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See other gifts available on Zazzle.
See other gifts available on Zazzle.
Military training in the middle of Miami jolts residents out of bed
By Scott Hiaasen
No, there was no smell of napalm in the morning.
But there was the thunderous whump whump of low-flying helicopters, and even the jarring blast of explosions at the abandoned Grand Bay Hotel in Coconut Grove early Tuesday during a military training exercise that jolted many unsuspecting residents from their beds.
“It was quite a shocking experience,” said Jane Muir, who was awakened around 1:45 a.m. by the sound of military choppers that later dropped rappelling soldiers onto the Grand Bay’s rooftop. “It was kind of that bizarre feeling that you were surrounded by wind.”
From her third-floor balcony, Muir then watched the soldiers fire off flares and smoke bombs before searching floor by floor through the darkened hotel, their paths marked by flashlights and the pop-pop-pop of gunshots. “The show of force was so overwhelming,” she said.
The maneuvers were part of a “realistic urban training” exercise for about 100 military personnel, and organized by the U.S. Special Operations Command, said Maj. Michael Burns, a U.S. Army spokesman. The exercise also included three military helicopters, and the use of simulated explosions and gunfire to mimic real-life military scenarios.
“They have to train in a realistic environment,” Burns said. “We didn’t use any real bullets,” he added reassuringly.
Miami police assisted in overseeing the exercises — but they were instructed to keep quiet about the exercises until late Monday, for security reasons. The police also blocked off roads around the Grand Bay during the exercise, Muir said.
“It was the federal government’s call on what was being done. We were courteously advised,” said Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff, whose district includes Coconut Grove.
Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss said that a news release about the training was sent out around 5 p.m. Monday, but it went largely unnoticed.
The explosions, however, did not. A handful of alarmed Grove residents called the police and City Hall to ask about the armed choppers flying over their homes.
Muir, for one, would not have minded a heads up beforehand.
“I thought it was kind of rude, to tell you the truth,” she said. “One neighbor was swearing, he was so annoyed.”
But despite the neighborhood anxiety, the exercise went off safely and quickly, Burns said.
“It seems very high drama, but to us it’s kind of simple,” he said.
Miami Herald staff writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.
Read more here: SOURCE
Lottery winner on food stamps even after $1 million jackpot
By Eric Pfeiffer
People love stories about someone winning the lottery and then giving the money away. They’re less likely to feel fondly about Amanda Clayton, who won $1 million in the Michigan State Lottery but is still collecting food stamps.
“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working,” Clayton, 24, told Local 4 news in Detroit.
Back in December, a woman in Washington State fell under scrutiny when it was revealed she was receiving state economic benefits even though she lives in a $1 million waterfront home on Lake Washington.
Clayton, who says she owns two homes and a new car, receives $200 a month in food assistance from the state-issued Michigan Bridge Card, which is meant to benefit lower-income residents in the nation’s eigth most economically depressed state.
Twenty-five percent of Michigan’s residents receive some form of food assistance from the state. The state’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, more than a full point above the national average, but has dropped from a 10.4 percent peak in August.
And Clayton isn’t embarrassed about living off the state even though she now finds herself in the nation’s top tax bracket. “I mean I kinda do,” Clayton told Local 4 when asked if she had a “right” to the government welfare.
She certainly doesn’t the fit the mold of other lottery winners we have told you about here at the Sideshow, including the number of repeat winners of the Georgia State Lottery, many of whom chose to donate their initial winnings to charity or family members in need.
Clayton downplayed her wealth, saying she took the $1 million in a lump sump, which meant about half immediately went to taxes. “I feel that it’s OK because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay,” she said. “I have two houses.”
Her story has already caught attention locally, where state Republican Rep. Dale Zorn has sponsored a bill preventing individuals like Clayton from taking state financial assistance.
“Public assistance should be given to those who are in need of public assistance, not those who have found riches,” Zorn told Local 4. The bill, which has already passed the state House and has a sister bill in the Senate, would require the state to cross check the names of lottery winners over $1,000 to see if they are also receiving state financial benefits.
And she wasn’t the only one.
No Man’s Land
Penn State’s moral adolescents
There is a famous if apocryphal tale of a Fleet Street theater critic covering the first night of a new play in the West End of London. At the end of the evening, he went to a public telephone and dictated his review. The following morning, a furious editor called him and demanded to know why he had neglected to mention that, midway through the third act, the theater had caught fire and burned to the ground. The critic sniffily replied that it was not his business to report fires, but that, if the editor had read more carefully, he would have observed that the review included a passage noting discreetly that the critic had been unable to remain for the final scenes.
That, more or less, is the position of those Americans defending the behavior of the Penn State establishment: It would be unreasonable to expect the college-football elite to show facility with an entirely separate discipline such as pedophilia-reporting procedures, and, besides, many of those officials who were aware of Jerry Sandusky’s child-sex activities did mention it to other officials who promised to look into mentioning it to someone else.
From the grand-jury indictment:
On March 1, 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant (“graduate assistant”) who was then 28 years old, entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus on a Friday night. . . . He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught.
The graduate assistant went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. His father told the graduate assistant to leave the building and come to his home. The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to promptly report what he had seen to Coach Joe Paterno (“Paterno”), head football coach of Penn State. The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno . . .
Hold it right there. “The next morning”?
Here surely is an almost too perfect snapshot of a culture that simultaneously destroys childhood and infantilizes adulthood. The “child” in this vignette ought to be the ten-year-old boy, “hands up against the wall,” but instead the “man” appropriates the child role for himself: Why, the graduate assistant is so “distraught” that he has to leave and telephone his father. He is pushing 30, an age when previous generations would have had little boys of their own. But today, confronted by a grade-schooler being sodomized before his eyes, the poor distraught child-man approaching early middle-age seeks out some fatherly advice, like one of Fred MacMurray’s “My Three Sons” might have done had he seen the boy next door swiping a can of soda pop from the lunch counter.
The graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, is now pushing 40, and is sufficiently grown up to realize that the portrait of him that emerges from the indictment is not to his credit and to attempt, privately, to modify it. “No one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30–45 seconds,” he e-mailed a friend a few days ago. “Trust me.”
“Trust me”? Maybe the ten-year-old boy did. And then watched Mr. McQueary leave the building. Perhaps the child-man should try “imagining” the ten-year-old’s thoughts or being in his shoes. Oh, wait. He wasn’t wearing any.
Defenders of McQueary and the broader Penn State protection racket argue that “nobody knows” what he would do in similar circumstances. In a New York Times piece headlined “Let’s All Feel Superior,” David Brooks turned in an eerily perfect parody of a David Brooks column and pointed out, with much reference to Kitty Genovese et al., how “studies show” that in extreme circumstances the human brain is prone to lapse into “normalcy bias.” To be sure, many of the Internet toughs bragging that they’d have punched Sandusky’s lights out would have done no such thing. As my e-mail correspondents always put it whenever such questions arise: “Yeah, right, Steyn. Like you’d be taking a bullet. We all know you’d be wetting your little girly panties,” etc.
For the sake of argument, let us so stipulate. Nevertheless, as the Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle wrote some years ago: “When we say ‘we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances,’ we make cowardice the default position.”
I quote that line in my current book, in a section on the “no man’s land” of contemporary culture. It contrasts the behavior of the men on the Titanic who (notwithstanding James Cameron’s wretched movie) went down with the ship and those of the École Polytechnique in Montreal decades later who, ordered to leave the classroom by a lone gunman, meekly did as they were told and stood passively in the corridor as he shot all the women. Even if I’m wetting my panties, it’s better to have the social norm of the Titanic and fail to live up to it than to have the social norm of the Polytechnique and sink with it.
That’s the issue at the heart of Penn State’s institutional wickedness and its many deluded defenders. In my book, I also quote the writer George Jonas back when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were revealed to be burning down the barns of Quebec separatists: With his characteristic insouciance, the prime minister Pierre Trudeau responded that, if people were so bothered by illegal barn burning by the Mounties, perhaps he would make it legal. Jonas pointed out that burning barns isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because it’s wrong. A society that no longer understands that distinction is in deep trouble. To argue that a man witnessing child sex in progress has no responsibility other than to comply with procedures and report it to a colleague further up the chain of command represents a near-suicidal loss of that distinction.
A land of hyper-legalisms is not the same as a land of law. I’ve written recently about the insane proliferation of signage on America’s highways — the “Stop” sign, the “Stop Sign Ahead” sign, the red light, the sign before the red light instructing you that when the light is red you should stop here, accompanied by a smaller sign underneath with an arrow pointing to the precise point where “here” is . . . One assumes this expensive clutter is there to protect against potential liability issues. It certainly doesn’t do anything for American road safety, which is the worst in the developed world. We have three times the automobile fatality rate of the Netherlands, and at 62 in the global rankings we’re just ahead of Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea.
But that’s the least of it: When people get used to complying with micro-regulation, it’s but a small step to confusing regulatory compliance with the right thing to do — and then arguing that, in the absence of regulatory guidelines, there is no “right thing to do.”
In a hyper-legalistic culture, Penn State’s collaborators may have the law on their side. But there is no moral-liability waiver. You could hardly ask for a more poignant emblem of the hollow braggadocio of the West at twilight than the big, beefy, bulked-up shoulder pads and helmets of Penn State football, and the small stunted figures inside.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2011 Mark Steyn
U.S. invites Russia to measure missile-defense test
By Susan Cornwell and Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON, – The United States has invited Russia to use its own radars and other sensors to size up one or more U.S. missile-defense flight tests as part of a new push to persuade Moscow that the system poses it no threat, a Pentagon official said on Tuesday.
The idea is to let Russia measure for itself the performance of U.S. interceptor missiles being deployed in and around Europe in what Washington says is a layered shield against missiles that could be fired by countries like Iran.
“These are smaller missiles,” Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, told a forum hosted by the Atlantic Council. He referred to current and planned Standard Missile-3 interceptors built by Raytheon Co .
They would be ineffective as anti-missile interceptors against a country like Russia, whose strategic deterrent missiles are launched from deep inside its territory, he said. The SM-3 interceptor, to be based on land and at sea, “can’t reach that far.”
President Barack Obama pleased the Kremlin in 2009 by scrapping his predecessor’s plan for longer-range interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic, a move that helped to improve U.S.-Russian ties.
But Moscow says that Obama’s revised version, which includes participation by Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain, could undermine Russia’s security if it becomes capable of neutralizing Russia’s nuclear deterrent and has warned of a new arms race if its concerns are not met.
Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told the forum that the United States was prepared to offer Moscow written assurances that the system being built is not directed against Moscow.
But Tauscher, who held talks in Moscow last week on the issue with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, added: “We cannot provide legally binding commitments, nor can we agree to limitations on missile defense, which must necessarily keep pace with the evolution of the threat.”
She said she could not predict whether Russia and NATO would reach an agreement on missile defense cooperation in time for a NATO alliance summit next May that is due to consider the system’s progress. The United States would like to partner with Moscow to boost its performance, including by using Russian radar systems.
“As time goes on it gets harder (to wrap in Russia),” Tauscher said, “because the aperture to join this system will close eventually. It’s not an infinite opportunity.”
The Missile Defense Agency, in a follow-up email to Reuters, said it had not yet determined which test or tests it would open to active Russian participation.
Russia would not receive any classified performance data on the U.S. system, said Richard Lehner, an MDA spokesman, but would be welcome to use its own radars, sensors and other know-how to measure interceptor speed, altitude, distance and other parameters.
Tauscher said the planned missile shield would be robust enough to manage the threats that Washington projects in the Middle East but “certainly would only chase the tail of a Russian ICBM or SLBM.” Those are the acronyms for long-range missiles fired from land or from submarines.
“And that’s the truth,” she said. “Perhaps only with their eyes and ears will Russians embrace that.”
22 “Fast and Furious” facts: What did the Obama White House know and when did they know it?
“Fast and Furious” is not about cars and women but about guns, drugs and murder!
“What did the President know, and when did he know it?”: Howard Baker, Vice Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee
What do President Obama and Eric Holder know, when did they know it and will the “Fast and Furious” operation to sell weapons to Mexican drug cartels be the scandal that brings the Obama White House down?
Are there still any truly investigative mainstream media journalists out there along the lines of Woodward and Bernstein of The Washington Post, who actually felt it was their job and duty to break the Watergate story?
There actually may be a few still out there (H/T Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News)!
22 “Fast and Furious” facts that could be extremely problematic for the Obama White House and for the President’s 2012 reelection bid!
#1 During Operation Fast and Furious, ATF agents purposely allowed thousands of guns to be sold to individuals that they believed would get them into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
#2 ATF agents were specifically ordered not to intercept the guns before they crossed the border. The following is a brief excerpt from a CBS News report that detailed the fierce objections that many ATF agents expressed when they were ordered to stand down….
On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn’t want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF’s watchful eye. “The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That’s how many guns were sold – including some 50-calibers they let walk.”
50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: “Negative. Stand down.”
CBS News has been told at least 11 ATF agents and senior managers voiced fierce opposition to the strategy. “It got ugly…” said one. There was “screaming and yelling” says another. A third warned: “this is crazy, somebody is gonna to get killed.”
#3 Operation Fast and Furious remained a secret until the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. Two guns that were sold during Operation Fast and Furious were found at the scene of the murder.
#4 ATF Special Agent John Dodson was one of the first to blow the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. Dodson explained to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on June 15, 2011 that many ATF agents were becoming extremely frustrated when they were ordered to cut off surveillance on the weapons that were being sold because they knew “that just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico.”
#5 It appears that Operation Fast and Furious began some time around September 2009. At that time, the ATF began pressuring gun shops near the border with Mexico to participate in a new covert operation that was being set up. The gun storeowners were told to help the ATF get guns into the hands of people that would take them back to the Mexican drug cartels.
The following description of the mechanics of Operation Fast and Furious comes from a recent Los Angeles Times article….
In the fall of 2009, ATF agents installed a secret phone line and hidden cameras in a ceiling panel and wall at Andre Howard’s Lone Wolf gun store. They gave him one basic instruction: Sell guns to every illegal purchaser who walks through the door.
For 15 months, Howard did as he was told. To customers with phony IDs or wads of cash he normally would have turned away, he sold pistols, rifles and semiautomatics. He was assured by the ATF that they would follow the guns, and that the surveillance would lead the agents to the violent Mexican drug cartels on the Southwest border.
When Howard heard nothing about any arrests, he questioned the agents. Keep selling, they told him. So hundreds of thousands of dollars more in weapons, including .50-caliber sniper rifles, walked out of the front door of his store in a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall.
#6 In some gun stores, cameras were set up so that top ATF officials could actually watch these transactions take place. Back in June, U.S. Representative Darrell Issa stated the following….
“Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and himself watch a live feed of straw buyers entering the gun stores and purchasing dozens of AK-47 variants.”
#7 It has also come out that in some cases ATF agents were actually the ones buying the guns and getting them into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The following is how author Michael A. Walsh recently explained this in an article in the New York Post….
This just might be the smoking gun we’ve been waiting for to break the festering “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal wide open: the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives apparently ordered one of its own agents to purchase firearms with taxpayer money, and sell them directly to a Mexican drug cartel.
Let that sink in: After months of pretending that “Fast and Furious” was a botched surveillance operation of illegal gun-running spearheaded by the ATF and the US attorney’s office in Phoenix, it turns out that the government itself was selling guns to the bad guys.
#8 According to the Los Angeles Times, guns that were purchased during Operation Fast and Furious have “turned up at dozens of additional Mexican crime scenes, with an unconfirmed toll of at least 150 people killed or wounded.”
#9 Mexican authorities were never informed that thousands upon thousands of guns were being allowed into Mexico.
#10 Authorities in Mexico have asked the U.S. government over and over to explain what in the world happened during Operation Fast and Furious but they have not been given an adequate answer. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration has not even responded to questions from the attorney general of Mexico….
Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general and a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico, told The Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious from news reports. And to this day, she said, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation gone awry, nor have they apologized.
#11 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been withholding key documents about Fast and Furious from Congress and has been consistently stonewalling U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and other members of Congress that have attempted to look into this matter.
#12 The acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, had been cooperating with the investigation. At the end of August he was suddenly transferred to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.
#13 Several other key officials that were heavily involved in Operation Fast and Furious actually got promoted.
#14 On May 3rd, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified under oath in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Operation Fast and Furious. During that testimony, Holder made the following statement….
“I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”
#15 Since that time, a large amount of evidence has come out that Holder was not telling the truth. For example, a recent Fox News article discussed some of the very revealing memos about Fast and Furious that have been discovered recently….
However, newly discovered memos suggest otherwise. For instance, one memo dated July 2010 shows Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder that straw buyers in the Fast and Furious operation “are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
Other documents also indicate that Holder began receiving weekly briefings on the program from the National Drug Intelligence Center “beginning, at the latest, on July 5, 2010,”
#16 Holder now claims that he simply misunderstood the question. He now says that he had heard of Operation Fast and Furious previously but that he was not aware of the specific details.
#17 Emails exchanged between two Department of Justice officials last October make it abundantly clear that high-level officials at the DOJ were very aware of what was going on…
Two Justice Department officials mulled it over in an email exchange Oct. 18, 2010. “It’s a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions,” says Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty replies, “I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like; “Finally they’re going after people who sent guns down there.”
#18 House Republicans are now asking for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate whether or not U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress during his recent testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Operation Fast and Furious.
#19 U.S. Representative Darrell Issa believes that those involved in the Fast and Furious gun trafficking operation may have violated international arms trafficking agreements and could potentially face very serious criminal charges.
#20 U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is absolutely convinced that a major cover-up is going on….
“But I can tell you this. They’re doing everything they can, in a fast and furious way, to cover up all the evidence or stonewalling us. But here’s the issue, if he didn’t perjure himself and didn’t know about it, the best way that they can help us, Congressman Issa and me, is to just issue all the documents that we ask for and those documents will prove one way or the other right or wrong.”
#21 Did Barack Obama ever know about Operation Fast and Furious? He says that he did not authorize the program. On March 22, 2011 Obama made the following statement….
“I did not authorize [Fast and Furious]. Eric Holder, the attorney general, did not authorize it. There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made. If that’s the case, then we’ll find — find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”
#22 CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson claimed on the Laura Ingraham show the other day that officials in the Obama administration were literally screaming and yelling at her for aggressively investigating the Fast and Furious scandal….
Ingraham: So they were literally screaming at you? ?Attkisson: Yes. Well the DOJ woman was just yelling at me. The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me. [Laura: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?] Eric Schultz. Oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler, she was yelling not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.”
Doomsday Plane’ Would Save President and Joint Chiefs in Apocalypse Scenario
By MICHAEL MURRAY
In the event of nuclear war, a powerful meteor strike or even a zombie apocalypse, the thoroughly protected doomsday plane is ready to keep the president, secretary of defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff and other key personnel in the air and out of danger. It may not deflect a Twitter photo scandal, but it can outrun a nuclear explosion and stay in the air for days without refueling.
The flight team for the E-4B, its military codename, sleeps nearby and is ready to scramble in five minutes. It was mobilized in the tumultuous hours after planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and southern Pennsylvania on 9/11.
“If the command centers that are on the ground in the United States have a failure of some sort, or attack, we immediately get airborne. We’re on alert 24/7, 365,” Captain W. Scott “Easy” Ryder, Commander, NAOC, told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer as she traveled to Afghanistan with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the apocalypse-proof plane. “Constantly there’s at least one alert airplane waiting to get airborne.”
All E-4B aircraft are assigned to the 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The modified 747s can travel at speeds up to 620 miles per hour, 40 miles per hour faster than their commercial counterparts.
The $223 million aircraft is outfitted with an electromagnetic pulse shield to protect its 165,000 pounds of advanced electronics. Thermo-radiation shields also protect the plane in the event of a nuclear strike.
A highly-trained security team travels with the plane.
“The first people off of the airplane are these guys, they’ll position themselves appropriately around the airplane,” Ryder said to ABC News. “The secretary also has his own small security staff that does similar things. So these guys are predominately designed to protect our airplane, and the secretary’s staff protects him, as an individual.”
Even though it carries VIPs, their staff and security personnel, the plane is highly fuel efficient. The plane can stay in-flight for days without refueling, a necessity if circumstances demanded the plane’s use by the nation’s top officials.
A precision tech team mans the sensitive electronic technology found on the plan. There is so much powerful electrical equipment onboard a specially upgraded air-conditioning system is necessary to keep it cool and functional.
“Give us the phone number of anybody, anytime, anyplace, anywhere on earth, we can get a hold of them,” Master Sgt. Joe Stuart, US Air Force, told Diane Sawyer.
It can even communicate with submerged submarines by dropping a five-mile-long cable out the back of the plane. “[We] drop is down and [it] transmits coded message traffic to US submarines,” Ryder told ABC News.
Although the extreme amount of survival technology on the plane more than makes up for it, the plane lacks the amenities found in bases on the ground.
“It’s like being Fedexed,” Gates told Sawyer. “It’s fairly Spartan, with no windows or anything.”
Even the Secretary of Defense only gets a tiny bathroom with a sink, but no shower. A small trade-off for being able to board this plane as the rest of us dive for cover in a worst-case scenario.
Some more details on the general characteristics of the plane, according to the official U.S. Air Force website:
Primary Function: Airborne operations center
Contractor: Boeing Aerospace Co.
Power Plant: Four General Electric CF6-50E2 turbofan engines
Thrust: 52,500 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 195 feet, 8 inches (59.7 meters)
Length: 231 feet, 4 inches (70.5 meters)
Height: 63 feet, 5 inches (19.3 meters)
Weight: 410,000 pounds (185,973 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 800,000 pounds (360,000 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 410,000 (185,973 kilograms)
Payload: communications gear permanently installed on aircraft
Speed: 602 miles per hour (523 knots)
Range: 6,200 nautical miles
Ceiling: Above 30,000 feet (9,091 meters)
Crew: Up to 112 (flight crew and mission crew)
Unit Cost: $223.2 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
Initial operating capability: January 1980
Inventory: Active force, 4
In 1969 Leftwing domestic terrorist William ‘Bill’ Ayers, head of the group known as ‘the Weathermen,’ staged the ‘days of rage’ in Chicago during which acts of violence, mayhem, and destruction of property were conducted as a means by which Progressive extremists would not only protest American capitalism and the Viet Nam War but so disrupt the country that its economic and social system would crumble and be replaced by a Marxist and pacifistic model.
The fact that by definition an anti-war movement along with its promotion of pacifism disavows all violence for any purpose, good or bad, was totally lost on this gang of extremist militants who were more interested in pushing a Marxist, anti-Capitalist agenda than portraying a pacifistic mindset. Despite their many claims of ‘peaceful protest and non-violent civil disobedience,’ the Weathermen went on a rampage during which they ran wild in the streets wearing helmets, military gear, and wielding baseball bats and other weapons. All symbols of wealth and power were attacked, including parked cars, the apartments and property of the affluent, police officers, and ‘rich’ innocent bystanders.
Ayers called on the Marxist minions to kill their parents. By the end of the melee 400 militants were arrested and 60 victims were injured, some seriously. The group had also caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to property.
By 1970 the Weathermen turned even more violent as they began to blow up buildings with bombs. Bombs were detonated in the U.S. Capitol Building, the Pentagon, and the New York City Police Headquarters, among others. The violence resulted in several deaths, including that of at least 2 police officers. To this day, neither Bill Ayers, nor his wife and co-domestic terrorist Bernadine Dohrn, have ever expressed the slightest hint of remorse for their actions. To the contrary, they have stated more than once that they would do it all over again and are sorry that they did not do even more.
On September 17 of this year yet another ‘day of rage’ is scheduled to occur in New York City on Wall Street, as once again the militant Marxist Progressives attempt to shut down the stock market and bring to ruin several large firms. The major difference between the days of rage of 1969 and the day of rage this September 17 is that today the Leftwing extremists have friends in very high places within the government. And the key players in this year’s display of mayhem have a direct connection with those who staged the first event in 1969.
The usual suspects are involved–the union SEIU, former directors of ACORN, and other Leftist organizations that have come to the forefront of attention since the Presidential election of 2008. But as a special report published in 2003 in the Boston Globe indicates, the Weathermen are still active and do most of their work underground, well out of the public eye. Many believe that Ayers, Dohrn, Kathy Boudin, and other key players in the Weathermen are helping fuel the tensions leading to the various days of rage around the world.
For example, it is known that Ayers, Dohrn, and Jodi Evans of Code Pink form the driving force behind the so-called ‘Peace Flotilla’ that is aimed at breaching Israel’s blockade of Gaza and provoking attacks. It is also curious to note that the flotilla’s activities closely preceded the so-called Arab Spring and days of rage throughout the Middle East as extremists used the ruse of ‘democratic protests’ to oust dictators and usher in their own form of totalitarianism called ‘Sharia Law.’ Ayers is the original purveyor of the ‘days of rage’–the originator and guru of the movement. The fact that these types of events are being staged all over the world, using the same name, is no coincidence.
Further, in spite of the claim that the gathering on Wall Street is to be ‘peaceful,’ one of the event’s organizers stated in a memo to volunteers that they intend to make the event the ‘U.S. Tahrir Square’–referring to the weeks of protests involving hundreds of thousands in Cairo, Egypt:
On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat our one simple demand until Barack Obama capitulates.
…there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the “overthrow of capitalism” or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand…
See you on Wall St. Sept 17. Bring Tent.
Thus, as in 1968 the group intends to be deceptive in hiding its stated goals and tactics.
And that is not all.
Not only do the militants plan to converge on Wall Street but they intend to conduct similar disruptive and potentially violent events on the same day in multiple cities around the world, including Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Sidney, and Toronto.
How will the Obama Administration respond to the coordinated, protracted ‘sit ins’ to be staged by Progressives in the nation’s most important financial hub? No one can know for sure. But we do know that Barack Obama and those closest to him have long-standing, close relationships with the key players–SEIU, ACORN, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jodi Evans, and other Leftwing extremist activists and groups.
Million Dead, $1.8 Trillion Spent On Decade-Long U.S. “War On Terror”
by Tom Clonan
US pays price in blood and treasure for war on terror
By Tom Clonan
-In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines…In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa…within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger….This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan…[T]he US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In the decade since 9/11 about a million people worldwide have lost their lives in what is now known as the global war on terror.
The term “War on Terror”, was first used by President George Bush on September 16th, 2001, at Camp David as the US began to configure its military response to Osama bin Laden’s attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
In the weeks and months following 9/11, the Bush administration launched a series of robust military and intelligence interventions worldwide. The first phase started with the invasion of Afghanistan, or Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in October 2001.
The war aims were simple – to remove the Taliban leadership in Kabul and deny al-Qaeda physical sanctuary within the country. The US aimed to destroy al-Qaeda and disrupt its capacity to mount international operations from Afghan soil. It also sought to capture or kill bin Laden.
In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines, to destroy the Islamist terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayaf group who had been co-ordinating terrorist operations throughout the Philippines and Indonesia from the island of Besilan…
In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa, designed to identify and destroy al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist terror cells within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger.
This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war aims of the US in Iraq were less clear than in its other interventions. Faulty and false intelligence reports on so-called weapons of mass destruction were mobilised as a motivation to attack Iraq.
The initial invasion phase, involving approximately 200,000 coalition troops, managed to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam was subsequently captured, tried and hanged in Iraq. But no weapons of mass destruction were discovered and the invasion had the unintended consequence of strengthening Iran’s influence in the region.
A decade after the Twin Towers attacks, the US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The term “war on terror” has entered the language as a catch-all phrase for everything from the inconvenience of security checks at airports to drone attacks in Pakistan. Officially, however, the global war on terror is now over. The Obama administration has rebranded and renamed the Global War on Terror, the Overseas Contingency Operation.
Since March 2009, the Pentagon and US Department of Defense have been requested to refrain from using the term, Global War on Terror.
In terms of blood and treasure, the wars have been costly for the US and Nato. In Iraq, the US and its allies lost almost 5,000 troops. More than 32,000 were wounded. In Afghanistan, where casualty rates have increased five-fold in five years, the US and its allies have lost almost 3,000 killed in action with a further 13,000 wounded.
More than 10,000 US and foreign mercenaries – euphemistically termed security contractors – have also been killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The strain of a decade of war on America’s volunteer army has been heavy. According to the US Army Surgeon General 66,935 US troops suffer from acute combat stress reaction. In addition, the US Congressional Research Service has reported that a staggering 178,876 US veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Almost 2,000 of these veterans are amputees and hundreds have also died of self-inflicted wounds or suicide while on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The rate of suicide among US troops has more than doubled since 9/11. For civilians, the cost of war has been especially high. While estimates vary, British medical journal The Lancet suggests that a minimum of 655,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Similar studies suggest that approximately 4,000 Afghan civilians have died during Operation Enduring Freedom. These figures represent those killed by both coalition troops and belligerent forces within Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of civilian casualties, in both countries, were inflicted by insurgents.
The US Congressional Research Service, in its March 2011 report, states that the Overseas Contingency Operation has cost the US taxpayer $1.3 trillion – $130 billion per annum since 9/11. At present, US military operations worldwide cost $386 million per day, or $4,000 dollars per second. According to US Congressional estimates, the final bill will total $1.8 trillion.
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China To US: Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China
Posted on Pakalert
China has officially put the United States on notice that Washington’s planned attack on Pakistan will be interpreted as an act of aggression against Beijing. This blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.
“Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China”
Responding to reports that China has asked the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty in the aftermath of the Bin Laden operation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu used a May 19 press briefing to state Beijing’s categorical demand that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected.” According to Pakistani diplomatic sources cited by the Times of India, China has “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.” This ultimatum was reportedly delivered at the May 9 China-US strategic dialogue and economic talks in Washington, where the Chinese delegation was led by Vice Prime Minister Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.1 Chinese warnings are implicitly backed up by that nation’s nuclear missiles, including an estimated 66 ICBMs, some capable of striking the United States, plus 118 intermediate-range missiles, 36 submarine-launched missiles, and numerous shorter-range systems.
Support from China is seen by regional observers as critically important for Pakistan, which is otherwise caught in a pincers between the US and India: “If US and Indian pressure continues, Pakistan can say ‘China is behind us. Don’t think we are isolated, we have a potential superpower with us,’” Talat Masood, a political analyst and retired Pakistani general, told AFP.2
The Chinese ultimatum came during the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani in Beijing, during which the host government announced the transfer of 50 state-of-the-art JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, immediately and without cost.3 Before his departure, Gilani had stressed the importance of the Pakistan-China alliance, proclaiming: “We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend. And China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times….When we speak of this friendship as being taller than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans it truly captures the essence of our relationship.”4 These remarks were greeted by whining from US spokesmen, including Idaho Republican Senator Risch.
The simmering strategic crisis between the United States and Pakistan exploded with full force on May 1, with the unilateral and unauthorized US commando raid alleged to have killed the phantomatic Osama bin Laden in a compound at Abottabad, a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty. The timing of this military stunt designed to inflame tensions between the two countries had nothing to do with any alleged Global War on Terror, and everything to do with the late March visit to Pakistan of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian National Security Council chief. This visit had resulted in a de factoalliance between Islamabad and Riyadh, with Pakistan promising troops to put down any US-backed color revolution in the kingdom, while extending nuclear protection to the Saudis, thus making them less vulnerable to US extortion threats to abandon the oil-rich monarchy to the tender mercies of Tehran. A joint move by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to break out of the US empire, whatever one may think of these regimes, would represent a fatal blow for the fading US empire in South Asia.
As for the US claims concerning the supposed Bin Laden raid of May 1, they are a mass of hopeless contradictions which changes from day to day. An analysis of this story is best left to literary critics and writers of theatrical reviews. The only solid and uncontestable fact which emerges is that Pakistan is the leading US target — thus intensifying the anti-Pakistan US policy which has been in place since Obama’s infamous December 2009 West Point speech.
Gilani: Full Force Retaliation to Defend Pakistan’s Strategic Assets
The Chinese warning to Washington came on the heels of Gilani’s statement to the Pakistan Parliament declaring: “Let no one draw any wrong conclusions. Any attack against Pakistan’s strategic assets, whether overt or covert, will find a matching response…. Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force. No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland.”5 A warning of full force retaliation from a nuclear power such as Pakistan needs to be taken seriously, even by the hardened aggressors of the Obama regime.
The strategic assets Gilani is talking about are the Pakistani nuclear forces, the key to the country’s deterrent strategy against possible aggression by India, egged on by Washington in the framework of the US-India nuclear cooperation accord. The US forces in Afghanistan have not been able to conceal their extensive planning for attempts to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear bombs and warheads. According to a 2009 Fox News report, “The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.” This plan was developed by General Stanley McChrystal when he headed the US Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. JSOC, the force reportedly involved in the Bin Laden operation. is composed of Army Delta Force, Navy SEALs and “a high-tech special intelligence unit known as Task Force Orange.” “Small units could seize [Pakistan’s nukes], disable them, and then centralize them in a secure location,” claimed a source quoted by Fox.
Obama Has Already Approved Sneak Attack on Pakistan’s Nukes
According to the London Sunday Express, Obama has already approved an aggressive move along these lines: “US troops will be deployed in Pakistan if the nation’s nuclear installations come under threat from terrorists out to avenge the killing of Osama Bin Laden… The plan, which would be activated without President Zardari’s consent, provoked an angry reaction from Pakistan officials… Barack Obama would order troops to parachute in to protect key nuclear missile sites. These include the air force’s central Sargodha HQ, home base for nuclear-capable F-16 combat aircraft and at least 80 ballistic missiles.” According to a US official, “The plan is green lit and the President has already shown he is willing to deploy troops in Pakistan if he feels it is important for national security.”7
Extreme tension over this issue highlights the brinksmanship and incalculable folly of Obama’s May 1 unilateral raid, which might easily have been interpreted by the Pakistanis as the long-awaited attack on their nuclear forces. According to the New York Times, Obama knew very well he was courting immediate shooting war with Pakistan, and “insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops.”
The Shooting Has Already Started
The shooting between US and Pakistani forces escalated on Tuesday May 17, when a US NATO helicopter violated Pakistani airspace in Waziristan. Pakistani forces showed heightened alert status, and opened fire immediately, with the US helicopter shooting back. Two soldiers at a Pakistani check post on the border in the Datta Khel area were wounded.8
Possible Pakistani retaliation for this border incursion came in Peshawar on Friday, May 20, when a car bomb apparently targeted a 2-car US consulate convoy, but caused no American deaths or injuries. One Pakistani bystander was killed, and several wounded. In other intelligence warfare, Ary One television reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, the second top US resident spook there to have his cover blown in six months.
US Envoy Grossman Rejects Pakistani Calls To Stop Border Violations
US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, the replacement for the late Richard Holbrooke, on May 19 arrogantly rejected Pakistani calls for guarantees that no more Abottabad-style unilateral operations would be mounted in Pakistan.9 In refusing to offer such assurances, Grossman claimed that Pakistani officials had never demanded respect for their border in recent years.
In the midst of this strategic crisis, India has gone ahead with inherently provocative scheduled military maneuvers targeting Pakistan. This is the “Vijayee Bhava” (Be Victorious) drill, held in the Thar desert of north Rajastan,. This atomic-biological-chemical Blitzkrieg drill involves the Second Armored Corps, “considered to be the most crucial of the Indian Army’s three principal strike formations tasked with virtually cutting Pakistan in two during a full-fledged war.”
The Nation: A CIA-RAW-Mossad Pseudo-Taliban Countergang
One way to provide the provocation needed to justify a US-Indian attack on Pakistan would be through an increase in terrorist actions attributable to the so-called Taliban. According to the mainstream Pakistani media, the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, and the Indian RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) have created their own version of the Taliban in the form of a terrorist countergang which they control and direct. According to one account, “Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives have infiltrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda networks, and have created their own Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) force in order to destabilize Pakistan.” The former Punjab Regional Commander of the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), retired Brigadier General Aslam Ghuman, commented: “During my visit to the US, I learned that the Israeli spy agency Mossad, in connivance with Indian agency RAW, under the direct supervision of CIA, planned to destabilize Pakistan at any cost.”12 Was this countergang responsible for last week’s double bombing in Waziristan, which killed 80 paramilitary police?
According to the same account, Russian intelligence “disclosed that CIA contractor Raymond Davis and his network had provided Al-Qaeda operatives with chemical, nuclear and biological weapons, so that US installations may be targeted and Pakistan be blamed….” Davis, a JSOC veteran himself, was arrested for the murder of two ISI agents, but then released by the Pakistani government after a suspicious hue and cry by the State Department.
CIA Claims The New Al Qaeda Boss Lives in Waziristan
If the US needs a further pretext for additional raids, it will also be easy to cite the alleged presence in Waziristan of Saif al-Adel, now touted by the CIA as bin Laden’s likely successor as boss of al Qaeda.13It is doubtless convenient for Obama’s aggressive intentions that Saif al-Adel can be claimed to reside so close to what is now the hottest border in the world, and not in Finsbury or Flatbush.
In the wake of the unauthorized May 1 US raid, the Pakistani military chief General Kayani had issued his own warning that similar “misadventures” could not be repeated, while announcing that US personnel inside Pakistan would be sharply reduced. In the estimate of one ISI source, there are currently about 7,000 CIA operatives in country, many of them unknown to the Pakistani government. US-Pakistan intelligence sharing has reportedly been downgraded. In response to Kayani’s moves, the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks once again showed its real nature by attempting to discredit the Pakistan commander with dubious US cable reports that he had demanded more Predator drone attacks, not fewer, in recent years.
Especially since Obama’s West Point speech, the CIA has used Predator drone attacks to slaughter civilians with the goal of fomenting civil war inside Pakistan, leading to a breakup of the country along the ethnic lines of Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, and Pushtunistan. The geopolitical goal is to destroy Pakistan’s potential to be the energy corridor between Iran and China. Selig Harrison has emerged as a top US advocate for Baluchistan succession.
Since May 1, six reported US Predator drones attacks have slain some 42 Pakistani civilians, goading public opinion into a frenzy of anti-US hatred. In response, a joint session of the Pakistani parliament voted unanimously on May 14 to demand an end to American missile strikes, calling on the government to cut NATO’s supply line to Afghanistan if the attacks should continue.14 Since the Karachi to Khyber Pass supply line carries as much as two thirds of the supplies needed by the Afghanistan invaders, such a cutoff would cause chaos among the NATO forces. All of this points to the inherent insanity of provoking war with the country your supply line runs through.
US Wants to Use Taliban Boss Mullah Omar Against Pakistan
The State Department dropped all preconditions for negotiating with the Taliban back in February, and the US is now reported by the Washington Post to be talking with envoys of Mullah Omar, the legendary one-eyed leader of the Quetta Shura or Taliban ruling council. It is apparent that the US is offering the Taliban an alliance against Pakistan. US regional envoy Grossman is hostile to the Pakistanis, but when it comes to the Taliban he has been nicknamed “Mr. Reconciliation.”15 By contrast, the US is said to be determined to assassinate the head of the Haqqani network using a Bin Laden-type raid. The Pakistanis are equally determined to keep the Haqqani as an ally.
If China stands behind Pakistan, then Russia might be said to stand behind China. Looking forward to the upcoming June 15 meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Chinese President Hu praised Sino-Russian relations as being “at an unprecedented high point,” with an “obvious strategic ingredient.” In a press conference this week, Russian President Medvedev was obliged indirectly to acknowledge that the much-hyped Obama “reset” with Russia had amounted to very little, since the US ABM missile program in Romania and the rest of eastern Europe, so obviously directed against Russia, means that the START treaty is of dubious value, thus raising the specter of a “new Cold War.” Given the NATO assault on Libya, there would be no UN resolution against Syria, said Medvedev. Putin has been right all along, and Medvedev is trying to imitate Putin to salvage some chance of remaining in power.
Are We in July 1914?
The crisis leading to World War I began with the Sarajevo assassinations of June 28, 1914, but the first major declaration of war did not occur until August 1. In the interim month of July 1914, large parts of European public opinion retreated into a dreamlike trance, an idyllic la-la land of elegiac illusion, even as the deadly crisis gathered momentum. Something similar can be seen today. Many Americans fondly imagine that the alleged death of Bin Laden marks the end of the war on terror and the Afghan War. Instead, the Bin Laden operation has clearly ushered in a new strategic emergency. Forces which had opposed the Iraq war, from MSNBC to many left liberals of the peace movement, are variously supporting Obama’s bloody aggression in Libya, or even celebrating him as a more effective warmonger than Bush-Cheney because of his supposed success at the expense of Bin Laden. In reality, if there were ever a time to mobilize to stop a new and wider war, this is it.
This post first appeared on Webster Tarpley’s website.
2 “China-Pakistan alliance strengthened post bin Laden,” AFP, May 15, 2011,www.sundaytimes.lk/index.php/analysis/7546-china-pakistan-alliance-strengthened-post-bin-laden
6 Rowan Scarborough,”U.S. Has Plan to Secure Pakistan Nukes if Country Falls to Taliban, Fox News, May 14, 2009.
7 “US ‘To Protect Pakistan,” London Sunday Express, May 15, 2011,www.express.co.uk/posts/view/246717/US-to-protect-Pakistan-
9 “US refuses to assure it will not act unilaterally,” thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=15758
10 “No US assurance on unilateral ops,” nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/20-May-2011/No-US-assurance-on-unilateral-ops
11 “Getting leaner and meaner? Army practices blitzkrieg to strike hard at enemy,” Times of India, May 10, 2011, articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-10/india/29527731_1_three-strike-corps-army-and-iaf-transformational
12 “CIA has created own Taliban to wreak terror havoc on Pakistan, claims Pak paper,” ANI, May 12,my.news.yahoo.com/cia-created-own-taliban-wreak-terror-havoc-pakistan-091621821.html
13 “New al-Qaeda chief in North Waziristan,” May 19, 2011
Mystery scars on Obama’s head prompt another question from conspiracy theorists – has the President had brain surgery?
By Daily Mail Reporter
He has been plagued with questions and doubts concerning his background throughout his first term as President.
Questions like – is Barack Obama actually American? Is he a Muslim? Is he actually an alien from another planet? – have frequently been asked.
The next question circulating on the internet – has President Obama had brain surgery?
President Obama meeting comedian George Lopez as the First Lady looks on. Some observers believe this image shows a distinctive scar which looks like those left after brain surgery. However, there could simply be another explanation such as a bad haircut or birth mark
This enhanced image purports to show the scar running from the top of the President’s head to behind his right ear
This enhanced image purports to show the scar running from the top of the President’s head to behind his right ear
Internet blog sites, conspiracy theorists and forums are awash with rumours as to what those mystery scars on the president’s head are from.
In pictures, Obama appears to have a long scar which goes up the side of his head and over his crown.
Some conspiracy theorists claim they are scars that you would see on someone who has had brain surgery.
But without medical records (along with his school records and birth certificate) no one seems to be able to provide an answer as to the cause of the mystery scars.
Ben Hart, a blogger for Escape The Tyranny a website which presents itself as a Social Network & Forum For Conservatives, said: ‘Obama’s almost done with his first term, and we still know almost nothing about the background of the President of the United States.
‘Whatever happened to create that scar, it was clearly something serious. Was it a brain operation? Has it affected his thinking?
‘No one is allowed to see his birth certificate. He is just one big mystery man, which adds intrigue to what that huge scar is all about.’
The President has a distinct circular scar on the side and back of his head around the crown area
One blogger says the surgery might explain why the President has, on occasion, got lost speaking without a teleprompter
He also said that surgery might explain why the President gets lost speaking without a teleprompter, and posted a video of Obama struggling through a speech, repeating his words and getting lost mid-sentence.
Obama may have to produce birth certificate if he wants to run for President in 2012
Not born in the USA: Majority of Republican primary voters still think Obama isn’t entitled to be President
Can he do it? Shock surge of support for Donald Trump’s presidential bid among New Hampshire Republicans
Speculation about different aspects of Obama’s life first gathered momentum when questions over his actual birthplace started to emerge, with many believing he was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii, as he has stated.
Millions of dollars have allegedly been spent trying to ensure that it is not released to the public, not even the Hawaiian governor has access to it.
Added to that are the fact his medical records have also been sealed.
A spokeswoman from the White House said they were not willing to comment on such claims, saying they were ‘ridiculous’.
Countless neurosurgeons said it is ‘not their place’ to comment on whether or not distinctive scars on the President’s head are as a result of brain surgery.
Others offered explanations such as a bad haircut or even a birthmark though many did agree that the scars are similar to those a produced after major brain surgery.
Without medical records or an admission from the White House, the public may never know the answer to the question, along with the contents of his birth certificate.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1373780/Mystery-scars-Obamas-head-begs-question–President-brain-surgery.html#ixzz1J3vyUayP
Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High
The U.S. financial system is like a junkie that needs continually increasing amounts of “junk” to get the same “buzz”. So what is the U.S. financial system addicted to? It is addicted to money and debt. For many years, whenever the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S government would borrow and spend more money, the U.S. economy would respond positively. But just like with any other kind of artificial stimulation, over time it has taken greater and greater amounts of debt and cheap money to get a response from our economic system. So yes, the fact that the official unemployment rate went down 0.1% last month is good news, but considering the massive amount of spending that the U.S. government is doing and considering the gigantic quantity of money that the Federal Reserve is injecting into the financial system, the truth is that the unemployment rate should be falling much faster than that. So don’t be fooled by the good economic numbers and don’t be fooled by the financial “sugar rush”. The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been pulling out all the stops to stimulate the economy, and the fact that all of their efforts are barely moving the unemployment rate at all is an indication of just how far our economic situation has degenerated.
Many in the mainstream media were extremely excited when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in March. U.S. stocks soared as investors enthusiastically welcomed the news. But should we all really be jumping up and down over this?
The truth is that some other measures show that the unemployment situation in the United States is becoming worse.
According to Gallup, the number of Americans that are either unemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time work actually rose from 19.8 percent in February to 20.3 percent in March.
So let us not get too excited about the employment situation. Yes, unemployment is not spinning wildly out of control at the moment and that is good news.
However, when you look at the larger picture things look rather grim.
What the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been doing is that they have been mortgaging our future big time for short-term economic gain.
This year alone, the U.S. government is going to run an all-time record budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars. By borrowing 1.6 trillion dollars that we do not have and spending it into the system, it does stimulate the economy.
There are some members of Congress that would like to implement substantial budget cuts, but most members of Congress fear doing too much budget cutting right now because it would “harm the economy”.
And you know what? They are right – budget cuts would harm our economy in the short-term.
But continuing to pile up all of this debt is setting the stage for an absolute economic nightmare in the mid to long term.
We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.
But tell me, does anyone out there actually believe that we can keep expanding the national debt like this indefinitely?….
Yes, government spending does stimulate the economy. The Keynesians are right about that.
However, by accumulating a national debt that is spinning wildly out of control, we have completely destroyed the economic future of this nation.
The Federal Reserve has been very busy trying to stimulate the U.S. economy as well.
Over the past couple of years, the Fed has been injecting massive amounts of money into the financial system. The theory is that the financial system will loan this money out to the American people and that will stimulate the economy and create more jobs.
Well, that may very well be true to a certain extent in the short-term, but as I wrote about yesterday, in the long-term this is going to create a substantial amount of inflation.
The chart posted below cannot be emphasized enough. It shows how the Fed has dramatically increased the size of the adjusted monetary base since mid-2008….
Yes, all of this new money will stimulate economic activity, but it is completely and totally ludicrous for Ben Bernanke to attempt to deny that this is also going to cause significant inflation.
So when taking a look at the economic numbers, it is absolutely critical to keep in mind that our “authorities” have pushed all the chips to the middle of the table in an all-out attempt to stimulate the economy in the short-term.
The small economic “sugar rush” that we are experiencing right now is all we have gotten out of it so far.
Sadly, this is about the best that the U.S. economy is going to do from now on. Things really are not going to get much better than this.
Yes, unemployment numbers might come down a little more, but pretty soon inflation is going to really kick in and that is going to have a really negative impact on tens of millions of Americans.
First of all, when inflation really starts taking off it is going to be absolutely devastating for those on fixed incomes. Many of them will be completely wiped out.
Secondly, those that do have jobs are going to find that their incomes are not nearly keeping up with inflation.
In fact, we are seeing this starting to happen already.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers in the private sector only saw their pay increase by 2.1% during 2010.
So did what we are paying for food and gas only go up 2.1% in 2010?
Of course not.
So are things getting better so far in 2011?
One of the depressing things about the new numbers released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was that wages for U.S. workers did not increase in March.
According to the BLS, the average U.S. worker earned $22.87 an hour during the month of March, which is exactly the same number we saw in February.
So inflation is going up and wages are staying flat.
That means that American family budgets are going to be squeezed even more.
In addition, the numbers from the BLS show that it is still incredibly difficult to get a job. In fact, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.
So is anyone doing well right now?
Well, yes – as I have written about previously, those at the very top of the food chain are doing quite well these days.
According to USA Today, median CEO pay soared 27 percent during 2010. For the year, median CEO pay was a stunning $9.0 million.
Wouldn’t you like to be making 9 million dollars a year?
According a recent report by CNN, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers in the United States combined to bring in an astounding $22.07 billion in income during 2010.
Wouldn’t you like to get just a small piece of that?
All of the measures that the government and the Federal Reserve are using to stimulate the economy are causing tremendous distortions in our financial system.
Wall Street is absolutely swimming in cash right now. There are some people that are making obscene amounts of money.
But ultimately the party is going to end for all of us.
It has been incredibly foolish for the government and the Fed to go “all in” in a desperate attempt to boost short-term economic numbers.
Our long-term economic future is completely gone. Our financial system is heading for a horrible collapse. It is not a matter of “if” it will happen, but rather “when” it will happen.
You better buckle up and get ready.
Obama Raises American Hypocrisy To A Higher Level
Paul Craig Roberts
March 30, 2011
What does the world think? Obama has been using air strikes and drones against civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and probably Somalia. In his March 28 speech, Obama justified his air strikes against Libya on the grounds that the embattled ruler, Gadhafi, was using air strikes to put down a rebellion.
Gadhafi has been a black hat for as long as I can remember. If we believe the adage that “where there is smoke there is fire,” Gadhafi is probably not a nice fellow. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the current US president and the predecessor Bush/Cheney regime have murdered many times more people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than Gadhafi has murdered in Libya.
Moreover, Gadhafi is putting down a rebellion against state authority as presently constituted, but Obama and Bush/Cheney initiated wars of aggression based entirely on lies and deception.
Yet Gadhafi is being demonized, and Bush/Cheney/Obama are sitting on their high horse draped in cloaks of morality. Obama described himself as saving Libyans from violence while Obama himself murders Afghans, Pakistanis, and whomever else.
Indeed, the Obama regime has been torturing a US soldier, Bradley Manning, for having a moral conscience. America has degenerated to the point where having a moral conscience is evidence of anti-Americanism and “terrorist activity.”
The Bush/Cheney/Obama wars of naked aggression have bankrupted America. Joseph Stiglitz, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, concluded that the money wasted on the Iraq war could have been used to fix America’s Social Security problem for half a century. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/28/iraq.afghanistan
Instead, the money was used to boost the obscene profits of the armament industry.
The obscene wars of aggression, the obscene profits of the offshoring corporations, and the obscene bailouts of the rich financial gangsters have left the American public with annual budget deficits of approximately $1.5 trillion. These deficits are being covered by printing money. Sooner or later, the printing presses will cause the US dollar to collapse and domestic inflation to explode. Social Security benefits will be wiped out by inflation rising more rapidly than the cost-of-living adjustments. If America survives, no one will be left but the mega-rich. Unless there is a violent revolution.
Alternatively, if the Federal Reserve puts the brake on monetary expansion, interest rates will rise, sending the economy into a deeper depression.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Free Shipping on food storage
Washington, focused on its newest war, is oblivious to America’s peril. As Stiglitz notes, the costs of the Iraq war alone could have kept every foreclosed family in their home, provided health care for every American child, and wiped out the student loans of graduates who cannot find jobs because they have been outsoured to foreigners. However, the great democratic elected government of “the world’s only superpower” prefers to murder Muslims in order to enhance the profits of the military/security complex. More money is spent violating the constitutional rights of American air travelers than is spent in behalf of the needy.
The moral authority of the West is rapidly collapsing. When Russia, Asia, and South America look at Europe, Australia and Canada, they see American puppet states that contribute troops to the aggressive wars of the Empire. The French president, the British prime minister, the “president” of Georgia, and the rest are merely functionaries of the American Empire. The puppet rulers routinely sell out the interests and welfare of their peoples in behalf of American hegemony. And they are well rewarded for their service. One year out of office former British prime minister Tony Blair had a net worth of $30 million.
In his war against Libya, Obama has taken America one step further into Caesarism. Obama did Bush one step better and did not even bother to get congressional authorization for his attack on Libya. Obama claimed that his moral authority trumped the US Constitution. The hypocrisy reeks. How the public stands it, I do not know:
To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and–more profoundly–our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
This from the Great Moral Leader who every day murders civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia and now Libya and who turns a blind eye when “the great democracy in the Middle East,” Israel, murders more Palestinians.
The American president, whose drones and air force slaughter civilians every day of the year went on to say Libya stands alone in presenting the world with “the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.” Obviously, Obama thinks that one million dead Iraqis, four million displaced Iraqis, and an unknown number of murdered Afghans is just a small thing.
The rest of Obama’s speech showed a person more capable of DoubleSpeak and DoubleThink than Big Brother and the denizens of George Orwell’s 1984.
How does a person as totally absurd as Obama expect to be taken seriously?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.
By LAURA MECKLER
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama, under pressure to respond to rising gas prices, will outline Wednesday a series of initiatives to cut the nation’s reliance on foreign oil, including new initiatives to expand oil production, increase the use of natural gas to power vehicles and increase production of ethanol.
Mr. Obama’s latest attempt to take the initiative on energy policy comes as Republicans in Congress are stepping up criticism of the administration for not allowing more oil and gas drilling in the United States. On Tuesday, House Republicans said they would introduce legislation requiring the administration to sell more offshore leases and to issue drilling permits within a set time frame.
The political heat over energy policy is rising in tandem with the price of gasoline and diesel fuels at filling stations, in a ritual that has become familiar in Washington since the oil price shocks of the mid-1970s. “We’ve been having this conversation for nearly four decades now,” Mr. Obama said during a March 11 news conference. “Every few years, gas prices go up; politicians pull out the same old political playbook, and then nothing changes.”
Driving the debate now is consumer grumbling about gasoline prices that are up nearly 15% on average since Feb. 7, according to the Energy Department. In some parts of the country, including southern California, gasoline prices have hit $4 a gallon — the highest levels since the gas price spike of 2008. Worries over rising prices for gasoline, food and other goods contributed to a sharp drop in consumer confidence in the economic outlook, which had been rebounding since the depths of the recession in 2009, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said in a report last week.
The administration on Tuesday sought to focus attention on oil companies, releasing a report from the Interior Department that said more than two-thirds of the offshore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico and more than half of onshore leases on federal land are not in use. These leases give companies the right to drill, but are neither producing oil nor under active exploration, the agency said.
“This report shows millions of acres that have already been leased to industry for oil and gas productions sit idle,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. Mr. Obama also raised the issue of unused leases in his March news conference, and his 2012 budget plan included an extra fee on oil companies that hold idle leases. That proposal would need congressional approval.
Oil industry representatives say the administration’s complaints about unused leases ignore the reality of the oil exploration business, in which companies scour large areas in order to find the relatively few tracts with oil and gas reserves worth developing.
Republicans also have complained that the administration has dragged its feet in issuing permits for new domestic production since it formally lifted a deepwater drilling embargo in the Gulf after the BP oil spill.
“These bills will directly reverse Obama administration actions that have locked-up America’s vast offshore oil and natural gas resources,” Rep. Doc Hastings (R., Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement accompanying the bills Republicans outlined on Tuesday.
Who’s in the POCKET of BIG OIL?
As part of its effort to reduce oil demand, the administration plans to propose that the nation break ground on four new bio-fuel refineries to produce ethanol in the next two years, according to someone briefed on the plan. It’s not clear what incentives or financing the administration will propose for the bio-fuel initiative. The administration is also expected to back new subsidies for governments or companies to purchase vehicles that run on natural gas for their fleets, this person said.
The administration has previously said it would continue ratcheting up fuel efficiency standards for cars and establish standards for heavy trucks.
Mr. Obama is expected to reiterate a proposal contained in his State of the Union address that the U.S. adopt a clean energy standard that would require that 80% of electricity be generated from clean energy sources by 2035. The administration has defined “clean energy” as nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal, as well as renewable sources such as wind and solar.
—Ryan Tracy contributed to this article
Write to Laura Meckler at [email protected]
EPA to Help Mainstream Media Obscure The Truth About Radiation Exposure to Americans
As Americans focus on March Madness and Dancing With the Stars instead of the radioactive plume spreading all across the country, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is attempting to make the mainstream media cover up of the Fukushima cloud a bit easier.
The agency now notorious for its infamous claim that the air was safe to breathe after 9/11 is now seeking to raise the PAGs (Protective Action Guides) to levels vastly higher than those at which they are currently set allowing for more radioactive contamination of the environment and the general public in the event of a radioactive disaster.
PAGs are policies established by the EPA that guide the agency in enforcing the various environmental laws such as the Clean Air and Water Act in the invent of a radioactive emergency such as a nuclear/dirty bomb or factory meltdown like that occurring in Japan.
The EPA had already established PAGs in this area in 1992. They can be found here. However, the agency now plans to amend and revise these standards this year.
Because regulatory agencies form their own policies (although they can be directed by either the President or the Congress), there is no requirement to seek Congressional approval for these changes. All that is required is that the agency place the proposed changes in the Federal Register for public comment before it finalizes its draft into legal policy.
According to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new standards would drastically raise the levels of radiation allowed in food, water, air, and the general environment. PEER, a national organization of local, state, and federal employees who had access to internal EPA emails, claims that the new standards will result in a “nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90, a 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and an almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63” in drinking water. This information, as well as the emails themselves were published by Collapsenet on March 24.
In addition to raising the level of permissible radiation in the environment, PEER suggests that the standards of cleanup after a radioactive emergency will actually be reduced. As a result, radioactive cleanup thresholds will be vastly lowered and, by default, permissible levels of radiation will be vastly increased in this manner as well.
As Michael Kane writes for Collapsenet, the current EPA numbers, as well as those generally agreed upon in the international radiation assessment community, all point to the fact that these increases in permissible levels would create a level of radiation where approximately 1 in 4 people would contract cancer from exposure to them.
The changes to the 1992 PAGs are not a new attempt by the EPA. The agency attempted similar changes in 2009 but the revisions were stopped largely by a barrage of FOIA requests and a lawsuit filed by PEER. However, in 2009 there was no massive radiation disaster the EPA needed to cover up as there is at the current time. In 2009, the EPA could afford to back off, regroup, and try again at a later date. Unfortunately, it is not likely to react the same way this time around.
As of the time of this writing, a toxic cloud of radiation has not only reached the US West Coast, but has spread all the way across the country to states like South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Massachussetts. Both the US government and the mainstream media have largely denied any risk associated with the radiation and have actively engaged in covering up the extent to which it has spread across the country.
In the event of any real journalism, the revelation of the danger and scale of the Japanese radiation cloud could be disastrous for those who hide the truth from the people who are sure to suffer the consequences. Indeed, the revelation that a toxic cloud of cancer-causing particles is littering the United States (especially in real time) might even be too much for the average television- and sports-obsessed American to handle.
However, the lowering of safety standards for radiation contamination would be a major victory for those wishing to cover it up. After all, the talking heads would then be able to claim that the radiation levels are within the safety range set by the EPA.
No cause for worry.
Regardless of the motivation behind these new changes, they must be actively opposed. We cannot allow the veil to be pulled even further over the eyes of the American people. At the very least, we cannot allow an agency charged with protecting both the environment and the people who live in it to set standards alleviating itself of that responsibility.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom
Records Show 56 Safety Violations at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants in Past 4 Years
Mishandled Radioactive Material and Failing Backup Generators Among the Violations
By PIERRE THOMAS, JACK CLOHERTY AND ANDREW DUBBINS
March 29, 2011
Among the litany of violations at U.S. nuclear power plants are missing or mishandled nuclear material, inadequate emergency plans, faulty backup power generators, corroded cooling pipes and even marijuana use inside a nuclear plant, according to an ABC News review of four years of Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety records.
And perhaps most troubling of all, critics say, the commission has failed to correct the violations in a timely fashion.
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has very good safety regulations but they have very bad enforcement of those regulations,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear scientist with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists.
There are 104 U.S. nuclear power plants.
Lochbaum and the Union of Concerned Scientists found 14 “near misses” at nuclear plants in 2010. And there were 56 serious violations at nuclear power plants from 2007 to 2011, according the ABC News review of NRC records.
At the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois, for instance, which is located within 50 miles of the 7 million people who live in and around Chicago, nuclear material went missing in 2007. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the operator — Exelon Corp. — after discovering the facility had failed to “keep complete records showing the inventory [and] disposal of all special nuclear material in its possession.”
As a result, two fuel pellets and equipment with nuclear material could not be accounted for.
Exelon did not contest the violation and paid the fine, a company spokesman said. “We took the learnings from that violation with respect to ways we can improve our spent-fuel practices,” Marshall Murphy said.
Two years later, federal regulators cited Dresden for allowing unlicensed operators to work with radioactive control rods. The workers allowed three control rods to be moved out of the core. When alarms went off, workers initially ignored them.
Murphy said the company concurred with the NRC’s determination. “ We have also taken a number of steps to ensure a similar event would not occur at any of our sites and shared the lessons from that with the industry,” he said.
“In both violations, neither employees or the public were ever jeopardized, but we take them seriously, we always look to learn from them, and we do that going forward.
Still, Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “This event is disturbing. In August 1997, the NRC issued information … about a reactivity mismanagement problem at Exelon’s Zion nuclear plant,” which was retired the following year.
“It was an epoch event in the industry in that other plants owners noted it and took steps to address [the issue]. Yet, a decade later, Exelon’s Dresden plant experiences an eerily similar repetition of the control-room operator problems.”
The lost material was almost certainly shipped to a licensed, low-level waste disposal site, Lochbaum said.
At the Indian Point nuclear plant just outside New York City, the NRC found that an earthquake safety device has been leaking for 18 years.
In the event of an earthquake, Lochbaum said, the faulty safety device would not help prevent water from leaking out of the reactor. A lack of water to cool the fuel rods has been the most critical problem at the Fukushima plant in Japan after the recent earthquake and tsunami.
“The NRC has known it’s been leaking since 1993,” Lochbaum said, “but they’ve done nothing to fix it.”
While declining to address specific violations, Roger Hanna, a spokesman for the NRC, said “we do require plant to comply, and we do follow up for corrections” when violations are discovered.
But NRC records examined by ABC News show that such incidents are not uncommon: In June 2009, at the Southern Nuclear Operating Co. Inc. in Birmingham, Ala., the emergency diesel generator — which would be used in the event of a disaster — was deemed inoperable, after years of neglect.
“Cracks in the glands of the emergency diesel generator couplings had been observed since 1988, but the licensee did not recognize the cracking was an indication of coupling deterioration,” according to the NRC report. On April 19, 2010, the NRC cited the Tennessee Valley Authority Browns Ferry nuclear plant near Decatur for failing to provide “fire protection features capable of limiting fire damage.”
The NRC fire protection regulations in effect today were developed as a direct result of the Browns Ferry fire on March 22, 1975.
In June 2010, Duke Energy, operators of the William McGuire nuclear plant in Mecklenburg County, N.C., was cited by the NRC after a contract employee was caught using marijuana inside the protected area.
NRC safety records show that inadequate emergency planning was a recurring problem in the industry from 2007 to 2011. Violations included unapproved emergency plans and plan changes, inadequate fire planning and precautions, falsified “fire watch” certification sheets,” inadequate flooding precautions, an insufficient tone alert radio system to notify the populace in a potential emergency and faulty assessment of containment barrier thresholds.
Corroded water pipes and cooling problems were also recurring issues.
Japan’s Nuclear Lessons Will Get Applied Right Away, U.S. Regulator Says
By Jim Snyder and Simon Lomax – Mar 29, 2011 1:56 PM ET
Nuclear-power plant regulators will apply lessons from Japan’s reactor crisis immediately without delaying until licenses are renewed, the head of operations at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
“We won’t wait” to order fixes at the 104 U.S. reactors, Bill Borchardt, the executive director for operations, said after briefing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. Borchardt told senators there was “no technical reason” that the crisis in Japan would affect license renewals.
Licenses for commercial U.S. reactors were limited to 40 years “based on economic and antitrust considerations,” not because of technology, according to the NRC’s website. Under U.S. law, the NRC may extend licenses by 20 years if the operator shows the unit can be operated safely.
The agency has approved license extensions for 63 reactors, or 60 percent of the fleet. Applications for licenses at 19 existing reactors are under review, according to NRC data.
The commission’s safety study that started last week will examine whether operators should be required to improve the capabilities of batteries that keep cooling systems running when electricity is lost, Borchardt said.
Cooling systems lost power and backup generators failed, allowing radioactive fuel rods in reactors and storage pools to overheat after the magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami disabled the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima plant. Workers used helicopters and fire trucks to douse the Japanese plant with water to avert a meltdown.
Restoring Cooling System
Peter Lyons, the acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the U.S. Energy Department, said cooling systems hadn’t “been adequately restored” in Japan.
Radioactive water found in the basement of a turbine building that serves one of the reactors is “a result of the water that they’ve been injecting” to keep nuclear fuel rods cool, Borchardt said.
“The water is the result of the ‘bleed and feed’ process that they have been using to keep water in the reactor cores and in the containment of the units,” he said. “The exact flow path of that leakage has not been determined.”
Borchardt said the situation at Fukushima “continues to further stabilize” as workers reconnect the damaged plant to the power grid.
“I think it’s headed in the right direction,” Borchardt told reporters.
A U.S. recommendation that Americans living within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the damaged plant leave was a prudent decision based on a Nuclear Regulatory Commission assessment of dangers, and fear that the fuel was damaged and the pools holding spent rods were empty or low on cooling water, he said.
Borchardt said the U.S. will evaluate its own emergency response procedures, including evacuation plans, during the reactor review. U.S. law requires a plan for moving residents living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant in an emergency.
Regulations setting the capability of back-up batteries vary by site, Borchardt said. Batteries at U.S. plants last from 4 hours to 8 hours. Regulators will review whether the Japan experience warrants a stricter requirement, he said.
The U.S. should freeze license renewals and permits for the construction of new nuclear reactors, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said today in a report.
Nuclear power plants pose “inherent dangers” that can’t be overcome with safety measures and the U.S. “must move away from nuclear power and toward safer alternatives,” such as solar panels and wind turbines, the Boston-based advocacy group said in the report.