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Rocky Flats – Radioactive Polluted Former Weapons Manufacturing Facility To Open As A Wildlife Refuge

September 14, 2018

Despite the fact that six local school boards, including Denver’s,  will prohibit their students from taking field trips to it, this weekend the grounds of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons’ Plant will open as a national wildlife preserve, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On the same day (Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 1 pm)  number of peace and citizens groups, opposed to the opening, will be demonstrating at the downtown offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (1595 Wynkoop, Denver, 80202)

Rocky Flats will be the second radioactive contaminated nuclear site to be made into a wildlife preserve. A similar project has been developed – and for similar reasons (to attract tourism) in Chernobyl, Ukraine, site of the April 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown and worst radioactive accident until the Fukushima, Japan meltdown. As with Rocky Flats, the Chernobyl area levels of radioactive pollution were deemed safe for humans, wildlife and plants. Read more…

The Liberation of Idlib – Last Major Jihadist Stronghold in Syria – Will Proceed A Pace, Regardless of a Washington Cruise Missile Bombing Campaign

September 11, 2018

Elimination of Last Jihadist Stronghold Underway

As the liberation of Idlib Province in Syria, last major refuge for jihadist scoundrels, is about to be launched, Syria has come back into the news. In order to better control the narrative, YouTube has eliminated all news from Syrian government sites – as if that would change the outcome -, cruise missile U.S. warships are positioning themselves off of the Syrian coast, accusations of the old canard (repeated proven to have been false) of Syrian government use of chemical weapons, pretext for a U.S. strike, are in the air as is the speculation of possible Russian military responses to such an attack.

Attempting to deconstruct the mainstream narrative, I want to present a different narrative of the events unfolding, for consideration. Here is how I see the situation:

Trump – under pressure from military folks, AIPAC, Saudis – will create another false flag operation claiming Assad’s use of chemical weapons and will launch some missiles in the region of Idlib, last major stronghold for jihadist elements in Syria. This will do nothing to change the balance of power on the ground or prevent Syrian forces from liberating the town and region (although the bombing might delay it some). Syrian government with Russia air support will destroy the jihadist stronghold.

The irrelevancy of such attacks being the case, there are some arguments – credible to my thinking – that such cruise missile attacks are an attempt to create a “quadmire” for the Syrian state, Russia and Iran such as Vietnam was for the U.S. and Afghanistan was for the Soviets. Other argue that such attacks are a last ditch effort to  o deny Assad (and Putin) a victory. And that the missiles will target Bechir al Assad himself in an effort to “decapitate” the Syrian state.

Neither Turkey nor Israel will do anything to stop the Idlib offensive, their ruling circles having accepted “the new normal” – a single, unified Syrian state. Copycatting the US, Israel might bomb two… But in the end this show of force is a show of weakness. Turkey has switched sides and in exchange for getting some construction contracts through either Iran nor Russia, will help with the Syrian reconstruction in the Idlib area doing so under the false impression that it will retain some kind of foothold in the Syrian regions near its border.

The liberation (and that is what it is) of Idlib will be a very messy affair since the Turks have not been able to work out any agreement with the jihadists, estimated to be 20,000-40,000 fighters’ strong, to separate themselves from the civilian population, in which ISIS and the like intend to hide. (Exact numbers are hard to come by. One publication, The Economist – 09-08-2018 – put the figure of jihadist fighters even higher at 70,000 – other sources are even higher at 100,000) Rather than placing the blame for the civilian deaths sure to follow where it belongs – on the Saudis, Israelis, Turks and ultimately on Washington for the likely civilian bloodshed about to take place, the media here will cry foul against the mean Assad government and of course Putin, because Putin is responsible for all evils.

Of course given a White House in which the likes Mike Pompeo is Secretary of State and James “Mad Dog” Mattis is Secretary of Defense – considered the more rational elements near the president – the best laid plans for limited engagement could go awry. Although I might be missing something – I often do – I seriously doubt that beyond dumb, destructive and strategically meaningless missile attacks that the Trump Administration will send in U.S. troops. although we might see some U.S.-Russian sparring in the skies, upping the ante for confrontation. In the end it will not amount to anything.

What is left for Washington in Syria is a U.S. base in Syria’s eastern region near the Iraqi border where some 4000 U.S. troops remain. It is a way station for jihadi stragglers to be sent on other sacred missions (Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, Maghreb – your guess is as good as mine). As that U.S. military base is surrounded by both Syrian and Iraq military forces, an isolated island in a sea of growing hostility, it is unlikely that it will be able to last for long.

All the talk of “humanitarian intervention is just a cynical coating on Washington’s interventionalist political strategy (Iraq, Libya, Syria (where it finally failed) – and was exposed to the entire world, minus some misguided elements in the USA. What has been missing from discussions on Syria (here and elsewhere) is the U.S. goal of  permanently partitioning the country either de jure or de facto. It is this strategy that met its Waterloo in Syria and as such is a major strategic American defeat, the dimensions of which are yet to be determined. Israel and the Saudis also suffered (some) political setbacks in Syria as the regional balance of power has shifted a few notches away from where it was in 2011.

Should the situation unfold as suggested, Syrian national integrity could be largely stabilized by the end of the year, the worst elements of the nightmare of these last years drawn to an end  and the long road of national reconstruction begun.

Read more…

Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden, Reading at Barnes and Noble in Westminster, Colorado

August 30, 2018

Rocky Flats. The 24,100 Year Radioactive Pollution Problem (Actually that is just it’s half life; its toxicity probably lasts close to 200,000 years).

Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden, held a reading last night (August 29, 2018) at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Westminster, Colorado. A new book, co-authored with a number of others, is coming out soon. Iversen commented that a film documentary of Full Body Burden will soon be out for viewing as well. All those newcomers flocking to Colorado’s Front Range these days should read the book to get a taste of what lies under the surface of some of the state’s breathtaking views. In fact, everyone everywhere should read it!

Rocky Flats produced plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons 16 miles from Denver. It caused 30 to 44 pounds of breathable plutonium-239 and plutonium-240 to catch fire in what would come to be known as the second largest industrial fire in US history. Filters used to trap the plutonium were destroyed and it escaped through chimneys, contaminating parts of Denver. Nothing was done to warn or protect downwind residents.

Iversen read a selection from the new book, stories of Rocky Flats whistle blowers, all moving, heartbreaking stuff, of how they were savaged by fellow employees at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant for testifying about health issues during Grand Jury hearings in 1988 that soon lead to the permanent closing of the plant. Iversen also read a selection about former director of the Jefferson County (Colorado) Health Department, Dr. Carl Johnson, fired from his job after a smear campaign by local real estate interests, angered that Johnson refused to issue building permits for developers wanting to build homes on radioactive polluted land. Read more…

The Trump Administration’s Sanction Syndrome Against Russia and Iran; Tuesday, August 28, 2018: Why It Is Likely To Fail. KGNU Radio. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, 6-7 pm (Mountain States Time)1390 AM. 88.5 FM

August 27, 2018

The Trump Administration’s Sanction Syndrome Against Russia and Iran; Tuesday, August 28, 2018: Why It Is Likely To Fail. KGNU Radio. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, 6-7 pm (Mountain States Time)1390 AM. 88.5 FM. Hosted by Jim Nelson. Streaming at www.kgnu.org 

As the 2018 mid term elections approach, with Republican candidates in trouble throughout the country, in a desperate effort to “appear strong,” using economic pressure at its disposal (sanctions, trade wars) the Trump Administration has stepped up its threats to China, Russia, Iran and now even long-standing U.S. strategic ally, Turkey.

With the usual support of international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund sanctions have proven to be an effective (if cruel) form of political intimidation. Kazerooni and I will argue that while these economic pressures have worked in the past, and while they are likely to inflict some damage on the targeted countries, that they are not likely to produce similar results today for a variety of reasons…suggesting that When it comes to the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Iran in particular), that Washington is running out of options.

Tune in.

(Image – Red Rose – National Flower of Iran)

The Western Fires, Climate Change and Emphysema

August 26, 2018

Smoke from Western forest fires polluting the air around Ft. Collins. Photo taken from Horse Tooth Reservoir above the city, looking out east. August 24, 2018

 

1.

For our 43rd anniversary, Nancy and I spent three days in, of all places, Ft. Collins, Colorado. Usually this time of year we head for the hills, high up in the Rockies and spend at least a part of our time mushrooming hunting or hiking.

We decided against it this year, mostly on account of the forest fires that have ravaged the state – and the West in general this late spring and summer.

It’s been going on all summer. Here’s an article from more than three weeks ago, August 2, 2018, “That Smoke You See In Colorado Is From California Wildfires.” The article added that “The smoke from that fire and others burning in Oregon, Nevada and Utah, as well as some small local fires here in Colorado, is impacting air quality and visibility and is expected to continue this way through the rest of Thursday afternoon and evening.”

Now we are three weeks later and the smoke is still here, permeating the environment. I can smell it most days, including today. Read more…

Backpacks for Beit Ummar: Consider Contributing.

August 21, 2018

Beit Ummar Backpacks.

Dear Friends…

About a year ago, a group of us came together to form what is called “The Center for Freedom and Justice-Colorado.” We are now beginning our second year. CFJ-Colorado is essentially a support group for a civic organization in Beit Ummar, West Bank, Palestine.

Beit Ummar is located in what is called “Area C” on the West Bank, an area completely under the control and domination of the Israeli military, known as the Israeli Defense Force. This is the area that is hit the hardest by the Israeli occupation. It experiences almost nightly raids, it has a higher number and percentage of young people in Israeli prisons than any other town in the West Bank.

Our little Colorado group is raising funds for backpacks (book bags) for kids for this academic year.

Both Nancy and I are involved in this project. We are hoping you will consider giving financial support and help us raise the funds for the backpacks.

To contribute:

Click on the link to contribute. It is a typical “Go Fund Me” arrangement.

https://www.gofundme.com/backpacks-for-beit-ummar?member=629424

If you prefer to mail checks you can do so. Please mail cash and checks to 1727 E. 25th Ave, Denver, CO 80205. Please make checks out to CFJ Colorado

For more in formation on Beit Ummar and our campaign:

The children of Beit Ummar live in an impoverished community where 60 percent of the adult population is unemployed. The village is under military occupation and is surrounded by six Israeli settlements.  More than 100 children from Beit Ummar are incarcerated in Israeli jails. Children face the horror of night-time military raids on their homes and a constant fear that they or members of their families will be taken away or their houses demolished.  The trauma of these children cannot be adequately described.

The Center for Freedom and Justice in Palestine has launched a campaign in the U.S. to provide the children in Beit Ummar and surrounding villages with school backpacks –  a symbol of dignity and to show they are not alone in the world.  Please give some hope to these children and donate what you can.

 

The location of the school bag project would be Southern Hebron Hills including Beit Ummar, Jala, Sorouf, Aroob Refugee Camp, Algaba’a, and Bethlehem area as well.

The total children we hope to reach is 300 Child.

The amount of one school bag is 30 NIS = $8

The amount of one school bag supplies is 15 NIS = $4

The total for one school bag with its supply is 50 NIS = $12.00

The target number of children is 300 X $12.00 is $3600.00

Administration cost including transportation would be $100 total.

Project total cost is $3700.00

To learn more about the situation in Beit Ummar please visit our Facebook Page at Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado. You can also visit the Center For Freedom and Justice’s Facebook page or their website.

Postscript to “Is Saudi Arabia Preparing To Invade Qatar?” Fourteen Months Later

August 2, 2018

Postscript. August 2, 2018

At the time I wrote this piece “Will Saudi Arabia Invade Qatar“, last June, it very much appeared that indeed Saudi Arabia along with its regional partner in crime, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), were prepared to invade Qatar to seize its lucrative natural gas assets and its $320 billion sovereign wealth fund to help prop up Saudi’s own flagging reserves. Preparations were well underway. Saudi anti-Qatari rhetoric had been whipped up, troop build ups were in place. But then it didn’t happen and soon the invasion threat seemed to dissipate, although the Saudi-U.A.E. economic blockade of Qatar continues.

I wondered if I had been wrong in the first place – ie, that the threat was to intimidate Qatar to fall in line, to distance itself from Iran and return to the Wahhabist fold or, whether something took place behind the scenes that staid the Saudi hand at the last  moment. An article that appeared at “The Intercept” by Alex Emmons yesterday gave ample credence to what transpired “behind the scenes,” staying the Saudi military hand. Read more…