Saturday, July 2, 2011

In the news:

On a slow news day, a few stories caught my eye:

Radioactive Waste Dumped in Open Pits Outside Los Alamos

To understand why a raging wildfire near the Los Alamos National Laboratory is a big deal, you must understand how wastes were disposed.

AP writes today:

Los Alamos Canyon runs past runs past the old Manhattan Project site in town and a 1940s era dump site where workers are near the end of a clean-up project of low-level radioactive waste. The World War II Manhattan Project developed the first atomic bomb, and workers from the era dumped hazardous and radioactive waste in trenches along six acres atop the mesa where the town sits.

But a report produced by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability found:

Approximately 18 million cubic feet of radioactive and chemical solid wastes onsite were disposed of since 1943. “All of the radioactive waste and most of the chemical waste have been buried on the mesas of Pajarito Plateau where LANL is located. Radioactive liquid wastes were discharged to the canyons, initially with little treatment.”

An estimated 899,000 curies of low-level transuranic [i.e. radioactive elements heavier than uranium, such as plutonium] wastes were buried at Los Alamos. It is difficult to estimate exactly the quantity of radionuclides buried onsite due to the inaccurate record keeping and alterations in the definitions of low-elevel waste in the intervening years. Disposal continues today in unlined pits and shafts, a practice declared illegal by the New Mexico Attorney General’s office in 2011...

No wonder people have warned that the trees and soil in the areas surrounding the Los Alamos Laboratory may themselves now be radioactive. See this and this.

A Terror Attack This Weekend? FBI Gearing Up For Possible July Fourth Incident

This is probably nothing, but worth a mention:

The threat matrix that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement closely monitor to guard against terror attacks has ticked up in recent weeks as groups such as al Qaeda eagerly try to regroup from a series of leadership losses, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, federal officials say.

Officials caution that there is no specific, credible threat of an impending attack as Americans head into the Fourth of July holiday, but their growing caution is evidenced by a series of recent bulletins they’ve sent local law enforcement.

One bulletin last week disclosed that evidence found in bin Laden’s possession in May, when he was killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan, indicated an interest in attacking Americans at major holiday gatherings, including Independence Day celebrations.
Another warned of Internet chatter that an al Qaeda affiliate had identified more than 40 prominent Americans the terrorist group wanted killed.

“There is a higher threat environment,” says Frances Fragos Townsend, a national security expert who advised George W. Bush on homeland security issues.

Was it a Political Conspiracy? Prosecutors Back Off From Their 'Iron-Clad' Case Against Strauss-Kahn

It actually is beginning to look like a political conspiracy for anyone who has followed this story.

The New York prosecutor has had to tell the judge that the police and prosecutors have lost confidence in their sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The judge has released DSK from house arrest and returned his bail and bond money.

The prosecutors say that the immigrant hotel maid lied to the police about the incident and about other things, and the police have revealed that the “victim” discussed with an imprisoned man the possibility of turning the case into extortion. According to the New York Times, the maid’s jailed confidant was among a number of people who had made multiple cash deposits totaling $100,000 to the maid’s bank account. The police now suspect that the maid has connections to illegal drugs and money laundering.

And this is where it gets real interesting:

With DSK’s reputation in tatters and DSK knocked out of the French presidential election and removed from the IMF, where he was beginning to raise questions about the establishment’s use of the IMF to bail out rich bankers on the backs of poor peasants, the “justice system” has done its work.

It is now safer for the authorities to release him than to risk a trial. The shrill bleating of the maid’s legal team signifies their agony at having lost their share of the hoped-to-be extorted millions now that a monetary settlement would clearly indicate obstruction of justice and prison for them all.

Those few who actually care about justice, not only for DSK and everyman, but also for the Greek, Spanish, Irish, and Portuguese people, can find comfort in the fact that apparently DSK had come to New York in order to speak with Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz about a more humane and democratic way to resolve the sovereign debt crisis in Europe than the one imposed by the private creditor banks.

Obviously, anyone who would consult with Stiglitz is perceived by the rich and powerful as a threat to their interest.

You don't have to look far to find even more intrigue in this whole case:

France abuzz with talk of comeback for Dominique Strauss-Kahn

News that the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was teetering electrifies French political circles, with his allies talking of him making a swift political comeback and possibly playing a role in next year's presidential elections.

Note this next sentence and then consider the possibility of conspiracy:

Before his arrest in May, Strauss-Kahn was widely predicted by polls as able to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election.


There was a sense that his Socialist Party had come almost full circle: from hopes of Strauss-Kahn winning next May's election, to shock at his arrest, to despair at his ordeal, back to shock, and now to new hope after claims that the woman who accused him of attempted rape may have lied.

And the story below adds yet another layer of interest:

First female IMF chief receives praise from former hometown of Chicago

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde made history Tuesday by becoming the first female managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and her appointment received wide praise in Chicago, where she once served as chairman of one of the world's largest law firms.

From Chicago huh? Hmmmm. That certainly is interesting isn't it.

Lagarde, 55, will officially take over the IMF post on July 5. But as the current finance minister of France and member of the influential G-20 ministers that coordinated the multi-billion dollars in bailouts around the world, she is familiar with the crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

With her victory, France maintains its 65-year stronghold of the IMF post. But it also followed controversy over the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn on allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York.

"The IMF desperately needs a stable leadership," Eichenbaum said. "She really does face the extraordinary challenge of making the IMF less Euro-American-centric and more inclusive."


Anonymous said...

Well well well, the truth always comes out eventually doesn't it? Chicago eh, makes perfect sense to me now!

Caver said...

It appears the fire is no longer a threat.....but the condition continues.

I spent more than a few years on a Government Nuclear reservation in Idaho. I never saw the type conditions alleged existed here. I did, however, hear of these type practices at other facilities where nowhere near the amount of oversight we had existed.

The type radioactive low level waste they discussed belonged in mulit layer concrete containment. Some of other waste they discussed belonged in huge multi layer reinforced concrete and other substance containers.....and normally buried. Some of this "stuff" needed to be in very safe underground dry storage areas.....and it apparently wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Dear God, You alone are our True King. You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no one like You! You were the King of your people, but they desired a humanly king. You told them what would happen and it has. Please forgive us Lord when we trust and worship others. Jess, call us back to You, when we stray. You set kings up and bring them down. Keep our eyes fixed on You, Jesus, during these days. Remind us that You will not leave us or forsake us. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, that You have given us. All glory and all power and all praise are Yours Lord!! In the name of Jesus, amen.

Anonymous said...

Oops! "Jess" should be Jesus, Thank you for all the sharing, support, and faith building in God's sovereignty that is expressed here! Looking forward to the day when we all will be together with Jesus in Heaven and in the new Jerusalem! --Sharon

Scott said...

Thanks for that Sharon! We always need to be reminded of the ultimate goal and what awaits us!

Alice said...

Yes, thank you, Sharon! That was beautiful! :)