America’s experience producing military plutonium at Savannah River was ideally suited for use in the Japanese program. Other U.S. weapons labs have also contributed to the Japanese program. Hanford and the Argonne-West laboratory in Idaho conducted thousands of hours of tests on plutonium fuel assemblies for the Joyo breeder reactor. Japanese scientists were integrally involved in these tests and had virtual free-run of the U.S. nuclear weapons establishment. If Japan does someday deploy nuclear weapons, it will have been made possible by the wholesale transfer of weapons-usable technology through the U.S.-Japan Agreement.

US-Japan Alliance Discuss Importance of U.S. Nuclear Umbrella

The Agreement between the Energy Department and Japan’s monolithic nuclear energy utility, the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC), violated a laundry-list of anti-nuclear prohibitions. It provided no Japanese guarantee that nuclear material would not be transferred to other countries without American consent, nor any assurance that Japan would not reprocess American reactor fuel into plutonium without prior U.S. approval. In short, the United States abdicated all control of U.S.- origin nuclear material in Japan for the next 30 years.

The deal also violated Carter’s Atomic Energy Act, a U.S. law which mandates that the reprocessing or retransfer of American nuclear material must not increase the risk of proliferation. In particular, the agreement did not ensure timely warning to the United States of any diversion for weapons purposes. In fact, Japan has lost track of more than 70 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium at its accident plagued Tokai reprocessing plant – enough to make more than 20 nuclear weapons. In a single agreement, the United States ceded control of nuclear material and gave up whatever safety margin it had to prevent a rapid nuclear deployment. At the time of the transfer, officials in both Washington and Tokyo knew that the only thing the breeder program would produce reliably was plutonium and that it would churn it out in enormous quantities, and in a form twice as pure as the plutonium used in American nuclear weapons.

To the American bureaucrats and scientists who engineered the transfer, it was a coup for science and international cooperation. As always, the concept of a nuclear armed Japan was difficult to believe in light of the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In addition to the wholesale transfer of U.S. fast-breeder and reprocessing technology to Japan, the U.S-Japan Agreement gave Japan the right to import unlimited amounts of nuclear materials from the United States, reprocess it into plutonium without restriction, and retransfer it to other countries.

Senator John Glenn

Senator John Glenn, who as a former astronaut knew enough science to grasp the implications of the agreement, fought vehemently against it. But Kennedy’s people had sent it to Capitol Hill unannounced, only hours before the holiday recess. Most of Glenn’s supporters had already left, and he could only stand back and watch as the agreement passed. The Comptroller General of the United States immediately declared the agreement illegal. President George H.W. Bush signed it anyway. Before signing the U.S.-Japan Agreement, the United States had considered requests to separate plutonium from U.S.-origin fuel on a request-by-request basis. This agreement, instead, gave Japan blanket authority to reprocess and store U.S.-origin nuclear material within Japan, as well as the authority to transfer spent fuel to designated facilities in Europe for plutonium separation.

Soon after the legislation was signed into law, Kennedy and his team were duly rewarded. For James Auer, the Navy captain who had helped Kennedy get the agreement past the Pentagon, it was a great career boost. Auer, soon after passage, traded in his Navy Blue for the tweed jacket of a tenured professor at Vanderbilt University in a new position at a think tank fully funded by Japanese industry.

McGoldrick and Bengelsdorf retired from government service several years later and established a business of their own making hundreds of thousands of dollars as private consultants for the Japanese nuclear industry.

By 1988, when the Senate ratified Kennedy’s U.S.-Japan Nuclear Agreement, Japan was one of only a few countries in the world that regarded plutonium as an asset, not a liability. The Soviets and Americans were trying to devise ways to store and secure vast quantities of this long-lived, radioactive element. In places like Germany and Italy, strong public protests compelled governments to store plutonium outside their own national borders.

 

Japan’s Weapons Delivery Program

By the 1970s, Japan began to aggressively pursue a space program. Japan had risen from her World War II defeat to establish herself as a premier manufacturing and technological power. The Jet Age had given way to the Space Age, and a world power like Japan had to have its own space program. The decision, as is almost always the case in Japan, was pragmatic rather than emotional. Communications in the future would depend on satellites, and warfare would be conducted with long-range missiles. By 1969, Japan had already decided to maintain the ability to go nuclear on short notice. From the start, long-range ballistic missiles and satellite targeting abilities were part of that defense architecture.

In 1969 Japan delved aggressively into space, opening the National Aerospace Development Agency (NASDA) and funded it lavishly. The agency’s goal was to promote the useful role of space. Japan was not interested in a headlong race to the moon; it wanted satellites for communication and surveillance. And it knew how to get them.

Just as America transferred nuclear technology to Japan under Atoms for Peace, America opened its space secrets to Japan as well. NASDA developed the N-I liquid-fuel launch vehicle with American assistance and used it to loft the Kiku 2 communications satellite in 1977. The feat made Japan the third nation, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to place an artificial satellite in geostationary orbit.

After the successful launch of Kiku 2, NASDA developed the N-II and H-II rockets, to launch various utility satellites for telecommunications, broadcasting, weather monitoring and other Earth observation functions. The H-II — a large-scale and highly efficient international class launcher — has been flying since 1994. The H-II’s lift capability corresponded to the ability to launch nuclear payloads to transcontinental ranges. Despite the initial success of Kiku II, Japan’s consistent stumbling block was accuracy. Unlike the Americans, and even the Russians, Japanese rocket scientists lacked the ability to consistently place satellites in precise orbits.

Successors to the Kiku II had a history of imprecise, wobbly orbits. Kiku III, designed for a decade of service, exhausted its fuel trying to hold its orbit and fell from the sky after only two and a half years. Kiku IV lasted less than two years. As scientists everywhere do when faced with a hard problem, the Japanese looked for a shortcut. It came with the decline of Soviet communism.

In 1991, the seemingly airtight security of the Soviet space and missile programs was thrown wide open as scientists fled to the West. Japan’s secret service capitalized on the chaos and procured the design and some hardware of an SS-20 missile bus, the critical third stage of the Soviets’ then most advanced medium-range ballistic missile. With its three warheads, the SS-20 bus was an engineering treasure, from which Japan learned a great deal about missile guidance. They learned from the Russian missile how to place several warheads on one rocket. The technology, called MIRVing, is key to all modern ballistic missile forces. When one missile disgorges several warheads to an individual target, it is virtually impossible to defend against it.

Japan also developed the Lunar-A moon probe, a space exploration vehicle that in many ways resembles an intercontinental ballistic missile system. The Lunar-A system was designed to place three probes at exactly determined targets on the moon. The technology is directly transferable to a ballistic missile application. In addition to testing multiple reentry vehicle technology and targeting, the probe could test Japan’s ability to produce hardened electronics. The instruments aboard the probe would have to withstand the tremendous pressure of striking the moon’s surface and burrowing into the rock. This is precisely the same technology the United States has perfected for its bunker-busting small nuclear weapons, such as the B-61-11 developed for the B-2 bomber. The technology perfected in the Lunar-A mission gave Japan the option to develop nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles as sophisticated as any in the world.

Regional Concerns and Early Nuclear Catastrophes

Ambassador Walter Mondale

The mood toward nuclear weapons was changing in Japan. Perhaps the most telling statement was uttered by cabinet minister Hatsumo Hada to then U.S. Ambassador Walter Mondale at an embassy dinner party. Hada, who later became ambassador to China, told Mondale that Japan would have to go nuclear if North Korea obtained the bomb or the regional security situation worsened. The Japanese public would have to be educated, Hada said, but that would not present a problem. The fragility of the stability of the area over the years has only increased as China and North Korea’s tested nuclear weapons. Japan feels it must be ready to quickly respond in the region. In the early 1980s, when her bubble economy burst, Japan cut back on spending in many areas. But it never abandoned its commitment to nuclear energy. In that area, it was still a world leader.

In the 1990s, the governor of Tokyo prefecture –essentially Tokyo’s mayor and one of Japan’s most powerful politicians, Shintaro Ishihara, first openly advocated the acquisition of a nuclear arsenal. Surprisingly, there was little public outcry, and the governor was re-elected by a wide margin.

From the very start, the Japanese breeder program was predicated on the belief that Japanese industry could do what the Americans and Europeans had failed to do – run the extremely complicated breeder cycle safely and profitably. That belief was rooted in Japan’s national self-confidence, nurtured by two generations of success in manufacturing. Japan’s dedicated and educated workforce and its special brand of quality management made it the world leader in a host of industries. Nuclear power generation would, it was believed, merely be one more success, made possible by Japan’s superior workers and management.

Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant

Thirty years ago even Japan’s harshest critics might have agreed that perhaps it could succeed where Western efforts had failed. But that optimism soon faded as a string of nuclear catastrophes demonstrated that nuclear industries are far different than any other. Both the Monju fast-breeder reactor in 1995 and the Tokai reprocessing plant in April 1997 suffered serious, accidental radiation leaks; both accidents were the subjects of attempted cover-ups. Most egregious was the fire and leak of radioactive sodium at the Monju FBR. Japan’s Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC), the government corporation that operated Monju, lied repeatedly to the public about the accident. PNC attempted to suppress video footage that showed the cause of the accident: a ruptured pipe in a secondary cooling system that had spilled an estimated two to three tons of radioactive sodium – the largest such leak in the history of fast-breeder technology. One of the reasons PNC gave for releasing the misinformation was that Monju was too important to Japan’s energy program to jeopardize the reactor’s operation. In other words, the public’s safety was secondary to the breeder program.

Had it not been for a courageous act by a group of Fukui prefecture officials in the early morning of December 11, PNC’s attempted cover-up probably would have succeeded. Suspecting a cover-up, the officials entered the plant and secured the videotape. The action came as a direct result of a previous accident at Fukui’s Tsuruga Unit I reactor in the early 1980s. Fukui prefecture officials were not permitted to investigate that mishap. When the Monju accident took place, the officials were determined not to be turned away a second time. Following revelations that the agency itself had been involved in trying to withhold the video, a PNC executive committed suicide.

In the midst of the major problems at Japan’s nuclear facilities, a military response not seen since World War II came back into the Japanese psyche. In the spring of 1999, Japanese warships fired on North Korean trawlers that had strayed into Japanese waters. This action was the first time Japanese guns had fired in anger since the end of the war. In pure military terms, the engagement was insignificant, but the North Pacific region took notice because it symbolized the reawakening of the Japanese warrior ethic.

Barnwell Nuclear Reprocessing Facility

Besides Japan, only France, Russia and Great Britain still regard plutonium as an asset. These countries have invested tens of billions of dollars in their commercial reprocessing industry. The United States abandoned its only reprocessing facility in Barnwell, S.C., just outside the gates of the Savannah River Site without ever operating the facility. Only huge government-owned plants in La Hague, France, and Sellafield, England, separate tons of plutonium from spent nuclear fuel for foreign customers. The biggest of these customers is Japan, which, despite its confidence in its ability to build a breeder reactor, had turned to purchasing plutonium from the British and French.

The plutonium that the French and British reprocessors return to Japan is pure enough to use in nuclear weapons, and some of it comes from uranium mined in the United States. Thanks to the U.S.-Japan Agreement pushed through by the Reagan administration’s Richard Kennedy, the United States no longer has any influence over the transport and use of this material. So even after Japan’s disastrous nuclear accidents, and despite efforts to limit nuclear weapons and prevent terrorist groups from obtaining nuclear material, U.S.-origin nuclear material is still being shipped to Japan by the ton. Every shipload contains enough plutonium for hundreds of bombs.

Though the Japanese people are among the world’s most ardent nuclear weapons opponents, Japan’s security is inextricably tied to nuclear weapons. The American nuclear umbrella is currently Japan’s last line of defense against nuclear armed neighbors like China and North Korea. And the Japanese leadership’s rationale has been that there is no real certainty that the Americans will step into a nuclear fray to protect Japan. With the possibility of bombs from China or North Korea exploding over its territory, many Japanese leaders have come to consider the nuclear option not merely desirable, but indispensable.

Richard Kennedy died in 1998 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As the years passed his disciples lived lives of comfort. But as these men enjoyed the fruits of their labor for Ambassador Kennedy, the reality of the policies they had created were playing out in a most dramatic fashion.

Sellafield Nuclear Reprocessing Facility, Seascale, Cumbria, England

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility is the British government-owned version of the Savannah River Site. Once dedicated to the production of the world’s most deadly substance, plutonium, the key ingredient of nuclear bombs, Sellafield was up until a few years ago the nearby town’s lifeblood. Sixty-five hundred people work at Sellafield separating the coveted plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel irradiated in power plants around the world. It is dangerous work. A microscopic particle of plutonium is enough to cause deadly lung or blood cancers. Sellafield produced plutonium by the ton, as well as even greater quantities of other radioactive wastes. Like Savannah River, the British plant spread radiation into the surrounding environment. Since 1952, fish, shellfish, and sea plants in the Irish Sea, and even the local pigeons, have been heavily contaminated with radioactive waste from Sellafield. The plutonium plant released into the sea 30 billion liters of radioactive waste in a single decade.

The most dangerous result of Sellafield’s reprocessing industry is the arms race it may cause on the other side of the world. That is because British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL), the government-owned corporation that runs Sellafield, churns out plutonium for the highest bidder. Dr. Frank Barnaby, a retired British nuclear weapons designer, says that the plutonium fuel produced at Sellafield that was repeatedly shipped to Japan was sufficiently pure to be used in nuclear weapons. He explains that both the United States and Great Britain have both built and tested nuclear weapons made with the so-called reactor grade plutonium.

The late Paul Leavanthal, a non-proliferation expert, said the people of Seascale, the town nearest Sellafield, unwittingly supplied plutonium that could have ended up in nuclear bombs, and charged that “the Thatcher British government did it in the name of British jobs.”

Ambassador Kennedy’s agreement required the ships transporting the materials to be escorted by government ships dedicated to protecting the plutonium from possible terrorist attack. The intent of this language was to require warships to escort the shipments, but, in response to domestic Japanese pressure, the shipping company persuaded the American, British and Japanese governments to allow two transport ships to escort each other. The transport ships are owned by Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited, a subsidiary of BNFL that is partially owned by a consortium of Japanese utility companies that wanted to save money.

The ongoing nuclear commerce between Japan and France and Britain soon became routine. The shipments of thousands of tons of U.S.-origin reactor waste for Japan each year were largely uneventful until the spring of 1995. Beyond profit, there is another reason France and Britain continue to ship plutonium to Japan. If they do not, Russia will. In economic terms, the balance of supply and demand favors Japan, the world’s only serious plutonium buyer. Faced with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Japan – and given the bloody history between these nations – Japan’s Asian neighbors began buying from Areva, the French government owned reprocessor.

These shipments have not been uneventful.

Pacific Pintail

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was not Japan’s first close call with nuclear weapons grade plutonium. Japan came very close to contaminating the Chilean coast on March 20, 1995, when the Pacific Pintail, laden with enough waste plutonium to build hundreds of nuclear bombs, tried to head into the protection of Chilean waters during a storm.

On March 20, 1995, Captain Blaine Axton had never seen worse weather in his forty years at sea. His lightly armed trawler, the Pacific Pintail, labored in the heavy seas, the 40-foot waves crashing over her bow, the spray flying away horizontally in the storm. He was in the midst of an Antarctic gale off Cape Horn at the tip of South America – the deadliest ocean in the world – but the weather was only one of Axton’s problems.

The Pintail was locked in a tense standoff with a Chilean Navy gunboat over the contents of the Pintail‘s hold: twenty-eight canisters of high-level plutonium-laden radioactive waste, en route from France to Japan. If the Pintail were to founder, her toxic cargo could poison the entire west coast of South America. Both Axton and his Chilean counterpart were acutely aware of the potential for disaster.

Through the spray and driving rain, Axton could make out a gunboat flying the Chilean flag. The Chilean captain had already warned Axton that he was authorized to use any means necessary to prevent the Pintail from entering Chile’s 200-mile exclusion zone. The language was clear to Axton; it was the most polite way of saying “turn around, or we’ll sink you or board you.”

The Chilean government was determined that if the Pintail were to go down, it should be as far away as possible from the South Sea fisheries that are a mainstay of the Chilean economy. The Chilean gunboat captain continued to shout warnings over the Guard Channel. As she battled her way through the sea to take up a firing position against the Pintail, her captain was on the radio to Santiago, begging for permission to open fire. It did not come. As Axton gambled, the Chileans were not about to put a cargo of nuclear waste at the bottom of their sea. The sea was so rough that both ships were struggling just to stay afloat. A boarding party was out of the question. The Chilean gunboat had no choice but to let her continue into Chilean waters, where the Pintail survived the storm in the lee of the Patagonian coast. Tellingly, when the storm-battered Pintail arrived in Japanese waters two weeks later, with a typhoon building in the east, her Japanese owners ordered the Pintail to wait out the storm 300 miles from Japanese shores.

Waste and Mox shipments from Europe

In September 2010, France’s Areva loaded the first plutonium-based mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel into Reactor Number 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  As the years passed more and more Japanese leaders have become bolder in their pro-military and pro-nuclear pronouncements. In the weeks leading up to the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, the issue of a nuclear-armed Japan became very public after a Chinese captain was arrested after he rammed Japanese coast guard vessels with his ship. In an interview with the British newspaper, The Independent, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara asserted that Japan could develop nuclear weapons within a year and send a strong message to the world. “All our enemies: China, North Korea and Russia – all close neighbors – have nuclear weapons. Is there another country in the world in a similar situation? People talk about the cost and other things but the fact is that diplomatic bargaining power means nuclear weapons. All the [permanent] members of the [United Nations] Security Council have them.” Ishihara told The Independent the clash, which ended when police released the captain of the Chinese ship accused of ramming the Japanese coast guard vessel, had exposed his country’s weakness in Asia. “China wouldn’t have dared lay a hand on the Senkakus [if Japan had nuclear weapons].”

The week before the governor made his comments, Beijing announced that its 2011 defense budget would be increased by 13 percent. Further adding to the tension with Japan is that China officially surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy in January 2011.

The governor said that a nuclear-armed Japan would also win more respect from Russia, which seized four Japanese-owned islands during the Second World War. And he advised his nation to rid itself of all restrictions in its constitution on the manufacture and sale of weapons. “We should develop sophisticated weapons and sell them abroad. Japan made the best fighters in the world before America crushed the industry. We could get that back.” Japanese nationalists have urged Japan’s postwar constitution, written by the United States during the American occupation, be abandoned. It makes Japan initiating war illegal.

A month after the governor made these comments, three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down including Reactor Number 3 with the plutonium-based MOX fuel. For the first time the larger Japanese public began to ask serious questions about the relationship between their government and the powerful Japanese utility companies and their plutonium stockpile.

A year later, more questions than answers remain.

Editor’s Note: Beginning in 1991 reporters for the National Security News Service undertook an investigation into a covert Japanese nuclear weapons program. Our work has continued over the years. It gave NSNS unique insights into the reasons for the misstatements and secrecy that surround the ongoing tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This story represents the work of a team of current and former reporters, fellows and interns for NSNS.

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Joseph Trento

Joseph Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN’s Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books, including Prelude to TerrorThe Secret History of the CIAWidows, and Prescription for Disaster. Joe currently serves as the editor of DCBureau.org.

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Savannah River Site Gets Nuclear Waste – National Academy of Sciences Draft Report Confirms Nuclear Weapons Testing Not Needed

By Susan Trento, on September 29th, 2011

National Security News Service | 4 comments

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Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher said on Monday, September 19, 2011, that high-level nuclear waste once destined for the Yucca Mountain repository will be sent, instead, to the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher speaks about nuclear weapons, waste, and energy.

The decision to use the Savannah River Site in South Carolina as a permanent storage facility is controversial. It is the most radioactive site in the United States. Aiken County, in which part of the site is located, sued the Department of Energy unsuccessfully when the Obama Administration decided not to use the multi-billion-dollar Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada for high-level nuclear waste storage that was supposed to be removed from SRS.

Currently, millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste are stored in 49 leaking tanks on the site as well as huge amounts of surplus plutonium. Deadly chemicals and radiation will contaminate the facility for thousands of years. “The Bomb Plant,” as locals refer to the site, is uniquely unsuitable for a permanent nuclear waste repository, according to leading geologists. It sits on an earthquake fault and one of the most important aquifers in the South. The sandy soil and swampy conditions make it highly vulnerable to waste seepage.

The Obama Administration has spent more than $1 billion in Stimulus Act funds cleaning up legacy Cold War nuclear and chemical waste at the site. Despite this effort, there is now more radioactive waste at SRS than when the clean-up started. The idea of bringing nuclear reactor waste and surplus weapons plutonium from around the world to SRS only exacerbates already chronic problems.

The 312 square mile site near Aiken, South Carolina, was once the home of five reactors that churned out nuclear materials for H-bombs. The last reactor at SRS had to be shuttered for safety reasons during the Reagan Administration. Tritium, which is needed for nuclear weapons, is produced by Tennessee Valley Authority reactors and processed into gas for nuclear weapons at SRS.

Today, DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration is paying the French-government-owned-company AREVA to supervise the construction of a new, multi-billion dollar facility to convert excess weapons plutonium into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for use in civilian nuclear power reactors. (AREVA provided a less potent MOX fuel to Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Number Three last September that suffered a hydrogen explosion after the March earthquake and tsunami.)

NNSA’s MOX plant is behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. It does not have any paying customers for its fuel if it is ever made. It will create its own new waste stream. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not licensed the plant, and SRS and DOE management are late reporting on the cost overruns.

COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY

Speaking to the Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) annual Washington meeting, Under Secretary Tauscher said during a question and answer session that she had seen an early draft of the National Academy of Sciences report that confirms testing nuclear weapons is not necessary to maintain the quality of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. She urged support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, explaining that the United States already complies with the treaty and ratification would give the country more authority to act against nations who did not abide by its provisions. Some critics of the treaty oppose it because they do not want to rely solely on computer modeling to verify the reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR DISASTER

In perhaps what makes all of these discussions existent, when asked about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster last March in Japan, Secretary Tauscher said no one knows when or even if residents will be able to return to that area. She assured the audience the U.S. State Department is monitoring the situation and assisting whenever possible.

Smoke from Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

 

Susan Trento

Susan Trento is PEC’s Executive Director and a DCBureau reporter and editor. She spearheaded investigations into contractor fraud while working on Capitol Hill. Her book about lobbying and public relations in Washington, The Power House, led reviewers to compare her work to Rachel Carson and Jessica Mitford. She is the co-author of several books and received the 2006 Triumph Award. She taught at the American University School of Communications.