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What’s the real story behind the statues in Parliament Square?

Parliament Square is one of the most famous places on earth. It’s home to revered figures such as Winston Churchill who are lauded as “British heroes.”

Whereas the removal of statues of Confederate figures in the US can be seen as an ugly act of triumphalism and dominance, which may or may not have any actual connection to preserving the institution of slavery, where are the social justice warriors in the cities of London and Washington DC?

Perhaps they are only interested in triumphalism and dominance or they would correct their own myths and false icons before demanding that the vanquished adhere to their narratives.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Corruption is Legal in America

Learn more at http://Represent.Us/TheProblem

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

Shocking videos raise #Venezuela fake-news fears

SKWAWKBOX · 03/08/2017

All the mainstream news channels and publications have been running dramatic footage of a night-time police raid to arrest one of two Venezuelan opposition leaders as part of their odd clamour for the UK’s opposition leader to ‘condemn’ Venezuelan President Maduro’s actions.

The raid, which occurred earlier this week and was caught on apparent mobile phone footage inside the raided house, is certainly dramatic enough, with half a dozen police officers in camouflage uniforms bundling Antonio Ledezma out of his house at night:

Equally dramatic daytime footage, however, sheds new light on the incident – and raises fears that the presentation of events in Venezuela may involve fake news:

Of course, this video is not of a raid in Venezuela. It was taken on a smartphone in the Fallowfield area of Manchester as dozens of police raided the house of someone suspected of involvement in the Manchester Arena attacks.

Only exterior footage is available, but watching police surround the house in order to enter from all directions simultaneously, it’s not hard to see that the scene inside the house would have been even more dramatic than the Venezuelan footage.

But of course, there were no demands for Jeremy Corbyn to condemn the Fallowfield raid because, well – we’re the United Kingdom.

Police raid houses regularly, of course. What matters is whether they do so lawfully, act proportionately – and what happens after the arrest.

The way the Venezuelan video has been presented is a classic example of ‘framing’. How a thing is described and presented can dramatically affect how we perceive it – and we’re meant to perceive the Venezuelan footage in a very different way than we see the Fallowfield raid.

But was it really different? Look again at the Ledesma arrest video. There’s no apparent violence – he’s not struck, he doesn’t crack his head on the police car as they put him in it. The police officers are walking him out, not dragging him or going faster than he can keep up. There’s even an officer filming the arrest as if to prevent any later accusations of brutality:

ledesma video.png

Hardly something you’d expect in a ‘hard-line socialist dictatorship’ or however your preferred news source and various opportunistic politicians have described Venezuela under Maduro.

Nor is this the case of a man beyond reproach being summarily arrested.

Much of the UK media has, curiously, left it out of their coverage of the arrest, but Antonio Ledezma was jailed in 2014 for inciting violence – and in fact, is still serving his sentence. But Venezuelan authorities released him earlier this month to serve his sentence as ‘house arrest’.

Again, not exactly the behaviour of a repressive state.

Ledezma was being re-arrested, not summarily arrested. What was the cause? We don’t know – but ‘don’t know’ is the key point. The UK’s mainstream media and right-wing politicians don’t know either. But you’d never guess there might be a legitimate cause, from the way they’ve framed the issue.

And you don’t have to look too hard to find out what might be the cause. As noted, Ledezma was already convicted of incitement to violence and returned home to house arrest in early July. The other man arrested this week, Leopoldo Lopez, was released from prison to house arrest at the same time – and he ‘celebrated’ his return home to house arrest with a pledge to continue his fight:

If continuing my fight for freedom means going back to Ramo Verde [prison], I am ready to do it. … I reiterate to you my commitment to fight until we conquer

What does ‘continuing my fight’ mean? Again, we don’t yet know, although the Venezuelan government has said that both men had violated the terms of their house-arrest – but we do know (if we look, because the UK media are not telling us) that other opposition leaders have been calling for violent protest for months.

And got violent protests, including bombs used against police::

Evidence for the opposition plans to create violent riots and plant car-bombs includes audio of an alleged meeting discussing explosives and a plan to create a situation requiring foreign intervention to remove the Maduro government.

The SKWAWKBOX does not assert that Ledezma and Lopez have been fairly treated – we don’t know, nor do the mainstream media. That’s the whole point.

What we do know is that the evidence paints a different, less one-sided picture than has been presented to us by the UK mainstream media.

A night-time police raid to re-arrest two men – convicted of incitement to violence and released to serve house arrest – is not in itself evidence of anything. Especially when the arrest appears to have been non-violent, carried out with professional restraint – and filmed by one of the officers as well as by one of the familes of the arrested man.

The arrest video, when watched free of the media’s framing, looks very different – and that difference allows us to see that the framing of the events by the media may be designed to prevent a balanced view – in order to create a particular perception.

A perception skewed and one-sided enough to raise genuine concerns that we are – yet again – being fed fake news.

A perception that the Establishment can then weaponise to attack – for a change – one Jeremy Corbyn.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , | 1 Comment

Lockerbie: Case closed

Al Jazeera English | February 28, 2012

The Lockerbie disaster was Europe’s worst terrorist outrage, but was it also Britain’s biggest miscarriage of justice? This film investigates the case against Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and finds evidence to suggest he may have been wrongly accused.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

AIPAC video describes decades-long role in US laws against BDS

If Americans Knew – August 14, 2017

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is a powerful Washington DC lobbying organization. In this 2016 video, AIPAC describes how it has successfully worked to create U.S. laws against boycotting Israel over its multitudinous violations of human rights and international law.

The video doesn’t mention the anti-boycott legislation working its way through Congress right now (S.720 / H.R. 1697) that AIPAC helped draft: iak.salsalabs.org/antiboycottbill

Such anti-boycott laws hurt everyone.

They interfere with Americans’ fundamental consumer rights and freedom of speech, often harm American businesses and thereby the U.S. economy, and damage American international relations.

They prevent peace and perpetuate violence in the Middle East. By helping to sustain Israel’s enormous power over Palestinians, they cause Israeli leaders to believe two things: they can ignore international law, and they don’t need to negotiate with Palestinians in good faith to reach a fair and lasting peaceful resolution.

Ultimately, AIPAC’s actions have hurt Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, and the many of others impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and by Israel’s various wars against its neighbors.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dr. Judith Curry Explains The Reality Of Bad Climate Science And Bad Politics

Oppenheimer Ranch Project | August 9, 2017

Judith A. Curry is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include hurricanes, remote sensing, atmospheric modeling, polar climates, air-sea interactions, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for atmospheric research. She is a member of the National Research Council’s Climate Research Committee. As of 2017, she has retired from academia.Curry is the co-author of Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans (1999), and co-editor of Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences (2002), as well as over 140 scientific papers. Among her awards is the Henry G. Houghton Research Award from the American Meteorological Society in 1992.

Regarding climate change, she thinks that the IPCC reports typically neglect what she calls the “Uncertainty Monster” in projecting future climate trends, which she calls a “wicked problem.” Curry also hosts a popular science blog in which she writes on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.

Judith Curry has argued that climatologists should be more accommodating of those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change. Curry has stated she is troubled by what she calls the “tribal nature” of parts of the climate-science community, and what she sees as stonewalling over the release of data and its analysis for independent review. In February 2010 Curry published an essay called “On the Credibility of Climate Change, Towards Rebuilding Trust” on Watts Up With That? and other blogs. Writing in The New York Times, Andrew Revkin calls the essay a message to young scientists who may have been disheartened by the November 2009 climate change controversy known as “Climategate”. In September 2010, she created Climate Etc., a blog related to climate change and hosted by Curry. She wrote that “Climate Etc. provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.”[8] She wrote: “I have a total of 12,000 citations of my publications (since my first publication in 1983). Climate Etc. gets on average about 12,000 ‘hits’ per day, and 300-400 comments.” She gets ” zero academic credit or incentives for my blogging and tweeting,” but hopes that ” social media and the associated skill set [will become] better recognized within the academic system.” Curry testified before the US House Subcommittee on Environment in 2013, remarking on the many large uncertainties in forecasting future climate. In October 2014, Curry wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal where she argued that human-caused warming near the end of the 21st century should be less than the 2-degrees-Celsius “danger” level for all but the IPCC’s most extreme emission scenario, which is far later than the IPCC prediction of a 2-degrees-Celsius warming before 2040.

https://judithcurry.com/

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Algal biofuel production is neither environmentally nor commercially sustainable

By Kevin Flynn, Chair Professor, Swansea University | The Conversation | August 8, 2017

Modern biofuels have been touted as a greener alternative to petrol and diesel since the early 1900s. It seems like a good idea on paper, and they do work – but their use and production doesn’t come without problems.

The first generation of biofuels – mainly ethanol made from plant crops – and second generation, derived from plant and animal waste streams, both had environmentalists and others concerned about the competition for land and nutrients between biofuels production and food production.

It was with a lot of hope, and hype, that production of the third generation of biofuels was started. Unlike their predecessors, these biofuels are derived from algae, and so in theory the food vs fuel dilemma of crop-based biofuels would be solved.

Fossil fuel oil and gas originated from ancient algae in large measure, so the concept here is to replicate the essence of the creation of fossil fuels, albeit accelerated and optimised with modern chemical engineering. It was claimed that using algae would be much more efficient than creating biofuels from terrestrial plants and that the technology would make use of poor quality land not able to grow other crops.

Millions of dollars, euros and other currencies have been spent trying to get the algal marvel to work. Much of the money has been directed at refining the engineering process, electrically lighting the crop – which grows in a liquid suspension – harvesting and draining it. The solution to optimisation was seen as primarily technological non-biological, though species selection and growth conditions were also acknowledged as important factors.

Damp squib

However, it turns out that the hype has been misplaced. Our research has found that the production of algal biofuels is neither commercially nor environmentally sustainable. The attainable production levels are a fraction of those that were claimed. The amount of biofuel produced from prolonged culture of algae in pilot-scale systems is actually not too dissimilar from those of terrestrial plants: around 5,000 to 10,000 litres per hectare per year.

In fact, the rate of production from algae growing in the vast ponds required for truly massive production is, for a given area of land, similar to that seen in the most productive areas of the ocean. It amounts to around 4g of carbon from CO₂ fixed into biomass per square metre every day.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t algal biofuels as good as had been hoped? Quite simply, it’s biology.

The dream has been broken not by failings in engineering, but by the inefficiency of biochemistry. Simulations of microalgal biofuel production show that to approach the 10% of EU transport fuels expected to be supplied by biofuels, ponds three times the area of Belgium would be needed. And for the algae in these ponds to produce biofuel, it would require fertiliser equivalent to 50% of the current total annual EU crop plant needs. Ironically, such ponds would also need to be located near heavy industry which produces CO₂ to provide the level required by the microalgae for photosynthesis.

Problems of scale

The problem with third-generation biofuels has always been scaling up the production rates measured in small culture flasks to growth in thousands of cubic metres in size. In the larger cultures, the biomass density of the algae – needed to make the culture and harvesting processes economical – defeats desired growth rates because the organisms shade light from each other. This means that they do not get the sunlight needed to photosynthesise and produce the carbon-rich compounds needed for to make the biofuel fast enough.

There have also been misunderstandings of how the algae react to their environment. Importantly, those vital carbon-rich compounds only really accumulate in cells that are nitrogen-limited and so are growing slowly. Early production estimates assumed high carbon-rich content in fast-growing cells but this has not proved to be the case.

Could we not genetically modify a solution to the inherent biological inefficiency? Perhaps, but should we really tamper with factors that are so fundamental to life on Earth and risk generating unstoppable harmful algal species that could destroy fisheries and damage drinking water supplies? Even if we did create the perfect algae for biofuels production, the need for all that fertiliser and CO₂ would remain.

Ultimately the public have paid for this failed vision – but their money has not been wasted. If there’s one thing that humans need more than fuel it is food – and this work can help us understand how to better grow microalgae to support the farming of fish and shellfish, and produce dietary supplements, like Omega-3. Mass microalgal production could also create food containing omega fatty acids to farmed fish, for example, meaning that we would no longer need to fish in rivers and oceans to make fishmeal for them.

The future for mass microalgal cultivation is still literally and metaphorically green, it just does not rest with biofuels production.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer)

Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer) from Konrad Aderer on Vimeo.

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as “disloyals” and re-imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to protest in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship.

The documentary premiered in February 2017, is continuing to screen at film festivals and other venues, and will be presented for national public television broadcast in May 2018.

For more information, visit resistanceattulelake.com

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

German Bombshell Bestseller Exposing CIA Media Control Blocked in US

Americans are being prevented from reading an important book by a hero who made a huge difference

By Charles Bausman | Russia – Insider | August 10, 2017

Udo Ulfkotte is near and dear to our hearts, because we wrote about him in October of 2014, (Top German Editor: CIA Bribing Journalists) a few weeks after our founding, and these articles were some of our first to go viral, getting hundreds of thousands of views, despite the fact that we were practically unknown.

His book caused a sensation in Germany, was a best-seller despite being completely ignored by the same media he was implicating, and was a major factor in turning German public opinion against the Ukraine war.

Ulfkotte’s book was extraordinary because it named names in the German establishment, a sure-fire path to massive libel lawsuits. We were the first English language publication to write about Ulfkotte, and he gave us an exclusive interview shortly after we ran the above article.

We were in touch with Ulfkotte after writing about him, and followed his story. He told us at the time that he wasn’t afraid of any lawsuits, because he was near death due to complications from gas poisoning he suffered while reporting on the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s (ironically it was German manufactured gas), another story suppressed in Germany.

Sure enough, he passed away in January 2017, at the age of 56.

Perhaps the English translation of his book has been taken out of circulation because of libel threats?

R.I.P. Mr. Ulfkotte, you are a hero, and remembered by millions, and not just in Germany.

We quote in its entirety below an excellent article which recently appeared at Global Research, who noticed that the English translation is being stymied.

The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.  On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed. “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”[1]

Along these lines, publication of the English translation was repeatedly delayed. When this author contacted Ulfkotte in early December 2015 to inquire on the book’s pending translation, he responded,  “Please find the link to the English edition here,”

http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The above address once providing the book’s description and anticipated publication date now leads to an empty page.[2] Tayen Lane has not responded to emails or telephone calls requesting an explanation for the title’s disappearance.

When a book publisher determines that it has acquired a politically volatile or otherwise “troublesome” title it may embark on a process recognized in the industry as “privishing.” “Privishing is a portmanteau meaning to privately publish, as opposed to true publishing that is open to the public,” writes investigative journalist Gerald Colby.

It is usually employed in the following context: “We privished the book so that it sank without a trace.” The mechanism used is simple: cut off the book’s life-support system by reducing the initial print run so that the book “cannot price profitably according to any conceivable formula,” refuse to do reprints, drastically slash the book’s advertising budget, and all but cancel the promotional tour.”[3]

Privishing often takes place without the author knowing, simply because it involves breach of contract and potential liability. Tayen Lane will likely not face any legal challenge in this instance, however. Ulfkotte died of a heart attack on January 13, 2017, at age 56.[4]

Udo Ulfkotte was a prominent European journalist, social scientist, and immigration reform activist. Upon writing Gekaufte Journalisten and becoming one of the most significant media industry and deep state whistleblowers in recent history, Ulfkotte complained of repeated home searches by German state police and expressed fear for his own life. He also admitted previous health complications stemming from witnessing a 1988 poisoned gas attack in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ulfkotte’s testimony of how intelligence agencies figure centrally in Western journalism is especially compelling because he for many years functioned in the higher echelons of mainstream newsworkers. The German journalist explains how he was recruited during the 1980s to work in espionage. This began through an invitation proffered by his graduate school advisor for an all-expense-paid trip to attend a two-week seminar on the Cold War conflict in Bonn.

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants. Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains. “This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works.”[6]  He likewise ruefully admits to “publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”[7]

Ulfkotte’s insider knowledge of the relationship between mainstream media and the intelligence community has special relevance in terms of informing the CIA’s antipathy toward Wikileaks, as well as the media campaign centering on the Trump administration’s alleged “ties to Russia,” while also lending credence to Trump’s frequent claims of the US media’s political biases and deep state ties. Indeed, Ulfkotte “Tweeted” about these very subjects just two days before he passed.

Ulfkotte’s explosive revelations still have the potential to further intensify the much-deserved scrutiny corporate news media presently face. In a society that pays more than lip service to freedom of thought and expression Journalists for Hire would be required reading for college students—and particularly those studying in journalism programs intending to seek employment in the media industries.

In fact, journalism professors, some of whom have migrated to the academy following long careers at renowned news outlets, possess similar insider knowledge of the relationships Ulfkotte readily explains. As both journalists and educators they have a twofold burden of responsibility. This is the case more so than ever because the entire professional and intellectual enterprise they are engaged in (and one directly linked to the nation’s accelerating civic deterioration) has been made a farce. Journalists for Hire’s suppression suggests how Ulfkotte’s posthumous censors refuse for this important examination and cleansing to proceed.

Notes

[1] Ralph Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA,” Reader Supported News, February 1, 2015.

[2] Udo Ulfkotte to James Tracy, email correspondence, December 6, 2015. In author’s possession.

[3] Gerard Colby, “The Price of Liberty,” in Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, Kristina Borjesson, ed., Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2002, 15-16.

[4] Former US military intelligence officer L. Fletcher Prouty relates a similar experience of how publication of his book, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was greeted in 1972. “Then one day a business associate in Seattle called to tell me that the bookstore next to his office building had had a window full of books the day before, and none the day of his call. They claimed they had never had the book. I called other associates around the country. I got the same story from all over the country. The paperback had vanished. At the same time I learned that Mr. Ballantine had sold his company. I traveled to New York to visit the new ‘Ballantine Books’ president. He professed to know nothing about me, and my book … The campaign to to kill the book was nationwide and worldwide. It was removed from the Library of Congress and from College libraries as letters I received attested all too frequently.” Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2008, xii.

[5] Ronald L. Ray, “Reporter Admits Most Media Work for CIA, MI6, Mossad,” American Free Press, October 26, 2014. See also Tyler Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media,” Zerohedge, October 9, 2014; Udo Ulfkotte, “German Politicians Are US Puppets,” Center for Research on Globalization, November 9., 2014.

[6] Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media.”

[7] Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA.”

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

California districts sue US govt for $1.4bn over water contamination from military base

RT | August 9, 2017

Two water districts in Sacramento, California are suing the US government for nearly one and a half billion dollars for groundwater cleanup. Plaintiffs claim heavy metals used by aircraft maintenance crews at the old McClellan Air Force Base have contaminated over 300 sites.

The lawsuits named the US Air Force and 10 major firms involved in supplying chromium products and chemicals to the base, and was filed by the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Rio Linda Elverta Community Water District, according to the Sacramento Bee.

At contention is whether the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, came from the base, which was designated a federal Superfund site in 1987 for 326 contaminated sites identified for cleanup.

“[T]hey knew or should have known that this harmful compound would reach groundwater, pollute drinking supplies, render drinking water unusable and unsafe, and threaten the public health and welfare,” stated the complaint, which claims an underground storage tank “likely held” the chemical.

The lawsuits demands more than $1.4 billion to clean up the polluted wells, install treatment equipment and replace wells that have been decommissioned for being polluted with chromium 6.

“Sacramento Suburban seeks to recover the substantial costs necessary to protect the public and restore its damaged drinking water supply,” the water district’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Sacramento says, as part of its claim seeking $1.1 billion in damages.

Rio Linda Elverta’s claim seeks more than $289 million in damages.

“Chrome 6 is a highly toxic compound and it shouldn’t be in the water,” Victor Sher, a San Francisco environmental attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

“Water districts are constantly balancing risks against cost,” he said, adding, “They’re committed to delivering water that is as free as possible of contaminants, but doing so is expensive.”

Plaintiffs argued that as far back as 1984, McClellan had burn and burial pits, trenches and unlined ponds and ditches contaminated with chemicals.

“[C]ontaminated with plating wastes, solvents, acids, waste oils, paint thinners, strippers and sludges and other hazardous compounds,” the lawsuits stated.

Plaintiffs argue that the chemicals have been found in groundwater under the base as high as 840 parts per billion, six times higher than levels that decrease away from the air base. The state set a maximum concentration for chromium 6 as 10 parts per billion in 2014.

The Air Force denied Rio Linda Elverta’s claim in a May 9 letter before the district sued in federal court on June 30.

The Air Force had consistently denied responsibility for polluting the groundwater around the base, which operated from 1936 through 2001, before being converted to a business park.

In addition to the Air Force, the water district lawsuits name 10 firms they say were associated with providing chemicals to the base: Elementis Chromium Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp., Honeywell Inc., BASF Corp., PPG Inc., E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co., Luxfer Holdings PLC, Sigma-Aldrich Corp. and Dow Chemical Co.

Officials with Sacramento Suburban, which serves 175,000 customers just east of the old base, and Rio Linda Elverta, which serves about 15,000 customers to the west of the base, say the water they are currently providing is safe.

A 2016 Harvard study of some 36,000 EPA water samples taken from 2013 to 2015 at industrial sites, military fire training locations, airports and wastewater treatments plants contained levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), or perfluorinated chemicals, that go beyond what is considered safe by the federal government.

Researchers determined that drinking water for 6 million in the US is at or beyond the EPA safety threshold for PFAS levels.

Xindi Hu, the study’s lead author, warned that “the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population—about 100 million people.”

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

African children pay the price for “clean green” electric car battery technology

Tall Bloke’s Talk Shop | August 6, 2017

Goldman Sachs, the merchant bank, calls cobalt ‘the new gasoline’ but there are no signs of new wealth in the DRC, where the children haul the rocks brought up from tunnels dug by hand.

Adult miners dig up to 600ft below the surface using basic tools, without protective clothing or modern machinery. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse.

Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death.

Even simply eating vegetables grown in local soil can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, thyroid damage and fatal lung diseases, while birds and fish cannot survive in the area.

No one knows quite how many children have died mining cobalt in the Katanga region in the south-east of the country. The UN estimates 80 a year, but many more deaths go unregistered, with the bodies buried in the rubble of collapsed tunnels. Others survive but with chronic diseases which destroy their young lives. Girls as young as ten in the mines are subjected to sexual attacks and many become pregnant.

Dorsen, just eight, is one of 40,000 children working daily in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The terrible price they will pay for our clean air is ruined health and a likely early death.

Almost every big motor manufacturer striving to produce millions of electric vehicles buys its cobalt from the impoverished central African state. It is the world’s biggest producer, with 60 per cent of the planet’s reserves.

The cobalt is mined by unregulated labour and transported to Asia where battery manufacturers use it to make their products lighter, longer-lasting and rechargeable.

The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).

Residents near mines in southern DRC had urinary concentrates of cobalt 43 higher than normal. Lead levels were five times higher, cadmium and uranium four times higher.

The worldwide rush to bring millions of electric vehicles on to our roads has handed a big advantage to those giant car-makers which saw this bonanza coming and invested in developing battery-powered vehicles, among them General Motors, Renault-Nissan, Tesla, BMW and Fiat-Chrysler.

Full story

August 6, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

James Le Mesurier: The Former British Mercenary Who Founded The White Helmets

British ex-mercenary, and founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, pictured in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: Twitter/James Le Mesurier)

British ex-mercenary, and founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, pictured in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: Twitter/James Le Mesurier)
By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | July 31, 2017

James Le Mesurier, a British ex-mercenary, founded the White Helmets in 2013. The group has been lauded for its “humanitarian” efforts in Syria, but they have actually functioned more as a logistics and propaganda arm of Syria’s al-Qaeda branch, complete with training from Le Mesurier.

Over the past two years, enlightening information has been revealed that thoroughly and unequivocally debunks the “humanitarianism” of the White Helmets in Syria, sometimes referred to as the Syrian Civil Defense.

Since they were founded in 2013, much of Western media has sought to elevate the White Helmets as the “bravest” and most heroic of Syrians. They have been the subject of a Netflix documentary, which won an Oscar, and has consistently been plastered across TV screens in surprisingly well-produced videos showing them removing children from rubble in war-torn areas claimed by Syria’s “rebels.”

However, missing from this unambiguously positive coverage has been the group’s ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, their doctoring of footage, their role in executing civilians and their use of children – both dead and alive – as props for producing pro-intervention propaganda. Also absent is how the White Helmets have received over $123 million from 2013 to 2016 from the U.S. and UK governments, as well as Western NGOs and Gulf state monarchies.

While numerous articles have been devoted to dispelling the propaganda that surrounds the group and detailing their shady ties to known terrorist organizations like Syria’s al-Qaeda branch Al-Nusra Front, significantly less attention has been focused on how the group was created, particularly on the man who founded them – James Le Mesurier, a British private security specialist, and former British military intelligence officer.

Le Mesurier’s role in founding the White Helmets and propagating its mythology to a Western audience was exposed in 2015 thanks to the work of independent journalist Vanessa Beeley.

Beeley, who spoke to MintPress News at length for this report, notes that it was Le Mesurier’s “‘realization that humanitarian aid was more effective at maintaining war than an army” that spurred his creation of the organization in order “to maintain public support for another costly war in a country that is, in reality, posing little to no threat to mainland America” or its allies.

James Le Mesurier: from mercenary to “humanitarian”

Though mainstream narratives have suggested that the White Helmets were trained by the Red Cross, the White Helmets were actually founded in March 2013 by Le Mesurier. He, like many officers in the British military, attended the Royal Military Academy, where he graduated at the top of his class, receiving the Queen’s Medal.

He later served in the British Army and operated in a variety of theaters. Most notably, Le Mesurier served as intelligence coordinator for Pristina City in Kosovo soon after the NATO intervention that led to NATO being accused of war crimes for its targeting of thousands of civilians and media.

James Le Mesurier: The British Ex-Military Mercenary Who Founded The White Helmets

Having served the governments of the UK, US, UN and Gulf States, James Le Mesurier was able to very quickly garner financial support from fervent supporters of Syrian regime change. (Sofie Gran/Aspunvik)

By 2000, Le Mesurier left the army and went to work for the United Nations as he had “realized humanitarian aid was more effective” than an army in theaters of war during his time with the British military. He, again, served in a variety of locations, focusing on “delivering stabilization activities through security sector and democratization programs.” According to Le Mesurier, “stabilization activities” refers to the “framework for engagement in ‘fragile’ states” or, in other words, destabilized nations.

Prior to his founding of the White Helmets, Le Mesurier served as Vice President for Special Projects at the Olive Group, a private mercenary organization that has since merged with Blackwater-Academi into what is now known as Constellis Holdings. Then, in 2008, Le Mesurier left the Olive Group after he was appointed to the position of Principal at Good Harbor Consulting, chaired by Richard A. Clarke – a veteran of the U.S. national security establishment and the counter-terrorism “czar” under the Bush and Clinton administrations.

After joining Good Harbor, Le Mesurier became based in Abu Dhabi, where he specialized in risk management, emergency planning, and critical infrastructure protection. He trained a UAE gas field protection force and “ensured the safety” of the 2010 Gulf Cup in Yemen, a regional soccer tournament. But following this work, Le Mesurier claims to have become dissatisfied, wanting to have a more direct impact on the communities he worked in.

He told Men’s Journal in 2014 that it was the idea of using his military training to benefit civilians that truly enthused him: “the idea of being a civilian carrying a weapon and guiding a convoy in a conflict zone — that leaves me cold.”

White Helmets founded through Western funding

When it came time to found the White Helmets in March 2013, Le Mesurier seemed to have simply been in the right place at the right time. According to his own account, he founded the group in Turkey after being “compelled” by Syrians’ wartime stories.

James Le Mesurier: The British Ex-Military Mercenary Who Founded The White Helmets

James Le Mesurier in Istanbul, Turkey.
(Photo: Twitter/James Le Mesurier)

Despite founding the White Helmets in Turkey, he raised $300,000 in seed funding provided by the UK, the U.S. and Japan, which Le Mesurier apparently had no trouble scrounging up. The $123 million dollars that was funneled soon after to the organization by the U.S. and UK governments, along with Western NGOs and Qatar, dispels all notion of the organization’s alleged “impartiality” and “non-partisan” stance on the Syrian conflict stated on their website.

He then used it to train 25 “vetted” Syrians “to deal with the chaos erupting around them.” By September of that year, more than 700 “vetted” individuals were believed to have undergone training under Le Mesurier’s supervision.

However, Le Mesurier’s ties to British military intelligence, mercenary groups and involvement in “stabilization activities” and “democratization programs” suggest that his convenient appearance in Istanbul, Turkey is perhaps not too coincidental. As Beeley noted in an interview with MintPress : “there are very few coincidences in the multi-spectrum, hybrid war that has been waged against Syria by the U.S. coalition since 2011.”

Indeed, the White Helmets were founded when the West was losing on both the propaganda and military front regarding the push for regime change and foreign intervention in Syria. More specifically, as Beeley told MintPress, the group’s founding took place just after “the Syrian government had raised concerns about a terrorist chemical weapon attack in Khan Al Asal against the SAA [Syrian Arab Army].”

It should come as no surprise then that, since their founding, the White Helmets have been instrumental in blaming the Syrian government for any and all subsequent chemical weapons attacks in Syria, acting as both witnesses and responders to events that were later proven to be the work of the armed opposition in Syria or staged. As a result, Beeley argued that it’s well within reason to speculate that the White Helmets were explicitly founded with this purpose in mind.

However, it is Le Mesurier himself who shed light on why the White Helmets were formed at such a crucial point for the foreign-funded opposition. As Le Mesurier noted in a speech delivered on June 2015, in “fragile” (i.e. destabilized) states, security actors – such as mercenaries or foreign armies – have the lowest level of public trust. However, Le Mesurier states that in contrast, those professions with the highest level of public trust in such situations are firefighters, paramedics, rescue workers and other similar types of first responders.

Le Mesurier discusses the White Helmets in June 2015:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/132521006?color=c9ff23&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Le Mesurier, however, is not the only figure linked to the British military to take such a perspective. UK Admiral Sir Philip Jones, Chief of Naval Staff, stated last year that “the hard punch of military power is often delivered inside the kid glove of humanitarian relief.” It is for this reason that military actions sponsored by the United States and its allies for the past few decades have often been framed as “humanitarian interventions.”

Thus, the White Helmets were seen as a chance to reclaim the trust that the Syrian opposition fighters had lost, as news of their affiliation with terrorist groups began to spread.

In reclaiming that trust in Western audiences, the White Helmets have done nothing to ease the burden of war in Syria, but have fomented it by underpinning the very propaganda that has kept the conflict raging on for over six years, as well as undermined the ability of the Syrian and Russian governments to secure diplomatic alternatives to continued fighting.

Indeed, despite their claim of “impartiality,” the White Helmets were instrumental in Western attempts to bolster international support for Western intervention and a “no-fly zone” in Syria. However, such intervention will bring much more devastation to Syria, something the White Helmets profess to want to end.

Training the White Helmets

While the White Helmets have successfully been framed as a professionally-trained first responder group active in Syria, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that their training was entirely different. First responders and doctors in other countries have been skeptical about the “aid” the White Helmets have delivered.

For instance, Dr. Leif Elinder, a Swedish pediatrician, told the Indicter that “after examination of the video material [of the White Helmets], I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children.”

Other medical doctors have stated that other procedures conducted by the White Helmets as seen in the previously mentioned Netflix documentary were performed so poorly they would have killed the children, who were already deceased when the footage was taken.

In addition, first responder groups have also found flaws with the White Helmet’s trained rescues. Questions have been raised such as: how did the White Helmets know the bodies would be exactly where they found them?; Why are no attacks heard or seen in White Helmet videos – only the “aftermath”?; and why have the White Helmets chosen to “recycle” footage of the people they are allegedly helping?

Thus, if the White Helmets were not actually trained in first aid – as the above suggests – what did Le Mesurier and his team actually train them to do?

According to Beeley, Le Mesurier trained the White Helmets as a military group, as they have been found “working side by side with the Nusra Front and other extremist groups such as Nour Al Din Zinki in East Aleppo, where their ‘humanitarian’ centers were invariably alongside Nusra Front or even in the same building.”

Noting the White Helmet’s lack of paramedic expertise and the numerous photographs showing them carrying weapons, she added that this “confirms that their role has been as military and logistical support for their Nusra Front colleagues.”

However, the training received by the White Helmets likely did not stop there.

Beeley strongly believes that they were given extensive training in the production of propaganda – specifically, trained in camerawork and video production in order to produce videos for the media. She noted that “the sheer number of cameras on site at any one of their rescue productions demonstrates that they are well versed in publicity craft.”

Furthermore, Beeley suggested that the White Helmet’s footage used in their documentary also proves this point:

“The Oscar-winning Netflix documentary that recorded their exploits was based entirely on footage taken by the White Helmets themselves and supplied to the producers of the movie who did not leave Turkey and were therefore unable to verify the authenticity of the footage. The quality of video supplied suggests that the White Helmets were using sophisticated equipment and had been well trained in its use.

Thus, this training has enabled the White Helmets to accomplish two major goals for the governments and organizations that have orchestrated its rise to prominence.

First, as Beeley pointed out, it has facilitated “further proxy military intervention and to incite pseudo-humanitarian outrage from the International community and western public.”

Second, it has allowed the atrocities of the extremist factions that work with the White Helmets to be camouflaged by the “humanitarianism” of the group, which has been instrumental in allowing foreign governments to continue arming and funding these extremist, terrorist organizations with complete impunity.

Le Mesurier, for his part, has apparently become tired of the limelight – perhaps as a result of the thorough debunking of the terrorist-linked organization he fostered. Though still listed as an employee of Good Harbor, Le Mesurier has removed himself from the site of MayDay Rescue, a White Helmets-linked organization he founded, and all mention of him has been erased from the White Helmets website.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment