Saturday, April 30, 2011

Solar energy tech gets new boost

As we are still scared to death because of the Fukushima accident, its unexpected implications (it seems impossible to contain) and the way the problem is being brushed under the carpet by worthless political managers... it is even more important than before to turn our attention to alternative and renewable electricity sources, such as solar power. 

In the last few years alone I have been tracking somewhat casually more and more advances in solar power, which has been incorporating new advances that increase efficiency. Mind you that it's not just a matter of so-called efficiency, because pollution and other hidden costs are seldom factored when it comes to favored energy sources like nuclear, coal or oil, but if solar power increases its efficiency even more, the excuses of the short-sighted will become even weaker. 

In this regard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has presented yet another new technological improvement that increases solar power generation by 80%. By improving the conversion rate of light to electricity, Jun Xu and colleagues have dismantled yet another obstacle for the total replacement of obsolete toxic and finite ways of generating electricity such as nuclear power by clean and infinite ones like solar power. 

With these technologies and political determination we can easily replace the oil and uranium dinosaurs by a decentralized network of solar, wind and other renewable power generation. It is only a matter of political will.

However not all is about generating energy, it is also about wasting less.

Political will: Germany generates 5.7 times more solar power than Spain

Not to mention that oil is every day more and more expensive (it's not just a matter of health, safety and common sense: it's the economy in its pure monetary sense!):

Naked Capitalism has today a whole series of oil price humor

May 1st - a day earlier

May 1st celebrations have already begun, a day earlier, in Nicaragua. Don't ask me why but it's I guess a good reminder that tomorrow is the International Workers' Day and that it may be indeed a hot one, with revolutionary mood in parts of Africa, Asia and even Europe, where things are anything but rosy (massive unemployment, banks betting on which state will default first, cowardly politicians that do nothing but to bow to the bloody altar of exploitation). 

More photos at Lista Informativa Nicaragua y más.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Nuclear reactor in Alabama with cooling down problems after tornado

Browns ferry NPPWhile the problem is hopefully less important and satisfactorily solved soon, the fact that a nuclear power plant can be brought to its knees so easily once and again only underlines the urgent need to end all nuclear power generation as soon as possible, finding the best possible solution for the extremely dangerous and large stock of nuclear residues.

The affected nuclear plant (pictured left) is Browns Ferry, in Alabama (USA), located by the River Tennessee, a major tributary of the Mississippi, which has a design and age similar to that of Fukushima.

The plant has three reactors, two of which were brought to cold shutdown normally after a power outage was caused by a tornado, however reactor no. 1 could not be brought to a cold shutdown and workers are trying to solve this issue right now. 

Sources: World Nuclear News, CBS (via Energy News).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ETA suspends the "revolutionary tax" (claim the Capitalist Syndicate)

The Western Basque Capitalist Syndicate CONFEBASK and its homologue from Navarre have declared in press conference today that Basque guerrilla ETA has suspended the collection of the so-called "revolutionary tax" (extortion of money from major business and the very rich under threat of kidnapping or attack). 

If this would be true, ETA would be making yet another unilateral (and uncorresponded) step towards peace and negotiation.

However, and this is important, the Capitalist Syndicates of the Basque Country have failed to produce the letter on grounds that it is private. ETA has not made any public declaration in this regard. 

Hence it can be true or it can be a political trick to corner ETA even more by depriving it from its usual taxes after it has tied its own hands by declaring a permanent unilateral cease fire. 

Source: Gara[es].

Update (Apr 29): while there has been no public confirmation from ETA, it would seem like everybody is taking it for real.  The bilingual Basque/Spanish text of the letter can be found at Gara today (first page pictured above).

USA (and EU): hands off Palestine!

The US also responded coolly [to the Fatah-Hamas agreement] saying the government that resulted must recognise Israel and renounce violence (BBC).

Who is the USA to say anything on what goes on on Palestine?! It is only the Palestinian People who has the right to decide in their own territory.

Who is the USA to dare to support a racist genocidal terrorist nuclear rogue organization as Israel? A terrorist organization that spreads computer virus that may stop nuclear power plans and other industrial processes, with all the risks for civilians it carries. A terrorist organization that is the only nuclear power in West Asia and, besides France, in all the Mediterranean region. A terrorist organization that has committed the largest genocide in West Asia since the one on Armenians in World War I, that murders civilians with napalm, depleted uranium and other controversial weapons because it is unable to normally police the territory it claims the right to rule one way or another. A terrorist organization that denies the right of the Palestinian People to live in their own country, to have any rights in their own territory: not the right of freedom of movement or speech, not the right of property, not the right of return, not the right of voting or being voted, not the right to be at least equal to those invaders from Poland, Germany, USA, Russia and other foreign countries, who have usurped their own land. 

Why does the USA and EU support Israel at all? Supporting Israel is not any moral option: it is complicity with one of the worst crimes since the Holocaust, it is complicity with colonialism, racism, apartheid, genocide, large scale mafioso terrorism, nuclear proliferation, fundamentalism...

We must demand from our states that Israel is ostracized and forced to accept democracy and justice in the land of Palestine: from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

Not to apartheid in Palestine! Not to the Zionist genocide!

Patricia Heras kills herself after being sent to prison for a crime she did not commit

Background [see also correction at bottom]: there was some noisy party in some apartment in Barcelona, in the confuse events that followed an agent was hit by a potted plant thrown from a balcony causing him severe injuries that left him paraplegic.

Strangely the municipal police, instead of investigating properly and persecuting whoever threw the pot, decided to blame this on the squatter movement. First they decided that the apartment in question was "related" somehow to the squatter movement, something these deny, then they changed the story of the potted plant for a stone, finally they accused this girl, Patricia Heras, of throwing not the stone but a mobile fence in the course of the confusing struggle.

She always denied it. She denied being there at all, she claimed to be a politically motivated scapegoat. 

She also denounced, like most others arrested in this confusing episode of likely political revenge, tortures while in detention. 

She was sentenced to three years of prison. Being a free spirit, she could not put up with it and she killed herself before going to jail again. 

There are many ways to kill: 
they can stab you,
they can take your bread,
they can not cure your illness,
they can push you to suicide...
(Bertolt Brecht)

Source: Sare Antifaxista[es].

Correction: the original fight happened in a massive party in a squatted building where some 1500 people were attending. The arrested seem to have been randomly repressed among passers by, people getting out from the party and visitors at a hospital.

Importantly, the original police report that attributed the injuries of the agent to a potted plant has mysteriously vanished.

Source: Mariana Huidobro's open letter at Sare Antifaxista (Mariana is the mother of one of the scapegoats).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The economy, that angry giant (cartoon)

By Zack Weiner (who generously encourages readers to copy-paste his work with due link). I really need to put something positive in this blog - humor will do, thanks Zack.

Chávez denounced for arresting and extraditing Colombian journalist

Pérez being arrested in Caracas
The stand of "revolutionary" Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and the PSUV is being seriously questioned after he extradited a journalist and politician to Colombia, a true terror state. 

There have been other slips in the recent past. Last year Venezuela arrested and extradited to Spain a Basque-German internationalist (who had been traveling through all America without problems and was later set free anyhow), recently he has been negotiating with the Honduran coupists, who promote the murdering of peasants in Bajo Aguán... but extraditing people to terrorist Colombia, that's the last thing! 

mass grave
If you do that you cannot claim anymore to be revolutionary of any sort: you are just like the rest, Hugo. 

Swedish-Colombian journalist and politician Joaquín Pérez Becerra was extradited to Colombia today, where he can expect anything but a fair trial or respect for his rights. Colombia is a fascist state with a pretext of democracy, where opposition activists are systematically murdered, holding the dubious record of being the state worldwide where most labor unionists are killed: 60% of all such victims throughout the World are Colombians. 

While Pérez was claimed by Interpol Pérez was not claimed by Interpol (as was claimed initially), he had status of political exile in Sweden, where he married, getting the Swedish (and hence EU) citizenship.

Some have begun comparing Chávez to Gaddafi when, in the 1990s, got scared and began yielding to the imperialist powers, also extraditing one of its citizens to the UK, where he was unjustly imprisoned for almost two decades accused of the Lockerby bombing (which was an inside job, we all know). Regardless that Gaddafi is a military ruler with, at best, weak popular support, it is clear that all his concessions helped him nothing: Rome does not pay traitors¹.

Update (Apr 28): 

About a hundred intellectuals, activists and organizations have signed in this regard a harsh open letter to Hugo Chávez. You can read it (in Spanish) at Rebelión.

They clarify that there was no such Interpol "red arrest order" at all but that the Colombian aristocratic President, José Manuel Santos (a war criminal and a fascist by all standards), called Chávez (his own declarations to the press):

On Saturday, I phoned President Chávez and told him that a very important guy from the FARC was arriving in a Lufthansa flight that afternoon to Caracas and whether he could arrest him. He did not doubt: he had him arrested and is going to give him to us. 

He did not doubt?! He believed straight away what a fascist war criminal bourgeois silver spoon puppet of Washington and friend of the narco mafias told him on the phone?! What the heck!

Pérez Becerra was not allowed an attorney, nor the assistance of the Swedish consul, nor a judiciary review of any sort. 

No European government ever yielded to the demands by Bogotá of extraditing Pérez Becerra (who is a EU citizen but earlier a political refugee).

Why Caracas? There is something deeply disturbing in this behavior of President Chávez: it is outright stupid, a political suicide.


¹ Allegedly said by Roman Proconsul Quintus Servilius Caepio when the assassins of Lusitanian leader Viriatus claimed their reward. He had them killed instead.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There was a nuclear explosion in Fukushima on March

An important video-document on the Fukushima catastrophe: Russia Today interviews Prof. Chrsitopher Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Commission of Radiation Risks:

Key points:
  • There was probably a nuclear explosion in Reactor 3 on March 13 (this was also surely the case in Chernobyl 25 years ago)
  • Meltdown is going on
  • Fukushima is much worse than Chernobyl for several reasons:
    • The USSR moved a lot a faster to contain Chernobyl, keeping it reasonably under control (unlike what is happening at Fukushima)
    • Japan is being extremely lax in evacuating the population. A lot more population is at direct risk in Fukushima
  • Chernobyl killed some 1.4 million people
  • It may not be possible to contain Fukushima like Chernobyl
  • Uranium and plutonium has already reached Hawaii and the Marianas

Update (Apr 27):

Arnie Gundersen also thinks that there was a nuclear explosion at reactor no. 3 on March 13:

And in yet another negative development (we have these by the dozen every day, sadly enough), the radiation levels at reactor no. 1 registered yesterday were the highest since the crisis began. No specific reason is known.

Also in Ohio a nuclear reactor had to be evacuated  because of extremely high radiation levels during a shoot down. No reason was given but it has been claimed that the reactor has recovered normality.

More news at Energy News.

Update (Apr 30): Japanese nuclear adviser resigns with tears denouncing that the Government is ignoring the law. He also said it was difficult to know who was in charge (The Wall Street Journal).

    74th anniversary of the destruction of Gernika

    Gernika Oak (source)
    Gernika is the only town I know in the Basque Country that lacks of an old quarter. Everything, excepting some peripheral buildings, is new, built in the last seventy or so years.

    Gernika and not Guernica, mind you, because Gernika is the Basque spelling and also the Spanish spelling Guernica is misleading in English, making people mispronounce Gwarnikah, when it is actually Garnikah - pronunciation is exactly the same in both languages: Basque and Spanish, only spelling changes. 

    74 years ago the town of Gernika, the historical capital of Biscay, was totally destroyed by the systematic bombardment by the Nazi Condor Legion, sent to support the fascist in spite of the supposed international embargo to both fighting sides. This fact underlines that United Kingdom (more or less reluctantly seconded by France) supported the Fascist side in the Spanish Civil War, by means of impeding the legitimate government from getting international support (only some lesser, costly and highly conditional Soviet support arrived besides the enthusiastic but ill equipped international brigades), while the Fascists got all the support they wanted and more from Italy and Nazi Germany.

    Before the destruction (source)
    In fact they were Italian brigades the ones that marched over most of Biscay after German airplanes bombed not just Gernika but also Durango and other localities. In fact it was largely an Italian and German full fledged invasion with the complacency of Great Britain, who forced France to accept this arrangement (and later used it as cannon fodder against Germany in WWII anyhow). 

    Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H25224, Guernica, Ruinen74 years ago, in April 26 1937, at 15:37, sirens scared the town. It was monday, market day. For the first time in history a town was totally razed by an air bombardment. Years later, as other cities like Dresden or Hiroshima were also totally razed in the course of WWII, Gernika would seem by comparison pecata minuta, but it its day it really impressed the global collective psyche. It was not so much the few thousand dead (not many compared with the million who died in the whole war) but the fact that a civilian town had been so barbarically razed, looking to cause terror rather than military goals. 

    In addition the town, as historical capital of Biscay, held and still holds an oak tree that was symbol of Basque freedoms, under which the Parliament of Biscay had been gathering since memory exists, since at least the 11th century (eventually a building was built by the tree). and where the monarchs of Castile (later Spain) took oath of respecting the Basque self-rule. Then of course the painting by Picasso also helped to emphasize the horror and confusion that such a war crime caused all around.

    A few days later the Italian columns took the whole district, marching on an ill defended Bilbao, from where I now write these lines, and from there westwards to Cantabria and eventually Asturias too. Eventually they would take the whole state, ending the Republic and suppressing the long-lived self-rule of Biscay and Gipuzkoa. The scars of this war and the fascist dictatorship that ensued for decades, effectively destroying two generations, still persist. 

    Because, Gandhi dixit, violence engenders violence.

    The "Guernica" to Gernika (in Gernika)

    Japan wasting time on Fukushima

    Japan has been and still is wasting time in Fukushima, instead of confronting the most serious catastrophe in Japanese and maybe all Human history it is avoiding to deal with it, pretending that the problem is much smaller than it really is and trying to stop an elephant with a net for mosquitoes. 

    In truth it cannot be blamed only on Japan or the Japanese Government (I don't care about TEPCO: the Government can intervene it whenever they want - they should have done it a month ago in fact) but in all the pro-nuclear governments of the World which are all wishful thinking  and have been wishful thinking for the last 50 or more years. 

    Arnie Gunderssen said that in his latest broadcast: that the Nuclear Industry and associated politicians have been in denial for decades, that their worst case scenarios were a joke in comparison with the worst cases we have got in this half century of nuclear power. Talking specifically to the USA (but could apply anywhere else), he said that there must be a freeze of all license renewals. 

    The USA actually only gets a slim 8% of its energy needs from nuclear power, so it's pretty much easy to take off and replace... just that the Pentagon needs all those nuclear plants for military reasons: to be able to build and renew that nuclear arsenal able to destroy all relevant life on Earth many times.

    But what really evidences how bad is it and how infective is the Japanese government being are the strong criticisms that General Nikolai Antoshkin, who was in charge of the air operation which quelled the Chernobyl monster by means of dropping tons and tons of sand on the deadly reactor (at the cost of the lives of the pilots, who volunteered for the operation in a heroic manner that seems out of fashion, specially among the rats who populate the Nuclear Industry and Nuclear Lobby). 

    Antoshkin, quoted in The Telegraph, says that the Japanese authorities reacted in slow motion (indeed they are still doing the same: we all can see that). He seems annoyed that in advanced Japan, people, refugees from a natural and nuclear disaster, are cramped in sport facilities. One would expect something better from he third largest economy on Earth, an economic, technological and cultural powerhouse. And one would have expected also a much more effective reaction. 

    But no. I have lost all the respect I could ever have regarding Japan with this matter. Of course, Fukushima is an unprecedented monster but the reaction from Tokyo has been pathetic, insultingly bad, criminally slow and specially a continuous denial of reality. 

    Reality is stubborn, we know. And the leaders of Japan should have known as well. One of the problems is that instead of the government ruling on TEPCO (even manu militari if need be) it seems it is TEPCO who is ruling on the government. That could be ok if TEPCO knew what it is doing but they are obviously not any more capable than the government of the Japanese state.

    So who is really in charge? I do not know but this guy, Masataka Shimizu, seems the main boss of TEPCO:

    He looks a bit scary admittedly. Unlike his supposed political boss, Naoto Kan, who instead looks pitifully powerless in spite of holding the, nominally, most powerful office in the whole Empire of Japan.

    However Shimizu seems to have been ill since March 13 (what a coincidence!), so the headlessness of the whole authority network is even more aggravating.

    On an apart, something I find odd (now looking at Kan's file) is that all these people in power are born in the 1940s and so... they are true dinosaurs! I would expect people born in the 60s or at most in the 50s... these people are just too old. Over 60 y.o. should not be allowed to hold charge, either political nor private: it's unwise. And more people in their 30s and 40s should be leading, really.

    But anyhow. This is just a hurried review of the most important industrial catastrophe ever. It does not just dwarf Chernobyl, but the Deepwater Horizon, Bhopal... 

    I cannot meditate on every single detail or facet of this overwhelming brutality, For that, I recommend you to follow Energy News

    But I do hope that, somehow, the pro-Nuclear activists from around the World sacrifice their lives (if need be) to quell this nuclear disaster. I reckon that it is even more complex than Chernobyl but Japan is not less powerful in principle than the USSR was, so it should be able to at least contain it somehow. 

    What I reject is that a single innocent life (children typically) is lost instead of that of a greedy Pro-Nuclear businessman, journalist, technician or politician... These should shield with their bodies the new generations if need be because theirs is the only fault.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Sad, ugly fascist Europe

    I'm trying to find the mood and time to write again on the Arab Revolution or the Fukushima threat, indeed. But while I gather intelligence to understand the multiple facets of the Arab revolutionary process and courage to face the invisible death emanating from Japan, there are some things happening closer to home, mostly bad stuff.

    I already mentioned (too briefly probably) on Wednesday how the Hungarian Nazis are terrorizing the country, specially the Roma community, and how the Tories have provided it with a brand new fundamentalist constitution out of the blue.

    In relation with these religious fundamentalist neo-Medieval nonsense, we have a positive note from Franfurkt, where the local youth organized a "silent dance" for the so called Good Friday, when local rules of favoritism to the Christian sect forbid dancing.

    However in Spain the KKK-looking ritual demonstrators still can take the streets impunely, often participated by fascist elements of the military, who blur the supposed division of religion and state. Among the many residues of fascism that pester the Spanish streets, this Easter you can find yet another one: the idol of the Virgin Macarena wears these days the strip of the fascist general Queipo de Llano, as if reminding everyone that fascism never really ended in Spain, where no revision of the crimes of the dictatorship ever happened and where many of the monuments erected by them still stand.

    But that's not all: for example a Barça supporter was murdered by stabbing to the heart by a Madrid Nazi supporter in Valencia after the Coup's final match. The incident will pass maybe as a football fight but it is clear that the Nazi was looking to murder someone, as he was going around with a hidden butcher's knife. One wonders if some Nazi sects asks their members for human sacrifices... I would not be surprised, really.

    In Italy, the right-wing Catholic Fundamentalist major of Milan forbade a demonstration against homophobia on a pretext.

    In Russia instead, the mayor of Moscow, authorized a Nazi demonstration under the slogan Stop feeding the Caucasus. Russian Nazis (Russian Civic Union) do not just want to keep their military and political conquest in that region but want to exterminate all the people living there and, I imagine, replace them by ethnic Russians.

    In Britain, the fancy marriage of the crown prince (who was more than once in the past spotted making fascist remarks or dressing as nazi officer) is not absent of fascists from around the World. Notably all the bloody dictators from the Arabian Peninsula, representing Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, who are as we speak murdering and torturing civilians just because they demand transparency and democracy.

    So that's our Europe: that's what its doing before the indifference of most. It really sucks.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Spanish working class is highly productive but badly paid

    That is what Catalan economist Vicenç Navarro argues today at his blog, quoting the Economic Policy Institute of Washington D.C. This contradicts the official discourse of the Euro-bourgeoisie, including the Spanish elite, by which Spain has low productivity and this is at the root of its financial problems (instead of speculative matters, as is actually the case). 

    The facts are that:
    • Spaniards work 1654 hours (yearly), well above the OECD average of 1628 hours. 
    • Productivity growth in the Spanish State was 5.4% in the 2007-2009 period, compared with a negative growth of -1.1% in the OECD (average) and 4% in the USA. 
    • Spain was also the OECD state that destroyed the most jobs (7.4%), even if it was already the state with the highest unemployment in the Developed World.
    • Spanish productivity is above that of Japan or New Zealand. 
    • Spanish salaries are among the lowest in the OECD (just above Greece and Portugal), being 84% of those in the USA. By comparison, most EU-15 states are well above the US salary levels. 
    • Spain is also one of the few OECD states where public intervention almost does not reduce poverty (barely a 3.5% less, while this figure is 21.4% in Sweden and 9% in such an ultra-competitive economy as the USA)
    In relation with this, I worked out some weeks ago a rather revealing (2006) regional productivity in EU map, which compared two Eurostat maps: the one of income per capita and the one of GDP per capita, both of which were divided in five segments (that I hereby will describe as very low, low, middle, high and very high); when these segments were the same for GDP/capita and for income/capita, I considered the situation balanced and marked the region green. For imbalances against workers (i.e. high productivity or high exploitation, whichever you prefer) I used yellow, orange and red colors (for one, two and three tier differences respectively). For imbalances in favor of workers' income (i.e. low productivity or low exploitation), I used blue shades (light blue for one tier of difference and regular blue for two tiers). 

    Notice that the comparison cannot include after-taxes welfare redistribution, which is high in Scandinavia and Germany and rather low elsewhere, specially in Southern Europe. 

    Here is the map:

    There are some surprises. Notably that the often decried as parasitic or otherwise unproductive regions are not such thing: neither the so-called PIIGS are such a bottomless pit of low productivity/exploitation (not at all) neither areas like Walloonia or Southern Italy show apparent levels of low productivity compared to their northern accusers. This map illustrates how such claims are arbitrary and nonsensical. 

    On the other hand, we can appreciate that some of the most benefited areas in the current status quo (high salaries compared to GDP per capita, blue colors) are in Germany and France. Britain also has many of such privileged areas but they are compensated to some extent by a few exploited districts of the Northeast.

    By contrast, the situation of Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Greece and the districts around Bratislava in the Middle Danube, show clear signs of marked exploitation. In the Northern European cases, these are surely offset by a reasonably good welfare state, but that is not the case elsewhere.

    It seems clear that the three major EU powers, Germany, France and Britain, are benefiting from their privileged status quo to some extent and that the accusations launched against peripheral countries seem baseless and mostly an attempt to keep or increase the necolonial exploitation of EU's periphery by the core powers.

    A one-dimensional universe at the Big Bang?

    This is so weird and intriguing that I can't but make a quick comment on it. Two US scientists, Jonas Mureika and Dejan Stojovic, are proposing a radical rethink of what we understand as the basic physics of our universe: they suggest that, at the Big Bang, the Universe had only one dimension (like a line), acquiring then two dimensions (plane) and then three (space), and probably soon a fourth (if not already). 

    This radical rethink seems to have been pushed by the advances (and lack of them) in the fields of Physics and Astrophysics in the last decades, when questions have been piling up and convincing answers have been lacking instead. 

    These problems include the fundamental incompatibility between gravito-centric General Relativity and particle-centric Quantum Mechanics, the mystery of the Universe's accelerating expansion (which seems to demand extra dimensions) and serious issues with the elusive (and maybe non-existent) Higg's Boson. 

    By reflecting this new proposal I do not mean to adhere to it but I do like the principle they begin from: maybe something fundamental is wrong in the way we think Physics, so exploring radically new venues may be the way out of an otherwise unsolvable problem. 

    They are thinking out of the box and that is something I really like and that often brings real solutions in all fields. 

    The new theory has been published in the Physical Review Letter (pay per view) and is also discussed in its essentials at Science Daily.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Spanish Inquisition attacks Leo Bassi

    A tribunal from Valladolid has admitted the demands against the genial comedian Leo Bassi, who once put siege to Big Brother (the nefarious TV show) with a megaphone and a lot of humor, for his conference (full of sarcasm and parody) titled Las raíces judeocristianas de Occidente: un fraude histórico a combatir (The Judeo-Christian roots of the West: a historical fraud to fight against). 

    This conference took place in the main hall of the University of Valladolid in October 2010 and can be watched here

    In it he mentioned the fact that what we know as Judaism is nothing but one of the several monotheistic sects (Catholicism, Arianism, Orthodoxy) that struggled against each other in the Late Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages. In that time a number of polities became Jewish from Khazaria to Yemen and from Berber tribes to Kurdish realms and even beyond deep into Asia and Africa. 

    In this regard he mentioned that the famous Muslim conquest of Hispania was at times performed by Jewish Berber troops, specifically the conquest of Seville. Based on this, a number of Spanish fascist groups (libertaddigital, hazteoir and the Association of Christian Attorneys of Valladolid) have attacked him as saying that:
    • All Christians are terrorists (false)
    • That Spain was conquered by Jews (mostly innacurate and it seems an attempt to label him as "antisemitic")
    • Mocking the illness of late Pope Wojtila (when he was mocking current Pope Ratzinger in fact). 
    • Claiming (rightfully) that Compostela (Santiago) was a Celtic place of worship and that Christians recycled the site. 
    • Claiming (rightfully) that Christmas and Easter have Pagan roots
    • Quoting Winston Churchill (uh?)
    Incredibly enough, with such feeble accusations, the tribunal of Valladolid has admitted the charges, which are a possible "crime against religious feelings". 

    What?! Religious people do not have such rights: they have a right to daydream all they want but they cannot expect we take them seriously in any way. By raising their fantasies to the level of something to be protected by law, we only achieve a sick society in which craze and delirium is flanked by bodyguards and sanity becomes a crime.

    In response, Leo Bassi has denounced libertaddigital and hazteoir on defamation grounds. Admittedly it is the first time ever he denounces anybody for such a reason. 

    Sources[es]: (old), (latest), Sare Antifaxista.

    Hungary gets new fascist constitution

    The new constitution was approved single-handedly by the conservative party Fidesz (once a liberal party which did not allow anyone older than 30 in its ranks), which enjoys a 2/3 majority in the country's parliament, enough to radically change the first law of the republic.

    The new constitution seems redacted in the darkest dungeons of the Vatican, with continuous references to something they call "God", that cult of child abusers known as Christianity, the long vanished Crown of Hungary and traditional family. 

    As you can gather from such fascist preliminary rantings, it goes on to absolutely forbid abortion and to restrict marriage and adoption to heterosexual couples.

    In addition to this abhorrent sectarian and ultra-patriarchal first law, the old boys of Fidesz are also planning to fundamentally alter how normal democracy works by giving extra votes to mothers, according their number of children. This is so weird and, admittedly, original that I'm not even to comment on it. Just to say that it'd be a lot better if they would guarantee housing and a basic living to all mothers.

    This new constitution will come to effect in January 1st 2012 and has caused many protests already. In my understanding it is the kind of constitution that should guarantee that Hungary's membership in the EU would be at least put on hold, as happened with Austria when it was under Neonazi rule. It has indeed raised eyebrows in Brussels but it is not clear, much less with so many Tory governments all around EU, that measures will be taken. 

    Last year, a  highly restrictive law on free expression was rejected by Brussels because it fell short of EU standards (however notice how Berlusconi is still not ostracized). Thereafter the Orban cabinet made cosmetic changes but that was it. 

    Nazi militias terrorize Hungary
    Further to the right the Jobbik Neonazi is doing the dirty work for Fidesz, deploying terrorist militias all through the country and attacking minorities like Roma and immigrants. Worst is that local and state authorities collaborate with them. 

    In general, all this underlines the fascist evolution of Hungary, a EU member state which should be at least put in quarantine and probably even kicked out altogether from the confederation. 

    Revolt in Northern Kurdistan as Turkish occupants bars candidates

    The largest city of Northern Kurdistan (under Turkish occupation), Diyarbakir, experienced massive spontaneous riots after the autocratic ethnocentric imperialist Turkish Republic forbade 12 independent candidates from running to elections.

    As we can see in the following video, several police armored vehicles were destroyed:

    It always surprises me how comparable are Turkey and Spain: they are both Mediterranean peninsular states centered on a semi-arid plateau, which flourished in a similar period and that have "democracies" under military control and systematic oppression of ethnic minorities.  Like Turkey, Spain (or "like Spain, Turkey") bars independentist candidates from running to the parody of elections they hold, perpetuating a conflict where a friendly divorce would be the natural solution.

    Both are weak states on militarist steroids to hide (or is it to show) their fear to their own pointlessness.

    Source of the video:

    Map of Kurdistan

    Antinuclear protests in India become riots after police kills demonstrator

    The protests in Jaitapur (Maharastra) attempt to stop a massive nuclear project by French nuclear giant Areva (involved in the Fukushima disaster) and the state-owned Indian nuclear corporation. The power plant intends to be the largest in the World and is located in a seismically active area.

    Protests have been going on since 2009 but have acquired new virulence after the Fukushima catastrophe. Yesterday police murdered a protester, what has only caused anger to increase.

    Source of the video:

    Update (Apr 21): another maybe more informative video from Al Jazeera:

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Is Cuba's socialism being scrapped from above?

    Flag of CubaRecently the Cuban authorities decreed that up to one million workers would be fired, 500,000 already this year. They are supposed to find their means of subsistence in a pseudo-private sector that mostly doesn't work. How many hairdressers do you need in a country of 10 million people? Not to mention whether hairdressing is not itself a consumerist bourgeois practice (I have not used a hairdresser in more than 20 years and I am doing fine).

    Now the PCC has voted to approve the purchase and sale of homes. Until now you could pass your home to your offspring or swap it in a bureaucratic process but now this essential item of popular survival will fall into the hands of speculators, who will be able to earn money on peoples' basic needs. 

    Can we say that Cuba is still socialist? What would Che say if he could see this?

    This is exactly the downside slippery slope that the USSR followed already in 1980s but specially after Yeltsin's coup: soon all the public companies were owned by mafioso speculators and the Russian and other peoples of the Soviet Union were deprived of their economic rights and dumped into the most cruel of "free markets", full of criminal mafias and desperation.

    A very similar path was followed by China and Vietnam, with some greater material success, admittedly, but not less injustices and corruption associated to it. 

    Whatever one may think, it is clear that emphasizing private property is not the way ahead for any socialist system that wants to continue being that. It would be much better if La Habana secured first political reforms that guaranteed that all these projects (or others) would be put to popular referendum before being approved. Right now, regardless of self-criticisms, it is a minority who is making the decisions for the people and I doubt that these "reforms" would ever be approved if submitted to democratic approval/rejection by the Cuban People.

    It is really a pity when socialist conquests are being destroyed by the very people who are supposed to defend them.

    Chernobyl's new sarcophagus fails to raise enough funds

    The Chernobyl sarcophagus is not a permanent solution: there is no such thing, but just a temporary patch for a problem that we should consider eternal (or the human equivalent to it). For that reason, and only to be reasonably sure that the destroyed nuclear plant does not resurface as a major problem in the next century (no guarantees for later on) we need to build a new sarcophagus (left) around the already existing one

    This is a major engineering challenge and needs huge funding: €740 million ($1 billion). An international conference just held to raise this amount fell short by 25%. 

    Source: BBC.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Estimate depositions from Fukushima (global)

    These are the results of simulations performed by EURAD, they have date of April 20th 2011 (next Wednesday):

    Dry deposition of cesium-137 (Bq/m²)

    Wet deposition of cesium-137 (Bq/m²)

    Notice that the scale is two orders of magnitude larger in the second image, creating a false notion of safety if one does not realize that the colors mean very different things.

    We should understand that this accumulated deposition does not decrease (or only so slowly that is trivial), so areas that are now getting 1-10 Bq/m² (Los Angeles, for example) will be (everything else equal) in the 10-100 Bq/m² zone in New Year. An area in the 100-1000 Bq/m² range (Tokyo, for example) will be in New Year in the 1000-10,000 zone, etc. 

    Containment of reactor 2 leaking: extreme radiation blocks work

    The most severe latest news from the destroyed nuclear plant is that the containment vessel of reactor no. 2 is leaking and is therefore probably damaged (Xinhua). This is probably related to the spike in radiation that impedes workers from approaching this reactor (Seattle Pi).

    The radiation levels are so extremely high however that they may hamper any solution: the current plan implies to take the fuel rods with cranes and transport them in special sealed containers somewhere else, a plan successfully implemented in Three Mile Island. However it is not possible to do it while radiation levels are so extreme (Asahi).

    Radiation in reactors 1 and 3 also too high

    Radiation around 50 mS/hour has been detected in these two reactors at ground level. This implies that, by normal Japanese safety standards, workers can only be two hours in a whole year, five hours by the new ultra-lax safety standards fixed by Tokyo to face the catastrophe, a single hour by US standards.

    Many contractors are refusing the emergency standard of 250 mS/hour.

    1000 mS cause radiation sickness.

    Source: The Japan Times.

    Update (Apr 19): Arnie Gunderssen as always being most informative and pedagogic on what is going on at Fukushima (reactor no. 2 looking very bad, radiation at spent fuel pool is Chernobyl-like):

    Gunderssen's informative videos can normally be found at the Fairewinds Associated page at Vimeo.

    Solidarity with Bahrain before the White House (video)

    The hypocrisy of the USA and allies in this Arab Revolution, eagerly meddling in Libya while silently allowing the repression by its dear theocratic allies: Saudi Arabia and Israel, can't go unnoticed.

    Thousands marched on the White House (Washington D.C., USA) on April 15th to denounce this hypocrisy and show their solidarity with the repressed Bahraini People, demanding an end to the dictatorships of the Khalifa and Saud dynasties.


    Fukushima suicidal workers... should be nuclear apologists

    Over fifty, good salary... 

    Not clear how much (TEPCO is stingy and much goes through contractors anyhow) much less clear that working conditions are the equivalent of Hell. However the note "over fifty" somehow implies that one should be ready to die. 

    Ready to die maybe but why are not workers provided with radiation meters while bosses are? Why are they being rationed food and water? Why are they sleeping on the ground? If you are on a suicidal mission to save the country and the World, the least they could give you is all you may need, yes or yes?

    There is a lengthier article at Truthout.

    But what I wonder is why is not there a campaign to recruit liquidators among advocates of nuclear energy. Those "nuclear optimist" liars are all the time arguing that radiation is trivial and that nuclear power is safe. They probably even consider a 20km evacuation zone around Fukushima I a hysterical overreaction of sorts. 

    So I believe that every single liquidator worker should pass a test of support for nuclear power, that they should be recruited only among politicians, journalists and CEOs who support nuclear energy. There should be an NGO "nuclear apologists for Fukushima" recruiting volunteers to fix that mess from all over the World, demanding from them total faith in nuclear power and at least one instance of public nuclear apology in the last decade, be it in the media, scientific publications or whatever other forum. 

    It is just not fair that common people have to pay for the crimes of nuclear apologists. It should be they and only they who give their lives to tame the monster they have created.

    PS- And read here about the hibakusha hysteria in Japan, on how refugees from the North are being irrationally treated as pestered. 

    Fukushima: looking even worse

    I know this is depressive but I also know it is for real and will have a transgenerational impact, most likely leaving a permanent radioactive scar on Earth. So, while I may space my notes on this almost unprecedented catastrophe, I feel that I must keep documenting this historical atrocity. 

    Even the strongly pro-nuclear and autocratic North Korea is now airing their fears of this disaster, which will surely affect the Korean peninsula in one way or another. What really seems to worry them the most is that, after a whole month of the beginning of the disaster, the risk is only increasing, while radioactive pollution keeps affecting air, sea and land. (Kyodo).

    It is not any exaggeration: all three active reactors are in total meltdown having penetrated the reactors' containers in all three cases (Global Security Newswire), while they keep pumping freshwater (which ends up as radioactive vapor or groundwater) into all four damaged units, at least in reactor 1 this has become useless because there is so much mud that water cannot reach the core anymore (Global Post's interview with nuclear expert A. Gundersen). But worst is that the Japanese Government (or TEPCO, a private company which seems to be the one making the decisions) do not seem to have any coherent plan but rather seem to be improvising and lying all along. The citizens do not believe the government anymore (USA Today). 

    They are now talking of a whole year (6-9 months according to Yahoo News). A whole year of radioactivity leaking to the environment? A whole year of homelessness for those few evacuated and uncertainty for the residents in half Japan? A whole year of radioactive materials being transported across the globe into North America, China, Korea and other places (all the Northern hemisphere eventually)? A whole year of an already exhausted and probably agonizing "liquidator" crew working in that extremely radioactive destroyed plant?

    In addition there are still new problems, probably caused by the aftershock earthquakes, which are still happening. They have affected Fukushima I, causing new leaks (Mirror) but even far away, in Niigata, another nuclear plant has got some sort of technical problems (Kyodo), making it five power plants (all them in North Honsu) having problems since the Sendai earthquake last month.

    In the USA, more than potentially affected by atmospheric pollution from Fukushima, which crosses the Pacific Ocean in few days, usually to settle down in North America, diverse agencies are passing each other the ball on who has the responsibility of monitoring food safety. The notorious Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), so nitty-picky when it comes to defend the privileges of the Big Pharma industry, has declared that there is no need to test fish from the Pacific Ocean for radioactivity (Anchorage Daily News). Caveat emptor! Get yourself a Geiger counter if you want your kids to be any safe. NOAA and FDA pass each other the ball in this matter.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    More persecution against Basque political platforms (and latest ETA's bulletin)

    the latest incorporation to Bildu: Araba Bai
    Regardless of what happens to the new electoral signature of the Basque Nationalist Left, Sortu, banned by the Spanish political tribunals, there is another political project taking shape these months in the Basque Country: a much wider one. 

    Its name is Bildu Euskal Herria, or just Bildu (to gather) for short, and it includes nearly everybody who is Basque, independentist and more or less lefty. It includes the historical socialdemocratic party Eusko Alkartasuna (EA, Basque Solidarity) and its breakaway faction Alternatiba (Alternative), it includes independent Basque leftists and it includes also now a breakaway group from Aralar (itself a breakaway faction from banished Batasuna). In effect, everyone but the conservative and mafioso Basque Nationalits Party and the remainder Aralar party. 

    The coalition is taking all possible steps to ensure that it abides by the blurry and inquisitorial Spanish legislation: it makes every single candidate to sign a declaration of rejection of ETA. However that may not be enough, as Spanish Minister of Interior, A. Pérez Rubalcaba, has launched a persecution against this project and its members, in agreement with its twin "opposition" party (PP). 

    By command of the rulers at Madrid, the undemocratic current (Western) "Basque Government" has begun using political files gathered by the Basque Autonomous Police (Ertzaintza) on the militancy of Basque citizens since the 1980s in order to build the case to legally challenge Bildu and its lists.

    Of course, that yet another political project, which is fulfilling, like Sortu, all the legal requirements imposed by the invaders, is also under the scrutiny of the Spanish Inquisition is in itself worrying, outraging, unbearable...

    But even more worrying is why Basque police has been gathering political information on citizens since its formation in the 1980s and the blaming finger falls on the coservative Basque Nationalist Party, which monopolized the self-government institutions, solo or in coalitions, until the Spanish electoral coup of these last years.

    ETA's bulletin

    Gara also mentions today the latest ETA bulletin, Zutabe, in which the armed group declares the following:
    • That there is a new cycle in the Basque Country, defined by the will of political change, looking specifically for taking concrete and specific steps towards liberation.
    • That the choice of the Basque Nationalist Left of promoting a civilian solution (democratic process) was the right thing to do because it was able to understand the needs of the people and make them their own.
    • They lament the staunch immobility of  France and Spain, what guarantees that the path taken will not be easy or without obstacles. However they remain persuaded that the goal of self-determination will be achieved in any case.
    • They reject the idea that ETA has issued a unilateral a truce only reluctantly, pressed by its own political entourage. They also reject the idea of the ongoing unilateral truce being the failure of a long-term project or that it is only done because of the "need" of the Nationalist Left of running to elections. They argue that it is only because of the Basque Nationalist Left that the Basque Nation still exists in a non-residual manner.
    • They declare that the addressees of their truce are two: the Basque Nation and the international community. In the first case it should allow to extend the political challenge to the Spanish state without the conditionant of violence, in the second they hope that they help to channel the social pressure into causing a fracture into the position of blockade from the State.

    Notice that this is not a public communication but an internal bulletin, however the Zutabe typically ends up making its way to the media and public opinion somehow.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Murder of Free Gaza activist highlights who is behind Al Qaeda/Salafists

    Arrigoni acting as human shield
    A pro-Palestinian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was kidnapped and murdered right away by a fundamentalist armed gang self-defined as Salafist (a well known alter ego of Al Qaeda or Saudi Arabia/Wahhabism). 

    Arrigoni, who had been intermittently living in Palestine for several years, since he arrived with the 2008 Free Gaza boat, risking his life before the Zionsit sharpshooters as volunteer human shield, was kidnapped by an extremist fanatic group self-described as Salafist, who allegedly demanded the liberation of some of their prisoners, notably their leader Sheikh Abu Walid al-Maqdasi, who was arrested by Palestinian Authority (Hamas) officials last month.

    In the video released by the kidnappers it is clear that Arrigoni had been beaten and abused, his eyes under thick duck tape. He was probably murdered right after filming the video because, in spite of the Palestinian Authority (Hamas) extremely fast response, he was found already dead. 

    Two people have been arrested. The two Salafist groups in Gaza have denied any connection to the kidnapping, reinforcing the idea of this being a Mossad operation of some sort.

    I understand that this highlights how extremist fanatic gangs like these are manipulated (if not just outright created) by the Saudi-Zionist-Gringo network of secret services, which forge them as tools to be launched against the peoples of the region. 

    In this particular case it is clear that the jihadists were acting in favor of Israel and against international solidarity between the peoples. These criminals are nothing but agents of the Mossad, they know it or not.

    Ref. Al Jazeera, BBC.

    Million Iraqis demand US out

    A massive demonstration said to be of a million people took Baghdad on April 9 (only found about it now, so good for the "free media") demanding the USA to get out of the state by the end of the year or face armed opposition. The demonstration seem to have been called by the pro-Iranian movement led by Moqtada el-Sadr, which represent about 1/3 of Iraqi Arabs.


    It is a smart way to capitalize in the widespread discontent of Iraqis, resentful of the poverty, corruption and sectarian terror that have plagued the country since the unjustifiable US invasion of 2003. It clearly demonstrates that US (plus) policy in regard to Iraq since 1990, when former dictator Saddam Hussein was tricked by Washington into invading the nearby autocracy of Kuwait, a former Iraqi province, has been totally wrong and has favored Iran, consciously or not.

    I believe that this favoring of Iran has been conscious because the USA and its main allies in the regions (Israel and Saudi Arabia) strongly favor religious fundamentalism over secular nationalism of any sort (and that's why Hussein was deceived and destroyed and Baathism forbidden). Islamic fundamentalism is a ghetto ideology that can be mostly manipulated into the perfect foe, which you can beat feeling justified and who cannot ever gain friends beyond that specific ghetto. Making fundamentalism, most of which is controlled by the Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia, the main political drive in the region is a way to make sure that neither key US ally is ever threatened because Panarabism (their biggest fear, a secularist, modern, Western-like but not generally pro-Western, ideology) cannot assemble.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    News: fascism in Spain and Argentina

    Several news on fascism at both sides of the Atlantic Ocean:

    Religious repression against atheist protesters

    In what can well illustrate how non-democratic is the neo-fascist Kingdom of Spain, the atheist procession of this Easter (imposed Christian holiday) has been forbidden by the tribunals at Madrid. Not just that, the tribunals have opened actions against the organizers, it is not well known under what pretext.

    Most Spaniards are today agnostic to atheist but the traditional billionaire pedophile and autocratic cult known as the Catholic Church still enjoys of state protection, very generous public funding (untouched by the cuts), extensive real state property and is considered the official religion of the otherwise "secular" state.

    Spanish fascists' threats against Basques at football match hidden by the press

    Years ago, a Basque football supporter was rounded, beaten and murdered impunely in the streets of Madrid by a death squad of well organized fascist hooligans who had been ordered by some dark hand to kill a Basque that night. The name of the victim was Aitor Zabaleta and the murder really opened an even wider abyss between Basques and Spaniards, in addition to other abuses and crimes.

    Yesterday, many years later, in a rematch Athletico de Madrid - Real Sociedad de San Sebastian, the same hooligan fascist murderer gang, the Frente Atlético, was all the match crying death threats against Basques and vindicating their crime.

    Spanish media, which had previously made an issue of a player being wooed for carrying political propaganda in the form of a Spanish banner armband, in a match, hid this apology of violence against Basques, not reported in any newspaper nor shown in any TV channel.

    But you can judge yourself thanks to the Internet (not nice to watch but evidence in any case):

    For those of you that cannot understand Spanish, they chant: "Fucking Basque who doesn't jump", "Basques we have come to stab you and we don't care about the result [of the match]". "Freedom for Ricardo Guerra" [the murderer], "That's why I am going to stab the pig of the Real [Sociedad], you don't deceive us: Aitor Zabaleta was of Jarrai" [banned Basque Youth organization, false claim: he was just a random victim]

    Source[es]: Sare Antifaxista.

    Argentina: death squad impunely beat striking teachers

    Atilio Boron[es] provides us with this video of a beating against striking teachers in Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina:

    Notice that some of the attackers attempt to contain others for fear they could kill the victims.

    In the original entry we are told that there is clear named leader of this attack: Carlos García, Secretary General of UOCRA, a yellow union, who appears in the video, but that the media is avoiding to point fingers.

    Japan may move capital to the South

    Japan Tokyo3
    images from Tokyo
    Tokyo has been the executive capital of Japan for the last four centuries, since the unification of the country by the warlords-made-shoguns based in that town, then known as Edo, in the early 17th century.  Even when the shoguns were replaced by illustrated imperial rule in the 19th century, Tokyo remained as capital. However this may be no more.

    According to a Bulgarian News Agency, citing Russian ITAR-TASS, Japan is mulling to move the capital to a more southernly location as the radiation dangers increase and become impossible to deny. The most likely locations of the new capital would be Osaka or Nagoya, both near international airports but much further to the southwest and hence more protected form the dangers of Fukushima.

    Other most recent news on Fukushima nuclear disaster (from Energy News)