Daily Archives: March 25, 2011

US nuclear carrier flees radiation fallout zone

Sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan wash down the flight deck to remove potential radiation contamination. Photo: Reuters

smh.com.au | Mar 25, 2011

by Tony Capaccio

THE aircraft carrier USS George Washington was moved this week from its Japanese port to avoid a potentially costly and complex clean-up to remove traces of radiation, the US Navy revealed.

The carrier did not face an acute, near-term radiation threat that would have forced its departure from Yokosuka, about 280 kilometres south of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, said chief of naval operations Admiral Gary Roughead.

Rather, Admiral Roughead said, he wanted to move the carrier because even residual traces of radiation on a nuclear-powered warship, while not harmful from a health standpoint, could be mistaken as a sign of a shipboard nuclear leak requiring identification and clean-up.
Advertisement: Story continues below

”When you think of an aircraft carrier – that has literally thousands of miles of ventilation ducting in it – then you’ve got a significant cleaning issue,” Admiral Roughead said.

”My view was ‘Let’s just get her out’, get her away from where she could pick up any sort of contamination so that that ship stays clean.”

The United States military has about 38,000 personnel currently based ashore in Japan and an additional 11,000 are based afloat in the region, according to US Forces Japan.

Brzezinski: Libya Action Isn’t War, But “Necessary Intervention”

Newsmax | Mar 24, 2011

By Hiram Reisner

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski calls U.S. action in Libya something between war and military intervention, because America and its allies are not trying to conquer the country. But Libyan tyrant Moammar Gadhafi would the “top political leader in the Middle East” if nobody had stepped in — regardless of how the intervention is labeled, Brzezinski also said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Well, it really isn’t war,” Brzezinski said. “It’s something between war and military intervention, to stop something that is going on, but without really trying to conquer the country. But I have to tell you frankly . . . I cannot think of another instance in recent times in which I myself was so uncertain in thinking about the problem, about how we should act. Because there are so many downsides and so many uncertainties.

“But in the end, I concluded that, if we didn’t act it would be worse,” Brzezinski said, adding that he has some misgivings about the way it is being handled.

“Two things would be terrible: first, the mass slaughter of the people in Benghazi and the symbolic significance of that in the Middle East,” he continued. “And secondly, who would stand tall in the Middle East, astride the Middle East — Gadhafi. The person who blew up an American airliner, incidentally. He would be the top Arab political leader in the Middle East.

“What would be the consequences of that for the Middle East and for us?” Brzezinski said. “We are there to save lives, but the necessary component of that is that he has to go. Because if he stays, he’s going to be a source of conflict, a competitor to al-Qaida in his hostility to the West — specifically to us — it will be viewed as a massive defeat for the United States.”

Brzezinski said he believes it would be appropriate if continued Libyan military action ended up being European-led, but “the heavy punching needs to be done by us.”

“The objective has to be to prevail as quickly as possible, induce the Libyan armed leadership to rebel against Gadhafi, if we can . . . and in any case, in the process, asserting our domination.”

Putin likens Libya air strikes to ‘crusades’

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashes out at Western airstrikes in Libya, likening them to ‘medieval crusades.’

Telegraph | Mar 22, 2011

The statement from Mr Putin came after Russia abstained from the UN Security Council vote which authorised a no-fly zone over Libya and ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians against Col Gaddafi’s forces.

Mr Putin, who was speaking to workers at a Russian missile factory, added, “I am concerned by the ease with which decisions to use force are taken in international affairs. This is becoming a persistent tendency in US policy,” he added.

However, in one of the most public clashes between the two men to date, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said it was unacceptable to make such historical comparisons, warning such remarks risked stirring up even more trouble.

Mr Medvedev sharply rebuked Mr Putin, saying, “Under no circumstances is it acceptable to use expressions which essentially lead to a clash of civilisations. Such as [talking of] a ‘crusade’ and so on.”

U.S. rescue chopper shoots six Libyan villagers as they welcome pilots of downed Air Force jet

Crashed: Onlookers surround the wreckage of a U.S Air Force F-15E fighter jet after it crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi. The fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight after apparent mechanical failure. Both men ejected safely and escaped with only minor injuries

Villagers told them ‘Don’t be scared, we are your friends’

Daily Mail | Mar 22, 2011

Six Libyan villagers are recovering in hospital after being shot by American soldiers coming in to rescue the U.S. pilots whose plane crash-landed in a field.

The helicopter strafed the ground as it landed in a field outside Benghazi beside the downed U.S. Air Force F-15E Eagle which ran into trouble during bombing raid last night.

And a handful of locals who had come to greet the pilots were hit – among them a young boy who may have to have a leg amputated because of injuries caused by a bullet wound.

The first confirmed casualties of the allied operation, the Channel Four’s International Editor Lindsey Hilsum confirmed the civilian casualties.

The crew of the fighter plane had enjoyed a miraculous escape after suffering suspected mechanical failure during the third night of air strikes on Colonel Gaddafi’s military positions.

As one crew member was surrounded by locals, he held his arms out, calling ‘okay, okay’, according to the Evening Standard – but the grateful Libyans queued to thank him and give him juice.

Younis Amruni told the newspaper: ‘I hugged him and said “Don’t be scared, we are your friends”. We are so grateful to these men who are protecting the skies.’

The plane, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, had set off from Aviano in Italy but came down at Bu Mariem, some 24 miles east of Benghazi.

The jet’s wreckage is set to be recovered or destroyed by the Americans, to prevent the plant coming into Gaddafi’s hands, while the crew were seen by a doctor in the rebel stronghold before being taken to a U.S. ship.

Full Story