Posted on 28 June 2014.
Posted on 25 June 2014.
US papers don’t often report on the radiation disaster continuing at Fukushima-Daiichi in Northeast Japan.
But June 17 the New York Times noted: “Inside the complex, there are three wrecked reactor cores, twisted masses of hundreds of tons of highly radioactive uranium, plutonium, cesium and strontium. After the meltdown[s], which followed a tsunami and earthquake in 2011, most of the material in the reactors re-solidified, in difficult shapes and in confined spaces, wrapped around and through the structural parts of the reactors and the buildings. ¶ Or at least, that is what the engineers think. Nobody really knows, because nobody has yet examined many of the most important parts of the wreckage. Though three and a half years have passed, it is still too dangerous to climb inside for a look, and sending in a camera would risk more leaks.”
The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused a Station Black Out at Fukushima ¾ the total loss of power used to run cooling mechanisms ¾ and the consequent melting of fuel rods dispersed massive amounts of radiation to the air and to the Pacific.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), owners of the Fukushima wreckage, has said it would take 40 years to clean up the disaster. Tepco’s number was probably pulled out of the thin air, because owners of the undamaged Kewaunee reactor in Wisconsin, which shut down last April, said decommissioning of Kewaunee would take 40 years.
Radiation Tripled in Pacific Albacore Tuna since Triple Meltdowns
Radioactive cesium-137 levels in Pacific albacore tuna have tripled since the triple meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan, according to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Delvan Neville, lead author of the study and a graduate research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University, told the Statesman Journal Apr. 28, “You can’t say there is absolutely zero risk because any radiation is assumed to carry at least some small risk.”
Jason Phillips, a co-author of the report, said 26 of the large Pacific fish were analyzed from 2008 to 2012. “If we were going to see it [cesium-137] in something, we would see it in albacore or other high-level predators.”
Dr. Steve Starr, Director of Clinical Laboratory Science Program, University of Missouri-Columbia, noted in a recent lecture, “Cesium 137 tends to bio-accumulate in plants and animals, which means it cannot be excreted faster than it is being ingested. Thus, as it accumulates, it increases in its concentration in the plants or animals that are routinely ingesting it. Cesium-137 also tends to bio-magnify as it moves up the food chain. This means it becomes progressively more concentrated in predator species.”
As US Agency Hushed-up Dangers to US Reactors; Fukushima Owners Under-reported Radiation Exposures
NBC News reported Mar. 10 that internal emails by staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission prove the agency deliberately down-played known earthquake and tsunami vulnerabilities at aging US reactors in the early days of the Fukushima catastrophe. NBC said the emails, “show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s [NRC’s] own experts were questioning US safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown[s] occurring at the Japanese [site] could not occur here.”
NBC said the emails reveal the NRC’s “efforts to protect the industry it is supposed to regulate.” The news network went as far as to say, “Dating back to the Three Mile Island nuclear crisis in 1979, many nuclear watchdogs and critics have said that the NRC acts first to protect the industry, and its own reputation.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was helped in misleading the public by Tepco, which repeatedly underestimated internal radiation exposures of its workers involved in immediate emergency response, according to Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, Asahi Shimbun reported.
Last July, the Ministry reviewed exposure data on around workers and revealed that reported exposure levels for 452 out of 1,300 workers surveyed were too low. After that announcement, the Ministry looked at records of the remaining 6,200 workers, and in late March it announced 142 additional cases of underreporting.
TEPCO did not have whole-body radiation counters when the radiation disaster began, so true contamination measurements were not possible.
Contaminated Soil and Cemeteries May be Moved from Fukushima
Japan’s federal government announced in late May that it will move thousands of tons of radioactively contaminated soil ¾ scraped from school yards and elsewhere during decontamination efforts ¾ outside Fukushima Prefecture “within 30 years” after first keeping it in storage in the heavily-contaminated prefecture, according to the daily Mainichi Japan, May 27.
New federal law will be needed to allow Japan’s Environmental Safety Corporation to operate the “temporary” dumps.
In a macabre aspect of compensating for areas made radioactively uninhabitable by fallout from the meltdowns, Japan is considering paying for new cemeteries and reburying the remains of people now buried in radioactive exclusion zones.
Food Not Monitored for Radiation Causing Internal Contamination
The Japan Times reported June 17, that “eating unchecked homegrown vegetables and wild game from radiation-tainted areas on a regular basis can lead to high levels of internal radiation exposure.”
According to a study published in the US online science journal PLOS ONE, “Levels of radioactive cesium detected in the bodies of the study’s participants declined once they stopped eating highly contaminated food.” The study’s authors called for increasing public awareness of radiation-risky foods especially “at a time when public interest appears to be dwindling.”
Soil from the seafloor collected about 6 kilometers from the wrecked reactors contains as much 2,700 Becquerels of cesium-137 per kilogram, according to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority June 14.
In Aug. 2012, Tepco reported an all-time record 25,800 Becquerel’s-per-kilogram in two fish known as greenling caught in 20 kilometers of the stricken reactors. “There may be radiation hot spots on the seabed,” a TEPCO official said then.
The wrecked reactors spewed enormous, unprecedented volumes of radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean where cesium levels near Fukushima ballooned to an astonishing 50 million times pre-disaster levels (and continue to do so, 3.5 years after it began).
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said that it is difficult to assess the figure because there is no standard against which evaluations can be made, but that its research would continue.
Note to Japan’s NRA: for a baseline standard, check seabed levels of cesium off any area free of nuclear reactor effluent.
Posted on 22 June 2014.
Posted on 20 June 2014.
By Sajjad Shaukat
On June 15, this year, Pakistan’s armed forces started a full scale operation “Zarb-e-Azb” against
terrorists in North Wazirastan Agency.
In this regard, DG, ISPR, Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “On the directions of the Government,
Armed forces of Pakistan have launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local
terrorists who are hiding in sanctuaries in North Wazirastan Agency. He elaborated, “These
terrorists had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life
in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and
property…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the
country.” He added, “These militants had perpetually terrorized the entire peace loving locals.”
Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif also expressed similar views on June 16, saying that
that military operation was aimed to eliminate all terrorists in North Wazirastan to get rid of the
menace of terrorism.
On the one side, Pakistani jets has been bombing militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan, and
killed more than 250 insurgents including foreign militants, while, on the other, an increase
has been observed in the efforts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to motivate functionaries
and the locals by misguiding them against the armed forces. In this respect, the so-called TTP
affiliated religious scholars have been issuing Fatwas (Religious verdict), calling for Jihad
against Pakistani security forces, by using their traditional propaganda tools like FM Radios,
repeaters, pamphlets, Mosque Khutbas etc. They are inciting the innocent Muslims for Jihad
against Pak Army and by misinterpretation various incidents and developments like hanging
over of Arab/Ajam Mujahideen, handing over of Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Inter-Services Intelligence
agency (ISI) to the US, killing of several children and women in Lal Masjid operation including
religious scholars like Mufti Nizam-ud-Din Shamzai, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, Maulana Naseeb
Khan, Maulana Yousaf Ludhyani, Maulana Hassan Jan, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi etc. and killing of
more than 100 people and destruction of several mosques in North Wazirastan in security forces’
bombardment on 23 May 2014.
They propagate that military operations are being conducted in FATA on US dictations;
therefore, Jihad against Pak security forces is justified and is compulsory—locals should
dedicate their children for Jihad and financially support “Mujahideen.”
It is notable that since the present government had started the peace dialogue with the Taliban,
the TTP had been acting upon a dual strategy, as sometimes, it accepted responsibility for its
terror-attacks, but sometimes, it denied the same. In this context, TTP has refused that it was
behind the some attacks, but it accepted responsibility when Taliban insurgents targeted the
Rangers, Police and anti-polio workers in Karachi in wake of the peace talks. Similarly, Taliban
had claimed responsibility for the brutal massacre of 23 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary
who were abducted from Mohmand Agency, four years ago and later shifted to Afghanistan.
Similarly, TTP had condemned the brutal assault on the church in Peshawar. But, afterwards, its
spokesman had remarked that it was in accordance with Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) which
indicated that the group was behind that ruthless attack.
Notably, terror attack at the Karachi airport terminal on June 8, 2013 which martyred more
than 35 persons including those of the Ranger, police and the Civil Aviation Authority, came
as a blow from the sky. After a gunbattle of several hours in which Pak Army also participated,
10 militants were killed, and the area was controlled successfully without any major damage.
Weapons and explosive-material of the Indian origin were also recovered, which indicated
foreign hands behind the episode. However, TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
accepted responsibility for this attack.
Taking note of the Karachi airport attack, the government which was following a policy of
appeasement toward the TTP and released many militants of the outfit decided to launch a
military action against them.
Nevertheless, the victims of terror-attacks in Pakistan have been innocent men, women, and
children. While, ruthless beheadings of the people, assaults on security personnel and prominent
religious figures—blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny
education to girls, the militants also targeted cinemas and the places of worships. Their nefarious
acts resulted into martyrdom of more than sixty thousand Pakistanis including security forces’
personnel. Besides, they also criticized the developmental projects carried out by Pak Army.
In some tribal areas and Swat, the Taliban leaders had created states within the state, and had
been involved in a number of crimes such as drug-smuggling, forced marriages, hostage-takings
for ransom and even car-snatching. In the Khyber agency, they are also indulged in murdering
and torturing Shias in their majority areas, forcing them to flee. It was due to Taliban’s inhuman
activities that in 2009, Pak Army ejected them from these regions through military operations.
As part of their atrocities, TTP also killed of Ulema (Religious scholars) like Maulana Hassan
Jan who declared its activities as un-Islamic. TTP militants have been using suicide bombing as
their main weapon against their own country by calling suicide bombers-the followers of Islam.
In this context, Imam-e-Kaaba, Sheikh Abdul Rahman during his visit to Pakistan and during
his Khateeb-e-Hajj had clearly stated that suicide attacks are illegal (Haram). He explained,
“Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go
to Hell…they represent enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while
misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’
activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.
In fact, background of TTP leaders is that they have neither attended any Madrassah, nor have
attained religious education. Unfortunately, terrorists led by the TTP use Islam as their most
effective mask. Their main demands include enforcement of Islamic system of governance by
imposing Shariah laws in the country, ending diplomatic relations with US and western world
and undertaking Jihad against the non-Muslims. They have become self-proclaimed campaigners
of Islam, rejecting all dissenting views.
While Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasizes peace, democracy,
moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and
sects which are in minority in a country.
The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is
basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made
contrary to Quran and Sunnah.
Besides, addressing the Constituent Assembly on August, 11 1947, Quaid-i-Azam who wanted
Pakistan as a democratic state, said that he did not want Pakistan to be a theocratic state. He
wanted Pakistan to be a liberal, secular and progressive state where both Muslims and non-
Muslims were treated as citizens of equal status.
Having co-relationship with each other, Islam respects women, while democracy also advocates
the same. Democratic system does not prohibit the religious parties or tribesmen to participate in
elections. Laws of Sharia can best be put to practice through democratic system which does not
make us un-Islamic or anti-Sharia.
Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic
reinterpretation of Islamic teachings, which is called Ijtihad is essential, as it could provide new
perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.
However, Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as
murdering innocent women and children is not Jihad. In fact, by implementing the instructions
of their external masters, these Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam,
concept of Jihad, and are weakening Pakistan.
It is mentionable that the TTP Chief Maulana Fazlullah had dismissed the proposed peace
negotiations with the government as a “waste of time”, and vowed to target the prime minister,
chief minister, chief of army staff and corpse commanders. Well-established in Afghanistan,
with the tactical support of the US, in connivance with Indian RAW and Afghan spy service, the
National Directorate of Security and Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah—and these foreign
agencies have been conducting various sorts of terrorist acts including ethnic and sectarian
violence in Pakistan.
Nonetheless, true teachings of Islam, especially the Islamic history prove that the insurgents
were suppressed and eliminated by the Islamic governments. As the TTP-led terrorists had
accelerated their anti-social, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, therefore, people from all
segments of life wanted that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their
agenda and to impose their self-perceived ideology on the majority of Pakistanis. So, the right
hour has come that Pakistan’s media, politicians and leaders of religious parties must show
solidarity with the armed forces by also rejecting the propaganda of these zealots against the
security forces in relation to the ongoing military operation in North Wazistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Posted on 20 June 2014.
By Sajjad Shaukat
In the modern era of technological development, the media have become a powerful institution
which has changed the world into a global village. Technical prowess, dispersion effect, social
prestige and influencing clout enable media to turn into reflecting mirror of society, reporting
all events which take place in a social setting. Thus media renders a great service to the society
by providing information, and by helping people to formulate correct perceptions, while
strengthening their ideological philosophies.
Unfortunately, Pakistani media have drawn undue advantage under the garb of availing rights
of free expression by actually using media as a weapon to exploit and coerce government
functionaries, public sector, bureaucrats, top businessmen, political leaders and prestigious
institutions including Judiciary, Armed Forces and intelligence agencies. Sensationalism
and scandalous reporting have become the hallmark of Pakistan’s media, while reputation of
esteemed national institutions is recklessly damaged without realizing the outcome. In this
regard, particularly Geo and Jang Media Group including its associated anchors of the Hate
Brigade are following a premeditated agenda. They initially targeted civil machinery, politicians
and businessmen to fleece wealth, while adding to their power.
Since the government through Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)
failed to check the negative media trends, media got encouraged and ultimately used its bashing
campaign against the Armed Forces and secret agencies. The contents of their tirade are
analogous to propaganda products of India, US and other anti-Pakistan elements. PEMRA’s
psychological fixation on freedom of expression encouraged certain media anchors and reporters,
especially, the Geo Media Group to openly criticize the Armed Forces and Inter-Services
Intelligence agency (ISI), thereby, facilitating promotion of foreign agenda.
In fact, a Hate Brigade of the Geo Media Group started emerging which included Hamid Mir,
Najam Sethi, Absar Alam, Umer Cheema, Ahmed Noorani, Tariq Butt, Ansar Abbassi, Mati-
ullah-Jan and few others who having lost their sense of affinity for domestic heritage left no
stone unturned to defame Pak Army and ISI. Their methodology is to hold TV talk shows and
invite other members of the Hate Brigade as the participants. Their agenda points at lust for
money, ambition to attain prominence and false proclamation of being activists of truth, while
spreading hate and prejudice against their own Armed Forces and ISI. They publish articles in
praise of other hate-mongers, supporting each others views and polluting the minds of audience
to promote biased predispositions. The Hate Brigade has used media as a weapon and feels no
shame in promoting Indian media products, while downplaying Pakistan’s nationalistic views.
Their criticism against own government system and Armed Forces is so venomous that domestic
audiences openly complaint of feeling out of sorts after watching their talk shows and after going
The TV anchors, commentators and writers of the Geo Hate Group manipulated different
vulnerabilities of Pakistan, during global war against terrorism, instigating separatists in
Balochistan, crating lawlessness in Karachi, muddling in the affairs of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa,
tribal areas, war against the militants, and other issues like dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and military operation against the Taliban including externally-backed sectarian
violence in various cities of Pakistan. But, the collaboration between Geo Media Network
and particularly India has been exposed, as leaders of various political and religious parties
including all the segments of society have been condemning the Geo and Jang Group by showing
solidarity with Pakistan’s Armed Forces and ISI in the aftermath of Hamid Mir episode which
was manipulated by this media group.
Every thing became crystal clear when foreign media, NGOs and human rights groups
reactivated their campaign against Pakistan, its army and ISI by favoring the so-called
propaganda of the Geo TV, and misconceptions of Hamid Mir. Particularly, India avail the
opportunity, and under the pretext of false accusations, its renowned newspapers, TV channels
and high officials maligned ISI. In this connection, Geo Network which enjoys support of
external enemies, itself indicates proof that it follows India which wants to destabilize Pakistan.
In this context, on April 28, this year, voicing his support for the Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir,
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through a letter to stop ISI
from suspending Geo TV license.
But, countrywide protests and rallies in support of Armed Forces and Pakistan’s prime spy
agency, ISI accelerated against the Geo Network after its channel showed blasphemous content
on May 14, this year in its entertainment morning show Now, even general masses of the country
are raising slogans that Geo and Jang Group has been fulfilling foreign agenda, and it should be
shut down permanently. Particularly, Chairman, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan who
has also defended the stance of Army and ISI, announced to boycott Geo and Jang Group. In a
press conference on May 17, Imran Khan displayed documentary evidence, revealing that Mir
Shakil-ur-Rehman, owner of the Geo and Jang Group is working against the national interests of
Pakistan and is being funded by foreign countries like UK and the US for shaping the national
narrative on foreign agendas, while there is no audit of the Geo network which blackmails those
who raise question in this respect. Imran Khan added, “Media trial of ISI and its chief by Geo
TV is extremely condemnable.”
However, the entire nation and all other media channels have been critical of Geo and Jang
Group for its unlawful media tirade against the Armed Forces, especially ISI and its DG—and
its subsequent attempts to defend their false stance—belittling PEMRA, while challenging the
authority of national institutions and boasting their power, with the backing of some government
ministers. Despite dressing-down by large number of viewers and public scolding, Geo Group
is still making premeditated efforts to discredit PEMRA. In this regard, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman
planned to damage the prestige of Armed Forces and ISI by rendering PEMRA a redundant
body, and ultimately finding freedom of media to inflict serious damage to Pakistan’s national
security system. Global players and anti-Pakistan foreign elements also have similar agenda
against Pakistan’s security agencies. They perceive that an effective PEMRA will create a ‘win
win’ position for Armed Forces and ISI, disallowing any pressure from international and national
organizations like EU, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan etc., as PEMRA decisions being
legitimate will have world wide acceptance. In this context, the nexus between Indian RAW,
Israeli MOSSAD, American CIA, Afghan and Iranian intelligence agencies to defame Pakistan,
its Army—and foreign funding to Pakistani media personalities, newspapers and TV channels
present difficult challenges for the country.
Notably, in the aftermath of the Hamid Mir episode, Geo Media Group and some ministers
of the ruling party used various techniques to pressurize PEMRA—not to cancel Geo license.
Presently, PEMRA board comprises 12 members including five officially nominated, four
(Information and Interior Secretaries, PTA and FBR Chairmen, one Civil Society member)
recommended by Chairman PEMRA and 2 others on government’s advice, but selected by
Chairman PEMRA. The board lacks any representation from intelligence agencies, religious
scholars and culture experts who can identify foul play and discrepancies of media channels like
Nevertheless, on May 20, PEMRA suspended the three licenses of Geo Group. But, the
government decided to take action against its three private members, and issued show cause
notices to them. On June 7, official members of PEMRA suspended Geo TV’s license for 15
days and imposed Rs.10 million fine on a complaint, filed by the defense ministry in connection
with the distortion of ISI image. The order was issued by newly-appointed interim chairperson
Pervaiz Rathore. While, PEMRA’s private member Israr Abbasi told media that the new decision
was taken by the government members alone and not the entire regulatory body. He also claimed
that PEMRA rules do not permit appointment of caretaker head. Meanwhile, embolden by
the government and some foreign powers, Geo Group issued a legal notice to the ministry of
defense, ISI and PEMRA for defaming the group by accusing it of working on an anti-Pakistan
agenda, asking all to apologize within 14 days and pay damages of Rs. 50 billion.
It is mentionable that the Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who was secretly supporting the Geo
stance stated on a private TV channel on June 11, 2014, “If the allegations on Geo TV from
defense ministry are proved wrong, I will resign from my post.” He said that defense ministry
filed a case against Geo that they are working with foreign countries and been funded too.
Noting the statement of Khawaja Asif, the Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) suspended
membership of Geo TV and issued show cause notice to it. This endorsed anti-Pakistan activities
of the media group, which amounts to treason. Besides, Geo TV’s anchor, Dr. Aamer Liaqat
Hussain extended an apology to DG ISI for using defamatory campaign against him. His apology
contained high sounding words with emotional appeal. The Geo Hate Brigade’s anchors score
points against Pak Army and ISI by making pledges that once an apology has been rendered the
case should be closed. If they agree to such a pledge or apology, they should have submitted it
While, the entertainment show run by Dr. Shaista Lodhi on Geo TV channel is proof of Geo’s
unethical practices. Their blasphemous conduct caused deep emotional injury to the whole nation
and such an unpardonable act must be dealt as per law.
Now, PEMRA should be made an effective body to check external funding by secret agencies
like RAW to Pakistani media circles. It will also block objectionable propaganda contents by
asserting its powers to cancel media licenses of TV channels as deterrence. Hence, composition
of the board must be modified on merit, adding more members from relevant segments of
society, and government must undertake speedy and spot decisions.
Nonetheless, the Hate Brigade of the Geo Media group must be targeted and efforts must
be made to uncover their biased coverage against national interests of Pakistan. Their unfair
criticism of Pak Army and ISI, which is already being rejected by all the segments of society
must continue to be condemned. Besides, anchors of the Go’s Hate Brigade must be brought
before the law to explain the underlined reasons of their hatred towards national institutions
including their anti-Pakistan schemes.
Posted on 20 June 2014.
Posted on 20 June 2014.
Posted on 20 June 2014.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Photo: IAEA/ cc/ Flickr)Two sizable earthquakes struck off the coast of Japan near the precarious Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant early Monday.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, one quake measuring magnitude 5.8 and another measuring 5.6 struck off the coast of Honsu—Japan’s largest and most populated island—overnight.
The agency says there is no immediate risk of a tsunami. However, the larger of the two quakes hit just 21 nautical miles from the Fukushima plant, where the containment of radioactive water and waste has been fraught with problems since an earthquake struck off the coast of the plant in 2011.
Situated at the crux of several tectonic plates, Japan experiences a number of significant quakes every year.
(Image: Japan Meteorological Agency)
Posted on 20 June 2014.