Thursday, March 31, 2011

Port Authority billed $12 million


THE Port Authority of Guam on Wednesday received an unexpected bill from the Department of Administration for $12.25 million

The Port Authority of Guam on Wednesday received an unexpected bill from the Department of Administration for $12.25 million for an “autonomous agency infrastructure collections fund” as authorized by a public law dating back to 1997. Variety file photo

for an “autonomous agency infrastructure collections fund” as authorized by a public law dating back to 1997.

The amount of the bill is an annual assessment of $875,000 since 1998 that the Port has not paid, according to the bill that DOA sent to the Port Authority.


“We did receive an invoice for $12.2 million from the Department of Administration. We are currently reviewing the invoice. We will reserve comment until we have further explored this matter,” said Pedro Leon Guerrero, Jr., PAG general manager.

Leon Guerrero said he is anticipating meeting with the Department of Administration to further discuss the assessment of $12.2 million.

Public Law 24-14 states that the four autonomous agencies—The Guam International Airport Authority, the Guam Power Authority, The Port Authority of Guam and the Guam Telephone Authority—are assessed an aggregate amount of $3.5 million annually, or $875,000 per autonomous agency.

GTA is no longer an autonomous government agency as it was officially privatized in 2002.

The aggregate amount, the budget law states, is “in lieu of taxes and other charges as may normally be assessed against a private company for utility easements, gross receipts taxes, taxes on audited income, government development fees, such as water wells and monetary fees.”

But Committee on Utilities Chairperson Tom Ada is concerned that by paying the amount, the Port will face hardships that will get passed onto Guam’s consumer.

Tariff hike

“If Department of Administration is going to go and assess $12 million out of the coffers of the Port Authority, which I’m certain is money programmed for other port-related work, if they take that away from them, the Port is going to need to make up for that loss most likely through an increase in tariffs,” said Ada on Wednesday.

This likely increase in tariffs, Ada said, would ultimately get passed down to Guam’s consumers.

“Now the cost of food commodities on the shelves are going to have to be increased to cover the additional increase in shipping costs,” he said.

The entire fund was supposed to be used “solely for the purposes relating to the health and public safety of the people of Guam and public works,” the law states.

At the time, according to the law, “senseless violence” associated with illegal drugs was adversely impacting the public safety and quality of life of island residents.

The funds are supposed to go towards the training and salaries for police and corrections officers.

But even former Gov. Carl Gutierrez at the time, in his transmittal letter to the late Speaker Antonio Unpingco, said this assessment on PAG would “severely constrict the lifeblood of our island’s economic activity, the shipment of goods.”

WANTED: U.S. workers for crippled Japan nuke plant

NEW YORK | Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:55pm EDT

Reuters - As foreign assignments go this must be just about the most dangerous going.

A U.S. recruiter is hiring nuclear power workers in the United States to help Japan gain control of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been spewing radiation.

The qualifications: Skills gained in the nuclear industry, a passport, a family willing to let you go, willingness to work in a radioactive zone.

The rewards: Higher than normal pay and the challenge of solving a major crisis.

"About two weeks ago we told our managers to put together a wish list of anyone interested in going to Japan," said Joe Melanson, a recruiter at specialist nuclear industry staffing firm Bartlett Nuclear in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

So far, the firm has already signed up some workers who will be flying to Japan on Sunday.

Melanson said there will be less than 10 workers in the initial group. Others are expected to follow later, he added.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has appealed to the nuclear industry outside of Japan for assistance as the crisis has spiraled beyond their control.

On Thursday, the company said radiation levels in water found in tunnels under the plant was 10,000 times the normal level and radioactive iodine 131 was found in ground water near No.1 reactor of the complex.

Melanson said Bartlett Nuclear had been approached by sub-contractors linked to the General Electric-Hitachi nuclear joint venture. GE designed the Fukushima reactors.

"At first, we had no details about the duration of the job or the positions needed. The only requirement was that you have a valid passport," Melanson said.

But as the job details came in, Bartlett managers scoured the list of volunteers and selected several engineers and technicians "we knew would perform well for us over there."

So just what type of person would go into a damaged nuclear plant that is throwing out dangerous levels of radiation?


Melanson said these are not roughnecks prepared to risk their health for a quick paycheck but senior technicians and engineers who have come up through the ranks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bordallo criticized for missing $4.5B ‘opportunity’


Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz is asking Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo why she wasn’t aware of a $4.55 billion

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, shown here delivering her congressional address at the legislature last Thursday, has been criticized by Sen. Benjamin Cruz for missing out on a $4.55 billion settlement for Indian and Black farmers as it moved through the House and Senate. Photo by Matt Weiss

settlement for Indian and Black farmers as it moved through the House and Senate, saying that she missed an opportunity for the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.

In a letter sent to Bordallo, Vice Speaker Cruz states, “Had you acted more quickly, the $185 million needed to fulfill the objectives of the Guam Loyalty Act may have been considered a nominal amendment toward a public law that will ultimately provide a combined $4.55 billion to individual Indians and Black farmers. In fact, its enactment on the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, December 8, would have been an auspicious date to have finally enacted the Guam Loyalty Recognition Act.”


The settlement stems from H.R. 4783 that ultimately became Public Law 111-291 when President Barack Obama signed the measure. The settlement is for mismanaged funds and other trust assets including royalties owed to individual Indians for oil, gas, grazing, and leases of individual Indian lands and to settle the claim that Black farmers were unfairly refused loans by the Department of Agriculture.

“Considering the effect H.R. 4783 had in rectifying long-standing claims against the federal government for discrimination and mismanagement against individual Indians and Black farmers, I must ask why you were not aware of its movement through the House and Senate,” Cruz said.

“I have noticed through print media, the Internet, a website, a toll-free number, and television notification that information about the settlement has been disseminated for claimants. Had the Guam War Claims Review been included as part of the settlement, the people of Guam may already have begun taking steps to attain their rightful claims,” added Senator Cruz.

Vice Speaker Cruz is a former Commissioner on the Guam War Claims Review Commission. He remains steadfast in his commitment toward rightfully acquiring claims for the people of Guam and their families that suffered during the Japanese occupation of Guam during WWII.


Cruz said the settlement resolves the federal government’s failure to provide a historical accounting for Individual Indian Money claims in which the U.S. government mismanaged funds and other trust assets including royalties owed to individual Indians for oil, gas, grazing, and leases of individual Indian lands in the west by providing $3.4 billion to individual Indians.

Additionally, Public Law 111-291 will settle the claim that Black farmers were unfairly refused loans by the Department of Agriculture by providing $1.15 billion to Black farmers.

“Your continuous efforts to reintroduce the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, and then attach it to the Defense Authorization Act are noble, but they have become an annual perfunctory effort rooted in pursuing the same track without attempting viable alternative methods,” wrote Cruz.

As the terms of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act are similar to those provisions contained in the Settlement Fund, Cruz found it disappointing that no amendment attaching the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act to H.R. 4783 was ever thought of or proffered.


“Equally frustrating is that H.R. 4783 included an amendment proffered by Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, your close colleague and the Chairman of your Committee. I am dismayed that your colleague was able to introduce an amendment to this landmark legislation without our possible inclusion,” wrote Cruz.

Cruz said the size and scope of the settlement could possibly have been the means to fund the war claims.

Accrued interest on the $4.55 billion as authorized by P.L. 111-291 would have been more than enough to provide the $125-$185 million required to fund the Guam Loyalty Recognition Act.

On a related matter, a recent press release issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that the USDA will engage in an “administrative process” to settle claims held by women and Hispanic farmers regarding historic loan discrimination.

The fact that these parties were able to gain an administrative settlement of their grievances may provide a pathway to real progress on Guam war reparations.

“This oversight may have cost the people of Guam much more than money, it may have cost them much needed closure and the belief that our past loyalties have not been in vain,” Cruz stated.

“While I acknowledge that the rise of “fiscal conservatives” may hamper your ongoing efforts, I urge you to consider that Congressional action may not be our only road to resolution. It is my fervent hope that, from this point on, you will look to other avenues for the favorable resolution of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act,” Cruz added.

Monday, March 21, 2011

UN Investigator: Israel Engaged in Ethnic Cleansing

Published on Monday, March 21, 2011 by Reuters

Israel's expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and eviction of Palestinians from their homes there is a form of ethnic cleansing, a United Nations investigator said on Monday.

Israel's expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and eviction of Palestinians from their homes there is a form of ethnic cleansing, a United Nations investigator said on Monday. (Reuters)United States academic Richard Falk was speaking to the UN Human Rights Council as it prepared to pass resolutions condemning settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The "continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation" in the part of the city previously controlled by Jordan, he said.

This situation "can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing," Falk declared.

Israel declines to deal with Falk or even allow him into the country, accusing him of being biased.

In a related discussion on Israeli policies towards the lands it seized in the 1967 war, Israeli and Palestinian delegates clashed over the recent killing of members of a Jewish settler family in the West Bank.

Israeli ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar called on Palestinian leaders to condemn the March 11 murders of three children, including a baby, and their parents "without caveats or hedging" in Arabic to their own people.

Almost as shocking as the killings, "in the days following the massacre many Palestinians took to the streets celebrating the deaths of this family," Leshno Yaar said.

But Palestinian envoy Ibrahim Kraishi said the killings had already been condemned by the Palestinian Authority as "an act of terrorism" that was not part of his people's culture. "Rather, it is the culture of the occupying power," he added.

In his speech, Falk said he would like the Human Rights Council to ask the International Court of Justice to look at Israeli behavior in the occupied territories.

This should focus on whether the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem had elements of "colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing inconsistent with international humanitarian law," the investigator declared.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nuclear Nightmare

Published on Saturday, March 19, 2011

by Ralph Nader from

The unfolding multiple nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan is prompting overdue attention to the 104 nuclear plants in the United States—many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, some on the west coast exposed to potential tsunamis.

Nuclear power plants boil water to produce steam to turn turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power’s overly complex fuel cycle begins with uranium mines and ends with deadly radioactive wastes for which there still are no permanent storage facilities to contain them for tens of thousands of years.

Atomic power plants generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. Over forty years ago, the industry’s promoter and regulator, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area “the size of Pennsylvania” and cause massive casualties. You, the taxpayers, have heavily subsidized nuclear power research, development, and promotion from day one with tens of billions of dollars.

Because of many costs, perils, close calls at various reactors, and the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, there has not been a nuclear power plant built in the United States since 1974.

Now the industry is coming back “on your back” claiming it will help reduce global warming from fossil fuel emitted greenhouse gases.

Pushed aggressively by President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu, who refuses to meet with longtime nuclear industry critics, here is what “on your back” means:

1. Wall Street will not finance new nuclear plants without a 100% taxpayer loan guarantee. Too risky. That’s a lot of guarantee given that new nukes cost $12 billion each, assuming no mishaps. Obama and the Congress are OK with that arrangement.

2. Nuclear power is uninsurable in the private insurance market—too risky. Under the Price-Anderson Act, taxpayers pay the greatest cost of a meltdown’s devastation.

3. Nuclear power plants and transports of radioactive wastes are a national security nightmare for the Department of Homeland Security. Imagine the target that thousands of vulnerable spent fuel rods present for sabotage.

4. Guess who pays for whatever final waste repositories are licensed? You the taxpayer and your descendants as far as your gene line persists. Huge decommissioning costs, at the end of a nuclear plant’s existence come from the ratepayers’ pockets.

5. Nuclear plant disasters present impossible evacuation burdens for those living anywhere near a plant, especially if time is short.

Imagine evacuating the long-troubled Indian Point plants 26 miles north of New York City. Workers in that region have a hard enough time evacuating their places of employment during 5 pm rush hour. That’s one reason Secretary of State Clinton (in her time as Senator of New York) and Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the shutdown of Indian Point.

6. Nuclear power is both uneconomical and unnecessary. It can’t compete against energy conservation, including cogeneration, windpower and ever more efficient, quicker, safer, renewable forms of providing electricity. Amory Lovins argues this point convincingly (see Physicist Lovins asserts that nuclear power “will reduce and retard climate protection.” His reasoning: shifting the tens of billions invested in nuclear power to efficiency and renewables reduce far more carbon per dollar ( The country should move deliberately to shutdown nuclear plants, starting with the aging and seismically threatened reactors. Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner has also made a compelling case against nuclear power on economic and safety grounds (

There is far more for ratepayers, taxpayers and families near nuclear plants to find out. Here’s how you can start:

1. Demand public hearings in your communities where there is a nuke, sponsored either by your member of Congress or the NRC, to put the facts, risks and evacuation plans on the table. Insist that the critics as well as the proponents testify and cross-examine each other in front of you and the media.

2. If you call yourself conservative, ask why nuclear power requires such huge amounts of your tax dollars and guarantees and can’t buy adequate private insurance. If you have a small business that can’t buy insurance because what you do is too risky, you don’t stay in business.

3. If you are an environmentalist, ask why nuclear power isn’t required to meet a cost-efficient market test against investments in energy conservation and renewables.

4. If you understand traffic congestion, ask for an actual real life evacuation drill for those living and working 10 miles around the plant (some scientists think it should be at least 25 miles) and watch the hemming and hawing from proponents of nuclear power.

The people in northern Japan may lose their land, homes, relatives, and friends as a result of a dangerous technology designed simply to boil water. There are better ways to generate steam.

Like the troubled Japanese nuclear plants, the Indian Point plants and the four plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon in southern California rest near earthquake faults. The seismologists concur that there is a 94% chance of a big earthquake in California within the next thirty years. Obama, Chu and the powerful nuke industry must not be allowed to force the American people to play Russian Roulette!

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

An 8.9 Quake Could Have Irradiated the Entire US

By Harvey Wasserman from

Had the massive 8.9 Richter-scale earthquake that has just savaged Japan hit off the California coast, it could have ripped apart at least four coastal reactors and sent a lethal cloud of radiation across the entire United States.

The two huge reactors each at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon are not designed to withstand such powerful shocks. All four are extremely close to major faults.

All four reactors are located relatively low to the coast. They are vulnerable to tsunamis like those now expected to hit as many as fifty countries.

San Onofre sits between San Diego and Los Angeles. A radioactive cloud spewing from one or both reactors there would do incalculable damage to either or both urban areas before carrying over the rest of southern and central California.

Diablo Canyon is at Avila Beach, on the coast just west of San Luis Obispo, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A radioactive eruption there would pour into central California and, depending on the winds, up to the Bay Area or southeast into Santa Barbara and then to Los Angeles. The cloud would at very least permanently destroy much of the region on which most Americans rely for their winter supply of fresh vegetables.

By the federal Price-Anderson Act of 1957, the owners of the destroyed reactors---including Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison---would be covered by private insurance only up to $11 billion, a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars worth of damage that would be done. The rest would become the responsibility of the federal taxpayer and the fallout victims. Virtually all homeowner insurance policies in the United States exempt the insurers from liability from a reactor disaster.

The most definitive recent study of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster puts the death toll at 985,000. The accident irradiated a remote rural area. The nearest city, Kiev, is 80 kilometers away.

But San Luis Obispo is some ten miles directly downwind from Diablo Canyon. The region around San Onofre has become heavily suburbanized.

Heavy radioactive fallout spread from Chernobyl blanketed all of Europe within a matter of days. It covered an area far larger than the United States.

Fallout did hit the jet stream and then the coast of California, thousands of miles away, within ten days. It then carried all the way across the northern tier of the United States.

Chernobyl Unit Four was of comparable size to the two reactors at Diablo Canyon, and somewhat larger than the two at San Onofre.

But it was very new when it exploded. California's four coastal reactors have been operating since the 1970s and 1980s. Their accumulated internal radioactive burdens could exceed what was spewed at Chernobyl.

Japanese officials say all affected reactors automatically shut, with no radiation releases. But they are not reliable. In 2007 a smaller earthquake rocked the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki site and forced its lengthy shut-down.

Preliminary reports indicate at least one fire at a Japanese reactor hit by this quake and tsunami.

In 1986 the Perry nuclear plant, east of Cleveland, was rocked by a 5.5 Richter-scale shock, many orders of magnitude weaker than this one. That quake broke pipes and other key equipment within the plant. It took out nearby roads and bridges.

Thankfully, Perry had not yet opened. An official Ohio commission later warned that evacuation during such a quake would be impossible.

Numerous other American reactors sit on or near earthquake faults.

The Obama Administration is now asking Congress for $36 billion in new loan guarantees to build more commercial reactors.

Harvey Wasserman's Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and writes regularly He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?, As Goes Ohio: Election Theft Since 2004 , How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, and What Happened in Ohio

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Petition made against doctor


* But others express support for Dr. Friedman

Dr. James Stadler, left, confers with Dr. Lee Meadows during yesterday’s meeting at the Guam Memorial Hospital, which discussed the allegations made last week by Dr. Sam Friedman. Photo by Matt Weiss

DOZENS of medical professionals and providers gathered yesterday at the Guam Memorial Hospital to discuss the allegations oncologist Dr. Sam Friedman publicly made last Friday claiming that GMH is “unsafe” and “killing patients.”

Led by obstetrician Dr. Thomas Shieh, who is also the president of the Guam Medical Association, a petition was passed around asking Gov. Eddie Calvo to withdraw his nomination of Friedman as a board member of the Guam Board of Medical Examiners.

In addition, Shieh wrote to Calvo yesterday expressing his opposition to Friedman and his public allegations against GMH.

He also conveyed his support for GMH Nursing Supervisor Cely Mangrobang’s testimony in which she claimed that Friedman is a racist because of insulting comments he made about Filipino nurses. Additionally, Mangrobang, a 33-year veteran of GMH, attached a petition signed by several GMH registered nurses opposing Friedman.

Undue fear

“I think his statements made at the confirmation hearing were irresponsible and create undue fear in the public,” wrote Shieh.

“To say that island doctors or the hospital are killing patients is very careless and simply wrong. The word kill is criminal,” he added.

Friedman neither practices at the hospital, Shieh said, nor visits his patients when they are admitted to GMH.

During the meeting, oncologist Dr. Arnold Wax pointed out that Friedman, in making those allegations in the media, violated federal law.

“He took an undiscoverable issue and made it public record,” said Wax.

Another obstetrician, Dr. Jeffrey Gable, said: “This is a guy that slandered everyone at the hospital. Obviously he doesn’t have the full story. If he does know any information, it was illegally obtained and illegally disseminated.”

Group of 8

However, an email correspondence Variety obtained between medical professionals dated March 6 corroborates Friedman’s accusations against GMH staff.

In it, horrifying details are given about the seemingly covert method of handling medical malpractice situations at the hospital.

“To cover up, diagnoses are changed, medical records are altered and in past times, the coroner ignores the fact that negligent homicides are occurring every day,” the email states.

In addition, the medical professional stated that an audit was conducted on 300 random charts at the hospital in which 136 were found to be negligent, including “one planned murder.”

“A defenseless newborn baby whose death was planned by the doctor and nurses alike! It was spelled outright in the medical record. Neither a former [attorney general] nor the FBI would do anything about it,” the email further stated.

The murder of the baby was allegedly planned by a “group of 8” medical professionals.

Lastly, the medical professional referred to a doctor who “expired” 12 patients within nine days while covering for another doctor who was off-island.


In a bid to prove Mangrobang wrong, five Filipino nurses yesterday transmitted a letter to Committee on Health Chair Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. expressing their support for Friedman.

The five nurses noted that at the Cancer Center of Guam, where Friedman practices, there is a varying makeup of ethnicity, religion, race and sexual orientation of employees who work for Friedman.

“In brief, we never considered racial origin other than as encouraging and welcoming any addition to the incredible cross section of the Guam population and culture,” the nurses wrote.

Shieh additionally conveyed his pride and support for Guam’s medical community.

“Many of our doctors are on staff at our hospital and every day we work hard to save lives We have challenges every day as with other hospitals, but we continue to come into our island’s only hospital to take care of patients,” wrote Shieh to Calvo.

“That’s our dedication to the health of this island and we still stand to support our hospital and our patients continuously.”