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The EnviroLeaks Team

WikiLeaks / Unsuitablog: Cover-Ups Over Nuclear Reality in Japan

The coming together of contradictory information from different bodies that represent the nuclear industry and a confidential cable from the Japanese Ambassador to the US makes it vital to repost this information on EnviroLeaks.

Given the duration of the incidents at Fukushima the relevant bodies and governments will have made a concerted effort to align their stories. As the following post makes clear, this was not the case earlier on – if you want to get close to the truth then it is always best to see what first came out of mouthpieces, before they have a chance to slap down any dissent.

In the light of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsumani, government and internation agencies are working like crazy to ensure no news remains good news regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Yet from the BBC we hear the following:

There are now problems at the number three reactor – the concern is that it is overheating. They’re trying to pump sea water through it at the moment. That’s an unusual, somewhat innovative solution to the problem. But the fact that they’re prepared to consider unusual solutions like that gives you a hint of just how serious the problem is.

This is a very difficult issue for the Japanese government. There has always been concern here about the safety of nuclear power stations, about the wisdom of building nuclear power stations, on which Japan relies hugely for its energy needs, in a country which is so prone to earthquakes.

They’re also aware that they don’t want to cause panic. On Saturday we saw the exclusion zone around this plant gradually increase. First of all it was just a few kilometres, now it’s much wider. But obviously once that exclusion zone is extended, you’ve then got to get the people out. So it’s important, they would say, not to cause unnecessary panic. And that’s why they’re trying to play this down as much as they can.

The World Nuclear Association are being fairly up-front with the facts, albeit holding back on speculation about possible outcomes; thus we read from them:

Operations to relieve pressure in the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 3 have taken place after the failure of a core coolant system.*

The news comes one day after the plant’s first reactor was effectively written off as a result of a hydrogen explosion and the move to inject seawater to make certain of cooling the reactor core. Two days ago were the earthquake and tsunami that have proven Japan’s worst ever natural disaster.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in operation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) east coast power station when the earthquake struck. Three other reactors were already shut for inspection and all three operating units underwent automatic shutdown as expected. Because plant power and grid power were unavailable during the earthquake, diesel generators started automatically to supply power for decay heat removal.

This situation continued for one hour until the plant was hit by the tsunami wave, which stopped the generators and left the plant in black-out conditions. The loss of power meant inevitable rises in temperature within the reactor system as well increases in pressure. Engineers fought for many hours to install mobile power units to replace the diesels and managed to stabilise conditions at units 2 and 3.

However, there was not enough power to provide sufficient coolant to unit 1, which came under greater and greater strain from falling water levels and steady pressure rises. Tepco found it necessary yesterday to vent steam from the reactor containment. Next, the world saw a sharp hydrogen explosion destroy a portion of the reactor building roof. Prime minister Naoto Kan ordered the situation brought under control by the injection of seawater to the reactor vessel.

Now Tepco has reported it has not been able to restart unit 3′s high pressure injection system after an automatic stop. This has left the reactor without sufficient coolant and obligated Tepco to notify government of an emergency situation.

Yet what do we hear from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which purports to speak for the entire nuclear industry and all governments that have nuclear capability:

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain off-site power. Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Even the WNA are incredulous at this statement; their Twitter feed states:

#IAEA quashes reports of problems at #Fukushima Daiichi 3 #nuclear #japan #earthquake

Which leads us to the obvious conclusion that there is a huge cover-up taking place, but failing in part because there is too much obvious contradiction of information. In this situation the best approach is to listen to your nearest equivalent to a trusted news source and not listen to a word emanating from government (Japanese or otherwise) or the IAEA.


Cable dated:2008-10-27T08:20:00
C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 002993
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2018
REF: STATE 107836

Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer; reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Lower House Diet Member Taro Kono voiced his strong opposition to the nuclear industry in Japan, especially nuclear reprocessing, based on issues of cost, safety, and security during a dinner with a visiting staffdel, Energy Attache and Economic Officer October 21. Kono also criticized the Japanese bureaucracy and power companies for continuing an outdated nuclear energy strategy, suppressing development of alternative energy, and keeping information from Diet members and the public. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the current election campaign law. End Summary.

2. (C) Member of the House of Representatives Taro Kono spoke extensively on nuclear energy and nuclear fuel reprocessing during a dinner with a visiting staffdel, Energy Attache and Economic Officer October 21. Kono, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party first elected in 1996, is the son of Yohei Kono, a former President of the LDP who is currently the longest serving speaker of the House in post-war history. Taro Kono, who studied and worked in the United States and speaks excellent English, is a frequent embassy contact who has interests in agriculture, nuclear, and foreign policy issues. He is relatively young, and very outspoken, especially as a critic of the government's nuclear policy. During this meeting, he voiced his strong opposition to the nuclear industry in Japan, especially nuclear fuel reprocessing, based on issues of cost, safety, and security. Kono claimed Japanese electric companies are hiding the costs and safety problems associated with nuclear energy, while successfully selling the idea of reprocessing to the Japanese public as "recycling uranium." He asserted that Japan's reprocessing program had been conceived as part of a nuclear cycle designed to use reprocessed fuel in fast breeder reactors (FBR). However, these reactors have not been successfully deployed, and Japan's prototype FBR at Monju is still off-line after an accident in 1995.

3. (C) Kono said following the accident at the Monju FBR, rather than cancel plans to conduct reprocessing, the electric companies developed the Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel program. However, Kono criticized the MOX program as too expensive, noting it would be cheaper to just "buy a uranium mountain in Australia," or to make a deal to import uranium from other sources. Kono claimed the high costs of the reprocessing program were being passed to Japanese consumers in their power bills, and they were unaware of how much they paid for electricity relative to people in other countries. In describing the clout wielded by the electric companies, Kono claimed that a Japanese television station had planned a three part interview with him on nuclear issues, but had canceled after the first interview, because the electric companies threatened to withdraw their extensive sponsorship.

4. (C) In addition to the electric companies, Kono was also very critical of the Japanese ministries, particularly the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). He claimed the ministries were trapped in their policies, as officials inherited policies from people more senior to them, which they could then not challenge. As an example, Kono noted that Japanese radiation standards for imported foods had been set following the Chernobyl incident, and had not changed since then, despite other nations having reduced their levels of allowable radiation.

5. (C) In a similar way, he alleged, METI was committed to advocating for nuclear energy development, despite the problems he attributed to it. Kono noted that while METI claimed to support alternative energy, it in actuality provides little support. He claimed that METI in the past had orchestrated the defeat of legislation that supported alternatives energy development, and instead secured the passage of the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) act. This act simply requires power companies to purchase a very small amount of their electricity from alternative sources. Kono also criticized the government's handling of subsidies to alternative energy projects, noting that the subsidies were of such short duration that the projects have difficulty finding investors because of the risk and uncertainty involved. As a more specific example of Japan neglecting alternative energy sources, Kono noted there was abundant wind power available in Hokkaido that went undeveloped because the electricity company claimed it did not have sufficient grid capacity. Kono noted there was in fact an unused connection between the Hokkaido grid and the Honshu grid that the companies keep in reserve for unspecified emergencies. He wanted to know why they could not just link the grids and thus gain the ability to add in more wind power.

6. (C) He also accused METI of covering up nuclear accidents, and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry. He claimed MPs have a difficult time hearing the whole of the U.S. message on nuclear energy because METI picks and chooses those portions of the message that it likes. Only information in agreement with METI policies is passed through to the MPs. Elaborating on his frustrations with the ministries, Kono noted that the Diet committee staffs are made up of professional bureaucrats, and are often headed by detailees from the ministries. He said he had no authority to hire or fire committee staff, and that any inquiries he made to them quickly found their way back to the ministries.

7. (C) Kono also raised the issue of nuclear waste, commenting that Japan had no permanent high-level waste storage, and thus no solution to the problem of storage. He cited Japan's extensive seismic activity, and abundant groundwater, and questioned if there really was a safe place to store nuclear waste in the "land of volcanoes." He noted that Rokkasho was only intended as a temporary holding site for high-level waste. The Rokkasho local government, he said, had only agreed to store waste temporarily contingent on its eventual reprocessing. Kono said that in this regard, the US was better off that Japan because of the Yucca mountain facility. He was somewhat surprised to hear about opposition to that project, and the fact that Yucca had not yet begun storing waste.

8. (C) In describing how he would deal with Japan's future energy needs, Kono claimed Japan needed to devise a real energy strategy. He said while he believed Japan eventually would have to move to 100% renewable energy, in the meantime he advocated replacing energy produced by nuclear plants ready for decommissioning with an equal amount of energy from plants using liquid natural gas. To this he would add new renewable energy sources.

9. (C) Kono also made a few side remarks concerning the Japanese election process. He expressed dissatisfaction with the current election campaign law, which he called outdated. He noted, for example, that during the official campaign period he was not allowed to actively campaign on the Internet. He said he could print flyers during this time, but only a limited number, which had to be picked up by constituents at his campaign office. So, to get around these and other limitations, MPs had to campaign before the official campaign period began. Given the current uncertainty on a date for elections, he noted in a humorous manner that if the government delayed elections long enough, he and the other MPs would go broke.


*There may be confusion between the two different plants – the one in a stricken state is Fukushima Daiichi (Number One), the other plant is Daini (Number Two). The IAEA may have confused the two, nonetheless the point stands, as the IAEA denied there were any problems with Daiichi, according to the WNA. Thanks to DJ for the information.

Peru Admits Timber Certificates Faked in Secret Cable

This, from Survival International:

Peru’s government has secretly admitted that 70-90% of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks.

Furthermore, Peru’s government is aware that the illegal timber is being ‘laundered’ using ‘document falsification, timber extraction outside the concession boundaries and links to bribes’.

The revelation will embarrass several US DIY stores, who have all admitted to Survival that they continue to import Amazonian hardwoods. Home Depot, Lowe’s and Lumber Liquidators have all confirmed they use the timber in their products.

Then-US ambassador to Peru James Struble quoted ‘unofficial INRENA estimates’ in the 2006 cable. (INRENA was the government’s Natural Resources Institute). The ambassador’s comments paint a damning picture of Peru’s forestry mismanagement. According to the cable, the US imported 88% of Peru’s mahogany exports in 2005, highlighting its significant role in the country’s extensive illegal logging trade. The majority of Peru’s endangered mahogany remains destined for US shores today.

The news comes just weeks after illegal logging in Peru made international headlines after it emerged that loggers have infiltrated protected areas inhabited by uncontacted tribes, forcing them to flee across the border into Brazil.

The loggers pose a grave threat to uncontacted Murunahua Indians who could be wiped out by diseases brought by outsiders or face inter-tribal warfare if they are pushed off their lands.

Survival is urging the Peruvian government to ensure that the Murunahua’s land is properly protected.

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The ambassador’s cable shows the alarming extent to which the authorities were aware of illegal logging in Peru, did not admit it, and did little to stop it. It beggars belief that five years on we are still seeing systematic illegal logging and a complete failure to safeguard land inhabited by vulnerable tribes. Consumers in the US and Europe simply can’t rely on documents that purport to show Peruvian mahogany is sustainably sourced, as these are clearly not worth the paper they’re written on.’

Notes to Editors: The Murunahua reserve lies just across the border from where the Brazilian uncontacted Indians were photographed recently. It is home to an unknown number of uncontacted Murunahua Indians. Some Murunahua individuals, however, have been contacted in recent years and live outside the reserve.

Cable extract, from

id: 61359
date: 4/21/2006 14:51
refid: 06LIMA1534
origin: Embassy Lima
destination: 06LIMA2444





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: LIMA 2444

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Peru exports the most broad leaf mahogany
in the world, a majority of it to the U.S. Much of the
exports are likely from illegal logging, violating Peruvian
law and the CITES international convention against
trafficking in endangered species
. The GOP, NGO community
and Peruvian logging industry agree that illegal logging is
a problem. Post has identified serious deficiencies in GOP
regulator INRENA’s ability to police the logging industry,
formal and informal. The formal forest products industry,
concerned about legal challenges to mahogany exports,
appears interested in working to reduce illegal logging.
Post is exploring options such as applying for OES-I Qoject
funds and realigning USAID programming. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Peru now is the world’s largest exporter of broad
leaf mahogany, according to thQatest report of the
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). Brazil
reportedly no longer allows legal export of broad leaf
mahogany, and the Bolivian government is reducing legal
exports due to its declining stocks. Legal exports of
Peruvian mahogany have declined steadily since, according to
the 2005 report of the GOP’s natural resources monitoring
and enforcement agency, INRENA. Since 2002, the agency’s
estimate of illicit exported mahogany has been 60,000 cubic
meters per year. Broad leaf mahogany continues as an
endangered species under Appendix II of the International
Convention against Trafficking in Endangered Species
(CITES). The high selective extraction of reproducing
trees, the slow reproduction rate of wild mahogany, and the
inability so far of silviculturalists to develop healthy
mahogany plantations have combined to cause a steady decline
in mahogany stocks.

3. (U) Ten firms with INRENA permits account for over 85
percent of Peru’s mahogany exports. The United States
continues to be by far the largest importer of mahogany
importing 88 percent of Peru’s total 2005 mahogany exports.
Unofficial INRENA estimates indicate that 70-90 percent of
all mahogany exported in 2005 originated from illegal

4. (SBU) INRENA’s current verification process, implemented
as a result of USAID support, is confirming that mahogany is
being harvested not from the commercial concessions but from
protected areas (where commercial extraction is prohibited)
and from areas in indigenous territories different than
those specified in INRENA-approved logging plans.
must approve all logging plans to extract mahogany legally
from commercial forestry concessions, indigenous community
lands, and agricultural land with remnant forests.

5. (SBU) Reliable INRENA sources and civil society groups
report that mahogany loggers exploit indigenous communities
by paying below-market prices.
The loggers also are
involved in forced labor, according to the International
Labor Organization (ILO). Moreover, commercial timber
extraction from forested remnants of agricultural land is
considered the most common system to launder illegal timber.
There is a long history of extracting mahogany from remnant
forests and the origin of the cut timber is hard to trace.


9. (SBU) At the last international CITES meeting, in
October 2005, INRENA presented a series of accomplishments
it claimed had been made in the fight against the illegal
cutting of mahogany. When the CITIES Commission lauded
Peru’s gains in the management of forest resources and
environmental governance, it also noted the fragility of
these gains. Highlighting future challenges, the Commission
identified the “increased powers” of an illicit forest
management cartel; the cartel’s strengthened linkages to
what it called the Coca Cartel; and the continued crisis in
institutional capacity. (Comment: Post does not believe
that there is either a single illicit logging cartel nor a
single coca cartel. End Comment.)

10. (SBU) At the CITES meeting, the GOP cited as an
accomplishment its computerized system to track mahogany
harvest, a system developed with USAID funding. Reliable
information indicates that data has consistently been mis-
entered or later altered at field locations,
concessionaires to cut more lumber than they are legally
permitted. Post has suspected corruption for many months
and has consistently informed INRENA of these concerns. A
few weeks ago, when the story appeared in the media, INRENA
claimed it would address this situation. Nothing has
changed to date.

11. (SBU) INRENA at the last CITES meeting announced that
it was re-structuring itself to ensure greater “separation
of powers” among INRENA’s management, forest supervision
department (OSINFOR), and its departments for protected
areas and species. More than five months since the meeting,
the new structure has yet to be implemented. Post now has
reason to believe that the gains the GOP claimed last
October were simply not true. (Comment: Ironically, the GOP
has agreed to host in Lima the next CITES meeting. GOP lead
host agency, INRENA, has asked USAID for funding support.
Peru’s lack of CITES compliance could become an issue. End

Alstom and the Belo Monte Dam: Let the Leaks Begin

Leaking of information that corporations and politicians do not want to be made public – as opposed to that which is “leaked” for public relations or party political reasons – is a major power lever for activists. As has been seen with regards to such environmental and social luminaries as ExxonMobil, Philip Morris and DuPont, the presence of leaked documents in the right hands can, at worst, cause embarrassment and, at best, create turbulence and instability at the top. Reputation is everything when you thrive on the exploitation of others, and it is a minute-by-minute job to keep the media and the public perception of your activities where you want them.

With the news that a federal court in Pará State, Brazil are to put a temporary halt on the devastating Belo Monte dam comes a little breathing space for the indigenous people and the rich, complex ecosystem they depend upon for their continued survival; just time for a couple of gasps. As Survival International make clear:

The dam would be the third largest in the world and it would flood a large area of land, dry up certain parts of the Xingu river, cause huge devastation to the rainforest and reduce fish stocks upon which Indians in the area, including Kayapó, Arara, Juruna, Araweté, Xikrin, Asurini and Parakanã Indians, depend for their survival.

The livelihoods of thousands of tribal people who depend on the forest and river for food and water would be destroyed.

The influx of immigrants to the area during the construction of the dam threatens to introduce violence to the area and bring diseases to these Indians, putting their lives at risk.

FUNAI has stated that there may be some uncontacted Indians near the site of the dam. These uncontacted Indians would be most at risk as they have very little resistance to outside diseases, which could be fatal for them.

With the news of the temporary halt also comes news of one of the major providers of equipment and technical expertise for the dam. Alstom are a multinational transport and power engineering conglomerate worth approximately €20 billion. The French-based company are proud to be involved in the damming of a major source of life:

Alstom has signed a contract worth approximately €500 million with Norte Energia of Brazil to provide power equipment for the Belo Monte Dam, the world’s third-largest hydroelectric power plant with a planned capacity of 11,230 MW. The Belo Monte project will dam the Xingu river in Brazil’s northern Pará state.

Alstom will lead a consortium that includes German Voith and Austrian Andritz for fourteen 611 MW Francis turbine-generator sets and the six smaller Bulb units. Alstom will supply seven Francis units, hydro-mechanical equipment and associated Gas Insulated Substations (GIS) for the fourteen large-scale units.

It is expected that Belo Monte will take eight years to be built. When operating at full capacity, Belo Monte will meet the electricity needs of 35 million people.

Hydropower accounts for 85% of Brazil’s power production. Alstom, present in Brazil for 55 years, has played a significant role in the development of this hydro capacity including providing products and services for hydropower projects including Itaipu –the world’s second largest hydropower plant-, Tucuruí and most recently Jirau and Santo Antônio, as well as thermal projects such as TermoBahia and ThyssenKrup CSA.

Overall, Alstom has supplied more than 100 hydro turbines and generators to the Brazilian market over the past ten years and its equipment accounts for 35% of Brazil’s installed hydro capacity.

Notice there is no mention of the environmental / humanitarian impact of the project, merely highlighting of the people – almost all in cities – who will use the power, or “benefit” from it, because short term gain is what matters in a world where the profits of the rich matter more than the lives of the poor.

But there is a twist here. French companies are notoriously sensitive of their public image, largely due to the long history of social power movements in France, and also the close ties between industry and government that can cause ructions right up the political chain in the event of corruption and other abuses of privilege. If it is found that Alstom have used French state influence or their own lobbying power to gain the Belo Monte contract then this will not look good for the company leading the engineering consortium. In their own Code of Ethics, they state:

Political contributions are often subject to national laws and vary from country to country. Even when legally permitted, such contributions can be a source of abuse or otherwise perceived as a questionable practice. Alstom’s policy is not to make contributions, financial or in kind, to political parties or organisations, or to individual politicians.

The dam project is being run by a wholly (Brazilian) government-owned agency, Eletronort, and thus it cannot receive any financial benefits or benefits in kind from Alstom or any other members of the consortium without breaching Alstom’s own policy.

If Alstom are found to have turned a blind eye to the widely-reported potential damage caused by the dam, thus breaching their own CSR principles then they will be morally bankrupt and deserve exposure as such. In addition, Alstom publicly state that they support the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration states, within its clauses:

Article 12.

* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 17.

* (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
* (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

If the dam is built, both of these clauses shall be breached with regards to the indigenous people affected.

If documents should come to light that show Alstom agreed to the contract, indeed tendered and campaigned for the contract, while knowingly in breach of the Declaration then this will rightly have a negative impact on the company, the industry and the whole project itself which might be put entirely in jeopardy.

You know what to do.

UK National Archives: 1963 Railway Axe Backlash Put Down With Lies

In 1963 the British railway network, once the pride of the industrial world, started to undergo a process that would leave the way open for the auto industry to dominate UK transportation. It was no surprise that this was the plan put in place by Ernest Marples, then Minister for Transport, who had until 1950 been co-director of the road construction company Marples Ridgeway. In a Hansard statement from 1960, Marples made the point that he had to avoid a conflict of interest:

When I became Minister of Transport, last October, I realised that there was a risk of a conflict of interest appearing 381 to arise in consequence of my holding a controlling interest in the company. I immediately took steps to effect a sale of my shares. It has taken some time to arrange this as the company is a private one engaged in long-term contracts in civil engineering, but I hope that it will be completed very soon. Then I shall have no financial interest in the company. But I think that I should tell the House that the prospective purchasers have required me to undertake to buy the shares back from them at the price they are to pay if they ask me to do so after I have ceased to hold office. I myself have no option to buy the shares back.

I have not, of course, had anything whatsoever to do with any tenders put in by the company while I have been a member of the Government.

It was subsequently revealed that the shares had been signed over to his wife; something that was never denied by Marples. This conflict of interest was not the only one related to the “Beeching” Axe that was subsequently to fall.

“As revealed in the book “The Great Railway Conspiracy the fall and rise of Britain’s railways since the 1950’s” by David Henshaw, John Hay, the senior civil servant under Marples was deeply in league with the road transport lobby:

John Hay, Mr Marples’ Parliamentary Secretary, generally put emphasis on the age and inadequacy of the railways, with remarks such as that “the existing system was laid down for horse-and-cart delivery and collection”. Such remarks were deliberately intended to clear the way for a programme of railway closures.

Other claims were more defensive, such as Mr Marples’ own Parliamentary reply that “traffic is going onto the roads because the people wish it to go onto the roads; I am not forcing it!”.

Another slogan that caught the attention of the press was an implication that closures would increase road congestion by no more than one per cent, equivalent to two months’ normal traffic growth. This claim was quite false, being based upon a most dubious accounting procedure, but it was widely quoted.

Back in May 1960, as the Government/Road Haulage public relations campaign reached its zenith, John Hay had spoken at the Road Haulage Association Annual Dinner. Relaxing in the company of friends, the Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary made a speech which included the following tantalising items:

‘I know that our idea of getting advice on the detailed application of Government policy towards the railways from a group of businessmen… is a sensible approach which will commend itself to those present at this dinner.

We were very glad to know what you thought… and the views of your Association have been brought to the attention of Sir Ivan Stedeford’s group.

…in the search for transport efficiency, the Government is prepared in a most practical way to do what it can to help. I refer of course to the road programme. It would be too optimistic to expect you to say that what we are doing is enough. No Ministry of Transport spokesman will ever expect that from his friends in the industry.

You and we worked together against the threat of nationalisation of road haulage. We won that battle. Now we must show that we were right to win it…

We in the Government will back you all we can… we shall try to make sure that the roads we have and the new roads we build give the best possible dividend… sometimes in this we shall be forced to require some sacrifices by individuals or by groups in the interests of the many. Road haulage will enjoy many of the benefits…’

The “road programme” referred to in Hay’s remarks was released into the public domain in 1990, and was the keystone of Ernest Marples plans for British transportation. It includes a phrase which must have had the road lobby salivating: “Roads should match vehicles.”

The kick-off for what was to become the infamous “Beeching Axe” (although it should have more rightly been called the “Marples Axe” rather than scapegoat the for ICI director drafted in to deliver the railway closure project) happened during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday 14th March, 1963. In the cabinet papers are notes that make it clear that the UK Government was worried how the public would take the closures – originally to take out two-thirds of the entire network – so was prepared to manipulate the delivery of the news to soften the blow and play up the, since discredited, concept that the roads would pay for themselves.

This whole event, which should go down in history as a despicable example of how much politics is under the thumb of corporate interests and personal greed, was a charade from start to finish. Nevertheless, this type of behaviour continues in all industrial nations. If such discussions and personal interests could be leaked immediately then politics would, by necessity, become a far cleaner, more democratic operation.


The chairman of the Board, Dr. Beeching, would announce that day that the Report would be published on 27th March; and the Committee had therefore considered in what terms a statement might simultaneously be made on the Government's behalf and what arrangements should be made to ensure appropriate presentation of the Report to the public. The statement should refer to the social and other factors involved in the closure of passenger lines and should give examples of the types of service to which special considerations might apply. It should also indicate the advantages to be derived from the Board's constructive proposals for the more efficient transport of freight; and it should seek to set in proper perspective the delicate question of staff redundancy.

In discussion, the following points were raised:

(a) The list of stations and lines which it was proposed to close would give rise to much public protest. The Government's aim, however, should be to convince the public that, while changes on the scale required could not be made without causing individual inconvenience, an efficient railway system would make an invaluable contribution to the economic well-being of the country.

(b) The eventual elimination of the Board's annual deficit would be of considerable benefit to the Exchequer. But the emphasis should be laid not so much on the Governments concern to make the railways pay as on the fact that losses were incurred at present because the system was not adapted to modern needs. Moreover, an economic railway system would facilitate a co-ordinated transport policy, which would enable adequate services to be provided on the roads as well as on the railways.

(c) Special publicity should be given to the map appended to the Report, which illustrated the extensive network of bus services, and to the willingness of the operators concerned to expand these services in areas where railway services were withdrawn.

(d) The examination by Transport Users' Consultative Committees of objections to proposals for closure of passenger lines would be a lengthy process; and during this time sectional and local discontent would be liable to obscure the favourable impression which effective initial presentation of the Report might create. The procedure, however, was statutory; and it would not be practicable to alter it at this stage. But consideration should be given to other means of accelerating it, e.g., by increasing the number of Committees.

(e) In addition, piecemeal announcement of decisions about closures should be avoided, so far as possible. If these decisions could be announced in groups, it would be easier to present convincing arguments in their defence and to limit the amount of Parliamentary criticism to which they would be liable to give rise.

(f) Steps should also be taken to encourage industrial and other interests to give public support to the proposals in the Report on economic grounds.

WikiLeaks / Cablegate: Cable Confirms IPCC is a Political Football to Protect US Interests

Ever since the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme, the IPCC has been under attack by climate skeptics for, apparently, espousing pseudo-science, being an enemy of economic progress and, in some quarters, just an excuse for governments to raise taxes. Indeed, there are many areas in which the IPCC could be justifiably criticised, but not for being too hasty in their prognistications about the changing climate. The problem, as many climate scientists working at the cutting-edge of systems analysis suggest, is that the IPCC is far too conservative in its work.

This comes about partly as a result of the review process for its major publications – the Assessment Reports – which are assembled over a period of around 2 years as a meta-analysis of the corpus of current scientific research. This scientific research upon which the ARs are based will have already been partly superceded once the AR is assembled and then, adding even more time, approved by the review bodies. During the laborious review process the ARs are progressively watered-down to ensure only findings with the widest body of evidence are presented: it is not the bulk of the climate skeptic views that are removed (for there are few such papers in existence, given their non-scientific basis) but the genuine cutting-edge findings that describe, for instance, how feedback effects in the atmospheric-oceanic system are accelerating change.

This is almost inevitable, given the IPCC is a body of compromise. It is not a scientific journal, nor is it a policy institute…at least that’s what the IPCC would have us believe. Again, climate skeptics take the view that individuals such as Chair, Rajendra Pachauri should “stop making statements demanding new taxes and other radical policies on cutting emissions.” That would seem the sensible course of action for what is meant to be a scientific body; but as with the ARs being far too conservative a reflection of the current scientific view, the practical statements (usually in the form of the “Summary for Policymakers” documents) produced by the IPCC are backward-looking and timid to say the least. These certainly appear to have been under the control of powerful government interests for some time.

A September 2008 cable from the then US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice to eight European embassies, along with the Japanese Embassy, demonstrates how much power interested governments are prepared to wield in order to ensure their political and idealogical viewpoints are satisfied when it comes to the work of this powerful body. The cable may specifically refer to the desire to prevent the election of an Iranian scientist to an influential position, but it also opens a valuable window to the general methodology used by the US government. Notice the phrase (in brackets) “please protect” with reference to IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pachauri: likely to be a reference not to his physical safety, but to his position within the organisation. Note also the phrase “assist the U.S. Delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its efforts to secure a positive outcome” in the opening summary; this is clear evidence that the US wants to ensure “their people” are in place within the organisation.

By far the most damning evidence of undercover machinations to secure a “positive outcome” is in the phrase “Until such a call is received, however, Missions should take no action on this issue; USDEL will be interacting directly with host-country expert delegations in Geneva, and premature contacts/demarches with host country government officials in capitals, even to preview the background of the situation, could be highly counter-productive.” In other words, the recipients of the cable must not allow anyone to know they are working to skew the outcome of the elections as it would suggest that the USA wants to influence both foreign and global climate policy.


Reference ID: 08STATE93970
Created: 2008-09-02 23:11
Released: 2010-12-21 21:09
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Origin: Secretary of State


C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 093970


EO 12958 DECL: 09/02/2018


Classified By: Classified by IO/DAS Gerald Anderson for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (U) This is an action message. Please see paragraph 3.

2. (C) Summary. Missions should be prepared to assist the U.S. Delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its efforts to secure a positive outcome to elections for working group co-chair positions at the IPCC Plenary being held in Geneva, August 31-September 4. USDEL is working actively to prevent the election of an Iranian scientist to the developing-nation co-chairmanship of Working Group Two, a position which would pair him with a U.S. scientist running unopposed for developed-nation co-chair of the same group. The focus of USG efforts is to support an alternate candidacy for the position, although the full slate of active candidates and their potential for election will not be known until the later stages of the plenary sessions. Curricula vitae of some of the leading candidates are at paras 6-10. End Summary.

3. (C) Action Request. Missions should assign a Point-of-Contact for this issue and provide phone and e-mail information to the US Mission to the UN in Geneva. USUN should appoint its own POC and relay contact information for all POCs to USDEL IPCC. In the event that USDEL requires assistance in working with counterpart delegations (e.g., coming to a consensus on a single strong alternate candidate to support), USDEL may contact Mission POCs directly, or via US Mission Geneva, to ask that Missions apprise host governments of the situation, with a view to arranging for instructions from capitals. Missions should do everything possible to assist USDEL if they receive such a request. Until such a call is received, however, Missions should take no action on this issue; USDEL will be interacting directly with host-country expert delegations in Geneva, and premature contacts/demarches with host country government officials in capitals, even to preview the background of the situation, could be highly counter-productive. Point of Contact for USDEL is OES/EGC, XXXXXXXXXXXX.

4. (C) Background. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ( is a highly influential body established by the World Meteological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to assess scientific issues related to climate change. This year, the U.S. has nominated Stanford Professor Christopher Field to the developed-country chair of IPCC Working Group Two, which assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change and the options for adaptation. His nomination is unopposed. Iran, however, has nominated Dr. Mostafa Jafari to be the developing-country co-chair of the same working group. Jafari is a highly-qualified scientist with research ties to the UK and Japan, but he is also a senior Iranian government employee who has represented Iran in international negotiations. Co-chair appointments are for a minimum of four years, and require close collaboration and often travel to or extended residencies in each others, countries. Having U.S. and Iranian co-chairs would be problematic and potentially at odds with overall U.S. policy towards Iran, and would significantly complicate the U.S. commitment to funding the Working Group Two secretariat. U.S. withdrawal of its nominee, however, would effectively give Iran a veto over future U.S. nominees in UN bodies. Moreover, having a U.S. co-chair at the IPCC significantly bolsters U.S. interests on climate change, a key foreign policy issue.

5. (C) Background continued. Prior to arrival in Geneva, USDEL contacted IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (please protect), who agreed to work on this issue to avoid the potential for disruption to one the organization,s three core working groups XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Next, USDEL contacted the Austrian delegate serving as EU representative on the nominating committee that manages the election process, who showed an understanding of U.S. equities. USDEL contacted the Malian and Argentinean delegations, who have nominated highly-qualified co-chair candidates (see below), and the German delegation, who have been interested in advancing the Malian for co-chair of Working Group Three, for which Germany has nominated an unopposed candidate as developed-country co-chair. The Malians subsequently told USDEL that their candidate, Dr. Yauba Sokona, prefers Working Group Two to Working Group Three. Also prior to arrival in Geneva, USDEL contacted the UK and Netherlands delegations, both of which we have worked closely with in the past. Based on experience at prior IPCC plenaries, events related to the Working Group elections will likely unfold unpredictably and rapidly, necessitating a rapid and flexible USG response.


The outcome for the USA was better than even they could have hoped for: the election of an Argentinian scientist, providing further scientific representation for the views of economically rich nations.

Note: EnviroLeaks does not seek to always be ahead of the news when it comes to Cablegate releases – this one was released back in December – what is important is that the ramifications of the cables are correctly identified, something the mainstream media consistently fails to do.

EXCLUSIVE: Major International Law Firm’s Ethical Vacuum Exposed

We have obtained a transcript of a recording that appears to have been produced in the same vein as the previous exposé of PR company Biss Lancaster (Euro RSCG London). The transcript records what we believe to be a sting operation intended to test the ethics of a major international law firm with regards to the potential relocation of indigenous tribes in Brazil.

The company in question, King & Spalding, is based in Atlanta, and has offices in 8 different countries including the USA, France, Germany, UK and United Arab Emirates. According to their website, King & Spalding “represents half of the Fortune 100 and, according to a Corporate Counsel survey in August 2009, ranks fifth in its total number of representations of those companies. The firm also represents hundreds of clients with new ventures and mid-sized companies in emerging industries.”

The King & Spalding representative is a very senior partner in the firm.

The firm is notable for being the major sponsor of Freecycle while at the same time providing defense for corporations in cases of environmental malpractice (see Despite this apparent conflict of interest it is still surprising to see such a blatant lack of ethics with regards to oil drilling in the vicinity of indigenous tribes, within the Amazon rainforest.

The K&S representative is keen to state and restate their desire to remain within the law of the land, but so long as this condition is satisfied it seems that any activity is acceptable to them. However, even if national law does permit an activity, that does not mean the law is morally just; nor does compliance with the law justify breaching both Common Law and the moral rights of tribal peoples to remain unharmed. This latter point is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 3, 12 and 17.

(Note: In the transcript, the caller is referred to as “CALL” and the King & Spalding representative referred to as “KS”. Any names used have been removed.)


[introductions made]

CALL: If I can give you some background, you can tell me whether this is something you’d be prepared to work with. Essentially we’re a publicly listed oil and gas firm, erm, we’re based in the UK (KS: Yeah) And we’ve been exploring areas that, erm, up to now have had minimal exploration and exploitation. Erm, the place we’re looking at, at the moment, is in the Para region of Brazil (KS: Mm-huh) we have...we have in the past, erm, have done some work in this area. Erm, but the previous Brazilian government pushed back on the developments that we were ready to go ahead with, prior to digging an exploratory well. But the new government...we’re getting signs that they’re more open to development, and we are preparing to carry out an initial drill. (KS: Mm-huh)

However – this is the situation we’re in – the area that we are working in has two indigenous tribes. (KS: Uhuh) which are, I don’t want to beat about the bush, they are likely to be affected by the work here. (KS: Mm-huh) Erm the...and, as a result – and, I mean, you may have dealt with some of these NGOs that are quite hot on the indigenous side of things, erm, essentially they’ve found out that us, among others, are preparing to carry out some work in this area. (KS: Yep) And they are from...the information we’ve got, they are preparing to draw up a case against the exploration. Erm, and...

KS: Not, not an unusual situation...

CALL: No, no not at all. (KS: Mm-huh) and this is one of the more active and effective NGOs, erm, that we’ve...certainly that we’ve come across (KS: Yes) and they do have local support (KS: Yep), the...

KS: And they’re essentially (coughs), they’re essentially just doing their job.

CALL: Yes, that’s right, and so are we. Urm, the tribes [that] are affected are, they have, they are...they’re not completely uncontacted, erm, but they’re in what’s known as a “pristine” state. (KS: Mm-huh) So, effectively...erm...anything that’s physical impact on their territory is going to going to affect their, their lives. In quite a major...

KS: ...presumably the right permits have been provided or sought, and environmental impact reports have been prepared.

CALL: Well, yes, I mean this is the situation with...the Brazilian government are being quite open to further developments, erm you may have heard about the very large hydro dam that’s just been given the go-ahead, (KS: Mm) only this week, I believe. Erm, so there’s definitely a sea change taking place in the Brazilian government. Erm, we had outline permission anyway from our previous work, erm, but some of the people in the previous government were...were a very unhappy, erm, with the potential indigenous issue. (KS: Yep) So, they said “no, we’re going to accept it.” (KS: Mm-huh) But we see no issues with getting permission from a, from an environmental point of view (KS: Yeah) given the political situation. I mean they’re very, they’re very keen on encouraging, erm, encouraging outside companies to come and er, use the resources that they’ve got. Particularly if we can use local labour.

KS: Presumably you been, I mean, it sounds like you’re fairly’ve’re fairly far down the road and you must have been working with the Brazilian Counsel [Consul?] on [some of these] issues, haven’t you?

CALL: We’ve had a law firm working on things, and we’ve had a PR company that have been assisting the operational (KS: Yeah) [unclear] as well, erm, problem is our law firm have decided to cry off...erm, they are not comfortable with the indigenous issue.

KS: I’m not sure I quite follow when you say they’re not comfortable with the indigenous [CALL mumbles] issue.

CALL: I suppose from their point of view they’re seeing some...they’re seeing some ethical issues, erm, with potentially displacing these tribes. And, erm, and I...I mean, as an individual, I can see their point of view, but obviously we have a job to do. And, erm, we want to move ahead with this...the, that particular law firm that we...that we were working with has said: Yes, there is a point at which we will not do any more work on this because we’re running up against fundamental human rights issues. Erm, particularly the issue of displacing the tribes, affecting their culture, erm, Westernising them, that kind of thing.

Erm, is that something that...that you as a firm would also have a problem with?

KS: well, it’s sort of an open-ended question, uh, and it’s...I think we would want to understand a lot more about the facts, er before, opining on that issue. Let me ask you, how did our name come to your attention, I mean, how is it that you picked up the phone and called our firm?

CALL: Well, we’ve just been looking at different practices, erm, we are looking at would be, I’ll be honest with you, we are speaking to a number of other firms here, and we are going through a list (KS: Yeah) and...that’s, of course that’s the way tenders work. And...

KS: Well, there is one experience that, that we have that may have some analogous application, and is our acting for Chevron-Texaco in connection with, erm, the issue they faced in Ecuador. (CALL: Right) Er, probably you’re aware of the lawsuit that’s been brought against Chevron-Texaco in connection with alleged lack of remediation (CALL: Uh-huh), contamination also in the Amazon (CALL: Yes) um, and we have dealt with that case for now a number of years. It’s obviously not Brazil, but there’s some analogous...

CALL: Oh, to be honest it appears to be, I mean, when you’re dealing with indigenous tribes, I mean, it would seem that we’re seeing a very similar pattern, erm (KS: Yeah) Peru seems to be a bit more lively, erm,, Bolivia is probably a no-no, given the government (KS: Yep) erm, Venezuela, not sure. But Brazil, Brazil seems to be changing...erm [unclear] I certainly noticed you have worked with Chevron here and that is a particular reason, if you haven’t had [unclear] on your clients list, to have been through something like this (KS: Yeah) there wouldn’t have been any point speaking to you.

KS: *****, you know, I think in order to, sort of...erm, you know, explore the discussions a little bit further I’d, I’d like to meet with you and I’d like to, obviously I’d need to understand who the company is (CALL: Mm-huh, yep) er, make sure we have no conflict, and then we can sit down and I can put together know, the right people to have, sort of, a general chat, about what we may or may not be able to offer.

CALL: Ok, I mean, this is what we’re going to do, is we’re going to short-list (KS: Yep) and then we’re going to come back to the firms that we’re comfortable with and then we’re...and then set up some formal meetings (KS: Very good) what we need...what we would really like at this point is just, is just a: are you going to do the same as our, as our (laughs) former legal firm (KS: Well, you...) and say...

KS: ...have to understand, (CALL: ...that’s not something you would touch) I mean look, if we get engaged...if we accept an engagement and, er, we are charged, er, by our ethics to client zealously within the bounds of the law.

CALL: Mm-huh.

KS: I mean that’s what we do, er, for clients. So, I mean, I don’t wanna give you, erm, the absolute, you know, “of course we wouldn’t do that” because we simply don’t, I wouldn’t be honest, we simply don’t know enough of the facts. But if you are doing everything within the bounds of the law (CALL: Mm), what the law requires, then I don’t see why we would feel uncomfortable in representing you to the best of our abilities, to comply with [what] the law requires.

CALL: Even if there was, sort of, major opposition from say...

KS: Well, well that’s what we get paid for is to deal with the major opposition (CALL: Mm) to, er, do issues. But again, you know, I mean, I keep on repeating it and sure you understand what has to be done has to be in compliance with all laws.

CALL: Well, obviously, yes. But, that’s the national law (KS: Yeah...) I mean, are there international laws (KS: ...local Brazilian law, yes) , are there any international issues we would come across in this area, erm, anything that, sort of, overarches the local laws?

KS: None that come to my mind, erm, immediately. Um, as I said, I’m not a litigator...I’m a deal lawyer, erm, but none...that’s not something that pops to mind, the moment.

CALL: From the point of view of you, as a firm, there’s, erm, in the event that we need a representation if we didn’t have a...providing we weren’t, erm, conflicting with any of the Brazilian laws and the government were happy with the situation as far as relocating a tribe, and...

KS: Again, I mean, the issue of relocation is one that is...something that the government would have to approve of (CALL: Yep) have to mandate, erm, so you know, again so long as it’s done within the strictures of law, you know, I would expect that could...could be done. I mean, obviously, there will be opposition and the opposition will be heard and will need to have their concerns, er, taken into account (CALL: Uh-huh) and that’s going to be a decision of the government [unclear]

CALL: Right. Ok, ok that sounds fine, erm right, as I said we’re going to go away...we’re going to shortlist with regards...

KS: Just one, one other thing for you to consider (CALL: Yeah) is that we have a very active practice in Latin America (CALL: Uh-huh) so we have a good deal of experience, of around Latin America, including in Brazil in particularly with the energy sector.

CALL: Yeah. Fine

KS: [quietly], something to bear in mind.

CALL: Oh, no doubt our people will do all the background checks and the due diligence anyway, so (KS: Yeah) that’s fine. Ok, thank you very much ***** nice to speak to you.

KS: You’re welcome.

CRU Emails: Watching Steve McIntyre Make a Fool of Himself

The so-called “Climategate” emails that emanated from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit in November 2009 have, in certain hands and particularly via the right-wing mass media, confused public opinion on climate change more than any corporate-led operation ever could. That is, if you assume that the proliferations and subsequent cherry-picking of the emails was not a corporate-led operation: we suspect that it was.

What is not so well known, and which the guilty parties (by which we mean those trying to distract people from the science of climate change) are not keen to reveal, is that even though the emails were obviously selected in order to extract the maximum possible embarrassment – such that they do – it is very easy to use them to turn the tables on the climate change denial pack. Steve McIntyre, a former mining consultant and spokeperson for the oil industry funded George C. Marshall Institute, is well-known for being one of the most vociferous of the pack, and in his native Canada has the ear of most of the mainstream media. In a country where the largest income is from oil, McIntyre naturally has a ready-made audience for his mathematically based analyses of climate science (he is not a climate scientist) and on his website Climate Audit regularly makes pronouncements on the apparent weaknesses of current climatic findings.

On March 30, 2008, Climate Audit contained an article called “Like a Dog on a Bone” which made a mockery of the latest incarnation of the UK Met Office’s (Hadley Centre) smoothed global temperature graph. Here’s how he picked it up:

UC observed a couple of days ago that Hadley Center, authors of the pre-eminent temperature series, have suddenly identified an “error” in how they presented temperature data. For presentation of their smoothed temperature series in a part-year situation, their methodology calculated the average of months then available and used that to estimate the current year’s temperature for presentation purposes. For their influential graphic showing smoothed temperature series, they used a 21-point binomial filter (this is reported) extrapolating the latest number for 10 years. This obviously places a lot of leverage on January and February temperatures. (UC has replicated their smoothing method; he sent me code and I’ve confirmed that we can exactly replicate their smoothing methods.)

As has been widely reported, January and February 2008 temperatures are noticeably lower than last years. These cold January and February 2008 temperatures have led to a noticeable downturn in the smoothed annual series. This has not escaped the notice of the Hadley Center, who were extremely quick off the mark to notice an “error” which resulted in graphical emphasis of a downturn.

We have recently corrected an error in the way that the smoothed time series of data were calculated. Data for 2008 were being used in the smoothing process as if they represented an accurate estimate of the year as a whole. This is not the case and owing to the unusually cool global average temperature in January 2008, the error made it look as though smoothed global average temperatures had dropped markedly in recent years, which is misleading.

McIntyre uses a couple of graphs to illustrate his point, which is fair enough – but what is most relevant here is the use of quotation marks around the word “error” (he later does the same around “smoothing error”) to emphasise his belief that the data being produced by the climate science community is being manipulated to suit a “warmist” agenda (quoted as this is politically loaded term). In essence, McIntyre is saying that errors claimed by the Hadley Centre (not “Center”) are actually data fudges, used to hide any downturn in the temperature trend.

Now, at the point the criticism was made we only had the official words of the Hadley Centre to counter McIntyre’s claims. However, with the release of the CRU emails, which climate change deniers leapt upon to decry the behavior of climate science in general, there was an email exchange which addressed precisely the point at issue. This is in chronological order, with only personal details removed:

From: Michael Mann []
Sent: 26 March 2008 11:19
To: Folland, Chris
Cc: Phil Jones; Thomas R Karl
Subject: heads up

Hi Chris (and Tom and Phil),

I hope you're all doing well. Just wanted to give you a heads up on something. Have you seen this? apparently the contrarians are having a field day w/ this graph. My understanding that it is based on using only Jan+Feb 08 and padding w/ that final value.

Surely this can't be?? Is Fred Singer now running the UK Met Office website?

Would appreciate any info you can provide,

Michael E. Mann
Associate Professor
Director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC)


Folland, Chris wrote:

Dear Mike and all

First, thanks very much, Mike, for noticing this and preventing greater problems. The error arose from a pre-existing hidden software bug that the person updating the data had not realised was there. The software is a mixture of languages which makes it less than transparent. The bug is now fixed on all the smoothed graphs. It was made worse because the last point was not an average of several preceding years as it should have been but was just January 2008. So many apologies for any excitement this may have created in the hearts of the more ardent sceptics. Some are much on the warpath at present over the lack of recent global warming, fired in some cases by visions of a new solar Dalton Minimum.

I'm retiring from full time work on 17th April but I will return [removed for privacy]. My Climate Variability and Forecasting group is being split (it's the largest in the Hadley Centre by a margin). The biggest part is becoming technically from today a new Climate Monitoring and Attribution group under Peter Stott as Head. He will bring two existing attribution staff to make a group of c.22. Most of the rest (12) will form the bulk of a new Seasonal to Decadal Forecasting group to be set up most likely this summer with a new Head. Finally Craig Donlon, Director of the GODAE GHRSST sea surface temperature project, will go back to our National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (in the next wing of this building), but will work closely we hope with Nick Rayner in Peter Stott's new group on HadISST2.

I will return [personal] in the Seasonal to Decadal Forecasting Group, a mixture of research, some strategy and advice, and importantly, operational seasonal, annual, and probably decadal, forecasting. The Met Office are putting more emphasis on this area, especially the seasonal at present, which is becoming high profile as seasonal success is perceived to have improved. [personal] I will keep my co-leadership with Jim Kinter of the Clivar Climate of the Twentieth Century modelling project for now as well.

So quite a change, as I will be doing more computing work than I have had time for, moving into IDL this autumn which the Hadley Centre as a whole are moving over to about then.

Mike, it's a fair time since we interacted so I'd be very interested in your activities and plans.

With best regards


Prof. Chris Folland
Head of Climate Variability and Forecasting Research
Met Office Hadley Centre, Fitzroy Rd, Exeter, Devon EX1 3PB United Kingdom

So that’s it. It was an error in coding, plain and simple. Can we trust the emails? No more or less than those using the emails trust them in the “Climategate” sense. If the data has been manipulated then that is not apparent here; and if the emails are faked then, by implication, none of the emails used by climate change deniers can be trusted either.

The email exchange continues in a most prescient manner:

From: Michael Mann
To: "Folland, Chris"
Subject: Re: heads up
Date: Wed, 02 Apr 2008 13:43:47 -0400
Cc: Phil Jones, Thomas R Karl ,

Hey Chris,

In Tahiti (w/ Phil), limited email. Thanks so much for the detailed response. I also heard from David about this, who had similar. sounds like you guys are on top of this. The contrarians will cry conspiracy once the spurious plot is taken down and replaced w/ a corrected one, but what you can do.

I'm sorry to hear you're retiring from the Met Office, but sounds like you're going to remain active, which is great. lets catch up on things sometime soon more generally!

talk to you later,


What can you do, indeed? In a world where every mistake might be picked up on and used against you and those you represent it is always handy for your opponents to have a conspiracy to call upon – even if there is no conspiracy at all.

Sites We Recommend (with a Caution)

EnviroLeaks is not the first website to publish privileged information on environmental issues, nor will it be the last. The same goes for WikiLeaks with regards to whistleblowing and leaked information in general. In fact, there are all sorts of places to both upload and access such materials online – this is a short guide to some of the most useful.

The first, and most important, thing to say is that EnviroLeaks can provide no verification about the integrity of any these sites. While it is not necessarily a bad thing if false information is leaked – it could, after all, be an effective spoof or veiled reference to valid information – all information has to be treated with caution. We can only vouch for the information presented here as “EXCLUSIVE” releases; all other items, while having been checked for obvious flaws, are only as good as the source.

The integrity issue becomes especially important if you are considering sending information to any of these sites. In the case of EnviroLeaks, the About page details the level of security we can provide – it is not watertight (nothing on the internet is), but we will always endeavour to protect identities and potentially traceable data.

We cannot vouch for the security of sending data to any of the other sites listed in this article or on the “Sites” bar. The problem is twofold: we don’t know all the people involved in other sites, and we don’t know how secure their infrastructure is. If a site claims they are “totally secure” then be wary – they are either lying or naive. Nothing is totally secure. Use your common sense.


The current WikiLeaks site (as of 24 January 2011) is dedicated to the Cablegate and Iraq / Afghanistan war file releases. You won’t find much more on there. There is also currently no upload facility. Nevertheless, WikiLeaks appears to be maintaining its integrity in the face of opposition, even from former volunteers.

WikiLeaks Archive

There exist a number of mirrors of the original WikiLeaks site, prior to the major cable / intelligence releases. The one linked here reflects the state of the site at the beginning of 2010, and still contains some very useful information.

Public Intelligence

The Public Intelligence site is a repository of publicly available, but often hidden, information. Its vast range of categories, along with its ease of access to large documents makes it an extremely useful resource for anyone interested in open information.


Cryptome is the possibly the earliest still operational incarnation of an open information site, and is still run by John Young – perhaps the complete opposite to Julian Assange in character. The site is a combination of publicly available, but hard to obtain, documentation, plus a wide range of useful offsite links.


BalkanLeaks is a new site dedicated to releasing privileged information relating to the Balkan nations, which include Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Русский WikiLeaks (Russian WikiLeaks)

This is predominantly a Russian-orientated mirror of WikiLeaks which is beginning to publish its own leaks.

Sites we cannot verify operational status or usefulness of:

Brussels Leaks

If you have any other sites within the scope of this article that you would like to recommend then please comment below, and we will check them out.

Analysis: WIPP Is No Safe Haven For Nuclear Materials

We were interested to have recently acquired a pile of background information regarding one of the most intriguing “open secrets” in the USA. WIPP stands for “Waste Isolation Pilot Plant” and is an underground repository located in Carlsbad, New Mexico, that has been operational since 1999. WIPP is an open secret much like the fact that much of the world’s large computer networks are protected by Mossad technology (Checkpoint Firewall-1), and that Osama Bin Laden is dead. People know it’s there, and the US government are quite open about its presence and how it is constructed, yet like Doctor Who’s Perception Filter, people choose not to acknowledge something potentially so hazardous; something that could irradiate drinking water for thousands of years; something that will be a source of fissile materials long after the American Empire has collapsed.

The reason EnviroLeaks is publishing information that is already in the public domain – or at least archived from the public domain – is in order to switch off this “Perception Filter”. Just because something isn’t classified doesn’t mean it is available: in order to get a full picture of the WIPP facility one has to collate a great deal of information from various sources. That’s what we aim to do in this analysis. As an introduction, we recommend watching the following video in order to provide relevant background information – and perhaps a bit of a surprise:

0800034 – Project Gnome – 1961 – 29:13 – Color – Project GNOME was part of Operation Nougat. The 3-kiloton GNOME test was detonated 1200 feet underground in a salt bed formation on December 10, 1961, near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

GNOME was the first nuclear test in the Plowshare Program. The Plowshare Program objectives were to determine how energy produced from nuclear explosions could be used for peaceful or civilian purposes. The Vela Uniform Program studied seismic detection, identification, and location of nuclear explosions. Studies were conducted underground with ground-based instruments for detecting explosions in outer space and with established satellite-based instruments for detecting explosions in outer space.

Although GNOME was a Plowshare test, the Vela Uniform objective was to determine how the signals and effects of a 3-kiloton device detonated underground in salt beds differed from the outputs of detonations of different yields in other geologic formations such as tuff and granite. Scientists also wanted to compare the seismic signals from underground tests with that of earthquakes.

This video contains footage different from that shown in video number 0800028, and includes an introduction by Dr. Edward Teller, one of the few times he was captured on film. Several long-range and close-up views of surface effects from the detonation are shown as well as people reentering the detonation cavity approximately 6 months after the test when the underground cavity was opened to both official observers and members of the press. No other Operation Nougat footage is shown in this video.

The relevance of this video, and the record of underground nuclear testing at Carlsbad is made much clearer when you consider the amount of other activity taking place in the Carlsbad area, in close proximity to the WIPP facility. As well as the legacy of underground blast caverns, there are numerous active and abandoned mines for various minerals, a vast number of abandoned drill sites the dimensions of which may or may not be recorded in detail, a host of high pressure water injection points for increasing the availability of oil, and hundreds of oil and gas wells, many of which are within a stone’s throw of WIPP. Some of the facilities are detailed in the Google Earth images below (click to enlarge).

Thanks to people like spotter2 we have available other maps and diagrams, created for the purposes of transparency, that accompany the many academic papers and government documents that paint nothing but a rosy picture of the future of WIPP. Yet there are two glaring problems here: first, consider just the complexity of the intrusions and caverns in the images above, then augment that with the diagram below of the oil and gas wells within just a couple of square miles:

This diagram is from a 1997 Department of Energy document entitled, “Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Disposal Phase
Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement”. Feel free to read it – it’s huge and rich with detail about the facility and the geological environment, although it is an official public document. One thing that stands out with reference to oil and gas is the description of a situation that seems out of control:

According to a study of comprehensive well records for nine townships around the WIPP site (Broadhead et al. 1995), 532 wells had been drilled in search of oil and gas by the end of 1993. Few wells had been drilled in the area prior to 1960. Between 1960 and 1989, drilling activity increased but was sporadic and never exceeded 20 wells per year. Since 1990, however, drilling has increased markedly, with annual totals increasing to a maximum of 140 wells in 1993. This increase has been partially attributable to the opening of previously restricted areas of the Potash Area to drilling. Most of these wells were drilled into the Brushy Canyon Formation of the Delaware Mountain Group.

Three commercial wells have been drilled for oil and gas within the boundaries of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Area. Two vertical wells were drilled within the area during the 1970s; neither one became a producing well. A third well was drilled in 1982 from a location outside of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Area. The well was drilled at an angle underneath the area to intercept gas in the Atoka Formation and is currently commercially productive.

The point is that not only is there great complexity in the WIPP area, but there is also a high level of activity: oil and gas drilling, salt injection, underground mining – which inevitably involves an element of blasting and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Fracking is controversial because the charges that are used have been found to create channels through which drinking water can become contaminated with other substances, some of which are toxic, some of which may be corrosive. we know hydraulic fracturing is taking place in the vicinity of WIPP, simply by viewing job advertisements, such as this one:

Required Qualifications: 5+ years directly related experience Strong knowledge of and commitment to applicable Health Environmental & Safety (HES) practices Demonstrated ability and experience to coordinate and supervise well servicing activities Demonstrated project management skills and experience in planning, scheduling, organizing and supervising well servicing equipment Experience in repair of ESP, beam, flowing, injection, and disposal wells Knowledgeable of best practices in well pulling, well repair and stimulation Experience in performing root cause failure analysis and working economic evaluations Knowledgeable of chemical treatment options and familiarity with downhole pump and equipment products and associated applications Experience in remedial cementing, hydraulic fracturing, and acid work

The second glaring problem is that the ground around WIPP is either insufficiently stable for such a facility or is being destabilised by the activity around it. In 2008 a 300ft wide sinkhole opened up near to Artesia, New Mexico, right above a salt water injection point. The sinkhole (image here) lies just 30 miles from WIPP. There are fears of similar occurences occuring in Carlsbad and, judging by the predominant geology in the area, collapses could occur anywhere indicated by the brine injection points in the image further up.

So, what is being stored at WIPP? It is classified as a Transuranic (TRU) Waste Disposal Facility, transuranic waste being: “material that is contaminated with U-233 (and its daughter products), certain isotopes of plutonium, and nuclides with atomic numbers greater than 92 (uranium). It is produced during the reprocessing of spent fuel to separate plutonium for use in fabrication of nuclear weapons.” It is, nominally, not highly radiactive, although has the potential to contain dangerous isotopes of long half-life, thus requiring secure storage facilities. The Hazardous Waste Permit dated 1 April, 2010 details what is permitted to be stored at WIPP:

Waste destined for WIPP are, or were, produced as a byproduct of weapons production and have been identified in terms of waste streams based on the processes that produced them. Each waste stream identified by generators is assigned to a Waste Summary Category to facilitate RCRA waste characterization, and reflect the final waste forms acceptable for WIPP disposal.

These Waste Summary Categories are:

S3000—Homogeneous Solids

Solid process residues defined as solid materials, excluding soil, that do not meet the applicable regulatory criteria for classification as debris ( NMAC (incorporating 40 CFR §268.2[g] and [h])). Included in solid process residues are inorganic process residues, inorganic sludges, salt waste, and pyrochemical salt waste. Other waste streams are included in this Waste Summary Category based on the specific waste stream types and final waste form. This category includes wastes that are at least 50 percent by volume solid process residues.


This waste summary category includes waste streams that are at least 50 percent by volume soil. Soils are further categorized by the amount of debris included in the matrix.

S5000—Debris Wastes

This waste summary category includes waste that is at least 50 percent by volume materials that meet the criteria for classification as debris ( NMAC (incorporating 40 CFR §268.2)). Debris is a material for which a specific treatment is not provided by NMAC (incorporating 40 CFR §268 Subpart D), including process residuals such as smelter slag from the treatment of wastewater, sludges or emission residues.

Debris means solid material exceeding a 2.36 inch (60 millimeter) particle size that is intended for disposal and that is: 1) a manufactured object, 2) plant or animal matter, or 3) natural geologic material.

Included in the S5000 Waste Summary Category are metal debris, lead containing metal debris, inorganic nonmetal debris, asbestos debris, combustible debris, graphite debris, heterogeneous debris, and composite filters, as well as other minor waste streams. Particles smaller than 2.36 inches in size may be considered debris if the debris is a manufactured object and if it is not a particle of S3000 or S4000 material.

Examples of waste that might be included in the S5000 Waste Summary Category are asbestos-containing gloves, fire hoses, aprons, flooring tiles, pipe insulation, boiler jackets, and laboratory tabletops. Also included are combustible debris constructed of plastic, rubber, wood, paper, cloth, graphite, and biological materials. Examples of graphite waste that would be included are crucibles, graphite components, and pure graphite.

This is clearly not directly fissile material, although there are enough plutonium isotopes in any one load to make a fair “dirty bomb” should someone desire that. Certainly it’s not the kind of material that one would like to get too near to, and especially not breathe in or ingest. That is why it has to be locked away. That is why an indicator that would be valid for 10,000 years is being created (this is a fascinating, and rather odd paper describing the need for and likely form of such an indicator).

WIPP is constructed of a large number of “rooms” mined out of saturated salt beds. Once a room is filled then it is sealed off. When a level is filled then that level is sealed off until – in approximately 2070 – the entire facility is full and is finally sealed permanently. Well, that’s the theory. There is a particularly interesting paper that rather cracks that theory open. This paper, produced by Dr David Snow of the University of California at Berkeley,discusses the possibility of accidental exposure of solid materials:

Because human intrusion is a potential cause of repository breaching during any 10,000-year regulatory period, one of the tenets of radwaste disposal is that a candidate environment should be free of valuable natural resources that could stimulate future explorations. Since the LWA [restricted area] is underlain by exploitable potash beds in the McNutt interval and is surrounded by oil and gas wells, the scenarios of one or more inadvertent interceptions of the waste rooms by future drill holes are very credible.

Which leaves us in the hands of whatever company might decide to mine or bore for materials in the future or, presumably, whatever agency decides to purposely access radioactive materials for political gain. Snow addresses the in situ storage of the radioactive waste best in the paper’s summary:

At WIPP, radioactive waste is being disposed of permanently in drums and boxes placed in rooms excavated in the Salado salt beds. Like all other excavations below the water table, the repository will saturate, and dissolved radioactivity can ultimately escape via boreholes, shafts or fractures to the overlying Rustler evaporites. The most evident aquifer in the Rustler, the Culebra dolomite, is claimed by DOE to provide such slow transport that the Rustler can be considered an adequate barrier to waste migration. But performance assessment modeling, based on insufficient exploration data, unsupportable deductions and faulty assumptions led to that claim. This paper asserts that the Rustler formation overlying and down-gradient of the WIPP repository will not provide the claimed geologic containment because karst conduits are present that will facilitate rapid, ephemeral flow. If disposal is not halted and timely rectified, escaping radioactivity may reach Nash Draw within a thousand years, contaminating the Pecos River and Rio Grande.

In essence, if water manages to penetrate whatever protection the materials are being afforded, then radioactive isotopes can be carried away to be deposited in one of the many aquifers that serve the drinking and agricultural water needs of New Mexico. As for the protection around the materials themselves, that consists of ordinary steel drums, suitable for storage in non-oxidising environments, but not suitable for any environment that would result in corrosion. As a paper written for the Sandia Laboratories – a government owned facility – states:

If potential brine intrusion and sorption on the backfill material occurs in the long-term (post-repository operations phase), corrosion of the mild steel drums will certainly occur. Moisture contact with the CH TKU waste materials (and subsequent waste leaching) can occur only after the drums, as well as the internal polyethylene drum liners, are eventually breached, either by corrosion or mechanical crushing pressures. The waste drums were never intended to be a long-term corrosion or physical barrier.

This material is meant to be kept safe for 10,000 years. Something is not right in the state of New Mexico.


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