Friday 29 June 2012

"Could "Wikileaks" Sink the Ship?"

"Squeak!" one might squeal...However Mr. Assange seems ("Rushdie-like"), to have attracted a "Waspish Fatwa" and one suspects that he may also have suffered from being "Vanunued"..( ).
One senses that Mr.Assange's "hunt for the truth" would have benefited from a wider demographic. Like Rushdie he seems to think that one achieves more by dramatic martyrdom than considered action, again there is a sense that he is "preaching to the choir".
Could we lose the ability to disseminate vital information about the planet's welfare because certain so-called "Whistle Blowers" have poisoned the well of public confidence in the quest for ever more "sensational" revelations about the major powers?
Where is the information on Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (go to -Edited 11/12/10-)? What really happened to Vesta's off-shore wind-farm contracts? Where did A.I.D.S come from? What is the real cost of depleted uranium usage? How do you make a cow "mad"? Is fluoride really dangerous? Does genetic modification represent a "Frankenstein's Monster"? Will your mobile phone, "Bluetooth" or "Wifi" rot your brain? What is the truth about the incineration industry or the CO2 profile of the nuclear industry? These are the vital questions.
Whilst "Wikileaks" and Mr.Assange attract all the attention to themselves do not their actions also serve to further obscure the already occluded reality of our planetary environment's current state? Will it be necessary for more campaigning environmentalists to be murdered before their work is taken seriously, whilst others congratulate themselves about "what clever boys and girls they are" for pulling one more soft fruit from the already over-stuffed international pie?

"I would rather burn Capitalism over a slow fire than make a "St.Bartholemew's Night" of it's perpetrators." Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Having said all this of-course the prospect of being forced to observe the beast he has roused then consumming poor Mr.Assange is extremely unedifying.
Clearly the true extent of corruption within our national governments, international corporations and organisations has reached crisis level (but we knew that didn't we?), however over-concentration on the political and military aspects of this infection will surely prove counter-productive and may result simply in a strengthening of the security posture of all national administrations.
One hesitates to fully support Assange because knowing "The Game" of international espionage assures one that one requires more than revolutionary zeal to justify one's actions lest disclosure of state security secrets (esp. military), by such "revolutionaries" to foreign powers, attracts the ire of the original states population and hardens their opinion against other "Whistle Blowers" who are "tarred-with-the-same-brush". One must be able to demonstrate that is in the public's interest that such revelations be made or (as I have said), one risks a "tightening-of-the-grip" by the security services of the state (or international financial cabal), concerned which now feels that that it is mandated to persue such a course.

follow @Williamtheb

Credit where credit is due however....

Regardless of whether we support Mr. Assange in all his ways or not where freedom of speech and information are genuinely compromised we must respond, currently of primary concern to all those "hacks" making copy out of the deluge must be the welfare of Pfc (Private First Class) Bradley Manning, who is currently paying the price for "Wikileaks'" success..... Letter to Commanding Officer, US MCB Quantico Brig:

This is a thought provoking piece... I ask why it is that two women who claim to have been raped have been exposed to such attention?

Other "Voices of Dissent"

Although I ask would not legislation passed barring internet companies from breaching a recognised and internationally sanctioned code of data protection better achieve Morozov's aims than the; "Encryption and security protocols"..which (according to "The Independent"),..."are high on his list"?

"Democracy Now!" Also see "Former Banker Hands Offshore Account Data to WikiLeaks"


Depleted Uranium "The Progressive Review"

Deserving of it's own thread follows; "Stories From the Archives of "The "Progressive Review" concerning the use of Depleted Uranium (I draw the readers special attention to the stories concerning the failure of Italian and German efforts to instigate a moratorium on the use of d.u munitions by The European Union).


GUARDIAN, UK - Depleted uranium, which is used in armor-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal's effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.0508 05 1DU is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. It is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density - twice that of lead - makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. In November, the Ministry of Defense was forced to counteract claims that apparent increases in cancers and birth defects among Iraqis in southern Iraq were due to DU in weapons.

Now researchers at the University of Southern Maine have shown that DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations. The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. "These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer," the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. . . Prof Wise said it is too early to say whether DU causes lung cancer in people exposed on the battlefield because the disease takes several decades to develop.
"Our data suggest that it should be monitored as the potential risk is there," he said.


AUDREY PARENTE, DAYTONA BEACH HERALD, FL - Lori Brim cradled her son in her arms for three months before he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. The problems she saw during her time at Walter Reed, including her son screaming in pain while doctors argued over medications, had nothing to do with mold and shabby conditions documented in recent news reports. What this mother saw was an unexplainable illness consuming her son.

And what she has learned since her son's death is that his was not an isolated case. Lori Brim has joined other parents, hundreds of other sick soldiers, legislators, research scientists and environmental activists who say the cause of their problems results from exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive metal used in the manufacture of U.S. tank armor and weapon casings.

Health and environmental effects of depleted uranium are at the heart of scientific studies, a lawsuit in the New York courts and legislative bills in more than a dozen states (although not in Florida). . .

Despite a 1996 U.N. resolution opposing its use because of discovery of health problems after the first Gulf War, the military studies have concluded there was no evidence that exposure to the metal caused illnesses. . .

To the military, the effectiveness of weapons and armor made with depleted uranium outweighs any residual effects. Their bottom line: Depleted uranium saves soldiers' lives in combat. . .

But Brim and others think there will not be enough known until soldiers are tested for exposure. They compare the debate over depleted uranium to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Speculation over its effects continued for more than two decades before the Defense Department agreed to compensate veterans who suffered from ailments linked to its use. . .


MNA - Canadian research centers have reported that during the war against Iraq the U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons which caused the radiation level to rise at least 300 times above normal, and the weapons caused similar effects in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops have recently begun removing contaminated topsoil in Iraq, taking it to an unknown location. Scientists believe the next generation of children of citizens of both countries exposed to DU will suffer from higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

The Uranium Medical Research Center issued a report based on a 13-day survey throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central and southern Iraq on October 2003, according to Risq News. . .

The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in southwestern Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the international airport and hosts one of the largest coalition bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. . . Departing the coalition-occupied base was a long, a steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As the team passed the base's main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front-end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The arriving trucks were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the base's topsoil.


JUAN GONZALEZ, NY DAILY NEWS - Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. . . A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four "almost certainly" inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.





ROB EDWARDS, SUNDAY HERALD, UK - An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq's civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium weapons has been kept secret. The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation, which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year's war, and to clean up afterwards. Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Program have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.


U.S. FORCES UNLEASHED at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium during the war. "The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 -- a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq," wrote correspondent Scott Peterson. Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large. While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination. "After we shoot something with DU, we're not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer," said one sergeant requesting anonymity.


PAUL KRASSNER, NY METRO - The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, "What the hell kind of missiles are these?"

"Those aren't missiles; they're cobalt jackets."

"What are they for?"

"Well, this is 'need to know,' so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They're made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they're wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond."

"So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?"

"No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn't detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere."

"Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?"

"Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They're for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won't capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt ­ and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea ­ and contaminate the world. If we can't have it, nobody can. . .

I emailed the anecdote to no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of The Superpower of Peace. I asked him to comment in a couple of hundred words:

"This nightmare has now essentially come true with the use of depleted uranium on anti-tank and other shells in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The military rationale is that the super-hard depleted uranium helps shells penetrate tanks and other hard structures. But the long-term effect is that the uranium vaporizes upon explosion and contaminates everything for hundreds of yards, if not miles."



SARA FLOUNDERS, COASTAL POST, CA - In hot spots in downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal background radiation levels. It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as 1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq. Washington has assured the Dutch government that it used no DU weapons near Al-Samawah, the town where Dutch troops will be stationed. But Dutch journalists and anti-war forces have already found holes in the U.S. stories, according to an article on the Radio Free Europe website. . .

In this year's war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as in 1991. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers, along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries, chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won't be apparent for five to 10 years.

By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome.


JAY SHAFT, COALITION FOR FREE THOUGHT IN MEDIA - In three separate interviews a U.S. Special Operations Command Colonel admitted that the U.S. and Great Britain fired 500 tons of DU munitions into Iraq. He has also informed me that the GBU-28 BLU 113 Penetrator Bunker Buster 5000 pound bomb contains DU in the warhead. Until now, as far as I know, the materials used to make the warhead of the GBU-28 have remained shrouded in mystery. He admitted that privately the Pentagon has acknowledged the health hazards of DU for years. . .

J.S.: What about the cities? Did you deliberately use DU on them?

U.S.C.: Let's just say that we didn't do anything to avoid using DU in cities or heavily populated areas. I know that I selected some DU bunker busters because of the fact that they have a high penetration factor. I used DU weapons exclusively on some targets so as to ensure maximum damage on those targets. You don't want to just halfway destroy some targets, you want maximum damage. . .

J.S.: What about the health risks that are associated with DU? Or do you deny there are any?

U.S.C.: You are determined to get me to make a statement about the health risks aren't you?

J.S.: If you will, I want to see what the behind the scenes view of DU is in the Pentagon.

U.S.C.: Well. . . (long pause, followed by heavy profanity). . . Okay, I'll give you some dirt if that's what you're looking for. The Pentagon knows there are huge health risks associated with DU They know from years of monitoring our own test ranges and manufacturing facilities.

There were parts of Iraq designated as high contamination areas before we ever placed any troops on the ground. The areas around Basra, Jalibah, Talil, most of the southern desert, and various other hot spots were all identified as contaminated before the war. Some of the areas in the southern desert region along the Kuwaiti border are especially radioactive on scans and tests.
One of our test ranges in Saudi Arabia shows over 1000 times the normal background level for radiation. We have test ranges in the U.S. that are extremely contaminated; hell, they have been since the 80's and nothing is ever said publicly. Don't ask don't tell is not only applied to gays, it is applied to this matter very heavily.

I know at one time the theory was developed that any soldier exposed to DU shells should have to wear full MOP gear (the chemical protective suit). But they realized that just wouldn't be practical and it was never openly discussed again.

J.S.: So the stories that they know DU is harmful are true?

U.S.C.: Yes, there is no doubt that most high level commanders who were around during the 80's know about it.

J.S.: So how do you feel about the fact that you exposed your own men to DU?

U.S.C.: F...k you!! What do you know about my job? I did what I had to do to take out the targets I was given. If it was necessary to use DU, than I put it in my target analysis reports. I didn't actually fire the rounds myself; I work in a remote office.

J.S.: So you'll never have to worry about being exposed to DU huh? Very brave.

U.S.C.: (lot's of profanity) this interview is over with (more profanity, followed by the phone slamming down)


BBC - A United States defense official has said moves to ban depleted uranium ammunition are just an attempt by America's enemies to blunt its military might. Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells had no medical basis. "They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them," he told a Pentagon briefing.

If war starts, tons of depleted uranium weapons are likely to be used by British and American tanks and by ground attack aircraft. Some believe people are still suffering ill health from ammunition used in the Gulf War 12 years ago, and other conflicts. In the House of Commons in London on Monday, Labor MP Joan Ruddock said a test of the UK Government's pledge to keep civilian casualties to a minimum in an attack on Iraq would include not using depleted uranium weapons.

Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about DU - making it plain it would continue to be used. . .

Cancer surgeons in the southern Iraqi port of Basra report a marked increase in cancers which they suspect were caused by DU contamination from tank battles on the farmland to the west of the city. . . Depleted uranium is mildly radioactive but the main health concern is that it is a heavy metal, potentially poisonous. The likelihood of absorbing it is increased significantly if a weapon has struck a target and exploded because the DU vaporizes into a fine dust and can be inhaled. . .

A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: "If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences."



ANDY KERSHAW, COUNTERPUNCH, DECEMBER 1, 2001 - I nearly lost my breakfast last week at the Basrah Maternity and Children's Hospital in southern Iraq. Dr Amer, the hospital's director, had invited me into a room in which were displayed color photographs of what, in cold medical language, are called "congenital anomalies," but what you and I would better understand as horrific birth deformities. The images of these babies were head-spinningly grotesque. . . At one point I had to grab hold of the back of a chair to support my legs. . .

During the Gulf war, Britain and the United States pounded the city and its surroundings with 96,000 depleted-uranium shells. The wretched creatures in the photographs--for they were scarcely human--are the result, Dr Amer said. He guided me past pictures of children born without eyes, without brains. Another had arrived in the world with only half a head, nothing above the eyes. Then there was a head with legs, babies without genitalia, a little girl born with her brain outside her skull and the whatever-it-was whose eyes were below the level of its nose. Then the chair-grabbing moment--a photograph of what I can only describe (inadequately) as a pair of buttocks with a face and two amphibian arms. Mercifully, none of these babies survived for long.

Depleted uranium has an incubation period in humans of five years. In the four years from 1991 (the end of the Gulf war) until 1994, the Basrah Maternity Hospital saw 11 congenital anomalies. Last year there were 221. Then there is the alarming increase in cases of leukemia among Basrah babies lucky enough to have been born with the full complement of limbs and features in the right place. The hospital treated 15 children with leukemia in 1993. In 2000 it was 60. By the end of this year that figure again will be topped. And so it will go on. Forever. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. Total disintegration occurs after 25 billion years, the age of the earth

RAMZI KYSIA, COUNTERPUNCH, DECEMBER 28, 2001 - According to [a] study, malignancies and leukemia's among children under the age of 15 have more than tripled since 1990. Whereas in 1990 young children accounted for only 13 per cent of cancer cases, today over 56 per cent of all cancer in Iraq occurs among children under the age of 5.

Navy & Marines stop using it

USA TODAY: Thousands more people than anticipated face health and pollution threats from plutonium and other highly radioactive elements that fouled vast amounts of uranium recycled by the U.S. nuclear weapons program over the past 50 years . . . New federal studies reviewed by USA Today show that the program yielded 250,000 tons of tainted uranium -- roughly double the estimates of two years ago. The material was handled at about 10 times the number of sites revealed previously, reaching more than 100 federal plants, private manufacturers and universities. The studies suggest that thousands more workers than expected might have unwittingly faced radiation risks beyond those associated with normal uranium, increasing their odds of developing cancer and other ailments. That places an unexpected burden on a soon-to-begin federal program to compensate sick nuclear weapons workers . . . Amid all the controversy, the Navy and Marines have decided to abandon use of the depleted-uranium munitions. Both have switched to tungsten, a non-radioactive, high-density metal. "We're not considering depleted uranium anymore because of the environmental problems associated with it, be them real or perceived," says Col. Clayton Nans, head of the Marines' Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle program and former chief of the service's firepower division. "We don't want to be in a position of having someone say, 'You can't bring your armor piercing rounds on the battlefield.' " MORE


MATTHEW CHAPMAN, BBC: The residents of a Caribbean island used as a bombing range are claiming more than $100m in damages from the US Navy over claims that ammunition including depleted uranium shells have caused an epidemic of cancers there. More than a third of the 9,000 inhabitants of Vieques have been found to be suffering from a range of serious illnesses and cancers, which doctors have linked to decades of bombing by the US and the military of other countries including the British Royal Navy. According to official Puerto Rican figures, cancer rates on the island are soaring, with the numbers of people suffering from cancer of the breast, cervix and uterus up by 300% over the past 20 years. The court case brought by the islanders will be closely watched by the governments of NATO countries which sent troops to Kosovo and the Gulf War where the use of DU shells has been linked with leukemia cases . . . Campaigners on the island made an order through the Freedom of Information Act to force the Navy to publicly admit it had fired DU shells onto a range on the eastern tip of the island in 1999 . . . Scientists, however, who have conducted soil samples on the ranges say they have found evidence of systematic bombing with DU shells going back at least a decade. BBC


JOHN LICHFIELD, INDEPENDENT, LONDON: Some shells fired in the Gulf and Balkan wars contained a type of recycled nuclear waste that is much more hazardous than depleted uranium, according to a book to be published in France . The book, "Depleted Uranium: The Invisible War," could change the debate on whether weapons used by the United States and NATO caused widespread sickness among war veterans and civilians. The authors, a Frenchman, a Belgian and an American, produce evidence that the US government knew six years ago that its stocks of "safe" depleted uranium had been contaminated by spent nuclear fuels. Whether this recycled material was mixed up with the "classic" depleted uranium accidentally or deliberately remains unclear . . . In other words, the entire DU debate has been based on false premises. The findings of Martin Meissonnier, Frederic Loore and Roger Trilling have been independently confirmed in the past few days by researchers at a Swiss government laboratory, which analyzed spent US munitions from Kosovo. The lab found that the shells contained traces of an isotope of uranium ­ uranium 236 ­ which occurs only in nuclear waste. INDEPENDENT

[From a Janes Defense Weekly FAQ]

It is alleged that DU causes leukemia?

Leukemia is caused by:
- Ionizing radiation - x-rays, for example
- Derivatives of benzene (hydraulic fluid, lubricating oil, fuel oil, ceramic armor and other products found in modern armored vehicles)
- Viruses

What happens when a DU round hits a tank?

The DU penetrator hits the tank armor, both the penetrator and armor partially liquefying under pressure. Once the armor has been perforated, that part of the penetrator which has not melted, together with the molten armor and fragments that break away from the interior, ricochet inside the vehicle. This usually causes a fire. Studies in the USA, UK and France show that when an armored vehicle burns at about 10,000 degrees C, the resulting oxidization of the materials aboard, including benzene products and depleted uranium, can create particulates that are harmful to the human body; ingested they can affect the lungs and kidneys. JANES

SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND: Forty-eight hours after the Gulf war ended, an Iraqi Republican Guard tank division was making for its base outside Basra along a narrow causeway over Lake Hamar. It was one of five agreed exit routes for the defeated army to take in its retreat. The ground war had lasted just 100 hours and there had been 79 American deaths, eight of them among the 24th Division, commanded by General Barry McCaffrey, whose armor and ordnance was lying about three miles away from the causeway. Suddenly, and over-riding a warning from the division operations officer, McCaffrey ordered an assault on the column. Later he would claim that his troops had been fired on by the retreating Iraqis, which is hotly denied by the Republican Guard commander. Apache attack helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles and artillery units pummeled the helpless column for hours. It was, as McCaffrey later commented, "one of the most astounding scenes of destruction I have ever participated in." . . . Six months ago, when I visited the site of what has become known as the Battle of Rumaila, with a scientist carrying a Geiger counter, the needle threatened to burst out of its casing as he repeatedly ran it over sand and wreckage, gun barrels, tank parts and spent DU detritus. SUNDAY HERALD

ENS In his final report before the change of administration, the Defense Department's special assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Dr. Bernard Rostker, told reporters that pesticides, but not exposure to depleted uranium (DU), may be "among the potential contributing agents" to illnesses among Gulf War veterans . . . A study by the Rand Corporation commissioned by the Department of Defense, "did not find a plausible link" between depleted uranium and health problems, Dr. Rostker said at a special Pentagon briefing. The Institutes of Medicine, charged by Congress to review the possible causes of Gulf War illnesses, "reported on their first four potential risk factors, one of them being depleted uranium," Dr. Rostker said. "In their review of uranium and soldiers who have been involved with depleted uranium, we do not see a health risk," he said. The Institutes of Medicine reviewed the potential risk factors of depleted uranium, low levels of the nerve agent sarin, pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills used to guard against nerve agents, and vaccinations against biological weapons. The only thing the Institutes of Medicine were prepared to rule out was the impact of depleted uranium on lung cancers and on renal disease from heavy metal toxicity, Dr. Rostker said . . . Researchers identified 64 different pesticide products containing 35 active ingredients that were used during the Gulf War. ENS | REVIEW DU ARCHIVES

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Residents of Iraq's second largest city are filled with dread at the growing debate over depleted uranium munitions and suspected links to cancer, as Iraq marks the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War. "Leukemia and radioactive pollution are now the number one topic of conversation among the people here in Basra," said student Saleh Neema. Basra, located near the Kuwaiti and Iranian borders, bears the scars of both the conflict over Kuwait and the 1980-1988 war against Iran. Most walls are still pockmarked by bullets or by shrapnel from exploding shells. "People are worried and living in fear of contracting cancerous diseases because of the pollution" from DU bullets fired by the US-led allies during the six-week war that broke out on January 17, 1991, said merchant Abdullah Hamid. Awad Badran, a retired civil servant from Basra, which together with its outskirts has a population of around one million, said the widespread fear was having a social impact. "Things are so bad in Basra that quite a number of people thinking of getting married are hesitant for fear of having children with deformities," he told AFP . . . As many as 940,000 rounds of DU were used. That, together with the explosion of two allied military vehicles loaded with DU arms, "polluted the environment and caused great damage to the public's health," he said. Al-Jumhuriya, an official daily, has blamed DU for the deaths of 50,000 Iraqi children in 1991 alone and said it was behind a dramatic increase in cancer rates over the past decade, citing a report from Iraqi experts

GUARDIAN, LONDON: Depleted uranium shells fired by Britain in the Gulf war and the US in Kosovo contained traces of plutonium and other highly radioactive particles, the Ministry of Defense and the US department of energy admitted. The fact that DU rounds used by British and US forces contain far more radioactive isotopes than uranium, which are more likely to cause cancer, is bound to fuel the controversy over Gulf war syndrome. But the additional risk to British and US servicemen was minimal because the amounts of contaminants were so small, a MoD spokeswoman in London said, echoing a NATO statement issued in Brussels.
The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna was not so sure that the dangers of uranium containing even traces of plutonium were small, saying there was no data on what happened to contaminated depleted uranium when released into the atmosphere. David Kyd, spokesman for the agency, said: "The science simply can't provide the answers in terms of the long-term consequences. It is definitely worth investigating further, not only in the Balkans but also in Iraq." GUARDIAN

INDEPENDENT, LONDON: The Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, announced that he would meet the chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunal to discuss NATO's use of depleted uranium shells as a war crime against civilians. Mr. Kostunica explained that his change of mind about meeting the UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte was prompted by the depleted uranium issue. "Finally the lies on the use of DU became public and that was the first reason why I changed my mind about seeing Ms del Ponte. This is a serious case for The Hague tribunal," he said. The president shares the view of many Serbs that NATO's use of depleted uranium-capped shells in its 1999 conflict with Belgrade over Kosovo should be investigated as a war crime. He had until now refused to meet Ms Del Ponte, who is to travel to Belgrade next week to discuss prosecuting indicted war criminals, including the former president, Slobodan Milosevic. INDEPENDENT

JONATHON CARR-BROWN, SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON: Shells fired in the Gulf war and Kosovo were made out of material contaminated by a potentially lethal cocktail of nuclear waste, according to a book published this week. The claim, supported by American army and government documents, suggests that the military in Kosovo and Iraq used depleted uranium shells containing traces of elements that indicate the probable presence of plutonium and other highly toxic nuclear by-products . . . Martin Messonnier, Frederick Loore and Roger Trilling, the authors of the book, are convinced that the Pentagon has misled the world with claims that its DU is safe. Until now, the Pentagon has maintained that DU shells are safe because they contain only mildly radioactive uranium. But the authors claim the shells were made with uranium contaminated with more toxic elements. SUNDAY TIMES

FAIR: Since the new year, stories about the depleted uranium controversy have been running almost daily in every major British newspaper, with the Guardian and Independent each running editorials calling for a NATO investigation into DU's health effects. Altogether, the London Independent has run 14 original articles; the London Times has run 12; the Daily Telegraph has run 10; and the Guardian and its Sunday paper, the Observer, have run eight. Meanwhile, in the US-- the country most responsible by far for DU contamination-- newspapers have relegated most of their coverage to news briefs and short wire stories. The only US newspaper in the Nexis media database to have run an editorial on the current controversy is the Seattle Times. Big picture questions about the extensive use of DU since the Gulf War, its lasting impact on civilian populations and the record of official deception around DU have been largely ignored in both print and broadcast reports . . . Television coverage has also been limited. CNN has aired two reports on DU, while the three networks' evening news broadcasts each did one story. Only three of the mainstream US media reports about the current controversy have referred in any detail to the parallels between Balkans War Syndrome and the illnesses alleged to have resulted from use of DU during the Gulf War . . . Nor was the larger question about DU raised: Is it legal? In a December 18 draft recommendation that went largely unremarked, the Environment Committee of the Council of Europe found that during the Kosovo war, NATO countries violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions intended to limit environmental damage. Among other things, the committee cited "the use of depleted uranium in warheads" as a violation that had "dramatically worsened" Yugoslavia's environment "with long-lasting effects on the health and quality of life for future generations." The committee further found that this damage "can be presumed to have been deliberate."



RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR AND ANDREW OSBORN, GUARDIAN, LONDON: The government bowed to intense domestic and international pressure by agreeing to screen Balkans veterans for signs of contamination from depleted uranium used in US anti-tank shells. But the announcement infuriated Gulf war veterans, whose supporters labeled the refusal to offer the tests to troops in previous conflicts a "vicious injustice . . . At NATO headquarters in Brussels, Britain and the US joined forces to kill off an Italian proposal, backed by Germany, for the alliance's 19 member countries to stop using depleted uranium ammunition until further notice . . . Malcolm Hooper, emeritus professor of medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University, described the Ministry of Defense move as a "cynical betrayal" and "vicious injustice." The MoD, he said, was testing for high-level exposure to soluble material, rather than long-term, low-level, exposure to radiation inside the body. It was indulging in "Mickey Mouse science". GUARDIAN

RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR, GUARDIAN, LONDON: Army doctors warned four years ago that exposure to depleted uranium, which is used in US and British anti-tanks shells, increased the risk of developing lung, lymph and brain cancer. The warnings, in an internal MoD document, are in marked contrast to persistent public assurances - repeated by the armed forces minister, John Spellar, to the Commons - playing down the risk from DU . . . In a devastating passage under the heading "Risk assessment relating to Gulf war uranium exposure", it warns: "First and foremost, the risk of occupational exposure by inhalation must be reduced." It goes on to say: "All personnel... should be aware that uranium dust inhalation carries a long-term risk... [the dust] has been shown to increase the risks of developing lung, lymph and brain cancers." It adds: "Working inside a DU dust-contaminated vehicle without adequate respiratory protection will expose the worker to up to eight times the OES [the occupational exposure standard or accepted exposure level]." GUARDIAN

MIKE RUPPERT, FROM THE WILDERNESS: As the scandal regarding the 1999 US use of depleted uranium rounds in Kosovo spreads and re-ignites controversy about the Gulf War Syndrome that has damaged the health of thousands of veterans, "From The Wilderness" has obtained a copy of a 1984 FAA advisory circular - still in effect - that shows that DU has been in use as a component in aircraft manufacture for years and that the US government has always treated DU as a hazardous material in full awareness of health risks it presents . . . FAA Advisory Circular 20-123, dated 12/20/84 is entitled "Avoiding or Minimizing Encounters With Aircraft Equipped With Depleted Uranium Balance Weights During Accident Investigations." The two-page memo was written to warn FAA crash site investigators that, as a result of an air crash, DU weights in various parts of the aircraft might have had their cadmium plating removed. The memorandum states, "While the depleted uranium normally poses no danger, it is to be handled with caution. The main hazard associated with depleted uranium is the harmful effect the material could have if it enters the body. If particles are inhaled or digested, they can be chemically toxic and cause a significant and long-lasting irradiation of internal tissue." FROM THE WILDERNESS

REUTERS: Russian defense officials accused NATO of using Serbia as a dumping ground for depleted uranium ammunition it needed to get rid of and called on the alliance to pay for any cleanup. Russia's air force chief General Anatoly Kornukov denounced the Western military alliance for penny-pinching, saying NATO had used its 1999 air raids to dispose of depleted uranium munitions rather than dispose of them properly. "It is clear to me they dropped the (munitions) they needed to destroy, as purely destroying them would have been several times more expensive than dropping them during bombing", he said in televised remarks. "Of course there is an (environmental) effect, there's no question about that. But at least we do not have these (munitions). We got out of this a long time ago and this is a totally incorrect approach," he said. RUSSIA TODAY

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: The director of the main hospital in the northern, Serb-majority part of Kosovo, blamed depleted uranium NATO munitions for what he said was a huge increase in cancer cases in his region. Milan Ivanovic, himself a Kosovo Serb, told AFP that cancer cases referred to the Serb hospital in Kosovksa Mitrovica had shot up by 200 percent since NATO's 1999 air campaign against Yugoslavia. "I think the main reason for the sizable increase in cancer cases, which numbered 160 last year, could only be due to NATO's bombardment with depleted uranium," Ivanovic said at the hospital CENTRAL EUROPE TODAY

FAIR: Since the new year, stories about the depleted uranium controversy have been running almost daily in every major British newspaper, with the Guardian and Independent each running editorials calling for a NATO investigation into DU's health effects. Altogether, the London Independent has run 14 original articles; the London Times has run 12; the Daily Telegraph has run 10; and the Guardian and its Sunday paper, the Observer, have run eight. Meanwhile, in the US-- the country most responsible by far for DU contamination-- newspapers have relegated most of their coverage to news briefs and short wire stories. The only US newspaper in the Nexis media database to have run an editorial on the current controversy is the Seattle Times. Big picture questions about the extensive use of DU since the Gulf War, its lasting impact on civilian populations and the record of official deception around DU have been largely ignored in both print and broadcast reports . . . Television coverage has also been limited. CNN has aired two reports on DU, while the three networks' evening news broadcasts each did one story. Only three of the mainstream US media reports about the current controversy have referred in any detail to the parallels between Balkans War Syndrome and the illnesses alleged to have resulted from use of DU during the Gulf War . . . Nor was the larger question about DU raised: Is it legal? In a December 18 draft recommendation that went largely unremarked, the Environment Committee of the Council of Europe found that during the Kosovo war, NATO countries violated provisions of the Geneva Conventions intended to limit environmental damage. Among other things, the committee cited "the use of depleted uranium in warheads" as a violation that had "dramatically worsened" Yugoslavia's environment "with long-lasting effects on the health and quality of life for future generations." The committee further found that this damage "can be presumed to have been deliberate."

RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR, GUARDIAN, LONDON: Army doctors warned four years ago that exposure to depleted uranium, which is used in US and British anti-tanks shells, increased the risk of developing lung, lymph and brain cancer. The warnings, in an internal MoD document, are in marked contrast to persistent public assurances - repeated by the armed forces minister, John Spellar, to the Commons - playing down the risk from DU . . . In a devastating passage under the heading "Risk assessment relating to Gulf war uranium exposure", it warns: "First and foremost, the risk of occupational exposure by inhalation must be reduced." It goes on to say: "All personnel... should be aware that uranium dust inhalation carries a long-term risk... [the dust] has been shown to increase the risks of developing lung, lymph and brain cancers." It adds: "Working inside a DU dust-contaminated vehicle without adequate respiratory protection will expose the worker to up to eight times the OES [the occupational exposure standard or accepted exposure level]." GUARDIAN




REUTERS: Italy has urged NATO to investigate claims that six Italians who died after serving in the Balkans were killed by exposure to depleted uranium, Prime Minister Giuliano Amato said in an interview. Amato told La Repubblica newspaper that alarm in Italy over the so-called "Balkan syndrome" was "more than legitimate." . . . SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Thousands of European soldiers who served in NATO forces in Kosovo are to be tested for radiation after claims that they developed cancer through exposure to allied munitions. Portugal and Spain will join the Italians, French and Belgians this week in carrying out a systematic review of the health of the troops they sent to the region to discover whether they were exposed to dangerous levels of depleted uranium in ammunition used by American forces . . . REUTERS Belgium called for European Union defense ministers to discuss health problems suffered by peace keepers in the former Yugoslavia, dubbed the "Balkans Syndrome." The call by Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut came amid rising concern in Europe over mysterious illnesses among veterans of Balkan peacekeeping missions.

ENS: The manufacture of consumer products out of radioactively contaminated materials discarded from commercial nuclear power plants and government bomb factories could become a fact of American life. In an extraordinary move, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission today asked the National Academy of Sciences to sanction the controversial practice. Dr. Richard Meserve, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made the request during the public portion of a special National Academy of Sciences committee meeting in Washington. Meserve asked the National Academy of Sciences panel to examine the practice of releasing radioactively contaminated solid waste materials into everyday commerce. He said this type of recycling is necessary to insure the continued viability of the commercial nuclear power plant industry and the Cold War decommissioning activities of the US Department of Energy.


SARA FLOUNDERS, INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER: Claiming they were concerned about controlling air pollution, some 3,000 NATO soldiers stormed a lead smelting plant in Zvecan at 4:30 in the morning of Aug. 14. The plant was the only functioning industry in the vast Trepca mining complex in northern Kosovo, a few miles from the city of Mitrovica. At 6:30 a.m., in a further attack that had nothing to do with air pollution, NATO soldiers closed down and confiscated the equipment of Zvecan's Radio S--the only station that dared to report information critical of NATO. The northern part of Mitrovica is the only remaining multi-ethnic part of Kosovo. Thousands of Serbs, Romani people, Slavic Muslims, other nationalities and peoples of mixed backgrounds have been driven out of other areas by Kosovo Liberation Army vigilante groups . . . The mines, with their smelting, refining and power centers, once constituted one of Yugoslavia's leading export industries and a main source of hard currency. It was the major source of jobs in the region. Defending the pre-dawn attack, Bernard Kouchner, the head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, said, "As a doctor and chief administrator of Kosovo I would be derelict if I allowed a threat to the health of children and pregnant women to continue for one more day." UNMIK is the police force set up by NATO to administer Kosovo. Kouchner has never had a word of criticism for the environmental havoc NATO created throughout the entire region with the use of depleted uranium weapons, the bombing of chemical plants and the use of cluster bombs. INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER

JUNE 2000


[If you're in the market for some depleted uranium, check out Starmet. Sorry, we can't help you on the half-life or toxicity of the stuff; all they told us was this]

Depleted Uranium is a low cost material that is readily available. DU's high density properties (65% denser than lead) provide useful solutions in radiation shielding and aircraft counterweights. DU is also a highly effective material for military armor and anti-armor applications. Customer needs for uranium and related materials are served by utilizing our patented technologies. Aircraft counterweights control surfaces (elevators and ailerons) on wide body aircraft require a heavy counterbalance weight, yet have insufficient surface clearance for lighter materials. Our DU products are an ideal material choice for this application where volume constraints prohibit the use of less dense metals. Starmet has the only Federal Aviation Administration approved facility for the repair and refurbishing of DU aircraft counterweights . . . Military Ordnance Starmet's low cost DU manufacturing capabilities make it one of the leading suppliers of low cost ammunition for US government weapons systems. Our anti-armor tank penetrator munitions helped bring a quick conclusion to the Desert Storm conflict.

MAY 2000

ECO BAD GUYS: Basic question in the Los Alamos fire is whether and to what extent depleted uranium strewn about the Los Alamos National Laboratory site has been sucked up into the plume by the fire. In addition, whether the following materials-also known to be on the site-are in the smoke plume: lead, beryllium, arsenic, thorium, uranium, plutonium, PCBs, barium, high explosives. Other questions: are the firefighters themselves being monitored for contamination. There is no real protection for fire fighters working in such a volatile situation. And is the government monitoring fall out from plume as it passes across Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas? Below are several links to help keep tabs on the fire taken from STAND(Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping)



INDEPENDENT, LONDON: After insisting throughout its air bombardment of Yugoslavia that its use of depleted uranium munitions against Serb forces posed no hazard to human health, NATO officers in Kosovo now admit that particles from their shells may have contaminated soil near targets in Yugoslavia and could cause "inhalation" problems, especially for children. .... In the eight years since, hundreds of Iraqis living near the battlefields have died from mysterious cancers and grossly deformed children have been born to Iraqi soldiers who fought in the war. British and American veterans suffering from Gulf war syndrome suspect that the use of DU weapons caused their own sickness and cancers. In briefings to international aid workers in Pristina, one K-For officer has warned his audience of "contaminated dust" at the scene of DU munitions explosions and urged aid officials to stay 150 feet away from targets hit in NATO air strikes. But non-governmental organizations have been amazed to hear that NATO cannot - or will not - say where it used DU ordnance against Serb forces. "There is no releasable information about where it was used and when," a K-For spokesman told The Independent. He would give no reason for NATO's refusal to provide these details. INDEPENDENT


BBC: In mid-June scientists at Kozani in northern Greece were reporting that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo. And Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia. DU is a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for making nuclear weapons and reactor fuel. It is 1.7 times heavier than lead, and is used for making armor-piercing rounds.

JULY 1999

GUARDIAN, LONDON: Up to 50,000 K-For troops could be struck by a "Kosovo syndrome" similar to the illness which blighted veterans in the Gulf war, a senior environmentalist warned. Kent Cassels, head of training and education at the World Conservation Monitoring Center in Cambridge, will visit the Balkans next month to assess the environmental damage caused by the crisis, on behalf of the UN Balkans taskforce. He said the use of depleted uranium in NATO cruise missiles, shells and bombs could pose a threat to the peace force .... Last year an American nuclear physicist said up to 90,000 British services personnel in the area might have been poisoned by DU.

MAY 1999

FROM GREEN CROSS INTERNATIONAL: The massive destruction of oil refineries, petrochemical plants chemical and fertilizer factories, pharmaceutical plants, and other environmentally hazardous enterprises puts both the population and natural environment in the Balkans under clear threat. The destruction of Pancevo petrochemical plant, attacks against targets in the municipality of Grocka in close vicinity of the Vinca nuclear reactor, as well as in the municipality of Baric, where a large complex for the production of chloride is located, demonstrate that irreversible environmental catastrophe can happen any time. There are also some reports that depleted uranium weapons, blamed for spiraling numbers of cancer and birth's defects in Iraq, are being used by NATO forces.

Acute air pollution represents immediate danger. Release of toxic and carcinogenic substances, and particulate matters would seriously affect health of the people. ~~ Another matter of serious concern is a significant emission of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which could cause acid rains thus affecting agriculture and forestry in the region.

In the short and medium term, heavy pollution of surface waters may be a serious danger. Contamination of rivers would have negative consequences on the quality of drinking water, and badly damage fresh water ecosystems. Transboundary pollution of the river Danube is not excluded.

One of most dangerous consequences is pollution of underground waters. The region is rich with underground water resources. These waters, lying at different depths, may easily spread oil, oil products, fuel, and chemical pollution to other countries in the region.

Collateral Damage Report

[The following comes from data by Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.]

--Cruise missiles use depleted uranium highly toxic to humans, both chemically as a heavy metal and radiologically as an alpha particle emitter. Since the Gulf War, depleted uranium has been a substitute for lead in bullets and missiles. According to scientists it is most likely a major contributor to the Gulf War Syndrome experienced both by the veterans and the people of Iraq. According radiobiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell, president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health:

"When used in war, the depleted uranium (DU) bursts into flame [and] releasing a deadly radioactive aerosol of uranium, unlike anything seen before. It can kill everyone in a tank. This ceramic aerosol is much lighter than uranium dust. It can travel in air tens of kilometers from the point of release, or be stirred up in dust and resuspended in air with wind or human movement. It is very small and can be breathed in by anyone: a baby, pregnant woman, the elderly, the sick. This radioactive ceramic can stay deep in the lungs for years, irradiating the tissue with powerful alpha particles within about a 30 micron sphere, causing emphysema and/or fibrosis. The ceramic can also be swallowed and do damage to the gastro-intestinal tract. In time, it penetrates the lung tissue and enters into the blood stream. ...It can also initiate cancer or promote cancers which have been initiated by other carcinogens."

--According to Paul Sullivan, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center: "In Yugoslavia, it's expected that depleted uranium will be fired in agricultural areas, places where livestock graze and where crops are grown, thereby introducing the specter of possible contamination of the food chain." MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY

The Environmental News Service reports that all the ecological groups of the warring Balkan countries have joined in signing a Declaration against NATO bombing and pollution in the region. At the initiative of the Macedonian environmental movement, the document was sent around for everyone to sign. It has now been signed by Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Declaration asks that NATO stop the bombing immediately for the safety of the world. Among other things, the declaration attacks the use depleted uranium -- which the Pentagon has admitted is in aircraft shells fired in the Balkans - a highly dangerous substance believed by some to be a major cause of civilian deaths in Iraq. ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SERVICE"
Go to

Thank you to David Swanson (follow@davidcnswanson Profile:"Author of War Is A Lie and Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union"), for his "tweet".

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Aunt Sally Whipping the Boy

"The Clegg-Cameron!"  ....... is it any surprise they cannot make their minds up about which one is going to have to tell The American Administration where to stick it's legislation?
It must be said however that B.P are totally responsible for the actual accident (within the parameters of previously current* -and recently passed-, U.S industry practices, legislation and standards), however the responsibility for the ethos of exploitative and fast-buck practices is the industry's. I'm not an expert but wasn't/isn't (?) America the most influential oil producing/exploiting nation on the planet? The fact that following the accident B.P were attempting to cobble-together a deep-water salvage/repair unit out of a couple of rusty bath-tubs on Uncle Tom's Louisiana dockside is the whole industry's responsibility. The British Government should make clear on B.P's behalf that whilst B.P accepts responsibility for the accident and it's aftermath it cannot accept sole responsibility for the climate of exploitation that has been engendered in the industry as a whole. There should be a limit to the financial burden placed on B.P and responsibility for the rest of the environmental and social consequences of the disaster should be born by the industry (including the national governments of countries which profit from the presence of major private oil-companies on their soil ).

*You know like The Gulf Stream.

(Edit 04/01/11 ....we should offer to do as much as we possibly can to clean up what is undoubtedly our own mess and help to ensure that such a ridiculous disparity between the preparedness for disaster and the risks involved in the off-shore oil industry does not occur again.)


Economists note: If we did prepare properly for all possible eventualities within the oil industry (in terms of possible disaster scenarious involving all activities from oil-well to consumption), how much would it affect the profit margins?
Also, if the possible economic consequences of continuing to expoit this resource are so serious and the possibility of disaster so real, do we not conclude that we require far more investment in sustainable above ground (but not above water), fuel production methods?

Phyto-Plankton/Ocean Flora Harvest.

Without clean seas* we will not be able to produce the fuels we will need. This is why we need a paradigm shift away from the old exploitative model (also see, "What's That Coming Over The Hill?" Go to ).

*not just biologically clean but radiologically clean too. 
Go to 

Also see: "Plastics, Bio-fuels, Synergisms, Synthesis and Balance." Pts. 1 & 2 Go to: &

"Where there's muck there's brass!" (and visa versa)

Also, according to The Associated Press; "American Petroleum Inst: 5 big oil companies have agreed to pool $1b to form new company to respond to offshore spills--BP not included!"

Quote: " "BP Profit Falls as Costs of Gulf of Mexico Spill Outweigh Higher Oil Prices" By Julia Werdigier
Published: April 27, 2011

LONDON — An increase in oil prices over the last year helped BP’s first-quarter earnings, but not enough to outweigh the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

But there are signs that the high prices have started to hurt demand in the United States and other developed countries, which could start pushing prices down again. Lower prices could make the rest of 2011 more difficult for BP and other big oil companies.

BP’s rivals, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, are still expected to report strong results when they release their first-quarter performances on Thursday.

But some analysts said oil prices could drop about $20 a barrel in the near term, raising questions about whether such companies could keep up the stellar profit growth of last year.

“Concern about supply might fade, and there is a possibility that the world economy will slow,” said Julian Jessop, chief international economist at Capital Economics in London.

But “the future is still bright for oil companies,” he added. “Oil prices will fall back but remain historically high.”

An improving world economy returned oil prices to higher levels in 2010 after a sharp drop in 2009. Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, reported a 53 percent increase in profit for the fourth quarter of last year. Chevron earnings in that period rose 72 percent, and ConocoPhillips reported a 46 percent rise.

On Wednesday, BP was the first of the largest publicly traded oil companies to report first-quarter earnings.

For BP, a higher oil price was offset by asset sales to pay for the repercussions from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Earnings were $5.48 billion in the first three months of this year, down from $5.6 billion in the period a year earlier.

The company has sold more than $24 billion of assets to raise money to cover the oil spill costs. Production fell as a result. Including lost production from the Gulf accident, production fell 11 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

BP set aside an additional $384 million for the oil spill in the first quarter, bringing the total to $41 billion.

BP’s shares have fallen 23 percent in the last 12 months, while those of its largest competitors have risen at least 18 percent.

To win back investors, the company focused on exploration and signed cooperation agreements in India and Russia. But its Russian deal with the government-owned Rosneft was held up this year because of a legal challenge from its Russian shareholders. Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer in the world. New oil from the region could play an important part in ensuring sufficient supplies and the future level of oil prices.

Those analysts who predicted a decline in the price of oil said concerns about political tensions in North Africa and the Middle East had increased prices but were likely to fade. At the same time, there are signs that high oil prices discourage consumers from filling their tanks just as the summer vacation season starts in the northern hemisphere.

“The oil price is, to an extent, too high at the moment,” said Christopher Wheaton, a director at the asset management firm RCM in London. “We are at the point at which we get demand destruction.”

Still, oil prices are expected to remain high enough for companies to increase investments in drilling aimed at raising production in the longer term. Exxon Mobil said last month that it planned to spend about $100 million a day for the next six years on new oil and gas projects.

The drilling for reserves in more remote and harder-to-reach areas has increased costs for oil companies as they compete for talent and technology. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill also led regulators to tighten safety rules and delay decisions on exploration permits, often further increasing costs for oil companies.

One year after the rig explosion that led to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is still seeking to resume drilling in the region’s waters, and investors continue to wait for BP to give a total figure for the costs of the spill." Go to

Quote: "..algae can grow faster than any other crop growing on land."...
"Some say algae can grow faster than any other crop growing on land. The numbers range up to 150 (300) tonnes algal biomass/ha.year, which is several times higher than the best known arable crop. Can algae really deliver this enormous amount of biomass? At the first congress on algae in The Netherlands, Eugène Roebroeck from Lgem made some interesting calculations.

There is only a limited amount of energy reaching the earth’s surface which plants can use to grow.

First, let’s look at the sun and the energy it provides. The sun provides a limited amount of energy per square meter. At the tropics the sunshine is very intense, in contrary to the poles where there is little solar energy. Clouds are also an important factor; regions with more clouds recieve less solar energy at ground level. The World Metereological Organisation has combined these two factors and calculated the annual solar energy available at any given location.

The annual average of solar energy for the Netherlands (and for Belgium) is 110 W/m². This is the maximum energy you can use. But since the spectrum of sunlight has a range from 250 to 2700 nm, containing next to visible light also ultraviolet radiation and infrared radiation, not all of this energy can be used. The figure underneath shows the distribution of energy over the wavelengths. The red area between the two vertical lines is approxymately the energy algae can use: only 43% of the total energy of the sun." See Link for Solar Radiation Spectrum Graph
"When we know that algae can only use 43% of 110W/m², we see that algae can only use 48 W/m².

Then, we have the efficiency of the photosynthetic apparatus of plants. Research shows that we need about 8-10 photons per captured CO2 molecule. Researchs on trees show that trees can take up only 5-6% of the available photons. This means we have in practice 3 W/m² which the algae can effectively use. Extrapolated to biomass this means we have a potential of 40 tonnes biomass/ha.year.

Since algal growth can be improved to reach higher effeciencies than the data shown above, the maximum value for photosynthetic efficiency can be 10%, which means a maximum potential of 5 W/m² or 68 tonnes biomass/ha.year.

In literature, this theoretical 10% efficiency is applied to areas (for example, the Sahara area) with much higher solar power (350 W/m² instead of 110W/m²), which results in the theoretical production rates of ~150 tonnes biomass/ha.year. This is the maximum amount of energy algae can capture per surface area.

But what has been proven? The NREL reported production rates of 50 tonnes algal biomass/ha.year, so this value can be achieved.

Is this enough to compete with other energy crops? Literature (Van Sark et al., 2006) suggests 8-12 tonnes DRY weight/ha.year for current bioenergy crops. At the congress some people argued that sugar beets can reach productivities of 25 tonnes dry mass/ha.year." Go to

Quote: "State Of The Ocean: 'Shocking' Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress

If the current actions contributing to a multifaceted degradation of the world's oceans aren't curbed, a mass extinction unlike anything human history has ever seen is coming, an expert panel of scientists warns in an alarming new report.

The preliminary report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is the result of the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all of the stressors currently affecting the oceans, including pollution, warming, acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.

“The findings are shocking," Dr. Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director, said in a statement released by the group. "This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children's and generations beyond that."

The scientific panel concluded that degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than has been predicted, and that the combination of factors currently distressing the marine environment is contributing to the precise conditions that have been associated with all major extinctions in the Earth's history.

According to the report, three major factors have been present in the handful of mass extinctions that have occurred in the past: an increase of both hypoxia (low oxygen) and anoxia (lack of oxygen that creates "dead zones") in the oceans, warming and acidification. The panel warns that the combination of these factors will inevitably cause a mass marine extinction if swift action isn't taken to improve conditions.

The report is the latest of several published in recent months examining the dire conditions of the oceans. A recent World Resources Institute report suggests that all coral reefs could be gone by 2050 if no action is taken to protect them, while a study published earlier this year in BioScience declares oysters as "functionally extinct", their populations decimated by over-harvesting and disease. Just last week scientists forecasted that this year's Gulf "dead zone" will be the largest in history due to increased runoff from the Mississippi River dragging in high levels of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers.

A recent study in the journal Nature, meanwhile, suggests that not only will the next mass extinction be man-made, but that it could already be underway. Unless humans make significant changes to their behavior, that is.

The IPSO report calls for such changes, recommending actions in key areas: immediate reduction of CO2 emissions, coordinated efforts to restore marine ecosystems, and universal implementation of the precautionary principle so "activities proceed only if they are shown not to harm the ocean singly or in combination with other activities." The panel also calls for the UN to swiftly introduce an "effective governance of the High Seas."

"The challenges for the future of the ocean are vast, but unlike previous generations we know what now needs to happen," Dan Laffoley of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and co-author of the report said in a press release for the new report. "The time to protect the blue heart of our planet is now, today and urgent."" Go to

NB. We needed to make the oceans radiologically clean before Fukushima.

A voice of dissent; quote: "Nobel Laureate Robert B. Laughlin exposes the consequences and limitations of biofuels from manure and corn ethanol to switchgrass and algae.
The energy industry’s sudden interest in algae might also be part of this absurdity, unfortunately. Green politics powerfully encourages “greenwash,” the practice of associating yourself with green causes to look more environmentally friendly than you actually are. Although the investments that the oil majors are presently making in algae look technically legitimate, they might just be public relations expenditures. We can’t tell, for the amounts of money involved, though considerable, are smaller than the potential costs of taxation, regulation, and political vexations that might be visited upon them for not being sufficiently green. Absent some truly unprecedented discovery or breakthrough, it will be hard not to smile knowingly whenever world-famous geneticists begin explaining their strategic algae oil partnerships that involve no farming until sometime way in the future, if ever." Go to

My comment: "…and how much do you think cleaning up"...the effects of.."the nuclear industry will cost? As with the previous century’s “green” research INVESTMENT is required, or one can continue to pedal the myth that the notion of an “unsustainable economy” is NOT an oxymoron."...Also
"It is vital to realise that INVESTMENT also means investment in education"..."How myopic to assume that even the “most able” are unable to provide an answer in adulthood when they have received no encouragement (infact been actively dissuaded from, cajoled and FORCED not), to explore the alternative paradigms which inform such research as children.

Considering the blinkered attitude towards mycological and bacteriological research displayed by the academic institutions generally (revealed on my thread, "Mycological Environmentalism, Under-Reported/Researched?", go to ), it is hardly surprising no one has an answer as yet.

Comment from Sean OHanlon on the same article: quote; "So Robert Laughlin shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1998. Good for him; But Algae cultivation is about Biology & Systems Engineering, not Physics. To me this is another case of someone who clearly hasn’t spoken with any leading researchers in the field of algae R&D or attended a single conference to get a pulse on the state of the industry.

Fresh water? Why would we want clean water to grow algae? Not only does algae capture CO2 but it also has the ability to sequester heavy metals and other toxins that no reasonable person would want released into the air or water. In addition, Algae has the ability to cut energy consumption in Wastewater treatment plants by as much as 80 percent. Even if that number were only 20% it would still be a technology well worth pursuing."

Dr. Laughlin also chooses to narrowly focus on saltwater micro-algae. This is another major miscalculation. We have barely scratched the surface of what can be done by the over 100,000 species of micro-algae in the world. We haven’t even started to take a serious look at the macro-algae that grow faster and have a higher sugar content. And as for: “there is no saltwater agriculture industry at the moment from which you can make crop comparisons” Not true, The Irish have been harvesting algae for centuries and Asia has been cultivating it for decades now. (Where do you think your sushi wrap comes from?) Algae is already being grown profitably as feed for livestock, pharmaceuticals, and DHA Omega 3′s just to name a few.

The cost of producing biofuels is getting cheaper all the time while exploration, drilling, and refining oil is getting ever more difficult, costlier, and dangerous. (Let’s not forget the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took 11 lives and went on for over 90 days just last year; Not to mention the environmental damage that will last for decades.) Take away the tax breaks and other advantages that petroleum currently enjoys and it immediately becomes economically unsustainable to the tune of ~$13/gallon and up for gasoline.

Thank you for your opinion Dr. Laughlin. However, Your opinion is clearly not supported by the facts."

Re: “clean” water (see above), there’s a difference between “capture” and “proliferation”, you can’t continue to pollute the body (even when using maggots to clean-up a wound).

Quote: "Creatures found at deep-sea volcanic vent
A team of British scientists has captured images of very rare species, in some of the most inaccessible parts of the Indian Ocean.

While they were surveying volcanic underwater vents, they found an array of creatures, including yeti crabs, scaly-foot snails and sea cucumbers.

They believe some of the species may be new to science." For video go to

Quote: "Producing biofuel from algae
A good thing about using algae is that they can produce oils required to manufacture biodiesel as well as sugar needed to manufacture ethanol. One of the biggest benefits of using algae is that they produce a huge amount of energy, much greater than that produced by food crop based biofuels. For instance, the amount of energy produced by algae growing in a large sized garage is equivalent to the energy generated by soybeans growing on land that is as large as a football field.

As they are harvested in a short time of about 1-10 days, algae definitely grow a lot faster than food crops. Algae can grow double their size in 24 hours and sometimes even less. Although initial investment in land will be required to cultivate algae, you do not require arable land to crop them. Algae can be developed on land that is not suitable for planting food crops like desert areas, rocky soil and even land with saline groundwater resources. Moreover, algae can grow in any type of climate and weather conditions unlike food crops. That notwithstanding, the production of biofuels nevertheless remains expensive." Go to

Origin Oil
Quote: "CEO's Update
2012: The Year of Algae
From: Riggs Eckelberry
Los Angeles, December 27, 2011

Good morning!

I trust that you are enjoying the holiday break, and that you are getting ready for a great year ahead.

The Top 100 People in Bioenergy, 2011-12

Once again you named me to this list, and I’m honored and thankful.

With several high-profile IPOs last year, Bioenergy is becoming Big Business. Which makes it all the more amazing that I’m even on this list.

OriginOil isn’t a big company. But we are working hard to make algae into Big Business in 2012!

Why 2012 will be the Year of Algae

In the closing months of 2011, we’ve seen these game-changing events:

commercial flights fueled by an algae blend.
a record purchase of algae-based fuel for the Navy’s Green Fleet.
the funding of a joint venture to help build bio-refineries using algae blends.
a research program to blend algae with many other potential fuels.
Blending algae with other feedstocks is jump-starting it into a major role in creating biocrude.

From there, you get gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, plastics… anything you can get from petroleum.

The game is changing, fast.

Accelerating Pace in 2012

After such a hot end of 2011, do you think things will slow down in 2012?

On the contrary, I am sure that things will speed up.

Do you think that we will play a part in this speedup? I will let you draw your own conclusions!

May you and yours have a safe and successful 2012.

Riggs and team

Riggs Eckelberry
President & CEO
OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL)" Go to!tag-biofuel

Quote: "Lufthansa to pilot transatlantic biofuel flight
Lufthansa looks set to conclude its biofuel trial with its first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight, after the airline admitted that the future of its biofuel programme now rested on its ability to source sufficient sustainable jet biofuels.

A Boeing 747-400 will leave Frankfurt bound for Washington DC carrying around 40 tonnes of a biosynthetic fuel mix, which the company estimates will reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tonnes – roughly equivalent to six scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Berlin.

Branson predicts aviation could be among 'cleanest' industries within 10 years
Climate Committee chief warns green aviation could prove impossibleThe flight looks to be the final act in a trial that has seen Lufthansa complete 1,187 domestic flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg using a 50/50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in one of the plane's engines.

From mid-July to the end of December, it used up 1,566 tonnes of biokerosene mix, saving an estimated 1,471 tonnes of CO2 in the process.

Lufthansa hailed the trial as a success and said the higher energy density of biofuels meant it reduced fuel consumption by more than one per cent during the flights, while the fuel also proved to be free of polluting sulphur and aromatic compounds.

"Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction," said Joachim Buse, vice president of aviation biofuel at Lufthansa. "As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations."

However, while the company said biofuels would play a major role in helping airlines meet an industry-wide goal of halving 2005 levels of emissions by 2050, Buse confirmed its use of alternative fuels on commercial flights will be suspended until more sustainable fuels can be identified.

"As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials," he said. "However, Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations."

Airlines are coming under increased pressure to cut emissions as a result of volatile oil prices and their inclusion in the EU's emissions trading scheme.

However, green campaigners are concerned increasing demand for biofuels will lead to energy crops being grown on land* that should be used for producing food.

The industry has countered by arguing that biofuels will only supplement standard fuels rather than replace them, while many carriers have invested in so-called next generation biofuels that should not impinge on food production.

For example, BA has stated its intention to start using a fuel derived from waste from 2015 – and has invested in a plant in east London to produce it – while Virgin Atlantic is investigating a fuel made from waste gases that could be running part of its fleet by 2014." Go to

*Underline mine.

Quote: "Researchers engineer microbe to make seaweed a cost-effective source of renewable fuel
"BAL's technology to ferment a seaweed feedstock to renewable fuels and chemicals has suggested an entirely new pathway for biofuels development, one that is no longer constrained to terrestrial sources," says ARPA-E Program Director Dr. Jonathan Burbaum. "When fully developed and deployed, large scale seaweed cultivation combined with BAL's technology promises to produce renewable fuels and chemicals without forcing a tradeoff with conventional food crops such as corn or sugarcane."" Go to

B.P "let-the-side-down", again...
Quote: "Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) has just sent a briefing package to the Attorney Generals of Alabama and Louisiana which presents evidence they believe has never seen the light of day concerning the how and why of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and subsequent release of toxic oil into the Gulf—oil that is still gushing from various seabed fractures and fissures.

The evidence provided therein clearly indicates:

The unmentioned existence of a 3rd Macondo well (the real source of the explosion, DWH sinking and ensuing oil spill).

The current condition of this well being such that it can never be properly capped. " Go to

The compromised condition of the seabed floor being such that there are multiple unnatural sources of gushers continuing to pour into the Gulf, with Corexit dispersant still suppressing its visibility.

That the highly publicized capped well (Well A) never occurred as reported, and in fact was an abandoned well, hence it was never the source of the millions of gallons released into the Gulf.

GRA’s special report (a comprehensive compilation of research released by insiders and experts through confidential internet sources) has been forwarded to Congress in advance of BP’s upcoming trial on Monday, February 27th in New Orleans, LA. Entitled An Expert’s Analysis of ROV Film Footage Taken at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster Site, it has also been submitted to the appropriate federal, state and county authorities, plaintiff attorneys, and environmental and health advocacy groups who have a stake in the outcome of the trial.

...The aforementioned “Expert’s Analysis” makes plain the fact that much information, of which BP et al. was the exclusive source, had been misrepresented with prior deliberation before being submitted to the US Federal Government and other concerned parties. In many cases the forensic analysis has laid bare a pattern of tampering with evidence in an attempt to mitigate the compensatory and punitive damages BP might be forced to pay.

This extraordinary report goes on to document a scenario in which it appears that BP illegally drilled more than one well at the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Furthermore, the well that was ultimately capped after 87 straight days of gushing oil and gas into the Gulf may not be the one that was licensed by the appropriate US permitting agencies.

The factual sequence of events, and especially the actual response by BP, appear to be far different from those reported in the media and by the Coast Guard. It is important to note that BP was given a lead position in the unified command structure authorized by the US Federal Government immediately following the burning and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon. This transference of authority away from the impacted state governments was unprecedented in US history and created a virtual monopoly over the flow of information from BP to the appropriate authorities, as well as to the public-at-large.

From even a cursory reading of this “Expert’s Analysis” it becomes clear that the actual evolution of the BP oil spill fits a narrative that is replete with instances of covering up and altering much essential data and information, which would have served as definitive evidence against BP in numerous foreseen legal actions. Ultimately, much of the information contained in this report may serve to “indict” not only BP and their corporate co-conspirators on several different violations of federal law and state statutes, but also various departments and agencies within the US Federal Government...." Go to

Also see; "Murky Business; "U.K and U.S Turn Blind Eye to Islamic State Oil Sales" Nafeez Ahmed: Middle East Eye" go to:
 & "Will the U.S be so Vociferous or Vehement about its own Oil Companies' Environmental Abuses?" go to: