Nuclear Power and Climate Change

WorldChanging has an excellent article on nuclear power today: Nuclear Power and Climate Change: Is Our Choice Glow or Cook?.

… Second, while more research needs to be done, it appears that nuclear energy is not all that climate-safe after all …

A particularly relevant post with all the talk of Australia-China agreements relating to uranium for nuclear power.

How big a blunder?

Mitch Ratcliffe: How big a blunder? How about 950 bombs, 19,000 dead and 95,000 wounded.

The White House is playing down the fact it lost 380 tons of high explosives. Apparently, it’s no big deal to the Bushies that they’ve let an ammunition dump that had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) prior to the war to be looted to the floorboards.

Beyond belief

Yep – that pretty much sums this up: “Some Iraqi nuclear facilities appear to be unguarded, and radioactive materials are being taken out of the country, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency reported after reviewing satellite images and equipment that has turned up in European scrapyards.”

Seems that it’s not only historical artifacts that are leaving the country…

Chomsky on the Imperial Grand Strategy

Barry very kindly gave me Noam Chomsky’s new book Hegemony or Survival for Christmas. I started reading it last night, and reading it has rekindled my anger about the Bush administrations blatant abuse of power and disregard for international law and institutions in their persuit of what Chomsky terms the “Imperial Grand Strategy”.

I am only into the second chapter, but already it seems that Chomsky backs up my view (previously stated here) that the Iraq war was waged primarily because Iraq did not have the capability to defend itself, and that includes a identified lack of WMD.

On page 17 he notes:

“The target of preventive war must have several characteristics:

  1. It must be virtually defenseless.
  2. It must be important enough to be worth the trouble.
  3. There must be a way to portray it as the ultimate evil and an imminent threat to our survival.

Iraq qualified on all counts. …”

Further, on page 38:

“[The US] will enthusiastically march on to attack Iraq, because [the US knows] that it is devastated and defenseless; but North Korea, though an even worse tyranny and vastly more dangerous, is not an appropriate target as long as it can cause plenty of harm.”

He also backs up the idea that US actions in Iraq have accellerated weapons proliferation, a point I have also hinted at previously.

On page 38 again:

“As the year 2002 drew to a close, Washington was teaching an ugly lesson to the world: if you want to defend yourself from us, you had better mimic North Korea and pose a credible military threat, in this case, conventional: artillery aimed at Seoul and at US troops near the DMZ.”

It is interesting reading so far.

More on Libya

CS Monitor: Carrot or stick: Which nudged Libya?.

The article starts with this hypothesis:

“Libya’s bid to rejoin the world community is sure to rekindle international debate over whether force or diplomacy is more effective in addressing the world’s rogue states and their promotion of terrorism or pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

The answer may be that the two together garner the best results.”

and then continues to explain how diplomacy has largely had the greatest impact in Libya. It’s a strange article in this respect, but is still a good read overall.

Hypocrasy in the extreme

Un-f&$^ing-believable – read this.

“Acting in the greatest secrecy, diplomats and weapons experts had been shown by the Libyan authorities evidence of a well advanced nuclear weapons programme in 10 sites as well as chemical weapon agents. Libya also disclosed that it was working to produce a nuclear fuel cycle to enrich uranium.

In a bid to end decades of isolation from the international community, the Libyans also admitted they possessed aerial bombs to drop chemical weapons, as well as stocks of nerve gas. Western weapons experts were given access to scientists working in dual use facilities and on missile research and development.

Government sources said Libya did not possess a nuclear weapon, but was on the way to developing one. Its programme, officials said, represented a threat to Europe, as well as the Middle East.”

Emphasis mine.

Where’s the war? Where’s the sanctions? In my mind this completely destroys any credibility that Bush or Blaire ever possibly, minisculy had on their justification for war with Iraq. Here is a middle-eastern country with known WMD capabilities and known intent to further develop them – and yet they choose to take a diplomatic approach. Further evidence, IMHO, that Iraq never had WMD capability (see here for a brief explanation of why I say that).

They’ve known this for nine months! The war on Iraq began in March. Let’s see – hey, that’s nine months ago. I can’t believe this… I’m not a fan of either the Bush or Blair adminstrations, but this has got to take the cake for blatant double-standards and hypocrisy and lies. Turf both of them out!

Oh – the good news is they’ve managed to convince Libya to stop developing the program and allow inspections. I had someone ask me today if there was an alternative to launching a war on Iraq. I responded that there were a number of things that could have been done to diffuse the situation and to create a safer world. This just proves the point.

The article concludes:

Mr Blair will be delighted by the Libyan move, as it becomes increasingly clear that the US- British Iraq survey group is failing to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He will be able to argue that his hardline stance on Iraq has at least forced Libya to come forward, and that he has not only used military means to bring rogue states into line.

Heh – talk about spinning the situation to political advantage. “Oh well, we were wrong about Iraq, but look, we have Saddam, and hey, Libya have come around too – so it was worth it”.

Arms control

I forgot to mention the other day in my post about City of God that Amnesty International in Australia is currently running campaign about the issue of small arms control. This press release from Amnesty outlines the issue in a little more detail.

The AIA action is part of a broader campaign calling for an arms trade treaty. It is no surprise to see Brazil’s president Lula on the home page. Brazil is one of seven countries to have already pledged support for the treaty.