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Archive for June 9th, 2010

On her Facebook page this week, Sarah Palin outlined a pretty solid case for tough government regulations against corporations. (By the way, none of the sentences ended with the word “also,” nor did the entry read like a really bad local newspaper letter to the editor, so I assume it was ghost-written.)

Yes, seriously. Sarah Palin is in favor of the federal government planting its gigantic boot on the throats of energy companies. She put it in writing. Not only that but she even proposed that our socialist, anti-capitalist, wealth-redistributing president call her on the phone so she can describe to him specifically how to impose all kinds of big government regulations against BP and others.

It’s about damn time.

I knew if we just continued to make the case for serious government regulation of corporations, we’d finally win some minds and hearts — even minds as airy, and wolf-snipering hearts as hardened as Sarah Palin’s.

Here’s the centerpiece of what she wrote:

Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!

I can only assume she was suggesting that “we must!” regulate and drill. For the record, we’re already drilling offshore, so enough of this hackish “drill, baby, drill” screeching. There are already 3,858 oil and gas platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico alone, according to NOAA. Here’s a convenient map with yellow dots indicating all of the locations where we’re already, you know, drilling, baby, drilling:

2010-06-09-Gulf_Coast_Platforms.jpg

I understand, however, that most Republicans aren’t satisfied and want more drilling. They want the moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits to end, and they want new exploration for oil in heretofore untapped leases all along the entire coast of the United States. The problem is that it would take around 10 years to get platforms online and producing in the areas where there are untapped leases, and the deepwater platforms that are ready to drill now don’t have the failsafe mechanisms — and the regulations Sarah wants — in place yet. So how about this compromise: we continue to drill with the existing offshore wells, but, as Sarah Palin suggests, we regulate the hell out of them? Once those regulations are in place, maybe we can talk about new offshore leases rather than drilling willy-nilly.

(more…)

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John Pilger, Morning Star Online, June 6, 2010

How do wars begin? With a “master illusion,” according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA’s pioneers in “black propaganda” – known today as “news management.”

In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an “incident” that became the “conclusive proof of North Vietnam’s aggression.” This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked a US warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.

“The CIA,” he said, “loaded up a junk, a North Vietnamese junk, with communist weapons – the agency maintains communist arsenals in the United States and around the world. They floated this junk off the coast of central Vietnam. They shot it up and made it look like a firefight, and they brought in the American press. Based on this evidence, two marine landing teams went into Danang and a week after that the American air force began regular bombing of North Vietnam.”

An invasion that took three million lives was under way.

Continues >>

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A bird flies over oil trapped in booms at Cat Island in Barataria Bay off the Louisiana Coast Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Louisiana Oil Spill 2010 PHOTOS: Gulf Of Mexico Leak Reaches Land

Huff Post- First Posted: 06- 1-10 01:24 PM   |   Updated: 06- 8-10 09:47 AM

The catastrophic explosion that caused an oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the shoreline. Efforts to manage the spill with controlled burning, dispersal and plugging the leak have so far been unsuccessful. This oil spill has now obtained the dubious distinction of being the worst oil spill in US history, surpassing the damage done by the Exxon Valdez tanker that spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound in 1989. Unlike the Exxon Valdez tragedy, in which a tanker held a finite capacity of oil, BP’s rig is tapped into an underwater oil well and could pump more oil into the ocean indefinitely until the leak is plugged.

Here are updated photos of oil hitting coastlines and the damage throughout the ocean, which poses a serious threat to fishermen’s livelihoods, marine habitats, beaches, wildlife and human health.

Do you live in an area that is being affected by the oil spill? Do you have photo or video of what’s happening on the coastlines? We want to see your on-the-ground photos. Send them in by hitting the participate button.

PHOTOS HERE

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The Clash – Rock The Casbah

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BP’s Long History Of Destroying The World

Huff Post- Ryan Grim

First Posted: 06- 8-10 12:45 PM   |   Updated: 06- 8-10 02:48 PM

The oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is a final onslaught launched from the grave of colonialism, perpetrated by a corporation that can compete with Goldman Sachs when it comes to creating misery around the world.

One of the most pivotal moments in world and United States history came in 1953 when the CIA and British intelligence forces staged a coup in Iran, overthrowing the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh, a national Iranian hero who was named Time‘s Man of the Year in 1952. That coup led directly to the Iranian revolution of 1979, which launched an era of Middle East anti-Americanism whose repercussions have since been felt in deadly ways.

Mossadegh earned the adoration of his people and the scorn of Britain for nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which controlled Iran’s oil reserves, shared little of the revenue and kept its workers in slave-like conditions. Anglo-Iranian became British Petroleum.

BP’s role in Iran’s descent into tyranny is no trivial historical coincidence. To this day, it is not difficult to find an Iranian living in America who refuses to buy gas from BP.

There was one primary purpose of the coup that overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah: To reclaim BP’s domination of Iranian oil.

Mossadegh’s government had attempted to negotiate a resolution, but BP’s executives flatly refused any compromise. BP’s stubbornness led to the most extreme policy move — full nationalization. Their failure to negotiate led Dean Acheson to coin what has become an oft-repeated analysis applied to varieties of bad actors: “Never had so few lost so much so stupidly and so fast.”

War — or, in this case, a coup — is political negotiation by another means. And BP’s failure in the first round of negotiations led directly to the more violent second round. How history would have unfolded had Iran’s liberal democracy been allowed to flourish can never be known. Policy makers at the time worried that the Soviet Union may have taken it over, though Stalin died shortly after the coup and the nation’s foreign policy turned away from imperialism. Indeed, its subsequent invasion of Afghanistan was launched largely in response to the Iranian revolution. In other words, a Soviet invasion of Iran was unlikely. Would a democratic Iran have been a bulwark against Middle Eastern extremism? Most likely. Would it have been an ally of Turkey and Israel? A real possibility. Would it have gone to war against Iraq? It’s doubtful. (Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, shortly after the revolution, worried about having a Shia theocracy on its border, given its own majority Shia population living in the south atop its own vast resources.)

MORE HERE

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Exxon Valdez: How That Disaster Destroyed The Economy 20 Years Later

Huff Post- Jason Linkins

First Posted: 06- 8-10 05:55 PM   |   Updated: 06- 8-10 09:36 PM

Hopefully, by now, you’ve already read the oil spill apocalypse pieces penned by our own Ryan Grim — who documented “BP’s Long History Of Destroying The World” — and Sam Stein, who got the following diagnosis from a top lawyer in Exxon Valdez litigation: “[I]f you were affected in Louisiana, to use a legal term, you are just f–ked”.

Well, here’s something else depressing that you can add to your oil spill woes. The Exxon Valdez disaster, which occurred on March 24, 1989, played a major role in the collapse of the economy some 19 years later. See, as Stein documented, after lengthy litigation, Exxon managed to get the amount of punitive compensatory damages reduced from the hoped-for $5 billion to a paltry $500 million. But, back when Exxon had reason to imagine it might actually have to part with the $5 billion, the oil giant needed to find a way to cover its hindquarters. Exxon found a savior in the form of J.P. Morgan & Co., who extended the beleaguered company a line of credit in the amount of $4.8 billion.

Of course, that put J.P. Morgan on the hook for any potential judgment against Exxon. So the bank went looking for a way to mitigate that risk. Its solution made history, which you can read about in a June 2009 piece from the New Yorker‘s John Lancaster, entitled “Outsmarted.” Here’s the relevant portion:

MORE HERE

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Shocking New Report: The CIA Performed Human Experiments on Prisoners Under Bush

A new report details how the effects of torture on detainees were closely studied in order to perfect ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’

June 7, 2010 |

Over the last year there have been an increasing number of accounts suggesting that, along with the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” torture program, there was a related program experimenting with and researching the application of the torture.

For example, in the seven paragraphs released by a British court summarizing observations by British counterintelligence agents of the treatment of Binyan Mohamed by the CIA, the first two of these paragraphs stated:

    It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer….
    BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed. [emphasis added]

The suggestion was that a new strategy was being tested and the results carefully examined. Several detainees have provided similar accounts, expressing their belief that their interrogations were being carefully studied, apparently so that the techniques could be modified based on the results. Such research would violate established laws and ethical rules governing research.

Since Nazi doctors who experimented upon prisoners in the concentration camps were put on trial at Nuremberg, the U.S. and other countries have moved toward a high ethical standard for research on people. All but the most innocuous research requires the informed consent of those studied. Further, all research on people is subject to review by independent research ethics committees, known as Institutional Review Boards or IRBs.

In the U.S., there was a major push toward more stringent research ethics when the existence of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was publicly revealed in the early 1970s. In that study nearly 400 poor rural African-American men were denied existing treatment for their syphilis, and indeed, were never told they had syphilis by participating doctors. The study by the U.S. Public Health Service was intended to continue until the last of these men died of syphilis. When the study became public the resulting outcry helped cement evolving ethical standards mandating informed consent for any research with even a possibility of causing harm. These rules were codified in what has become known as the Common Rule, which applies to nearly all federally-funded research, including all research by the CIA.

MORE HERE

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