New ‘Half-Scandal?’ There May Be New Details Of Bin Laden’s Death

Abbottabad

Does this mean that bin Laden isn’t dead? No, it just means there is a new report about the circumstances behind his death.

According to Democracy Now!, the new report written by Seymour Hersh for the London Review of Books says the Obama administration gave a false account of the hunting and killing of Osama bin Laden. It is normally claimed that bin Laden was shot dead four years ago this month in a U.S. raid on his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Hersh is an American investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. According to Wikipedia, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award.

He first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.

In his article, Hersh cites interviews with “a retired senior intelligence official” and American sources who “had access to corroborating information,” writes Slate magazine.

Hersh says top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. The U.S. also claimed it helped locate bin Laden by tracking his personal messenger. But Hersh reports a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified his whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Pakistani intelligence was reportedly aware of bin Laden’s location and held him “prisoner” at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.

The White House claimed at the time the U.S. operatives entered from Afghanistan without Pakistan’s knowledge.

Hersh’s article also questions the U.S. account of bin Laden’s shooting, saying there was never a firefight inside the compound and that bin Laden himself wasn’t armed.

A retired American official says U.S. claims of finding information from bin Laden’s computers and documents was a “hoax” to give the false impression he was still operationally important.

Questions were also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed.

The White House has denied the accounts given by Seymour Hersh, and the CIA has called the Hersh article “nonsense.”

(Updated article)

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/11/headlines

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/05/10/seymour_hersh_in_london_review_of_books_obama_lied_about_bin_laden_raid.html

WaPo: Global Warming Is Now Slowing Down The Circulation Of The Oceans, Says Study

“Welcome to this week’s installment of ‘Don’t Mess with Geophysics,'” states the Washington Post – not the most liberal newspaper in America.

According to WaPo, there is possible destabilization of the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica, which could unleash over 11 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries.

This week brings news of another climate issue.

According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation.  This circulation helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast, among other roles.

The consequences could be dire, claims the Washington Post  – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston.

The Gulf Stream is a vast, powerful, and warm current, that transports more water than “all the world’s rivers combined,” according to the NOAA.

But it’s just one part of a larger regional ocean conveyor system – scientists technically call it the “Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.”

This, in turn, is just one part of the larger global “thermohaline” circulation (“thermohaline” conjoins terms meaning “temperature” and “salty”).

For the whole system, a key driver occurs in the North Atlantic ocean. Here, the warm Gulf Stream flows northward into cooler waters and splits into what is called the North Atlantic Current.

This stream flows still further toward northern latitudes — until it reaches points where colder, salty water sinks due to its greater density, and then travels back southward at depth.

The Washington Post claims that this “overturning circulation” plays a major role in the climate because it brings warm water northward, thereby helping to warm Europe’s climate, and also sends cold water back towards the tropics.  This could change due to climate change.

Vox Tries To Figure Out Why The GOP Hates Eric Holder So Much

The website Vox tries to answer the question: “Why does the GOP hate Holder so much?”

This website, OK Fine, would simply answer the question with “because they hate him, that’s why,” but Vox actually tries to figure it out.

The answers have something to do with policy — Holder is the face behind the “Fast and Furious” scandal, and his Justice Department’s been slammed over its resistance to transparency and prosecution of leakers.

However, it is also because Holder has taken on the responsibility of going where the president can’t — talking about race bluntly where Obama is conciliatory, expressing contempt for Republicans where Obama has to be polite.

Holder is the perfect target for GOP opposition. The man is responsible for carrying out some of the Obama policies they hate most and is also a personal proxy for the president — partly just because they’re both bi-racial men who identify as black.

“The attorney general nomination hearings starting Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee are ostensibly about nominee Loretta Lynch. But they’re really about outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder,” according to Vox.

For Loretta Lynch, one of her strongest assets in her path to confirmation is that she’s not Holder — and he’ll stay in place until someone else is confirmed. The question is whether Republicans will welcome Lynch as a chance to turn the page, or condemn her automatically for Holder’s sins.

Vox article:

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/28/7927257/republicans-holder-lynch

New York Times Calls For Dick Cheney Torture Investigation

According to Yahoo News, in response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s blistering report on the CIA’s brutal handling of prisoners after 9/11, the New York Times is calling for a criminal investigation of former Vice President Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration for conspiring to commit torture and other crimes prohibited by federal and international laws.

“Americans have known about many of these acts for years,” the Times editorial board stated on Monday.

“But the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality.”

In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney refused to call some of the CIA’s actions with prisoners – including involuntary rectal feeding – torture.

In its editorial, the Times said the “sadistic” techniques outlined in the committee’s report “are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of ‘severe physical or mental pain or suffering.’

“They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture.”

“It is no wonder that today’s blinkered apologists are desperate to call these acts anything but torture, which they clearly were,” the Times continued. “As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal.”

The paper criticized the president for failing “to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects.”

The Times: “No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation.”

The Times’ editorial board is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Cheney, David Addington, Cheney’s former chief of staff, former CIA Director George Tenet, as well as John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the lawyers “who drafted what became known as the torture memos”; Jose Rodriguez Jr., the CIA official “who ordered the destruction of the videotapes”, the psychologists who devised the torture regimen, and any CIA employees who carried it out.

Do The Koch Brothers’ Have A Keystone XL Connection?

In March, a Washington Post Web article and print article stated that Koch Industries was the largest leaseholder in Canada’s oil sands. That has since been questioned.  However, further reporting has indicated that Koch Industries is the largest American and foreign holder of leases in Canada’s oil sands based on net acreage, but it might narrowly trail two Canadian companies overall.

Below is a list of individual companies’ net acreage lease holdings in oil sands based on data from the Alberta provincial energy department, corporations’ annual information forms, information from a mapping firm called GeoScout, data from a Calgary-based exploration services firm called Divestco Geomatics and interviews with industry analysts and executives:

●Cenovus Energy (Canada) 1.57 million* (includes rights to an air weapons range)

●Athabasca Oil Corp. (Canada) 1.56 million**

●Koch (U.S.) 1.12 million to 1.47 million***

●Canadian Natural Resources (Canada) 1 million*

●Suncor (Canada) 986,000****

(Sources:)

*company filings with
Canadian securities regulators;
e-mails from company spokesmen

**company Web site:
atha.com/operations/
thermal-oil/

***GeoScout, Alberta
energy department, Divestco

****Divestco

According to the Washington Post, an oil industry official with direct knowledge of Koch’s lease holdings has said that Koch’s leases in the oil-sands region are “closer to 2 million.” (The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with the firm.)

This is possible because big companies frequently use brokers or private affiliates to quietly purchase rights without triggering a scramble for nearby acreage. If that is the case, Koch Industries ranks as the largest leaseholder in Alberta.

Koch itself did not reply to questions from the Post about its acreage holdings.

Even without counting possible acreage acquired through brokers or private affiliates, it is clear that Koch Industries through its wholly owned subsidiaries ranks as the largest leaseholder among U.S. or non-Canadian firms and no lower than the third-largest overall.

Figuring out net acreage positions and rankings in the oil-sands region is complex, and a measure of uncertainty is unavoidable.

“It’s so opaque,” said Andrew Leach, a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “There are so many different layers here.”

The province of Alberta keeps track of designated representatives on oil-sands leases, but the list doesn’t indicate whether those representatives have partners who share the cost of purchase and development. It is a list of gross, not net, lease holdings.

Net ownership could be higher (if a company holds a lot of minority positions in partnerships) or lower (if a designated representative brings in other partners to reduce development costs and spread risks).

Moreover, Canadian government and industry officials note that any company can establish a subsidiary identified only with a number, such as 12345Alberta, and the authoritative industry official says that Koch’s holdings far exceed the acreage listed by name with the Alberta provincial government.

Other oil companies might be doing the same thing, which adds more uncertainty.

The link between Koch and Keystone XL is, however, indirect at best. According to industry sources and provincial government publications, Koch’s oil production in northern Alberta is “negligible.”

Also, Koch has not reserved any space in the Keystone XL pipeline, a process that usually takes place before a pipeline is built.

The pipeline also does not run anywhere near Koch’s refining facilities, and TransCanada, owner of the Keystone routes, says Koch is not expected to be one of the pipeline’s customers.

Still, an activist group that is publicizing the figures about Koch holdings in the oil sands – the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) – is arguing that Koch will benefit indirectly.

The IFG contends that the Keystone XL pipeline will create competition among rail and other pipelines and lower transportation costs for all oil sands producers, bolstering profit margins and making additional reserves economically viable.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/20/the-biggest-land-owner-in-canadas-oil-sands-isnt-exxon-mobil-or-conoco-phillips-its-the-koch-brothers/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/21/why-we-wrote-about-the-koch-industries-and-its-leases-in-canadas-oil-sands/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/03/22/are-the-koch-brothers-the-biggest-lease-holder-in-canadas-oil-sands/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/does-koch-industries-hold-most-canadian-oil-sands-leases-its-complicated/2014/04/07/2470e5e4-be70-11e3-b574-f8748871856a_story.html