Is Nuclear Experimentation Fascism?

japanese-nuclear-protest22nd January 2014

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Definition of Fascism: “Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship and forcible suppression of opposition.” ~  New Collegiate Dictionary based on Webster’s New International Dictionary second edition, copyright 1956.

I love that definition. It just goes to show you that something we think we know well can still be described in a way that makes us perceive it in totally different ways.

But what of programs and systems we do not know well? What of systems we are made not to know well?

The United States was formerly one of the few anti-institutional, anti-oligarchical nations in the world, but we have succumbed to the oligarchical corporaculture that has been pushed for the last couple of hundred years, whether fused by labels like the divine rite of kings or by corporate personhood. The United States used to push for individual rights, but now we yield to violent fascism just like the rest of the intolerant world. Hell, we were once so anti-fascist and anti-oligarchy that  it used to be illegal to do business in more than one American state, now the police and political system seems to only serve and protect business interests. But at what cost?

Imagine if this culture of anti-fascism were still the case, perhaps none of us would ever question our water supply, hijacked for a nuke plant or polluted by a petroleum conglomerate….

Learning from History

Recent events at Fukushima have highlighted the uncontainable dangers of nuclear experimentation. If one examines trends, there are bound to be more accidents, spills and ‘unprecedented events’ within the nuclear industry.

The first nuclear power generation experiment began at Oak Ridge in 1948, and first massive one began in the Soviet city of Obninsk in 1954. In the 65 years that followed, there have been  numerous known meltdowns  at nuclear facilities around the world,  as well as environmental, human and political destruction at other sites that did not (by luck only) experience full meltdown.

Hanford, USA, 1943 – 1987

As an early ‘flagship’ nuclear experiment, many of the safety procedures and waste disposal practices employed at the Hanford site were completely inadequate. Although most of the reactors were shut down between 1964 and 1971, government documents have since confirmed that operations at the Hanford site released significant amounts of  radioactive materials  into the air and the Columbia River, which still threatens the health of residents and  ecosystems today.  Hanford is currently the  most contaminated nuclear site  in the United States,  representing  two-thirds of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste  by volume.  .

Bikini Atoll, Northern Pacific Ocean, 1946

The  United States military undertook nuclear weapons tests  at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. At the request of the US military, Bikini’s 146 native residents agreed to temporarily evacuate the island so the United States government could begin testing atomic bombs for “the good of mankind and to end all world wars.” After “confused and sorrowful deliberation”, the Bikinians agreed to the relocation request, announcing “we will go believing that everything is in the hands of God.”

bikini atollMost residents were moved by the military to Rongerik Atoll,  125 miles away. Only one-sixth the size of Bikini Atoll, no one lived on Rongerik because it had an inadequate water and food supply, however the United States Navy left the natives there with only a few weeks of food and water. Predictably, this soon proved to be insufficient and the Bikinians were left starving on Rongerik. (Read more:  http://www.bikiniatoll.com/history.html)

As a series of large thermonuclear tests continued at Bikini Atoll into the 1950’s, the island was eventually rendered unfit for  subsistence  farming  and  fishing, and because of radioactive contamination still remains uninhabitable today. So much for the “temporary” evacuation of the Bikinians from their native island to help the United States “end all world wars.”

Windscale Fire, UK, 1957

The worst nuclear accident in Great Britain’s history, the core of the nuclear reactor  at Windscale,  Cumberland  (now  Sellafield,  Cumbria) caught fire, releasing substantial amounts of  radioactive contamination  into the surrounding area. Caused by operators  pushing the first-generation design of the Windscale facility beyond its intended limits, the fire burned for three days releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere that spread across the UK and Europe.

Santa Susana, USA, 1959

A reactor at the Atomics International field laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains, California, experienced a power surge and subsequently spewed radioactive gases into the atmosphere. According to a 2009 report from the Los Angeles Times,  residents blame the facility for their health issues and say the site remains contaminated.

Three Mile Island, USA, 1979

The worst accident in U.S. commercial history, the Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor near Middletown (PA) partially melted down on March 28, 1979. A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems and worker errors led to TMI-2’s partial meltdown and off-site releases of radioactivity. 14 years later, the clean up effort officially ended in December 1993.

Chernobyl, Ukraine, 1986

Widely considered to have been the worst  nuclear power  plant accident in history, Chernobyl’s reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase leading to explosions in its core. The explosion and resulting  fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR (the then-Soviet Republic) and  Europe.

Rocky Flats Plant, USA 1987

Following insider reports of unsafe conditions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found  numerous violations of federal anti-pollution  laws, including the  contamination of water and soil. A grand jury report released following this incident criticized the Department of Energy and Rocky Flats contractors for “engaging in a continuing campaign of distraction, deception and dishonesty”, and noted that Rocky Flats had discharged pollutants, hazardous materials and radioactive matter into nearby creeks and water supplies for many years. But even the  DOE itself  acknowledged  that Rocky Flats’ ground water was (at the time) the single greatest environmental hazard at any of its nuclear facilities.

The contamination levels at Rocky Flats itself, as measured by the United States government remain sealed records and have not been reported to the public.  Clean-up was not declared complete until October 13, 2005 — 18 years later.

Fukushima-power-plant-JapanFukushima Daiichi, Japan 2011

The troubled Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan has experienced a number of ‘incidents’ since its construction in 1971, culminating in total reactor  failure when the plant was hit by a  tsunami  triggered by the  Tōhoku earthquake. At the time of the disaster, the plant began releasing substantial amounts of  radioactive materials making it the largest nuclear incident since the 1986  Chernobyl disaster  and the second in history (with Chernobyl) to measure at Level 7 on the  International Nuclear Event Scale.  More than two years after the incident it was revealed that the plant is still leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, and despite the  technical assistance of GE  (the corporation that designed the failing reactor)  the situation appears to keep deteriorating as time goes on.

Who is next?

The list goes on. And while this is a short summary of some of the nuclear industry’s worst failings – both environmental and political – what it does not take into account that there are now over four hundred nuclear power generation experiments in operation worldwide, and more being built, each one representing another potential disaster. Now factor in the endless radioactive pollution and dumped material (buried and sunken near you) involved in the process even when things go ‘right’ (by nuclear industry standards) and you get a clearer view of the impact of nuclear experimentation.

Under the terms of current policy, the US Federal Government simply incurs the financial costs and burden of dealing with nuclear ‘events’…. and by the ‘Federal Government’ I mean the U.S. taxpayer.

Regimentation of Industry

Today, the United States of America is fascist. So is China, Japan, Russia, France, England, Japan and every single nuclear nation. Australia is de facto fascist, being a major extractor of uranium for the nuclear fuel chain. The United States of America is fascist by way of one single act:  The Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. There are many more acts and laws that strengthen nuclear fascism in the United States, but The Price Anderson Act seals the deal. Its main purpose is to indemnify  the nuclear industry against liability claims arising from  nuclear incidents.  And other countries have their own nuclear deals which also guarantee that those who profit from the nuclear industry are not held accountable for their work.

The Price Anderson Act illustrates the U.S.A.’s fascist trail, and that nuclear experiment cleared the way for it in the first place. The Act makes it so that nuclear power generation experiments can operate at all, otherwise no insurance corporation would insure them.  The insurance companies that deal with nuclear experimentation only do so because the Act limits their responsibility in the event of an accident, such as the  Fukushima meltdown. If there is an accident that costs more than the capped amount, insurance companies pay out up to and including their cap, and communities and governments foot the bill for the remaining clean up costs. Put simply…. they profit, you pay.  Not to mention the non-financial costs of human and planetary health.

Price Anderson Act

The Price Anderson Act endorses fascism in the United States, and in the bigger picture, nuclear experimentation guarantees fascism no matter what nation is doing the experimenting – whether Israel, China, Iran or the U.S. or Japan.  The nuclear power industry could not survive without placing all the risk on the shoulders of taxpayers. And by doing so, the Price Anderson Act enables nuclear oligarchical fascists to make a fortune by endangering everyone and everything on the planet.

Even if nuclear facilities operated to their original design specifications rather than running components on extended operation (by years) and  over-crammed fuel pools, as is the case today, the industry is still unworkable. But today,  most if not all nuclear power generation experiments in the U.S.A. have fuel pools loaded with waste material beyond original design specifications, but the nuclear industry and its regulators seem content continuing down this path — and waiting for our grandchildren to figure out what to do with the mess they leave behind.

Censorship and Suppression of Opposition

Further fascism is evident through nuclear experimentation in the sense that it is a militaristic invention, put to use by engineering corporations that are linked with government entities, which also own news and information corporations. The GE/NBC corporation is the starkest, but not the only, example of this in the U.S.A. Being both the subject and reporter of news on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the GE/NBC corporation has placed itself in a clear conflict of interest. As the subsidiary of the failed nuclear reactor’s parent company, can you trust NBC News not to ‘spin’ glossy tales or omit details relating to the situation at Fukushima? Particularly details that might implicate GE in the chain of failings that caused the meltdown?

But news corporations are not the only parties able to censor or suppress information; government institutions have also closed ranks following the Fukushima disaster. As a prime example, the United States EPA (the supposed Environmental Protection Agency) went as far as disabling public access to radiation monitors in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown.  Do they really believe what we can’t see won’t hurt us? Or is the EPA, as part of the US government, trying to avoid adverse political fallout?

japan_secrets_lawFurthermore, the  Fukushima disaster  has led to a practical elimination of free speech and free reporting of information from within Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Designated Secrets Bill  was arguably written for and because of the Fukushima disaster after authorities failed to manage the radioactive leaks and news spread around the globe. Since it could not contain the nuclear contamination, the Japanese government instead decided to contain information about it, creating laws that enable punishment of individuals for leaking or reporting information about their disastrous failure. Despite drawing criticism and protest at home and around the world, the Japanese parliament has since passed the law under which people convicted of leaking classified information will face 5 to 10 years in prison.

Clearly nuclear experimentation does not co-exist alongside freedom of speech or transparent access to information. It can only exist in a fascist state, which suppresses information and opposition.

Severely Nationalistic Policies

The only part of the definition of fascism that nuclear experimentation does not technically fit is that nuclear experimentation operates on an international level, not just a nationalistic one. However it seems even nuclear disaster rings opportunity bells for nationalistic governments.

As reported by Bloomberg  in 2013, “Japan  will receive international help with the cleanup at the Fukushima atomic station once it joins an existing treaty that defines liability for accidents at nuclear plants, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.” This means that the United States’ “offer” of assistance is conditional upon Japan signing onto an international convention known as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, designed only to protect US nuclear interests from liability in the event of an accident. The U.S. Government has lobbied for the international adoption of the convention  for many years, and now it seems it has Japan over a barrell. Surely this political opportunism  qualifies as ‘severely nationalistic’ behaviour. Yet it in the United States, it seems we can barely distinguish this kind of fascism from the actions of true democratic government.

Nationalistic Policy

We are so confused in the United States that we call our country ‘America’, ignoring the unity of our ‘United States’. We are so confused that we equate freedom with liberty, but in actuality, freedom allows fascism. It allows people to punch you in the face without consequence or destroy ecosystems via oligarchical energy systems requiring destructive, extraction, refinement and use. We are so confused we think we can declare wars on other countries in the name of peace. We are so confused we think that digging up nuclear resources is different than digging up petroleum resources, but both nuclear and petrol fuels destroy human life, destroy ecosystems…. and destroy liberty.

Liberty is the oppositional factor against fascism and its facsimiles. Liberty  is the quality individuals have to control their own actions.  Liberty promotes the rights of individuals, whereas freedom allows oligarchical energy institutions to punch you in the face through The Price Anderson Act and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage…. and all the other reinforcements that build up institutions at the expense of individuals, allowing them to make uncapped fortunes without liability for their actions.

The Final Word

For the record, I tried to communicate with several pro-nukers about this question, but between their close-mindedness and my lack of sycophancy the conversation went nowhere. Without naming names, I will say that one pro-nuker actually used the high survival rate of those suffering with thyroid cancer in the Ukraine as justification to further  promote nuclear power, I kid you not! I was also called a bigot which, being white, half Jewish and raised in uptown Manhattan, I find incredibly funny. [For more information on my stand on racism and prejudice in general, please see my previous article The Matrix of Four Forms of Racism which was published on opednews.com in February 2013]

So, to end my examination of the fascism of nuclear experiment, I want to share the video the pro-nukers shared with me when I mentioned the crew of the U.S.S. Reagan. The U.S.S. Reagan was exposed to radiation after being  redirected towards Japan to  provide support immediately after the massive  Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan.  In this video, pro-nukers liken the risk of nuclear radiation to the risk of driving a motor vehicle, downplay the levels of contamination found on the U.S.S. Reagan, and question the cause-and-effect relationship between the crew’s exposure to radiation and the dramatic health issues they experienced thereafter.

Interesting.

According to an article in the New York Post, Senior Chief Michael Sebourn, a radiation-decontamination officer who tested the aircraft carrier for radiation found that “levels were incredibly dangerous and at one point, the radiation in the air measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe.” The article continues: “The former personal trainer has suffered a series of ailments, starting with severe nosebleeds and headaches and continuing with debilitating weakness…  has lost 60 percent of the power in the right side of his body and his limbs have visibly shrunk.” As Senior Chief Michael Sebourn stated, “I’ve had four MRIs, and I’ve been to 20 doctors… No one can figure out what is wrong.”  He has since retired from the Navy after 17 years of service.

And he is not alone. According to The Post, “crew members on the aircraft carrier and a half-dozen other support ships are battling cancers, thyroid disease, uterine bleeding and other ailments.”  Of the 5,000 sailors on board, at least 70 have contracted some form of radiation sickness, and of those, “at least half… are suffering from some form of cancer,” said lawyer, Paul Garner, who is representing the sailors in a lawsuit against the operators of the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.  “We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention,” said Garner.

In a Voice of Russia  report, Mr. Garner elaborated: “it seems that there’s too many people at the same place at the same time without any family background or any reason to believe that they had these issues to now show up with these significant cancers and beyond. So we feel that time will tell in many instances…. especially, because they all had physicals and were all in top health.”

Navy sailor Lindsay Cooper, who was also present on the U.S.S. Reagan, stated that crew members suffered from excruciating diarrhea at the time.  “People were s-”Š-tting themselves in the hallways,” Cooper recalled.  “Two weeks after that, my lymph nodes in my neck were swollen. By July, my thyroid shut down.”

When asked about the U.S.S. Reagan’s ability to detect radiation early, sailor Cooper stated “we have a multimillion-dollar radiation-detection system, but… it takes time to be set up and activated”. She went on to describe that after being exposed,  “we couldn’t go anywhere. Japan didn’t want us in port, Korea didn’t want us, Guam turned us away. We floated in the water for two and a half months” until Thailand took the stricken sailors in.

Clearly, when dealing with the disasters inherent in the nuclear industry, fascist governments give priority to nationalist and political priorities over the needs of individuals – even those who risk their lives serving their country.  And this raises the question: is nuclear experimentation destroying humanity politically as well as biologically?

Nuclear experimentation is destructive on a level that supersedes our common understanding of time and space. The nuclear industry is  risking the unriskable. Nuclear experimentation is political and it’s fascism. I’m only left to wonder…. did the institutions involved in  nuclear experimentation design themselves according to the definition of fascism, or do they naturally fit the definition that perfectly?

“Not all Becquerels are created equal, all people are.”  ~ J Midnight

“Truth is the daughter of the time, not of authority.” ~ Francis Bacon

The Terraist Letters

Ethan Indigo Smith - The Terraist Letters

Introducing  Ethan’s controversial book, The Terraist Letters,  a work that humorously contrasts the very serious issues of global nuclear experimentation promotion  and global  marijuana prohibition.  It  is a  funny and provocative political satire which attempts to brings some sanity to the  most serious subject matter  of  nuclear experimentation, in a way that only Ethan can.

“Ethan’s work will  titillate, irritate, but most importantly, stimulate some serious thought concerning current conventions. Give it a read. Your brain might thank you.”  ~ New York Times Best Selling author, Jim Marrs

The Terraist Letters  is available now on Amazon.

Previous articles by Ethan:

About the author:

Ethan Indigo SmithEthan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book,  The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of  history, philosophy and contemporary politics.

Blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality and humour, Ethan’s more recent publications include:

Visit Ethan on  Facebook  and check out  Ethan’s author page  on Amazon.com

This article edited by Andy Whiteley for Wake Up World.

 


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