Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trafigura, Purveyor of Toxic Wate, Also Threatens Global Commodity Markets

ZeroHedge has a very interesting and important article about Trafigura that I strongly recommend reading:
Tyler Durden, “Forget Glencore: This Is The Real "Systemic Risk" Among The Commodity Traders,” Zero Hedge, September 29, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2015. Available:

According to this account, Trafigura is in potential trouble. The corporation is privately held but does have publicly held bonds, which just "tanked," according to ZeroHedge.

Trafigura is one of those truly evil corporations. Look at the links I posted at the bottom of this email to see the evidence.

Trafigura is deeply linked to Glencore as well, as explained by ZeroHedge:
Trafigura was formed in 1993 by Claude Dauphin and Eric de Turckheim when It split off from a group of companies managed by Marc Rich, aka "the king of oil" in 1993. Who is March Rich? Why the founder of Glencore of course who as a reminder, was indicted in 1983 on 65 criminal counts including income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with Iran during the oil embargo.
Upon learning his prison sentence may be as long as 300 years, Rich promptly fled to Switzerland; he was so afraid of US authorities, he even skipped his daughter's funeral in 1996. Marc Rich got a presidential pardon from Bill Clinton in a decision which was blessed by the kingpin of corruption, former DOJ head Eric Holder.  Clinton himself later expressed regret for issuing the pardon, saying that "it wasn't worth the damage to my reputation."

 Trafigura is another player in the global commodities bubble that is popping 

Who knows what types of underhanded deals were made by the company that will now come back to haunt the global economy given the company's proven history of dumping toxic waste: › ... › Campaign reports › Toxics
Sep 25, 2012 - That company was Trafigura. Trafigura made the toxic waste on board the Probo Koala. Trafigura knew the waste would be dangerous and ...
British Broadcasting Corporation
Jul 23, 2010 - A Dutch court finds multinational firm Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from the Dutch port of Amsterdam to Ivory Coast. › Environment › Pollution
The Guardian
Sep 25, 2012 - More than six years after the dumping of large quantities of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, there is still nothing to stop a similar disaster in ...
The trucks were loaded with toxic waste produced by the multinational, Trafigura. During the night and early morning the hazardous materials were dumped at ...ôte-d’ivoire
Lawsuits against Trafigura over alleged dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan, Côte d�Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
The New York Times
Nov 17, 2012 - In an out-of-court settlement, the commodity trader Trafigura will pay $1.7 million in fines for illegally exporting toxic waste to Ivory Coast, Dutch ...
Trafigura: Dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast. One of Trafigura´s most infamous controversies involved an environmental scandal in Ivory Coast. In 2006 ...
Mar 29, 2015 - 2006: Trafigura Dumps Its Toxic Slops. Back in 2006, the freighter Probo Koala was looking for a place to dump its waste. The ship itself had a ...
Voice of America
Sep 26, 2012 - Harjono said toxic waste was created on the ship because the company, Trafigura ran out of land options. They then tried to dispose of the ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Failure to Measure Fukushima Radiation Contamination Adequately

New article:

Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population Tim Deere-Jones 28th September 2015

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.
There will be no data about the fate of Fukushima marine radioactivity along the 400km Pacific coast of Honshu island, most affected by the Fukushima event, and no research at the shoreline where coastal zone populations are most exposed to it. Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site. The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations. 

... there is an almost total absence of any work on the long lived alpha emitters, which have been only sparsely studied in the relatively small sea area immediately adjacent to the Fukushima outfalls. In the context of the high risks to be incurred from internal doses of such alpha emitters, and their well-attested transportability in marine environments, this is an astonishing omission....

Read entire article at link above.


Financial Turmoil Warning Signs

Glencore, the mining and trading giant, is experiencing deep financial distress. Glencore is among the biggest commodity traders in the world and is experiencing distress because of the collapse in commodity prices.

Glencore is tentatively being compared to Lehman Brothers:

Nyshka Chandran, "Should you fear a ‘Glencore’ moment?" CNBC, September 29, 2015:

Experts are beginning to warn of the dire financial impact across the mining and metals space if Glencore, one of the world's largest resource companies, is unable to control its skyrocketing debt load.

Hong Kong-listed shares of the Anglo–Swiss commodity giant crashed 27 percent on Tuesday, on the back of a 29 percent plunge in the company's London-listed shares in the previous session.

The fall was sparked by a widely-circulated note on Glencore released Monday by Investec that pointed to a debt base well above its peers and a lower-margin asset base. The brokerage also warned of a scenario in which earnings could collapse entirely as Glencore worked purely to repay debt, which would eliminate all shareholder value. 
"Glencore is like Lehman Brothers, they have the most sophisticated trading desk when it comes to metals, coal, copper, iron ore. They're not just a company processing ore from the ground. If it was to unravel, that could have a global impact," Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer at U.S. Global Investors, told CNBC on Tuesday.

....Glencore could be the name that drags the entire market down because it has an elevated leverage ratio in order to secure high returns, Holmes explained, adding that the firm also has many counterparty transactions, so there are concerns about a domino effect and the leverage of other parties.....

BACKGROUND on COMMODITY MARKETS AND ETFs (excerpted from my recent book project: Dispossession: Liberalism's Crisis)

Neoliberal Bubbles

Financialization of the economy produced vast speculative bubbles. Over the last twenty-years of neoliberal financial government, the US experienced the collapse of two major financial bubbles: the bubble in 2001 and the housing bubble in 2007-2008. In 2014-2015 the world faced implosion of another bubble that grew out of vastly increased financial speculation in tangible assets, especially commodities, such as food, oil, metals, etc. [i]

Speculation in commodities by large and small investors alike occurred in the wake of the implosion, the financial crisis, and continues presently, although commodities markets reached their peak in 2011.[ii] Speculative activity in commodities was facilitated by creation of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and fueled after 2005 by investors’ growing concerns about debt-based securities, especially mortgages.

ETFs were invented in 1993.[iii] Defined most basically by NASDAQ, ETFS “are funds that track indexes like the NASDAQ-100 Index, S&P 500, Dow Jones, etc. When you buy shares of an ETF, you are buying shares of a portfolio that tracks the yield and return of its native index.”[iv] There are many types of ETFs and their myriad constitutions and derivatives are so complicated that experts routinely debate their fundamental nature, arguing about whether they are derivatives or equities.[v]

Some ETFs track mutual funds, but many track commodity markets in energy, grains and water and may be derived from future contracts on those commodities. These EFTS are derivatives. All forms of ETFs can create bubbles in commodities as a result of speculative-driven demand. ETFs based in food commodities were seen as a primary reason for the 2008-2009 food bubble that further impoverished millions of people as investors fleeing housing backed securities thronged commodity markets.[vi]

Assets in EFTS doubled between 2007 and 2012, reaching $1.2 trillion.[vii] However, as with housing-backed securities and derivatives, ETFs amplified systemic risks by simplifying investors’ capacity to make leveraged investments in commodities, while not actually owning them.

Indeed, in 2011, Mario Draghi, chairman of the IMF’s Financial Stability Board, which was instituted after the financial crisis to monitor transactions, asserted in an April 2011 interview with The Guardian that accelerating growth of exchange traded funds (ETFs) into a $1,200bn (£735bn) business was “reminiscent of what happened in the securitisation market before the crisis."[viii]

[i] Sharma, Ruchir. “The Next Global Crash: Why You Should Fear the Commodities Bubble,” The Atlantic (April 16, 2012),

[ii] Javier Blas, “Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling-off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace,” Bloomberg (April 13, 2015),

[iii] Investment Company Institute, “2014 Investment Company Factbook: Chapter Three Exchange Traded Funds,” Investment Company Factbook (2014):

[iv] “What are ETFs,” Nasdaq (no date):

[v] For example see Felix Salmon, “ETFs aren’t Derivatives,” Reuters (October 1, 2010): Salmon

and Herb Greenberg, “ETFs are Derivatives (Flash Crash Report),” CNBC, (October 1, 2010):

[vi] Kaufman, F. (2010). The food bubble. Harpers, 27-38.

[vii] Bigda, Carolyn and Penelope Wang EFTs: Why so Complicated? Money Magazine (2012, September 1),

[viii] Phillip Inman, “IMF raises alarm over exchange traded commodities funds,” The Guardian (April 17, 2011),

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dear Future Generations: Sorry

Disasters, Displacements and Human Rights Conference

I was supposed to attend this conference this weekend but an abscess in my jaw led to surgery and I had to Skype in my presentation on Fukushima and nuclear dispossession:



SEPTEMBER 25-27 2015

Missing the conference was very disappointing because the attendees are people who care about what happens to displaced people.  I was able to Skype in my presentation but missed the opportunity to learn from others.

Regarding my presentation: I see the Fukushima nuclear disaster as offering unique insights into what happens when a "first world" highly developed nation, such as Japan, confronts an epic disaster that compromises the health and welfare of its people.

It is clear to me from the financial crisis, the BP oil spill, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, that even the most economically developed and purportedly democratic states will dispossess their populations when greed and military ideas of security are seen as conflicting with adequate responses.

Here is my presentation for anyone interested:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Iodine-131 Levels in Fukushima Sludge Spiked in July 2015

Fukushima Diary is reporting that Fukushima sewage plants detected high levels of Iodine--131, over 1,000 Bq/Kg, in dry sewage sludge in Fukushima Prefecture in July.  Iodine-131 is a fission product with a roughly 8 day half-life. The reading could possibly have come from cancer patients' treatment but I don't thinks so based on my webcam observations from July.

Here is an excerpt from the the Fukushima Dairy post:
The highest I-131 density of this year detected in 2 Fukushima sewage plants
According to Fukushima sewage public corporation, this July over 1,000 Bq/Kg of Iodine-131 was detected in dry sewage sludge. The sewage plant is located in Da-te District of Fukushima prefecture.  
High level of I-131 was measured this May, however this reading of July is the highest density of this year. (cf, Significant level of I-131 detected from dry sludge of Fukushima sewage plant after rain in May [URL]) I-131 was detected from the samples collected from 7/9/2015 to 7/29/2015.
I took a quick look at my webcam posts from July to see if I recorded any unusual events.

I did:

July 31 I documented the stained pink sky visible on the Futaba cam and the ship that looks like a pumpership in Fukushima Daiichi's harbor:

Even more interesting is my post from July 30 on "high strangeness on the TBS cam":

Here are screenshots from that event:

See also this post from July 21:

I find the link between the spiking Iodine-131 and July webcam observations troubling.

Together, they provide additional circumstantial evidence that the Daiichi melts are still smoldering.

Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein has Lymphoma

As reported by Zero Hedge:

Lymphoma and NonHodgkins Lymphoma are rising in frequency and are primarily attributed to environmental causes:

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Facts 2014-2015

An estimated combined total of 156,420 people in  the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia,  lymphoma or myeloma in 2014. New cases of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are expected to account for 9.4 percent of the  estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed in the US in 2014.
page 12: The age-adjusted incidence of NHL rose by 77.3 percent from 1975 to 2011, an average annual percentage increase of 2.1 percent.

Neal Pearce and Peter Bethwaite, "Increasing Incidence of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Occupational and Environmental Factors" The Journal of Cancer Research
[abstract] The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) has been increasing steadily for the last 30 years, and attention is being focused on the possible causes of this increase. Possible explanations have included the exposure to viruses, radiation, nutrition, and pesticides, and these issues are addressed by other presentations in this workshop.

I spent some time looking for statistics of incidents from 2010 to 2015 but I cannot find data after 2011 (there are predicted rates for 2015 but no other data for actual incidents after 2011).

I stopped looking after 30 minutes so please post if you find cancer statistics for the 2011-2014 period.

I'm not a fan of Blankfein for obvious reasons but I hope that he is treated successfully. Perhaps it will build compassion from the man who arrogantly claimed he was doing "God's work" (see here:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Japanese Scholars Combat LDP Changes to Constitution

Japanese academics are bravely standing up to the LDP's new "security legislation" which essentially deconstructs Japan's post-World War II Constitution:

"Scholars determined to kill security legislation before enforcement," The Mainichi September 21, 2015, An army of intellectuals and university professors gathered in Tokyo on Sept. 20 to announce their opposition to the ruling coalition's railroading of the controversial security legislation through the House of Councillors. One hundred and seventy-one members of the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills held a news conference at Gakushikaikan hall in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward and criticized the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for railroading the security legislation through the upper house amid strong objection from the public and opposition parties. They announced a statement saying that the government's move was "nothing but a violation of constitutionalism and a reckless act to abandon Japan's pacifism."

This move to derail Abe's security legislation is particularly brave given the LDP government is trying very to destroy the arts, humanities and social sciences in Japanese Universities:
 Shusuke Murai, Subsidies used as carrot to prod national universities to streamline, ditch humanities The Japan Times (June 25, 2015).
Other groups that have resisted LDP railroading have faced sanctions. For example, LDP members threatened to target newspapers that ran editorials critical of the security bills:
Mizuho Aoki, Masaaki Kameda, Magdalena Osumi (June 26, 2015). “Media fire back at LDP for targeting revenue of newspapers critical of security bills,” The Japan Times,
I am repeatedly impressed by the sincere pacifism of the majority of Japanese citizens.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Unsettling Hue

I've noticed an unsettling hue arising from Fukushima Daiichi recently. I am not sure if its coming from unit 2 or unit 1:


I don't know whether the red and yellow hues that seem to be coming up from the building are simply camera distortion.

Alternatively, perhaps the incoming rain is creating an effect when hitting melted fuel in spent fuel pools.

Unit 1 currently has much of its roof removed: