Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Japanese Govt rams state secrets bill through lower house to cover up Nuclear Disasters at Fukushima

UPDATED: 2013 Nov 27th

Fukushiro Nukaga (top R), chairman of the lower house special committee, is surrounded by opposition lawmakers during a vote on a state secrets act at the parliament in Tokyo November 26, 2013. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

Source: Russia Today

Japan’s lower house has passed a heavy-handed state secrets act despite fears that it will have severe repercussions for state freedoms. Officials will now face a maximum punishment of ten years in prison if they are found to have leaked to the press.

Japan’s Diet (parliament) passed the bill, which is aimed at expanding the definition of a state secret and place increasing penalties upon anyone deemed a leaker. The move will apparently prevent media accessing information on four sensitive areas: defense, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and counter-espionage.

The information will be further divided into 23 types. Top officials from all departments would have the power to declare issues ‘secret’. The ‘secrets’ could then be kept classified for up to 60 years.

Journalists and other private sector parties could also receive up to five years imprisonment if they are found to be using ‘grossly inappropriate’ means to acquire information.

Such restrictions could spill over into the nuclear industry. The topic is particularly sensitive in the face of March 2011’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, which drove over 160,000 residents from their homes.

“Information on the vulnerability of nuclear power plants could be classified as special secrets, along with plans on how to guard the plants,” Yutaka Saito, a lawyer and a member of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations' task force on the bill, told Reuters

Protesters raise their fists as they shout slogans during a rally against the government's planned state secrets act in front of the parliament building in Tokyo November 26, 2013. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

If so, anyone who has blown the whistle from the inside to warn of the danger of nuclear power plants will be punished,”Saito said.

The bill was adopted through majority vote by the ruling coalition after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), New Komeito, and the Opposition Your Party all agreed to revisions last week to gain the votes of small conservative opposition parties.

The move comes despite overwhelming public opposition, and after members of opposition parties - including the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Japan Restoration Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the People's Life Party – said that insufficient debate had been conducted prior to the vote. Critics allege that changes to the bill were merely cosmetic, and requested that it not be brought to vote. Regardless, the legislation was approved after only a few hours worth of delay.

Protesters raise their fists as they shout slogans during a rally against the government's planned state secrets act in front of the parliament building in Tokyo November 26, 2013. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

Nearly 63 percent of respondents to a Kyodo news agency survey expressed concerns about the bill last week, and its discussion triggered protests by hundreds of people outside of parliament on Tuesday. Thousands gathered in a Tokyo park the previous week to rally against the bill.

“We revised the proposal as much as possible to address the concerns held by the public,” Gen Nakatani, an LDP director, said following the vote, while Atsushi Oshima, a DPJ director declared that it had been a “defeat for the legislative branch.”

The bill has now been sent to the Diet’s Upper House for consideration, where it will likely pass without any difficulty. The LDP and its junior partner hold a solid majority in both houses.

“Clearly, there will be a chilling effect on access to a wide range of information,”
said Meiji University law professor, Lawrence Repeta, said. “It is clearly aimed at news media to block reporting in a way that may be critical of the government on a wide range of sensitive issues,” he added.

Abe has stated that the law is vital in the development of a US-style National Security Council to coordinate foreign policy and security while negotiating with allies such as the US over the possible sharing of information.

“My biggest concern is that it would be more difficult for the people to see the government's decision-making process,” said Kyouji Yanagisawa, a former defense official who was in charge of national security in the Prime Minister's Office in 2004-2009. “That means we can't check how or where the government made mistakes, or help the government make a wise decision

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a lower house special committee on a state secrets act at the parliament in Tokyo November 26, 2013. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

Close up Footage of Fukushima Ruins – March 21 – 2011

Video Source: Russia Today

UPDATE: 2013 Nov 27th

Analysis on Unit 4, evidence on Unit 3, Plume-Gate highlights

Source Video: Patrick Henry

PDF: Leaked Documents - N.R.C. Official Transcript of Proceedings:
NRC Transcript – TEPCO relayed information Unit 4 SFP Dry – Walls collapsed and incapable of holding inventory – Unit 3 “everything else gone”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fed insider exposes giant central bank “easing” swindle

A former Federal Reserve official who helped the Central Bank manage its bond buying program, dubbed QE, has admitted that the program is a fraud.

By: Mike Whitney, CounterPunch

Source: Press TV

“This was a program (QE) that was devised to help mortgage lending in America…Instead, what we saw was massive Wall Street earnings.” Andrew Huszar, Bloomberg TV Interview

A former Federal Reserve official who helped the Central Bank manage its bond buying program, dubbed QE, has admitted that the program is a fraud. In a shocking op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Andrew Huszar apologized for his role in the Fed’s $1.25 trillion asset purchase program which he described as “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.”

So far, no one at the Fed has responded to the charges, nor has Congress or the Department of Justice (DOJ) taken steps to investigate allegations that the multi-trillion dollar program was not intended to help Main Street as announced, but to shore up flagging bank balance sheets and zombie financial institutions that would have defaulted without the Fed’s stealth welfare program.

Surprisingly, Huszar’s credibility has not yet been challenged nor his claim that he played a pivotal role in overseeing the program. As he notes in his confession, he was “managing what was at the heart of QE’s bond-buying spree-a wild attempt to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds in 12 months.” He was asked “to quarterback” the largest giveaway to Big Finance on record. The fact that his allegations have not prompted an thorough investigation of criminal malfeasance at the Fed boggles the mind and points to a justice system that makes no pretense of operating in the interests of the people it is supposed to serve.

Huszar admits that he left the Fed -where he’d worked for seven years- because he’d “witnessed the institution deferring more and more to Wall Street”, that is, implementing policies which only benefited the banks.

“I had come to believe that the Fed’s independence was eroding,” says Huszar. These feelings were reinforced when Huszar was asked to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities, which according to him, put the system at risk of another crash.

“We constantly risked driving bond prices too high and crashing global confidence in key financial markets,” he said. “We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing.” (“Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer“, Wall Street Journal)

The implication is clear, the Fed shrugged off its mandate of “price stability” and deliberately put the system at risk in order to assist its primary constituents, the banks.

It wasn’t long before Huszar figured out the program was a fake and that QE “wasn’t helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American. The banks were issuing fewer and fewer loans,” he said. “More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn’t getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash.” (WSJ)

This column (Mike Whitney - CounterPunch) has been making this same point for more than two years, that all the profits on the interest rate spreads were going to the banks. QE has not led to a credit expansion nor was it designed to do so. It is a lavish subsidy to the financial elites and deep pocket bondholders who control the political-economic system. Huszar’s testimony further underscores that point.

Huszar again: “From the trenches, several other Fed managers also began voicing the concern that QE wasn’t working as planned. Our warnings fell on deaf ears. In the past, Fed leaders-even if they ultimately erred-would have worried obsessively about the costs versus the benefits of any major initiative. Now the only obsession seemed to be with the newest survey of financial-market expectations or the latest in-person feedback from Wall Street’s leading bankers and hedge-fund managers.” (WSJ)

No one cared that QE was not stimulating credit, because that was not the objective. The real goal was to boost profits at the banks so they could offset the massive losses on their trove of mortgage-backed assets which dropped precipitously following the Crash of ’08 leaving them exposed to potential restructuring and nationalization. The $700 billion from the TARP bailout merely provided enough operating capital for the banks to continue to run their businesses. In contrast, QE was a strategy to drain the ocean of red ink from bank balance sheets and restore them to profitability. What mattered was profits. Profits at the expense of employment, profits at the expense of growth, profits at the expense the nation’s economic future. Profits, profits, profits. How can anyone fail to see that now?

Huszar again: “Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The final results confirmed that, while there had been only trivial relief for Main Street, the U.S. central bank’s bond purchases had been an absolute coup for Wall Street. The banks hadn’t just benefited from the lower cost of making loans. They’d also enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.” (WSJ)

See? It was an “absolute coup for Wall Street”…the “most profitable year ever.” In other words, QE was a transparent ripoff from the get go, and the Bernanke Fed orchestrated the entire affair.

And it didn’t stop there either, because the Fed launched three more versions of QE increasing its balance sheet by nearly $4 trillion while inflating asset bubbles in US Treasuries, equities, junk bonds, farmland, housing and financial assets across-the-board. The Fed has created a gigantic bubble in long-term Treasuries which threatens the world’s biggest and most liquid bond market and puts the dollar at risk of losing its position as the world’s reserve currency.

Huszar admits that the Fed’s actions have dealt a blow to the so called “free market” calling QE “the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history.” He also dispels the illusion that QE spurred growth in the real economy. (“Even by the Fed’s sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth.”) He also admits that the Wall Street banks are a cartel that’s been strengthened by the Fed’s actions. (“The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets.”) And, he also suggests that the Fed suffers from “regulatory capture”, that is, that monetary policy is shaped in a way that best advances the interests of the banks. (“I had come to believe that the Fed’s independence was eroding.”)

Huszar’s testimony leaves little doubt that QE is a P.R. scam designed to pull the wool over the publics eyes. While the Fed’s critics have always said that that was the case, Huszar is the first insider to confirm those claims and to denounce the program as a blatant bailout for the banks.

So where are the regulators? Where are the investigations? Where is the DOJ or the US Congress?

Where is the outrage?


Andrew Huszar – Confessions of a Quantitative Easer – Wall Street Journal
Original Post by: Mike Whitney (CounterPunch)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

TEPCO tries to Cover Up Nuclear Fuel Removal Problems at Fukushima

Remove TEPCO Before Removing Fuel

Video Source: Fairewinds Energy Education

Fairewinds has fielded a number of questions regarding the removal of the fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi. Today’s video shows Arnie debunking TEPCO’s animated film point by point, and highlights the issues TEPCO will have removing the fuel rods. TEPCO needs to be removed as the organization overseeing the cleanup of the site prior to the removal of the fuel rods.

Please visit the Fairewinds Energy Education website and consider donating at the following link: http://fairewinds.org/donate/

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shut down all nuclear power plants! – Dr. Helen Caldicott

Video Source: Russia Today

Dr Helen Caldicott answers questions on the effects of Radiation from the ongoing meltdowns at Fukushima Japan and the impending disaster that Japan & TEPCO will unleash on the Northern Hemisphere around the World with any error in the removal of nuclear material at Fukushima plant 4. TEPCO and the Japanese government are refusing any help by experts, and are playing with the future of life on our planet by their absolute arrogance and focus on financial cost rather than saving life.

Google Hangout with one of the most articulate and passionate advocates of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises Dr Helen Caldicott.

Important Links:

Dr Helen Caldicott – Official Website
Fairewinds Energy Education


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