Questions for Sunday
1. TAKE BACK THE BONUSES - Suspended
2. ATTACKING YEMEN at the behest of the
(Human Rights KINGS) the Saudis
3. HAITI's very slow recovery
4. Social Security itsy bitsy teeny weenie COLA
5. WAR on MOSUL - boots, spooks, drones, phones on the ground
6. Increases in Drugs Costs for ACA victims
7. Obama Care Successes & Failures (Only Winner Insurance Co's)
8. African Oil Issues (Spills and thrills)
9. Increasingly rapid number of Extinct and Endangered Species
10. PIPELINE ISSUES
11. Fukushima Continues
12. WHIPP reOpened
13. Snowden Public Service
14. Chelsea Manning's Suicide Watch
15. Assange - tool of Marx and Engels - a Trotskyite Plot?
16. Israel's Continued Expansion (Clinton promises New Largesse)
17. Facing the Chinese in SE Asia - Island Building and More
18. Problems in the Philipines anti-drug solutions in Duterte's Manilla
19. NO MONEY for FLINT - people still under POISON WATCH
20. Fracking Under the Ohio River
21. Spent Uranium tipped weapons used in Syria?
(James Corbett - 9/11 Truth Teller)
1. Depleted Uranium "SHELL YEAH!"
United States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria
US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict.
21 October 2016 - ICBUW
The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates - the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.
This US strike against an Islamic State fuel truck convoy on 18 November 2015 may have involved DU.
The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assembly resolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.
In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US had confirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating: “U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that: “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”
CENTCOM confirms DU use
IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to "an error in reporting down range."
“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.”
Unclear why DU was used
The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored. ICBUW had earlier analysed the target information released by CENTCOM for the two dates in question. On neither date did CENTCOM explicitly state that it had launched attacks against armoured vehicles, with the majority of strikes against Islamic State light tactical vehicles, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and oil infrastructure. Such targets have been attacked regularly by the US-led Coalition, apparently without resorting to the use of DU.
The most unusual strike that ICBUW identified took place on the 18th November, when the US attacked 283 parked oil tankers, however the A-10’s alternative 30mm ammunition type – a high explosive incendiary round – would presumably have been sufficient to destroy tankers laden with oil. Footage released from the strike is indicative of 30mm DU use.
Recently published data from the 2003 Iraq War showed that A-10s used more DU against targets that were not tanks or armoured vehicles, questioning the current US justification that DU was needed in Syria. Historic data from the Gulf War also demonstrated that most armoured targets destroyed by A-10s were targeted by Maverick missiles, not DU.
What must happen now
ICBUW and PAX are calling for urgent clarification from the US authorities on both the incidents and its DU policy for the conflict, and for them to swiftly release detailed and accurate targeting data to ensure that the relevant authorities can conduct clearance and risk awareness efforts and isolate and recover contaminated material.
“Given DU’s nature as a toxic and radioactive heavy metal, and concerns previously expressed by Syrian civilians that it might be used, it’s deeply worrying that the US chose to use DU again,” said PAX’s researcher Wim Zwijnenburg. “The US should provide all target data and technical assistance to mine-clearance organisations and local authorities to ensure that swift clean-up operations for this low-level radioactive waste is undertaken to prevent Syrian civilians being exposed.”
“Public relations efforts are indicated”
The US has long been conscious of the stigmatisation of the use of DU weapons. As far back as 1991 the US military were advised that: “...fielding and combat activities [with DU] present the potential for adverse international reaction.” It was therefore predictable that Russian state media quickly highlighted news that DU had been used in Syria, with Russia’s embassies in Paris, Ottawa and London tweeting the news, as Russia sought to draw attention away from its own conduct in the conflict.
Russia has its own stocks of DU weapons and consistently abstains on DU resolutions at the UN General Assembly. It seems inevitable that, given the widespread global opposition to the use of the weapons, the Russian and Syrian governments will continue to use the news that DU has been used against the US and its coalition allies.
2. Cannon Ball, ND - This morning, at approximately 8am central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd.
To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established three road blockades:
1. North of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806
2. South of the Cannon Ball River, on Highway 1806
3. Immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134
Police have discharged weapons, using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions.
This frontline camp is located on the final three 3 miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is 2 miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible.
Mekasi Camp-Horinek, an Oceti Sakowin camp coordinator states, “Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights. This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action. We are still staying non-violent and we are still staying peaceful.”
Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer states, “We have never ceded this land. If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line.”
Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp, “We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka- we stand and face the storm.”
3. Excerpt – The Long War on Syria
"Documents prepared by US Congress researchers in 2005 revealed that the US government was actively weighing regime change in Syria long before the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, challenging the view that US support for the Syrian rebels was based on allegiance to a “democratic uprising” and showing that it was simply an extension of a long-standing policy of seeking to topple the government in Damascus. Indeed, the researchers acknowledged that the US government’s motivation to overthrow the secular Arab nationalist government in Damascus was unrelated to democracy promotion in the Middle East.
In point of fact, they noted that Washington’s preference was for secular dictatorships (Egypt) and monarchies (Jordan and Saudi Arabia.)
The impetus for pursuing regime change, according to the researchers, was a desire to sweep away an impediment to the achievement of US goals in the Middle East related to strengthening Israel, consolidating US domination of Iraq, and fostering open market, free enterprise economies.
Democracy was never a consideration."
Gowans' book Washington’s Long War on Syria is forthcoming April 2017
4. And the "BLEEP" goes on FLINT STILL POISONED!
“I am glad that citizen oversight at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was highlighted as a next step. However, I believe that any citizen oversight commission that is instated should include many of the provisions included in House Bill 5404, 5405, and 5406 that make sure these bodies have the strongest available tools to protect public health, such as the revocation and revision of permits, and other abilities to take enforcement and investigative actions. I also believe we need to make sure that a variety of voices are represented on these commissions, including members of the public and representatives of local governments and environmental leaders. - Rep. Stephanie Chang
IS THE WATER SAFE?
Flint, whose water source was switched in 2014 to save money while the city was under state emergency management, returned to a Detroit-area water system in October. But Flint's 99,000 residents still can't drink the water without a filter until the system has been made safe with corrosion-reducing phosphates, a critical step that was missing when Flint used the river for 18 months. The state is still distributing filters and bottled water at spots throughout Flint. The state health agency says the decision on whether to shower or bathe with city water "is an individual one."
IS THE END IN SIGHT?
The water quality has improved, yet when it will be deemed OK to drink unfiltered is unclear. Another round of testing will be completed in early October. It's also unknown when Flint will receive water from a new regional pipeline that is to draw water from Lake Huron. Lifelong resident Luke Waid said he remains so stressed about lead detected in his 3-year-old daughter Sophia that he had to leave his welding job at an aerospace manufacturer. "I'd get working and all I can think about is, 'Is she OK?'" he said. "It gets to be such a burden. I didn't want to leave her." Before the crisis exploded, Waid, 31, and his fiancee Michelle Rodriguez feared losing custody because of her lead levels, which they worry cause Sophia's symptoms such as irritability. Waid said it's hard to keep a "positive mind frame," not only for his daughter but much of anything.
5. TRACING CURRENTS COURTESY of FUKUSHIMA
Very little is known about ocean currents and generally about dynamics in the oceans. But radioactivity released into the Pacific by the Fukushima nuclear accident, which was quickly diluted to harmless levels, has allowed scientists to trace the ocean's currents.
JRC's expertise in nuclear measurements was instrumental in detecting and quantifying the radioactivity of sea-water samples. The study was carried out with a team of researchers from two Japanese Universities, following a campaign of sampling and measuring anthropogenic radionuclides in the North Pacific. It allowed natural processes using radionuclides as tracers to be studied.
The most important oceanographic conclusion from the study is that most of the surface water transported to the east towards the USA is submerged to a depth of 400 m near to the International Date Line and then turns towards south-west. This movement of the currents was not known prior to this study and will have an impact on e.g. computer models calculating global warming.
The accident in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 led to the release of huge amounts of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. During 2011 and 2012, Japanese scientists collected some 800 water samples and about 80 samples of plankton and suspended particles. In collaboration with the JRC, the samples were analysed, revealing very low levels of radioactivity. To measure such low radiation, the samples were placed deep (225m) underground to avoid interference from cosmic rays in the sensitive instruments.
Three radionuclides from Fukushima were detected in the samples from the Pacific: Caesium-134 (134Cs, half-life: 2.1 years), Caesium-137 (137Cs, half-life: 30 years) and the Silver isotope 110mAg (half-life 0.68 years). The zoo-plankton contained higher amounts of radiocaesium than particulate matter as it consumes organic matter and thereby accumulates caesium. The study of plankton is useful to understand the uptake in the food chain and estimate impact on biosystems of future releases. The measurements of the plankton showed that in all sampling locations the level of radiocaesium was in the order of 30 mBq/g (May/June, 2011) whilst only those samples collected up to 70 km from Fukushima (near to the epicentre of the earthquake) had measurable amounts of 110mAg.
6. 92% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution
World Health Organization
A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.*
"The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it," says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO.
It also represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO. The model is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
Air pollution's toll on human health
Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.
Nearly 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO's South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
Ninety-four per cent are due to noncommunicable diseases -- notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.
"Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations -- women, children and the older adults," adds Dr Bustreo. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last."
Major sources of air pollution include inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities. However, not all air pollution originates from human activity. For example, air quality can also be influenced by dust storms, particularly in regions close to deserts.
Improved air pollution data
The model has carefully calibrated data from satellite and ground stations to maximize reliability. National air pollution exposures were analysed against population and air pollution levels at a grid resolution of about 10 km x 10 km.
"This new model is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden of more than 6 million deaths -- 1 in 9 of total global deaths -- from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. "More and more cities are monitoring air pollution now, satellite data is more comprehensive, and we are getting better at refining the related health estimates."
The interactive maps provide information on population-weighted exposure to particulate matter of an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) for all countries. The map also indicates data on monitoring stations for PM10 and PM2.5 values for about 3000 cities and towns.
"Fast action to tackle air pollution can't come soon enough," adds Dr Neira. "Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cook-stoves, as well as renewable energies and industrial emissions reductions."
* WHO Ambient Air Quality Guidelines
WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed "WHO's Ambient Air quality guidelines" for annual mean of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). WHO guideline limits for annual mean of PM2.5 are 10 μg/m3 annual mean.
PM2.5 includes pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and in the cardiovascular system, posing the greatest risks to human health.
Further information: http://www.who.int/phe/publications/air-pollution-global-assessment/en/
7. No Easement - We dont need no Stinking Easememt
“The Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed that the company doesn’t have a written easement from the agency to build on Corps property. A corps spokesperson says that Energy transfer has filed the paperwork for the easement but it’s still under review.”
“That’s true they don’t have the easement that’s required to install the segment that’s across the Oahe project,” said Larry Janis, Army Corps Of Engineers.
Janis says there is no timetable on when the easement will be granted, but the agency has issued a permission that allows the easement to be written.
Not only is there no written easement for the company to do the proposed work, but also there is a court case awaiting judgement to try to stop the construction that violates Native American treaties.
Unfortunately the U.S. government has a long history of ignoring these treaties.