Fukushima fuel rods melted through concrete floor

Fukushima fuel rods may have completely melted:

Fukushima fuel rods may have completely melted

Fukushima fuel rods may have completely melted

Fuel rods inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have completely melted and bored most of the way through a concrete floor, the reactor’s last line of defence before its steel outer casing, the plant’s operator said.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said in a report that fuel inside reactor No 1 appeared to have dropped through its inner pressure vessel and into the outer containment vessel, indicating that the accident was more severe than first thought.

The revelation that the plant may have narrowly averted a disastrous “China syndrome” scenario comes days after reports that the company had dismissed a 2008 warning that the plant was inadequately prepared to resist a tsunami.

Tepco revised its view of the damage inside the No 1 reactor – one of three that suffered meltdown soon after the 11 March disaster – after running a new simulation of the accident.

It would not comment on the exact position of the molten fuel, or on how much of it is exposed to water being pumped in to cool the reactor. More than nine months into the crisis, workers are still unable to gauge the damage directly because of dangerously high levels of radiation inside the reactor building.

“Uncertainty involved in the analysis is significant, due to the uncertain nature of the original conditions and data used,” Tepco said in a report. It said the concrete “could have been penetrated”, but added that the fuel remained inside the reactor’s outer casing.

Previously, the firm had said that only some of the fuel had burned through its inner pressure vessel and dropped into the containment vessel.

“Almost no fuel remains at its original position,” Tepco said. The simulation shows that the fuel may have penetrated the concrete floor by up to 65cm, just 37cm from the reactor’s outer steel wall.

Tepco said that about 60% of the fuel in the two other reactors that experienced meltdown had dropped onto the concrete base, but had caused less damage.

After the tsunami, workers at the site stopped injecting reactor No 1 with water for about 14 hours, resulting in more serious damage than sustained by the two other reactors.

The company added, however, that fuel in all three reactors was being kept stable by cooling water, adding that the erosion had stopped.

It said the findings would not affect plans to bring the reactors to a safe state, known as cold shutdown, possibly by the middle of the month.

Japanese authorities may announce cold shutdown on 16 December, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Friday. That stage is reached when water used to cool the fuel rods remains below boiling point, thereby preventing the fuel from heating up again.

Stabilising the reactors is just the first stage of the operation to resolve the crisis. Tepco has said it won’t be able to begin removing the fuel for another 10 years. Decommissioning the plant could take at least 30 years.

Analytics engine will read your mind

Computation knowledge engine will soon be able to read your mind:

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

Wolfram Alpha will soon be able to read your mind, its creator Stephen Wolfram said at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin today.

Speaking at the US technology conference on Monday, Wolfram predicted that his analytics engine will soon work pre-emptively, meaning it will be able to predict what its users are looking for.

“Wolfram Alpha will be able to predict what users are looking for,” Wolfram said. “Imagine that combined with augmented reality.”

Speaking during a talk on the future of computation, Stephen Wolfram – the creator of Wolfram Alpha and the mastermind behind Apple’s Siri personal assistant – also showed off the engine’s new ability to analyse images.

Wolfram said, “We’re now able to bring in uploaded material, and use our algorithm to analyse it. For example, we can take a picture, ask Wolfram Alpha and it will try and tell us things about it.

“We can compute all sorts of things about this picture – and ask Wolfram Alpha to do a specific computation if need be.”

That’s not the only new feature of Wolfram Alpha, as it can also now analyse data from uploaded spreadsheet documents.

“We can also do things like uploading a spreadsheet and asking Wolfram [Alpha] to analyse specific data from it,” Wolfram said.

He added, “This is an exciting time for me, because a whole lot of things I’ve been working on for 30 years have begun converging in a nice way.”

This upload feature will be available as part of Wolfram Alpha Pro, a paid-for feature where Wolfram hopes the analytical engine will make most of its money. Wolfram Alpha Pro costs $4.99 per month, or $2.99 if you’re a student.

Wolfram also showed off Wolfram Alpha’s ability to analyse data from Facebook, a feature that was announced last August.

News will kill you

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier:

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

 

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether. In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.

News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.

News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.

News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.

News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.

News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.

News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

New light on how Genes turn off and on

New insights into how genes turn on and off:

New insights into how genes turn on and off

New insights into how genes turn on and off

 

Researchers at UC Davis and the University of British Columbia have shed new light on methylation, a critical process that helps control how genes are expressed. Working with placentas, the team discovered that 37 percent of the placental genome has regions of lower methylation, called partially methylated domains (PMDs), in which gene expression is turned off. This differs from most human tissues, in which 70 percent of the genome is highly methylated.

While PMDs have been identified in cell lines, this is the first time they have been found in regular human tissue. In addition to enhancing our understanding of epigenetics, this work could influence cancer research and help illuminate how environmental toxins affect fetal development. .

Since it was unraveled more than ten years ago, the human genome has been the focus of both popular interest and intense scientific focus. But the genome doesn’t act alone; there are many factors that influence whether genes are turned on or off. One of these is an epigenetic process called methylation, in which a group of carbon and hydrogen atoms (a methyl group) attaches to DNA, adjusting how genes are expressed.

“I like to think of epigenetics as a layer on top of your genetic code,” said senior author Janine LaSalle, professor of medical microbiology and immunology. “It’s not the DNA sequence but it layers on top of that — and methylation is the first layer. Those layers provide a lot of information to the cells on where and when to turn on the genes.”

How and when genes are activated (or inactivated) can have a profound impact on human development, cancer and the biological legacy of environmental toxins. Prior to this research, PMDs had only been found in cultured cell lines, which led some scientists to wonder if they existed outside the test tube. This study confirms they exist in placental tissue, a critically important window into fetal development.

“The placenta is the interface between mother and fetus,” said LaSalle, who is a researcher affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute. “It’s a time capsule from when a lot of important methylation events occurred.”

In addition, placental tissue was interesting to study because it has a number of invasive characteristics often associated with cancer. In fact, a number of cancers, such as breast and colon, have widespread PMDs. LaSalle notes that anti-cancer epigenetic therapies that adjust methylation could be refined based on this improved understanding of PMDs.

This work could also enhance our ability to detect genetic defects. Methylation, and other epigenetic data, provides information that cannot be found in the genome alone. For example, the vast majority of cells in the body contain identical genetic code. However, the added information provided by methylation allows scientists to determine where specific DNA came from.

“Methylation patterns are like fingerprints, showing which tissue that DNA is derived from,” LaSalle said. “You can’t get that information from just the DNA sequence. As a result, methylation studies could be a very rich source for biomarkers.”

In the study, PMDs encompassed 37 percent of the placental genome, including 3,815 genes, around 17 percent of all genes. When found in low-methylation regions, these genes were less likely to be transcribed into proteins. Researchers also found that PMDs also contain more highly methylated CpG islands (genomic areas with large numbers of cytosine-guanine pairs), which are often associated with gene transcriptional silencing of promoters.

Because the placental PMDs contained many genes associated with neuronal development, and specifically autism, LaSalle notes that future research could investigate how epigenetics impacts autism genes at birth.

“We are looking for biomarkers that predict neurodevelopmental outcomes,” LaSalle said. “Now we have a series of snap shots from a critical period where we think environmental factors are playing a role in the developing brain.”

Monsanto’s gobble’s up bee research company

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse:

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse

Amid all the controversy over genetically-modified (GM) crops and their pesticides and herbicides decimating bee populations all around the world, biotechnology behemoth Monsanto has decided to buy out one of the major international firms devoted to studying and protecting bees. According to a company announcement, Beeologics handed over the reins to Monsanto back on September 28, 2011, which means the gene-manipulating giant will now be able to control the flow of information and products coming from Beeologics for colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Since 2007, Beeologics has been studying CCD, as well as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), for the purpose of coming up with intervention-based ways to mitigate these conditions. And based on the way the company describes both CCD and IAPV on its website, Beeologics has largely taken the approach that intervention, rather than prevention, is the key to solving the global bee crisis.

Now that Beeologics is owned and controlled by Monsanto, the company is sure to completely avoid dealing with the true causes of CCD and IAPV as they pertain to Monsanto’s crop technologies — GMOs and their chemical counterparts. So going into the future, it seems expected that Beeologics will come up with “scientific breakthroughs” that deny any link between CCD and GMO technologies, and instead blame mystery pathogens and other factors that require more chemicals to eliminate.

According to Anthony Gucciardi at Activist Post, Beeologics has also long had a cozy relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is convenient for Monsanto. The USDA, in fact, considers Beeologics to be one of the foremost bee research organizations in the world, as does the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the mainstream media and “leading entomologists” worldwide, according to the company.

Monsanto to use Beeologics’ ‘biological tools’ to develop more GMOs, crop chemicals

Beeologics’ acquisition announcement explains that Monsanto plans to incorporate all the biological research that Beeologics has conducted over the years into its own programs for developing more GMO systems. Monsanto has also seized control of a key product that is currently in the Beeologics development pipeline that supposedly “help[s] protect bee health.”

“Monsanto will use the base technology from Beeologics as a part of its continuing discovery and development pipeline,” says the announcement. “Biological products will continue to play an increasingly important role in supporting the sustainability of many agricultural systems.”

To translate, it appears as though Monsanto plans to use even more chemical inputs to supposedly solve the bee collapse problem, even though it is these very inputs that are largely the cause of the bee collapse problem. Several recent studies, after all, have definitively linked crop pesticides and herbicides, as well as high fructose corn syrup, to CCD.

The future looks bleak for bees, in other words, as Monsanto appears poised to slowly gobble up all the competing companies and organizations that threaten its own GMO products, while pretending to care about the dwindling bee populations. And unless drastic action is taken to stop Monsanto in its continued quest to dominate global agriculture, the food supply as we know it will soon be a thing of the past.

Amazon Civilization Revealed After Forest Cleared

Lost Amazon Civilization Revealed After Forest Cleared:

 

Amazon Civilization Revealed After Forest Cleared

Amazon Civilization Revealed After Forest Cleared

 

“Hundreds of geometric monuments unearthed deep in the Amazon may have been left behind by a previously unknown society, say scientists.

Archaeologists have found more than 200 earthworks shaped as perfect circles and squares, many connected by straight roads. They have dated one site to 1283AD but say others could be from as early as 200AD.

The earthen foundations were found in a region more than 150miles across, covering northern Bolivia and Brazil’s Amazonas state.

The first ones were uncovered in 1999, after large areas of pristine forest was cleared for cattle grazing.

Sculpted from the clay rich soils of Amazonia, the earthworks are made up of 30ft wide and 10ft deep ditches alongside 3ft high walls. The largest ring ditches founds so far are 1,000ft in diameter.

Excavations at some sites have also revealed evidence of permanent habitation, including domestic ceramics, charcoal and grinding stone fragments.

The findings cast serious doubt on previous studies that stated the area could only support small, impermanent villages.

Instead it is likely the Amazon teemed with complex societies. These were probably wiped out by diseases brought to South America by colonists 500 years ago.

Amazon Civilization Revealed

Amazon Civilization Revealed

Fukushima leaks Radioactive Cesium for years on end

Fukushima: Massive Leaks Continuing On a Daily Basis … For Years On End:

Graphic shows ‘direct discharge’ going from Fukushima Daiichi reactors into Pacific

Graphic shows ‘direct discharge’ going from Fukushima Daiichi reactors into Pacific

Tepco – the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants, announced a large leak of radioactive water. The cooling system in the spent fuel pools at Fukushima has failed for a second time in a month. Experts say that Fukushima is currently releasing up to 93 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium into the ocean each day. How much radiation is this? A quick calculation shows that it is about ten thousand times less than the amounts released by Chernobyl during the actual fire at the Russian nuclear plant.   But the Chernobyl fire only last 10 days, and the Fukushima release has been ongoing for more than 2 years so far. Indeed, Fukushima has already spewed much more radioactive cesium and iodine than Chernobyl. The amount of radioactive cesium released by Fukushima was some 20-30 times higher than initially admitted. Fukushima also pumped out huge amounts of radioactive iodine 129, which has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Fukushima has also dumped up to 900 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90, which is a powerful internal emitter which mimics calcium and collects in our bones, into the ocean. And the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs Chernobyl and could keep leaking for decades, centuries or millennia. Tepco graphics of the Fukushima plants even appear to show water directly flowing from the plant to the ocean.  And see this. The bottom line is that the reactors have lost containment.  There are not “some leaks” at Fukushima.  “Leaks” imply that the reactor cores are safely in their containment buildings, and there is a small hole or two which need to be plugged.   But scientists don’t even know where the cores of the reactors are.  That’s not leaking. That’s even worse than a total meltdown.

Graphic shows ‘direct discharge’ going from Fukushima Daiichi reactors into Pacific

Graphic shows ‘direct discharge’ going from Fukushima Daiichi reactors into Pacific

“Monsanto Protection Act,” Provison snuck into Law

“Monsanto Protection Act,” and How Did It Sneak Into Law? A provison that protects the biotech giant from litigation passed Congress without many members knowing about it:

"MON 810", a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto Company is pictured January 23, 2012. The agricultural giant posted a large increase in quarterly earnings on strong results in corn seed sales in the US and Latin America

“MON 810”, a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto Company.

“MON 810”, a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto Company. The agricultural giant posted a large increase in quarterly earnings on strong results in corn seed sales in the US and Latin America. Slipped into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which passed through Congress last week, was a small provision that’s a big deal for Monsanto and its opponents. The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks and has thus been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by activists who oppose the biotech giant. President Barack Obama signed the spending bill, including the provision, into law on Tuesday.

Since the act’s passing, more than a quarter million people have signed a petition opposing the provision and a rally, consisting largely of farmers organized by the Food Democracy Now network, protested outside the White House Wednesday. Not only has anger been directed at the Monsanto Protection Act’s content, but the way in which the provision was passed through Congress without appropriate review by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The biotech rider instead was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed — little wonder food activists are accusing lobbyists and Congress members of backroom dealings.

The Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food are directing blame at the Senate Appropriations Committee and its chairman, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. According to reports, many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the spending bill, HR 933; they voted in order to avert a government shutdown.

“It sets a terrible precedent,” the International Business Times. “Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.”

America and Israel Greatest Threats to Peace

Imagine if Iran — or any other country — did a fraction of what American and Israel do at will. Noam Chomsky:

Why America and Israel Are the Greatest Threats to Peace

Why America and Israel Are the Greatest Threats to Peace

Iran is carrying out a murderous and destructive low-level war against Israel with great-power participation. Its leaders announce that negotiations are going nowhere. Israel refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow inspections, as Iran has done. Israel continues to defy the overwhelming international call for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. Throughout, Iran enjoys the support of its superpower patron.

Iranian leaders are therefore announcing their intention to bomb Israel, and prominent Iranian military analysts report that the attack may happen before the U.S. elections.

Iran can use its powerful air force and new submarines sent by Germany, armed with nuclear missiles and stationed off the coast of Israel. Whatever the timetable, Iran is counting on its superpower backer to join if not lead the assault. U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta says that while we do not favor such an attack, as a sovereign country Iran will act in its best interests.

All unimaginable, of course, though it is actually happening, with the cast of characters reversed. True, analogies are never exact, and this one is unfair – to Iran.

Like its patron, Israel resorts to violence at will. It persists in illegal settlement in occupied territory, some annexed, all in brazen defiance of international law and the U.N. Security Council. It has repeatedly carried out brutal attacks against Lebanon and the imprisoned people of Gaza, killing tens of thousands without credible pretext.

Thirty years ago Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, an act that has recently been praised, avoiding the strong evidence, even from U.S. intelligence, that the bombing did not end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program but rather initiated it. Bombing of Iran might have the same effect.

Iran too has carried out aggression – but during the past several hundred years, only under the U.S.-backed regime of the shah, when it conquered Arab islands in the Persian Gulf.

Iran engaged in nuclear development programs under the shah, with the strong support of official Washington. The Iranian government is brutal and repressive, as are Washington’s allies in the region. The most important ally, Saudi Arabia, is the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime, and spends enormous funds spreading its radical Wahhabist doctrines elsewhere. The gulf dictatorships, also favored U.S. allies, have harshly repressed any popular effort to join the Arab Spring.

The Nonaligned Movement – the governments of most of the world’s population – is now meeting in Teheran. The group has vigorously endorsed Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and some members – India, for example – adhere to the harsh U.S. sanctions program only partially and reluctantly.

The NAM delegates doubtless recognize the threat that dominates discussion in the West, lucidly articulated by Gen. Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command: “It is dangerous in the extreme that in the cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East,” one nation should arm itself with nuclear weapons, which “inspires other nations to do so.”

Butler is not referring to Iran, but to Israel, which is regarded in the Arab countries and in Europe as posing the greatest threat to peace In the Arab world, the United States is ranked second as a threat, while Iran, though disliked, is far less feared. Indeed in many polls majorities hold that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons to balance the threats they perceive.

If Iran is indeed moving toward nuclear-weapons capability – this is still unknown to U.S. intelligence – that may be because it is “inspired to do so” by the U.S.-Israeli threats, regularly issued in explicit violation of the U.N. Charter.

Why then is Iran the greatest threat to world peace, as seen in official Western discourse? The primary reason is acknowledged by U.S. military and intelligence and their Israeli counterparts: Iran might deter the resort to force by the United States and Israel.

Furthermore Iran must be punished for its “successful defiance,” which was Washington’s charge against Cuba half a century ago, and still the driving force for the U.S. assault against Cuba that continues despite international condemnation.