Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maybe Muslims Did It?

By Gordon Duff
Veterans Today HERE...

September 24, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- When President Ahmadinejad announced, before the United Nations that most people in the world believe that the U.S. government was involved in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks, he told the truth. In America, groups have been popping up for years, not “fringe” types, but military and professional organizations, architects, engineers, pilots, intelligence officers.

There is a vast underground that is never reported, never spoken of in the news and continually threatened. The FBI and Homeland Security have infiltrated these groups, illegal surveillance has been on a massive scale and, as the groups have grown and their reach has touched millions of Americans, the government, in the usual whispers, is talking about mass arrests, “unplugging” the internet, all those things the militia movements of the 90′s said would happen.

Outside the United States, not in the Middle East, but Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Far East, finding people who accept the Bush and Obama administration’s “party line” about “box cutters and hijackers” is difficult. No one wants to risk the public scorn of seeming like an imbecile.

However, back here in the “good ole’ USA,” even comedian Jon Stewart, normally an outspoken critic of government insanity, has agreed to lead a march on Washinton to quell “rumors” about 9/11, rumors of wrongdoing by people he despises.

What is the difference? Why do those outside the United States see things do differently? The answer is freedom of press, the first of the hasty additions to the constitution, a guarantee provided for in the 1st Amendment. There had been assaults on freedom of the press before, particularly during wartime but never anything on the scale seen after 9/11. Across the board, not just the news but even movies and television shows, fiction, censored, propaganda, peddling ignorance, fear and screaming “conspiracy theory” at anyone trying to get word out.

America is a dictatorship.

It isn’t just corporate lobbyists or two broken political parties. Elections are rigged, government agencies meant to provide for national security are now doing little but spying on Americans, our military is spread across the planet, tasked with everything but serving the United States. All the while, the “news” is everything but. Americans, to a one, know something is terribly wrong, totally out of control and, even their attempts to get at some semblance of truth are turned against them. The news is censored. With the country embroiled in two failed wars, obviously illegal, proof of war crimes piling up, financial collapse, citizen’s rights trampled on, nary a word is said about any of it.

“The president is a Muslim.” “Healthcare is socialism.” “The rich need their tax breaks, the same ones that pushed the country into 13.5 trillion in debt.”
The real message is always the same if you listen carefully, “be afraid, trust in government.” What are they really saying? “Greed is good.” How is that working out for you?

Ahmadinejad, as of the count yesterday, had 950 stories condemning his “outrageous” statements at the United Nations. Please note that a total of 27 nations walked out, not the people of those nations but representatives of the governments.

What we fail to note is that 163 nations stayed.

A few years ago, Ahmadinejad had a conference to discuss the holocaust. Scholars from around the world came, some openly hostile to Israel, some because they were scholars. It was called “outrageous” and Israel threatened to break up the meeting with a nuclear attack. What happened there, what were the findings? We will never know. Censorship in the American press, the same censorship that prevented evidence proving Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction from reaching the public, the same censorship that should have told Americans that Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11, was imposed.
The truth never benefits from censorship. Censorship is dictatorship.

Dictatorship is when those in power no longer trust the people. A government that doesn’t trust its own people can’t serve its people, its people serve it. This is the America of today.

9 years of censorship now clouds 9/11.

When President Bush announced that he saw the first plane crash into the World Trade Center, live TV, it was shown once and hidden away. TV never showed that, not real TV, not the kind the public sees. Bush may have watched it, but if he is telling the truth, it means he knew in advance. Does this explain why he simply sat there? When Larry Silverstein said that he ordered one of the World Trade Center buildings, number 7, “pulled,” meaning “blown up” did it mean that explosives had been planted in all the buildings? It sure looked like it to me.

How about when Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, said a missile hit the Pentagon? Oh, did he say that? Well, yes he did, live television, you can find the statement on video all over the internet, any normal person can.

The 9/11 Commission couldn’t, however.

Same with Rumsfeld telling us that Flight 93 was shot down. Did he say that? Yes he did, live TV, all over the internet. They couldn’t find that either.
Nobody told the 9/11 Commission anything about Building 7. It is as though it escaped into another dimension.

It isn’t just these statements or Vice President Cheney’s orders to allow the planes to go unhindered, testified to on the video above, that make Ahmadinejad much less than “outrageous.” It is the hard science, the witness testimony and years of intelligence reports that prove conclusively that “no Muslims were involved in the making of this picture.”

What have we proven “conclusively?” One thing for sure, one thing a vast majority of Americans will now consider, that America is a dictatorship.
What they don’t know is how it happened or who is running things. The propaganda machine has 200 million people chasing their own tails, blaming each other.

Maybe Muslims did it.

Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic officer of UN humanitarian groups. Gordon Duff's articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is a regularly on radio and tv.

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A Great Thomist is Gone

Dr. Raphael Waters (Rest in Peace)

By John Vennari
Catholic Family News HERE...
August 27, 2010

“If the Lord takes me soon, be assured that I will be praying for you.” Dr. Waters said this to us, a group of his students, who visited him at his home on Friday evening, August 20.

We would not see him again. He died the following Thursday, on August 26 at 4:30 am in St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, NY, at age 86.

His death is an incalculable loss.

Apart from being an internationally recognized scholar who was a member of several prestigious scholarly associations, he was also a lively and humorous professor whose intense love of philosophy was as contagious as it was exhilarating.

He died in the saddle, continually planning new courses to teach as he was slowly consumed by cancer and other painful maladies.

A Unique Pedigree

Dr. Waters was buried on September 1, 2010, one hundred years to the day from St. Pius X’s promulgation of the Oath Against Modernism, in which St. Pius X taught, “In the future the doctorate in theology or Canon Law must never be conferred on anyone who has not first of all made the regular course in scholastic [Thomistic] philosophy. If such a doctorate is conferred, it is to be held as null and void.”

It was Pius X who taught in his magisterial decrees that scholasticism is a central component in the combat with Modernism. Some of those at the funeral remarked that it appeared to be one of those ironies of Providence that Dr. Waters, one of the last of the great Thomists, should be buried on this significant anniversary.

Dr. Raphael Waters was a Master of Thomistic philosophy who possessed a pedigree that few others could boast. Born in Australia, and years later starting his career as a pharmacist, he became a student of the eminent Father Austin Woodbury at the Aquinas Academy in Sydney, a unique institution in the world. The school could not grant any degrees, yet people from all walks of life flocked to it because of the genius of its founder and instructor.

Father Woodbury, widely-known as “Doc” Woodbury, was trained by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, arguably the greatest Thomist of the 20th Century. Raphael Waters studied at the feet of Father Woodbury for decades. He took all the courses at the Aquinas Academy twice, and later became Father Woodbury’s co-teacher.

Dr. Waters traveled to Canada to further his studies, where he received three canonical and civil degrees in Philosophy from the University of Montreal. These degrees established him as qualified to teach in any Catholic seminary in the world.

In Canada, he studied under world-renowned masters such as Fathers Louis-Marie Regis and Louis-Bertrand Geiger. He said repeatedly, however, that the best of all his masters who towered head and shoulder above the rest was the “boy from the bush,” Father Woodbury.

For seven years he served as assistant professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. In 1976 he accepted a position at Niagara University in Lewiston NY, where he served as Professor of philosophy until he resigned in 2004.

In 2005, he founded the Aquinas School of Philosophy. This was the last great project of his life to which he devoted all of his time and energy.

He lectured every Friday night, first at a parish church hall in Niagara Falls, then at the Education Room in St. Mary’s hospital in Lewiston. The classes were free and open to all.

Dr. Dennis Bonnette, retired professor of philosophy from Niagara University and long-time colleague, who also teaches at the Aquinas School of Philosophy, said in tribute to Dr. Waters the day after his death, “Dr. Waters’ entire life was devoted to what he called the Apostolate of Scholarship… nobody was more dedicated to his students, spending many hours with them.”

The love Dr. Waters nursed towards his students was evident from the tributes they voiced after his death.

One former student drove from North Carolina to attend the funeral. Others wrote touching tributes on his webpage obituary. One reads, “I was a student on Dr. Waters at Niagara University. I remember Dr. Waters fondly. He was a dedicated teacher who cared deeply for his students. Thank you, Dr. Waters, for courageously teaching the truth.”

Father Francis DeRosa, a former student of Dr. Waters, drove from Virginia to celebrate the Funeral Mass in Niagara Falls. In his homily, Father DeRosa said that apart from his parents, Dr. Waters was the single most determining factor in his decision to become a priest: “It was through the teaching of Dr. Waters that I truly came to understand the Catholic Church as the one true Church established by Christ.”

Dr. Waters’ dedication to scholarship is demonstrated by the fact that upon retirement at age 80, when many a man is ready to “take it easy”, he went on to found his own school: The Aquinas School of Philosophy. He did this to keep alive the vital philosophical teachings of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas so woefully neglected in our time.

Indeed, he embodied 2500 years of the best of Western philosophical thought, and believed himself duty-bound to continue transmitting these great truths to others for as long as God gave him life.

Thomism Scorned

Dr. Waters was appalled at the state of education, and especially at the state of philosophy taught in Catholic colleges and universities. Thomistic scholasticism is out of fashion among Catholic academics, and has been so for decades.

Even prior to Vatican II, the progressivist proponents of the “New Theology” scorned scholasticism, claiming it too difficult for modern man to understand, and propounded new philosophical systems such as existentialism that would allegedly speak to modern man in his own language.

As early as 1950, keen Thomists such as Father David Greenstock warned against this new development: “We are asked to accept, in exchange for this solid foundation [of Thomism], the fluid concepts of a new philosophy, destined to change with time – we are told – like everything else in this fluid world. This, to our way of thinking, is not merely unreasonable, but also very dangerous.”

This new approach lacked the clarity and precision of Thomistic philosophy and introduced much mischief. It also cut the Catholic from his past, making the centuries-old Catholic language of scholasticism a foreign language to him.

This new approach was also the basis for progressive bishops and theologians at Vatican II to insist that Council documents be drafted in so-called pastoral (ambiguous) language. For example, the Decree on Ecumenism never defines ecumenism. The Council lays stress on “human dignity”, but never defines human dignity, etc.

Even Father Joseph Ratzinger, a young progressive theologian at Vatican II who was an adherent of the New Theology, rejoiced that the Council documents would not be drafted in scholastic terminology, as has been documented in past issues of Catholic Family News.

This lack of precision of Vatican II documents was alluded to by Bishop Thomas Morrow, a prelate who attended the Council. Catholic World News reported Bishop Morrow’s statement, “I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated, and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and liable to be reformed.”

The chaos resulting from these documents is well attested by the present ruinous state of the Church throughout the world. The very fact it is commonly held that Vatican II documents can have both a liberal interpretation and a conservative interpretation (the hermeneutic of discontinuity/hermeneutic of continuity dichotomy) testifies to the want of scholastic precision in the documents themselves. No one even pretends the Decrees of Trent or Vatican I can be interpreted in any other manner than the precise language in which they are written.

The wholesale abandonment of scholasticism quickly spread throughout Catholic universities, where the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas was ignored, and a confused modern approach put in its place.

The Science of philosophy is replaced with the “History of Philosophy”, which introduces the student to hundreds of conflicting thinkers, but never teaches the student how to think. This results in the belief that philosophy is nothing more than a contradictory jumble of personal ideas and ideals.

“The ‘History of Philosophy’ is the worst way to teach or study philosophy”, insisted Dr. Waters. A History of Philosophy course has its place for students who already have years of solid philosophical instruction, and whose minds are trained in the true science that gives them the ability to recognize errors of deceptive systems.

It is akin to attending a school of architecture where the student is taught a history of the various styles of structures from ancient Greece to modern New York, but never learns how to build a building.

The disorder in philosophy is worse, as it necessarily flows into confusion in Ethics, and to a grand perversion of the way Ethics is taught. The modern instructor does not teach the student the sound objective principles of Aristotle and Aquinas by which to judge moral actions. A contemporary Ethics course often consists of a text book that is merely a collection of essays from various authors presenting conflicting views. On Abortion, two essays in favor, two essays against; Euthanasia: two essays in favor, two essays against; Capital Punishment: two essay in favor, two essays against.

The student, who is not taught any firm principles by which to judge, is then told to make up his own uninformed mind. In the end, the student will be swayed in moral matters either by gut feeling, or by personal interests, or by popular liberal sentiment. The deformed student will also come to accept the prevailing error taught in modern universities: that there is no objective moral law.

This is not education, but deformation. One can only pity students and their parents who spend vast sums of money, and go into debt for years, to receive this perverse de-education.

Philosophy is a Science

By contrast, Dr. Waters, along with Father Woodbury and St. Thomas Aquinas, rightly teach that philosophy is a science that gives certitude to the mind. Dr. Waters defined philosophy as “certain knowledge of all things through their ultimate causes in the light of the principles of reason.”

By “certain knowledge”, he means “sure knowledge”.

Dr. Waters’ mentor, Father Woodbury, spends a remarkable nine pages in his unpublished Introduction to Philosophy, demonstrating with pitiless logic: “Philosophy is knowledge of all things through highest causes, proceeding under the natural light of human reason.” Here, both Dr. Waters and Father Woodbury simply reiterate the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas: “Wisdom [i.e. philosophy] is the science which studies first and universal causes; wisdom considers the first cause of all causes.”

Philosophy differs from the experimental sciences as it studies the ultimate cause of all things.

For example, as the philosopher Brother Benignus noted, the science of physics formulates the laws of motion, but it does not answer the question “Why is there motion in the universe”? Biology sets out to explain the functions, likeness and unlikeness of living things, but it cannot answer the origin, principle and purpose of life. Experimental psychology seeks to describe the behavior of man, but it cannot answer the questions: “What is man?” or “what is the reason of man’s existence?”

“The philosopher is above all the guardian of the principles of reason”, Dr. Waters taught. Principles of reason are so fundamental that they cannot be proved, only defended. Some of these principles of reason include.

• Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and under the same circumstances (this is the principle of non-contradiction which is the most fundamental principle of reason).

• Whatever undergoes movement is moved by another;

• Every agent acts for the sake of an end;

• The whole is greater than its part;

• It is never lawful to do an evil act for the sake of a good end.

These and other principles of reason are the tools of the philosopher by which he forms solid judgments about the world around him.

The principles of reason are employed in every branch of true philosophy: Logic; Cosmology; Philosophical Psychology; Metaphysics; Poietics; Ethics, and the rest. All of these sciences, properly taught according to the Aristotelian/Thomistic tradition, form a magnificent whole that support and complete one another.

For example, one cannot have sound notion of what is proper human behavior (Ethics) unless one has a correct understanding of what is human nature (Philosophical Psychology), or of the existence of God as our last end (Metaphysics).

Another advantage of sound philosophy is that it prevents one from bowing down before the altar of experimental science. Professor Stephen Hawking and his bogus claim that the universe can be explained without God do not intimidate a man familiar with the metaphysical teachings of Aristotle and Aquinas.

In his new book The Grand Design – which as of mid-September has sold over 36,000 copies – Hawking claims, “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists,” and it is not necessary to invoke God as the source of all creation.

In other words, Hawking says that the entire universe came from nothing, that we have a magnificent effect without a cause, that nothing produced everything. This absurdity, which we see nowhere else in all of creation, is what Hawking invokes to explain all of creation.

As philosopher Dr. Bonnette remarked when he heard Hawking’s assertion, “This is what happens when a physicist tries to do metaphysics. He’s speaking outside his field.” The modern world in its godless ignorance prostrates itself before the scientist Hawking. The true philosopher regards Hawking as an object to be pitied.

The Aquinas School of Philosophy

Dr. Raphael Waters taught the true science of scholastic philosophy at his Aquinas School of Philosophy. Between 2005 and 2007, he delivered courses in Philosophical Psychology and Ethics. I was privileged to start attending his classes in spring 2007, and recorded a series of stand-alone lectures on various topics, a full course on Metaphysics, and a full course on Philosophical Psychology.

In fact, at the time he was teaching Philosophical Psychology, he had an accident at home that laid him up for 10 months. On a Sunday night in winter at about 9:30, he fell in his bathroom, crushed his ribs when he hit the bathtub, and lay there all night unable to move.

Providentially, a driver from the cancer institute, who had come the next morning to take him to hospital, called the police when Dr. Waters did not answer the door. The entire time he was hospitalized from this accident, wracked in pain, his only thought was returning to his students.

On September 11, 2009, Dr. Waters began his course on Ethics, which would alas remain unfinished. While giving this course, he was in an out of the hospital, and was also undergoing cancer treatment at Roswell Park Institute in Buffalo.

On Friday January 22, 2010 when we were about halfway through the Ethics course, he opened the class with a special thank you to all of us who came to the school, supported it, and spread word about it (it is actually we who owed thanks to him). He told some of us privately that he was scheduled for a special meeting at Roswell Cancer Institute the following Monday, and they had bad news for him.

The next night, January 23, he experienced such strong pains in his legs (due to another malady unrelated to his cancer) he was rushed to the hospital. He would never return to class.

Above all, he was concerned for the future of his school. As I have recorded his lectures and have them on audio CD, the class continued to meet each Friday night in Lewiston to listen to his recorded talks and continue the study of philosophy.

In April, his long-time friend and colleague Dr. Dennis Bonnette was able to return and resume teaching. The school thus continues. Dr. Bonnette has delivered a brief course on points of Metaphysics, and is now conducting his own course on the Philosophy of Human Nature. He is a superb teacher.

All of these classes are being recorded and will be released through Oltyn Library Services at (see page 7). Dr. Waters’ unfinished Ethics course will also be released before the end of the year.

In the Saddle

I will close with a consideration that indicates the remarkable character of Dr. Waters; his determination to carry on. Throughout his final months, even though he would never return to class, he did not give up his plans to continue.

One day last February, when I visited him at the hospital, he laid out four other courses he was planning to teach: Logic, Epistemology, a course on Dr. Woodbury’s Introduction to Philosophy, and a fourth that I don’t remember. This was apart from his determination to complete his unfinished Ethics course.

It was edifying and humbling to see this 86-year-old man, literally dying from cancer, steadfast in his resolve to teach in the future.

His article against the fallacy of homosexual “marriage”, on page 5 of this issue, is something he wrote and sent to me only two weeks before his death. Even in the last days of his life on earth, he was still working out a new Prospectus for the school.

He always kept going. He never gave up. He never said, “I’ve done enough”. He never said, “I’m too old or too sick to continue”. In this and in his lifelong dedication to truth, he is model for us all.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. Raphael Waters. May he rest in peace.

The Collapse of Western Morality

By Paul Craig Roberts Global Research HERE...

September 23, 2010

Yes, I know, as many readers will be quick to inform me, the West never had any morality. Nevertheless things have gotten worse.

In hopes that I will be permitted to make a point, permit me to acknowledge that the US dropped nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities, fire-bombed Tokyo, that Great Britain and the US fire-bombed Dresden and a number of other German cities, expending more destructive force, according to some historians, against the civilian German population than against the German armies, that President Grant and his Civil War war criminals, Generals Sherman and Sheridan, committed genocide against the Plains Indians, that the US today enables Israel’s genocidal policies against the Palestinians, policies that one Israeli official has compared to 19th century US genocidal policies against the American Indians, that the US in the new 21st century invaded Iraq and Afghanistan on contrived pretenses, murdering countless numbers of civilians, and that British prime minister Tony Blair lent the British army to his American masters, as did other NATO countries, all of whom find themselves committing war crimes under the Nuremberg standard in lands in which they have no national interests, but for which they receive an American pay check.

I don’t mean these few examples to be exhaustive. I know the list goes on and on. Still, despite the long list of horrors, moral degradation is reaching new lows. The US now routinely tortures prisoners, despite its strict illegality under US and international law, and a recent poll shows that the percentage of Americans who approve of torture is rising. Indeed, it is quite high, though still just below a majority.
And we have what appears to be a new thrill: American soldiers using the cover of war to murder civilians. Recently American troops were arrested for murdering Afghan civilians for fun and collecting trophies such as fingers and skulls.

This revelation came on the heels of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s alleged leak of a US Army video of US soldiers in helicopters and their controllers thousands of miles away having fun with joy sticks murdering members of the press and Afghan civilians. Manning is cursed with a moral conscience that has been discarded by his government and his military, and Manning has been arrested for obeying the law and reporting a war crime to the American people.

US Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican, of course, from Michigan, who is on the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, has called for Manning’s execution. According to US Rep. Rogers it is an act of treason to report an American war crime.

In other words, to obey the law constitutes “treason to America.”

US Rep. Rogers said that America’s wars are being undermined by “a culture of disclosure” and that this “serious and growing problem” could only be stopped by the execution of Manning. If Rep. Rogers is representative of Michigan, then Michigan is a state that we don’t need.

The US government, a font of imperial hubris, does not believe that any act it commits, no matter how vile, can possibly be a war crime. One million dead Iraqis, a ruined country, and four million displaced Iraqis are all justified, because the “threatened” US Superpower had to protect itself from nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that the US government knew for a fact were not in Iraq and could not have been a threat to the US if they were in Iraq.

When other countries attempt to enforce the international laws that the Americans established in order to execute Germans defeated in World War II, the US government goes to work and blocks the attempt. A year ago on October 8, the Spanish Senate, obeying its American master, limited Spain’s laws of universal jurisdiction in order to sink a legitimate war crimes case brought against George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, Tony Blair,and Gordon Brown.

The West includes Israel, and there the horror stories are 60 years long. Moreover, if you mention any of them you are declared to be an anti-semite. I only mention them in order to prove that I am not anti-American, anti-British, and anti-NATO, but am simply against war crimes. It was the distinguished Zionist Jewish Judge, Goldstone, who produced the UN report indicating that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of Gaza. For his efforts, Israel declared the Zionist Goldstone to be “a self-hating Jew,” and the US Congress, on instruction from the Israel Lobby, voted to disregard the Goldstone Report to the UN.

As the Israeli official said, we are only doing to the Palestinians what the Americans did to the American Indians.

The Israeli army uses female soldiers to sit before video screens and to fire by remote control machine guns from towers to murder Palestinians who come to tend their fields within 1500 meters of the inclosed perimeter of Ghetto Gaza. There is no indication that these Israeli women are bothered by gunning down young children and old people who come to tend to their fields.

If the crimes were limited to war and the theft of lands, perhaps we could say it is a case of jingoism sidetracking traditional morality, otherwise still in effect.

Alas, the collapse of morality is too widespread. Some sports teams now have a win-at-all-cost attitude that involves plans to injure the star players of the opposing teams. To avoid all these controversies, let’s go to Formula One racing where 200 mph speeds are routine.

Prior to 1988, 22 years ago, track deaths were due to driver error, car failure, and poorly designed tracks compromised with safety hazards. World Champion Jackie Stewart did much to improve the safety of tracks, both for drivers and spectators. But in 1988 everything changed. Top driver Ayrton Senna nudged another top driver Alain Prost toward a pit wall at 190 mph. According to AutoWeek (August 30, 2010), nothing like this had been seen before. “Officials did not punish Senna’s move that day in Portugal, and so a significant shift in racing began.” What the great racing driver Stirling Moss called “dirty driving” became the norm.

Nigel Roebuck in AutoWeek reports that in 1996 World Champion Damon Hill said that Senna’s win-at-all-cost tactic “was responsible for fundamental change in the ethics of the sport.” Drivers began using “terrorist tactics on the track.” Damon Hill said that “the views that I’d gleaned from being around my dad [twice world champion Graham Hill] and people like him, I soon had to abandon,” because you realized that no penalty was forthcoming against the guy who tried to kill you in order that he could win.

When asked about the ethics of modern Formula One racing, American World Champion Phil Hill said: “Doing that sort of stuff in my day was just unthinkable. For one thing, we believed certain tactics were unacceptable.”

In today’s Western moral climate, driving another talented driver into the wall at 200 mph is just part of winning. Michael Schumacher, born in January 1969, is a seven times World Champion, an unequaled record. On August 1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, AutoWeek Reports that Schumacher tried to drive his former Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, into the wall at 200 mph speeds.

Confronted with his attempted act of murder, Schumacher said: “This is Formula One. Everyone knows I don’t give presents.”

Neither does the US government, nor state and local governments, nor the UK government, nor the EU.
The deformation of the police, which many Americans, in their untutored existence as naive believers in “law and order,” still think are “on their side,” has taken on new dimensions with the police militarized to fight “terrorists” and “domestic extremists.”  (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

The police have been off the leash since the civilian police boards were nixed by the conservatives. Kids as young as 6 years old have been handcuffed and carted off to jail for school infractions that may or may not have occurred. So have moms with a car full of children see, for example, THIS...

Anyone who googles videos of US police gratuitous brutality will call up tens of thousands of examples, and this is after laws that make filming police brutality a felony. A year or two ago such a search would call up hundreds of thousands of videos.

In one of the most recent of the numerous daily acts of gratuitous police abuse of citizens, an 84-year-old man had his neck broken because he objected to a night time towing of his car. The goon cop body-slammed the 84-year old and broke his neck. The Orlando, Florida, police department says that the old man was a “threat” to the well-armed much younger police goon, because the old man clenched his fist.

Americans will be the first people sent straight to Hell while thinking that they are the salt of the earth. The Americans have even devised a title for themselves to rival that of the Israelis’ self-designation as “God’s Chosen People.” The Americans call themselves “the indispensable people.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gulf Oil Update: Day 158

Is Using Dispersants on the BP Gulf Oil Spill Fighting Pollution with Pollution?

It remains unclear what impact chemical dispersants will have on sea life--and only the massive, uncontrolled experiment being run in the Gulf of Mexico will tell

By David Biello
Scientific American
June 18, 2010

Roughly five million liters of dispersants have now been used to break up the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, making this the largest use of such chemicals in U.S. history. If it continues for 10 months, as long as Mexico's Ixtoc 1 blowout in 1979 in the same region, the Macondo well disaster has a good chance of achieving the largest global use of these chemicals, surpassing 10 million liters.

And there is no doubt that dispersants are toxic: Both types of the dispersal compound COREXIT used in the Gulf so far are capable of killing or depressing the growth of a wide range of aquatic species, ranging from phytoplankton to fish. "It's a trade-off decision to lessen the overall environmental impact," explained marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at a press conference on May 12. "When an oil spill occurs, there are no good outcomes."

The trade-off in this case is the addition of toxic chemicals in a bid to protect the marshes of Louisiana and the beaches of Florida. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for one, has become concerned about the toxicity of the most-used dispersant at the Gulf of Mexico spill—COREXIT 9500—and ordered BP to look at alternatives. (COREXIT 9527 was used earlier during the spill, but it was discontinued because it was considered too toxic.)

The problem? The EPA's industry-generated data is unclear as to the relative toxicity of various dispersants. "If you think the data on COREXIT is bad, try to find any decent toxicology data on the alternatives," says toxicologist Carys Mitchelmore of the University of Maryland's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, who helped write a 2005 National Research Council (NRC) report on dispersants. "I couldn't compare and contrast which one was more toxic than the other based on that."

Dispersed oil

Both COREXIT 9500 and 9527 are produced by Naperville, Ill.–based Nalco, a company better known for its water purification work with the oil industry. "For every barrel of oil produced, 3.5 barrels of water are produced," explains chemist Mani Ramesh, chief technology officer for Nalco. "That needs to be treated before it can be released. That water treatment has been a core area for us."

But at the same time Nalco keeps busy cleaning the oil industry's water, it also provides COREXIT, a product to minimize the impact of any oil that spills into the water. Developed in a joint venture with ExxonMobil, the compound is largely made at facilities in Sugarland, Tex., and Garyville, La. The company expects to sell some $40-million worth of COREXIT as a result of the latest spill. "What the dispersant process enables is to prevent the oil from reaching the shore and converts that oil to easy food for naturally occurring microbes," Ramesh says. "If the oil reaches the shore the decomposition rate of oil is so low it would remain on the shore for probably 100 years."'

By last week, the EPA and Nalco had both released the ingredient list for COREXIT 9500 in response to widespread public concern. Its constituents include butanedioic acid (a wetting agent in cosmetics), sorbitan (found in everything from baby bath to food), and petroleum distillates in varying proportions—and it decomposes almost entirely in 28 days. "All six [ingredients] are used in day-to-day life—in mouthwash, toothpaste, ice cream, pickles," Ramesh argues. "We believe COREXIT 9500 is very safe."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, noting in a document for health professionals that "the dispersants contain proven, biodegradable and low-toxicity surfactants," which are "detergentlike" and "in low toxicity solvents."

However, those solvents—petroleum distillates—are also known animal carcinogens, according to toxicology data, and make up 10 to 30 percent of a given volume of COREXIT. And those same everyday products can be deadly to wildlife. "It's the same products in Dawn dishwasher soap," Mitchelmore notes, which is being used widely to clean up oiled birds and other animals. "I wouldn't want to put a fish in Dawn dishwashing soap either. That would kill it."

As a result, the EPA ordered BP to stop spraying dispersants on the oil slick on May 26. The EPA also ordered BP to look for less toxic alternatives on May 20, and the company responded in a letter dated that same day that "BP continues to believe that COREXIT EC9500A is the best alternative." The dispersant continues to be sprayed onto the ongoing oil spill.

No alternative

One reason BP can make such claims is due to a lack of clear data on any of the alternative dispersants. As part of the National Contingency Plan required for offshore drilling, one of 18 EPA-approved dispersants must be on hand to handle spilled oil. Each of those dispersants has been preapproved for use, and each of those dispersants has been tested—by the companies that make them—for toxicity using representative species of estuarine shrimp (Mysidopsis bahia) and fish (Menidia beryllina). Specifically, these animals are exposed to a mix of one liter of dispersant for every 10 liters of heavy fuel oil in water.

Yet, the results of those tests vary wildly, from toxic impacts occurring at levels of just 2.6 parts per million for COREXIT to 100 ppm for another dispersant, NOKOMIS 3-F4. That suggests to experts that the tests which showed lower toxicity may have employed heavy fuel oil that had lost its potency. After all, volatile organic compounds in oil evaporate quickly when exposed to air and can even wash off in water. "These are order of magnitude differences," Mitchelmore notes. "A lot of that can relate to how those tests were set up."

Adds Nalco toxicologist Sergio Alex Villalobos, "If the oil is aged, then the oil loses its toxicity. Using an oil that is not very toxic, if you disperse that oil you are going to get very favorable numbers. Do those numbers really exist?"

EPA, for its part, did not show the best understanding of toxicological data in making its recommendations, urging BP to use dispersants with less than a certain cutoff of toxicity (pdf). Of course, in toxicology the lower the concentration the more toxic a given substance is. "They completely got that wrong," Mitchelmore says. EPA is now undertaking its own toxicology testing of COREXIT and Louisiana crude oil, but results are pending.

Nevertheless, just 20 ppm of COREXIT 9500—or one drop in 2.5 liters of water—inhibits growth of Skeletonema costatum, a Gulf of Mexico diatom, according to toxicology test data presented in the 2005 NRC report. It appears to inhibit the phytoplankton's ability to perform photosynthesis, specifically blocking part of the biochemistry that enables the photosystem II complex, Villalobos says. "Skeletonema seems to fall among the most sensitive ones," he says. "Like many aquatic plants, these are organisms that are resilient, that tend to come back even though you wipe them out in some cases chemically."

COREXIT is also not approved for use in U.K. waters because it fails the so-called "limpet test". That test involves spraying the dispersant and oil on rocks and seeing if limpets (a type of small mollusk) can still cling to them, a test which COREXIT and many other dispersants with slippery surfactants fail. "This is not a product for rocky shores," Villalobos says. "These are only for open sea waters."

Novel use

Of course, in the case of the oil spewing from BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, COREXIT is being used in another unapproved way. A wand from one of the remote-operated robots has sprayed more than 1.5 million liters of dispersants directly onto the escaping oil and natural gas roughly 1,500 meters beneath the ocean's surface. "I don't think anybody knows what would happen by applying the dispersants at depth," Ramesh says. "We do not have any knowledge that would allow us to predict what would happen."

In addition to creating subsurface plumes (and providing a rich feast for oil-eating microbes), it remains unclear what kind of dosage of dispersed oil sea life throughout the water column is facing. NOAA measurements show that levels reach 100 ppm of dispersed oil in the first half-meter of water, dropping to 12.5 ppm at 10 meters and unknown levels even deeper. "There isn't any information on what is the environmentally relevant level of dispersant," Mitchelmore notes. "Dispersed oils are going to be toxic, particularly in the top 10 meters that contains all the sensitive life stages. Anything that has sensitive membranes can be affected by dispersants and dispersed oil."

Sunlight falling on the dispersed oil may make the problem worse through a phenomenon known as phototoxicity. Compounds in the oil act as a catalyst to transfer some of the sun's energy into oxygen, converting the latter to a more reactive state that can literally burn up cells. And as fish and other sea life ingest the dispersed oil, it can be broken down into more toxic by-products. "What do these things break down into?" Mitchelmore says. "In toxicology it's quite often not the original compound that's the toxic entity."

Ultimately, the problem is that too little is known about the dispersants and the dispersed oil. "Given that this is a billion-dollar industry, why were those data gaps not filled?" Mitchelmore asks. "The whole issue regarding limited toxicity data—that's not just common to dispersants, that's common to tens of thousands of chemicals we're putting out into the environment daily."

After all, it was only after decades of using bisphenol A, polybrominated flame retardants and other chemicals that significant concerns began to manifest. In effect, usage replaced safety testing—and that's exactly what is happening with dispersants and the massive spill in the Gulf. Different regulation of chemicals and the chemical industry might forestall toxicological mysteries like those surrounding dispersants—and their thousands of chemical cousins—in the future.

"We're using an awful lot of dispersants," said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson during the same May 12 press briefing on the chemical's use at which NOAA's Lubchenco spoke. "This is going on longer than one might have known on day three or four. We're still dealing with a constant release of fresh oil and we need to continue to disperse."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Update: Day 157

Degraded Oil From BP Spill Coats Gulf Seafloor

By Brett Israel
posted: 21 September 2010

NEW YORK - Now that BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well has been sealed, the long, hard work of assessing the damage begins even as the oil is dispersing throughout the Gulf.

A research team from Columbia University in New York returned this past weekend (Sept. 17 to 19) from a tour of duty in the Gulf of Mexico with new data to attempt to measure the location and magnitude of subsurface oil plumes, and their effects on the marine ecosystem, which have recently been the focus of much debate.

They found oil on the seafloor, evidence that it may be in the food chain, and signs that it may be hidden in large marine mammals. In spots, the "oily snow" — degraded oil and other organic material that clings to it — was up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) deep on the seafloor, said Columbia oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam.

"The idea that the oil is degraded and therefore doesn't matter is something we have to think about differently," Subramaniam said at a talk here today. "This is one of the first findings that showed degraded oil material collected on the seafloor."

When this gunk starts to pile up on the sea floor, the entire food web is at risk, the researchers said. The oceanographers also discovered discolored zooplankton, which eat the food chain's primary producers ­– phytoplankton – near oily clouds, Subramaniam said. The full analysis of the effects to the food chain, however, will take several months.

While the deep-ocean effects are largely out of sight, the Gulf's large mammals — including whales and dolphins — were also hit hard by the oil spill. Yet the true impact may take years to uncover.
"We really don't know much about the effect of the oil spill in cetaceans, because the effects are likely to be long term," said marine mammal expert Martin Mendez of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Scientists have found 89 dead dolphins and one dead whale in the Gulf since the oil began pouring into the Gulf, Mendez said.

Of the dolphins, one-quarter will undergo necropsies so scientists can say for sure whether or not they died because of the oil. The whale was found floating far from the wellhead and was degraded to the point that a necropsy could not be performed. Something has clearly gone wrong however, because 89 dead dolphins is about 10 times the amount typically found in the Gulf over a similar time period.

The Columbia oceanographers' data will help researchers track the physical and ecological impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. When BP's oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana on April 22, the ruptured oil well began emptying an estimated 136.4 tons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

After a relief well was drilled to intercept the well, the gusher was finally sealed on Sept. 18 with a blast of cement to cap the busted pipe.

An estimated 4.4 million barrels of oil (205 million gallons) have leaked into the Gulf since the spill began, but little oil has squirted out since July 15, when a cap was installed and sealed on the wellhead.

Top scientists meet in Tampa to study health impacts of Gulf oil spill

By Kris Hundley, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersberg Times
In Print: Thursday, September 23, 2010

TAMPA — The news cameras may have moved away from the Gulf of Mexico with the sealing of the Deepwater Horizon well, but some of the nation's top medical researchers are just starting to focus on the overall health impact the massive spill has had on cleanup workers. (Editor's NOTE:  Unfortunaetly, it is sad to have to say that we need to see who the researcher's are and whether or not they are all federal government and or BP financed in order to ascertain the degree to which their ultimate conclusions might be tainted).

And they're moving fast.

"We'll maximize community support by minimizing delays," said Dale Sandler, lead researcher on the study and chief of the epidemiology branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "It shows we're serious."

About 50 leading scientists gathered in Tampa Wednesday to finalize the design of the ambitious Gulf Worker Study, which expects to start enrolling subjects next month.

Researchers hope to track 27,000 workers who had exposure to oil and chemical dispersants during the cleanup process. Another group of workers, who were trained but never worked in the field, will be used as a control group.

Scientists will be looking at the potential health consequences of workers' exposure to the chemicals, from immediate concerns like skin rashes to long-term effects like cancer. They will also be working with collaborators to evaluate workers' mental health. A separate study will address the oil spill's impact on children and pregnant women in the gulf area.

The Gulf Worker Study, which is expected to run for at least five years, has received $10 million from the National Institutes of Health and another $10 million from BP PLC, the well's owner.
"Frankly most of the funds will be coming from the government, but we hold out hope" that BP will give more, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins said Wednesday.

Most studies on oil spill impacts have been short-term and focused on the effects on animals, rather than humans. Though there have been 38 supertanker oil spills over the last 50 years, only eight have been followed for human health effects. Among the most studied were the Exxon Valdez in 1989 and a spill off Spain in 2002. The Deepwater Horizon spill, which began with an explosion of an oil rig on April 20 and was capped last week, is larger than any other incident.

Collins told fellow scientists in Tampa that the Gulf Worker Study was different from most research projects because of the degree of public skepticism, the intense public concern over the issue and the potential for lawsuits. He said workers will be guaranteed that personal medical information gathered for the study cannot be used against them in any litigation.

Urging his colleagues to share data freely in order to understand the impact of oil spills, Collins said, "The health effects remain undefined and need to be defined."
Kris Hundley can be reached at or (727)892-2996

Did BP Oil Spill Clean-up End Too Soon?
By Gordon Gibb
Lawsuits and Legal News HERE...
September 22, 2010

Pensacola, FL: The news in recent days about the successful and permanent closure of the well responsible for the BP oil spill comes as welcome news. If government observers are to be believed, the majority of the millions of gallons of BP crude oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico have already dispersed. However, some oil spill clean-up workers who found themselves suddenly laid off after the crisis passed believe there is still work to do.

The 9/19/10 edition of the Pensacola News-Journal reveals that several hundred clean-up workers recruited through various employment agencies to help with the oil spill clean-up worked for 100 days armed with shovels, trash bags and buckets. Then, on August 25, they were abruptly sent home.

"They told us we were being completely laid off," lamented Mary Greiwisch, a temp employee now suddenly without a job. What's more, while some individuals recruited for Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean-up detail were hired through reputable employment firms, there are allegations that some less savory operators sprung out of the woodwork when they saw the chance to make a fast buck.

Did the clean-up end too soon?

Mark Robinson, who has a degree in biology and works full-time, took a clean-up job because he thought it to be a good way to help the area recover from the oil spill. Robinson told the News-Journal that he couldn't escape the feeling that there was more to be done.

"Down four to six inches you could find some big chunks. Platter-sized chunks," he said. "You weren't supposed to reach into the sand because there was supposedly this risk of contaminated needles. To me, that people are out there going over and over the beach, and they're not getting it, is a tremendous waste of resources."

Were opportunists a factor?

There were some reputable employment agencies involved in recruiting for the oil spill disaster. Robinson worked for two of the better ones, Manpower and Adecco. Houston-based Plant Performance Services, known popularly as P2S, was hired directly by British Petroleum to run the Qualified Community Responder Program. Those recruited by P2S report a positive experience, unhappy as they are that the clean-up effort has been scaled back.

However, other workers hired through other agencies do not share such a positive view. Charlie Burris, a 44-year-old Floridian from Pensacola, described his experience as "a nightmare."

Burris told the News-Journal, "There were some really creative people to come out of the woodwork during this oil spill. Those guys found they could find employees, pass that information onto contractors and skim a dollar or two an hour off that person's salary."

The News-Journal reported that dozens of staffing agencies appeared in the aftermath of the worst off-shore oil spill in US history, setting up recruiting tents in parking lots and peppering Craigslist with promising jobs. Burris himself reported applying to ten different staffing agencies, many of which quickly disappeared almost as fast as they arrived.

"They sucked up info, and no one ever heard from them again. They either didn't get a contract, or they just ran off with our info and sold it to other companies," Burris said.

Rates of pay varied dramatically. Workers recruited by P2S were paid $18 to $20 per hour at the peak of the clean-up. Supervisors were paid $32 an hour. Workers were toiling up to 80 hours per week.

However, the P2S situation was not mirrored in workers represented by some other agencies, who were risking potential health problems for about $10 an hour and perhaps one or two shifts per week.

And if the clean-up was scaled back, or abandoned too soon, what impact will that have on residents and businesses affected by the BP oil spill? Tavarez Richardson, who participated in a P2S clean-up crew for the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, told the News-Journal that when he was laid off, it felt as if there was still work to be done.


Lawsuit asks if science was manipulated in oil spill estimates

By Renee Schoof
McClatchy Newspapers
September 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — An environmental whistleblower group charges in a lawsuit that the Obama administration is withholding documents that would reveal why it issued an estimate on the gravity of the Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that later was proved to be far too low.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sued Thursday in federal court, claiming that federal officials are withholding hundreds of pages of reports and communications between scientists on the Flow Rate Technical Group, who were tasked with making the estimates, and Marcia McNutt, the head of the U.S. Geological Survey, who chaired the technical group and released a summary of its findings.

The controversy over the oil flow estimates is part of a broader question about whether political appointees at the top of the Obama administration have manipulated and publicized incorrect or incomplete scientific information in an attempt to tamp down anxiety and anger over the world's worst oil accident.
The failure to assess the damage from BP's spill also is seen as hampering the government's continued efforts to clean up the Gulf.

"This lawsuit will produce Exhibit A for the case that science is still being manipulated under the current administration," Jeff Ruch, the executive director of the environmental organization, said in a statement.
"Our concern is that the administration took, and is still taking, steps to falsely minimize public perception about the extent and severity of the BP spill, a concern that the administration could start to dispel by releasing these documents," Ruch said.

Ruch said that some of the missing information was thought to show that the USGS knew in May, when it released an estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, that there was a completed estimate that was much higher.

In August, after the well had been capped, the government produced a new estimate as much as five times higher, based on better information from pressure readings and other analysis. It said that the oil flowed at a rate of 62,000 barrels of oil per day at first and later slowed to 53,000 barrels a day, with a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent. Based on that finding, the official estimate is that 4.1 million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf from April to July.

Questions also have been raised about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's report in August that said that 74 percent of the oil had been captured, dispersed, skimmed or burned, or had evaporated or dissolved. NOAA hasn't released scientific findings to back up that assessment.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility's lawsuit doesn't target NOAA, however. The nonprofit environmental protection group acts on behalf of concerned government insiders.

The advocacy group sought the documents on estimates of the oil flow under the Freedom of Information Act. The USGS posted some of the requested materials on its website, but the group said in its lawsuit that it had sought hundreds more that the agency didn't release.

Those include communications between McNutt and her staff and members of the flow-rate technical team, including e-mails and minutes of conferences, and all reports by the team that contain estimates of the maximum oil leak rate.

The technical group was supposed to look at the worst-case scenario, and it isn't known whether it gave a higher estimate to the government's oil-spill response center, Ruch said.

USGS spokeswoman Anne-Betty Wade referred questions to the Department of Interior, whose spokeswoman, Kendra Barkoff, said she couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility claims that McNutt originally didn't reveal that the May figures were a minimum estimate. The agency updated the news release in June.

Early on, after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April, officials put the flow at 1,000 barrels a day. They raised that to 5,000 barrels based on overhead visual estimates and stuck to that figure for weeks, even after it became apparent that much of the oil was remaining below the surface and out of sight.
The oil spill data isn't the only issue that's worrying the group.

In March 2009, not long after he was sworn in, Obama issued an executive memorandum that said his administration would adopt policies to protect scientific integrity. He directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop those policies by July 9, 2009. The policies still haven't been issued.

"We pointed out the reason the Bush administration could manipulate science was because there were no rules against it, and there still aren't," Ruch said.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: Day 156

Evidence Mounts of BP Spraying Toxic Dispersants

by: Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t
Monday 13 September 2010

Shirley and Don Tillman, residents of Pass Christian, Mississippi, have owned shrimp boats, an oyster boat and many pleasure boats. They spent much time on the Gulf of Mexico before working in BP's Vessels Of Opportunity (VOO) program looking for and trying to clean up oil.

Don decided to work in the VOO program in order to assist his brother, who was unable to do so due to health problems. Thus, Don worked on the boat and Shirley decided to join him as a deckhand most of the days.
Private contractor in Carolina Skiff with tank of Corexit dispersant, August 10, south of Pass Christian Harbor, 9:30 AM. (Photo: Don Tillman)

"We love the Gulf, our life is here and so when this oil disaster happened, we wanted to do what we could to help clean it up," Shirley explained to Truthout.

However, not long after they began working in BP's response effort in June, what they saw disturbed them. "It didn't take long for us to understand that something was very, very wrong about this whole thing," Shirley told Truthout. "So that's when I started keeping a diary of what we experienced and began taking a lot of pictures. We had to speak up about what we know is being done to our Gulf."

Shirley logged what they saw and took hundreds of photos. The Tillmans confirm, both with what they logged in writing as well as in photos, what Truthout has reported before: BP has hired out-of-state contractors to use unregistered boats, usually of the Carolina Skiff variety, to spray toxic Corexit dispersants on oil located by VOO workers.

Shirley provided Truthout with key excerpts from the diary she kept of her experiences out on the water with her husband while they worked in the VOO program before they, like most of the other VOO workers in Mississippi, were laid off because the state of Mississippi, along with the US Coast Guard, has declared there is no more "recoverable oil" in their area.

"The first day I went, I noticed a lot of foam on the water," reads her entry from June 26. "My husband said he had been seeing a lot of it. At that time, we were just looking for 'Oil.' We would go out in groups of normally, five boats. The Coast Guard was over the VOO operation. There was always a Coast Guard on at least one of the boats. They would tell us when to leave the harbor, where to go and how fast to go. They had flags on each of the VOO boats and also a transponder. Sometimes we would have one or more National Guardsmen in our group too, as well as an occasional safety man to monitor the air quality and procedures on the boat. If we found anything, the Coast Guard in our group would call it in to 'Seahorse' and they would determine what action would be taken."

Along with giving a clear description of how the Coast Guard was thus always aware of the findings of the VOO workers, her diary provides, at times, heart-wrenching descriptions of what is happening to the marine life and wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico.

"Before we went to work, I went down by the beach," reads her entry from July 4. "There were dead jellyfish everywhere. Some of them were surrounded by foam. A seagull was by the waters edge, as the foamy stuff continued to wash up. There was also a crane that appeared to be sick. It didn't look like it had any oil on it, but it just stood there, no matter how close I got."

On the morning of August 5, Shirley describes spotting a dead young dolphin floating in the water. "As we waited for the VOO Wildlife boat to come pick it up, we noticed a pod of dolphins close by," she writes. "Even with all the boats around, they did not leave until the dead one was removed from the water. It was very emotional, for all of us."

The next day, August 6, found her logging more death. "Last night on the news, they reported a fish kill. Before we went to work, I went to the beach by the harbor. The seagulls were everywhere. As for the dead fish, the only ones on the beach, were ones that the tide had left when it went back out. The rest of the 'Fish Kill,' was laying underwater, on the bottom.

         Dead flounder among fish kill, August 6, 2010. (Photo: Shirley Tillman), Pass Christian, Ms.

It was mainly flounder and crab. We only spotted two dead flounder floating that day. I can only imagine how many were on the bottom ... I went back to the beach after work. The tide had gone out and the seagulls were eating all the dead fish that had been exposed. You could still see dead fish underwater, still on the bottom. Dead fish don't float anymore?"

The Tillman's primary concern is the rampant use of toxic dispersants by what they described as private contractors working in unregistered boats, that regularly were going out into the Gulf as they and other VOO teams were coming in from their days' work. There was, oftentimes, so much dispersant on top of the water, their boat left a trail. Click HERE... for more including excellent pictures taken by the Tillman's.

Dispersant remnant, June 26, 2010. (Photo: Shirley Tillman) Pass Christian, Ms.


An Open Letter to US EPA, Region 6

By: Riki Ott, Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor
Huffington Post
Posted: August 27, 2010 03:27 PM

Sam Coleman
U.S. EPA, Region 6
1445 Ross Ave.
Dallas, TX 75202-2733 Via email:

August 27, 2010

Re: Documentation of continued dispersant spraying in near shore and inland waters from Florida to Louisiana (despite contrary claims by USCG and BP) and documentation that dispersants made oil sink.

Dear Mr. Coleman,

During the August 25 Dockside Chat in Jean Lafitte, LA, it came to our attention that the federal agencies were unaware -- or lacking proof -- of the continued spraying of dispersants from Louisiana to Florida. Further, the federal agencies were woefully ignorant of the presence of subsurface oil-dispersant plumes and sunken oil on ocean and estuary water bottoms. We offer evidence to support our statements, including a recently declassified subsurface assessment plan from the Incident Command Post.

But first, you mentioned that such activities (continued spraying of dispersants and sinking oil) -- if proven -- would be "illegal." As you stated, sinking agents are not allowed in oil spill response under the National Contingency Plan Subpart J §300.910 (e): "Sinking agents shall not be authorized for application to oil discharges."

We would like to know under what laws (not regulations) such activities are illegal and what federal agency or entity has the authority to hold BP accountable, if indeed, such activity is illegal. It is not clear that the EPA has this authority.

For example, on May 19, the EPA told BP that it had 24 hours to choose a less toxic form of chemical dispersants and must apply the new form of dispersants within 72 hours of submitting the list of alternatives. Spraying of the Corexit dispersants continued unabated. On May 26, the EPA and Coast Guard told BP to eliminate the use of surface dispersants except in rare cases where there may have to be an exemption and to reduce use of dispersants by 75 percent. Yet in a letter dated July 30, the congressional Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment reported the USCG on-scene commander (OSC) had approved 74 exemption requests to spray dispersants between May 28 and July 14.

Under the National Contingency Plan Subpart J, the authorization of use §300.910 (d) gives the OSC the final authority on dispersant use: "The OSC may authorize the use of any dispersant... without obtaining the concurrence of he EPA representative... when, in the judgment of the OSC, the use of the product is necessary to prevent or substantially reduce a hazard to human life."

Given this history of events and the NCP regulation, we would like to know what federal entity actually has the final authority to: order BP to stop spraying of dispersant; declare that spraying of dispersant after issuance of a cease and desist order is illegal; and prosecute BP for using product to sink oil. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

The documentation of dispersant spraying in nearshore and inland waters includes:

√ claims by USCG and BP

√ eyewitness accounts

√ fish kills in areas of eyewitness accounts

√ photos of white foam bubbles and dispersant on boat docks in areas of eyewitness accounts

√ sick people in areas of eyewitness accounts

For more details on the documentation of the above  see THIS...


Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long-term health risks, experts say

By Brad Jacobson
The Raw Story
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 -- 7:49 am

Despite repeated assurances from federal officials and President Obama, independent scientists and public health experts have serious concerns about the long-term safety of Gulf seafood consumption.

In particular, experts tell Raw Story, contaminants from the massive oil spill and unprecedented use of the dispersants employed to dissolve the spill have the potential to cause cancer and neurological disorders.

In interviews with Raw Story last week, scientists and public health experts expressed concerns over possible long-term risks from eating contaminated Gulf seafood.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil that can accumulate in the food chain, absorbed by fish and shellfish. During the ongoing testing of seafood in the Gulf of Mexico by federal and state authorities, PAHs are of primary concern.

But crude oil also contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium that can accumulate in the food chain as well, though at a slower pace than PAHs, and are toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Another potential long-term health concern left in the wake of BP’s catastrophic oil spill is the nearly two million gallons of dispersant unleashed into the Gulf, much of it subsurface, which made both the amount used and its use unprecedented.

In interviews with Raw Story last week, FDA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said that all fish and shellfish in reopened federal and state waters have tested well beneath the level of concern for PAHs.

But what worries some scientists and public health experts is what these tests don’t -- and can’t -- reveal. They feel it’s “premature” for government officials to claim Gulf seafood poses no future health risks.

“Those are the short-term effects,” said Edward Trapido, the Wendell Gauthier Chair of Cancer Epidemiology at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health.

“We don’t know the long-term effects,” he explained. “And we don’t know, particularly related to cancer and particularly related to age and exposure, what the long-term effects will be.”

Trapido testified in June at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on the spill and is heading a research group at LSU that will look at a range of health effects, including psychiatric and behavioral effects, chronic diseases and cancers.

The issue we don’t know at this point, he said, is the extent to which these compounds may bioacccumulate in shellfish or fish and what the half-lives are.

“So you could imagine if a large fish feasted on several hundred small fish and each of those small fish have eaten a certain number of microorganisms which had a little of contaminant, there’s a possibility, certainly, that you could go over the current measurements.”

In interviews with Raw Story last week, NOAA and FDA officials, in general, tended to downplay bioaccumulation of PAHs in Gulf seafood. But in some cases they denied it’s occurring at all, or even that it could occur.

“We have not found it,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott claimed. “Every sample that we have tested for PAHs has come back clean. It has the potential to [bioaccumulate]. But we have not found it, even from samples taken from inside of closure areas.”

Christine Patrick, NOAA spokeswoman for seafood safety, went so far as to tell Raw Story, “The concept that the oil bioaccumulates [in seafood] – that’s not correct. It’s metabolized and excreted.”
Raw Story confirmed, in consultation with independent scientists, that these two statements were, respectively, impossible and inaccurate.

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading national environmental group, underscored two things that NOAA, FDA and Gulf state officials have been playing down.

“The monitoring that’s currently being conducted by both NOAA and various different state agencies, and compiled by FDA, show that there is PAH contamination of fish in the Gulf,” she said. “They are detecting various different levels of the various different PAH constituents.”

Ellman, who contributed to last month’s peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, which identified a number of issues about the health of Gulf seafood, also noted, “There is a good body of literature showing that seafood can be impacted by these contaminants.”
The JAMA report cites a 2002 study in the peer-reviewed journal Marine Environmental Research on the lasting effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which concluded: "Our data show that 10 years after the spill, nearshore fishes within the original spill zone were still exposed to residual hydrocarbons. All biomarkers [for contaminants] were elevated in fish collected from sites originally oiled, in comparison to fish from unoiled sites.''

Ellman added, “We understand that the different types of seafood – fish vs. crustaceans and bivalves – all have different capacities to retain the contaminants, and that’s important to note. But it’s not the basis on which to make a blanket statement that there’s no risk.”

“So it’s premature,” Trapido cautioned, “to say that it’s safe in the long-term.”
“We can say that it’s safe at this point based on what we know,” he continued. “But as a cancer epidemiologist, which is what I am, I have to maintain an air of skepticism and say, well, we don’t have any data to make a judgment on the long-term cases.”

The startling lack of data on the future health effects from oil spills on humans was a common lament among experts who spoke with Raw Story.

Trapido confirmed that the longest follow-up study that’s ever been done on people exposed to oil spills was just four years, and that was to track mental health only.

Two new areas of scientific research not being accounted for in the current risk assessments could also adversely impact future health, Ellman noted.

She said that studies have shown that early life exposure to the chemical benzo(a)pyrene, one of the most carcinogenic PAHs, increases the risk of cancer later in life. It wouldn’t have the same effect, she clarified, if the exposure came later in life.

“So because children’s bodies are different and they’re developing, exposures that happen early in life can have a more detrimental effect than if they were exposed later on,” said Ellman.

In addition to the cancer risks, Ellman told Raw Story that there’s also a new body of literature that has shown adverse developmental impacts from in utero exposure to PAHs, such as delayed growth, low birth weight and other indicators of impact during fetal development.

NOAA toxicologist John Stein said that he and other scientists within the agency have proposed to continue monitoring the Gulf waters to ensure seafood safety for the next three to five years. But Patrick confirmed that the agency has not made an official commitment to this.

Independent scientists and public health officials who spoke with Raw Story agreed that even if federal and state officials committed to such a time frame, it would still fall short of what's necessary.

They pointed out that due to bioaccumulation in the food chain, it's quite possible contamination levels in Gulf fish and shellfish may actually be higher in three to five years.

"If they were to completely suspend any monitoring prematurely," Ellman warned, "we wouldn't necessarily know whether levels of contaminants in seafood that we're most worried about have gone back down or remain elevated."

War-Monger Pushes Attack on Iran: Neocon's in Full Battle Mode

Editor's NOTE:

It appears a full court press is being applied by the Neocon's who are increasingly agitating for war with Iran. This comes as they continue to raise the heat level over all things Muslim e.g. the Community Center planned for 2 blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York (usually referred to as the Ground Zero Mosque initiative by Neocon's and other "war-monger's"). Graham is apparently the first US senator to recommend proceeding with war against Iran.

It should be unnecessary to point out once again that Iran represents absolutely no existential threat to the United States.  Should this nation commense an offensive (agressive) military attack against Iran (whether by air, sea or land) it would be unquestionably  immoral as well as illegal under international and US law.

Senator Lindsey Graham has engaged in extremely dangerous behavior and should be shunned for seriously attempting to involve the country in another immoral war.

Lindsey Graham says U.S. Must Prepare to Attack Iran

By James Rosen

September 21, 2010 "McClatchy " WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Monday that the United States must be prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon — and added that the last-resort step should be taken with the goal of overthrowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Graham, a military lawyer and a senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, became the first senator to support direct U.S. military intervention in Iran, saying it should not involve ground troops but be launched by U.S. warplanes and ships.

"If you use military force against Iran, you've opened up Pandora's box," Graham told the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "If you allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, you've emptied Pandora's box. I'd rather open up Pandora's box than empty it."

Graham's unusual public support for overturning Ahmadinejad and the ruling council of Shiite Muslim clerics that he nominally heads recalled President George W. Bush's controversial policy of regime change to invade Iraq in 2003 and overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein.

Graham was a prominent supporter of the Iraq war, though he criticized Bush and former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld for sending too few U.S. troops.

Obama aides on the National Security Council declined to comment Monday on Graham's remarks about Iran.

State Department aides said Obama will discuss Iran on Thursday during his address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Graham said he believes Ahmadinejad "was lying" when he said Sunday in New York, after arriving for the U.N. General Assembly session this week, that Iran isn't building a nuclear bomb.

"From my point of view, if we engage in military operations as a last resort, the United States should have in mind the goal of changing the regime," Graham said. "Not by invading (Iran), but by launching a military strike by air and sea."

Such an attack would be aimed not only at eliminating Iran's nuclear capabilities, Graham said, but at rendering Ahmadinejad's government powerless.

In order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he said, a U.S. attack would be preferable to an Israeli attack because the American military is more powerful and more likely to achieve regime change.

Graham's aides later said his reference to regime change entailed both the overthrow of Ahmadinejad and the removal of the Islamic clerics that many analysts believe at least partially control him.

The U.S. opposition to Teheran's construction of a nuclear power plant in the southern Iran city of Bushehr dates to the Clinton administration in the 1990s.

Obama, like Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, has failed to persuade Russia not to help Iran build the Bushehr plant and then provide fuel for it. Iran and Russia say the plant, which recently began operating, will produce nuclear-fueled electricity for peaceful use.

The United States believes that Iran's ultimate intention is to convert the fuel to weapons-grade plutonium in order to create nuclear arms.
How Dangerous is Iran Really?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: Day 155, MORE on the TOXICITY OF Chemical Dispersant COREXIT

Dispersants Can Make Chemicals from Oil Airborne ... Exposing Coastal Residents to Toxins

Washington's blog HERE...
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PhD toxicologist Chris Pincetich says that - even with a very good pilot spraying Corexit - the dispersant drifts onto land:

(Dr. Pincetich also says that the dispersant evaporates and then moves around).
The air force sprayed Corexit from C-130 military cargo planes.
And Corexit is apparently still - to this day - being sprayed in the Gulf.

But drift is not the only manner in which dispersants sprayed in the Gulf can expose coastal residents to toxins.
It is well-known that microscopic droplets can easily become airborne.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month:

"Oil from the ruptured well, broken down by sprays of chemical dispersants and held at depth by water pressure, has formed microscopic droplets ...."

Two mechanical engineers from the University of Miami demonstrated in 2001:

"When oil is spilled at sea, aerosols containing oil or chemical dispersants (when they are used to combat the oil spill) can be formed ... This may result in oil aerosol exposure to response workers or the nearby public."


In the case of oil spills in the sea, oil aerosols can be generated from wind-wave interactions, wave/ship interactions, and some other attendant natural or mechanical cleanup operations, just like usual marine aerosols. Those aerosols can contain volatile and toxic components. Another important factor is the use of chemical dispersants. The dispersing agents are used to break up the oil slicks into tiny droplets to provide bite-sized bits for oil-eating bacteria. The dispersants break down the interfacial  (interface) tension between the water and the oil, causing the dispersant to enter the water column. During the initial stage of the dispersant application (maybe as short as minutes), it is possible for the dispersant and/or the oil dispersant droplet to become aerosolized.

They assume that the amount of material aerosolized might be doubled under 15 mile per hour winds.
In other words, the use of dispersants in the Gulf may have caused toxic chemicals within the crude oil (and the dispersant itself) to become airborne. With even a slight onshore breeze, this could be enough to expose coastal residents to toxic chemicals.

In addition to causing toxic chemicals to become airborne, the use of dispersants in the Gulf has also been counter-productive because:
  • The use of dispersants prevented clean up of the oil by skimming, by far the easiest method of removing oil from the water
  • The crude oil which does not become aerosolized sinks under the surface of the ocean, and can delay the recovery of the ecosystem by years or even decades
  • PhD toxicologist Ricki Ott says that dispersants make the toxins in crude oil more bioavailable to sealife, and scientists have found that applying Corexit to Gulf crude oil releases 35 times more toxic chemicals into the water column than would be released with crude alone
  • The overwhelming majority of studies find that dispersants slow the growth of oil-eating microbes
  • Dispersants cause Gulf fish to absorb more toxins and then make it harder for the fish to get rid of the pollutants once exposed
  • Dispersants may bioaccumulate in seafood
Blood tests show elevated levels of toxic hydrocarbons in Gulf residents

Given that the use of Corexit dispersant in the Gulf has so many negative affects, why was it used in such massive quantities?

In the video above, Dr. Pincetich explains that it was used because applying Corexit in the Gulf was simply cheaper for BP than actually cleaning up the oil. In other words, it cost less in the short-run for BP to buy a bunch of Corexit and dump it into the Gulf to break up and hide the oil than to pay people to clean up the oil.

And a senior EPA analyst says that government agencies have acted as "sock puppets" for BP regarding the use of dispersants.

And by using dispersants to break up and hide the giant oil slicks, BP and the government can pretend that it is "mission accomplished" ... even though the use of Corexit may in reality ensure that the recovery of the Gulf, its seafood industry and its residents is delayed by many years.

  Corexit is Killing the Gulf Part I


Corexit is Actually Eating through Hulls of Boats in Gulf of Mexico


BP Spraying Corexit at Night on Populated Areas in the Gulf of Mexico