Thursday, June 18, 2015

U.S.-Israel Alliance 'In Tatters', NATO Shows Its Teeth To Russia, Massive Radiation Plume From Fukushima Coming

Today, the headlines tell the story:

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, chose to give his book on that period in Washington the catchy title “Ally”. But this new memoir — an unprecedented case of a former public servant so quickly writing up sometimes intimate revelations on acutely sensitive core issues — does not describe an alliance at all.

The US-born former diplomat, who is now a Knesset member for the Kulanu party, notes in his foreword that the Hebrew term for “ally” is ben brit — literally “the son of the covenant.” And what he documents is actually the breaching of a covenant, the collapse of an alliance — an accumulated arc of abandonment by the Obama administration, and most especially the president himself, of Israel.

Oren’s style is not excitable or melodramatic. In fact, he writes in generally understated tone, with the measured sense of perspective you’d expect from a best-selling historian. So when he notes, as he does near the very end of the book, that last summer’s Israel-Hamas war left “aspects of the US-Israeli alliance in tatters,” you take him seriously, and you worry.

And when you read that Washington worked relentlessly to quash any military option for Israel, most especially in 2012 — arguably the last moment at which Israel could have intervened effectively to thwart Iran’s drive to the bomb (though Oren does not confirm this) — you sense that he has exposed the emptiness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s endless assertions that Israel will stand alone if necessary to stop a nuclear Iran. And you register, with all its grim repercussions, the realpolitik of a broken relationship with our key defender — the rupture that now leaves Israel vulnerable to an increasingly bold Islamist regime that avowedly seeks our annihilation.

So I’ll give you a bad scenario. If Hezbollah opens fire at us, we can’t neutralize them from the air. We’d have to send our army in. They’ve put at least 25,000 rockets in houses underground. We’re going to have to go into all those houses. You’re talking about a military operation that’s going to take months, involve many, many thousands of casualties. The army has put out its estimates of how many hundreds, if not thousands of rockets will be hitting us every day. We’ll not only need Iron Dome. We’ll need Diplomatic Iron Dome. Who’s going to protect us? Last summer we had a case where the administration held up supplies of vital munitions. We’re going to expend munitions; it’s not going to be a couple of weeks. These are hard questions.

Dozens of Nato landing craft churned through the Baltic’s grey waters. Further out at sea, huge warships – the US’s San Antonio, Britain’s Ocean and Poland’s Lublin – filled the horizon. On the beach, DVs – short for distinguished visitors – including the UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, were watching.
The landing craft, especially the mega hovercraft of the Americans, were monstrous, on a scale that would have awed D-day veterans. Eurofighter Typhoons flew overhead. Marines raced out to disappear into the woods. A reminder that even the most carefully planned operations can go wrong came when a Polish transport vessel sank, ignominiously, about 100ft from shore.
The mock landing at Ustka, Poland, on Wednesday was the climax of a two-week Nato exercise called Baltops. Forty-nine naval vessels from 17 countries and 5,900 personnel were involved in this major show of strength.

It was a dangerous game. One of Russia’s most important naval bases, Kaliningrad, is just over 100 miles to the east, and the Kremlin may view such exercises as a provocation at a time of heightened tension over the Ukraine crisis.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, this week announced plans to buy 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. The US, two years after pulling all its armour out of Europe, is preparing to send 250 tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery to bases in eastern Europe.

In recent days, Russian planes have been buzzing low over Nato ships, one just 500ft above the destroyer USS Jason Dunham, according to the US defence department. On Wednesday, Eurofighter Typhoons based in Estonia intercepted Russian military aircraft, bringing to 11 the number of interventions since they were deployed six weeks ago. Five of these have been in the last 10 days, coinciding with Baltops.

A US naval officer reported that Russian ships, too, had come “uncomfortably close” – less than a mile from the Nato flotilla. It is in international waters and the Russians have as much right as Nato to be there.

One of the contentious issues between Nato and Russia is a pact not to have permanent bases in eastern Europe. Nato has tried to get around this by stationing “rotational” troops in the Baltic states and Poland. They are there all-year round but Nato claims they are not permanent. Russia views this as semantics. 
“Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank,” said Gen Yuri Yakubov, responding to US plans for increased troops and equipment in eastern Europe. Among Russia’s options, Yabukov said, would be to deploy its new Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

Are we barrelling ahead toward a nuclear World War III with Russia? 
Recent headlines show us that tensions are increasing between Russia and the West almost daily and while Americans are focused on the economy, the strange unprecedented military movements throughout the country, disease, bird flu, the 2016 presidential candidates and a whole host of other issues, moves are being made by the U.S., NATO and Russia that should also be highlighted because any war between Russia and the West is guaranteed to become nuclear and wipe out a significant portion of the population.

Perhaps the most concerning statement comes from Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov when he said “A few days ago, reports started to turn up about certain [American] missiles put in a certain location and about certain ammunition depots in Eastern European countries and the Baltic. It looks like our colleagues from NATO member states are pushing us into an arms race.”
It won’t be an “arms race” it will be a slaughter with Russia boosting their nuclear arsenal and the US allowing ours to degrade to the point where we don’t even know what works and what doesn’t.
While it is important to keep our eyes on all the latest current news, disease, borders, politics, etc…. none of it will mean a thing if the US, via NATO, continues to march us all into World War III…. because a nuclear war will have no winners, just millions upon million of dead bodies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance was increasing its pressure on Russia by massively boosting the deployment of troops and military assets in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
In a huge show of strength, NATO — which has opened its doors to the former Warsaw Pact states of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia since 1999 — is continuing to build up its capabilities in the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
"NATO is facing a new security environment, both caused by violence, turmoil, instability in the south — ISIL in Iraq, Syria, North Africa — but also caused by the behaviour of a more assertive Russia, which has used force to change borders, to annex Crimea and to destabilize eastern Ukraine," Stoltenberg told reporters.

His comments came as allied forces took part in an amphibious assault on a beach near Ustka in northern Poland, as part of naval exercise BALTOPS. The mock attack, aimed at defeating enemy forces occupying the coast, was commanded by the British ship HMS Ocean and the American USS San Antonio.
More than 15,000 troops from 22 nations are also taking part in operation Allied Shield, a series of exercises designed to test the strength and readiness of NATO and allied armed forces.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stoltenberg and Gen. Breedlove, the head of US European Command and NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe said: "We are in Poland this week to meet and see allied forces take part in Exercise Noble Jump, the first deployment of NATO's new Very High Readiness 'Spearhead Force'.

"Allied Shield will demonstrate that NATO is able to deploy combat forces anywhere within NATO's territory within days should a crisis break out or if allies are threatened," the NATO pair said.

"Moreover, the Spearhead Force is exactly that: the tip of the spear. Behind it lies the NATO Response Force, which allies have agreed to more than double in size over the coming months. It will consist of more than 30,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and aircrew, ready to reinforce allies or defend our security interests wherever needed," they said

By 2016, nearly as much radiation from the Fukushima disaster will have reached the North American West Coast as was initially scattered over Japan during the nuclear explosions, according to professor Michio Aoyama of Japan's Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity.

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple nuclear meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A massive cloud of radiation was ejected into the atmosphere, settling all across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.

Approximately 800 terabecquerels' worth of cesium-137 (Cs-137) alone is expected to reach North America by next year, accounting for just 5 percent of the Cs-137 spilled into the ocean as a result of the disaster.

Radioactive cesium does not naturally occur on planet Earth and is found only as a result of human nuclear activities. Cs-137 is widely considered one of the most dangerous byproducts of nuclear activity, because it mimics the activity of potassium and therefore accumulates in soil and plants, and is actively taken up by the human body.

Aoyama says that approximately 3,500 terabecquerels' worth of Cs-137 have been released into the sea from the Fukushima plant since March 2011, plus an additional 1.2 to 1.5 terabecquerels that was first released into the air but later fell into the sea. Based on measurements of the pace at which the Cs-137 has been moving eastward, Aoyama recently calculated that 800 terabecquerels would reach the West Coast of North America by next year.

Notably, 800 terabecquerels is nearly as much as (80 percent of) the 1,000 terabequerels that Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says fell over Japan following the disaster.

In April, researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announced that they had detected traces of Cs-134 in waters collected at the shores of Vancouver Island. Because this isotope has a half-life of only two years, the only likely source of this contamination is from the Fukushima disaster.

Based on this and other studies, Aoyama said that the 800 terabecquerels he has predicted might already have arrived at North American shores.

Media coverage of Aoyama's statements noted that Cs-137 levels measured at U.S. beaches were "only" 1 to 2 becquerels per cubic meter, and should therefore not pose health risks. However, this may be because the bulk of the radioactive material has not yet reached U.S. shores. Measurements taken a little farther off the California coast returned readings of 6.9 becquerels per cubic meter for Cs-137 and 1.7 bequerels per cubic meter for Cs-134, for a total of 8.6. Similarly, the Woods Hole study -- which took place on Canadian, not U.S., shores -- returned total readings of 7.2 becquerels per cubic meter.

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