Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

I’d like to focus on something that has become even more clear to me over the past week since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant crisis began on March 11, 2011 – the need to get your information from a wide variety of sources.

Because we live in northern Japan, we (my family and I) need access to accurate information. We got information from dozens of sources, including text, photos, and videos. What became clear is that if you were relying on only one source of news, you’d get a very limited view of the truth. Here are a couple of the contradictions I’ve noticed over the past week:

1. The severity of the situation at the Fukushima power plants

While Japanese officials have rated the situation at Fukushima at level 4 of 7 levels, the French nuclear safety authority has rated it at level 6 according to the “International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale — or INES – which goes from Level 1, which indicates very little danger to the general population, to Level 7, a “major accident” in which there’s been a large release of radioactive material and there will be widespread health and environmental effects”. Chernobyl was level 7. According to this CNN article, experts themselves disagree over how serious the situation is. This gives rise to a wide variety of interpretations in the press from Armageddon to, the Christian Science Monitor’s claims of exaggeration. I am a native speaker of English and thus I have access to reports from countries other than Japan. Many Japanese do not have an English level high enough to read English, so they are dependent on Japanese sources alone. I am trying to find out if outside sources are being translated into Japanese for Japanese websites.

2. TEPCO’s safety record and its past involvement in cover-ups

The Japanese press seems to be just reporting what TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is telling them. According to Yoichi Shimatsu writing for GlobalResearch.ca, “Japanese agencies are no longer releasing independent reports without prior approval from the top. The censorship is being carried out following the imposition of the Article 15 Emergency Law.” Thus Japanese news media are even less free to report than usual.

TEPCO has a vested interest in making themselves look professional and competent, while inside and outside sources say that TEPCO has been involved in a number of cover-ups over the years. According to The Australian, TEPCO falsified inspection records in 1989. According to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, in 2002, the president of TEPCO and four top officials were forced to resign after it was discovered that TEPCO had been falsifying safety records at its nuclear plants for years, dating back to the 1980’s.” Youichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, says that a massive cover-up is now underway in Washington and in Tokyo. Instead of sending representatives of the Department of Energy or from the Nuclear Safety Agency, “they sent members of USAID, which is basically intelligence officials. Already the cover-up is going on at very high levels in Washington and in Tokyo.” (This video made by CCTV News (China Central Television) has been removed from many sites including YouTube but is now back on at YouTube, perhaps temporarily.)

There is more bad news on cover-ups, this time by the government. According to the same Yoichi Shimatsu, this time back at GlobalResearch.ca, “Back in 1996, amid a reactor accident in Ibaraki province, the government never admitted that radioactive fallout had drifted over the northeastern suburbs of Tokyo. Our reporters got confirmation from monitoring stations, but the press was under a blanket order not to run any alarming news, the facts be damned.” As well, Rachel Maddow reports that in 1995 government officials tried to cover up how bad the fire was by releasing a doctored video. According to CBS News in an article titled “Scandal-ridden energy company behind Japan’s nuke crisis”, a worker was told to “edit out footage showing cracks in plant steam pipes in video being submitted to regulators.” As well, in addition to other accidents and cover-ups, “In 1999, fuel-reprocessing workers were reported to be using stainless steel buckets to hand-mix uranium in flagrant violation of safety standards at the Tokaimura plant. Two workers later died in what was the deadliest accident in the Japanese industry’s history.” In another case, “at least 37 workers were exposed to low doses of radiation at a 1997 fire and explosion at a nuclear reprocessing plant operated in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo. The operator, Donen, later acknowledged it had initially suppressed information about the fire.”

All of this points to an incompetent industry and lax government oversight. How many of the current problems at the Fukushima power plants could have been avoided if the safety checks had been carried out properly? According to Greg Palast at Truthout, “Last night, I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps. These safety backup systems are the “EDGs” in nuke-speak: Emergency Diesel Generators. That they didn’t work in an emergency is like a fire department telling us they couldn’t save a building because ‘it was on fire’.” Were these failed EDG’s checked according to industry standards? With the record TEPCO has, we can suspect that they were not. But with the CIA counselling the Japanese government, we will never know.

The point I’d like to make is that it took a lot of searching to gather this information. If I hadn’t done it, I’d probably be thinking, like most of the world, that this critical event at Fukushima is happening because of an unavoidable act of nature. Well, there are many who would say why build a nuclear reactor close to a fault line, and I’d have to agree with them. But without looking thru the “mass of media” I would not have known about the scandals behind the nuclear power industry in Japan, nor of the cover-ups by the government. I’m more inclined now to trust outside sources who say that Fukushima is experiencing a level 6 nuclear disaster out of 7, and I’m less likely to believe any news coming from Japan on this topic.

Since we live in Japan, it’s vital to get reliable information regarding the amount of radiation being released. The problem is that I know that I cannot trust the Japanese media to accurately report on this, and western media does not have enough access to reliable data either. So we are in a bit of a twilight zone, something of a blackout. People’s lives are on the line at the Fukushima power plants, and this is the result of carelessness on the parts of TEPCO and the federal government. With a cover-up going on, we may never get accurate information regarding this “accident”, which could have been prevented if proper safety checks had been carried out.

Some, if not all, of the workers who are presently working under very hazardous conditions at Fukushima will develop radiation sickness, and some will likely lose their lives. While I agree that these workers are heroes, their families have a right to be extremely angry with both TEPCO and the federal government for allowing this to happen. A class-action suit against both TEPCO and the federal government would be the most likely course of legal action, but it will not prevent radiation sickness and loss of life.

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I’d like to take a look at the US mainstream media’s near-unanimous declaration of a “revolution” in Egypt – the view that Mubarak was a dictator who was forced out of power by an uprising of the Egyptian people against him. According to the media, his uprising was initiated by the Egyptian people and the result is triumph of the people and freedom from oppression.

Let’s take the camera to a different angle and look at some other less-discussed points of past and recent events. Mubarak was a dictator who had served the interests of the USA and their allies for decades. When he began to make overtures of alliance with Iran, and refused to join a nuclear umbrella with the USA and Arab countries against Iran, he was deposed by a coup initiated by the CIA1 (aka the “2011 Revolution” but it was not a revolution, see below). The result is that Egypt is currently ruled by a military junta and the constitution has been dissolved. The Egyptian military received 1.3 billion dollars from the USA in 20092 and nearly $40 billion in American aid over the last 30 years3. The former and temporarily suspended vice president of Egypt is Omar Suleiman, who is a member of the Armed Forces Supreme Council4. “Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo”.5

So where is the revolution? A revolution, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system”. What is the new system? An ousted USA puppet who started to turn against his masters is replaced by… an American-supported military. The next president of Egypt will likely be Omar Suleiman, the new USA-supported puppet who will join the nuclear umbrella and embrace war with Iran (for more on Suleiman, please see the paragraph at the end).

This is the real reason why Mubarak is out now. The Twitter Revolution in Iran failed, which caused a lot of headaches in the west, because now the only possibility for “regime change” in Iran is war. Mubarak is the first of many Middle East leaders to go. All of the successors, unless plans can be foiled as they were in Iran, will be puppets of the west, which will push war for Iran as soon as all pawns are in place. The “fundamental US-UK strategy for the Middle East is to assemble a block of Arab and Sunni countries (notably Egypt, Saudis, Gulf states, and Jordan) which, formed into a front with the participation of Israel, would collide with the Iranian Shiite front, including Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and various radical forces1.”

Yes, Mubarak opposed war with Iran. According to the following report published in one of the semi-official Cairo papers, and made available through the Israeli Ynet: “Al-Gumhoria newspaper says Egyptian president strongly objects to American proposal to Israel, Arab states to create nuclear umbrella against Iranian attack. The United States has offered Israel, Egypt and Persian Gulf countries to be part of a nuclear umbrella against an Iranian attack, Egyptian newspaper al-Gumhoria reported Thursday. According to the idea, Israeli and American aircraft would be deployed in those Arab countries in preparation of a response against any expected Iranian strike. Everyone knows, the editor wrote, that those bases would be used to launch a war on Iran if the American diplomatic dialogue with Tehran were to fail6.”

In addition to rejecting the nuclear umbrella, Mubarak was also initiating a more open relationship with Iran. On October 3, 2010, Egypt and Iran signed an agreement allowing direct flights between Cairo and Tehran for the first time in over 30 years1. “Hamid Baghaei, an Iranian vice president and the head of culture and tourism, said the agreement was ‘one of the most valuable economic agreements that have been signed between Iran and Egypt over the past 30 years,’ according to Iranian state TV. He suggested it could be a first step toward issuing visas to Egyptian and Iranian citizens and otherwise furthering ties between the two usually hostile states.”1

Is it a coincidence that Mubarak was toppled only months after signing this agreement? This “revolution” in Egypt has succeeded in doing nothing more than getting rid of one dictator and installing another – temporarily the Egyptian military, which will follow US orders, and with an election in the fall, we’ll see just how much the regime has changed…if there are elections. With a suspended constitution nothing is guaranteed.

For anyone thinking that I support Mubarak, I’d like to say for the record that I don’t. He was a corrupt dictator who ruthlessly suppressed dissent and had little concern for the Egyptian people. Yes, he was a dictator, but one who served a purpose to the US, at least until recently, and that is why he was deposed – because he displeased the USA by moving towards Iran, and peace, and away from the USA, and war.

More about Suleiman (all from Wikipedia). For an interesting article on Suleiman, see Mubarak’s new deputy linked to CIA rendition program.

Suleiman became deputy head of military intelligence in 1986, and its director in 1991.[20] Suleiman has been directly implicated in the controversial CIA “rendition” program.[19][28] Journalist Stephen Grey in his work, Ghost Plane, states that after taking over as intelligence director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the US in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning.[29] He has been accused of complicity in the torture of Al-Qaeda suspects in Egypt,[30] particularly the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured and handed over to Suleiman. The information al-Libi gave under torture was cited by US officials in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Al-Libi later retracted his confession.[29] Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said Suleiman might be named to an important position “in the coming period.”[8] Millions of Egyptian citizens[9] involved in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 opposed Suleiman or Mubarak remaining in power without elections taking place.[10][11] Human rights groups tied Suleiman’s career to a regime marked by widespread human rights abuses,[12][13][14] and asserted that many Egyptians “see Suleiman as Mubarak II.”[12] Torture victims and human rights groups charged that Suleiman oversaw the systematic use of torture on detainees and that in at least one instance he personally tortured a detainee during his career in intelligence.[15][16][17]