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Archive for October 13th, 2007

by- Suzie-Q @ 2:30 PM MST 

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Two people have died in a tunnel fire north of Los Angeles where big rigs collided Friday night, causing explosions and flames that firefighters were still trying to douse Saturday, county Coroner Larry Deitz said.

At least 10 people were also hurt in the fiery pileup in the trucks-only tunnel.

Firefighters still can’t get inside to fight the fire, CNN’s Peter Viles reported from the scene Saturday afternoon.

“There are engineers now on top of the tunnel exploring the possibility of cutting a hole in the middle of the tunnel so that they can start pouring fire retardant foam [from that direction],” Viles said.

Meanwhile, firefighting teams were shooting high-expansion foam into the north end of the tunnel to cool smoldering debris so crews can enter on rescue missions, said Inspector Jason Hurd of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Video Watch what firefighters are up against »

He predicted it would take several hours before the foam — a mixture of soap and water being injected into the north end — does its job.

As the tunnel is saturated, teams will advance about 10 feet at a time, while engineers from the California Department of Transportation evaluate its structural integrity, Hurd said.

Small explosions continued to go off inside, possibly from tires or fuel tanks blowing up, Viles said.

At least 15 tractor-trailers were involved in the accident that began just before 11 p.m. Friday when two trucks collided inside the half-mile tunnel.

There are reports some passenger cars may also be inside.

“They’re not supposed to be in there, but some cars use this as a shortcut,” Viles said.

Firefighters had to proceed cautiously because it’s not known what the trucks were carrying.

It’s “extremely difficult for the crews. There’s only been, obviously, two means of [entry] and exit attacking this fire, and the intense heat; again, not knowing the number of vehicles, the type of vehicles inside, their cargo have all been cause for concern for us,” Hurd said.

“And, again, not knowing if there’s any individuals that are still left inside the tunnel. So until we actually get in there, get the vehicles pulled out of there, the fire extinguished, we won’t know exactly what we’re dealing with.”

Hurd said 20 people got out of the tunnel after the crash and 10 people were taken to hospitals with slight to moderate injuries.

The blaze shut down not only the truck tunnel but also the north- and southbound auto lanes that run above it. Photo See more photos of the inferno »

The shutdown of Interstate 5, the major north-south freeway through north Los Angeles County, also dammed up freeways that feed into it, reportedly leaving some motorists stranded for seven hours or more.

“Traffic is a nightmare. It’s backed up in all directions,” Hurd said.

The tunnel is in the Newhall Pass between Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. According to 2005 data from the California Department of Transportation, I-5 carries 12,500 vehicles per hour at peak times of the day, and the annual average daily traffic is 164,500 vehicles. See a map of the interchange »

That section of interstate may be closed “for quite some time” if there was major structural damage, Hurd said.

The debris from 15 burned big rigs will have to be removed before the tunnel and road surface can be thoroughly inspected, he added.

“We’re probably looking at at least another day, if not longer,” Hurd said.

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                                                                                      Photo- ABC News

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Afternoon Jukebox… Glory Days

By- Suzie-Q @ 2:20 PM MST

 
Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

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Can’t Find My Way Home

by Geezer Power …1:47 pm

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Gen. Wesley Clark: “Seven countries in five years”

Sudhan@16:15 CET

Wesley Clark’s new memoir casts more light on the Bush administration’s secret strategies for regime change in Iran and elsewhere.

By Joe Conason

Photo: AP/Susan Walsh

A Salon photo composite of Wesley Clark and a global map of the Mideast.

Oct. 12, 2007 | While the Bush White House promotes the possibility of armed conflict with Iran, a tantalizing passage in Wesley Clark’s new memoir suggests that another war is part of a long-planned Department of Defense strategy that anticipated “regime change” by force in no fewer than seven Mideast states. Critics of the war have often voiced suspicions of such imperial schemes, but this is the first time that a high-ranking former military officer has claimed to know that such plans existed.

The existence of that classified memo would certainly cast more dubious light not only on the original decision to invade Iraq because of Saddam Hussein‘s weapons and ambitions but on the current efforts to justify and even instigate military action against Iran.

In “A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country,” published by Palgrave Macmillan last month, the former four-star general recalls two visits to the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of September 2001. On the first visit, less than two weeks after Sept. 11, he writes, a “senior general” told him, “We’re going to attack Iraq. The decision has basically been made.”

Six weeks later, Clark returned to Washington to see the same general and inquired whether the plan to strike Iraq was still under consideration. The general’s response was stunning:

“‘Oh, it’s worse than that,’ he said, holding up a memo on his desk. ‘Here’s the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense [then Donald Rumsfeld] outlining the strategy. We’re going to take out seven countries in five years.’ And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.”

Keep reading . . .

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Iraq: Tharthar Lake, Another U.S. Massacre of Innocents

anthony @ 12:55 BST

Lake Tharthar

Felicity Arbuthnot | Global Research | October 12, 2007

The region of Tharthar Lake, between Salah Ad Din and Ramadi Provinces – where three women, nine children and nineteen ‘Al Qaeda suspects’, were mown down from the air, in another act of homicide and exceptional cowardice – is sited in the center of one the the U.S Army’s favoured culling fields, Samarra being nearby a little to the north east and Falluja roughly equi-distant, to the south west.

Saddam Hussein, who built a palace and resort on the lake, with guest homes and facilities for visiting dignitaries and those of his circle, is believed to have had a special place in his heart for the beauty and tranquility of the lake, which the complex overlooked. Fishing on the lake was reported to be a pastime and relaxation he loved.

In common with all Iraq’s great buildings of State, they were quickly squatted by the invaders from the land of trailor parks, as ever in breach of international laws obligating an occupying force, albeit an illegal one. The tranquil complex had been sullied before by American intruders. The weapons inspectors (UNSCOM) demanded to go there, when playing their ridiculous game of accusing the Iraqi government of secreting weapons of mass destruction in the great palaces. Since all Iraq’s armaments were sold by all Member countries of the UN Security Council and Germany (here we go again) this was no more than an attempt at humiliation and war mongering. They had the receipts, knew the ‘shelf life’ – and the pitiful destruction of just about all that remained after the eight year Iran-Iraq war, and 1991’s forty two day carpet bombing.

It did not take long for the Tharthar ‘ insurgents R U.S.’ to start killing there. Just a few examples:

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anthony @ 11:00 BST

David S. Cloud | NYT | Octiber 12, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12— In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”

In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than fours years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” Mr. Sanchez said, at a gathering here of military reporters and editors.

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Al Gore’s ‘nine Inconvenient Untruths’

anthony @ 10:45 BST

Sally Peck | London Telegraph | Thursday October 11, 2007

Al Gore’s environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth contains nine key scientific errors, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

The judge declined to ban the Academy Award-winning film from British schools, but ruled that it can only be shown with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination.

In the documentary, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the former US vice president and environmental activist calls on people to fight global warming because “humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb”.

But Judge Michael Burton ruled yesterday that errors had arisen “in the context of alarmism and exaggeration” in order to support Mr Gore’s thesis on global warming.

His criticism followed an unsuccessful attempt by Stewart Dimmock, a Kent school governor, to block the Government’s plan to screen the documentary in more than 3,500 secondary schools in England and Wales.

The father of two claimed An Inconvenient Truth included “serious scientific inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush”.

The film’s distributor, Paramount, warns in its synopsis of the film: “If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.”

But the judge ruled that the “apocalyptic vision” presented in the film was politically partisan and thus not an impartial scientific analysis of climate change.

It is, he ruled, a “political film”.

(more…)

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Derailing a deal

Sudhan@11:15 CET

BY NOAM CHOMSKY

Khaleej Times, 7 October 2007

NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn’t subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Keep reading . . .

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