Indian Point’s Final Days Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earth Matters: Indian Point’s Final Days – Nyack News and Views

by Barbara Puff

Indian Point has been the crown jewel of the nuclear industrialist complex and closing it is a big step to a sustainable energy future. — Susan Shapiro, environmental lawyer.

When scientists began exploring nuclear power in the 1950s, pollsters didn’t ask the public their opinion as support was almost unanimous. By the ’60s, there had been a few protests and opposition increased to 25%. So when Indian Point opened on September 16, 1962, it was greeted with enthusiasm, fanfare, and, in hindsight, naivete.

Within a few years, increased pollution, loss of wildlife, and accidents at the plant elicited concern. In response, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper were formed in 1966. After incidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, public opinion began to turn against the use of nuclear power.

In 1984, her first year as a legislator, Harriet Cornell formed the Citizens Commission to Close Indian Plant. A glance at her press releases over the years shows her convictions regarding closing the plant. In a recent speech she noted: “Were it not for the superhuman efforts of concerned individuals and dedicated scientific and environmental organizations focusing attention on the dangers posed by Indian Point, who knows what might have happened during the last 40+ years.”

Simultaneously Riverkeeper began documenting incidents, including:

1 An antiquated water-cooling system killed over a billion fish and fish larvae annually.

2 Pools holding spent nuclear fuel leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, soil, and Hudson River.

3 Recurring emergency shut-downs.

4 27% of the baffle bolts in Unit 2 and 31% in Unit 3, holding the reactor core together, were damaged.

5 The plant was vulnerable to terrorist attack.

6 Evacuation plans were implausible.

7 No solution for spent nuclear fuel, posing the risk of radioactive release and contamination of land.

8 The plant was near two seismic zones, suggesting an earthquake over 6.2 could devastate the area.

9 Asbestos exposure.

These and other issues led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rate Indian Point in 2000 as the most trouble-plagued plant in the country. Lamont-Doherty Observatory agreed, calling it the most dangerous plant in the nation.

As individuals realized the seriousness of the situation, urgency for a solution grew and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition was formed in 2001. Comprised of public interest, health advocates, environmental and citizen groups, their goals were to educate the public, pass legislation, and form a grassroots campaign with hundreds of local, state, and federal officials.

Clearwater also began monitoring the plant around that time. Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director, recalls, “We were concerned when one of the planes that struck the WTC flew over the plant, including several buildings that hold huge fuel pools, filled with spent fuel rods and radioactive waste.” Had anything happened, the nuclear power industry had provided protection for themselves while neglecting surrounding communities. Powerful lobbyists, backed by considerable financing, induced Congress to pass the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. This legislation protected nuclear power plant companies from full liability in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.

With such warnings, it’s hard to believe as late as 2010, The New York Times stated, “No one should be hoping for a too hasty shutdown.” Over time, the cost of litigation by New York State proved more fatal to the continuance of plant operations than protests, though they were a crucial factor and led to initial filings. Attorney General Schneiderman was very active in filing contentions, legal reasons the plant shouldn’t be relicensed, and won several important court cases on high-level radioactive storage.

In 2016, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy a discharge permit for hot water into the Hudson River, part of their once-through cooling system. This permit was necessary for continued operation of the plant and a requirement for relicensing. The New York State Department of State, Bureau of Coastal Management, denied Entergy a water quality certificate the same year, which it also needed to relicense. After more than four decades of danger to the environment and residents, Governor Cuomo announced in January 2017 the plant would finally be closing. Unit 2 would cease production on April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 would end productivity on April 30, 2021.

Later that year, in March 2017, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board allowed Entergy to renew the plant’s licenses until 2021, dismissing final points of contention between the company, New York State, and Riverkeeper. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attempted to sue the state and reopen the plant in April 2017 but failed.

Ellen Jaffee, NYS Assemblywoman, stated, “After 46 years of operation, I am glad to finally see the closure of Indian Point. Since joining the Assembly, I have long fought for its closure. I would not have been able to pursue these efforts if not for the environmental advocates, like the Riverkeeper, who fought long and hard beside myself to close the plant. The plant’s closure must be conducted in a safe manner, where all radioactive materials will be properly disposed of, without inflicting further harm on our environment. The closure of Indian Point shows that we can reduce our impact on the environment.”

Harriet Cornell said, “We have waited years for this to happen and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough. The facts have long shown there is no future for this dangerous plant.”

“The closure of Indian Point marks the shutdown of dirty polluting energy,” noted Susan Shapiro.

Holtec, the company chosen to oversee decommissioning of the plant, has a horrific track record. New York State Attorney General Tish James released a statement in January expressing multiple grave concerns about them. According to Riverkeeper, they have a scandalous corporate past, little experience in decommissioning, dubious skills in spent fuel management, workplace safety infractions, and health violations. Another fear is the cost will exceed a decommissioning fund set aside by Entergy, Holtec will declare bankruptcy, and the public will absorb the difference.

“Entergy made huge profits from Indian Point,” said Manna Jo Greene. “They’ve hired Holtec, a company with a poor record of decommissioning, to complete the work. Entergy plans to declare bankruptcy, thereby having taxpayers foot the bill. We are not out of danger. It is a different danger.”

Richard Webster, Legal Program Director at Riverkeeper, adds, “Decommissioning must be done promptly, safely and reliably. Selling to Holtec is the worst possible option, because it has a dubious history of bribes, lies, and risk taking, very limited experience in decommissioning, is proposing to raid the decommissioning fund for its own benefit, and is proposing leaving contaminated groundwater to run into the Hudson River.”

State Senator David Carlucci warned, “The NRC Inspector General Report shows there is much to be done by the NRC to gain the confidence of myself and the public, as the commission is charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point and ensuring the health and safety of Hudson Valley Communities. We demand answers from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki. The Chairman needs to come to the Hudson Valley immediately and outline the steps being taken to address our safety and explain how the commission will properly inspect and guard the pipeline near Indian Point moving forward.”

One of the gravest dangers in decommissioning is the storage of spent fuel rods. A fuel rod is a long, zirconium tube containing pellets of uranium, a fissionable material which provides fuel for nuclear reactors. Fuel rods are assembled into bundles called fuel assemblies, which are loaded individually into a reactor core. Fuel rods last about six years. When they’re spent and removed they are placed in wet storage, or pools of water, which is circulated to reduce temperature and provide shielding from radiation. They remain in these pools for 10 years, as they are too hot to be placed in dry storage, or canisters. Even in dry storage, though, they remain extremely radioactive, with high levels of plutonium, which is toxic, and continue to generate heat for decades and remain radioactive for 10,000 years.

“Elected officials and government groups became involved once they understood the fatal environmental dangers nuclear energy creates for millenium,” said Susan Shapiro. “It is the only energy that produces waste so dangerous that governments must own and dispose of it.”

Robert Kennedy, Jr., of Waterkeeper, explained “If those spent fuel rods caught on fire, if the water dropped, the zirconium coatings of the spent fuel rods would combust. You would release 37 times the amount of radiation that was released at Chernobyl. Around Chernobyl there are 100 miles that are permanently uninhabitable. I would include the workplaces, homes of 20 million Americans, including the Financial District. There’s no evacuation plan. And it’s sitting on two of the biggest earthquake faults in the northeast.”

On April 24, 2020, Beyond Indian Point Campaign was launched to advocate for a safe transition during decommissioning. Sponsored by AGREE, Frack Action, Riverkeeper, NIRS and Food and Water Watch, they’re demanding Cuomo hire another company, opposing a license transfer before the State Public Service Commission and NRC and pushing state legislation to establish a board to supervise the decommissioning fund. When decommissioning is finished Beyond Indian Point hopes to further assist the community in the transition to renewable energy. These include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrothermal power. Sign an online petition on their website to support their work, future generations and earth at BeyondIndianPoint.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Bravo to everyone involved in making this historic day come to pass,” said Susan Shapiro.

Raised in the Midwest, Barbara Puff is a writer who lives in Nyack, NY.

The Russian horn warns Babylon the Great of Satan

Russia makes new threats over use of Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile on Britain

Putin official said it is ‘absolutely legitimate’ for Russia to question the existence of Finland

5 hours ago

Russia has made new threats to use its deadly RS-28 Sarmat – known in the west as “Satan-2” – hypersonic nuclear missile to strike Britain in just “200 seconds”.

The warning from Russia’s defence committee deputy chairman, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, comes as Finland is poised to join Nato, and Swedenis set to follow suit. 

“If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical,” Mr Zhuravlyov said in an interview with state TV Russia 1.

“If the United States threatens our state, it’s good: here is the Sarmat for you, and there will be nuclear ashes from you if you think that Russia should not exist. And Finland says that it is at one with the USA. Well, get in line.”

Last month Russia tested its new intercontinental missile, announcing that the warhead which could target Europe and the US would be deployed by the autumn. The Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys, and of striking targets thousands of miles away.

Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers roll through Red Square on 9 May 

Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, he said: “What for? We don’t need to.

“We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK. And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.

“On the Finnish border we will have not strategic weapons, but Kinzhal-class, one that will reach Finland in 20 seconds, or even 10 seconds.”

Russia has voiced its discontent at Finland’s intention to join Nato and said it would take “retaliatory steps” both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security rising. 

Mr Zhuravlyov claimed Finland is being provoked into joining Nato by the US and the UK. “The Finns have nothing to share with us. They receive more than 90 per cent gas, timber and much more from us.

“Who needs fighting first of all? The Finns? They are not afraid that Russia is attacking them. Of course, sooner or later the Americans will force them to do so.

“Just as they forced Ukraine to do it, they are trying to force Poland and Romania. And, as practice shows, they succeed.”

Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if Nato deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, according to the RIA news agency. He added that Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see “real” reasons for those two countries to be joining Nato alliance.

Aleksey Zhuravlyov warned that Russia could strike the UK within minutes

(Duma)

In an interview with many colourful remarks such as labelling Baltic nations Lithuania and Estonia, stink bugs, Mr Zhuravlyov also claimed that St Petersburg – Putin’s birthplace – could be Nato’s first target in a war with Russia, adding that the US “will do everything possible to make World War Three happen”. 

“They [the US] will be able to attribute all their problems to the war, as they already did in the First World War and the Second World War.

“They got out of their crisis only thanks to the war in Europe. But there is a big danger: who guarantees that nuclear missiles will not fly? I do not guarantee this.”

Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic says it will suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland from Saturday, citing problems with payments as tensions between the two nations rise. The Finnish grid operator said Russia provided only a small percentage of the country’s electricity and that it could be replaced from alternative sources.

Fingrid said it did not expect electricity shortages as a result of the shut off, as only around 10 per cent of Finland’s electricity is supplied from Russia.

Antichrist bets on keeping PM Kadhimi and using political limbo to edge out rivals

Iraq: Sadr bets on keeping PM Kadhimi and using political limbo to edge out rivals

Unable to form a new government, the cleric has decided there are other ways to sideline the Iran-backed groups, starting with appointing officials

Fresh from offering Iraq’s independent MPs the chance to nominate a prime minister, Muqtada al-Sadr is already looking at the next option to break the country’s political stalemate: keep Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

It’s seven months now since Iraqis went to the polls in October’s parliamentary elections, and fierce rivalry between two camps – one led by influential Shia cleric Sadr, the other backed by Iran – has stopped anyone from forming a government.

A week ago, Sadr called on the 40 or so independents elected to parliament to form their own bloc and nominate a prime minister that his alliance – made up of Sadr’s MPs, Sunni parties and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) – would support.

‘We will not allow the country to be held hostage. We will implement the constitution’

– Prominent Sadrist leader

Yet Iraqi political leaders involved in government-formation talks told Middle East Eye that Sadr has little expectation they will do so, and instead is looking at keeping current prime minister Kadhimi in place for six months to a year.

“Sadr is not in a hurry to form a government. Keeping the current situation as it is for six months or a year is one of the solutions now being strongly proposed,” a prominent leader of Sadr’s Save the Homeland alliance, who is close to KDP leader Masoud Barzani, told MEE.

“There is no circumstance or factor, local or international, pressuring any of the players in the tripartite alliance to expedite the formation of the government,” he added.

“If we talk about the United States, it is busy elsewhere in the world and is not much concerned with what is currently happening in Iraq. As for Iran, the continuation of the situation is less harmful than the outbreak of Shia-Shia fighting.”

Getting parliament moving

Sadr already holds great sway over Kadhimi’s government, and in October his Sairoon Alliance party emerged the clear victor. Since then, he has tried to form a “majority government” alongside his Kurdish and Sunni allies that would sideline Iranian-backed Shia factions, who together are known as the Coordination Framework.

Unhappy about being frozen out of the next government, those factions have boycotted parliament and ensured a quorum cannot be reached to continue the government-formation process. But permanent stasis would also be damaging.

If Sadr is able to continue monopolising control through his control of parliament and Kadhimi’s government, the Iranian-backed groups will find their influence and power waning.

To prove his plan’s seriousness, Sadr has not waited for his two-week deadline to independents to expire before making his next moves. He and his allies have declared parliamentary work will continue, regardless of whether the boycotters attend or not.

Iran piles pressure on Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni leaders to crack Sadr’s alliance

Though two-thirds of MPs are needed to sit to elect a president and nominate a prime minister, just half (166 MPs) can pass most legislation. Sadr and his allies have 186.

The parliament’s leadership – the speaker and his two deputies – is made up of Mohammed al-Halbousi, head of the Sunni bloc, a Sadrist and a member of the KDP, and they have promised to get parliament moving.

Hakim al-Zamili, the Sadrist deputy speaker, on Monday informed the heads of the parliamentary blocs that appointments to parliamentary committees have been decided and work to appoint them will begin immediately, three MPs told MEE.

As for legislation, first on the list that needs to be passed is the annual budget. But the current disputes, the lack of sessions of parliament and the delay in the formation of parliamentary committees have prevented its approval so far.

With no budget, government projects, offices and social welfare networks could soon run out of cash. To avoid this, Sadr and his allies last month submitted a “mini budget” draft they called the “food security and development” law for an urgent vote.

The law would see monthly amounts of up to 35 trillion Iraqi dinars ($23bn) from the surplus monthly oil sales, international grants and donations, and loans, secured and deposed in a bank account controlled by the finance ministry.  

Essentially, it would keep the country going for several months without approving the annual budget.

Voting on the “food security” law was scheduled to take place this week.

“We will not allow the country to be held hostage. We will implement the constitution, and the constitution says that there is a legally recognised parliament, a parliament speaker, a president, a prime minister and a government,” a prominent Sadrist leader told MEE.

“Practically, there will be no problem if a new government is not formed for another few months. We have a parliament and a government, which will both carry out their duties without any trouble.”

Sidelining Iran’s allies

Before Sadr’s election victory and his calls for a majority government, Iraq was governed by consensus.

Since 2003, political forces have operated under a power-sharing agreement, where influential offices and positions – both civilian and military – are divvied up between parties along the lines of representation in parliament. Some are given on the basis of courtesy and favouritism, some are given as a reward.

Only parliament can approve appointments to these positions.

But devoid of political consensus and amid fierce competition between the parliamentary blocs, over recent years Kadhimi and his predecessors have had to fill positions by appointing temporary “acting” officials, circumventing the parliamentary process.

How foreign powers are being sucked into Iraq’s political stalemateRead More »

For nearly two decades, Iranian-backed forces have dominated the Iraqi government and parliament, and they hold almost two-thirds of senior positions.

This percentage will change “completely”, and appointments without parliamentary approval will “end soon”, Sadrist leaders told MEE.

A prominent Sadrist MP told MEE that Sadr’s alliance has the power to continue or dissolve parliament, and the situation as it stands does not hinder his project.

“On the contrary, it greatly harms its opponents,” he said.

The Sadrist said moves will be made to appoint new officials as soon as the deadline given to independents expires.

“There is a new philosophy for the administration and this philosophy needs new men. Accordingly we will work to replace the old team with a new one,” he said.

“We will end running the country by proxy. This is what everyone wants and this is what we will do.”

Nuclear Iran… Prophetic Choices: Daniel 8

Pakistan’s complicated relationship with its neighbor forced the country to contemplate obtaining a strategic deterrent that would provide it with non-conventional protection early on.

The country is caught between its difficult geography and massive demography, and this weapon was crucial for addressing the implication of this mix, which puts the Pakistani security forces under constant pressure. They must constantly (since attaining their independence) keep an eye on the evolution of their neighbor’s capacities and the ramifications this leaves on domestic stability and its foreign (regional and international) interests. Thus, its deep state put the nuclear option on the table early on.

Things differ when it comes to Iran, which did not face the same challenge of the demographic complexities neighboring Pakistan or its geographical difficulties. Although the people of Iran had suffered a great deal because of their geography, both the country’s geography and demography have historically been leveraged to impose its geopolitical influence. This ability to leverage the country’s demography and geography compelled all of the regimes that have ruled contemporary Iran to develop their war-making capacities, from the Shah’s regime to the Islamic republic.

The former Iranian regime did not develop a nuclear doctrine. However, those who live through this stage of history are of the opinion that whatever the regime ruling Tehran, it would not hesitate to seek atomic weapons after India and Pakistan had already managed to develop their own. Even Ayatollah Khomeini, who ended the nuclear program after the fall of the Shah, reversed course and called for its resumption because of the pressures brought about by the Iran-Iraq war.

Currently, with the crystallization of the Iranian regime’s ideology and its continuous efforts to export it, the regime has made rivals out of most of its neighbors, near and far. It did so despite the economic and social crises ripping Iranian society apart. Despite the hardship caused by squandering the country’s wealth on maximizing its external influence and pursuing its nuclear project, which has drained the treasury, the regime continues to address the situation with a mentality similar to that of Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, or maybe even starve, but we will get our own,” he said in 1965.

Iran refrains from discussing, either directly or indirectly, its need for a nuclear weapon. Simultaneously, it blackmails the international community in negotiations with it by developing its nuclear program till it reaches the brink of military capability. However, although a few decision-makers are advocating the pursuit of nuclear weapons, whatever the cost, building on an approach somewhere in between the two models (North Korean and Pakistani). Indeed, the costs to the regime would be far lower than those paid by the regimes in Libya and Ukraine. 

In Libya, many believe that Muammar Gaddafi would have met a different fate if he had not given up on his nuclear project and handed all the weapons his country had developed over to the United Nations after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The war in Ukraine has left Iranian political elites asking themselves whether Moscow would have occupied Ukraine at all if the latter had kept its nuclear weapons? Regardless of their military superiority, who would invade a country with nuclear weapons? These considerations leave those who made the final decision-makers in Tehran facing two difficult options. They look at the Libyan and Ukrainian cases and become increasingly convinced that they need to obtain a strategic deterrent force to safeguard their positions.

However, they are also aware that crossing the distance separating from this goal, while it may be short in the opinion of some international experts, would come at a high regional cost. Some have suggested the Iranians could be facing the scenario of an Iraqi “July”.

Iran will likely start a nuclear arm’s race in the region, and this would raise the specter of a crushing war if Tel Aviv were to decide to address Iran’s nuclear project preemptively, as it had done with Iraq’s “July” project, swiftly eliminating what it considered an existential threat.

And so, it is clear that Iran has several nuclear options. However, they all come at a high cost, the regime’s dilemma, despite that everyone agrees that the goal of nuclear weapons is more defensive than offensive, is that its program is tied to its expansionist project, which has become a crushing burden domestically and externally.

The Zone of the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

South Asia should be made into a nuclear weapons free zone

By Northlines –

May 12, 2022

In 1998 that is 24 years back on 11th May India carried out first nuclear weapon test under the Vajpayee government. The event was celebrated with fanfare; public was jubilant over that India has now become a power to reckon with. Those who termed the event as a step towards mutually assured destruction were ridiculed. But just after 17 days on 28th May Pakistan too did the same. Observers felt that Pakistan has become at par with India in nuclear weapons race. Mood of the supporters of nuclear weapons in the country got subdued. Some experts argued that India who had superiority over Pakistan in conventional warfare has lost that since both countries have become nuclear armed. Exact figure unknown but there are estimates that both have 100 plus nuclear weapons each.

The nuclear lobby argued that these weapons will serve as deterrent to war between the two countries who have been having perpetual tension since long. This hypothesis however was proved wrong as in about a year there was war between India and Pakistan at Kargil front in 1999. Terrorism from across the border continues unabated. There was terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament after which armies of the two countries were face to face on high alert with fear of use of nuclear weapons looming large. Possession of nuclear weapons has not deterred standoff between India and China either. There were skirmishes between the two at Galwan in June 2020. Now the nuclear lobby is actively propagating that if Ukraine had nuclear weapons, Russia would have not attacked.

South Asia comprises of eight nations: India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the island nations Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Although South Asia occupies only 3.4% of the world’s land area, the region is home to approximately 24% of the world’s population, making it the most densely populated place on earth. Despite being rich in natural resources, it is among the poorest regions of the world in terms of per capita income, with 40% of the world’s poor living here. Still countries of the region especially India and Pakistan spend lot on arms race. Expenditure on nuclear weapons adds to their defence budget. As a result the countries of the region are left with little to spend on health, education and development.

Arms race in the region on the rise. With the ambition to become arms exporter India has already signed a $375 million agreement with Philippines to supply supersonic shore-based anti-ship BrahMos missile system with a range of 290 km developed jointly with Russia. Reports are that more such agreements are likely to be signed with Vietnam and Indonesia. With China acquiring advanced weapons system India has the excuse to manufacture and export arms. After China made its first nuclear bomb in 1964, there was lot of pressure on India to build nuclear weapons.

There is need to reverse this situation through mutual dialogue and confidence building among the nations. Civil society can play a big role in highlighting the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and build public opinion in India and Pakistan to join the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons and for diversion of funds from arms race to development.

The peace movements have multifaceted tasks ahead. They have to build strong public opinion for disarmament. Medical peace activists have to explain how the arms race is affecting our health adversely. The message of the study by Dr. Ira Helfand, Co-President IPPNW on climatic consequences of limited nuclear war using 100 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs between India and Pakistan, which would put over two billion people at risk, has to be taken down to the masses as well as the decision makers.

Steps need to be taken for a lasting peace and nuclear disarmament in the region. Structural drivers for war have to be identified and peace activities have to be designed accordingly. India has been the harbinger of the non-aligned movement, which was initiated by the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru along with Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. The basic thrust of this movement has been non alignment from any blocks, based on the principle of respect to sovereignty and integrity of other nations. India also proposed the Rajiv Gandhi action plan for nuclear disarmament in 1988.

However given the aggressive nationalism and macho approach towards militarization, the task of peace making has become all the more difficult. India and Pakistan have not been receptive to the idea of nuclear disarmament. The ministers of the present government at the centre did not have the courtesy to meet with a delegation from IPPNW, a Nobel Laureate organization, in March 2018 at the time of an international seminar on the TPNW in New Delhi. Previously, all ministers, including the President and the Prime Minister, had shown a willingness to engage with such delegations.

Under these circumstances it has become important to initiate discussion on making south Asia a Nuclear Weapons free Zone (NFZ). Presently such zones exist in Latin America, Caribbean, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, whole of African continent and Central Asia which cover 39% of world population.

Chairman of an NGO, Blue Banner, Dr. J. Enkhsaikhan of Mongolia is quite vocal on the necessity of Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs). According to him these are recognized as important and practical regional measures of non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWSs) in promoting the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and strengthening confidence among states. Whereas the concept covers the regional areas but Mongolia set an example by declaring its territory as a single state Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in 1992.

It is imperative for the non-nuclear states in the south Asian region to build pressure on India and Pakistan to abolish their nuclear weapons and make the region NWFZ. With a long history of non-alignment and with people of India and Pakistan having same cultural values and language, even relations they will be overwhelmed with the idea. Peace activists and organisations have to carry it forward and initiate a dialogue on the issue. This appears to be a task difficult but not impossible. Humanitarian benefits for this would be manifold. It is well known now that nuclear weapons could not save us from Pandemic. They have utterly failed to even alleviate poverty and hunger so much rampant in our region. Even if India and Pakistan are unwilling, other non-nuclear weapons countries of the region can declare south Asia as NWFZ and put pressure on the two countries. (IPA Service)

The writer is Co-President, IPPNW.

Systemic killing of journalists outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Systemic killing of journalists: An Israeli trend

May 13, 2022 – 21:34

TEHRAN — After killing the veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli authorities have resorted to their old habit of distorting the truth by claiming that the brutal killing was unintentional.

However, studying the Israeli soldiers’ records in the past years proves two things: One is that this was certainly not an incident, and it was downright intentional. And two, killing journalists, paramedics, and kids by the Israeli snipers is a systemic trend.

Let’s go back to July 8, 2018.

In a debate hosted by Al Jazeera in Oxford University, Mehdi Hasan – a prominent and prolific British-American political journalist and broadcaster – challenged Danny Ayalon, former Deputy Foreign Minister and a former Knesset member on the Israeli soldiers who target journalists, paramedics, and even children.

“On May 14 of this year (2018), the Israeli government celebrated the 70th year of its independence at the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. I believe you were there as well at that event, while over in Gaza on that same day, Israeli army snipers killed 62 Palestinians in cold blood. Gunned them down in full view of the world’s television and cameras. How do you justify? Can you justify the killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters, journalists, paramedics, kids?” Hasan asked Ayalon. His response was shocking.

“Well Mehdi, no one can justify killing of the innocent people, but I am not sure this was the case!” Ayalon said, adding that they “were pushed by their leaders of the Hamas -who by the way want to destroy the state of Israel- they were using them as human shields. Some of them were behind them with bombs…! By the way, the next day, Hamas confessed that out of these 62 people, 50 were active Hamas members. Others, we call it “collateral damage! We have to look at who is responsible for the killings, and the only responsible is Hamas!” the former Israeli diplomat noted.

The attitude of Israeli diplomats and officials towards this “collateral damage” is self-explanatory. We kill, and we kill, only to find a Hamas member. Also, we shoot innocent people, but it’s Hamas’ fault.

An IDF report published on Friday confirms this attitude, as it claims that the targeting of the veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was unintentional, as the Israeli soldiers mistook her for a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member!

“Abu Akleh was killed during a shootout between the Israeli army forces and Palestinian terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp in a very complex operational situation. The wave of terrorism (as it claimed) requires further action on the ground to stop and thwart the attacks.

On the other hand, the military establishment is interested in taking the necessary precautions to prevent a widespread confrontation on the coast and possibly in the Gaza Strip. An unpredictable event, such as the killing of Abu Akleh, can complicate the picture and provide the preparedness that terrorist organizations are likely to use in an effort to further escalate the situation on the ground.

After a preliminary investigation and analysis of the scene, the Israeli army believes that it is possible that Abu Akleh was killed unintentionally by the army forces without prior identification,” the report said. 

The report went on to claim that the aim of the operation was to arrest a wanted Islamic Jihad operative suspected of “terrorist activity.”
“According to the fighters, this is not their first operation in the refugee camp in recent times, the range of shooting at them has been very unusual even compared to previous operations,” it added. 

The report by the IDF went on to claim that the Israeli Army emphasizes that “the search for the truth in this incident is not an apology for the operational activity that will continue and does not mean that it does not support the forces that acted in the reality of professional operation!”

So, shooting journalists in the head is “professional operation” now!

The report concluded by saying that finally, with the continuation of what it called “terrorist attacks,” the issue of Hamas presence in Gaza will be raised again. At the same time, the calm in the Gaza Strip exacerbates the complex dilemma for Israel, “and Hamas uses the fruits of this distinction to eliminate conflict in the Gaza Strip, while crediting itself with leading the fight against Israel. The road further weakens the weakened position of the Palestinian Authority.”

Apparently, the Israelis are now worried about the Palestinian Authority as well!

In the debate between Hasan and Ayalon, the former Israeli diplomat let a remarkable confession slip. He said, “Mehdi, I can look at any one here in the eyes (the audience present at Oxford Union) and say, Israel is doing its level best not to kill anyone who is not involved! 

Hasan asked, “What threat did Razan al-Najjar, 21-year old volunteer paramedic who was shot while wearing a white uniform in the chest a hundred meters away from the (Gaza) fence, what threat did she pose to the Israeli snipers?”

In response, Ayalon resorted to a familiar Israeli tactic, saying that she used the title of volunteer paramedic as a cover up. 

“Wait a minute. This is something I really looked into. She was having an incendiary bomb, and there is an investigation by the IDF. Why was she going into a war zone?”

Apparently, Ayalon lacks the very basic knowledge that a paramedic’s job is to cure and carry the wounded to field hospitals. 

Even Hasan lost his cool and reminded Ayalon that “no country shoots people in the back as they are running away!” He then reminded the former Israeli diplomat of another unarmed Gazan citizen, Yasser Murtaja, a Gazan video journalist and photographer, who was killed by Israeli security forces during the 2018 Gaza border protests.

“Yasser Murtaja, 30 years old, shot in the stomach by an Israeli sniper. He was 250 meters away from the fence. Why was he shot?”

Ayalon said he came with a “harm(ful) intention.” Hasan responded by saying that he was “not Hamas, he was a journalist, and you shot him in the stomach, your country shot him in the stomach, and you claim he had a hurtful intention. That’s outrageous!”

As you can see the change in the fake regime’s administration has not changed the attitude of the snipers, who keep shooting people, journalists and even children. Now we know that Israeli soldiers know palm-reading and can read the Palestinian people’s minds and realize they have hurtful intentions. 

On Wednesday night, Haaretz, an Israeli media outlet, claimed that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was shot from an M-16 gun, which “could have been used by the Palestinian fighters.”

As long as the global community keeps silent on the Israeli atrocities, Israel will keep killing more and more journalists. 

Hamas appeals to Russia for war outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Sergey Lavrov.

Hamas appeals to Russia for support in confrontation with Israel

A Hamas delegation visited Moscow at a time when relations between Russia and Israel are taking a more tense turn due to Israel’s position in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with representatives of Palestinian groups and movements, who are in Moscow for intra-Palestinian talks, on Feb. 12, 2019. – KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

Rasha Abou Jalal

May 12, 2022

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas delegation visited Moscow on May 4, where it held talks with Russian officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s guesthouse. The talks concluded on May 5.

Hamas’ visit to Moscow came at a time when Russian-Israeli relations are tense due to Israel’s condemning position of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The Hamas delegation was led by head of the movement’s international relations office Moussa Abu Marzouk, and it included members of the movement’s political bureau, notably Fathi Hammad and Hussam Badran.

Relations between Moscow and Tel Aviv turned sour after the latter condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine and considered it a “flagrant violation of the international order.”

In a statement published by Russia Today on April 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Israel is trying to “exploit the situation around Ukraine to divert the international community’s attention from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is one of the oldest unresolved conflicts.”

On May 4, Israeli President Isaac Herzog demanded that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov apologize for statements he made regarding the Jewishness of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his connection to Nazism, and for his remarks that “Hitler had Jewish blood.”

Tensions between the two sides rose following the statements of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during an interview with Radio Sputnik on May 4, when she said that “Israeli mercenaries” are fighting in Ukraine side by side with the fighters of the Azov Battalion, which is considered one of the fiercest opponents of the Russian forces.

After meeting with Russian officials, Abu Marzouk said in statements to Al-Mayadeen TV on May 5, “New equations are being imposed today in the global system, and there is an opportunity to change the status quo in the global system for the benefit of the oppressed in the world.”

He added that the change in the world order would affect the future of Israel.

A leading source in Hamas who was among the visiting delegation to Moscow told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that this visit was “unique and exceptional” in terms of the delegation’s members and the topics discussed with Russian officials.

The source explained that the delegation met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and others in the Russian Federation Council and Senate, with discussions touching on the Israeli attacks on Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

“Talks with Russian officials, however, were more focused on developing Russian support for the Palestinians, taking relations between Hamas and Moscow to new, advanced levels, and breaking the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007,” he added.

Head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar announced during a speech in Gaza on April 30 that the maritime line to break the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip will be inaugurated in the coming period in coordination with the “Jerusalem axis,” in reference to mainly Iran and Hezbollah — an axis that brings together interests and an alliance with Moscow on several international issues, most notably the Syrian conflict.

The Hamas delegation in Moscow also met with the head of the Iftaa Council in Russia, Sheikh Rawi Ein al-Dein, who affirmed the sympathy of Muslims in Russia with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel and said that they (Russian Muslims) would provide any possible assistance to the Palestinians, according to the Hamas source.

He added that the Hamas delegation also met with the leader of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, in Moscow, in the first such meeting between the two sides, which aimed to lay seeds for establishing ties between Hamas and Grozny, the capital city of Chechnya.

Commenting on how relations between Moscow and Hamas would evolve following this visit, the source said, “It is premature to talk about the form of this relationship, but things are very positive, and this visit will be repeated next month and will be followed by other visits.

He added that Moscow “is taking a more advanced position in looking after Palestinian interests.”

Walid al-Mudallal, a professor of political science at the Islamic University of Gaza, told Al-Monitor, “Moscow is very interested in developing new tools to influence its Western opponents regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.”

“Meanwhile, Hamas needs to strengthen relations and develop cooperation with Moscow as a superpower in the world. It finds the Russian-Ukrainian crisis an ideal opportunity to do so. Friendly relations between Moscow and Hamas will benefit both parties,” he added.

Mudallal indicated that Moscow’s tendency to develop relations with Hamas might prompt Tel Aviv to change its stance toward the war on Ukraine.

Mudallal said that it was not likely for relations between Moscow and Hamas to develop to the extent that Moscow would provide Hamas with weapons and money, adding, “Such support can be done in indirect ways, through Iran and Hezbollah, which have forged an alliance with Moscow in the face of the United States in many international issues, most notably the Syrian issue.”

Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced on April 19 that it had used for the first time the Soviet surface-to-air anti-aircraft Strela missiles to repel Israeli military jets.

Ibrahim Abu Jaber, director of the Center for Contemporary Studies in the city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, told Al-Monitor, “Tel Aviv is concerned about this visit,” stressing that any tremor in relations between Russia and Israel would play into the Palestinians’ hands.

Hamas has recently intensified its incitement rhetoric against Israel and encouraged the implementation of operations against Israeli targets in response to Israel’s escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

On May 2, Hamas claimed responsibility for the April 28 shooting at the entrance of the Ariel settlement near Salfit in the northern West Bank that killed one Israeli security guard.