Archive for April 2011
In the past year, nine vocal critics or potential whistleblowers of the Gulf oil spill all died in extremely mysterious ways. [Ed note: two others are also included here: one missing, one jailed.] Their deaths could be strange, unrelated coincidences. Or they could have been killed as part of a conspiracy to silence those who were speaking out against the worst oil spill in American history.
February 17, 2011 – LSU scientist Gregory Stone, 54 – Unknown Illness
January 26, 2011 – age 31 – Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officer, from Ocean Springs arrested on child porn charge.
January 19, 2011 – former President and CEO of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation – imprisonment and subsequent murder while jailed
December 31, 2010 – a former Pentagon official and presidential aide and a defense consultant and expert on chemical and biological weapons – was beaten to death in an assault, body was discovered in a Wilmington landfill
November 23, 2010 – an incident commander for BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill response team, died Tuesday night near Destin, Florida in a small plane crash’
November 15, 2010 – age 33, worked in the USF Center for Biological Defense and Global Health Infectious Disease Research – Found dead in an apparent suicide by cyanide at a Temple Terrace hotel. She leaves behind a husband and a young child.
November, 2010 – MIA Status, of Lakeland, FL – Swan expert who “ran into legal trouble over an expired prescription license has closed his practice” — Was investigating unexplained bird deaths near Sarasota abruptly and immediately closed his practice, and apparently his investigation into the deaths of swans in Sarasota, suspected to have been impacted by the BP Oil Disaster. No one has heard or spoken with him since. Watch this news report covering his investigation before his disappearance: video
October 6, 2010 – age 66, was hit by a truck as he passed through Panama City, Florida. Mr. Grooters had been knocked down and killed close to the end of a 3,200-mile trans-America charity ride to raise awareness about the Gulf Coast oil disaster. He began his cross-country bike ride in Oceanside, California, on September 10th. Grooters’s family and friends will cycle the final stretch of the journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic in his honour, raising cash to support Gulf Coast families. Read more: here
August 9, 2010 – Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, 86, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, was among nine people on board when the 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter, crashed into a brush- and rock-covered mountainside Monday afternoon about 17 miles north of the southwest Alaska fishing town of Dillingham, federal officials said. Stevens was the recipient of a whistleblower’s communication relative to the BP Oil Disaster blow-out preventer, and a conspiracy of secrecy to hide the facts from the public. More here
A 48-year-old veteran oil worker claims “You and your fellow Committee members may wish to require BP to explain what action was ultimately instituted to cease the practice of falsifying BOP tests at BP Prudhoe drilling rigs. It was a cost saving but dangerous practice, again endangering the BP workforce, until I exposed it to Senator Ted Stevens, the EPA, and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.” The cause of the crash is still an OPEN investigation by the NTSB.
August 13, 2010 – age 67 – Simmons’ body was found Sunday night in his hot tub, investigators said. An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning with heart disease as a contributing factor – “It was painful as can be” to be only insider willing to speak out against the “officials” during the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
April 6, 2010 – age 46 – cell biologist and college professor, a near-native Floridian who chose to return to South Florida after studying at elite universities – was fatally shot during what police say was a home invasion robbery.
Links and video: Read the rest of this entry »
April 14, 2011 “Information Clearing House”
— While our fiscal woes have led Congress to slash food aid this year to the world’s poor — rest assured, fellow Americans — the U.S. government will keep using your tax dollars to kill them. For while John Boehner and Barack Obama might disagree on some things, there’s one area they can agree on: War. And the need for more of it.
“Money for bombs, not bread,” might be a good bipartisan slogan.
And when it comes to dropping its citizens’ tax dollars on flying killer robots and foreign military occupations, no country comes close to the United States. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ( SIPRI ), the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — more than $150 billion in direct spending this year alone — exceeds what China, the U.S.’s closest military rival, spends altogether on its armed forces. Overall, the Obama administration will spend more than $700 billion next year on the military.
That’s more than George W. Bush ever spent. And figures released this week by SIPRI show that since Obama took office, the U.S. has been almost entirely responsible for the global rise in military spending: $19.6 billion of $20.6 billion since 2008. What a difference a Nobel laureate makes.
And the actual figure spent on war – the fighting of it, the preparation for it and the consequences of it – is substantially higher than acknowledged, with spending on military programs often buried in places like the Department of Energy, which oversees the U.S.’s massive stash of nuclear weapons. Counting those hidden costs, including veterans benefits, aid to foreign militaries and interest payments on defense-related debt, economist Robert Higgs estimates the U.S. government spends more than $1 trillion a year on empire.
But you wouldn’t grasp the enormity of the U.S.’s commitment to militarism if you listened to its politicians. Remarking last week on the deal he struck that slashes $38.5 billion in federal spending, President Obama said the agreement “between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.”
Sounds lovely. But the reality, not the rhetoric, is that Obama and his allies in Congress aren’t cutting Pentagon waste and investing in rainbows and unicorns – unless, perhaps, there’s some way to harness their power for weapons. Rather, they’re investing in war at the cost of community health centers, local development projects and Medicare. In Washington, you see, money for killing people is safe from the cutting board; it’s the money that actually helps them that’s not .
Quote of the Week We Ain’t Got Time to Bleed
We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed. It’s Time for the Revolution.
“You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit…we are bleeding…but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! ”
-Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, April 12, 2011
“Imagine it—you’re sitting in your living room, which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal. . . . And, suddenly, that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after the other…… The children are screaming, panicking. . . . Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, twelve soldiers, their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall? ”
While watching Die Hard the other night—one of the best architectural films of the past 25 years—I kept thinking about an essay called “Lethal Theory” by Eyal Weizman—itself one of the best and most consequential architectural texts of the past decade (download the complete PDF).
In it, Weizman—an Israeli architect and prominent critic of that nation’s territorial policy—documents many of the emerging spatial techniques used by the Israeli Defense Forces in their high-tech, legally dubious 2002 invasion of Nablus. During that battle, Weizman writes, “soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long ‘overground-tunnels’ carved through a dense and contiguous urban fabric.” Their movements were thus almost entirely camouflaged, with troop movements hidden from above by virtue of always remaining inside buildings. “Although several thousand soldiers and several hundred Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city,” Weizman adds, “they were so ‘saturated’ within its fabric that very few would have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment.”
Worthy of particular emphasis is Weizman’s reference to a technique called “walking through walls”:
Furthermore, soldiers used none of the streets, roads, alleys, or courtyards that constitute the syntax of the city, and none of the external doors, internal stairwells, and windows that constitute the order of buildings, but rather moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors.
Weizman goes on to interview a commander of the Israeli Paratrooper Brigade. The commander describes his forces as acting “like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner.”
This is how the troops could “adjust the relevant urban space to our needs,” he explains, and not the other way around.
Indeed, the commander thus exhorted his troops as follows: “There is no other way of moving! If until now you were used to moving along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through walls!” Read the rest of this entry »