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by Mary La Rosa
Monday, Sep. 06, 2004 at 5:49 PM
Ambiguity: Mordechai Vanunu; a lawyer in Israel representing Dimona employees; two solutions for nuclear waste that give us alternative viable energy; a portable nuclear weapons detection system since 1999; blackmail and extortion; another dead scientist and the closing of the National Lab in Los Alamos
While Mordechai Vanunu awaits further reprisals, perhaps further punishments for what he continues to declare proudly his act of good conscience, a dynamic new company in the same country that does not want him but also does not want to allow him to leave, has acquired a contract to clean up some of the nuclear mess for which Vanunu has sacrificed almost 20 years of his life. This nuclear clean up does not begin in the Negev, but will take place in Chernobyl and is projected to be only the beginning of an enormous projected profit as well as long awaited remedy for that which Vanunu has been trying to get our attention and that which his government has denied exists yet alone has ever acknowledged as a radioactive problem.
Similar to Mr Vanunu's ambiguous existence as"free" man, and similar to the Israeli government's position on its nuclear weapons count and policy about its count, Israel's nuclear waste follows in much the same ambiguity, or perhaps until this future Plasma-Gasification-Melting process can begin to work an ambiguous miracle at home as well contracts abroad.
Ambiguity is a word that serves political agendas better than it does justice to individual citizens, unless of course you live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. Ambiguity in Israel has not afforded Mordechai Vanunu any benefit, either in benefit of doubt for his good conscience or benefit of justice for his completion of eighteen and a half years' retribution, most of which was spent in solitary confinement with ongoing torture provided by an ambiguous prison authority.
Mordechai Vanunu's unique case as a whistleblower in a country that seems not capable of even self scrutiny or criticism, further challenges that government's policies of ambiguity about a variety of legal, moral and ethical issues. But other Israeli citizens also make such challenges and continue to suffer from ambiguity in how a government assumes or will not assume its responsibility in assurances and /or compensation for complete, in depth reportage on public safety and illnesses that have predominated among those who have worked or live(d) near nuclear reactor activities.
Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has always denied any negligence or culpability with regards to radiation levels and the hazards of working with nuclear energy. And the AEC in Israel makes very good use of the state’s policy of ambiguity by avoiding any sort of inspections while continuing to deny any problems from the past have ever existed. The average citizen is left to wonder about exposure and the official denials, especially as they become ill due to sicknesses associated with radiation.
"The reactor said I did not work in radioactive elements but my medical records show I had uranium in my urine," said one former employee from Dimona.
In 1999, while Mordechai Vanunu was still languishing in his prison cell, a Jerusalem lawyer named Reuven Laster questioned the authority of the state in its denial that any problem exists and began to represent groups of people who worked at the reactor in the early years, fifties, sixties and seventies.
This American born lawyer has a record for championing the environment as well as individuals who suffer from health hazards within the environment. Mr Laster represents clients who press for accountability of official but ambiguous policies involved in the failure to monitor workers who were specifically active in chemical or radioactive accidents.
Obviously,trying to prove a link between the exposure and the illness has been extremely difficult for any kind of legal procedure and even after a struggle to obtain a review of all the medical records from the reactor during certain periods of time, Mr Laster found various years 'suspiciously' deleted. Now partner in a larger law firm, this advocate continues to pursue justice for employees who worked at risk at Dimona where exposure to harm seems to have led to cancers and/or an early deaths. The number of clients he represents is growing but there are those who will never know just and fair compensation, because those in government who have been silent choose to remain silent and without the good conscience required to afford justice to those who have suffered illness and death by ambiguity and silence of government officials. Recent evidence of migratory birds seems to point to the suffering of wild life as well.
In the midst of this dismal guessing about exactly how harmful old nuclear reactors are, comes such bright news and such hope for the world at large that one simply must pause and consider why hasn't there been a celebration in all mainstream medias around the world? One can also only wonder why entire countries and governments do not sell off every other project in order to get some clean up sooner rather than too later. Add to the discovery a way of turning harmful waste products into an energy source other than oil!
A process called PGM, Plasma-Gasification-Melting works the remedy by using plasma (ionized gas) in a reactor in order to melt down the radioactive materials. A fairly new (2002) Israeli company called Environmental Energy Resources, Ltd. (EER) has developed the PGM method for changing nuclear waste into a variety of useful byproducts such as electricity. The contract for the Chernobyl clean up is spread over 20-25 years with annual gross revenues estimated presently at -35 million. EER is under management of Itschak Shrem, one of Israel’s top financial wizards of venture capital and a partner in the premiere investment house, SFK (Shrem, Fudim and Kelner). Shrem has plans to raise money from international sources as well as homeland.
According to Isra Cast Technology News, "The PGM process was originally designed and developed over twenty years ago at the Russian Research Center, 'Kurchatov Institute'. The development and adaptation of the PGM Technology involves active participation of Russian scientists who are among the original developers of this technology."
The process by which to change radioactive waste into something less harmful, however, could NOT have come as revelation to the Institute of Industrial Mathematics in Beersheva Israel, where previous to Environmental Energy Resources, IIM had worked out a deal to lease its technologies to an American nuclear physicist called Dr Paul M. Brown who had developed a process with similar end results called GHR in 2001. GHR tritium removal technology involves the irradiation of specific radioactive isotopes to force the emission of a neutron, thus producing an isotope of reduced atomic mass.
On February 28th, 2001, Los Alamos National Laboratory also entered into a support contract with Paul Brown's company Nuclear Solutions. In November 14 of 2001 The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire Service reported, “Japanese Scientists Corroborate Nuclear Waste Remediation Technology Owned by Nuclear Solutions" and confirmed the viability of photonuclear transmutation for nuclear waste remediation and the development of a photonuclear-based system for transmutation of nuclear waste and safe, clean generation of electricity.
Then in March 14, 2002 Dr Brown announced that a deal was made with Israel's Institute of Industrial Mathematics that involved the treatment of radioactive water (separate and different from GHR).
"Upon conclusion of the commercialization phase, which is expected to last 12 to 15 months, IIM and NSOL will aggressively pursue the filling of worldwide patents. IIM will own the intellectual property and NSOL will have the exclusive worldwide rights for a period of 20 years."
Dr Brown and the team at Nuclear Solutions, seemed poised in leading the clean up of nuclear waste and yet the company was troubled financially and Dr Brown was under peersonal attack. Tragically on April 7, 2002 Dr Brown was dead at 47 from a car accident about which there still lurks the previous threats he had received over a period of time just prior to the accident. Dr Brown's death put an odd tilt to the company's plans for the future and the company took another spiral plunge down. The company AND Dr Brown appear to have been victims of criminal extortion and racketeering via the machinations of an Egyptian born financial analyst later charged in a nationwide stock swindle that involved FBI agents and FBI computers and who was also under suspicions for having made large amount of stock transactions just prior to 911.
Lynn Wingate, an FBI agent assigned to the bureau's Albuquerque office; Jeffrey Royer, a former Oklahoma City agent who resigned late last year; and short-seller Amr "Tony" Elgindy were among five charged in a securities fraud indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. In exchange for money, the two FBI agents used confidential databases to provide Elgindy and other co-conspirators with information about publicly traded companies, the indictment said. Elgindy then spread negative information about the companies on his Web site and to subscribers of his e-mail newsletter, InsideTruth.com, thus bringing down the price of the stock. According to the indictment, a FBI agent searched the agency's confidential National Crime Information Center database and discovered a "criminal" history of a top executive for a company called Nuclear Solutions. The same day, Elgindy began sending e-mail calling the executive "a convicted felon", he then sold the company's stock short.
The indictment accused Messrs. Royer and Elgindy of repeatedly short selling stock. Mr Elgindy is also charged with extortion. There is no mention why a company directly involved with nuclear waste would be highlighted for such an operation as Elgindy had going but Mr. Elgindy spread info that Dr Brown was a convicted felon and the stock sold short six times. Mr Elgindy continued to personally threaten Dr Brown. But by the time Elgindy and the FBI agents were arrested, Brown was no longer alive to tell a different tale.
Fortunately for Nuclear Solutions, just one month before his death, John Dempsey came on board. Dr Brown, while still under threat, announced the appointment of John Dempsey. Mr Dempsey was a graduate of the Naval academy and had served as a commissioned officer onboard nuclear submarines with an area of expertise in nuclear engineering followed by a 21 year old career at Bechtel. Just before his untimely death, Brown made Dempsey executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Did John Dempsey's appointment herald the trouble or anticipate it? How significant was his past at Bechtel?
Since Brown's death, an office in Moscow has been opened. There is a "new" scientist at Nuclear Solutions named Boris Muchnik. He not only replaced Dr Brown but another original team member, Dr. Qi Ao, as former Vice President of Research and Development. Dr Muchnik's prior record of technology had less to do with nuclear physics claim and more to do with the invention of recordable and erasable cd and laser technology. In lauding the rising company, medias such as CNet News have made no mention of Brown and his life long creative effort to solve the problems of nuclear waste and his creation of nuclear solutions.
Meanwhile, the National Labs at Los Alamos, where Dr Brown had serious relationship, especially in discussing his betavoltaic batteries, has now suspended all activities since it is in the throes of a security scandal proving how negligent and lax the lab has been with regards to equipment gone missing, credit card bills and now more recently, non existent but missing disks and the unauthorized presence of international scientists allowed access to materials of high level security concerns. In other words, the National Lab at Los Alamos, dealing in particular with nuclear energy and weaponry has placed US national security at grave risk before, during and after the 911 attacks via careless that merited its closing and reassessment.
Most of Dr Brown's life and creative talent had a practical focus in the present and dealt almost exclusively with the recycling of nuclear waste and including radioactive water remediation. But it is astounding that he also created a portable detection system for nuclear weapons. This particular invention was created well before his death but only now is being featured as important industry.
Since 1999, he and his work was known to First International Conference On Free Energy US Dept of State hosts in Washington, DC.
However, he simply could not get the backing, nor depend upon a government to protect him from FBI computers and extortion. Questions remain but will probably fade fast into the first couple of million dollars in profit that Nuclear Solutions potentially will be earning in the near future. The company will probably do every bit as well as its Israeli counterpart, EER, even if it did not get a Chernobyl contract. After all we do not need Vanunu's commitment to tell us all that there seems to be enough dangerous nuclear waste for everyone to make money.
Dr Paul Brown's commitment to solution for a better environment remains a life's work lost in the ambiguity of business deals and political intrigue.
Jerusalem lawyer, Reuven Laster's ongoing advocacy for the environment and victims' rights struggles against the persistent ambiguity presented by a government that lacks moral and ethical concerns about its citizens' well being
Mordechai Vanunu's good conscience and less than free life continues to be currently threatened by ambiguity. Despite the advocacy of faithful supporters in Israel and the international community at large, Vanunu remains under restrictions meant to keep 20 year old policies and wrongs camaflouged as present security risks.
"I have no more secrets to tell" ..but YOU do!, YOU do! seems to keep coming from Vanunu.
Without structure and scrupulous guidance, ambiguity in government and business practice does NOT protect the innocent but seems rather willfully inplace with specific intent to provide legal shield for all sorts of injustices and immoral and unethical acts.
Ambiguity about nuclear weapons reflects unaccountability and irresponsibility not exclusive to Israel's government; it reflects the previous and ongoing potential disaster of an ambiguous nuclear presence and most recently it has led another country rushing into war without as much regard for human life as company contracts.
Mary La Rosa is a librarian and artist living in ambiguity 20 miles from NYC
full links and references: http://lark.phoblacht.net/nuclearambiglarosa.html
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