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Saturday 10 March 2012

Terror Acts’ Investigations and RSS Ram Puniyani

Terror Acts' Investigations and RSS
Ram Puniyani
Supreme Court slammed the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Dr. Mohan Bhagwat for stating that Karakre had told him that he was under tremendous pressure to nail the RSS in unsolved cases of terror acts like, Malegaon, Ajmer, Samjhauta Express blast (Feb 28, 2012). As per the Chief of RSS, he knew Karkare well and Karkare had solicited his cooperation for solving these cases, and in the context of that had told him about the pressures being put on him.
One knows that Karkare was under pressure during that time. One also knows that the investigations in the acts of terror were leading nowhere and after every blast number of young Muslim boys were arrested, the blame was put on some affiliate of Lashkar, Al Qaeda etc. After Karkare took over as the chief of Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, the things started moving. The turning point was the meticulous investigation by Karkare's team which led to the unearthing of the motor cycle used in the Malegaon blast, the motor cycle belonged to Sadhvi Pragya Sing Thakur, the ex ABVP (RSS affiliate) activist, and the leads took the ATS to the whole set of terror group, which were called later as Saffron terrorism by the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
These investigations led Karkare to Swami Dayanand Pandey, Lt Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Swami Aseemanand, Indresh Kumar, Sunil Joshi, Kasangra and the number of those close to the RSS or close to RSS affiliates. The implication of this was very clear.
Once this Hindutva network got exposed the acts of terror which were occurring at regular intervals in front of mosques and other places, where Muslims congregate for prayers came to a halt. As such it was ironical that the blasts were focussed to kill the Muslims and after every act again Muslims were arrested. With the Rajasthan ATS joining the process of investigation the evidence against these Hindutva elements became further clear.
The confession of Swami Aseemanand in presence of the magistrate gave the full details of the modus operandi of these acts of terror. The people involved in these acts believed that they are doing these dastardly acts to avenge the Muslim terrorists and that these acts aimed to pave the way for Hindu Rashtra. Swami Aseemanand, the VHP leader working in Gujarat, who was the architect of Shabri Kumbh Mela was the key figure in these blasts in many ways. In the statement given by him in presence of the magistrate he confessed that their group was involved in these activities.
Since then more and more beans have been spilling from the Sangh stable, the latest one being that of involvement of Kamal Chauhan in Samjhauta blast. Chauhan has been labelled as the disgruntled element by his parent organization, RSS. This again is the standard ploy by RSS. Most of those who are caught doing these acts of murders or blasts are claimed to have left the organization some time ago or if possible their association with RSS combine is put under the wraps.
One recalls that there was a time when nobody believed that RSS associates can be part of these acts of terror. RSS claims they do not believe in violence. Their claims have come to be exposed one after the other. Now their claim is that they are being implicated by the ruling party to appease the minorities; or that those being charged for acts of terror are clean people and are deliberately being implicated in terrorist acts. Going by the expose after expose, the RSS at one level is trying to disassociate from these terror accused, on the other is propagating that they are accused but not guilty and on yet another level claiming that the investigation authorities have been pressurized to nail the RSS cohorts.
This defence is very weak. The statement of RSS Chief is coming at a time when Karkare has already become a martyr for the cause of defending the country. There is no way he can confirm or deny what the patriarch of Sangh Combine is saying. But yes there are some clues which can tell as to what is the truth.
Lets recall that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur was caught for her alleged role in Malegaon blast, none other than Lal Krishna Advani went to the Prime Minister to complain about the torture of Pragya Singh Thakur and demanded investigation into Thakur's torture. At the same time another Hindutva leader Bal Thakre condemned Karkare, calling him anti National and wrote in his mouth piece Saamna that 'we spit on his face'! Another Hindutva warrior Narendra Modi called Karkare as Deshdrohi (anti National). Incidentally both these, Thackeray and Modi, are hailed as 'Emperors of Hindu hearts'. Later Modi called Karkare as a great patriot after his death. Modi went to the extent of offering one crore Rupees to Karate's widow, which she gracefully refused.
On the contrary Congress leader Digvijay Singh claimed that Karkare had called him on the night of 26/11, the day Mumbai was attacked by Kasab and gang, and said that there is a tremendous pressure on him from the Right wing. Digvijay Singh also showed the press clipping to that effect and pointed out that BSNL, Bhopal cannot give the records of the conversation between him and Karkare as the matter was more than a year old at that time, and BSNL does not keep record beyond a year.
There is another source which tells us the direction from which Karkare was being pressurized. Julio Ribeiro, one amongst the police of officer of highest integrity in the country, in his obituary to Karkare (Times of India, Mumbai Edition 28th Nov 2010) pointed out that there was a direct insinuation into the work of Karkare, who was intimidated by Advani and other Hindutva gang. Karkare sought solace and advice from his senior Ribeiro, Ribeiro confirmed that Karkare was being harassed and intimidated by the associates of Advani-Modi and company. Ribeiro advised his junior colleague to carry on with his work irrespective of the pressures. "He came to me because he was looking for someone to hold his hand," Ribeiro told IANS on phone from Mumbai while stressing that Karkare was not a man to be politically influenced.
While this is what the truth is, one can see the motive behind Bhagwat's statement in the face of so many of his cabal either charged or in jail. In an earlier event Bhagwat's predecessor K. Sudarshan had also played a similar game. During the investigation of Babri demolition, when the role of RSS combine was coming more and more to surface, Sudarshan said that he heard Gandhian  Nirmala Didi saying that there was a blast inside the mosque which demolished the mosque. Fortunately Didi was alive that time to deny something being said in her name.
So there is some pattern in the statements of RSS chiefs!

Railways Budget 2012-13 - Innovative Railways Projects March10, 2012

Railways Budget 2012-13 - Innovative Railways Projects
March10, 2012
Honorable Sh. Dinesh Trivedi,
Minister of Railways
Rail Bhawan
New Delhi 110001
CAUSES & CURE for Indian Railways
Respected Sir,
Executive Summary: - I was shocked to learn Delhi Metro's Noida (Haryana) and Gurgaon (Haryana) lines, take 75% of Commuters are Inter State. NCT is planning to extend them further and extend other lines to neighboring cities. Many have existing Double Tracks with enough land along side to add more tracks but strangely Delhi Metro plans to serve Inter State traffic than conventional services like Mumbal Locals that are High Capacity and High Speed but low cost, can be executed fast without disruption of Road Traffic.
Even if some of Lakhs of crores for Metros Lines are partly funded by foreign aid but India could have secured this aid for More Suitable Railway System. This has starved Indian Railways of Funds for regular development.
The idea of BULLET TRAIN and Freight Corridor are Long Term programs.
I am WIPO awarded inventor and my inventions include Transportation and Railways Technologies and Projects; we have met few times in Delhi at important Industry Events. I was introduced to Railways technologies by friend who was IR training engineer in 1984. Before that on educational tour to Kolkatta in 1973 when WB contributed to 27% of India's industrial production, I spent 30 of 80 hours return journey in Steam, Diesel and Electric Locomotives, local trains in Kolkutta and Mumbai, Delhi, in 1977 Ring Railways was inaugurated, Traveled in Electric Tram buses and London Underground and Washington DC Metro, traveled Rajdhanis and Shatabdis and other passenger trains for 50 years, visited Railways w/s and Exhibitions etc.
Since Independence most Indian Railways Ministers have come from Bihar and West Bengal poorest states but are some how promoting Most Expensive Transport – costlier than even Airlines like Delhi Metro Railways Project though highly subsidized by cheap foreign aid and sale of real estate.
1. Ugly Delhi Metro (See attachment also): - DMRC16.12882 lakh passengers Out of 20.6 lakh or 75% of Ridership is on Interstate Noida and Gurgaon Lines.
1.1) Noida and Gurgaon routes contribute to over 75% of Ridership inDelhi – may be over 80% considering Inter State Commuters may be switching trains or breaking journey.
1.2) But most shocking discovery is that Running Kilometers of trains is around 70,000km for 21,00,000 Ridership. Assuming average distance between stations is 1.2 kilometers – just 72 (2x36) Riders board and de-board trains at each station on average and for that Delhi Metro has dug up huge holes in the most valuable real estate for most expensive Metro Service in real cost.
1.3)  Indian Railways to Economize of Metro Design similar to London Underground and for Inter State sections introduce surface Railways or Electric Tram Buses.
2. Railways Three Way R&D Program : -
Indian Railways had neglected Research & Development except for Quality Control that is not really R&D. Indian Railways to undertake Three Way R&D.
2.1) Introduce latest Railways & Transport technologies.
2.2) Create own Railways & Transport technologies for Global Market.
2.3)  and Transfer Railway Technologies for non railway applications.
3. Innovative Railway Projects : -
3.1) India may introduce Third High Speed Track on Double Trunk Routes – 10,000 km. This shall improve average Speed of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Expresses to over 100 kmph or over 25%.
This will ensure Rolling Stock productivity improvement by 25% to 50% on most sections. Goods Trains or Rajdhanis-Shatabdis and Super Fast trains would not back down other passenger trains.
Execution - Indian Railways can award works to Private Indian and Foreign companies. Since IR already has land and existing tracks it can operationalize third track on all Trunk Routes in 3 years or earlier.
4. Introduce 300-800 Km Inter City Trains: - Indian Railwayshas mainly preferred Long and Very long train services. This meant over loading at middle segments and under loadings at terminal ends. Ludhiana- Delhi – KanpurChandigarh – Delhi – Agra such trains offer high Commercial Potential.
5. Fare Incentives: - IR may introduce 20% Peak Hour Surcharge fortrains departing between 7AM and 9AM and 5PM and 8PM. These trains shall carry fare only paying passengers.
Ø      This shall substantially boost Revenue and improve passenger load on other trains.
6.  Introduce Railways Prepaid Travel Card: - This Card shall make it convenient for Passengers to book tickets effortlessly.
7. General Administration: -
a.] IR should broadcast 'Section Wise Seat Availability & Running Status' on hourly basis in pdf format that can be downloaded in seconds from IR and Private (Free) Servers.
b.] IR to introduce GPS and GSM enabled hand held billing device for TTs that shall record every booking with time and location and communicate it to the booking office. This shall account for every seat available.
c.] LCD display of seats available in every coach. Initially this shall be operated manually and later automatically.
8. Customer Communication: - Indian Railways information system is outdated. IR can introduce faster and better Communication services.
For example – Google (search) IR 04041 and instantly get Seats vacant and unreserved and location of Ajmer Shatabdi train.
9. New Lines and Service Improvement of Branch Lines: -
IR to SPEEDILY implement short Link Lines like Mohali – Rajpura link this shall directly connect most parts of Punjab to Chandigarh improve Rail Traffic in Punjab branch lines any times as well as improve earnings on main lines.
IR to promote most viable projects immediately.
10. Import 10,000 Double Decker Coaches: - There is surplus capacity in many countries who many offer credit lines. Every Double Decker coach is Commercially Profitable from day one. All Chair Cars have space for second level and capacity to add 60% more seats hence more revenue.
All Chair cars and Intercity Trains like Shane-Punjab to introduce Double Decker coaches.
Thank you,
Ravinder Singh*
Y-77, Hauz Khas, NewDelhi-110016, India.
Ph; 091-9910693464, 9873243897, 9213262767
*Ravinder Singh is a WIPO awarded inventor specializing in Power, Transportation, Water, Energy Saving, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technologies and Projects.

Fukushima Should Compel All Countries to Discard Nuclear Energy

Fukushima Should Compel All Countries to Discard Nuclear Energy

Published on Friday, March 9, 2012 by The Progressive

Fukushima Should Compel All Countries to Discard Nuclear Energy

In the year since the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, a number of countries—but not enough—have sworn off nuclear energy.
Many nations have absorbed the right lessons from the calamity, especially in Europe. Germany, Switzerland and Italy have all committed themselves against nuclear energy. (See Paul Hockenos' piece for The Progressive on the remarkable German anti-nuclear movement that forced the German government to change its stance, and the lessons this offers for the United States.)
But the reverberations have been felt elsewhere, too. "Kuwait pulled out last month of a contract to build four reactors, Venezuelan froze all nuclear development projects and Mexico dropped plans to build ten reactors," The Guardian reports.
Indeed, the global impact has been quite significant.
"The number of new nuclear power stations entering the construction phase fell dramatically last year compared with previous years," The Guardian states. "From 2008 to 2010, construction work began on thirty-eight reactors around the world, but in 2011-12, there were only two construction starts."
A poll taken last June showed 62 percent of respondents in twenty-four countries opposed to nuclear power, with majorities in only three countries supporting it.
Japan itself has seen stirrings of anti-nuclear energy sentiment over the past year, the first such significant mobilization ever. Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors have demanded for the first time that the country end its reliance on nuclear power.
"On September 19 in Tokyo, about 60,000 people, including refugees from Fukushima Prefecture, held a rally called Goodbye Nuclear Power Plants," Akira Tashiro reported for The Progressive in the December/January issue. "Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe and eight other prominent figures initiated this rally, at which Oe declared, 'Nuclear power is always accompanied by ruin and sacrifice.' "
The pressure has compelled the Japanese government to promise (albeit in vague terms) to try to get off of nuclear power. As an effect of the disaster, as many as fifty-two of the country's fifty-four reactors are currently offline due to community opposition.
Unfortunately, many other countries—ranging from the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam to Turkey and Bangladesh—don't seem to have gotten the Fukushima memo. Oddly enough, South Africa is actually planning a dramatic expansion of its nuclear program.
But China, United States and India—with their outsized influence and populations—are the most egregious culprits.
China at least put a temporary pause in the aftermath of Fukushima, and citizen protests have slowed projects down since then.
India is in a somewhat similar position. The ridiculous U.S.-India nuclear agreement that brought India back into nuclear respectability has enhanced the Indian government's appetite for nuclear energy. Some Indians have, however, put a crimp in official plans.
"Protests against proposed plants already under construction have intensified in India," The Guardian reports. "Mass protests and hunger strikes by social movements led to deaths, injuries and riots. Construction of two plants in Tamil Nadu was delayed and West Bengal dropped plans for six Russian reactors following protests."
Here in the United States, the Obama Administration has been all over the map. It has announced a raft of measure to support green energy, including a plan unveiled Wednesday that contains incentives for cities to build clean fuel stations and an enhanced tax break for the purchase of energy-efficient cars.
At the same time, it hasn't backed off its enthusiasm for nuclear power. In fact, the first new nuclear project in decades has been approved, complete with an $8.3 billion loan guarantee. This, in spite of a recent Gallup poll that reveals a profound ambivalence among the American public toward nuclear power. A recent Union for Concerned Scientists report chides the authorities for not implementing much-needed safety measures even after Fukushima and excoriates the nuclear industry for using cheap, substandard safety equipment.
The message of Fukushima should be clear to every country: Nuclear energy isn't worth the risk. The time to abandon this path is now.
© 2012 The Progessive
Amitabh Pal is managing editor of The Progressive.

India a superpower? Unlikely, says London School of Economics study

India a superpower? Unlikely, saysLondon School of Economics study

LONDON: Despite "impressive" achievements in various sectors in recent years, India is unlikely to be a superpower and in fact, should not aspire to become one, a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) has concluded. 

The study, titled '
India: The Next Superpower?', recalls and dismisses US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement made during her visit to India in 2009 that "I consider India not just a regional power, but a global power". 

The LSE study comprising essays by nine experts in the areas of
India's economy, defence, government, culture, environment and society advises "caution in assessing India's claim to superpower status".

Ramachandra Guha, currently the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the LSE, argues that it is doubtful whether
India should seek to become a superpower.

He cites seven reasons why 
India will not become a superpower. 

These are: "The challenge of the Naxalites; the insidious presence of the Hindutvawadis; the degradation of the once liberal and upright Centre; the increasing gap between the rich and the poor; the trivialisation of the media; the unsustainability, in an environmental sense, of present patterns of resource consumption; the instability and policy incoherence caused by multi-party coalition governments", he writes.

India's several achievements that prompted predictions and ambitions in some quarters about India being the next superpower, the study goes on to discuss several challenges that are likely to preventIndia from realising such ambitions. 

It says: "Still, for all 
India's success, its undoubted importance and despite its undisputed potential, there is cause for caution in assessingIndia's claim to superpower status.

India still faces major developmental challenges. The still-entrenched divisions of caste structure are being compounded by the emergence of new inequalities of wealth stemming from India's economic success". 

The study adds: "
India's democracy may have thrived in a manner that few ever expected, but its institutions face profound challenges from embedded nepotism and corruption.

India's economic success continues to come with an environmental cost that is unsustainable". 

Moreover, the study says that 
India has pressing security preoccupations, but sees the country continuing to play a constructive international role in, among other things, the financial diplomacy of the G20.

"(It) certainly has a soft-power story to tell as a model of liberal political and economic development.

"Perhaps even more significantly, the cultural impact of Indian cuisine, literature, films, music and sporting events will increasingly be felt globally through and beyond India's vast diaspora", the study says.

It adds: "Yet the hopes of those in the West who would build up
India as a democratic counterweight to Chinese superpower are unlikely to be realised anytime soon".

Besides Guha, other contributors to the study are Rajeev Sibal, Iskander Rehman, Nicolas Blarel, Oliver Stuenkel, Harish Wankhede, Mukulika Banerjee, Andrew Sanchez and Sandeep Sengupta.
Forwarded by
Dave Makkar
Unionized Gangsters posing as Political Leaders, Bureaucrats, Judiciary, Religious, Media and Business Leaders are ruling India. They are ignoring the basic facts today India has world's largest population of more than 850 million poor that includes 350 mil filthy poor who are living a life worse than animals. 667 million defecate in the open which is more than 50% of 1.2 billion Indian population. These gangsters rather than coming up plans to tackle hunger, poverty and unemployment in India are stealing trillions from the less fortunate in the society. None of them are loyal to Indiaor Indians they all are traitors who should be hanged to death.
Manmohan Singh who is the center of controversies in the present trillion dollars scams has a checkered history since 1973 of presiding over practically every major scam in India due to his philosophy of loyalty to Gandhi family and keep your eyes close when you see some one stealing public money. His believes in his own religious philosophy "terey Karam Terey naal, merey karam mere naal" meaning why I should interfere in God's working when I will be judged by my deeds and the other person will be judged for their deeds in the court of God; stops him from taking any actions against those committing financial crimes under him. On top of that his own ambitions to rise in the life makes him to ignore blunders by people around him.
There is not even a shred of decency, honesty, morality or Constitutional rights in the courts and corridors of powers of India for majority of Indians. Indians now live in a police state under Unionized Gangsters who are unfortunately controlled by Foreign Powers. Politicians, Bureaucrats, Judges, Religious, Media and Business Leaders are free to do absolutely anything they want as long as they are loyal to Foreign Powers. Indian laws are meaningless. In India power is in the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooter's, persons of low caliber & men of straw and Manmohan Singh is the ring leader appointed by Sonia Gandhi. Surprisingly all of them have sweet tongues & silly hearts.
Recently the Gangsters controlled Government of India under Zionist Economic Policy adopted from Israeli colony America; declared that any one making Rs. 27.00 in a village and Rs. 32 in a city is above poverty line to reduce the number of poor from 850 million to 445 million in India!
India does not care what the Zionist Economic Policy has done to entire Europe and one time super Power America. They are morally, ethically, financially and militarily bankrupt countries to day. Still Indian Politicians especially Zionist slave Congress, BJP & Samajwadi Party is whole heartedly employing Zionist Economic Policy to make 1% already rich more rich and 99% more poor. This is same what Zionist slaves Democrats & Republicans have done to America. Today America has 50 million poor which is 17% of their population, 20 million unemployed and 50 million on food stamps, 30 mil under employed, 16 million children experiencing hunger and 1.6 million homeless youth Today the American worker is earning 14.4% less than what they were earning in 1945 and during the same period American CEO's salary has gone up by 1400%. The 1% Elite Club Members of US population today owns 34% of the nation's assets, right behind them 9% super rich owns 37.5% and 40% middle class owns 26% and bottom 50% owns princely 2.5% of the Nations assets. Today the Nations net worth is negative 90 trillion against $61 trillion total net worth of all Americans, $16 trillion external debt and $135 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
Dave Makkar
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Devendra Makkar
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Japan disaster dims hopes for US nuclear rebirth

Japan disaster dims hopes for US nuclear rebirth

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, center, tours the Vogtle nuclear power plant last month with executives including Southern Co. President and CEO Thomas Fanning, left. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved plans to build a third and fourth reactor at the site near Waynesboro, Ga. They will be the nation's first new commercial reactors in more than 30 years. 
By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer
Long before the accident at Fukushima, Japan, the U.S. nuclear power industry faced major headwinds, led by the rising cost of generating kilowatts by smashing atoms. The tsunami and subsequent meltdowns at the Japanese plant made matters worse.
When first developed for commercial use in the 1950s, nuclear power was touted as the energy source of the future that would one day be "too cheap to meter." But over the past six decades the rising cost of engineering, licensing and building a modern nuclear power plant has proven to be the industry's undoing in the United States. More recently, a sharp drop in natural gas prices and slowing demand for electricity due to conservation and a weak economy have forced the industry to shelve ambitious plans to build dozens of new plants.
Now, as a handful of utilities press on with plans to build new reactors, they face the prospect of more stringent safety regulations.
"The cost of nuclear is going up," said Mark Cooper, a researcher at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment. "Every time there's an accident, people take a hard look, and what they discover is that the reactors are not as safe as we thought. And safety is cost."
The explosions and meltdowns at Fukushima the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that also crippled  emergency power systems designed to avert a wider disaster. The accident left tens of thousands of people homeless, exposed a larger number to potentially deadly radiation and polluted large sections of nearby farmland and ocean. The cost of cleanup is expected to amount to tens of billions of dollars
Though the accident sparked a fresh review of plant safety around the world, the global response has been mixed. Some developed countries, including Japan and Germany, have moved to reduce their reliance on nuclear power. In developing economies, including China and India, nuclear power construction is proceeding rapidly; more than 60 reactors in 14 countries are under construction or development.
Americans remain ambivalent about the role nuclear power should play in the nation's energy future. While 58 percent told a Gallup poll shortly after the Fukushima disaster they felt nuclear power is "safe," they were just about evenly split on the need for nuclear power in the country's energy mix. Some 46 percent said they believe "nuclear power is necessary to help solve the country's energy problems," while 48 percent think the "dangers of nuclear power are too great," according to the poll. Those results are roughly the same as a similar question Gallup asked a decade earlier.
Long before Japan and Germany put the brakes on nuclear, the American nuclear power industry had been struggling to launch a new wave of construction, known in the industry as the "nuclear renaissance." In 2005, Congress approved a series of loans guarantees for new plants. New standard designs and safety features promised to lower costs, and regulators said they would streamline the lengthy permitting process. 
The results of those efforts are just now being seen. The first operator to win a license after nearly three decades, Atlanta-based Southern Co., hopes to bring two new reactors at its Vogtle site south of Augusta on line as soon as 2016. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the company's $14 billion plan last month.
But the "renaissance" is expected to be short-lived. The only other pending application is from South Carolina Electric & Gas, which wants to add two reactors to its Summer plant in Jenkinsville, S.C.
Only a handful of other nuclear operators are potential candidates to build new reactors on existing sites. (Even the more ardent proponents concede it's extremely unlikely a new site would be licensed. Most of the 65 power plants in the U.S. designed to accommodate up to four reactors now house only one or two.)
Future applicants face a number of hurdles that nuclear proponents didn't anticipate, including a deep split within the NRC over Fukushima-related safety concerns. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who cast a lone vote against the Vogtle license, said the company hadn't promised to make safety changes prompted by the Japan disaster.
"We've given them a license," Jaczko said shortly after the vote. "They have not given us any commitment they will make these changes in the future." 
But economics have played a much larger role than public opinion in sidelining plans for new nuclear plants. Several major forces are at work, including a slowdown in demand for power that accompanied one of the worst recessions in decades. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., the nation's second-largest nuclear operator, suspended plans to add reactors to its River Bend plant in Baton Rouge, La., and its Grand Gulf plant in Mississippi.  
"Both of those were economic decisions, because the load growth didn't come anywhere close to matching the projections that we were dealing with pre-recession," said Randy Douet, head of nuclear business development at Entergy.
Those economic headwinds had been building long before the 2007-09 recession.
After an original construction boom that lasted more than a decade, the economics of building nuclear power plants began to short-circuit in the late 1970s. Widespread public safety concerns after high-profile disasters at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and Chernobyl in Ukraine severely curtailed construction of new plants.
But it was economic catastrophe, typified by the Shoreham plant on Long Island, that dealt a final blow. Plagued by cost overruns and local opposition, the $6 billion project was shut down before it produced a single watt.
Other projects were canceled as costs skyrocketed. For those projects that continued, soaring interest rates added to cost overruns. By the end of the 1980s, the nuclear power industry was buried under a pile of debt.
In the 1990s, deregulation created another headache for nuclear power builders. Lower-cost "merchant power" plants undercut nuclear operators with cheaper rates, making it harder to recoup the billions needed to build a nuclear plant. Today financing a new plant is all but impossible without a state utility regulator's permission to recapture capital costs from future rates.
More recently nuclear industry executives hoped a carbon tax would help level the playing field by forcing operators of fossil fuel plants to raise their rates. Because nuclear plants emit virtually no carbon into the atmosphere, that would have given them a huge economic advantage over plants that burn oil, coal and natural gas.
But government efforts to reduce greenhouse gases have cooled substantially. Worse, the playing field has tilted even further against nuclear as natural gas prices have plunged 70 percent from peak 2008 levels.
Though the short-term economics aren't favorable, nuclear proponents argue that alternatives like wind and solar power will never provide the "baseload" power required to meet demand. And as the economy recovers, conservation and efficiency gains from new technology will only go so far in offsetting demand growth, said Leslie Kass, senior director of business policy and fuel supply, at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group.

Japan cleans up radiation zone, unsure of success

Japan cleans up radiation zone, unsure of success

AP | Mar 7, 2012, 03.31PM IST 

FUKUSHIMA: Workers in rubber boots chip at the frozen ground, scraping until they've removed the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of radioactive soil from the yard of a single home. Total amount of waste gathered: roughly 60 tons. 

One down, tens of thousands to go. And since wind and rain spread radiation easily, even this yard may need to be dug up again. 

The work is part of a monumental task: a costly and uncertain effort by Japan to try to make radiation-contaminated communities inhabitable again. Some contractors are experimenting with chemicals; others stick with shovels and high-pressure water. One government expert says it's mostly trial and error. 

The radiation leak has slowed considerably at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, nearly one year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sent three of its reactors into meltdown. Work continues toward a permanent shutdown, but the Japanese government declared the plant stable in December, setting the stage for the next phase: decontaminating the area so that at least some of the 100,000 evacuated residents can return. 

Experts leading the government-funded project cannot guarantee success. They say there's no prior model for what they're trying to do. Even if they succeed, they're creating another problem they don't yet know how to solve: where to dump all the radioactive soil and debris they haul away. 

The government has budgeted $14 billion (1.15 trillion yen) through March 2014 for the cleanup, which could take decades. 

The uncertainty plays out at many levels. One of the workers at the house with the frozen ground said they weren't sure how to measure 2 inches (5 centimeters) from the uneven ground or what to do with the snow on top of it. 

``We often encounter situations that are not in the manual and wonder if we are doing the right thing,'' Takahiro Watanabe said as they wrapped up on a chilly February day. ``Just to be safe, we packed the snow into the bags.'' 

The 60 tons of radioactive waste sat in 60 waterproof bags, waiting to be carted away from the house in Fukushima city's Onami district. Some 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the nuclear plant, the neighborhood is a ``hot spot'' _ an area with high radiation readings that is outside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) ring that has remained closed since the early days of the crisis. Residents of hot spots were encouraged, but not ordered, to leave, and some, including the residents of the house that was decontaminated, have not moved out. 

In the fading late afternoon light, Watanabe took a dosimeter in his bare hand and placed it on the ground, now covered with a fresh layer of replacement soil. It read 0.24 microsieverts per hour close to the target level of 0.2 and about one-fifth of what it had been before. "Looks like it has come down a bit,'' he said. 

But for how long? With so much radiation in the area, workers probably will have to return to redo this neighborhood. And areas where children gather, such as parks, schools and playgrounds, will be held to an even stricter standard than homes and offices. 

"You have to keep cleaning up,'' said Toshiaki Kusano, Fukushima city's top crisis management official. The city has a five-year decontamination plan, which he said could be extended. 

For evacuees, a major step forward may come in the next few weeks, when officials hope to redefine the evacuation zone, possibly opening up some areas, based on radiation data. 

Radiation accumulates in soil, plants and exterior building walls. Workers start cleaning a property by washing or chopping off tree branches and raking up fallen leaves. Then they clean out building gutters and hose down the roof with high-pressure water. Next come the walls and windows. Finally, they replace the topsoil with fresh earth. 

Historically, the only parallel situation is Chernobyl, where the contaminated area _ once home to 110,000 people _ remains off-limits nearly 26 years after the nuclear power plant exploded. 

``They abandoned the land,'' Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told a meeting of local officials and residents last month. ``We won't give up. The land belongs to each village, to each resident. As long as there are people who want to return home, we'll do everything we can to help.'' 

In an interview with a group of reporters, though, he conceded that such a massive cleanup is ``untested.'' 

In Hirono, a quiet seaside town just outside the 20-kilometer ring, 70-year-old Shuzo Okada hired workers to decontaminate his house but is not willing to live there yet. 

Most of the 5,500 residents have left because of radiation fears. The town office reopened recently, but Okada says the dosimeter readings he takes at his house are too high for comfort. 

``I've had the whole house cleaned already, but it's not enough,'' he said. ``We have to do it again and again. I hope we can come back some time. I'm an old man, so I'm not afraid of radiation. But I doubt younger people would want to come back.'' 

Experts say it may be possible to clean up less-contaminated areas, but nothing is promising in the most contaminated places, where any improvement is quickly wiped out by radiation falling from trees, mountains and other untreated areas. 

Most of the cleaning is taking place in less contaminated areas, but the government also launched pilot projects in 12 districts around the plant, most of them highly contaminated, in December. Major construction companies and others won government contracts to experiment with various methods to remove and compact the overwhelming volume of waste. Those found effective will be chosen for further cleanup starting in April. 

The dozens of methods range from the relatively basic _ soil removal and washing and scrubbing surfaces _ to the more experimental, such as using chemicals to remove radioactive cesium from farmland, and dry ice to get it out of roads and other hard surfaces. Konoike Construction Co. has tested equipment that compresses soil into round waffle-like discs after absorbing moisture. 

``It's largely trial and error,'' said Kazuaki Iijima, a radiation expert at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which is supervising the pilot projects. ``Decontamination means we are only moving contaminant from one place to another. We can at least keep it away from the people and their living space, but we can never get rid of it completely.'' 

Then there's the question of finding places willing to accept an ever-growing pile of radioactive waste. 

The Environment Ministry expects the cleanup to generate at least 100 million cubic meters (130 million cubic yards) of soil, enough to fill 80 domed baseball stadiums. 

For now the waste is being bagged and buried in lined pits. Officials hope to build safer storage facilities somewhere inside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone within three years. The government launched the cleanup without definitive plans for the storage facilities; it plans to start discussing their location with local leaders later this month. 

The waste would remain in the longer-term storage for 30 years, until half the radioactive cesium breaks down. Then it would still have to be treated and compacted _ using technology that hasn't been fully developed yet _ before being buried deep underground in enclosed containers. 

With all the uncertainties swirling around the cleanup, many evacuees are torn between a desire to go back and worries about their health. 

Masato Yamazaki, a 68-year-old retired electrician, misses the vegetable garden at his house in Namie, a highly contaminated town just northwest of the plant. 

``I want to go home even tomorrow if radiation levels come down and electricity and water are restored,'' he said in his temporary home, a two-bedroom, subsidized apartment in Nihonmatsu that he shares with his wife, their daughter and two grandchildren. 

His wife, Hiroko, 64, doesn't think that day will come. She became particularly skeptical after watching the cleanup of a park across from their apartment _ she described it as a ``cat and mouse chase'' in which radiation seemed to be moved from one place to another. 

It didn't help to learn that the foundation of their temporary housing had been built with gravel contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant. City inspectors say the level of radiation is safe, though everyone on the ground floor has moved out. 

``I don't think decontamination works, and I don't feel safe about it,'' Yamazaki said. ``I've given up hope of returning to our home.'' 

Tom Burghardt: Secret State Agencies - 'No Hard Evidence' Iran Building Nukes, March to War Continues

Secret State Agencies: 'No Hard Evidence' Iran Building Nukes, March to War Continues

By Tom Burghardt

Global Research, March 5, 2012
Antifascist Calling... - 2012-03-04

URL of this article:

Although all 16 U.S. secret state intelligence agencies confirmed, again, that "Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier," reaffirming the "consensus view" of not one, but two National Intelligence Estimates The New York Times reported last week, the march towards war continues.

Last Saturday The Daily Telegraph, citing The Wall Street Journal, reported that "military planners have asked for emergency funding from Congress to address a perceived shortfall in defence capabilities that could undermine the ability of US forces to respond to an Iranian closure of the Strait of Hormuz."

Plans are underway "to modify weapons systems on ships that are at present vulnerable to Iranian fast-attack boats, many of which carry anti-ship missiles," the Telegraph averred.

Feeling the heat from pro-Israeli lobby shops and congressional grifters, President Obama told The Atlantic on Friday: "When I say we're not taking any option off the table, we mean it. I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff. I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."

In other words, despite repeated assertions by Iran that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian, not military purposes, facts borne out by multiple on-the-ground inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and assessments by American spy agencies, the bar for Iranian "compliance" is continually set higher, moved from an "active program" to a mere "capability," it is now clear that war is the first, last, indeed only "option."

With this mind, Times' journalists James Risen and Mark Mazzetti informed us that lying "at the center of the debate is the murky question of the ultimate ambitions of the leaders in Tehran."

While there is "no dispute among among American, Israeli and European intelligence officials that Iran has been enriching nuclear fuel and developing some necessary infrastructure to become a nuclear power," the Times disclosed that secret state agencies also "believe that Iran has yet to decide whether to resume a parallel program to design a nuclear warhead--a program they believe was essentially halted in 2003 and which would be necessary for Iran to build a nuclear bomb."

In his January 31 Senate testimony, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "stated explicitly that American officials believe that Iran is preserving its options for a nuclear weapon, but said there was no evidence that it had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon."

Clapper's assessment is shared by other top Obama administration officials including CIA Director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

According to the Times, "intelligence officials and outside analysts believe there is another possible explanation for Iran's enrichment activity, besides a headlong race to build a bomb as quickly as possible. They say that Iran could be seeking to enhance its influence in the region by creating what some analysts call 'strategic ambiguity'."

Given the belligerent rhetoric and hostile military maneuvers by the United States, Israel and NATO, why wouldn't the Iranians aim for "strategic ambiguity" in their dealings with the West?

Ringed by U.S. military bases, targets of a CIA/Mossad "active program" to assassinate scientists, bomb military installations, wage cyberwar against nuclear facilities and impose crippling sanctions intended to crater their economy, it's surprising the Iranians haven't sought the illusory "security" afforded by possessing nuclear weapons!

Disappeared History

While disinformation specialists such as The Washington Post's Joby Warrick shamefully assert that "Iran already has enough enriched uranium to build four nuclear weapons," he trumpets this specious charge--and gets away with it--by hiding behind the skirts of anonymous "U.S. officials and nuclear experts."

In fact Iran's "Supreme Leader," Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated the obvious not only for Iranians but for the entire planet: "We believe that using nuclear weapons is haram and prohibited, and that it is everybody's duty to make efforts to protect humanity against this great disaster."

Khamenei, the head of Tehran's repressive mullahocracy, whose hand was strengthened in recent parliamentary elections, also reiterated that "besides nuclear weapons, other types of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons also pose a serious threat to humanity."

"The Iranian nation which is itself a victim of chemical weapons feels more than any other nation the danger that is caused by the production and stockpiling of such weapons and is prepared to make use of all its facilities to counter such threats," Khamenei declared.

The Grand Ayatollah pointedly alluded to chemical attacks on Iran during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq.

Though studiously ignored by corporate media today's rush to war, we would do well to recall that Iraq had been given a green light to invade the Islamic Republic by the Carter administration.

During that period, Western-supplied technology and logistical support, including geospatial intelligence provided by America's fleet of spy satellites, along with billions of dollars in arms provided by Britain, France, Germany and the United States were lavished on Iraq when Saddam was America's "best friend forever." American and European firms literally handing over the know-how that allowed Iraq to kill and maim Iranian civilians and soldiers during that disastrous war. By the conflict's end, Iran had suffered an estimated one million casualties, killed or wounded, and the near-destruction of their economy.

Investigative journalist Alan Friedman, the author of Spider's Web: The secret history of how the White House illegally armed Iraq, documented how early in the conflict, the U.S. began providing tactical battlefield advice to the Iraqi Army.

"At times," Friedman wrote, "thanks to the White House's secret backing for the intelligence-sharing, U.S. intelligence officers were actually sent to Baghdad to help interpret the satellite information. As the White House took an increasingly active role in secretly helping Saddam direct his armed forces, the United States even built an expensive high-tech annex in Baghdad to provide a direct down-link receiver for the satellite intelligence and better processing of the information."

According to Friedman's definitive account: "The American military commitment that had begun with intelligence-sharing expanded rapidly and surreptitiously throughout the Iran–Iraq War. A former White House official explained that 'by 1987, our people were actually providing tactical military advice to the Iraqis in the battlefield, and sometimes they would find themselves over the Iranian border, alongside Iraqi troops'."

But such support was not limited to providing advice and battlefield intelligence to Saddam's generals; it also extended to Iraqi procurement of banned chemical and biological weapons, actual "weapons of mass destruction," backed by billions of dollars in loan guarantees extended to Iraq by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Indeed, as Scotland's Sunday Herald reported more than a decade ago, months before America and Britain's rush to war with Iraq, an investigation all but suppressed by American media, "The US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction."

Investigative journalists Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot reported at the time that "the US Senate's committee on banking, housing and urban affairs--which oversees American exports policy--reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene."

Weapons that were used to deadly effect against Iran with the full knowledge, and complicity, of Western governments.

As Fars News Agency reported last June, Iran's Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani "condemned the use of chemical weapons against innocent people throughout the world, and lamented that the Iranians who came under Iraq's chemical attacks during the imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) are still suffering from the impacts of these invasions."

"On June 28, 1987," Fars reported, "Iraqi aircraft dropped what Iranian authorities believed to be mustard gas bombs on Sardasht, in two separate bombing runs on four residential areas."

"Sardasht was the first town in the world to be gassed. Out of a population of 20,000, 25% are still suffering severe illnesses from the attacks."

As the National Security Archive revealed in declassified documents published in 2003, "By the summer of 1983 Iran had been reporting Iraqi use of using chemical weapons for some time. The Geneva protocol requires that the international community respond to chemical warfare, but a diplomatically isolated Iran received only a muted response to its complaints. It intensified its accusations in October 1983, however, and in November asked for a United Nations Security Council investigation."

What was the Reagan administration's response?

"A State Department account indicates that the administration had decided to limit its 'efforts against the Iraqi CW program to close monitoring because of our strict neutrality in the Gulf war, the sensitivity of sources, and the low probability of achieving desired results'."

Those "desired results"? The destruction of Iran by Saddam's military, propped-up by the repressive Gulf monarchies that now constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) whom Asia Times Online analyst Pepe Escobar has characterized as the "Gulf Counter-Revolution Club" and "NATOGCC."

Indeed, as the Archive revealed "the department noted in late November 1983 that 'with the essential assistance of foreign firms, Iraq ha[d] become able to deploy and use CW and probably has built up large reserves of CW for further use. Given its desperation to end the war, Iraq may again use lethal or incapacitating CW, particularly if Iran threatens to break through Iraqi lines in a large-scale attack'."

Meanwhile, by 1984 "Ronald Reagan issued another presidential directive (NSDD 139), emphasizing the U.S. objective of ensuring access to military facilities in the Gulf region, and instructing the director of central intelligence and the secretary of defense to upgrade U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities."

According to documents published by the Archive, "It codified U.S. determination to develop plans 'to avert an Iraqi collapse.' Reagan's directive said that U.S. policy required 'unambiguous' condemnation of chemical warfare (without naming Iraq), while including the caveat that the U.S. should 'place equal stress on the urgent need to dissuade Iran from continuing the ruthless and inhumane tactics which have characterized recent offensives.' The directive does not suggest that 'condemning' chemical warfare required any hesitation about or modification of U.S. support for Iraq."

As we now know, U.S. support continued and American and British firms supplied Iraq with chemical precursors used in the manufacture of chemical weapons subsequently deployed against the Iranian city of Sardasht, whose inhabitants "are still suffering severe illnesses from the attacks," as Fars noted.

Bottom line for the Reagan administration's State Department? "Gas the hajis and let God sort 'em out!"

Another 'Just War' on the Horizon

As with the Bush administration's ginned-up "evidence" used to slaughter some million Iraqis when the U.S. launched its "preemptive and premeditated" invasion of Iraq in 2003, as the National Security Archive disclosed, U.S. perception management over the use of banned weapons reflected "the realpolitik that determined this country's policies during the years when Iraq was actually employing chemical weapons. Actual rather than rhetorical opposition to such use was evidently not perceived to serve U.S. interests."

Indeed, the "U.S. was concerned with its ability to project military force in the Middle East, and to keep the oil flowing."

Fast forward to 2012 and the manufactured hysteria over an "aggressive" Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear deterrence.

Is there a disconnect here? What "red line" have the Iranians allegedly "crossed" that would necessitate extorting billions of dollars from our disreputable Congress for war while Americans go hungry and lose their homes, congressional thieves in thrall to pro-Israel lobby groups and the Military-Industrial cabal of war profiteers who pull their collective strings? Are we to flatten yet another nation that hasn't attacked us solely on the basis of ill-defined "ultimate ambitions"?

Increasingly, it looks like the answer is yes.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that an unnamed "U.S. intelligence official" familiar with discussions amongst top administration officials and their Israeli counterparts averred that Israel "won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities."

Why not? Well, we're supposed to believe a ludicrous fairy tale spun by Benjamin Netanyahu's unhinged government that keeping "the Americans in the dark" would actually "decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack."

Washington "peacemakers" eager to "avoid" war with the Islamic Republic, including senior "U.S. intelligence and special operations officials," AP reported, "have tried to keep a dialogue going with Israel" by "sharing options such as allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in the region from which to launch such a strike, as a way to make sure the Israelis give the Americans a heads-up, according to the U.S. official, and a former U.S. official with knowledge of the communications."

With this in mind, Haaretz reported that "Netanyahu is expected to publicly harden his line against Iran during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on March 5, according to a senior Israeli official."

Correspondent Barak Ravid disclosed that Israel is demanding that Obama "make further-reaching declarations than the vague assertion that 'all options are on the table'." In fact, Netanyahu "wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain 'red lines'."

Apparently, administration officials and Pentagon war planners got the message. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that "the U.S. could join Israel in attacking Iran if the Islamic republic doesn't dispel concerns that its nuclear-research program is aimed at producing weapons."

"Four days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Washington," Bloomberg averred, "Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz told reporters the Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared military options to strike Iranian nuclear sites in the event of a conflict."

"What we can do, you wouldn't want to be in the area," Schwartz told reporters in Washington.

In keeping with Obama's statement that his administration is marching in "lockstep" with Israel, "Pentagon officials said military options being prepared start with providing aerial refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Qods Force, regular Iranian military bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security."

The Guardian disclosed on Friday that "Israel is to test an advanced anti-ballistic missile system in the coming weeks, inevitably fuelling speculation about preparations for a possible military confrontation with Iran."

"The unusual advance notification of the test," The Guardian noted, "follows an unannounced test in November of a long-range ballistic missile that intensified speculation that Israel was preparing for a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities."

Just yesterday, TASS disclosed that "the carrier group of the USS Carl Vinson has re-entered the Gulf. Another US carrier group, of the USS Abraham Lincoln, continues to patrol the Arabian Sea just south of the Strait of Hormuz. It is backed by three attack submarines, one of which is carrying 154 Tomahawk missiles."

In other words, preparations for a joint U.S.-Israeli-NATO attack will target Iran's entire defense infrastructure, and in all likelihood its civilian infrastructure as well, in preparation of Washington's long-standing goal of "regime change."

Driving home the point that the United States American is preparing to launch a new war of aggression in the Middle East,The Washington Post reported last week that contingency plans have already been drawn up for attacking the Fordow nuclear facility.

"Built into a mountain bunkers designed to withstand an aerial attack," Pentagon stenographer Joby Warrick informed us, "U.S. military planners ... are increasingly confident about their ability to deliver a serious blow against Fordow should the president ever order an attack."

"In arguing their case, U.S. officials acknowledged some uncertainty over whether even the Pentagon's newest bunker-buster weapon--called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator--could pierce in a single blow the subterranean chambers where Iran is making enriched uranium," Warrick wrote.

However, "a sustained U.S. attack over multiple days would probably render the plant unusable by collapsing tunnels and irreparably damaging both its highly sensitive centrifuge equipment and the miles of pipes, tubes and wires required to operate it."

"If you can target the one piece of critical equipment instead of the whole thing, isn't that just as good?" an anonymous official told the Post. "Even by reducing the entrances to rubble, you've effectively entombed the site."

It isn't just centrifuges however that American and Israeli war criminals plan to "entomb."

Close aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Tel Aviv's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Wednesday that "Iran's citizens should be starved in order to curb Tehran's nuclear program."

"Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food," YNET's anonymous source said. "This would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile, while the Persian people have nothing to eat and may rise up as was the case in Syria, Tunisia and other Arab states."

"The Western world led by the United States must implement stifling sanctions at this time already, rather than wait or hesitate," YNET disclosed. "In order to suffocate Iran economically and diplomatically and lead the regime there to a hopeless situation, this must be done now, without delay."

As left-wing analyst Richard Silverstein pointed out on the Tikun Olam web site: "Keep in mind, this particular gem of an Israeli isn't advocating merely putting Iran 'on a diet' as Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon's advisor, did toward Gaza. He's advocating death, malnutrition, pestilence: the whole nine yards of incremental genocide."

"It's especially telling that this genius came up with such a policy proposal on the eve of Bibi's trip to Washington to meet with Pres. Obama, who will certainly warm to such an idea," Silverstein noted. "I guess the Israelis must see this as an ice-breaker to bring the two leaders, who have a history of icy relations, closer."

Mass starvation? Genocide? No problem!

And why not? After all, as Karl Rove told journalist Ron Suskind back in 2004: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

But as Iran specialist Gary Sick recently observed in Le Monde Diplomatique, "When sanctions began Iran had only a rudimentary nuclear programme, without a single centrifuge. Today, after 16 years of ever-stronger sanctions, the IAEA reports that Iran has a substantial nuclear programme with some 8,000 operational centrifuges installed in two major sites, and a stockpile of about five tons of low-enriched uranium. This is the definition of a failed policy."

"The US and its allies have responded by increasing the sanctions to a point where Iran would no longer be able to sell its petroleum products, depriving it of more than 50% of its revenues. This amounts to a military blockade of Iranian oil ports, an act of war," Sick wrote.

"So sanctions, supposed to be the alternative to war, are gradually morphing into economic warfare. The point at which economic pressure becomes undeclared war will be reached by mid-2012 when near-total boycotts of Iranian banks and Iranian oil by the US and the EU will formally take effect. No one can be sure how Iran will respond, but it is difficult to believe it will meekly surrender or simply do nothing."

And when Obama and Netanyahu meet tomorrow in Washington, "neither heads of state will have to worry too much about plotting their war on Iran. Pentagon officials are saying that those wheels are already in motion," Russia Today noted.

"With Obama preparing to go before the AIPAC conference this weekend, there are already talks that the United States' commander-in-chief is considering giving in to Israeli pressure to align against Iran with force, fearing what repercussions could come on Election Day should he walk," RT observed.

Although "Obama has been hesitant to throw his weight behind any actual endorsements of war so far--and much to the chagrin of Israel--but this week's meeting between Barak and Panetta suggest that Obama may soon crack."

Should the United States engage Iran militarily however, it just might be more than Obama that would "soon crack."

As Global Research analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya warned, citing the results of a 2002 Pentagon war game: "Iran would react to U.S. aggression by launching a massive barrage of missiles that would overwhelm the U.S. and destroy sixteen U.S. naval vessels--an aircraft carrier, ten cruisers, and five amphibious ships. It is estimated that if this had happened in real war theater context, more than 20,000 U.S. servicemen would have been killed in the first day following the attack."

While we do not know where belligerent moves by the West will lead, it is also clear that despite these threats Iran will "not go gentle into that good night."

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly andGlobal Research, an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists based in Montreal, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.