Tag Archives: army

Filthy War Machine: US Military Industrial Complex, World’s Worst Polluter

2 Oct

The United States Military, the Pentagon. Most fossil fuel burned, most greenhouse gases released, biggest source of Mercury released into the environment, biggest source of radiological (Uranium, Plutonium) releases and the biggest amount of HAZMAT materials released into rivers, lakes, oceans and the environment and the biggest discarder of medical waste pollution — worldwide.

Retired professor and prolific author Barry Sanders spent a long time looking closely at the US Military where others hadn’t: he looked at the environmental effects and the sheer devastation that the military leaves in its wake. He compiled a frightening collection of numbers into his book The Green Zone. The Earth First! Journal interviewed him back in 2009. The devastation continues. relates in today’s OpEdNews article, Army That Poisons Together Metastasizes Together — Cruelly and Unusually, the ecological damage of the world’s most destructive force…

US Military pollution gets little notice, as the Pentagon is exempt from the US EPA-reporting criteria. Lead from firing ranges, Uranium from so-called “Depleted” Uranium munitions pollute land, lakes and streams and oceans both domestically and overseas; but the US military is exempt from US EPA Superfund regulations. Continue reading

Global Protests Against Burmese Military Actions At Dams

1 Jul

By Katy Yan and Grace Mang

Cross-posted from here

Kachins protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco

Last Friday, hundreds of people in the US, Denmark, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and elsewhere gathered to protest the recent deadly clashes between Burmese authorities and ethnic militias in Burma’s northern Kachin State. Standing before Burmese and Chinese embassies, Kachins held up signs calling for an end to the violence and a halt to dam building by Chinese companies  in Kachin State.

Fighting broke out in early June between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) at the Dapein No. 1 and 2 dams, which are being constructed by China’s state-owned Datang Company, breaking a 17-year ceasefire. Scores of people have died and as many as 13,000 refugees have fled their homes, with many crossing into China. As of last Wednesday, about 18 women have been reported gang-raped by Burma Army soldiers in Kachin State, according to the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand.

 

Fishing on the Irrawaddy near the Myitsone Dam (Burma Rivers Network)

Chinese power companies and contractors are building a series of dams in northern Burma to supply electricity to China. The biggest and most controversial of these dams is the Myitsone Dam, a massive 3,600MW hydropower plant being built by China Power Investment and situated in an area of great cultural and ecological significance. The environmental impact assessment on this first dam on the Irrawaddy also expressed grave concerns.

In March, the KIO sent an open letter to the Chinese government calling for a halt to the project. It warned that, given the forced displacement, lack of transparency, and unequal distribution of benefits, this and other dam projects in Burma were likely to foster popular resentment, creating a risky situation for Chinese companies so close to its borders.

Chinese dams fueling conflicts in Kachin State (Kachins in California)

According to the Burma Rivers Network, the current conflict is “closely related to the dams. The government has sent in troops because it wants to gain control of a region that hosts major Chinese investments in hydropower.” Kachin State has till now been largely controlled by Kachin forces. 

Strong local resistance has also occurred in northern Shan State in an area where Burma, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and a number of Chinese companies (China’s Sinohydro, China Three Gorges Group Corporation, and China Southern Power Grid) are planning a series of dams for the Salween River.

China now finds itself caught in the middle due to its desire for secure energy supplies from Burma and its fear of escalating conflict around its hydropower projects so close to its borders.

 

Army Corp. Deliberatly Floods Rural Louisiana to save New Orleans, Oil Refineries & Chemical Plants

14 May

A steel, 10-ton floodgate was slowly raised Saturday for the first time in nearly four decades, unleashing a torrent of water from the Mississippi River, away from heavily populated areas downstream.

The water spit out slowly at first, then began gushing like a waterfall as it headed to swamp as much as 3,000 square miles of Cajun countryside known for small farms and fish camps. Some places could wind up under as much as 25 feet of water.

“We’re using every flood control tool we have in the system,” Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh said Saturday from the dry side of the spillway, before the bay was opened. The podium Walsh was standing at was expected to be under several feet of water Sunday.

The Morganza spillway is part of a system of locks and levees built following the great flood of 1927 that killed hundreds. When it opened, it was the first time three flood-control systems have been unlocked at the same time along the Mississippi River.

As many as 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm’s way. Sheriffs and National Guardsmen warned people in a door-to-door sweep through the area throughout the end of the week, and area shelters said they were ready to accept up to 4,800 evacuees, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Some people living in the threatened stretch of countryside – an area known for small farms, fish camps and a drawling French dialect – have already started fleeing for higher ground.

“Now’s the time to evacuate,” Jindal said. “Now’s the time for our people to execute their plans. That water’s coming.”

By opening the floodgates on this spillway, the hope is to lessen pressure on the floodwalls down to the Gulf of Mexico and prevent a catastrophe. Officials say the move will ease pressure on levees protecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and oil refineries and chemical plants downstream.