Category: Big Picture

U.S. Prepares for War in Korea

BRUCE GAGNON – South Korea and the US launched their annual Key Resolve military exercise Monday, which involves scenarios for the employment of US anti-missile assets and special warfare forces tasked with removing North Korea’s leadership in a contingency.

NW Ratepayers Will Save Over $250 Million if Columbia Generating Station Nuclear Power Plant Replaced with Renewables

OREGON AND WASHINGTON PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Portland utility economist Robert McCullough’s study indicates savings to Northwest ratepayers of between $261.2 million and $530.7 million over ten years if the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant is closed and replaced with clean renewable energy alternatives.

Dutch Bank Will Not Pursue Future Business With Energy Transfer Equity due to the Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

WAKINYAN WAANATAN (MATT REMLE – LAKOTA) – ABN AMRO Bank based in Amsterdam released a statement strongly condemning Energy Transfer Equity (ETE), the parent company to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), over the Dakota Access pipeline. While the Dutch based bank is not involved in financing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, and is not a direct lender to the project sponsors, it does have a finical relationship with ETE.

Cherokee Nation Wins Restraining Order to Prevent Radwaste Disposal Near Local Rivers

ANADISGOI, OFFICIAL CHREOKEE NATION NEWSROOM – The Cherokee Nation and state of Oklahoma jointly filed and were granted a restraining order today against Sequoyah Fuels Corporation near Gore to stop the company from disposing radioactive waste near the Arkansas and Illinois rivers. The request was granted by Sequoyah County District Judge Jeff Payton.

Gorbachev Urges Trump and Putin to Introduce UN Resolution Banning Nuclear War

DAVID CAPLAN – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has issued a dire warning: “The world is preparing for war.” And with a phone call scheduled on Saturday between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev is urging the leaders to put a halt to a such a deadly path by spearheading a United Nations resolution that essentially bans nuclear war.

Chinese Billionaire Says US Wasted Trillions on Wars and Wall Street

LAUREN MCCAULEY – “In the past 30 years, America had 13 wars spending $2 trillion,” said Alibaba founder Jack Ma. “What if the money was spent on the Midwest of the United States?” Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma accused the United States of spending too much money on foreign wars and risky financial speculation and not enough money “on your own people.”

We’re There! Renewables Now Cheapest Unsubsidized Electricity in U.S.

STEPHEN EDELSTEIN – Over the past few years, the cost of electricity generation from renewable-energy sources has decreased dramatically. So much so, that renewable energy may have just hit an important milestone, according to one study. In the U.S., wind and solar power are now cheaper sources of electricity than natural gas—even without subsidies.

First Effect of Trump Win: Al-Qaeda Morale in Aleppo Collapses, Western Campaign against Russian Bombing Ends

ALEXANDER MERCOURIS – One place where Donald Trump’s election victory has had an immediate effect is in the battlefield around Aleppo. Reports from the area of the battlefield speak of a total collapse of morale amongst the Al-Qaeda led Jihadi forces which have been attacking the city from the south west, as whatever lingering hopes there were of a Western military intervention following a victory by Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential election have turned to dust.

Top US General: Hillary’s No Fly Zone Strategy Would ‘Require’ War With Russia

SPUTNIK INTERNATIONAL – During testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services last week General Joseph Dunford rang the alarm over a policy shift that is gaining more traction within the halls of Washington following the collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria saying that it could result in a major international war which he was not prepared to advocate on behalf of.

U.S. Military Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business

LEE FANG – The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries. Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

Audit: Pentagon Cannot Account For $6.5 Trillion Dollars Is Taxpayer Money

JAY SYRMOPOULOS – A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times. The Pentagon, which has been notoriously lax in its accounting practices, has never completed an audit, [which] would reveal how the agency has specifically spent the trillions of dollars allocated for wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements allotted to them by Congress.

‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy Proposal Assailed by U.S. Cabinet Officials, Allies

PAUL SONNE, GORDON LUBOLD, CAROL E. LEE – A proposal under consideration at the White House to reverse decades of U.S. nuclear policy by declaring a “No First Use” protocol for nuclear weapons has run into opposition from top cabinet officials and U.S. allies. The opposition, from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, as well as allies in Europe and Asia, leaves President Barack Obama with few ambitious options to enhance his nuclear disarmament agenda before leaving office, unless he wants to override the dissent.

Momentum Builds for Nuclear Ban Treaty

KINGSTON REIF – A growing number of non-nuclear-weapon states are expressing support for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a legally binding agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from those states that possess nuclear weapons and many U.S. allies. The contentious debate over how best to advance nuclear disarmament occurred at a meeting last month of an open-ended working group on disarmament taking place in Geneva this year.

NATO’s Dangerous Game: Bear-Baiting Russia

CONN HALLINAN – “Aggressive,” “revanchist,” “swaggering”: These are just some of the adjectives the mainstream press and leading U.S. and European political figures are routinely inserting before the words “Russia,” or “Vladimir Putin.” It is a vocabulary most Americans have not seen or heard since the height of the Cold War. The question is, why?

Iraq Today: Can We Feel the Heat?

CATHY BREEN – Outwardly everything seemed so normal that at first I forgot I was with people now counted among the hundreds of thousands who are internally displaced in Iraq. In the next couple of hours, though, we would hear many tragic stories that would dispel any thought of “normalcy.”

33,480 Americans Dead After 70 Years of Atomic Weaponry

NUKEWATCH QUARTERLY – The U.S. government has compensated over 52,000 nuclear workers for illnesses related to radiation exposure, but the process is complicated. Deaths resulting from exposure while working at the factories and the compensation process for survivors begs the question: How much is a life worth? As the death toll mounts, nuclear weapons workers must decide whether their jobs are worth it.

7 Top NRC Experts Break Ranks to Warn of Critical Danger at Aging Nuke Plants

HARVEY WASSERMAN – Seven top Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) experts have taken the brave rare step of publicly filing an independent finding warning that nearly every U.S. atomic reactor has a generic safety flaw that could spark a disaster. The warning mocks the latest industry push to keep America’s remaining 99 nukes from being shut by popular demand, by their essential unprofitability, or, more seriously, by the kind of engineering collapse against which the NRC experts are now warning.

Future of Draft for Men and Women Goes to Court and Congress

EDWARD HASBROUCK – On Friday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that had dismissed the complaint in National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System. The Court of Appeals reinstated the complaint, and remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for consideration of the other issues in the case.

Top U.S.Special Forces Chief: Iraq War was a “Huge Error”

PAUL VALE – The former top US Special Forces chief claimed on Sunday, November 29, that blinding emotion after the 9/11 attacks led the United States and its allies to take the wrong strategic decisions to counter al-Qaeda, calling the subsequent Iraq War a “huge error.” The admission by Michael Flynn, made to German newspaper Der Spiegel, comes as British MPs prepare to vote on extending the UK’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State into Syria following the massacre in Paris.

These Are the 100 Most Militarized Universities in America

WILLIAM M. ARKIN and ALEXA O’BRIEN – An information and intelligence shift has emerged in America’s national security state over the last two decades, and that change has been reflected in the country’s educational institutions as they have become increasingly tied to the military, intelligence, and law enforcement worlds. This is why VICE News has analyzed and ranked the 100 most militarized universities in America.

Fukushima Radiation in Pacific Reaches West Coast

JOHN LAFORGE – “We should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” marine chemist Ken Buesseler said last spring. Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency halted its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima’s radioactive plume in May 2011, three months after the disaster began. Japan isn’t even monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to a Sept. 28 story in “The Ecologist.”

UN to Vote on Nuclear Disarmament Resolutions

UNFOLD ZERO [November 1, 2015] – From Monday November 2, and running the whole week, the United Nations General Assembly in New York [is voting] on a number of draft resolutions on nuclear disarmament. Many of these are repeat resolutions from previous years – and countries [are likely voting] for them the same way as they have in the past. However there are a few exciting new resolutions – which if adopted with significant support – could pave the way for effective multi-lateral negotiations.

22 People Killed by U.S. Airstrike on Hospital in Afghanistan

KATHY KELLY – Before the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing in Iraq, a group of activists living in Baghdad would regularly go to city sites that were crucial for maintaining health and well-being in Baghdad. These sites included hospitals, electrical facilities, water purification plants, and schools. The activists would then string large vinyl banners between the trees outside these buildings that read: “To Bomb This Site Would Be A War Crime.” At the time, we encouraged people in U.S. cities to do the same, trying to build empathy for people trapped in Iraq, anticipating a terrible aerial bombing. Tragically, sadly, the banners must again condemn war crimes, this time echoing international outcry.

University Scientists Caught Conspiring with Biotech Industry to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs

DAVE MURPHY – What happens when a private company with a long history of producing some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and now produces our food starts facing public pressure from a growing national grassroots movement to label their products to conform with basic principles of democracy and transparency? Well, if the company in question is Monsanto, then you take a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and hatch a secret plan to enlist public university scientists to bury the potential harm of your genetically engineered crops by whitewashing negative studies and systematically demonizing your opponents in the media to mislead elected officials and the American public about the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their accompanying toxic pesticides.

Tiny Guam Faces Huge U.S. Marine Base Expansions

SYLVIA FRAIN – On Saturday morning August 29, 2015, the United States Navy signed the Record of Decision (ROD), the final document needed for the implementation of one of the largest “peacetime” military build-ups in American history. This will cost between $8 and 9 billion, with only $174 million for civilian infrastructure, which Congress has not released yet. As a central aspect of American’s foreign policy ‘Pivot to the Pacific’, the build-up will relocate thousands of Marines and their dependents from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. This does not auger well for the people of Guam.

GOP Attempting to Kill Environmental Regulations Across the Board With Sneaky Budget Riders

EMERSON URRY – It seems like we, at EnviroNews, have been reporting on this type of thing all year. That is, sketchy environmental riders being attached to totally unrelated appropriations bills in backdoor efforts to kill environmental and wildlife protections. Yes, this year’s spending bills are littered with Republican-stamped provisions seeking to gut current regulations, while rolling back what little painstaking progress the government has made on the climate issue – this, in an attempt to open the door for limitless carbon pollution, and myriad other industrial plunders.

Boeing Patents Nuclear-Powered Airplane

KARL GROSSMAN – Consider getting on to an airplane with nuclear-powered engines. Consider the consequences if an atomic airplane crashes. The Boeing Company last week received approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an airplane engine that combines the use of lasers and nuclear power. “Boeing’s newly-patented engine provides thrust in a very different and rather novel manner,” heralded Business Insider. It’s a leap into mad science—and backwards to a 1950s notion of nuclear-powered aircraft.