Archive | December 13th, 2014

Letter shows CIA had doubts about Iraq link to 9/11 attacks

The towers of the World Trade Center pour smoke shortly after being struck by hijacked commercial airplanes in New York in this September 11, 2001.— Reuters/file
The towers of the World Trade Center pour smoke shortly after being struck by hijacked commercial airplanes in New York in this September 11, 2001.— Reuters/file

WASHINGTON: The CIA declassified a letter on Thursday that suggests US intelligence had grave doubts about part of the case made by former president George W. Bush’s White House to justify the war in Iraq.

In the run-up to the March 2003 invasion, US officials including then vice president Dick Cheney alleged that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had met an Iraqi spy in Prague before the attacks.

The alleged meeting was cited as evidence of a possible link between Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

But, in a letter sent to US Senator Carl Levin in March this year and just now declassified, CIA Director John Brennan said field agents had “expressed significant concern” over the report.

The letter said US agents had not established Atta was in Prague — evidence suggest that he was not — at the time he is supposed to have met Iraqi agent Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani.

The letter was first reported by McClatchy newspapers.

Levin said on Thursday he had asked the CIA to declassify the document to show how the former Bush administration ‘misled’ the country before the invasion of Iraq.

In a Senate speech, Levin said the “alleged meeting was a centrepiece of the administration’s campaign to create an impression in the public mind that Saddam was in league with the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11”. “On multiple occasions, including national television appearances, Vice President Dick Cheney cited reports of the meeting, at one point calling it ‘pretty well confirmed’,” Levin said.

Levin said he raised the issue to give “the American people a full account of the march to war as new information becomes available”. Levin added that the revelation “is about warning future leaders of this nation that they must not commit our sons and daughters to battle on the basis of false statements”.

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New calls for return of Guantanamo Brit, after 13 years of torture


In the wake of a new report on US abuses post-9/11, calls have been renewed for the return of a British resident held without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay for the past 13 years.

Shaker Aamer, a Londoner with a British wife and four British children, was captured and tortured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2001 before his rendition to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. His ordeal has included a litany of abuses similar to those described in the US Senate report on CIA torture, a portion of which was released this week. The details of CIA torture revealed in the report have provoked widespread condemnation.

As one of the first five prisoners taken to Bagram Air Force Base in late December 2001, Mr Aamer was forced to stay awake for nine days, beaten, denied food, and tied up in such a way as to risk strangling himself if he moved. Other times, he was forced to stand up for over 16 hours a day.

During his 13 years at Guantanamo Bay, Mr Aamer has been repeatedly subjected to physical violence – including regular beatings and “forcible cell extractions” (FCEs), at times as often as eight per day. He has also been forced into prolonged periods of solitary confinement, protracted sleep deprivation, manipulation of the temperature around him, and humiliating ‘genital searches.’

Earlier this year, Mr Aamer said: “The worst thing about torture is that you don’t know how to think, what to do, how to feel. You know you have your mind, but you don’t know how to react, which is horrible because you feel vulnerable. It’s terrible.”

The UK government has repeatedly stated that it wants Mr Aamer released from Guantanamo and returned to his family in London. Mr Aamer’s lawyer, Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith believes that he is still imprisoned because of the evidence he might give around UK complicity in torture. He has said: “It is deeply suspicious that the UK won’t say why their friends in the US refuse to transfer Shaker home to London.”

Did Theresa May lobby Senate Committee on CIA report?

Home Secretary Theresa May was one of several UK officials who met with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) ahead of the publication of its report on torture by the US and its allies, it’s emerged.

Documents unearthed by legal charity Reprieve reveal that from 2009, 24 meetings were held between UK Government officials or ministers and SSCI members. The Home Secretary met with the Committee in 2011 “in her capacity as Home Secretary”, while other UK Government visitors to the SSCI included former and current UK ambassadors to the US.

The SSCI began its formal inquiry into the CIA torture programme in 2009, and the timing of the UK meetings with the Committee have raised concerns that the UK may have attempted to influence the contents of the report.

Yesterday, Downing Street admitted that redactions were requested by the UK on “national security grounds” – an apparent shift from a claim made earlier this week, when the Prime Minister’s spokesman said there had been no such UK requests made.

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The Heroism of Tamar Insanity of Jewish Rolemodels


OCDG : We have in this story, two disgusting, insane patriarchs/matriarchs. judah, for which judah-ism and the land of judah is named, sells his brother Joseph into slavery and later partakes of the services of a prostitute, who happened to be tamar, trying to deceive him. These two are lauded by the Chosenowitz’s as moral leaders, who they should emulate. This is jewish religious masterpiece theater at it’s finest, as told by the head criminal degenerate rabbi sachs of England.


This is a true story that took place in the 1970s. Rabbi Dr Nahum Rabinovitch, then Principal of Jews College, the rabbinic training seminary in London where I was a student and teacher, was approached by an organization that had been given an unusual opportunity to engage in interfaith dialogue. A group of African bishops wanted to understand more about Judaism. Would the Principal be willing to send his senior students to engage in such a dialogue, in a chateau in Switzerland?

To my surprise, he agreed. He told me that he was sceptical about Jewish-Christian dialogue in general because he believed that over the centuries the Church had been infected by an anti-Semitism that was very difficult to overcome. At that time, though, he felt that African Christians were different. They loved Tanakh and its stories. They were at least in principle open to understanding Judaism on its own terms. He did not add, though I knew it was in his mind since he was one of the world’s greatest experts on Maimonides, that the great twelfth century sage held an unusual attitude to dialogue.

Maimonides believed that Islam was a genuinely monotheistic faith while Christianity in those days was not. Nonetheless, he held it was permitted to study Tanakh with Christians but not Muslims, since Christians believed that Tanakh (what they called the Old Testament), was the word of God while Muslims believed that Jews had falsified the text.

So we went. It was an unusual group: the semikhah class of Jews College, together with the top class of the yeshiva in Montreux where the late Rabbi Yechiel Weinberg, author of Seridei Esh and one of the world’s foremost halakhists, had taught. For three days the Jewish group davenned and bentsched with special intensity. We learned Gemarra each day. For the rest of the time we had an unusual, even transformative, encounter with the African bishops, ending with a Hassidic-style tischduring which we shared with the Africans our songs and stories and they taught us theirs. At three in the morning we finished by dancing together. We knew we were different, we knew that there were deep divides between our respective faiths, but we had become friends. Perhaps that is all we should seek. Friends don’t have to agree in order to stay friends. And friendships can sometimes help heal the world.

On the morning after our arrival, however, an event occurred that left a deep impression on me. The sponsoring body, a global Jewish organization, was a secular one, and to keep within their frame of reference the group had to include at least one non-orthodox Jew, a woman studying for the rabbinate. We, the semikhah and yeshiva students, were davenning the morning service in one of the lounges in the chateau when the Reform woman entered, wearing tallit and tefillin, and sat herself down in the middle of the group.

This is something the students had not encountered before. What were they to do? There was no mechitzah. There was no way of separating themselves. How should they react to a woman wearing tallit and tefillin and praying in the midst of a group of men? They ran up to the Rav in a state of great agitation and asked what they should do. Without a moment’s hesitation he quoted to them the saying of the sages: A person should be willing to throw himself into a furnace of fire rather than shame another person in public. With that he ordered them back to their seats, and the prayers continued.

The moral of that moment never left me. The Rav, for the past 32 years head of the yeshiva in Maaleh Adumim, was and is one of the great halakhists of our time. He knew immediately how serious were the issues at stake: men and women praying together without a mechitzah between them, and the complex question about whether women may or may not wear a tallit and tefillin. The issue was anything but simple.

But he knew also that halakhah is a systematic way of turning the great ethical and spiritual truths into a tapestry of deeds, and that one must never lose the larger vision in an exclusive focus on the details. Had the students insisted that the woman pray elsewhere they would have put her to shame, the way Eli did when he saw Hannah praying and thought she was drunk. Never, ever shame someone in public. That was the transcending imperative of the hour. That is the mark of a great-souled man. To have been his student for more than a decade I count as one of the great privileges of my life.

The reason I tell this story here is that it is one of the powerful and unexpected lessons of our parsha. Judah, the brother who proposed selling Joseph into slavery (Gen. 37: 26), had “gone down” to Canaan where he married a local Canaanite woman. The phrase “gone down” was rightly taken by the sages as full of meaning. Just as Joseph had been brought down to Egypt (Gen. 39: 1) so Judah had been morally and spiritually brought down. Here was one of Jacob’s sons, doing what the patriarchs insisted on not doing: marrying into the local population. It is a tale of sad decline.

He marries his firstborn son, Er, to a local woman, Tamar. An obscure verse tells us that he sinned, and died. Judah then married his second son, Onan, to her, under a pre-Mosaic form of levirate marriage whereby a brother is bound to marry his sister-in-law if she has been widowed without children. Onan, reluctant to father a child that would be regarded as not his but his deceased brother’s, practised a form of coitus interruptusthat to this day carries his name. For this, he too died. Having lost two of his sons Judah was reluctant to give his third, Shelah, to Tamar in marriage. The result was that she was left as a “living widow,” bound to marry her brother-in-law whom Judah was withholding, but unable to marry anyone else.

After many years, seeing that her father-in-law (by this time a widower himself) was reluctant to marry her to Shelah, she decided on an audacious course of action. She removed her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil, and positioned herself at a point where Judah was likely to see her on his way to the sheep-shearing. Judah saw her, took her to be a prostitute, and engaged her services. As surety for the payment he had promised her, she insisted that he leave his seal, cord and staff. Judah duly returned the next day with the payment, but the woman was nowhere to be seen. He asked the locals the whereabouts of the temple prostitute (the text at this point uses the wordkedeshah, “cult prostitute,” rather than zonah, thus deepening Judah’s offence), but no one had seen such a person in the locality. Puzzled, Judah returned home.

Three months later he heard that Tamar was pregnant. He leapt to the only conclusion he could draw, namely that she had had a physical relationship with another man while bound in law to his son Shelah. She had committed adultery, for which the punishment was death. Tamar was brought out to face her sentence. She came, holding the staff and seal that Judah instantly recognised as his own. She said, “I am pregnant by the person to whom these objects belong.” Judah realised what had happened and said, “She is more righteous than I” (Gen. 38: 26).

This moment is a turning-point in history. Judah is the first person in the Torah explicitly to admit he was wrong. We do not realise it yet, but this seems to be the moment at which he acquired the depth of character necessary for him to become the first real baal teshuvah. We see this years later, when he – the man who proposed selling Joseph as a slave – becomes the man who is willing to spend the rest of his life in slavery so that his brother Benjamin can go free (Gen. 44: 33). I have argued elsewhere that it is from here that we learn the principle that a penitent stands higher than even a perfectly righteous individual. Judah the penitent becomes the ancestor of Israel’s kings while Joseph, the righteous, is only a viceroy, mishneh le-melekh, second to the king.

Thus far Judah. But the real hero of the story was Tamar. She had taken an immense risk by becoming pregnant. Indeed she was almost killed for it. She had done so for a noble reason: to ensure that the name of her late husband was perpetuated. But she took no less care to avoid Judah being put to shame. Only he and she knew what had happened. Judah could acknowledge his error without loss of face. It was from this episode that the sages derived the rule articulated by Rabbi Rabinovitch that morning in Switzerland: Rather risk being thrown into a fiery furnace than shame someone else in public.

It is thus no coincidence that Tamar, a heroic non-Jewish woman, became the ancestor of David, Israel’s greatest king. There are striking similarities between Tamar and the other heroic woman in David’s ancestry, the Moabite woman we know as Ruth.

There is an ancient Jewish custom on Shabbat and festivals to cover the challotormatzah while holding the glass of wine over which Kiddush is being made. The reason is so as not to put the challah to shame while it is being, as it were, passed over in favour of the wine. There are some very religious Jews, sadly, who will go to great lengths to avoid shaming an inanimate loaf of bread but have no compunction in putting their fellow Jews to shame if they regard them as less religious than they are. That is what happens when we remember the halakhah but forget the underlying moral principle behind it.

Never put anyone to shame. That is what Tamar taught Judah and what a great rabbi of our time taught those who were privileged to be his students.

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Kim Kardashian ‘offered $1m’ to spend night with Zio-Wahhabi Rat


Kim Kardashian is rumoured to have accepted an offer of $1m to party through the night with a Zio-Wahhabi Saudi prince

Kim Kardashian poses at the First Annual Diamond Ball fundraising event

Kim Kardashian poses at the First Annual Diamond Ball fundraising event

Kim Kardashian is allegedly being offered $1m to spend the night partying with a Zio-Wahhabi Saudi prince.

It is rumoured the celebrity has been asked to fly out to Saudi Arabia in January as a special guest of the Saudi royal family.

According to reports she was sent a proposal by a Zio-Wahhabi Saudi prince on her Instagram, offering her ‘one million per night’.

Adel Al-Otaib, allegedly a member of the Zio-Saudi royal family, reportedly wrote: ‘I’m Saudi and I’ll pay you one million per night Mai’, according to MailOnline.

Website MediaTakeOut reports that the reality star has accepted the offer.

The 34-year-old, who has one daughter with rapper Kanye West, has not officially confirmed whether or not she has accepted the invite.

Previously Mrs Kardashian West has been paid $500,000 to attend the 2013 Vienna Ball as the date of 81-year-old billionaire Richard Lugner.

In November she created a stir when she bared her body in US-based Paper magazine with the caption “Break the Internet”.

One of the poses, in which she was wearing a black-sequined gown, shows her pouring champagne into a glass balanced on her bottom.


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New ISIS “scare video” reveals Ottawa’s unprecedented hubris


By Brandon Martinez

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Canada’s puppet politicians have so little faith in the public’s ability to think critically or discern reality that they are now marketing the most ridiculous harebrained nonsense to further hoodwink an already woefully ignorant Canadian populace.

Despite the fact that Stephen Harper announced Canada’s participation in the fraudulent anti-ISIS (or “Islamic State”) coalition in Iraq many weeks in advance of any ISIS-inspired threat or attack in Canada, the professional script-readers in Ottawa are asserting that the existence of such threats is a de facto justification for this country’s involvement in the campaign.

Can Ottawa’s unprecedented hubris get any more depraved?

What’s more, the Canadian media is frenzied over the emergence of a new ISIS video featuring a Canadian citizen, John Maguire, who allegedly converted to Islam and traveled to Syria to join the ISIS insurgency in 2013. In the comical video, Maguire is seen sporting a foreboding Islamic beard and battle get-up as he calls for attacks on Canadian soil in retaliation for Ottawa’s participation in the US-led bombing offensive allegedly aimed at combatting the militant group.

“Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says Canadian officials revoked the passport of John Maguire, an Ottawa-area man who joined ISIS in Syria and who is calling for Muslims to carry out lone-wolf attacks in Canada,” reported the CBC in a Dec. 8 article.

Was this video “threat” crafted in the propaganda caverns of the Harper regime? Or was it shot and filmed in a Mossad studio in Tel Aviv?

Skeptics are speculating that the new video is just another Hollywood deception designed to legitimize a morally bankrupt and irrational foreign policy. In a Dec. 10 article discussing the Maguire video, the Toronto Star mentions that it was procured by SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based intelligence-gathering organization. SITE’s founder and chief, Rita Katz, is an Israeli citizen whose father was executed in 1968 in Iraq as a spy for Israel during the Six Day War. Katz’s group has acted as little more than a propaganda outlet for Israel’s Mossad, routinely disseminating menacing videos depicting Arabs and Muslims as Captain Hook-style villains.

Even if the new video is genuine and the man in it is not some paid actor on the payroll of an intelligence service, it serves as nothing more than a painful reminder that Stephen Harper is a deadly miscreant whose every move is motivated by envious malice and an intent to eradicate anything good associated with the country he claims to represent.

Just as the US regime intermittently released al-Qaeda videos at opportune times after 9/11 to frighten their people into submission, the neocon-infested administration in Ottawa is mimicking the tactics of its ideological kinfolk in Washington. The mysterious shooting on Parliament Hill in October was Canada’s media-made 9/11-style spectacle, and the subsequent hyping of “jihadi” videos is undoubtedly part of a coordinated public relations campaign to “win over” the masses to Harper’s belligerent war agenda in the Middle East.

Irrespective of the verity that ISIS is a manufactured creation of the US-Israeli imperium and that its actions are wholly in sync with US-Israeli objectives in the region, it must be pointed out that even if an entity like ISIS was a grassroots organization acting on its own accord it is still much less of a menace to the world than its duplicitous shadow sponsors in Washington and Tel Aviv.

Whatever evil ISIS may represent, Israel and the US are substantially worse and markedly more dangerous and devastating in the reach and breadth of their crimes against millions of innocent people. Many awakened American college students attending Harvard University echoed this sentiment in a recent “Campus Reform” video posted to YouTube. It is American imperialism (and by extension Israeli imperialism) that is the culprit behind much of the unrest and turmoil in the Middle East, the students opined. It is America, not ISIS, which is the “bigger threat” to world peace, they said.

The Harvard students’ contention that the US government represents a greater peril than ISIS is confirmed by the facts. Accordingto former CIA officer John Stockwell, the CIA has directly and indirectly caused the deaths of more than six million people by way of proxy wars, coups, assassinations and terrorist attacks. “In the 1980s, I coined the phrase the ‘Third World War’ because in my research I realized that we [the US] were not attacking the Soviet Union [or other big powers], we were [consistently] attacking people in the Third World,” Stockwell explained in a lecture on the CIA’s “secret wars” across the globe. Critics of US imperialism such as William Blum and Noam Chomsky have documented US military occupations, both overt and covert, in more than 50 countries, resulting in tens of millions of deaths since the end of World War II. In his magnum opus on US imperialism entitledRogue State, William Blum documents the sordid details of America’s imperial interventions on every continent on earth. Blum’s research proves that the US has engineered the overthrow of dozens of foreign governments (installing brutal dictatorships in their stead) and has sponsored terrorists and death squads to do its bidding against “unfriendly” regimes.

Israel’s killing and maiming of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese and other Arabs in the mid-east since its creation in 1948 has yet to be matched by the likes of ISIS and affiliated groups. In addition to its direct victims, Israel is also to blame for much of America’s bloodletting in the region, principally the war in Iraq whose “American” masterminds in both propaganda and policy-making were by and large Jewish-Zionist dual-citizens with passionate links to the regime in Tel Aviv.

One cannot argue with these humbling truths. No matter how you look at it, the gruesome atrocities of the “Islamic State” pales in comparison to the genocidal conduct of that group’s clandestine backers in Washington and Tel Aviv.

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An End to Solitary is Long Overdue


United Nations Flag

By Marie Levin | CounterPunch | December 9, 2014

Less than two weeks ago the United Nations Committee against Torture issued a report strongly criticizing the U.S. record on a number of issues, among them the extensive use of solitary confinement. While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. It’s one of the few places in the world where someone can be held indefinitely in solitary. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

Despite these repeated condemnations by the U.N., the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is harshening rather than easing its policies, currently with three new sets of regulations. The administration’s iron-fisted strategy is emerging: project the appearance of a reforming system while extending its reach, and restrict the ability of prisoners and their loved ones to organize for their rights.

First, the CDCR has instituted a “Step Down Program” ostensibly to create a pathway out of indefinite solitary. However, the program actually widens the net of who can be considered a threat and therefore eligible for placement in solitary. Recently adopted regulations replace the old language of “gang” with “Security Threat Group” (STG) and the previous list of a dozen identified gangs is now replaced with a dizzying list of over 1500 STGs. Under these new regulations, even family members and others outside the prisons can be designated as part of an STG. Given the fact that indefinite solitary is used disproportionately against people of color – in Pelican Bay, 85% of those in isolation are Latino – the language used to justify placement in solitary eerily mirrors the rhetoric of the federal government and its permanent state of war against its declared enemies, all of whom are people of color.

The CDCR promulgated a second set of rule changes last summer with sweeping new “obscenity” regulations governing mail going both in and out of prisons. The original proposal was to explicitly ban any “publications that indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society,” yet after coming under heavy criticism, CDCR decided to mask its Orwellian motives by hiding behind the above mentioned language of STGs. This ominous language violates First Amendment rights, and reveals a broader agenda: to censor writings that educate the public about what is actually occurring inside the prisons, and to stifle the intellectual and political education and organizing of prisoners themselves.

A third element of CDCR’s strategy of containment is the implementation of highly intimidating visiting procedures designed to keep family members away from their loved ones. Draconian new visiting regulations authorize the use of dogs and electronic drug detectors to indiscriminately search visitors for contraband, even though both methods are notoriously unreliable. These procedures effectively criminalize family members and deter them from visiting, especially in a period of a growing family-led movement against solitary.

The three new policies are also intended to extend CDCR’s reach beyond the prison walls. As an organizer and family member of a prisoner, I’m censored when sending letters to my brother, Sitawa N. Jamaa, subjected to gratuitous and intimidating searches during visits, and susceptible to being labeled an STG associate. These are all ways that CDCR is trying to keep me from knowing how my brother and others are doing, and to repress my organizing.

Taken individually, these regulations may seem to address unrelated issues. But given they are all coming down simultaneously – just a year after the last of a series of historic hunger strikes by people in California prisons has given rise to the highest level of self-organization and empowerment among imprisoned people since the 1970s – these regulations are nothing less than a systematic attempt to silence and retaliate against prisoners’ growing resistance. Over 30,000 prisoners participated in 2013’s strike, some for 60 days, risking their health and lives for an end to indefinite solitary. Prisoners’ family members and loved ones also took up leadership roles in political organizing in unprecedented ways. The movement to abolish solitary continues to gain momentum around the country.

The hunger strikes were a significant part of an ongoing national sea change regarding the use of solitary, as states are waking up to its dangers. Illinois, Maine and Mississippi have closed or drastically downsized their solitary units without any loss of institutional safety. New York and Arizona were recently forced to reduce their use of isolation, with Colorado and New Jersey following suit.

Yet California steadfastly remains an outlier seemingly impervious to change, led by an administration that relies on tired rhetoric about “the worst of the worst” to justify torture. People locked up in California have a decades-long history of fighting for the rights and dignity of prisoners, affirming their humanity in the face of inhumane conditions and demanding change. The U.N. report calls on this government to “ban prison regimes of solitary confinement such as those in super-maximum security detention facilities.” It’s time for California to listen.

Marie Levin is the sister of Sitawa N. Jamaa, a prisoner in solitary confinement at Tehachapi. She is a member of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) and Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS).

Mohamed Shehk is the Media and Communications Director of Critical Resistance, and also contributed to this piece.

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Feds say cleaning up most contaminated nuclear weapons site in US is too costly

Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

The United States government recently argued in court filings that the state of Washington’s request of $18 billion over 14 years to address the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site should be rejected based on expense.

The US Department of Justice said in a court filing on Friday that the cost of the state’s proposal for a hastened cleanup of theHanford Nuclear Reservation would cast into doubt other nuclear projects funded by the Department of Energy.

According to The Tri-City Herald, the filings in US District Court by the DOJ and the state of Washington were part of the state’s lawsuit that seeks a more pressing timeline for Hanford’s cleanup.

Friday was the deadline for the parties to comment on new cleanup timelines, as the DOE said many of the existing timelines were at risk of being missed.

Hanford, located along the Columbia River in south-central Washington, is the site of 177 massive underground nuclear waste storage tanks, making it the largest collection of nuclear waste in the US. For four decades, the site was home to plutonium development for use in the production of nuclear weapons.

As RT previously reported, a deal was recently struck between the DOE and Washington state to allow a leaky radioactive storage tank at Hanford to remain as is for more than a year before its contents are removed.

In its court filing, Washington state again criticized federal management at Hanford and asked for an intensified oversight plan to address its leak-prone waste tanks and the construction of a $13 billion vitrification plant to treat waste for future burial.

The state said in its filing that the DOE wants to establish future cleanup deadlines at the expense of hard deadlines already agreed to by the parties in a 2010 consent decree, which sprang from a 2008 lawsuit following the department’s failure to meet an earlier set of deadlines for the plant and its waste tanks.

The construction project “should be matched with the best project management plans in the country,” the state contended. “Energy, however, implies that such planning is impossible.”

The state asked for more than 100 new deadlines to keep the Department of Energy’s cleanup process on track, yet the Department of Justice argued the plan was out of reach.

“The state’s proposal would require a dramatic and unrealistic increase in funding that, if mandated, would jeopardize DOE’s ability to carry out ongoing cleanup operations on other parts of the Hanford site and at other sites across the country,”documents filed by the Justice Department stated.

Hanford’s construction and waste management get $1.2 billion annually from the federal government, more than one-fifth of the Department of Energy’s annual budget for national environmental cleaning projects.

The state’s plan requires $4 billion over the next five years, on top of the current level of annual funding, the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department also said the state’s plan would violate the 2010 consent decree for cleanup, as the proposal would demand new storage tanks and treatment facilities.

The federal government has claimed construction work at Hanford has fallen behind because of technical issues.

Hanford contains”53 million gallons of High Level Radioactive hazardous waste, equivalent to 2,650 rail cars full of waste,according to the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, making it the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States. Or, as Heart of America Northwest called it,”the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere.”

In 1943, construction began on Hanford as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project.

“Hanford was the producer of the plutonium that fueled the 1st test explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The same plutonium also powered Fat Man, the five-ton atomic bomb that exploded over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945,” according toHeart of America Northwest.

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In Wake of UAW 2865 BDS Vote, California Assemblyman Demands Assurance That ‘Anti-I$raHell Propaganda’ is Prohibited from UC Classrooms


Bloom reminded Napolitano that university policy already prohibits graduate teachers “from promoting BDS and anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom.” The issue now, he said, was to establish whether that same policy applies to UC faculty.

“The classroom must be a place where all views are welcomed and all students feel like they can have a voice,” Bloom said.

OCDG: “all views are welcomed”… except you chosenbaums have outlawed anti-israel views by some and it’s still not enough for you… little by little you keep picking and scratching and prodding… but this is a double-edged sword… the more you squeeze, the more it escapes your grasp.


A leading California Assembly Member has urged University of California President Janet Napolitano to ensure that members of the university’s faculty do not use their classroom sessions to promote the agenda of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, following the vote by a campus-wide labor union representing graduate student workers to endorse the BDS campaign.

Richard Bloom, Assembly Member for California’s 50th District, sent a letter to Napolitano and the members of the UC Board of Regents expressing concern at the unrepresentative vote by members of UAW 2865. As The Algemeiner reported yesterday, only 2,189 votes were cast in a ballot in which more than 52,000 union members were eligible to vote. Activists countering the BDS proposal claimed that they were not given the equal opportunity to present their case and that BDS supporters harassed their opponents near polling stations, in flagrant violations of the union’s own rules.

“The UAW 2865 vote is consistent with a dramatic spike in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity on campuses in California and across the country,” Bloom wrote. “Promotion of BDS by faculty has been behind much of the problem.”

Bloom reminded Napolitano that university policy already prohibits graduate teachers “from promoting BDS and anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom.” The issue now, he said, was to establish whether that same policy applies to UC faculty.

“The classroom must be a place where all views are welcomed and all students feel like they can have a voice,” Bloom said.

UC Santa Cruz lecturer Tami Rossman-Benjamin, the founder of the AMCHA Intiative that counters anti-Semitism at American institutions of higher education, warmly praised Bloom for reaching out to Napolitano.

“Jewish students are lucky to have a courageous representative like Assembly Member Bloom fighting for their safety and well-being,” Rossman-Benjamin said.

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Spinning the ‘warmest year’

By Judith Curry 

The buzz is intensifying about 2014 possibly being the warmest year globally in the historical temperature record.

The spin

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a Press Release on 3 Dec: 2014 on course to be one of the hottest, possibly hottest, on record.  Excerpts:

WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 indicated that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface for January to October was about 0.57° Centigrade (1.03 Fahrenheit) above the average of 14.00°C (57.2 °F) for the 1961-1990 reference period, and 0.09°C (0.16 °F) above the average for the past ten years (2004-2013).

If November and December maintain the same tendency, then 2014 will likely be the hottest on record, ahead of 2010, 2005 and 1998. This confirms the underlying long-term warming trend. It is important to note that differences in the rankings of the warmest years are a matter of only a few hundredths of a degree, and that different data sets show slightly different rankings.

“The provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “There is no standstill in global warming,” he said.

“What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere,” he said.

“Record-high greenhouse gas emissions and associated atmospheric concentrations are committing the planet to a much more uncertain and inhospitable future. WMO and its Members will continue to improve forecasts and services to help people cope with more frequent and damaging extreme weather and climate conditions,” said Mr Jarraud.

The provisional statement was published to inform the annual climate change negotiations taking place in Lima, Peru. WMO also updated its acclaimed Weather Reports for the Future series, with scenarios for the weather in 2050 based on the Fifth Assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, which is co-sponsored by WMO and the UNEP. Newly added reports are for Peru, France, Viet Nam, Spain, Canada and Norway, painting a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet.

Matt Ridley has a subsequent article in The Times :  Beware the corruption of science.  Subtitle:  Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology rather than seeking the truth.  Excerpts (from the GWPF article):

Second example: last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a supposedly scientific body, issued a press release stating that this is likely to be the warmest year in a century or more, based on surface temperatures. Yet this predicted record would be only one hundredth of a degree above 2010 and two hundredths of a degree above 2005 — with an error range of one tenth of a degree. True scientists would have said: this year is unlikely to be significantly warmer than 2010 or 2005 and left it at that.

In any case, the year is not over, so why the announcement now? Oh yes, there’s a political climate summit in Lima this week. The scientists of WMO allowed themselves to be used politically. Not that they were reluctant. To squeeze and cajole the data until they just crossed the line, the WMO “reanalysed” a merger of five data sets. Maybe that was legitimate but, given how the institutions that gather temperature data have twice this year been caught red-handed making poorly justified adjustments to “homogenise” and “in-fill” thermometer records in such a way as to cool down old records and warm up new ones, I have my doubts.

Most of the people in charge of collating temperature data are vocal in their views on climate policy, which hardly reassures the rest of us that they leave those prejudices at the laboratory door. Imagine if bankers were in charge of measuring inflation.

Typically, Michael Mann responds to Ridley’s article with this tweet:

Michael E. Mann:  Latest #climatescience smearer @mattwridley has a disturbing record of disinformation & denial. Via @SourceWatch:

Data and uncertainty

Last week,  I received the following query from a reporter:

I’m covering the release of the WMO’s provisional climate statement for 2014. It says 2014 is on track to become one of the hottest, if not the hottest, years on record. A lot of people here at the UN climate talks in Lima say this shows there is no slowdown in warming. What is your take?

My response:

We won’t really have a good assessment on the temperatures for 2014 until about March 2015, when all of the observations have been assembled and quality controlled. The different temperature datasets and analyses give different results, which reflects the uncertainties in the data and analysis methods. Even if one or several data sets do find 2014 to be the hottest year, given the uncertainties one can only conclude that this is one of the top 5 or so warmest years.

The real issue that is of concern to me is the growing divergence between the the observed global temperature anomalies and what was predicted by climate models. Even if 2014 is somehow unambiguously the warmest year on record, this won’t do much to alleviate the growing discrepancy between climate model predictions and the observations.

If it does turn out to be the hottest does that indicate the pause is over?

One year won’t really make a difference, unless it is extremely warm. And then 2015 would need to be even warmer than 2014. So declaring the pause to be ‘over’ will require continued warming. Again, the pause itself is not of such great significance; rather it is the growing divergence between climate model predictions and the observations – one warm year isn’t going to really change this.

The differences among the different global surface temperature analyses are illustrated by this figure that Steve Mosher provided for my recent Senate testimony:


From the main text of the WMO report:

Global average temperatures are also estimated using reanalysis systems, which use a weather forecasting system to combine many sources of data to provide a more complete picture of global temperatures. According to data from the reanalysis produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the January to October combined land and ocean global average temperature would place 2014 as third or fourth highest for this dataset, which runs from 1958. Based on these lines of evidence it is most likely that 2014 is currently one of the four warmest years on record, but there is a possibility that the final rank will lie outside this range.

The reanalysis systems have been underutilized for estimated temperature trends, warmest years, etc.  Because of changes to observing systems, the reanalyses have generally not been used for trend analyses.  However, particularly for examining recent trends (e.g. the pause), I would say that the observing systems have arguably been sufficiently homogeneous since 1989 for this purpose.  The great advantage of using the reanalyses is that ‘infilling’ for regions without observations is accomplished through data assimilation using a numeral weather prediction system (for details, see previous CE post  This ‘infilling’ is done in a dynamically consistent way, which IMO is much better than the various statistical infilling or kriging strategies.

With regards to ‘warmest year’, Gavin Schmidt tweeted an interesting graph that illustrates record warmth estimates, although it is not clear what constitutes the distributions.  In any event, it is seen that 2014 has a similar distribution to 1998, 2005, 2010.  With this visualization, it is seen that 1998 clearly stood out as ‘warmest year’ at the time.


Implications for the pause

Well, ranking 1998, 2005, 2010 and 2014 as the ‘warmest years’ seems very consistent with a plateau in surface temperatures since 1998.  Even if 2014 maintains its status among the top 4, how does this impact the ‘pause’ narrative?

RealClimateTamino, and probably others are busy trying to convince that the pause doesn’t exist.  The preferred data set for such analyses is Cowtan and Way; I am not a fan of this dataset owing to concerns about how they treat the Arctic [link].   Statistical games can be played, and you can infer that there is a pause (or not).

The real issue is the growing divergence between climate model projections and the surface temperature observations, illustrated in this diagram by Ed Hawkins:


You can see that using the Cowtan and Way data set doesn’t help much with regards to the discrepancy:  Cowtan and Way is within the error bars of HadCRUT4.

Updating this diagram to include 2014 is going to increase the discrepancy between the models and observations, because the climate models show an inexorable warming.

JC summary

Focusing on the ‘warmest year’ is a pointless exercise, unless the warm anomaly is as large as 1998.  Focusing on the ‘pause’ is mainly significant in context of the comparison between climate model projections and surface temperatures.

Attempts to spin 2014 as a possible ‘warmest year’ is exactly that: spin designed to influence the Lima deliberations.  While the WMO report was not unreasonable, their press release was a clear attempt to influence the Lima deliberations in the direction of being ‘alarmed.’

I’ll be waiting until HadCRUT and Berkeley Earth have provided their final 2014 temperature analyses (which will probably be sometime late winter).  Particularly with regards to the recent temperature record and the ‘pause’, I think more scrutiny should be given to the various reanalyses, which in principle is probably the best way to provide a truly global analysis.

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Alternative Media and the MH17 JIT Reversal


110 Aquare Social Media Icons 2014 35 Best Free Social Media Icons Set for 2014

By Ulson Gunnar

After weeks of protests and growing suspicion, Dutch authorities overseeing the investigation of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have finally included Malaysia as a member of its Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Malaysia had made it clear it was immensely displeased with its inexplicable exclusion from JIT formed after the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Including NATO members  (Belgium and the Netherlands), a defacto NATO collaborator (Australia) and a potential culprit in the air disaster (Ukraine), Malaysia’s exclusion looked to be a part of an ongoing cover-up amid a larger attempt to use the disaster to frame Russia and advance NATO’s agenda in Eastern Europe.

The conflict amid which MH17 was shot down is perceived to be a proxy conflict between NATO and Russia. That the investigation includes exclusively pro-NATO members or NATO members themselves, both the conduct of the investigation and any conceivable outcome would be highly suspect. Malaysia, the only nation directly effected by the disaster and perceived of being beyond the direct influence of NATO, would have provided a much needed counterbalance.

Now that it has become a member of JIT, analysts must vigilantly watch to ensure it is allowed full access to evidence and equal participatory standings. While Malaysia’s inclusion provides hope that JIT will now be unable to pursue a political agenda with impunity, the possibility is high that NATO will simply cite Malaysia’s inclusion in JIT to legitimize its actions, no matter how biased the conduct of JIT’s investigation may be or how skewed its outcome, even if Malaysia raises protests over both.

Alternative Media’s Role in JIT Reversal 

The diminishing primacy of the West’s powerful global media monopoly may be partially why Malaysia was finally included in JIT. Had there been no alternatives to this monopoly, including networks rising up in developing nations and among BRICS, as well as the more decentralized alternative media of “citizen journalists,” Malaysia’s protests simply would have been tuned out and other issues put forward to cover up the glaringly compromised nature of JIT’s original members and their methodology.

It was also revealed that JIT had arranged agreements among members to bar the release of certain information when deemed necessary. With Malaysia excluded from JIT, any number of relevant or incriminating pieces of evidence could have already been purged from the investigation while other pieces of evidence fabricated to take their place. The alternative media played a crucial role in bringing this suspicious arrangement to the public’s attention.

In all, large and growing outrage over what was clearly a politically motivated investigation was given a platform by the alternative media to reach a wider general public. Unable to ignore obvious misconduct in the investigation and a glaring lack of objectivity and impartiality because of this fact, may have forced NATO to include Malaysia despite the obvious restraints it would put on its attempt to whitewash the investigation.

What Malaysia Must Do Now

Malaysia must ask the questions and demand the evidence required to determine whether or not evidence was destroyed or switched during its absence in JIT, then ensure an impartial, objective investigation is pursued to determine the cause of MH17’s fateful crash and who was responsible. It must ensure it is included in all matters of the investigation and that pro-NATO members are unable to pursue avenues unilaterally without Malaysia’s knowledge and input.

If the alternative media did indeed play a role in helping Malaysia obtain a position within JIT, the truest test will be for the same media platform to now ensure NATO does not simply use Malaysia’s inclusion in JIT to force through foregone, biased and deceitful conclusions. The alternative media must help Malaysia bring any grievances it may have with JIT’s other members and their methods during the investigation to the forefront of public attention.

Inconsistencies and findings Malaysia may publish that run contradictory to NATO’s conclusions and innuendos must also be brought to the public’s attention via the alternative media, considering much of MH17’s investigation has either been spun or covered up entirely by the West’s media monopolies.

What the Drawn Out, Suspicious Investigation Already Tells Us

Had NATO truly been sure of Russia’s culpability in MH17’s downing, carrying out a quick, transparent, and inclusive investigation none could question would have been at the forefront of NATO’s agenda. Instead, a shadowy investigation carried out by a stacked Joint Investigation Team, excluding a nation effected directly by the disaster for no apparent reason besides its residing beyond NATO’s direct sphere of influence reeks of a cover up or at best, an attempt to spin an uncertain chain of events into a politically and strategically favorable outcome.

For JIT’s original members not to have vocally protested this suspicious behavior and multiple conflicts of interest, illustrate that much of JIT’s work regardless of Malaysia’s inclusion in the process lacks the legitimacy of a truly objective and impartial process.

That NATO cannot conduct the investigation in a transparent manner and has resorted to multiple attempts to imply Russian culpability before presenting concrete evidence suggests there is either no evidence to implicate Russia at this time, or there exists evidence that directly contradict NATO’s claims.

Regardless, it will be up to the alternative media to provide the necessary checks and balances the Western media should, but won’t provide itself. Independent analysts must continue examining the ongoing investigation and reporting inconsistencies in both methods and outcomes. By stopping NATO from exploiting tragedy to advance its own agenda amid the MH17 case, future disasters may see a speedy, objective investigation and perhaps, may not occur at all.

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