Sunday, May 2, 2010

BP using toxic chemicals to ‘disperse’ spilled oil

The chemicals BP is now relying on to break up the steady flow of leaking oil from deep below the Gulf of Mexico could create a new set of environmental problems.

Even if the materials, called dispersants, are effective, BP has already bought up more than a third of the world’s supply. If the leak from 5,000 feet beneath the surface continues for weeks, or months, that stockpile could run out.

On Thursday BP began using the chemical compounds to dissolve the crude oil, both on the surface and deep below, deploying an estimated 100,000 gallons. Dispersing the oil is considered one of the best ways to protect birds and keep the slick from making landfall. But the dispersants contain harmful toxins of their own and can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water, where they can kill fish and migrate great distances.

The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses.

“There is a chemical toxicity to the dispersant compound that in many ways is worse than oil,” said Richard Charter, a foremost expert on marine biology and oil spills who is a senior policy advisor for Marine Programs for Defenders of Wildlife and is chairman of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. “It’s a trade off – you’re damned if you do damned if you don’t -- of trying to minimize the damage coming to shore, but in so doing you may be more seriously damaging the ecosystem offshore.”

BP did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Dispersants are mixtures of solvents, surfactants and other additives that break up the surface tension of an oil slick and make oil more soluble in water, according to a paper published by the National Academy of Sciences. They are spread over or in the water in very low concentration – a single gallon may cover several acres.

Once they are dispersed, the tiny droplets of oil are more likely to sink or remain suspended in deep water rather than floating to the surface and collecting in a continuous slick. Dispersed oil can spread quickly in three directions instead of two and is more easily dissipated by waves and turbulence that break it up further and help many of its most toxic hydrocarbons evaporate.

But the dispersed oil can also collect on the seabed, where it becomes food for microscopic organisms at the bottom of the food chain and eventually winds up in shellfish and other organisms. The evaporation process can also concentrate the toxic compounds left behind, particularly oil-derived compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

According to a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report, the dispersants and the oil they leave behind can kill fish eggs. A study of oil dispersal in Coos Bay, Ore. found that PAH accumulated in mussels, the Academy’s paper noted. Another study examining fish health after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989 found that PAHs affected the developing hearts of Pacific herring and pink salmon embryos. The research suggests the dispersal of the oil that’s leaking in the Gulf could affect the seafood industry there.

“One of the most difficult decisions that oil spill responders and natural resource managers face during a spill is evaluating the trade-offs associated with dispersant use,” said the Academy report, titled Oil Spill Dispersants, Efficacy and Effects. “There is insufficient understanding of the fate of dispersed oil in aquatic ecosystems.”

A version of Corexit was widely used after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and, according to a literature review performed by the group the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, was later linked with health impacts in people including respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders. But the Academy report makes clear that the dispersants used today are less toxic than those used a decade ago.

“There is a certain amount of toxicity,” said Robin Rorick, director of marine and security operations at the American Petroleum Institute. “We view dispersant use as a tool in a toolbox. It’s a function of conducting a net environmental benefit analysis and determining the best bang for your buck.”

Charter, the marine expert, cautioned the dispersants should be carefully considered for the right reasons.

“Right now there is a headlong rush to get this oil out of sight out of mind,” Charter said. “You can throw every resource we have at this spill. You can call out the Marine Corps and the National Guard. This is so big that it is unlikely that any amount of response is going to make much of a dent in the impacts. It’s going to be mostly watching it happen.”

More than meets the eye in video, but U.S. still needs to apologize

In my column on April 10 about an attack in Iraq in 2007 by two U.S. Apache helicopters which resulted in the death of 12 civilians, I said I had pored over the video of the attack and, although my eyes may not be that great, I couldn't see the weapons the American pilots said some of the civilians were holding.

Nor, I said, did I see any "furtive attempts to photograph coalition ground forces," as the Americans also had claimed, in the classified video obtained and released by the whistle-blower site, news photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40, were among those killed in the initial attack, and a short time later a van, which had stopped to help a wounded man, was demolished.

Well, it turns out my eyes weren't that great.

Shortly after the column appeared, Bruce van der Kooij sent along a couple of links in which the video is much clearer, revealing, even to my aging eyes, that some of the civilians were carrying weapons and someone was attempting to take pictures.

"An AK-47 and an RPG launcher are clearly visible. See: pg.," van der Kooij wrote.

"The right most picture in Namir with his camera peering around a corner as described in the report. The picture he took can be found at NamirLastphoto. png (it was in the report which also contains a still depicting Namir crouching)."

As after viewing the new footage, I intended to do a follow- up item. I asked van der Kooij for some background on himself, such as where he lived and whether he had any military connections.

"I'm a 23 year old male from The Netherlands, Europe, and I have no military connections," he said in his reply. "I have a deep interest in United States foreign policy and specifically as it relates to the middle east.

"As for this incident. I accidentally stumbled upon the leaked video footage on April 5 and have since researched the subject extensively. Among other things I've read both military reports multiple times and transcripted a good amount of the included sworn statements (including those handwritten). I've also read (Washington Post reporter) David Finkel's firsthand account of the day. At the time he was embedded with the 2-16.

"Together with several other editors I have been working on improving Wikipedia's coverage of the event."

Van der Kooij said he believed permission for the helicopters to engage should not have been given because it was based on false information.

"The team requested engagement solely based on the presence of weapons. Their sworn statements on this are contradicting, saying they requested permission after Namir displayed hostile intent, which is demonstrably false.

"In any case, I believe the team's response was disproportional to the threat at hand. I personally believe they should have let ground forces take care of the situation. Though that would most likely have changed the outcome, it also would have meant that in a hostile situation the ground forces would have run more risk.

"The team should not have opened fire on the van but shown restraint. However, as evidenced from the sworn statements some of the crew was under impression that the van may have been the same vehicle that was described to be picking up and dropping off hostile forces."

Van der Kooij said all crew members also stated they saw the people from the van collect weapons.

"From the video we can see this is clearly not the case. To me this all seems very, very wrong," he concluded.

It is a view shared by one of the foot soldiers who arrived on the scene that day, the one who pulled a wounded girl and boy out of the van demolished by shellfire from the helicopter.

Former U.S. Army specialists Ethan McCord and Josh Stieber have co-authoredAn Open Letter of Reconciliation and Responsibility to the Iraqi People.

Portions of the letter follow: "To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the Wikileaks video, we write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses.

"We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van and, when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to your pain and the pain of your community on many other occasions.

"There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize what they have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused?

"We have been speaking to whoever will listen, telling them that what was shown in the Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war. This is the nature of how U.S.- led wars are carried out in this region.

"We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and carried out in the name of God and country. The soldier in the video said that your husband shouldn't have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighbourhood and to your family. We did to you what we would not want done to us."

McCord, interviewed on the CBC'sThe Current,said the soldier with him threw up when they discovered the wounded children in the van. He said he and Stieber now have more than 3,000 signatories to their letter.

Listening to pilots and those manning the guns as the video rolled on, I was taken aback by the callous comments, the blatant disregard for human life.

I couldn't understand why the helicopters would shoot up a van, a seemingly Good Samaritan simply stopping to assist a wounded man the Americans actually wanted to go for a weapon so they could take him out.

McCord says this is all part of the training, the desensitizing of any human instinct.

The U.S. invaded Iraq on false pretenses, that of weapons of mass destruction, and has caused much hardship for the Iraqi people and its own.

It should be the one apologizing.

Fears for crops as shock figures from America show scale of bee catastrophe

The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter

Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Potential causes range from parasites, such as the bloodsucking varroa mite, to viral and bacterial infections, pesticides and poor nutrition stemming from intensive farming methods. The disappearance of so many colonies has also been dubbed "Mary Celeste syndrome" due to the absence of dead bees in many of the empty hives.

US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. "We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS's bee research laboratory.

A global review of honeybee deaths by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported last week that there was no one single cause, but pointed the finger at the "irresponsible use" of pesticides that may damage bee health and make them more susceptible to diseases. Bernard Vallat, the OIE's director-general, warned: "Bees contribute to global food security, and their extinction would represent a terrible biological disaster."

Dave Hackenberg of Hackenberg Apiaries, the Pennsylvania-based commercial beekeeper who first raised the alarm about CCD, said that last year had been the worst yet for bee losses, with 62% of his 2,600 hives dying between May 2009 and April 2010. "It's getting worse," he said. "The AIA survey doesn't give you the full picture because it is only measuring losses through the winter. In the summer the bees are exposed to lots of pesticides. Farmers mix them together and no one has any idea what the effects might be."

Pettis agreed that losses in some commercial operations are running at 50% or greater. "Continued losses of this magnitude are not economically sustainable for commercial beekeepers," he said, adding that a solution may be years away. "Look at Aids, they have billions in research dollars and a causative agent and still no cure. Research takes time and beehives are complex organisms."

In the UK it is still too early to judge how Britain's estimated 250,000 honeybee colonies have fared during the long winter. Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeepers' Association, said: "Anecdotally, it is hugely variable. There are reports of some beekeepers losing almost a third of their hives and others losing none." Results from a survey of the association's 15,000 members are expected this month.

John Chapple, chairman of the London Beekeepers' Association, put losses among his 150 members at between a fifth and a quarter. Eight of his 36 hives across the capital did not survive. "There are still a lot of mysterious disappearances," he said. "We are no nearer to knowing what is causing them."

Bee farmers in Scotland have reported losses on the American scale for the past three years. Andrew Scarlett, a Perthshire-based bee farmer and honey packer, lost 80% of his 1,200 hives this winter. But he attributed the massive decline to a virulent bacterial infection that quickly spread because of a lack of bee inspectors, coupled with sustained poor weather that prevented honeybees from building up sufficient pollen and nectar stores.

The government's National Bee Unit has always denied the existence of CCD in Britain, despite honeybee losses of 20% during the winter of 2008-09 and close to a third the previous year. It attributes the demise to the varroa mite – which is found in almost every UK hive – and rainy summers that stop bees foraging for food.

In a hard-hitting report last year, the National Audit Office suggested that amateur beekeepers who failed to spot diseases in bees were a threat to honeybees' survival and called for the National Bee Unit to carry out more inspections and train more beekeepers. Last summer MPs on the influential cross-party public accounts committee called on the government to fund more research into what it called the "alarming" decline of honeybees.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has contributed £2.5m towards a £10m fund for research on pollinators. The public accounts committee has called for a significant proportion of this funding to be "ring-fenced" for honeybees. Decisions on which research projects to back are expected this month.


Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the honeybee, which pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables – including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots – they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape. Coffee, soya beans, clovers – like alfafa, which is used for cattle feed – and even cotton are all dependent on honeybee pollination to increase yields.

In the UK alone, honeybee pollination is valued at £200m. Mankind has been managing and transporting bees for centuries to pollinate food and produce honey, nature's natural sweetener and antiseptic. Their extinction would mean not only a colourless, meatless diet of cereals and rice, and cottonless clothes, but a landscape without orchards, allotments and meadows of wildflowers – and the collapse of the food chain that sustains wild birds and animals.





















上海亦重複了這一做法,在“文明觀博200問”中,羅列了上海市民在衣食住行各方面的文明要 求,從參觀世博園區時應注意保持口腔清潔、定期修剪指甲,到“腳上起泡怎樣應對”,從在世博會正式場合飲用咖啡時“不要用咖啡匙舀起品嚐”,到與法國人交 談“對政治、金錢、價格等話題應予以迴避”等,可謂事無巨細。




































《中國時報》報導,馬英九受訪時以英文回答“we will never ask the Americans to fight for Taiwan”,他所使用的“never”一字,“‘永不’要求美國為台灣而戰”意旨,比總統府網站公佈的譯文“‘不會’要求美國為台灣而戰”更強烈。藍 營認為這是馬英九重申任內堅持兩岸和平的主張。綠營則質疑有傾向大陸之嫌。



























原來,婦女是懷了“葡萄胎”(hydatidiform mole)。












France implicated in Hariri murder case

A witness who gave false testimony in the case of the murder of the former Lebanese premier says France had provided him with a forged passport to help him get away with perjury.

A report by the Volatairenet website said that France had provided Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq -- the key witness in the case of Rafiq Hariri's murder -- with a forged passport to grant him immunity from prosecution.

The report came amid accusations by the US and Israel against Syria and Hezbollah, claiming that traces of their involvement were found in Hariri's assassination in 2005.

According to the report, a UN probe committee headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis had relied on the testimony given by Siddiq, who claimed to be a former senior Syrian intelligence official.

In his testimony, Siddiq had accused the Syrian and Lebanese presidents of masterminding the murder. He also accused seven Syrian and four Lebanese generals of organizing the assassination.

After presenting his testimony, Siddiq took refuge in the Spanish property of Rifaat al-Assad, who is the pro-US uncle of incumbent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Siddiq was then offered support by the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE).

While being under the protection of DGSE, the French police department eavesdropped on his telephone calls and found out that Siddiq had lied to the tribunal tasked with probing Hariri's murder case that he was a senior Syrian official.

It was later reported in Lebanese media that Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt had paid him to commit perjury.

In their defense, Hariri and Jumblatt denied paying for perjury, but admitted to having encouraged Siddiq to testify, believing he was sincere.

Siddiq was then arrested in France under an international arrest warrant issued by the Lebanese judiciary but was later released with Paris refusing to extradite him to Lebanon.

He was living in Paris for a while but later vanished into thin air in March 2008. The French government did not provide any explanation on the issue.

Siddiq was then traced in the UAE, where he was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison for carrying a forged Czech passport.

After being released from prison in the UAE, Siddiq told reporters that he received his passport from the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to escape Lebanese justice.

Hariri was Lebanon's most prominent politician since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. He was killed in a massive truck bombing that set off a spiral of political turmoil in Lebanon.

Cut the Partisan Crap ... BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Partisan GOP hacks say the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, and government interference in the markets.

But Glass-Steagall was repealed, derivatives were left unregulated, and the regulators were watching porn instead of preventing fraud. Giant banks, hedge funds and other fat cat private players knowingly gamed the market and committed fraud in more ways than can be listed in a single post.

And remember, even the "father of economics" - Adam Smith - didn't believe in completely unfettered free markets.

On the other hand, partisan Democratic party hacks say that bad corporations caused the crisis, and that if more power is given to Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other governmental honchos, they'll fix everything.

But Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other meatheads largely caused the crisis through their actions. And as Simon Johnson points out, the government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition.

As I pointed out in February 2009, government fraud is pervasive:

In case you believe that there are only "a couple of bad apples" in the United States, here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of corruption by leading pillars of American society:

  • Senior military officials stole approximately $125 billion dollars out of Iraq reconstruction funds, dwarfing Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme (in turn, the looting which is now occurring under the bailout/stimulus programs will far surpass $150 billion)
  • The government-endorsed ratings agencies which were supposed to accurately rate the credit-worthiness of companies and nations committed massive fraud

There are hundreds of similar stories of corruption which have come out recently.

But surely government employees would have done something to stop such corruption if had known about it, right?

Well, actually:

  • Instead of insisting on accurate books, the government encouraged fraudulent bookkeeping. For example, as of 2006:
    "President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar ... broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations."
  • The government knew about mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies then stood down and did nothing. See this and this
These are just some of the many examples of the government aiding and abetting corruption.

A lot has come out since then about Geithner, Bernanke, and other officials. See this, this, this, this, this and this.

Indeed, government employees are mainly using their time in office to feather their own nests, rather than to do anything constructive.

So let's cut the partisan crap.

Both the fat cat players and the government are to blame for the financial crisis, and we need to rein in corruption and fraud in both.

In another Wall Street misdeed, Morgan Stanley settles oil-trading flap

WASHINGTON — In another black eye for Wall Street, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission late Thursday announced a $14 million fine against Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. for allegedly hiding its complex oil trades.

The settlement, in which Morgan Stanley did not admit or deny the accusations, comes as oil prices have continued their steady upwards march and have some oil analysts again saying that excessive speculation is again pushing up energy prices. One recent estimate put the cost of that to consumers and businesses at $300 billion annually.

In an announcement after U.S. markets had closed, the CFTC said that a trader from Morgan Stanley conspired on Feb. 6, 2009, with a counterpart from Swiss financial firm UBS Securities to hide from authorities a prohibited trading activity.

The CFTC said Morgan Stanley was on the other end of a deal with a client of UBS. Morgan Stanley was looking to buy more than 33,000 March-dated contracts for future delivery of oil and sell the same quantities of April contracts for oil. The two parties agreed to a deal in which they’d settle on a price after trading had finished for the day_ something called a Trade at Settlement agreement.

The problem, said regulators, is that Morgan Stanley asked its unidentified business partner, the UBS client, to not disclose the special trade until after oil trading had settled that day. The law requires immediate notification to the New York Mercantile Exchange, where oil is traded.

In similar past cases, these sorts of charges by the CFTC have involved a practice called “banging the close.” That involves traders dumping large volumes of contracts right before the close of trading in an attempt to manipulate the settlement price. When large numbers of contracts are trading hands, a slight change in prices can net millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

The CFTC declined to comment on whether Morgan Stanley and its counterpart were trying to manipulate the closing price, or why such a steep fine was issued for a single violation. UBS was hit with a fine of just $200,000. The agency declined to tell McClatchy whether the fine reflected a larger pattern of violation.

Although the $14 million settlement is small by the huge numbers now tossed around on Wall Street, the CFTC announcement adds to a public image problem for the nation’s biggest banks.

Morgan Stanley is active in the trading of contracts for the future delivery of oil, but it’s also very active on the unregulated “dark markets” where two private parties enter into huge bets on what happens to oil prices. And it’s also active in the physical market where oil actually changes hands.

Critics believe Wall Street speculation drives up oil prices by creating false impressions of tight supplies, and by using investor money, often from pension funds, to take buy-and-hold positions in oil contracts as if they were stocks to be held with the anticipation of price gains.

“We believe the current high oil prices are caused by speculation, not market fundamentals, as oil supply is more than adequate to satisfy current and future demand, which is expected to remain weak. However, we expect crude oil prices to remain inflated until regulators curb trading in oil futures by financial speculators, mainly the large investment banks and their hedge and pension fund clients,” Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in New York, who thinks oil should be trading at $60 a barrel, not Thursday’s settle price of $85.17.

Gheit, whose estimate of the cost to consumers is $146 billion annually, said the profits from this speculation “helped fund obscene bonuses at large banks.”

In a poll released this week by the Reuters news agency, some of the biggest names in the oil sector said they think speculators are costing consumers upwards of $300 billion annually. Reuters said it surveyed more than 40 top figures in the oil sector and that 73 percent of them believed today’s oil prices do not reflect actually supply and demand fundamentals but speculation.

Legislation to revamp financial regulation is making its way through the Senate and by year’s end, the markets for complex and secretive trading of oil contracts and other financial instruments by Wall Street firms is expected to become more transparent.

Separate from that effort, the CFTC is also seeking to limit the total number of oil contracts that financial investors can hold.

The next 9/11 – made in Israel?

Maidhc Ó Cathail views the evidence indicating that dual loyalty officials in the US administration are funnelling American nuclear secrets not only to Israel, but also to terrorist organizations in order to facilitate a “nuclear 9/11” and a massive US attack against Iran or Pakistan.

”If, as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu admitted, 9/11 was ‘very good’ for Israel, a nuclear 9/11 might be even better. As the spellbinding effects of that traumatic event nine years ago have begun to wear off, and with Americans increasingly questioning the costs of a one-sided alliance [with Israel], it may even be considered necessary.”

Citing the possibility of a terrorist organization getting hold of a nuclear weapon as the greatest threat to US security, Barack Obama persuaded 46 other countries at the recent Nuclear Security Summit to agree to secure the world’s loose nuclear material. Those leaders who came to Washington might have made done more to avert a nuclear attack, however, if they had asked the US president to account for America’s own loose nukes.

Of course, President Obama may not even be aware of the egregious failure of the United States to secure its nuclear materials and know-how from the predation of its alleged “closest ally”. But since Obama is unwilling to even “speculate” about which country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons, he could hardly be expected to acknowledge how it got them.

In a recent article aptly titled “America’s loose nukes in Israel”, Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) and author of Spy trade: how Israel’s lobby undermines America’s economy, shows how “the US is a sieve for Israeli nuclear espionage.”

The massive arms smuggling network set up by David Ben-Gurion in the United States in the 1940s had acquired a nuclear branch within a decade, according to Smith. The 1955 purchase of the Apollo Steel Company plant in Pennsylvania was financed by David Lowenthal, a close friend of Israel’s first prime minister and a former member of the Haganah, the precursor to the Israeli army. The following year, Dr Zalman Shapiro, head of a local Zionist Organization of America chapter, incorporated the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) at Apollo. Before long, NUMEC was receiving large quantities of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from Westinghouse and the US Navy for nuclear reprocessing.

" would seem that those who shout loudest about the threat of terrorists – namely, neo-conservatives like Perle, Feith and Grossman and their Israeli counterparts – are the very ones who are aiding them, at least indirectly, to acquire those much touted weapons of mass destruction."

By the 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) became suspicious of security lapses at NUMEC, and even considered suspending its “classified weapons work”. A 1965 AEC audit discovered that 220 pounds of highly enriched uranium were unaccounted for. The following year, the FBI launched its own investigation, codenamed Project Divert, to monitor NUMEC’s management and its frequent Israeli visitors. Nevertheless, the diversion of nuclear material to Israel continued unabated. After a 10 September 1968 visit by four Israelis, including Mossad agent Rafi Eitan, a further 587 pounds of highly enriched uranium went missing.

Israel’s nuclear espionage against the United States didn’t end with its accession to the nuclear club in the late 1960s, however. As former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds revealed, its smuggling network received crucial assistance from three high-ranking officials in the George W. Bush administration. All three have close ties to Israel’s military-industrial complex.

According to the FBI whistleblower, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith provided Marc Grossman, the third highest-ranking official in the State Department, with a list of Department of Defence employees with access to sensitive data, including nuclear technology. The list also included highly sensitive personal details, such as sexual preference, problems with gambling or alcoholism, and how much they owed on their mortgages. Grossman then passed on the information to Israeli and Turkish agents, who used it to “hook” those Pentagon officials. In addition, as Edmonds testified in an Ohio court case, the foreign operatives had recruited people “on almost every major nuclear facility in the United States”.

After Israel and Turkey took what they wanted from the pilfered secrets, their agents offered what was left to the highest bidder. As Edmonds has told the Sunday Times, American Conservative and, nuclear information was sold on the black market, where anyone – even Al-Qaeda –could buy it.

So then, it would seem that those who shout loudest about the threat of terrorists – namely, neo-conservatives like Perle, Feith and Grossman and their Israeli counterparts – are the very ones who are aiding them, at least indirectly, to acquire those much touted weapons of mass destruction.

But why, one might reasonably ask, would Israeli agents help their supposed enemies get hold of the bomb?

Well, what would be the likely outcome if Obama’s worst fears of a nuclear attack on the United States – or one of its allies – are realized?

Regardless of the facts, some Islamic country – most likely, Iran or Pakistan – would be blamed for aiding the terrorists. And it doesn’t require an advanced degree in game theory to predict what America’s reaction would be. The retaliation would be so swift and devastating that the designated evildoers might envy the fate of post-invasion Iraqis – also victims of an Israeli misdirection.

If, as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu admitted, 9/11 was “very good” for Israel, a nuclear 9/11 might be even better. As the spellbinding effects of that traumatic event nine years ago have begun to wear off, and with Americans increasingly questioning the costs of a one-sided alliance, it may even be considered necessary.

Global Warfare: U.S. Consolidates Military Network In Asia-Pacific Region

The United States has six naval fleets and eleven aircraft carrier strike groups patrolling the world’s oceans and seas. The U.S. Navy is as large as the world’s next thirteen biggest navies combined [1].

Washington has as many aircraft carriers as all other nations together. Russia has one; China has none. The U.S. and its NATO allies – Britain (2), Italy (2), France (1) and Spain (1) – account for 17 of 22 in service in the world. Ten of the eleven American carriers are Nimitz class nuclear-powered supercarriers, substantially larger than most all non-U.S. ones. The U.S. Navy has all ten supercarriers in the world at the moment. [2]

U.S. aircraft carriers contain 70-80 planes and are available for deployment in all the world’s oceans and most of its seas. They are escorted in their carrier groups by anti-air and anti-submarine warfare guided missile destroyers, anti-submarine warfare frigates, missile cruisers with long-range Tomahawks, and nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. The U.S. also maintains between ten and twelve naval expeditionary strike groups which include amphibious assault ships and AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopters in addition to destroyers, cruisers, frigates, attack submarines and P-3C Orion long-range anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

With the reestablishing of the Navy’s Fourth Fleet – its area of responsibility includes Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea – two years ago after a 58-year hiatus, the U.S. has six fleets that can be dispatched to all five oceans.

The Seventh Fleet (there is no First Fleet), based in Japan, is the largest of U.S. forward-deployed fleets and consists of as many as 40–60 ships, 200-350 aircraft and 20,000-60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its area of responsibility takes in more than 50 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from Russia’s Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south, from the South China Sea to the Arabian Sea, South Africa to the Korean Peninsula, the Strait of Malacca to the Taiwan Strait.

When on the occasion of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize last December President Barack Obama referred to himself as the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s sole military superpower he was not guilty of hyperbole if he was of hubris. His defense budget for next year is almost half as large as world military spending for 2008, the last year for which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has compiled figures.

The U.S. has mutual defense treaties with six nations in the Asia-Pacific area: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. The Pentagon has bases in Japan and South Korea, troops and base camps in the Philippines, satellite surveillance sites in Australia and the use of air bases in Thailand.

Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are included in the American global missile interceptor network with Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and ship-based Standard Missile-3 deployments in those four nations. Last December it was announced that the U.S. will supply Taiwan with 200 Patriot anti-ballistic missiles and the following month it was revealed that Washington will also provide Taiwan with eight frigates capable of being upgraded to fire Standard Missile-3 interceptors. [3]

Last week the head of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, told the U.S. Congress that, as Reuters summarized it, “Japan remains fully committed to building a linchpin multibillion-dollar missile interceptor with the United States,” despite hopes to the contrary entertained after the Democratic Party of Japan’s Yukio Hatoyama became prime minister last September.

Referring to the current Standard Missile-3 enhancement program, O’Reilly said that Japanese government officials “have indicated that they are in full support and their commitments are solid.”

In regards to the upgraded interceptor missile, the SM-3 Block IIA, he added, “Within the next year, we will begin our discussions on production arrangements between the United States and Japan.” [4]

On April 27 the U.S. renewed a military logistics agreement with Australia “allowing deployed Australian forces to exploit the vast logistics capability of the American military” and permitting “U.S. forces on operations to make use of Australian logistics.”

“Since its inception, the agreement had ensured supply support and services to Australian and U.S. forces deployed to all parts of the world wherever they were operating together….That included mutual support during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [5]

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Marine General James Cartwright, is visiting New Zealand this week to consult with the country’s top military commanders and defense minister.

Cartwright is “the first vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit New Zealand since the position was established….” [6] His visit comes two weeks after NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, made similar trips to New Zealand and Australia.

Last month New Zealand’s Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announced that joint military exercises with the U.S. would resume after 23 years, since the nation’s 1987 ban on the docking of nuclear-powered warships and submarines.

New Zealand has been brought back into the fold in part by providing NATO with over 200 troops for the war in Afghanistan. Australia, with over 1,500 soldiers assigned to the International Security Assistance Force in the nation, is the largest non-NATO troop contributor for the war. Last year it unveiled plans for the most extensive military buildup in its post-World War Two history. [7]

On April 23 the U.S. and India launched the ten-day Malabar 2010 military exercises after “Ships, submarines and aircraft from the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet arrived in Goa” to engage in maneuvers which include training for “surface and anti-submarine warfare, coordinated gunnery exercises [and] air defense….” [8] The U.S. contribution consists of two guided missile destroyers, a guided missile frigate, a guided missile cruiser, a nuclear fast-attack submarine, P-3 Orion anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft, SH-60B Seahawk helicopters and Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) special forces.

The Malabar war games have been conducted jointly by the U.S. and India since 1992 (except for 1998-2001 after India carried out nuclear tests), but last year included Japan, and Malabar 2007 was a five-nation operation held in the Bay of Bengal with the U.S. and India joined by Australia, Japan and Singapore, leading to suspicions of U.S. designs for an Asia-Pacific analogue of NATO.

As Malabar 2010 was underway, “warships, combat aircraft and soldiers” from Australia, Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore (all Commonwealth nations) began Exercise Bersama Shield 2010 “on the Malaysian peninsula and in the South China Sea.” [9]

Malaysia is among a minority of maritime states not to have joined the U.S.-launched Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) whose architect was then U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton. Established in 2003 as “a global effort that aims to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors,” [10], it has grown to incorporate over 90 of the world’s 148 coastal nations. [11]

China, Indonesia and Malaysia have refused to join, though South Korea did in May of last year, and the first three countries along with Iran and North Korea – the states used as justification for the PSI – view the U.S.-led global surveillance, interdiction and boarding operation with deep concern and doubts about its legality, as it operates without a United Nations mandate, can be argued to circumvent and violate international maritime law, and in effect grants the U.S. and its allies the self-arrogated right to conduct piracy on the high seas.

“Launched on May 31, 2003, U.S. involvement in the PSI stems from the U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction issued in December 2002. That strategy recognizes the need for more robust tools to stop proliferation of WMD around the world, and specifically identifies interdiction as an area where greater focus will be placed. President Obama strongly supports the PSI. On April 5, 2009 in Prague, the President called on the international community to make PSI a ‘durable international institution.’” [12]

The PSI has been effectively if not formally extended into the Indian Ocean and the Horn of Africa with the U.S.-run Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Task Force 151 warship deployments. Recently the South Korean navy assumed command of Combined Task Force 151 from Singapore. Combined Task Force 150 contributing navies include those of the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and Turkey.

Last week it was announced that NATO welcomed South Korea as the 46th nation supplying it with troops for the war in Afghanistan. On March 29 Mongolia became the 45th. [13] Singapore also has troops serving under NATO and until this year Japan was providing naval support to the U.S. war effort there.

On April 26 the China Daily reported that Rear Admiral Yang Yi, formerly in charge of strategic studies at the Chinese army’s National Defense University, said, “The United States is the greatest perceived threat to the People’s Liberation Army” and that “the US was the only country capable of threatening China’s national security interests in an all-round way.” [14]

Another Chinese news source on the same day wrote of U.S. Prompt Global Strike (PGS) plans to be able to strike any target on earth within sixty minutes and the Pentagon’s recent test flights of the X-37B orbital space plane and the Falcon hypersonic spy plane, reporting that “Chinese space technology expert Pang Zhihao said the spaceship…aids the PGS program, which he said could be a potential threat to world peace.” [15]

The previous day London’s Sunday Times acknowledged that “Obama’s interest in Prompt Global Strike (PGS)…has alarmed China and Russia….” [16]

U.S. fast strike and first strike global missile and space strategy and its expansion of military alliances and networks in the Asia-Pacific area are rightly seen as threats to China and Russia. And to international security and peace.


1) Measured by battle fleet tonnage.
2) A supercarrier is currently defined as an aircraft carrier displacing 70,000 or more tons.
3) U.S.-China Military Tensions Grow
Stop NATO, January 19, 2010

4) Reuters, April 21, 2010
5) Xinhua News Agency, April 27, 2010
6) Ibid
7) Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009

8) Navy Newsstand, April 23, 2010
9) Agence France-Presse, April 26, 2010
10) U.S. Department of State

11) Proliferation Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of
World’s Oceans, Prelude To War
Stop NATO, January 29, 2009

12) U.S. Department of State, Ibid
13) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010

14) China Daily, April 26, 2010
15) Global Times, April 26, 2010
16) Sunday Times, April 25, 2010

How Wars Are Born: China versus the U.S.

Beijing Challenges American Expansionism

Those of us making the “radical” claim that wars are the result of economic/corporate interests pushed abroad, were recently given a nod of approval from a typically unfriendly source, The New York Times.

The corporate controlled New York Times published a revealing article about how U.S. foreign policy really works, and why. The motive behind the sincerity is that China’s foreign policy was being attacked. However, the article soon made it clear that China’s policy is the same as the U.S.’s : dominating regions that are of “economic (corporate) interest” — raw materials, cheap labor, shipping lanes, markets, etc. — through military buildup.

Dangerously, the article discusses how China’s economic expansion —and the military buildup used to protect it — is coming into conflict with the U.S.overseas militarism. For example:

"The Chinese military is seeking to project naval power well beyond the Chinese coast, from the oil ports of the Middle East to the shipping lanes of the Pacific, where the United States Navy has long reigned as the dominant force, military officials and analysts say."

Why is China expanding militarily?

“Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to theStrait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China Seas.” (April 24, 2010).

Shen Dingli, a Chinese intellectual, recently argued in favor of creating the firstChinese overseas military bases (the U.S. has 909 military facilities in foreign countries):

“With the continuous expansion of China's overseas business, the governments are more accountable for protecting the overseas interests…the guarantee of smooth trading; the prevention of overseas intervention…” (January 28, 2010 -

Typically, the U.S. military is in charge of policing most of the global shipping lanes, so that corporate goods are unhampered by pirates or hostile nations, etc. But China is no longer content with this situation, and wants protections of its own. But why?

One reason is that China has been listening to the increasingly hostile attitude of the U.S. corporate elite, who have expressed the view that China’s economic rise is inherently in conflict with or in competition with the profit-making ability of U.S. corporations. Obama’s recent provocations against China — arm sales to Taiwan, the visit to Washington by the Dali Lama, threats about Iran, currency, etc. — are all proof that China’s economic rise will not be met with friendship and cooperation.

The above-mentioned New York Times article admits “…there are few indications that China has aggressive intentions toward the United States or other countries.” Nevertheless, the whole article intends to scare and frighten. For instance:

“Of particular concern is that elements of China’s military modernization appear designed to challenge our [U.S. Navy’s] freedom of action in the region,” the admiral [Willard] said.

“Japan is anxious, too…”


“Lee Kuan Yew, the former Singaporean leader, reflected widespread anxieties when he noted China’s naval rise and urged the United States to maintain its regional presence.”

These scare tactics are intended to steer public opinion into a hostile stance towards China, which the U.S. government views as a possible war target. This eventuality was made clear later in the article:

“…in reaction to China’s growth, the United States has recently transferred submarines from the Atlantic to the Pacific so that most of its nuclear-powered attack submarines are now in the Pacific... The United States has also begun rotating three to four submarines on deployments out of Guam, reviving a practice that had ended with the cold war…”

And most alarmingly: “American vessels now frequently survey the [Chinese] submarine base at Hainan island, and that activity leads to occasional friction with Chinese ships.”

China’s economic and military rise is pushing up against territory dominated by the U.S. military, which is pushing back. Military “incidents” are increasingly likely in this situation, which can be used as a pretext for war.

Behind the military jockeying for power are economic interests. Controlling the U.S. economy are powerful corporations, who rely on the U.S. military to ensure them super profits overseas, including domination over whole regions — the Middle East, Latin America, the Pacific — that are viewed as the “exclusive economic zones” of U.S. corporations. The fact that China is now declaring itself master of its own zones is intolerable for U.S. corporations, which will stop at nothing — including war — to maintain U.S. military dominance over the globe.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Captured by NASA Satellite [PICS]

In the wake of an oil rig explosion that led to a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, NASA has released a pair of striking pictures depicting the disaster.

Along with Twitter (), NASA has been the go-to source of late when it comes to finding photos of both natural and unnatural phenomena — the organization has brought us amazing footage of the sun, as well as satellite images of the aftermath of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

So if you’re one of the many Internet () lurkers or Twitter users out there hungry for more info about the spill (several Twitter fans have been retweeting a biting message from Bill Maher to drilling enthusiasts), we suggest keeping an eye on NASA’s Earth Observatory. In the meantime, we’ve embedded these images above. Both images were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite — the first shows a wider shot of the oil slick spreading to the Louisiana coast, while the second depicts a closer view.

If The World's Population Were Reduced To 100