(45 year cycle)
The present Saturn/Uranus cycle started recently in February 1988, reaching its outgoing square (+90 degrees) in 1999. The Opposition occurs from 2008 to 2011 and the incoming square (+270 degrees) will be reached in February 2021. (The next cycle will commence in June 2032,) What relationship between intellectual change and the status Quo does this cycle signify ?
What might the cycle mean ?
HOW A NEW MINDSET SWEEPS AWAY ESTABLISHED INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES
We have given the generic meaning of this cycle as the ‘Relationship between intellectual change and the Status Quo’. The term ‘Status Quo’ is a short way of saying ‘the established order of things’. ‘Intellectual’ should be taken to refer to reasoning and understanding – to ideas and not to something academic. Whereas the Uranus/Pluto cycle signifies how the structure and methods of intellectual, scientific, technological and aesthetic thought alter in themselves and the Uranus/Neptune cycle signifies how innovative ideas get taken up as ideals by society, the Saturn/Uranus cycle deals with how a new intellectual mindset actually alters or sweeps away established political, economic and institutional and other structures. It is all about ‘ideas in action’ or ’revolutionary ideas’ . We are talking of the emergence of a major new set of societal attitudes or new ideas leading to the break-up of political or socioeconomic structures.
Here we shall be looking at the conjunction for clear indications that new ideas are being born which show signs of changing or sweeping away established political, economic and other institutional structures. Throughout history this conjunction coincides with the overthrow of the establishment, typically governments or ruling parties but as we shall see sometimes even empires.
THE START OF A NEW CYCLE
CONJUNCTION Nov 1986 to Jan 1990, (exact in Feb, June and Oct 1988)
The 1988 Conjunction, allowing for a 10 degree orb, extends from November 30 1986 to January 3rd 1990. It coincides with one massive change to the established political and economic structure of the world – the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. It also coincides with other regional events and developments which while not immediately related could be said to have been influenced ultimately by the same new mindset or wave of ideas.
These include the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China where troops kill 2,000 demonstrators, violent unrest in South Africa leading to a new President F.W. de Klerk lifting a ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and releasing its leader Nelson Mandela, and the exit of Russia from Afghanistan after 8 difficult years. There are also the overthrow of longstanding governments in the Philippines, Haiti, Fiji and Panama. In all these cases the attempt to overthrow the Status Quo was arguably influenced by the same set of ideas – those pushing a new wave of human rights, democracy and national self determination campaigns. In a sense the unusual number of peace agreements reached in 1988 between Ethiopia and Somalia, between Chad and Libya, between Egypt and Algeria and between Iran and Iraq could be said to reflect the same drive to allow new ideas to alter the status-quo.
COLLAPSE OF SOVIET UNION
The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of the Cold War (one of the major events in the 20th century) begins in 1987 with Gorbachev’s campaigns for glasnost and perestroika (openness and reconstruction). In that year Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev meet and agree to ban all short and medium range nuclear weapons in Europe. Both the Russian glasnost and the Reaganite openness are examples of ideas in action, of intellectual change that goes on to alter or sweep away structures.
1988 sees that nuclear treaty signed but also the beginning of terminal cracks emerging in the Soviet Union – in Poland widespread strikes by Solidarity workers lead to a change of government and an opening up to private enterprise and foreign ownership of Polish companies. Meanwhile in the Baltic states and the Caucasus nationalist demonstrations are taking place. From August 1989 Communist governments topple right across Eastern Europe – starting with Poland where Solidarity achieves a landslide victory in the elections then East Germany then Czechoslovakia. In Romania the Ceausescu government is overthrown, in Hungary, the overthrow of Kadar, its communist leader since 1956, leads to the proclamation of a multi-party democracy, in Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel, jailed in the early part of the year, ends the year as the country’s first non-communist leader. Meanwhile as Hungary and Poland allow East Germans to escape via their borders to the West, a reform government takes over from the communists in East Germany and the Berlin Wall falls – Gorbachev and Bush declare the end of the Cold War. (for a more detailed analysis of this see Chapter 7 (The Jupiter/Saturn cycle) or Chapter 9 (The Jupiter/Neptune cycle).
FINANCIAL DEREGULATION – BIG BANG
The second major correlation is with major shifts or changes to the Status-quo in the structure of institutions at the heart of the world economy. In particular, the 1988 Conjunction comes close to the end October 1986 deregulation of the London Stock Exchange – the so called ‘Big Bang’, which sees the whole established structure of city financial institutions change, and which results in a pay-out of such huge sums of money to partners and traders that the UK property market undergoes a period of wild inflation. A similar deregulatory move culminated in the United States in the same year. Amendments were made to Federal Reserve Regulation Q such that by April 1986 all interest rate ceilings had been eliminated except for the ban on demand deposit interest. The philosophy behind ‘Big Bang’ has much to do with the new economic strategy of ‘globalisation’ that is set to sweep the West. Again here is an idea that alters structures.
ASIAN ‘TIGER’ ECONOMIES
The period also sees the ascendancy of the Asian ‘tiger’ economies – Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, changing the geographical line-up of the established markets. Financial astrologers (such as Langham, Brahy and Jensen cited in Bates & Bowles’s ‘Money and the markets’) have consistently pointed to a correlation between the Saturn/Uranus cycle and economic activity – especially with investment in production. The correlation with the rise and fall of stockmarket prices however has been considered far less marked. Despite this in October 1987, during the period of the Saturn/Uranus conjunction, ‘Black Monday’ occurs – a day on which a massive stock market crash ends a period of marked economic growth and speculation. The effects of this ripple into the following year when the US dollar registers an all time low and when the New York Stock Exchange registers its third largest one day fall ever. Financial collapse on a far greater scale is due to take place precisely at a later stage in this Saturn/Uranus cycle !
DEREGULATION & GLOBALISATION
However it is not part of this book’s plan to examine any complex inter-relation between planetary cycles and stockmarkets or microeconomic conditions. The relationship, if it exists, is far more technical and statistical than this book aims to be or is qualified to cover. All that can be said is that structural changes in financial institutions as well as changes to the structure of international business play a key part in stockmarket volatility as evident in crashes such as Black Monday. Deregulation of the central money market in London and elsewhere is closely linked to globalisation. As we shall see later deregulation will be inextricably linked to the 2008 global ‘credit crunch’.
OTHER GEOPOLITICAL CORRELATIONS
There are three other key geopolitical developments between the end of 1986 and the end of 1989 which can be explained as structural changes resulting from a new collective mindset ? The developments are the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China where troops kill 2,000 demonstrators, violent unrest in South Africa leading to a new President F.W. de Klerk lifting a ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and releasing its leader Nelson Mandela and the exit of Russia from Afghanistan after 8 difficult years.
The impact of Glasnost and Perestroika does not reach China though the ideas behind them certainly do. Between December 1986 and June 1989 there erupts a huge pro-democracy movement that is to end by being ruthlessly and very publicly crushed in Tiananmen Square. Note how close the China Pro Democracy development parallels the period of the Saturn/Uranus conjunction. On 1st December 1986 the Saturn/Uranus conjunction begins; on 10th December 1986 thousands of students begin protesting for democracy in Shanghai. On 3rd January 1990 the Saturn/Uranus conjunction finally goes out of orb; On January 10th Chinese Premier Li Peng lifts Beijing’s 7-month-old martial law and says that by crushing pro-democracy protests the army has saved China from “the abyss of misery.” This is a very close chronological fit for a development that exactly matches the meaning of this cycle. Will there be an equally convincing match with China at the Out Square in 1999 ?
Developments in South Africa appear at first sight a good match. In April 1987 the South African government faced with rising political opposition to its anti-apartheid regime passes one of the most repressive pieces of legislation in modern history. Invoking emergency powers, it outlaws any action, word or written document protesting the practice of detention without trial or calling for the release of detainees. In February 1988 South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested while trying to present an anti-apartheid petition. In August 1988 the chief of police is instructed by Law and Order minister Vlok to blow up the Johannesburg headquarters of the South African Council of Churches for harbouring anti-apartheid groups. The bombing which injures 21 people, will later be confirmed to have been sanctioned by Prime Minister Botha. But by February 1990 in a dramatic move a new President, F.W. de Klerk lifts a ban on the African National Congress and frees, after 27 years in prison, its leader Nelson Mandela. This revolutionary finale seems to match the meaning of the cycle but there is concern that the tumultuous scale of the overthrow of apartheid speaks less of a beginning to a new cycle than a mid point where protest reaches fruition.
In Afghanistan the 1988 conjunction starting in February does correlate with the Soviet Union announcing the withdrawal of an estimated 115,000 soldiers from Afghanistan – in effect conceding defeat. By June (the second exact cycle conjunction date) following a UN mediated agreement the Soviets pull out of Afghanistan – more than eight years after its forces had entered the country. Here is structural change, but change as has been suggested earlier bearing more the imprint of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the break-up of the Soviet Union itself. Though further flung from Moscow than Poland, Hungary and Romania and in Asia rather than Europe the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan is tied in with the advent of glasnost and perestroika. But that may be as far as the correlation goes.
It is true that in 1988 Cuba and South Africa negotiate a mutual withdrawal from Angola, but the rebel forces MPLA and UNITA continue fighting. Here is no structural change. Again it is true that 1988 in Palestine sees PLO leader Yasser Arafat declare Palestinian independence and accept Israel’s right to exist. But the declaration is considered a symbolic act and no state boundaries are delineated – the only potential benefit, much to Israel’s chagrin, is that the US decides to open direct talks with the PLO. There is no substantive structural change here. Again while 1989 sees serious rebellion erupt for the first time in India-held Kashmir with Indian forces opening fire routinely on rebels, beginning a sporadic conflict that will kill over 30,000 people over the next 12 years, there is no structural change militarily or politically to this territorial division. If there is a cycle that correlates with these three geopolitical crises it is not the current Saturn/Uranus cycle.
The Saturn/Uranus cycle seems to correlate with the spread of nuclear weapons as well as a sequence of landmark nuclear treaties.
On Sept 30 1986 Israeli agents lure Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician who had worked at Israel’s Dimona nuclear installation, away from London where he had just revealed to the Sunday Times his knowledge of the Israeli nuclear programme, including photographs he had secretly taken at the Dimona site. In Rome Mossad agents, kidnap and transport him back to Israel where he is later convicted in a trial that is held behind closed doors. On October 5 the Sunday Times publishes the evidence he had released, which for the first time reveals that Israel may have stockpiled up to 200 nuclear warheads. Later in October US President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev meet for a summit at Reykjavik, Iceland and seriously discuss the possibility of nuclear weapon abolition, only to have the talks break down over Reagan’s refusal to abandon his plans to develop the Strategic Defence Initiative (ballistic missile interception programme).
In September 1987 the West puts pressure on South Africa to accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or risk losing its privileges as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In December 1988 in Washington the Soviet Union and the United States sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Treaty eliminates all land-based missiles held by the two states with ranges between 300 miles and 3,400 miles, which is the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons has been eliminated. In early 1989 India and Pakistan begin creating real nuclear arsenals by stockpiling complete ready-to-assemble weapons. In Sept 1989 President FW de Klerk orders that South Africa’s nuclear weapons programme be dismantled. In this short period although a new level of nuclear treaty is signed, two confirmed new nuclear weapon nations have emerged.
CHERNOBYL – WORST NUCLEAR DISASTER IN HISTORY
This cycle can work on a different level – the physical. It can correlate with physical structures being overthrown – as a result of an accident or disaster. The scale and number of disasters involving human error at the new Saturn/Uranus conjunction is striking. Indeed the very worst disaster is nuclear. In 1986 the failure of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine proves to be the worst nuclear disaster in history. However on the date of the accident April 27 1986 the Saturn/Uranus conjunction at 13 degrees is 3 degrees out of orb. However just 31 people die in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Unlike other incidents the radiation impact is not limited to staff and people living in the immediate vicinity. It is the spread of radiation over a wide area which leads first to thousands being made ill and later many tens of thousands to suffer from the after effects. In 1989 accidents to a Soviet nuclear submarine and the Kalinin nuclear plant in Russia are also labelled major nuclear incidents.
During this period there are an unusual number of other disasters from human error. In 1987 a cross channel ferry sinks at Zeebrugge, Holland drowning 187 people, while in the Philippines 2,000 drown from another ferry disaster; there is also a major fire at Kings Cross Underground station in London which kills 30 people. In 1988 an explosion on a North Sea oil platform kills 167 while the worst train disaster in Britain in twenty years takes place at Clapham, London. But is this clustering merely a co-incidence?
The evidence from the 20th Century is that the Saturn/Uranus cycle does not on its own correlate with human caused disasters though there appears to be a small relation with nuclear accidents – over a third of 17 major civilian and military nuclear accidents occur within orb of a Saturn/Uranus aspect. They key question is not whether all nuclear accidents carry this cycle signature but whether the type of accidental nuclear radiation seen at Chernobyl at the cycle conjunction is going to maximise at the time of the opposition in 2008-11. We shall of course also need to look at related events at the outgoing square in 1999.
The key events correlating with this Saturn/Uranus conjunction are therefore the break-up of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall along with the deregulatory changes made to the structure of financial markets that accompany the emergence of globalisation. The suggestion is simple: there is going to be no structural change in society’s major institutions before the year 2032 (when the new cycle starts) that has not in some way got the imprint of these events on it.
OUTGOING SQUARE July 1998 to June 2001 (exact in July & Nov 1999 and May 2000)
Can we find in the relevant events and developments of 1999 and early 2000 a clear challenge or extension to the wave of ideas driving the overthrow of governments, institutions and practices inhibiting freedom which were seeded at the 1988 Conjunction ? The exact dates of the outgoing square are July and November 1999 and May 2000, but if we allow an orb of 10 degrees the period stretches from July 1998 to June 2001
KOSOVO AND CHECHNYA WARS
If the key development at the 1988 Conjunction was the liberating collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, then there are certainly two developments across 1999 and 2000 which directly challenge this optimism – the extreme violence and genocide of the wars in Kosovo and Chechnya. Both wars could be said ultimately to have come about as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union – though much more directly in the case of Chechnya, still a Russian republic. These unusually brutal wars follow on after the most appalling events of violence, mass murder and genocide in the former republic of Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995 – events of a horror not seen in Europe since the Nazis.
Yet the collapse of oppressive communist regimes had encouraged widespread hopes that democracy and human rights would now spread, if not across the whole communist world, then certainly throughout Eastern Europe. The relationship between Russia and Chechnya poses a severe challenge to this post-Soviet vision but it is the genocidal events in the Kosovan war which gave the most resounding slap in the face to such optimism and we shall look at this war first.
NATO’S FIRST ATTACK ON A SOVEREIGN EUROPEAN NATION
The Kosovo war is fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which controlled Kosovo before the war, and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) later with air support from NATO and ground support from the Albanian army. It is not the war lasting from March 1998 to June 1999 which correlates with this cycle stage but the genocidal events involving ethnic cleansing which take place largely from March to June 1999. It is in order to prevent this and force the Serbian leader Milosevic to back down that the Western military alliance NATO in late March of that year begins air strikes over Belgrade. It is the first attack on a sovereign European nation in NATO’s 50 year history. However NATO’s actions merely intensify Milosevic’s campaign and lead to one million refugees being forced across the borders.
Only after 11 weeks of NATO air attacks does Milosevic surrender and NATO ground troops move in. The war ends with the Kumanovo Treaty and with Yugoslav forces agreeing to withdraw from Kosovo to make way for an international force. The Kosovo Liberation Army disbands soon after this. A 1999 US State Dept. report, based on refugee accounts, suggests that Serbian forces had killed over 4,000 Kosovans. By the year 2000 the remains of almost three thousand victims of the war had been found and in 2001 a UN court finds that there had been a “a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments”.
RADICAL MILITANTS ATTACK TRIGGERS 2nd CHECHEN WAR
Meanwhile in July 1999 on another edge of the old Soviet Empire Chechen fighters clash with Russian troops as they stage armed incursions into Dagestan in an attempt to create an Islamic state. Earlier Chechen President Maskhadov had announced plans to adopt a constitution based on the Koran and to phase in sharia law. But the militants were centred on a Sunni Muslim Wahabist paramilitary group who had even more radical aims. Their seizure of two Dagestan villages triggers the 2nd Chechen war which starts with Russian fighter jets bombing targets in and around the capital Grozny killing hundreds and forcing tens of thousands to flee. In September there is a bomb attack on Russian military housing in Dagestan and a series of apartment block bombings elsewhere in Russia are blamed on Chechen rebels – some 300 people are killed in the blasts.
In October 1999 a State Council of the Republic of Chechnya is established by former members of the Chechen republican legislature. Moscow recognises it as the sole legitimate Chechen authority and refuses to negotiate with the rebels. This is the threshold before what will prove another bloody struggle lasting in military terms until May 2000 but as an insurgency for long afterwards. Russia sends ground troops into Chechnya seizing the north of the country . In November Russia allows thousands of refugees to flee then fires hundreds of rockets into the capital Grozny. Widespread barbarities take place – it is alleged on both sides. The Second Chechen war is to end with a Russian victory and the establishment of a pro-Russian Chechen government. This cycle will see yet more conflicts on the edges of Russia with countries formerly part of the Soviet Union claimed once more as part of Russia.
If the second most important development at the 1988 Conjunction was the Deregulation of financial institutions and the expansion of the number of investors, many of whom directly invested online in shares especially of the new technology companies, then the year 2000 certainly sees a major challenge to these developments – the ‘dotcom’ crash of April 2000. Though deregulation cannot be said to have led directly to the ‘dotcom’ crash, the ethos it inspired and the practices it encouraged certainly did. It is doubtful whether financial institutions would have piled into the ‘dotcom’ sector to the degree they did without the intensely competitive forces engendered by deregulation. It should be remembered that the 1988 conjunction also coincided with the ‘Black Monday’ stock market crash of October 1987. But the difference between the ‘Black Monday’ crash and the ‘Dotcom’ crash is important. The former was the result of a mixture of market forces, the latter was primarily the result of a combination of structural changes – in regulation, in the communications industry and in the investment community itself. And it is ‘Structural changes’ we are concerned with in this cycle.
ECONOMIC COLLAPSE THROUGHOUT ASIA
At the 1988 cycle conjunction we saw the rise of the Asian ‘tiger economies’ now in the years 1999 and 2000 we see an economic collapse throughout Asia as currency, share and property values plummet. The year had started with Japan reporting the most severe financial downturn in its post-war history. Then in April 1999, at the beginning of the Out square, China’s first major financial bankruptcy occurs as GITIC (Guangdong International Trust & Investment Corp) collapses with debts of US$4.5 billion – over the year China’s economy continues to deteriorate. In August the Ministry of Finance concedes that China is in recession with serious urban unemployment. In July 1999 Daewoo, South Korea’s second largest conglomerate, teeters on the brink of bankruptcy as management announces the corporation cannot meet the interest payments on its debt of a staggering $57 billion. Although in July 2000, as the Out square begins to move out of orb, it is generally concluded that the Asian economies had recovered from the crisis of 1998, the year 2000 sees economic stagnation continue in Japan. However the correlation is with emergent Asian economies and not the leading Far East economy.
OTHER GEOPOLITICAL CORRELATIONS
CHINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUPPRESSED
And what is happening in China ? During the period of the Out square we see the flowering and ruthless suppression of both the China Democratic Party and the religious sect Falung Gong – as well as Urumqi separatists. On June 24th 1998, just as the Out square comes into orb, Wang Youcai and other Chinese dissidents announce plans to form the China Democracy Party and apply to officials in Zhejiang province for permission to set up a local committee. Their move encounters strong opposition and by December, although China has just signed the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, some of the dissident organisers are arrested and jailed for around twelve years. In February 1999 dissidents set up five new branches of the banned China Democratic opposition political party. In late April 1999 in Beijing some 10,000 people protest on behalf of the right to practice the Falun brand of meditation and exercise – adherents to which are estimated to number over 70 million.
FALUN GONG SUPPRESSED
On July 19th 1999 some 1,000 members of Falun Gong demonstrate at the Chinese Communist Party headquarters in Nanchang. By the end of the month the government begins arresting 70 key members of the Falun Gong in raids in at least 15 cities and announces a ban on the spiritual movement; the government also arrests some 1,200 officials accused of associating with the Falun Gong. In October 1999 police arrest Falun Gong protestors in Tiananmen Square as members of the sect continue to descend on Beijing to push the government into reversing its condemnation. A few days later new laws are passed against superstitious sects and secret societies with prison terms of 7 years or more. In December four alleged ringleaders of the Falun Gong are convicted and sentenced for periods up to 18 years for stealing ‘state secrets,’ organizing a cult to disrupt law and order, and causing deaths.
In January 2000 the State Bureau of Secrecy issues a circular banning discussion of state secrets on the Internet, in e-mail, and in chat rooms or bulletin boards. Content and service providers are also required to undergo ‘security certification’ before they are allowed to operate. In October 2000 Falun Gong stages one of the biggest Tiananmen Square protests since the sect was banned 14 months earlier – up to 100 are arrested. At the same time a human rights group reports that three members of the sect died following their arrest by police – bringing to 57 the number of Falun Gong members who have died while in police custody. In January 2001 members of the Falun Gong set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square. In June 2001, just before the cycle Out square goes out of orb, imprisoned Falun Gong members attempt a group suicide in a labour camp – fourteen reportedly die by hanging. In the next twelve months there are only two reported events concerning Falun Gong, democrat groups or separatists and thereafter no international mention of any similar incident. The fit with the Saturn/Uranus Out square is indeed quite precise.
You will remember at the conjunction the new PM FW de Klerk lifts a ban on the African National Congress and frees its leader Nelson Mandela – but was this not a revolution more in keeping with the mid point of a cycle than its beginning? Do events in South Africa between July 1998 and June 2001 suggest a challenge to or an extension of the developments at the conjunction. Do they fit the meaning of this cycle – a new mindset increasingly sweeping away established structures ?
SOUTH AFRICAN TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
On July 31st 1998 as the Out square comes into orb, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission completes its two years of hearings. On October 28th its 3,500 page report is formally handed over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to President Mandela. The massive report is based on years of testimony from the people who ran the 1960-1994 white-government and their victims. Amnesty is granted to many of those guilty of violent and illegal acts providing full disclosure is made. For instance in June 1999 Eugene TerreBlanche, the right wing racial supremacist, is granted full amnesty after he makes full disclosure of his apartheid-era crimes. However earlier that year the four policemen charged with the fatal beating of anti-apartheid representative Steve Biko were denied amnesty.
ANC PEACE PACT WITH ARCH-RIVAL INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Do these events demonstrate an acceleration of developments at the conjunction and are they evidence of a new mindset ? This is certainly a challenging and disturbing period for the new multiracial government. Bombings and shootings are carried out by criminal and political gangs throughout the summer of 1998 especially in Cape Town. However in May 1999 the ruling African National Congress (ANC) does sign a peace pact with its arch-rival the Inkatha Freedom Party and shortly after in the general elections Thabo Mbeki, President Mandela’s deputy, gains a healthy 65.7% win with 266 seats, virtually a two-third majority. In the summer of 1999 however some 300,000 workers stage a public sector strike, many of whom go on to demonstrate in Pretoria and other cities and the final months of 1999 are marked by more bombings. This is an uneven picture. Nevertheless the Truth & Reconciliation report can truly be said to mark the surge forward of a new mindset, as it puts the past behind as far as that can be done – echoing the key principle that Mandela had stood by at the conjunction. What then do we expect to see at the opposition – multiracial democracy surging towards full strength ? Such an optimistic view of South African society seems highly unlikely.
At the cycle conjunction we saw the Soviet Union withdraw its troops. Now the withdrawal of one superpower has entailed the close involvement of the other and this time the superpower is having to deal with an armed force it had itself indirectly armed and trained ! In July 1999 President Clinton signs an Executive Order imposing sanctions against the ruling Taliban militia. In October 1999 the US introduces a UN Security Council resolution calling for the seizure of assets of the Taliban militia and the grounding of all international flights from Afghanistan until the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is turned over to the authorities. The Taliban reject the UN ultimatum to surrender Osama bin Laden and in mid November UN sanctions against Afghanistan go into effect. Fighting and bombing between the Taliban and rival warlords continues.
The correlation is with rising nuclear capability and proliferation and the failure to reach nuclear agreements. In May 1998 (out of orb) first India then Pakistan had conducted several nuclear tests despite worldwide protests and later US sanctions – the two nations go on in 1999 to continue to test fire intermediate range ballistic missiles. But by May 2000 as a reward for steps taken toward a nuclear control agreement, US sanctions are lifted. In August 1999 China test-fires its Dongfeng-31 intercontinental ballistic missile within Chinese territory taking China into the ICBM league. This follows the US Select Committee report that China had the capability of producing a neutron bomb. In September North Korea announces that it will cease its missile testing program – in return the US promises to lift its trade embargo. In October 1999 the US Senate draws widespread international condemnation by rejecting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In April 2000 the Duma, Russia’s parliament ratifies the same treaty obliging Russia to end all nuclear test explosions
In May the world’s five main nuclear powers, as part of a new disarmament agenda approved by 187 countries, pledge to make “an unequivocal undertaking … to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals”. But undertakings are far from actions. In February 2001 Russia presents its plans to build its own ballistic missile system to NATO. The proposed Russian system would be based on using existing theatre-range weapons that can destroy ballistic missiles in their ‘boost-phase.’ This differs from the US plans to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in space. At the same time North Korea threatens to discard a moratorium on long-range missile tests while a German intelligence report claims that Iraq will soon have nuclear weapons capability. In March 2001 the US starts testing a high energy laser capable of destroying ballistic missiles.
As with the conjunction there is a definite correlation with nuclear accidents. As explained before, the meaning for this kind of event at a cycle square is simply a recurrence of the kind of event that happened before rather than a challenge or extension to what happened at the conjunction.
TOKAIMURA LEVEL 4 ACCIDENT, CHERNOBYL FINALLY SHUT DOWN
If the conjunction brought us the Chernobyl disaster, at the square in September 1999 comes Japan’s worst ever (at the time) nuclear accident at the Tokaimura nuclear facility. The criticality accident, involving the pouring of 7 times the allowable limit of enriched uranium dioxide with nitric acid into a precipitation tank, exposes 69 workers to radiation, severely injuring and later killing two technicians. It takes 20 hours to stop the criticality and more than 300,000 people living near the plant have to be ordered to stay indoors.
In December 2000, in a fitting update on the 1988 Chernobyl disaster, the last working nuclear plant at Chernobyl is finally shut down despite some $300 million spent on safety improvements. The destroyed reactor, which contains up to 66 tons of melted nuclear fuel and 37 tons of radioactive dust, is still leaking radiation and requires a new sarcophagus expected to cost $758 million. On a wider front a few months earlier in August the US National Research Council reports that some 109 nuclear waste sites in 27 states, Puerto Rico and territorial islands of the Pacific will remain radioactively dangerous for centuries.
The key developments at the Out square are twofold: first the appalling brutality in Chechnya and genocide in Kosovo is a severe challenge to the democratic and human rights optimism that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War; second the challenge of the ‘dotcom’ crash to the forces unleashed by deregulation. Will the cycle opposition stage see some kind of maximisation of these developments ?
OPPOSITION Oct 2007 to Aug 2011 (exact in Nov 2008, Feb & Sept 2009, April & July 2010)
What developments might we expect to see at the Opposition in 2008, 2009 and 2010 when the contemporary movement for democracy and human rights together with the more deregulated investment scene should both reach a point of maximum fruition but where inherent contradictions may surface ?
The Opposition first comes into orb in mid October 2007 and stays in orb, with several short exit periods, through 2008, 2009 and 2010 up till August 2011. Although this book’s research coverage ends in July 2010 the remaining 12 months have been covered through a certain amount of updating
ATTEMPTS TO OVERTHROW GOVERNMENTS – ‘ARAB SPRING’
ALMOST LIKE A GEOGRAPHICAL WAVE
What started at the conjunction with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war and was challenged by events in the Caucasus and the Balkans at the Out square now indirectly spreads via the Middle East to North Africa culminating in the so called Arab Spring. It is almost as if the idea of democracy spreads out like a geographical wave from Eastern Europe into the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and thence skipping Turkey into Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. Its final geographic hop skirts Israel moving into Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Of course protests and uprisings do not happen along this geographical path chronologically but the geographic path is nevertheless there.
What is being suggested is that the break up of the USSR and the overthrow of authoritarian state communism as a ‘revolutionary idea in action’ gradually spreads out to affect most of the formerly communist 12 members of the Soviet Union – aside from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. However it then moves on past the Turkish gateway between Asia and Europe down the coast via Syria and Lebanon (both originally French mandates), via Jordan and what was once Palestine (both originally British mandates) to reach all the coastal countries of North Africa where it actually manifests. Is this a tenable theory ? Yes for two reasons.
SHARED HISTORY OF COLONISATION
First, the countries where this pathway manifests does make sense for all these countries share a history of being colonised by European countries – Algeria in 1834, Egypt and Tunisia in 1881-2, Morocco and Libya in 1912 and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and what was once Palestine in 1920 -22. In addition to the British and French, Italy (Libya) and Spain (coastal Morocco) also colonised this area.
Second, all these countries went through the experience of territorial definition in 1920-1922 – the exact period of a previous Saturn/Uranus cycle opposition. These years were the key dates in the territorial definition of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and (at the time) Palestine. While we are not covering that particular 1897 – 1942 cycle it is interesting to note that in an extraordinary number of other countries which are crisis zones today that 1920-22 midpoint was also a key period with long lasting and turbulent results to be seen in this current cycle. The list of key events in the next two paragraphs is generally in alphabetical order.
THE 1920-1922 OPPOSITION – TERRITORIAL DEFINITION
Exactly during 1920-22 therefore : Afghanistan achieved sovereignty after 84 years of British control following the British defeat in the 3rd Anglo-Afghan war; Egypt was declared a sovereign state by Britain though British troops remained; following the 1921 Cairo Conference convened by Winston Churchill, Britain and France carved up Arabia between them – creating Jordan under Emir Abdullah with his brother Faisal becoming King of Iraq (the Hashemite family would rule Iraq till 1958); in Iran Britain helped topple the Qajar dynasty and replaced it with Reza Shah Pahlavi, a former military officer who was crowned Shah – his family would rule till 1979 when his son is forced to flee and Ayatollah Khomeini takes control; in India Gandhi’s peaceful Non-cooperation Movement of 1920-22 began the pressure on the British government to grant self-government to India.
Finally, the Mandate of Palestine, originally the British Balfour Declaration, was officially recognised by an agreement that Britain would be formally given control by the League of Nations over an area comprising present day Israel and Jordan – the mandate, which allowed Jewish immigration, lasted 28 years; in Syria France was given key influence by the Cairo Conference.
The current boundaries to many of these countries were in many cases drawn by British and French colonial civil servants who blithely drew state lines across tribal maps not simply steered by administrative logic but often actually by a policy of ‘divide and rule’. Not only do these colonial acts of nation definition go on elsewhere cartographically to demarcate future religion based crises in Iraq and Afghanistan (Sunni/Shia) and the Indian Continent (Hindu/Muslim) but because of the key role of the army in colonial North Africa they have led to post colonial control being seized and held by highly authoritarian military rulers – in particular in Egypt.
‘SEEDS BLOWN BY THE WIND’
It may be better to think less of ‘the wave’ as a metaphor for the revolutionary idea spreading and more ‘seeds blown by the wind’ – in some countries these seeds quickly germinate and flower, in others the soil is more resistant.
Those countries with little experience of democracy or where a theocracy or the military is the real ruler will react firmly, forcibly and violently to attempts to change the status quo. On the other hand there are countries who have already gone some way down the democratic path but where dealing with Islamic fundamentalist groups has been the real issue. Bahrain, Iran, Libya and Syria fall into the first group, Morocco and Algeria the second.
The ‘wave’ or the ‘seeds’ do not just follow the East Mediterranean and North African route we have just described, they also go out from Russia north of the Black Sea into Central Asia. We shall examine that path later. But reminding ourselves we have chosen to describe a geographical not a chronological path we shall now give a detailed geographic summary of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ which as we shall see chronologically appears to correlate very well with the Saturn/Uranus opposition from Oct 2007 to August 2011.
In Georgia at the end of September 2007 thousands of opposition supporters rally in the capital Tbilisi, demanding that the president step down following the arrest of his defence minister who had accused the leader of involvement in a murder plot. In November a state of emergency is declared while troops armed with hard rubber clubs patrol the centre of Tbilisi. In January 2008 President Saakashvili says his re-election demonstrates that Georgia is on the road to becoming a European democracy, while tens of thousands of opposition supporters rally to denounce the vote as fraudulent. In May 2008 the opposition decries a further rigged election while in the background tensions between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia and Abkhasia are about to erupt into full military conflict. In April 2009 the opposition launches a ‘national disobedience’ campaign culminating in a gathering of 50,000 in Tbilisi on independence day. Despite constitutional changes in October 2010, in June 2011 protestors are still calling for the President’s resignation.
In neighbouring Azerbaijan, which in 2008 is fighting Armenian troops over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, opposition protests are few but in October 2009 Azerbaijan’s authorities arrest a number of political activists. Supporters say the arrests are linked to a call for nationwide protests against the government made on Facebook. Political activity and the media are tightly controlled in this oil-rich former Soviet republic. The authorities target youth activists who are associated with opposition parties or active in the social media. Protests sweep even neighbouring Moldova after the July 2009 election results during which at least three people are killed and hundreds arrested after protesters storm parliament.
In Armenia on 1 March 2008 angry clashes break out in the capital Yerevan between police and opposition supporters protesting against an allegedly rigged election. The police beat the demonstrators with truncheons in the morning but by the evening comes the shooting. Initially the soldiers shoot in the air, but then they start shooting at people – eight are killed and many injured. A year later in March 2009 after a number of politicians are tried for seeking to overthrow the government, thousands of opposition supporters attend a rally to mark the anniversary of the country’s worst political violence since independence.
In Iran in June 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is declared to have won a resounding victory in the presidential election. Rival candidates challenge the result, alleging vote-rigging. Their supporters take to the streets, starting fires and smashing store windows and at least 30 people are killed and more than 1,000 arrested in the wave of protests that follow. On June 20 police beat protesters and fire tear gas and water cannons at the thousands who rally in open defiance of the clerical government, sharply escalating the most serious internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The authorities claim foreign interference is behind the unrest. In July tens of thousands of government opponents pack Iran’s main Islamic prayer sermon, chanting “freedom, freedom” as their main clerical backer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivers a sermon criticizing the country’s leadership over the crackdown.
In August a number of senior opposition figures are accused of conspiring with foreign powers to organise the unrest and are put on trial. In September hard-liners attack senior pro-reform leaders in the streets on Quds Day as tens of thousands march in competing mass demonstrations. Opposition protesters, chanting “death to the dictator,” hurl stones and bricks in clashes with security forces firing tear gas. In December Iran’s judiciary admits that at least three detained protestors were beaten to death by their jailers. But it is the death of the influential cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri that triggers further clashes between opposition supporters and security forces – at least 8 people die. The following month Iran executes two men arrested during the unrest and also puts 16 people on trial over the December protests. In February 2011, sparked off by the wave of unrest rippling across North Africa, further opposition demonstrations occur. In March security forces clash with opposition supporters in Tehran, rallying to demand the release of two opposition leaders.
In elections in Jordan in November 2007 the main opposition party – the Islamist Action Front – withdraws after accusing the government of vote rigging. But by the Autumn the fortunes of that party decline and though clashes break out in the capital Amman between government supporters and opponents the protest is as much about food prices as greater political freedom.
Protests in Syria are not reported till March 2011 when a “Day of Dignity” protest rally in Damascus demands the release of political prisoners. Some 35 people are arrested. At a “Day of Rage” rally in the southern city of Deraa, security forces shoot a number of people dead, triggering days of violent unrest and more civilian deaths. The government announces some conciliatory measures and releases dozens of political prisoners in an attempt to damp down the unrest. President Assad dismisses the government but accuses protesters of being Israeli agents. In April 2011 the ‘State of emergency’ which has been in force since 1963 is lifted. But on April 22 at least 72 protestors are shot by security forces in one of the bloodiest days yet – with a further 12 killed at a funeral for anti-government protestors. In May army tanks enter Deraa, Banyas, Homs and suburbs of Damascus in an effort to crush anti-regime protests. The US and EU respond to the bloody crackdown on protests with sanctions. In June 2011 the government states that 120 members of its security forces have been killed by “armed gangs” in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour. Troops are brought in to besiege the town and more than 10,000 people flee to Turkey. In July 2011 where this book’s coverage finishes human rights groups claim at least 1,400 civilians have been killed since the unrest began.
Protests in Saudi Arabia are also not reported till March 2011 when hundreds of police are deployed in the capital to prevent protestors calling for democratic reforms inspired by the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world. Some 200 protestors are allowed to demonstrate outside the Interior Ministry. Within weeks Saudi Arabia’s king promises a multibillion dollar package of reforms, cash, loans and apartments in what appears to be the Arab world’s most expensive attempt to appease citizens swayed by the unrest that has already swept away from power the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.
Protests in Bahrain stretch right back to the beginning of this cycle opposition. In December 2007 in the wake of demonstrations Bahraini security forces storm the houses of the country’s most outspoken Shiite opposition group, arresting some of its members. Though Shiites account for about 70 percent of Bahrain’s 450,000 citizens, the ruling family is Sunni. In January 2008 Bahraini security troops fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of protesters angry with perceived government discrimination against the Shiite majority. In August 2009 leading Shiite activists are again arrested. In October 2010 the Shiite-led opposition holds onto all of its parliament seats in the elections but just short of the majority it needs. At a trial more than two dozen detained Shiites describe abuses in prison including beatings and electric shocks. In February 2011 in an attempt to fend off what has happened in Egypt and Tunisia the king orders that each family in the tiny Gulf monarchy be given $3,000.
On February 15 thousands of protesters pour into a main square in Manama in an Egypt-style rebellion. Security forces shoot two protestors dead. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa makes a rare national TV address, offering condolences for protestor deaths and promising to push ahead with reforms. The following day protestors hold their ground in an Cairo-style occupation of Manama’s landmark Pearl Square. But in a pre-dawn assault Bahraini army patrols and tanks move in after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smash into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, At least five people are killed and more than 230 injured. On Feb 23 at least 100 prisoners are released as a concession. On Feb 25 tens of thousands of anti-government protesters fill Manama in an attempt to boost pressure for sweeping political concessions. On March 10 Bahrain’s depleted parliament warns against continued protests near government ministries, calling them illegal. Defiantly tens of thousands of protesters march on the royal palace before attempting to enter the city’s financial district. More than 200 people are injured there in clashes with riot police, recently bolstered by 1,000 Saudi troops. On March 15 Bahrain’s king imposes a 3 month state of emergency giving the country’s military chief wide control powers. In April 2011 the Government moves to ban two main political parties representing the Shia majority.
In Oman unprecedented protests erupt in late February 2011, with the deaths of several people. Protesters are not demanding radical political change but asking for specific steps such as job creation and controls on food prices, as well as greater power for the semi-elected parliament. In the UAE (United Arab Emirates) reported protests are few and come very late – not till April 25 2011 when five activists are detained for “opposing the government”.
In Yemen since July 2009 hundreds of protestors have been killed and more than a quarter of a million people displaced by clashes between government troops and northern Shia minority rebels. Demonstrations by former army members in southern Yemen demanding political reforms had been occurring regularly since August, 2007 but on July 23 2009 Yemeni security forces open fire on thousands of protesters chanting anti-government slogans killing 12. In February 2010 again thousands of Yemenis take to the streets of three provinces to demand the independence of the country’s south. But the real eruption comes in February 2011 when Yemeni police using clubs drive several thousand protestors out of the capital Sanaa’s main square. The demonstrators tear up pictures of President Ali Abdullah Saleh demanding he step down. On Feb 16 Yemeni authorities flood the streets of the capital with 2,000 police to try to halt six days of Egypt-style demonstrations. Social media sites summon people onto the streets for a “Friday of Rage” following noon prayers, and tens of thousands respond in the capital of Sanaa, the southern port of Aden and the political hotbed of Taiz.
In Eastern Yemen some 5,000 protestors rally calling for the embattled President to step down and there are bloody clashes near Sanaa University. On Feb 25 security forces in Aden open fire on demonstrators wounding at least 19 people. On March 8 tens of thousands take to the streets in the southern Ibb province. On March 13 at two pro-democracy demonstrations security forces fire live bullets from rooftops injuring over 100. On March 16 government supporters armed with sticks, knives and guns attack thousands of protesters camped out in the main square, injuring hundreds. At the southern al-Hudaydah port about 10,000 Saleh supporters attack some 4,000 protesters. On March 18 government snipers firing from rooftops shoot at tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators, killing at least 52 and doubling the number of demonstrators killed so far to 100. On March 21 rival tanks are deployed in the streets of Sanaa after the commander of the army’s powerful 1st Armoured Division Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and at least 18 other senior commanders defect.
In April demonstrations multiply throughout the country with security forces killing in the first week some 40 protestors. On April 9 30 people are shot and wounded in Sanaa, while 80 others suffer injuries from beatings with batons. On April 11 President Saleh accepts a proposal by Gulf Arab nations for him to step down to end the crisis, but says he will only do so when his term ends in 2013. On April 22 a sea of hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters swells along a five-lane boulevard reaching across the capital in the largest demonstration yet. The next day President Saleh agrees to hand power to his vice president in exchange for immunity from prosecution for him and his sons. Yet on April 27 twelve protestors are shot and killed. In late May intense battles spread across Sanaa between government forces and opposition militiamen from the dominant tribes. On June 3 shells strike President Saleh’s palace in Sanaa, wounding the President. On June 5 the wounded President Saleh leaves for hospital treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Events in Egypt follow in the wake of the toppling of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali on 14 January 2011. On 23 January thousands of people join protests in several Egyptian cities after an internet campaign and clashes break out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square between riot police and protesters complaining about high levels of poverty, corruption and unemployment. The protests gather pace until President Mubarak declares a curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez and the army is deployed. The curfew is widely flouted. Protestors set the headquarters of the governing NDP party ablaze, while the state broadcaster and the foreign ministry are besieged. President Mubarak sacks his cabinet and in a televised address says he understands the protesters’ grievances. Clashes continue with the number of dead rising above 100. On 31 January the army makes a pivotal announcement that it recognises the “legitimate rights of the people” and will not use force against them.
On Feb 1 huge rallies take place in Cairo and other cities – hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of Egyptian society converge on Tahrir Square. In a second televised address, Mubarak announces he will step down after September’s presidential elections but protest leaders call on the president to step down by 4 February. The following day brutal clashes break out between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups. Supporters of the embattled president attempt to enter Tahrir Square. Stones, metal bars and petrol bombs are used in running battles late into the night.
On Feb 5 the leadership of the governing NDP party including President Mubarak’s son resigns. On Feb 10 President Mubarak unexpectedly makes a broadcast saying he will hand most of his powers to his Vice President but will not step down. Hundreds of thousands of angry protestors pour into squares in at least three major cities and march on presidential palaces and the state TV building for a ‘Day of Martyrs’. Then on February 11, the 18th day of protests, Vice-President Suleiman announces that Hosni Mubarak will step down, with immediate effect. This news is greeted by the tens of thousands gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square with joy.
Events in Libya also follow in the wake of the toppling of Tunisia’s President. On Feb 15 2011 a riot in Benghazi is triggered by the arrest of a human rights activist. Activists designate Feb 17 a ‘day of rage’. On Feb 24 rebel militias capture control of Misrata after evicting forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. On Feb 26 the UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family (the EU follows suit) and refers aspects of his crackdown to the International Criminal Court. On March 5 the National Council meets in Benghazi and declares itself the sole representative for Libya – within days France recognises it. It will later be called the National Transitional Council.
On March 17 the UN Security Council votes to authorise a no-fly zone over Libya and all necessary measures to protect civilians against Gaddafi’s army. On March 19 the first airstrike halts the advance of Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi. On March 29 a London conference of 40 governments and organizations agrees to set up a co-ordinating group for post Gaddafi Libya. On April 10 South African President Jacob Zuma states Gaddafi has accepted a roadmap for ending the conflict – rebels reject the plan the next day. On April 30 a NATO missile on a house in Tripoli kills Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren. On June 27 the International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief al-Senussi charged with crimes against humanity. On July 14 Gaddafi speaking on Libyan TV declares “I will fight until the end”. On July 15 rebels win recognition from the US as the legitimate government of Libya – Britain days later follows suit. On October 22 (out of orb) Gadhafi is killed.
It is events in Tunisia that start the so called ‘Arab Spring’. On December 17 2010 Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old man struggling to support his family by selling fruit and vegetables in the town of Sidi Bouzid, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire. Police had confiscated his produce cart because he lacked a permit and beat him up when he resisted. Local officials then refused to hear his complaint. Bouazizi’s desperate act catalyses the public’s rising frustration over living standards, police violence, unemployment, and a lack of human rights into protests. The protests begin in Sidi Bouzid then quickly spread across the whole country. On December 22 another young Tunisian commits suicide by electrocuting himself in the middle of another demonstration over unemployment. On December 24 hundreds of protestors rally in the towns of Menzel Bouzaiene, al-Ragab and Miknassi – two protestors are shot and killed. The rallies spread to three other cities.
On Dec 28 Ben Ali, the country’s president, warns in a national television broadcast that protests are unacceptable and says the law will be applied “in all firmness” to punish protesters. A trade union rally is broken up by security forces while some 300 lawyers demonstrate near the government palace – one is later allegedly tortured, others beaten. On Jan 6 virtually all Tunisia’s 8,000 lawyers go on strike. On Jan 3 2011 a peaceful march in the city of Thala turns violent after police try to break it up with tear gas. In the week that follows a dozen protestors are killed in Kasserine and Thala by government snipers. On Jan 13 President Ben Ali makes a televised address, announcing unprecedented concessions and vowing not to seek re-election in 2014. He pledges to investigate the killings of protesters – independently estimated at 66 deaths. He goes on to fire the government and declare a state of emergency. However within 24 hours he has left the country by plane and been offered sanctuary in Saudi Arabia. Mohammed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, appears on state television to announce that he is assuming the role of interim president. In the days that follow the power vacuum left by the departure of Ben Ali is exploited by looters and violent gangs.
Ghannouchi announces widespread reforms and the formation of a new government – but those ministers who are from the opposition threaten to quit if they have to serve with members of Ben Ali’s former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD). Ghannouchi resigns from the RCD in a placatory move – soon followed by all the other ministers. On Feb 1 snipers carry out a series of massacres in Kasserine and Thala shocking the Tunisian population. On Feb 25 tens of thousands of people fill the streets of Tunis in what a “day of rage,” calling for the resignation of Ghannouchi. Clashes continue through to July.
Events in Algeria seem to parallel those in Tunisia. On March 10 2010 almost 200 striking doctors, dentists and pharmacists demonstrate near the presidential palace to press their pay demands. These tensions resurface in January 2011 when fresh unrest hits Algeria as protests over soaring food prices and unemployment spread after a night of rioting in the capital in which youths attack a police station and torch shops – two demonstrators die and over 400 are injured. In response the government agrees to cut the cost of some basic foodstuffs.
On January 13 Mohsen Bouterfif douses himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire after the mayor of his town Boukhadra said he was unable to provide him with a job and a house. Eight people copy him in this dramatic type of protest that kick started the overthrow of the president in Tunisia. On January 22 riot police clash with protesters in Algiers as they break up a banned pro-democracy rally amid mounting public grievances. On Feb 12 more than 400 people are arrested during a pro-democracy protest that brings some ten thousand people onto the streets of Algiers. Again on Feb 19 riot police clash with protestors. On Feb 24 Algeria officially lifts its 19 year old ‘State of Emergency’. But this is not enough and two days later there are further protests this time calling for President Bouteflika to resign. On March 12 police deploy a massive security operation to prevent a mass march calling for an end to the President’s regime.
On April 15 Bouteflika finally concedes constitutional democratic reforms setting up a committee tasked with suggesting constitutional changes. A stalemate on democratic reform threatens in a country where a central issue is Islamic fundamentalist representation – a ten year extremely bloody civil war in the 1990s between the military controlled government and the Islamic party who were deprived of their rightful electoral victory, caused over 100,000 deaths. The war still simmers with many terrorist incidents from murders to bombings. A hard-core part of this Islamic party restyles itself as ‘al-Qaeda in the land of the Islamic Magreb.’
Events in Morocco work out quite differently to its North Africa neighbours. On Sept 7 2007 an election takes place that for the first time threatens to make the country’s leading political force an Islamist party. But with a historically low turnout this fails to happen and instead voters hand power to a secular conservative coalition with no Islamist representative at all. And yet that issue, so paralleling what historically happened in neighbouring Algeria, will not go away. In March 2008 leading members of the Islamist opposition are arrested. But little happens to overturn the country’s status quo under the rule of King Mohammed VI until the surge month of the ‘Arab Spring’ – February 2011.
On Feb 20 thousands of people march in cities across the country demanding a new constitution to bring in more democracy and limit the king’s powers – but leaders of the two biggest opposition parties boycott the campaign. Despite this King Mohammed VI promises the constitution will be revised for the first time in 15 years to strengthen democracy. But by early May protestors are marching in many cities demanding a faster transition and on June 18 the day after the king announces his constitutional reforms the ‘February 20 Movement’ urges that the proposed referendum on the announcement be boycotted. And yet while early July sees voters overwhelmingly approve the new constitution significant sized demonstrations do continue.
A GEOGRAPHICAL PATH TO THE EAST
If alternatively you were to retrace you steps back to where we started this geographical non consecutive wave you would move out of Russia in a different direction – via the huge state of Kazakhstan and then going south you would encounter Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Could similar attempts to overthrow the status quo have happened within the cycle opposition timeframe along this line of direction ?
Please read the book to see the detailed answer to this ‘Geographical path to the East’ question
CHRONOLOGY – ARAB SPRING TIMELINE 2007 – 2011
Although we have taken the unusual step of following the geographical paths taken by the ‘revolutionary ideas’ wave of key interest is to see the chronological order of how it fits within the Saturn/Uranus opposition 10 degree orb and with the exact cycle opposition hits:
Yemen Aug 2007
Georgia Sept 2007
Morocco Sept 2007
SAT/URA into 10 deg orb
Kazakhstan Oct 2007
Uzbekistan Oct 2007
Kyrgyzstan Oct 2007
Jordan Nov 2007
Bahrain Dec 2007
Armenia March 2008
1st Exact hit Nov 2008
2nd Exact hit Feb 2009
Iran June 2009
Moldova July 2009
3rd Exact hit Sep 2009
Azerbaijan Oct 2009
4th Exact hit Apr 2010
5th Exact hit July 2010
Tunisia Dec 2010
Algeria Jan 2011
Egypt Jan 2011
Libya Feb 2011
Oman Feb 2011
Syria March 2011
Saudi Arabia March 2011
UAE Apr 2011
SAT/URA out of 10 deg orb
You will note this list approximates to three phases – August to Dec 2007, June 2009 to March 2010 and January to April 2011. Of these attempts to overturn the status quo at the time of writing only Morocco, Tunisia and just possibly Libya appear more optimistic while Egypt and Syria remain the most bloody and intractable crises on the list. The latter crisis will bleed over into Iraq with stunning effect at the next stage of this cycle.
FINANCE – THE CREDIT CRUNCH
TOXIC ‘SUB-PRIME’ LOANS
Only 5 days after the Saturn/Uranus Cycle Opposition first comes into orb on Oct 19 2007 Merrill Lynch reports its first quarterly loss in six years of $8.4 billion – on structured investment mortgage loans. In the days that follow Switzerland’s largest bank UBS, Japanese megabank Mitsubishi UFJ and Citigroup report similarly drastic losses on US ‘subprime’ loans. This kind of lending means making loans to people who may have difficulty maintaining the repayment schedule. These loans are characterized by higher interest rates, poor quality collateral and less favourable terms – in order to compensate for the higher credit risk. The losses are the first sign that many of such loans on major banks books are toxic – incapable of repayment.
That the message has not reached regulators is reflected by the Europe MiFID deregulatory directive issued on Nov 1 dropping some key rules on trading equities. On Nov 7 and Nov 20 Morgan Stanley and Freddie Mac, America’s largest buyer of home loans both report billion dollar losses from the same cause. On Dec 10 UBS says it will write off a further $10 billion of subprime losses. On Dec 20 Bear Stearns reports its first loss in its 84 year history. As the year ends the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank battle to shore up the money markets. In January 2008 Credit Suisse and Countrywide, the US’s largest mortgage lender, are hit by subprime losses while Citigroup and Merrill Lynch report historically unprecedented quarterly losses of $9.8 billion and $16 billion. On Feb 3 the cycle opposition goes temporarily out of orb.
In the seven months the cycle opposition stays out of orb what takes place in the banking markets is simply a consequence of what has already happened – a couple of further loss announcements, the injection by central banks of huge sums, the rescue by JP Morgan of US investment giant Bear Stearns and in Britain the nationalisation of mortgage lender Northern Rock.
BANKING TITAN LEHMAN BROTHERS GOES BANKRUPT
On August 29 the day the cycle opposition comes back into orb Integrity Bancshares becomes the tenth US bank to fail in 2008. But the full force of the returning cycle opposition explodes very shortly after on September 15 when the 158 year old banking titan Lehman Brothers, burdened by $60 billion in soured real-estate holdings, files for bankruptcy. It is the largest corporate failure in the history of the United States ! The markets go into terminal panic while the central banks desperately pump in billions of euros, pounds and in the case of the US Federal Reserve 70 billion dollars and a similar size loan to insurance giant AIG. By September 18 central banks around the world have poured in $180 billion to reassure the markets. The Russian government and the Bank of England together inject similar massive sums.While part of Lehman Bros is sold off, the other major US investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs defensively change their banking status.
CENTRAL BANKS INJECT $620 BILLION
On Sept 29 the US Federal Reserve with the help of the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan agree to lend banks a further $620 billion ! On October 1 2008 the US Congress signs off a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry. On Oct 8 six central banks cut interest rates together in an attempt to shore up confidence in the world’s crisis-stricken financial system with the US Federal Reserve reducing its key rate to 1.5%. On that day the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the world economy is entering a major downturn. At the same time Iceland is obliged to take over the third largest of its banks while it negotiates a E4.5 billion loan from Russia. On Oct 10 as stocks crash to five year lows the Dow Jones index (DJIA) has its most volatile day ever and the London stock market plunges 10%. On Oct 13 as the central banks pump in further massive sums Wall Street rebounds in the biggest stock market rally since the Great Depression ! The EU/ECB alone puts $2.3 trillion on the line to protect its banks.
However on October 22 the DJIA tumbles 514.45 points – its 7th biggest point drop in history, as investors fear these moves will not prevent the global economy going into deep recession. The next day former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan calls the current financial crisis a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami”. However on Oct 28 the DJIA rises 889 points, the 2nd biggest gain in its history. In December as the crisis spreads beyond banking the US administration is obliged to approve an emergency bailout of the US auto industry, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans. The following month the UK Government will announce a similar measure. On January 1 2009 the Bank of America purchases investment giant Merrill Lynch to save it from bankruptcy. In February the US Treasury pushes out the boat further announcing a stimulus package that could amount to as much as $2.5 trillion.
UK’S ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND REPORTS £24.1 BILLION LOSS
In Europe a week later the Bank of England cuts interest rates to 1.5% – the lowest level since its founding in 1694 – it will fall a couple of months later to 0.5% and stay there. On Jan 14 2009 shares in Germany’s biggest bank Deutsche Bank slump as it posts massive losses. On Feb 13 the British Lloyds Banking group, already 43% state owned, announces a £10 billion loss at HBOS, a bank it had taken over four months earlier. But on Feb 13 the Royal Bank of Scotland reports a massive £24.1 billion loss – the largest in British corporate history – partly because of its mis-timed takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. In early March Eastern Europe’s struggling banks get a $31 billion loan. In April 2009 as the IMF forecasts losses from the credit crunch could reach $4 trillion, the Saturn/Uranus opposition goes briefly out of orb – till July 1st. During this gap there are no significant money market events.
BY 2009 GLOBAL CREDIT CRUNCH HAS COST $10 TRILLION
On 31 July 2009 the IMF states that the global credit crunch has cost governments more than $10 trillion. However in August France, Germany and Japan emerge from recession and in September some 27 central banks back new measures to strengthen supervision of the global banking industry – confirmed by the G20 summit on the 26th. On 15 October 2009 the DJIA index breaks through the 10,000 mark – the first time in a year. On Nov 13 the Eurozone economy emerges from recession. On Nov 19 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says growth and recovery are expected in 2010 in just about all world regions. On Nov 27, as the Saturn/Uranus opposition goes out of orb again, US shares fall on worries about Dubai’s debt problems – accentuated by the refusal of the Dubai government to guarantee the debt. For bank debt is now no longer the key issue – the key issue is government debt – not least in the Eurozone area.
Read the book to see how the Eurozone crisis correlates closely with the remaining part of the Saturn/Uranus cycle Out square
This Saturn/Uranus cycle’s correlation with Finance has had a clear focus – the introduction of Deregulation and the consequences that have flowed from that culminating in the collapse of key banks and many financial institutions and the rescue of others by government and central banks. If this cycle opposition really does correlate with the Credit crunch then the health of the banking sector is unlikely to improve till the end of 2016 when the cycle reaches the unchallenging 240 degree stage. However it is probable that the issue of how the Finance sector is effectively regulated will not be resolved till the cycle In Square between 2020 and 2023.
OTHER GEOPOLITICAL CORRELATIONS
The opposition stage in the cycle means a maximisation of all the issues, positive and negative facing China, which precisely during this phase becomes the 2nd largest economy in the world, overtaking Japan. Economic growth is the key objective of China’s new President Hu Jintao but close to that is the management of the two main internal political trouble spots – the largely Muslim Xianjiang province, home to a number of ethnic groups including the Han, Hut, Kazakh, Tajiks and Uyghur and the troubled autonomous province of Tibet,
XIANJIANG & TIBET
In Xianjiang exactly during this period come four main violent events. First, just days before the August 2008 Beijing Olympics comes the attack which results in the deaths of 16 police officers, then the July 2009 riots in the capital Urumqi where nearly 200 are killed and some 800 wounded, then the September 2009 unrest where thousands of Han Chinese demand better security after a reported spate of attacks with hypodermic syringes in the capital and finally the 2010 Aksu bombing killing 7 which leads to the trials of 376 people.
The issue of Tibet dominates the first year in this three year and ten month cycle phase and has a far greater international impact. Tibet had been incorporated by the People’s Republic of China in 1951, a previous Saturn/Uranus Out square. The negotiated agreement has been repudiated by the country’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama ever since. In 1989, at much the same time as the Tiananmen Square protests, Tibetan monks in the Drepung and Sera monasteries start protesting for independence – the Chinese government’s response is a severe crackdown down on Tibetan separatism.
The Chinese state’s repressive measures and its strong rhetoric results in protests all over the world – finding the perfect focus in the around-the-world Olympic torch relay that precedes the Beijing Olympics. Protests against China’s repression in Tibet break out along the route notably in India, Nepal, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and France. Worse still the leaders of Canada, France and the United States meet officially with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. In March 2008 protests explode in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital when more than 600 monks taking part in a succession of street protests are attacked with tear gas. Angry protesters set shops ablaze and at least 20 people die in the conflagration or from physical assaults. The government later puts the losses at $41 million. An exiled Tibetan leader later will claim the death toll reached 130. The Dalai Lama says Tibet is facing a “cultural genocide” while China labels him a “wolf in monk’s robes”, saying it is locked in a “life-and-death battle” with his supporters after the biggest challenge to Chinese rule in Tibet in almost two decades.
CONTROVERSIAL INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA
China’s massive investments in Africa prove extremely controversial in this period. China’s supply of arms to the Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe arouses much condemnation – in April 2008 South African dock workers, backed by their unions, refuse to unload ammunition and weapons from the PRC – despite the South African government agreeing the necessary documentation. But much more controversial for China is its failure to prevent its ally the Sudanese government from inflicting devastating violence in Darfur. Because Chinese weaponry is being used in Darfur, movie director Steven Spielberg abandons his role in the Beijing Olympics ceremonies while actress activist Mia Farrow chooses to webcast her “Darfur Olympics” from a refugee camp in Sudan exactly during the Beijing festivities.
There are minor disputes with Japan over disputed islands and with the Vatican over the Chinese church appointing its own bishops without approval from the Pope. There are positive developments for China however. In June 2008 Taiwan and China agree for the first time ever to set up permanent offices in each others’ territories as they meet for their first formal talks in more than a decade.
CHINA OWNS OVER $1 TRILLION OF US DEBT
Faced with the fallout from the Western based ‘credit crunch’ China’s government is quick to justifiably criticise the excesses of the Western banking system – in August 2007 the Bank of China reveals it held nearly $10 billion exposure to the largely toxic securities backed by American subprime mortgages. But China is ready to make substantial loans as well as investments to help stabilise the world financial market – though the size of the United States’ debt forces China to diversify holdings away from the dollar. In this period China, along with Japan, each owns some $1 trillion of the $16 trillion US debt – over half of which is held by foreign investors.
TOXIC PRODUCTS, TOXIC WATERWAYS, TOXIC COAL ASH
But such good news is offset by the scandal of exported toys coated with a toxic chemical in November 2007, by the scandal of melamine tainted milk sales which affected some 300,000 victims around July 2008, by the weekly occurrence of major environmental disasters – mostly involving discharges of toxic chemicals into China’s waterways. And by July 2010 China overtakes the USA as the world’s largest energy consumer. And how large is that ? In September Greenpeace points out that China’s coal-fired plants produce enough toxic ash to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every two-and-a-half minutes! Indeed China and the US have to vie with each other in defending themselves at the 2008 Global Warming conference
Shortly after the Opposition comes into orb Jacob Zuma is elected chairman of the African National Congress (ANC), placing him in a strong position to become the next president. Though prosecutors bring new corruption charges against him in September 2008, a judge throws them out opening the way for him to stand as the country’s president. In December 2008 a new political party is launched offering the first real challenge to the governing ANC. The Congress of the People – or COPE – is made up largely of defectors from the ANC and is headed by former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota. In January 2009 the Appeals court rules that state prosecutors can resurrect their corruption case against Jacob Zuma but in April the public prosecutors drop their case.
In May 2009 May the parliament elects Jacob Zuma as president. He has a number of problems to tackle – the South African economy has gone into recession for the first time in 17 years and there is serious unrest in townships over living conditions. In August 2010 civil servants stage a nationwide strike – six months later the opposition Democratic Alliance nearly doubles its share of the vote – it will go on to elect a black woman – Lindiwe Mazibuko – as its leader in parliament.
Though significant events in South Africa appear to fit this cycle it is hard to see any maximisation here.
At the end of 2006 NATO had assumed responsibility for security across the whole of Afghanistan, taking over command in the east from a US-led coalition force. Though vastly outgunned and outnumbered by NATO forces and the Afghan National Army, the Taliban and its allies, most notably the Haqqani Network and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, continue to wage their own kind of warfare with guerrilla raids and ambushes in the countryside, suicide attacks against urban targets, and turncoat killings against coalition forces. The Taliban remain successful in exploiting the weak and corrupt Afghan government and have reasserted influence across rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan. The cycle opposition sees a maximisation of the battle to overturn its grip on the country – alongside a recognition that defeating the Taliban can only be done with the collaboration of the Pakistan government.
The need for a greater number of troops grows. In September 2008 US President Bush sends an extra 4,500 US troops to Afghanistan. In February 2009 NATO countries pledge to increase military and other commitments after the US announces the dispatch of 17,000 further troops. In March 2009 incoming US President Barack Obama unveils a new strategy for the region. An extra 4,000 US personnel will train and bolster the Afghan army and police. In October Hamid Karzai gets re-elected as President despite widespread Taliban attacks, patchy turnout and claims of serious fraud. In December President Obama decides to boost US troop numbers by a further 30,000, bringing the total to 100,000 but states that the US will begin withdrawing its forces by 2011.
In February 2010 NATO-led forces launch a major offensive to secure government control of southern Helmand province and in July General David Petraeus takes over command of US and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces. While the military campaign against the Taliban maximises, in November 2010 a NATO summit in Lisbon agrees the plan to hand control of security to Afghan forces by end of 2014.
The issue of neighbouring Pakistan assumes greater importance. The Taliban are partly based in Pakistan – indeed their command headquarters are based in the Pakistani city of Quetta. In June 2008 President Karzai warns that Afghanistan will send troops into Pakistan to fight militants if the Pakistan government fails to take action against them.
SELLING RADIOLOGICAL ‘DIRTY BOMBS’
In this very period the spread of nuclear weapons seems to be maximising – both in terms of countries possessing or developing such weapons and in criminal conspiracies to obtain or sell them. In November 2007 two Hungarians and a Ukrainian are arrested in eastern Slovakia and Hungary in an attempted sale of uranium material believed to have come from the former Soviet Union. Police say it was enriched enough to be used in a radiological ‘dirty bomb.’ In December 2007 India announces major plans to increase its nuclear capabilities, saying it is close to testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting targets up to 6,000 kilometers (3,800 miles) away.
NORTH KOREA HARDENS ITS NUCLEAR STANCE
In April 2008 Syria dismisses US accusations that North Korea is helping it build a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium – 8 months earlier Israeli warplanes had bombed a site in Syria that analysts had identified as the site of a reactor. In June 2008 North Korea hands over details of its nuclear programmes, paving the way for it to be removed from the US terrorism blacklist. However the declaration does not provide details of its warhead arsenal or its suspected uranium enrichment activities. Moreover by September it has begun reassembling its Yongbyon reactor citing the US’s failure to de-list North Korea from the blacklist. Later North Korea will inform the IAEA that all its main nuclear sites are off limits to its inspectors.
PAKISTANI NUCLEAR SCIENTIST ADMITS SALES TO IRAN & LIBYA
In September 2008 the EU warns that Iran is nearing the ability to arm a nuclear warhead even if it insists its atomic activities are peaceful. In February 2009 two disturbing revelations emerge. First, a Pakistani court frees nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who admits selling nuclear weapon technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Second the IAEA says samples taken from a Syrian site suspected of being a secretly built reactor have revealed fresh traces of processed uranium.
NORTH KOREA RESTARTS NUCLEAR WEAPON PRODUCTION
In April 2009 Ukrainian security agents arrest a group of people for trying to sell a radioactive substance that could be used in making a dirty bomb. In that same month UN nuclear inspectors are ordered out of North Korea after the hardline communist state announces plans to restart production of weapons-grade plutonium. In May North Korea says it has carried out a powerful underground nuclear test with a yield estimated by the Russian military at 10 to 20 kilotons – comparable to the bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In June 2009 it vows to step up its atomic bomb-making program and threatens war if its ships are stopped as part of new UN sanctions aimed at punishing the nation for its latest nuclear test. In August 2009 a report emerges of North Korea helping Myanmar (Burma) to build a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction plant that could help build an atomic bomb within five years. In November Iran alarms the West by ordering an expansion of the country’s nuclear programme
ALARM AT IRAN’S URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME
By February 2010 Iran says it is ready to send its uranium abroad for further enrichment as requested by the UN though at the same time it states it will be enriching uranium to a higher level. In April 2010 US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev sign a new nuclear arms reduction treaty after months of negotiations. The treaty limits both sides to 1,550 warheads, about 30% less than formerly allowed. In June 2010 the US, Russia and France dismiss a proposal by Iran to swap some of its enriched uranium for reactor fuel prompting the UN Security Council to endorse a 4th round of sanctions against Iran. In June the Burmese government denies recent reports that it is developing a nuclear weapons programme. At that same time Moldova authorities detain a group suspected of trying to sell four pounds of uranium on the black market.
In November 2010 Israel’s military intelligence chief says Iran possesses enough enriched uranium to build one nuclear bomb and soon will have enough to produce a second. In January 2011 Iran’s proposal for a tour of its nuclear sites flounders after China effectively rejects the invite and Russia cautions such a trip could never replace UN inspections. The correlation of this Saturn/Uranus cycle with potential nuclear weapon development in North Korea and Iran and criminal conspiracy to sell radioactive material to a buyer who might prove to be a terrorist group is persuasive. It is likely that in the second half of the cycle the pressures for nuclear Non proliferation and abolition will grow stronger but those three threats will remain – with the criminal/terrorist threat the hardest to assess but probably the most likely to at some stage to manifest.
As with the conjunction and the Out square at the opposition there is a definite correlation with nuclear accidents. As explained before, the meaning for this kind of event at this cycle stage is simply a recurrence or some kind of extension rather than a maximisation of what happened at the conjunction.
EARTHQUAKE CAUSES FUKUSHIMA RADIATION LEAKAGE
If the Out square brought us Japan’s worst ever (at the time) nuclear accident at the Tokaimura nuclear facility the maximising opposition stage brings us again in Japan an even worse nuclear accident – this one primarily caused by a natural event – a tsunami, but where the damage caused might have been minimised by human planning.
On the afternoon of Friday March 11 2011 a magnitude 9.0 subsea earthquake erupts some 40 miles off the coast of North East Japan – it proves to be the most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan and one of the 5 most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern records began in 1900. The earthquake triggers very destructive waves of up to 40 metres (130 feet) which sweep as far as 10 kilometres inland. Nearly 16,000 people die with over 6,000 injured – over half a million are made homeless.
The following day three large explosions hit the Fukushima nuclear power station only miles from the coast. Tsunami waves had overtopped seawalls and destroyed the vital diesel backup power systems designed to deal with a critical cooling system failure. Radioactive leakage accompanies the explosions caused by a build up of hydrogen gas. Residents within a 20 km radius (later extended to 30km) of the nuclear plant are immediately evacuated. “Now we are talking about levels that can impact human health,” says the chief cabinet secretary to the 140,000 homes on the fringe of the evacuation zone told not to leave their homes.
DISASTER A MAJOR BRAKE ON GROWTH OF NUCLEAR POWER
As the news spreads through the world media, in Germany tens of thousands of people protest against their government’s plans to extend the life of Germany’s nuclear reactors. Organisers said what had happened in Japan proves nuclear power is an uncontrollable and risky technology. If a nuclear reactor overheats without water, as a kettle element might do without water surrounding it, without safety measures cutting in there can be explosions which release radioactivity. This is essentially what happened at Fukushima. The worst fear is that the failsafe containment vessel housing the reactor might fail and allow the molten highly radioactive metal core of the reactor to burrow into the ground – ‘meltdown’. This did not happen in the Chernobyl nuclear accident at the cycle conjunction. And yet analysis of some of the radioactive material released now raises concerns. By March 15 radioactivity reaches harmful levels as it begins to appear as if the containment system round one of the Fukushima reactors has been breached.
Within a week of the Fukushima accident analysts are talking of it leading to a major brake on the growth of nuclear power. The IAEA insists that new reactor designs will not allow the release of radioactivity in the air even in the very unlikely event of a ‘meltdown of the core’. However the climate change driven extension of existing power station’s lives now looks less certain.
CHINA SUSPENDS APPROVAL FOR NEW NUCLEAR STATIONS
On March 17 China, currently the main builder of nuclear power stations, suspends approval for new stations, Venezuela freezes its nuclear energy programme and the UK announces a safety review of its nuclear plants. Germany has already closed seven reactors and Switzerland has suspended approvals for three new plants. On March 18 Japan raises the alert level to a level so high it has only been set in the past for the UK 1957 Windscale accident and the US 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. On March 23 Japanese officials declare Tokyo’s tap water unfit for babies to drink while near Fukushima people have been warned off consumption of locally grown vegetables. On March 26 levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near Fukushima are found to be 1,250 times higher than the safety limit ! The following day Japanese officials announce that radioactivity in the water at Reactor 2 has reached 100,000 times the usual level
WORKERS REMOVE 25,000 TONNES OF RADIOACTIVE WATER
Radiation measurements from a highly contaminated pool of water inside Fukushima’s reactor No 2 suggest its fuel rods have suffered a partial meltdown Engineers try to remove the contaminated water from the reactor building to ensure that it doesn’t seep out into the soil or the sea. By March 29 plutonium is detected in the soil at the plant and it is clear highly radioactive water has definitely leaked from the building. Later that day the government decides to order the decommissioning of all four stricken reactors. On April 6 the reactor operator Tepco announces that an 8 inch crack in the containment pit, which had allowed radioactive water to leak into the sea from it, has been sealed. On April 15 the government orders Tepco to pay compensation to those affected – JP Morgan estimates this may amount to $24bn. On April 19 workers start removing 25,000 tonnes of radioactive water from the reactor building.
On April 26 2011 Ukraine marks the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant – a coincidence ? Not according to this book/ website’s cycle formula – it was this accident that took place just six months before the start of this 45 year Saturn/Uranus cycle. Now here we are at the half way opposition point ! On May 6 Japan’s government orders another nuclear operator to suspend operations in the Hamaoka region until safety measures have been improved to meet local earthquake risks. On May 16 Japan evacuates residents beyond the existing Fukushima no-go zone. On May 25 Tepco confirms the meltdown of extra fuel rods at the plant.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND & ITALY TO PHASE OUT NUCLEAR
The same day the Swiss government decides to phase out nuclear power. Five days later while the French government stands by its nuclear plan, the German government announces that all Germany’s nuclear power plants will be phased out by 2022. On 13 June Italy follows suit. Finally on 13 July the Japanese Prime Minister calls for Japan to become a nuclear-free society. On 19 August 2011 the Saturn/Uranus opposition goes out of orb. The fit with the timing of the cycle is quite precise.
The Saturn/Uranus incoming square will come into orb on Jan 11 2020 until 21 November 2023. The exact hits are in February, June and December 2021