March 15th, 2019 - by Conor Friedersdorf
/ The Atlantic
(March 7, 2019) — After seven years spent presiding over many hundreds of
secretive, extrajudicial CIA killings, President Barack Obama signed a 2016 executive order intended to increase transparency
and reduce the “tragic” deaths of civilians. The order required the release
each May 1 of the number of drone strikes undertaken by the United States
“against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities,” along with
“assessments of combatant and non-combatant deaths.”
the American public would finally know how many innocents were being killed
outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, stoking anti-American sentiment and the
possibility of blowback in multiple countries where no war was declared.
President Donald Trump rescinded that short-lived reporting
requirement. As Charlie Savage observed in The New York Times, “Mr. Trump’s revocation of the disclosure
rule amounted to a belated acknowledgment that his administration had already
changed the Obama policy in practice: The director of national intelligence
never put out a report about bystander casualties in 2017.” Although the
Pentagon is still required by statute to disclose civilian casualties from its
ongoing combat operations, Savage explained, that law doesn’t cover lethal CIA
legislative branch has all but abdicated its war powers, and lawmakers on both
sides have let successive presidents preside over secret kill lists. Without
the reporting order in place, there is no way for the public to know what the
Trump administration is up to, theoretically in its name.
any president to so little accountability is imprudent. And Trump warrants
particular mistrust, given his habit of surrounding himself with unscrupulous
individuals and statements he has made on the use of lethal force,
e.g., “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government
almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it
down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released a
statement asserting “the need for Congress to make this reporting mandatory.”
The Democrat tried to force an increase in transparency under
proposes would be better than nothing.
nevertheless disheartening––as a longtime critic of America’s program of
lethal drone strikes––to assess the state of the policy debate in Washington,
wants the power to kill people in secret far from any battlefield without
having to disclose how often he exercises it or how many innocents die.
Democratic Party purports to regard him as a morally depraved, power-hungry
opportunist who lacks wisdom, judgment, and restraint, rendering him unfit for
high office. But it won’t push to strip him of the ability to unilaterally kill
an indeterminate number of people in various countries where we are not at war.
It will merely try to force him to disclose the body count once a year. And it
likely doesn’t have the votes in Congress to accomplish even that.
CONOR FRIEDERSDORF is a
California-based staff writer at The Atlantic,where he focuses on politics
and national affairs. He is the founding editor of The Best of
Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
March 15th, 2019 - by Jason Ditz
Ditz / AntiWar.com
WASHINGTON (March 14, 2019) — With the world’s largest, most destructive arsenal of nuclear weapons, the United States poses an enormous risk not just to peace, but to the survival of much of the human race. That’s only a problem, of course, if the US starts using that arsenal.
Which is where formal US nuclear doctrine would come in. There have been debates for decades on whether the US should adopt a “no first use” policy, officially ruling out the idea that the US would launch a nuclear attack without first being attacked with a nuclear weapon.
Morally, this ought to be obvious, but every attempt to adopt such a policy has been opposed, with Joint Chiefs commander Gen. Joe Dunford the latest to come out against the idea, saying promising not to nuke other nations in a first strike would “simplify an adversary’s decision-making.”
Dunford went on to argue that there are “a few situations” where he believes the president should retain the option to launch nuclear first strikes, though he did not say what those situations were. Given the potentially disastrous consequences of such a strike, it is unsurprising that many i Congress are pushing to limit the risk of the president being able to do that unilaterally.
General Opposes Shift to ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Doctrine
Lauren Meier / The Washington Post
14, 2019) — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came
out forcefully against a change in U.S. military policy which say the U.S.
would not be the first to use nuclear weapons on a conflict with an adversary.
The “no first use” policy has been embraced by several
Democratic candidates running for president in 2020, including Massachusetts
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who co-sponsored a bill in January that would establish
in law that the U.S. would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.
But Gen. Joseph Dunford told a Senate Armed Services Committee
hearing Thursday that “I absolutely believe that the current policy is the
The Pentagon has long resisted adopting a blanket “no first use”
doctrine in its nuclear strategy.
“I wouldn’t make any decisions to simplify an adversary’s
decision-making calculus,” Gen. Dunford told lawmakers. “I can also imagine a
few situations where we wouldn’t want to remove that option from the president.”
March 15th, 2019 - by Harvey Wasserman / Solartopia
Wasserman / Reader Supported News
2019) — Eight years ago this week, apocalyptic radiation clouds began pouring
out of Fukushima. They haven’t stopped.
Nor have the
huckster holocaust deniers peddling still more of these monsters of mass
destruction. Some even deny the health impacts from Fukushima fallout that’s already more than 100
times greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s.
Many push fake
“new generation” reactors already priced out of by renewables. But far more
deadly is their demand to operate the old, crumbling reactors that daily grow
Here are some
- About 450 reactors now spew huge quantities
of waste heat that kill our global weather patterns.
- All daily emit
carbon and more during “normal” operations and the mining, milling, and
enrichment of radioactive fuel.
- All daily kill
millions of marine creatures with hot offal dumped into oceans, lakes, and
- Many kill birds
and bats with tall cooling towers that spew radioactive
and chemical pollutants.
- None can safely
manage their uber-intense radioactive waste.
- All raise nearby human infant
- All see human
infant death rates drop when they shut.
- All daily risk
more partial explosions as at Fermi I (1966) and Three Mile Island 2 (1979),
and full ones like Chernobyl 4 (1986) and Fukushima 1, 2, 3 and 4 (2011).
- Many sit on or
near active earthquake faults.
- Many are
vulnerable to death by tsunami.
- Most are
vulnerable to lightning strikes and air attack.
- All are embrittled by
decades of constant heat, pressure, and radiation that make them likely to
shatter in an accident.
- All are internally cracked to
- Many suffer
maintenance” left undone by greedy owners.
- Some are visibly crumbling.
- The industry
is short of skilled operators.
- Some old
reactors operate with pre-digital control systems.
- Overstuffed spent
fuel pools endanger us even more than the reactors themselves.
- Most spent fuel casks
are thin and many are deteriorated.
- Nowhere are
there credible evacuation plans.
nuclear utilities can’t manage their basic grid, let alone run dying reactors.
owner blacked out 50 million people in 2003 with
unmaintained power lines.
- Diablo Canyon’s
owner is under federal criminal probation for killing
eight people in a 2010 San Bruno gas explosion caused by its faulty pipes.
faulty power lines sparked 2017-2018 fires that killed more than 80 people, incinerated more
than 10,000 structures, drew $10 billion in lawsuits, and destroyed one of the
world’s most precious ecosystems.
- In bankruptcy,
it’s now stiffing fire victims it promised to compensate.
- A month ago, it
burned down five buildings in San Francisco.
The forever “Nuke Renaissance” still
fantasizes about new reactors that won’t be built. The small ones are already priced out. The big ones are behind schedule and over budget.
billions are being scammed to support dangerous, decrepit old nukes that can’t
compete with wind, solar, batteries, and LED. Their owners don’t want them
When the next
Fukushima blows, they’ll yell that no one will be hurt, the climate won’t be
heated, and the oceans will be safe. But today our lives depend on moving those
wasted trillions into our vital Solartopian transition.
Fukushimas-in-waiting must shut NOW.
And never again
– like eight years ago this week – can we let exploding nukes destroy our
climate, poison our oceans, kill our children, and threaten all life on earth.
Harvey Wasserman’s Green Power & Wellness
Show is podcast at prn.fm. California Solartopia is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica, 90.7 fm, Los
Angeles. His Life & Death Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah
to Trump to Solartopia will soon be
Reader Supported News is the Publication of
Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and
a link back to Reader Supported News.
* It seems this
issue never changes course. Forty years ago I organized people around the
Washington Public Power Supply System, or WPPSS (pronounce whoops). All the
issues were the same: too expensive, too many hazards, too many health risks,
too little oversight, too little benefit, no place for the waste. So much money
to be made makes for dumb decisions.
* I’ve been
wondering when Fukushima, like a months-old drowning victim, was going to ooze
up to the surface of our consciousness again. By the way Three Mile Island also
caused a very significant spike in Infant Mortality rates for 6 years after its
meltdown. & see:
* “Once a form of life reaches a certain level of intelligence, it will destroy itself.” — Enrico Fermi
* Unlike the
many “accidents” that have occurred at various nukes over the
decades, it’s no accident that, as atmospheric CO2 levels rise and the planet
heats up, nukes are now being touted as a “safer” non-carbon-base d alternative
to carbon-based energy production.
I’d value this promise as equal to the value of past promises: zero. Nuclear
energy “too cheap to meter” wasn’t, and isn’t. Ditto nuclear energy
that was supposed to be “clean” energy that was supposed to be
“safe” and immune to the threat of nuclear proliferation. And, over
60 years after the first nuke started up (Shippingport, PA, 1957), we still
can’t agree on how to deal with the long-lived radioactive waste.
We need an industrial/climate policy, not only nationwide but worldwide, that
will 1) rapidly increase our renewable (wind, solar, and to a lesser extent
hydro) energy production, 2) develop much better battery storage to deal with
the intermittent nature of these sources, and 3) to rebuild our transmission
grids to ship electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed.
That’s the “generate from renewables” piece of the pie. The other two
parts are to recycle more and to use less in the first place. Both require more
elaboration than I can provide here.
This is a very big deal, will require difficult individual and collective
choices, and we don’t have much time, but we can do it. This policy is like
democracy; all the alternatives are worse.
(And, from the
other side of the debate, something that reads like a White House Tweet.)
* CO2 is not a
harmful ‘GAS’ .. Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki thriving today post being
nuked .. also in russia .. all the global warming lying euro’s who are driving
this ‘One World Crap’ have NUkes .. Germany and France and most of Europe ..
that’s the ONLY solution to your lying .. so you lie sideways you Doomsdayers
.. then you LIE about Alternatives .. i drove through Iowa two summers ago hot
as hell summer .. all huge wind turbines along I-80 not one of them turning ..
not a breath of wind .. waste of time money .. and oh yeah can’t possibly run
The Grid ..
March 15th, 2019 - by Alex Doukas / Oil Change International
Doukas / Oil Change International
(March 14, 2019) — What would you do with $2 billion? That’s
roughly what Europe’s public bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB), pumps
into the oil, gas, and coal industry each year. Right now, the bank is asking
for your input on their new approach to energy lending — and the deadline is
Insiders tell us public pressure from people around the
world could make the difference between a good policy and a bad one. Join us in telling the EIB that it’s time to stop funding fossils and
start funding solutions.
We have just a few weeks to tell the EIB we’d rather see that $2
billion go to clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a just transition
for workers — instead of flowing to the fossil fuel industry that’s the cause
of the climate crisis.
The EIB’s President, Werner Hoyer, has already committed to
aligning the EIB with the Paris Agreement on climate change. If the EIB doesn’t
stop funding fossil fuels, it will be out of step with that promise.
Tell the EIB to get with the program: we can’t deliver on the Paris
Agreement if our public banks are still dumping cash into the fossil fuel
The EIB is also the major public bank the EU relies on to
finance its infrastructure projects, and there’s no way the EU can do its part
to fight climate change if this government-backed bank keeps dumping billions
of dollars into dirty projects like new gas pipelines. The European Commission
has already outlined eight different pathways to achieve net zero greenhouse
gas emissions across the EU by 2050 — and it’s clear that none of those
pathways are compatible with expanded fossil fuel production propped up by
Instead of destructive projects that wreck the climate and communities,
like the controversial and dangerous Southern Gas Corridor, tell the EIB
to end its support for the fossil fuel industry.
The EIB has the chance to send a message to the world that the
energy transition is underway and there’s no turning back. The world needs a
fossil free EIB.
Let’s keep up the pressure,
ACTIon: SEND YOUR
MESSAGE: Stop Funding Fossils Campaign
Price of Oil.org
Your letter will be delivered to European
Investment Bank Directors, Governors, and Management Committee:
This moment, as you consider
new energy lending criteria for the European Investment Bank (EIB), is a
Will you issue a collective
shrug, or will the world’s largest multilateral lender choose to send a strong
message that government-backed financing for the fossil fuel industry is no
longer acceptable in a world facing a climate crisis?
Will you commit to making the
EIB the EU’s financial vehicle for a rapid energy transition that will save
lives, create jobs, and help ensure the EU does its part to meet the goals
outlined in the Paris Agreement?
We ask you to ensure that the
new EIB energy lending criteria exclude financing of fossil fuels. Among the
eight scenarios laid out by the European Commission to achieve net-zero
emissions by 2050, none allow for further expansion of the fossil fuel industry,
least of all with public money.
The world’s preeminent
scientists have recognized the need for a rapid energy transition away from
fossil fuels, and have highlighted the massive risks of exceeding 1.5°C of
warming. Thousands of students across the EU — and many more around the
globe — have mobilized in the streets. And the smart money is already fleeing
the fossil fuel industry. All of the signs point in one direction: Climate
leadership is incompatible with continued financial support for the fossil fuel
As you know, if the world is to
meet the climate crisis with adequate ambition, then it’s imperative that the
EU demonstrate leadership on climate action. The EIB has tremendous power to
signal to the wider financial world that the era of government support for
fossil fuels is ending. In this moment, we desperately need your leadership.
The science is clear: we need to stop
expanding the fossil fuel industry, and we need to do it now. This means we can’t
waste one cent more of government-backed finance on the fossil fuel industry.
Luckily, we have a chance to take a big step toward that goal: in the next few
weeks, we have a chance to get the European Investment Bank — the EU’s biggest
government-backed bank — to stop funding fossils.
The EIB is seeking public input on what their
future energy finance should look like. If you think (like we do) that they
should stop funding fossils and double down on the clean energy transition,
then this is your chance to let them hear it.
International pressure could make the difference between a good decision
and a bad one.
As the world’s largest multilateral lender, it’s
crucial that the EIB take a leadership role. If they move on this issue, you
can be sure that many other financial institutions will follow.
Tell EIB leadership to grab this opportunity to be true leaders —
tell them to #StopFundingFossils. The world needs a fossil-free EIB.
March 15th, 2019 - by Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
Tests to begin after
August, when INF Treaty is canceled
(March 13, 2019) — With President
Trump having suspended involvement in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF)
Treaty in February, initial assurances that the US didn’t intend to start
openly violating the former treaty seem to be scrapped, with Pentagon officials
now affirming that this is exactly the plan.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon issued a statement announcing that they will
parts for intermediate-range, nuclear-capable missiles soon. In August,
when the six month pullout process in completed, the Pentagon now
says it intends to test missiles of the types that would’ve been explicitly
banned under the INF.
This isn’t a treaty violation, of course. Indeed, the whole point is that the
Pentagon is waiting until the moment the INF is dead to start doing these
things. There are more disturbing questions, however, with how the US plans to
deploy such missiles.
Historically, the US circumvented the INF by making ship-launched missiles.
Land-based missiles in the INF range, 500 km to 5,500 km, would have no use in
the US, because they wouldn’t be in range of anything.
Historically, US nuclear arms in that range were positioned in Europe and aimed
at Russia. Vladimir Putin has already made clear that US missiles returning to
Europe would lead to a new arms race, and while the US hasn’t announced that is
their intention, yet, it’s not clear what else the missiles would be for.
On the other hand, most NATO nations in Europe probably aren’t going to want to
play host to American nuclear weapons. Doing so would obviously make them a
bigger target in a war with Russia, and would likely be generally unpopular
within the host country.
US to Make Missile Parts Banned by Treaty Trump
Ditz / AntiWar.com
(March 11, 2019) — Just over a
month after the US suspending cooperation with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces
(INF) Treaty, the Pentagon has
issued a statement saying they intend to begin making and testing parts for
missiles that would explicitly violate that treaty.
The 1987 INF Treaty forbade the US and Russia from having any nuclear-capable
missiles with a range over 500 km but under 5,500 km. The US disavowed the
treaty in February, claiming a Russian missile technically violated the INF.
This began a six-month process of the US withdrawing from the treaty outright.
The Pentagon statement confirmed that the US has been researching a missile
that would violate the INF since 2017. They admitted the actions they are now
taking would’ve been “inconsistent with our obligations under the treaty.”
Indications are that the US is going to make parts and test them for the rest
of the six-month process of withdrawing from the treaty. The Pentagon says they
want development to be reversible just in case the INF does remain intact.
Failing that, the US will be well on its way to making such missiles.
US Plans Tests This Year of Long-banned Types of
Robert Burns /
WASHINGTON (March 13, 2019) — The
Pentagon plans to begin flight tests this year of two types of missiles that
have been banned for more than 30 years by a treaty from which both the United
States and Russia are expected to withdraw in August, defense officials said
By moving forward with these missile
projects, the Pentagon is not excluding the possibility that the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty could still survive, although it
likely will be terminated in August. At that point, Washington and Moscow would
no longer face legal constraints on deploying land-based cruise or ballistic
missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles). The
INF treaty has been in effect since 1987.
The INF treaty was an arms control
landmark in the final years of the Cold War, but it began unraveling several
years ago when Washington accused Russia of developing, testing and, more
recently, deploying a cruise missile that U.S. officials say violates the
treaty. Russia denies the violation and contends the U.S. accusation is a ploy
to destroy the treaty.
Intermediate-range weapons are regarded
as particularly destabilizing because of the short time they take to reach a
When he announced on Feb. 1 that the
U.S. would pull the plug on the INF treaty, President Donald Trump said his
administration would “move forward” with developing a military response to
Russia’s alleged violations. He was not specific, but defense officials on
Wednesday spelled out a plan for developing two non-INF compliant, non-nuclear
The officials, who spoke to a small
group of reporters under Pentagon ground rules that did not permit use of their
names or titles, said one project is a low-flying cruise missile with a
potential range of about 1,000 kilometers; the other would be a ballistic
missile with a range of roughly 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers. Neither would be
nuclear armed, the officials said.
The U.S. cruise missile is likely to be
flight-tested in August, one official said, adding that it might be ready for
deployment within 18 months. The longer-range ballistic missile is expected to
be tested in November, with deployment not likely for five years or more, the
official said. If Russia and the U.S. were to reach a deal to rescue the INF
treaty before August, these projects would not go forward.
The cruise missile recalls a
nuclear-armed U.S. weapon that was deployed in Britain and several other
European NATO countries in the 1980s, along with Pershing 2 ground-based
ballistic missiles, in response to a buildup of Soviet SS-20 missiles targeting
Western Europe. With the signing of the INF treaty, those missiles were
withdrawn and destroyed.
The defense officials said U.S. allies
in Europe and Asia have not yet been consulted about deploying either new
missile on their territory. NATO is currently studying the implications of the
demise of the INF treaty and possible military responses.
One defense official said it was
possible that the intermediate-range ballistic missile could be deployed on
Guam, a U.S. territory, which would be close enough to Asia to pose a potential
threat to China and Russia.
Arms control advocates and Democrats in
Congress have questioned the wisdom of leaving the INF treaty, while accepting
U.S. allegations that Russia is violating it by deploying a cruise missile that
can target American allies in Europe.
“The Russians have been violating the
INF treaty for years but, instead of focusing world opinion against the
Russians, the Trump administration decided to withdraw from the treaty,” Rep.
Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said
recently. “Instead of punishing the Russians, the administration has announced
it would sink to the level of the Russians.”
Daryl Kimball, executive director of
the Arms Control Association, said Wednesday the Pentagon has not yet
established a military requirement for a ground-launched cruise or ballistic
missile of intermediate range.
“It is unwise for the U.S. and NATO to
match an unhelpful action by Russia with another unhelpful action,” Kimball
said. The alliance also needs to develop a post-INF arms control strategy
because “if the United States tries to bully NATO into accepting deployment of
such missiles, it is going to provoke a destabilizing action-reaction cycle and
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