US taking on Pacific Wars

 SOURCE: Jon Letman (
SUBHEAD: US military must be ready for multi-domain battle with in Pacific tomorrow.

By Sidney Greenberg Jr on 31 January 2017 for Breaking Defense -

Image above: Land-based missiles could form a risky virtual wall against Chinese aggression in Pacific. Graphic by CSBA. From (

[IB Publisher's note: We here in Hawaii are the rehearsal stage for this new and more aggressive "posture" towards the western Pacific.]

With one eye on China and another on North Korea, US Army Pacific is injecting cyber warfare and new joint tactics into every wargame it can.

At least 30 forthcoming exercises — culminating in the massive RIMPAC 2018 — will train troops on aspects of Multi-Domain Battle, the land Army’s effort to extend its reach into the other “domains” of air, sea, space, and cyberspace.

Meanwhile, USARPAC simulations of the concept test near-future weapons such as ship-killer missiles and cruise missile-killing cannon.

“The big advantage we have in the Pacific is we’ve got a boss that is pushing us,” said Gen. Robert Brown, the USARPAC commander, during a visit to Washington last week. That’s Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris, a fan of Multi-Domain Battle. Harris has got PACOM’s components — Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine — working together as Brown has never seen before, the general said.

There’s a real sense of urgency on Multi-Domain Battle in the Pacific, too Brown told the Center for a New American Security. “This isn’t something 10 years from now,” he said. “If Kim Jong-un goes south tomorrow, I will need some of this tomorrow.”

A land war in North Korea is Gen. Brown’s top concern. That’s where the US Army has stood ready to “fight tonight” since 1953.

But Pyongyang’s investments in nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, drones, cyber attack, and special forces might make a second Korean War murderously more complex than the first. That type of threat drives much of Multi-Domain Battle’s emphasis on air, missile, and cyber defense.

Further south rises the new threat of a naval war with China. Today that’s primarily the Navy’s problem, with the Marines and Air Force in important supporting roles, while the Army plays an essential but unglamorous part in running supply lines and communications for all four services.

But with Adm. Harris’s enthusiastic urging, Multi-Domain Battle envisions ground-based batteries of anti-aircraft, anti-missile, and anti-ship weapons, supported by long-range sensors and jammers, that can strike targets well out to sea. Islands defended by such Army batteries (or Marine Corps outposts) could serve as unsinkable anvils, with the Navy and the Air Force as the highly mobile hammers.

Image above: Punisher unmanned ground vehicle follows soldiers during the PACMAN-I experiment in Hawaii. From original article.

The goal is “a Multi-Domain Battle task force that can provide ballistic missile defense, short-range air defense, cyber, (and) can be mobile and protect itself,” Brown said.

“It is nice to have longer range and be able to affect other domains. It’s, in many cases, a game changer,” Brown told me after his public talk. “In our early tabletops and experimentation and … it has made a difference.” The long-term goal, he said, is to incorporate these new technologies into real-world exercises.

There are lots of things the Army needs to buy. “Number one is Electronic Warfare (EW),” Brown said, detecting, jamming, and deceiving enemy sensors and communications while protecting one’s own. The general envisions “thousands” of cheap decoys generating signals to hide the true locations of Army radars, for example.

Another priority is Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD), made newly relevant in the age of drones. Both SHORAD and EW suffered massive cutbacks after 1991 and will take years to recover.

But there is plenty the Army can do right now to train itself for Multi-Domain Battle, said Brown. “I never had to worry about cyber (as a young officer),” Brown said. “A company commander from just a few years ago never had to worry that much about cyber, never had to worry that much about space (or) the sea.”

Now USARPAC is adding those other domains to what had been land-only exercises. Army officers must manage liaisons from the other services, coordinate operations across domains, and deal with cyber threats. Making the most of these new tools requires new training and a new mindset, Brown said: “Some of the older leaders in the military would say we need to go back to the basics, but the basics have changed.”

Image above: A soldier holds a PD-100 mini-drone during the PACMAN-I experiment in Hawaii. From original article.

Leadership for the Digital Age
How many domains — land, sea, air, space, cyberspace, electromagnetic, human — can a commander manage at once? “There’s a fine line where you don’t want to overload them too much,” Brown acknowledged, “but I think the younger guys can handle it easily. The folks that are overloaded are the old thinkers, the old guys, those of us forty and above, and we tend to slow them down like crazy.”

That said, the young digital natives have weaknesses of their own. “I’ve had aides, that, when they couldn’t use their app on the phone, they couldn’t navigate their way out of a paper bag,” Brown said.

So Army training exercises increasingly kick away the digital crutch. Just as one of Brown’s units, the Alaska-based 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, was about to launch its main offensive at the National Training Center, “the world-class cyber OPFOR (Opposing Force) took out all their coms,” he said. “They had to go back to manual means….It was painful.”

Even when they do have access to all their digital tools, the younger generation have a lower tolerance for frustration and failure, Brown said, and they need older mentors to help them gain perspective. “This generation is more afraid of failure than I’ve ever seen, (because) when they fail, it goes everywhere,” he said. “It’s on Facebook, it’s on Twitter.”

That same glut of digital data makes a difference on the battlefield. “When I was young , the fog of war was not enough information,” Brown recalled. “What’s the fog of war now? Too much information.”

13 years ago, then-Colonel Brown took command of one of the Army’s newly created Stryker brigades, the first units designed from the ground up to exploit wireless networks and computerized command and control.

At first, Brown’s staff would get carried away by their marvelous new technology and drown him in “stacks” of data — when he might have 15 minutes to make a decision. Brown and his officers had to retrain themselves to themselves to winnow through information, not just harvest it.

The Stryker experience gave also gave Brown a new appreciation for initiative. After he ditched his initial “very prescriptive” orders and let his company commanders experiment with the new unit, “we learned a ton from that,” he told me. “I can remember experts sitting there saying, ‘No! You can’t do that!

You can’t use that engineer Stryker that way!’… and then they’d go, ‘Oh, I guess you can.'”
Such bottom-up improvisation became a necessity amidst the guerrilla warfare of Afghanistan an Iraq — a cultural revolution in the chronically bureaucratic Army — and is now a central tenet of Multi-Domain Battle. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley has even said soldiers must develop “the willingness to disobey specific orders.”

“To be effective in multiple domains, it’s tough…PhD-level work,” said Brown. “You have to have people who you can empower to be effective. You cannot use command and control.” In fact, the Army has formally abandoned the traditional term “command and control,” which emphasized superiors enforcing subordinates’ compliance to orders.

The new doctrine of “mission command” instead emphasizes superiors inculcating a shared vision of the mission and unleashing subordinates’ creativity to accomplish it. “We changed our leadership philosophy,” said Brown, “and that is a key part of multi-domain battle.”

Embracing initiative this way is a competitive advantage for Americans, Brown said.  On a recent trip to China to visit the People’s Liberation Army, he was very impressed in many ways: “Very tough soldiers, amazing equipment,” and in some areas, such as electronic warfare and long-range weapons, “they have surpassed us.”

But the crucial difference is that “they cannot empower their non-commissioned officers or soldiers the way we do,” Brown said. “I maintain that an E-5 Sergeant, the lowest-level sergeant in our Army, does what a colonel does in their army, and better.”

See also:
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Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai and Niihau endangered 9/24/16 
Ea O Ka Aina: DLNR responsibility on RIMPAC 7/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Oceans4Peace Pacific Pivot Panel 6/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean 4 Peace Events 6/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Prepare for RIMPAC 2016 War in Hawaii 5/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to "take" millions of mammals 5/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: US court RIMPAC Impact decision 4/3/15
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 Impact Postmortem 10/22/1
Ea O Ka Aina: Marines backing off 8/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Unproved Osprey on Kauai 8/21/12
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: 21st Century Energy Wars 7/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot - An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13 
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again  9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy license to kill 10/27/12 
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security - One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: De-colonizing the Pacific 5/21/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC to Return in 2010 5/2/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/15/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04 


Mystery radiation spikes in Europe

SUBHEAD: Someone out there knows why the radioactivity was spread over large areas of Europe.

By Admin on 20 Februry 2017 for ENE News -

Image above: Map by IRSN of locations of where radioactive Iodine-131 has been detected and  revealed to public. From (

The Aviationist on 19 February 2017 
U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 nuclear sniffer aircraft to UK as spike of radioactive Iodine levels is detected in Europe…

Along with monitoring nuke testing, the WC-135 is used to track radioactive activity as happened after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986 and Fukushima incident back in 2011…

As of yet, there has been no official statement from the U.S. military about the reasons why such nuclear research aircraft was deployed there. However, many sources suggest the aircraft was tasked with investigating the spike in Iodine levels detected in northern Europe since the beginning of January… no one seems to know the reason behind the released Iodine-131…

Barents Observer on 19 February 2017

Radioactive Iodine-131 of unknown origin was in January detected over large areas in Europe. Since the isotope has a half-life of only eight days, the detection is a proof of a rather recent release.

Where the radioactivity is coming from is still a mystery… Iodine-131 in the air could come from an incident with a nuclear reactor…

Someone out there knows why the radioactivity was spread over large areas of Europe… Nuclear installations [where] radioactivity was first discovered, includes nuclear power plants in Finland, Sweden and Russia…

The source could as well come from even further away installations.

IRSN (French Nuclear Safety Institute) on 13 February 2017
Iodine-131 (131I), a radionuclide of anthropogenic origin, has recently been detected in tiny amounts in the ground-level atmosphere in Europe.

The preliminary report states it was first found during week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway. Iodine-131 was also detected in Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January. Iodine-131 is a radionuclide with a short half-life (T1/2 = 8.04 day).

The detection of this radionuclide is proof of a rather recent release… the origin of which is still unknown… Lead-210 [concentration detected by IRSN peaked at 1600 µBq/m3 in January, four times higher than the usual mean value]… It must be pointed out that only particulate iodine was reported.

When detectable, gaseous iodine is usually dominant and can be estimated to be 3 to 5 times higher than the fraction of particulate iodine. In France, particulate 131I reached 0.31 µBq/m3 and thus the total (gaseous + particulate fractions) can be estimated at about 1.5 µBq/m3.


Fumbling towards Collapse

SUBHEAD: We need no more McHousing subdivisions, and other accoutrements of our fast zombifying mode of existence.

By James Kunstler on 20 February 2017 for -

Image above: Toronto suburbs during zombie apocalypse from the remake of is 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. From (

In all the smoke and fog emitted by Trump and his adversaries, it must be hard to make out the actual issues dogging this society, and even when you can, to find a coherent position on them.

This was nicely illustrated in Paul Krugman’s fatuous column in Monday’s New York Times, “On Economic Arrogance” — the title describes Krugman’s own attitude to a T.

In it, Krugman attempts to account for the no-growth economy by marshaling the stock-in-trade legerdemain of academic economics: productivity, demographics, and labor metrics.

Krugman actually knows zip about what afflicts us in the present disposition of things, namely the falling energy-return-on-energy-investment in the oil industry, which is approaching the point where the immense activity of getting oil out of the ground won’t be worth the cost and trouble of doing it.

And since most of the things we do and produce in this economy are based on cheap oil — with no reality-based prospect of replacing it with so-called “renewables” or as yet undiscovered energy rescue remedies — we can’t generate enough wealth to maintain anything close to our assumed standard of living.

We can’t even generate enough wealth to pay the interest on the debt we’ve racked up in order to hide our growing energy predicament.

And that, in a nutshell, is what will blow up the financial system. And when that department of the economy goes, the rest will follow.

So, the real issue hidden in plain sight is how America — indeed all the so-called “developed” nations — are going to navigate to a stepped-down mode of living, without slip-sliding all the way into a dark age, or something worse.

By the way, the Ole Maestro, Alan Greenspan, also chimed in on the “productivity” question last week to equally specious effect in this Business Insider article.

None of these celebrated Grand Viziers knows what the fuck he’s talking about, and a nation depending on their guidance will find itself lost in a hall of mirrors with the lights off.

So, on one side you have Trump and his trumpets and trumpistas heralding the return of “greatness” (i.e. a booming industrial economy of happy men with lunchboxes) which is not going to happen; and on the other side you have a claque of clueless technocrats who actually believe they can “solve” the productivity problem with measures that really only boil down to different kinds of accounting fraud.

You also have an American public, and a mass media, who do not question the premise of a massive “infrastructure” spending project to re-boot the foundering economy. If you ask what they mean by that, you will learn that they uniformly see rebuilding our highways, bridges, tunnels, and airports.

Some rightly suspect that the money for that is not there — or can only be summoned with more accounting fraud (borrowing from our future).

But on the whole, most adults of all political stripes in this country think we can and should do this, that it would be a good thing.

And what is this infrastructure re-boot in the service of? A living arrangement with no future. A matrix of extreme car dependency that has zero chance of continuing another decade.

More WalMarts, Target stores, Taco Bells, muffler shops, McHousing subdivisions, and other accoutrement of our fast-zombifying mode of existence?

Isn’t it obvious, even if you never heard of, or don’t understand, the oil quandary, that we have shot our wad with all this? That we have to start down a different path if we intend to remain human?

It’s not hard to describe that waiting world, which I’ve done in a bunch of recent books. We’re going there whether we like it or not. But we can make the journey to it easier or harsher depending on how much we drag our heels getting on with the job.

History is pretty unforgiving. Right now, the dynamic I describe is propelling us toward a difficult reckoning, which is very likely to manifest this spring as the political ineptitude of Trump, and the antipathy of his enemies, leaves us in a constitutional maelstrom at the very moment when the financial system comes unglued.

Look for the debt ceiling debate and another Federal Reserve interest rate hike to set off the latter.

There may be yet another converging layer of tribulation when we start blaming all our problems on Russia, China, Mexico, or some other patsy nation. It’s already obvious that we can depend on the Deep State to rev that up.


USMC contaminates Okinawa bases

SUBHEAD: Reports suggest lax safety standards have caused many of the incidents on US Marine camps there.

By Job Mitchell on 19 February 2107 for Truth Out -

Image above: Lance Cpl. Ryan Yancey radios his team during a joint-training-exercise at the Central Training Area, Camp Hansen. it is the largest live fire land range on Okinawa, the base has been a constant cause of concern for local residents due to forest conflagrations and stray rounds. Photo by Lance Cpl. Kelsey M. Dornfeld, US Marine Corps. From original article.

Since 2002, at least 270 environmental accidents on U.S. Marine Corps bases on Okinawa have contaminated land and local waterways but, until now, almost none of these incidents has been made public.

U.S. Marine internal reports highlight serious flaws in training and suggest that the lessons of past accidents have not been effectively implemented. Moreover, recent USMC guidelines order service members not to inform Japanese authorities of accidents deemed "politically sensitive", raising concerns that many incidents may have gone unreported.

Catalogued in 403 pages of USMC handbooks and reports obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the accidents occurred on three of the USMC's most important installations on Okinawa: MCAS Futenma, Camp Hansen and Camp Schwab. The earliest report is dated June 2002 and the most recent June 2016.

Although the original FOIA request sought documents from 1995 to 2016, only three reports were released for the period between 1995 and 2005. Likewise, no reports for Camp Schwab were released for the years 2008 and 2010, nor were there any documents related to the crash of an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter on Camp Hansen in August 2013. At the time, the crash caused a public outcry because it occurred near a dam and dangerous levels of arsenic were later discovered in the vicinity. [1]

According to the documents that were released, between 2005 and 2016 MCAS Futenma experienced 156 accidents resulting in the release of 14,003 liters of fuels (including jet fuels and diesel). Between 2004 and 2016, Camp Hansen experienced 71 accidents, including the leak of 2596 liters of fuels and other substances such as 678 liters of antifreeze. Between 2002 and 2016, Camp Schwab experienced 43 incidents, involving 2628 liters of fuel; in 2002, there was a 4024-liter spill of mixed water/POL (Petroleum, Oils And Lubricants) -- one of the largest of the recorded accidents.

Of the 270 accidents, it appears that only 6 were reported to Japanese authorities -- 3 of which because the USMC required the help of local emergency services to clean up.

Environmental accident handbooks from 2013 and 2015 reveal that USMC staff are under orders not to inform Japanese officials of "non-emergency and/or politically sensitive incidents."

Only when an accident is deemed an emergency that poses a threat to people, drinking water or the environment off base, are Marine staff permitted to notify Japanese authorities. The decision whether to classify an incident as "politically sensitive" is left in the hands of the USMC.

On October 28, Defense Minister Inada Tomomi, said she would seek clarification on the policy from the U.S. military and she would press them to report spills promptly to local authorities.[2]

At the time of publication of this article, the government of Japan had made no updates on the issue.

U.S. Forces Japan spokesman Maj. John Severns defended the policy: "The decision to notify ODB (Okinawa Defense Bureau) is made by USFJ in accordance with Joint Committee agreements," Severns wrote by email. "These agreements with the Government of Japan describe what situations require notification."

Even when the USMC decides to report incidents to the Japanese authorities, the FOIA-released documents reveal discrepancies about what is told Tokyo.

In June, 2016 an accident on MCAS Futenma resulted in the spill of 6908 liters of aviation fuel. The internal accident report suggests the accident was due to human error, however Japanese authorities were informed it occurred because of a "valve misalignment."

Moreover, although USFJ told Japanese authorities the spill had been dealt with "immediately", the documents reveal it wasn't fully under control until the following day. USFJ did not inform the Japanese government of the scale of the incident, which ultimately necessitated the disposal of 11 208-liter drums of contaminated earth and 3028 liters of contaminated water.

After the accident, an inside source slammed the safety standards of the USMC at Futenma. The expert explained that the cause of the accident was marines overriding a safety solenoid with a plastic tie.

"Such accidents are typical of the U.S. Marines. To put it bluntly, their work is lazy and they act stupidly," he says.

The expert, who has been working for more than 10 years on U.S. installations in Japan, provided a 12-second video of the spill. Large volumes of fuel can be seen pouring out of a vent in the side of the grass-covered storage tank, pooling on the ground and running into a storm drain.

In March 2009, a similar accident had occurred at the same fuel tank. That incident involved fuel initially estimated by the marines at 3,028 liters but later revised down to 757 liters. The fact that the accident was allowed to happen highlights serious flaws in the training of marines, says the insider.

He also expressed grave concerns about what would happen if a fire broke out in MCAS Futenma's fuel storage areas. The installation, he says, is not adequately equipped to deal with such a conflagration and the fire-fighting capabilities at MCAS Futenma are "very poor."

Severns said he was unable to "respond to vague and unsourced comments."

Although the June spill apparently did not escape the base, other incidents did. Among the accidents which polluted off-base communities but went unreported to the Japanese government was a 946-liter diesel spill at Camp Schwab in September 2005 caused by contractors who accidentally severed a fuel line during construction work. The spill, unnoticed for four days, contaminated 120 meters of river with diesel, which in some stretches lay 5 cm deep upon the water's surface.

On-base rivers flow into the nearby bay, an area categorized as the highest priority by Okinawa Prefecture in its list of places requiring environmental protection.

On Camp Hansen in November 2008, a marine hosed down a heavy equipment parking area, washing an estimated 4 liters of "unknown POLs" (pollutants) into drains which then flowed "off base close to the Japanese elementary school."

On Camp Hansen, in May 2010, 606 liters of antifreeze spilled at a motor pool resulting in an unknown amount flowing into the ocean.

Among the incidents at MCAS Futenma, three spilled a total of 2669 liters of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). One incident in 2007 leaked 757 liters of which 189 liters went off the base "into a short creek, then immediately into a cave."

Hydraulic fluid spills within MCAS Futenma totaled 405 liters.

Both AFFF and hydraulic fluid can contain perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), a substance linked to cancer, damage to the immune system and harm to fetuses and infants. Recent reports in the U.S. media have revealed that the military may have been aware of the dangers of PFOS since 1979 and in 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned it might be carcinogenic.[3]

Tests for PFOS contamination have been conducted on military installations throughout the States and U.S. Army Garrison in Ansbach, Germany. In May, the EPA set its drinking water health advisory limit for PFOS at 70 nanograms per liter.[4]

In February, at a spring near MCAS Futenma, PFOS levels of 80 nanograms per liter were recorded.[5]

Near Kadena Air Base, local checks on the Dakujaku River have discovered levels of PFOS as high as 1320 nanograms per liter and, at Chatan Water Purification Plant, 80 nanograms per liter.[6]

USFJ says there are no plans for the military to conduct checks for PFOS on Okinawa.

In April, a previous investigation revealed the damage that Kadena Air Base, the largest USAF installation in Asia, has been causing the island's drinking water supplies. Between 1998 and 2015, there were at least 415 accidents, only a fraction of which were reported to the Japanese government.[7]

When the investigation was published, the Japanese government made no public comment. However USFJ emails obtained under the FOIA show that the coverage prompted the MOD and MOFA to demand the U.S. military hand over the 8700-plus pages of documents upon which the articles had been based.

The latest release of papers related to Futenma, Schwab and Hansen suggest lax safety standards have caused many of the incidents.

In June 2002, a spill involving 4024 liters of mixed POL and water occurred at Camp Schwab's bilge water treatment facility. The follow-up investigation slammed supervising officers for failing to monitor the marines' work and, after the accident was discovered, for pretending not to know what had happened. The marines, according to the report, were responsible for the "release of a known hazardous material onto areas that feed public waterways."

Subsequent incidents suggest the USMC failed to improve training procedures at Camp Schwab.
An April 2009 report describes how a marine, untrained to operate the vehicle he was driving, caused an accident which spilled hydraulic fluid along 200 meters of on-base road and into the ocean. Members of the Okinawa Defense Bureau witnessed the accident but apparently did not notify the Japanese government.

More recently, in May, 1060 litres of fuel spilled within a storage area on Camp Schwab. Investigators linked the accident to environmental officers' failure to provide the marines in their charge with necessary training.

Perhaps more worryingly are comments contained in a June 2009 investigation revealing serious flaws in the base's oil water separators (OWS). A key component of the environmental protection infrastructure of airports, factories and military bases, OWS prevents substances such as fuels and solvents from leaking into the environment.

The 2009 report blamed a leak of fuel into the sea on the failure of Schwab's OWS and stated that they "do not work" in heavy rain. If accurate, the assessment raises serious concerns for the installation particularly given the propensity for torrential precipitation in the Yambaru jungles where Schwab is situated.

U.S. Forces Japan denied that the problem could damage the local environment. "It is a known characteristic of oil-water separators that they are less effective during heavy rainfall," Severns wrote. "Our engineers are aware of this and take it into account when designing our remediation systems."

 Other reports reveal the careless storage of chemicals on Camp Hansen. One incident in December 2011 involved 7 kg of calcium hypochlorite bleach powder transported to Okinawa following joint U.S.-Australia war games. Sloppily stored in a shipping container, some of the chemicals began to react with the air, injuring a marine who opened the container's door.

Despite the injury and the fact that the container's paperwork had not been filled out, the USMC supervisor failed to report the incident. One month later, after superior officers were finally notified, the base declared the situation an emergency and called in a Hazmat team from the local Japanese fire department to clean up the spill site. The empty shipping container was subsequently transported to USMC Camp Kinser, Urasoe City.

Recently Camp Kinser has been at the focus of environmental concerns. In the 1970s, the base, then run by the U.S. Army and known as Machinato - or Makiminato - Service Area, contained an outdoor storage yard for chemicals returned from the Vietnam War.

According to military reports, these substances, including herbicides and solvents, contaminated the soil with heavy metals and the pesticide chlordane, which seeped into the sea, killing large numbers of fish.[8]

Last year, tests conducted by Urasoe City on a river adjacent to Camp Kinser found sediment contaminated with the same toxins, suggesting that the base continues to suffer from serious contamination. Likewise, wildlife caught near the base has repeatedly been found to contain high levels of pollution.[9]

USFJ refuses to make public current on-base environmental data for Camp Kinser.

Contamination at MCAS Futenma has also alarmed local residents. In the early 1980s, the USMC discovered elevated chemical readings in storm water flowing from the base. When maintenance crews investigated, they discovered more than 100 barrels of unknown chemicals, some painted with the tell tale orange stripes of U.S. military defoliants.

Following the discovery, senior officers ordered the clandestine removal of the barrels for disposal elsewhere. In 2015, Lt. Col. Kris Roberts, the marine in charge of the crew that discovered the barrels, was awarded compensation by the U.S. government for exposure to toxic chemicals.[10]

MCAS Futenma
Located smack-dab in the middle of Ginowan City, Okinawa's most controversial base -- often dubbed the most dangerous in the world -- is surrounded by homes, schools and hospitals. In 1996, to placate public fury following the gang rape of a 12-year old girl by three service members from Camp Hansen, Washington and Tokyo agreed to close MCAS Futenma. But that plan has stalled due to insistence that USMC operations be moved to a new base near Camp Schwab -- a decision opposed by the Okinawan government and the majority of Okinawans. In 2004, the crash of a USMC helicopter into the neighboring Okinawa International University only increased demands for MCAS Futenma's closure.

Size: 4.8 sq km (including a 2.8km runway) Land-owners: 3,818
Japanese base workers: 208 U.S. service members: Classified

USMC Camp Schwab
 Named after Battle of Okinawa hero, Albert E. Schwab, and built upon a former civilian internment camp, the remains of approximately 300 Okinawans still lie within the base. During the Cold War, the installation and its adjacent arsenal, stored nuclear warheads and, veterans say, a large cache of Agent Orange. Today live fire training and sea drills are held here. The proposed site for operations relocated from MCAS Futenma, the USMC envisages a new base with twin runways and a deepwater port. The Japanese government contends the environmental impact will be minimal but many Okinawans -- Governor Takeshi Onaga included -- argue that the millions of tons of landfill will cause irrevocable damage to the sea.

Size: 20.6 sq km Landowners: 752
Japanese base workers: 242 US service members: Classified

USMC Camp Hansen
 Home to the sprawling Central Training Area and the largest live fire land range on Okinawa, the base has been a constant cause of concern for local residents due to forest conflagrations and stray rounds. Until 1997, exercises fired ordinance over Prefectural Route 104 where a much-photographed sign warned drivers to be careful of overhead projectiles. In 2013, a helicopter crashed within the base near a dam but local government officials were denied access to check for contamination.

Size: 51.1 sq km Land-owners: 3,169
Japanese base workers: 576 US service members: Classified

1. "High levels of arsenic found at Okinawa chopper crash site," Japan Times, February 18, 2014. Available here.
2. Comments were reported by The Okinawa Times -- 緊急通報手順 米側に照会中 -- on October 29, 2016.
3. "Air Force studies dating back decades show danger of foam that contaminated Colorado Springs-area water," The Gazette, October 23, 2016. Available here.
4. "Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS," Environmental Protection Agency. Available here.
5. For example, see 普天間飛行場周辺でもPFOS検出 沖縄県が調査, Okinawa Times, February 25, 2016. Available here.
6. Jon Mitchell, "FOIA Documents: Drunk US Marine's 2015 dump of toxic foam among accidents polluting Okinawa water supply", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 7, No. 3, April 1, 2016. Available here.
7. Jon Mitchell, "Contamination at Largest US Air Force Base in Asia: Kadena, Okinawa", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 9, No. 1, May 1, 2016. Available here.
8. Jon Mitchell, "FOIA Documents Reveal Agent Orange Dioxin, Toxic Dumps, Fish Kills on Okinawa Base. Two Veterans Win Compensation, Many More Denied", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 39, No. 1, October 5, 2015. Available here.
9. See for example ハブから再びPCB キンザー周辺 DDT類も検出, Ryukyu Shimpo, January 21, 2017. Available here.
10. Mitchell, October 5, 2015.
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jon Mitchell is a Welsh journalist based in Japan. He is the author of Tsuiseki: Okinawa no Karehazai (Chasing Agent Orange on Okinawa) (Koubunken 2014) and a visiting researcher at the International Peace Research Institute of Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo. Mitchell is an Asia-Pacific Journal contributing editor.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Oura Bay Being Destroyed 2/6/17
Ea O Ka Aina: MV-22 Osprey landing at Salt Pond 2/5/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan's Anger is Past its Limit 6/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa an American Protectorate 10/30/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fear and Hope in Oura Bay 1/27/15
Ea O Ka Aina: "Sit on Sea" Free Movie Sunday 9/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawans wish US military gone 4/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa mayor caves to US military 4/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan struggles with Okinawa base  4/6/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/17/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 9/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/15/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04  


DAPL fight not over yet

SUBHEAD: Trump may have approved the Dakota Access Pipeline, but the fight is far from over.

By Staff on 18 February 2017 for Russia Times -

Image above: Aerial photo of Standing Rock NoDAPL campsite that North Dakota Governor ordered evacuated 2/16. From (

More than 120 investors with over $650 billion in assets in banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline have called on the financial institutes to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s call to have the pipeline rerouted from Native American land.
Citigroup, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Bank and BNP Paribas are among the 17 banks targeted in a letter signed by pension funds, asset management companies, and organizations.

The signatories have a total of $653 billion in assets under their control.
“We are concerned that if DAPL’s projected route moves forward, the result will almost certainly be an escalation of conflict and unrest as well as possible contamination of the water supply,” the letter reads.
“Banks with financial ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline may be implicated in these controversies and may face long-term brand and reputational damage resulting from consumer boycotts and possible legal liability.”
The banks have already been pressured by protesters that have urged people to divest from institutions that are funding the $3.7 billion project headed by Energy Transfer Partners. To date, bank accounts worth $53 million have been closed as a result of the DAPL movement, the letter claims.

Seattle City Council voted to end ties with Wells Fargo over the pipeline, while New York mayor Bill de Blasio suggested he would support a boycott.

The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, one of the pension funds behind the letter, has previously been criticized for its holdings in ETP. The fund received a petition signed by more than 40,000 people demanding it sells its ETP holdings, according to the Financial Times.
“We understand that the banks providing the project finance have contractual obligations to DAPL, but the extreme controversy tied to the project warrants their urgent action,” the letter states.

“We call on the banks to address or support the Tribe’s request for a reroute and utilize their influence as a project lender to reach a peaceful solution that is acceptable to all parties, included the Tribe.”

Video above: North Dakota Governor issue  order to evacuate NoDAPL Standing Rock campsite because of waste and danger to inhabitants. From (

Water Protectors not going away
SUBHEAD: The natural elements in the universe that have their own spiritual authority. They’re older than us.

By Josh Fox on 9 February 2017 for Alternet -

On Tuesday, February 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it was canceling an environmental review of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and will grant approval of an easement permitting the construction of the final link in the pipeline to be constructed.

The decision, which is a major blow to the Standing Rock Sioux and activists who have been fighting the pipeline, comes after President Donald Trump’s executive order from his first week in office meant to advance the project. The pipeline opponents have vowed to continue the fight.
“The Obama administration correctly found that the tribe’s treaty rights needed to be respected, and that the easement should not be granted without further review and consideration of alternative crossing locations,” Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, told The Guardian. “Trump’s reversal of that decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian tribes and violation of treaty rights. They will be held accountable in court.”
I spoke with my friend and fellow activist Chase Iron Eyes, a Lakota lawyer and one of the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors, who was recently arrested at the Standing Rock Camp, about the Trump’s reversal of Obama’s decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the next steps for activists in this ongoing battle.

Josh Fox: Obviously this is very aggressive action on behalf of the Trump administration and the Army Corps of Engineers, basically flying in the face of the rule of law and canceling the legal process and the environmental impact study ordered the Obama administration that would have examined the issues you and the other water protectors have been campaigning about.

What are your thoughts on this dramatic reversal and what do the water protectors, activists and concerned citizens do now?

Chase Iron Eyes: We’ve expected this all along. Those of us who have been on the front lines knew in our hearts and minds that December 4th—when the feds blocked the final permit to continue the pipeline—was no victory at all; that it was a hollow and meaningless gesture of the Obama administration.

Everybody was asked to go home at that time. Now those of us who seemed paranoid at the time have been vindicated. Now we have to be prepared for two things. One of those is the Dakota Access pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, has to go ahead to start drilling now. All fronts need to be activated—whether it’s legal, political or front line civil resistance.

Then also there is the Environment Impact Statement process that the Trump administration is reporting to just do away with, which is in violation of the law.

I don’t know what Standing Rock and Cheyenne River’s legal moves are, but we’re at a point now where water protectors are pursuing other legal means to try to stop, hinder or otherwise prevent the unabashed and violent expression of the power of the corporate state further in North Dakota by a very highly militarized resource committing violence on unarmed water protectors, who are sure to protest and exercise their constitutional and civil rights.

Josh Fox: Is this a call that you would put out for more people to come to Standing Rock now and under what conditions?

Chase Iron Eyes:A lot of people have put the call out and I would say about 1,000 to 2,000 people are already on their way, including three contingents of U.S. veterans who are coming to stand in peace and dignity and help achieve a modicum of respect for our constitutional rights, which are being encroached upon. In addition to people coming to join that fight, #DefundDAPL is still an ongoing effort. Seattle divested $3 billion.

The Muckleshoot tribe, the Nez Perce and the Milat tribes have divested significant amounts. Dallas Goldtooth, a “Keep It In The Ground” campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, mentioned it Wednesday on Democracy Now! during our interview there.

We’re calling for the whole nation to be on guard. If drilling starts happening or when the camp gets raided presumably on the 23rd or possibly the 22nd, the Army Corps said that we’re to be vacated by February 22nd.

Josh Fox: Let me just add that there are a number of different calls to action. Number one is to attend the protest where you are. There are protests all across this nation right now against the actions of Dakota Access pipeline. There’s one in New Orleans. There’s one in San Francisco. There’s one in New York. They’re all over the place.

I think the other thing that is worth saying is yes, if you can get to Standing Rock and you’re a self-sufficient person and you’re not going to be a burden and you’re not going to be messy and you’re not going to be violent, show up and they need you. Especially veterans.

I have to say that the veterans’ presence has been especially poignant because it was a reaction to the police brutality that we saw against peaceful protesters who are exercising their constitutional right. The veterans are saying, North Dakota police force, you guys want to shoot at Americans, you want to shoot at indigenous people, you want to mace us, okay you can start with us, the people who put our lives on the line defending this country from all enemies foreign and domestic.

When I talked with retired general Wesley Clark, he referred to all enemies—foreign and domestic—meaning the Dakota Access pipeline is a foreign and a domestic enemy, which I thought was a very bold statement to make.

That call, the veterans coming to Standing Rock and people coming to Standing Rock who are able-bodied, who can be of use, who can withstand the winter, who can be that kind of level of toughness and that kind of level of peacefulness—it’s a very interesting mix.

You need to be tough. You need to be strong but you need to be peaceful. You cannot be violent. You cannot be aggressive. You cannot be all of those things that we know won’t lead us down the right path. I think also you’re saying divestment, that’s a huge part of this movement.

Divesting your own personal funds, divesting your church’s funds, divesting your company’s funds from Wells Fargo, Chase, CitiBank, TD and all the banks that are invested in the Dakota Access pipeline is another huge part of this.

Then of course the legal strategy which we have nothing to do with, that’s up to the lawyers, but that’s another big part of what’s happening here. That’s a four-pronged resistance and that’s still very much in swing.

I would add to that a media strategy that I’m helping with, our film on Standing Rock that you and your daughter Tokata are in, will be coming out next week. We have found a place. I cannot announce it yet but it’s coming out and we’re going to be using that to further your call and to further the actions that you want. We have just gained the help of our revolution.

Bernie Sanders’ organization for furthering, they’re going to help promote it so we can announce that.
We can’t say the TV station yet that it’s going to be on but it’s going to be happening. It’s very exciting. It’s called Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock. It’s a collaboration between me and indigenous filmmaker Myron Dewey, Josue Rivas and Oscar-nominated filmmaker James Spione.

Also, this is obviously a moment of incredible stress and anxiety. How are you dealing with that, the level of responsibility that you have and the fact that these forces have gotten more and more violent? I know you were just arrested, maybe you want to speak about that.

Chase Iron Eyes: Yes, it’s the same as it’s been: through prayer, through trying to spiritually ground myself, spiritually ground ourselves. We are fully cognizant of the nature of this struggle. Some would call it a spiritual struggle. Some would call it a political or an economic struggle for liberation. It is all of those things. I mean we’re at a time now where we can name our common colonizer who we were taught and rightly so through genocide, holocaust and slavery that a certain group of people of one phenotype or skin color committed those crimes against humanity against another type of another phenotype or skin color.

Now we’re at a point where we can name currency, debts, big finance, big extraction, consumer values, advertising, the global corporate state. We can name that common colonizer, that common enemy and we have to address it and own it for what it is because we are all part of it. For me, I’m just one soul that has to be willing to sacrifice something in order to liberate from this thousand year old enemy. I know that our country’s at a point now where enough of us can build those bridges. Just through prayer, bro, that’s how I’ve been holding up.

Josh Fox: We talked earlier about how this spirit of Standing Rock is pushing out across the nation. There are fights against fossil fuel infrastructure in Florida against the Sabal Trail pipeline, in New Jersey against the PennEast pipeline, against the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania, against the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana and Big Bend, Texas, and in Denver against fracking and in my own hometown at the Delaware River Basin, once again against fracking.

Do you see this call for water protectors is one that is echoing throughout the nation? Is this a moment where we all have to come together, where we all have to be Standing Rock? Do you say no, let’s keep the focus on Standing Rock right now?

How do you balance those things is I guess one of the things that I’m struggling with right now because I see the primacy of that Standing Rock struggle right now as so important and so inspirational.

At the same time I understand that we’re under siege across this nation in many of the same ways. How do we best, for your position of leadership, how do we best balance those obligations as a movement and move forward?

Chase Iron Eyes: I think it’s important to recognize that it’s not even human-led prayer or human-initiated uprising in consciousness, collective consciousness that guided this or that made it happen.

We certainly had a part in it, but I believe it’s the water itself, it’s the land itself that is creating a spirit of prayer that is connecting to all of us whether it’s prayer, whether it’s energy or the raised consciousness or however you want to define or express what those concepts mean in every given language or culture, it’s something is happening and we’re responding to it now.

Standing Rock is serving as the physical expression of an international prayer monument because there had been prayers. There had been people, there have been struggles there.

There have been people sending their energy from that place at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers but all of these other struggles now, that may be the only way that we win is to multiply the fronts instead of focusing on one single front.

The people who are here through are committed to that. There does need to be a sacred fighter here. There does need to be that expression of solidarity, international solidarity.

Not everybody can be here. Wherever the next fights are whether that’s Keystone or the Delaware River or wherever it’s at, we need to all be talking to each other so that we can share resources, share platforms and help each other overcome some of the challenges that face those who fall outside of the “corporate state” paradigm.

Josh Fox: I really appreciate that. I want to quote my friend Doug Pineda, who’s a wonderful person and teacher who I met at Standing Rock. He said we need to “fight like the water.” We are the water, we need to fight like the water. We need to embrace and swarm and need to go and meet obstacles and go around them and wear them down.

I also would say that just like the water is all connected across the United States, we all need to be connected. That is the great rallying cry. Standing Rock is at the geographical center of North America. We are all the water running out from it. Yoko Ono says we’re all water from different rivers, that’s why it’s so easy to meet. I love that saying.

Chase Iron Eyes: I believe that. Something greater than ourselves has moved us and it started with prayer. That prayer came from human beings but it’s the natural elements in the universe that have their own spiritual authority. They’re older than us.

Our stories, our cosmologies tell us this and kind of give us that center from which to find our place, you know. We do recognize that it’s not just us. That for us that’s the true path to civilization is recognizing our respect relationship with things that sometimes western theological or academic thought considers inanimate objects or without life force or to be exploitable, to be under the dominion of human beings which for us that’s just kind of a crazy concept.

Josh Fox: Atossa Soltani from AmazonWatch likes to say we are nature defending itself. I like that.

Chase Iron Eyes: The only thing that I need to add is that I always want to express that we love everybody who supports the movement, everybody who takes action on their own accord, on their own behalf and that we support you. Just know that we send our compassion back to you because this movement doesn’t happen unless bridges are built and everybody helps each other.

Josh Fox: Wonderful, thanks Chase. I got my marching orders. I’ll see you on the front lines soon.

Chase Iron Eyes: All right, brother. Talk soon.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: US vets defending NoDaPL 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16


US has used DU in Syria

SUBHEAD: Toxic radioactive depleted uranium munitions have been used by US forces on Syrians.

By Daniel McAdams on 17 February 2017 for Ron Paul Institute -

Image above: Illustration of DU shell and radioactive warning symbol. From original article.

Despite vowing not to use depleted uranium (DU) weapons in its military action in Syria, the US government has now admitted that it has fired thousands of the deadly rounds into Syrian territory. As Foreign Policy Magazine reports:
US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles in the country’s eastern desert.
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Moore said in 2015 that:
US and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.
Now we know that is not true.

Numerous studies have found that depleted uranium is particularly harmful when the dust is inhaled by the victim. A University of Southern Maine study discovered that:
...DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations.

The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. 'These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer,' the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
We should remember that the United States is engaged in military activities in Syria in violation of international and US law. There is no Congressional authorization for US military action against ISIS in Syria and the United Nations has not authorized military force in violation of Syria's sovereignty either.

The innocent citizens of Syria will be forced to endure increased risks of cancer, birth defects, and other disease related to exposure to radioactive materials. Depleted uranium is the byproduct of the enrichment of uranium to fuel nuclear power plants and has a half-life in the hundreds of millions of years. Damage to Syrian territory will thus continue long after anyone involved in current hostilities is dead.

Too little Growth to grow

SUBHEAD: “Real GDP growth fell and leveled off in the mid-1970s, then started falling again in the mid-2000s”.

By Raul Ilargi Meijer on 18 February 2017 for the Automatic Earth -

Image above: Mashup of canoe paddling team dragging a water skier. No matter how hard they paddle it is too little energy to get the job done, or not enough ERoEI. Mashup by Juan Wilson.

It’s amusing to see how views start to converge, at the same time that it’s tiresome to see how long that takes. It’s a good thing that more and more people ‘discover’ how and why austerity, especially in Europe, is such a losing and damaging strategy. It’s just a shame that this happens only after the horses have left the barn and the cows have come home, been fed, bathed, put on lipstick and gone back out to pasture again. Along the same lines, it’s beneficial that the recognition that for a long time economic growth has not been what ‘we’ think it should be, is spreading.

But we lost so much time that we could have used to adapt to the consequences. The stronger parties in all this, the governments, companies, richer individuals, may be wrong, but they have no reason to correct their wrongs: the system appears to work fine for them. They actually make good money because all corrections, all policies and all efforts to hide the negative effects of the gross ‘mistakes’, honest or not, made in economic and political circles are geared towards making them ‘whole’.

The faith in the absurd notion of trickle down ‘economics’ allows them to siphon off future resources from the lower rungs of society, towards themselves in the present. It will take a while for the lower rungs to figure this out.

The St. Louis Fed laid it out so clearly this week that I wrote to Nicole saying ‘We’ve been vindicated by the Fed itself.’ That is, the Automatic Earth has said for many years that the peak of our wealth was sometime in the 1970’s or even late 1960’s.

Intriguing questions: was America at its richest right before or right after Nixon took the country off the gold standard in 1971? And whichever of the two one would argue for, why did he do it smack in the middle of peak wealth? Did he cause the downfall or was it already happening?

As per the St. Louis Fed report: “Real GDP growth fell and leveled off in the mid-1970s, then started falling again in the mid-2000s”.

What happened during that 30-year period was that we started printing and borrowing with abandon, making both those activities much easier while we did, until the debt load overwhelmed even our widest fantasies ten years ago. And we’ve never recovered from that, if that was not obvious yet. Nor will we.

As the first graph below shows, there was still growth post-Gold Standard but the rate of growth fell and then “leveled off”, only to fall more after, to a point where Real GDP per Capita is presently 0.5% or so -little more than a margin error-. How one would want to combine that with talk of an economic recovery is hard to see. In fact, such talk should be under serious scrutiny by now.

Still, the numbers remain positive, you say. Yes, that’s true. But there’s a caveat, roughly similar to the one regarding energy and the return on it. Where we used to pump oil and get 100 times the energy in return that we needed to pump it, that ratio (EROEI) is now down to 10:1 or less.

Alternative energy sources do little better, if at all. Whereas to run a complex society, let alone one like ours that must become more complex as we go along – or die-, we would need somewhere along the lines of a 20:1 to even 30:1 EROEI rate.

Another place where a similar caveat can be found is the amount of dollars it takes to produce a dollar of real growth. That amount has been increasing, and fast, to the point where it takes over $10 to create $1 or growth in the US and Europe, and China too moves towards such numbers.

Both our energy systems and our financial systems are examples of what happens when what we should perhaps call the rate of ‘productivity’ (rather than growth) falls below a critical mass: it becomes impossible to maintain, even keep alive, a society as complex as ours, which requires an increase in complexity to survive.

In other words: a Real GDP per Capita growth rate of 0.5% is not enough to stand still, just like oil EROEI of 5:1 is not; there is growth, but not -nearly- enough to keep growing.

One does not get the impression that the St. Louis Fed economists who wrote the report are aware of this -though the title is suggestive enough-, they seem to lean towards the eternal desire for a recovery, but they did write it nonetheless. Do note the sharp drop that coincides with the 1973 oil crisis. We never ‘recovered’.

The U.S. economy expanded by 1.6% in 2016, as measured by real GDP. Real GDP has averaged 2.1% growth per year since the end of the last recession, which is significantly smaller than the average over the postwar period (about 3% per year). These lower growth rates could in part be explained by a slowdown in productivity growth and a decline in factor utilization. However, demographic factors and attitudes toward the labor market may also have played significant roles.
Long-run growth rates were high until the mid-1970s. Then, they quickly declined and leveled off at around 3% per year for the following three decades. In the second half of the 2000s, around the last recession, growth contracted again sharply and has been declining ever since. The 10-year average growth rate as of the fourth quarter of 2016 was only 1.3% per year. Total output grows because the economy is more productive and capital is accumulated, but also because the population increases over time.
The same dynamics (or lack thereof) are reflected in a recent piece by Chris Hamilton, in which he argues that global growth -as expressed by growth in energy consumption- has largely been non-existent for years, other than in China. Moreover, China has added a stunning amount of debt to achieve that growth, and since its population growth is about to stagnate -and then turn negative-, this was pretty much all she wrote.

Since 2000, China has been the nearly singular force for growth in global energy consumption and economic activity. However, this article will make it plain and simple why China is exiting the spotlight and unfortunately, for global economic growth, there is no one else to take center stage.
China’s core population is essentially peaking this year and beginning a decades long decline (not unlike the world. The chart below shows total Chinese core population peaking, energy consumption stalling, and debt skyrocketing.
• China of 1985-2000 grew on population and demographic trends.
• China of 2000-2015 grew despite decelerating population growth but on accelerating debt growth…this growth in China kept global growth alive.
• China of 2015-2030 will not grow, will not drive the global economy and absent

Chinese growth…the world economy is set to begin an indefinite period of secular contraction. China ceased accumulating US Treasury debt as of July of 2011 and continues to sell while busy accumulating gold since 2011.

Unfortunately, neither quasi-democracies nor quasi-communist states have any politically acceptable solutions to this problem of structural decelerating growth and eventual outright contraction…but that won’t keep them from meddling to stall the inevitable global restructuring.
I can only hope that these data will convince more people that all the times I’ve said that growth is over, it was true. And perhaps even make them think about what follows from there: that when growth is gone, so is all centralization, including globalization, other than by force. This will change the world a lot, and unfortunately not always in peaceful ways.

What seems to have started (but was in the air long before) with Brexit and Trump, is merely a first indication of what’s to come.

People will not accept that important decisions that affect them directly are taken by anonymous ‘actors’ somewhere far away, unless this promises and delivers them very concrete and tangible benefits. In fact, many have lost all faith in the whole idea, and that’s why we have Trump and Brexit in the first place.

This turn inward -protectionism if you will-, in the UK, US and many other places, is an inevitable development that follows from declining growth and soaring debt. Entire societies will have to be re-built from the ground up, and people will want to do that themselves, not have it dictated by strangers.

At the same time, of course, those who profit most from centralization want that to continue. They can’t, but they will try, and hard.

Equally important, people who wish to try and save existing ‘central institutions’ for less selfish and more peaceful reasons should think twice, because they will fail too. It’s centralization itself that is failing, and the demise of the structures that represent it is but a consequence of that.

We will see local structures being built, and only after that possibly -and hopefully- connect to each other. This is a big change, and therefore a big challenge.