A duplicitous state: An orphaned nation

By Shireen M Mazari
Perhaps, the most reprehensible part of the Davis saga was the manner in which it appears the lives of Pakistanis were apparently traded for a “better” ISI deal from the CIA! Clearly, ordinary Pakistani lives are not worth anything – but then that should have been clear from the complicity of the military leadership in the drone attacks. One general even went out to declare that most drone victims are militants, despite evidence to the contrary from multiple sources. How a general can tell who is a militant by looking at a dead and often mutilated body is even more intriguing, but there is no stopping the urge to prove more loyal than the king for some!
Of course, the lethal drone attack that killed over 40 innocent people of a tribal jirga immediately in the aftermath of the Davis departure left no room for any claims of militants being targeted and killed. This was the US gift to a Pakistani state that has in fact sold out its citizens’ lives to the Americans, who have been given a license to kill. The protests from the COAS and Prime Minister lacked credibility. After all, both can simply withdraw support from the drone policy and then bring one down, if the US continues to use them in FATA – the PAF Chief had declared over a year ago that Pakistan had this capability.
Unfortunately, no one within the state seeks to let go of the murderous US hand and it is no use isolating who is the major culprit – they are all guilty of abandoning the Pakistani nation. Worse still, they are insulting the nation’s intelligence by talking of a dependency on the US, which has been artificially created, especially the military one. Since 1967, when the US cut off military supplies and spares to Pakistan formally, the Pakistan military has moved towards indigenous production as well as acquisition of major weapon systems from alternate sources. There is now not only an indigenous conventional capability, but also missile capability with the Hatf series now solid fuelled. The army’s tanks, APCs and other conventional weapons have no US component. We got some helicopters during the Zia dictatorship, but then they had to be grounded when their sensitive rotors caught dust and US spares were not forthcoming. Now again, we have some US weapons systems for the army in support of the counter terrorism “war”, but these are not essential for our offensive strategies.
The PAF may feel it has a greater dependency on the US in terms of acquiring F-16s, but here also we have developed alternatives with Chinese assistance such as the JF-17, the A5 (close support), F 7P (interceptor fighter), and the various Mirage 3 and 5 platforms, purchased from France and Australia, but now totally updated with advanced Italian avionics packages. Certainly, the F-16s add to the strength of the PAF, but for decades we maintained a credible air force without US components. Also, F-16s come at a high cost – both financial and political, as we learnt the last time we paid for the F-16s, but eventually got wheat and soya beans. Our air launched cruise missiles also have no US dependency factor. As for the navy, the main offensive weapon system is the submarine and the subs are French in origin, but we are in the process of acquiring indigenous capability.
In terms of training, given the disastrous record of the US in fighting asymmetric conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan, we hardly need their trainers! Also, unlike a domestic production industry, which has hi-tech spin-offs for the civilian sector, importing US weaponry creates an artificial dependency with no local spin-offs. So, the myth of military dependency is only being propagated by vested interests amongst the military and lobbyists and defence contractors. We also have to wait to see the intrusive conditionalities on our nuclear programme become operationalised under the Kerry-Lugar Act.
Even on the economic front, the dependency is more of a myth because if some of our Pakistani elite can hold millions in property and bank accounts abroad, much of it ill-gotten, then there is sufficient national wealth and resource for development, if corruption was weeded out and the stolen wealth brought back. Again, if only those who should be paying taxes actually paid them, including our political, agricultural and business elite plus all those professionals whose incomes are not taxed at source, we would generate national revenues. It is all a matter of national will, but that is nowhere to be found within a state that has lost all credibility in its subjugation to the US will.
In The Myth of Independence, Bhutto warned against being in the grip of a unidimensional US-centric approach to external policy, with one chapter entitled “American policy to bring Pakistan under Indian hegemony”! He recalled Pakistan’s first military dictator Ayub’s loyally stating to the US Congress (1961) that Pakistan was the only country in Asia where the US forces “could land at any moment for the defence of the ‘free world’”; and proudly admitting that the U2 aircraft took off from Pakistan! Are our military and civilian power holders any different today? That is why the people of Pakistan have been orphaned in their own land.

Scientists lack complete answers on radiation risk

Scientists lack complete answers on radiation risk

By The Associated Press © 2011 The Associated Press

— Thyroid cancer for sure. Leukemia, probably. Too much radiation can raise the risk of developing cancer years down the road, scientists agree, and the young are most vulnerable. But just how much or how long an exposure is risky is not clear.

Those are among the unknowns scientists are contemplating as the crisis unfolds at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant.

In Japan, the Science Ministry said radiation levels about 19 miles northwest of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant rose at one point Friday to 0.15 millisieverts per hour, about the amount absorbed in a chest X-ray. But levels have been fluctuating, and radiation at most sites that distance from the facility have been far below that.

Long term, it is clear radiation can induce cancer. But researchers can’t just count cancer cases after a disaster and declare radiation responsible. Rates before and after must be compared to know if more cases occurred than would be expected.

That is why, 25 years after the Chernobyl accident, there is still controversy over its effects beyond the undisputed 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer. Of these cases, only 15 had proved fatal as of 2005, even though the Soviets were slow to treat victims of the catastrophe.

The records necessary to spot trends in other types of cancer as a result of Chernobyl are poor, said Dr. Fred Mettler, a University of New Mexico scientist who led a United Nations-sponsored team investigating Chernobyl’s health effects.

“At the end of the day, the scientific data isn’t there. My instinct is, there probably is an increase there, but it’s too small to see,” he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that no amount of radiation is absolutely safe above the 3 to 6 millisieverts a year that most of us get from normal living. In contrast, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that low doses — less than 100 millisieverts spread out over years — are not harmful. Researchers have not documented danger from such low levels, said Kelly Classic, a radiation physicist at the Mayo Clinic and a spokeswoman for the Health Physics Society, an organization of radiation safety specialists.

High doses — over 500 millisieverts — can raise the risk of leukemia, breast, bladder, colon, liver, lung, esophageal, ovarian and stomach cancers, and the blood cancer multiple myeloma, government scientists say.

In between the high and lower levels, the picture is murky. Much depends on the type of radiation people are exposed to, how old they are, and how well each person’s body repairs any DNA damage the radiation may cause.

“There’s no linear relationship to say if you got this amount, it would cause a certain percent of cancer down the road,” said Dr. Clifford Chao, chief of cancer radiation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Children are the ones at risk for radiation’s most obviously related cancer — thyroid. Radioactive iodine collects in the thyroid gland in the neck. Potassium iodide pills can block its absorption and minimize harm, but they must be given within 12 hours of exposure to do much good.

When Chernobyl exploded, health workers “had millions of square kilometers to cover and it was all rural areas and they didn’t really have anything stockpiled,” Mettler said. Children also drank milk from cows that grazed on contaminated grass for weeks after the disaster, compounding their exposure and risk. More than 6,000 thyroid cancers have been documented in people who were children in the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia when the disaster occurred. But In Poland, where the antidote pills were given out, there were no higher rates of thyroid cancer.

Properly treated, thyroid “is one of the least deadly cancers,” the American Cancer Society says. And low levels of radioactive iodine exposure have not been shown to increase thyroid cancer risk in studies of fallout from nuclear weapons testing in the western United States during the 1950s, the society says.

Studies of atomic bomb survivors have found higher rates of cancer. But those disasters involved different radioactive elements than the type emitted from the Japanese nuclear plant so far.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer also commissioned a study of more than 400,000 nuclear industry workers in 15 countries to estimate cancer risk following protracted low doses of radiation. The 2007 study found a dose-related higher risk of cancer death, but questions have been raised about its methods.

The results also were driven largely by higher rates in Canada; once that country’s results were excluded, no increase is seen, Mettler said. There have been questions about the data from Canada, Mettler said. Also, the authors of the study say they need to do more work to assess how smoking and other factors affected their estimates.

So for now, the clearest information on cancer risk from a nuclear plant accident may come from Chernobyl. That disaster exposed 5 million people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to large amounts of radioactive material for 10 days, according to the 2008 report that Mettler helped write for the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, which represents 22 nations on nuclear safety.

Exposure to cesium was a big concern because it affects the whole body, not just the thyroid gland. And exposure among cleanup workers and emergency responders ranged as high as a few hundred millisieverts over the following few years. Evidence suggests a higher rate of leukemia in these workers, “but it’s not certain,” Mettler said.

Research is continuing in that group, and longer follow-up should establish that more clearly, he said.

“Leukemia increases have not been seen in the children” who are now adults, he said. Nor have increases in breast, lung, stomach or other cancers been documented, though this population became very mobile after Chernobyl and the breakup of the Soviet Union, so the true rates are hard to establish, and rates before the accident in some cases are unknown, Mettler said.

As bad as Chernobyl was, the average radiation dose over 20 years to people who live in contaminated areas was “relatively low” — 9 millisieverts, nearly the equivalent of a CT scan — once the short-term doses to the thyroid were subtracted, the UN report said. That means there should not be “substantial health effects in the general population that could be attributed to radiation,” the report concludes.

The NRC has said that typical annual background exposure to radiation shaves 18 days off the expected lifespan. Working in a nuclear plant under ordinary conditions — not in a crisis like the one unfolding in Japan — shortens life expectancy by 51 days. By comparison, being 15 percent overweight cuts two years; smoking a pack of cigarettes a day costs six years of life.

___

Online:

Chernobyl: http://chernobyl.cancer.gov

http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

Thyroid cancer: http://tinyurl.com/5t5vpfu

Nuclear Meltdown?–It’s Just Our 19th Nuclear Meltdown

Nuclear power plant accidents with multiple fatalities and/or more than US$100 million in property damage, 1952-2011
Date Location Description Deaths I-131
Release
in 1,000Ci[18]
Cost
(in millions
2006 $US)
INES
level
[19]
January 3, 1961 Idaho FallsIdahoUS Explosion at SL-1National Reactor Testing Station. An additional 1,100 Curies were released as fission products to the atmosphere, but due to the remoteness, most of it was recovered and buried. 3 0.08 22 4
October 5, 1966 Frenchtown Charter TownshipMichiganUS Partial core meltdown of the Fermi 1 Reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. No radiation leakage into the environment. 0
December 7, 1975 GreifswaldEast Germany Electrical error causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps 0 443 3
February 22, 1977 Jaslovské Bohunice,Czechoslovakia Severe corrosion of reactor and release of radioactivity into the plant area, necessitating total decommission 0 1,700 4
March 28, 1979 Middletown,PennsylvaniaUS Loss of coolant and partial core meltdown, see Three Mile Island accident and Three Mile Island accident health effects 0 0.017 2,400 5
September 15, 1984 Athens, AlabamaUS Safety violations, operator error, and design problems force six year outage at Browns Ferry Unit 2 0 110
March 9, 1985 Athens, AlabamaUS Instrumentation systems malfunction during startup, which led to suspension of operations at all three Browns Ferry Units 0 1,830
April 11, 1986 Plymouth,MassachusettsUS Recurring equipment problems force emergency shutdown of Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant 0 1,001
April 26, 1986 Pripyat, Ukraine Steam explosion and meltdown (see Chernobyl disaster) necessitating the evacuation of 300,000 people from Kiev and dispersing radioactive material across Europe (see Chernobyl disaster effects) 53 7000 6,700 7
May 4, 1986 Hamm-Uentrop,Germany Experimental THTR-300 reactor releases small amounts of fission products (0.1 GBq Co-60, Cs-137, Pa-233) to surrounding area 0 0 267
March 31, 1987 Delta, PennsylvaniaUS Peach Bottom units 2 and 3 shutdown due to cooling malfunctions and unexplained equipment problems 0 400
December 19, 1987 Lycoming, New York,US Malfunctions force Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to shut down Nine Mile Point Unit 1 0 150
March 17, 1989 Lusby, MarylandUS Inspections at Calvert Cliff Units 1 and 2 reveal cracks at pressurized heater sleeves, forcing extended shutdowns 0 120
February 20, 1996 Waterford, Connecticut,US Leaking valve forces shutdown Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2, multiple equipment failures found 0 254
September 2, 1996 Crystal River, Florida,US Balance-of-plant equipment malfunction forces shutdown and extensive repairs at Crystal River Unit 3 0 384
September 30, 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture,Japan Workers at the Tokaimura uranium processing facility added too many buckets of uranium directly into a precipitation tank, causing it to go critical, killing two, and exposing one more to radiation levels above permissible limits 2 54 4
February 16, 2002 Oak HarborOhioUS Severe corrosion of control rod forces 24-month outage of Davis-Besse reactor 0 143 3
August 9, 2004 Fukui PrefectureJapan Steam explosion at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant kills 5 workers and injures dozens more 5 9 1
March 11, 2011 Ōkuma, Fukushima,Japan Cooling failure in 4 reactors following an earthquake, tsunami and multiple fires and Hydrogen explosions at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant 1 5[20]

 

Obama Claims That Nobody Wanted To Blow-Up Libyans–Who Made Him Do It?

“This is not an outcome the US or any of our partners sought,” Mr. Obama said

Libyan TV claims 48 killed in allied attacks

AP

Libyan government soldiers wave at Muammar Qadhafi's Bab Al Azizia compound in Libya on Sunday.
AP  Libyan government soldiers wave at Muammar Qadhafi’s Bab Al Azizia compound in Libya on Sunday

The U.S. and European nations pounded Muammar Qadhafi’s forces and air defences with cruise missiles and airstrikes, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat.

Libyan state TV claimed 48 people had been killed in the attacks, but the report could not be independently verified.

The long-time Libyan leader vowed to defend his country from what he called “crusader aggression” and warned the involvement of international forces will subject the Mediterranean and North African region to danger and put civilians at risk.

The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya’s air force.

French fighter jets fired the first salvos, carrying out several strikes in the rebel-held east.

British military spokesman Maj Gen John Lorimer said British fighter jets also had been used to bombard the North African Nation.

President Barack Obama said military action was not his first choice and reiterated that he would not send American ground troops to Libya.

“This is not an outcome the US or any of our partners sought,” Mr. Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”

Thousands of regime supporters, meanwhile, packed into the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya military camp in Tripoli where Mr. Qadhafi lives to protect against attacks.

Anti-aircraft guns could be heard firing overnight in Tripoli. The strikes, which were aimed at enforcing a UN-mandated no-fly zone, were a sharp escalation in the international effort to stop Mr. Qadhafi after weeks of pleading by the rebels who have seen early gains reversed as the regime unleashed the full force of its superior air power and weaponry.

Libyan TV quoted the armed forces command as saying 48 people were killed and 150 wounded in the allied assault. It said most of the casualties were children but gave no more details.

China Also Simulates “Regret” Over the Great Crime It Allowed To Happen In Libya

[SEE: India Feigns Sorrow Over Failure To Block the Appalling Libyan Travesty ]

China calls for stability in Libya after attacks

BEIJING

(Reuters) – China wants stability restored to Libya as soon as possible, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday after Western forces launched strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s troops.

Expressing regret about the attacks, the Chinese foreign ministry said that it hoped the conflict would not escalate and lead to greater loss of civilian life.

China had the chance to veto last week’s United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized “all necessary measures,” a term for military action, to protect civilians against Gaddafi’s forces. Instead, it joined Russia, Germany, India and Brazil in abstaining.

China has been trying to balance its worries about allowing military action with the demands of Arab and other governments angered by Gaddafi’s unyielding response to uprisings demanding an end to his rule.

“China has noticed the latest developments in Libya and it expresses regret about the military attacks,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

“We hope that Libya can recover stability as soon as possible and that an escalation of military conflict leading to more civilian deaths can be avoided,” it added.

China’s comments came just hours after French planes fired the first shots in what is the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Western forces hit targets along the Libyan coast. Libyan state television said 48 people had been killed and 150 wounded in the air strikes.

Throughout the recent tumult across the Middle East and North Africa, China has sought to avoid becoming deeply enmeshed and has little appetite for turning the regional upheaval into a point of confrontation with the United States.

Libya is considering offering oil block contracts directly to China, India and other nations it sees as friends in its month-long conflict with rebels, Libya’s top oil official said on Saturday.

(Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch and Huang Yan; Editing by Alex Richardson)

India Feigns Sorrow Over Failure To Block the Appalling Libyan Travesty

[India could have easily cast a no vote at the UN, if it had any concern at all about how the West would handle Qaddafi, just as soon as the ink on the documents had dried.  The entire world has sold its soul to the insatiable Beast that never regrets, rolling their dice that The Beast will conquer and that they and their kindred might sit at the devil’s table at the great feast set above the carpet of dried bones.

We are all sorry too.]

India regrets air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in Libya

SUJAY MEHDUDIA

India on Sunday regretted the air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition forces in Libya and called upon all the parties to abjure use of force and resolve the differences through peaceful means.

“India views with grave concern the continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. It regrets the air strikes that are taking place. The measures adopted should mitigate and not exacerbate an already difficult situation for the people of the country,” Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here “Spoke to Ambassador (M) Manimekalai in Tripoli a short while ago. She is cool and calm. Harrowing Saturday night though with jets screaming above, she says the Ambassador,” Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao said in her tweet.

Further more, the Ministry said India hopes that the air strikes would not harm innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions and their personnel, who are still in Libya. “India calls upon all parties to abjure use of or the threat of use of force and to resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the U.N. and regional organisations should play their roles,” it added.

The U.S.-led military coalition today hit Libyan defence targets with cruise missiles and launched air attacks as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed to open his arms depots to the people to retaliate against the Western aggression. French jets fired the first shots in ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’, the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles in eastern Libya, Al-Jazeera reported.

They were joined by the U.S. and the U.K. who fired over 110 Tomahawk missiles from American and British ships and submarines, hitting about 20 Libyan defence targets in the capital Tripoli and along the Mediterranean coast, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral, William Gortney said at a Pentagon briefing.

The U.N. Security Council had on Thursday adopted a resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire and authorised all necessary measures for protecting civilians in Libya from Gaddafi’s forces.