Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Will Announce His Resignation

Calls have been growing within the Democratic Party of Japan for his resignation after a recent plunge in the cabinet's approval rating and his awkward handling of the relocation of a U.S. military base in Okinawa, reports WSJ.

Polls this week showed that support for. Hatoyama's government had fallen to around 20%, compared with levels above 70% in September. The main cause of the collapse in polls was the result of his backtracking last month on a pledge to relocate U.S. troops stationed on Okinawa.

The U.S. clearly muscled him, and now the people of Japan have muscled him out.

Your request is being processed... Oil Spill Hearings In Congress: Companies Blame Each Other, Refuse Responsibility

WASHINGTON — Congress called BP and its drilling partners to account Tuesday for a "cascade of failures" behind the spreading Gulf oil spill, zeroing in on a crucial chain of events at the deep-sea wellhead just before an explosion consumed the rig and set off the catastrophic rupture.

In back-to-back Senate inquiries, lawmakers chastised executives of the three companies at the heart of the massive spill over attempts to shift the blame to each other. And they were asked to explain why better preparations had not been made to head off the accident.

"Let me be really clear," Lamar McKay, chairman of BP America, told the hearing. "Liability, blame, fault – put it over here." He said: "Our obligation is to deal with the spill, clean it up and make sure the impacts of that spill are compensated, and we're going to do that."

By "over here," McKay meant the witness table at which BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives sat shoulder to shoulder. And despite his acknowledgment of responsibility, each company defended its own operations and raised questions about its partners in the project gone awry.

Lawmakers compared the calamity to some of history's most notorious mishaps from sea to space in the first congressional inquiry into the April 20 explosion and so-far unstoppable spill. In the crowded hearing room, eight young activists sat in quiet protest, with black T-shirts saying, "Energy Shouldn't Cost Lives." Several wore black painted spots near their eyes to symbolize tear drops made from oil.

Said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, "If this is like other catastrophic failures of technological systems in modern history, whether it was the sinking of the Titanic, Three Mile Island, or the loss of the Challenger, we will likely discover that there was a cascade of failures and technical and human and regulatory errors."

The corporate finger pointing prompted an admonishment from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of oil-rich Alaska that "we are all in this together" in trying to shut off the oil and find a safer way to exploit vital energy.

"This accident has reminded us of a cold reality, that the production of energy will never be without risk or environmental consequence," she said. Still, she said, "there will be no excuse" if operators are found to have violated the law.

Failure to cap the leak was intensifying impatience, from the contaminated Gulf waters to the White House.

"The president is frustrated with everything, the president is frustrated with everybody, in the sense that we still have an oil leak," spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "That includes us, that includes everybody that's involved with this."

After an icelike buildup thwarted a plan over the weekend to siphon off most of the leak using a huge, 100-ton containment box, a second, smaller box was lowered into the water late Tuesday near the blown-out well. The box was being slowly submerged to the seabed but it won't be placed over the spewing well right away. BP spokesman Bill Salvin said engineers want to make sure everything is configured correctly and avoid an ice buildup.

Salvin said undersea robots will position the box over the gusher by Thursday.

Ramifications from the environmental crisis spilled over into landmark climate change and energy legislation that is coming out Wednesday. The bill from Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman proposes letting coastal states veto drilling projects off the shores of neighboring states if they can show the potential for harm.

The impact is being felt in the realm of regulation, too. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposed splitting his department's Minerals Management Service in two to make safety enforcement independent of the service's other main function – collecting billions in royalties from the drilling industry.

Senators sought assurances that BP PLC will pay what could amount to billions of dollars in economic and environmental damages. McKay repeatedly said his company would pay for cleanup costs and all "legitimate" claims for damages, and not try to limit itself to an existing federal limit of $75 million on such damages.

BP was the exploratory well's owner and overall operator, Transocean the rig's owner and Halliburton a subcontractor that was encasing the well pipe in cement before plugging it in anticipation of future production.

The explosion is thought to have begun with a surge of methane gas from deep within the well, and while the cause is still under early investigation, the testimony Tuesday provided some insight into what might have been involved.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama grew frustrated grilling the executives on why engineers replaced a heavy "mud" compound in the well with much lighter sea water – thereby reducing downward pressure on the oil – when they were temporarily capping the site for future exploitation. He quoted an oil rig worker saying, "That's when the well came at us, basically."

"I'm not familiar with the individual procedure on that well," BP's McKay said.

Steven Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, and Halliburton executive Tim Probert repeatedly told Sessions they did not know how often sea water instead of the compound was used to seal Gulf wells.

"Well, you do this business, do you not?" the senator demanded. "You're under oath. I'm just asking you a simple question."

New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg remarked in the day's other hearing: "The conclusion that I draw is that nobody assumes the responsibility."

McKay said that a key piece of safety equipment, the aptly named blowout preventer, had failed to work and made it clear it was owned by Transocean. "That was the fail safe in case of an accident," said McKay.

But Transocean's Newman said offshore production projects "begin and end with the operator, in this case BP" and that his company's drilling job was completed three days before the explosion and there's "no reason to believe" the blowout protector mechanics failed.

And Newman wanted senators to know Halliburton was in the process of pouring cement into the pipe to plug it but the final well cap had not yet been put in place.

Halliburton's Probert said his company followed BP's drilling plan, federal regulations and industry practices.


Associated Press writers Matthew Daly and Frederic J. Frommer in Washington, and Harry R. Weber from the site of the oil leak on the Gulf of Mexico, contributed to this report.

China aims to become supercomputer superpower

jaguar supercomputer The US owned Jaguar has a top speed of 1.75 petaflops

China is ramping up efforts to become the world's supercomputing superpower.

Its Nebulae machine at the National Super Computer Center in Shenzhen, was ranked second on the biannual Top 500 supercomputer list.

For the first time, two Chinese supercomputers appear in the list of the top 10 fastest machines.

However, the US still dominates the list with more than half the Top 500, including the world's fastest, known as Jaguar.

The Cray computer, which is owned by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has a top speed of 1.75 petaflops.

One petaflop is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

It is used by scientists conducting research in astrophysics, climate science and nuclear energy.

How fast is the Jaguar Supercomputer?

The Jaguar supercomputer performs 1,750 trillion calculations a second. How long does it take an average PC to match its performance in different time periods?

Supercomputer time
PC time
Source: Oxford Supercomputing Centre/Intel

By comparison, China has 24 machines in the list. Its fastest has a top speed of 1.20 petaflops, more than double the speed of its previous top supercomputer. However, it has a theoretical top speed of nearly 3 petaflops, which would make it the fastest in the world.

The fastest machine in the UK - which has 38 supercomputers on the list - is housed at the University of Edinburgh. It has a top speed of 0.27 petaflops.

"The Top 500 list definitely has an element of flag waving," said Dr Jon Lockley, manager of the Oxford Supercomputing Centre.

Quick thinking

He said China was rapidly becoming a "player" in high performance computing.

Dawning, the company behind the fastest Chinese machine, is reportedly building an even faster machine for the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin. In addition, it is also developing home-grown silicon chips to power the behemoths.

bbc infographic Explore the Top 500 machines Alternative supercomputer powers

"Their use of high-performance computers is really systematic of their industrial emergence," Dr Lockley told BBC News.

The machines tend to be used for industrial research, such as aircraft design and petroleum exploration.

Dr Lockley said this was becoming increasingly common around the world.

"Whenever possible, everything is done in a supercomputer," he said.

"Look at Formula One - it's getting rid of all of its wind tunnels and replacing them with supercomputers. It's the same in the aerospace industry as well.

"It means you can all the modelling in the supercomputer and then do just one real world test."

Many of the US machines, by contrast, are owned by the government and are used to monitor the nuclear weapon stockpile.

The spooks have got some pretty big machines

Jon Lockley Oxford Supercomputing Centre

The US has one other petaflop machine - owned by the US Department of Energy. Roadrunner, as it is known, held the top spot until Jaguar displaced it in 2009.

All others machines on the list run at so-called teraflop speeds.

A teraflop is the equivalent of one trillion calculations per second.

Spy machines

However, scientists are already thinking about so-called exascale machines which would be able to crunch through one quintillion (one million trillion) calculations per second.

An exascale computer has been proposed to process data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a series of thousands of telescopes spread over 3,000km. The telescope will be based in either Australia or South Africa.

"At that sort of size the challenge is trying to programme the machines,"" said Dr Lockley.

"It has to be fault tolerant - you can't have a situation where an entire task falls over if one bit fails."

The top 500 list was published at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

It ranks machines by speed. However, according to Dr Lockley, determining which machine is the quickest is a difficult issue.

"It's measured against a theoretical benchmark - if you ran a real-world application you might get a very different answer".

It is also a voluntary list and therefore does not include all machines, such as those at the Oxford Supercomputing Centre and many classified machines owned by governments.

"The spooks have got some pretty big machines," said Dr Lockley.

The madness of arrogance: Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla

Alan Sabrosky argues that Israel may have overreached itself by murdering international aid workers bound for beleaguered Gaza, and that this act of wanton savagery provides the civilized world with an opportunity to rein in the rogue Jewish state once and for all.

Israel's attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on America's Memorial Day was all too predictable, although the form it took surprised even me. And it confirms the old proverb that "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad", for the attack was the kind of madness only unbridled arrogance can assume.

It wasn't just that foreigners as well as Palestinians, flying flags other than that of Palestine, were attacked. Israel has a long history of doing such things, especially to the UN. But except for the USS Liberty incident in 1967, it has generally done that on inland sites – Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon – where it can largely block news and visual evidence, and control the spin it puts on events, counting on its friends in the US and other mainstream media to say little or nothing to contradict them.

The attack reprised

Not this time. An attack on the open seas, in acknowledged international waters, against unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid with passengers and crews from many countries – especially a direct attack against a Turkish ship – is a different matter, and potentially an explosive one. The number of shipboard casualties indicates that once fighting started, the Israeli commandoes simply sprayed automatic weapons fire into the people around them – another of their long-standing habits.

“Trying to cast the attack in international waters as an exercise in self-defence would be ludicrous in the best or worst of circumstances – has anyone ever seen wheelchairs used as offensive weaponry?”

And technology is their enemy here, just as it became in an earlier day the enemy of communist regimes in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries. Too many images and videos were taken, and some sent, and too many witnesses reported what was happening, before the Israelis were able to suppress communications from their victims.

Bad for their victims, but also potentially very bad for Israel, and the initial Israeli public-relations damage control efforts show that they are at least dimly aware of that fact. Trying to cast the attack in international waters as an exercise in self-defence would be ludicrous in the best or worst of circumstances – has anyone ever seen wheelchairs used as offensive weaponry?

And for the Israeli spokeswoman to try to spin an assault by warships and armed commandos as defence against a "lynch" (I guess she was trying to push an American "hot button" for Obama – someone should tell her it is "lynching" or "lynch mob") would have embarrassed even her public relations soulmate, Dr Josef Goebbels. But desperate do what desperation dictates, I suppose, although this time they may well have gone way too far.

A judging, long overdue

And that is what the initial responses appear to affirm. All of the major US and many other media outlets are carrying this story, and even with the slant from many Jewish correspondents based in Jerusalem or Ashdod, the bloody particulars are slowly coming through to at least a general American audience for the first time:

1. The unarmed ships with unarmed passengers were trying to ferry humanitarian and reconstruction aid to ravaged and embattled Gaza.

2. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, probably if not certainly in violation of international law, supported largely by US vetoes in the UN Security Council.

3. Israeli warships and commandos intercepted and attacked the aid flotilla in international waters – which is an act of war, piracy or state terrorism, depending on one's view of the details.

4. Under attack, some of the passengers tried to defend themselves, scores were killed or wounded, and some Israeli commandoes were also wounded – doubtless a surprise to them, but then their usual run of victims may have made them a bit too cocky.

5. Many governments and publics around the world – not only in Arab capitals – are openly outraged, and the discussion forums on US news websites carrying the story suggest that much the same is happening at a public level in this country.

6. But for Israel, this is just another "we are the misunderstood victim" incident in a long, sordid and utterly unbelievable litany of such things – except that this time they may not get away with it.

Seizing the moment

This is a time for those interested in justice for Palestine to seize the moment and act, building on the promise engendered but not fulfilled after the submission of the Goldstone report to the UN Human Rights Council.

“For the world community, now is the time and this is the incident to drive home the UN "Uniting for Peace" resolution in both the Security Council and the General Assembly as needed… Sanctions, embargoes, even the suspension or expulsion of Israel from the UN itself – do as much as quickly and as forcefully as possible...”

I would like to think that President Obama would take a stand, and perhaps he will, but if he does it will be with words and not with deeds. Neither the Congress nor White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would let him do much more, whatever his predisposition – and who knows, he may believe the "lynch" metaphor, or pretend to do so.

Americans shouldn't bother with letters or emails to US Senators or Representatives, or Obama; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will be there ahead of you with more letters and money than you can generate. Go instead directly to the local offices of US Senators and Representatives, stay until you speak personally to the senior person there, and make your case as forcefully as you can. Make sure as many people hear you as possible – but be polite, and leave your signs at home.

For the world community, now is the time and this is the incident to drive home the UN "Uniting for Peace" resolution in both the Security Council and the General Assembly as needed. The nationalities of the victims will at least neutralize many European countries that might have opposed it before. Sanctions, embargoes, even the suspension or expulsion of Israel from the UN itself – do as much as quickly and as forcefully as possible. Press the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign everywhere hard.

And for the US armed forces, on this Memorial Day, it would be well to reflect on the meaning of duty and service to country and people. Oaths of allegiance, obedience and loyalty are important to professionals in the armed forces, in or out of uniform. They were to me when I was in the Marines, and later as a civilian at West Point and the Army War College. I'm sure serving professionals today are no different.

But the elected and appointed civilians overseeing the armed services have also taken their own oaths, and many have violated them by serving the interests of Israel rather than the US itself, and especially by spending American lives and treasure furthering Israeli interests rather than safeguarding American ones. This, to me, is clearly treason, and utterly negates any loyalty anyone else owes to them.

Remember that the cornerstone of our oaths is not to obedience, but to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Think about it on this Memorial Day.

After Removing Mud Before Accident, BP’s “Top Kill” Injects Mud to Stop Oil

BP is still knee-deep into executing its “top kill” maneuver [1]—what some have called its “most ambitious effort to date [2]” to plug the ruptured well in the Gulf that has spewed millions of gallons of crude. There have been some early reports of progress [3] from BP and the Coast Guard [4], though the procedure is not complete and could still fail at any time [5].

The top kill, as the Los Angeles Times explained with this helpful graphic [6], involves filling the blowout preventer with heavy drilling mud [7] in order to keep down the oil before sealing the well with cement.

Using mud to stop the oil from surging up—that’s just what workers on the rig failed to do in the hours right before the explosion. Instead, they removed mud from the well [8], replacing it with seawater. The decision was a contentious one, according to new accounts of feuding between Transocean and BP in the hours before the explosion.

In a hearing on Wednesday, the chief mechanic on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig testified that a BP representative, in an argument that lasted for hours [9], “overruled drillers from rig owner Transocean and insisted on displacing protective drilling mud [10] from the riser that connected the rig to the oil well,” according to The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.

As one petroleum engineering expert pointed out to The New York Times, it is not unusual to remove mud before finishing off a well, but a senior Transocean manager complained that BP was “taking shortcuts [11]” in removing the heavy mud and replacing it with seawater, according to witness statements reported on Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The argument between Transocean and BP was earlier reported on “60 Minutes,” and has since been confirmed [12] by testimony and company documents submitted to Congress.

When Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” asked Bob Bea, a UC Berkeley engineering professor, why BP would ask for the removal of the mud [13], Bea responded:

“It expedites the subsequent steps.”

“It’s a matter of going faster,” Pelley remarked.

“Faster, sure,” Bea replied. ...

“If the ‘mud’ had been left in the column, would there have been a blowout?” Pelley asked.

“It doesn’t look like it,” Bea replied.

Now that BP has been desperately trying to inject the mud back into the system to plug the well, it appears as if the decision to remove it from the system may not have been wise, to say the least.

BP said the top kill could take up to two days to complete [14], and results will not be immediate. It has promised to provide live video feeds [15] from the seabed throughout the top kill procedure, but its website’s transmissions have been intermittent. We’ve been watching and have had more luck watching the same feeds elsewhere [16].

Letter to UK Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham

Subject: The rogue state of Israel’s foulest crime

Stuart Littlewood has emailed his UK Member of Parliament, Henry Bellingham, a newly appointed Foreign Office minister in the coalition government, asking him to spell out the actions the British governments intends to take in response to Israel’s murder on the high seas of Gaza-bound international aid workers.

Dear Henry,

A few days ago I wrote to you in your new capacity as a Foreign Office minister, asking what steps Her Majesty's Government was taking to protect the Fee Gaza flotilla sailing to the besieged enclave on a humanitarian mission, in view of threats by Israel to seize the vessels and their crews and passengers.

And I wanted to know what constructive help, direct or indirect, the government is providing to break Israel’s illegal four-year blockade.

What many of us feared has actually happened. The mercy ships have been subjected to an unprovoked military assault, with tragic consequences and loss of innocent life. It may have surprised some but, frankly, it is only to be expected from a hooligan regime that never gets the clip round the ear it deserves from the international community for the obscene crimes regularly committed since its unwelcome birth 62 years ago.
"The Cast Lead blitzkrieg on the Gaza Strip, which left 1,400 dead including at least 350 children, thousands maimed and hundreds of thousands homeless, should have been a final warning that Israel's leaders are utterly devoid of humanity and need to be treated accordingly."

The Cast Lead blitzkrieg on the Gaza Strip, which left 1,400 dead including at least 350 children, thousands maimed and hundreds of thousands homeless, should have been a final warning that Israel's leaders are utterly devoid of humanity and need to be treated accordingly.

Israel's chief propagandist, Mark Regev, surpassed even himself when interviewed yesterday [31 May] on BBC TV.

"We did everything we could to avoid violence..."

"They [the aid workers] chose the path of confrontation…"

"This is elementary, we have to defend ourselves..."

"Our boarding party was attacked with live fire…”

"Violence was initiated by these activists..."

"The violence and the hostile fire was initiated by them... these people masquerade as human rights activists..."

"The last time they were in Gaza, this group, the first thing they did was to have their photographs taken with the Hamas leadership... "

"We didn't attack them, they attacked us..."

"We tried to do, in accordance with international law, a peaceful intervention as they were entering a blockaded area..."

He trotted out the same tired mantra about "those rockets that have rained down on Israeli civilians" with no mention of the hundreds of thousands of rockets and other explosives the Israelis have launched into Gaza and no explanation of why the West Bank, which fires no rockets, is still occupied). And his final lie? "There are no shortages in Gaza..."

I see on the Foreign Office website that consular access has been granted to the injured British citizen but not to the other Britons abducted from the flotilla. Even their number and location are withheld. This is a grave insult which, following so closely on the passports scandal, should have resulted in Ambassador Prosor being given his marching orders.

No-one, it seems, wants to talk about the central issue of maritime law, probably because it doesn’t suit the case of Israel and its adoring friends. I have just received from an eminent source a legal opinion on piracy, which I relay here, somewhat shortened and paraphrased...

If Israeli interference with the flotilla is carried out by ships flying an Israeli flag, it would not be piracy, but a violation of the right of freedom of navigation on the high seas. If no Israeli flag, then arguably piracy.

Interference with shipping beyond the so-called contiguous zone (another 12 miles beyond the 12 miles of territorial waters) would be also a violation of the freedom of the high seas, in this case aggravated if the ships in question were on a widely acknowledged humanitarian mission to break a criminally unlawful blockade.

The call by John Ging of the UN for material humanitarian relief via the freedom flotilla gives the mission a quality of being “ultra-innocent”. Israel's unilateral establishment of a 68-mile security zone, without any legitimate security basis, for the purpose of apprehension of foreign vessels is a deliberate further unlawful encroachment on the freedom of navigation on the high seas.

If Gaza is considered occupied, which is of course denied by Israel, then by Article 25 of the UN Convention of the Law of the Seas (which allows a coastal state "to take the necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage which is not innocent" and "suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security...") it has latitude to take steps in accordance with its temporary sovereign authority. However, even here Israel would have to rely on its legal status as occupying power, which it hotly denies.

As a lawyer yourself, Henry, you may have a view you wish to share. Or maybe the Foreign Office’s maritime lawyers could be asked to issue briefing notes for us poor citizens.

"Am I angry? You bet I'm angry – and disgusted with the endless posturing by cowardly politicians who are complicit in the plight of those who were once under British mandate and are now systematically half-starved, strafed, abused and forced to live in the most appalling, squalid conditions."

I took the liberty of reminding Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that ministers were alerted to Israel's threats and had ample time to prepare for the possibility – no, probability – of a bloody incident occurring. "What's needed is firm, decisive intervention. Just for a change let us see our government do us proud on the international stage."

It is interesting to note that Turkey promises an armed escort for future humanitarian flotillas. Britain should have already taken care of that.

Am I angry? You bet I'm angry – and disgusted with the endless posturing by cowardly politicians who are complicit in the plight of those who were once under British mandate and are now systematically half-starved, strafed, abused and forced to live in the most appalling, squalid conditions.

Foreign Secretary Hague has announced he is calling on the government of Israel "to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians". But these are only words, which we all know will be ignored unless matched by action.

Mr Cameron has urged Israel to respond constructively to criticism and lift its blockade on Gaza. That too is fine as far as it goes but, again, there must be consequences for Israel if it does not immediately act as required. Mr Cameron must spell out the need to comply meticulously with international law, the ruling of the International Court of Justice and the long list of UN resolutions and declarations that Israel has defied.

Until wholehearted conformity is demonstrated, Britain should play its part in ensuring Israel’s membership of the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] is revoked and the plug is pulled on the EU Association Agreement. After what is, in many minds, the rogue state’s foulest crime, Israel must now work hard to earn a place in civilized international society.

"Until wholehearted conformity is demonstrated, Britain should play its part in ensuring Israel’s membership of the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] is revoked and the plug is pulled on the EU Association Agreement. "

Talking of Prosor, instead of packing his bags he used the platform of the [BC Radio 4] “Today” programme to repeat the disinformation broadcast earlier by Regev, complaining that Israel’s storm-troopers, abseiling from helicopters under cover of darkness onto innocent vessels on the high seas, had to defend themselves from “extremists”. The right of self-defence, it seems, belongs only to Israel. Here is some of the desperate stuff he was spouting:

“The people on board the ships behaved appallingly…”

“People on board, they weren’t really looking for co-operation, they were
trying to confront…”

“Hit with metal pipes, fire bombs and knife blades…”

“We disengaged completely out of Gaza…”

“We are up against people who are not exactly human rights activists…”

“We are trying ,,, not to go overboard in our reaction…”

“We are trying … to create a situation where we are able to talk to more moderates and trying to isolate those extremists…”

“The other side, they really did everything in order to provoke and confront…”

“On the West Bank the economic figures are looking really, really good…”

Finally, could someone in government please explain why we have heard nothing of the Palestinian view in our mainstream media? The Palestinian ambassador in London is supposed to speak for all Palestinians including those trapped and brought to their knees in Gaza. Why hasn’t our state broadcaster, the BBC, provided a balanced picture by including the voice of those robbed of the humanitarian aid that was seized by Israel?

Just before sending this I was reading reports in [the Israeli newspaper] Haaretz from some of the aid workers who were released. They say others still detained were badly beaten by the Israelis and everyone had their cameras, phones, laptops and other personal items stolen.

Nice “allies”.

Henry, you are no longer the opposition, you are the real thing. And if you are the decent man I've always thought you to be, then you must please do what you can in your new role to inject some steel into the wobbly backbone of Westminster.

Kind regards,

Stuart Littlewood

Punish North Korea! Who sank the Cheonan?

Christopher King suggests that the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on 26 March was an American false flag operation aimed at creating a dispute with China to use as a pretext to raise barriers to Chinese imports, suspend interest payments on US debt held by the Chinese and force Beijing to revalue the renminbi to reduce China’s trading advantages.

Hillary Clinton, who seems to do nothing but threaten other countries, wants the international community to join with the US in punishing North Korea. We need to put our brains into gear here. The whole point of our carrying a brain is to enable us to remember the past, understand new events and predict the future. This is projection – a simple, effective means of forecasting and an essential technique to survival. So what do we know to this point?

A South Korean naval boat, the Cheonan, has sunk through an explosion. The first report from the South Korean news agency Yonhap was of two items:
  • The South Korean navy shot at an unidentified ship in the direction of north
  • A ship in the same area was sinking after a possible torpedo attack

Subsequently, a naval spokesmen said:

  • The Cheonan had sunk with loss of 46 lives
  • Another South Korean ship had fired shells at a flock of birds that it had thought to be a North Korean ship that had torpedoed the Cheonan

One might well imagine that the second South Korean ship, the Cheonan’s sister ship, the Sokcho, had fired on and sunk the Cheonan. This gunfire by the Sokcho is very curious. Is radar these days still so primitive that it cannot distinguish between a flock of birds and a ship? Did the Sokcho fire a torpedo at what it imagined to be an enemy ship?

There are reports that a joint South Korean-American naval exercise was in progress at that time. Is this the case? Where were the American ships or submarines? There are also reports that early internet items and photographs have been censored by the government.

The timing of the Sokcho’s gunfire has not been made known relative to the explosion that sank the Cheonan. The Cheonan explosion is precisely timed at 9:21:58 p.m. by the South Korean Geophysical Institute which detected the shock waves but the navy kept changing its time between 9:22 and 9:45 for several days. Can the time of the Sokcho’s gunfire be independently confirmed? It seems extraordinary that the Sokcho opened fire on an unidentified target.

There are some on-line images of the Cheonan sinking but not of the explosion. The images are apparently from an automatic infra-red coastal monitoring video so it is not clear why this is the case. The government says that other images are not helpful and has not released them.

For some weeks speculation centred on the possibility of the Cheonan striking a mine from previous conflicts while not ruling out a North Korean attack. The US then produced some well-corroded junk from a torpedo that looks as if it has been in the sea for a year or more. Photographs show the edges of the alloy propellers scalloped with corrosion. From a single Korean character on a piece of metal the US has accused North Korea of sinking the Cheonan.

"We will recall the lies about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programme, chemical and biological weapons and mobile chemical factories in justification of the Iraq war that killed one million persons and created four to five million refugees."

Explosive residues found on the Cheonan when it was raised, are of German origin. How this relates to a North Korean torpedo or one of Russian or Chinese origin is not clear.

Now, the United States is in command of South Korea’s armed forces – as it is NATO. Any information that we are given by the military is what the US wants us to have, and we have experience of this.

We will recall the lies about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programme, chemical and biological weapons and mobile chemical factories in justification of the Iraq war that killed one million persons and created four to five million refugees.

We currently hear a stream of accusations that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme, contrary to the views of the US’s own security services and without foundation in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection reports. As in the case of the CIA coup against the Mossadeq government, the US is attempting to justify invasion and seizure of the Iranian oilfields. There’s worse.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Israelis attempted to sink the USS Liberty during the 1967 Israeli pre-emptive war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, with the loss of 34 American lives and 173 wounded. The White House recalled US aircraft that were sent to rescue the Liberty and its crew were threatened and warned not to talk about the attack. This was evidently a botched false-flag operation intended to blame Arab countries and justify US intervention. There’s even worse.

In 1962 the US Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared plans for “Operation Northwoods” or “‘The Cuba Project” as a pretext for the invasion of Cuba. Documentation is in the National Security Archive at George Washinton University. This was a false flag operation that proposed, among other things, planting plastic bombs on the US mainland, shooting anti-Castro Cubans in Florida, sinking a boatload of Cubans and using a US aircraft disguised as a Soviet fighter, to shoot down an airliner flying from the US over Cuba. For the last, “The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons…” This plan was presented to the White House but was not implemented. It demonstrates US thinking, however.

"There can be no doubt that the United States government is perfectly willing to undertake false flag operations as well as other practices such as aggressive warfare, kidnapping, torture, assassination, killing on the word of informers, imprisonment without charge, false evidence, hiding evidence, destruction of evidence – the list is endless."

Immediately prior to the Iraq war, George Bush proposed to create an incident by flying a US aircraft disguised as a UN aircraft either in the hope of the Iraqis shooting it down or for the US itself to shoot it down as a cause for war against Saddam. In a rare outbreak of conscience or failure of nerve, Anthony Blair allegedly dissuaded Bush from this.

There can be no doubt that the United States government is perfectly willing to undertake false flag operations as well as other practices such as aggressive warfare, kidnapping, torture, assassination, killing on the word of informers, imprisonment without charge, false evidence, hiding evidence, destruction of evidence – the list is endless. It is now impossible to think of an illegal practice that the US government does not undertake.

An interesting departure from the US originating death and destruction is a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine. The opinion of the security printing industry is that for many years the CIA has been printing US dollars at a location in the US and using them to finance its operations. The banknotes are considered by the industry to be of such high quality that countries such as North Korea, that the US has from time to time accused of printing them, would not have the capability. North Korea evidently does not have the ability to print its own currency. We should probably add international forgery to the US’s crimes.

I suggest that the sinking of the Cheonan is an American false flag operation aimed not at North Korea but at China. In studying American behaviour we must look past immediate behaviour to see how it fits into America’s strategic plans. Just as the Georgian war with South Ossetia was a provocation of Russia, the Cheonan sinking is probably aimed at putting pressure on China to take action that it does not wish to take. The US would like a serious dispute with China in order to:

1. Raise barriers to Chinese imports in order to revive manufacturing in the US.

2. Suspend interest payments on US debt held by the Chinese.

3. Force the Chinese to revalue the renminbi to reduce China’s trading advantages.

As I have explained in the article “The mystery of the Afghanistan war”, the US economy is in terminal decline. The US strategic response is to:

1. Dominate Europe through its military bases and NATO, both to parasitize its economy and prevent European economic integration with Russia.

2. By creating disputes, recover value-added jobs from Asia and in particular, China.

3. Seize the Middle Eastern oilfields in order to monopolize the world’s major sources of exportable energy.

The US ideal is a new cold war situation in which Russia and China are economically “contained”. Unfortunately, most UK politicians appear to be too stupid to think strategically if my own Member of Parliament, Richard Ottaway, is typical. Alternatively, they might have been bribed as Anthony Blair was or might have Israeli or Zionist connections and will support the US for that reason. Europe is committing suicide in attaching to the United States and the US-commanded NATO. Its current financial problems are partly for this reason.

"There is no good reason for North Korea to attack and sink a South Korean ship. It has been speculated that this has been done to 'get attention'. This is out of character and the wrong sort of attention... Sinking the Cheonan ... cannot possibly lead to any benefit."

There is no good reason for North Korea to attack and sink a South Korean ship. It has been speculated that this has been done to “get attention”. This is out of character and the wrong sort of attention. The North Koreans like provocations such as a rocket or nuclear test that show that they are dangerous but do no actual harm. It demonstrates that they have something to bargain with in order to get benefits, for example oil or food, both of which they need. Sinking the Cheonan is not a bargaining move. It cannot possibly lead to any benefit. For this reason and because of America’s proven record of lies and willingness to undertake false flag operations, even involving deaths, it is most likely that the Americans, not the North Koreans, sank the Cheonan. The American economy is in desperate straits and American militarism reflects this.

The US is clearly engaged in a programme of using the United Nations in order to further its own political and economic objectives, initially centred on the Middle Eastern oilfields but also involving Europe, Russia and China. Its actions only make sense if viewed within a strategic framework of what benefits the United States, not its fictions that it is fostering democracy, acting as world policeman or fighting terrorism. The United States itself, with its foreign bases, armies and the CIA, is the world terrorist.

Japan has found that it cannot get the US Futenma base moved off Okinawa. Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Belgium have asked the US to remove its nuclear weapons from Europe. The US has refused this, saying that it is a NATO matter, not one for individual countries.

Cuba, which hosts the Guantanamo base and torture facility, has had the same experience. The US is in violation of the base lease by constructing a prison on Cuban territory, to say nothing of a centre for kidnapping and torture. Indeed, why should any country be forced to host the base of a country that has over many years openly attempted to overthrow its government and assassinate its president? Legal opinion is against the US but as the world has learned the US despises international law.

As far as the United Kingdom and Europe are concerned, the US would be a wonderful ally to have – at a certain distance. We need to have the US remove its bases from Europe and to create a unified European defence force that is not under US control as NATO is. We would call for our US ally’s assistance if we should need it.

The solution to the problem of North Korea is simple: Stop the macho eyeballing; move all military forces in the south a kilometre or two back from the border. Open the border to the north to all visitors and immigrants according to normal criteria. Manage the border posts with the usual border officials and civil police. Permit any commerce that can be paid for by either side. In other words, unilaterally normalize relations. The Northern regime will not last five years and probably considerably less.

As it happens, South Koreans do not regard the North to be the enemies that the US does. They consider themselves to be one fraternal country and want unification as East and West Germany did. Some of us can remember the trouble that the open border caused the Walter Ulbricht regime. If you do not know who he was do not bother looking him up. He was merely a lackey, now best forgotten, as Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton will be.

Is BP trying to cap the Gulf oil well, or keep it flowing?

Today, I spent my time interviewing people on the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Louisiana. Several of those interviews were conducted on camera, and you'll be seeing those videos as early as tomorrow here on NaturalNews.

Interestingly, it turns out that a lot of the people living on the Gulf Coast have a history of working with oil companies -- and even on oil rigs. I spoke to several people who have a work history with BP, and two of them told me they are certain that British Petroleum is NOT trying to stop the oil coming out of the well. What they are trying to do, I was told, is SAVE the oil well so that they can capture the oil and sell it.

This claim stands in direct contradiction to what BP says. The company insists it's trying to stop the flow of oil from the well. But if you look at BP's actions, what they're really trying to do is siphon off the gushing oil where it can be pumped to a tanker ship and sold as crude. It is a simple matter, by the way, for oil companies to separate water from oil. They do it all the time in oil fields all across America. So if they can siphon off the oil from the Deepwater Horizon well -- even if it's mixed with water -- they can sell it for potentially billions of dollars.

It raises the question: Is the economic promise of captured oil causing BP to avoid using its best effort to cap the well?

Tapping, not capping

Notice that the new device they're lowering onto the well is designed not to close it off but to pump the oil to an awaiting ship. This is a plan to "capture" the oil, not to seal off the well.

The mainstream media hasn't picked up on this yet, by the way. To my knowledge, no one is yet reporting this story that BP may have never had any intention of actually capping the deep sea well.

We already know BP has been extremely dishonest with the media about this entire situation. By distorting the truth and lying to the public, BP has lost all credibility with almost everyone (Governors, Senators, journalists, etc.). So how can we trust that BP is actually trying to cap this well when there's so much money to be made from allowing it to keep spilling oil that can soon be captured?

In other words, it's in BP's financial interests to avoid capping the well and claim the well can't be capped when, in reality, what they may be trying to do is buy more time until they can lower a "capture containment device" onto the well head that can direct all the outflowing crude oil to BP's awaiting tanker ships.

In talking to the people face to face here on Gulf Coast, I learned that Gulf Coast people don't trust BP, and they don't trust the company's intentions. Today was the first I had heard of the BP agenda to "keep the well flowing" yet suddenly this theory makes sense. BP, after all, went through all the trouble and expense to drill the well. Why wouldn't they want to cash in on the crude oil coming out of it?

To collapse the well and plug it for good would destroy BP's chance to siphon off oil and sell it for profit (until at least August, when the pressure relief wells are expected to be completed). And that is perhaps the single most important reason why oil is still flowing out of that well right now.

As one person I interviewed today put it, "Why should a British petroleum company care about what happens to America's shores?" After all, the financial payoffs to the businesses hurt by the spill may pale in comparison to the billions of dollars in profit to be had from tapping -- not capping -- the well and turning crude oil into raw cash.

There will be more to this story. Let's see if the mainstream media picks up on this angle.

By the way, I don't yet have conclusive proof that BP's intentions are to avoid capping this well. It's just a working theory based on people I've talked to here on the Gulf Coast who appear to know what they're talking about. BP would obviously deny this, but then again BP has denied many things that we know to be true (like the fact that the beach cleanup crews specifically cleaned the beach on Grand Isle before Obama showed up, then left promptly as soon as he left).

If you haven't yet, check out my CounterThink Cartoon on the BP oil spill.

Also, watch for video interviews with the people on the Gulf Coast. We'll be publishing them here on NaturalNews starting as early as tomorrow.

I'm headed to New Orleans tomorrow to check out the local scene there and see what else I can find out by talking to the locals on the front lines.

Warner Bros. Sued for Pirating Anti-Piracy Technology

Warner Bros. has been sued by a German technology firm which claims the movie and television production company pirated its anti-piracy technology.

German firm Medien Patent Verwaltung claims that in 2003, it revealed a new kind of anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. that marks films with specific codes so pirated copies can be traced back to their theaters of origin. But like a great, hilariously-ironic DRM Ouroborus, the company claims that Warner began using the system throughout Europe in 2004 but hasn't actually paid a dime for it.

"We disclosed our anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. in 2003 at their request, under strict confidentiality, expecting to be treated fairly," the company said in a statement. "Instead, they started using our technology extensively without our permission and without any accounting to us."

Medien Patent Verwaltung originally claimed that Warner was infringing on patent 7,187,633, called "Motion Picture and Anti-Piracy Coding," but as The Hollywood Reporter discovered, the patent going by that particular name actually bears a different number and is held by none other than Warner Bros. MPV's attorney in New York acknowledged the error and said that the suit will be refiled with the proper information.

Which has no bearing on the question at hand: Is Warner Bros. using pirated anti-piracy technology? This one could be fun to watch.

BP Cites Broken Disk in 'Top Kill' Failure

WASHINGTON—BP PLC has concluded that its "top-kill" attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.

The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP officials said. The rig sank two days later, triggering a leak that has since become the worst in U.S. history.

The broken disk may have prevented the heavy drilling mud injected into the well last week from getting far enough down the well to overcome the pressure from the escaping oil and gas, people familiar with BP's findings said. They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.

As a result, BP wasn't able to get sufficient pressure to keep the oil and gas at bay. If they had been able to build up sufficient pressure, the company had hoped to pump in cement and seal off the well. The effort was deemed a failure on Saturday.

BP started the top-kill effort Wednesday afternoon, shooting heavy drilling fluids into the broken valve known as a blowout preventer. The mud was driven by a 30,000 horsepower pump installed on a ship at the surface. But it was clear from the start that a lot of the "kill mud" was leaking out instead of going down into the well.

BP tried to get around that problem with a series of "junk shots," in which materials like shredded rubber tires, pieces of rope and golf balls were fired in to clog holes in the valve. BP said that despite pumping more than 30,000 barrels of mud in three attempts at rates of as much as 80 barrels a minute, the operation "did not overcome the flow from the well."

The administration told BP on Saturday to halt the top-kill procedure, after becoming "very concerned" that the operation was putting too much pressure on the out-of-control well.

With the failure of its "top kill" effort, BP has begun the risky step of cutting off a bent pipe into the well and trying to cap it.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said Tuesday that BP was making its first major cut with super sheers that weigh about 46,000 pounds and resemble a giant garden tool. The company will also use a powerful diamond-edged cutter to try to make a clean cut above the blowout preventer, then will lower a cap over it with a rubber seal.

It could be as many as three days before the oil can be siphoned to the surface, Adm. Allen said.

Carol Browner, a top adviser to President Barack Obama, said she doesn't want to guess the prospects for success when BP tries to use the containment cap. Interviewed Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," the White House energy and global warming czar said, "I don't want to put odds on it. ... We want to get this thing contained."

More on the Spill

See graphics covering how the spill happened, what's being done to stop it, and the impact on the region.

Ms. Browner said "everyone, I think, is hoping for the best, but we continue to plan for the worst." She said she's concerned about the impact the hurricane season could have on ending the environmental crisis.

Meanwhile, "Avatar" and "Titanic" director, James Cameron, joined a group of scientists and other experts who met Tuesday with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for a brainstorming session on stopping the massive oil leak.

The Canadian-born director is considered an expert on underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration again expanded the area of the Gulf that is closed to fishing because of the spill.

NOAA said its announcement Tuesday coincides with the opening of the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season and will affect some areas targeted by charter boat captains and private anglers. It kept the door open on possibly extending the end of the season, which is set to close July 24.

The closed area now covers 75,920 square miles, or slightly more than 31% of federal waters in the Gulf. It was extended from nearly 26% of the Gulf to include a slick moving into waters off eastern Alabama and the western tip of the Florida panhandle, as well as some large patches of sheen moving onto the west Florida shelf and southward to Cuban waters.

NOAA has banned fishing in these areas to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. It is working with the Food and Drug Administration to implement a broad seafood sampling plan, which includes sampling seafood from inside and outside the closure area and at docksides and markets.

—Joan E. Solsman and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

It's Official - Another BP Failure - Efforts To End Flow From BP Well Are Over, Coast Guard Says

BP Plc has given up trying to plug its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico any sooner than August, laying out a series of steps to pipe the oil to the surface and ship it ashore for refining, said Thad Allen, the U.S. government’s national commander for the incident.

Undersea robots began sawing away damaged pipe today, preparing for the first of those attempts, Allen said today at a press conference in New Orleans. The new strategy, which is subject to disruption by tropical storms and hurricanes, will continue until relief wells being drilled can plug the damaged well from the bottom, he said.

That will happen no earlier than August. BP on May 30 said its “top kill” attempt to plug the well with mud and rubber scrap had failed.

BP will try to install a snug-fitting “top cap” over the gusher within 24 hours to 48 hours once the robots complete severing the pipe. To get a good seal, BP needs a clean cut at the top of the blowout preventer, a five-story stack of valves that failed to prevent an April 20 blowout that killed 11 people and started the spill, Allen said. Should the jet of oil and gas drive the cap aside, another cap designed to let more oil escape will be tried, Allen said.

“We’re talking about containing the well,” Allen said. “We don’t want to restrict the pressure or flow down that well bore because I don’t think we know the condition of it after the top kill.”

Relief Wells

The drilling of a second relief well resumed May 30, Allen said. It had been suspended for several days as BP and government officials, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, weighed whether to use the rig that was drilling it to install a second blowout preventer atop the damaged one. BP decided not to, Allen said.

The odds of success for installing the oil-capturing system are better than the 60 percent to 70 percent chances the company gave for the top kill attempt that failed May 29, BP Managing Director Robert Dudley said on NBC’s “Today” show. Cutting the pipe may temporarily boost the flow of oil into the Gulf by as much as 20 percent, Dudley said on CBS’s “Early Show.”

BP fell the most in 18 years in London trading today after top kill failed to plug the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Top kill was an effort to pump fluids into the well to hold back the oil and gas long enough to allow a cement seal to stop the flow. BP is now trying to capture the oil, estimated by government scientists last week at 12,000 barrels to 19,000 barrels a day, while it drills two relief wells to permanently stop the leak.

‘Risks Are Lower’

“This is a lower-risk activity than what we were doing with the top kill,” Dudley said of the cap. “We’ve gone down this path because the risks are lower. The engineering, while not simple, is certainly simpler than what we were trying with the top kill.”

Video on BP’s oil-spill website showed a circular saw making preliminary cuts on a smaller pipe that’s part of the riser, the cluster of lines that once extended from the well to the drilling rig, said Jon Pack, a BP spokesman. Shears were already grasping the riser, he said.

BP fell 63.35 pence, or 12.8 percent, to 431.45 pence at 3:39 p.m. in London, the biggest drop since 1992. The company has dropped 34 percent since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20.

Disappointed Hopes

“The market had hoped they’d get it under control and they haven’t,” Peter Hitchens, an analyst for Panmure Gordon UK Ltd. in London, said today in a telephone interview. Hitchens rates the stock at “buy” and owns none. “Clearly, the damages and costs are going to go up.”

President Barack Obama will meet today with the co-chairs of his oil-spill commission and then give a statement, according to a schedule provided by the administration.

BP plans “in a couple of weeks” to reverse the system of pipes and hoses that injected mud into the well for top kill, achieving another route to storage on the surface, he said. As part of the top-kill effort, BP had to remove a tube from the riser that was capturing as much as 6,100 barrels a day from the well.

Engineers also are working on a free-standing riser pipe to be installed later this month that would allow tankers to take on oil, Dudley said. That equipment would include a quick- disconnect coupling so tankers could depart ahead of a hurricane, Dudley said on CNN today. Hurricane season starts in the Gulf today.

Changing Winds

Southwest winds predicted this week would push oil from the well to a wider area of the U.S. coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a May 31 statement on its website.

“Results indicate that oil may move north to threaten the barrier islands off Mississippi and Alabama later in the forecast period,” the agency said. As of yesterday, the Unified Area Command in Robert, Louisiana, reported oil along 100 miles (161 kilometers) of Louisiana coastline.

BP has spent $990 million on the spill response, according to a statement today. The company has paid $39.4 million in damage claims as of May 31, the unified command for the spill response reported yesterday. BP reported 30,619 claims and has denied none, it said.

BP needs the equivalent of a lottery win to succeed with its first attempt with a relief well, David Rensink, president- elect of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, said in an interview.

Permanent Seal

The relief well aims to intercept the damaged hole at an angle thousands of feet below the seabed and permanently close it with heavy mud and cement. The method is the surest way for BP to end the largest oil spill in U.S. history, yet initial failure is “almost a certainty,” Rensink said.

“What you’re doing is trying to intersect a well bore that is probably roughly a foot across with another well that is about a foot across,” he said. “It’s a hit-or-miss sort of thing. Ultimately the relief well will work. It’s just a matter of time, of continuing to poke at it until you intersect it.”

Vatican bank under scrutiny

VATICAN CITY - ITALIAN prosecutors are investigating the Vatican bank on suspicion of involvement in money laundering, La Repubblica daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) and 10 Italian banks, including major institutions such as Intesa San Saolo and Unicredit, were the target of the investigation.

'The hypothesis of the investigators is that subjects with their fiscal residence in Italy are using the IOR as a 'screen' to hide different dealings, such as fraud or tax evasion,' the paper said.

The IOR manages bank accounts for religious orders and Catholic associations and benefits from Vatican offshore status.

Investigators have uncovered transactions of around 180 million euros (S$310 million) over a two-year period in one of the accounts held at the IOR.

In September 2009 the IOR nominated a new chief executive, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Spanish banking giant Santander's representative in Italy. US archbishop Paul Marcinkus headed up the bank in 1971-1989 during which time it was caught up in scandals including the collapse of the private Italian bank, Banco Ambrosiano in 1982 amid accusations of links to the mafia and political terrorism. -- AFP

The Enemies of Humanity Expose Themselves Again

The recent storming by Israeli state terrorists of a Turkish humanitarian aid ship Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing of twenty people during the illegal seizure, and subsequent kidnapping of nearly seven hundred passengers, is yet another of numerous Israeli operations that have highlighted the essence of Zionism and its utter disregard for humanity.

The massacre of Turks and Arabs defending themselves from an unwarranted attack aboard the humanitarian aid ship was the consequence of a seriously botched operation that has certainly achieved the opposite of its intent. It demonstrates both the arrogance and sloppiness of those master terrorists who planned it, since it derived from various miscalculations. Not only were many of the passengers aboard the main ship awake and vigilant, even though it was during the wee hours of the morning and the ship was roughly 100 km offshore in international waters, but the military operation, using helicopters, was indeed being simultaneously broadcast by journalists to Turkish and Arabic television viewers through a live satellite feed. Within hours, millions of other people around the world could watch the recorded videos directly on their laptops, of the killers dropping from the Israeli helicopter.

The evidence that the operational planners did not anticipate that the Turkish ship was equipped with a direct satellite link to broadcast the attack for all to see derives from the basic fact, that perpetrators do not relish their crimes broadcast in real time, coupled with the fact that the live broadcast came through. Apparently, there were no applicable jamming attempts, nor were the Israeli operatives monitoring the Turkish television media to get a clue that their terror event was being broadcast live on air. The natural consequence was emotional outrage and almost immediate mass demonstrations in Turkey followed later in other major cities such as Athens, Paris, and London, where many people are surely also aware, at some level, that the current economic crisis affecting them is a consequence of blatant misdeeds by eight prominent and powerful Zionist Jews in America (Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Timothy Geithner, Maurice Greenberg, Lloyd Blankfein, and Richard Fuld). That is to say, public outrage is accumulating amidst a discernible pattern of the usual suspects displaying contemptible hubris toward the general population.

Video cameras, held by reporters or amateurs, installed at hotels and airports, or inside mobile phones, tend to be ubiquitous nowadays. Earlier this year, during the course of a Mossad assassination operation at a luxury hotel in Dubai, images of the Israeli perpetrators were eventually broadcast around the world, though not in real time. The planners of this operation must have assumed in that case, that their victims were simply too stupid to discover, much less reconstruct the phases of, their conspiratorial plot. Similarly, the planners of the Israeli military operation of destruction in southern Lebanon must have assumed that Hezbollah was too disorganized and unsophisticated to have deployed fiber optic cables for their communications network, not subject to eavesdropping or jamming measures. This miscalculation ultimately gave the Hezbollah defenders the tactical edge on the battlefield that forced an Israeli retreat.

Whereas more than twenty years ago it was still possible for Israeli operatives to stage a false-flag event, such as the bombing of the PanAm jumbo jet over Scotland, without the public in the western world catching on, today, thanks to modern technologies and the Internet, many millions of people are no longer fooled by the insidious Jewish propaganda machine.

By now it is widely understood by millions of well-informed people throughout the world, that the attack on the World Trade Center by aircraft and the controlled implosion of three of the buildings using nano-thermite explosives was part of an elaborate Israeli operation. (The attack on lower Manhattan was thoroughly a Zionist operation, masterminded from Israel, with highly placed Jews in the media, among other places, actively participating in the subsequent cover-up.)

The masterminds of that spectacular operation certainly could not anticipate, more than a decade ago, the widespread availability of broadband Internet service in conjunction with the phenomenon of video file sharing and online blogging, along with the intelligence of thousands of people capable of analyzing slow motion video images and making logical inferences, shared with millions of others. Notwithstanding pervasive control over traditional motion picture, print, and broadcast media in America and elsewhere by Zionist Jews, who cultivate a strong emotional affinity to Israel, the facts, such as they are, can no longer be contained, due to modern technology, particularly the Internet.

A common thread in these instances of Israeli terror operations, cited above, including their inherent miscalculations, is the Talmudic based sense of Jewish supremacy, coupled with utter contempt for non-Jews. This sociopathic attitude is once again evident by the official public relation attempts to blame the victims for the crimes of the perpetrators. This is often accompanied by oblique innuendo invoking the conventional but increasingly discredited Holocaust narrative. Such behavior, of constant, habitual lying and bullying, insults the intelligence and dignity of millions of people, but appears to be a perpetual phenomenon throughout Jewish cultural history.

Zionism and support for Israel is merely the most expedient mechanism for attempting to attain the utopian goal of Jewish supremacy and domination, truly a lunatic fantasy, entertained by the enemies of humanity. To the extent that ordinary Jews not directly affiliated with the odious Zionist power nexus nonetheless express their support for Israel or provide apologies for its criminal actions in light of the continually emerging evidence, by extension or through their tacit complicity, they too risk becoming widely regarded as enemies of humanity by an informed and outraged population.

Fuck the troops!

Back when I was a long-haired hippy freak with a hand-scrawled peace symbol on his jacket holding signs up in protest of Gulf War I, the Orlando peace activist organizer types would always enjoin us in preparing for rallies, protests or other events thus:

“Oppose the war; support the troops.”

The idea had a certain strategic logic to it. Our opinion was a minority one, and offending the millions with military members in their families or otherwise close to them didn’t seem like a terribly bright way of getting the peace message across. We also somewhat accepted the logic that the people in the military had signed up to defend America; that they were being sent to a criminal war for profit on the other side of the globe wasn’t really their fault, they’d been hoodwinked.

So, all of those well thought out banner ideas like “US Military: Millions of Murderers in Uniform” were left aside so that we might more effectively get the peace message across and avoid offending anyone’s precious sensibilities. We stuck instead to our peace signs and our rainbows and our doves and our “No blood for oil” lines. We endured the taunts from the counter-protests: “My country, right or wrong!” “America, love it or leave it!” “Traitors!” and so on. And we gingerly protested in our carefully cordoned-off free speech zones or under city permit permission, got ourselves in the papers and all cried together and lit candles as the radio reports started coming in of the missiles and bombs striking Baghdad. And, of course, none of it made a damned bit of difference.

credit: wardolino @

credit: wardolino @

It always bothered me, though, this “support the troops” idea. Sure, it was a smart strategic play, but in stark conflict to the rest of what we thought we were doing. We were here to bring the truth to an ignorant, deluded or sleeping public, and the whole truth, nothing but. That truth must have necessarily included the realization that these amorphous “troops” we were enjoined to support were actually individual, thinking, morally responsible men and women. It must have included the knowledge that each and every “troop” currently engaged in mass murder in our names had volunteered. And we knew, as they should have, that the murderous, destructive, obscene organization they volunteered to serve, hadn’t conducted a legitimate “defense of America” since at least WWII, and maybe as far back as the War of 1812, depending on whose Pearl Harbor narrative you believe.

They weren’t conscripted, they weren’t shanghaied, they weren’t tricked into signing up and donning the uniform and picking up the gun. They sought out the role, they agreed to follow orders, they signed the papers, and nowhere along the way did they somehow become transformed from individual human beings, morally responsible for their individual acts of violence and destruction into those collectively romanticized “troops”. Some small number said, “I didn’t sign up for this,” and did the only moral thing possible, which was to desert. The rest marched freely onto the planes and ships and deployed, the willing agents of empire. Certainly in many, the thought was there afterward: “We didn’t sign up for that,” but still they went, perhaps finding their own moral cover in the notion they’d been tricked. Likely, most found no moral problem with going at all.

Even today, the “support the troops” mentality is embedded in the tactics and rhetoric of the organized anti-war movement, implicitly or explicitly. It’s considered bad form to condemn the American armed services en masse for their self-subjugation to the American empire’s war machine.

another victim of empire

another victim of empire

Unlike Gulf War I, though, Gulf War II, freshly turned five years old, is an occupation. It is an obviously immoral war launched on the flimsiest of concocted excuses and conducted with the most sinister of aims. The history of Gulf War I, the suffering inflicted on Iraq by a decade of sanctions, the horror of depleted uranium weapons residues and unexploded landmines and other ordnance from the first attack should have made it obvious to anyone that a crime had been committed there. A massive, inexcusable, inhuman, monstrous, treasonous crime.

And yet, most of the military personnel that have served in the current conflict up to the present weren’t in the military for the first. They signed up, willingly. If they didn’t know the history of what the US military actually did for the prior fifty years, flag-waving nonsense and Cold War turned War on Terror hysteria aside, their foolishness should not excuse them. If they learned nothing from the lessons of Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon or other places that the empire had been sticking its nose and its guns into, well, we should let neither ignorance nor willful blindness be an excuse. Unjust, illegal wars do not just happen by themselves. They are the sum total of millions of individual decisions by millions of individually responsible people to obey, topped by whatever dark cabal is giving the orders for the week.

Further, probably close to half or more of those still in Iraq today signed up after the war’s justifications had evaporated, after the stories of casual murder, collective punishment and institutionalized torture were already splashed on television screens and across newspaper headlines worldwide. They, especially, should have known better.

So, I will not support the troops. In fact, fuck the troops! Each and every US serviceperson today who is not deserting, refusing to follow orders or turning their weapons on their commanders is, in fact, a criminal, and one for whom we should feel neither sympathy nor pity, let alone the specious solidarity of “support the troops” when it’s those same “troops” who are carrying out slaughter, destruction and torture in our name.

credit: wardolino @

credit: wardolino @

At the same time, fuck all those who support the troops! If history, recent or ancient, hasn’t been sufficient to educate you on the true nature of war and the true nature of the predatory, inhuman power you seem so eager to serve, then damn you for your stupidity, damn you for your ignorance, damn you for your blindness, damn you for your fallacious morality. And this goes not only for every family member or friend of someone serving in the US military today who is NOT insistently urging their child or husband or wife or friend to desert or disobey, it goes also for every federal employee and for every shareholder and employee from janitor to CEO of the military-industrial-terrorism complex and the companies that comprise it: Blackwater, Halliburton, Boeing, General Dynamics, Allied-Signal, Unisys, Westinghouse, DynCorp, Exxon, Hewlett-Packard, EDS, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, Hughes, KBR, Kearfott, Lockheed-Martin, McDonnell Douglas, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Shell, AT&T, Sikorsky, United Technologies and all the rest. There is blood on your hands, real human blood — lives taken, families shattered, homes destroyed, crops ruined, populations displaced, tortures committed, atrocities sanctioned, all facilitated by your unthinking, odious, ignorant, unconscionable support.

This essay is in part a response to the writings of Arthur Silber, in a piece entitled “The Honor of Being Human: Why Do You Support?

credit: vredevanutrecht @ flickr

credit: vredevanutrecht @ flickr

In concluding, he states:

The Bush administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for.

I repeat once more: these horrors are now what the United States stands for. Thus, for every adult American, the question is not, “Why do you obey?” but:

Why do you support?

Or will you refuse to give your support? Will you say, “No”? These are the paramount questions at this moment in history, and in the life of the United States. We all must answer them. Our honor, our humanity, and our souls lie in the balance.

No, Arthur, I will not support.

PS: Moderation is off. Let your hatred flow. Give in to the dark side.

BP stock tumbles as feds announce oil-spill probes

NEW ORLEANS – BP's stock plummeted and took much of the market down with it Tuesday as the federal government announced criminal and civil investigations into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP engineers, meanwhile, tried to recover from a failed attempt to stop the gusher with an effort that will initially make the leak worse.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who was visiting the Gulf to survey the fragile coastline and meet with state and federal prosecutors, would not say who might be targeted in the probes into the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

"We will closely examine the actions of those involved in the spill. If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be extremely forceful in our response," Holder said in New Orleans.

BP's stock nose-dived on Tuesday, losing nearly 15 percent of its value on the first trading day since the previous best option — the so-called "top kill" — failed and was aborted at the government's direction. It dipped steeply with Holder's late-afternoon announcement, which also sent other energy stocks tumbling, ultimately causing the Dow Jones industrial average to tumble 112.

After six weeks of failures to block the well or divert the oil, BP was using robotic machines to carve into the twisted appendages of the crippled well. The latest attempt involved using tools resembling an oversized deli slicer and garden shears to break away the broken riser pipe so engineers can then position a cap over the well's opening.

Even if it succeeds, it will temporarily increase the flow of an already massive leak by 20 percent — at least 100,000 gallons more a day. And it is far from certain that BP will be able to cap a well that one expert compared to an out-of-control fire hydrant.

"It is an engineer's nightmare," said Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University professor of environmental sciences. "They're trying to fit a 21-inch cap over a 20-inch pipe a mile away. That's just horrendously hard to do. It's not like you and I standing on the ground pushing — they're using little robots to do this."

The operation has never been performed in such deep water, and is similar to an earlier failed attempt that used a larger cap that quickly froze up. BP PLC officials said they were applying lessons learned from the earlier effort, and plan to pump warm water through pipes into the smaller dome to prevent any icing problems.

"If all goes as planned, within about 24 hours we could have this contained," BP's Doug Suttles said Tuesday after touring a temporary housing facility set up for cleanup workers in Grand Isle. "But we can't guarantee success."

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and eventually collapsing into the Gulf of Mexico, an estimated 20 million to 40 million gallons of oil has spewed, eclipsing the 11 million that leaked from the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Oil has fouled many fishing areas and miles of ecologically sensitive coastline. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said oil from the spill was found in his state for the first time, on a barrier island, and newly expanded federal restrictions mean that nearly a third of federal waters are closed to fishing.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered the co-chairmen of an independent commission investigating the spill to thoroughly examine the disaster, "to follow the facts wherever they lead, without fear or favor." The commission is led by Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator, and William K. Reilly, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Holder said the laws under review for the criminal and civil probes include the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act. He said the government would pursue criminal charges "if warranted," a caveat he did not include for civil action.

"We will ensure that every cent, every cent of taxpayer money, will be repaid and that damage to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed," he said.