Methane Hydrates – Climate Tipping Point?

Methane hydrates are fragile and it doesn’t take much for them to convert from a solid to a gas and release methane to the ocean’s surface. At the sea floor the ice-like solid fuel composed of water and methane is only stable at high pressure and low temperature. In some areas, for instance in the North Atlantic off the coast of Svalbard, scientists have detected gas flares regularly. The reasons for their occurrence were still unclear but one hypothesis was that warmer water might cause the dissolution of gas hydrates. Over the past years, comprehensive investigations by an international team of researchers led by scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have now shown that it may be likely that the gas flares are caused by natural processes.

“In 2008, when we observed the outgassing of methane for the first time, we were alarmed”, reports Professor Christian Berndt, lead author of the study from GEOMAR. “The gas originates from depths where the hydrates should normally be stable. But we knew that a relatively small warming might melt the hydrates”, Berndt explains. Thus, the key question was to find out what causes the outgassing. Step by step, several expeditions that took place in the following years helped to solve the mystery.

One of the most obvious assumptions was that the increasing global warming has already extended into these regions of the North Atlantic. However, the investigations partly carried out with the German research submersible JAGO, pointed clearly to natural causes. “On one hand, we have found that the seasonal variations in temperature in this region are sufficient to push the stability zone of gas hydrates more than a kilometre up and down the slope,” Professor Berndt explains. “Additionally, we discovered carbonate structures in the vicinity of methane seeps at the seafloor”, Dr. Tom Feseker from MARUM adds. “These are clear indicators that the outgassing likely takes place over very long time periods, presumably for several thousand years”, Feseker continues.

Does this mean that global warming has no impact on potential methane release from the seafloor off Svalbard? Certainly not, because over long periods of time the deep ocean will also warm up and in particular the polar regions are affected. Here, enormous amounts of methane hydrate are stored in the ocean floor. “As a powerful greenhouse gas methane represents a particular risk for our climate. A release of large amounts of the gas would further accelerate global warming,” says Prof. Berndt. “Therefore, it is necessary to continue long-term monitoring, particularly in such critical regions as off Svalbard”, the Geophysicist concludes.

Chileans Mark 40 Years of US Orchestrated Coup

Tens of thousands of Chileans demonstrated to remember the many victims of the U.S. orchestrated coup that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende and placed General Augusto Pinochet in power on September 11, 1973.

Some of the marchers carried pictures of their loved-ones who were abducted or killed by the Pinochet regime and held signs with slogans such as “40 years after the coup, nobody and no one has been forgotten.”

The two-hour march ended at a cemetery with a memorial to the victims of the Pinochet regime.

“Forty years on, we are still demanding truth and justice. We won’t rest until we find out what happened to our loved ones who were arrested and went missing” never to return, said Lorena Pizarro, leader of a relatives’ rights group.

Pinochet died in 2006, aged 91, without facing justice for the countless atrocities he had committed under his dictatorship.

The overthrow of Chile’s government was orchestrated on behalf of US corporations intent on exploiting Chile’s mineral wealth and the CIA. Henry Kissinger was a key player and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize despite his many war crimes.

America’s brutal suppression of democracy and self-determination was not limited to Chile. Activists and intellectual leaders were hunted down, tortured and killed throughout the Americas under the CIA’s Operation Condor, which continues to this day but on a much more limited basis.

New Technique for Leaving Your Body

Leaving the body behind while the mind travels has been a goal of many and new research shows another technique for doing so.

The idea of an out-of-body experience (OBE) first gained widespread popularity with the publication of Robert Monroe’s book  “Journeys Out of the Body” in 1971. After Mr. Monroe awoke one night to find himself floating on his ceiling he learned that he could actually travel without his body and started a life-long quest to understand the phenomenon and help others learn to leave their bodies at will. He founded the Monroe Institute which used sound to stimulate specific brainwave patterns. Unfortunately, the Monroe Institute was co-opted by US military intelligence and the more meaningful research and development remains secret. The Monroe Institute became the boot-camp for the military’s psychic spying (remote viewing) program and was also used to help some military scientists improve their intuitive skills.

This author was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Monroe at the Monroe Institute a couple of months before he journeyed out of his body for the last time and experience his out-of-body presence first hand.

When aerospace engineer Jack Houck held his psychokensis (PK) (spoon-bending) parties some participants were lucky enough to try his electronic out of body device that enabled them to hear their own brain waves. Because most frequencies in the brain are below the range of human hearing, Houck’s device modulated white noise with the lower frequency brain-waves. A significant number of people had out-of-body experiences upon hearing their own brain-waves. Unfortunately, few were aware of Mr. Houcks research and it too was buried deep in the military.

Recent research carried out by Dr. Jane Aspell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, and Dr Lukas Heydrich at Olaf Blanke’s lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne found that an out-of-body experience can also be generated through the visual projection of human heartbeats.

Volunteers were fitted with a head mounted display (HMD), which served as ‘virtual reality goggles’. They were filmed in real time by a video camera connected to the HMD, which allowed them to view their own body standing two metres in front of them.

By also recording the volunteers’ heartbeat signals using electrodes, the timing of the heartbeat was used to trigger a bright flashing outline which was superimposed on the virtual body shown via the HMD.

After watching the outline flash on and off in sync with the heartbeat for several minutes, the subjects experienced a stronger identification with the virtual body (it felt more like their own body) and also perceived that they were at a different location in the room than their physical body (closer to their double). The experiment also showed that the volunteers experienced touch at a different location to their physical body.

Dr Aspell said:

“This research demonstrates that the experience of one’s self can be altered when presented with information about the internal state of one’s body, such as a heartbeat.

“This is compatible with the theory that the brain generates our experience of self by merging information about our body from multiple sources including the eyes, the skin, the ears, and even one’s internal organs.”

It has long been known that gazing into a mirror can enhance intuition. The prophet Nostradamus is reported to have gazed at his reflection in a bowl of water to experience an expended state of consciousness and view the future. Near-death-experience (NDE) researcher and the late psychic Ingo Swann both recommended sitting in a dark room in front of a dimly lit mirror to enhance intuitive perception.

While many in the mainstream refuse to consider that the human mind can exist separately from the brain, the evidence clearly shows that the mind can operate independently of the body. Perhaps the mind is automatically drawn to the body and by tricking the mind by projecting an image of the body, the beat of the heart or the sound of the brain, one can pull the mind away from the actual body. One can only imagine what the U.S. military has done with such technology after 60 years of R&D.

Retired Intel Officers Warn Obama on Syria

Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?

Precedence: IMMEDIATE

We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandumimmediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.

Secretary of State John Kerry departs for a Sept. 6 trip to Europe where he plans to meet with officials to discuss the Syrian crisis and other issues. (State Department photo)

The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond …  the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.

Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.

We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.

Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?

That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”

This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”

Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.

The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.

The Intelligence

There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.

We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.

Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.

At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government

The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.

Cui bono?

That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.

Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.

That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.

Iran’s Role

Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.

Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.

Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”

Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.

Inevitable Retaliation

We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)

Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

Putin Promises to Defend Syria

The Russian navy has sent four more ships to the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, as the United States considers launching a military offensive against the Arab country.

The SSV-201 Priazovye reconnaissance ship, escorted by two landing ships, Minsk and Novocherkassk, had already passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a source from the Saint Petersburg-based central naval command as saying on Friday. 

A third landing ship was just making a short stop to lift “special cargo” in Novorossiysk in the Black Sea, the report added without elaborating on the cargo.

“The ship will make call in Novorossiysk, where it will take on board special cargo and set off for the designated area of its combat duty in the eastern Mediterranean,” the source said.

The news agency added that Moscow will also send destroyer Smetlivy to the eastern Mediterranean soon. 

Russia’s anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, the Neustrashimyy-class frigate and three landing ships, the Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky, and the Peresvet, are already in the eastern Mediterranean, the report revealed.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hosted a G20 summit in St. Petersburg, said on Friday that Moscow will help Syria if it comes under attack.

“Will we help Syria? We will. We are already helping, we’re sending arms [and] cooperating in the economic sphere,” Putin stated.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian president said that a great majority of the world leaders gathered in St. Petersburg opposed unilateral military offensive against Syria. 

“I can tell you who favored military action. It is the US, Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia and France, while the British prime minister’s support for the US was not shared by his citizens,” Putin said. “Now, who were categorically against: Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy.”

Last week, the British parliament voted against military intervention in the Arab state despite calls by Prime Minister David Cameron. 

On Tuesday, Putin said Moscow has its own plans to deal with the possible US war on Syria.

“We have our own ideas about what we would do and how we would do it if the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise,” he said. “We have our plans, but it’s too early to talk about them.”

The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.

On August 31, US President Barack Obama said he has decided that Washington must take military action against the Syrian government, which would mean a unilateral military strike without a UN mandate.

Obama said that despite having made up his mind, he will take the case to US Congress. But he added that he is prepared to order military action against the Syrian government at any time.

On Wednesday, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 in favor of a resolution authorizing the Obama administration to attack Syria.

The resolution would limit military action against Syria to a period of 60 days, with the possibility of a 30-day extension. It also bans the use of US ground troops.

Obama administration officials have embarked upon an extensive lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, where US lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are expected to vote on a military action against Syria after they return from recess on September 9.

GJH/MHB

William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report

Secretary of State John Kerry: “There is no doubt that Saddam al-Assad has crossed the red line. … Sorry, did I just say ‘Saddam’?”

A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1

So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?

  • Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
  • Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
  • 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
  • Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
  • President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
  • None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
  • The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
  • We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
  • The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
  • In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
  • President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.

So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!

Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10

Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.

United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)

The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.

  • Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1958
  • Cuba 1959-1961
  • Guatemala 1960
  • Congo 1964
  • Laos 1964-73
  • Vietnam 1961-73
  • Cambodia 1969-70
  • Guatemala 1967-69
  • Grenada 1983
  • Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
  • Libya 1986
  • El Salvador 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1980s
  • Iran 1987
  • Panama 1989
  • Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
  • Kuwait 1991
  • Somalia 1993
  • Bosnia 1994, 1995
  • Sudan 1998
  • Afghanistan 1998
  • Yugoslavia 1999
  • Yemen 2002
  • Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
  • Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
  • Afghanistan 2001 to present
  • Pakistan 2007 to present
  • Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
  • Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
  • Libya 2011
  • Syria 2013?

The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.

A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12

Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.

Humanitarian intervention

Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.

“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13

Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.

Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.

It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?

I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.

The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.

And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?

A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.

Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

Surrounding Russia

One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14

But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16

We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?

America’s love affair with Guns

Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.

On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17

I sent Kokesh the following email:

“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”

I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.

Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.

Feds to Kill Threatened Tortoises

Federal funds for a Nevada-based desert tortoise conservation center are running low and wildlife officials plan to close the facility and kill hundreds of tortoises that were once classified as “endangered” and are currently considered “threatened.”

The desert tortoise can be found in the southwestern United States, but its population has been dwindling. In some areas, the tortoise population has decreased by 90 percent since the 1980s, and in the Mojave desert the population is considered “threatened.” It is illegal to touch, harm or harass these animals, and the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center has tried to increase their population ever since they were added to the endangered species list in 1990.

Still, only 100,000 desert tortoises are estimated to remain in the wild.

But federal funds are running dry at the Las Vegas Valley facility, and rather than release the animals, officials plan to euthanize about half of the 1,400 tortoises. The 220-acre facility will shut its doors in 2014, and the tortoises deemed feeble to survive in the wild will be set free. Many of the tortoises at the center were formerly kept as pets and are unable to survive in the desert.

“It’s the lesser of two evils, but it’s still evil,” US Fish and Wildlife Service desert tortoise recovery coordinator Roy Averill-Murray told the Associated Press.

The facility usually takes in diseased or injured tortoises and nurtures them back to health, but new arrivals will most likely be put to sleep.

The Bureau of Land Management currently funds the conservation and research center with fees inflicted on those who disturb tortoise habitats. During the housing boom in the early 2000s, the conservation center had plenty of cash, since developers were frequently fined for disturbing such habitats. But since the recession, the BLM has struggled to meet its annual $1 million budget.

Over the past 11 months, the BLM has only accumulated $290,000 in federal mitigation fees that developers are forced to pay.

“With the money going down and more and more tortoises coming in, it never would have added up,”BLM spokeswoman Hillerie Patton told AP.

The desert tortoise is the state reptile of both California and Nevada. Millions of these creatures once roamed the deserts of the American southwest and northern Mexico, but they are now a rare sight.

After news broke of the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center’s plans to euthanize the vulnerable animals, a petition was launched on Change.org, asking the state of Nevada to seek an alternate method to keep the facility open.

“While I understand that budgets are tight and money is scarce, I believe that the funds required could be raised,” states the petition, which was launched by New York resident Seth Webster. “…Please show your support and ask the BLM to cease plants to euthanize and find another way.”

The petition had about 350 signatures out of a goal of 10,000 on Monday afternoon.

Cell Phones Increase Cancer Risk

While the independent research on the effects of microwave radiation emitted by wifi, cell phones and other mobile devices is clear and more than sufficient to prove that exposure at low levels causes DNA damage that can lead to cancer, the wireless industry has paid for studies designed to sow confusion and make people feel comfortable about the risks from microwave radiation.

Even though the World Health Organization classifies microwave radiation as carcinogenic, national health agencies have not taken measures to protect the public nor has the public shown much interest in the risks to their health. The massive lobbying and advertising by the wireless industry holds sway over public opinion and govt. regulation.

A new study published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling may provide health advocates with more ammunition in the case against microwave radiation.

The study looked for cancer clues in the saliva of cell phone users. Since the cell phone is placed close to the salivary gland when in use, researchers hypothesized that salivary content could reveal whether there was a connection to developing cancer. Comparing heavy mobile phone users to non-users, they found that the saliva of heavy users showed indications of higher oxidative stress — a process that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA — through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals. More importantly, it is considered a major risk factor for cancer.

For the study, the researchers examined the saliva content of 20 heavy-user patients, defined as speaking on their phones for a minimum of eight hours a month. Most participants speak much more, Dr. Hamzany says, as much as 30 to 40 hours a month. Their salivary content was compared to that of a control group, which consisted of deaf patients who either do not use a cell phone, or use the device exclusively for sending text messages and other non-verbal functions.
Compared to the control group, the heavy cell phone users had a significant increase in all salivary oxidative stress measurements studied.

This suggests that there is considerable oxidative stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cell phone when in use. The damage caused by oxidative stress is linked to cellular and genetic mutations which cause the development of tumors.  However, it can take more than 10 years before the damage results in tumors or other symptoms of illness that a person would notice.

 

Should We Expect a 20 Meter Ocean Rise?

As Earth’s temperatures continue to climb, ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland are melting and ocean levels are rising. What we all need to know if how much ocean levels will rise and when.

By studying the past we can get an idea of what to expect in the future.

Temperatures and CO2 levels similar to today were present during the Pliocene epoch of 5.33–2.58 million years ago according to research published in “Nature Geoscience”.

Dr Tina Van De Flierdt, co-author from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says: “The Pliocene Epoch had temperatures that were two or three degrees higher than today and similar atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to today. Our study underlines that these conditions have led to a large loss of ice and significant rises in global sea level in the past. Scientists predict that global temperatures of a similar level may be reached by the end of this century, so it is very important for us to understand what the possible consequences might be.”

The East Antarctic ice sheet is the largest ice mass on Earth, roughly the size of Australia. The ice sheet has fluctuated in size since its formation 34 million years ago, but scientists have previously assumed that it had stabilised around 14 million years ago.

 The team in today’s study were able to determine that the ice sheet had partially melted during this “stable” period by analysing the chemical content of mud in sediments. These were drilled from depths of more than three kilometres below sea level off the coast of Antarctica.

Analysing the mud revealed a chemical fingerprint that enabled the team to trace where it came from on the continent. They discovered that the mud originated from rocks that are currently hidden under the ice sheet. The only way that significant amounts of this mud could have been deposited as sediment in the sea would be if the ice sheet had retreated inland and eroded these rocks, say the team.

The academics suggest that the melting of the ice sheet may have been caused in part by the fact that some of it rests in basins below sea level. This puts the ice in direct contact with seawater and when the ocean warms, as it did during the Pliocene, the ice sheet becomes vulnerable to melting.

Carys Cook, co-author and research postgraduate from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial, adds: “Scientists previously considered the East Antarctic ice sheet to be more stable than the much smaller ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland, even though very few studies of East Antarctic ice sheet have been carried out. Our work now shows that the East Antarctic ice sheet has been much more sensitive to climate change in the past than previously realised. This finding is important for our understanding of what may happen to the Earth if we do not tackle the effects of climate change.”

The next step will see the team analysing sediment samples to determine how quickly the East Antarctic ice sheet melted during the Pliocene. This information could be useful in the future for predicting how quickly the ice sheet could melt as a result of global warming.

Can Meditation Cure?

Sixteen study participants took part in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Magnetic Resonance Images were taken two weeks prior to the experiment and two weeks after. The participants were meditating about an average of twenty seven minutes in a day and document the process by answering questionnaires. A control group is also taken with the images but without the meditation sessions.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says Sara Lazar, PhD, the study’s senior author.

After analyzing the magnetic resonance images, an increase of grey matter in the hippocampus was reported. This particular brain structure is related to memory, sense of self, empathy, learning, compassion and stress. Abnormalities in this same structure is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

A familiar effect of meditation, reduction in stress, was also reported by the subjects. This is correlated with the decreasing grey matter in the amygdala known to be linked with stress and anxiety.

Earlier studies identified a self-awareness-related structure called insula. In the current study, no changes were observed in this area that the authors suggest a long-term study may be conducted separately to support this finding.

Results from the control group never reported any changes at all. In 8 weeks time, no changes observed in their hippocampus, amygdala and insula structures after they have been subjected to Magnetic Resonance Imaging just as the other group did.

One of the lead researchers indicated that their study is focusing on the mechanical study of the brain anatomy and physiology, and was well aware that there is also significance of it in improving health in general. “Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation says that meditation can actually help in reducing memory loss from Alzheimer’s and added that further studies need to be conducted.

There was a study in 2009 exploring the effects of a certain chanting meditation, Kirtan Kriya. “The PCG [posterior cingulate gyrus] is a critically important anatomical area, because it is the first part of the brain to decrease in function when a person develops Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps it’s possible, therefore, that if everyone did Kirtan Kriya and activated their PCG on a regular basis, the number of people who develop Alzheimer’s would diminish.” This study conducted meditation in an average of 12 minutes a day and shows positive effects from it.

The study is published in the issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.