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Just a few short weeks away, the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic may go off with a bang, literally, judging by the amount of “terrorist” chatter surrounding the games. Today however, it is more than just chatter: earlier the Russian media reported that Russian security forces had come across multiple unexplained deaths and explosive devices in a region near Sochi, resulting in an aggressive “anti-terrorism sweep.”
The developments are bizarre to say the least:
A car with a body inside exploded as police approached it in Russia’s Stavropol Territory, reported Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti, citing the Interior Ministry. In the same area, Russian authorities reportedly discovered a car containing the bodies of three men along with explosive material. The day before, two more bodies were found in the same region.
Russian officials are investigating the possible cause and motive for the deaths — a Russia analyst speculated to ABC News the deaths could be related to organized crime — but at any rate the mystery and the security sweep add to an already tense situation in southern Russia as the Olympics approach.
One person keeping a close eye on the developments is none other than president Obama, who as we reported yesterday, will unleash an ad blitz for Obamacare around the Olympics. The last thing he will want is for the participants in the games to have need of it. Which is why one can be certain that the NSA and various US security forces are already well aware of any potential sources of terrorism around the games. Sure enough, in a statement of condolences from the White House over the most recent Volgograd bombings, President Obama’s National Security Council slipped in an apparent jab at the Russian government over the security situation. “The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants,” the NSC statement said.”
Some thoughts on who they may be:
Just 10 days ago more than 30 people were killed in dual suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia, some 400 miles northeast of Sochi. By comparison, Moscow lies more than 850 miles north of Sochi. In October seven people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives on a bus, also in Volgograd. The Stavropol Territory lies approximately halfway between Volgograd and Sochi – approximately 150 miles away from the Olympic site.
No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the bombings, but in the case of the October bus bombing, Russian authorities said the bomber hailed from Dagestan, a restive region in southern Russia to Sochi’s east that, along with Chechnya, is home to a violent Islamist insurgency that has fought Russian government forces for decades.
The leader of the insurgency, Doku Umarov, sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Osama bin Laden,” last June called on his followers to “do their utmost to derail” the Sochi Olympics, which he called a “satanic dance on the bones of our ancestors.” In the past Umarov has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on Russian civilians, including the 2011 bombing of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.
What is far more clear is who is providing the funding and supplies for the Islamists – the same puppetmaster who was behind the Syrian conflict. Recall:
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.”
Putin laughed in Bandar’s face, the Saudi natgas pipeline gambit in Syria failed, and as a result the escalation in Sochi is progressing just as Bandar implied it would. Naturally this puts Obama in a tough spot: he can’t openly act against Saudi interests once again after alieanting his ally in the region and take out the terrorist camps in Chechnya, but the last thing he would want is to cart home coffins of athletes.
Which means US participants are resorting to Plan B:
the U.S. ski and snowboard team this year will be overseen by a private security firm, which plans to have as many as five aircraft on standby in case of a medical or security emergency in Sochi. “This environment is unique,” Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards told USA Today Wednesday. “You just don’t have competitions in places like Sochi with any frequency. … In the last 10 years, there has been nothing like it.”
William Rathburn, who was the head of Olympic Security during the bombing of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, told ABC News that while he’s confident Russian officials “have done everything they can” to secure the upcoming games, the odds of an incident are “very high.”
“It’s an opportunity for the Chechen [militants] or anyone else to embarrass Russia or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, I think,” he said. “It’s far easier to protect against attacks on somebody who might be targeted, a group or country or delegation. [But] it’s clear that the people who conducted the two bombings in Volgograd are willing to indiscriminately kill people. It’s very difficult to protect against…”
And after last year in which Putin humiliated US and most western foreign policy on virtually every front, the number of people who want to embarass Putin is quite long.
The U.S. government’s cover-up of a Saudi connection in the 9/11 terrorist attacks is receiving new attention because a pair of legislators—one Republican, one Democrat—recently viewed a redacted chunk of a congressional report that confirms foreign state involvement in the plot.
Americans have been told that Al Qaeda acted alone on September 11, 2001 and that there were no state sponsors. In fact, the George W. Bush administration blacked out dozens of pages of a congressional investigative report on 9/11 that dealt with specific sources of foreign support for the 19 hijackers, most of whom were Saudi nationals.
Judicial Watch quickly launched an investigation and in 2005 obtained shocking documents from the FBI detailing how well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, left the U.S. on specially chartered flights while most air traffic was still grounded. In all, 160 subjects of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including but not limited to members of the House of Saud and/or members of the bin Laden family fled the U.S. between September 11, 2001 and September 15, 2001.
The records uncovered by JW show that two prominent Saudi families that fled the U.S. following 9/11 got personal airport escorts from the FBI and that authorities let other Saudis leave the country without first interviewing them. The secret Saudi flights left from Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities. An unidentified prince in Las Vegas even thanked the FBI for its assistance, according to one internal report obtained by JW. Incredibly, the FBI returned to the Las Vegas hotels with subpoenas days after the Saudi flights departed to gather information on the royal guests, the records show. Read more about this in JW’s New York Times Best Seller “Corruption Chronicles.”
This week investigative journalist Paul Sperry reveals that two federal lawmakers— North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones and Massachusetts Democrat Stephen Lynch—finally got a hold of the suspiciously redacted pages of Congress’s 9/11 report. Federal law prohibits them from disclosing the details, but both legislators said they were “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign involvement in the 9/11 attacks. There’s little doubt they’re referring to the Saudi connection.
To make the information public, the lawmakers have proposed that Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama, who has promised to run the most transparent administration in history, to declassify the entire 2002 report. It certainly appears that the U.S. government is protecting the Saudis. In fact, federal agents told Sperry, a veteran reporter and columnist, that they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
Besides the secret Saudi flights, Judicial Watch has ongoing investigations related to the sophisticated 9/11 plot. Earlier this year JW obtained documents from the FBI that show strong ties between Anwar al Aulaqi, the U.S.-born terrorist assassinated in 2011 by a U.S. drone in Yemen, and two of the 9/11 hijackers who attacked the Pentagon. In the documents the FBI describes al Aulaqi as “The Spiritual Leader of the Hijackers.”
Today’s technology, tomorrow’s trash?
As a UN report warns of the hazards of electronic waste, we ask if the world is ready to tackle technology trash.
Inside Story Last updated: 16 Dec 2013 11:24
|The number of electronic and electrical gadgets being dumped around the world is set to soar, raising concerns about the impact on the environment and human health.
Rapid advances in technology are giving rise to what is being described as a buy-it-and-bin-it generation. People are throwing away everything from TVs to toys, computers to cameras, and mobile phones to motorised toothbrushes.
Now, a new UN study is forecasting that the amount of global e-waste, as it is called, will rise by one-third by 2017.
The report says 48.9 million metric tons of e-waste was produced last year. That is expected to rise by 33 percent by 2017 bringing total global e-waste to 65.4 million tons.
That is enough to fill a line of 40-ton trucks that, end-to-end, would stretch three-quarters of the way around the world.
The largest producers are the US and China. They generated 10 million tons and 11.1 million tons respectively last year.
Each American is said to be responsible for an average 29.8kg of hi-tech trash a year that is almost six times higher than China’s per capita figure of 5.4kg.
“There are laws in Europe, quite strong laws, about the rules what we can export or what we cannot export yet we see these laws are disregarded often and we see the evidence in places like Ghana, Nigeria, India and China where we can go to the dump sites and see computers from Europe openly being broken down illegally,” explains Julian Newman, the campaigns director for the Environmental Investigation Agency in the UK.
The UN study has been carried out by StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem), a coalition of UN organisations, industry, governments, NGOs and science bodies.
“Some countries are moving towards safe recycling and reuse of e-waste. But it’s feared the increasing demand for electronics, will overwhelm existing facilities. This could see millions of tonnes of waste dumped into landfills,” Ruediger Kuehr, the executive secretary of StEP told Al Jazeera.
The report warns that e-waste is being dumped illegally in developing countries. It says the garbage contains toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic, which can seep into landfills, contaminating the ground, water and air.
The study adds that devices are often dismantled in dangerous conditions, harming the health of those involved.
StEP is calling for better monitoring of e-waste exports, and more effective rules for the treatment of electrical junk.
So why is today’s technology destined to become tomorrow’s trash? And what is being done to tackle the growing global crisis of e-waste?
Inside Story presenter Sohail Rahman discusses with guests: Sami Uz Zaman, a consultant for Global Environmental Management Services, an environmental court judge, and an industrial research scientist in Pakistan; Julian Newman, the campaigns director for the Environmental Investigation Agency in the UK; and Akshat Ghiya, the co-founder and director of Karma Recycling, specialising in electronic waste in India.
The United States fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.
The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300 billion barrels — nearly 40%.
The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their OPEC cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.
However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco’s 12.5 million barrel-a-day capacity, needed to keep a lid on prices, could not be reached.
Tapping the truth
According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12 million barrels a day in 10 years but before then — possibly as early as 2012 — global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as “peak oil“.
Husseini said that at that point Aramco would not be able to stop the rise of global oil prices because the Saudi energy industry had overstated its recoverable reserves to spur foreign investment. He argued that Aramco had badly underestimated the time needed to bring new oil on tap.
“We are asleep at the wheel here: choosing to ignore a threat to the global economy that is quite as bad as the credit crunch, quite possibly worse.”
Jeremy Leggett, UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy
One cable said: “According to al-Husseini, the crux of the issue is twofold. First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described, and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray.”
It went on: “In a presentation, Abdallah al-Saif, current Aramco senior vice-president for exploration, reported that Aramco has 716 billion barrels of total reserves, of which 51% are recoverable, and that in 20 years Aramco will have 900 billion barrels of reserves.
“Al-Husseini disagrees with this analysis, believing Aramco’s reserves are overstated by as much as 300 billion barrels. In his view once 50% of original proven reserves has been reached … a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output.”
Kingdom of contradictions
The US consul then told Washington: “While al-Husseini fundamentally contradicts the Aramco company line, he is no doomsday theorist. His pedigree, experience and outlook demand that his predictions be thoughtfully considered.”
Seven months later, the US embassy in Riyadh went further in two more cables. “Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period.”
A fourth cable, in October 2009, claimed that escalating electricity demand by Saudi Arabia may further constrain Saudi oil exports. “Demand [for electricity] is expected to grow 10% a year over the next decade as a result of population and economic growth. As a result it will need to double its generation capacity to 68,000MW in 2018,” it said.
It also reported major project delays and accidents as “evidence that the Saudi Aramco is having to run harder to stay in place – to replace the decline in existing production.” While fears of premature “peak oil” and Saudi production problems had been expressed before, no US official has come close to saying this in public.
In the last two years, other senior energy analysts have backed Husseini. Fatih Birol, chief economist to the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian last year that conventional crude output could plateau in 2020, a development that was “not good news” for a world still heavily dependent on petroleum.
Jeremy Leggett, convenor of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, said: “We are asleep at the wheel here: choosing to ignore a threat to the global economy that is quite as bad as the credit crunch, quite possibly worse.”
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The National Security Agency has been extensively involved in the U.S. government’s targeted killing program, collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists abroad, The Washington Post reported after a review of documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.
In one instance, an email sent by the wife of an Osama bin Laden associate contained clues as to her husband’s whereabouts and led to a CIA drone strike that killed him in Pakistan in October 2012, the Post reported in its online edition Wednesday night.
While citing documents provided by Snowden — the American is hiding out in Russia after being granted asylum there — the Post reported that it was withholding many details about the drone-strike missions at the request of U.S. intelligence officials. They cited potential damage to ongoing operations and national security for their request, the paper reported.
The documents make clear that the CIA-operated drone campaign relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT, the newspaper said.
The NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency’s vast resources on hard-to-find terrorism targets, the Post reported.
The documents provided by Snowden don’t explain how the bin Laden associate’s email was obtained or whether it was obtained through the controversial NSA programs recently made public, including its metadata collection of numbers dialed by nearly every person in the United States.
Instead, the Post said its review of the documents indicates that the agency depends heavily on highly targeted network penetrations to gather information that wouldn’t otherwise be trapped in surveillance nets that the NSA has set at key Internet gateways.
The U.S. has never publicly acknowledged killing bin Laden associate Hassan Ghul, according to the Post. The al-Qaida operative had been captured in 2004 and helped expose bin Laden’s courier network, a key development in the effort to locate bin Laden. Ghul then spent two years in a secret CIA prison and returned to al-Qaida after the U.S. sent him to his native Pakistan in 2006.
U.S. forces killed bin Laden at his Pakistan hideout in 2011. That same year, the Treasury Department named Ghul a target of U.S. counterterrorism sanctions after he had helped al-Qaeda re-establish logistics networks, enabling al-Qaida to move people and money in and out of the country. The Post said an NSA document described Ghul as al-Qaida chief of military operations and detailed a broad surveillance effort to find him.
- 72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered “Potential Terrorists” In Official Government Documents (thedailysheeple.com)
- A Very Serious Threat To Our Constitution and Independence (forum.prisonplanet.com)
- Another Conspiracy Theory Confirmed By The U.S. Senate! (secretsofthefed.com)
- Is the North American Union a Figment of the Conspiracy Theorist’s Imagination? (freedomoutpost.com)
- Puppet Masters in the Shadows Directing World Affairs Toward a New World Order (freedomoutpost.com)
- Globalist Agenda Rolling At Super Highway Speed Forcing Conscious Revolution to Accelerate (truthfrequencyradio.com)
- U.S. General says al Qaeda just surviving in Afghanistan (news.terra.com)
- Al Qaeda Is Back (thedailybeast.com)
- CIA closing down bases in Afghanistan: Report (newslinemagzine.wordpress.com)
- Hezbollah gets “terrorist” label for fighting al-Qaeda (stateofglobe.com)
- Leaked report shows Bin Laden’s ‘hidden life’ – Central & South Asia – Al Jazeera English (insightsonindia.com)
- Pakistan ‘incompetent’ on Bin Laden (bbc.co.uk)
- Pakistan’s bin Laden report blames ‘incompetence’ for letting terrorist slip by (rawstory.com)
- Leaked Pakistan report details bin Laden’s secret life (usatoday.com)