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Below -- Letters
AUGUST 12, 2014
Responses to Bernard Weiner's essay/play,
"A Successful 'Negotiation' of Israel/Palestine Peace
Have you spent time in Israel within
the last 10 years? It's a far more arrogant country than decades ago,
with the means and powerful inclination to impose "solutions" by extreme
violence. Sabras were always tough people, but the settlers today have
taken it to another level, as has the right-wing which has seized
political power and worked in lockstep with U.S. neocons for the last
several decades. Furthermore, most ordinary Jewish Israelis don't want
"peace" in the sense that liberal North Americans would imagine. Their
concept of peace is far more like the apartheid U.S. South or South
Africa -- there are overwhelming economic and structural reasons for
them not to want to give up their privileged status.
I'm convinced this is why "defectors"
like Miko Peled, Michael Ratner, Max Blumental etc. have renounced
previous allegiances to Israel and Zionism, as they have seen the place
rapidly go off the deep end. But it's also crucial to understand that
Israel's militarized intransigence has greatly intensified since Bush II
seized power in America, and the Congress after 9/11 gave carte blanche
to perpetual war. This extended to America's client states, Israel among
the most enthusiastically to embrace it.
Obama has allowed it to continue
unfettered. He should be called Bush III. While the oppressed parties
such as Hamas, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans etc. are far from clean or
blameless, it's important to view the situation in proportion to the
forces arrayed which currently is highly asymmetric -- one side (the
Imperial powers or their clients) may be 100 x more powerful than their
opponents. "Brushfire" from one is met by depleted plutonium from the
Your play is well-written as always
and would make a good dramatic production, but its protaganists bear no
relation to the real actors on the ground.
As of this time I have absolutely no use for Israel’s government and
people who overwhelmingly (87%) support the genocide in Gaza and I have
lost all respect for the Democratic party in Congress as well. Even
Barbara Lee (D-CA Berkeley) voted in favor of unconditional support for
Israel. In my view all of these politicians have lost their minds and
sense of morality and most have been bought off by AIPAC or fear AIPAC
just as much as they fear the NRA. The right wing of the GOP has to deal
with their nutty Evangelical base who only supports Israel because they
believe the survival of Israel [as opposed to the Jews] is essential to
their Rapture. If any solution to this conflict involves the US, which I
believe it will because we are Israel’s last enabler, I have little to
no hope. And we have lost most of our media to Israel propaganda as
well. To understand what is really going on in the world, I watch
Long term there appears to me to be
three realistic solutions to this conflict, none of which seem all that
1. The U.S. demands a two-state
solution and is willing to withhold all support for Israel if they don’t
agree to establish a Palestinian state with reasonable borders including
making settlers withdraw from lands illegally taken. And by all support
I also include all support at the U.N., all monies we send them every
year, and a complete embargo of all military aid…
2. The Palestinians agree to be
slaughtered en masse and/or move out of the entire region of Palestine
leaving everything to Israel.
3. The Israelis are forced or agree to
abandon Israel and move somewhere else. There is no way these racist
people will ever consent to live in proximity to Palestinians in the
foreseeable future and maybe ever. Their majority government and even
some of the lesser parties have in their governing mandate NEVER to
allow a Palestinian state ANYWHERE. There is no way to deal with Israel
because of their attitude of superiority and unwillingness to
acknowledge the humanity of peoples who don’t share their religion
and/or many of their customs...
I’ve had it with Israel. I consider
them a terrorist nation (those public car bombings of civilian Iranian
nuclear scientists and in at least one case the death of a wife too) is
an act of terrorism. Their deliberate mis-treatment of the Palestinians
in general and the prison complex in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Israel
was founded on acts of terrorism against Palestinians and it continues
to this day.
I consider Gaza to be similar to the
WWII death camps. Only instead of gas it’s bombing by air and tanks and
other weaponry doing the job...
There are a lot of good Jewish people
(both in Israel and many other countries and a lot of good Jewish people
went to jail standing up in solidarity with the Palestinians in NYC
recently) who don’t support this Israeli government but apparently not
enough or else something would have changed by now. I think this most
recent conflict could be the tipping point against Israel for many more
people and countries [already a bunch of Latin American countries have
come out against Israel] and I suspect more resistance to the Israeli
government to come from this including an increase in the BDS [Boycott,
Divestment, Sanctions] movements. Also maybe after Labor Day more people
will start paying attention to what is going on in Gaza as the elections
heat up and demanding a different response from the candidates.
I see the Middle East in constant and
violent turmoil until the Palestinian crisis is resolved. Unfortunately
our current government is not up to the task and it doesn’t appear to be
moving in the right direction either.
Editor, ToppleBush (topplebush.com)
Ah, if only...
Ironically, I've been hired to write a
screenplay about a love story in a DP camp right after the liberation of
Bergen-Belsen. She wants to go to America. He wants to go to Palestine.
The deeper I get into it, as complex as that history is, the more I'm
convinced of the need for an Israel.
My relationship with "Israel" over the
course of my life has been immensely two-faced -- the Liberal in me --
and remains conflicted, as does my relationship with all nations and
their acts of aggression. But the question of its existence? That, for
me, now, is a no-brainer.
Perhaps Palestine will always be an
"unsolvable problem." If only it could be solved so humanely and
beautifully as in your one-act play.
Wow! It's time to stage the play again!
I enjoyed and appreciated the play a lot!
Thank you for writing this piece…so clear, such anguish, your last line
gave me chills. When o-when-o-when will there be resolution? It’s been
Thanks so much for sharing your lovely "Negotiation." Like most everyone
else, I'm vexed by the conflict in the Middle East. Your play reminded
me that human beings are still the "players" in this real-life drama.
For better or for worse, your play still has "legs," and will continue
to ring true for a long time.
...I saw a news story tonight on NBC about a camp for Palestinian and
Israeli kids in the Eastern US somewhere. I think we all need to go to
Nice, Bernie. Hope the right people read it!
Sad is the operative word, I’m afraid. Loved your play, but negotiating
in good faith seems to be beyond reach. And Congress does not seem
inclined to do anything but support Israel.
Your play is a breath of fresh air. I have always felt that the solution
is not complicated.
I remember this little scenario from sometime back, and loved the last
line, of course -- very provocative. And I like that word "stipulation"
-- a useful one, and new to me.
Ah, I wish we had a real Moishe and Heshim to do this.
This is nicely (and wishfully)
balanced. I have only one quarrel with it. Israel was not a "brutal"
occupier of Gaza, and after 2005 it was not an occupier of Gaza at all.
If not for Hamas, Gazans could have made a decent life for themselves
and been an example of peaceful co-existence.
Here is a link to a recent article that says much the same thing as
you do in your play.
This would work for me, for sure. Thanks for writing it.
Awesome. The world definitely seems in need of The Crisis Papers these
Outstanding! And what a punch line at
Touching play, Bernie. It holds up well...unfortunately.
JULY 25, 2014
About Ernest Partridge's Essay:
Bungling Toward Oblivion: A Letter to my Friends in Russia.
I apologize to our readers for the delay in
posting these replies – three weeks after the appearance of
“Bungling Toward Oblivion: A Letter to My Friends in Russia.” The
delay was due to the abundance of responses and the difficulty in
translating many of them from the original Russian.
These responses below are a selection. Many
replies from Russia have been excluded, in some cases at the urgent
request of the writers. In other instances the Russian writers have
asked that their names be withheld. A couple have expressed no
reluctance in having their names posted. So I have decided to
exclude all names of Russian responders along with identifying
Some replies from Russian strangers were no
doubt prompted by a translation of my essay into Russian, posted on
the Russian website “Inosmi.ru.”
. That translation generated numerous replies at the website, not
included here. Readers of Russian may find them interesting. All the
responses below, Russian and American, were received before the
Malaysian Airline disaster of July 17.
The Russian responses to this essay have been
extraordinary. Many of these responses have not only informed me,
they have in some cases changed my mind about Russia today and the
Putin regime. I have much to say about this, and expect to do so
shortly in a follow-up essay.
Because these are direct and personal accounts
by individual Russians, some of whom are friends of long-standing, I
take them very seriously. The same cannot be said for the American
corporate news media. After all the official lies -- aluminum tubes,
uranium ore from Africa, Saddam's WMDs, Al Gore's "inventing the
internet," etc., etc. -- I have come to treat the US media with as
much skepticism as the astute Russian treated Pravda and
Izvestia during the Soviet era. And so, I have been inclined to
shrug off the new demonization of Vladimir Putin by the corporate
"Ministry of Truth."
But when I read severe criticisms of Putin
from my friends in Russia, and still other Russians with whom I am
not personally acquainted, I take notice. Especially so when may of
them offer their personal opinions at some personal peril.
Sadly, this is not the Russia that I
experienced during my last visit in 1999. It seems that Vladimir
Putin has not totally renounced the attitudes that he acquired
during his years with the KGB. (КГБ: Комитет Государстиенной
Безопасности. Translation: "Department of Homeland Security."
Really! Check it out).
I am thus reminded of Bertrand Russell's
remark during his Nobel Prize speech in 1952. "We hate them [the
Communists] because they do not allow liberty. This we believe so
strongly that we have decided to imitate them."
Yet Russia today is not the Soviet Union of
Stalin, and there remains in Russia numerous intelligent and
influential individuals who have briefly tasted personal and
political liberty. They will not once again "go gentle into that
So here are a few of those responses,
beginning with the Russians.
RESPONSES IN ENGLISH FROM RUSSIA:
Just received, August 10, 2014. EP.
I am writing to you from the city of
Nizhny Novgorod, Volga Federal District, Russia.
I've read your letter, entitled "Bungling
towards Oblivion". It left me speechless and flabbergasted.
I work in mass-media and frequently
listen to foreign radio stations, skim through what's
written in "The Washington Post", "Time', "The Wall Street
Journal" and so on. And never, never do I [run] into solid
arguments in favor of expelling my country from the
international arena. They say, Putin's Russia has annexed
Crimea. They say Putin's Russia are to blame for the
horrendous Malaysian aircraft disaster in Ukraine. It
appears that nobody attempts to put oneself in another one's
shoes, to adopt the "mirror image perspective" you wrote
about. Firstly, there was a referendum in Crimea. Secondly,
NATO's expanding eastward, coming closer to the Russian
borders created causes for concern. It would be strange to
assume that this area of friction would be left unaddressed
by the Russian leader. They themselves provoked Russia and
what followed? Did NATO really think Russia won't respond to
its "eastern campaign"?
And then the flight. Are there proofs to
Russia's participation in this? No, there are none. Then
what for are they - politicians, experts, mass-media -
scapegoating my country? Is it propaganda machine or
deliberate action of Western militarists or both? Could it
be so that people in our modern world are too lazy to get
behind the curtain of countless lies? I don't know the
answer. Neither I know who is to blame for the flight and I
sincerely hope that it wasn't Russian military forces. My
heart goes out to the families of those who perished or
suffered through this.
Of course, I'm not the likeliest person
to ponder over geopolitical issues, I'm too young and
Anyway. There's one thing that troubles
me more than anything else, the question the answer to which
I failed to find. Why should these torrents of abuse,
skepticism, aggression and hatred be transferred over to the
citizens from both sides? Why should we, Russians and
Americans, be mislead into thinking that we are enemies? It
pains me to watch the same hostility brew in the mind's of
some of my acquaintances here in Nizhny Novgorod. I want to
stop this, I don't want war or any other political and
I don't want the relations of Russian
and American citizens fall hostage to deadlock political
disputes, I don't want them to be martyred on the altar of
the prosperity for the few.
You were the only person " from out
there", whose thoughts corresponded with my own feelings on
the subject. Indeed, it was like a revelation for me to
discover, that there are people who think differently in the
United States of America. And I thank you for this. Reading
your open letter gave me a hope, that together, applying
joint efforts we could challenge the ongoing catastrophe.
[Responding to your specific comments:]
"Blame for the current Russo-American conflict, I
believe, falls on both sides".
That’s exactly the way I think about current events
and I want to prove this statement with one simple example. I admire
what Mr. McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, had done to launch
the “reboot” conception. Moreover, I understand that he is a diplomatic
genius, since he was the author of it, before the mutual relations
problems boulder fell off a cliff. But at the same time I realize he,
himself, is now completely on the Ukrainian side of the conflict, being
loyal to the position of Official Washington and he is a spokesman of
propaganda (let me call it “western” one, but only since his views are
probably more common than pro-Russian ones in the vast majority of
European countries and the U.S.). So, what do we have here? We have
smart man (and, again, diplomatic genius!) blame one side and completely
trust the other. And, despite living in Russia for a few years, he still
tells his audience about “Putin’s Dictatorship” and “neo-Soviet threat”.
I just don’t think it’s fair enough: we have a number
of problems, including ones with freedom of speech and mass-media
nonsense, but, for instance, me, myself, would only call Russia
“dictatorship” if we had no Internet, which is pretty much the most
important platform for social and political issues discussions nowadays.
I don’t think the Soviet people, something like 30-40 years ago had
anything like that. And, looking at China and PRK, I don’t think we
should only praise technological progress for it.
“The Role of Foreign NGOs.”
That’s a really sad issue. Once I returned [home] I
found that the American Center was closed and I merely can’t get how the
celebration of Halloween, Thanksgiving and, even, American Independence
Day can do any harm to Russia ... For that I blame the Orthodox
fundamentalists and, so-called, “Sober Society”: ultra-patriotic groups
of youngsters who seem to want the Middle Ages to come back.
Bad thing, not a single word about politics though,
is that for the last few years American Center ... had been dying, since
most of alumni either moved to
Moscow, or just didn’t have enough time (wish?) to
visit the events. 10-20 participants for nearly one million [in the
area] ... is a shame.
“Historical Ignorance” of Americans.
In this part you write a lot about WWII. I want to
tell you, my attitude towards the Great War has changed a bit for the
last seven years and now I realize how much our Western Allies did to
stop the Nazis. I believe such battles as Invasion of Normandy,
operation “Market Garden” the Battle of Okinawa and, my favorite one,
The Battle Of Leyte Gulf (since that was the largest naval battle in
history! Not a single word about it in Russian WWII History books!) are
undeservedly forgotten by Russian WWII Historians.
Another thing I should tell you, I guess WWII history
is the most important value that should become basis of new
Russo-American relations. And, from this point of view, Washington’s
support of Bandera and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army neophytes (Ukrainian
protesters don’t even hide that: the strongest groups of them support
former collaborationists, you can also google such organizations as
“Right Sector” and “Spilna Sprava”) would become impossible. As for
pro-Russian insurgents, I guess they reconstruct some “White Army”
patterns; Strelkov even looks like some “white general”, so when
somebody tells me about “The Red Alert”, I can only tell him-or-her not
to call The Tzar a Bolshevik commander.
“American policy-makers need an enemy”.
That’s not a problem of the U.S. and Russia only.
Such statement seems to be the brightest implementation of Carl
Schmitt’s idea of “common foreign enemy”. To tell you the truth, despite
his pretty close ties with NSDAP, I appreciate what Carl Schmitt did for
political science and regard him among the most influential minds of the
Bad thing, for Europe and the U.S. [if] Russia is the
enemy. As a Russian, I guess our media impose the idea of “spoiled, but
not hostile” Europe and the
“man-we-used-to-be-strategic-partners-what’s-wrong-again” the U.S.
Opposite to it, our media tell us China is “probably
the only friend of Russia”. That’s only my point of view though, some
people might and probably will think differently, but I wouldn’t say
that the U.S. in common Russian News is Number One enemy: just a guy
that can’t become a bit friendlier towards us, as we are trying to do
that. And, for sure, Russian media show bloody and cruel Ukrainian
nationalists, but I don’t think such position is far away from the
truth: neither side is justified and kind during the war.
“Citizens of both countries must take the initiative
Indeed! And that’s what I’m trying to do every day
(and night, talking about the U.S. time) on Facebook. I do believe
Americans and Russians should live in peace and I do appreciate I still
have many friends in the U.S. Same about deabstractionization process
and on the issue of common threats in the changing world. (Direct email)
Just so you know, pals. I haven't met a single person in Russia who
wanted a New Cold War to get started. The Iron Curtain and the Arms Race
should only be the subject of interest for historians.
I do hope current American-Russian tensions don't
affect private relations between the peoples of the U.S. and Russia.
Take care, remember good things and smile at bad ones
Your Russian comrade. (Facebook)
I live in the Crimea. I supported the Maidan before
it began to gain force of neo-Nazis. I voted for the return of the
Crimea to Russia (by the way, none of the people with weapons are not
threatened... ). Read the article in the American ( and European )
media. I wondered [about the] blindness [of the] correspondents,
the reluctance to talk about the situation from different sides (what
the media should actually do).
In Crimea, [there are] many refugees from the areas
of combat actions. They accused the Ukrainian government and their
stories are horrific! As you know my opinion about the United States
steadily sought down.
The article [by] Mr. Ernest, Partridge again raises
my opinion about the United States.
Thank You, Mr. Ernest Partridge for the truth. It is
a pity that now we will [find it] much harder to believe in the good
intentions of America.
FROM RUSSIA, TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE, EDITED BY
(The essay was been translated into Russian at the
internet site. inosmii.ru with the title: "Неуклюжая забывчивость:
Письмо моим друзьям в Россию."
It can be
See also the long letter from Russia published as
a “Guest Essay” currently in The
Read a translation of your article, I agree with you - the dialogue is
needed, especially among ordinary people. I remember Posner - Donahue,
it was a real journalism. As a psychologist, I am reminded of the
phenomenon LyaPera, the closer we get to each other the less and less
manifest stereotypes about each other.
I remember eight years ago when my friend and I clearly believed that
the Cold War was over, and that the time had passed when the US could be
regarded as an enemy. We believed then that we could and should be
allies with the United States, a country with a developed democracy. We
actively argued with fellow students who did not think so.
Yesterday I realized that my attitude toward the United States in recent
years, only worse. I did not even notice how your country became
perceived as an enemy. Today I read your letter and realized that all is
not lost even at the state level.
What changed my opinion? I do not think it was the propaganda, which
certainly exists in every country. I am quite smart enough to be able to
read alternative views, including those from abroad. I changed my
opinion because of the behavior of the U.S. in the international arena.
The war in Afghanistan seemed to me to be reasonable. I even thought it
was a gift for Russia, close to the border of a developing a terrorist
state that could bring big problems in the future. I even thought that
the U.S. was completing our work in the Eighties, although the
historical background was different. But now that the war is over, the
new world did not come. There was damage, but no creation to follow.
Then there was Iraq, the support of the Arab Spring, then Ukraine. And
one cannot forget the tragic events earlier in Yugoslavia when inept
politicians actually made two enemies of the people - Albanians and
Serbs -- which could have been avoided. So more and more it became clear
that the U.S. is trying to impose uni-polarity, values (??), democracy,
as she understands it. Against this background, the result was a
disruption of the country, anarchy, brought about by the major lobbying
oligarchs of the United States. I am not well acquainted with the
internal problems in your country and I can not on this account make any
conclusions. I'm just describing what I saw in the international arena.
I read a book by the creators of Google, which describe the future of
technology, but even there a lot of attention is paid to politics
including the influence of the United States on other countries. The
book discusses how new technologies are helping people fight for their
rights, as they are able to support the revolution. It was amazing.
Because this issue is such a big concern even for politicians, I want to
ask whether, through this aid to other countries, the United States
might become a policeman to the entire world.
At the same time I have heard the active criticism that we have not held
elections and that we are not a nation of laws. But to my eyes the
election system of the USA is also imperfect and more like a show. Yet
no one is instructing the United States as to how it should be changed.
There is a constant pressure and attempts to dominate the culture and
values, and to teach public administration and economics. But Russia in
the nineties passed this way with a pseudo-liberalism, when we tried to
instill uncorrected attitudes, and established a traditional Western
ideal of democracy. In this connection, I recall a book by the first
President of Singapore, where he wrote that while he respects the United
States and its ideals and even shared some of them, but did not believe
that it applies everywhere. And so he pleaded with Americans to consider
the opinion of the inhabitants of the country, and not to impose
opinions from the outside. Singapore is not a big player in the global
political arena. But because Russia is a big player, such impositions
from the outside are impermissible.
Yes, we have an imperfect society with a lot of internal problems. here
is also in the international arena a perception of increasing Russian
ambition. There are no illusions about crime, corruption and economy
problems in Russia, although in recent years this is changing for the
better. We are waiting still a long road to progress. Our response to
the Ukrainian crisis is the result of a defense mechanism. If Russia is
perceived as a foe, any misstep will be be blamed on Russia. If
civilians are killed, this will be regarded as the fault of Russia. In
fact, any escalation of the conflict will result in sanctions against
our country no matter who inflames the situation. So what should we do?
Sit and wait until the question of Ukraine is decided to the advantage
of the United States? This is the impression I have now, I thought quite
differently eight years ago.
Refugees come to our city from Ukraine They tell of such horror which
does not even appear on official Russian television, nor anywhere else.
They talk about the horrors of the National Guard, about the atrocities
of official troops, about the tragedy of young Ukrainian soldiers called
up for war. And it's not propaganda. These are real people who saw
everything with their own eyes. Some of their stories may be
exaggerated. Shock and horror can have that effect. But still the
overall essence is clear .
Eight years ago, I honestly believed in American justice, but now I see
in the U.S. an interest to arrest people all over the world, from third
countries be deported to the United States. Your country for some reason
felt that its laws apply to other countries, territories, and citizens
of other states. Eight years ago I believed that the media was fair. I
can see how events are served in the Western media, it is not the ideal
of freedom of speech, which I had seen before. Eight years ago I
believed the U.S. was a model of democracy. I did not idealize the
country, but believed that it was fighting for the opportunity to allow
different opinions and to defend of the rights of the people. But now I
realized that the multi-polar world does not need the United States. The
U.S. believes that it does not need other opinions. But the differences
among the world's cultures is beautiful, and the world would be better
if throughout the Earth various attitudes, beliefs, norms and principles
were tolerated. This variety is primarily the people's choice.
I frequently watch Vladimir Posner on TV. I understand that his view has
also changed. He no longer believes that the U.S. is a guarantor of
democracy. I could be wrong, but I think he has also begun to see that
the United States at this stage acts in its own interests, which means
specifically in the selfish interests of the oligarchic elite.
But you know what I'm most afraid of now? I think that because of this
tension, it will become clear that the leaders of the United States will
have no use for a multi-polar world. Instead, through sanctions and
other pressures, your country will seek unconditional world domination,
followed by similar objectives by the leaders of Russia -- despite our
previous attempts to promote a multi-polar world.
I don't know if there will be a new cold war, but instead of
multi-polarity our countries will compete for dominance, trying to
impose their values (??) on other countries as multiculturalism is
forgotten. In this situation, of course, no one will win. Far better
that we work together rather than compete, as we both face very
difficult and common environmental problems.
So here is a view from Russia on global issues, addressed to the United
States. It my personal opinion, but I think it will be shared by many.
In recent years I have come to believe that the American people can not
actually change things democratically in their own country. In fact,
everything is orchestrated and arranged. And so now, when the world is
ruled by the Internet, we have unlimited access to information. Even so,
I feel that we profoundly misunderstand each other.
I have written too much about your country and too little about our own.
But I wanted to show how things are seen from our perspective, and to
say that, indeed, you are right in many ways. So do not consider it as a
blanket criticism. This is a look at the U.S. from here in Russia. I
would very much like to change these conditions and at least to return
them to how they were eight years ago.
I read your article "Bungling Toward Oblivion - A Letter to My Friends
in Russia" translated into inosmi.ru.
I am Russian and I love Russia. I clearly remember the humiliating
90-years. Taking into account the promotion of tolerance as a child,
interested in politics and not listening only to TV. After the collapse
of the Soviet Union in 1998, I formed a persistent contempt for American
politics, culture, film, government, arrogance and contempt for other
nations and peoples. Moreover, these findings were not based on our
propaganda, but rather were based on the actions of your government.
These conclusions [led me to] a website, inosmi.ru, which publishes
translations of periodicals from around the world. But this does not
apply to the American people who, for the most part, are fooled by the
government and the media. The same thing is happening in Russia.
I was surprised to read your article. I wanted to write and express my
appreciation for your words. I believe none of us wants war. But believe
me, it is hard to understand when a "democracy" moves on NATO bayonets.
Once again thank you for your point of view. It is so rare in the U.S.
media to hear a reasonable opinion.
Regards from Russia
Ernest Partridge replies:
I believe that I can offer you some small
reassurance. The American public does not want war, and is very
suspicious of those among us who seem eager for war. Following the
disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the outright lies by the US
government and media that led to these wars, most Americans are
reluctant to start new military adventures. In addition, many
Americans have not forgotten the good feelings toward Russia that
followed the fall of the Soviet Union -- glasnost and perestroika..
In short, many Americans share the views that I expressed in my
The bad news is that the media propaganda in the US these days is
poisonous -- particularly as it regards Vladimir Putin and his
government. And this worries me very much.
As I wrote in my essay, peace-loving people of both of our countries
must resist this drift toward a new cold war. They must make
themselves heard by their governments, and reach across the globe in
cooperation with "the other side."
Your letter, and others like it that I recently received, give me
hope. The media and our leaders provoke despair. Better to focus our
attention on hope.
С уважением в мире и дружбе,
FROM THE UNITED STATES:
Now and then I will read something that gives me hope
in the face of the insane rhetoric of exceptionalism. Such is your
recent 'letter to the Russian people.' It articulates a well considered
set of thoughts engendering hope that sane heads my prevail.
Then, I consider our imperialist/exceptionalist
ideology ... one often masked by rhetoric that appears/sounds pleasing
... stemming from the very first Europeans to come to the Americas. Even
the continent was named after a European ... and indigenous peoples
faced a holocaust that makes the Hitlerian destruction of Jews appear
mere child's play.
And, with that second thought in mind, I go back to
rethink what I thought might give me some hope ... and I end up saying:
perhaps the best thing for life is for us to annihilate ourselves so the
next iteration of life on this blue orb of ours can try again to create
a world sans what we call sentient
Rarely a genuine kindly article penetrates the logic-filled,
belief-driven pieces re the U.S./Russia/Ukraine/Eu situation that
usually comes over cyberspace. This letter to Russian friends by Ernest
Partridge is one of those well thought out pieces that delights the soul
by addressing the current U.S.-Russia challenges in a quieter and more
perspective manner. Even more so this letter calls us to remembrance of
the uncanny delight we find in "the other" -- the right-hemispheric
music, poetry, and philosophic minds of our Russian friends and the
overall Russian experience. Bear with this long piece and read it to the
end, it will give you much to ponder and sooth your day. I send it for
much-needed relief for us all.
Sharon Tennison, Editor:
Russia: Other Points
From OpEd News
First I would like to mention that it seems to me
that you repeat to your Russian friends things that they are already
told. I am pretty sure that Russian Television covered all the American
sins that you mention.
You mentioned their duty to expose the "Russian
mistakes/sins", are you aware of some and could you share them?
In my opinion it is wrong to speak about "strategic
interests". The country's interests should end at their border. This
basically boils to a militaristic "interest" that ends in meddling in
other people's business.
To somehow compare NATO with the "Western Armies" is
wrong. What about concerns of Russian neighbors who were all targets of
Russian invasions? Should Turkey be worried since "Russian Armies" for
centuries pushed the Ottoman Empire in a series of wars? This history,
the way you present it, smells "religious" and "ethnic".
I sure hope that Putin is better than I think he is
but would like to see some evidence. I would like cooperation with
Russia and a better Russia for Russians too. For them to become more
authoritarian, militaristic and police controlled is a very serious
Reply to B Falcon:
“What about concerns of Russian neighbors who were
all targets of Russian invasions?”
When you talk about the Ottoman Empire, I want to
note that she constantly waged wars of conquest. Russia has never waged
wars of conquest. However, I would not now became immersed in the study
of history. Can be of the same mind.
Let's look at just the past quarter century. When
there is no "evil empire", "spiteful" communists and KGB. Who now leads
the ongoing war? Who killed more people? Who ever took the sole right to
appoint separatists (in Ukraine) and the freedom fighters (in
Reply to rus_programmer:
Don't get into history, you don't seem to understand
What "the freedom fighters (in Yugoslavia)"?
As for Ottoman Empire, it waged wars of conquest and
then Russia took some of those territories by "never waging wars of
I am really wondering how you explain the huge
territory of Russia without conquest.
I may not have heard of plebiscite in Siberia to join
R. B Falcon
If you do not recognize the evil of the Ukrainian
govt and Pro- Nazi politics of Obama , your love of your Russian friends
means nothing. We all love our friends from afar. It is time to help
them. How do you help them? How do you tolerate that your govt. helps
the most evil force in History?
Absolutely brilliant! A whiff of sanity in an air poisoned by lies and
It is ill-considered to criticize such an important article. It should
be widely disseminated. I have one niggling thought, however: the
suggestion that a reformed NATO should be brought into the UN is
correct, but I believe it should actually become the UN's 'army'. And
yet, the continuation of military action contradicts the eloquently
stated need to save the planet from over-heating. I don't know how much
military action contributes to the rise in global temperatures, but it's
probably considerable. When European Parliamentarians are criticized for
regularly flying from Brussels to Strasbourg instead of taking the
train, should we not be thinking about the impact of warfare? It's
obviously wishful thinking to imagine that humanity is going to do away
with war in order to save the planet, but as all good men and women
increasingly campaign for that to happen, I would like to see NATO
become, mainly, the UN's emergency task force.
Finally, I cannot resist mentioning that during my
previous stay in the US in the seventies, I began a book whose title was
U.S.-S.U.: A Mirror Image. The first chapter was devoted to a critique
of the US media......
Reply to Deena Stryker:
The U.S. Department of Defense is the worst polluter on
the planet. This 2010 article at Project Censored details the extensive
environmental damage the Pentagon is responsible for.
"Environmental journalist Johanna Peace reports that
military activities will continue to be exempt based on an executive
order signed by President Barack Obama that calls for other federal
agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Peace states,
"The military accounts for a full 80 percent of the federal government's
Outstanding letter. I very much hope this gets the circulation it
deserves. Keep it coming.
I agree with Mark's comments. BUT since this saga began, nowhere have I
witnessed aggressive action emanating from Russia or Putin, in fact the
restraint exhibited by Putin is to be admired. I question why the author
has omitted to mention the fact that the U.S. is ENTIRELY to blame for
these events, published at RSN, America's Staggering Hypocrisy in
Ukraine By Robert Parry, Consortium
And at the Times Published at Information clearing
house. Crimea Self-Determination Amid Western Law of the Jungle By
Finian Cunningham March 15, 2014 -
And finally, how come it was OK, to split up
Yugoslavia and create Bosnia under the exact same conditions ? Are we
expected to believe the author of this article is unaware of these
Reply to Eddy Schmid:
Yes, I think who has a lot has to do a lot. Mr.
Partridge claims to have a vision: then he has to show his position on
BTW I personally think that Putin is too
restrained.... But just IMO...
Obama is getting us into serious unneeded trouble. I suspect it is for
his corporate sponsors to facilitate funneling taxpayer money to the
filthy rich and thereby increasing his speaking fees if he leaves office
I never thought I would see the day when the Russian
leader was the reasonable one.
Obama and Kerry goad Russia and China to war. These
countries have the two biggest militaries outside of the USA.
We lost Vietnam, or at least left with our tails
between our legs, Iraq has dragged on until we destroyed the country and
we left, now we go back, I guess because we left something unrefined At
least we got revenge for 911 (What! they didn't do 911.
It was our allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Never mind)
Afghanistan seems to be never ending with no
successes, no goals and no reason that I can see for being there. Oh,
yes, the Taliban! Tell me again why we are at war with the Afghani
Taliban. OK, I'll let you have a few hours to ponder this and maybe you
will have time to make up a reason.
To protect their freedom, they have weapons of mass
destruction, we have to fight them there so we don't have to fight them
here and "they hate us for our freedom" have already been used and you
can't use them again.
America, what the Hell happened?
Glad to see that in America there are sane people! In
Russia many people read the American press and alas about sanity most
authors have great doubts.
The foregoing thoughts have much in common with my
thoughts. I just think that no new Cold War is not. In the United States
is only the continuation of the old war. Many influential people are not
bad feed from.
P.S. Small tip: this long article none of your
countrymen will not master. Among the Russians and everything is clear.
Write shorter, but with link to confirms the facts.
From The Smirking Chimp
An Excellent Commentary!
For anyone wishing to understand the mechanics of the
seemingly inexorable slide into Cold War II and the reasons why this
should be avoided at all costs, the above article is a must-read.
While I am pleased to note that many individual
points expressed therein have also been individually expressed here on
Smirking Chimp in the past on various threads, this is the first time
(to my knowledge), that this particular subject has been so coherently
History can only be hindered from repeating itself if
we learn from it with empathy and understanding.
This article is a step in that direction.
The core reason for US involvement in the UKRAINE
I did not take the time to carefully read this
lengthy article. PARTRIDGE was obviously writing to satisfy the image he
has of himself as a writer, not so much to educate the reader about
And then one reads this quote: “Be assured that no
Americans, including the “military-industrial complex,” want a “hot”
Maybe he means a “war with RUSSIA.” he didn’t
elaborate. as a generalization it is totally false. perhaps he can’t be
as openly cynical as those of us willing to admit to some pretty sad
stuff, like the LIHOP version of 9-11. the reason for this new “war on
terror” being the ending of the cold war with the soviets that had
justified our massive military budgets.
Unlike the cold war, which could not generate new
generations of communists as an ongoing threat (we tried best we could
with NAM,) the war on terror is designed purposely to spawn terrorists.
considering the culture of vengeance in the mideast, so far this has
PARTRIDGE failed to include perhaps the core reason
for American involvement in the UKRAINE, which is, same as in IRAQ, to
prevent oil from being traded without benefit of the USD. propping up
the dollar at all costs is our strategic military objective.
Limiting RUSSIA’S influence in Eurasia serves this
objective, it keeps those ring countries dependent on the dollar, mainly
military aid, where a few billion dollars which are pocket change to the
US, “butters a lot of bread” in a small country. and prevents them from
biting the hand that feeds them. this keeps the dollar in circulation
and russia on the ropes.
What a brilliant and well articulated post, thank you.
The first step in a long process is for Americans, of
all stripes, to understand this point: "The American news media, once
the envy of the world, has recently deteriorated to a condition in which
it can no longer be trusted as a source of international news, least of
all of news and opinion about Russia. This is because the news media, a
vast majority of which is owned by just six corporate conglomerates, has
in effect become the propaganda arm of the U.S government and of the
oligarchs and corporations which, in effect, own that government."
Propaganda is a very effective tool, and right now it
is crushing America - just see all the fools (on both sides of the
"Obama is a socialist", huh?) who think that there is
a difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the
perilous direction this country is headed.
Just a Few Comments:
Quote: “I sat next to one of these “free market
fundamentalists” on a flight back from Moscow, and I was appalled by his
recitation of what he “told” the Russians, with scarcely a word about
what he had learned from the Russians.”
And not a thing has changed since then. Now we have
the US Secretary of State careening around the globe, arrogantly handing
out instructions to other nations on how they should conduct their
Quote: “ . . . perhaps Crimea should rejoin the
Russian Federation. My concern is how this was accomplished. It strikes
me that it was too sudden. These things should take time, and should
involve diplomatic negotiations and some treaty compensation with
It would have been nice if the fate of the Crimean
people could have been decided in a nice, academically-paced and
leisurely process. Unfortunately if that had been attempted, then the
people of Crimea would even now be dying under the same Nazi onslaught
that is even now attempting to exterminate the Russian-speaking and
Jewish populations of Eastern Ukraine. The people of Crimea understood
that very well, as the Nazi terrorists who seized power in Kiev made
those intentions perfectly clear in numerous public pronouncements.
Quote: “Many Americans are fully aware that they
were lied into a disastrous war in Iraq. Today, the same individuals
that led us into that war are scorned, even in the corporate media.”
Actually, those same individuals have been brought on
board by the corporate media, to make solemn pronouncements about the
justifications for the US and EU attempt to destroy what was left of
Ukranian democracy and steal everything of value in that desperately
Everything you say is supported by numerous bits and pieces of the
foreign media. I only wish that American bullying of home-made enemies
abroad could be handled in a 6-step program. I can see no circumstances
where the media will surrender to public interests or their own ethics.
The US is widely considered to have the most uninformed citizens on
earth, which I seriously doubt will influence the architects of blowback
or the categories of their victims.
Quote: “The US is widely considered to have the most uninformed
citizens on earth, which I seriously doubt will influence the architects
of blowback or the categories of their victims.”
The U.S. has not even begun to see what the blowback
will mean to them. The architects couldn’t care less and the victims,
when it occurs, will no longer be around to complain.
MARCH 18, 2014
About Bernard Weiner's Essay:
Cutting Through Fukushima Fog: Radiation in U.S.?
See Reid Tanaka's long letter,
"Shedding Light on Fukushima Fog,"
which we have included as a Guest
How do we go about getting global
attention to the need for more transparency on this
(Fukushima/radiation) issue? I want to take action, but don't know where
to begin. Writing letters to our local representatives, won't do
anything, unless it is done on a national/global level.
Gale M. Audia (PDA/Reno)
Bernard Weiner reponds:
Each person wanting to become more active on
this and other issues must start where they feel most comfortable.
Letters to local elected representative, urging governmental action
(maybe just establishing a radiation monitoring station in the area,
or writing to members of Congress urging more stringent national
oversight bodies) -- these can't hurt and can only help, especially
when the mail starts pouring in on an issue. But doing nothing but
expressing nervousness and anxiety and anger to your friends is no
longer an option. Action happens when enough citizens demand it.
Thanks for your comments.
Dear Mr. Weiner:
One of my correspondents pointed to your recent op-ed
titled "Cutting Through Fukushima Fog: Radiation in the U.S.?"
There are good sources of information about the
events at Fukushima and the efforts to stabilize and clean up the site.
One of the most comprehensive sources gets updated two or three times
per week at
Corrice, the owner of
that site, is a retired nuclear professional who spent time as a nuclear
plant operator, an environmental monitoring technician, and a health
physics design engineer. He has compiled several very readable e-books
about the accident and the aftermath.
WOW! Great piece!!!
Thanks for all the effort you have put into this
issue pulling together information from so many sources.
I assume you are fine with our re-sending it to
We all need to work on this topic full strength.
Thank you for the update. Obviously, the Northwest states will be the
last to let us know if it's safe or not safe, and then we still won't be
able to rely on that information. Your push helps us regular citizens to
There have also been numerous articles about Fukushima published on ANS
Nuclear Cafe, at Atomic Power Review, and on my own site at Atomic
For the authors at those locations, the terms
bequerel, sievert, and millirem are not mysterious
code words designed to obfuscate or confuse laypeople; they are terms of
art with specific, discoverable definitions that enable accurate
communications about risk and effect.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Bernard Weiner replies:
I wasn't very clear about my intent. I wasn't
suggesting that writers should not use those scientific terms of
measurement. Given that most lay readers would not understand those
terms, good writing also would require plain-English descriptions
that all could comprehend. For example, how many bequerels would
equal five mammograms, or whatever? In other words, a nod in the
direction of bringing the lay readers into the discussion, so we're
all more or less on the same page when talking about radiation.
Thanks for writing.
I'm an American living in Japan; age 60, and with a background in
security, construction, banking, finance, governance and law. My highly
abbreviated (and sanitized) take on this subject:
(Increased radiation) is in the air, the water, the
soil, building and street surfaces, and the entire food chain. Even
worse, Fukushima-region vegetables and livestock are real cheap for food
vendors and restaurants to buy and use - and there's no problem with
them doing that, since the Japanese government doesn't restrict it with
anything more than rhetoric. Same with fish caught in Japan waters.
Doing more than nothing would literally wipe out at least NE Japan's
economy, and the Japanese government knows it. As icing on the public
threat-cake, there is precious little consumer protection law in Japan,
including no requirements to inform consumers where food comes from, or
even whether rad-con testing is performed.
I have made several attempts to obtain donated
equipment with which I would personally take rad-con measurements,
samples, archive them, publish the results, and submit samples to a
qualified lab(s). No takers - zero, zip, nada, bupkus: nobody wants to
support a direct action which would have sweeping impacts on Japan's
economy and even its government in general.
Think about it.
In the meantime: I thought that scientists and
scientific instrument companies could be counted on for some integrity,
especially when my solicitations for equipment were based on the
assumption that I would take on all the measurements - and all the
associated risks - "personally,"
and take those measurements at any location deemed a worthy measurement
target, including Fukushima per se. So at this juncture, I think it's
safe to say that pretty much "everybody"
is full of their own brand of digital-pulpit B.S. - all blow, no go.
But I guess none of this should surprise me, since we
live in an era marked by the largest single perpetual case of sweeping
global financial frauds in human history; and increasingly despotic
police-state governments which bail out fraud-bankrupt money-changers
using taxpayer monies.
Strangely, it occurs to me that some guy dressed in a
Darth Vader outfit is out there someplace laughing his ass off.
There endeth the short version of my POV. Apply to
affected area. Discontinue if rash occurs.
Toda-shi, Saitama, Japan
Just N/NW of Tokyo
My comment posted at TruthOut.org to your "Fukushima
Let's go back to square one.
We people born in the 20th century have accepted all
our lives that ionizing radiation, the kind emitted by unstable
radionuclides changing their status into a different atomic element, is
dangerous to cell function and health. Even dangerous to the genetic
integrity of species, including our own.
Why have we believed this? Speaking for myself, I
believed it because I heard the corporate media and Hollywood telling me
so. Why else would I believe it? I certainly didn't have the biomedical
expertise to figure it out for myself.
A big event occurred in my mind in March 2011 - the
televised debate between Helen Caldicott and George Monbiot. In that
debate Monbiot began by accepting the premise of radiation danger,
arguing that it would have to be managed in order to leave fossil fuels
in the groundin order to preserve earth's biosphere.
But Caldicott's strong assertions during the debate
motivated him to follow up with questions in the following days,
requesting references for certain statements.
Amazingly, Caldicott was unable to provide legitimate
scientific evidence for most of her assertions.
It hit me: "If CALDICOTT doesn't have information
about the underpinning of bio-radiation danger, then WHO DOES?"
So I studied up on the Herman Muller research in the
1920-30s regarding genetic mutation of fruit flies, which was the first
human attempt to examine bio-effects of radiation. Here's what I
1) Muller had no access to the electron microscope
for directly viewing cell chemical structure, let alone DNA strand
breaks. That research tool wasn't available until 1939.
2) Muller likewise had no access to a mass
spectrometer, the basic biochemical tool for detecting molecular changes
in organic material. Even crude spectrometers weren't available until
the late 1930s.
3) Muller's MINIMUM dose to the fruit flies was 2700
milliSieverts, in a single burst.
Regarding issues 1) and 2): Without the electron
microscope or mass spectrometer, the only biological features that
Muller could observe were gross changes in the
insects' appearance -- mostly eye color. No cellular variation was
Regarding issue 3): The amount 2700 mSv is a massive
dose. It is not indicative of biochemical behavior under doses that
occur on earth. Even the Hiroshima /Nagasaki bombs
produced an average exposure of 200 mSv among the survivors who were
monitored by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, later the Radiation
Effects Research Foundation. Muller's minimum dose was 13 times greater.
My take: Muller's research, for which he received the
Nobel prize in physiology /medicine in 1946, has nothing to say about
cell-level biological effects of low or medium
exposures to radiation.
On to the Stewart /Mancuso study of the Hanford
nuclear workers, 1946-1978. It was surprising to discover that the
Stewart study, which was frequently referenced, had no
access to any medical treatment records of the Hanford employees. It
relied solely on their individual radiation exposure
rates, which were carefully recorded, and entries on local coroners'
death certificates regarding cancer as cause of death.
But even relying on notoriously unreliable coroners'
statements, the cancer death rate for Hanford workers was not
statistically significant at the 90% level of
confidence. That is, the recorded cancer death rate was so little
different for the nuclear workers that no
statistically valid conclusion could be reached.
Later, Stewart and Mancuso were forced to justify
their conclusions by asserting that the death rate for Hanford workers
should have been even lower than that of the general
population in Washington state, the control group, because Hanford
workers were initially very healthy due to the
stringent hiring practices. That's where the
Stewart /Mancuso study still stands today.
The recent Yablokov book about Chernobyl has been
thoroughly discredited by radiation scientists, not least because it
acknowledges that it takes no account of any medical history for the
relevant populations. It simply looks at death rates in the affected
areas in the decade before 1986, compares that to the death
rates in the two decades after 1986, and assumes that ALL excess deaths
in that vast area of Europe were caused by Chernobyl.
After this eye-popping experience, here's what
occurred to me: "As important as the issue of radiation exposure is, why
hasn't anyone done any genuine structured research
about it?" (As distinct from just waiting for some accidental discharge,
then rushing in to try to gather information about the
victims, after the fact, with no well-defined control group.)
It's gratifying to see that we are finally starting
to get off our duffs about this matter. A 2012 study published by the US
Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Environmental Health Sciences
and publicized for us lay persons
by the MIT news office had a
A test population of mice were irradiated with about
400 times the average natural background dose for Americans. The test
subjects showed an average increase of 12 damage
events per cell per day, out of a base rate of approximately 10,000
damage events per cell per day from normal ongoing
biological processes. That is, their damage rate increased by only about
0.1% due to radiation exposure equal to 400 times the
Note carefully that I am not saying that low and
medium levels of ionizing radiation are known to be safe. I am saying
that humankind has not done the requisite
investigative research to understand anything about such exposure.
We should be asking our political leaders to organize
and fund structured, long-term, varied dosage, biological testing of
mammals. That's the only way we will know the
truth about the biomedical effects of radiation.
For more information about the MIT study and other
radiation research, see
Dear Dr. Weiner --
Your OpEd piece in Crisis Papers raises many
questions about TEPCO's dissembling and U.S. corporate media doing next
to nothing to inform concerned U.S. citizens about the dangers posed by
the continuing leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi
solid fuel nuclear power plant operated by the Japanese monopoly
I watch English-language news broadcasts every night
originating at NHK television studios in Tokyo. These broadcasts have
faithfully followed the stories, almost daily, of TEPCO executives and
mouthpieces saying one thing; bowing deeply in regret; then coming back
the next day to explain that what was previously said was imprecise;
bowing deeply in regret; then coming back the next day to explain....
etc, etc, ad nauseum.
The fact is, you cannot trust Large Corporations or
their "press relations" representatives to tell the truth. It requires a
free and unfettered press to do the job, despite the smoke screens and
barriers to the truth erected by "evil doers" who are protected by
"official secrets gag laws" in places like Japan and U.S. Thank you for
doing your best to bring "the truth" to a largely apathetic U.S.
audience -- one that is so completely familiar with being lied to. It
requires a "newspaper (or website) of record" like the one that supports
you to get past the self-serving corporatist "press information" that
poses as fact.
I urge you to look into the liquid-fuel Thorium
Energy Community, of which I am an enthusiastic supporter. Missing in
all this reporting on Fukushima is a look at alternative "Liquid Fuel
Nuclear Power" science from a chemical-based energy process proven in
the 1960's at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee under the
direction of Dr. Alvin Weinberg, and scuttled for political reasons by
the Nixon Administration.
There would be no discussion about "hydrogen
explosions" or "nuclear contaminated cooling water" had the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission developed the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor of Dr.
Weinberg's design. Developed for "peaceful purposes" because it produces
no Plutonium (for weapons), this remarkable design of Dr. Weinberg's was
shelved for decades -- until Wired Magazine ran a remarkable article
that rekindled interest in this non-solid-fuel source of nuclear power.
I urge you to look into Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (ThMSR)
science, many of whose supporters are listed in this e-mail.
Stephen J. Colvin (a concerned citizen who cares
about how much cesium is in the sushi that I eat)
are a weekly political journal webcast focusing on Activists.
My name is Rick Spisak, News Director of PNN
I have connected with a video journalist who has
visited the Fukushima site several times a year with a German Public
Television unit. He's based in Asia. I invite
you to listen to his recent interview. [Fukushima Feb 15th].
Unfortunately he points out that all the incentives
are against the Commercial Media covering the story. Since the stories
of Hanford and New Mexico are also missing from Mainstream media we have
little reason to hope that Mainstream Media will
perform its duties to inform.
Leaving those responsibilities to Citizen Journalists
like us (you, me, other activist lay people).
Rick Spisak, News Director of PNN
Very nice, Bernie! I'm glad you mentioned the diffusion of radiation
molecules in both water and air. The Pacific Ocean is vast, as is the
…We are all bombarded by radiation by cosmic rays
from space (and from radon) all the time. It is known that one
experiences more radiation exposure when flying or living at a higher
altitude. But how much is too much? There are some official limits on
what a person can absorb when working with radioactive materials. But
there is no
agreement in the scientific community regarding
how little radiation is too little to worry about.
This makes it pretty hard to formulate a
science-based opinion about how much additional radiation exposure from
something like Fukushima is too much. I personally understand why
government officials are uneasy making any pronouncements about this.
But, let's assume for the sake of discussion that
less radiation exposure is always better. (Although, confusingly, here's
some evidence to the contrary):
"Small amounts of radiation are actually beneficial.
this was demonstrated by a study done by Johns Hopkins on 88 thousand
shipyard workers. Half worked on nuclear subs and were exposed to
radiation and the other half did similar work on non radioactive subs.
The radiation workers had less cancer and heart disease than the
non-radiation workers. The more radiation that the worker got the lower
the adverse effects. Another study done in China found the same. A good
selection of articles on low level radiation is
Let's also assume that the harm to us here on the
West Coast that we are primarily worried about is an increase in cancer
rates (putting aside for the moment the poor people close enough to the
disaster to get a form of radiation poisoning.)
I have recently read the magisterial review of the
history of cancer and cancer treatments, "The Emperor of All Maladies"
by Siddhartha Mukherjee. With apologies to Dr. Mukherjee, I think that
we can generalize about the cause of cancer. It is when a gene in one of
your cells goes off the tracks, due to damage or mutation, and starts a
process of uncontrolled growth of cells that do not contribute to the
functioning of the body, but rather (eventually) interfere with it.
One of the things that can cause cells to go rogue is
damage caused by radiation exposure. If you are unlucky, any given
cosmic ray might hit you in the wrong place and cause a cell to start
replicating chaotically. Of course, the more radiation you are exposed
to in addition to normal background radiation, the more likely one of
these "strikes" might happen to you.
For all the reasons you mention in your piece, I have
no expectation that the US Government is going to put any economic
pressure on Japan to clean up the Fukushima site faster or better than
they are doing. (It isn't like they're doing nothing.
PBS Newshour featured several stories about
Fukushima yesterday, including one about people testing fish that swim
directly in the plume of waste water still escaping (from the leaking
In sum, I certainly think it's worth being informed
about this, but in all humility, I am more worried about population
growth and climate change.
Bernie, this is powerful. I have to say that it makes me very
pessimistic about all aspects of it: willingness to discover,
willingness to act, knowledge to act. But you at least have pushed the
window open a little more, and I hope you are getting lots of response.
This is a conversation that needs to happen. Thanks for doing it.
Dr. Weiner: Thank you for writing and posting this.
Given the massive lobbying power and money of the
energy industry, I strongly doubt the U.S. government will make public
anything it knows about Fukushima's radiation, unless it's time to issue
an evacuation order along the West Coast.
It's in the energy industry's vested interest to keep
things quiet for a number of reasons:
1) to prevent opposition to existing plans to build
new nuclear power plants;
2) to prevent public outrage over existing nuclear
power plants and their potential hazards ;
3) to avoid as long as possible the need to
decommission the existing power plants;
4) to continue passing along the costs of
decommissioning or upgrading these plants to the ratepayers;
5) to try and decrease the public's demand for wind
and solar power, for fear that people or communities will drop off the
nation's power grid and cause the utilities to lose customers;
6) to keep their stock prices up.
Our salmon who come here to spawn, go there to grow up.
It ain't rocket science. I just wonder if those
four-year-old salmon just won't show up because they will have died or
if they will come with a present and how big that present will be?
I should worry about this more than big fucking
earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanoes? (All of which could happen here
on the "Left Coast")
Or the greenhouse gases that will destroy this
Or the crap fossil fuel extraction and use releases
Or maybe a train carrying oil could crash and burn,
incinerating people in my city.
What about mercury in fish? That poisonous crap has a
half-life of FOREVER.
I hate posts like yours. They seem to be
disrespectful of the people who lost everything in the catastrophe. You
know, like getting shredded up and drowned by a giant flood of
The Fukushima power plants are a huge expensive mess
to clean up, and a handful of people may die from the radiation
released, but for gods sakes man, 16,000 humans perished and thousands
more are missing because of water.
Furthermore, who the hell knows how many
non-radioactive toxins were spilled? Things much worse than the stuff
leaking out of the nuclear power plant, stuff that's undetectable by
Geiger counters, stuff that will only be noticed when the grass won't
grow, farm animals don't thrive, and clusters of birth defects and
cancer are detected.
Thank you for your thoughtful article.
Helen Caldicott, MD, has characterized Fukusall as
"Random, Compulsory Genetic Engineer for the rest of time." Given the
ever increasing frequency of nuclear disasters surely more "accidents"
are bound to happen beyond those already here such as Three Mile Island,
Cherbonyl and Fukushima. These nuclear power plants and atomic bombs are
"Death Machines" and need to be shut down or eliminated. Thousands of
tons of nuclear waste continues to pile up from these power plants and
nuclear bomb production activities -- further threatening life on the
planet for thousands of years. The latest WIIP plutonium accident in NM
is a more recent disaster - and it has a half-life of about 25,000 year
so it will take about 250,000 years before it decays to background
Polluting the ocean with radionuclides that can be
bio-accumulated by up to a factor of 1,000 in animal
and sea life should be a huge warning bell. What if something happens to
the plankton (a mutation) and it stops producing oxygen?
I have a Ph.D. with a minor in theoretical physics
and like this I am aware of Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel Laureate, comment on
fissioning the atom being a BLACK MASS that will cause matter to come
against humanity because fissioning produces 1942 toxic radioactive
substances in nuclear power plants when they come unglued.
Spraying sea water on the Fukushima cores "weaponized"
the radiation by helping it to become airborne over greater distances in
the form of fullerenes - - buckyball fullurenees. Further, ocean spray
as mist can carry this radiation hundreds of miles inland from
shorelines in concentrations 841 times that found in the seawater
according to a UK study of nuclear power plant pollution off its coast
The ObamaNation of desolation is beholden to nuclear
power; see his home state of IL in this regard.
Bernard Weiner replies:
Dear Morbid: R
Thanks for adding to our knowledge pool --
especially your pointing to the awful ramifications of pouring sea
water ("ocean spray as mist") onto the melting cores, and the
negative effects by so doing. I hadn't thought of that quite that
Actually, one of the main reasons I wrote this
Fukushima piece was precisely to generate an exchange of
information, since so much has been hidden for far too long. I'm a
mere layman with regard to nuclear power plants, but in just a few
days i've heard from nuclear physicists, engineers, navy personnel,
etc., all contributing important facts and insights, no doubt with
more to come. Thank you for writing
Our world leaders and their corporatist cronies, can
no longer be entrusted to tell us the truth. It is only a natural
progression, for the trade winds and ocean currents to bring that
radiation close to the West Coast if not directly contacting it. The
contamination of the food chain in the Pacific itself, threatens our
existence on this planet. We live in a very fragile environment, that
depends on everything being just right. This obviously has upset the
apple cart. Our beautiful planet will never be the same!
Arianna Marie Cigoliini
Thank you, Dr. Weiner. Most informative and disturbing news, tying a lot
of dots together.
When and if humans begin to understand en masse that
the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology are essentially unmalleable,
there is that outside chance that it won't be too late to use the brains
we were born with and act accordingly.
P.S. The only seriously confusing statement in your
essay was reference to "respectable U.S. news outlets." I had no idea
Now there are reports of die-offs of scallops and oysters off the west
coast. I did read that the starfish die-off is happening on the east
coast as well, which, I suppose, lets Fukushima off the hook.
A sampling from more than 200 letters to Truthout.org.
That, by now, so much of our leadership is still
rationalizing and defending nuclear energy says what? I mean, about
humanity. Perhaps we should be more seriously discussing spiritual
existence after the death of humanity on Earth. We're only one
generation away from extinction or near extinction. The President just
o.k.'d $6.5 billion for a nuclear plant (can't find a dime for one new
vocational high school or mass funding for solar and wind energy) and,
then, gave the green light to Viet Nam to start building nuclear plants
off the coast of the South China Sea.
has been reporting on Fukushima DAILY for almost 3 years.
For all concerned,
Enenews gets its information from the mainstream
media, actual released scientific studies and abstracts, and interviews
Enenews also has a wonderful community of commenters
who add a MOUNTAIN of information every day.
Enenews also has a Forum of people with radiation
monitors all around the world who post their results.
Enenews also has a Forum of people who watch
Enenews has proven itself to be an above-board,
highly respectable source of news on Fukushima.
Their cover is that there is nothing to worry about, and hence we don't
need monitoring. Which is false and they know it. What the problem seems
is that there aren't many people able to read radioactivity and be able
to do spectral examination to determine what is causing the radiation
they are able to read on their counters except -- wait for it -- the USA
military. They do have and are using the equipment and know where and
what radioactivity is out there.
There is a paper out in the Asia Pacific Journal
titled "Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the
Politics of Uncertainty." Through the Freedom of Information Act there
are some facts in there that make this clear. They knew Tepco was
incorrect and that there was major meltdown happening from what they was
reading. That the USA is not telling the American people the numbers is
wrong, but we should be used to these people using our money to futher
themselves and nothing for the people that pay for them to have that
This goes along the same line that if the earth was
about to be hit by a meteorite, the people would be the last to know,
and would only know once the government is safe and secure. And with the
way the USA Goverment is covering for Japan is the good ol' boy system
at work, and the USA is teaching them how to control their society.
Cutting off their internet and controlling what is allowed to get out.
Who is the USA loyal to , the American people or the Japanese goverment?
The answer is apparent.
As for the nuclear engineers out there, after several
conversations with these people, their knowledge is appalling and shows
the depth of lack of understanding and just shows that humans shouldn't
be messing with anything radioactive. They are either actually stupid or
outright misleading people.
I'm old and have lived my life, but the life of those
just starting out will be dealing with this. Sad future that we have
left. Man Sucks…
Chernobyl taught that entombing (the reactors) in
concrete was not the way to go, didn't work and is crumbling. Chernobyl
is also only a part melt down of one reactor, and the coruim is confined
to the building, Here are three cores melted down and they still haven't
found the material. Chernobyl is a good read to attempt to understand
what is happening at fukushima.
Several years after the Chernobyl disaster, the Russians drilled into
the reactor and sent in a camera. The only thing remaining: a few pipes
and graphite-moderator blocks. The entire core had melted. And it was a
It held 190 tons of fuel. The three melted reactors
at Fukushima held 257 tons. Chernobyl was a reactor sitting in a
warehouse. It had no containment whatsoever. The steam explosion blew
the lid off and destroyed the reactor building. The core was open to the
atmosphere. The graphite caught fire. The Fukushima cores melted through
the reactor vessel and the containment vessel and ate their way into the
Nice article! It sickens me that TEPCO and the Japanese Government
really don't care about the people they have contaminated with
radiation! The people should know that just after the reactor meltdown
started, an American internet company and the factory that makes a
natural mineral radiation detox product called Zeolite offered a full
shipping container load of Zeolite to both TEPCO and the Japanese
Government for FREE! This free shipment of zeolite was enough to safely
remove the radiation from thousands and thousands of peoples bodies both
in Japan and on the American aircraft carrier called the Ronald Reagan
where many sailors are now extremely sick from radiation poisoning! The
fact is both TEPCO and the Japanese Government REFUSED THE FREE ZEOLITE!
These people should be thrown in prison for crimes against humanity but
here we are years later and they are still screwing everything up by
poisoning our planet, lying about everything and getting away with it!
THIS HAS TO STOP!
The meltdown is already complete. Those three cores have already melted
down into the earth below the nuclear plant; and if they hit the water
table, we're all fracked. But they are already emitting extremely high
and dangerous levels of several lethal forms of radiation, which is in
turn radiating dust and being blown, and falling out, all over the
Northern Hemisphere. There was talk of building a "diaper" underneath
them to prevent their further descent, but nothing has been done to
accomplish it; and, thus, they continue to descend deeper and deeper
Mr. S. Wolf Britain
The GE horrible design of the Fukushima reactors that a first-year
design student would know better than to do, places all the spent fuel
rods on the 4th floor, in an unstable building that has leaked 300 tons
of radioactive water daily below the building and in the Pacific since
the original 3/11/11 quake. AND there is an underground stream from the
mountains behind the site and natural runoff into the sea, with sandy
soils--i.e. liquifaction conditions. One more quake and the largest nuke
reactor on earth melts down with America's west coast in the direct
Suzanne De Cornelia
Bad design, absolutely. And that is about all you got right. 300 tons of
groundwater passes through the power plant property every day. Some of
it leaks into the basements of the reactor buildings and leaks out. If
the underground stream were to liquify the soil it would have done it
already because the plant was built over 40 years ago. The decay heat is
.02% of what it was when the reactors were shut down; the average decay
heat in the spent fuel rods in the #4 spent fuel pool is .01%. If the
spent fuel pool were to collapse and all the remaining spent fuel rods
spilled out onto the ground there wouldn't be enough heat to melt
It has liquified the soils, the soils are 'mushy' as
stated repeatedly by those visiting the site.
Date: Aug 27, 2013: Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds chief
engineer: "The big problem is the nuclear reactors themselves have
cracked floors. The buildings in those reactor buildings have cracked
floors. And groundwater is getting into those buildings, and becoming
contaminated, and then leaking out. So, in addition to what’s in those
tanks, the physical plant itself is contaminating the groundwater as
So what Tepco tried to do is to build a wall along
the water. They injected basically a concrete type of a compound and
made the ground less porous....a poor idea — because what happened is
the mountain that’s behind Fukushima continues to pour the water into
the ground. Now it’s got no place to go. So now the groundwater’s rising
and rising and rising and likely over-topping this wall, certainly going
around it on the sides. So we’ve got radioactive water that can no
longer be stopped from getting in the ocean.
It’s worse than that though. The radioactive water
has made the site seismic-response different. The buildings that were on
dry land are now on MUSHY land. So that if there were to be another
earthquake, the seismic response of these buildings — which was already
marginal — is further compromised because the ground that they are now
on is wet soggy soil, when before it had been firm.
Suzanne De Cornelia
Information about Fukushima should be more forthcoming and perhaps it's
possible to eventually get various countries and their agencies to
collaborate on some sort of long term cleanup and mitigation plan.
But the greater problem in this and many ecologically
threatening events and practices is mankind's tendency to think only in
terms of borders. Probably the single worst educational tool used for
centuries is the Political Map. Such maps define boundaries and instill
a sense of ownership over various parts of the planet and with that a a
sense that when things happen "on someone else's property" everything
will be fine as long as "they" take care of it. And if "they" don't take
care of it, then "they're" the ones who will have to live with it.
This kind of thinking has to stop.
It is this worldview that has created a debate about
climate change where none ought to exist because of a "can't see it from
my house" way of thinking --that if something happens on the far side of
the planet, it may be bad for "those people" but the rest of us needn't
Indeed, our current policies of shipping carbon
abroad is the very essence of this thinking. We tell ourselves that we
will use the so-called "clean fuels" while the "dirty" fuels derived
from tar sands and other sources are shipped to places like China, South
Asia or Africa where "they" will burn it in "their" backyards so there's
no need to worry about what happens here despite the fact that the
atmosphere encompasses ALL backyards and whatever is pumped into it will
affect us all.
The REAL globalism shouldn't be about commerce or
economics but rather about the fact that whatever anyone does to this
planet anywhere will have consequences for people everywhere and that
environmental threats do not respect political borders and cannot be
made to stay in the "backyard" from whence they originated.
Voice of Reason
Dr. Weiner: Finally, a well written, intelligent article on this
disaster. I will look forward to a follow-up article in time. No one in
the mainstream seems to take any notice of the precarious and dangerous
situation in Japan. I even wonder whether they will ever actually host
the Olympics in four years.
A sampling from more than 250
letters to Facebook
WHY? Isn't it obvious. The 'lies' that we are told act as pacifiers.
They (Governments) Have NO solutions!!
Just like the U.S., the free world is lining up in
support of censorship. Of course if General Electric was held
responsible for their design errors here, Japan wouldn't have to hide
anything. Why isn't the U.N. getting involved?
I worked for the Boston Edison Co at Pilgrim Nuclear Plant, spills,
accidents no supervision and massive cover ups. I pumped radioactive
waste. We'll see more and bigger problems here in the states. I'm sure
Thank you for a very informative article. The
apathetic response internationally from world leaders is seriously
unbelievable and alarming.
Well now, isn't that unsettling.....I smell the
mighty dollar blocking the appropriate concern and monitoring.
Pam Holt |
Most people I talk to think everything at Fukushima is over and done
with. I recently spoke with a group of retirees and asked them and none
of them was aware of the leakage into the Pacific Ocean going on
everyday. It is because six media giants control almost all of the media
in the USA. Fox is controlled by two foreign nationals -- that was
unheard of a generation ago.
They've had to release 100's of tons of radioactive water into the ocean
because they are still trying to find a way to quickly & easily store
all that waste water in tanks of which they're running out of - good
luck & good night …..One reason: they , nor the world , don't know what
exactly to do about this safe , clean energy plant that is in a meltdown
situation . As for me , no more Pacific seafood for a few decades or
And why isn't the US government protesting the secrecy law in Japan? Why
aren't the rest of the world governments demanding transparency?
Instead, President Obama passed new "guidelines" for the EPA increasing
"acceptable" levels o radioactivity OUR water and soil, a move that was
denounced by scientists in the U.S. warning of the potential increase of
cancer for people exposed to these new levels.
I believe that now we all have Fukushima molecules in our
lungs, next to the Chernobyl molecules who were starting to feel lonely.
Shiva Layananda Pashstupati
Why isn't' the UN involved in this global catastrophe with an
international response in terms of money and work?
Certainly it can't have anything to do with the corporate media in
I live in Northern California and every time I bring this up I get
called a 'chicken little' because they say, there's no scientific proof
yet that its a problem for us. Maybe not yet, but how could it not
eventually be a problem for us.
Joel Christian Cook
The full story isn't as dramatic as the hysteria being invented by
conspiracists. The real story is that the leak is so well-contained that
even the emergency workers who were in the damaged reactor and their
radioactive cooling water pools haven't come down with any tumors or
cancers at all. None of them died.
John T. Steiner
"Experts" often believe that the "non-experts" are too stupid to be
involved, while repeating "public-engagement" mantras.
MARCH 18, 2014
About Ernest Partridge's Essay:
Russia -- An Appreciation
Very good, Sir
As a Russian immigrant and an honest America, I salute you.
Thank you. Russia is a great country who has suffered
much over the years from without and from within. My mother is an
escapee from the Bolsheviks.
Russia is a great country that is unfortunate enough to have dictators
with imperial ambitions for most of its history.
Sergey Yesenin: Selected poems
"My heart will rise as throbbing sun,
Then I will say, in whispered shout:
"I'm just like you, O fallen one
I also have now no way out."
On crooked streets in Moscow bright,
My loving dog has fled the rod;
My measly house has stooped in fright:
I am to die, thus deemed my God"
Translation Hadi Deeb"
Well Said, and Valuable. By valuable,
I meant "highly educational." Having lived through the "cold war" and
read books designed to scare the hell out of me when I was a kid, in re
"Communism," this article ties many dots together for me, and gives me a
remarkable glimpse into my own brainwashing. Thanks for posting!
If we could get most people to ignore the power mongering politicians
and their media echo chamber and just communicate with each other across
international boundaries, we could create the kind of world we want.
This essay is but one example of how this can be done.
Bravo. That needed to be said.
McCain's gas station remark is self
Today's evil empire isn't out to get
the communists, it's out to get the Russians themselves. In fact,
historian A Sutton wrote that Wall Street put the bolshies in power
there in order to destabilize Russia.
It's always been about Russia the
Rival power or people. Like Churchill said, WW2 wasn't against Nazism,
it was against the German people per se.
Ditto the bankster's war on Russia and
John Paul Leonard
Very interesting. but I suspect that there are several different kinds
of RUSSIAN life, some less cultured than this. still in all, this is a
And he covered pretty much everything, except that they alone in the
world were willing to give SNOWDEN refuge.
The Smirking Chimp
I don't remember what year it was when some Soviet pilot stole one of
their brand-new, top-of-the-line fighter planes and flew it to Japan,
where he then sought sanctuary.
As I recall, all the top military brass couldn't wait to dissect the
plane and learn something about the then-current state of Soviet arms
technology. I also heard that after examining it, they were stunned by
how well the Soviets had managed to match the performance of our
fighters, but using what we considered outdated, antique technologies.
They specifically mentioned the plane's much greater weight than the US
counterpart, but noted that the extra horsepower it's' engine provided
more than made up for the weight difference. There was a bunch of other
stuff, about the Soviets using cast iron for all sorts of things that
would be titanium or aluminum in our version. The bottom line being that
although it was obvious several of their technologies were years behind
ours, they had compensated for them quite amply, and the plane was
considered by them to be a damn fine piece of engineering, given what
the designers had had to work with, and very much a match for any plane
we were fielding at the time.
I guess they were stunned because it had always been assumed that if the
Soviets fielded a plane that performed as well as one of ours, they were
convinced it could only have been because they stole the technology from
us and reverse-engineered it. What they found apparently told them
otherwise, that they just had really good, competent designers and
engineers who found solutions to some problems that we just hadn't
thought of, because we didn't have to deal with the lack of some items
and materials we just took for granted. Strength through adversity,
Anybody who attempts to label Russia as backward doesn't know much about
Russia, or Russians. They also usually don't take kindly to being
labeled backward, but then again, who would?
Their list of eminent scientists alone is pretty imposing. The fact that
most of them were able to match scientific achievements of the West,
using at the time what was considered here as substandard equipment,
computers, and facilities, might make them BETTER than their western
counterparts, all things considered. Certainly it shows their
determination and ability to focus, if nothing else. I have nothing but
respect for the state of Russian science and technology. They also make
extremely good weapons. But since most of those were ostensibly designed
to be used for the destruction of our military, it becomes hard for the
average American to think of the tech involved in creating them as
innovative or clever, due to an inherent bias people seem to have
against things designed to kill them.
Who'd have thought
Perhaps it was this guy, very interesting
Belenko was born in Nalchik, Russian SFSR in a Ukrainian family.
Lieutenant Belenko was a pilot with the 513th Fighter Regiment, 11th Air
Army, Soviet Air Defence Forces based in Chuguyevka, Primorsky Krai. His
name became known worldwide on September 6, 1976, when he successfully
defected to the West, flying his MiG-25 "Foxbat" jet fighter to
Hakodate, Japan. This was the first time that Western experts were able
to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and
The Smirking Chimp
Putin's tactical genius has allowed Obama to stiff-arm the NeoCons and
Russo-phobes twice already, once on Syria and again on Iran. (Too bad
the Norwegians on the Nobel Committee hate Russians.) I wish the
inveterate Putin-bashing could stop for at least five friggin' minutes.
The USSR fought and largely defeated Hitler along a 2,000-mile front
while the US and Brits were gallivanting around in North Africa. Can we
at least credit the Soviets with the friggin' win in World War II? If
not for that victory, Churchill and his later compatriots might well be
Coalition of the Unwilling
The Smirking Chimp
Yeah! But what do they know about the
Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo, March Madness and the Super Bowl?
Stalin and waiting in line for bread helped sully the Russian mystique
you and I are fascinated by, Ernest, and, I have never read a better
writer than Fyodor Dostoevsky. See: It was we Russians who invented the
world's biggest microchip! This is sour grapes, acknowledging that a
country exists whom we could never best in a war.
The T-34 tank together with Adolph's underestimation of it did as much
to defeat Germany as Eisenhower or Patton, together with their armies.
Its sloping frontal armor was the prototype for all the tanks around the
world that followed it, including the incomparably inferior, ramshackle
Sherman, our mainstay during the war, the one the German 88mm cannon
could shoot right through at point blank range. The T-34 was more
dependable than the panzers and its parts were mass produced and easily
to replace, it started reliably in sub-zero weather.
It was so successful and such a factor in the Big War that the Russians,
dependent on tank warfare, once owned a million of them, to defend the
motherland in the Cold War. The Pentagon has been fixated on fighting
Russian successors to the T-34 in the Fulda Gap, invading the rest of
Europe, discounting the counterinsurgencies we have been fighting and
losing since 1945.
The Smirking Chimp