May 2006


radioactive soil.jpeg Over dinner with some French friends recently, we talked about the times of our parents and grandparents, how easy it must have been for graduates to find jobs. One mentioned that she had a friend whose daughter was a nuclear physicist by education and who is now leading a simple life working on a farm.

I was surprised because there are droves of business management graduates with no fulfilling employment, but nuclear physicists should be in high demand. Oh, but she was working for an institute for French nuclear physics research, but discovered deep dark secrets there that involved information on environmental pollution caused by radioactive fallout. Secrets that had to be kept secret from the French population.

The next question was: What secrets and why? Here is a post I wrote in October 2003 that might explain the “why”:

In April 1986, an engine at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine exploded. The accident caused radioactive dust to be blown over certain parts of Europe, and the radiation contamination was said to be a hundred times worse than that of the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s right for us to assume that it should be natural for any government to take measures to protect its citizens from the fall-out.

But politicians must have a special kind of mindset: The French authorities announced that the radioactive dust did not enter French territory. But hundreds of French citizens are suffering from health ailments as a result of consuming contaminated agricultural products. Does the politician think that that’s a small price to pay to avoid nation-wide hysteria, a boycott of French products, and a possible economic collapse of the agricultural sector if the truth came out?

Well, they could have thought of a better lie.

Today I received an email from a good friend based in China who sent me the article below. It’s about bringing a man to justice for providing fraudulent information relating to the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the unusual high number of thyroid cancer in France. We had talked about his grandmother back in October 2003, who was suffering from thyroid cancer. She lives in Nice, where the hospital there have had to expand it’s facilities to accommodate the high number of patients suffering from this disease.

The French government continues to keep its deep and dark secrets from the public. But sooner or later, the truth will come out.

Cancers thyroïdiens : le professeur Pellerin convoqué par la juge chargée du dossier

LE MONDE | • Mis à jour le 29.05.06 | 15h26 Le professeur Pierre Pellerin, qui, en 1986, lors de l’explosion d’un réacteur de la centrale de Tchernobyl (Ukraine), était en charge des problèmes liés à l’exposition aux rayonnements ionisants, devrait être convoqué, mercredi 31 mai, devant la juge Marie-Odile Bertella- Geffroy, chargée de statuer sur la plainte déposée conjointement en mars 2001 par l’association française des malades de la thyroïde (AFMT) et la commission de recherche et d’information indépendantes sur la radioactivité (Criirad).En effet, ces deux associations reprochent aux autorités françaises de ne pas avoir suffisamment informé et protégé les populations des conséquences des retombées radioactives du nuage de Tchernobyl. Attitude qui, selon elles, aurait favorisé l’augmentation en France des cancers de la thyroïde.

Selon les auteurs d’un rapport d’expertise rendu public en novembre 2005, le service central de protection contre les rayonnements ionisants (SCPRI) – dont M. Pellerin, 82 ans, était le directeur – “avait pleinement connaissance du dépassement quelquefois très important des valeurs de la radioactivité” sur le territoire. “Les cartes qui ont été fournies par le SCPRI sont inexactes dans plusieurs domaines” et cet organisme “n’a visiblement pas restitué toutes les informations qui étaient en sa possession”.

Ce rapport n’a pas permis cependant d’établir un lien de causalité entre la dissimulation des informations et l’augmentation des cancers de la thyroïde. Les plaignants ont donc demandé que le motif de l’infraction retenue soit requalifié en “tromperie aggravée”, ce qui pourrait permettre la mise en examen de M. Pellerin. Mais pourquoi lui seul ? Selon Bernard Fau, l’avocat de l’AMFT, “il n’existe pour l’instant aucun élément dans le dossier permettant de remonter plus haut” et l’expertise semble montrer “une tentative de dissimulation aux dirigeants de M. Pellerin lui-même”.

En octobre 2003, la Cour de justice de la République avait d’ailleurs classé sans suite une plainte qui visait cinq anciens ministres pour mauvaise information du public en 1986. Quoi qu’il en soit, l’instruction de ce dossier – déposé voilà plus de cinq ans – risque de demander encore du temps. Comme toujours lorsqu’il s’agit d’affaires sanitaires.

(Avec AFP) Article paru dans l’édition du 30.05.06

Updates:

The Effect of Chernobyl in France is a Thousand Times Under-Evaluated [fr]
Wikipedia: Conséquences sanitaires de la catastrophe de Tchernobyl

fascism.jpeg A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves. — Bertrand de Jouvenel

We allow the most atrocious lies uttered by political and moral prostitutes to go unchallenged. These lies are endlessly recycled in the commercial media until they become ingrained in the public conscience as truth. Worse than burying our heads in the sand, we bury them up our collective ass. How do you like the view? — Charles Sullivan

It is a government of the people by the people for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations by corporations for corporations. — Rutherford. B. Hayes

All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. — Sir Edmund Burke

What shall we say when history asks how such crimes came to be committed in the name of America? Will we say that we stood silently by, shrugging our shoulders, filling our bellies, closing our eyes? Or will we be able to say: We saw. We dissented. We resisted. We condemned. — Chris Floyd

All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer… than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — The Declaration of Independence

"You've heard of Confucius, haven't you, Mog?"

"Isn't he the Chinese dude who came up with all those one-line precepts?"

"He wrote analects, Mog. He taught things like: A ruler must govern according to high moral standards. A well-ordered society has its foundation in the family. The political function of the people is to obey their ruler. A ruler serves the interests of his subjects, but if he does not, the citizens have the divine right to rebellion and must overthrow him."

"I've got some precepts of my own, Yaw. Care to hear them?"

"Not really, Mog."

Big money and big business, corporations and commerce, are again the undisputed overlords of politics and government. The White House, the Congress and, increasingly, the judiciary, reflect their interests. We appear to have a government run by remote control from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. To hell with everyone else. — Bill Moyers

The principal power in Washington is no longer the government of the people it represents. It is the Money Power. Under the deceptive cloak of campaign contributions, access and influence, votes and amendments are bought and sold. Money established priorities of action, holds down federal revenues, revises federal legislation, shifts income from the middle class to the very rich. Money restrains the enforcement of laws written to protect the country from abuses of wealth–laws that mandate environmental protection, antitrust laws, laws to protect the consumer against fraud, laws that safeguard the securities markets, and many more. — Richard N. Goodwin (Speechwriter for John F. Kennedy)

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. — Mussolini

War Corporatism

loosechange911.gif This film shows direct connection between the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the United States government. Evidence is derived from news footage, scientific fact, and most important, Americans who suffered through that tragic day.

Loose Change 9/11
Question 9/11

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket. : Mark Twain

Fanning the Flames of Dissent By Charles Sullivan The government has fallen so completely under the spell of the corporations that it is virtually indistinguishable from them. The people have been shut out of the process and are left to fend for themselves, much like the victims of Hurricane Katrina last year. Fanning the Flames of Dissent

The Corporation One of the best and most important documentary films to be made in many years. This Is A Must Watch This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its unrelenting pursuit of profit. The Corporation

Sir! No Sir! If you ever wanted to end a war. You need to know this story. A must watch short flash video – Sir! No Sir!

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism By Michelle Goldberg Across the United States, religious activists are organizing to establish an American theocracy. A frightening look inside the growing right-wing movement. Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

Caught in the Crossfire: The Untold Story of Falluja : Video The American attack on Falluja, and the subsequent costs to the people there, has been a humanitarian, social, moral and ethical disaster; yet the American government and media have largely ignored the plight of the innocent victims. The refugees of Falluja risked their lives in order to tell their story to the world through the groundbreaking new documentary film, Caught in the Crossfire. Caught in the Crossfire: The Untold Story of Falluja

Groups to Bush: Drop Iran-Israel Linkage Jewish community leaders have urged the White House to refrain from publicly pledging to defend Israel against possible Iranian hostilities, senior Jewish activists told the Forward. Groups to Bush: Drop Iran-Israel Linkage

Get ’Em While They’re Young The No Child Left Behind Act made sure that public schools knew who was boss — the feds. The law requires that the military be given the same access to students as any other recruiters, including those from colleges. Schools that barred military recruitment on campus were threatened with loss of federal funding. Get ’Em While They’re Young

Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon : It's the latest in the ongoing campaign by large phone companies to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public. Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon

Read this newsletter online Information Clearing House

mesopotamia_map.gif Man’s transition from being primitive to being civilised took place in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates river. It was first called Sumer, and the people who lived here in 4000BC invented the wheel, wrote the first alphabet and the cuneiform (the earliest form of writing), designed urbanisation, irrigation systems, originated the 60-minute hour, created the calendar, composed the longitude and latitude in navigation, thought of the 360-degree circle, and recorded literature (the Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest in the world of literature). The Sumerians made countless other contributions to culture and the sciences, which have shaped what our world is today.

Some people who hailed from this region were Abraham, Noah, King Hammurabi (known for the codification of laws that governed Babylonia, the stone tablet of which is in the Louvre), and Nebuchadnezzar who had the Hanging Gardens built for his wife. The Garden of Eden is believed to be located here.

Mesopotamia then became part of the Persian Empire in 539BC. It was conquered by the Macedonian ruler, Alexander the Great, who died here. Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks (Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning between rivers), Parthians and the Sassanid dynasty conquered and ruled the region successively.

When the Abbasid dynasty founded its capital in 762AD, the caliphs made it an important centre for commerce and education. Its people translated the medical works of Galen, and the works of Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras and many others, bringing a wealth of knowledge to other peoples of the world. The students of this city originated the laws and principles of integral calculus and spherical astronomy. It was here that algebra and algorithms were first formulated. Arabic numerals and zero were invented here.

But the Abbasid caliphs were unable to unite the Islamic communities against the invading Catholic Crusades, and when the Mongol tribes under Genghis Khan invaded Mesopotamia, they destroyed the Abbasid Empire and slaughtered everyone in sight. Petty rulers came and went, many of its inhabitants massacred. The sultans of Turkey established an outpost of the Ottoman Empire at its capital. The Turks remained for 400 years, until the end of WW1 when the Empire collapsed. British forces then invaded in 1917. Oil was discovered here. It became an independent kingdom in 1932.

But while other Arab nations wished to unify Arab States in a defence pact, the corrupt government of this nation, then under the Hashemite monarchy, wanted to ally with the British. King Faisal and members of the royal family were assassinated in a revolution in 1958, which ended the Hashemite monarchy. Abdul Karim Qassem, who led the overthrow of the Monarchy, declared the country a Republic and became Prime Minister until his assassination in 1963.

Qassem developed industry and land reform programmes, as he tried to bridge the gap between the rich and poor. The Ba’ath Party took over under Al-Bakr, then by Arif, then regained again by Al-Bakr. In 1979, his vice president replaced him. This vice president established a dictatorship and executed all his political opponents.

Mesopotamia–the cradle of civilisation. It is now called the Republic of Iraq, a name given to them by the British.The Abbasid dynasty founded its capital, Baghdad. It was ruled by Al-Bakr’s former vice president, Saddam Hussein.

It’s future lies in the hands of its people.

atwar_bahjat.jpeg The Sunday Times: Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing (by Hala Jaber): Even by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty.

First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.

Then her arms were bound behind her back. A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

She had nine drill holes in her right arm and 10 in her left…. The drill had also been applied to her legs, her navel and her right eye. One can only hope that these mutilations were made after her death.

We may never know who killed Bahjat or why. But the manner of her death testifies to the breakdown of law, order and justice that she so bravely highlighted and illustrates the importance of a cause she espoused with passion.

Bahjat advocated the unity of Iraq. She put it with her customary on-air eloquence on the last day of her life: “Whether you are a Sunni, a Shi’ite or a Kurd, there is no difference between Iraqis united in fear for this nation.”


America, you did not liberate Iraq. You have destroyed it.

we_media.gif The We Media conference is being held in London right now, and the question of the day is: When it comes to the news, between the mainstream media and citizen journalism (weblogs), who do you trust?

I believe there are two main factors that affect the notion of trust in and between the mainstream media and the weblog: The first factor is the major difference between the two. Where the journalist is answerable to an editor (who in turn is answerable to the dictates of government or corporate sponsors), the blogger is not constrained in his writing to please anyone.

The second is, that while professional journalists have the vocabulary and syntax which make their writing sound good on paper (and the background to make objective analysis of information), many bloggers do not have this kind of education. There are some very shrewd writings by bloggers out there, but some are emotional (mostly anger directed at government or corporate wrong-doings), expressed in words unbecoming of journalism.

The notion of trust is somehow prejudiced by these two factors. How can you trust the media when the "truth" is transformed? How can you regard a blogger's opinion as thoughtful and incisive, when it is coached in an unsuitable manner? If these two issues are resolved, then there could be more trust in both forms of news writing. One cannot be better over the other.

Citizens and professional journalists can work together to create a better informed public. While one is an informal form of media coverage and the other the opposite, both will present views in their own way. It's like asking whether television and radio can work together to present the news. While both have their own ways of presentation, our preferences can be subjective.

Technorati tags:

Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush
The Assassination of Iraq's Academics: The Jalili Report
Independent World Television

israel_wall.jpg Are We Being Spun?: Fisk also points to the way that language is abused in the US Press. He gave the example of articles referring to the ‘fence’ Israel is building in the West Bank. Rather than calling it a wall, like the Berlin Wall, it is called a ‘fence’. Who would ever protest about a fence, asks Fisk rightly, pointing to the impact that the choice of language used in a news story has on readers’ ability to understand what is at stake. The consequence of how events are portrayed in the US Press is that the public is kept from asking ‘why’, explains Fisk. This does not help them to understand what is going on in the world.

Separation Map

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