IAEA on strings? WIKILEAKS strikes once more!

One must always be wary of what’s said and when it’s said. Take this latest IAEA indication of Iran re-engaging it’s nuclear weapons program. Sure, it’s an assertion worth paying attention to, but when we look at who’s heading the IAEA and stumble across a diplomatic cable or two (thank you Wikileaks), there’s suddenly the painting of a very new picture. As opposed to the Iranian aggression our government and mass media love to portray, the aggressor becomes much more obvious and a lot closer to home.

Nuclear Wikileaks: Cables show cosy US relationship with IAEA chief

When Yukiya Amano took over as the head of the UN nuclear watchdog last year, American diplomats described him as “director general of all states, but in agreement with us”

As Mohamed ElBaradei’s term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headed towards a close last year, Washington looked forward to the new era under Yukiya Amano with relish. In a cable in July, the American chargé, Geoffrey Pyatt, wrote:

The IAEA transition that will come as DG [director general]
ElBaradei’s term ends November 30 provides a once-a-decade opportunity to overcome bureaucratic inertia, modernize Agency operations, and position the new director general for strong leadership from the DG’s office.

In a later cable in October, the US mission in Vienna goes as far as describing Amano as “DG of all states, but in agreement with us”.

Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain “constructive ambiguity” about his plans, at least until he took over for DG ElBaradei in December. With a bow to the G-77, Amano felt obliged to emphasize the importance of “balance” regarding the Agency’s work in peaceful uses of nuclear technology. For staff morale reasons, Amano planned to work on improving the quality of management while publicly praising the current standards and commending staff members for their dedication.

Most importantly, the US mission in Vienna believed that Amano would not see himself as a political player over Iran, a role the US and its allies frequently accused ElBaradei of coveting. In a July cable, Pyatt noted:

He distinguished his approach on Iran from that of
ElBaradei; Amano sees the DG/IAEA as a neutral and impartial party to Iran’s safeguards agreement rather than as “an intermediary” and saw his primary role as implementing safeguards and UNSC[United Nations Security Council]/Board resolutions. He stressed that the IAEA could not replace the P5 [+] 1 political framework for dialogue with Iran, nor vice versa.

There was satisfaction among the Americans then, after their initial post-election meeting with Amano, but no complacency in the view of an agency bureaucracy Washington viewed with some suspicion.

This meeting, Amano’s first bilateral review since his election, illustrates the very high degree of convergence between his priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA. The coming transition period provides a further window for us to shape Amano’s thinking before his agenda collides with the
IAEA Secretariat bureaucracy.

The main US concern as Amano prepared to take the helm, was that some of the agency officials that Washington found troublesome, particularly in the EXPO (external relations and policy) department, were renewing their contracts and might be hard to dislodge.

Despite whatever intentions Amano may harbor upon
taking office, a renewal in some key positions will take time, as several senior IAEA officials recently received promotions or extensions of their contracts, or both. This “burrowing in” will ensure continuity of some experienced leaders but may also confront the next DG with fixed networks of collaboration that resist supervision.

Head of the list of US worries was the Hungarian Vilmos Cserveny, the head of EXPO, who was promoted to the rank of assistant director general before the handover. But Pyatt was reassuring:

While Cserveny is viewed as a partisan of ElBaradei, we know him to be a consummate bureaucratic survivor who is likely to tack strongly towards Amano in the new structure.

There was some initial concern that Amano would bring in a complete Japanese team of assistants with him, but Amano assures the Americans that he is aware “that would send the wrong message.”

The other pressing question for the US mission during the transition was the fate of the deputy director generals, particularly Olli Heinonen, the head of the safeguards division – a widely-respected Finn who ran the inspections of Iran, Syria, North Korea and other nuclear rogue suspects, and who was consequently the second most (or perhaps the most) important person in the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters, from Washington’s point of view. He was due to retire in Summer 2010, causing some anxiety in the US delegation.

The DDG/Safeguards position will remain essential under Amano’s leadership, however, as we expect the new DG to apply less of a political filter to the conduct of safeguards investigations. Thus, the decisions of the DG/Safeguards on Iran, Syria, and other sensitive cases may be the de facto final word for the Agency’s safeguards approach in the states about which the US cares the most.

Heinonen told the American he might be persuaded to stay until 2012, depending on what other personnel changes were made. However, he ended up leaving this summer. His eventual successor, Herman Nackaerts, was clearly not a foregone conclusion, according to this cable recounting a July 2009 meeting with Amano.

While Operations C Director Nackaerts “was not bad,” Amano also had a couple of good outsiders in mind (he intimated they were Northern European or Nordic but did not name individuals.)

Article from the UK Guardian

AMBER ALERT vs. Black Friday…?

I shouldn’t even have to ask the question! However, the answer is not as evident as it may seem to you or I.

Premise – You walk into a shopping mall on Black Friday. You have a whole list of “goodies” you wish to purchase at an accommodating cost. Whilst shopping in your third store on the list (about 30 minutes unto your consumptive adventure) you pause for one split-second wherein you hear an Amber-Alert being broadcast throughout the mall. What do you do? Pay attention and keep your eyes open for the missing child? Or do you check your list and see what more you need to get before the day’s “festivities” end?

Conservatives SCARE Me! =P

Collective IQ = 2...it takes 3 to grunt ;D

We’ve got Gingrich, supporter of child labor, albeit, he’s a step ahead on immigration when compared to other conservatives, but the reaction from other conservatives to his “semi-amnesty” plan for-surely displayed the sentiment of the average GOP card-carrying member, “America isn’t for immigrants anymore!”

We’ve got Rick Perry, ahhh, good ol’ Rick Perry, the maple-syrup man from Texas made double the fool in New Hampshire (I swear, the man was on something) who supports the removal of civilian leadership from our military. One word Perry, Egypt! This man’s an idiot to the Nth degree and we’ve already had one town fool from Texas too many. Next!

We’ve got Herman Cain, Herman, Herman, Herman Cain. Um uhhh, Libya, uuhhh Obama, uhhhh Gaddafi….wherein the greatest accomplishment he had during that interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was the shuffling of his chair and him sliding his water three inches to the right. Moron. Simply said, moron. And to make things worse, in a statement to clarify his blunder with the Journal Sentinel, he claimed that the Taliban were in operation in Libya, HUH!?! Oh yeah, and he supports torture, better yet!

We’ve got Ron “let them die” Paul. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few things that I agree with Ron Paul on, for example foreign policy – let’s get our troops out and get them out now! They shouldn’t have been there in the first place. However, his stance on social safety nets, healthcare for example, are draconian. Hell, he’d even let a campaign manager of his die…pretty ruthless if you ask me.

And then there’s Michelle Bachmann, another supporter of torture but most importantly, the hair and her acquiescence to her husband, I mean doesn’t that scare you women in the slightest? HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS!!! (Some people get it and some don’t, just Google, “Michelle Bachmann, Happy birthday Elvis).

There’s Santorum, Romney, Huntsman…IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! They scare me (not really, but metaphorically). Truth be told that if you are reading this blog post, I think you are more capable of running the country when compared to any of the above! I really do!

In Avoidance of the “Culture of Consumption”

For crying out freaking loud, get outside, enjoy the day! It’s 50 degrees out in mid-November and you want to spend it in mall!?!

The Edmund Fitzgerald – A Victim of Corporate Greed?

I can’t believe that I forgot to post this seeing that my thoughts seem to wander with the “Fitz” near early November every year. To explain, I’ve always had something of connection with the “Edmund Fitzgerald.” For those of you that don’t know, the “Fitz,” was an American Great Lakes Freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 8, 1958, she was the largest boat on the Great Lakes, and she remains the largest boat to have sunk there – Her post-disaster nickname is, “the Titanic of the Great Lakes.”

But back to the connection…

I hail from a family of sailors so shipping life is in the blood. I was born in Duluth, Minnesota and have even worked the ships myself, if only a dockhand. During my early youth in Duluth, the “Fitz” was common talk among my sailing brethren and local myth and for some odd reason, every year, come November 10th, something reminds me of the “Fitz” – be it a dream of being on board her in her final moments or whistling Gordon Lightfoot’s, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” out of the blue and on the 10th – I have an awkward facination to say the least.

Well, once more I fallen unto the November melancholy. However, this time and with all things considered, including the #Occupy movement, I investigate the reason as to why the “Fitz,” may have met her demise in the way she had. According to official NTSB reports, it was an error on part of the crew, the hatches weren’t properly sealed and she filled with water. A few settlements later, an investigation here and there and corporate greed, yes corporate greed, have led me to believe (among a great many others) that the official NTSB account is nonsense. Click on the play button below and let me know what you think – An error on behalf of the crew, or the lining of pockets plus a rogue wave or two? You decide.

TSYTWT…?

Try Stuffing Your Turkey With This! The massacre of indigenous peoples and the imposition of one’s God upon the masses and without consent…what a holiday this is!

Oh, and I’d like to take a moment to Reflect upon Dr. Zinn’s work and the impact he’s had on my life. Actually, it was both Dr. Zinn and a high school history teacher that impacted my life in ways that truly alter life courses. It’s no secret to my closest friends that although I had a stellar academic performance in college, high school was a completely different matter – truth be told, I was actually kicked out of the “normal” high school and graduated from the Alternative Education Center.

However, while in High School I had the pleasure of taking a history class with perhaps one of the most influential people in my life. On the first day of class, this teacher asked us to stack our state-issued history books in the corner. He then handed us each a copy of “The People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn, he’d paid for these books out of pocket. We then learned the history, the real history, of the people – the massacres, the hardship, the struggle and vigilance, it was an eye opener and not one student in the class avoided captivation.

Unfortunately, said history teacher was mysteriously let go of after but one year…big surprise, right? And unfortunately once more, Howard Zinn had passed (a couple of years ago now). I know that I may be young, but in a weird way said events reminded me of mine own mortality and the never-ending quest for knowledge these individuals had sparked within my soul. My thanks to both of you and nothing but the best wishes wherever you may roam.

BLACK FRIDAY SAVINGS!!! Yourself that is…

Black Friday is on it’s way unto next year, or nearly. I revel in this as I watch the clock and see that only 3 1/2 hours remain unto this dismal day, a day wrought the worst of what’s American – our Culture of Consumption. Granted, this vid provided below was made prior to this darkest day’s activities, but the message should remain and remain near to the heart – We aren’t what we own!

I understand that when you sometimes see the flashy clothes, new XBox, a pimped out SUV or diamond ring one may sometimes wonder how it is that they reach this “level” of status. But truth be told, as long as you can look yourself in the mirror, remain true to your own sense of integrity and just be happy with who you are and the loved ones you’ve surrounded yourself with, everything’s OK. A great many of us are just like you and will not look down on you for what you don’t have; rather, we’ll see eye to eye in what we share.

Be well my friends, be well.

Lobbyist on the OFFENSIVE! TARGET: O.W.S.!

Well it would sure seem that the OWS Movement is sure picking up steam regardless of the recent backlash from various police departments across the nation ( a topic that I’ll be picking up this week). However, with this accumulation of “steam” now comes the attention of those that we directly attack – Wall Street and their lobbying hatchetmen.

News broke this week of a leaked memo wherein CLGC, a well known D.C. lobbying firm brought forth a proposal to key congresspeople (including former Boehner staff aides) wherein they’d laid out a plan to legislatively attack the #Occupy movement. We all knew that this was only a matter of time seeing that the movement has already accomplished in months what few could have done in years. Occupy Wall Street has completely changed the dynamic of the dialogue in D.C. Terms like the “99%” and “1%” are now common place amongst the tongues of congress and cohorts alike.  Is that enough? Certainly not, but its a damned good start.

Considering the dialogue and continued push by we, the 99%, we must now, more than ever, remain vigilant. The police have not been able to silence us, the mayors have not been able to silence us and most importantly, the lobbyists, this enemy of enemies, will not be able to silence us. All things considered, we should view this trinket of news as a victory, we’ve got their attention and they are coming, but they have no idea idea what they’re in for and comeuppance can be a bitch.

#OCCUPY N17: Milwaukee – The People, the Voices, the Police and the Reflection

#Occupy is officially two-months old and for the time being, seems to be as strong as ever. Though this movement has been around for only a short time, it seemed like an eternity in waiting for me. The sentiments expressed and awakened in others by the #Occupy movement are notions that I’ve discussed for quite some time here on the “internetz,” topics like campaign finance reform, American foreign policy, corporate person-hood and the growing disparity between rich and poor; but DAMN! Is it not refreshing to see feet on the ground and opposed to asses on the couch, thumbing from one prime-time event to another.

In order to commemorate in solidarity with the newly awakened and veterans alike, I ventured to Milwaukee on the 17th wherein I participated in the peaceful takeover of a bridge, an arterial path of sorts in Milwaukee – the I-43/North Ave. overpass. As we made are way towards the bridge past brother, sister and barricade alike, I sensed a movement, a movement never sensed before, even moreso than that of the anti-war protests I took part in. This was change, these were people and a future, a mutually beneficial future, was the goal. For the first time, the very first time, I thought, “maybe, just maybe.”

N17: Milwaukee – Phase 1, The People

N17: Milwaukee – Phase 2, The Voices

N17: Milwaukee – Phase 3, The Police

* “Phase 4, Reflections” coming tomorrow

Herman Cain – The “Babes” and the “Brothers”

How can we not look at Herman Cain’s statement, “I am their brother from another mother,” and no scream, “CONFLICT OF INTEREST!” Sure, the media’s focused on the harassment claims right now and considering just how many times the story’s changed (from his end) it would seem to me that said allegations are spot on! However, and this again, is the big “however,” Herman represents are far greater threat to America should he win the presidency than most would believe.

Take his foreign policy for example (which can also be linked to the potential harassment claims), when fumbling around in an attempt to name the President of Uzbekistan, he not only mispronounced the name of an entire nation, but failed to yield the name of the leader. Granted, I’d be hard pressed to do the same on the spot like he did. The difference between he and I though, would be the tact and his lacking respect for not only Uzbekistan, but all other sovereign entities under America (in other words, the entirety of the world). I mean listen to the man, he takes even the concept of “American Exceptionalism,” to a new level. It’s disrespectful, it’s arrogant and it’s dangerous considering the he would have the arsenal of the United States at his command. Coming full circle, how could this possible tie into the harassment claims? It’s the lack of respect my friends, 2+2 in this case actually does equal 4, Herman Cain lacks a sense in the duality of respect, you give and you get.

Perhaps the single most dangerous aspect to Herman Cain is his relationship to the Kock/Cock Brother, the Americans that would poison other Americans (See video below). just so long as it made a cent or two. Herman Cain, admittedly, is in their pocket, he’s, “their brother from another mother,” after-all. Now to be fair, this is an endemic that is not only limited to Herman Cain – it’s an ill that plagues all of our Government (save Bernie Sanders perhaps). But my fear, or furthered fear, resides within Cain’s openness of this arrangement/relationship. With said recognition in and about the public eye, will said activities between our government and corporations become the cultural norm, hidden in plain sight per say? That’s the million dollar question.

Herman Cain – The “Babes” and the “Brothers”

” EXPOSED: Koch Industries and Cancer Risk”