Monday, November 30, 2009

Dr Emanuel Tanay: A German’s point of view on Islam

A German’s point of view on Islam
by Dr. Emanuel Tanay, Psychiatrist

A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

‘Very few people were true Nazis ‘he said,’ but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories. ’

We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the ‘peaceful majority’, the ‘silent majority’, is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts: the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Emanuel Tanay, M. D.
Dr. Emanuel Tanay, MD Wayne State University Ann Arbor, Michigan A clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical School, Dr. Emanuel Tanay MD is a well-known forensic psychiatrist who has been an expert witness in many famous cases, such as the trials of Jack Ruby, Ted Bundy, Sam Sheppard, and Robert Garwood. He is licensed to practice in Ohio and Georgia, as well as Michigan. Dr. Tanay has served as an officer or committee member of many professional organizations, such as the Michigan Psychiatric Society, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and others. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and of the American Board of Forensic Psychiatry and a distinguished fellow of the APA and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFC). A Holocaust survivor himself, he coauthored a book about the survivors of the Holocaust and was asked by the German government to consult on just compensation for the Holocaust survivors. Dr. Tanay has served on several journal editorial boards, authored many publications, and presented countless times on forensic medicine. His efforts have also produced many awards and commendations from groups such as the Michigan State Medical Society, APA, the Detroit Institute of Technology, and AAFC, among others.


Comments (DQ)
Extremism in all forms should never be allowed to overwhelm the so-called peace-loving but silent or apathetic majority. 

We cannot and should not always hide behind the facade of disinterestedness and aloofness, just because we appear not to have been embroiled by such bigoted or inhumane views as yet. Slowly but surely, such extremism will consume everyone of us in a holocaust of destructiveness and degradation, and then it will be too late! 

We must all learn to speak out against such tendencies or trends, loudly and without fear of being drowned out by blaring voices of fanaticism, unreason, intolerance or self-righteousness!

If we don't we will become victims of passivist irrelevance, and it will then be too late to escape the fate of the enveloping cloud of irrational fanaticism. Extremists will almost certainly come for all of us...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

LA Times: Toxic legacy of the Cold War


Toxic legacy of the Cold War

Ohio's Fernald Preserve has flowers, birds and tons of radioactive waste. Sites that once supplied the nation's nuclear arsenal now pose a staggering political, environmental and economic challenge.

Fernald Preserve
Site manager Jane Powell walks where 3 million cubic yards of radioactive waste is stored. Fernald is one of many facilities that once supplied the nation's nuclear arsenal. Today, these sites pose a huge political, economic and environmental challenge. (David Kohl / For The Times / July 7, 2009)

Reporting from Fernald Preserve, Ohio - Amid the family farms and rolling terrain of southern Ohio, one hill stands out for its precise geometry.

The 65-foot-high mound stretching more than half a mile dominates a tract of northern hardwoods, prairie grasses and swampy ponds, known as the Fernald Preserve.

Contrary to appearances, there is nothing natural here. The high ground is filled with radioactive debris, scooped from the soil around a former uranium foundry that produced crucial parts for the nation's nuclear weapons program.

A $4.4-billion cleanup transformed Fernald from a dangerously contaminated factory complex into an environmental showcase. But it is "clean" only by the terms of a legal agreement. Its soils contain many times the natural amounts of radioactivity, and a plume of tainted water extends underground about a mile.

Nobody can ever safely live here, federal scientists say, and the site will have to be closely monitored essentially forever.

Fernald is part of the toxic legacy of the Cold War, one component in a vast complex of research labs, raw material mills, weapons production plants and other facilities that once supplied the nation's nuclear arsenal.

Today, these sites pose a staggering political, environmental and economic challenge. They harbor wastes so toxic that the best cleanups, such as the eight-year effort at Fernald, can do no more than contain the danger. Cleaning the properties enough that people could live and work on them again is either unaffordable or impossible.

The radioactive byproducts entombed at places like Fernald will remain hazardous for thousands of years. So today's scientists and engineers must devise remediation measures that will not only protect people today but last longer than any empire has endured -- all at a price society is willing to pay.

"We are faced with a mess, and you have to find some sort of a balance," said Victor Gilinsky, a nuclear waste expert and former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "There are no easy decisions."

The nationwide effort to clean up the Cold War nuclear weapons complex began two decades ago and so far has cost more than $100 billion. The cost is expected to total $330 billion over the next three to five decades. More than 100 sites have been officially cleaned up. Many of them have been turned into industrial parks or nature preserves or put to other limited uses under Energy Department supervision.

Nearly two dozen other sites still await cleanup. The Obama administration is using money from the economic stimulus package to add $6 billion to the effort over the next three years.

Collectively, the former nuclear facilities represent a stunning loss of natural resources and economic opportunity. Millions of gallons of radioactive sludges linger in underground tanks. Dozens of radioactive or toxic groundwater plumes are migrating underground in Washington, Idaho, South Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, as well as California.

In Nevada, federal scientists are monitoring a vast sea of radioactive groundwater, contaminated by hundreds of underground nuclear tests, to make sure it does not encroach on populated areas or drinking-water supplies.

"New members of Congress come in and say, 'Oh, my God, look at the scale of this mess,' " said Geoffrey Fettus, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a frequent litigant against the Energy Department. "This cleanup is gruesomely complicated."

The results of a cleanup -- with enough will and money -- can be impressive.

The site of the former Fernald Feed Materials Production Center has evolved into a wildlife preserve covered with flowers. Nearly 200 species of birds have flocked to the site: dark-eyed juncos, hairy woodpeckers and flocks of mallards paddling across more than a dozen ponds.

The 1,050-acre site has a visitors' center with a small museum that recounts the history of the plant. About 9,000 visitors from churches, civic groups and schools are expected this year.

The plant, which opened in 1951 and was operated by the National Lead Co. of Ohio, manufactured uranium rods used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons.

In the mid-1980s, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency discovered an environmental disaster at the site.

Leaking silos were belching radon gas. A leaky dust collector had spewed uranium powder into the air. Rain running off the plant had contaminated the Great Miami Aquifer, an underground body of water that extends from Cincinnati to Dayton.

On the day the plant was shut in 1989, pipes and tanks were left full of waste.

The Ohio EPA estimated that 340 tons of uranium had been released. In a series of lawsuits against the Energy Department, the state of Ohio won about $14 million for environmental damage; local residents won $78 million for emotional distress and loss of property values; and workers won roughly $20 million for health and safety claims.

Lisa Crawford, who has lived in the area her entire life, became involved in 1985. That's when she discovered that the well water flowing through the taps in her house, across the street from the plant, contained uranium at levels 180 times the federal safety standard. She moved out later that year with her husband and their son.

Neighbors and environmentalists organized to push for a cleanup, but after years of study came to realize that there was no perfect solution.

They faced a choice: Live with a certain level of contamination or push for a comprehensive cleanup with no guarantee of success and a $50-billion price tag.

"In the 1990s, there came a time when we had to say, 'OK, we have studied this to death,' " Crawford said.

The key to the cleanup was a compromise that left the vast majority of contaminated material on the site. The compromise hinged on a legal agreement with the Energy Department that relaxed the definition of "clean" and limited future uses of the property.

That trade-off underlies virtually every cleanup and has helped to reduce costs and shorten cleanup times.

"Are we totally cleaned up? No," Crawford said. "Could we have gotten a better cleanup? No. But we are comfortable with what we have."

Three million cubic yards of low-level radioactive waste was left in the mound that dominates the site. It is actually a highly engineered disposal facility.

The production center's buildings were demolished, and about 6 inches of topsoil was scraped from the center of the site. The building debris and the topsoil were bulldozed into the 65-foot-high mound. The contaminated material is encapsulated by thick layers of impermeable clay and fabric liners to prevent rain from seeping in. A complex network of piping under the landfill monitors for leakage.

The system is supposed to prevent radioactive water from leeching into the ground for the next 200 to 1,000 years, said Johnny Reising, who was the Energy Department's cleanup chief at the site.

"Can I speak for 1,000 years into the future? No," said Reising, now retired. "You can't make it 100% safe. But you can make it compliant with all the requirements."

Only the most highly radioactive material, consisting of high-purity former Belgian Congo uranium ore and tailings, was hauled away. It was deemed too dangerous to leave in the rainy Ohio climate. Ultimately, it was mixed with cement and cast in 3,776 steel containers that were sent to a privately owned dump in west Texas.

The Fernald cleanup was completed in 2006. It reduced uranium in the soil outside the plant to no more than 82 parts per million -- about 20 times greater than the naturally occurring level in Ohio.

Groundwater will be pumped and treated until 2026, bringing the contamination below the federal standard of 30 parts per billion, but well above the natural level.

"The area is unacceptable for housing," said Jim Seric, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency manager who oversaw the cleanup. "It is excellent for wildlife viewing."

The Energy Department is reducing its standards for nuclear-site cleanups, allowing ever more waste to be left in place, say critics, including Fettus. For example, the department used complex regulatory maneuvers, as well as a change to federal law in 2004, to reclassify highly radioactive waste at the Savannah River weapons plant in South Carolina so that dangerous residues can remain on site, entombed in concrete in underground tanks.

Inez Triay, the Obama administration's newly appointed cleanup chief, rejects criticism that the program is relaxing its standards and failing to protect the environment.

Triay, a chemist who has spent her career in the Energy Department's cleanup program, said that in some cases it is technically impossible to remove every last bit of waste from underground tanks and that leaving a small amount encased in concrete is "a completely appropriate thing to do."

Even after a cleanup, the job is not finished. An Energy Department agency, the Office of Legacy Management, has been created to monitor the sites. A warehouse in West Virginia, which is nearly completed, will hold millions of records in perpetuity, detailing how the cleanups were conducted and where the toxins are buried.

Among the files will be a hefty section on Fernald.

The records will note the location of the radioactive mound. They will show how the basements of the former manufacturing buildings became storage ponds and how for hundreds and possibly thousands of years workers will have to trap groundhogs so they don't burrow through the barriers keeping radioactive waste from leaching into groundwater.

"I worry about people forgetting about this site," said Crawford, who sometimes goes for a stroll around the preserve. "It is our job now to make future generations know what happened here."

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: Preventing Omnicide

Preventing Omnicide
By David Krieger
October 29, 2009

Omnicide is a word coined by philosopher John Somerville.  It is an extension of the concepts of suicide and genocide.  It means the death of all, the total negation and destruction of all life.  Omnicide is suicide for all.  It is the genocide of humanity writ large.  It is what Rachel Carson began to imagine in her book, Silent Spring

Can you imagine omnicide?  No people.  No animals.  No trees.  No friendships.  No one to view the mountains, or the oceans, or the stars.  No one to write a poem, or sing a song, or hug a baby, or laugh or cry.  With no present, there can be no memory of the past, nor possibility of a future.  There is nothing.  Nuclear weapons make possible the end of all, of omnicide

From the beginning of the universe some 15 billion years ago, it took 10.5 billion years before our planet was formed, and another 500 million years to produce the first life.  From the first life on earth, it took nearly 4 billion years, up until 10,000 years ago, to produce human civilization.  It is only in the last 65 years, barely a tick of the cosmic clock, that we have developed, deployed and used weapons capable of omnicide.
It took nearly 15 billion years to create the self-awareness of the universe that we humans represent.  This self-awareness could be lost in the blinding flash of a thermonuclear war and the nuclear winter that would follow.

In 1955, ten years into the Nuclear Age and shortly after the creation of thermonuclear weapons, a group of leading scientists, including Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell, issued a Manifesto in which they said: “Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?”  Those are our choices, made necessary by the creation and threat of nuclear weapons.

If omnicide is possible, which it is, we must ask ourselves: What are we going to do about it?  Can we be complacent in the face of this threat, or will we find a way to confront and eliminate it?  This is the responsibility of all of us alive at this time in human history.  It is a human responsibility.  We created nuclear weapons.  It is up to us to end their threat to present and future generations.

The unfortunate truth is that we humans have been far too complacent in the face of the omnicidal potential of nuclear weapons.  There are many reasons for this.  For some of us, the threat is too painful to face, and we deny it.  For others, nuclear weapons are rationalized as a positive force in preventing wars, despite their omnicidal potential.  For still others, the threat is real, but they feel too insignificant to bring about change.

Those who justify nuclear weapons generally do so on the basis of nuclear deterrence, the threat of nuclear retaliation.  Deterrence is based upon the belief that all leaders will act rationally at all times and under all conditions, a very shaky proposition at best.  One reason that Henry Kissinger and other former leaders are now calling for a world free of nuclear weapons is that they understand that deterrence has no power against terrorists in possession of nuclear arms.  There can be zero tolerance of nuclear terrorism; but, if terrorism means the threat to injure or kill innocent people, aren’t all countries in possession of nuclear weapons, including our own, actually terrorists?

Carried to its extreme but logical conclusion, deterrence became Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).  This is the threat of omnicide in the name of security.  It is a very risky form of security.  Today MAD may be thought to have a new meaning: Mutual Assured Delusions – delusions that nuclear weapons can provide security for their possessors.

Nuclear weapons do not and cannot provide physical protection for their possessors.  The threat of retaliation is not protection.  Unfortunately, these weapons, like other human endeavors, are subject to human fallibility.  With nuclear weapons in human hands, there are no guarantees that nuclear war will not be initiated by accident or human error.

The starting point for ending the omnicidal threat of nuclear weapons is the recognition that the threat is real and pervasive, and requires action.  Each of us is threatened.  All we love and hold dear is threatened.  The future is threatened.  We are called upon to end our complacency and respond to this threat by demanding that our leaders develop a clear pathway to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and to the elimination of war as a means of resolving conflicts.
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ( and a Councilor on the World Future Council.