Fukushima, Japan, disaster news


This video says about itself:

9 October 2015

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN — Cases of thyroid cancer among children living close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant have increased fiftyfold since 2011, four Japanese researchers said Tuesday in a report.

Since the meltdown in March 2011, annual thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima Prefecture have been 20 to 50 times the national level, said a team led by professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University Toshihide Tsuda.

The findings were based on screenings of around 370,000 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident. The study said the increase “is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.” The researchers point to radiation exposure as a possible factor in the increase in thyroid cancer cases.

The Fukushima Prefecture Government identified 104 thyroid cancer cases as of late August.

An area extending about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant has been declared an exclusion zone.

FUKUSHIMA — Ten more people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of late September this year in the second round of a health survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents, which began in April 2014, a committee overseeing the survey disclosed on Dec. 27: here.

Fate of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant remains unknown — The Japan Times: here.

NRA: Ice wall effects ‘limited’ at Fukushima nuclear plantThe Asahi Shimbun: here.

The future of nuclear energy in Japan, nearly six years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster — ABC News: here.

A maverick former Japanese prime minister goes antinuclear — The New York Times: here.

Canadian Afghan war veteran kills family, himself


This video from Canada says about itself:

‘Lost my mom and my niece were gone too’

5 January 2017

Lionel Desmond’s sister Cassandra describes how she found out members of her family had been killed.

Read more here.

Not only does the bloody Iraq war come home to the USA as bloodbaths at Fort Lauderdale airport and elsewhere.

The bloody war in Afghanistan comes home to Canada as well.

By Laurent Lafrance in Canada:

Canadian Afghan war veteran commits suicide after killing family

11 January 2017

A tragedy that took place at the beginning of January in Upper Big Tracadie, a small and isolated town in northeastern Nova Scotia, has shed light on the consequences of the increasingly aggressive domestic and foreign policies of the Canadian ruling elite.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed last Friday that 33-year-old Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot himself after killing his mother, Brenda, 52; his wife, Shanna Desmond, 31; and their 10-year-old daughter, Aliyah. The murder-suicide has left the community, located some 200 miles from Halifax, in shock.

Relatives confirmed that Desmond suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after he came back from Afghanistan, where he was deployed from January to August of 2007 as an infantry soldier in the Royal Canadian Regiment. He joined the armed forces in 2004 and was released 18 months ago.

This latest tragedy is an indictment of the entire ruling class and military apparatus that have used young men as cannon fodder to advance Canada’s imperialist interests around the globe. When these men come back home, usually traumatized by the cruelty of war and the atrocities inflicted on the civilian population—often with their own participation—they are left with inadequate health care and other vital services due to decades of budget cutting by all of the establishment political parties.

Desmond wrote on his Facebook page last month that he had hit his head on a light armoured vehicle and suffered back spasms after falling off a wall while in the military. He said he had been told he had post-concussion disorder as well as PTSD. Desmond’s sister-in-law explained that he recently decided to stay at his grandparents’ house because he was “getting so out of control,” and that he was verbally aggressive with his wife.

Rev. Elaine Walcott, another relative, said, “Lionel loved his mother, his family, and he was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder and the memories he didn’t want to have.” Lionel’s sister, Cassandra Desmond, told CBC News: “My brother suffered in silence for 10 years fighting demons that we don’t even know, seeing things, replaying events in his head…”

According to Shanna Desmond’s aunt, Catherine Hartline, when Lionel Desmond returned from Afghanistan he sought treatment in Montreal but did not get the adequate assistance. “The poor guy needed help and they sent him up to Montreal and put a little Band-Aid on him and sent him back.”

It was also revealed that Desmond tried to check himself into a mental health facility at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish the day before the tragedy, but he was apparently told there were no beds and that the hospital did not have his files.

This revelation prompted Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to claim that his government, in conjunction with health authorities, would find out “what may or may not have happened” at St. Martha’s. In another token gesture, the Canadian government announced that it would pay the costs of the funeral of Desmond and his family members.

The government is clearly seeking to wash its hands of the situation and cover up the fact that the lack of services at St. Martha is the result of years of austerity measures imposed on public services by successive Liberal, Conservative and NDP provincial governments.

An emergency room doctor who works at the hospital, Dr. Maureen Allen, told CBC how budget cuts had impacted the services provided. Allen said emergency rooms “are inundated” with people struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and that the facility no longer has a dedicated budget for mental health services.

Under both the previous Harper Conservative government and the current Liberal Trudeau government, Veteran Affairs Canada has slashed millions of dollars, translating into hundreds of job cuts, closed offices that previously provided assistance to veterans and cut back on medical marijuana. In power, the Conservatives eliminated lifetime pensions for Afghanistan veterans and clawed back benefits. The number of VA employees shrank 21 percent between 2008 and 2014, resulting in the department’s smallest workforce since 1998.

Many ill and injured ex-soldiers must wait for months to find out if they qualify for benefits. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that just over half of the 6,000 veterans who applied for disability benefits between April and July last year received a decision within 16 weeks.

Veteran services have also been targeted for privatization. The most recent job cuts imposed by the Liberals will now force veterans to deal with Medavie Blue Cross, a for-profit private insurance company, for their benefit claims.

According to reports, Desmond received treatment from a joint personnel support unit for a year prior to his release from the military in July 2015. The JPSU, which is meant to provide support to physically and mentally ill soldiers, is severely under-funded.

The horrific event in Upper Big Tracadie is the latest in a string of similar tragedies involving war veterans. According to a Globe and Mail investigation, at least 72 soldiers and veterans have killed themselves after serving on the dangerous Afghanistan mission. The most recent reported case took place in 2015, when Robert Giblin, a veteran of two Afghanistan tours, repeatedly stabbed his wife before they fell from a high-rise apartment in Toronto.

Nearly one in 10 Canadian military personnel who took part in the mission in Afghanistan (about 3,600 out of 39,000) are now collecting disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, experts say the prevalence of the illness is likely much higher among Canada’s combat troops. There are probably many ex-soldiers who have not reached out for benefits, and others who have never been diagnosed.

Calls by the media and politicians for better help for veterans are highly hypocritical. Above all, they seek to obscure the real cause of the Upper Big Tracadie tragedy: Canada’s participation in imperialist carnage in Central Asia and around the globe. In fact, after wiping their crocodile tears, the Canadian ruling class and the media will continue to push for a more aggressive foreign policy.

The Afghan war played a critical role in the reassertion of aggressive Canadian militarism. It marked the definitive end of a period in which, for their own geopolitical interests, the Canadian ruling class presented itself on the global stage as a “peacekeeping” nation.

Military strategists and government advisers celebrated the Afghan intervention, which saw the Canadian Armed Forces assume the leadership role in counter-insurgency operations in Kandahar. In the words of one official, this was a “revolution” in Canadian foreign policy. The ruling class is not about to allow what it views as collateral damage to the lives of veterans and their families to get in the way of the ruthless assertion of its interests.

Desmond’s fate—and the high number of soldiers suffering from PTSD—points to the real character of the Afghan war. Launched in 2001 shortly after September 11 as part of the US-led so-called “war on terror”, the Afghan war has revealed itself as a neocolonial war in which the major powers sought to destabilize and dominate the entire energy resource-rich region.

The Conservatives and the liberals both supported Canada’s participation in the war. For its part, the union-backed New Democratic Party, which made the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan one of its main “progressive” policy planks, made an about-face in the 2008 election campaign when it sought a coalition with the Liberals and pledged to back Canada playing a leading role in the conflict through 2011.

Since then, the Canadian government has joined every military adventure led by the United States. Far from backing down from this war drive, the Trudeau government will soon announce a new deployment of Canadian troops in Africa to join US and French-led counter-insurgency missions and has already sent Canadian forces to Eastern Europe to menace Russia.

From bloody Iraq war to bloody Fort Lauderdale, USA airport


This video from the USA says about itself:

9 January 2017

Recently there was a mass shooting at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale that claimed the lives of 5 people, the shooter has been caught and we’re now learning more about him. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks discuss some new details about the Ft. Lauderdale shooter. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Read more here.

“The suspect believed to have shot five people to death in a rampage at a Florida airport Friday was being treated in Alaska after complaining of hearing voices and had recently claimed to the FBI that the CIA was forcing him to watch ISIS videos, federal officials said.

THE SHOOTER opened fire at a baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 12:55 p.m., apparently shooting people at random.

SHOOTER had been “fighting with a lot of people,” his brother, Bryan, told NBC News in a phone interview from Puerto Rico. His aunt and uncle in New Jersey said Santiago had not been the same since a 10-month deployment in Iraq with the Puerto Rico National Guard.”

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Details emerge of Fort Lauderdale shooter’s experience in military

10 January 2017

The suspected gunman in the Fort Lauderdale shooting, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, was charged on Saturday with performing an act of violence at an international airport, killing five people and injuring six more. The charges brought forth allow a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life.

On Monday, Santiago was ordered held without bond until a detention hearing next week. He was advised of the charges against him by US Magistrate Alicia Valle and was appointed a federal public defender. A bond hearing was scheduled for January 17 and an arraignment, during which Santiago will formally enter a plea for the charges against him, was set for January 23.

Santiago confessed to opening fire on a crowd in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale airport shortly after being detained on Friday afternoon. Once in custody, Santiago told investigators that he had planned the attack, purchasing a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport from Anchorage, Alaska via Minneapolis-St. Paul, with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun as his only piece of checked luggage.

As details emerge concerning Santiago’s personal history, as well as his experiences serving in the US military, the media and political establishment continue to postulate on the cause of the latest shooting spree. These pundits fail in every attempt, many deliberately, to understand the deadly effects which the US military’s unrestrained brutality abroad over the last 15 years, has had on every facet of American life, and most directly on those forced to carry out the bloody campaigns.

The facts of Santiago’s life which have emerged suggest an impoverished adolescent brutalized by the inhumanity of war. Despite his own efforts, and those of his friends and family to seek help, and even to notify the FBI of his condition, Santiago failed to receive the necessary treatment, if such exists, to reverse the damaging experiences of his life.

Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved with his family to the impoverished US territory of Puerto Rico when he was two years old. He is the youngest of six children and spent his childhood in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, which is a small town of about 14,000 residents. Only about 18 percent of Penuelas residents have an education above a high school degree, and 60 percent of the population lives in poverty, with a median household income of only $14,300.

Santiago joined the Puerto Rico National Guard on December 14, 2007, when he was only 17 years old. Reports from those who knew him as a child depict a highly intelligent, kind and quiet adolescent, who joined the military as a way of moving out of his small, poor town. One former neighbor commented to the Associated Press in shock: “He was very peaceful, very educated, very serious.”

According to Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen, Santiago was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent close to a year with an engineering battalion. While in Iraq, Santiago was part of a team clearing roads of improvised explosive devices.

Santiago received numerous medals and commendations during his time in Iraq including the Iraq Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. While the extent of his participation in direct combat is still undetermined, some of his awards, such as the Iraq Campaign Medal and his Combat Action badge, are combat related honors. Additionally, his mother told reporters that her son witnessed a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, just north of Baghdad, which killed two of his fellow 130th Engineer Company soldiers.

Details and reports from friends and family continue to emerge regarding the toll that his time in the military took on Santiago’s mental state.

A grade school classmate of Santiago’s, and fellow member of the National Guard, Rosemarie Zapata, reported to the New York Times that it was Santiago who convinced her to join the Puerto Rico National Guard, before he was deployed to Iraq. When she saw him again after his deployment in a Walgreens parking lot, she said “he was very different,” adding, “He told me: ‘You would never want to go to Iraq. I saw horrible things, horrible.’ He was very different. He was sad.”

One uncle, Hernan Rivera, told the Record, “Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good.” Friends and family continue to repeat similar sentiments to local and national media outlets.

After returning from Iraq, Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage before being discharged for “unsatisfactory performance,” according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the Guard, would not elaborate on the specifics of his discharge, but the Pentagon reports that he went AWOL several times and was first demoted, and then discharged.

Consistent with these reports, Santiago voluntarily turned himself over to the FBI in November 2016, just a little over a month before the deadly shooting, claiming that the CIA was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch Islamic State [ISIS] videos. The FBI agents then notified the police, who took him in for psychiatric help. The hospital released him and ceased treatment after only four days.

Friday’s shooting marks the fourth time in the United States since 2013 that an individual previously known to the FBI has gone on to carry out a violent attack of some kind. This list includes the Pulse nightclub shooting, also in Florida, which killed over 50 people, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, killing three.

While Santiago may have confessed to the killings in Fort Lauderdale, the ultimate responsibility for the crime lies not with the mentally unstable war veteran; nor is it the outcome some abstract “evil” entity haunting any single individual, as Governor Rick Scott of Florida has claimed. In fact, Santiago is in many ways himself a victim of US imperialism. The blood of these people, along with all of the tens of thousands killed in the wars abroad, and those who suffer here at home, lies in the hands of the American ruling class.

The truly guilty parties of these crimes are George W. Bush; Dick Cheney; the country’s current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, the first in US history to oversee two full terms with the country at war; as well as the military leaders, the intelligence community, and the members of both political parties who initiated and continue the criminal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and beyond; as well as the corrupt media outlets who prop them up.

The horror of the Iraq war, one hundred years from now: here.