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WesternZagros Updates Kurdamir-1 Status and Costs Specialists from Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. are now on site and assessing the situation. The necessary equipment is being mobilized and has started to arrive, and drilling mud is being prepared to begin efforts to control the well. The equipment includes a snubbing unit, which is a hydraulic workover rig that enables well intervention to be performed while the well is under pressure. (Westernzagros)
Confirmed: Russian & Foreign Troops Ordered Into U.S. Many people have commented that they are simply being activated in preparation for deployments to Iraq this summer, but one ‘CONFIRMED’ report involved the Minnesota 1st Brigade Combat Team and marks the largest deployment of Minnesota military forces since World War II. This alone is highly suspicious. - The More disturbing INTEL that has hit the wire in the past couple of days is the report of large numbers of foreign troops arriving at a large naval base in San Diego, California. This report came at dusk on Wednesday May 19, 2010. U.S. Navy vessels were spotted unloading extremely large numbers of UN and Russian troops and Equipment. They disembarked the vessels as it was still light out in plain sight. Mostly Russian troops. - This is extremely important INTEL because there have been reports that U.S. Secretary Napolitano had previously requested 3 to 4 brigades of troops from the Russian government to specifically assist in the quelling of domestic civil unrest by U.S. Citizens. This was done by the Obama Administration (Intel Hub)
Expert Is Confident About Sealing Oil Well Pat Campbell never met a well he couldn’t kill. - Between working for Boots & Coots and, later, for Wild Well, Mr. Campbell has gone into the field from South Texas to Sumatra, including a stint in Kuwait after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. (New York Times)
Watchdog group wants federal investigation of Google Street View flap A prominent civil liberties watchdog has added its voice to those calling for a federal investigation of Google following the company's recent admission of privacy violations related to its "Street View" product.
The nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski last week requesting an investigation of privacy issues arising from "Street View," which provides "360 degree street level imagery" of U.S. cities.
"The company routinely and secretly downloaded user communications data and the company routinely and secretly mapped private communication hotspots. Moreover, they said not a word about the Wi-Fi data collection during the three-year privacy debate over Street View," wrote Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. "This is why the FCC must undertake an investigation." (The Hill)
Times Square suspect's father denies son had role "I refute it outright," Khan said. "It is a very wicked accusation. He is not the type of guy who would ever think of involving himself in any criminal activity." But a U.S. official with knowledge of the case said Friday that Ashraf had been talking to the Taliban about pointing out the Pakistani military and other VIPs at diplomatic and other government events. Another U.S. official said there were indications that the catering company was going to be used as a cover for an attack in Pakistan. There is "very specific information about a potential, imminent, plot," the official said. "Initial indications are it is a Pakistani target." (CNN)
'Naked' scanners may increase cancer risk “While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high,” Dr Agard said. "Ionizing radiation such as the X-rays used in these scanners have the potential to induce chromosome damage, and that can lead to cancer." (News.au.com)
BP and MMS Agree: “Seals, Sea Otters, and Walruses” Live in Gulf of Mexico In its emergency plans in the event of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP made clear it knows how to save "seals, sea otters, and walruses" in the Gulf waters. The only problem is, no such animals live in the Gulf.
Indeed, it appears BP literally copied and pasted emergency response plans to apply to any spill in the world, regardless of the reality of the local ecosystems. While "seals, sea otters, and walruses" are a concern for oil spills in colder waters, there are none of those animals in the Gulf. (Fire Dog Lake)
Pentagon, Police Stage Terror Attack Exercise in Long Beach The Adler Realty Investment company in Long Beach has sent a notice to residents (see below) informing them that “response agencies,” including the U.S. Coast Guard, the local police and fire department along with the military will be conducting a training exercise in the city. “Port Protector 2010,” an attachment to the notice states, will consist of a training exercise in response to a “terrorist threat” including a “hostage scenario” and Hazmat training. (Prison Planet)
In Gulf Spill, BP Using Dispersants Banned in U.K. The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K. As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.
BP is using two products from a line of dispersants called Corexit, which EPA data appear to show is more toxic and less effective on South Louisiana crude than other available dispersants, according to Greenwire. (ProPublica)
BP 'pressured rig disaster workers to drill faster' Safety problems also went unaddressed, according to Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon, including damage to one of the rig’s most important pieces of safety equipment, the blowout preventer. - He claimed that the blowout preventer was then damaged when a crewman accidentally moved a joystick, applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of force. Pieces of rubber were found in the drilling fluid, which he said implied damage to a crucial seal. But a supervisor declared the find to be “not a big deal”, Mr Williams alleged. (London Times)
Cyberwar Cassandras Get $400 Million in Conflict Cash Coincidences sure are funny things. Booz Allen Hamilton — the defense contractor that’s become synonymous with the idea that the U.S. is getting its ass kicked in an ongoing cyberwar — has racked up more than $400 million worth of deals in the past six weeks to help the Defense Department fight that digital conflict. Strange how that worked out, huh?
Everyone in the Pentagon from Defense Secretary Bob Gates on down says that the military needs to cut its reliance on outside contractors. But few firms are as well-connected as Booz Allen, the one-time management consultancy that today pulls in more than $2.7 billion in government work. And few firms sound the alarm as loudly about a crisis that they’re in the business of fixing. Back in February, for instance, former National Security Agency director and Booz Allen Hamilton executive vice president Mike McConnell declared that “the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing.” The White House’s information security czar is one of many experts who calls such rhetoric overheated, at best. That hasn’t stopped Booz Allen from pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars from Washington to wage those battles. (Wired)
Letter About Disperants From Rep. Markey to EPA Dear Administrator Jackson,
I write to request information regarding the use of dispersants to mitigate the effects of
the catastrophic release of millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. While the estimates of the amount of oil released daily has increased significantly since the explosion and remains under question, what is certain is that the inability of BP to quickly stop the leak is leading to an environmental catastrophe, placing fragile ecosystems, wildlife and the region’s economy in peril. The release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico could be an unprecedented, large and aggressive experiment on our oceans. It requires careful oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other appropriate federal agencies. (US Congress)
Matthews: Obama Needs to 'Nationalize' Oil Industry! On Monday's Hardball a visibly angry Matthews demanded Obama go after BP: "Why doesn't the President go in there, nationalize an industry and get the job done for the people?" and pointed out that in China they would have a much harsher response to BP: "They execute people for this. Major industrial leaders that commit crimes like this." Matthews even took aim at the entire capitalist system, as over video of the oil slick, he sarcastically mocked: "Everybody says 'Capitalism is great. Unbridled free enterprise is great.' Look at it! This is great, isn't it?!" (News Busters)
Scientists Warn Oil Spill Could Threaten Florida Scientists warned Monday that oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico was moving rapidly toward a current that could carry it into the Florida Keys and the Atlantic Ocean, threatening coral reefs and hundreds of miles of additional shoreline.
Government officials insisted that the oil had not yet entered the gulf’s so-called loop current, and that they were continuing to monitor the movement of the spill closely. But two independent scientists, analyzing ocean current and satellite data, said the oil was in an eddy that was quickly being drawn into the current, portending a much wider spread of the hazardous slick.
The White House, meanwhile, said late Monday that President Obama would soon name an independent commission to investigate the cause of the spill and the response to it, largely supplanting the inquiry now being conducted by the United States Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service, the Interior Department agency responsible for overseeing offshore oil operations. The role of both agencies in approving the drilling, preparing for an accident and supervising the cleanup are part of any overall inquiry and have raised questions about the independence of their work. (New York Times)
60 Minutes-Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster A Survivor Recalls His Harrowing Escape; Plus, A Former BP Insider Warns Of Another Potential Disaster - The gusher unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spew crude oil. There are no reliable estimates of how much oil is pouring into the gulf. But it comes to many millions of gallons since the catastrophic blowout. Eleven men were killed in the explosions that sank one of the most sophisticated drilling rigs in the world, the "Deepwater Horizon."
This week Congress continues its investigation, but Capitol Hill has not heard from the man "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley met: Mike Williams, one of the last crewmembers to escape the inferno. (CBS)
Flood of outside money hits the primaries $9.6 million from independent groups spent on Arkansas race - The flood of money comes under campaign laws that bar coordination with the candidates and sometimes allow donors to hide their identity. Outsiders can be left guessing about the true political objective, and already, one organization has produced an ad that's drawn accusations of racism. According to campaign professionals in both parties, these independent efforts can achieve their stated purpose — or actually hinder the candidate they are designed to help. (Associated Press)
CFR Meeting: Zbigniew Brzezinski Fears Global Political Awakening "For the first time in all of human history, mankind is politically awakened. That's a total new reality. Total new reality. It has not been so for most of human history, until the last 100 years. And in the course of the last 100 years, the whole world has become politically awakened. And no matter where you go, politics is a matter of social engagement and most people know what is generally going on -- GENERALLY going on -- in the world, and are consciously aware of inequities, inequalities, lack of respect, exploitation." (Council on Foreign Relations)
U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began. But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence. (New York Times)
CONTRACTS Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded an $8,925,518 contract which will develop innovative cyber security capabilities and network defense for Air Force information systems. At this time, $164,682 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0410). (US Department of Defense)
Bailout Is ‘Nail in the Coffin’ for Euro, Rogers Says "I was stunned," Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore. "This means that they’ve given up on the euro, they don’t particularly care if they have a sound currency, you have all these countries spending money they don’t have and it’s now going to continue." (Bloomberg)
Oil spill: BP had wrong diagram to close blowout preventer Frank Patton, a drilling engineer for the government's Mineral Management Service, which oversees offshore drilling, told a separate inquiry in Kenner, La., that drilling mud "is the most important thing in safety for your well." He said that any alteration to the blowout preventer would have required both BP and MMS approval. (McClatchy Newspapers)
Pentagon says military response to cyber attack possible The Pentagon would consider a military response in the case of a cyber attack against the United States, a US defense official said on Wednesday.
Asked about the possibility of using military force after a cyber assault, James Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy, said: "Yes, we need to think about the potential for responses that are not limited to the cyber domain."
But he said it remained unclear what constituted an act of war in cyberspace.
"Those are legal questions that we are attempting to address," Miller said at a conference in Washington, adding that "there are certainly a lot of grey areas in this field." (Agence France-Presse)
An Imperfect Improvement: Obama's New Drug War Strategy There's no question that it points in a different direction and embraces specific policy options counter to those of the past thirty years. But it differs little on the fundamental issues of budget and drug policy paradigm, retaining the overwhelming emphasis on law enforcement and supply control strategies that doomed the policies of its predecessors. (Huffington Post)
Kagan Argued to Ban Political Pamphlets The court, in its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, ruled against Kagan’s contention that the government can limit political speech by corporations. In a scathing concurrence to the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts blasted Kagan’s argument. (Newsmax)
EPA Approves BP’s Use of Questionable Chemicals to Break Up Oil BP resumed spraying dispersants  into the Gulf of Mexico today, according to The Associated Press. The company started using the chemicals a week after the spill first occurred, but had halted their use in order to test their environmental impact.
As we've reported, the chemicals -- which are intended to thin out the oil -- contain harmful toxins of their own . Their exact makeup is kept secret, but they do contain a compound "associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses."
They're also called dispersants for a reason. The chemicals break up the oil and then disperse it, so instead of having the oil collect at the surface, dispersed droplets of oil can spread more quickly and in more directions. This means the droplets linger longer in the water, collecting on the seabed and harming the ecosystem offshore (ProPublica)
Justice Elena Kagan, and President Larry Summers Kagan's connections to Summers are interesting. She was a professor there when Summers arrived from his work at Treasury, under Bill Clinton, to deregulate banks and derivatives to get the gambling moving...guaranteed by the taxpayer. As President Summers of Harvard from 2001 to 2006, Kagan thrived. She was made a full professor, then Summers tapped her to be the Dean of Harvard Law. Her pet peeve there was to keep the American military and ROTC off campus because she disputes the "don't ask, don't tell" provisions put in place by Clinton. (NJ.com)
Mariana Griggs Ain’t OK W/ City Option 4 Community Gardens Today’s upcoming (2 p.m. rooom 6ES) community gardens briefing for the city council’s transportation and environment committee should prove to be a doozy if Oak Cliff Community Gardens President Mariana Griggs has some time at the podium. We checked in with her this a.m. via e-mail to get a read on how she felt about the city’s new “Option 4″ permitting community gardens. She forwarded us a brief thesis on the subject that she sent to Oak Cliff Community Garden members last night... (Oak Cliff People)
Obama Drug Policy Focuses On Prevention, Treatment The new drug control strategy to be released Tuesday boosts community-based anti-drug programs, encourages health care providers to screen for drug problems before addiction sets in and expands treatment beyond specialty centers to mainstream health care facilities. (Huffington Post)
Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton: Conservative Media Mogul To Host Fundraiser For Liberal N.Y. Senator To call them a political odd couple would be a rash understatement.
Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch will host a fundraiser for liberal New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Financial Times reports.
The mating ritual of the unlikely allies has been under way for months. Clinton set political tongues to wagging last month by attending a Washington party celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fox News, the cable news channel owned by Murdoch.
The Financial Times quoted one unnamed source as describing the Clinton-Murdoch connection in this way: "They have a respectful and cordial relationship. He has respect for the work she has done on behalf of New York. I wouldn't say it was illustrative of a close ongoing relationship. It is not like they are dining out together." (CBS)
City Hall Continues to Bury Community Gardens Under Permits and Procedures On this beautiful Saturday morning following National Public Gardens Day, here's the absolute latest concerning City Hall's deeply felt desire to regulate community gardens.
First, the recap: Back on March 8 Kris Sweckard, director of the Office of Environmental Quality, put before the council's Transportation and Environment Committee three options that would allow Dallas citizens to plant community gardens -- one of which involved shelling out an are-you-effing-kidding $1,170 for a specific use permit. To which most of the council members said, "Uh ... no." And so off they went to try, try again.
And here's what Sweckard's come up with: a fourth option known as "Gardens By Right with Neighbor Input." It's spelled out in the briefing docs for Monday's meeting, but long story short ...
Elena Kagan's Goldman Sachs Ties Brought Up Again The Justice Department, likewise, downplayed the findings in statements issued to inquiring reporters. "This advisory group was comprised of leaders from various sectors including academia, the media, business, and other industry," said spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler. "They met once a year for a daylong conference organized around public policy matters. The group was not involved in making any investment decisions for the company." (Huffington Post)
Audit the Fed Amendment Modified – Allows Fed To Keep Secrets Ron Paul: “Bernie Sanders has sold out and sided with Chris Dodd to gut Audit the Fed in the Senate. His “compromise” is what the Administration and banking interests want: they’ll allow the TARP and TALF to be audited, but no transparency of the FOMC, discount window operations or agreement with foreign central banks. We need to take action and stop this!” (Ron Paul)
Boots & Coots Reports First Quarter Results "One event was the mobilization cost for the new ONGC secure and salvage project. By the end of the quarter we had mobilized and expect to realize the positive financial impact of the project in the second quarter. In addition there were costs associated with a higher than expected currency devaluation expense in Venezuela and expenses incurred relating to our announced merger agreement with Halliburton, both non-operational items." (Wall Street Journal)
Gerald Celente: Crash of 2010 inevitable The Dow Jones industrial market is down and looks to continue to head that direction. This is not good news for the worlds economies that are trying to bounce back after this recession hit many different nations. Is this a direct reflection of the Greece financial crisis? (Russia Today)
House Vote On Puerto Rico’s Status Divides Hispanic Lawmakers The House last week approved a measure that would allow a referendum on Puerto Rico’s political future. The bill provides for a two-step process in which Puerto Ricans would first vote on whether they wish to maintain the island’s current status as a U.S. commonwealth or change direction. If the latter choice prevails, Puerto Rico could then hold a second vote presenting four options: statehood, independence, the current status or sovereignty linked to the United States. (Democracy Now)
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