Scientists Are Preparing To Drill Into The Site Of The Impact That Killed Off The Dinosaurs


This month, in the Gulf of Mexico, a drilling site will be constructed. Typically, these sites are built for oil extraction, but this one is for a more valiant pursuit. Scientists plan to drill into the site, known as the Chicxulub crater, where 66 million years ago an asteroid impacted and killed off the dinosaurs and many other life forms on Earth. The goal is to discover rock cores that will potentially give insights into how life rebounded after such a devastating event. They believe the crater could have been a breeding ground for microbial life that then evolved into the life forms of today.  Continue reading

NASA Admits There’s ‘A Chance’ That Asteroid 2013 TX68 Could Smash Into Earth


NASA has dramatically changed its mind about the risks posed by asteroid 2013 TX68 , a 100ft-wide rock which is currently heading towards Earth. It said there was “a chance” it could plough into our planet next year when it makes another flyby. However, we are glad to report that NASA thinks the odds of a collision on September 28, 2017, are “no more than 1-in-250-million”. If it did hit the planet, the asteroid would probably explode in the atmosphere, unleashing as much energy as a powerful nuclear bomb and wiping out anything unlucky enough to be beneath it. “The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for near earth orbit studies . “I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.”  Continue reading

A Mysterious Object Will Sweep Past Earth In 2017 – Scientists Have No Idea What It Is


A mysterious object will sweep past Earth in 2017 and Scientists have no idea what it isIs this an Alien probe? The mysterious object was spotted for the first time in 1991 by Astronomer James Scotti from the University of Arizona and is referred to as 1991 VG.

The mysterious object was spotted for the first time in 1991 by Astronomer James Scotti from the University of Arizona and is referred to as 1991 VG.  Continue reading

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Only Built Six Homes


THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAMPECHE sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Continue reading

Devastating Photos of the 7.9-Magnitude Earthquake That Just Hit Nepal

At least 876 people are feared dead after a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday.

The BBC reports that the quake struck the area between the capital of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara in the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. According to the BBC, Nepali Information Minister Minendra Rijal had relayed claims of “massive damage” from the epicenter of the earthquake, where many buildings collapsed. Nearly 500 were reported dead in Kathmandu alone.

The International Business Times also reported massive destruction at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a major tourist destination, as well as Dharahara Tower, a nine-story tower built in 1824 in the Mughal and European styles.

Photos taken at the scene seem to confirm the reports of terrible damage to the two cities, as well as major loss of life:

Continue reading

Earth is halfway to being inhospitable to life, scientist says


A Swedish scientist claims in a new theory that humanity has exceeded four of the nine limits for keeping the planet hospitable to modern life, while another professor told RT Earth may be seeing an impending human-made extinction of various species.

Environmental science professor Johan Rockstrom, the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, argues that there are nine “planetary boundaries” in a new paper published in Science – and human beings have already crossed four of them. Continue reading

China, Japan, Oklahoma, Mexico, Iran, Philippines, Indonesia, Chile – Earthquakes Worldwide


Well, looks like so far that “me tel u” was right after all

Iran, Papua New Guinea And Oklahoma Earthquakes 2013: Multiple Quakes Shake The World

Earthquakes shook widely separated parts of the world Tuesday.

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit Papua New Guinea Tuesday night, with the state of Oklahoma experiencing unprecedented seismic action for the area during the same period, according to the United States Geological Survey. Iran also felt a 7.8 quake that injured many people on Tuesday, the USGS said.

A tsunami warning has not been issued for Papua New Guinea, where residents are used to quakes due to their close proximity to the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” There have yet to be any reports of injuries or fatalities as a result of the quake.

Series of earthquakes shakes Oklahoma 

By Marian Smith, Staff Writer, NBC News

A magnitude-4.3 earthquake shook Oklahoma early Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey reported.

The quake struck at 12:56 a.m. local time (1:56 a.m. ET) around 30 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. It was measured at a depth of 3.1 miles, the USGS said.

A small earthquake of magnitude 3.0 preceded the temblor, and two small tremors with magnitudes of 2.8 and 3.3 rattled nearby within 20 minutes of the initial quake.


Yes, very unusual, as per USGS since yesterday we had 9 earthquakes 5.0+
5.1 19km SW of Yuhu, China 2013-04-17 01:46:02 26.004°N 99.830°E 55.0
6.6 23km ESE of Aitape, Papua New Guinea 2013-04-16 22:55:27 3.218°S 142.543°E 13.0
5.0 87km SE of Muara Siberut, Indonesia 2013-04-16 18:22:29 2.192°S 99.729°E 27.8
5.2 72km S of Kotaagung, Indonesia 2013-04-16 11:26:06 6.140°S 104.734°E 52.9
7.8 83km E of Khash, Iran 2013-04-16 10:44:20 28.107°N 62.053°E 82.0
5.6 125km WSW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea 2013-04-16 10:00:24 6.652°S 154.405°E 10.0
5.0 125km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands 2013-04-16 09:05:28 11.702°S 165.254°E 10.0
5.3 52km SSW of Motuo, China 2013-04-16 08:34:12 28.874°N 95.115°E 31.7
5.0 32km SSE of Tondano, Indonesia 2013-04-16 03:48:44 1.048°N 125.059°E 87.0


Just to quote thou, Feb 8/9/10 were also very active days. Feb-8 we had this:
5.5 103km ESE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 22km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 23km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.2 26km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.1 29km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.3 14km E of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.7 77km ESE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.8 77km W of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
5.1 46km WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
7.1 31km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.2 29km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.2 27km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.3 43km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.1 32km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 24km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 23km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.1 25km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
6.8 21km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.5 121km W of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.2 34km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.5 35km S of Lata, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands were shaking like jelly in a roller-coaster cart that day. The next day it wasn’t so different:
5.2 14km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.5 22km SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.1 30km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.3 30km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
6.6 25km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.2 15km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 110km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
6.9 2km N of Yacuanquer, Colombia
5.0 39km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.1 130km S of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.4 60km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 152km SSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.5 23km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands
5.0 26km SE of Iwaki, Japan


Not so significant, but just now a 4.4 in Japan:

Today’s quakes so far(7:55 am):
Mag. Location
5.7 107km E of Khash, Iran
5.6 25km WSW of Miura, Japan
5.6 209km W of Abepura, Indonesia
5.1 8km NNW of Linao, Philippines
5.1 19km SW of Yuhu, China
5.0 47km NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.9 42km N of Yonakuni, Japan
4.9 55km NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.9 47km NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.8 116km E of Khash, Iran
4.7 26km WSW of Darapidap, Philippines
4.7 42km N of Yonakuni, Japan
4.7 39km NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.7 57km NE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.7 59km NE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.6 56km NE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.6 West Chile Rise
4.5 62km ENE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.4 57km NE of Yonakuni, Japan
4.4 82km SSE of Shimoda, Japan
4.2 12km NNE of Ishigaki, Japan
4.1 9km SW of Alberto Oviedo Mota, Mexico
3.2 5km ESE of Luther, Oklahoma
2.7 68km WSW of Middleton Island, Alaska
2.6 67km WSW of Cordova, Alaska
2.5 51km SSE of Lone Pine, California

Well, that’s all I see in official USGS site. There are some more, I’ll post as soon as they have increased in number.


Major earthquake rocks Iran, hundreds feared dead


Hundreds of people are feared dead as a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked Iran on Tuesday.

As per the US Geological Survey, the quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale had its epicentre on the Iran-Pakistan border at a depth of 15.2 kilometres. It was located 86 kilometres east-southeast of the Iranian city of Khash.

A government officials told a news agency that “it was the biggest earthquake in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead”.

There are no further details of the extent of the damage. The rescue teams are being sent to the quake stricken areas.

The quake was felt in Iran, Pakistan and a major part of West Asia.

At least 37 people were killed and 850 wounded when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit south-west Iran on April 10.

Amazing Image of an enormous wall of sand bearing down on ships in Australia

(Independent) -With wildfires burning across southeastern Australian, and the northwest of the country bracing for Tropical Cyclone Narelle, the Aussies probably have enough to deal with without a monster red dust storm.

Remarkable images of just such a wall of dust have emerged showing an enormous wall of sand bearing down on ships 25 nautical miles from the coast of Australia.

Images posted by Perth Weather Live showed a towering red dust storm over the ocean ahead of the tropical cyclone.

Tugboat worker Brett Martin was working west of False Island when the storm passed over.

“We were steaming along in the boat just before sunset and the storm was casually building in the distance, then it got faster and faster and it went from glass to about 40 knots in two minutes,” he told the West Australian newspaper.

“It was like a big dust storm under a thunderhead, there was a lot of lightning but not a lot of rain.”

The storm hit northwest Australia and headed out into the India ocean at sunset on Wednesday evening.

The bright red colour in the storm is unrelated to the massive bush fires in Australia this week.

Red dust and iron ore which covers the Pilbara region is believed to have given the storm its vivid colour.

A dust storm of this magnitude is known as a “haboob”, deriving from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind” or “blow”.

They form when air is pushed down and forward by the front of a traveling thunderstorm cell, it drags with it dust and debris.

Winds of 60 mph can stir up dust and sand and create a blowing wall as high as 10,000 feet.

Eight US Sailors Sue Japan’s TEPCO For Lying About Fukushima Radiation

(ZeroHedge) -It was only a matter of time before Japan’s criminal lying about the radioactive exposure in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe caught up with it. What is surprising is that those holding Japan accountable are not its citizens but eight US sailors who have just filed a suit against semi-nationalized energy operator TEPCO - the company which repeatedly ignored internal warnings about the ability of the Fukushima NPP to withstand an earthquake/tsunami - seeking $110 million in damages.

As Kyodo reports:


Eight U.S. sailors have filed a damages suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., claiming they were exposed to radiation and face health threats as the utility did not provide appropriate information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster while they engaged in rescue operations on board an aircraft carrier, U.S. media reported.


The plaintiffs who filed the suit at the U.S. federal court in San Diego — seeking a total of $110 million, or 9.4 billion yen, in damages — were aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it was involved in “Operation Tomodachi,” a disaster relief effort shortly after a big earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear accident in decades, the reports said.”

What is sad is that while everyone in the alternative media was repeatedly warning about the radiation exposure being misrepresented by both TEPCO and various Japanese ministries, it was the mainstream media that was constantly complicit in disseminating official and unofficial lies that there is nothing to fear. Which begs the question: shouldn’t the lawsuit stretch to everyone who - without inquiring deeper and merely serving as a mouthpiece to a lying government and utility - gave the “all clear” even as radiation levels were approaching, and in many occasions, passing critical levels?

But hey: they were merely following orders, and were worried about keeping their jobs if they stepped out of line and questioned the line of propaganda command. Luckily, this will be the first time in world history this excuse will have been used.

The Mayan 2012 Prophecy: The Orwellian “End of the World” Doomsday is “Made in America”

(GlobalResearch) The 2012 Mayan Prophecy has been readily distorted and misunderstood.

The End of the Mayan Calendar on December 21, 2012 has nothing to do with the “End of the World”.

In fact, the Mayan calendar does not end on December 21st, 2012.

Rather December 21 marks the beginning of a new “Long Cycle” in the Mayan calendar system. (See Washington’s Blog, End of the World: Hear the 2012 Prophecy … Direct from the Mouths of the Mayan Priests, Global Research, December 13, 2012)

The End of the World concept is a falsehood and misinterpretation of Mayan thought. What is at stake is a renewal, the unfolding of a new era. For the Mayans, December 21, 2012  marks the beginning of a new long cycle (Ibid).

Meanwhile, “End of the World” stories and commentary are plastered on the news tabloids. While the Western media readily refutes the Mayan prophesy, the apocalypse narrative,        when repeated ad nauseam, serves as a distraction and distortion.

A Reuters-Ispos poll conducted last May confirms that 10% of the World’s population believe that: “The Mayan calendar, which some say ‘ends’ in 2012, marks the end of the world”.

Ironically, in sharp contrast to the Mayan prophesy of  “renewal,  the real World we live in at the outset of the 21st Century is marked by a formidable economic and social crisis which is impoverishing millions of people, literally destroying people’s lives.

In the figurative sense, we are in the midst of an unfolding “doomsday scenario” of a complex political, social and economic nature:  it’s man made, it’s “Made in America”; it is the consequence of the fracture of the judicial system, the evolving Homeland Security apparatus, the fraudulent deregulation of financial markets, the mismanagement of the real economy.

These fundamental shifts in America’s institutional and social fabric are coupled with a far-reaching global military agenda and a self-serving US foreign policy.

The latter under the helm of Secretary Hillary Clinton points towards potential a breakdown of  the channels of international diplomacy.

War and the Economic Crisis are intimately related. While the global economy is in a state of chaos, marked by the collapse of productive systems, the US and its allies –including NATO and Israel– have embarked upon a military adventure, “a long war” under the disguise of a “global war on terrorism”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Pentagon war games routinely focus on simulating World War III scenarios. This “End of the World” military agenda potentially threatens the future of humanity.

Media Disinformation

While World public attention is riveted on the “Mayan apocalypse”, the “Real Crisis” which is affecting humanity is not an object of  serious debate. The Pentagon’s “long war” combined with a murky scenario of  global impoverishment and economic breakdown is not front page news.

The corporate media plays a central role in providing legitimacy to a destructive military agenda.

The US-NATO weapons arsenal and military deployment in all regions of the World are routinely portrayed as instruments of peace. America’s new generation of tactical nuclear weapons are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war, which constitutes a de facto doomsday scenario, is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

Central to an understanding of war is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion.

A good versus evil dichotomy prevails.

The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims.

According to the Western media, America and NATO’s “Atlantic area” were attacked by a “foreign power” [Afghanistan] on September 11, 2001: an a absurd proposition.

NATO’s doctrine of collective security, based on the concept of “self defense” was invoked by the Atlantic Council on the morning of September 12, 2001 as a justification to bomb and invade Afghanistan, because Afghanistan had allegedly attacked America.

Meanwhile, the media stands mum: no analysis, no debate. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking the propaganda apparatus, which sustains a criminal project of global destruction.

War propaganda not only sustains a profit-driven military agenda, it creates in the inner consciousness of millions of people the acceptance of war as a societal project.

It literally stamps out and excludes from the human mindset fundamental human values of peace, compassion and social justice. It transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned.

Against this backdrop, people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.

Strong “Economic Medicine”

The conduct of  global warfare is accompanied by process of Worldwide macroeconomic restructuring. Throughout the World strong “economic medicine” is imposed.

People are led to believe that austerity is the “solution” to crisis when it is in fact the “cause” of economic collapse.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the IMF “Structural Adjustment Program” (SAP) was imposed on the Third World, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the countries of the former Soviet block. In all these countries, the standard of living plummeted, State social programs were phased out or privatised.

In North America and the European Union, the social crisis has been is marked by the weakening or outright disintegration of Medicare, Social Security and public education.

The civilian economy is in crisis. Tax revenues are reallocated to building a formidable war economy at the expense of social services. Fiscal collapse is the inevitable outcome. State budgets are dictated by the creditor banks, which increasingly decide on the fate of millions of people.

Across America, millions of households have lost their homes. Small businesses are driven into bankruptcy. What remains of social security and Medicare is slated to be scrapped.

The only sectors of the US economy which are booming are the luxury goods sector geared to the “One Percent” and the state of the art weapons industry, largely composed of the defence conglomerates including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, British Aerospace et al.

 Tax Dollars used to Wage Wars and Kill People

The war economy is booming, F35 fighter jets are to be sold at half a billion dollars a piece. Not included in this price is another 300 million dollars of related maintenance and upkeep of these state of of the art fighter jets.

Canada and Norway be acquiring a large number of these planes at the expense of their social programs.  “The overall cost of the program to the US military is estimated at a staggering $1.51 trillion over the so called life cycle of the program, namely $618 million per plane. (Shalal-Esa, Andrea. Government sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.51 trillion., Chicago Tribune,  April 2, 2012).

War and Globalization

War and globalization including the imposition of deadly austerity measures are intimately related.  Global Warfare is good for business. It feeds billions of dollars into what Dwight D. Eisenhower call the “Military Industrial Complex”. The fanciful headlines regarding the upcoming Apocalypse serve to overshadow the grim realities of  the US-NATO led wars.

Several new weapons systems have been introduced in the course of the post Cold war era. The emphasis is on unconventional warfare.

  • Unmanned warfare, killing from a computer screen,
  • environmental modification techniques including climatic warfare,
  • a new generation of nuclear weapons made in America, not to mention the use of depleted uranium ammunition which causes cancer.

The backdrop is a culture of violence in Hollywood where war, police brutality, torture and extrajudicial killings are the “new normal”;

Meanwhile the Fukushima disaster is a nuclear war without a war, conducive to massive contamination and radiation, the consequences of which are still to be fully assessed.

Who are the main actors behind the US led war?

  • The military industrial complex also described as the defence contractors, including the mercenary and security outfits on contract to the US Department of Defense (DoD)
  • the Wall Street financial establishment including the institutional speculators and the hedge funds,
  • the biotech conglomerates, agribusiness and big Pharma, which produce genetically modified seeds, chemical and biological weapons. This sector overlaps with the military industrial complex,
  • the Anglo-American oil conglomerates and energy companies,
  • the communications giants overlapping with the military and intelligence apparatus, including surveillance and police state technology,
  • The media conglomerates which constitute the cornerstone of the US imperial propaganda.

Wars on the Pentagon Drawing Board

Active war preparations against Syria, Lebanon and Iran have been ongoing for the last eight years.

Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems.

Public opinion, swayed by media hype is tacitly supportive, indifferent or ignorant as to the likely impacts of what is upheld as an ad hoc “punitive” operation directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than an all out war.

The war on Iran is presented to public opinion as an issue among others. It is not viewed as a threat to humanity, as a doomsday scenario. Quite the opposite: it is viewed as a humanitarian endeavor which contributes to enhancing an illusive concept of global security.

The “End of the World” is an ongoing man made process. What we are witnessing in the 21st Century is the outright destruction of entire countries.

Erasing the Achievements of Post War Economic and Social Development. Dismantling the Welfare State

The European Union –which had reached a high level of economic and social development– is now beset with mass unemployment and the dismantling of the post World War II Welfare State. The governments of sovereign countries are controlled by a shadow financial establishment.

Almost one quarter of Europe’s young people are without work, with the highest youth jobless rate (52.1 percent) recorded in Greece and Spain.

In Greece and Spain, the overall unemployment rates now stand at the record levels of 21.9 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively.

In both countries unemployment has risen sharply in the past year. In May 2011, unemployment stood at 20.9 percent in Spain and 15.7 percent in Greece. (See Christoph Dreier, Record Unemployment in Euro Zone, Global Research, July 03, 2012 World Socialist Web Site 3 July 2012,

At the height of the great depression of the 21st century, economic chaos prevails, the possibility of financial breakdown can not be dismissed.

Criminalization of the Banking System

Known and documented, the mega-banks which oversee the economic restructuring of the European and North American economies are routinely involved in money laundering and the drug trade. Pervasive links to organized crime have been established.

The banks work hand in glove with the drug cartels.

HSBC was sued for collaborating with the Mexican drug cartel. This is not an isolated event. All major financial institutions are involved in the laundering of drug money.

And lest we forget, the drug economy is part of a long history of international trade.  The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation founded in 1865 in the British colony of Hong Kong was an offshoot of the British East India company (BEIC). Starting in the late 18th century, protected by the British Empire, the BEIC was involved in the lucrative opium trade.

Produced in Bengal and then shipped to China, the revenues were used to finance Britain’s imperial expansion.

When the Chinese imperial government ordered the opium to be destroyed in 1839, Britain declared war on China, initiating what was called the “first opium war”.  Britain’s casus belli was that China –by destroying the opium– had violated the tenets of 19th Century “free trade”.

The HSBV is no exception.  Today, corporate capital continues to protect the drug trade and the most respected banking institutions annually launder billions of narco-dollars.  It is worth noting that since 2001, Afghanistan’s war shattered economy supplies more than 90 percent of the World’s heroin.

The highly lucrative drug trade out of Afghanistan is protected by the US-NATO occupation forces on behalf of powerful financial interests: a multibillion dollar bonanza for the banks and the criminal syndicates involved in the Golden Crescent drug trade. The resulting flow of narco-dollars is largely laundered in the Western banking system.

Destroying Civilization: Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley

America’s wars in the Middle East and Central Asia have largely been conducive to the destabilization and decline of an entire region, considered by historians to be the cradle of civilization.

The “doomsday” wars on Iraq and more recently Syria are instrumental in the destruction of Mesopotamia, the “Land of two Rivers”.

More than 5000 years of history are erased. In Iraq. At the very outset of the occupation in April 2003, the cultural and archaeological heritage was looted by the invaders.

America’s unmanned drone attacks against civilians in Pakistan under the mandate of the “Global War on Terrorism” occur in the upper Indus Valley, another cradle of ancient civilization going back to the Bronze Age (Third Millennium BC) , which is currently being destroyed.

The Indus Valley Civilization also known as the Harappan civilization, started in the third millennium BC (3300–1300 BC). Together with the Nile Valley and Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley was one of the first urban river civilizations.

The “collateral casualties” resulting from the drone attacks are “nothing more than a euphemism for state-sponsored mass murder.”

The recipients of these profit driven wars are the Anglo-American oil giants and the weapons conglomerates, the so-called “defense contractors” (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, British Aerospace, etc)  which produce the humanitarian missiles and fighter planes for the US-NATO war machine. The latter includes a new generation of nuclear weapons.

The technology and sophistication of this military hardware at the height of the electronic age have expanded beyond bounds. In a bitter irony, these “weapons of peace” are used to ensure that Iran and Syria do not use their alleged WMDs against the Western World.

The Role of Al Qaeda

US led wars are geared towards in fomenting ethnic and factional divisions as well as supporting, through covert operations the formation of “Islamist” terrorist paramilitary organizations. These covert operations are essentially intended to destroy the nation state and install a puppet regime.

Over the past 30 years, US intelligence in partnership with Britain’s MI6 and Israel’s Mossad, have supported the creation of Al Qaeda as well as a number of “Al Qaeda affiliated” organizations. These terrorist entities are “intelligence assets”, namely instruments of Western intelligence.

Today, the jihadists freedom fighters are recruited by NATO. In Libya and in Syria, these Al Qaeda affiliated entities, supported and integrated by French and British special forces, act on behalf of the Western military alliance.

They are NATO’s foot-soldiers.

The Plight of Genetically Engineered Seeds (GMO)

In India, the Ganges which floods the fertile plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, thousands of bankrupt and impoverished farmers are committing suicide.

The figures confirm that 250,000 farmers have committed suicide. Why? Because the organic seeds are being replaced by genetically modified varieties, which once adopted leads not only to the destruction of biodiversity but also to the demise of entire farming communities:

Monsanto offered its GM seeds to the farmers of India with hopes of reaping plentiful crops. Plain and mostly uneducated farmers thought Monsanto had come to provide a “magic” formula that would transform their lives. They had no idea what was coming.

Monsanto’s seeds in India did not produce what the company had promised and farmers hoped. The expensive seeds piled up debts and destroyed farming fields. In many instances, the crops simply failed to materialize.

The farmers were not aware that the GM seeds required more water than the traditional seeds. And lack of rain in many parts of India exacerbated the crop failure.

With no harvest, the farmers could not pay back the lenders. Burdened with debts and humiliation, the farmers simply took their own lives, some by swallowing poisonous pesticides in front of their families. To date, an estimated 200,000 farmers have committed suicide all over India.

To add to the misery, wives inherited the debts along with the fear of losing their homes and lands. With no money coming in, they also had to pull their kids from the schools.

The mass suicide among the Indian farmers is known as the “GM genocide.”  (KILLER SEEDS: The Devastating Impacts of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Seeds in India By Iqbal Ahmed. January 12, 2012

A similar process is occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. In the highlands of Ethiopia, where the landraces of an ancient agricultural system are being replaced by seeds and farm inputs from Monsanto, Cargill, et al:

The hidden agenda was to eventually displace the traditional varieties and landraces reproduced in village-level nurseries.

With the weakening of the system of traditional exchange, village level seed banks were being replenished with commercial hi-bred and genetically modified seeds. Michel Chossudovsky, Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia  Global Research, September 10, 2001 The Ecologist, 1 September 2000, also published as a chapter in The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, Montreal 2003

Impoverishment and Famine in sub-Saharan Africa

This destructive pattern – invariably resulting in famine – is replicated throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. From the onslaught of the debt crisis of the early 1980s, the IMF-World Bank had set the stage for the demise of the peasant economy across the region .

This process of planned impoverishment of the African continent under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank has been accompanied by an ongoing process of US led militarization under the mandate of the “Global War on Terrorism.

In the course of the last 30 years, civil wars triggered through covert intelligence ops have been launched. Powerful corporate interests are behind these wars. Control over resources, oil, natural gas, precious and strategic metals is the not so hidden agenda.

In South Sudan, oil was discovered in 1978. Five years later a US sponsored “civil war” supported by the CIA was launched, led by John Garang, who was trained by the US military at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Sudan war resulted in 2 million lives and another 4 million displaced. Estimates of war related deaths in Sudan are in the range of 4 million.

The Rwandan civil war and 1994 genocide resulted in a million deaths out of a total population of approximately 7 million. The resource wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulted in up to five million deaths.

These wars in sub-Saharan Africa are never mentioned by the media. Many people in America do not know they even happened.

More generally, the 2012 Mayan prophesy among other World events serves the useful purpose of distracting people’s attention from the most devastating crisis in word history characterised by endless war, environmental degradation and poverty triggered by macroeconomic reform.

Reversing the Tide of War. Restoring Economic and Social Development. Reinstating Civil Liberties

While we are not facing an imminent “End of the World” scenario, the World is nonetheless at the juncture of the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history. The outbreak of a full fledged war against Syria and Iran could potentially lead humanity into a Third World War scenario.

The US possesses an impressive arsenal of weapons which it is being used to threaten the World.

An Orwellian police state has emerged, with spying and eves-dropping implemented at a global level. Big Brother is instated at height of the electronic age, with sophisticated data banks and surveillance techniques, operating Worldwide.

Habeas corpus has been repealed. Extrajudicial assassinations are now legal.

The international community has endorsed preemptive nuclear war in the name of world peace.

“Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, including nuclear weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality.

What we are witnessing at the outset of the 21st Century, however, is not an abrupt shift and fracture, but a gradual process of decay and social decline.

What is at stake is the destruction of civilization as we know it, where progress is interrupted and the reproduction of human life is impaired. This process is marked by the implementation of a global military agenda coupled with a Worldwide economic depression.

We are living in a destructive and momentous period in World history

The ideological underpinnings of this inquisitorial New World Order are devastating:

The overriding consensus is that people should support a Wordwide criminal project, involving illegal wars, the police State, the derogation of civil liberties and financial fraud, “in the name of democracy”.

The consensus does not allow for dissent or debate. Its the American inquisition. Those opposed to this perverted brand of democracy are categorized as “terrorists”. Being opposed to criminality is a criminal offence.

For this Orwellian New World Order to be sustained, realities must be turned upside down: the propaganda apparatus is predicated on instilling falsehoods in the minds of millions of people.

Citizens must accept the premises of a World Order where:

  • war is heralded as peace,
  • the police state is upheld as democracy,
  • austerity means prosperity,
  • wealth and luxury is a indicator of progress and development,
  • killing and torturing alleged terrorists are required to ensure national security
  • the victims of war constitute a threat to Western civilization

Realities are distorted and turned upside down, the Lie becomes the Truth.

The real global crisis affecting the people of this planet is thereby obfuscated by “fake crises” and catastrophes, not to mention warnings of impending “terrorist attacks” by unidentified “outside enemies”.

The ultimate purpose of propaganda is to create confusion and obedience to a pre-determined political consensus.

The objective is to distract and divert public attention from an understanding of the real crisis which is affecting humanity:  The great depression and World War III are not front page news, yet the danger of a world war is real.

Reversing the tide is tantamount to a revolution, it is the reversal of certain embedded tendencies in the capitalist World Order.

The latter is characterized by the criminalization of both the financial system and the political apparatus. Bankers are rightfully involved in fraud and money laundering, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon et al. are vying for more wars, oil companies have their eyes riveted on conquering the Middle East: more than 60 percent of the World’s oil lies in Muslim lands.

This downward spiral underlying this crisis is a gradual yet cumulative process. It can be reversed.

The conditions for its reversal imply the dismantling of fundamental structures and institutions, repealing the police state, closing down the military industrial complex, revamping the financial system, scrapping economic austerity measures and restoring the standard of living of working people, putting an end to humanitarian killings, repealing racism and xenophobia.

In essence, what is required at the outset is meaningful “Regime Change” in the USA, a massive overall in the political system as well as the financial architecture.

A revolution involves first and foremost the dismantling of the propaganda apparatus, which means targeting the sources of media disinformation.

Dismantling mainstream media disinformation is is a prerequisite to implementing more fundamental changes in the workings of the economic and social system, implying fundamental shifts in power relations.

The most important instrument at our disposal is the Truth, because the truth overrides the Lie. It is the basis for developing a mass grass-roots movement, nationally and internationally

When the Lie becomes the Truth within an Orwellian police state environment, there is no going back, humanity is precipitated onto the path of self destruction.

It is therefore crucial to fully comprehend the criminal nature of the New World Order, of its legal and political underpinnings, and the nature of the elite power structures which sustain it.

To reverse the tide, war criminals in high office, must be targeted as an initial step. The weapons industry must eventually be closed down. The fraudulent financial mechanisms –including derivative trade and speculative instruments, the institutions, the legal apparatus, etc.– underlying the global capitalist economy must eventually also be dismantled.

What is presented here are a few thoughts to initiate a broader debate. The complexities underlying the military agenda and global economic system must be addressed if we are to successfully reverse the tide.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war and economic austerity, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

Martin Luther King once said:

Youngsters will learn words they will not understand,

Children from India will ask: “What is hunger?”

Children from Alabama will ask: “What is racial segregation?”

Children from Hiroshima will ask: “What is the atomic bomb?”

Children at school will ask: “What is war?”

You will answer them, you will tell them: “Those are words not used any more,

Like ‘stage-coaches’, ‘galleys’ or ‘slavery’,

Words no longer meaningful,

That is why they have been removed from dictionaries.”

This article originally appeared at Global Research

Philippines typhoon death toll rises to 280 – officials

(RT) -Typhoon Bopha recently swept across the southern Philippines, leaving a death toll of around 280, officials reported. More than 56,000 people were displaced by the devastating storm, and more are feared dead as rescuers continue to retrieve bodies.

­At least 43 villagers and soldiers have drowned in the town of New Bataan, while in nearby Davao Oriental province, 51 people were swept away by floods.

At least three children were buried by a wall of mud and boulders that plunged down a mountain in Marapat village as six more villagers have drowned in floods in Montevista town, AP reports.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino warned residents in the areas affected by the typhoon to take the disaster seriously: “It could be the strongest to hit the country this year. But we can minimize the damage and loss of lives if we help each other.”

Some 80 domestic flights were grounded and more than 3,000 ferry passengers were stranded after the country’s coast guard ordered vessels to stay in port, AFP quoted the civil defense office as saying.

Residents brave heavy rains next to a tilted electric post after Typhoon Bophal hit the city of Tagum, Davao del Norter province, in southern island of Mindanao on December 4, 2012 (AFP Photo)

Residents watch as a river rises near their homes due to heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Bophal in Cagayan de Oro City, southern island of Mindanao on December 4, 2012 (AFP Photo)

­Philippines police forcibly evacuated people from low-lying areas after they refused to join an estimated 25,000 others who had sought refuge at government shelters, Cagayan de Oro city Mayor Vicente Emano said in an interview with ABS-CBN television

Forecasters reported that the storm, moving northwest, is slightly weakened at the moment. Bopha is expected to reach the country’s southern island of Negros, bringing heavy rains.

A similar disaster hit the same region in 2011, killing 1,500 and affecting around 10 percent of Philippines residents.

The country is hit by about 20 typhoons a year, with another storm expected around Christmas.

This latest typhoon comes almost a year after a storm killed more than 1,200 Mindanao residents.

Relatives try to identify bodies in the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha in New Bataan, Compostela Valley in the southern Philippines on December 5, 2012. (AFP Photo/Karlos Manlupig)

Two Ewing police officers disciplined for taking department-owned generators for personal use during Hurricane Sandy

 (NJ.Com) -Two Ewing police officers have been disciplined for taking a pair of department-owned portable generators from police headquarters for personal use in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Chief Robert Coulton said today.

An internal affairs investigation was prompted after the unauthorized use of the generators was reported to Mayor Bert Steinmann. Neither officer has been identified, and township officials would not specify the nature of the discipline that resulted.

Steinmann said the officers probably needed supplemental power at unofficial locations, such as their homes.

“We were at the height of a storm, and I am sure that there were power outages at those particular places,” he said. “I am assuming that is probably what they wanted to use them for.”

Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey the night of Oct. 29, causing widespread power outages. Both missing generators have since been returned, but it was not disclosed how long the items were missing or when they were taken.

“The officers were charged departmentally,” Coulton said. He cited internal affairs regulations as the reason for withholding the officers’ names and the disciplinary measures. However, he said that policy allows for officers to be fined, suspended or docked pay, among other penalties.

“We ran it through the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office first to ensure there was no potential for criminal consequences or no criminal action on the part of the officers.”

Coulton said the prosecutor’s office recommended departmental sanctions.

“We determined that at this point there was not enough to pursue criminal charges,” Casey DeBlasio, spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Officials said the details of the missing generators first began to emerge on Nov. 5, when Lt. Edmund Shanoskie put out a memo to all officers notifying them that a generator had been moved from an entry area at police headquarters. The generator had a note attached to it indicating that repairs were needed.

“Whomever borrowed it, please return it so it can be repaired,” Shanoskie said in the memo, which was obtained by The Times.

Then on Nov. 14, Coulton issued a memo indicating that there had been reports that “unidentified department personnel inquired about or attempted to ‘borrow’ department owned portable generator(s) during Hurricane Sandy.”

The memo included reminders about township and departmental policies forbidding the use of public equipment and property for “personal purposes.”

After that memo was issued, Coulton said, it was discovered that the equipment had been taken.

Coulton said that, prior to going missing, the generators were being used during the onset of Hurricane Sandy to power his office and other parts of police headquarters.
They were not being used by the township when they were taken, Steinmann said.
Steinmann said that he supports Coulton’s disciplinary actions against the officers.

“It is not going to be a further recurrence,” Steinmann said. “I was satisfied with the results that came out of it.”

Steinmann said that the generators are small, and used primarily for non-intensive electrical needs. The mayor said that the disciplinary charges have been noted in each of the officers’ personnel files, and that the incident will “follow them around.”

“I do not know exactly what went through their minds. I am sure it was nothing malicious or intentional,” Steinmann said. “I think the people that were involved knew that it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and all in all I think everybody learned a valuable lesson from it.”

He said that appropriate punishments have been meted out.

“Something was done wrong, but it has been corrected,” he said. “I think that is the thing we have to concentrate on.”

Fire Kills at Least 118 Factory Workers at Walmart Supplier in Bangladesh:An update, including Walmart’s new statement blaming the apparel’s presence on a rogue supplier, and reactions from advocates, appears below.:

(Truthout) -NGOs slammed Walmart over a fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory that supplied apparel for the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.

In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, and said that it was “trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers…” The company called fire safety “a critically important area of Walmart’s factory audit program,” and said that it has been “working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” Walmart added that it has “partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers.”

But in a Monday interview, Workers Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova said Walmart’s “culpability is enormous. First of all they are the largest buyer from Bangladesh” and so “they make the market.” Nova said Bangladesh has become the world’s second largest apparel supplier “because they’ve given Walmart and its competitors what they want, which is the cheapest possible labor costs.”

“So Walmart is supporting, is incentivizing, an industry strategy in Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, brutal suppression of any attempt by workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions,” Nova told The Nation. “This factory is a product of that strategy that Walmart invites, supports, and perpetuates.” The WRC is a labor monitoring group whose board is composed of students, labor organizations, and university administrators.

The fire started Saturday night in a ground floor warehouse. According to media reports, the factory’s emergency exits were insufficient in number and unsafe in design, routing through the inside, rather than the outside, of the building. Some workers survived on the factory’s roof; several jumped out of the building. A lack of safe fire exits contributed to the death toll in New York’s notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

A document on the website of the factory’s owner, Tuba Group, showed that the factory had received an “orange” rating from Walmart in May 2011, due to “violations and/or conditions that were deemed to be high risk.” The same document said that three such ratings within two years would result in a year-long suspension by Walmart.

“Obviously, they didn’t do anything about it,” said Nova. He called Walmart’s internal monitoring system “a joke” that was “set up to enable Walmart to claim that it’s policing, without in any way, shape or form inconveniencing its production process.”

A Walmart spokesperson told the New York Times that the retail giant had been “unable to confirm” the veracity of Tuba Group document, or whether Tazreen Fashions, the Tuba Group subsidiary running the factory, was supplying any Walmart goods.

Also See: Massive Fire Kills at Least 118 Factory Workers in Bangladesh at Walmart Supplier

But photos taken after the fire taken the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, provided to The Nation by the International Labor Rights Forum, show clothing with Walmart’s exclusive Faded Glory label (photos below). Nova accused Walmart of intentionally dragging its feet on admitting its connection to the factory, in hopes that by the time the connection is confirmed, the media will have lost interest.

WRC’s Nova said that Bangladesh’s deadly labor conditions are a direct consequence of Walmart’s business model. If a factory “really followed the law,” said Nova, “if they allowed workers to organize and bargained a contract, if they invested in necessary health and safety equipment, if they restructured the building to make it safe, put in place sprinklers and outside fire escapes, their costs would rise, they would have to charge more for their product, and they would immediately lose Walmart and their other customers.”

According to ILRF, Saturday’s fire had the highest death toll of any Bangladesh factory accident to date. Had it happened earlier in the day, it could have been much higher. Another Bangladesh factory fire Monday morning resulted in at least eight injuries; that factory is also a Walmart supplier, according to the WRC.

Nova said that worse death tolls are ahead if the status quo persists. “You do not need to be a fire safety expert to realize that a factory like this is dangerous…” said Nova. “And yet there is no evidence that Walmart has taken any meaningful action to improve their safety practices in the supply chain in Bangladesh.”

The fire comes eight months after the body of Bangladeshi labor activist Aminul Islam was found dead and apparently tortured. Islam was working to organize the Bangladeshi garment factory’s workers and to expose their conditions in international media. “It’s virtually certain that somebody acting at the behest of the government or industry killed him,” said Nova. In an interview following his death, Islam’s co-worker Kalpona Akter told The Nation that “workers do not have their voice in the workplace,” that major companies’ monitoring “is so poor,” and that the brands “should really take some responsibility.”

The WRC’s criticisms were echoed by other non-profits, including the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign, which charged in a Sunday statement that major brands’ “failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence.”

Walmart has come under repeated scrutiny for the labor conditions at its suppliers. In June, guest workers at C.J.’s Seafood went on strike over alleged forced labor conditions; after initially saying it had investigated and couldn’t substantiate the accusations, Walmart eventually suspended the supplier. In September, Human Rights Watch releases a report finding widespread debt bondage at the Phatthana shrimp company in Thailand, and accusing Walmart of offering shifting and contradictory explanations of its relationship to the company.

“The only way factories in Bangladesh can survive, given the prices that the western brands are willing to pay, is to operate unsafely,” said Nova. “And that’s why you get fires. And for all of their rhetoric about corporate social responsibility and all of these monitoring programs and audits, brands and retailers will not pay one penny more for factories.”

Update (7 PM Monday, November 26): In a new statement released Monday evening, Walmart said that at the time of the fire, the factory “was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Walmart” and said that a supplier had “subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies.”

Walmart said that it had terminated the rogue supplier today, and added, “The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” In response to an inquiry from The Nation regarding the identity of the supplier, when the factory ceased to be authorized, and whether Walmart continued to pay for work performed there after the authorization ended, a Walmart official said the company is not commenting beyond the new statement.

Interviewed following that statement, Liana Foxvog, the Director of Organizing for the International Labor Rights Forum, said she did not have the information “to evaluate whether or not Walmart is telling the truth,” but that if the company’s claim is accurate, it reflects poorly on its oversight of supplier compliance with local safety and labor laws, and with its own Code of Conduct.

Foxvog added that the remedy to dire safety issues should not have been “to keep the results of its inspections hidden and to walk away from workers who are working in a death trap factory.” Instead, said Foxvog, Walmart should “pay sufficient prices” and “require the factories to come into compliance.” She said Bangladesh factories “often feel like they have to cut corners in order to make products at the low prices” expected by top brands.

Asked Monday evening about Walmart’s latest statement, Nova e-mailed, “Walmart is a company whose foundational corporate principle is precise control of supply chain logistics and information. Now, after equivocating for 48 hours, they tell the world that they are shocked to discover that their goods were being made at the Tazreen factory.” Nova noted Walmart’s refusal to identify “the supplier responsible for this supposed unauthorized subcontracting, or any other details about how Walmart goods miraculously found their way to Tazreen.” “Whatever Walmart now claims,” added Nova, “what we know for sure is that Walmart goods were being produced at this factory and that Walmart is responsible for protecting the rights and safety of workers who make Walmart clothes.”

Fire breaks out at State Dept., 3 seriously hurt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities say three maintenance workers were seriously injured after a fire broke out at the State Department headquarters in Washington.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Lon Walls said the fire broke out at around 11 a.m. Saturday in the ductwork on the 7th floor. Workers were able to put out the fire before firefighters arrived, but three people suffered burns.

Walls said one person suffered life-threatening injuries and two others had serious but non-life-threatening injuries. All three were taken to Washington Hospital Center.

State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the fire broke out during routine maintenance to a mechanical area of the building. She said the building was briefly evacuated and then reopened.

Offshore explosion kills two

 (Independent) - Officials in the Gulf of Mexico are investigating an explosion and a fire that broke out aboard an offshore oil platform near Grand Isle, Louisiana.

At least four people were hospitalized following the accident, according to Coast Guard officials.

A local hospital spokesman later told CNN that all four were in critical condition, adding that doctors were working to stabilize them so that they could be transferred to a specialist burns unit.

The Coast Guard meanwhile said two people were missing, while a CBS News affiliate in Houston reported that two people had been killed in the explosion. The fire was reported to have been extinguished.

Although early details were sketchy, multiple outlets reported that the platform, which is owned by Black Elk Energy, was a shallow water production platform, differing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon deepwater rig which exploded in the Gulf in April 2010 and led to the worst offshore oil spill in US history.

There were no reports of a spill following the incident.

John Hoffman, the chief executive of Black Elk told the Houston Business Journal that the explosion and fire while a construction crew was finishing work on a water skimmer, which is used to separate water from oil.

A Coast Guard official, meanwhile, told a local TV station that 28 people were believed to have been aboard the Black Elk rig. Captain Peter Gautier added that a major environmental disaster was not expected, as the right was not actively producing oil.

The Coast Guard has set up a command center to investigate the incident.

A spokesman for Black Elk Energy could not be reached for comment.

The explosion occurred just a day after BP agreed to pay the biggest criminal penalty in US legal history after reaching a $4.53 bn settlement with US authorities over the Deepwater Horizon incident, which led to the death of 11 workers and spillage of nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf.

The company agreed to plead guilt to 14 counts of criminal misconduct to resolve all federal criminal charges stemming from the 2010 incident and claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US market regulator.

BP, US reach $4.5B settlement for Gulf spill

(The Hill) BP has reached a $4.5 billion settlement with the U.S. government to resolve criminal and securities claims over the 2010 well blowout and explosion that claimed 11 lives and touched off what became the biggest spill in U.S. history.

The British oil giant will pay $4 billion in fines and other payments, the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, to resolve claims with the Justice Department over the accident that badly harmed Gulf ecosystems and reshaped U.S. offshore drilling policy. The Justice Department’s civil case against BP over the spill, however, remains ongoing.

The company will pay $525 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve separate claims.

BP also agreed to plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter and several other charges, the Justice Department announced.

“There can be no question that this historic announcement represents a critical step forward and underscores the Justice Department’s determination to stand with Gulf Coast communities,” said Attorney General Eric Holder, noting that the deal includes $2.4 billion for Gulf Coast environmental restoration and conservation efforts.


Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said that he hopes BP’s guilty plea to the manslaughter charges “brings some measure of justice to the family members of the people who died onboard the rig.”

Beyond BP’s criminal plea, the Justice Department announced that it is charging the two highest-ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig with multiple counts of manslaughter.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company accepts responsibility for its actions. “All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region,” he said in a statement.

The April 2010 blowout of the Deepwater Horizon rig altered the politics and regulation of offshore drilling in the U.S.

The White House, after the spill, backed off plans to allow oil-and-gas leasing off the Atlantic Coast, where formal bans expired in 2008.

It also led to a temporary freeze on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that faced strong GOP and industry criticism.

The Interior Department also overhauled its long-troubled offshore drilling branch after the spill and toughened safety regulations.

In addition to the plea on manslaughter charges, BP is also pleading guilty to a felony charge of obstruction of Congress over what BP told lawmakers about how much oil was gushing from the blown-out Macondo well, which took 87 days to bring under control.

Other pleas include one misdemeanor count each under the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Rep. Edward Markey (Mass.), a senior Democrat who during the spill expressed concern that the company was low-balling the amount of oil coming from the blown-out well, called the fines and penalties “appropriate.”

“People died, BP lied to Congress, and millions of barrels of oil poured into the Gulf. This steep cost to BP will provide the Gulf Coast some of the funds needed to restore the region, and will hopefully deliver some comfort and closure to the families and businesses affected by the spill,” Markey said.

The Justice Department on Thursday also announced the indictment of a former BP executive, David Rainey, for allegedly obstructing a congressional investigation and making false statements to law enforcement officials.

“The indictment alleges that Rainey, on behalf of BP, intentionally underestimated the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well,” Breuer said.

The destroyed Macondo well ultimately spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil.

The $4 billion criminal settlement includes a nearly $1.3 billion fine, $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and further steps to boost the safety of its Gulf of Mexico drilling operations, among other provisions.

The $4 billion will be paid out over five years, while the SEC payments will unspool over three years, BP said.

But the criminal settlement won’t be the end of the legal road for BP over the months-long spill.

It won’t cover federal civil claims, including Clean Water Act claims, federal and state Natural Resource Damages claims, state economic loss claims or private civil claims outside the broad, multibillion-dollar settlement agreement with private plaintiffs announced in March, BP said Thursday.

Holder emphasized that the Obama administration’s actions against BP are “far from over.”

He noted BP could face billions of dollars in additional fines from an ongoing civil case in which the government is seeking to show that BP was “grossly negligent” in causing the spill.

“In that lawsuit, we are seeking civil penalties and a judgment that BP and others are liable for removal costs and natural resource damages – exposure that could amount to billions of dollars,” Holder said during a press conference announcing the criminal settlement in New Orleans.

But BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said Thursday that BP will “vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”

Multiple probes of the disaster have shed light on a number of missteps by BP, Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton, the oilfield services company that handled the cementing of BP’s ill-fated Macondo well.

“Better management by BP, Halliburton and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate and address them,” an outside commission established by the White House said in an early 2011 report. 

A separate joint probe by the Interior Department and U.S. Coast Guard faulted also all three companies in a 2011 report. It included tough words for BP, noting “cost or time saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation were contributing causes of the Macondo blowout.”

BP, in announcing the settlement Thursday, also sought to ensure blame is shared with other companies involved in the accident.

“Today’s agreement is consistent with BP’s position in ongoing civil litigation that this was an accident resulting from multiple causes, involving multiple parties, as found by other official investigations,” the company said

Climate Change Link to Mayan Civilization’s Collapse Discovered

(TreeHugger) The myriad reasons for the collapse of the Mayan civilization, which seems to have fallen in a mere 80 years, all have a underpinning in climatic changes, new research published in Science shows.

The final collapse may have happened rather quickly, ending around 1100 CE, but for nearly a millennia prior to that the Mayan’s fate rose and fell with changes in the climate.

Using oxygen isotope dating on stalagmites taken from caves near various Mayan sites, scientists were able to determine precipitation levels in the area, and correlate these with known political records taken from Mayan stele and hieroglyphics.

They found, quoting materials supplied by UC Davis:

Periods of high and increasing rainfall coincided with a rise in population and political centers between A.D. 300 and 660. A climate reversal and drying trend between A.D. 660 and 1000 triggered political competition, increased warfare, overall sociopolitical instability, and finally, political collapse. This was followed by an extended drought between A.D. 1020 and 1100 that likely corresponded with crop failures, death, famine, migration and, ultimately, the collapse of the Maya population.


Commenting on the finds from Central America, Bruce Winterhalder, from UC Davis’ Native American Studies, bridges the centuries: “It’s a cautionary tale about how fragile our political structure might be. Are we in danger in the same way the Classic Maya were in danger? I don’t know. But I suspect that just before their rapid descent and disappearance, Maya political elites were quite confident about their achievements.”

New Jersey: Old General Motors Plant Being Converted to an Active FEMA Camp Now

As you are reading this a massive FEMA camp “tent city” is being erected north of Woodbridge, military guards are present and reports of black helicopters circulate throughout the town.

By Shepard Ambellas
November 11, 2012

NEW JERSEY — According to local reports, near the Linden Airport north of Woodbridge a massive FEMA camp is being constructed in plain sight as military guards and officials downplay the activity as normal.

Inside the camps perimeter there are water tanker trucks, tents, building supplies, and portable shower/sanitation facilities causing concern to say the least.

It was reported by the Woodbridge Patch that a few of the guards admitted the new construction on the site was indeed a FEMA project.

FEMA spokesman Scott Sanders denied that the project was in anyway connected to FEMA stating in a report by Deborah Bell, ”We might provide provisions, but we don’t run shelters,” when asked if the tents were to be used for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

Across the Arthur Kill from Woodbridge, Staten Island residents who were devastated by last week’s hurricane and storm surge are still homeless.

The report goes on to read;

Officials in Staten Island have been looking at several possible sites to house Sandy victims, including reopening an old prison facility, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Sanders pointed to the Red Cross as a source for finding out what the tent city is for; the Red Cross did not return repeated phone calls.

A spokesman in the office of Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka said the tents were to be used for utility workers from out of state who had flooded New Jersey after the hurricane hit.

It is true that many utility workers were working in the central New Jersey area to restore power since last week. But in a conference call Friday, the last one of the Hurricane Sandy media updates, PSEG President Ralph LaRossa said that he expected the workers to begin leaving by Sunday or Monday.

The tent city was put up only in the past few days, so it wouldn’t seem to be needed for out-of-state utility workers whose emergency work here was largely completed.

The Union County Office of Emergency Management also said the tents were to house utility workers, but they, too, had nothing to do with it, according to spokesman Sebastian D’elia. As of Friday, “ten percent of the county still doesn’t have power,” he said, so he wasn’t anxious to see the utility workers leave before electrical service was restored.

The camp appears to be for an overflow of Staten Island residents that have been displaced from the storm, signifying the possibility that FEMA plans on relocating displaced victims out-of-state.

However, a Linden police officer stated that it is for utility workers, but yes, FEMA is in charge of the camp facility.

Long Island residents protest power outages

(PressTV) On Saturday, hundreds of residents protested outside the headquarters of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for the second consecutive day.
The protesters lashed out at the LIPA over its slow performance in power restoration compared with the other storm-hit areas, and called for bringing criminal charges against the CEO and the executive board of the company for failure to fulfill their obligations.
Meanwhile, travel chaos and long lines for gasoline continue across New York and New Jersey.

Around 130,000 blacked-out homes and businesses may not have electricity until the end of Tuesday, the power company says.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a probe into the causes of LIPA’s delayed reaction.
On Friday, two congressmen from Long Island asked for the Federal government’s assistance to restore power in the area.
“It is a totally disorganized effort, and LIPA unfortunately seems to have lost control of the situation and that’s why you see so many people becoming so angry,” said lawmaker Peter King.
Over a quarter of a million Americans are without electricity; more than 170,000 of them are Long Island residents.
Superstorm Sandy smashed into the US East Coast on October 29, killing at least 120 people and causing an estimated 50 billion dollars in damage or economic losses.

Desperate for shelters, New York considers turning jail cells into homes

(RT) With nowhere else to go, New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy may have no choice but to sleep in jails. As hundreds of thousands remain without power, a Staten Island prison may serve as a temporary home for storm victims.
­About 100,000 homes and businesses will remain without power for the next several months, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday in a news conference. About 434,140 homes are currently still without power in the region that was in Hurricane Sandy’s path – mostly in New York and New Jersey. The second storm, a nor’easter that hit the region last week, brought snow and frigid temperatures to a city already devastated by the effects of the first storm.

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) having only provided housing to two dozen of 5,200 applicants, thousands remain without a home as the winter months approach. As many as 40,000 New Yorkers are in need of shelter from extreme weather and rapidly decreasing temperatures, the city estimates.

The city is in desperate need for shelter – so desperate that even a desolate jail is being considered a possibility, the New York Post reports. The Arthur Kill Correction Facility on Staten Island may serve as a temporary home for up to 900 displaced victims of the storm. The medium-security prison was closed last December and with some fixing up, it could once again be fully functional.

“It’s empty. They might as well use it,” 39-year-old Rob Conigatti, who lost his home and is living with family, told the Post. The prison currently lacks boilers and a working wastewater system, but would be repaired, probably with generators installed, before serving as housing.

The problem with the emergency housing facility is the stigma associated with sleeping in a prison. Some people refuse to sleep in a jail cell because of what it once was. Some – especially senior citizens – are afraid of sleeping next to homeless people and substance abusers who are also likely to check into the free housing facilities.

“I lost everything, but I still have my pride,” said 44-year-old Wally Martinez. “We don’t have to stay in a prison. My brother was once in that very prison, and my mother used to visit him regularly. She used to tell me how miserable he looked and how filthy and disgusting that prison was.”

There are currently 2,700 evacuees living in emergency city shelters. While New York City officials have not made a decision on the use of the prison, and the Staten Island Borough President is strongly opposed to it, Councilman James Oddo supports the initiative.

“We have not got into the discussion of longer-term transitional housing,” he said. “If there is no other viable option, it shouldn’t be taken off the table because of a quote-unquote stigma. Between being cold and having people dry, in a warm, secure place, I know what my choice is.”

Staten Island Senator Andrew Lanza also said the prison was being considered as a possible transitional site, even though newly appointed press liaison Peter Spencer said Tuesday that the facility “is not on the table” as a temporary shelter.

As lawmakers and city officials weigh the need for housing against the situation and the options, the prison could very soon undergo repairs and be turned into a place to live.

100,000 homes, business face months without power

Long-term housing facilities like the Staten Island prison may be crucial in the months ahead: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said some properties are so damaged that it will be a long time before electrical service is restored. Although power has returned to 96 percent of the region, about 100,000 customers will likely go several months without power.

“You have people without power for a very long time,” he said. “It’s gotten cold. It’s uncomfortable.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday estimated that as many as 30,000 people in damaged homes will need temporary housing to survive the winter.

Most of the severely damaged homes are on Long Island’s South Shore, on Staten Island and the Rockaways district of New York City’s Queens department.

“You have some people who have buildings and have homes that you cannot turn on the power until that building or home is repaired or replaced,” Cuomo said. “Those are going to be the most difficult situations.”

FEMA will pay for expedited repairs in damaged homes starting November 13. The Empire State Relief Fund, put together by Cuomo, will also distribute cash for rebuilding homes. But until the thousands of displaced New Yorkers are able to return to heated homes, they will be forced to find alternate housing, and those with nowhere to go may choose to spend the night in jail.

Bitter cold inside a disaster shelter

(APP)As he lights up a Marlboro and takes a slow drag before exhaling, Brian Sotelo is a man who has finally reached his breaking point.

Anger drips from every word as he peers out at the tops of the white tents rising over the trees in the distance. The depth of despair in his eyes is difficult to fathom.

And he makes it clear he’s was not going down without a fight.

We stood and talked in the cool morning air a short distance up the road after security at the front gate threatened to have our cars removed outside the entrance to what Sotelo’s identification tag calls “Camp Freedom,” even though it more closely resembles a prison camp.

A Seaside Heights resident who was at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River with his wife and three kids a half-hour before the shelter opened as superstorm Sandy approached last week, Sotelo was part of a contingent shifted on Wednesday to this makeshift tent city in the parking lot across Oceanport Avenue from Monmouth Park.

“Sitting there last night you could see your breath,” said Sotelo. “At (Pine Belt) the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive).

“The elections are over and here we are. There were Blackhawk helicopters flying over all day and night. They have heavy equipment moving past the tents all night.”

Welcome to the part of the disaster where people start falling through the cracks.

No media is allowed inside the fenced complex, which houses operations for JCP&L’s army of workers from out of the area. The FEMA website indicated on Monday that there had been a shelter for first responders, utility and construction workers to take a break, although the compound now contains a full-time shelter operated by the state Department of Human Services.

Sotelo scrolls through the photos he took inside the facility as his wife, Renee, huddles for warmth inside a late-model Toyota Corolla stuffed with possessions, having to drive out through the snow and slush to tell their story. The images on the small screen include lines of outdoor portable toilets, of snow and ice breaching the bottom of the tent and an elderly woman sitting up, huddled in blankets.

All the while, a black car with tinted windows crests the hill and cruises by, as if to check on the proceedings.

As Sotelo tells it, when it became clear that the residents were less than enamored with their new accommodations Wednesday night and were letting the outside world know about it, officials tried to stop them from taking pictures, turned off the WiFi and said they couldn’t charge their smart phones because there wasn’t enough power.

“My 6-year-old daughter Angie was a premie and has a problem regulating her body temperature,” Sotelo noted. “Until 11 (Wednesday) night they had no medical personnel at all here, not even a nurse. After everyone started complaining and they found out we were contacting the press, they brought people in. Every time we plugged in an iPhone or something, the cops would come and unplug them. Yet when they moved us in they laid out cable on the table and the electricians told us they were setting up charging stations. But suddenly there wasn’t enough power.”

All of this is merely the last straw for a 46-year-old on disability, with two rods and 22 staples in his back.

“The staff at the micro-city are providing for the needs of all the evacuees,” said Nicole Brossoie, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services. “Each day there is transportation to the pharmacy for prescription medications, if needed. There are ADA (handicapped-accessible) toilets and showers on site.

“There were concerns with the heat when evacuees first arrived. Those issues were resolved within a couple of hours by adding more heaters.”

Sotelo’s seen the home he rents on Kearney Avenue even though residents have yet to be allowed back, having been enlisted as a driver for the Red Cross.

He was on the barrier islands the day after the storm, as a matter of fact. There had been a foot of water in his place. That’s it. And now he’s left to wonder why he’s still not allowed back.

Even without gas or electric, he figures it has to be better than this place.

“Everybody is angry over here. It’s like being prison,” said Sotelo, who grew up in Wayne. “I’ve been working since I was 10. I’ve been on my own since I was 16. And for things to be so bad that it’s pissing me off, that tells you something.”

After a night of restless sleep in which his cot actually broke at one point, landing him on the floor, what Sotelo wants are answers and action. He wants to go home, and until that happens he wants a little respect.

Finally, he tosses his cigarette butt aside and sidles back into the driver’s seat of his car, ready to head back through the gates of the encampment, as confused and frustrated as ever about his future.

NYPD Officer: Looting ‘Is Acceptable If You’re Looting for Your Baby or Your Family’

NYPD Officer Anthony DiCarlo: Looting for Your Family is Acceptable

(The Blaze) Instances of Looting reached epidemic proportions in New York City after the city was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy then hit again by a nor’easter that plunged the city right back into darkness.

Surprisingly, at least one New York City police officer told The Guardian that looting is “acceptable” in certain situations, like feeding your family. The issue has been discussed in ethics classes for decades, but it is still shocking to hear a police officer openly excusing looting, a crime.

“It’s snow, it’s cold. People are fending for themselves,” NYPD officer Anthony DiCarlo said. “Looting, to me, is acceptable if you’re looting for your baby or your family,” but looting a 60 inch flat-screen TV is not acceptable.

The situation in New York is still dire. On Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and officials on Long Island have decided to start rationing gasoline.

Gasoline will be available to drivers with license plate numbers ending in an odd number starting Friday morning. Drivers with plate numbers ending in an even number can gas up on Saturday.

Parts of New Jersey implemented the same strategy last week.

Guatemala 7.4 quake kills at least 48

(RT) At least 48 people have been killed and hundreds remain missing after a powerful earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Guatemala, where a tsunami warning has now been issued.

About 125,000 people were without power as a result of the quake.

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake centered about 160km southwest of Guatemala City. It is the strongest to hit the country since a deadly 1976 quake that killed 23,000.

The death toll is feared to rise as survivors report widespread landslides and people trapped under the rubble.

The quake was so powerful that it made crossways from Guatemala City to neighboring Mexico City. The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a possibility of a local tsunami, within 320km of the epicenter.

Local radio reports widespread power outages and cuts in telephone service.

The mountain village of San Marcos, 130km from the epicenter, has suffered extensive damage with some 30 homes destroyed. More than 2,000 soldiers have been sent to help with the relief effort.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has asked people not to travel on motorways, as several highways in the west of the country have been cut off by landslides.

Hotmail takes on election duties as servers crash in New Jersey

(Wired) In an effort to accommodate voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey decided to allow voters this year to request ballots by e-mail and submit them via e-mail and fax.

But that solution has turned out to be a disaster after e-mail servers used to send and receive election ballots in at least two major counties got clogged or crashed on Tuesday under the weight of voter traffic.

At least one official in Essex County, which has 451,000 registered voters, decided to solve the problem by inviting voters to send their ballot request to his personal Hotmail e-mail address.

“Per Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin: Displaced voters can email a request for a ballot at [email protected]…,” according to a post on the Facebook page for West Orange, NJ.

Not exactly a secure option, as security researcher Ashkan Soltani notes. Apparently Durkin uses his mother’s maiden name as the “password recovery” question for his account.

This, along with other problems New Jersey has experienced, prompted harsh words from one prominent election advocate.

“There’s just one word to describe the experience in New Jersey and that is catastrophe,” said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in a press conference. “The county servers have crashed. Exxex and Hudson counties are emailed backlogged, and have announced they will not be able to process requests to vote online today.”

She also noted that as of 9 a.m. Eastern, polling places in New Jersey had not yet opened and multiple polling places did not have ballots.

New Jersey decided to allow voters to cast ballots by e-mail and fax, after so many voters had to abandon their homes and neighborhoods as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and polling places had to be moved or closed due to electrical outages and flooding.

Voters were told to send an e-mail to county election offices to request a ballot, after which they could scan the ballot and e-mail it back to officials. But problems occurred when voters sent the large ballot image files back to the e-mail accounts, and overloaded them. Traffic slowed as a result, and only became exacerbated as more voters tried to send repeated e-mail requests to obtain ballots or mail in completed ballots.

“If they don’t get a response right away, they’re sending another request, so it ends up being multiple, multiple requests, and the server just came down, it was overwhelmed,” says Pam Smith, President of Verified Voting. “The state’s e-mail accounts were full.”

Smith noted that the problem occurred with the e-mail server, not the vote-counting server.

New Jersey is requiring voters who submit ballots by e-mail to also mail in their paper ballot, in response to concern from voting activists that e-mail could be intercepted and altered or spoofed. Voters in New Jersey who have been displaced are also being allowed to cast provisional paper ballots at any polling place in the state, instead of being limited to their neighborhood polling place.

Election problems throughout the country are being monitored by the Election Protection Network, a coalition of about 150 legal and civil rights groups from around the country, who have stationed election legal experts in problematic polling places in Ohio, Florida, and other locations, and have also set up a toll-free hotline to answer questions from voting and collect reports about problems.

The group’s voter hotline number, 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), had received more than 30,000 calls by 9 a.m. PST on Tuesday.


FEMA Fuel AWOL For Sandy Survivors

 After superstorm Sandy receded, the Federal Emergency Management Agency contracted for 24 million gallons of fuel, and has sent 230 fuel trucks into New York and New Jersey to be distributed at National Guard armories.

But why fuel shortages still exist is a mystery — and not just to furious motorists. Never mind filling up — just getting a couple of gallons is proving to be an ordeal even six days after the storm.

At FEMA headquarters in Washington, spokeswoman Elaine Kelley said the agency could not say where the fuel has gone, and directed inquiries to the Defense Logistics Agency, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va.

A spokesman for the DLA, Douglas Ide, told The Huffington Post Sunday that the agency is delivering FEMA fuel to National Guard armories in Freehold, West Orange, Teaneck, Jersey City and Plainfield, N.J., and to armories in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx and Freeport in New York. The DLA contractor is Foster Fuels of Brookneal, Va., where an operator who answered the phone Sunday said she had no information about emergency fuel shipments and that no one else was working at headquarters on a Sunday.

In New York, premature announcements that free fuel would be available apparently caused an explosion of demand that on Saturday morning quickly drained those fuel trucks that did arrive. No fuel ever did get to the Freeport armory. At each of the three others, a pair of fuel trucks arrived with more than 10,000 gallons. But those fuel points were jammed with thousands of people spurred by public reports that free gas would be available, and the fuel ran out.

Eric Durr, a spokesman for the New York National Guard, said Sunday that the Guard is out of gas and waiting for more FEMA fuel deliveries.

In New Jersey, the National Guard is not providing gas to the public, but is using 17 HEMTT trucks to deliver gas to firemen, police and other first responders.

No timeline for restarting New Jersey nuclear reactor after high wave took out 5 of 6 water intake pumps during Sandy

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc’s provided no timeline for its Salem 1 nuclear plant to fully start-up after it shut down from superstorm Sandy.

PSEG had not yet connected the plant to the regional grid, but “grid stability is not an issue at this time,” Joe Delmar, a PSEG spokesman said on Saturday. (Read more)