Over the years, Muslims have pointed to Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City as evidence that non-Muslims commit major terrorist attacks against America. Anti-Christian bigots have also used it to make similar points against Christians, even though McVeigh was–for all intents and purposes–an atheist. But, as Oklahoma City investigative television reporter and author Jayna Davis has pointed out over the years, McVeigh was repeatedly seen with an Iraqi Muslim, Hussain Al-Hussaini, believed to be a then-agent of Saddam Hussein or some other anti-American Muslim force.
Despite FBI Denials, Jayna Davis Was on to Hussain Al-Hussaini
Buy Jayna Davis’ Book on Hussain Al-Husssaini . . .
I have long admired and respected the courageous, beautiful Davis because as an Oklahoma City TV news reporter, she had the guts, the curiosity, and the brains to do the work local TV reporters never do. She’s done excellent investigative journalism on this matter, despite many threats and unwarranted attacks on her character, as well as serious health problems. Her books, articles, and reports–which my late father shared with me–document this connection and a determined approach by the federal government to avoid discussing this. Davis has made a pretty good case over the years, especially in her exhaustive book, “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing,” that Al-Hussaini a/k/a “John Doe #2″ (as the FBI referred to him in its investigations) was connected to the attacks on the Murrah Building and that the bombing was not the work of a lone, disgruntled anti-government White guy and his militia buddies, but rather the work of foreign Islamic interests who desired to attack America. No one has been able to refute the evidence that Jayna Davis has presented in making this case.
This week’s arrest of Al-Hussaini in Quincy, Massachusetts brings the story–and the alleged cover-up–back to light, and even the Boston FBI spokesman, who repeats the denial that Al-Hussaini was involved in the Murrah attacks, confirms that Al-Hussaini was seen with McVeigh. That much is not mere conspiracy theory, and it’s enough to tell us a lot more was going on there. I guess they hung out together just for their health?
It was a routine call for Quincy police about two homeless men fighting. Hussain Al-Hussaini was arrested. The victim was taken to the hospital.
Then came the surprise. Readers commenting on a story about Wednesday’s arrest on The Patriot Ledger’s website noted that a man with the same name was mentioned prominently in a book about the deadly bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.
By Thursday afternoon, police had contacted the FBI and spoken to the book’s author.
Jayna Davis, author of the 2004 book “Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing,” said she asked a Quincy police detective if Hussain Al-Hussaini, the man police arrested, had a tattoo of an anchor with a snake wrapped around it. He did. Police sent her a photo of him.
“His age, his name, the picture, the mug shot – that’s him,” Davis told The Patriot Ledger via telephone after speaking with police. She said the anchor-and-snake tattoo was common among members of a branch of the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein.
An FBI spokesman in Boston, Greg Comcowich, said Thursday night that a man named Hussain Al-Hussaini was “thoroughly investigated” in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing and “was found to not have any role whatsoever in the attack on the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.”
Comcowich said the Hussain Al-Hussaini the FBI investigated had been seen with bomber Timothy McVeigh before the April 19, 1995, bombing, which killed 168 people.
“The investigation was closed and the FBI has no further interest in that individual,” he said.
Shocker–the Islamo-pandering FBI has no interest in taking talking points away from the HAMAS-financiers at the CAIR Action Network and actually investigating whether a Muslim Iraqi had anything to do with mass-murdering 168 innocent Americans.
The Al-Hussaini questioned by the FBI was never charged in connection with the bombing. McVeigh was executed for detonating the bomb in a truck he drove up to the federal building. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving a lifetime prison sentence.
The Al-Hussaini investigated in the bombing sued Davis, a former television reporter, and Oklahoma station KFOR for a story that indirectly identified him as a potential bombing suspect dubbed “John Doe 2” by investigators. . . .
Hussain Al-Hussaini, 45, was arrested around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday near 1250 Hancock St. and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police allege he slashed another homeless man’s face with a beer bottle. . . .
The Al-Hussaini arrested in Quincy had been arrested in the city in 2007 on a narcotics charge and in 2009 for open and gross lewdness, Traub said.
Quincy police Capt. John Dougan said Al-Hussaini is known to police and was first arrested in Quincy in 1996 on a charge of driving without a license. He told police his native country is Iraq.
Don’t let the fact that Al-Hussaini is nutty and homeless fool ya. We know that Al-Qaeda and many other Islamic terrorist groups often pick nutjobs to do their dirty work. It makes it easy to dismiss them as just nuts, not true Muslims engaged in jihad, once they are caught and/or their terrorist attacks have been successful.
So, was a Muslim who once worked for Saddam Hussein involved in the Murrah Building bombing? We know for sure he was buddies with McVeigh. And as far as the rest, the FBI has certainly gone out of its way over the years to avoid fully investigating and discussing the matter.
And, as they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Read more about this in Jayna Davis’ book, The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing. (If you click on this link and/or buy the book or any other Amazon product through this link, it will help support DebbieSchlussel.com). Also, check out Jayna Davis’ website.
On Saturday and Sunday, I told you about the Palestinian Muslim massacre of the Fogel Family, whose only “crime” was being Jewish, while they slept on the Jewish Sabbath. Murdered was almost an entire family, including a three-month-old baby girl, a four-year-old little boy, and an eleven-year-old boy. I posted the pictures released by the family, which wanted people to publish and publicize them so the world can see Israel’s Muslim “partners for peace” in action. As I noted then, this is what peace with Palestinians looks like: stabbing, blood, and death. Below is a short video of the funeral of this innocent family murdered in cold blood by members of the so-called “Religion of Peace.” Watch it, and again, see . . .
The Fogel Family . . . Murdered By IslamWHAT PEACE WITH MUSLIMS LOOKS LIKE–Watch the Video:
Stories like this are why I love the Mossad, THE most effective intelligence and secret agent operatives in the world, bar none. The pan-Arabist CIA and MI-6 couldn’t even shine their shoes. Not even close. Oh, and by the way, don’t believe the stories and claims that this guy isn’t HAMAS. No way he’d be running the Gaza power plants if he were not. That’s the way they run over there. Oh, and he’s not just “AN engineer.” He’s HAMAS’ top engineer, overseeing Gaza’s only power plant and trying to get around Israel’s counter-terrorist blockade. And when you read about “HaMoked,” below, think ACLU and CAIR Action Network obnoxiousness combined times ten. My heart just bleeds for Abu-Sissy, er . . . Abu-Sisi. Yup, just tearin’ up over this–actually over the tragedy that Israeli citizens are paying for three hots and a cot for this scumbag, and the fact that some dumbass Ukrainian idiotette converted to Islam to become a HAMAS baby factory.
So Sad, Too Bad: HAMAS’ Ukrainian Baby Factory, Veronika Abu-Sisi, Upset Hubby Caught By Mossad
An engineer in Gaza’s power plant is being held in an Israeli prison after disappearing mysteriously off a train in the Ukraine last month, according to relatives, the U.N. refugee agency and an Israeli human rights group.
A spokesman for the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, called Friday on Ukraine to investigate the incident.
Dirar Abu Sisi, the operating manager of the only power plant in the Gaza Strip, went missing Feb. 19 after boarding a train in eastern Ukraine, where he had gone to apply for citizenship.
The Israeli rights group HaMoked, which assists Palestinian detainees, said it received confirmation this week from the Israeli Prison Service that Abu Sisi was being held in Shikma prison near the coastal city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza.
Abu Sisi’s Ukrainian-born wife, Veronika, alleged in an interview with the Associated Press that he had been abducted by Israel’s overseas intelligence service, Mossad, because of his key role in the power plant. A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine said Abu Sisi was being held in Israel after what “looks like a violent abduction and not a legal extradition,” AP reported.
Wait, he’s still alive? Then, it wasn’t nearly “violent” enough. Yeah, like the Israelis need to ask the sons and grandsons of the Ukrainians who committed centuries of pogroms against Jews for “legal extraditions” of other pogromists. Uh, no thanks.
Ghazi Abu Sisi, a brother of the engineer, said he had overseen a modification of the Gaza power plant to receive diesel fuel smuggled from Egypt, instead of from Israel, which had previously been the sole source of fuel for the power station.
Israeli officials have declined to comment on the case, citing a court-imposed gag order.
HA! LOVE IT. So sad, too bad.
Neither of the reactor containment vessels of reactors no. 1 and no. 3 had been damaged in the earlier explosion and there is no evidence so far to suggest the vessel of no. 2 has been damaged either.
Officials had feared the possibility of such an explosion because the fuel core had been exposed to air for more than two hours, allowing it to overheat. When the zirconium cladding on the fuel rods was subsequently exposed to seawater used for cooling, it released hydrogen gas, which built up to dangerous levels in the plant and was most likely ignited by a spark.
Japan's nuclear crisis had already taken a frightening turn for the worse as officials acknowledged that fuel rods at one of the Fukushima reactors had been temporarily exposed to the air, heightening the risk of an uncontrolled release of radiation into the environment.
In extraordinary televised scenes, three executives from the utility that runs the crippled complex in Fukushima prefecture, about 150 miles north of Tokyo, acknowledged that pumps funneling seawater into one of the reactors had halted temporarily, a major setback in efforts to cool the superheated core.
"We are trying to reopen the valve," said one of the officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. as they passed the microphone back and forth among themselves. "The fuel rods are exposed. We are trying to get the pressure down and pump water into the pressure vessel again."
Photos: Scenes of earthquake destruction
It was the gravest development to date in the crisis brought by Friday's devastating temblor, which triggered a tsunami that wreaked massive destruction on the nation's northeastern coast. More than half a million people have been displaced, and the death toll is widely expected to soar into the tens of thousands.
About 2,000 bodies were discovered Monday at two sites in a single prefecture, or state, one of several pummeled by the earthquake, the worst in Japan's recorded history. Whole coastal villages were wiped from the map, and a full assessment of the extent of deaths and damage was expected to take weeks. Meanwhile, hardship and privation in the quake zone grew, with tens of thousands of people spending a fourth night in chilly shelters.
In the parallel crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi )plant in the town of Okuma, fuel rods twice were not covered by the seawater being used to cool down the reactor, resulting in exposure for about 140 minutes, the Kyodo News agency reported. Prolonged exposure of fuel rods to air can cause them to heat up and melt at least partly. If they melt completely, they could burn through the containment vessel, causing release of radioactive material into the environment.
Officials at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety agency were cited by Kyodo as saying that, even in a worst-case scenario, the three troubled reactors at Fukushima No.1 had been depressurized by the release of radioactive steam, which would decrease the destructive effect of any breach.
Japan's nuclear crisis began Friday soon after the earthquake, when the huge tsunami destroyed seawalls and pushed far inland, damaging or destroying pumps and generators crucial to safe operations at the complex. The cooling systems of two reactors were seriously compromised, leading to hydrogen explosions on Saturday and again Monday in their outer containment buildings.
The current problem is focused on another reactor at the Fukushima No.1 plant, where a 12-mile evacuation zone was established, forcing nearly 200,000 thousand people to flee.
Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, had said earlier that the hydrogen explosion at the third reactor posed little threat of a large-scale release of radiation — an assertion that drew anger and skepticism from some in the earthquake zone.
On Monday, there were signs that the legendary patience and politeness of Japanese in the face of such adversity was wearing thin. A widely held sentiment among disaster victims and millions more who haven't been directly touched is resentment at what many feel is the lack of clear, direct information from government officials on the state of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima.
But other issues are also fraying nerves.
In Natori, north of Tokyo, the top floor of the City Hall was repurposed into a disaster-relief center. There, in an oft-repeated scene, a woman in red pants and a brown coat loudly berated government workers for sitting comfortably in their offices with heat, 24-hour power and water when the rest of Miyagi prefecture lacked basic services. Voice cracking, she added that the government had been far too slow in restoring electricity and repairing roads and basic infrastructure.
"She's complaining that our operation doesn't work so well," said Chizuko Nakajima, a government worker in the senior citizen department, who was helping distribute food as an emergency volunteer. "Actually, it's true. We're so overwhelmed, have to do so much and it's not working perfectly. I understand she's angry and wants to direct it somewhere, but I'd rather people didn't do that."
Nakajima said the lack of clarity on the nuclear issue, given all the problems at the Fukushima reactors, has frayed nerves further. "Some people are angry," she said. "Many people complain about food shortages. Japanese people won't riot, but they're very upset."
The emergency food handouts are meant for those who've lost their homes. But with power out, most supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores closed, and gasoline very difficult to acquire, people in undamaged houses are also asking for government allocations as well.
Some officials said they saw a sliver of hope that food-related angst might ease soon. More citizens had started donating food on the streets, some making large pots of miso soup for passersby. "I really hope people don't panic," Najakima said. "You see what it's like. We have to do so much."
Adding to the sense of anxiety, strong aftershocks have rippled across a wide area since Friday's quake.
At least two tremors were felt early Tuesday in Tokyo, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.1, the public broadcaster NHK reported. Japan's Meteorological Agency said Saturday there was a 70% probability of another powerful earthquake coming in three days.
U.S. Stock Market WrapMarch 14 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Deborah Kostroun reports on the performance of the U.S. equity market today. U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lower for a third time in four days, as investors struggled to assess how much damage Japan’s worst earthquake on record will do to the global economy. Bloomberg's Pimm Fox also speaks.
Clinton Trip to Boost Democracy in Egypt, Tunisia as Libya Actions Debate
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Egypt and Tunisia this week to show support for their democracy movements, while the Obama administration considers how much to help the insurgency against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya.
En route to the Middle East, Clinton was scheduled to stop in Paris for a meeting of Group of Eight foreign ministers. Clinton told House lawmakers March 10 that she will see Libyan opposition figures during the trip.
U.S. hesitance on a no-fly zone over Libya and caution toward hot spots such as Yemen and Bahrain will be highlighted as Clinton becomes the highest-level member of the U.S. administration to visit the two countries where regimes have been overthrown, analysts said.
“The message on Egypt and Tunisia is very clear -- that the United States is on the side of democracy, the side of change,” said Marina Ottaway, director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington policy group.
“Unfortunately, we cannot deliver that message consistently” because of competing U.S. concerns, Ottaway said in a telephone interview. “The message to the rest of region is very confused.”
Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. A change in regimes might disrupt what the U.S. sees as a bulwark against Iran’s attempts to expand its influence in the Persian Gulf.
Yemen, where al-Qaeda has a haven, is held together by its longtime president and may descend into chaos if he is forced out by protests, Ottaway said.
Conflicts in those countries and Libya have drawn U.S. attention away from Egypt and Tunisia, said Michele Dunne, co- chair of the Working Group on Egypt, which advises the Obama administration.
“It’s now been a month since Mubarak left office and the U.S. has said practically nothing,” Dunne said in a telephone interview. Some of the $1.3 billion in annual aid given to Egypt’s military should be shifted to economic assistance, which is now about $200 million, said Dunne, a former White House and State Department official now also with Carnegie.
The administration has already added $150 million in emergency aid to Egypt to fund democratic transition efforts and help ease the economic blow caused by the upheaval. “A lot more has to be invested in education and democratic assistance,” she said, to ease youth unemployment which feeds the unrest.
Clinton last week said the U.S. is considering using funds from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and U.S. Export-Import Bank to increase trade and investment in Egypt and Tunisia.
Clinton may announce further aid during her visit, which will include meetings with Egyptian Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the deputy prime minister who heads the ruling military council, and Foreign Minister Nabil El-Arabi, a 75- year-old former judge at the International Court of Justice.
In Tunisia, Clinton will meet with interim President Fouad Mebazaa and others. In both places, she will hold a public meeting to interact with citizens.
A White House statement said the U.S. welcomed the Arab League request. The U.S. would continue to coordinate with allies, it said, without mention of a no-fly zone, which the rebels say they need to survive.
“In theory, while we want to see the protesters in Libya succeed, we’re not willing to do very much to make that happen,” Ottaway said.
In Bahrain, troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas at crowds demanding change last week. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who visited at the end of the week, told the king and crown prince that delays in reform may create an opening for Iran to foster further chaos.
Yesterday, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said he is committed to starting a dialogue with the opposition that would address demands including “a parliament with full authority,” a “government that represents the will of the people” and the creation of “fair voting districts.”
“On Bahrain, essentially we still want change coming from the top, we don’t want the protests to succeed because they may call into question the presence of the U.S. base,” Ottaway said.
In Yemen, where troops fired on protesters and several people died, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster may send the country into chaos, Ottaway said.
“We don’t want the rebels in Yemen to succeed, because the main concern there is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” she said.
Four Ways the U.S. Can Help Japan, Also Itself: Amity Shlaes
How can we help?
That’s the first question that comes to American minds as the size and scope of Japan’s disaster unfolds. Click on PayPal to send money for emergency shelters. Sponsor a child from Sendai. Encourage General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt to send nuclear engineers.
This week of horror has generated record good will in the U.S. toward Japan.
There is a way the U.S. can help. Of course, it starts with traditional aid. This week, this month, this year, the U.S. will ship resources to Japan.
There is another, more important way to express our good will. We can shift our economic policies. This will mean more to Japan than any material gift.
To see why, consider pre-quake Japan. The country’s national debt was already enormous, ranking up there with Lebanon’s as a share of its economy. Last summer China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, an enormous setback to Japanese pride. Then consider our own country, which is lurching toward recovery. If Japan is to stabilize and avoid a future in China’s shadow, it needs to grow faster. And it needs a strong U.S. to be a counterbalance to China.
The first U.S. move is the easiest: when it comes to trade, stop being a prissy multilateralist. From the World Trade Organization to the North American Free Trade Agreement, postwar trade in the U.S. has been about lengthy agreements crafted by experts and government officials involving trade-offs that take years, even decades, to arrange. In multilateral talks the rule is too often fairness over speed. Multilateralists think it isn’t worthwhile to conclude a fast agreement if it isn’t fair.
The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership for the Asia-Pacific region is a good example. It’s a trade group that includes the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan has said it wants to discuss joining. But right now it can’t because the other participants would demand Japan drop some of its protection for farmers. Letting Japan in with its current tariffs on foreigners wouldn’t be fair, the thinking goes.
Now is the time to forget about fairness and just say, “Come on in, guys,” with or without trade concessions. Trade negotiations on specific items matter less right now; inclusion matters more. In addition, it’s time to suspend the longstanding bilateral haggles the U.S. has with Japan. If the Japanese are behind in learning the value of free trade, let them learn by watching the U.S. example. Multilateral trade that is more flexible, or plain old unilateral free trade, can have more effect than diplomatic rounds held for their own sake.
It’s Japan’s Time
“It’s time for Japan to have a free-trade agreement with the U.S. and to be in the Transpacific Partnership,” says Carlos Gutierrez, Commerce Secretary under President George W. Bush and now vice chairman at Citigroup.
The second thing the U.S. can do is stop kidding everyone about infrastructure as stimulus. The natural response of the U.S. now -- the most likely expression of our good will -- is to write a multibillion-dollar foreign aid bill so Japan can rebuild its cities, secure the coastline and clean up its nuclear power mess. When this law is passed, U.S. lawmakers will tell themselves that the gift serves two purposes: it rebuilds infrastructure and supplies economic stimulus. Prime Minister Naoto Kan signaled he too saw stimulus and infrastructure as one over the weekend when he called for a Great Depression-style New Deal for Japan.
Infrastructure spending as stimulus is no medicine for dramatic downturns or tsunamis. In fact, the very reason Japan was carrying destabilizing amounts of debt even before the quake was its infrastructure spending that failed to stimulate. Our own emphasis on stimulus plans that included infrastructure gave a lurching quality to recent growth. Now everyone is concerned that, absent stimulus, the U.S. can’t grow farther. So sure, Japan will need new infrastructure now. But that infrastructure should be recognized for what it is: brick, wire, mortar. Remember, though, that growth comes from competitiveness, not government spending.
The third thing we can do is ease immigration rules so that more Japanese can study or work here. Japanese already have a presence in American universities. Make that presence larger. Then they will be less likely to stick to their old ways of protectionism and cronyism.
Lower Tax Rates
The fourth move for the U.S. would be to pass laws that strengthen our own growth. That means lowering our tax rates, including corporate taxes, so that Americans make more and buy more. This isn’t selfish. It’s actually generous, because it gives Japan a strong western ally to offset expansive China. Militarily, economically and politically, a strong U.S. ally gives Japan more leeway to set its own path.
Impossible. That will be the response to all these proposals, especially the ideas about trade. U.S. farmers and automakers will allow gradual staged change, but not rapid shifts that overnight increases their own sector’s exposure to Japanese competition. The Japanese will never give up protection for beef or rice. Here’s where that unprecedented good will, that urgent desire to help a stricken country represents opportunity. If we are ever going to widen our markets, this is the moment. The same holds for Japan. An open U.S., a flexible friend, is the kind of help Japan can use most.
Obama's Libya Inaction Risks Missing an Opening: Lisa Anderson
The Obama administration’s hesitation is difficult to fathom as the Libyan government tries to crush a rebellion sparked by the popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
Unlike the rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, Muammar Qaddafi has long been a provocative and exasperating opponent of U.S. interests -- the U.S. didn’t even have an ambassador in Tripoli from 1979 until 2008. The recent revival of diplomatic relations was accompanied by modest intelligence cooperation as the Libyan and U.S. governments made common cause against al-Qaeda, but the U.S. has little to lose in far more assertive support for the Libyan rebellion. And President Barack Obama has much to gain in helping coordinate multilateral support for it.
Even if the battle turns in his favor, Qaddafi will never regain complete control of the country, nor will he win back the international community’s acquiescence in his rule. Yet we know that he won’t retire gracefully from the leadership of his revolution; he has said he will die in its defense and he means it. Nor are the rebels going to surrender only to be slaughtered by Qaddafi’s forces; they too may as well die in battle.
There is, therefore, little to be gained in waiting to see how the fighting turns out: a long, drawn-out and well-televised bloodbath as the two sides fight to the finish would be humiliating to the entire international community, not least the U.S. president, who has made himself one of world’s most eloquent advocates of freedom, democracy and human rights.
The longer the fighting goes on, the more difficult will be the already daunting task of repairing the social, economic and political damage wrought by Qaddafi’s more than 40 years of uninterrupted rule. The political calculus of the Libyan people has already been deeply influenced by Qaddafi’s decades of manipulation and brutality. More than 75 percent of the population was born after Qaddafi came to power in 1969, and very few Libyans have even passing familiarity with the rule of law, personal liberty or civic responsibility.
Ruled for decades by arbitrary and cruel decree, Libyans often resorted to unsavory expedients to obtain simple necessities such as access to medical care, exit visas or even Internet services. As a result, their trust in the system and in each other eroded, and they took refuge in the last remaining source of assistance and solace: tribe and family. Libyan society has been fractured along tribal and clan lines, and every national institution, including the military, is divided by the cleavages of kinship and region. This means there are personal scores to settle and local rivalries to cope with.
There is no system of political alliances, no network of economic associations; there is no national organization of any kind. Libya will again need the sort of international assistance it enjoyed on the eve of its independence in 1951. At that time, devastated by decades of fascist rule and the North African military campaigns of World War II, the former Italian colony was delivered to the United Nations.
The UN secured law and order and appointed a commissioner who worked with a provisional assembly of 60 Libyans -- 20 each from the western, eastern and southern provinces -- to draft a constitution and plan for elections. The new system wasn’t a complete success, not least because the majority of the representatives in the new parliament were illiterate, like most of their constituents, but it did serve to secure a peaceful transition to independence.
The appointment of a UN commissioner may not be the perfect mechanism 60 years later, but some outside assistance in imposing law and order, restoring the economy, and bringing the fractious, jealous and inexperienced leadership of a post- Qaddafi Libya together will probably be necessary. Libyans will need to design political institutions with which they can all live, and they will need help to do so, at least at the outset.
Neither the U.S. nor the international community should be deterred by the difficulty of imagining the aftermath from fulfilling their responsibility to protect civilians from the depredations of vicious governments -- in fact, they should plan for it. Any military and diplomatic intervention that will bring an end to the Qaddafi regime should be accompanied, from the beginning, by mobilization of the resources for political reconstruction. Today, such assistance needn’t be expensive, in either financial or political terms.
There are many international organizations whose expertise could be lent to the purposes of the post-Qaddafi transition. The Club of Madrid’s gathering of former national presidents from around the world who are willing to provide technical advice to transitional nations moving toward democracy is just one example. But they will need to be part of a dialogue now about a multilateral and multifaceted effort to oust the Qaddafi regime and plan for the future of the country.
A military intervention in the absence of plans for civilian reconstruction is a recipe for failure. But a comprehensive approach that included international civil society would be a harbinger of a more nimble global community and a more peaceful and just world in the 21st century.
Japan Appeals for Aid in Fight to Prevent Nuclear Meltdown
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it has resumed efforts to inject seawater into a nuclear reactor damaged by Japan’s biggest earthquake after the failure of the cooling system heightened the risk of a meltdown.
Water levels at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant’s No. 2 reactor aren’t rising enough and fuel rods were exposed, company officials told reporters this morning in a briefing. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano later said the cooling function is working, though it isn’t stable.
As workers battled to head off a further crisis after a second explosion at the plant north of Tokyo, millions of people remained without electricity or water following the earthquake, which may have killed 10,000. Japan sought aid from the United Nations atomic agency, and the U.S. pledged any help needed.
The March 11 temblor -- updated yesterday to a magnitude of 9, from 8.9, by the U.S. Geological Survey -- and subsequent tsunami have led to what Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the country’s worst crisis since World War II. Stocks plunged and the Bank of Japan poured record funds into the economy.
No large release of radiation was detected after the explosion, which didn’t breach Fukushima power station’s No. 3 reactor and followed a build-up of hydrogen gas, Edano told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. The risk of a large leak is small, he said.
“The situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant continues to be a concern,” Kan said at a meeting of the government’s crisis-response team in Tokyo. “Everyone connected with this is working with all their might, without regard to day or night, to prevent further damage.”
Record Radiation Levels
The cooling system failed at Fukushima Daiichi station’s No. 1 and No. 3 reactors after the earthquake, and it stopped working yesterday at the No. 2 reactor. Operator Tokyo Electric had earlier said it couldn’t rule out that fuel rods are melting at the No. 2 reactor after they became exposed for a second time by a drop in water levels.
Radiation levels reached 3,130 microsieverts an hour at the monitoring site near the gate of the plant as of 9:37 p.m. local time on March 14 -- twice the previous record. Radiation had retreated to 326.2 microsieverts per hour at 10:35 p.m., Tokyo Electric said.
Japan’s government asked the UN atomic agency to provide “expert missions” to help stabilize the nuclear reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement from Vienna.
The U.S. has dispatched two nuclear technicians to Japan to help with the reactors and stands ready to provide more aid.
Death Toll Climbing
“We are confident that they will overcome this challenge and recover from this tragedy,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The death toll may reach 10,000 in Miyagi prefecture, north of Tokyo, said Go Sugawara, a spokesman for the prefectural police department. The official toll counts 1,823 dead and 2,369 missing, the National Police Agency said.
About 1.3 million households were without power, and 1.4 million had no running water, according to a government report. Rescue teams were having trouble reaching about 24,000 people stranded in northeastern Japan, NHK Television said.
More than 310,000 people are in emergency shelters and heating systems are short of fuel, the state broadcaster reported.
About 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water, 100,000 packages of instant noodles, 10,000 diapers and 130 portable toilets were en route to the most devastated areas, according to a statement on the prime minister’s website.
Convoys of army trucks and police buses could be seen heading in both directions on the Tohoku expressway, which runs from Tokyo to the north of Japan. In the town of Motomiya, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) north of the capital, ambulances and Tokyo Electric vehicles were queuing up for petrol at a gasoline station.
Some of the expressways leading north from Tokyo were closed to regular traffic for the relief efforts. Drivers are allowed to buy 10 liters (2.6 gallons) at gasoline stands that have fuel, attendants told Bloomberg News.
Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano said “the economic impact will exceed the 20 trillion yen in damage sustained during the Kobe earthquake” of 1995. The government still has 1.3 trillion yen ($15.8 billion) in discretionary funds from this year’s budget that can be allocated for quake relief, he said at a press conference.
The Bank of Japan poured a record 15 trillion yen into the world’s third-biggest economy as the earthquake triggered a plunge in stocks and surge in credit risk. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average closed 6.2 percent down, the biggest one-day drop since December 2008.
Kan is sending 100,000 Self-Defense Forces personnel into the areas around Sendai, a city of 1 million people, for search- and-rescue efforts, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said. About 190 aircraft and 45 vessels were deployed to transport injured people and supplies, according to the Defense Ministry website. More than 50 countries pledged help.
The parliament suspended its current session, Kyodo News reported, citing lawmakers.
“Our country faces its worst crisis since the end of the war 65 years ago,” an emotional Kan said at a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo yesterday. “I’m convinced that working together with all our might, the Japanese people can overcome this.”
A temblor measuring 6.1 shook buildings across Tokyo at 4:12 p.m. yesterday. There have been 32 aftershocks with a magnitude of 6 or greater since the main quake struck on March 11, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One quake triggered an alert for a 5-meter tsunami for Iwate prefecture that didn’t materialize.
At Yurakucho station in the capital’s central business district, commuters stood 12 deep, waiting to board at 8 a.m. As a delayed train pulled in and passengers got off, people surged forward to squeeze into carriages. Riders who usually read newspapers or check their mobile phones were packed so tightly inside the car that they couldn’t lift their arms.
Edano said Japan is setting up power-conservation measures. Tokyo Electric started power outages in parts of the greater Tokyo area yesterday, according to a statement. Edano urged Japanese citizens to “save electricity in the most maximum way possible, including large electricity users.”
Exceeding Japanese Limits
Winds took small radiation releases from the reactors out to sea away from the population and shouldn’t affect the U.S. West Coast, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which sent reactor experts to Japan, said in a statement. Radiation at the plant exceeded Japanese limits after an explosion on March 12 at the No. 1 reactor destroyed the walls of the plant and injured four workers, said Naoyuki Matsumoto, a company spokesman.
Inadequate cooling of the reactor core may lead to a meltdown, the most dangerous kind of nuclear power accident because of the threat of radiation releases, according to the NRC. The 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania failed to breach the containment building, according to the commission.
Air Self-Defense Forces transported batteries, generators and pumps for cooling water to the plant, the Defense Ministry said. More than 100 military staff members were dispatched to provide containment assistance with special chemical units.
Seawater was pumped into reactors to prevent a meltdown.
The government ordered people within 10 kilometers of the power plant to evacuate after the cooling system failed.
Prepare for Worst
“We’d like to keep the length of the evacuation at a minimum, but at the same time we must prepare for the worst,” Edano said.
Rescue workers used chain saws and hand picks to dig out bodies in coastal towns hit by the quake, the Associated Press reported. Hajime Sato, a government official in quake-ravaged Iwate prefecture, told the AP that not enough supplies were getting through and that there was a shortage of body bags and coffins.
U.S. Crew Affected
The U.S. Navy moved its ships and planes involved in the rescue efforts after radiation was detected on three helicopters operating near the Fukushima plant.
“Low-level radioactivity” was detected on 17 air crew members when they returned to the USS Ronald Reagan operating about 100 miles northeast from the plant, Navy spokesman Jeff Davis said in an e-mail.
The maximum radiation dose detected on any crew member was less than one month’s exposure to natural radiation emitted from sources such as “rocks, soil and the sun,” Davis said.
Le Groupe de Secours Catastrophe Francais, a volunteer organization that sends rescue teams into disaster areas, will not immediately be sending rescuers to Japan, in part because of the danger of exposure to radioactive contamination, the group said in an e-mailed statement Monday.
The quake was the world’s strongest since a December 2004 temblor in Indonesia that left about 220,000 people dead or missing in 12 countries around the Indian Ocean. It was the biggest within the boundaries of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates in about 1,200 years, said Dave Applegate, a senior adviser at USGS.
Manufacturing Shut Down
Sony said its plant in Miyagi that makes Blu-ray discs, magnetic tapes and optical discs was flooded. Toshiba closed a plant that makes sensors for the cameras in its mobile phones. Refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. also shut operations. Toyota Motor Corp. closed 12 plants in the nation through March 16.
Tokyo Disney Resort will be closed until at least March 21, depending on the state of transportation and infrastructure around the park, operator Oriental Land Co. said. No major damage to the park’s facilities was reported, it said.
‘Ring of Fire’
Japan lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines surrounding the Pacific Basin. A 6.9- magnitude earthquake in Kobe, western Japan, killed more than 6,000 people in 1995, while the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Quake of 1923 destroyed 576,262 structures and killed an estimated 140,000.
Within an hour of the March 11 quake, a 7-meter-high tsunami engulfed towns on the northern coast, washing away buildings, vehicles and boats.
The wall of water reached as far as 20 kilometers inland, according to NHK. It swamped an area from Erimo in the northern island of Hokkaido to Oarai, Fukushima, about 670 kilometers to the south, according to Japan’s meteorological agency.
Quakes, Tsunamis, Meltdowns
The Japanese Disasters
By GARY LEUPP
It’s nicknamed Mori no miyako, “the forested capital.” Or maybe we could render it – Sendai -- the “Kyoto of the woods.” The castle of Lord Date Masamune, built in the 1600s, is called the Aoba-jo or “Green Leaves Castle” and the main street of the castle-town is called Green Leaves Avenue. When I visited for a week in 1986---a visit prolonged since typhoons were preventing rail travel---I was struck by the green so lacking in most Japanese cities, watered by the Hirose River. I fell in love with it, comparing it in some respects to Sapporo where I’d met my wife.
I will always associate, as do many Japanese, Sendai with the song Aobajo koi uta,a plaintive ballad that begins with this verse so representative of Japanese art, which always finds poignant beauty in the transience of life:
“Hirosegawa nagareru kishibe
Omoide wa kaerazu
Hayase odoru hikari ni
Yureteita kimi no hitomi
Toki wa meguri
Mata natsu ga kite
Ano hi to onaji nagare no kishi
Mori no miyako
Ano hito wa mo inai”
“On the bank of the flowing Hirose River
I’m remembering what can’t return.
In the dancing brightness of the rapids
I see your eyes brimming with tears.
Time goes around.
Summer comes again.
Just like on that day the rapids between the banks
the delightful sound of the rapids
in this wooded city.
That person no longer exists”
I am wondering if Sendai exists anymore. “Many areas of the town,” according to CNN, “are simply gone -- mud and boards littering an area where a row of homes used to stand; a vehicle upside-down among tree branches. A school, which had 450 people inside when the tsunami hit, stood with its doors blown open and a jumble of furniture -- plus a truck -- in its hallways. Some teachers and students were able to escape the building, but officials said others did not.”
Located just 100 miles west of the epicenter of Friday’s earthquake, Sendai incurred more damage than any other major Japanese city. Its Futaki neighborhood is being referred to as “ground zero” of the disaster. Sendai, in Miyagi Prefecture, is the most populous city in the vast Tohoku or Northeast region. It had a population of a million people before the quake and the tsunami it unleashed. It is thought that the nearby fishing town of Minamisanriku has lost around 10,000 of its 17,000 residents. Kasennuma, also in Miyagi, a city of 74,000, is totally submerged. Whole towns and villages have been sucked out to sea. The official death toll remains relatively low at 10,000, but the number of missing is huge. How many has Sendai lost?
First there was the violent shaking, lasting over three minutes. As it started people must have thought, “Need to turn off the gas stove.” Every schoolchild has been taught that. Next: “Be concerned about a tsunami.”
But there was no time. Within minutes, as houses caught fire, the sea level dropped dramatically only to well up ferociously. The wall of water attacked the city, submerging the treetops, and inundated almost the entire Tohoku Pacific coast. The Sendai airport runway was flooded. City blocks blazed into the night as fire engines remained idle, unable to reach them through the inundated streets. The perfect storm of fire and water, a catastrophe of biblical proportions. A snowstorm made life more miserable for those lacking shelter.
Up the coast police found the bodies of 200-300 persons who’d been dragged out to sea, then returned to shore. This was the big one---not just the biggest in 140 years of scientific record-keeping, but probably in the last 1500 years. And it’s not over yet; aftershocks measuring magnitude 6 or more have been happening every few hours.
I grieve for Japan, where I spent six years, in general. The Friday quake impacted a huge swathe of the country. My mother-in-law in Sapporo, in the northern island of Hokkaido, definitely felt it. She told my wife (who got though to her on the third try since many phone lines are down), that she thought it was just another normal quake. (It was in fact 6.8 magnitude in Sapporo.) She was watching TV at the time and saw that a quake had hit Tokyo, over 500 miles to the south. What a strange coincidence, she thought, that there’d be earthquakes in Sapporo and Tokyo at the same time. She didn’t realize it was all the same quake, which was indeed felt as far away as Beijing.
Like most Japanese my mother-in-law has a very matter-of-fact attitude towards earthquakes. They are shikataganai koto, something that can’t be helped. One just has to deal with them rationally (even while perhaps trying to explain them with reference to the earthquake god Nai no kami, or the legendary giant catfishNamazu, who lives in the mud under the sea and thrashes about wildly when not restrained).
She opines that the quake is divine punishment for Japan for political corruption and factionalism. But the religiosity and fatalism of this 78-year old, very tough woman coexist with great practicality. Her up-to-date pre-fab home is programmed so that when the earth trembles the kitchen cabinets lock automatically so dishes don’t fall out. And the heater shuts down. She has her act together, as do the Japanese people in general when it comes to earthquakes, But this was not a normal one.
I mourn for the whole country but for Sendai specifically---Sendai with its unique dialect I found incomprehensible, Sendai with its exceptionally beautiful women, Sendai with its rich history. The Date samurai elite were for a time friendly to Roman Catholic missions, protecting them even when the central power persecuted Christians. In the 1610s Date Masamune sent emissaries to the Vatican to establish ties; they traveled across the Pacific to Mexico and on across the Atlantic. (In 1617 seven of the samurai mission members decided not to return home but settled in a town near Seville where hundreds of people today hold the surname “Japon.”)
The envoys brought back letters, paintings and maps preserved in the Sendai City Museum. At least I hope they are. And I hope the monument to the great Chinese writer Lu Xun, who studied in the city from 1904 to 1906, has not been damaged.
Japanese know Sendai as the home of Tohoku University, one of the finest public universities in the country. They also know about the city’s Tanabata Festival, held in early August every year. The population swells as what seem to be half the population of Tohoku gather to celebrate the Chinese myth of the love of the Weaving Princess (the star Vega) and the Cow Herder (the star Altair). The princess’s father, a powerful deity presiding over the Milky Way, allowed her to meet and marry the cowherd. But then he became angry when she neglected her silk-weaving duties and let cattle wander into heaven. He separated them, only allowing them to meet once a year, when magpies assist the princess to cross over a heavenly bridge to meet her husband.
The August festival, celebrating this divine liaison, is marked by the display of countless decorations throughout the city, spectacular fireworks displays, dancing and other events. Think of it as a kind of subdued Mardi Gras, and flooded Sendai as New Orleans after the hurricane. Will the festival, celebrating the persistence of love under the most unfavorable circumstances, survive?
My mother-in-law’s opinion notwithstanding, we cannot attribute either divine or human agency to the movements of tectonic plates of the coast of Honshu. This is just---shikataganai---the way things happen on our young vigorous planet. But it may happen that the worst part of this disaster will be man-made. When some human beings who in their quest for profit and prosperity deal with the environment stupidly, we really need to hold them accountable.
One-third of Japan’s energy supply is provided by nuclear reactors. They are located for the most part on the thin strips of coastal land where the great majority of Japanese live, and vulnerable to inevitable cataclysms. When an earthquake or volcanic eruption disrupts the supply of electricity needed to pump the water that keeps the reactor cool, there can be a meltdown and release of lethal doses of radiation. The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 is thought to have produced many thousands of deaths from cancer in addition to 57 immediate deaths from radiation exposure.
What happens if -- as now seems highly likely -- power plants Dai-ichi and Dai-ni, up the coast from Sendai in Fukushima prefecture, experience meltdowns? Do we say shikataganai? Or do we demand the heads of the planners, politicians and corporate bosses who made this happen? For years public opinion polls have shown a plurality of Japanese opposed to nuclear power. A 1999 Asahi Shinbun poll showed 45 per cent of Japanese opposing nuclear energy, with only 32 per cent supporting it. In 1996 half the electorate of Mie Prefecture signed a position opposing the construction of a nuclear plant. But as a study on public opinion and nuclear power in Japan published by Rice University in 2000 noted, a minority argued that nuclear power was the key to Japanese energy independence. “These views allowed officials to discount protests as short-term, selfish economic anxiety. They effectively used financial rewards and compensation to dampen discontent. Little attention was given to the legitimacy of public concerns on safety.”
Despite public opposition, and the occurrence of level 2, 3, and 4 accidents (in 1995, 1997, and 1999 respectively), reliance of nuclear power soared. In 1990, 9 per cent of Japan’s electricity was generated by nuclear plants, while in 2000 the figure was 32 per cent.
In the 1990 film Yume (“Dreams”) by Kurosawa Akira, based upon the great film director’s own dreams, there is a short piece called “Mt. Fuji in Red.” In the nightmare, people are fleeing from an earthquake along a bridge. Several---a woman and her two small children, a man in a suit, and a man dressed casually---pause to stare up at Mt. Fuji, realizing in horror that it is erupting. (This is entirely conceivable. It last erupted in 1707 and has erupted about 75 times in the last 2200 years.) A huge radioactive red cloud appears on the horizon as huge columns of flame envelop the mountain. The uniformed man notes that the mountain is ringed by six atomic plants. They flee, although he declares that because Japan is small there’s no escape.
The scene changes to a deserted debris-strew cliff overlooking the sea. The casually dressed man asks where all the people have gone, and the other man tells him they’ve all leaped into the sea. He then points to the sky and explains: “That red one is plutonium 239. One 100,000,000th of a gram causes cancer. The yellow one is strontium 90. It gets inside you and causes leukemia. The purple one is cesium 137. If affects reproduction and causes mutations. It makes monstrosities. Man’s stupidity is unbelievable. Radioactivity is invisible. But because of its danger they colored it. But that only lets you know what kind kills you. Death’s calling card.”
He bows politely, says “Osaki ni” (a phrase literally meaning, “in advance of you”), and turns to the cliff, preparing to leap into the sea. The other man tries to restrain him, noting that radiation doesn’t kill immediately, but is told that “waiting to die isn’t living.”
The woman hugging her children cries out, “They told us that nuclear energy was safe. Human accident is the danger, not the nuclear plant itself. No accidents, no danger. That’s what they told us. What liars! If they’re not hanged for this, I’ll kill them myself!” The man about to leap into the sea tells her that the radiation will kill them for her. He again bows low, and confesses he’s one that deserves to die. He throws himself over the cliff as the radioactive winds surround the living.
Was this nightmare scenario just the bad dream of the great Japanese director? Japanese officials are pooh-poohing the possibility of a major calamity. Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio “assumes the possibility of a meltdown” at one of the Fukushima reactors. “At the risk of raising further public concern,” he says, “we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion. If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.”
Reminds me of the woman in the film: No danger. That’s what they told us. I don’t want to predict the worst, knowing little about nuclear power. But it’s obviously not safe when you have to evacuate 180,000 people as a precaution, when workers have to struggle to avert disasters, and countries are urging their nationals to leave Japan with radiation a principle concern. There is already a significant influence on the mental health of Japanese seized by anxiety about explosions and leaks. As we mourn the dead we should on behalf of the living struggle for safe, sustainable, green energy.
Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers
The nuclear power plant failures and explosions near Fukushima, Japan are an excellent case example of the failure of government. Here, the Japanese government has been horribly derelict before, during and after this incident. This freak occurrence would be a tragedy of comical proportions if only it weren’t so grotesque and a real-life horror show. It has been a brutal tragedy of errors that makes me wonder why anyone would trust or believe anything the government says.
I am not talking about just the Japanese government here. I am talking about all governments. All governments lie all the time. It is the nature of government to do so.
As of the writing of this article, the situation at the nuclear power plants keeps getting worse as it has been reported that after the first nuclear power plant’s dome cracked, exploded and is now experiencing at least a partial nuclear meltdown, a second reactor is now in danger of the same.
Interestingly of the writing of this article, there were reports that the Japanese government still has not admitted that there has been an explosion at the first reactor plant even though there is video evidence of the event.
Like I said, that anyone would trust what the government says is simply astounding to me. How many times do people need to be lied to before they start to get suspicious? Need I remind dear reader by going through a litany of lies over these past few years? How about Swine Flu, SARS, bird flu, Mad Cow disease, AIDS, etc.?
The nuclear accident is a good example of how a government lies. It shows in undeniable proof of how a bureaucrat changes their story every few hours. Of course, after things gets bad and people die, the politicians always have the excuse that they, "Didn’t want people to panic" so they use this as justification for their fibs. Though they will never admit that they lied or were wrong.
Radiation leaked from a damaged Japanese nuclear reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, the government said, after an explosion blew the roof off the facility in the wake of a massive earthquake.
The developments raised fears of a meltdown at the plant as officials scrambled to contain what could be the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 that shocked the world.
The Japanese plant was damaged by Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, which sent a 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami ripping through towns and cities across the northeast coast. Japanese media estimate that at least 1,300 people were killed.
"We are looking into the cause and the situation and we'll make that public when we have further information," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said after confirming the explosion and radiation leak at the plant.
Edano said an evacuation radius of 10 km (6 miles) from the stricken 40-year-old Daiichi 1 reactor plant in Fukushima prefecture was adequate, but an hour later the boundary was extended to 20 km (13 miles). TV footage showed vapor rising from the plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
Catch that? They said that a six-mile radius was sufficient, but an hour later, they change it to 13 miles? I hope that dear reader will trust me when I tell you that just 24 hours before they said that there was no danger at all. I also hope dear reader believes me that this same politician denied that there was an explosion even hours after the video of the explosion was shown on TV.
This is a terrible situation indeed, but there is a very important lesson in life for all of us in this mess. I believe that this is a lesson that is teaching us personal responsibility and it is also teaching us to have a healthy skepticism of the state and its proclamations.
Consider: On Friday, soon after the earthquake struck, it was reported that the Japanese electrical company that was running the nuclear power plant was experiencing difficulties at the plant. The reports said that even though they had shut down the reactor – for fear of damage – the temperature of the reactor inner core was still rising. The company said they were making all efforts to contain the problem.
At the same time, the Japanese government claimed that there was no danger of a radiation leak and that engineers were getting the situation under control. I see that most of the early reports concerning this disaster and government reaction have disappeared into the memory hole, but here's one. This report was released at about 1 pm on Saturday March 12, 2011.
NOTE: The rolling power outages have begun and our power will be off for about 5 hours starting in 8 minutes. I will attempt to stay in contact. I have a brief blog about the power outages here.
"It’s possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small and the wind blowing towards the sea will be considered," Chief Cabinet Yukio Edano told a news conference.
Possible?.. Small amount?... No big deal, right? Sure. Move along, nothing to see here folks. I think only a fool would take what this clown says at face value.
(By the way, it is now confirmed that 9 people have radiation poisoning with at least 160 more are suspected of it. So much for government announcements that it is safe.)
My entire point here is that the government screws up constantly and, if you take what they say for God-given truth, then you probably deserve what you get. If anyone should know the truth in that statement it should be the Japanese. They’ve had experience with disasters and a government who lied to them about a similar disaster to today called Minamata.
Now, before you, dear reader, go on to protest and defend the statist position in that, "The government must report something!" Let me say that as broadcaster with over 30 years experience, it's an argument that I completely disagree with (and I will save for another day). Sure, the government will make their announcements, the point of this article is whether you should believe them at face value or not.
Let me point out to you one more critical factor in my argument: These nuclear power plants need a license to operate. Who grants these licenses? The government, that's who. This means that citizens who are damaged by any errors of that power plant only have recourse in taking action against that government in court should anything go wrong. Think about that. It was the government who gave the approval for that plant to be built where it is built. It was the government who gave the approval for the safety precautions of that plant. The free market was nowhere to be seen in these events.
So if the government were responsible should the SHTF then do you actually think they would tell us the truth and take the risk of losing their jobs in the next election? I don’t think so.
I wonder if an electric power company were liable in civil and criminal court for damages– which, because of Japanese law, they are not – would they be building government approved-nuclear power plants on earthquake fault lines? I doubt it.
So the government created this situation and, as usual, the government must cover up and spin the results of this mess.
Now, dear reader, I ask you, do you still believe that you should believe government pronouncements as to whether or not it's safe to go outside or drink the water or breathe the air?
Who knows what's best for you and your family's safety more than you do? As a former broadcaster, all I can say is that you must gather all the available information you can – remembering that there are those who have certain motivations for what they pronounce – and judge what’s best for yourself by yourself.
Your life and your children's lives depend upon it. Take this opportunity to teach your children well... If you don't teach them, the government will.
Bank of Japan Expands Asset Purchases to Support Economy
HONG KONG — The Japanese central bank on Monday raced to shield the country’s economy and plunging financial markets from the impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami by pumping cash into the financial system and easing monetary policy further through an expansion of asset purchases.
At the end of a policy meeting — truncated and moved forward to facilitate fast action after Friday’s quake — the Bank of Japan said that it would double the size of an existing program to purchase government and corporate bonds and other financial assets to 10 trillion yen, or $121.7 billion
“The damage of the earthquake has been geographically widespread,” the central bank said in a statement accompanying its decision. Production was likely to decline, and company and consumer sentiment could deteriorate in the aftermath of the massive quake, the Bank of Japan said.
It added that its asset purchase extension was done “with a view to pre-empting a deterioration in business sentiment and an increase in risk aversion in financial markets from adversely affecting economic activity.”
With interest rates in Japan already near zero, the central bank cannot lower rates further. It does, however, have the ability to lubricate the financial wheels of the economy by other measures: Earlier in the day, the Bank of Japan had offered to pump a record 15 trillion yen, or $183 billion, of extra liquidity into the banking system in a bid to help stabilize markets.
The steps were “very appropriate in terms of dealing with the short-term impact” of the disaster, said Stephen Schwartz, an economist with the Spanish bank BBVA in Hong Kong. “It will take a long time until we can really quantify the fallout on the overall economy, but what is clear is that they are going to have to set aside fiscal consolidation plans for the moment.”
The massive damage caused by the earthquake and the resulting tsunami, the fate of several quake-stricken nuclear reactors and rolling power blackouts that began Monday generated a huge amount of uncertainty and nervousness in the markets.
The Nikkei 225 index plunged 6.2 percent to close at 9,620.49 points, its lowest level since November. Elsewhere in Asia and in Europe, stocks were generally flat or down slightly.
Numerous Japanese companies — among them Fujitsu, Toyota and Sony — were forced to halt production at all or some of their sites in the wake of the quake, and industrial, manufacturing and financial stocks were among the biggest losers on the stock market.
Mitsubishi Motors down 11.8 percent, Nissan by 9.5 percent and Toyota by 7.9 percent. Sony slumped 9.2 percent, Canon dropped 5.9 percent and Panasonic by 8.1 percent. Toshiba and Hitachi both plunged more than 16 percent.
The country’s main banks also slumped badly: Mizuho Financial Group by 10.5 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Group by 7.2 percent and SMFG by 6.4 percent.
Construction companies, by contrast, soared on expectations of the huge reconstruction that will be needed in the quake-stricken areas.
Hazama Corp. and Kumagai Gumi, for example, jumped more than 40 percent, and Kajima Corp., one of the biggest in the sector, rose 22.2 percent. Many others saw gains of well over 10 percent.
“Much of the damage will plainly come in the form of lost property and infrastructure, with insurance companies and re-insurance companies shouldering most of the burden. Government borrowing is sure to rise,” economists at DBS in Singapore said in a note on Monday. Economists at Credit Suisse in Tokyo projected that the total economic losses of the quake could amount to as much as 15 trillion yen.
The costs of rebuilding and cleanup will put additional pressure on government finances in a country that is already highly indebted, further tying the hands of policy makers who have been struggling to revive an economy bogged down by deflation. The quake struck just as the economy was starting to register growth again, and has raised fears that the tentative recovery will at least be delayed.
The Japanese yen, meanwhile, was volatile on Monday, first strengthening against the dollar and then weakening after the Bank of Japan injected liquidity into the money markets. It traded at 82.09 yen by late afternoon in Tokyo, compared to 81.84 in New York late Friday.
Compared to where it was before the quake, however, the yen has risen, as Japanese corporations and insurers repatriated cash to help pay for rebuilding — and analysts said it could rise even more. This would add to the pain felt by Japanese exporters, as a strong yen makes Japanese goods more expensive overseas.
“The strong yen bias could be enhanced by the negative effect on the Japanese economy, reduced tolerance for risk and the repatriation of funds in the wake of the earthquake,” strategists at Nomura said in a note Monday.
Elsewhere in the region, investor reaction was relatively muted. The Taiex in Taiwan dropped 0.6 percent, and the key index in Australia fell 0.4 percent. The Straits Times index in Singapore slipped 0.3 percent.
In South Korea, the Kospi reversed earlier losses to close 0.8 percent higher. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong edged up 0.4 percent, and in India, the Sensex rallied 1.5 percent.
In early European trading, the DAX in Germany was down about 1 percent, while the FTSE 100 in Britain and the CAC 40 in Paris were up slightly.
Emergency Cooling Effort Failing at Japanese Reactor, Deepening Crisis
By HIROKO TABUCHI, KEITH BRADSHER and MATT WALD
"Each time the diameter of the evacuation circle increases. All of which begs the question: Does the power company actually have any real control over this situation or are they merely babysitting these reactors as things fall apart?"
With the cooling systems malfunctioning simultaneously at three separate reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after the powerful earthquake and tsunami, the acute crisis developed late Monday at reactor No. 2 of the plant, where a series of problems thwarted efforts to keep the core of the reactor covered with water — a step considered crucial to preventing the reactor’s containment vessel from exploding and preventing the fuel inside it from melting down.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said late Monday that repeated efforts to inject seawater into the reactor had failed, causing water levels inside the reactor’s containment vessel to fall and exposing its fuel rods. After what at first appeared to be a successful bid to refill the vessel, water levels again dwindled, this time to critical levels, exposing the rods almost completely, company executives said.
Workers were having difficulty injecting seawater into the reactor because its vents — necessary to release pressure in the containment vessel by allowing radioactive steam to escape — had stopped working properly, they said.
The more time that passes with fuel rods uncovered by water and the pressure inside the containment vessel unvented, the greater the risk that the containment vessel will crack or explode, creating a potentially catastrophic release of radioactive material into the atmosphere — an accident that would be by far the worst to confront the nuclear power industry since the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 25 years ago.
In reactor No. 2, which is now the most damaged of the three at the Daiichi plant, at least parts of the fuel rods have been exposed for several hours, which also suggests that some of the fuel has begun to melt. If more of the fuel melts before water can be injected in the vessel, the fuel pellets could burn through the bottom of the containment vessel and radioactive material could pour out that way — often referred to as a full meltdown.
“They’re basically in a full-scale panic” among Japanese power industry managers, said a senior nuclear industry executive late Monday night. The executive is not involved in managing the response to the reactors’ difficulties but has many contacts in Japan. “They’re in total disarray, they don’t know what to do.”
The extreme challenge of managing reactor No. 2 came as officials were still struggling to keep the cores of two other reactors, No. 1 and No. 3, covered with seawater. There was no immediate indication that either of those two reactors had experienced a crisis as serious as that at No. 2.
But part of the outer structure housing reactor No. 3 exploded earlier on Monday, as did the structure surrounding reactor No. 1 on Saturday. Live footage on public broadcaster NHK showed the skeletal remains of the reactor building and thick smoke rising from the building. Eleven people had been injured in the blast, one seriously, officials said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said earlier Monday that the release of large amounts of radiation as a result of the explosion was unlikely. But traces of radiation could be released into the atmosphere, and about 500 people who remained within a 12-mile radius were ordered temporarily to take cover indoors, he said.
Mr. Edano and other senior officials did not immediately address the threat of radioactive release from reactor No. 2.
The country’s nuclear power watchdog said readings taken soon after the explosion showed no big change in radiation levels around the plant or any damage to the steel containment vessel, which protects the radioactive material in the reactor.
“I have received reports that the containment vessel is sound,” Mr. Edano said. “I understand that there is little possibility that radioactive materials are being released in large amounts.”
In screenings, higher-than-normal levels of radiation have been detected from at least 22 people evacuated from near the plant, the nuclear safety watchdog said, but it is not clear if the doses they received were dangerous.
Technicians had been scrambling most of Sunday to fix a mechanical failure that left the reactor far more vulnerable to explosions.
The two reactors where the explosions occurred are both presumed to have already suffered partial meltdowns — a dangerous situation that, if unchecked, could lead to a full meltdown.