Monday, March 14, 2011

EARLY EDITION. When it comes to major disasters, Obama's priority is the same: protect the corporate interests

President Obama, as he displayed so ignominiously in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, has, once again, demonstrated that his first priority in the face of major disasters is the protection of corporate interests. Obama's reaction to the post-quake nuclear power plant disasters in Japan complements what amounts to a cover-up of the danger posed by nuclear power plants in quake-prone areas. Obama has good reason to be protective of the nuclear power industry: he is in their pockets as much as he was in the pockets of BP and other oil companies after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion and subsequent oil deluge in the Gulf.

The nearly 40 year-old nuclear reactor that experienced a core meltdown and explosion, Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 1, was manufactured by General Electric and built in Japan at a time when memories of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in the minds of many Japanese. Of course, thanks to slick public relations and the support of both the U.S. and Japanese governments, the fear of the Japanese public about nuclear power plants was assuaged by guarantees that the safety of the plants was guaranteed, even during an earthquake in seismically-active Japan.

Nuclear power generation has been a good business for the United States and Japan. In 2007, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, was formed as a U.S.-Japanese global joint company to advance nuclear power plant construction around the world. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy had some 80 employees and contractors working at the Fukushima 1 plant at the time of the nuclear disaster.

Just as Obama permitted BP to call the shots for all government emergency response and regulatory agencies in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the president decided to send a White House team under the direction of the CIA-infused US Agency for International Development (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team
to Japan to provide consultation to the Japanese government. Additionally, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu was asked to keep in contact with Japanese nuclear energy officials to ascertain needs. Obama decided not to send personnel from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Nuclear Security Administration, or even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Japan.

The reason for Obama's tepid response is his ties to the U.S. nuclear power industry. American experts who may have discovered the true nature of the nuclear disaster may have leaked the details to the media and for the most opaque administration in U.S. history, that would be the real "disaster."

Obama's close relationship with GE chief executive officer Jeffrey Immelt, who the president named as chairman of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness,
is a top Obama corporate cheerleader and a major campaign donor. And for the corporate- and Wall Street-owned and operated Obama, it is the needs of the corporations, not those affected by corporate greed, malfeasance, and cover-ups that matters in the end.

GE and its nuclear arm, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, are not Obama's only friends and donors in the nuclear power industry. Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, which operates nuclear power plants in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, was the fourth-largest donor to Obama's presidential campaign in 2008. Thanks to its $269,000 in campaign cash, Obama has responded favorably to the needs of Exelon. Exelon was created in 2000 with the merger of Commonwealth Edison's parent corporation, Unicom of Chicago, and PECO Energy of Philadelphia. Representing Unicom in the merger was Rahm Emanuel, later Obama's White House chief of staff and newly-elected mayor of Chicago. Unicom was also advised by Goldman Sachs, the firm that has supplied many of the Obama administration's top officials. Former White House political adviser David Axelrod also acted as a consultant for Exelon.

In addition to his connections to GE Hitachi, Obama's now-imprisoned fundraiser, Tony Rezko was involved in shady deals with GE Capital Corporation. Rezko has been accused of helping to flip a real estate deal in order to facilitate a mortgage for the president's home in south Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

And in a major tip of the hat to the nuclear industry, Obama asked for $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States. In his 2012 budget, Obama has asked for $36 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, and he has the support of the Republicans in Congress even though there are opponents and skeptic in his own Democratic Party.

Obama's attempt to put a smiley face on the nuclear disaster in Japan is coupled by charges that the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has admitted to accepting campaign donations from foreign sources, illegal in Japan, has dragged his feet on publicly admitting the true nature of the nuclear disaster in Japan. The mayor of Tsuruga City has questioned whether the Japanese government is telling all about the situation at Fukushima.

It appears that Kan was taking a page from Obama's disaster response playbook in delaying the announcement that the evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant had been extended from a radius of 6 to 12 miles around the stricken complex. The Japanese government, after admitting a meltdown had occurred at Fukushima Unit 1, revealed a similar meltdown had occurred a Unit 3. A hydrogen explosion occurred at Unit 3 on March 14 at 11:08 am (Tokyo time), resulting in the collapse of a building wall. Fukushima Units 2 and 6 are also experiencing critical safety problems but TEPCO and GE Hitachi officials are revealing little in the way of details. Some Japanese officials have leaked information that the level of radiation near the Fukushima reactors are at a strength that results in uncontrolled vomiting, immediate hair loss, and the onset of fast-acting cancer. However, Obama and Kan, more interested in placating the needs of corporations, continue to downplay the seriousness of the nuclear catastrophe.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima reactors, appeared more interested in public relations than in informing the public about the true nature of the disaster. Kan followed TEPCO's lead in much the same way as Obama followed the lead of BP after the Gulf of Mexico disaster. And for good measure, TEPCO lined up its primary lobbyist, D L A Piper, in Washington, to ensure the U.S. media remained relatively sanguine in its reporting on the unfolding disaster at Fukushima.

The media spin on behalf of the powerful nuclear industry is underway at full force. Fukushima is being downplayed by corporate media shills who are stating that the disaster is not at the level of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Nuclear Regulatory Commission statements that radiation from Japan poses no threat to the United States are being hyped by such neocon publications as the Wall Street Journal and the newly neocon-leaning Christian Science Monitor, which is neither "Christian" nor "scientific" in its reporting on a major disaster-in-the-making.

WMR has learned that the mega-quake that struck Japan could not have come at a better time for Kan and his government for a reason that extends to the web of Washington's and the CIA's influence-peddling in Japan.

The foreign campaign donation scandal that saw Kan's Foreign Minister and potential heir apparent, Seiji Maehara, resign just days before the quake, also implicated Kan. Kan took over from his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, after Hatoyama was forced to recant on his earlier campaign promise to have a U.S. Marine Corps base moved from Okinawa after pressure was applied by the Obama administration. After the humiliation of being forced to change his mind on the Okinawa base, Hatoyama resigned in September 2010.

The mega-quake just as Kan was answering questions in the Diet in Tokyo and admitting to accepting a 1.04 million yen C
ampaign donation from a South Korean businessman representing Chuo Syogin, a financial entity based in Yokohama that provides various services for South Korean residents of Japan. WMR is told by a well-informed source that the South Korean donations to Kan and Maehara represent a pass-through established by the CIA decades ago that saw the United States pass money to Japanese politicians using the auspices of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), now the National Intelligence Service of South Korea, the Japanese Yakuza organized crime syndicate, and elements in South Korea of the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Meanwhile, Obama's information czar, the Fagin-like plotter and schemer of disinformation campaigns, Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information Regulatory Affairs, is seeing his "cognitive infiltration" of the Internet playing out in full force. Automated "personae" and "sock puppets," funded by the US Air Force and endorsed by the Department of Justice, are ensuring that pro-nuclear energy comments are being posted on web site comment sections, discussion groups, and blogs worldwide.

When it comes to the suffering of the people of Japan and potential disastrous health effects for Americans living in Hawaii, Alaska, the West Coast, and the Rockies, Obama is content to defer to the interests of the nuclear power industry and ignore the interests of the people of the United States, Japan, Canada, and other nations that will be impacted by the nuclear disaster that is continuing to unfold in Japan. Obama continues to defend the interests of BP and the oil industry even as the health problems of the people of the Gulf of Mexico worsen by the day. For someone who grew up privileged, protected by family members in the employment of the CIA and its front organizations, Obama, owned lock, stock, and barrel by Big Oil and Big Nuclear, cannot do anything else. Over the weekend, as Japan's nuclear situation worsened, Obama chose to attend Washington's annual Gridiron dinner, a collection of Washington's pedantic journalistic elite where jokes, skits, and minstrel and Vaudeville shtick rule the evening. In May 2010, as oil gushed from the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico, Obama chose to laugh off an evening at the White House Correspondents' dinner. Chortling and back slapping with the oligarchs is what Obama was trained and groomed to do.