SPEAKING FREELY Toxic agenda-setting in Washington
By Jonny Connor
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click hereif you are interested in contributing.
Syria is a strategically located country in the Middle East, lying at the center of a region that has some of the richest oil and gas reserves in the world. However, it is a relatively small country of 22 million people occupying 190,000 square kilometers. This ranks it 54th and 89th in the world respectively.
The list of countries that are larger, more strategic and with irrefutably more atrocious human-rights records against its own people is staggering. This is not to say that the Assad regime is without fault, corrupt or even evil, but the situation pales in
comparison to other larger countries. Case in point, Barack Hussein Obama II.
In case you allowed the Obama administration and its criminal cohorts to distract you from what is really important globally, consider this. While the dogs on Main Street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue beat the war drum and produce, yet again, dubious proof that Assad gassed his own people, a calamity of immediate global terms is unfolding right in front of our eyes and few people are paying attention.
If you are one of the few, then you know that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is leaking lots of poisonous water. According to TEPCO, the Japanese nuclear power company, the leak amounts to 300 tonnes of radioactive water every day. Utilizing ordinary measurement, where 1 ton is equal to 224 gallons, this means that 67,200 gallons of radioactive water are contaminating our world every day, and this is likely a significantly understated estimate.
That's a lot. Has anyone asked where that water is going? It's going into the Pacific Ocean because they couldn't possibly build enough containment tanks to hold it all. What is the impact of the leaking water? How much more will leak? What is the probability that it can be permanently contained? What is the worst case scenario? We have no idea.
In fact, TEPCO and the Japanese government, which is far more in debt than Greece could ever imagine, has come up with a plan to build a mile-long, impenetrable frozen wall that will prevent groundwater from mixing with contaminated water. It could be ready by 2015.
Thank goodness for this brilliant stopgap measure. Perhaps we can get Elon Musk or Tony Stark to fly over Fukushima in their rocket suits or electric cars and make it all disappear. At the rate of 300 tonnes of radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean per day, that equals more than 150,000 tonnes of killer poison seeping into our food chain.
To placate the birds with their heads in the sand, TEPCO has just released a fancy report with some pretty cool graphics and lots of indecipherable information. It recently stated, "the radiation comprised mostly beta rays that could be blocked by aluminum foil, unlike more penetrative gamma rays".
Alert the fish and coral and sea life and then we can get the United Nations, with the help of the folks who make Reynolds Wrap to distribute millions of miles of aluminum foil to needy fish. Meanwhile millions of gallons of poison water, that never goes away, spills into the ocean and the ground water.
There have been real genocides, recently in Rwanda and Darfur, and years ago in Iran, which was gassed with the help of the CIA, and though those were horrible tragedies they will pale in comparison to what awaits the world if it doesn't come together to find a solution to the Fukushima emergency.
It has been more than two years since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, and the prime minister of Japan, when making a final push for the 2020 Olympic Games, said "we are taking the lead to solve the problem and resolutely implementing dramatic measures".
Now, Shinzo Abe? Where have you been? The prime minister noted in his presentation to the International Olympic Committee that in seven years it will not be a problem at all. Now, if you believe that, then you probably also believe that Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people, when he had absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose from doing so.
Do we have an irrational belief that because the Japanese are some of the most industrious and resilient people in the world that they can pull off a miracle? I believe we do, and we need to start paying attention to this impending calamity, otherwise the entire Pacific Ocean and the people living on its shores will be destroyed. This could directly impact about a third of the world's population, which is slightly larger than the 22 million people supposedly under the thumb of an evil dictator in Syria.
Where are the dogs of the US war machine now? Where are the Chinese and the Russians? Arguing in the UN and the G20 about whether to launch missiles against Syria and who owns what islands in the East China Sea.
As a global citizen living in a coastal city not too far south from Fukushima, Japan, I have faith in the Japanese government and its resolve, technological and engineering expertise, and discipline. I hope that it can solve the problem. But, what if it cannot?
What if hope just isn't going to be good enough? What happens if at some point it comes to believe that the situation is impossible to contain and nobody is willing to risk their lives any longer, to go in there anymore and do anything about it? We are screwed, and while the dogs on Main Street howl they could instead take this moment in their hands; but they won't, and we will all have to sit back and believe in the promised land that Obama and friends preach to us about.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.Please click hereif you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Jonny Connor lives and works in Asia and spends most of his time on the ground in the jungle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org