Monday Morning Breakfast Briefing: Boiled In Oiled Topped With Mid East Conflict Sauce And UK Peeve Side.
Torture Research and Experimentation: Official Policy under Bush and Obama
The Baltimore Chronicle
It also recommends restoring previous War Crimes Act language, and urges strict policies be adopted that prohibit all forms of torture and improper ...
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Why We Can’t Just ‘Look Forward’
Creators Syndicate – Torture is no longer a pressing concern for the American public, if it ever was. The country’s attention has understandably turned to lost jobs, costly health care and spilled oil. Most Americans probably agree with President Obama that rather than dwell on the secret abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime, we ought to be looking forward.
Looking forward is one of those cliches that always sounds positive and sensible, and certainly serves the president’s political interests. But the years of detainee abuse and constitutional violations cannot be dismissed so easily, because the past is still with us — and so are the dangers that drew America’s leaders toward the dark side.
That is why Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the retired commander of U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, repeated his call for a “truth commission” in a New York University auditorium on the evening of June 7. He joined a group of prominent writers, lawyers and actors in staging an extraordinary event titled “Blueprint for Accountability,” which sought to revive pressure on the Obama administration to fulfill its early promises to restore the Constitution, the Geneva conventions and the rule of law. The house was packed, and there was a sense that the president’s supporters are deeply disappointed — and determined to demand that he live up to his word.
What sharply underscored their concern was a disturbing report issued the same day by Physicians for Human Rights, charging that doctors who observed “enhanced interrogation” sessions for the CIA may have participated in illegal medical experimentation on detainees.
By gathering data to assess the effects of “waterboarding,” painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, humiliating nudity, extreme temperatures and other abusive techniques, those doctors and other medical personnel risked violating both U.S. and international laws that prohibit such research on any human beings without their informed consent.
The CIA immediately and predictably denied the report, insisting that the officers who oversaw its “past detention program” conducted no such experimentation “on any detainee or group of detainees.” An agency spokesman assured reporters that its practices have passed careful scrutiny in multiple reviews by the government, including one by the Justice Department.
But the Physicians for Human Rights report is based on information found by the group’s researchers in thousands of pages of partially redacted documents released by the government in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. Those documents suggest that doctors helped to enable “the routine practice of torture” by closely monitoring the physical state of prisoners undergoing interrogation — supposedly to protect them from the severe damage that would, in the opinion of Bush administration lawyers, skirt the edge of legality. Most legal experts believe that the practices condoned by those lawyers were indeed grossly illegal under both U.S. and international law.
The same documents also indicate that CIA medical personnel recorded every aspect of each simulated drowning session and collected detailed medical information that was then used to “design, develop and deploy subsequent waterboarding procedures,” according to the PHR report. The doctors prescribed the addition of salt to the water because they believed that higher salinity solutions would reduce the risk of illness, coma or death. They also sought to determine whether simultaneous or sequential application of various torments worked best, and analyzed other evidence of the “susceptibility” of prisoners to pain and suffering such as that caused by sleep deprivation.
“Such acts may be seen as the conduct of research and experimentation by health professionals on prisoners, which could violate accepted standards of medical ethics, as well as domestic and international law,” the report says. “These practices could, in some cases, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Should the PHR report’s accusations prove true, then the United States took yet another step toward the criminality that our government once prosecuted at Nuremberg. That is a truth we must face forthrightly, as a nation, if we want to hold our heads up and look forward again.
Posted on » Friday, June 11, 2010
-I agree with Les Horton, my government's silence over Israeli crimes is unjustified, 'Butchery sanctioned by American silence' (GDN, June 2). The American Jewish lobby's undue influence over the legislative and executive branches of the US government is disgraceful.
Israel is governed by ultra-right Taliban-type Jewish cohorts and is a threat to world peace and American interest around the world. Israeli actions are self-centred, inconsiderate and it bites the hand that feeds her with more than $3 billion of our tax money.
The commander of the US Central Command, General Petraeus, was very correct when testifying before a Congressional committee that Israeli actions endanger the lives of our servicemen and women. Several days later, Vice-President Joe Biden delivered the same message to Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu following the Israeli government's thoughtless decision to pre-empt the US-sponsored negotiation by announcing a programme to build more settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
By protecting Israel at the UN Security Council, my government is sending a message that Israel is above international law. Early in the year, a Jewish credible South African judge investigating Israeli war against Gaza concluded that Israel had indeed committed war crimes. Sadly, my government has blocked any further action against Israel in the world court.
This week, my government succumbed to Israeli wishes and refused to allow an independent inquiry into Israel's latest crime in international waters. And then a political novice at our local embassy asserts that we "have every confidence that Israel can conduct a credible ... investigation." I don't know on what Alejandro Wolff, the US Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, bases his "uneducated" conclusion.
Israel claims to have conducted an independent inquiry into the war that killed more than 800 civilians (50 per cent women and children) and destroyed more than 6,000 homes in Gaza. So tell me Ambassador Wolff, what did the Israeli investigation conclude? That they did not kill enough civilians, hence they must maintain the economic blockade against Gaza, until people in Gaza elect someone we like and accept?
What "credible" results came out of the Israeli investigation following the massacre of Palestinians in a refugee camp in Jenine in April 2002? I would like the embassy bureaucrat to point out to one single credible Israeli investigation of their crimes against Palestinians.
Maybe the ambassador wants to mention the Khane investigation following the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut in 1982? The "credible" Israeli investigation found Ariel Sharon to be "indirectly" responsible for that horrible massacre, for which he became, or may have been rewarded, a prime minister 18 years later, only in Israel.
Imprudent statements by Ambassador Wolff and cosseting Israel at the UN Security Council perpetuate the belief in this region that America is anti-Muslim; especially now since most of those who were murdered in international waters were citizens of our only proven ally in this region, Turkey.
I agree with General Petraeus that Israel's wanton actions undermine US national interests and the safety of US service men and women. JK
The War is Making You Poor by Justin Raimondo -- Antiwar.com
By Justin Raimondo
About Bradley Manning being prosecuted for revealing the truth while the real war criminals, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Rice, and all the neocon zionist traitors of congress, Zionists firsters,, are not prosecuted. ...
Antiwar.com Original - http://original.antiwar.com/
Public prosecutors in Germany are looking into a war crimes complaint filed against Israel by two members of parliament with the far-left Left Party and a human rights activist who were on board the Mavi Marmara when Israeli troops stormed it 11 days ago.
Eleven days ago, the Israeli military stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to . Now, it has become a case for German prosecutors.
Human rights activist Norman Paech and two German parliamentarians from the far-left Left Party, Annette Groth and Inge Höger, have filed criminal complaints for "numerous potential offences, including war crimes against individuals and command responsibility ... as well as false imprisonment."
At 5:10 a.m. on May 31, the complaint reads, Höger, Groth and Paech heard from the captain of the Mavi Marmara via the ship's loudspeaker that the Israeli soldiers who had boarded the ship as part of the commando operation were taking over control of the ship. An hour later, Israeli soldiers ordered the Germans on deck, where their backpacks and other belongings were searched. Their hands were temporarily bound.
It wasn't until 9:10 p.m. that parliamentarian Annette Groth was given the possibility of contacting the German Embassy. At 2 a.m. on June 1, the Germans were brought to the airport in a prisoner transport vehicle for their flight back home.
According to international criminal law expert Florian Jessberger of Berlin's Humboldt University, "there is cause to believe that false imprisonment was perpetrated as understood by German law." He says that German criminal law would have jurisdiction "irrespective of the fact that the act was perpetrated on the high seas."
German public prosecutors told SPIEGEL ONLINE that they were currently investigating whether there was enough evidence to warrant pursuing the case further.
The Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine activists onboard the ship, unleashed against Israel and its ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip. It has also severely .
The blockade began in 2007 after the Islamist militants from Hamas took over power in Gaza. Israel claims that many of , but the activists deny the charge.
Upon returning home to Germany, Höger told reporters that "we felt like we were in a war, like we had been kidnapped." Her colleague Groth spoke of a "barbaric act."
The US Needs to Ensure that the Israeli Siege of Gaza is Lifted
Huffington Post (blog)
... mission on the "Cast Lead" offensive in Gaza that last year documented war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by Israel and Hamas. ...
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Shame on Ed Weaver for the gross ignorance he displays in his recent article. Karl Rove is indeed a war criminal, and guilty of breaking international law. As head of the White House Iraq Group in 2002 and 2003, he was charged with creating propaganda to encourage the American people to accept the illegal invasion of Iraq. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) specifically states in article 20, line 1 that: “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.” International treaties are ratified by the Senate and have the force of law within the United States. Additionally, war propaganda has been declared illegal by UN General Assembly resolutions 110 and 127.
If Mr. Weaver claims justification for invasion of Iraq because of the United States' interpretation of U.N. resolutions, then he must also accept that Assembly resolutions 110 and 127 are valid, or neither.
Mr. Weaver repeats the yellowcake uranium lie, which has been revealed to be sourced from forged documents in the possession of the Italian Military Intelligence. Even the CIA and State Department found such reports not credible by early 2002, to the point that CIA director George Tenet had his name removed from documents provided to the president on the yellowcake issue. Unfortunately for Mr. Weaver, Rove's White House Iraq Group and George W. Bush perpetuated this lie as a reason to invade Iraq - a clear case of illegal war propaganda.
In terms of Mr. Weaver's other arguments, they are also unfortunately wrong or misleading. Vice President Dick Cheney did indeed insinuate a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq on multiple documented occasions: Meet The Press on Dec. 9, 2001; at a press conference on Sep. 14, 2003; and in an NPR interview in Jan., 2004 he claimed Iraq was harboring Abdul Rahmin Yasin, 1993 WTC bombing suspect, and that there was a connection between Iraq and Mohamed Atta, a 9/11 ringleader, besides making claims that Iraq and Al Qaeda were increasingly linked in the 1990s. These claims have, of course, since been debunked but represent another case of false and misleading statements in the cause of war (propaganda).
Also, Mr. Weaver claims many intelligence agencies thought Iraq was close to acquiring nuclear weapons. This is not the case — in fact Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled since the first Gulf War.
In fact, Mr. Weaver's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are laughable, since the chemical weapons we knew Iraq had were supplied by the West (including the U.S.), and the initial nuclear power program was created with the aid and knowledge of the U.S., France, and NATO. Unfortunately as well for Mr. Weaver, it is not a crime under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to develop nuclear power for energy use. Still, Rove et al. used this as propaganda for an illegal war and occupation — a war crime.
The one thing I will agree with Mr. Weaver on is that leading Democrats did indeed go along with the Bush administration's drive to war. They, too, are complicit in the crimes of international aggression and occupation, and they too should be put on trial in front of an international tribunal for what they, with their votes, allowed to happen.
All of these are easily verifiable facts that a political journalist should have access too without too much trouble. Unfortunately for Mr. Weaver, I see that he is not a political journalist but rather a sports reporter. Perhaps he should stick to reporting what he knows, and to leave real journalism to people capable of examining facts — not opinions and lies.
Co-Chair, New York State Green Party
Blair Joins UU Talks On Israeli Blockade
Monday, 14 June 2010
Tony Blair will join EU foreign ministers today for talks on the prospects of easing the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The former prime minister and current Middle East envoy was invited to attend by EU foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton, chairing the Luxembourg meeting.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is also there, taking part in his first gathering of EU foreign ministers since the election.
And although no final decisions will be taken in Luxembourg on any EU involvement, Mr Blair will insist there can be an EU role in a new international effort to patrol the Gaza border crossings.
Mr Netanyahu has insisted Israel's aim is to allow humanitarian aid in to Gaza, while the movement of arms.
Mr Blair, Middle East representative for the "Quartet" comprising the EU, the United Nations, America and , says hope of a compromise rests on establishing an "intelligent" distinction between the need to stop arms entering Gaza and being deployed against Israel, and the need to allow access for "goods for ordinary daily life, and to rebuild the infrastructure of Gaza and to allow legitimate business to operate".
Mr Blair said: "I hope very much we can build on that distinction over the next few days and get a change in policy in the way we need."
There was a strong case for the Palestinian authority, the United Nations and the EU to be jointly involved in monitoring Gaza border crossings, making sure that materials earmarked for UN projects such as building schools and hospitals reach their and are used for the intended purpose.
Tension has risen in the last fortnight, following Israel's decision to board a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships attempting to breach Israel's blockade.
An EU official said: "EU foreign ministers are reaffirming their commitment to the Middle East peace process, and reviewing how to address the need to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and open up crossing points.
"No decisions will be made: we can only move forward on this if everyone, on all sides, agrees. But there will be a commitment , from the EU that we are willing to help - if conditions allow us."
The foreign ministers will also discuss the new UN sanctions against Iran, designed to increase pressure for a halt to the Iranian nuclear enrichment programme.
However, some other EU member states see no value in going beyond the level of measures being invoked by the UN - and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already rubbished the new sanctions as fir for the dustbin.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland's former first Minister David Trimble was named as a foreign observer in Israel's inquiry into the Gaza flotilla raid.
Israel said last night it was setting up the inquiry, headed by retired Israeli Supreme Court judge Yaakov Turkel and two high-ranking foreign observers - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord Trimble and retired brigadier general Ken Watkin, the former chief military prosecutor in Canada.
Mr Blair said he was hopeful that "significant change" could come over the next few days to the way the Gaza blockade was operated.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I hope we will be able to do three things over the coming days. First, that, although the blockade will remain in respect of arms and combat material, the items for daily life come in as a matter of course."
Mr Blair said that would mean swapping the current list of permitted items allowed into Gaza with a new list of prohibited items.
He said that should mean "we will be able to complete the UN projects for the renewal of the infrastructure under a special procedure".
Thirdly, he added: "I think it's possible to get a role back for the EU and the Palestinian Authority in the way that these crossings, or some of them, are monitored."
But he saw no prospect of Israel lifting the sea blockade.
Mr Blair said: "The idea would be to make a significant change where the blockade would remain in respect of those items that are a security risk for Israel, but items for daily life will be able to come in."
Did CIA Doctors Commit War Crimes for Bush?
By participating, PHR speculates, these doctors may have been complicit in the commission of war crimes. [The report] indicates that there is evidence that ...
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Japan's Right-Wing Tries to Censor The Cove | Animals | Change.org
By Brandon Bosworth
The Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove is causing a stir in Japan and raising issues of free speech. The film, which documents the horrific slaughter of thousand of dolphins in the Japanese... Read more of this post, ...
Change.org's Animals Blog - http://animals.change.org/
Fear and Why the Tea Party Will Fade Away
The Tea Party is on a hot streak lately what with the Republican primary victories of Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharon Angle in Nevada. And the talk among many is that the Tea Party will have a transformative impact on the upcoming midterm elections and be an enduring force in American politics for years to come.
The Tea Party movement is typically viewed as a populist uprising fueled by ideological anger against a federal government that many believe no longer represents needs and wishes of the American people. It protests the policies of our government that, according to their doctrines, restrict individual liberty, violate the Constitution, illegally regulate the economy, and unfairly tax citizens. The Tea Party believes that America has been taken away from it, thus its de facto motto is "Take back America."
The stereotype of Tea Partiers, reinforced by the many misspelled placards seen at the protests, is uneducated, of low income, and Southern. Yet polls show that the typical Tea Party supporter is, yes, white, but also older, educated, and of above-average income. This surprising demographic has led me to a decidedly contrarian analysis of the source of the Tea Party's energy and its future role in American politics.
I would argue that the Tea Party will have a diminishing impact on our political scene in the coming years. In fact, I believe that the Tea Party will have a only a minor influence on the midterm elections (and that influence will benefit the Democrats) and a lingering presence on the political scene for a few years. But I predict that the Tea Party will slowly but steadily fade into nonexistence over the next decade. (Disclaimer: Predictions are admittedly easy to make because, as we know from the National Enquirer and professional sports drafts, no one ever follows up to see if the predictions come true).
I offer this prediction because I believe that the birth and popularity of the Tea Party is based more in psychology than in political beliefs.
Most people think of anger when they describe the Tea Party. But it's not, in my view, what drives the movement. Anger is actually a defensive and protective response triggered by the flight-or-flight reaction which has evolved since we rose out of the primordial muck so many eons ago. Its purpose? To ensure our survival when threatened. And, with so much cultural uncertainty, economic instability, and political conflict in the world, many Americans feel profoundly threatened. So what underlies the anger expressed so strongly by Tea Partiers is fear.
What then is that fear?
Let's return to the demographic of the Tea Party: white, older, educated, and of higher income. Think about the world in which they were raised and had lived most of their lives. It was safe, secure, familiar, and, yes, homogeneous. They collectively held the power and had the loudest voice. They were in charge.
Now look at what is happening to their world; it is changing dramatically in so many ways. Tea Party members are confronted with a new world order that is understandably unsettling to them. 9/11 created a world that is now, at least in the eyes of many, more dangerous and unpredictable than ever before. Immigration and increased diversity that had not been that evident in the stratum in which they lived for most of their lives is now in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. The serial economic crises of the past decade have caused a degree of financial insecurity that threatens their futures. And this changing world is no more obvious than in the new resident of the White House.
Tea Party supporters no longer have exclusive power. Their voices carry less sway than they once did. They have less control over their own lives and the world in which they have been living for so many years.
Now let's return to the Tea Party motto, "Take back America." Many people interpret it to mean take it back from those who have taken it from them, most obviously immigrants and people of color (thus the cries of racism). But I believe what lies at the heart of their message is their nostalgic wish to take America back to that previous time when life was simpler and more familiar, secure, and controllable, when they had no need to be fearful.
Another fear that I believe underlies the anger that the Tea Party movement expresses toward our government is that no one can protect them from the significant and ongoing upheavals that we have been experiencing during the last decade. Ordinary people have and continue to suffer mightily from multiple financial crises, and, most recently, the West Virginia mine tragedy and the BP disaster. Americans have always trusted their government to protect them from such harm (and it did a pretty good job for a long time), yet it has failed repeatedly in recent times. Never mind that Big Business, not our government, was responsible for these catastrophic events. The Tea Partiers don't expect Big Business to care about them, much less act in their best interests, so they don't hold them accountable. But our government is supposed to care about us and act in our best interests, yet it has let us down. So that fear turned to anger toward our government because it is better to feel rage and fight than to feel fear and flight.
These observations bring me back to my original thesis that the Tea Party will slowly fade away. Why? Because the generation of these Tea Partiers is aging and will be infirm or dead within 20 years. And the next generations will not be gripped with such fear of the changing world because they know no other world. They have been raised in this diverse, uncertain, and pretty crazy world. All of the changes are simply life as they know it, so there is nothing to fear. And with that absence of fear, the Tea Party will lose its purpose and energy and become simply an interesting yet short-lived footnote in American political history.
At least that's my prediction. Some will agree with me and others will disagree. But no one will know for sure until history tells us.
Gulf Oil Spill ‘Could Go Years’ If Not Dealt With
author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
by F. William Engdahl
June 10, 2010
The Obama Administration and senior BP officials are frantically working not to stop the world’s worst oil disaster, but to hide the true extent of the actual ecological catastrophe. Senior researchers tell us that the BP drilling hit one of the oil migration channels and that the leakage could continue for years unless decisive steps are undertaken, something that seems far from the present strategy.
In a recent discussion, Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that the present oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast shores of the United States “could go on for years and years … many years.” 1
According to Kutcherov, a leading specialist in the theory of abiogenic deep origin of petroleum, “What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia.”3 Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield has been producing millions of barrels daily for almost 70 years with no end in sight. According to the abiotic science, Ghawar like all elephant and giant oil and gas deposits all over the world, is located on a migration channel similar to that in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico.
As I wrote at the time of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster,3 Haiti had been identified as having potentially huge hydrocasrbon reserves, as has neighboring Cuba. Kutcherov estimates that the entire Gulf of Mexico is one of the planet’s most abundant accessible locations to extract oil and gas, at least before the Deepwater Horizon event this April.
“In my view the heads of BP reacted with panic at the scale of the oil spewing out of the well,” Kutcherov adds. “What is inexplicable at this point is why they are trying one thing, failing, then trying a second, failing, then a third. Given the scale of the disaster they should try every conceivable option, even if it is ten, all at once in hope one works. Otherwise, this oil source could spew oil for years given the volumes coming to the surface already.” 4
He stresses, “It is difficult to estimate how big this leakage is. There is no objective information available.” But taking into consideration information about the last BP ‘giant’ discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the Tiber field, some six miles deep, Kutcherov agrees with Ira Leifer a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara who says the oil may be gushing out at a rate of more than 100,000 barrels a day.5
What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies’ myth of “peak oil” which claims that the world is at or near the “peak” of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.
Obama & BP Try to Hide
According to a report from Washington investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, “the Obama White House and British Petroleum are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP’s liability for damage caused by what can be called a ‘mega-disaster.’” 6 Madsen cites sources within the US Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection for his assertion.
Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Salazar, are working with BP’s chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. According to informed estimates cited by Madsen, however, the disaster has a real potential cost of at least $1,000 billion ($1 trillion). That estimate would support the pessimistic assessment of Kutcherov that the spill, if not rapidly controlled, “will destroy the entire coastline of the United States.”
According to the Washington report of Madsen, BP statements that one of the leaks has been contained, are “pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration., according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources.” 7
The White House has been resisting releasing any “damaging information” about the oil disaster. Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers experts estimate that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. 8
Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a “national security issue.” Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano’s actual reasoning for invoking national security, according to Madsen, was merely to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.
The Obama administration also conspired with BP to hide the extent of the oil leak, according to the cited federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day were gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day. However, submersibles monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what they describe as a “volcanic-like” eruption of oil.
When the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick, which is larger than is being reported by the media, it was reportedly denied the access. By chance, National Geographic managed to obtain satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site. Other satellite imagery reportedly being withheld by the Obama administration, shows that what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to Madsen’s sources.
The Corps of Engineers and FEMA are reported to be highly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only now has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. Under the loose regulatory measures implemented by the Bush-Cheney Administration, the US Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service became a simple “rubber stamp,” approving whatever the oil companies wanted in terms of safety precautions that could have averted such a disaster. Madsen describes a state of “criminal collusion” between Cheney’s former firm, Halliburton, and the Interior Department’s MMS, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves. 9
Silence from Eco groups?... Follow the money
Without doubt at this point we are in the midst of what could be the greatest ecological catastrophe in history. The oil platform explosion took place almost within the current loop where the Gulf Stream originates. This has huge ecological and climatological consequences.
A cursory look at a map of the Gulf Stream shows that the oil is not just going to cover the beaches in the Gulf, it will spread to the Atlantic coasts up through North Carolina then on to the North Sea and Iceland. And beyond the damage to the beaches, sea life and water supplies, the Gulf stream has a very distinct chemistry, composition (marine organisms), density, temperature. What happens if the oil and the dispersants and all the toxic compounds they create actually change the nature of the Gulf Stream? No one can rule out potential changes including changes in the path of the Gulf Stream, and even small changes could have huge impacts. Europe, including England, is not an icy wasteland due to the warming from the Gulf Stream.
Yet there is a deafening silence from the very environmental organizations which ought to be at the barricades demanding that BP, the US Government and others act decisively.
That deafening silence of leading green or ecology organizations such as Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and others may well be tied to a money trail that leads right back to the oil industry, notably to BP. Leading environmental organizations have gotten significant financial payoffs in recent years from BP in order that the oil company could remake itself with an “environment-friendly face,” as in “beyond petroleum” the company’s new branding.
The Nature Conservancy, described as “the world’s most powerful environmental group,”10 has awarded BP a seat on its International Leadership Council after the oil company gave the organization more than $10 million in recent years. 11
Until recently, the Conservancy and other environmental groups worked with BP in a coalition that lobbied Congress on climate-change issues. An employee of BP Exploration serves as an unpaid Conservancy trustee in Alaska. In addition, according to a recent report published by theWashington Post, Conservation International, another environmental group, has accepted $2 million in donations from BP and worked with the company on a number of projects, including one examining oil-extraction methods. From 2000 to 2006, John Browne, then BP's chief executive, sat on the CI board.
Further, The Environmental Defense Fund, another influential ecologist organization, joined with BP, Shell and other major corporations to form a Partnership for Climate Action, to promote ‘market-based mechanisms’ (sic) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental non-profit groups that have accepted donations from or joined in projects with BP include Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Audubon. That could explain why the political outcry to date for decisive action in the Gulf has been so muted. 12
Of course those organizations are not going to be the ones to solve this catastrophe. The central point at this point is who is prepared to put the urgently demanded federal and international scientific resources into solving this crisis. Further actions of the likes of that from the Obama White House to date or from BP can only lead to the conclusion that some very powerful people want this debacle to continue. The next weeks will be critical to that assessment.
1 Vladimir Kutcherov, telephone discussion with the author, June 9, 2010.
3 F. William Engdahl, The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti, Global Research.ca, January 30, 2010, accessed in http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17287
4 Vladimir Kutcherov, op. cit.
5 Ira Leifer, Scientist: BP Well Could Be Leaking 100,000 Barrels of Oil a Day, June 9, 2010, accessed in http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/9/scientist_bp_well_could_be_leaking
6 Wayne Madsen, The Coverup: BPs Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega Disaster, May 6, 2010, accessed in http://oilprice.com/Environment/Oil-Spills/The-Cover-up-BP-s-Crude-Politics-and-the-Looming-Environmental-Mega-Disaster.html
10 Tim Findley, Natures’ Landlord, Range Magazine, Spring 2003.
11 Joe Stephens, Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP, Washington Post, May 24, 2010, accessed in http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/23/AR2010052302164.html