Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pathetic BBC attempts to prop up even more pathetic Saudi puppet Obama

8/31/13, "Obama's canny, democratic move," BBC, Mark Mardell


8/29/13, "EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.", by


More reports Saudi Arabia and Saudi Prince Bandar behind Obama bombing Syria, 'CIA loves this guy,' Saudis gave chemical weapons to Syrian rebels to use. Drs. w/o borders cited. Obama going after wrong side-Mint Press News

"The CIA totally loves this guy....More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government."
8/29/13, "EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.", by .

"Clarification: Dale Gavlak assisted in the research and writing process of this article, but was not on the ground in Syria. Reporter Yahya Ababneh, with whom the report was written in collaboration, was the correspondent on the ground in Ghouta who spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents. 

Gavlak is a MintPress News Middle East correspondent who has been freelancing for the AP as a Amman, Jordan correspondent for nearly a decade. This report is not an Associated Press article; rather it is exclusive to MintPress News. 

"Ghouta, Syria — As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last week’s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit.

Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.

The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”

However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.

More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.

Saudi involvement

In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.

Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.

“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians.

“Along with Saudi officials, the U.S. allegedly gave the Saudi intelligence chief the thumbs up to conduct these talks with Russia, which comes as no surprise,” Ingersoll wrote.

“Bandar is American-educated, both military and collegiate, served as a highly influential Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and

the CIA totally loves this guy,” he added.

According to U.K.’s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the CIA realized Saudi Arabia was “serious” about toppling Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar to lead the effort.

“They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout,” it said.

Bandar has been advancing Saudi Arabia’s top foreign policy goal, WSJ reported, of defeating Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

To that aim, Bandar worked Washington to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan.

The newspaper reports that he met with the “uneasy Jordanians about such a base”:

His meetings in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. “The king would joke: ‘Oh, Bandar’s coming again? Let’s clear two days for the meeting,’ ” said a person familiar with the meetings.
Jordan’s financial dependence on Saudi Arabia may have given the Saudis strong leverage. An operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition arrived, WSJ reported, citing Arab officials. 

Although Saudi Arabia has officially maintained that it supported more moderate rebels, the newspaper reported that “funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar.”

But rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” or ‘the lover’ by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.

Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, has issued a word of caution about Washington’s rush to punish the Assad regime with so-called ‘limited’ strikes not meant to overthrow the Syrian leader but diminish his capacity to use chemical weapons:

Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.

It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a U.N. commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible."

"Some information in this article could not be independently verified. Mint Press News will continue to provide further information and updates."


Ed. note:  Please excuse gaps between paragraphs. When Google doesn't like things I post, it makes the post look so messy no one will read it.

UK a winner, doesn't allow rule by decree. Many Americans are jealous. US Republican House won't oppose anything Obama does be it illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional, will accept being lied to, won't use their power of the purse

8/30/13, "Deadly serious in Syria," Legal Insurrection, William A. Jacobson

Commenter to above suggests instead that we're jealous because the US has no checks on Obama's rule by decree. We're stuck with embarrassments like McCain and Boehner:

by Subotai Bahadur | August 30, 2013 at 10:53 am

"As buggered up as Britain is, and however much its government resembles a football bat; their Parliament at least some of the time takes its constitutional function seriously and acts as a check on the Executive’s attempts to rule by decree. A lot of Americans are jealous. The Democrats in Congress vote in lockstep with the White House akin to the old Supreme Soviet voting with the Politburo. And the Institutional Republicans vote like they are aspirant members of the Supreme Soviet wanting to impress the Politburo with their zeal. 

The Republican House will not seriously oppose anything Obama does, be it illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional. They will accept being lied to under oath with no reaction. They will accept the setting up of the precursor of a police state; and give every indication that the actual establishment of one will go unopposed. And they will not use the power of the purse to fulfill their constitutional duty to protect the Constitution. What you see is envy and admiration. Would that we had at least one party in Congress with a measurable testosterone count.

Subotai Bahadur"


Yosemite fire human caused, likely by illegal marijuana farms now common, California and EPA coddle pot farms run by Mexican drug gangs and others who use poisons, start fires, murder animals, siphon water, kill fish, leave tons of garbage. Calif. billionaires, Eilperin, NY Times silent

"Operations are run by Mexican drug cartels and are often guarded by armed lookouts." AK-47 rifle found near one camp.

 8/30/13, "Rim Fire: Did illegal marijuana growers start the blaze?" San Jose Mercury News, Paul Rogers

"Investigators searching for answers into what caused the massive wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park have made some headway, fire officials said Friday.

Most authorities are mum about the details, but one fire official in Tuolumne County offered a tantalizing clue when he recently told a community meeting that the fire was likely caused by marijuana growers.

"We don't know the exact cause," said Todd McNeal, fire chief in Twain Harte, a town that has been in the path of the flames. But he told a community meeting that it was "highly suspect that there might have been some sort of illicit grove, a marijuana-grow-type thing."

"We know it's human caused. There was no lightning in the area," said McNeal, a former captain with the Sonora Fire Department who has fought fires for 23 years for the Forest Service, the National Park Service and other agencies in the Sierra Nevada.

His remarks, made on Aug. 23, were recorded and posted on YouTube in a video that has gotten surprisingly little attention. Officially, authorities were saying little.

"The cause is still under investigation. There has been progress in the case, but we can't share any additional details at this time," said Stanton Florea, a spokesman with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Rim Fire began Aug. 17 in a remote area of Stanislaus National Forest called Jawbone Ridge, far from any paved road. Smoke from the blaze has drifted so far that satellites are measuring it thousands of miles away over Canada and the Great Lakes -- and in traces over Europe.

By Friday, the fire had burned 213,414 acres, making it the fifth largest wildfire in California history. It was 35 percent contained; fire officials are estimating full containment on Sept. 20. 

Over the past decade, the Forest Service and rural police have reported an increasing number of huge marijuana plantations being found in national forests across California and other states. The operations are run by Mexican drug cartels and are often guarded by armed lookouts, authorities say.

The growers have shot wildlife, rerouted streams and poisoned parks and forests with pesticides. They also have started fires.

In 2009, a huge fire that burned 90,000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara was set by a campfire from an illegal marijuana grow, Forest Service investigators concluded at the time. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said the operation was run by a Mexican drug cartel. Deputies reported finding 30,000 marijuana plants and an AK-47 assault rifle in a remote canyon near where the wildfire started. They also found piles of garbage, propane tanks and a charred stove.

A few weeks after that incident, the Santa Barbara County sheriff said that the tightening of security around the U.S.-Mexico border had led to the rise in drug gangs deciding to grow marijuana on public lands in California.

"It's made it much more difficult for the cartels to smuggle into the country, particularly marijuana, which is large and bulky," Sheriff Bill Brown said. "It's easier to grow it here."

McNeal, the Twain Harte fire chief, did not return calls on Friday, as 5,000 firefighters continued to battle the flames.

A top political leader in the area said that marijuana growers have been an ongoing problem in Stanislaus National Forest.

"We know that these illegal pot growers are out in our forests, and I think this fire just wiped out a whole bunch of them," said Randy Hanvelt, chairman of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors.

"It's a problem in all the Sierra forests," he added. "When we find them, we pull out like 20,000 plants at a time."

Hanvelt said he did not know what leads Forest Service investigators have made in cracking the case. The area where the fire started is roughly 10 miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance on Highway 120 and 8 miles east of the town of Groveland -- a rugged, steep expanse of dense wilderness.
"It's a tough place to get to," he said. "You don't get there by accident."

In June, deputies pulled out 15,000 marijuana plants from the adjacent forest to the south, Sierra National Forest. The Madera County Sheriff's Department removed four miles of irrigation pipe connected to streams and more than 2,000 pounds of garbage, propane tanks, bedding and food. A month earlier, fire crews battled a 40-acre wildfire in the same area, and authorities said it had been set by marijuana growers tied to Mexican drug cartels.

Also Friday, U.S. government satellites continued to churn out images showing just how far the Rim Fire's impacts are being felt.

Smoke from the blaze drifted at least 2,500 miles, and reached Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and the Great Lakes. The soot particles, picked up by nine weather satellites run by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, were 10,000 feet or higher in the air, however, and weren't affecting air quality in most places, except areas near the fire, such as Reno and the San Joaquin Valley.

Mark Ruminski, a meteorologist with NOAA's satellite analysis division in College Park, Md., said that European satellites have even detected low levels of soot from the fire over Scandinavia. The particles will disperse and wash out of the atmosphere after it rains, he said."...via Drudge


Took off with medical marijuana boom: ""It borders on terrorism to the environment.""

11/15/12, ""Wildlife technician Aaron Pole surveys a forest trashed by growers. Carbofuran, an insecticide lethal to humans in small doses, is found regularly at large-scale pot farms. Also flowing into the watershed are rodenticides, fungicides, diesel fuel and other pollutants," G. Molina, LA Times photo

California marijuana growers use poisons fatal to humans, kill bears, illegally siphon millions of gallons of water from salmon when they need it most, mow down timber, grade mountaintops, leave filth-LA Times

"Each plant uses 5 gallons of water a day."...

12/23/12, "Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment," LA Times, Joe Mozingo

"Burgeoning marijuana growing operations are sucking millions of gallons of water from coho salmon lifelines and taking other environmental tolls, scientists say.

State scientists, grappling with an explosion of marijuana growing on the North Coast, recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.

In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, they counted 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants — mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The scientists determined the farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it.

"That is just one small watershed," said Scott Bauer, the state scientist in charge of the coho recovery on the North Coast for the Department of Fish and Game. "You extrapolate that for all the other tributaries, just of the Eel, and you get a lot of marijuana sucking up a lot of water.… This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover."...

The marijuana boom that came with the sudden rise of medical cannabis in California has wreaked havoc on the fragile habitats of the North Coast and other parts of California. With little or no oversight, farmers have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, 

drained streams and polluted watersheds.

Because marijuana is unregulated in California and illegal under federal law, most growers still operate in the shadows, and scientists have little hard data on their collective effect. But they are getting ever more ugly snapshots.

A study led by researchers at UC Davis found that a rare forest carnivore called a fisher was being poisoned in Humboldt County and near Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada....

Mark Higley, a wildlife biologist on the Hoopa Indian Reservation in eastern Humboldt who worked on the study, is incredulous over the poisons that growers are bringing in.

"Carbofuran," he said. "It seems like they're using that to kill bears and things like that that raid their camps. So they mix it up with tuna or sardine, and the bears eat that and die."

The insecticide is lethal to humans in small doses, requires a special permit from the EPA and is banned in other countries. Authorities are now regularly finding it at large-scale operations in some of California's most sensitive ecosystems.

It is just one in a litany of pollutants seeping into the watershed from pot farms: fertilizers, soil amendments, miticides, rodenticides, fungicides, plant hormones, diesel fuel, human waste.

Scientists suspect that nutrient runoff from excess potting soil and fertilizers, combined with lower-than-normal river flow due to diversions, has caused a rash of toxic blue-green algae blooms in the North Coast rivers over the last decade.

The cyanobacteria outbreaks threaten public health for swimmers and kill aquatic invertebrates that salmon and steelhead trout eat. Now, officials warn residents in late summer and fall to stay out of certain stretches of water and keep their dogs out.

Eleven dogs have died from ingesting the floating algae since 2001.

The effects are disheartening to many locals because healthier salmon runs were signaling that the rivers were gradually improving from the damage caused by more than a century of logging.

"Now with these water diversions, we're potentially slamming the door on salmon recovery," said Scott Greacen, director of Friends of the Eel River.

In June, Bauer and other agency scientists accompanied game wardens as they executed six search warrants on growers illegally sucking water from tributaries of the Trinity River. At one, he came upon a group of 20-somethings with Michigan license plates on their vehicles, camping next to 400 plants. He followed an irrigation line up to a creek, where the growers had dug a pond and lined it with plastic.

"I started talking to this guy, and he says he used to be an Earth First! tree-sitter, saving the trees," Bauer said. "I told him everything he was doing here negates everything he did as an environmentalist."

The man was a small-timer in this new gold rush. As marijuana floods the market and prices drop, many farmers are cultivating ever bigger crops to make a profit. They now cut huge clearings for industrial-scale greenhouses. With no permits or provisions for runoff, the operations

dump tons of silt into the streams during the rainy season.

Scanning Google Earth in his office recently, Bauer came upon a "mega grow" that did not exist the year before — a 4-acre bald spot in the forest with 42 greenhouses, each 100 feet long.

Figuring a single greenhouse that size would hold 80 plants, and each plant uses about 5 gallons of water a day, he estimated the operation would consume 2 million gallons of water in the dry season and unleash a torrent of sediment in the wet season.

"There has been an explosion of this in the last two years," he said. "We can't keep up with it."

Every grow has its own unique footprint. Some farmers on private land avoid pesticides and poisons, get their water legally, keep their crops small and try to minimize their runoff. Urban indoor growers might not pollute a river, but they guzzle energy. A study in the journal Energy Policy calculated that indoor marijuana cultivation could be responsible for 9% of California's household electricity use. Other producers, like the Mexican drug trafficking groups who set up giant grows on public lands right next to mountain streams, spread toxins far and wide and steal enough water to run oscillating sprinkler systems.

But it's not just the big criminal groups skirting the rules. Tony LaBanca, senior environmental scientist at Fish and Game in Eureka, said less than 1% of marijuana growers get the permits required to take water from a creek, and those who do usually do it after an enforcement action.

Responsible growers could easily get permits, with no questions asked about what type of plant they're watering, LaBanca said. They just need to be set up to take their water in the wet season and store it in tanks and bladders.

Fish and Game wants to step up enforcement, but the staff is overwhelmed, he said. The agency has 12 scientists and 15 game wardens in the entire four counties on the North Coast, covering thousands of mountainous square miles.

Until the last few years, dealing with marijuana cultivation was usually a minor issue. Now, LaBanca said, it is "triage."...

Deputies had severed the irrigation lines during the August raid, but when Higley returned in September to study the environmental impact, some of the line had been reconnected to sprinklers and plants had re-sprouted. He saw a wet bar of soap on an upturned bucket and realized workers were hiding nearby.

On this return visit, the site was empty, and he started picking through the rubbish. "That's d-CON rat poison right there, 16 trays."

At a dump pile next to the creek, he found propane tanks, more rat poison, cans of El Pato tomato sauce, and empty bags of Grow More fertilizer, instant noodles and tortillas.

A lot of the trash had been removed during the sheriff's eradication — dozens of empty bags accounting for 2,700 pounds of fertilizer and boxes for 10 pounds of d-CON (enough to kill 21 spotted owls and up to 28 fishers), as well as two poached deer carcasses and the remains of a state-protected ringtailed cat.

"It wouldn't matter if they were growing tomatoes, corn and squash," he said. "It's trespassing, it's illegal and it borders on terrorism to the environment.""  

Obama wins long court battle allowing him to keep all White House visitor logs secret. US taxpayers should stop paying salaries of White House personnel if such personnel feel their work should be secret

8/30/13, "Appeals court says White House visitor logs can be kept from public," Mark Tapscott, Examiner

"President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday.

The case was brought by Judicial Watch, the government watchdog nonprofit that has been fighting a long legal battle seeking to force release of the White House visitor logs as public records under the Freedom of Information Act.

But in a decision that is drawing intense criticism from across the ideological spectrum, the circuit court said the president has a "constitutional perogative" not to tell the American people who he or his staff meets with in the White House.

The court said the president has such a prerogative because he is not covered by the FOIA and because of "special policy considerations" that allow exemption of visitor logs from classification as agency records subject to release under the public records law.

President Obama began making public some of the White House visitor logs in 2009, but refused a Judicial Watch request for all of the logs.

Administration spokesmen have often pointed to the partial release of the logs to support the president's claim that his is "the most transparent administration in history."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was extremely disappointed by the decision, saying "a president that doesn't want Americans, under law, to know who his visitors are is a president who doesn't want to be accountable. The appellate court decision punches another hole in the Freedom of Information Act, the law which allows Americans to know what their government is up to."

Fitton's group is considering filing an appeal, which would be to the Supreme Court. There is no guarantee that the high court would accept the case.

"The legal gymnastics in this unprecedented decision shows that President Obama is not only one willing rewrite laws without going through Congress. And this legal fight, in which President Obama is fighting tooth and nail full disclosure under law of his White House visitors, further exposes his big lie that his administration is the most transparent in history. The silver lining is that at least the appellate court opened up the records of tens of thousands of White House visits that Obama was trying to keep secret," Fitton said.

The Obama administration is not solely responsible for the status of the logs, however, as the court repeatedly cited in its decision a 2006 memorandum of understanding between President George W. Bush and the U.S. Secret Service, which has custody of the records.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, another nonprofit watchdog group that, like Judicial Watch, often focuses on FOIA-related issues, pointed to the MOU's role in the decision:

"Central to the court's ruling was a 2006 memorandum of understanding (MOU) the White House and Secret Service entered into after CREW made requests and then sued for access to the visitor logs. That MOU specified that White House visitor records are controlled at all times by the White House. The timing and circumstances surrounding the creation of the MOU strongly suggest it was manufactured solely to buttress the government's litigation posture, but the D.C. Circuit refused to consider the government's motives."

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said the "White House visitor records have proven of enormous value to the public in exposing the outside influences brought to bear on presidential decisions and policies. With this ruling, that window on the White House is now shut."

Go here to read the court decision. Go here to view the visitor logs that have been made public prior to the decision." via Atlas Shrugs


No Atlantic hurricanes through August 2013, first time in 11 yrs., climate scare profiteers predicted 'above normal' season. “It just shows you having warm water isn’t everything,” Sr. meteorologist. 2007 UN IPCC report notes faulty wind measurement led to flawed ocean heat uptake models and sea level projections

2007 UN IPCC report, Chapter "The Southern Ocean wind stress error has a particularly large detrimental impact on the Southern Ocean simulation by the models....It is likely that the relatively poor Southern Ocean simulation will influence the transient climate response to increasing greenhouse gases by affecting the oceanic heat uptake."


8/30/13, "No Atlantic Hurricane by August in First Time in 11 Years," Bloomberg, Barry K. Sullivan

"August is about to end without an Atlantic hurricane for the first time since 2002, calling into question predictions of a more active storm season than normal. 

Six tropical systems have formed in the Atlantic since the season began June 1 and none of them has grown to hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 miles (120 kilometers) per hour. Accumulated cyclone energy in the Atlantic, a measure of tropical power, is about 30 percent of where it normally would be, said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of Colorado State University’s seasonal hurricane forecasts.

“At this point, I doubt that a super-active hurricane season will happen,” Klotzbach said in an e-mail yesterday.

The most active part of the Atlantic season runs from Aug. 20 to about the first week of October. The statistical peak occurs on Sept. 10, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Two storms formed in August and the hurricane center is tracking two areas of thunderstorms that have low to medium chances of becoming tropical systems within five days.

Atlantic storms are watched closely because they disrupt energy operations in and around the Gulf of Mexico and cause widespread destruction when they come ashore.

In the basin now, warm sea water and a decreasing amount of wind shear that can tear at the structure of budding storms mean conditions are ripe “for a burst of activity,” said Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at Weather Services International in Andover, Massachusetts

A 'head scratcher'

The very inactive season so far has been a bit of a head-scratcher,” Crawford said in an e-mail interview. 

Air temperatures from the Caribbean to Africa have been warmer than normal this year, reducing the instability in the atmosphere that drives storm development, he said. In addition, dry air is being pulled off Africa into the Atlantic, which also cuts storm activity, he said.

Seasonal predictions were for an above-normal season. The 30-year average is for 12 storms with winds of at least 39 miles per hour, the threshold at which they are named. Nineteen such systems formed in each of the last three years.

Colorado State, which pioneered seasonal forecasts, retreated slightly on its outlook in an early August update, calling for 18 named storms. Eight should be hurricanes and three of them major hurricanes, a reduction of one at each level, the researchers said.

NOAA outlook

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration also kept its call for an above-average season in an Aug. 8 outlook for 13 to 19 named storms, six to nine hurricanes and three to five major systems.

“If you don’t get your first hurricane by or before August, it’s extremely difficult to get those high storm counts, especially for hurricanes and major hurricanes,” said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. “Amazing we’re on the 90th day of the hurricane season and no hurricanes yet.” 

While water temperatures in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are high enough to spark hurricane formation, wind shear across the central part of the ocean has been high, Klotzbach said. Shear is when the winds at different altitudes blow at varying speeds or directions, which can tear at the structure of a budding tropical system. 

Atlantic conditions

According to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, there has been a lot of wind shear in the Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and Cape Verde off the coast of Africa. This zone is often referred to as the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes, particularly in August and September.
“We haven’t had a hurricane and we don’t see anything that looks highly robust,” said Dan Kottlowski, an expert senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “It just goes to show you that having warm water isn’t everything.” 

For natural gas markets, hurricanes have shifted from being major output disruptions, in part because so much production has shifted to land, to being “load killers” that cut electricity demand as temperatures drop, said Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in New York.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 6 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 23 percent of oil production and more than 45 percent of petroleum refining capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Department. In 2001, Gulf waters accounted for 24 percent of U.S. marketed gas production.

No bets

A quiet first half to the Atlantic storm season doesn’t mean the second will be the same, she said.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” Viswanath said.

Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into New York and New Jersey last year, developed on Oct. 22 and went ashore on Oct. 29. It killed at least 159 people and damaged or destroyed more than 650,000 homes in the U.S., according to a federal task force report Aug. 19.

Crawford also said the 2013 season could rebound now that September has begun. He expects some of the barriers that have damped activity so far to fall.

The 2002 season, the last to pass without a hurricane by the end of August, included Hurricane Lili, a Category 4t storm that caused about $860 million in damage and killed at least 13 people in the Caribbean and Louisiana from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4, according to the hurricane center. The first hurricane to form that year was Gustav, on Sept. 11

“On Sept. 9, if there is nothing to talk about, you can call me and we can write off the season,” said Michael Schlacter, founder of Weather 2000 in New York. “I think in the next 10 days there will be a lot of things to discuss.”" via Drudge

Comment: A type of ocean wind is mentioned above as a mitigating force against hurricanes. The UN IPCC 2007 report noted importance of accurate ocean wind measurements in climate assessments, cited errors in "wind stress" measurements rendered computer model simulations of ocean heat absorption likely erroneous along with sea level rise projections: 2007 UN IPCC report, Chapter
"Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis"

" Southern Ocean circulation"
"The Southern Ocean wind stress error has a particularly large detrimental impact on the Southern Ocean simulation by the models. Partly due to the wind stress error identified above, the simulated location of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is also too far north in most models (Russell et al., 2006). Since the AAIW is formed on the north side of the ACC, the water mass properties of the AAIW are distorted (typically too warm and salty: Russell et al., 2006). The relatively poor AAIW simulation contributes to the multi-model mean error identified above where the thermocline is too diffuse, because the waters near the base of thermocline are too warm and salty. 

It is likely that the relatively poor Southern Ocean simulation will influence the transient climate response to increasing greenhouse gases by affecting the oceanic heat uptake. 

When forced by increases in radiative forcing, models with too little Southern Ocean mixing will probably underestimate the ocean heat uptake; models with too much mixing will likely exaggerate it. 

These errors in oceanic heat uptake will also have a large impact on the reliability of the sea level rise projections. See Chapter 10 for more discussion of this subject."


Another UN IPCC chapter again cites inability of computer models to accurately measure ocean heat:

" Summary of Oceanic Component Simulation"

"In the Southern Ocean, the equatorward bias of the westerly wind stress maximum found in most model simulations is a problem that may affect the models’ response to increasing radiative forcing." 


Car bombs at Sunni mosques in Lebanon kill 47, 3 Lebanese and 2 Syrians arrested in connection

8/30/13, "Lebanese court pegs deadly mosque attacks on Syria," cs monitor, N. Branford

"A boy stands as Sunni Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Al-Taqwa mosque, one of two mosques hit by explosions last Friday, in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli, August 30, 2013. A Lebanese judge today charged three Lebanese and two Syrians in connection with deadly car bomb blasts against two Sunni mosques last week that left at least 47 people dead and more than 500 wounded." Reuters

Friday, August 30, 2013

Calls for "virginity tests" on school girls in Indonesia-Time

8/29/13, "Virginity Tests’ Throw Spotlight on Indonesia’s Conflicted Sexual Morality," Time, Yenni Kwok

"A small-town education chief in Indonesia made headlines last week after he reportedly planned to impose mandatory virginity tests on female students entering high school. He cited concerns over premarital sex and teen prostitution as the reason. But H.M. Rasyid, the Education Agency chief of Prabumulih, a town in South Sumatra province, wasn’t saying anything Indonesians hadn’t heard before.

In recent years, other figures have argued for virginity tests — an invasive, humiliating procedure that is based on pseudo science — including a provincial legislator in eastern Sumatra in 2010 and a district chief in western Java in 2007. Both proposals were withdrawn after public outrage, but some conservative politicians and religious figures* remain in favor of the idea. Says Masruchah, deputy chair of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (and who, like many Indonesians, uses one name): “They have no understanding about human rights. They are more worried about image.” The commission called virginity tests “a form of sexual violence against women.”

(MORE: Indonesian City to Prohibit Women Passengers From Straddling Motorcycles)

In the wake of widespread condemnation, Rasyid has backtracked. He now claims he only meant to support the parents of a girl who wanted to rebut accusations that their daughter, a victim of a human-trafficking ring, was no longer a virgin.

But regardless whether Rasyid’s proposal was intended for one or many female students, the latest call for virginity tests highlights the country’s increasing anxiety over sexual issues, and, as in many conservative societies,* women are the focus....

“Unmarried girls who aren’t virgins are deemed immoral, when in fact they could be victims of abuse,” says Masruchah. “And victims may get blamed and victimized again.” This happened last year to a 14-year-old girl who was expelled from school after surviving kidnapping and rape by traffickers, because she hadtarnished the school’s image.” The private school in Depok, outside Jakarta, reversed its decision after a public backlash."...


*Comment: Time speaks of "conservative politicians and religious figures
" and "many conservative societies" in Indonesia. Do they mean Muslims? Apparently the town is predominantly Muslim.

Entirely separate from Time Magazine's shyness, I noticed this letter about the case which doesn't change what the school did or plans for "virginity testing." The letter says the town is predominantly Muslim though the young girl in question was Christian. The letter writer was told that after the girl's ordeal, a number of her Muslim neighbors were very supportive of her. The Jakarta Globe had mentioned the girl going to "church." That would make her unique in her neighborhood as most would be going to a mosque including the "conservatives"ordering "virginity tests." From Jakarta Globe article linked in Time, 5 sentences from end:

"The girl had told her parents she was going to church on Sept. 23, but she failed to return home that day, nor in the days that followed."...

Here's the link to the letter:

4/24/13, "Insensitivity, Victimisation and Compassion"


It's establishment GOP that kicked Heritage out of House GOP meetings not 'conservatives.' GOP 'is women's auxiliary of Democrats.' Boehner and Bush crowd want zero conservative voices. Game on! Go Jim DeMint!

8/30/13. "Heritage Foundation barred from weekly conservative meetings,"


"Reply by sharon ostwinch 3 hours ago
They have the the rino's exposed any more. The GOP is falling apart and Heritage is witnessing it and reporting it
There moral compass is off and they are caving every 10 minutes to the lies of the left.  I hope they fight this and win."

 Reply by Benson William Gates III 3 hours ago

Boehner, like his golfing buddy Obama, doesn't like dissent.  He, and his RINO cohorts, can't stand the light of truth being shown on them.  Sort of like cockroaches when the lights go on; they run and hide." 

"Reply by Debra Rae steinman 3 hours ago 

It is not the Conservatives who are banning the Heritage Foundation from the "Conservative" Meetings but Rino scum.  Either take the GOP back from the RINOS, or kill the GOP altogether by taking all Conservatives away. People keep saying this isn't possible.  But as this is not a presidential election, it's past time to do." 

"Reply by Rhonda Miller 3 hours ago
That goes to show you how some RINO'S are treating other conservative people.  Everyone needs to go on twitter and send a message to these RINO'S and tell them there will be no more funding until they let the Heritage Foundation back into their meetings.  It doesn't say who barred the Foundation from attending but I will find out and this person or group will hear from  me and will get a piece o my mind for not letting the Heritage Group attend.  They think they are getting a little big for their britches and need to be brought down to size."
"Reply by Julie Assarpour 2 hours ago
They must rid themselves of all opposition. No other voices shall be heard. This is turning more and more into a dictatorship everyday."

12/6/12, "DeMint takes parting shot at Boehner," The Hill, J. Easley

"Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who shocked Washington on Thursday with the announcement that he would resign his Senate seat in January to become president of the the Heritage Foundation, sent a parting shot at Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

I’m not with Boehner,” DeMint said on CNN’s "The Situation Room." “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government.”...

On Tuesday, DeMint released his own statement trashing the GOP plan.

Speaker Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny,” he said in a statement. “If neither party leadership is going to put forward a serious plan to balance the budget and pay down the debt, we should end this charade.”...


"I can’t support a party that has become nothing more than the women’s auxiliary of the Democratic Party."

12/6/12, "Goodbye GOP," Tea Party Tribune, by Mr. Curmudgeon

"Two developments in the Republican Party point to its future: South Carolina’s Jim DeMint announced his retirement from the United States Senate to serve as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, and the Reuters News Service reports that GOP House Speaker John Boehner is purging conservative Tea Party members from key committees “as he seeks to tighten control over his unruly caucus ahead of difficult votes on ‘fiscal cliff’ issues.”

The consolidation of America’s one-party state begins.

You see, it matters not how conservative a Republican you send to Congress if his vote (and yours indirectly) is negated by the gelding brothers John Boehner (House) and Mitch McConnell (Senate)....

I can’t support a party that has become nothing more than the women’s auxiliary of the Democratic Party."  


Boehner was badly burned and Heritage and Club for Growth were blamed:

12/22/12, "Fearing primaries, Republican members opted to shun Boehner’s 'Plan B'," The Hill, Molly K. Hooper

"Many House Republicans refused to vote for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) Plan B bill because they were “gun shy” about drawing primary challengers in the 2014, according to several lawmakers.

"Asked why GOP leaders didn’t have the votes, deputy whip Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) told The Hill, “You've got to ask Club for Growth, Heritage Action and all those guys who bullied members of Congress into voting against their own best interests.”

Both right-leaning groups came out against Plan B."...


8/29/13, "New Heritage Foundation Fight Shows Everything That's Wrong With The GOP," Business Insider, Josh Barro

"The RSC's problem with Heritage isn't that it's trying to push the GOP too far to the right to be competitive in elections. Their problem with Heritage is that they're interfering with the GOP's effort to put special-interest politics ahead of conservative principles.

House Republicans do not actually care about free markets or cutting government." (scroll down for this parag.)


Obama's boss Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan wants Obama to bomb Syria and help Sunni jihadists. Expect more mysterious 'chemical attacks' in coming days to shore up support for bombing Assad-Zero Hedge

We are all Sunni jihadists now.

8/30/13, "Saudi Arabia Goest To "DefCon 2"," Zero Hedge

"The UK may be out, but Saudi Arabia isn't taking any chances. Moments ago, Reuters reported that the regime which as we reported is behind the entire conflict in Syria (hint: nat gas) has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.  Saudi Arabia's defense readiness, their version of DefCon, has been raised to "two" from "five", a Saudi military source who declined to be named told Reuters. "One" is the highest level of alert....

Remember: for Saudi Arabia "no war" is the worst possible outcome. If so, expect more mysterious "chemical attacks" in the coming hours and days to cement the Western resolve to blow up Assad.

More from Reuters:

"The source said other countries in the region, including Jordan, Turkey and Israel, appeared also to have raised their level of military readiness.
A second source said Saudi Arabia's defense readiness had been raised last week, and meant that all leave for the armed forces would be canceled.

The sources declined to give further details of what a change in alert level would mean, but analysts said it was likely some forces would be moved closer to national borders.

In Kuwait lawmakers have asked their government to inform them about plans for readiness to deal with repercussions of a strike on Syria, Kuwaiti newspapers reported.

The prime minister, Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, held an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Thursday, al-Watan reported.

Interior minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Hamad al-Sabah was told to take all necessary measures in case of an emergency that might arise as a result of strikes, the paper said.

Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally, Qatar and other Sunni Muslim powers back the mainly Sunni rebels battling Assad, who is from Syria's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. The rebels have been joined by foreign Sunni jihadis.""


Prince Bandar bin Sultan
8/27/13, "Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War," Zero Hedge

"Yesterday the Telegraph's Evans-Pritchard dug up a note that we had posted almost a month ago, relating to the "secret" meeting between Saudi Arabia and Russia, in which Saudi's influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan met with Putin and regaled him with gifts, including a multi-billion arms deal and a promise that Saudi is "ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region", if only Putin would agree to give up his alliance with Syria's al-Assad and let Syria take over, ostensibly including control of the country's all important natgas transit infrastructure. What was not emphasized by the Telegraph is that Putin laughed at the proposal and brushed aside the Saudi desperation by simply saying "nyet." However, what neither the Telegraph, nor we three weeks ago, picked up on, is what happened after Putin put Syria in its place. We now know, and it's a doozy.

Courtesy of As-Safir (translated here), we learn all the gritty details about what really happened at the meeting, instead of just the Syrian motives and the Russian conclusion, and most importantly what happened just as the meeting ended, unsuccessfully (at least to the Saudi). And by that we mean Saudi Arabia's threats toward Russia and Syria. 

First, some less well-known observations on who it was that was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt even as US support was fading fast:

"Bandar said that the matter is not limited to the kingdom and that some countries have overstepped the roles drawn for them, such as Qatar and Turkey. He added, “We said so directly to the Qataris and to the Turks. We rejected their unlimited support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. The Turks’ role today has become similar to Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war. We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region. It is worthwhile to pay attention to and to follow up on Egypt’s experience. We will continue to support the [Egyptian] army, and we will support Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because he is keen on having good relations with us and with you. And we suggest to you to be in contact with him, to support him and to give all the conditions for the success of this experiment. We are ready to hold arms deals with you in exchange for supporting these regimes, especially Egypt.”"

So while Saudi was openly supporting the Egyptian coup, which is well-known, it was Turkey and most importantly Qatar, the nation that is funding and arming the Syrian rebels, that were the supporters of the now failed regime. One wonders just how much Egypt will straing Saudi-Qatari relations, in light of their joined interests in Syria.

Second, some better-known observations by Putin on Russia's relationship with Iran:
Regarding Iran, Putin said to Bandar that Iran is a neighbor, that Russia and Iran are bound by relations that go back centuries, and that there are common and tangled interests between them. Putin said, “We support the Iranian quest to obtain nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And we helped them develop their facilities in this direction. Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of the 5P+1 group. I will meet with President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Central Asia summit and we will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international issues. We will inform him that Russia is completely opposed to the UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Iran. We believe that the sanctions imposed against Iran and Iranians are unfair and that we will not repeat the experience again.”
Then, Putin's position vis-a-vis Turkey, whom he implicitly warns that it is "not immune to Syria's bloodbath."
Regarding the Turkish issue, Putin spoke of his friendship with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; “Turkey is also a neighboring country with which we have common interests. We are keen to develop our relations in various fields. During the Russian-Turkish meeting, we scrutinized the issues on which we agree and disagree. We found out that we have more converging than diverging views. I have already informed the Turks, and I will reiterate my stance before my friend Erdogan, that what is happening in Syria necessitates a different approach on their part. Turkey will not be immune to Syria’s bloodbath. The Turks ought to be more eager to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. We are certain that the political settlement in Syria is inevitable, and therefore they ought to reduce the extent of damage. Our disagreement with them on the Syrian issue does not undermine other understandings between us at the level of economic and investment cooperation. We have recently informed them that we are ready to cooperate with them to build two nuclear reactors. This issue will be on the agenda of the Turkish prime minister during his visit to Moscow in September.”
Of course, there is Syria:

"Regarding the Syrian issue, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying, “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I. In all meetings of Russian and American experts, we reiterated our position. In his upcoming meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will stress the importance of making every possible effort to rapidly reach a political settlement to the Syrian crisis so as to prevent further bloodshed.”

Alas, that has failed.

So what are some of the stunning disclosures by the Saudis? First this:
Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values ??and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”
It is good of the Saudis to admit they control a terrorist organization that "threatens the security" of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games, and that house of Saud uses "in the face of the Syrian regime." 

Perhaps the next time there is a bombing in Boston by some Chechen-related terrorists, someone can inquire Saudi Arabia what, if anything, they knew about that. But the piece de resistance is what happened at the end of the dialogue between the two leaders. It was, in not so many words, a threat by Saudi Arabia aimed squarely at Russia:
As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt's future.

The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”

At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.
Since we know all about this, it means no more talks, an implicit warning that the Chechens operating in proximity to Sochi may just become a loose cannon (with Saudi's blessing of course), and that about a month ago "there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate." Four weeks later, we are on the edge of all out war, which may involve not only the US and Europe, but most certainly Saudi Arabia and Russia which automatically means China as well. Or, as some may call it, the world. 

And all of it as preordained by a Saudi prince, and all in the name of perpetuating the hegemony of the petrodollar.

P.S. Russia and Saudi Arabia account for 25% of global oil production." photo above via Zero Hedge