The ‘Package Plot’ – From Yemen without Love

San'a View of the City

San'a View of the City

If you’ve followed the story of the bombs sent in packages from Yemen to the United States, you can’t help but wonder about a few things.

David Cameron says according to the BBC:

Home Secretary Theresa May has confirmed that a device sent from Yemen and found on a US-bound cargo plane was a bomb.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed the device was designed to explode on board the aircraft.

Obviously, the didn’t explode or were intercepted before they could, but if that is forensically secured knowledge, why then were they addressed to Jewish synagogues in Chicago and why are some still saying the synagogues were the target? As the New York Times does today, for example:

CHICAGO — Even to a block that is arguably one of the safest and most secure in the country, the news that two parcels containing explosives were shipped from Yemen and addressed to synagogues or Jewish community centers in the city gave some residents pause on Saturday.

[..]

Reports that Chicago-area synagogues or Jewish community centers were likely targets of a terrorist attack and the return of President Obama to his hometown this weekend brought attention to the city’s security.

You can’t have it both ways. The bombs either were designed to explode on the planes, or were targeted at the Jewish synagogues they were addressed to, but it can’t be both.

There is more that doesn’t add up – at least not yet. In the Berner Zeitung, a Swiss newspaper, we read today:

A human rights organisation in Yemen doesn’t believe that the young woman detained in relation with the packets containing explosives and addressed to the United States have anything to do with it. He didn’t believe in the official version, according to which the accused had left here mobile number on the packet slips, Abdel Rahmane of the organisation Hood told APF on Sunday.  “We know for sure that al-Qaeda never leaves traces”.

[…]

Continue reading

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Al Jazeera: BP dispersants ‘causing sickness’

This article from Al Jazeera contradicts the ‘everything is contained and well’ official US government version of the state of the Gulf of Mexico. Not that Al Jazeera would be the only news source that points out that which shouldn’t have to be pointed out: Corexit is highly toxic!

Here’s an excerpt of the Al Jazeera piece, which is highly recommended reading:

Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe upper respiratory, sinus, and viral infections. His temperature has reached more than 39 degrees since September 15, yet his sicknesses continue to worsen.

His parents, some doctors, and environmental consultants believe the child’s ailments are linked to exposure to chemicals spilt by BP during its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Gavin’s father, mother, and cousin, Shayleigh, are also facing serious health problems. Their symptoms are being experienced by many others living along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely banned toxic dispersants

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants (one that has been banned in the UK), which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily. Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister visits Switzerland

On Friday, 22.10.2010, Stephan Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister on his way to the Sommet de la francophonie in Montreux stopped over in Bern for an official visit. According to the Swiss government a protocol was signed amending the Double Taxation Agreement between both countries and it was announced that the bilateral aviation agreement would be expanded:

The discussions served as an opportunity to take stock of bilateral relations between the two countries, which have been enhanced in the
economic field following the entry into force in July 2009 of the free trade agreement between Canada and EFTA. The subjects of international
governance and new rules and standards for finance and trade were also raised. Canada currently chairs the G8 and in June hosted the G20 Summit
in Toronto. Both countries work closely with the International Organisation of La Francophonie; the visit took place on the eve of the
opening of its XIII summit at which Canada will hand over the chair to Switzerland. The partners also discussed regional issues and reform of
the United Nations.

The official discussions concluded with the signing of a protocol amending the double taxation agreement by Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf
Merz and Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister for La Francophonie. The
amended agreement is expected to come into effect in 2012.

President Doris Leuthard and Prime Minister Stephen Harper also announced the conclusion of negotiations on updating and expanding the
1975 bilateral aviation agreement between Switzerland and Canada. The main effects of the revised agreement will be to liberalise tariffs and
introduce traffic rights for stopovers and destinations via the two countries. The amendments will benefit passengers, airports, airlines
and freight carriers, as well as general economic relations between Switzerland and Canada.

Details about the double taxation agreement can be found here, and the press release of the Canadian government is here.

The 23rd Sommet de la francophonie takes places from Friday, October 22 to Sunday, October 24 in Montreux, which is on lakefront of Lac Léman.

 

Cuban Press picks up on financing of US elections by foreign corporations

From Cubadebate:

According to opensecrets.org there are 130 foreign enterprises who patronise PACs (Political Action Committees) through their branches located in the US and financing the numerous campaigns in the 2010 electoral cycle. Together they have donated more than 12,6 million dollars to political campaigns through numerous PAC.

Yes, maybe Cuba can finance some PACs too, or would that be considered illegal because Cuba is supposedly socialist and does not support the corporatist agenda like the multinational do? In principle, if the American Chamber of Commerce can with Bahraini money support its activities in the US elections, why can’t Cuba support a Socialist agenda by supporting an appropriate PAC? The corporation needed for that can swiftly be founded in Delaware – oh, wait: the sanctions!

Bin Laden said to live “comfortably” in Pakistan

The latest bin Laden sighting from Dawn (who quotes from CNN):

The newest about the elusive Osama bin Laden, who like Emanuel Goldstein from Orwell’s 1984 is said to exist, but nobody has seen him for so time, is said to live comfortably in north-west Pakistan, close to al-Zawahiri and being protected by locals and some ISI members.

“Nobody in al-Qaeda is living in a cave,” the unnamed senior Nato official reportedly told the network [CNN].

Of course, said “senior Nato official” cannot be named lest the free world’s war on terror fall apart completely. However, we are told this one really, really does exist.

The Turkish intelligence services will be humbled to hear this, as they, not so long ago, claimed that Osama bin Laden had died December 13, 2007 of kidney failure not far from Tora Bora, where the vast bunker complex in the mountains failed to materialise as well.

So does this mean that Iran can wait and Pakistan will be invaded first? I am sure they will let us know in a timely manner, since the public needs to be brainwashed prepared for this news.

Seep found near BP’s blown out oil well

BP PARODY Logo

BP PARODY Logo

Today, this is all over the press. From AP:

A federal official says scientists are concerned about a seep and possible methane near BP’s busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico

Both could be signs there are leaks in the well that’s been capped off for three days.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

The official is familiar with the spill oversight but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official says BP is not complying with the government’s demand for more monitoring.

The Oil Drum has the letter that Admiral Allen wrote to the BP brass:

Dear Mr. Dudley,

My letter to you on July 16, 2010 extended the Well Integrity Test period contingent upon the completion of seismic surveys, robust monitoring for indications of leakage, and acoustic testing by the NOAA vessel PISCES in the immediate vicinity of the well head. Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period. As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems. When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed.

As the National Incident Commander, I must remain abreast of the status of your source control efforts. Now that source control has evolved into a period beyond the expected 48 hour interval of the Well Integrity Test, I am requiring that you provide me a written update within 24 hours of your intentions going forward. I remain concerned that all potential options to eliminate the discharge of oil be pursued with utmost speed until I can be assured that no additional oil will spill from the Macondo Well.

You may use your letter of 9 July as a basis for your update. Specifically, you must provide me your latest containment plan and schedule in the event that the Well Integrity Test is suspended, the status and completion timelines for all containment options currently under development, and details of any other viable source control options including hydraulic control that you are

considering. You should highlight any points at which progress along one option will be impacted by resource trade-offs to achieve progress along another option. Include options for and impacts of continued twice-a day seismic testing versus once a day testing.

As you develop the plans above, note that the primary method of securing the source is the relief well and this effort takes precedence. Therefore, I direct you to provide a detailed plan for the final stages of the relief well that specifically addresses the interaction of this schedule and any other activity that may potentially delay relief well completion.

Have your representative provide results on the monitoring efforts and source control requirements described above during today’s BP and Government Science Team call at 8:00 PM CDT.

Sincerely,

THAD W. ALLEN

Now, I am puzzled. That gas and oil is seeping form the floor seems to be nothing new, judging from the news that has been out there for some time. For example, Alexander Higgins’ blog wrote on 28.06.2010:

There seems to be a great deal of skepticism over the possibility that cracks in the well casing and rock formation surrounding the BP Gulf Oil spill could lead to oil leaking from cracks in the seafloor.

However the chronology of the IXTOC blowout reveals that and underground blowout caused oil to leak from cracks in the seafloor.

Some experts deny that there are even cracks in the rocks surrounding the leaking oil well even though MMS documents show that BP has reports a series of cracks in the well casing and surrounding rock formation as far back as February.

Other experts contend that you can’t have cracks in the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico because the entire seabed is a layer of silt that has the consistency of pudding.

The facts are that there  BP has reports cracks in the sea floor and well casing and that there have been a series of well control events or blowouts that have occurred during the drilling of of the Macondo oil well that is now leaking millions of gallons of oil every day into the Gulf of Mexico.

The first report of cracks in the both rocks surrounding the well and in the well itself in February was only the first in a series of “well control events” or blowouts.

It seems that the United States research ship Thomas Jefferson has collected data and compiled a graph to document where oil is seeping (see more at blog alexanderhiggins.com):

In other words, the information that gas and oil may be leaking around the well is nothing new, it has been around for quite some time now, nevertheless, BP was allowed to proceed with its ‘fix’, possibly making the situation worse.

Dead Zones Found Around BP Gusher Site

From the Guardian:

Scientists are confronting growing evidence that BP’s ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is creating oxygen-depleted “dead zones” where fish and other marine life cannot survive.

In two separate research voyages, independent scientists have detected what were described as “astonishingly high” levels of methane, or natural gas, bubbling from the well site, setting off a chain of reactions that suck the oxygen out of the water. In some cases, methane concentrations are 100,000 times normal levels.

Other scientists as well as sport fishermen are reporting unusual movements of fish, shrimp, crab and other marine life, including increased shark sightings closer to the Alabama coast.

Larry Crowder, a marine biologist at Duke University, said there were already signs that fish were being driven from their habitat.

Dead zones and it’s causes are a phenomenon already quite well-known in the Gulf of Mexico. From a Carlton College site:

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is an area of hypoxic (link to USGS definition) (less than 2 ppm dissolved oxygen) waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Its area varies in size, but can cover up to 6,000-7,000 square miles. The zone occurs between the inner and mid-continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico, beginning at the Mississippi River delta and extending westward to the upper Texas coast.

[…]

The dead zone is caused by nutrient enrichment from the Mississippi River, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous. Watersheds within the Mississippi River Basin drain much of the United States, from Montana to Pennsylvania and extending southward along the Mississippi River. Most of the nitrogen input comes from major farming states in the Mississippi River Valley, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Nitrogen and phosphorous enter the river through upstream runoff of fertilizers, soil erosion, animal wastes, and sewage. In a natural system, these nutrients aren’t significant factors in algae growth because they are depleted in the soil by plants. However, with anthropogenically increased nitrogen and phosphorus input, algae growth is no longer limited. Consequently, algal blooms develop, the food chain is altered, and dissolved oxygen in the area is depleted. The size of the dead zone fluctuates seasonally, as it is exacerbated by farming practices. It is also affected by weather events such as flooding (more info) and hurricanes.

Hypoxia, by the way is defined as ‘ the condition in which dissolved oxygen is below the level necessary to sustain most animal life – generally defined by dissolved oxygen levels below 2mg/l [miligrams/liter] (or ppm [parts per million])’. The following map shows the extent of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

Size of dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

In 2010 researchers predicted one of the largest dead zones ever, covering an area of around 6,500 and 7,800 square miles, an area roughly the size of Lake Ontario, this without factoring in the effect of the Gulf oil gusher.
Note that in 2009 the same researchers predicted a dead zone covering the area of 7,450 and 8,456 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. It turned out to be much smaller than forecasted, covering roughly around 3,000 square miles. However, the researchers think that this is attribuable to short-term effects and not a sign of improvements in conditions.

BP seems to be aware of that the oil gusher could create such dead zones, in fact, the whole Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of Florida could become dead zones. According to OpEdNews:

A BP insider, providing information to OpEdNEws.com, reports that scientists and engineers, fearing the worst, have envisioned a worst case scenario, “It could very well be that the entire Gulf and the East coast of Florida could become dead zones, with no aquatic life at all.”
The Gulf of Mexico is not the only dead zone on Earth. There are about 150 of them, says NASA. As NASA points out, not all areas of ‘anoxia’, which is an extreme form of ‘hypoxia’ are caused by pollution. The largest such area is the Black Sea, which is entirely anoxic below a depth of 150m. This is due to the fact that lower waters do not mix with upper waters which leads to a stratification of the Black Sea, i.e. a layering, that normally remains in place if not disturbed by external events.
It would be interesting to learn – and I haven’t found that information yet – what the chemical environment and reactions in such dead zones are and if there could be any additional health risk in that – as if one would need any additional, it’s already bad enough as it is.