|Asia News Digest
Top Indonesian Terrorist Seized in Abbottabad in January
May 5 (EIRNS)Indonesia, currently the chair of ASEAN, hosted an ASEAN Summit the weekend of May 7 in Jakarta for the heads of state of the ten-nation association (Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, and Singapore). The Summit proceeded without incident despite major security concerns preceding the event, of which the following is relevant background.
One of the leading actors in the 2002 Bali bombing and other terrorist operations in Indonesia, was arrested in Pakistan on Jan. 25. Although it was not seen as important at the time, the arrest was in Abbottabad, the site of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1. Pakistani and American intelligence officials are telling the press that Umar Patek was not believed to have met with bin Laden, but did meet with other al-Qaeda operatives during his undercover visit to Pakistan.
Patek is known to have trained in Pakistan before the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., and to also have ties to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyef in the Philippines. His Filipina wife was with him when he was arrested in January.
In Indonesia, a spokesman for Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid, the group associated with Abu Bakar Bashir, the intellectual leader of the extremists in Indonesia (who is standing trial yet again for fostering terrorism), declared that bin Laden has "had the victory he dreamed ofthat is to be shot dead as a martyr by his enemy." He predicted that there will be major retaliations.
Will Japan Again Follow Germany to Self-Destruction?
May 6 (EIRNS)Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has publicly requested Chubu Electric Power Co. to halt three nuclear reactors at Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, until a seawall high enough to stop a Fukushima-level tsunami can be constructed.
Chubu Electric Power Co., after stalling for some hours, capitulated and agreed to close the plants. Building such a super-seawall could take two years. The site, about 115 miles southwest of Tokyo, is in an earthquake zone, with a reported 87% probability of the area being hit by an 8+ magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years, according to one forecast. The plant is already designed to handle an 8.5-magnitude quake.
Kan has proposed no other measures to help the area predict and survive a quake. The Great East Japan Quake likely caused about 27,000 deaths, plus injuries, disrupted lives through out all Japan, cost hundreds of billions in damaged properties, and at least as much in lost production; but not a soul has died because of the Fukashima nuclear accident.
Kan also said not a word about what would, or could, be done about replacing the over 3,000 MW of lost electricity generating capacity that closing the reactors mean. With mild spring weather, Japan is not currently experiencing blackout, but that is only because industrial and commercial uses of electricity are under an informal brownout. With summer and the increased demand, blackouts will return, but now, much worse.
There are voices similar to the fanatic Schellnhuber in Japan (see InDepth for full story on Schellnhuber). Jun Iio, a political scientist in charge of a working group appointed to brainstorm ideas for the reconstruction effort, said members of the panel have already begun discussing the possibility of building alternative energy sources in the disaster zones, including solar, wind, and geothermal power. "Many people in our group feel very strongly that we must use more environmentally friendly sources of energy. We are very positive about this."
That is the same kind of language coming out of Germany.
There is opposition. Lawmakers in the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which ran Japan until recently, including the prime growth years of developing Japan, established a taskforce to counter growing criticism against nuclear power. The stated objective of the group is to consider measures to balance supply and demand of electricity and to reconstruct energy strategies. However, an LDP executive said bluntly, "We created the new group to protect nuclear power generation."
Just across the sea, South Korea announced that it will restart the 33-year-old 587-mv Gori-1 reactor which was shut down April 12 for a safety check after a minor fault. Earlier, the restart of Gori-3, down for refueling, had been announced.
British Dictate Decarbonization to Malaysia
May 7 (EIRNS)Simon Featherstone, British High Commissioner (ambassador) to Malaysia, lays out the Empire's Green low-carbon policy for the colonies in an op-ed in the New Strait Times (the semi-official government paper). Climate change, is "perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign policy challenge," according to the Foreign Office, he says. The British government has allocated about $3 billion to their International Climate Fund (ICF), which has just been formally established, to pass this word on to the colonies. The Empire expects to spend half the kitty on helping the "poor and vulnerable countries" reduce carbon emissions and make forests sacrosanct.
Their priorities for ICF funding are: to show that building low-carbon climate-resilient growth at scale is both feasible and desirable; to support adaptation in poor countries and help build an effective international framework on climate change; and, "to drive innovation, creating new partnerships with the private sector to support low-carbon climate-resilient growth."