Sixteen tons and what you get is a nuclear catastrophe. The explosions that rocked the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant were more powerful than the combustion of hydrogen gas, as claimed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The actual cause of the blasts, according to intelligence sources in Washington, was nuclear fission of. warhead cores illegally taken from America’s sole nuclear-weapons assembly facility. Evaporation in the cooling pools used for spent fuel rods led to the detonation of stored weapons-grade plutonium and uranium.
The facts about clandestine American and Israeli support for Japan’s nuclear armament are being suppressed in the biggest official cover-up in recent history. The timeline of events indicates the theft from America’s strategic arsenal was authorized at the highest level under a three-way deal between the Bush-Cheney team, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Elhud Olmert’s government in Tel Aviv.
In early 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney flew to Tokyo with his closest aides. Newspaper editorials noted the secrecy surrounding his visit – no press conferences, no handshakes with ordinary folks and, as diplomatic cables suggest, no briefing for U.S. Embassy staffers in Tokyo.
Cheney snubbed Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, who was shut out of confidential talks. The pretext was his criticism of President George Bush for claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The more immediate concern was that the defense minister might disclose bilateral secrets to the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were sure to oppose White House approval of Japan’s nuclear program.
An unannounced reason for Cheney’s visit was to promote a quadrilateral alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. The four cornerstones – the US, Japan, Australia and India – were being called on to contain and confront China and its allies North Korea and Russia.. From a Japanese perspective, this grand alliance was flawed by asymmetry: The three adversaries were nuclear powers, while the U.S. was the only one in the Quad group.
To further his own nuclear ambitions, Abe was playing the Russian card. As mentioned in a U.S. Embassy cable (dated 9/22), the Yomiuri Shimbun gave top play to this challenge to the White House : “It was learned yesterday that the government and domestic utility companies have entered final talks with Russia in order to relegate uranium enrichment for use at nuclear power facilities to Atomprom, the state-owned nuclear monopoly.” If Washington refused to accept a nuclear-armed Japan, Tokyo would turn to Moscow.
Since the Liberal Democratic Party selected him as prime minister in September 2006, the hawkish Abe repeatedly called for Japan to move beyond the postwar formula of a strictly defensive posture and non-nuclear principles. Advocacy of a nuclear-armed Japan arose from his family tradition. His grandfather Nobusuke Kishi nurtured the wartime atomic bomb project and, as postwar prime minister, enacted the civilian nuclear program. His father Shintaro Abe, a former foreign minister, had played the Russian card in the 1980s, sponsoring the Russo-Japan College, run by the Aum Shinrikyo sect (a front for foreign intelligence), to recruit weapons scientists from a collapsing Soviet Union.
The chief obstacle to American acceptance of a nuclear-armed Japan was the Pentagon, where Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima remain as iconic symbols justifying American military supremacy.The only feasible channel for bilateral transfers then was through the civilian-run Department of Energy (DoE), which supervises the production of nuclear weapons.
Camp David Go-Ahead
The deal was sealed on Abe’s subsequent visit to Washington. Wary of the eavesdropping that led to Richard Nixon’s fall from grace, Bush preferred the privacy afforded at Camp David. There, in a rustic lodge on April 27, Bush and Abe huddled for 45 minutes. What transpired has never been revealed, not even in vague outline.
As his Russian card suggested, Abe was shopping for enriched uranium. At 99.9 percent purity, American-made uranium and plutonium is the world’s finest nuclear material. The lack of mineral contaminants means that it cannot be traced back to its origin. In contrast, material from Chinese and Russian labs can be identified by impurities introduced during the enrichment process.
Abe has wide knowledge of esoteric technologies. His first job in the early 1980s was as a manager at Kobe Steel. One of the researchers there was astrophysicist Hideo Murai, who adapted Soviet electromagnetic technology to “cold mold” steel. Murai later became chief scientist for the Aum Shinrikyo sect, which recruited Soviet weapons technicians under the program initiated by Abe’s father. After entering government service, Abe was posted to the U.S. branch of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization). Its New York offices hosted computers used to crack databases at the Pentagon and major defense contractors to pilfer advanced technology. The hacker team was led by Tokyo University’s top gamer, who had been recruited into Aum.
After the Tokyo subway gassing in 1995, Abe distanced himself from his father’s Frankenstein cult with a publics-relations campaign. Fast forward a dozen years and Abe is at Camp David. After the successful talks with Bush, Abe flew to India to sell Cheney’s quadrilateral pact to a Delhi skeptical about a new Cold War. Presumably, Cheney fulfilled his end of the deal. Soon thereafter Hurricane Katrina struck, wiping away the Abe visit from the public memory.
The Texas Job
BWXT Pantex, America’s nuclear warhead facility, sprawls over 16,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle outside Amarillo. Run by the DoE and Babcock & Wilson, the site also serves as a storage facility for warheads past their expiration date. The 1989 shutdown of Rocky Flats, under community pressure in Colorado, forced the removal of those nuclear stockpiles to Pantex. Security clearances are required to enter since it is an obvious target for would-be nuclear thieves.
In June 2004, a server at the Albuquerque office of the National Nuclear Security System was hacked. Personal information and security-clearance data for 11 federal employees and 177 contractors at Pantex were lifted. NNSA did not inform Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman or his deputy Clay Sell until three months after the security breach, indicating investigators suspected an inside job.
While Bush and Abe met at Camp David, 500 unionized security guards at Pantex launched a 45-day strike. Scabs were hired, but many failed to pass the entry exam, according to the Inspector General’s office at DoE. The IG report cited witnesses who said: “BWXT officials gave passing grades to some replacement guards even though they actually flunked tests,” and “contractor officials gave correct answers to those that failed the tests.” Although the scene was nearly as comical as the heist in “Ocean’s Eleven”, Pantex is not some Vegas casino. At stake was nuclear Armageddon.
At an opportune moment during the two-month strike, trucks loaded with warhead cores rolled out of the gates. Some 16 metric tons of nuclear cores packed in caskets were hauled away in refrigerated containers to prevent fission. At the port of Houston, the dangerous cargo was loaded aboard vessels operated by an Israeli state-owned shipping line. The radioactive material was detected by port inspector Roland Carnaby, a private contractor working under the federal program to interdict weapons of mass destruction.
The intelligence community is still buzzing about his shooting death. On April 29, 2008, Houston police officers pursued Carnaby on a highway chase and gunned him down. His port monitoring contract was later awarded to the Israel-based security firm NICE (Neptune Intelligence Computer Engineering), owned by former Israeli Defense Force officers.
Throughout the Pantex caper, from the data theft to smuggling operation, Bush and Cheney’s point man for nuclear issues was DoE Deputy Director Clay Sell, a lawyer born in Amarillo and former aide to Panhandle district Congressman Mac Thornberry. Sell served on the Bush-Cheney transition team and became the top adviser to the President on nuclear issues. At DoE, Sell was directly in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, which includes 17 national laboratories and the Pantex plant. (Another alarm bell: Sell was also staff director for the Senate Energy subcommittee under the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who died in a 2010 plane crash.)
An Israeli Double-Cross
The nuclear shipments to Japan required a third-party cutout for plausible deniability by the White House. Israel acted less like an agent and more like a broker in demanding additional payment from Tokyo, according to intelligence sources. Adding injury to insult, the Israelis skimmed off the newer warhead cores for their own arsenal and delivered older ones. Since deteriorated cores require enrichment, the Japanese were furious and demanded a refund, which the Israelis refused. Tokyo had no recourse since by late 2008 principals Abe had resigned the previous autumn and Bush was a lame duck.
The Japanese nuclear developers, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, had no choice but to enrich the uranium cores at Fukushima No.1, a location remote enough to evade detection by nonproliferation inspectors. Hitachi and GE had developed a laser extraction process for plutonium, which requires vast amounts of electrical power. This meant one reactor had to make unscheduled runs, as was the case when the March earthquake struck.
Tokyo dealt a slap on the wrist to Tel Aviv by backing Palestinian rights at the UN. Not to be bullied, the Israeli secret service launched the Stuxnet virus against Japan’s nuclear facilities.
Firewalls kept Stuxnet at bay until the Tohoku earthquake. The seismic activity felled an electricity tower behind Reactor 6. The power cut disrupted the control system, momentarily taking down the firewall. As the computer came online again, Stuxnet infiltrated to shut down the back-up generators. During the 20-minute interval between quake and tsunami, the pumps and valves at Fukushima No.1 were immobilized, exposing the turbine rooms to flood damage.
The flow of coolant water into the storage pools ceased, quickening evaporation. Fission of the overheated cores led to blasts and mushroom-clouds. Residents in mountaintop Iitate village overlooking the seaside plant saw plumes of smoke and could “taste the metal” in their throats.
Guilty as Charged
The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami were powerful enough to damage
Fukushima No.1. The natural disaster, however, was vastly amplified by two external factors: release of the Stuxnet virus, which shut down control systems in the critical 20 minutes prior to the tsunami; and presence of weapons-grade nuclear materials that devastated the nuclear facility and contaminated the entire region.
Of the three parties involved, which bears the greatest guilt? All three are guilty of mass murder, injury and destruction of property on a regional scale, and as such are liable for criminal prosecution and damages under international law and in each respective jurisdiction.
The White House, specifically Bush, Cheney and their co-conspirators in the DoE, hold responsibility for ordering the illegal removal and shipment of warheads without safeguards.
The state of Israel is implicated in theft from U.S. strategic stockpiles, fraud and extortion against the Japanese government, and a computer attack against critical infrastructure with deadly consequences, tantamount to an act of war.
Prime Minister Abe and his Economy Ministry sourced weapons-grade nuclear material in violation of constitutional law and in reckless disregard of the risks of unregulated storage, enrichment and extraction. Had Abe not requested enriched uranium and plutonium in the first place, the other parties would not now be implicated. Japan, thus, bears the onus of the crime.
The International Criminal Court has sufficient grounds for taking up a case that involves the health of millions of people in Japan, Canada, the United States, Russia, the Koreas, Mongolia, China and possibly the entire Northern Hemisphere. The Fukushima disaster is more than an human-rights charge against a petty dictator, it is a crime against humanity on par with the indictments at the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. Failure to prosecute is complicity.
If there is a silver lining to every dark cloud, it’s that the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami saved the world from even greater folly by halting the drive to World War III.
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