Here are some of the tools you need to challenge corruption on the Columbia River...Before it is forever too late.
You can't 'restore' it, you can't 'sustain' it, if it's gone.
Here is the NW Resource Information Center:
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487 Greenhood Road
Priest Lake, Idaho 83856-8854
April 6, 15 AM/PMt 9:37 AM
Cramer Fish Sciences Project Manager
4405 7th Ave SE, Suite 306
Lacey, WA 98503
Re: Comments on North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to comment on the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project (NFMC). I also want to thank you for your prompt reply to my request for the Specialist’s Reports.
I believe that the pre-decisional Environmental Assessment (EA) findings of No Significant Effects for the NFMC Proposed Action, Alternative (Alt) B and Alternative C are not supported by the documentation in the EA and the Specialist’s Reports. I will examine and comment on Alt B, but these comments are also relevant for Alt C although the the logging activities are much less than in Alt B.
I do not agree with several issues that the EA finds are “outside the project scope,” or are dealt with in other documents.
The EA does not provide any site specific information regarding the grazing impacts to the affected streams in the Project Area (PA). It states that the effect of current grazing allotments on water quality and riparian habitat are addressed in a separate grazing allotment plan. The name of the plan is not mentioned.
What is the name and date of the plan, and what grazing allotments does it cover? In a seemingly contrary move, the EA finds it necessary to discuss protections from potential adverse effects to the grazing allotment from the proposed timber sale and offers enhancements such as creating up to 200 acres of openings and proposes planting them with native grass to provide more grazing area for the existing range permit.
Have the cattle had any adverse effect on water quality and riparian habitat in the Project Area? When was the latest monitoring of site specific effects of cattle on the water resources in the PA? I could not find this information in the EA or the Specialist’s Reports.
Alt B proposes to construct an additional 30.8 miles of new temporary road in addition to the already 65 miles of Forest Service (FS) and unmapped roads in the PA. The project also proposes to increase the amount of openings by conducting shelterwood and commercial thinning logging in the PA. These actions can make easier for the cattle to access the riparian habitat and streams which can result in additional adverse impacts to the fishery in the PA. The grazing issue is significant and should be fully examined in the EA.
What stream segment in the PA has a TMDL due to excess coliform bacteria? Are the grazing allotment cattle contributing to the 303(d) status? This information should be provided in the EA.
Deforestation is linked to climate change. The EA states the impact on climate change from this logging is insignificant, but the idea of cumulative effects is to consider those things that might seen insignificant but when added to other similar actions can have a significant effect. Given the EA’s way of dealing with this issue, it could excuse all particular logging activities wherever and whenever from being considered as a contributor to climate change. The effects of deforestation on climate change should be fully considered in this EA.
A to Z EXPERIMENT
The EA avoids discussing the “elephant in the room.” In a precedent setting move, the Forest Service has granted Vaagen Brothers, a for profit timber corporation, broad and sweeping powers that includes designing the A to Z Project, doing the environmental analysis, writing the EA, deciding where, how, and how much to log, where and how many roads need to be constructed and just about everything else associated with a timber sale. The FS will make the decision.
The respective missions of the FS and the for profit Vaagen Lumber Company are different and could determine the outcome, and financial and environmental impacts of the sale. It is doubtful that the FS is going choose the No Action alternative, or significantly alter the Project since Vaagen, a member of the local community and of the Northeast Washington Forest Coalition, bid one million dollars to participate in this experiment. By having Vaggen do most of the work associated with timber sale planning and management, it provides the opportunity for the Colville National Forest (CNF) to reach its timber target. It claims it cannot currently do so because of budget and staff reductions. This is a significant action and needs to be disclosed and fully discussed in the EA.
The fact that the Proposed Action calls for a very large timber sale with an inordinately large amount of road construction could be consistent with the needs of a for-profit timber corporation. Vaagen needs to have a sale that offers a large timber volume to cover its bid price and the costs associated with the project. The public can expect large timber sales if this experiment is carried through to other timber sales. This is a national forest issue and the public throughout the country needs to know of this experiment and how it can affect the environmental outcome. The financial aspect of this experiment also needs to be fully disclosed.
The EA relies heavily on models in its effects analysis due to a paucity of on the ground scientifically credible quantitative monitoring information. There is no mention of quantitative monitoring to determine the effects of previous CNF timber sales to evaluate its effects predictions with reality.
The WEPP road model and WEPP FuME are used to estimate sediment production. The EA states that the level of confidence of these models range from 1-50% is so broad that they should only be used as a means of comparison. Yet the model’s figures are used to predict sediment levels throughout the EA. It is unreasonable to put so much weight on these models given the wide range of confidence levels. How accurate are the predictions of a increase in sediment of 63% for duration of logging activities, a decrease of 1 percent in the short term, and a 65% decrease in the long term? The CNF should realize by no that logging and road construction are not surgical strikes. Do these figures include the sediment increases during Rain on Snow (ROS) events, lack of maintenance of roads and activities on non-Forest Service managed ground in the project area?
Much is predicated on continued maintenance of new and existing roads after the project is over. Is that realistic given the reduced CNF budget and considering the poor condition of many existing roads? What percent of existing roads on CNF receive significant yearly maintenance? How many miles of CNF road received maintenance in FY 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
The EA, and the Hydrology and Fishery Specialist reports lacks sufficient site specific watershed analysis for each of the affected stream drainages for the public to evaluate the environmental impacts. Is there significant bedload deposition, point and mid-channel bars, and adverse effects from cattle in site specific affected stream segments? It does mention that the streams fall short of INFISH Riparian Management Objectives (RMO) for width depth ratio, sediment, stream bank angle and large woody debris. The EA does not adequately discuss the causes and the significance not meeting the RMO. How long will the affected streams will remain impaired and how will these problems effect the fishery in the short and long term?
What are the existing impacts to the fishery in the affected streams? The EA states that current sediment levels in project area streams are 23%. It does not adequately address the short and long term significance of this amount of sediment deposition. What are the site specific recorded levels of sediment for each of the affected streams? What is the significance of these levels? What is the significance of the predicted increases in sediment production in each of the affected streams and project area? How are the affected streams dealing with the accumulated sediment? How long will it take for these streams to recover and meet the RMO’s given the increase in water yield and additional sediment that will be generated by the 30.8 miles of proposed new temporary road construction, logging and cattle damage? Road construction results in sediment, decommissioning the temporary roads adds another pulse of sediment. What is involved in decommissioning roads?
RAIN ON SNOW (ROS)
Much of the logging activity takes place in areas susceptible to ROS. The timber sale proposes to build an additional 30.8 miles in addition to the existing 65 miles of road in the project area. The EA proposes 1,741 acres of shelterwood logging (avg. 75% of trees >7 inches dbh will be cut) and 2,277 acres of commercial thinning (cutting an avg. of 50% of trees). The proposed logging will change large areas from mature forest canopy to intermediate forest canopy category. The EA fails to reveal what coefficients will be used for site specific areas to evaluate the susceptibility and intensity of a ROS event. The EA does not adequately disclose the effects of ROS events on site specific drainages that have varying amounts and types of logging, road density, spacial and other characteristics that influence a ROS event. What is the existing road density and the road density post logging/road construction in the PA? How does the CNF Forest Plan deal with road density?
The EA does not compute Equivalent Clearcut Area (ECA). Proposed roads and logging create a large additional amount of openings in the Project Area which could significantly effect water quality, quantity and fish habitat. How many ECAs will be created by the proposed timber sale? What is the total amount of ECAs in the North Fork Mill Creek PA?
The Hydrology Specialist’s report, Figure 19, represents the mean daily peak flows for the North Fork Mill Creek. What date is being represented by that graph? One point in time is not an adequate means of evaluation. The use of “mean daily peak flows” is not a fair representation of flow levels. The models used to evaluate the amount of ROS flows and its impacts are no substitute for daily readings from instream gauges on the North Fork Mill Creek.
INSECTS AND DISEASE
One of the justifications for the A to Z project is to reduce susceptibility to insects and disease in the PA. Are the current levels of insects and disease beyond those found in a normally functioning forest? Are they trending beyond normal levels? Is there data from site specific surveys conducted in the PA to determine the current levels of insects and disease? What best available science was used to determine that the proposed logging will “improve” the current situation.
One Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action is to “reduce the threat of severe wildfire.” What is the basis for the assumption in the EA that the PA is ripe for a severe wildfire? The EA assumes in Alt A that without this project the chances for a severe wildfire will occur with extreme effects is increased. There are many examples of wildfires that burn in a mosaic fashion leaving a naturally functioning forest without having a significant effect on soils, water quality or wildlife. Fire is an important aspect of a naturally functioning forest.
The proposed logging will significantly open up the area and reduce the amount of existing mature forest. These logged areas will more likely be drier, warmer, susceptible to increases in wind and will generate more ground fuels than currently exist. All these characteristics have the potential to increase the risk and severity of a wildfire. The EA does not adequately discuss these increased risks. The EA also states that it will leave a lot of fine material on the ground to increase the nutrient level. What will keep the fines from burning up, especially in the areas that will be broadcast burned? The slash generated by the logging and road construction also increases the risk and intensity of wildfire.
The proposed action alternatives do not make the PA fireproof. The issue of wildfire is controversial. There are reports by credible scientists who dispute that logging significantly reduces the risk and intensity of wildfire. None of these opposing views are presented in the EA. The EA fails in its obligation to use the best available science in its analysis. The EA needs to consider the possibility of wildfire and its effects in all the action alternatives.
The EA needs to consider the cumulative effects on Mill Creek since another large timber sale, Middle and South Forks Mill Creek A to Z Project is to be implemented in the foreseeable future. These creeks and the North Fork Mill Creek drain into Mill Creek and could have significant direct, indirect and cumulative effects on Mill Creek.
The EA lacks a sufficient and credible cumulative effects analysis because it does not adequately consider the past, present and site specific future activities on non Forest Service managed land in the project area. These activities need to be more carefully considered in all the cumulative effects analysis discussed in the EA.
EA relies on unreliable models to predict the effects of the proposed project because the CNF has not had a sufficient, scientifically credible quantitative monitoring program to enhance the reliability of the EA’s predictions. Is there an implementation and effects monitoring regime proposed for this project? If so, who is responsible and what are the specific elements of the proposed monitoring?
It is hard to believe that 30.8 miles of road and 2.2 miles of road realignment plus all the ground skidding, slash piling, etc from previous activities on FS and non-FS land, combined with this proposed timber sale would not exceed soil standards considering, "Much of the surveyed area was logged and roaded, primarily 30 to 50 years ago. Substantial detrimental soil conditions (DSC) was caused by these activities.” (EA p.72) Damaged soil takes very long time to recover so existing cumulative effects of soil impacts from previous timber sales and other activities in the PA are minimized.
The leaving of large organic debris (LOD) on ground does not replicate natural conditions. Leaving LOD post logging, and cutting many of <7” trees in the logging units will not replicate the constant feed of various size trees as occurs in natural forest.
Many of the logging units appear to be located in high and moderate mass wasting areas according to the map in soil specialist’s reports (figure 5). Since there are no unit designations delineated on the map it is impossible to determine unit and road location in relation to moderate and high mass wasting hazard. EA fails to disclose the possibility and effects of mass wasting in areas with “moderate” rating.
cc: Kootenai Environmental Alliance
Selkirk Conservation Alliance
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This, from The Columbia River InterTribal Fish Commission's website:Columbia River Treaty
The United States’ Columbia River Treaty with Canada governs hydropower and flood control on the 1,200-mile Columbia River. The current treaty, implemented in 1964, does not consider the needs of fish, a healthy river, or the treaty fishing rights and cultural resources that are now fully protected under modern laws.
The U.S. and Canada negotiated the Treaty to last at least 60 years (2024). The Treaty allows either party to terminate it but they must provide a ten-year notice of their intent to do so. That ten-year window opens in September 2014. Seeing that date on the horizon, CRITFC started taking actions during this biennium to secure seats at the table for the tribes to participate in the analyses and decisions leading up to 2014. Now 15 Columbia Basin tribes are actively working to reshape the Columbia River Treaty to protect and benefit tribal culture and resources.
The impacts of the Columbia River Treaty are second only to the decision to dam the Columbia in the 1930s. The Treaty required the construction of Duncan, Arrow, and Mica dams in Canada and allowed Libby Dam to be built in the U.S., creating more than 20 million acre-feet of new storage. Under the treaty, the U.S. paid Canada $64.4 million to provide 8.95 million acre-feet of storage for flood control in the lower Columbia, but it is only guaranteed through 2024. The U.S. returns to Canada half of the power the new Canadian storage produces in the U.S. This power, called the Canadian Entitlement, is worth on average $300 million a year.
The tribes’ participation in the Columbia River Treaty 2014/2024 Review is critical for protecting tribal rights and interests, including improving ecosystem functions and ensuring favorable conditions for other tribal resources.
In fall 2010, the Columbia Basin tribes began participating in the Treaty Review. The tribes gained the agreement of the U.S. to regard ecosystem function as coequal with flood control and power production during the Treaty Review and to include measures to restore and preserve tribal resources and culture.
The tribes are also seeking representation on the U.S. negotiating team if changes to the Columbia River Treaty are discussed with Canada. The tribes were not consulted during the initial negotiation of the Columbia River Treaty; as a result, the Treaty fails to include tribes or tribal interests.
As 2010 ended, the tribes’ small work group finished reviewing the Treaty Review Phase I and Supplemental Reports and began work on an Ecological Assessment to analyze the impacts on ecosystem functions and other tribal resources. The Phase I Report, narrowly focused on the twin obligations of power and flood control, provides baseline information about post-2024 conditions both with and without the current Columbia River Treaty. The Ecological Assessment will provide a baseline look at the Treaty’s impact on ecosystem functions.
The Columbia Basin tribes will continue holding work sessions on a recurring basis.
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Ever heard of an ‘A to Z’ timber sale? You know…when a private logging company pays off the Forest Service for the freedom to “manage” the land.?No.
You haven’t heard of it and that is exactly what the timber industry needs – secrecy, complacency ignorance – in order to get away with the murder of a forest.
Since the Forest Service has been paid a million dollars for the
contract in which Vaagen Brothers Timber will do all the work associated with the sale,
perhaps the FS will actually make a profit. This aspect needs to be further
investigated. If that is the case, what a motivator for the agency!
We need to get ahead of the curve on this issue, if not I am pretty
sure that it will spread to other Forests and other timber sales. You know
what to do, write your legislators, the Chief of the Forest Service, letters
to the editor, op ed pieces, news releases, a letter to the Colville
National Forest, etc. It also might be a good idea to encourage your friends
in the FS to contact FSEEE and ask them to get involved. I have talked with
Andy Stahl about this sale-but he's on the fence. Let's make the public aware
that profit driven timber corporations will gain an inordinate amount of
control of their forests.
You realize that we are among the few in the country who are aware
that this is happening! It also a great poster child for what's wrong with
collaboration process-just turn the management of the timber sale program
over to profit driven timber corporations.
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Whn will the so-called 'Timber Counties' wake up to their folly funding?
When will Oregon rein in the predators? Would be not be better
When will Cascadia finally wake up to the fact that...
A 'managed' forest is a tree farm
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The rally is part of the Oregon Conservation Network's Clean Green Lobby Machine day at the Capitol, and several environmental bills will be highlighted. Linfield College chemistry professor Jim Diamond will be at the rally to show support for the legislation from a scientific perspective. "Recent studies indicate that the social costs of carbon associated with coal leads to costs on the order of 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, as opposed to the 11 or 12 cents per kilowatt-hour most people pay," says Diamond. "It's due to the health and environmental effects of coal."
71 percent of Oregon voters support the legislation, which would require Pacific Power and PGE to eliminate coal from their energy mix by 2025. Oregon's last in-state coal plant is scheduled to retire in 2020.
2, It’s time to talk Enbridge once again and the main group taking action against the energy giant, MICATS. When MICATS was born, the landscape here in Michigan was different. Enbridge was not often mentioned in the national rhetoric on tar sands, the infamous Line 6B was in the middle of being expanded, and Michigan was barely on the map in the world of tar sands activism, despite being home to the largest and costliest inland tar sands oil spill in this country’s history: the Kalamazoo River Spill. The community of southeast Michigan was suffering largely in silence from racist and calculated poisoning at the hands of Marathon Oil, the refinery that has been using Detroit as a dumping ground for decades. Silenced, ignored, and disregarded by decision-makers and regulatory bodies, this community is a classic example of environmental injustice and racism and is complicit in the perpetuation of tar sands crimes.
3, And then there’s this: Poised right in between a budding middle-class district and a neighborhood with a lower socio-economic status sits the Collingwood Garden in Toledo, Ohio. Intentionally placed in a formerly vacant lot (which had been empty for the twenty years prior), the Garden attempts to act as a bridge for the two very separate communities, and from my experience in attending a community event here at it’s near-inception, that intention seems to be playing out nicely. It was here that the metaphorical flag was hoisted on May Day in 2013. It should be added that this project began as, and still is, a guerrilla project. They now have the blessing of the city, who seems to be glad that someone is doing something with the land in a city where much of the infrastructure is collapsing, and where the people are fleeing, as is with much of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and probably soon to be the newborn boom-towns with their fracking projects in North Dakota and Texas.
From the Toledo Blade
4, 4, Our main chemical safety law – the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – is outdated and deeply flawed, allowing more than 80,000 chemicals that have never been tested for safety to be used in the United States.1
Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA) have now introduced a bill to reform TSCA, but it is even worse than the existing law. Incredibly, the bill may have even been written by the American Chemistry Council, the lobbying arm of the chemical industry.2
Despite opposition from countless environmental groups and public health experts, this dangerous bill already has the support of a handful of Democrats.3 We need to stop Senate Democrats from helping Republicans do the bidding of the chemical industry.
5, Greenwashing children? Shouldn’t that be illegal? In Vancouver yesterday Rising Tide ‘scientists’ laid out the case against fracking outside Science World in Vancouver.. The event was timed to coincide with Science World’s way of celebrating World Water Day.
Rising Tides’ said “we can’t sit idly by while Science World is working alongside Christy Clark to greenwash the Liquified Fracked Gas industry. Today we are not only engaging with and educating children in the dangers of fracked gas and its impact on the climate and environment but also reaching out to the management of Science World to consider the impacts of their actions”.
Rising Tide adds, “as our popular education stalls showed today fracked gas is hugely environmentally damaging, opposed by local communities and fundamentally not an ethical or viable energy solution. The young kids passed our fracked gas quiz today, if only the same could be said for those planning the energy infrastructure of the region.”
6, Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet is on the move - even before the US government has approved the final permits.
The Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, is in the Central Pacific about 4,000 nautical miles off the West Coast of the US. They have been tracking Shell's monstrous oil rig the Polar Pioneer since it left Brunei Bay in Malaysia. Right now, Shell is heading North via Seattle to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic this summer.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on the planet. Finding one oil rig in its vastness was like finding a needle in a haystack - but Greenpeace’s ship, the Esperanza, now have them in sight.
7, Washington has accused Israel of spying on closed-door international talks with Iran about its nuclear program and relaying information from the meetings to the U.S. Congress as a way to build a case against the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing more than a dozen current and former U.S. and Israeli officials, the WSJ said Israel eavesdropped on the negotiations and gathered information from “confidential U.S. briefings,” “informants” and “diplomatic contacts in Europe.”
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Listen or Lose Your Soul!!!
And the whole Week's Audio plus The Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping...Live and Uncut!!!
1, Port of Longview commissioners unanimously rejected the proposed Haven Energy propane export terminal Tuesday morning, voicing concerns about the safety and the true economic impact of the $300 million project.
Commissioners Lou Johnson and Darold Dietz said they would support the project, but not at the proposed 24-acre site near Berth 4. Commissioner Bob Bagaason said it came down to a matter of trust.
It was not immediately clear whether the vote killed the project,.
2, The Oso Landslide's one year anniversary is coming up on March 22nd. And the company that undertook the investigation is GEER. The work of the GEER Association, in general, is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation through the Geotechnical Engineering Program under Grant No. CMMI-0825734. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. The GEER Association is made possible by the vision and support of the NSF Geotechnical Engineering Program Directors: Dr. Richard Fragaszy and the late Dr. Cliff Astill. GEER members also donate their time, talent, and resources to collect time-sensitive field observations of the effects of extreme events.
3, The most detailed published scientific account of the mudslide, which was the deadliest in U.S. history, suggests that the disaster was years in the making in a valley with a history of huge landslides dating back thousands of years. The report doesn't offer a definitive explanation for why the mountainside collapsed on that day. But it describes a devastating chain reaction sparked by rain and groundwater on a hillside left unsettled by years of smaller slides.
The report comes from a team of university and private-sector researchers who are part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER), a National Science Foundation-funded initiative to quickly dispatch scientists to evaluate natural disasters.
4, Who doesn't love Medicare? I guess we are about to find out...Aides to top House Republicans and Democrats are trying to negotiate a bipartisan compromise on the popular entitlement. And yet every year there are threats to permanently revamp the program and introduce cuts in Medicare payments to doctor. including a 21 percent reduction set to take effect April 1. Really. That april 1st.As part of the talks, bargainers are considering budget cuts that could offset part, but not all, of the measure's costs, according to lobbyists following the negotiations. The estimated 10-year price of repealing the annual Medicare cuts is roughly $175 billion.
The lobbyists said Wednesday that the package also might provide money for a children's health program that would otherwise run out of money Oct. 1.
5, North Carolina’s environmental officials have hit Duke Energy with a record $25 million fine over its role in contaminating local groundwater with pollution from a pair of coal ash pits at a disused power plant. The Duke Energy power plant site in Sutton, North Carolina has a pair of unlined dumps estimated to hold 2.6 million tons of coal ash – the waste that’s left after burning coal for electricity – which contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of which are toxic.
Monitoring wells near the dumps showed the pollution – which is considered a public health risk – included nine metals, among them boron, thallium, selenium, iron, manganese, and other chemicals that exceed state groundwater standards. Thallium was used for decades as the active ingredient in rat poison until it was banned due to being highly toxic.
6, Jim Lobe of LobeLog.com and has written extensively on the “neo-cons.”
He recently wrote "OMG! Cotton is Kristol’s Protege" and "GOP’s Man of the Moment Promoted by RJC’s Singer and Adelson," which states: "If Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) wasn’t the face of GOP Iran hawks, he is now. His letter making common cause with Iran’s hardliners to scuttle a nuclear deal puts Cotton, along with his 46 Republican co-signatories, in uncharted territory. ...
7, Scarlet Letter anyone? Any letter Scarlet legislators? Any red stae senator got a stamp? So, this: Iran is playing a helpful role against Islamic State militants in Iraq now, but once the extremists are vanquished, Tehran-backed militias could undermine efforts to unify the country, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told lawmakers that any move to counter IS is a 'positive thing." But he said there are worries about whether those Shiite militias will later turn against Sunni or Kurdish Iraqis and hamper efforts to bridge ethnic and political divisions that have made peace elusive in Iraq.
8, Sounds like a fun weekend: drones and off-roaders - plus guns of course. Yesterday The United States said that it is sending small unarmed drones, armored Humvees and other assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists. Lethal weapons were not included, to the dismay of some U.S. lawmakers. The White House said President Barack Obama is still considering whether to send weapons to Ukraine's military, weighing the risks that such aid could further inflame conflict in which more than 6,000 people have died. Risks? Risks? There are very likely an assortment of nukes still floating around the region
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Are Pilots Deserting Washington's Remote-Control War?
A New Form of War May Be Producing a New Form of Mental Disturbance
By Pratap Chatterjee (http://www.tomdispatch.com/authors/pratapchatterjee)
Drone pilots are quitting in record numbers. And Code Pink’s appearance at the Nevada Command Center, CREACH, has got to be at least a little unnerving: it is as if their mums or older sisters showed up at their workplace to call them out as the murderers that they are.
But the kill lists keep gushing out of the White House, the leaks have become gushing taps…This is all supposed to be secret, y’know. If we just change the word “leaker’ to ‘whistleblower’ it would be a different scenario entirely. We would be hearing more about The Espionage Act, ‘treason’, ‘terror’…
Relax, it’s just a little leak. in Washington’s ongoing “covert” drone wars in the Greater Middle East.
The administration’s top officials don’t hesitate to discuss or even brag about the program. In this, it follows in a tradition established in the 1980s by President Ronald Reagan in which “covert wars” -- in his case, in Central America -- were fought in remarkably open and publicity-conscious ways. Meanwhile, their supposedly secret nature kept them from serious oversight. In this way, covert and overt were wedded in a process intended to free the White House and the CIA to do as they wished.
As a result, in the post-9/11 years, at least in the mainstream media, drone assassination campaigns have generally gotten a remarkably free ride. While those “militants” always seem to go down for the count, it’s rarely mentioned in the same reports that, in places like Yemen, the local terror outfits that Washington means to crush from the air, militant by militant, terrorist leader by terrorist leader, only seem to grow.
More than a decade of intense experience with drones teaches us at least one salient lesson: our robot warriors make war in the usual sense of the term, but in another way as well. In places that are not officially American war zones, their operations also regularly generate war. They are part of that problem. And let’s add a second lesson from these droning years into the mix. The U.S. has pioneered the drone as a weapon for a new kind of war. In the process, it has opened drone flyways down which many countries and undoubtedly terror organizations, too, will one day travel. The recent decision of the Obama administration to spread drone technology by selling armed drones to its allies will only hasten the process.
TomDispatch regular Pratap Chatterjee, suggests today, a new and important critique of Washington’s drone wars is emerging from a thoroughly unexpected place: the drone pilots themselves. Explain it as you will, they are taking their hands off the joysticks and voting against drone war with their feet -- and possibly, though the subject couldn’t be murkier, their consciences.
The U.S. drone war across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis and not because civilians are dying or the target list for that war or the right to wage it just about anywhere on the planet are in question in Washington. Something far more basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.
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That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Meanwhile, back in Switzerland, the 6-plus-one continue serious talks that do in fact signify something. And they chose for the most part to ignore that fact the fat little baby Bibi had shite himself again on the world stage and needed his nappies changed.
How stupid are Americans?
This is how: Netanyahu's approval rating went up after his speech. Odd too because the speech itself overlooked the threat of ISIS and al-Qaeda...
'America: Stupid and Proud of it!'
- They should put that on the money instead of 'In god we trust'
Here are a few of the headlines that we had to leave out because Grant Smith's words are far more important.
1, GRANT F. SMITH, (202) 342-7325, cell: (202) 640-3709, email@example.com, @IRmep
Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and has recently won release of the report. He wrote the piece "U.S. Confirmed Existence of Israeli H-Bomb Program in 1987," which states: "The 1987 report’s confirmation of Israel’s advanced nuclear weapons program should have immediately triggered a cutoff in all U.S. aid to Israel under the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act. ...
2, Sunnyside, Wash., Oil Spill Cleanup Could Take Weeks – and cost a hell of a lot more than originally anticipated.
The state Ecology Department says it could take weeks to clean up as much as 1,500 gallons of used motor oil that spilled into the Yakima River at Sunnyside.
The oil leaked Sunday from a tank at a former feedlot and traveled through 10 miles of irrigation canals and 14 miles of a meandering stretch of the river.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the area includes the Sunnyside Wildlife Refuge.
Ecology Department spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder says it’s the worst oil spill in the Lower Yakima Valley in 17 years. A cleanup contractor is using absorbent pads, protective booms and vacuum pumps.
3, But take heart, Northwest Officials Unite Against Coal And Oil Trains
More than 150 elected officials from across the Northwest have teamed up to speak out against coal and oil trains. Their new group held its third meeting in Portland Tuesday.
4, U.S. Park Police are investigating a report of shots fired near the National Security Agency's headquarters Tuesday evening. A spokesperson for the police said the NSA is investigating damage to one of its buildings that appeared to be from gunshots. The incident unfolded along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32 in Fort Meade, Maryland. The NSA is located nearby.
Which makes it a good time to remember that NSA Bulk Telephone Metadata Program Reauthorized Until Parts of PATRIOT Act Potentially Sunset In a post on its official Tumblr, the United States' Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that it sought and received a reauthorization of its telephony metadata program, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The reauthorization lasts until June 1, 2015. Why that date? The NSA has your answer, ready-made: The Government sought renewal of this authority to and including June 1, 2015 in order to align the expiration date of the requested order for this program with the June 1, 2015 sunset of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.
5, NSA spying inquiry: UK-German intelligence-sharing dispute deepens | 3 Mar 2015 | Germany's efforts to investigate National Security Agency (NSA) spying are being hampered by Britain's refusal to co-operate amid threats to break off intelligence-sharing agreements, a German newspaper has reported. The claims note a heightening of tensions between Downing Street and the German Chancellery over intelligence-sharing. According to German newspaper reports, the Bundestag's investigation into the NSA could be halted if any UK secrets are revealed.
6, On February 23, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government -- backing a sweeping anti-terrorism bill to expand state surveillance powers and criminalize speech deemed to potentially "advocate" terrorism -- closed down debate on the same bill after only three days of discussion. Bill C-51 -- drafted in response to two recent lone-wolf attacks [false flags], including one that ended in a shootout in the Ottawa House of Commons -- broadens the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), including allowing it to intercept private communications with closed-door judicial authorization...Apparently emulating the United States by ramping up state powers and surveillance in the name of security is not enough. Canadian officials routinely hand over CSE data to their counterparts south of the border, and they have already agreed to share citizens' biographic data with the US Border Patrol. Ontario police have even gone one step further and given confidential medical information to US officials, leading to Canadians being denied entry simply for having suffered a previous episode of mental illness.
7, Top cop: Web trolls should be given lifetime social media bans --Mr Barton is in charge of intelligence gathering for the Assoc of Chief Police Officers across all 43 UK forces. | 1 Mar 2015 |A chief constable is calling on Facebook and Twitter to ban trolls for life as social media places a huge strain on police resources. Mike Barton, head of Durham Police, says there was a 40 per cent rise in charges relating to improper use of electronic messages in England from 2010-13. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has also called for a ban on online trolls.
7, Former CIA director and Army Gen. David Petraeus admitted Tuesday that he handed eight "black books" containing highly classified information, including codes and the identities of covert officers, to his mistress for four days in 2011 and then lied about it to the FBI. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of retaining classified information in a deal in which prosecutors agreed not to charge him with more serious crimes such as obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, the Justice Department announced Tuesday, saying it would recommend probation. Two weeks before he resigned, Petraeus was interviewed at CIA headquarters by two FBI agents, who told him they were conducting a criminal investigation of alleged security breaches, according to court documents released Tuesday...
8, Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the US Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the US and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday. "The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran. If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council. The US and five other major powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
9, Police in the United States have arrested five activists who were protesting against crimes committed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dozens of people gathered outside the Washington Convention Center where Netanyahu, who arrived in the US on Sunday, is due to speak. The protesters held a sit-in on the first day of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is one the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying groups in the US.
10, Half of American voters think that congressional Republican's inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea. Forty-eight per cent of respondents in a new poll say they disapproved of Republican House Speaker John Boehner offering the Middle Eastern leader an invitation to speak to Congress without first clearing it with President Obama. Thirty per cent of all respondents favored letting Netanyahu speak, with more than 20 per cent saying they didn't know enough to answer.
11, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Saturday that "scaremongering" by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't stop the Islamic Republic and world powers from reaching a final nuclear deal. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the world should not allow the hard-line Israeli leader to undermine peace. He was referring to Netanyahu's planned speech to Congress next week on the emerging nuclear deal that he considers dangerous. "Through scaremongering, falsification, propaganda and creating a false atmosphere even inside other countries, [Israel] is attempting to prevent peace," Zarif told reporters during a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni.
12, Thousands of acres of wheat and other cereal crops have been destroyed by Israeli police in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Rakhama in Negev. According to Ali Freijat, a local resident, as many as 14 Israeli tractors escorted by in excess of 50 Israeli police vehicles destroyed the agricultural products and leveled the land early on Tuesday, Ma'an news agency reported. Reports also said on Sunday that Israel plans to carry out more demolitions in an area populated by Palestinian Bedouins near al-Quds (Jerusalem). Tel Aviv authorities say they want to build settlements and military structures in the area.
13, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces are ready to react to any nuclear strike even if it is lightning fast, SMF Central Command chief said. A retaliatory strike would take place in all circumstances, "without hesitation," he added. "If there's a challenge to repel a lightning-fast nuclear in any given conditions - it will be done in fixed time, that's dead true," the Strategic Missile Forces Central Command's chief, Major-General Andrey Burbin, told Russian News Service on Saturday. Russia's strategic missile forces are positioned geographically in such a way that no global strike can knock them out completely, Burbin said.
14, Manmade global warming helped spark the brutal civil war in Syria by doubling to tripling the odds that a crippling drought in the Fertile Crescent would occur shortly before the fighting broke out, according to a groundbreaking new study published on March 2. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to attribute the drought in Syria in large part to global warming.
In doing so, it provides powerful evidence backing up the Pentagon and intelligence community’s assessments that climate change is likely to play the role of a “threat multiplier” in coming decades, pushing countries that are already vulnerable to upheaval over the edge and into open conflict.
15, The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed a plan to allow leasing for oil and gas drilling in the waters off the Atlantic and Arctic coasts. Perhaps BOEM is in need of a little history lesson.
Nearly five years after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill -- the worst in our country's history -- oil continues to pollute the Gulf of Mexico. 1 In 2012, Shell's attempt at Arctic oil drilling failed dramatically when one of its drilling rigs ran aground off of Kodiak Island, Alaska.2 After 26 years, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster remains one of the most devastating oil spills in our history, and the wildlife of Prince William Sound has still not recovered.
Despite this astonishing record, Big Oil could get the green light to lease and drill in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans!
- Genre: Blues
- Length: 15:49 minutes (10.86 MB)
- Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 96Kbps (CBR)