Sunday, June 13, 2010

Terrorism: Made in the U.S.A.

It’s a perilous world, as our so-called leaders love to remind us. And for a change they’re right. It is a perilous world. But guess who is most responsible for the peril to Americans? Those very same “leaders” and a long line of predecessors.

Moreover, they — along with anyone else who takes time to examine the matter — know that they create the greatest dangers Americans face. They just don’t care. They have bigger fish to fry than keeping Americans safe. Besides, the dangers they create provide excuses for more power.

Let’s just say what many people already know: the “war on terrorism” produces terrorists. No half-intelligent person could think that U.S. treatment of the Muslim world could have any effect other than to produce violent, vengeful anti-Americanism. Even in the government-friendly mainstream media you will find the facts, though you’ll have to connect the dots yourself.

When you treat people like they are worthless, or help others to treat them that way, some of those people will get mad and vow to get even. If desperate enough they will even be willing to give their lives to the cause.

Isn’t this already obvious? For over 50 years U.S. administrations, for the sake of geopolitical hegemony and preferential access to resources, have treated much of the Muslim world like personal property. They’ve backed brutal dictators, subverted governments, and invaded and occupied countries as it suited their agenda of “world leadership.” The program included defying the will of the Iranian people (1953), backing the repressive Saudi monarchy and the Egyptian and Iraqi dictatorships, financing Israel’s wars against Lebanon and oppression of the Palestinians, and so much more. It was bad enough that England and France had betrayed the trust of the Arabs after World War I and turned the Middle East into a colonial playground, with all the humiliation and repression that implies. The U.S. government then compounded the crime by picking up the mantle of empire after World War II. Power and oil were the reasons. Were the brutalized and mortified people supposed to be grateful to the West?

We kid ourselves when we pretend that history began on Sept. 11, 2001. Can anyone say with a straight face that before that date America was minding its own business according to the noninterventionist guidelines set out by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? Read some history. Or does American exceptionalism mean not having to know anything before dropping bombs on people and torturing detainees?

The Muslims who wish Americans ill have never been mysterious about their grievances. Osama bin Laden’s fatwa against the United States is online. Read it for yourself. It was issued in 1996, soon after U.S.-financed Israel conducted one of its regular onslaughts against the Lebanese. What are his specific grievances? American troops stationed near Muslim holy places in Saudi Arabia. The 1990s killer U.S. embargo on Iraq. U.S. sponsorship of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians and its neighbors. “Terrorising you, while you are carrying arms on our land, is a legitimate and morally demanded duty,” he wrote.

You don’t need to take bin Laden’s word for it. Bush administration officials acknowledged that U.S. policy creates more terrorists than it kills. Bush strategist Paul Wolfowitz himself said that occupying Iraq permitted U.S. troops to leave Saudi Arabia, where they had created so much hostility to America. Correct: American policy manufactures terrorism.

With impunity the U.S. government fires missiles from pilotless drones into Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, killing innocents. Its occupation forces leave death and misery in their wake. Gen. Stanley McChrystal concedes that in Afghanistan “We’ve shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force.” And in the latest incident, Israel killed nine aid volunteers (including an American citizen) on the high seas while enforcing a cruel blockade of Gaza, the latest mistreatment of Palestinians. How can this not come back to haunt us, Israel’s financiers?

U.S. policy — no matter who’s in power — couldn’t be better tailored to recruit terrorists. We can keep pretending we are innocent victims. Or we can finally put the responsibility where it belongs: in Washington, D.C.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine. Visit his blog “Free Association” at Send him email.

Regulators close Seattle bank, total now 82

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators seized Washington First International Bank in Seattle on Friday evening, bringing the total of failures so far this year to 82.


East West Bank of Pasadena, California will assume all of the deposits and most of the assets of the failed bank, which had about $441.1 million in deposits and $520.9 million in assets as of March 31, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said.

The community bank industry has been slower to bounce back from the deep recession than other parts of the economy.

While many big banks and other financial financial firms are back to reporting steady profits, small banks are still weighed down by slowly unraveling commercial real estate loans.

Bank failures are expected to peak in the third quarter of this year, the FDIC has said, and then start tapering off if the economic recovery continues to take hold.

Last year 140 banks closed, compared with 25 in 2008 and three in 2007.

Despite the steady pace of bank failures, the FDIC is seeing some reasons for hope.

The agency has said more interested buyers are coming to auctions for failed banks, meaning the troubled loans are becoming more desirable.

The FDIC has also scaled back its loss-share agreements, which it entered into with potential buyers of failed banks to hive off some of the risk.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has also said small banks have recently been able to raise more capital, helping some institutions avoid failure altogether.

The FDIC said East West Bank will pay a premium of 0.5 percent to assume all of Washington First International Bank's deposits, and agreed to purchase about $501 million of the failed bank's assets.

The FDIC said it entered into a loss-share agreement with East West Bank on $418.8 million of Washington First International Bank's assets.

The cost of the bank failure to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $158.4 million, the FDIC estimated.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Richard Chang)

BP cleanup cost soars as spill estimates double

BP's liabilities have sky-rocketed in tandem with estimates of the growing scale of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as analysts believe the company may eventually pay out more than four billion dollars.

The British oil giant's costs are tied to new estimates that put the amount of oil spilled at between one and two million barrels so far, double the previous estimate, Wall Street experts said Friday.

"It is more than just the environmental damage," said David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors, "the dispute as to how many barrels of oil are flowing daily into the Gulf is a dispute over money.

"The money issue is about the fines that BP is destined to pay. They are assessed on a per-barrel rate," said Kotok.

US government data on Thursday suggested the oil's flow -- before a containment system was put in place last week -- was between 25,000 and 30,000 barrels a day and could be upwards of 40,000 barrels a day.

If negligence is proven, fines could be as high as 4,300 dollars per barrel -- an amount that could triple if there is a criminal fine, Kotok said.

The cost to BP so far would stand at 4.3 to 8.6 billion dollars, if the latest flow and cost estimates prove correct.

"And we are still looking at three more months before the well is expected to be sealed," he said.

Because of the soaring liability BP will likely bow to US pressure and suspend dividend payments, due July 27, British media reports said Friday.

The Times newspaper said BP was preparing to place the second-quarter dividend money -- an expected 1.7 billion dollars -- in an escrow account in an attempt to ease political pressure on the firm.

BP directors were to meet on Monday to discuss the payments, the BBC reported, although the decision was not expected to be announced at least until company bosses meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

BP CEO Tony Hayward told The Wall Street Journal that the discussions were ongoing. "We are considering all options on the dividend. But no decision has been made," he said.

Top US lawmaker Nancy Pelosi urged BP not to pay dividends and echoed pleas from Obama not to shortchange those hit by the disaster.

The final price tag is still a guess because it is still unclear how much oil is flowing from the well, how long the spill will last, and how far the oil will travel.

The firm's share price has fallen over 40 percent since the rig exploded April 20, prompting speculation about bankruptcy and a takeover bid.

Still, much of the cost of that cleanup effort has already been factored into the company's share price, according Goldman Sachs, suggesting the worst of BP's financial storm may have passed.

The New York-based investment bank estimated that the market is discounting around 33 billion dollars of net damages from the spill.

This is in the "in the upper end of our estimated liability range," Goldman told investors on Friday.

Fellow Wall Street firm Standard and Poor's estimated BP will have to pay six billion dollars in damages as long as the well is plugged within 12 months.

Goldman estimated that a "conservative mid-case scenario" would see BP pay 36 billion dollars in damages, "with a reasonable worst-case scenario of 60 to 70 billion dollars."

Kotok was even more pessimistic: "If (oil)... gets it into the Gulf Stream, we will go to our disaster case and this event will become a hundred-billion-dollar nightmare."

Thad Allen, the Coast Guard admiral heading the US response to the catastrophe, said BP was working to double the amount of oil it could recover from a containment system placed over the leaking well.

Allen said he was reviewing BP plans to collect 40,000 to 50,000 barrels of oil a day by July once a more permanent cap has been placed over the well, up from the current 28,000 barrels per day.

There will be no permanent solution until the first of two relief wells is completed, in August at the earliest, allowing the leak to be plugged with cement.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist said the "moving numbers" on the estimates of gushing oil was undermining trust in BP.

"It makes it difficult and creates sort of a natural cynicism, if you will... we've got to verify the information we're getting. It needs to be accurate. Otherwise it makes it hard to respond accordingly," Crist told CNN.

Amid fears of an anti-British backlash in the United States over the spill, British Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss BP's handling of the crisis with Obama over the weekend.

Spill response operations were suspended Friday near a natural gas platform in Cocodrie, southwest Louisiana, after 36 workers were taken to hospital when their supply vessel broke open a gas line while mooring, the Joint Command Center said.

As a precaution, some 800 response workers aboard 120 vessels were recalled to shore from the area, BP said.

Kyrgyzstan begs Russia's help to quell ethnic violence

Kyrgyzstan imposed a state of emergency in a second southern city as its interim leader warned ethnic violence is spiralling "out of control" and asked Russia to send in troops.

Interim President Roza Otunbayeva appealed to Moscow to intervene militarily after at least 75 people were killed and 977 wounded, according to the health ministry, in nearly three days of unrest.

"Since yesterday the situation has got out of control. We need outside military forces to halt the situation. For this reason we have appealed to Russia for help," said Otunbayeva in a nationally televised address.

But while Moscow said it was rushing humanitarian aid to the former Soviet Central Asian republic, a spokeswoman for President Dmitry Medvedev said it would not yet send troops.

"This is an internal conflict and Russia does not yet see the conditions for its participating in resolving it," Natalya Timakhova was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

A decision to dispatch peacekeepers could be taking only after consultations with the United Nations, she added.

The provisional government -- which seized control in April -- is struggling to halt a descent into civil war between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the south of the country.

The second state of emergency in the southern city of Jalalabad was necessary because "instability is spreading," Deputy Interim Minister Azimbek Beknadzarov declared on national television.

Earlier, Beknazarov had appealed to retired police and army officers to go to the region of Osh to try to halt the violence.

"The authorities will be grateful for any volunteers who are ready to help prevent civil war in the south of Kyrgyzstan," he said, the news agency reported.

Violence erupted in the Osh region overnight to Friday when brawls between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks escalated into running street battles, prompting the government to impose a curfew and state of emergency.

Cars were smashed and burned, and buildings set on fire.

In panic, thousands of Uzbek women and children have fled to the nearby border with Uzbekistan, an AFP reporter witnessed, raising the spectre of a humanitarian crisis.

Uzbekistan voiced "extreme alarm" Saturday at the violence, calling it an organized bid to inflame ethnic tensions.

Witnesses said some refugees were being accepted to hospitals across the border at a few check points, though others remained shut.

"We don't want any wars with the Kyrgyz people ... but we are suffering from their actions," an elderly Uzbek woman, who did not give her name, said at a border crossing near the Kyrgyz village of Markhamat.

"They are shooting us, killing us."

People reached by telephone in Osh described an increasingly violent and chaotic situation, with gunfire echoing across the city amid what seems to be a near-total collapse of central authority.

"The situation here looks terrible. The government doesn't have any more control over the city. It's war," said Andrea Berg of Human Rights Watch, who has been trapped in a guest house in Osh since the fighting began.

"There is no way for a safe passage out to the airport and the Uzbek neighbourhoods are burning," the researcher said.

"Shootings everywhere. Horrible phone calls from people locked in these mahallas (Uzbek neighbourhoods) seeing how their neighbours are being slaughtered."

Unrest had also spread to the northern capital Bishkek, where one medical official told AFP that 27 people had been hospitalised Friday.

Ethnic Kyrgyz protesters there have commandeered cars and minibuses to travel south to Osh, the Kabar news agency reported.

Since last April's uprising, which ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and left 87 people dead, foreign leaders have warned of the danger of civil war in the strategically vital state, which hosts US and Russian military bases.

The United States, whose air base outside the capital Bishkek is critical to its war in Afghanistan, has called for a swift return to order.

Newly Discovered Film Shows Post-War Executions

By Jan Puhl

It has long been known that German civilians fell victim to Czech excesses immediately following the Nazi surrender at the end of World War II. But a newly discovered video shows one such massacre in brutal detail. And it has come as a shock to the Czech Republic.

For decades, the images lay forgotten in an aluminum canister -- almost seven minutes of original black and white film, shot with an 8 mm camera on May 10, 1945, in the Prague district of Borislavka during the confusing days of the German surrender.

The man who shot the film was Jirí Chmelnicek, a civil engineer and amateur filmmaker who lived in the Borislavka district and wanted to document the city's liberation from the brutal Nazi occupation. Chmelnicek filmed tanks rolling through the streets, soldiers and refugees. Then, at some point, his camera also caught groups of Germans, who had been driven out of their houses and into Kladenska Street by Red Army soldiers and Czech militiamen.

Chmelnicek's film shows how the Germans were rounded up in a nearby movie theater, also called the Borislavka. The camera then pans to the side of the street, where 40 men and at least one woman stand with their backs to the lens. A meadow can be seen in the background. Shots ring out and, one after another, each person in the line slumps and falls forward over a low embankment. The injured lying on the ground beg for mercy. Then a Red Army truck rolls up, its tires crushing dead and wounded alike. Later other Germans can be seen, forced to dig a mass grave in the meadow.

A Shock to Czechs

The shaky images show an event that has been described again and again by eyewitnesses and historians: the systematic killing of German civilians. Yet the film comes as a shock to Czechs. "Until now, there was no footage whatsoever of such executions," says Czech documentary filmmaker David Vondracek, who showed the historical images on television. "When I watched this for the first time, it was like seeing a live broadcast from the past."

The only such images known before were taken by a US Air Force camera team. That footage showed injured Germans lying on the ground in Plzen, in what was then Czechoslovakia, in early May 1945. The images included some dead bodies, but they didn't show a liquidation, from beginning to end, like this one.

Vondracek's documentary about Czech atrocities, called "Killings, Czech Style," aired during primetime on Czech state television just two days before May 8, the anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender. The broadcast marks yet another milestone on the Czech road toward confronting a not-always-comfortable World War II past -- a path the country has been working its way down for years.

Even organizations representing "Sudeten Germans" -- ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovak territory after the war -- took notice. Horst Seehofer, governor of Bavaria, plans to pay an official visit to Prague soon, making him the first holder of his office to do so since World War II. "A great deal has come into the open where the Sudeten Germans are concerned," Seehofer commented recently.

Victim to Acts of Revenge

Following Nazi Germany's defeat, the Czechs and the Red Army expelled around 3 million ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia. In the process, up to 30,000 civilians fell victim to acts of revenge. Only a small minority of them had been Nazi perpetrators. Germans and Czechs had lived side by side for decades before Hitler's 1938 annexation of Bohemia and Moravia, the two regions that make up the majority of the Czech Republic today.

No one knows who singled out the Germans in Borislavka, nor what crimes they were accused of committing. They were most likely killed by Red Army soldiers, perhaps also by "Revolutionary Guards" -- members of Czech militias. Those firing the shots may also have included former Czech collaborators, who had previously worked with the Germans and who wanted to clear their names with a show of anti-German brutality.

Helena Dvoracková, amateur filmmaker Jirí Chmelnicek's daughter, was one of the first to see the images of these executions. She doesn't remember how old she was when her father set up his projection screen and ran the film. "I don't remember either whether he said anything about it -- and really, there wasn't much to be said," she says.

'Under the Meadow'

Her father kept the film hidden at home for decades. Communist police even came calling -- someone had figured out that the footage existed. The police asked about the film and threatened Chmelnicek. But the filmmaker didn't turn over his reel. He wanted the world eventually to learn what had been done to defenseless people that day in May in Borislavka.

Ten years ago, long after her father's death, Helena Dvoracková offered the historical footage to a well-known Czech television historian, but the historian kept the film under wraps. "People will stone me to death if I show this," he supposedly said, and placed the reel in the state television station's archives. Documentary maker Vondracek found it there, after a cameraman who knew the amateur filmmaker's family told him about it.

Today Borislavka is one of Prague's nicer districts, and tall grass has grown over the meadow where the executions took place. Vondracek now wants to start a search for the Germans' mass grave. "It must be somewhere under the meadow," he says.

Likely not all that far away from a memorial plaque for two Czechs who fell in the battle against the Nazis on May 6, 1945.

Translated from the German by Ella Ornstein

Slip of the Tongue

Liars sometimes have a hard time keeping their stories straight.

Sliding322 June 11, 2010This morning on BBC news as David Cameron gave a speech to the troops in Afghanistan he said "In/on 9-11 when the twin towers were Blown up'' ...
Not long after this the feed was cut and as far as i saw it was never repeated, It is on BBC website but that part is not there (as far as I've seen)...

The Alien in the White House

The deepening notes of disenchantment with Barack Obama now issuing from commentators across the political spectrum were predictable. So, too, were the charges from some of the president's earliest enthusiasts about his failure to reflect a powerful sense of urgency about the oil spill.

There should have been nothing puzzling about his response to anyone who has paid even modest critical attention to Mr. Obama's pronouncements. For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans' leader, a man of them, for them, the nation's voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn't lacking in concern about the oil spill. What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.

WSJ Asia editorial writer Hugo Restall reports on the President's travel plans.

Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.

A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.

Getty Images

One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street. A cloudlet of mystery has surrounded the subject ever since, but the central fact stands clear. The new administration had apparently found no place in our national house of many rooms for the British leader who lives on so vividly in the American mind. Churchill, face of our shared wartime struggle, dauntless rallier of his nation who continues, so remarkably, to speak to ours. For a president to whom such associations are alien, ridding the White House of Churchill would, of course, have raised no second thoughts.

Far greater strangeness has since flowed steadily from Washington. The president's appointees, transmitters of policy, go forth with singular passion week after week, delivering the latest inversion of reality. Their work is not easy, focused as it is on a current prime preoccupation of this White House—that is, finding ways to avoid any public mention of the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us. No small trick that, but their efforts go forward in public spectacles matchless in their absurdity—unnerving in what they confirm about our current guardians of law and national security.

Consider the hapless Eric Holder, America's attorney general, confronting the question put to him by Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas) of the House Judicary Committee on May 13.

Did Mr. Holder think that in the last three terrorist attempts on this soil, one of them successful (Maj. Nidal Hasan's murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, preceded by his shout of "Allahu Akbar!"), that radical Islam might have played any role at all? Mr. Holder seemed puzzled by the question. "People have different reasons" he finally answered—a response he repeated three times. He didn't want "to say anything negative about any religion."

And who can forget the exhortations on jihad by John Brennan, Mr. Obama's chief adviser on counterterrorism? Mr. Brennan has in the past charged that Americans lack sensitivity to the Muslim world, and that we have particularly failed to credit its peace-loving disposition. In a May 26 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Brennan held forth fervently, if not quite comprehensibly, on who our enemy was not: "Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is just a tactic. Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind, and as Americans we refuse to live in fear."

He went on to announce, sternly, that we do not refer to our enemies as Islamists or jihadists because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam. How then might we be permitted to describe our enemies? One hint comes from another of Mr. Brennan's pronouncements in that speech: That "violent extremists are victims of political, economic and social forces."

Yes, that would work. Consider the news bulletins we could have read: "Police have arrested Faisal Shahzad, victim of political, economic and social forces living in Connecticut, for efforts to set off a car bomb explosion in Times Square." Plotters in Afghanistan and Yemen, preparing for their next attempt at mass murder in America, could only have listened in wonderment. They must have marvelled in particular on learning that this was the chief counterterrorism adviser to the president of the United States.

Long after Mr. Obama leaves office, it will be this parade of explicators, laboring mightily to sell each new piece of official reality revisionism—Janet Napolitano and her immortal "man-caused disasters'' among them—that will stand most memorably as the face of this administration.

It is a White House that has focused consistently on the sensitivities of the world community—as it is euphemistically known—a body of which the president of the United States frequently appears to view himself as a representative at large.

It is what has caused this president and his counterterrorist brain trust to deem it acceptable to insult Americans with nonsensical evasions concerning the enemy we face. It is this focus that caused Mr. Holder to insist on holding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan, despite the rage this decision induced in New Yorkers, and later to insist if not there, then elsewhere in New York. This was all to be a dazzling exhibition for that world community—proof of Mr. Obama's moral reclamation program and that America had been delivered from the darkness of the Bush years.

It was why this administration tapped officials like Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Among his better known contributions to political discourse was a 2005 address in which he compared the treatment of Muslim-Americans in the United States after 9/11 with the plight of the Japanese-Americans interned in camps after Pearl Harbor. During a human-rights conference held in China this May, Mr. Posner cited the new Arizona immigration law by way of assuring the Chinese, those exemplary guardians of freedom, that the United States too had its problems with discrimination.

So there we were: America and China, in the same boat on human rights, two buddies struggling for reform. For this view of reality, which brought withering criticism in Congress and calls for his resignation, Mr. Posner has been roundly embraced in the State Department as a superbly effective representative.

It is no surprise that Mr. Posner—like numerous of his kind—has found a natural home in this administration. His is a sensibility and political disposition with which Mr. Obama is at home. The beliefs and attitudes that this president has internalized are to be found everywhere—in the salons of the left the world over—and, above all, in the academic establishment, stuffed with tenured radicals and their political progeny. The places where it is held as revealed truth that the United States is now, and has been throughout its history, the chief engine of injustice and oppression in the world.

They are attitudes to be found everywhere, but never before in a president of the United States. Mr. Obama may not hold all, or the more extreme, of these views. But there can be no doubt by now of the influences that have shaped him. They account for his grand apology tour through the capitals of Europe and to the Muslim world, during which he decried America's moral failures—her arrogance, insensitivity. They were the words of a man to whom reasons for American guilt came naturally. Americans were shocked by this behavior in their newly elected president. But he was telling them something from those lecterns in foreign lands—something about his distant relation to the country he was about to lead.

The truth about that distance is now sinking in, which is all to the good. A country governed by leaders too principled to speak the name of its mortal enemy needs every infusion of reality it can get.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

BP Official Admits to Damage BENEATH THE SEA FLOOR

As I noted Tuesday, there is growing evidence that BP's oil well - technically called the "well casing" or "well bore" - has suffered damage beneath the level of the sea floor.

The evidence is growing stronger and stronger that there is substantial damage beneath the sea floor. Indeed, it appears that BP officials themselves have admitted to such damage. This has enormous impacts on both the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf, and the prospects for quickly stopping the leak this summer.

On May 31st, the Washington Post noted:

Sources at two companies involved with the well said that BP also discovered new damage inside the well below the seafloor and that, as a result, some of the drilling mud that was successfully forced into the well was going off to the side into rock formations.

"We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface," said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation."

On June 2nd, Bloomberg pointed out:

Plugging the well is another challenge even after BP successfully intersects it, Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, said. BP has said it believes the well bore to be damaged, which could hamper efforts to fill it with mud and set a concrete plug, Bea said.

Bea is an expert in offshore drilling and a high-level governmental adviser concerning disasters.

On the same day, the Wall Street Journal noted that there might be a leak in BP's well casing 1,000 feet beneath the sea floor:

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 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.

On June 3rd, The Canadian Press quoted the top government official in charge of the response to the oil spill - Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard - as pointing to the same possibility:

The failure of the so-called top kill procedure - which entailed pumping mud into the well at high velocity - suggested "there actually could be something wrong with the well casing, and there could be open communication in the strata or the rock formations below the sea floor," Allen said.

On June 7th, Senator Bill Nelson told MSNBC that he's investigating reports of oil seeping up from additional leak points on the seafloor:

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): Andrea we’re looking into something new right now, that there’s reports of oil that’s seeping up from the seabed… which would indicate, if that’s true, that the well casing itself is actually pierced… underneath the seabed. So, you know, the problems could be just enormous with what we’re facing.

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Now let me understand better what you’re saying. If that is true that it is coming up form that seabed, even the relief well won’t be the final solution to cap this thing. That means that we’ve got oil gushing up at disparate places along the ocean floor.

Sen. Nelson: That is possible, unless you get the plug down low enough, below where the pipe would be breached.

Indeed, loss of integrity in the well itself may explain why BP is drilling its relief wells more than ten thousand feet beneath the leaking pipes on the seafloor (and see this).

Yesterday, recently-retired Shell Oil President John Hofmeister said that the well casing below the sea floor may have been compromised:

[Question] What are the chances that the well casing below the sea floor has been compromised, and that gas and oil are coming up the outside of the well casing, eroding the surrounding soft rock. Could this lead to a catastrophic geological failure, unstoppable even by the relief wells?

John Hofmeister: This is what some people fear has occurred. It is also why the "top kill" process was halted. If the casing is compromised the well is that much more difficult to shut down, including the risk that the relief wells may not be enough. If the relief wells do not result in stopping the flow, the next and drastic step is to implode the well on top of itself, which carries other risks as well.

As noted yesterday in The Engineer magazine, an official from Cameron International - the manufacturer of the blowout preventer for BP's leaking oil drilling operation - noted that one cause of the failure of the BOP could have been damage to the well bore:

Steel casing or casing hanger could have been ejected from the well and blocked the operation of the rams.

Oil industry expert Rob Cavner believes that the casing might be damaged beneath the sea floor, noting:

The real doomsday scenario here… is if that casing gives up, and it does come through the other strings of pipe. Remember, it is concentric pipe that holds this well together. If it comes into the formation, basically, you‘ve got uncontrolled [oil] flow to the sea floor. And that is the doomsday scenario.

Cavner also said BP must "keep the well flowing to minimize oil and gas going out into the formation on the side":

And prominent oil industry insider Matt Simmons believes that the well casing may have been destroyed when the oil rig exploded. Simmons was an energy adviser to President George W. Bush, is an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations.

On May 26th, Simmons referred to this issue on MSNBC:

On May 27th, Simmons again addressed this issue on MSNBC:

And he referred to it again on Bloomberg on May 28th:
And again on MSNBC on June 7th :

We have a right to know what's really going on.

Given the impact on America's people, natural resources and economy, BP and the government must fully disclose the amount of damage underneath the sea floor, and what that means for the efforts to cap the well.

30 Shocking Quotes About The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill That Reveal The Soul-Crushing Horror This Disaster Is Causing

It is incredibly hard to put into words the absolute horror that is happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now. The millions of gallons of oil that have gushed into the Gulf of Mexico and BP's efforts to fight the massive leak are turning the Gulf into a lifeless toxic stew of oil and chemicals. The damage caused to wildlife in the Gulf by this spill will be incalculable. Entire species are at risk of being wiped out. Scientists are telling us that the primary dispersant being used by BP ruptures red blood cells and causes fish to bleed. This is by far the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight. It is a worse environmental and economic disaster than all of the hurricanes of the past ten years combined. The great wetlands and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico will never be the same in our lifetimes. The seafood and tourism industries in the Gulf are being completely destroyed. The thousands of jobs and businesses being wiped out by this disaster could potentially throw the entire Gulf coast region into a depression. The damage already caused by this oil spill is beyond measure and yet the government tells us that up to 19,000 barrels (798,000 gallons) of oil a day continue to flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal officials have expanded the "no fishing" area in the Gulf of Mexico to 75,920 square miles. That is 31 percent of all federal waters in the Gulf. As the oil continues to spread out there may soon be nowhere to fish.

And the oil is starting to come ashore in more places. Red-brown oil was found on Alabama's Dauphin Island on Tuesday. As Gulf coast residents slowly watch this oil destroy everything around them they are starting to realize that this is it.

Life along the Gulf of Mexico will simply never be the same again.

The following are 30 shocking quotes about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that reveal the soul-crushing horror this disaster is causing....

#1) Councilman Jay LaFont of Grand Isle, Louisiana:

"As long as you have something to look forward to, a little glimmer of hope, you can move on. But this just drained everything out of us."

#2) Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish:

"They said the black oil wouldn’t come ashore. Well, it is ashore. It’s here to stay and it’s going to keep coming."

#3) Prosanta Chakrabarty, a Louisiana State University fish biologist:

"Every fish and invertebrate contacting the oil is probably dying. I have no doubt about that."

#4) Marine toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw, director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute on BP's use of chemical dispersants:

"They've been used at such a high volume that it's unprecedented. The worst of these – Corexit 9527 – is the one they've been using most. That ruptures red blood cells and causes fish to bleed. With 800,000 gallons of this, we can only imagine the death that will be caused."

#5) Dr. Larry McKinney, director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Texas:

"Bluefin tuna spawn just south of the oil spill and they spawn only in the Gulf. If they were to go through the area at a critical time, that's one instance where a plume could destroy a whole species."

#6) Carol Browner, Barack Obama's adviser on energy and climate:

"This is probably the biggest environmental disaster we have ever faced in this country. It is certainly the biggest oil spill and we are responding with the biggest environmental response."

#7) Richard Charter of the Defenders of Wildlife:

"It is so big and expanding so fast that it's pretty much beyond human response that can be effective. ... You're looking at a long-term poisoning of the area. Ultimately, this will have a multidecade impact."

#8) Reverand Mike Tran:

"We don't know when this will ever be over. It's a way of life that's under assault, and people don't when their next paycheck is going to be."

#9) Louis Miller of the Mississippi Sierra Club:

"This is going to destroy the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as we know it."

#10) Dean Blanchard, owner of a seafood business:

"I hold Obama responsible for not making BP stand up and look at the people in the face and fix it."

#11) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

"The day that we’ve been fearing is upon us."

#12) Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, about BP CEO Tony Hayward:

"We ought to take him offshore and dunk him 10 feet underwater and pull him up and ask him 'What's that all over your face?"

#13) Former Clinton adviser James Carville:

"The country feels like it's entitled to abuse this state and forget about us, and we are sick of it."

#14) An anonymous Louisiana resident:

"A hurricane is like closing your bank account for a few days, but this here has the capacity to destroy our bank accounts."

#15) U.S. Representative Edward Markey:

"I have no confidence whatsoever in BP . I think that they do not know what they are doing."

#16) Gulf coast resident Marie Michel:

"Immediately, it's no more fishing, no more crabbing, no more swimming, no more walking on the beach."

#17) Brenda Prosser of Mobile, Alabama:

"I just started crying. I couldn't quit crying. I'm shaking now. To know that our beach may be black or brown, or that we can't get in the water, it's so sad."

#18) Qin Chen, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on the possibility that a hurricane could push massive amounts of oil ashore along the Gulf:

"A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico this year would be devastating."

#19) Retired Army General Russel Honore on the effect this spill is having on residents of the Gulf coast:

"I'm sure, every time they hear a negative word, their skin crawls, 'cause they need these jobs. ... This is what's going to put their kids in school, and what pays the rent."

#20) A group calling itself "Seize BP":

"The greatest environmental disaster with no end in sight! Eleven workers dead. Millions of gallons of oil gushing for months (and possibly years) to come. Jobs vanishing. Creatures dying. A pristine environment destroyed for generations. A mega-corporation that has lied and continues to lie, and a government that refuses to protect the people."

#21) Louisiania Governor Bobby Jindal:

"There has been failure, particularly with the effort to protect our coast and our marsh. And that was the biggest topic of discussion in a very frank meeting we had with the president."

#22) BP’s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles:

"This scares everybody — the fact that we can’t make this well stop flowing, the fact that we haven’t succeeded so far."

#23) Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund:

"You simply cannot make more (reefs), unless you have a few thousand years to wait."

#24) Public Service Commissioner Benjamin Stevens:

"You get hit by a hurricane and you can rebuild. But when that stuff washes up on the white sands of Pensacola Beach, you can't just go and get more white sand.''

#25) Wilma Subra, a chemist who has served as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency:

"Every time the wind blows from the south-east to the shore, people are being made sick."

#26) Hotel Owner Dodie Vegas:

"It's just going to kill us. It's going to destroy us."

#27) Louisiana resident Sean Lanier:

"Until they stop this leak, it's just like getting stabbed and the knife's still in you, and they're moving it around."

#28) White House energy adviser Carol Browner:

"There could be oil coming up until August."

#29) Marine toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw, director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute:

"We'll see dead bodies soon. Sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, whales: the impact on predators will be seen in a short time because the food web will be impacted from the bottom up."

#30) Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser:

"We will die a slow death over the next two years as this oil creeps ashore."

Glenn Reynolds: Higher education's bubble is about to burst

It's a story of an industry that may sound familiar.

The buyers think what they're buying will appreciate in value, making them rich in the future. The product grows more and more elaborate, and more and more expensive, but the expense is offset by cheap credit provided by sellers eager to encourage buyers to buy.

Buyers see that everyone else is taking on mounds of debt, and so are more comfortable when they do so themselves; besides, for a generation, the value of what they're buying has gone up steadily. What could go wrong? Everything continues smoothly until, at some point, it doesn't.

Yes, this sounds like the housing bubble, but I'm afraid it's also sounding a lot like a still-inflating higher education bubble. And despite (or because of) the fact that my day job involves higher education, I think it's better for us to face up to what's going on before the bubble bursts messily.

College has gotten a lot more expensive. A recent Money magazine report notes: "After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."

Consumers would balk, except for two things.

First -- as with the housing bubble -- cheap and readily available credit has let people borrow to finance education. They're willing to do so because of (1) consumer ignorance, as students (and, often, their parents) don't fully grasp just how harsh the impact of student loan payments will be after graduation; and (2) a belief that, whatever the cost, a college education is a necessary ticket to future prosperity.

Bubbles burst when there are no longer enough excessively optimistic and ignorant folks to fuel them. And there are signs that this is beginning to happen already.

A New York Times profile last week described Courtney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt -- debt that her degree in Religious and Women's Studies did not equip her to repay. Payments on the debt are about $700 per month, equivalent to a respectable house payment, and a major bite on her monthly income of $2,300 as a photographer's assistant earning an hourly wage.

And, unlike a bad mortgage on an underwater house, Munna can't simply walk away from her student loans, which cannot be expunged in a bankruptcy. She's stuck in a financial trap.

Some might say that she deserves it -- who borrows $100,000 to finance a degree in women's and religious studies that won't make you any money? She should have wised up, and others should learn from her mistake, instead of learning too late, as she did: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back."

But bubbles burst when people catch on, and there's some evidence that people are beginning to catch on. Student loan demand, according to a recent report in the Washington Post, is going soft, and students are expressing a willingness to go to a cheaper school rather than run up debt. Things haven't collapsed yet, but they're looking shakier -- kind of like the housing market looked in 2007.

So what happens if the bubble collapses? Will it be a tragedy, with millions of Americans losing their path to higher-paying jobs?

Maybe not. College is often described as a path to prosperity, but is it? A college education can help people make more money in three different ways.

First, it may actually make them more economically productive by teaching them skills valued in the workplace: Computer programming, nursing or engineering, say. (Religious and women's studies, not so much.)

Second, it may provide a credential that employers want, not because it represents actual skills, but because it's a weeding tool that doesn't produce civil-rights suits as, say, IQ tests might. A four-year college degree, even if its holder acquired no actual skills, at least indicates some ability to show up on time and perform as instructed.

And, third, a college degree -- at least an elite one -- may hook its holder up with a useful social network that can provide jobs and opportunities in the future. (This is more true if it's a degree from Yale than if it's one from Eastern Kentucky, but it's true everywhere to some degree).

While an individual might rationally pursue all three of these, only the first one -- actual added skills -- produces a net benefit for society. The other two are just distributional -- about who gets the goodies, not about making more of them.

Yet today's college education system seems to be in the business of selling parts two and three to a much greater degree than part one, along with selling the even-harder-to-quantify "college experience," which as often as not boils down to four (or more) years of partying.

Post-bubble, perhaps students -- and employers, not to mention parents and lenders -- will focus instead on education that fosters economic value. And that is likely to press colleges to focus more on providing useful majors. (That doesn't necessarily rule out traditional liberal-arts majors, so long as they are rigorous and require a real general education, rather than trendy and easy subjects, but the key word here is "rigorous.")

My question is whether traditional academic institutions will be able to keep up with the times, or whether -- as Anya Kamenetz suggests in her new book, "DIY U" -- the real pioneering will be in online education and the work of "edupunks" who are more interested in finding new ways of teaching and learning than in protecting existing interests.

I'm betting on the latter. Industries seldom reform themselves, and real competition usually comes from the outside. Keep your eyes open -- and, if you're planning on applying to college, watch out for those student loans.

Examiner contributor Glenn Harlan Reynolds hosts "InstaVision" on and blogs at He is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee.

Make Mine Freedom (1948)

Click this link ......!

Slow progress is being made at little-noticed Copenhagen follow-up

Hardly anyone has noticed, but international climate negotiations have resumed in formal session for the first time since the Copenhagen summit last December. Six months after failing to seal a deal in the Danish capital, despite much optimism when the summit opened, the negotiators are trying to get the process back on track in time for the next major conference in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year.

The good news is that the atmosphere is much better than in Copenhagen. Mind you, it could hardly be worse, than at that rancorous, chaotic, atrociously organised and disastrously chaired occasion. But even so there is a remarkable amount of goodwill around, especially given where things broke off just before Christmas. One sign of that is that much of the Copenhagen Accord, the last-minute agreement personally hammered out by the leaders on the summit’s last day, is being quietly merged with the formal UN negotiating text: a clash between the proponents of the two dragged on into extra time through the night after summit was supposed to have ended, threatening to turn admitted disappointment into indisputable disaster. Meanwhile, most of the negotiating countries – representing 80 per cent of world carbon dioxide emissions – have signed up to it.

The bad news is that there are still deep differences between developed and developing countries. The Third World wants industrialised nations to pledge to make bigger emissions cuts faster. They, and particularly the United States, have responded by demanding better monitoring and verification of developing country measures to fulfill the often impressive promises they have made to tackle their own emissions. On the other hand, good progress has been made on working out ways of rewarding tropical rainforest countries for keeping their trees standing, and on transferring clean, green technologies from rich to poor.

But the main issue is money – most immediately the $30 billion promised by the leaders at Copenhagen to help the poorest adapt to the effects of global warming. Some $28 million of this has now been pledged – chiefly from Japan ($11 billion), the European Union ($9.6 billion), the US ($5.1 billion), Norway ($1.8 billion) and Australia ($500 million). $25 billion of this looks like being grants, rather than loans, but – critically – how much of it is new money rather than funds switched from existing aid budgets is unclear. And when will it start to flow?

There look like being two more negotiating meetings – in August and September/October – before everyone assembles again in Mexico. No-one is expecting a treaty to be concluded then; most would settle for steady, if slow progress, without the dramas of Copenhagen. Whether that will be enough to get global warming under control in time, is another, if unknown, matter.

Birds Flocking North By The Thousands

Shepard Ambellas

In a farmers field in Tennessee, birds arrive by the thousands. Gathering to woodland areas and power lines. This behavior is not typical to standard fall migration pattens. Could this be a direct correlation with the gulf oil spill; a vision of what is to come for mankind?

Please send all video and information surrounding this subject to

The video below was sent to us by FYO1

South Africa cannot protect its nuclear stockpile

By Adriana Stuijt.

There are growing fears among the nuclear powers that South Africa would not be able to safeguard its stored nuclear material. On November 7 2007, Africa's only enriched-uranium storage facility, Pelindaba in Pretoria, was invaded by two armed gangs.
Pelindaba, described as a 'fortress', houses hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium -- remnants of the apartheid government's six nuclear bombs, dismantled in the early 1990s. This material is watched over by closed-circuit cameras from inside a supposedly secured control room which is surrounded by triple fencing and a cordon of other high-tech security measures. Yet last year 's unprecedented, boldest assault ever on a facility containing weapons-grade uranium, is according to the Sixty Minutes TV programme, 'a still-unsolved crime that could have had calamitous consequences.' Not mentioned in their report but perhaps it should have been: Only four months earlier, the country's National Energy Corporation of SA's newly appointed services general manager Eric Lerata, 43, was gunned down in front of his home after returning from a business trip in France. All these incidents were just 'ordinary crime' the SA authorities are saying. The highly enriched uranium stored there is worth millions on the black market and could be turned into fuel for illicit nuclear bombs. The anti-nuclear lobby and other interest groups believe these two seperate groups of attackers were after specific information -- while other security experts believe the attackers were after the weapons-grade uranium itself. The Pelindaba attack has become an item of serious discussion in the security industry worldwide - so much so that it has even been developed into a defence safety analysis case study. This was said by Mike Kantey, the chairman of the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy in South Africa (Cane), this week.

Matthew Bunn of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government said in a 60 Minutes TV programme (see video above) aired about the attack that 'it would not be hard to buld a crude atomic bomb' if the terrorists (his words) 'had gotten hold of the stored uranium'. Also interviewed by the programme were the attacked central control-room manager Anton Gerber and its operator Ria Meiring, who were injured in the attack and are now suing South Africa's control body, the Nuclear Energy Corporation, for its truly grotesquely lax security ... See Sixty Minutes programme report here: It has now been a year since two armed gangs launched simultaneous attacks on the Pelindaba nuclear facility outside Pretoria -- yet no one has been arrested for the crime that left Gerber wounded. And South Africans are left wondering about the underlying motive for this double-assault by two gangs with handguns -- also because the government has drawn a heavy security veil across the entire incident. The mystery already started within hours when the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA executive in charge, Rob Adam, claimed that the control room had not been 'compromised' -- when it clearly had been, as Gerber was shot there and Meiring assaulted.... Then the police in Pretoria announced the arrest of three people, including a 17-year-old, in connection with these attacks a week after the incident - but those same cops now deny that anyone has ever been arrested for it. Earlier this year, three security guards at Pelindaba were fired because 'they'd been caught sleeping on the job'. During the attack, Gerber was shot and injured by the intruders and Ria Meiring assaulted by the first four men who had managed to penetrate the 'secure'nuclear facility on November 7, 2007. However Rob Adam, the chief executive of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa), said at that time that the control room had not been 'compromised' in the attack by "four armed, technically sophisticated criminals". These men had entered the Necsa site unnoticed and then simply cut the outside fence, then slipping through the electric fence. Moreover, the attackers had roamed the premises for about an hour unnoticed; stealing a ladder from a fire engine with which they reached the first floor of the emergency control centre through a window. There, they stole a computer which, rather strangely, was placed on a balcony. Then they attacked Gerber and Meiring in the control room, and left behind the computer. The NEC-executive said at the time that 'it was evident the criminals had prior knowledge of the electronic security systems. Attackers filmed on surveillance cameras but guards 'were asleep..'. "These activities were captured on surveillance cameras but, unfortunately, not detected by the operators on duty," Necsa had said. As has recently become known, this was due to the fact that they'd been fast asleep. The NEC also lied to the news media when he claimed that 'at no time was the emergency control room systems compromised' - when it clearly had been as Gerber and Meiring were attacked inside. At exactly the same time, a second gang had also tried breaking through the boundary fence on the opposite side of the facility -- but they were spotted by a security guard who hadn't been sleeping on the job. That gang still managed to flee back across the wire fence and underneath the electrified fencing in the the ensuing shootout. And they have been running ever since - because no-one has ever been captured. Gerber and Meiring, his fiance, now are suing Necsa for damages and loss of income following their ordeal. Papers filed in the Pretoria High Court in November state that Gerber is claiming R850,000 and Meiring R750,000 from Necsa as well as from the security staff on duty on the night of the attack. Summonses have been issued against Necsa and a security services manager, security shift supervisor and two camera room operators who were on duty. The couple claim negligence -- on the grounds that the camera operators were asleep and did not warn them inside the central control room about the trespassers or organise a timeous response. It had taken security guards 24 minutes to respond to their calls for help. Gerber said during a recent American network television 60 Minutes programme that it took police 10 months before they bothered to show up to interview him. Necsa has meanwhile kept its report on what happened that night a closely guarded secret. Arie van der Bijl, the general manager of Necsa, rather ridiculously also denied in the same programme that 'the two attacks on the same night were linked." It had all been 'a coincidence,' he said - adding that if indeed these had been "sophisticated terrorists", Gerber would not be alive today. ' Abdul Minty, muslim, new director-general of the International Atomic Energy Commission... His unproven claim was supported by South Africa's nominated director-general of the International Atomic Energy Commission -- Abdul Minty. He's the man who is going to be placed in charge of all the Nuclear Energy matters worldwide. A sobering thought... see A hghly-placed senior South African police official said however the mere fact that the case was being investigated by the serious and violent crimes unit was a clear indication this was more than a "mere break-in". "This is a national keypoint, a protected site," this officer said. Necsa has meanwhile offered a R25,000 reward, a mere $12,000, for the arrest and conviction of the two gangs. To date, there have been no takers. And who can blame them? One Rolex watch is worth more than that... In January, IAEA experts concluded after their visit to Pelindaba that 'there was no evidence that sensitive nuclear areas were under any threat during the incident." South African officials lied The IAEA wants to make sure that Pelindaba still 'provided an appropriate basis" for ensuring physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities at the site and submitted a long list outlining all the security improvements required to do so. If this was not undertaken, this material would have to be moved out of South Africa to a safer holding facility elsewhere... This week Necsa again strongly denied that the intruders were anywhere near the valuable enriched-uranium stocks. "These stocks have additional internationally benchmarked security features protecting them," said its spokesman Elliot Mulane. And although none of the attackers have been arrested nor questioned, he also denied that 'the attackers could have been after information. There is no mainframe computer in the building that the intruders broke into and the local area network is controlled from a server located about 2km from this building," he concluded.

BP to sell spill oil from Gulf well

By Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images
Fill her up with spill oil? When BP sells the crude from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil could end up at gas stations.

BP said it would use the net revenue made from selling the crude to fund wildlife protection efforts in four Gulf Coast states, the Associated Press reports.

The company did not explain the specifics of how much money will be put into the fund. BP said in a recent press release the amount will be based on how much oil is collected and the price at which the oil is sold.

Since the collected oil contains a high concentration of methanol, BP expects that each barrel will sell at a lower price than regular crude.

Oil taken from the well will be indistinguishable from other oil on the market, Louisiana State University professor Julius Langlinais told the AP.

(Posted by Jessica Durando)

Florida Beachgoers Cleaning Up Oil - By Hand

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog

for an important Public Service Announcement:

Memo to the people of the coasts impacted by this oil disaster:






Do you understand?

This is serious!


Tell all your friends near the Gulf coast.

And now, back to my blog. Thank you for your patience.

From the "Millions of Dumbfounded Dipshits" Department:

Beachgoers Picking Up Tar Balls By Hand

Posted by Rob Shaw on June 4, 2010, in WKRG/News 5, Florida

They came armed with cups, plates, bottles, plastic bags, anything they could get their hands on. As tar balls and other small globs of oil began to wash up on Pensacola Beach this morning and into the afternoon, ordinary people became the cleanup crew.

They weren't wearing gloves or protective clothes. They wore swimsuits and had a simple mission in mind: try to save the white beach they love.

Dale Balsavich sees himself as sort of a one-man cleanup crew.

While most people go to the beach to collect seashells, he was on a mission this morning to collect as many tar balls as he could in a small plastic blue bowl.

"Where's the government? Where's the BP people?'' the 26-year-old personal trainer asked as he walked along the beach, stooping every few steps to gather more gunk. "They're the ones supposed to be cleaning this up.''

Balsavich had gone less than 100 yards on the beach and already his bowl was overflowing with a brown mixture of goo that looked like melted fudge.

"It's a travesty,'' the Pensacola native said. "The beach will be affected and won't come back for a long, long time. Toxic sludge is what we are dealing with.''

Sonya Daniels, spokeswoman for Escambia County emergency management, said a dozen teams of 10 people each were combing the beach to look for oil, which had impacted about a 10-mile stretch of the shore.

"They would really like to find it in the sand, right on the shore, not where someone has handled it," Daniels said. "Be our lookout, spot it and then let the assessment teams go out and do the collection."

The oil is considered a contaminated substance and should not be touched, the spokeswoman said. Globs of oil ranging from a quarter to the size of a dinner plate were washing up, she added.

As children frolicked in the waves and parents and toddlers built sandcastles, members of the media gathered around folks such as Balsavich who were finding oil washing up on the formerly pristine white beaches.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg,'' Balsavich said. "It's a shame. It's really sad because there are a lot of people who depend on this beach for their livelihood.''

And more may be on the way, according to a consortium of disaster officials from several Gulf states that make up the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command. Winds gusting up to 28 mph from the southwest are expected through Sunday and that could push portions of the oil plume onto the western Panhandle beaches. Seas of up to 6 feet also are expected.

Officials say a 30 to 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms over the weekend could hamper some recovery operations.

According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil plume model updated today, a large oil slick is 17 miles from Pensacola, more than 100 miles from Gulf County, and 280 miles from St. Petersburg. Some smaller globs of oil are scattered across the Gulf, officials say, and may be closer to shore, although they can't be seen in satellite photos.

States of emergency have been declared in 10 coastal Panhandle counties. Emergency operations centers have been activated in six of those counties. None of the beaches has been closed.

Carol Van Kay of Venice was visiting her sister, Kathy Stanton, in Pensacola when they both headed to the beach with tiny plastic bags on their hands. They compared picking up the tar balls to picking up after a dog.

"This beach is so nice,'' Van Kay said, admitting she was worried about west coast beaches such as Venice, Sarasota and elsewhere. "If people can pick these tar balls up, the more, the better. It will keep the beach that more clean.''

Edie Manning has been coming to Pensacola Beach since she was 15.

The 49-year-old Tennessee resident was getting ready for a day of sun as news crews blanketed the sandy white beaches.

"It hurts me," she said of the oily mess that began to wash ashore. "It hurts my heart to think that this beach could be closed at the peak of the season."

Manning said she has been to beaches all across the country but that this destination in Escambia County is her favorite.

"Pensacola Beach is my beach," she said. "It's home to me."

She said she was most worried about the economic impact it would have on everyday workers -- at docks, restaurants, hotels and other places.

"You can see it in their faces," she said. "It's their livelihood."

John Hughes of New Orleans brought his wife and twin 10-year-old daughters to Pensacola Beach because he said it might be the last time they ever see it this white.

"It is so pretty and white and beautiful,'' Hughes said as Camryn and Courtney frolicked in the large waves crashing ashore. "It could ruin it for the rest of their lifetime.''

Hughes, who brings his family on vacation to the Panhandle a couple of times each year, said it has been heartbreaking to see the devastation in his own state of Louisiana.

"Every day the girls ask if I can take them to the coastline to help rescue those animals,'' he said.

Courtney's biggest worry is that "all the animals will die and they won't be able to be rescued.'' She is most worried about pelicans, dolphins and turtles.

"It makes me really sad to see that,'' she said of television images of blackened, dying birds and other wildlife.

As for Camryn's biggest fear? "The sand will turn black and it won't ever be pretty again.''

Pensacola Beach wasn't the only place getting tar balls. Waves of gooey tar blobs were washing ashore in growing numbers elsewhere in the Panhandle and nearby Alabama beaches today as a slick from the BP spill drifted closer to shore.

Spotters who had been seeing a few tar balls in recent days found a substantially larger number starting before dawn on the beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and nearby areas, a county emergency official said. The park is a long string of connected barrier islands near Pensacola.

Keith Wilkins from Escambia County emergency management said tar patties were common on parts of the beach, as much as one every foot.

Small gobs of reddish brown oil washed up in the surf for the first time in nearby Gulf Shores, Ala., this morning and a petroleum smell tinged the air.

Officials have said it is inevitable oil will eventually wash up on Panhandle beaches after a slick from the Deepwater Horizon spill was spotted about 9 miles offshore this week. The edge of the spill had moved to four miles off the coast Thursday, Gov. Charlie Crist said after a flyover.

Crist said the news of today growth in tar balls was "very disturbing."

"Obviously, it's not the kind of news that we want to hear," Crist said on CNN's "American Morning."

Escambia County emergency officials have been preparing for the oil by shoring up miles of boom. The county plans to block oil from reaching inland waterways, but left its beaches unprotected because they are too difficult to shield and easier to clean up.

Joe Fairleigh and his son, Henry, of Kentucky were going for a stroll on Pensacola Beach when they found a gooey mess of tar. And another. And then another.

"It is all along the beach. We must have seen a hundred," the father said as he held a clump of oil mixed with sand perched in a children's sand toy.

"It's really scary to think how big the Gulf is and how much coastline could be impacted by this," he added.

--- I hate to say it, I wish it weren't true, but, if you live near the Gulf coast, and you want to remain healthy, I think you're going to have to move. You should research this for yourself. Its your life - and many people officially charged with advising you are lying. This is a fact. From what I know, I'd move if I were you, and I know that isn't the answer I would have wanted to hear. Maybe you can move back soon. I hope so. I'm sorry. God help us.

Be seeing you.