Philosophy

Tyrant Obama’s October Surprise Shafts American People: Permanent Resident Cards (PRC) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards (green cards and work permit cards) — The requirement is for an estimated minimum of 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total! — Illegal, Unconstitutional and Impeachable — Throw The Tyrant Out — Deport 30-50 Million Illegal Aleins — Videos

Posted on October 21, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, College, Communications, Constitution, Diasters, Disease, Documentary, Ebola, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medical, Medicine, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Private Sector, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Science, Strategy, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Tyrant Obama’s October Surprise Shafts American People: Permanent Resident Cards (PRC) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards (green cards and work permit cards) — The requirement is for an estimated minimum of 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total! — Illegal, Unconstitutional and Impeachable — Throw The Tyrant Out — Deport 30-50 Million Illegal Aleins — VideosPRCpermanent resident cardEmployment Authorization card

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Permanent residence (United States)

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Tips for Understanding the Green Card Process in the U.S.

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H-1B Work Visas: Basic Requirements

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Immigration Professor, De-Stressing Deportation, Part 2, Cancellation of Removal

Immigration Professor, Unlawful Presence and Unlawful Presence Waivers, Part 1 of 3

Immigration Professor, Unlawful Presence and Unlawful Presence Waivers, Part 2 of 3

Immigration Professor, Unlawful Presence and Unlawful Presence Waivers, Part 3 of 3

EXCLUSIVE: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION QUIETLY PREPARES ‘SURGE’ OF MILLIONS OF NEW IMMIGRANT IDS

Despite no official action from the president ahead of the election, the Obama administration has quietly begun preparing to issue millions of work authorization permits, suggesting the implementation of a large-scale executive amnesty may have already begun.

Unnoticed until now, a draft solicitation for bids issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Oct. 6 says potential vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” scenario of 9 million id cards in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

The request for proposals says the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. In the “surge,” scenario in 2016, the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.

“The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards,” the document says.

The agency is buying the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC), commonly known as green cards, as well as Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards which have been used to implement President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. The RFP does not specify how many of each type of card would be issued.

Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department official, said the document suggests a new program of remarkable breadth.

The RFP “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill,” Vaughan said.

Last year, Vaughan reviewed the Gang of Eight’s provisions to estimate that it would have roughly doubled legal immigration. In the “surge” scenario of this RFP, even the relatively high four million cards per year would be more than doubled, meaning that even on its own terms, the agency is preparing for a huge uptick of 125 percent its normal annual output.

It’s not unheard of for federal agencies to plan for contingencies, but the request specifically explains that the surge is related to potential changes in immigration policy.

“The Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential ‘surge’ in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements,” the document says.

A year ago, such a plan might have been attributed to a forthcoming immigration bill. Now, following the summer’s border crisis, the chances of such a new law are extremely low, giving additional credence to the possibility the move is in preparation for an executive amnesty by Obama.

Even four million combined green cards and EADs is a significant number, let alone the “surge” contemplated by USCIS. For instance, in the first two years after Obama unilaterally enacted DACA, about 600,000 people were approved by USCIS under the program. Statistics provided by USCIS on its website show that the entire agency had processed 862,000 total EADs in 2014 as of June.

Vaughan said EADs are increasingly coming under scrutiny as a tool used by the Obama administration to provide legalization for groups of illegal aliens short of full green card status.

In addition to providing government approval to work for illegal aliens, EADs also cost significantly less in fees to acquire, about $450 compared to more than $1000. In many states, EADs give aliens rights to social services and the ability to obtain drivers’ licenses.

Vaughan noted there are currently about 4.5 million individuals waiting for approval for the green cards having followed immigration law and obtained sponsorships from relatives in the U.S. or otherwise, less than the number of id cards contemplated by the USCIS “surge.”

USCIS officials did not provide additional information about the RFP by press time.

Card Consumables

Solicitation Number: HSSCCG-14-R-00028
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Citizenship & Immigration Services
Location: USCIS Contracting Office

Note:

There have been modifications to this notice. You are currently viewing the original synopsis. To view the most recent modification/amendment, click here

Solicitation Number:
HSSCCG-14-R-00028
Notice Type:
Presolicitation
Synopsis:
Added: Oct 03, 2014 4:47 pm

USCIS Contracting will be posting a solicitation for the requirement of Card Stock used by the USCIS Document Management Division. The objective of this procurement is to provide card consumables for the Document Management Division (DMD) that will be used to produce Permanent Resident Cards (PRC) and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards. The requirement is for an estimated 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total. The ordering periods for this requirement shall be for a total of five (5) years. This is a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) supply purchase for commercial items, utilizing North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 325211 and Product / Service Code (PSC) 9330. This requirement is for the acquisition of 100% polycarbonate solid body card stock with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and holographic images embedded within the card construction substrate layers, card design service, and storage.

The solicitation will be posted at this FedBidOpps webpage.

Contracting Office Address:
70 Kimball Avenue
Burlington, Vermont 05403

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=20bc202b0a49bbe9f2a705782dba0090&tab=core&tabmode=list&=

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It performs many administrative functions formerly carried out by the former United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was part of the Department of Justice. The stated priorities of the USCIS are to promote national security, to eliminate immigration case backlogs, and to improve customer services. USCIS is headed by a director, currently Leon Rodriguez, who reports directly to the Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security.[1]

Functions

Atlanta, Georgia

USCIS is charged with processing immigrant visa petitions, naturalization petitions, and asylum and refugeeapplications, as well as making adjudicative decisions performed at the service centers, and managing all other immigration benefits functions (i.e., not immigration enforcement) performed by the former INS. Other responsibilities include:

  • Administration of immigration services and benefits
  • Adjudicating asylum claims
  • Issuing employment authorization documents (EAD)
  • Adjudicating petitions for non-immigrant temporary workers (H-1B, O-1, etc.)
  • Granting lawful permanent resident status
  • Granting United States citizenship

While core immigration benefits functions remain the same as under the INS, a new goal is to process applications efficiently and effectively. Improvement efforts have included attempts to reduce the applicant backlog, as well as providing customer service through different channels, including the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) with information in English and Spanish, Application Support Centers (ASCs), the Internet and other channels. The enforcement of immigration laws remain under CBP and ICE.

USCIS focuses on two key points on the immigrant’s journey towards civic integration: when they first become permanent residents and when they are ready to begin the formal naturalization process. A lawful permanent resident is eligible to become a citizen of the United States after holding the Permanent Resident Card for at least five continuous years, with no trips out of the United States that last for 180 days or more. If, however, the lawful permanent resident marries a U.S. citizen, eligibility for U.S. citizenship is shortened to three years so long as the resident has been living with the spouse continuously for at least three years and the spouse has been a citizen for at least three years.

Forms

USCIS handles all forms and processing materials related to immigration and naturalization. This is evident from USCIS’s predecessor, the INS, (Immigration and Naturalization Service) which is defunct as of May 9, 2003.

USCIS currently handles two kinds of forms: those relating to immigration, and those related to naturalization. Forms are designated by a specific name, and an alphanumeric sequence consisting of one letter, followed by two or three digits. Forms related to immigration are designated with an I (for example, I-551, Permanent Resident Card) and forms related to naturalization are designated by an N (for example, N-400, Application for Naturalization).

Immigrations courts and judges

The United States immigration courts and immigration judges, and the Board of Immigration Appeals which hears appeals from them, are part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) within the United States Department of Justice. (USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security.)

Operations]

Internet presence]

USCIS’ official website is USCIS.gov. The site was redesigned in 2009 and unveiled on September 22, 2009.[2]

The redesign made the web page interface more similar to the Department of Homeland Security’s official website. The last major redesign before 2009 took place in October 2006.

Also, USCIS runs an online appointment scheduling service known as INFOPASS. This system allows people with questions about immigration to come into their local USCIS office and speak directly with a government employee about their case and so on. This is an important way in which USCIS serves the public. USCIS maintains a blog entitled “The Beacon” as well as the “@uscis” Twitter account.

Funding

Unlike most other federal agencies, USCIS is funded almost entirely by user fees.[3] Under President George W. Bush’s FY2008 budget request, direct congressional appropriations made about 1% of the USCIS budget and about 99% of the budget was funded through fees. The total USCIS FY2008 budget was projected to be $2.6 billion.[4]

Staffing

USCIS consists of 18,000 federal employees and contractors working at 250 offices around the world.[5]

History

The INS was widely seen as ineffective, particularly after scandals that arose after September 11, 2001.[6] On November 25, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law. This law transferred the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) functions to the Department of Homeland Security(DHS). Immigration enforcement functions were placed within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border and Ports-of-Entry while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within land. The immigration service functions were placed into the separate USCIS. USCIS was formerly and briefly named the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), before becoming USCIS.[7]

On March 1, 2003, the INS ceased to exist and services provided by that organization transitioned into USCIS. Eduardo Aguirre was appointed the first USCIS Director by President Bush. In December 2005, Emilio T. Gonzalez, Ph. D., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Director of USCIS, and he held this position until April 2008.[8] Nominated by President Barack Obama on April 24 and unanimously confirmed on August 7 by the U.S. Senate, Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in as USCIS Director on August 12, 2009.

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

  1. Jump up^ “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services”. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Secretary Napolitano and USCIS Director Mayorkas Launch Redesigned USCIS Website” (Press release). United States Department of Homeland Security. September 22, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  3. Jump up^ CIS Ombudsman’s 2007 Annual Report, pages 46-47
  4. Jump up^ USCIS FY2008 budget request fact sheet
  5. Jump up^ USCIS website
  6. Jump up^ Special report “The INS’s Contacts With Two September 11 Terrorists” by the U.S. DOJ Inspector General, May 20, 2002, at http://www.usdoj.gov
  7. Jump up^ Name Change From the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [69 FR 60938] [FR 39-04]. Uscis.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  8. Jump up^ Leadership info at http://www.uscis.gov

External links

Employment authorization document

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An employment authorization document (EAD, Form I-766), EAD card, known popularly as a “work permit”, is a document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that provides its holder a legal right to work in the US. It is similar to, but should not be confused with the green card.

Certain ‘aliens’ (non-residents) who are temporarily in the United States may file a Form I-765, application for employment authorization, to request an EAD. An EAD is issued for a specific period of time based on alien’s immigration situation. Foreign nationals with an EAD can lawfully work in the United States for any employer.

Aliens who are sponsored by US employers and issued temporary work visas for such as H, I, L-1 or O-1 visas are authorized to work for the sponsoring employer, through the duration of the visa . This is known as ‘employment incident to status’. Aliens on such work visas do not qualify for an EAD according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service regulations (8 CFR Part 274a).[1]

Currently the EAD is issued in the form of a standard credit card-size plastic card enhanced with multiple security features. The EAD card contains some basic information about alien: name, birth date, sex, immigrant category, country of birth, photo, alien registration number (also called “A-number”), card number, restrictive terms and conditions, and dates of validity.

Restriction

The eligibility for employment authorizations are detailed in the Federal Regulations at 8 C.F.R. §274a.12.[2] Only aliens who fall under the enumerated categories are eligible for an employment authorization document.

There are more than 40 types of immigration status that make their holders eligible to apply for an EAD.[3] Some are nationality-based and apply to a very small number of people. Others are much broader, such as those covering the spouses of E-1, E-2, E-3 or L-1 visa holders.

USCIS issues EADs in the following categories:

  • Renewal EAD: Renewal cannot be filed more than 120 days before the current employment authorization expires.
  • Replacement EAD: Replaces a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD. A replacement EAD also replaces an EAD that was issued with incorrect information, such as a misspelled name.

Obtaining an EAD

Applicants would file Form I-765 (application for employment authorization) by mail with the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area where they live. They may also be eligible to file Form I-765 electronically (see USCIS Electronic Filing). For employment based green card applicants, your priority date needs to be current to apply for Adjustment of Status (I485) at which time you can apply for EAD. Typically, it is recommended to apply for Advance Parole (AP) at the same time so that you do not have to get a visa stamping when re-entering US from a foreign country.

Interim EAD

An interim EAD is an EAD issued to an eligible applicant when USCIS has failed to adjudicate an application within 90 days of receipt of a properly filed EAD application or within 30 days of a properly filed initial EAD application based on an asylum application filed on or after January 4, 1995. The interim EAD will be granted for a period not to exceed 240 days and is subject to the conditions noted on the document.

An interim EAD is no longer issued by local service centers. One can however take an INFOPASS appointment and place a service request at local centers, explicitly asking for it if the application exceeds 90 days and 30 days for asylum applicants without an adjudication .

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.f6da51a2342135be7e9d7a10e0dc91a0/?vgnextoid=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&CH=8cfr
  2. Jump up^ “Classes of aliens authorized to accept employment”. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  3. Jump up^ ‘Work Permits: An Overview,’ http://www.usvisalawyers.co.uk/article18.htm

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_authorization_document

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Story 1: Obama Spreads Suspected Ebola Travelers To 5 Large U.S. Cities– New York, Newark, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago — Sanctuary Cities For Illegal Aliens From Ebola Infected Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea — Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says “Overpopulation” Top Concern — Spreading Ebola Virus Would Reduce World Population In Africa And USA Sanctuary Cities? — Eugenics Redux — Videos

five_airports

Gov. Perry Announces North Texas Infectious Disease Bio Containment Facility

Gov. Rick Perry today announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas. Creation of such facilities was among the first recommendations made by the governor’s recently named Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response in order to better protect health care workers and the public from the spread of pandemic diseases.

CDC Cuts Dallas Quarantine Halfway Into Incubation Period

U.S. Gov’t Has Ignored Every Possible Way To Contain And Stop Ebola

Meet Ron Klain: The ‘Ebola czar’

Obama’s New Ebola ‘Czar’ Has NO Health or Medical Background!

Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says “Overpopulation” Top Concern

MAAFA 21 [A documentary on eugenics and genocide]

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s Racist Founder

Barack Obama Promises to Sign FOCA

Results for America Convening: Opening Keynote Panel

Bill O’Reilly Gets Angry over Ebola: Is President Obama Pulling CDC Director String?

PROOF: Feds Knew Ebola Would Hit U.S. in September

Americans want flight restrictions from Ebola countries. And it’s not close.

By Aaron Blake

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.

Thus far, some countries in Europe have restricted flights from these countries in West Africa, and an increasing number of U.S. lawmakers are calling for similar bans. The White House has yet to increase restrictions, with federal officials saying such a move could actually increase the spread of the disease by hampering the movement of aid workers and supplies.
Concern about Ebola, at this point, is real but not pervasive. About two-thirds (65 percent) say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States. But while people are broadly concerned about an outbreak, they are not necessarily worried about that potential outbreak directly affecting them. Just 43 percent of people are worried about themselves or someone in their family becoming infected – including 20 percent who are “very worried.”

That finding echoes a Pew poll from last week which showed just 11 percent were “very worried” about themselves or their families becoming infected. Since that survey, Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died, and news that a nurse who provided care for him became infected broke on the final day of the Post-ABC poll.

By comparison, slightly more Americans said they were worried about the H1N1 virus – a.k.a. the swine flu – in October 2009 (52 percent). Concern about Ebola is about on-par with concern about Avian influenza – a.k.a. the bird flu – in 2006 (41 percent) and slightly higher than concern about Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 (as high as 38 percent).
The support for increasing restrictions puts the White House in a tough spot. Given the moves by other countries and the American public’s stance, there is increasing pressure to act. And given the very real — but still somewhat muted — concerns about the disease, that’s significant, especially if the disease continues to expand.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/10/14/americans-want-flight-restrictions-from-ebola-countries-and-its-not-close/

West Africa travelers must go to 1 of 5 airports

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that all travelers from Ebola outbreak countries in West Africa will be funneled through one of five U.S. airports with enhanced screening starting Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection within the department began enhanced screening — checking the traveler’s temperature and asking about possible exposure to Ebola — at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 11.

Enhanced screening for travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea was expanded Oct. 16 to Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, New Jersey’s Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports.

Those airports were supposed to screen 94% of the average 150 people per day arriving from the three countries. Lawmakers from other states asked for enhanced screening at their airports, too.

Some lawmakers have called for more restrictions, such as suspending visas or denying entry at ports for citizens from the three countries.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, announced that travelers from West Africa must arrive at one of the five airports starting Wednesday.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Johnson said. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking as needed.”

The enhanced screening will apply to anyone who traveled recently to, from or through the three outbreak countries, according to the department’s announcement to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. Customs and Border Protection will work with airlines to identify potential travelers before they board, but airlines will be obligated to comply with the rule for carrying to the USA any passengers who recently traveled through the region, according to the filing.

The restrictions should affect only about nine travelers per day who would have arrived at other airports. Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, which serves Europe from hubs such as Philadelphia and Charlotte, said the airline has no concerns about the change.

“We have been tracking that, and we don’t have any concerns because the numbers are so small,” Cody said.

British Airways, which serves a variety of U.S. destinations other than the five targeted airports, said it would comply with the measures.

“Customers affected will be offered a refund or will be rerouted if there is availability,” spokeswoman Michele Kropf said.

Republican lawmakers offered muted praise but pressed for stricter travel restrictions.

“In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said a “real solution” is to deny entry to anyone from the three countries under a provision of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.

“President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries,” Goodlatte said. “The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium, and I urge the president to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger.”

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said steering travelers through the five airports is a sensible precaution.

“As agreed upon by experts in both the public health and transportation communities, issuing a blanket travel ban would not only be counterproductive, but it would also irresponsibly impede getting much-needed supplies and relief to the countries that need it most,” Conyers said.

Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group for all aspects of travel, praised the move to calm travel concerns while avoiding a travel ban.

“The Obama administration continues to heed the counsel of an overwhelming consensus of health and security experts and resist calls for any sort of travel ban on the grounds that it will be counterproductive to efforts to contain Ebola,” Dow said.

A Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person diagnosed with the disease in the USA after arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20, had a temperature of 97.3 degrees but didn’t tell airport officials in Monrovia, Liberia, that he had cared for a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola. He died Oct. 8, and two nurses who treated him have become infected.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the enhanced screening adds a layer of protection against Ebola entering the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s policy to funnel all passengers arriving from Ebola hot spots to one of these five equipped airports is a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” Schumer said.

Obama and Johnson have said they will continue to monitor travel restrictions for possible changes.

“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” Johnson said.

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/21/ebola-travel-restrictions-dhs-screening-jfk-dulles-ohare-newark-atlanta/17655889/

 

Gabbard Calls On CDC To Increase Incubation Period To Prevent Ebola Spread

 By Chad Blair

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has called on the Center for Disease Control to implement stricter incubation guidelines for people who have been in contact with patients “confirmed or suspected” to have the Ebola virus.

According to a press release from her office, Gabbard is calling on the CDC to increase the quarantine and restriction period from the 21-day standard to 42 days, “based on the latest scientific studies and the World Health Organization report that the incubation period for the deadly Ebola virus can extend as long as 42 days.”

On Friday, Gabbard called for the “immediate suspension” of visas for citizens of Ebola-stricken West African nations as well as flights from those countries into the United States.

“Recent mistakes have revealed that the U.S. public health system is clearly not fully prepared to combat Ebola and prevent its spread in the United States,” she said in a statement.

Democrats like Gabbard are among a growing number who are “beginning to sound more like Republicans when they talk about Ebola. And Republicans are moving into overdrive with their criticism of the government’s handling of the deadly virus,” according to The Washington Post.

“The sharpened rhetoric, strategists say, suggests Democrats fear President Obama’s response to Ebola in the United States could become a political liability in the midterm election and Republicans see an opportunity to tie increasing concerns about the disease to the public’s broader worries about Obama’s leadership.”

The Washington Post notes, however, that Gabbard is “a liberal Democrat who is not in any danger of losing reelection.” It also reports that a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that “67 percent of Americans would support restricting entry to the United States from countries fighting dealing with an Ebola crisis.”

The Associated Press is also reporting that moderate Democrats are joining the callfor a flight ban, even ones not in tough re-election battles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/20/gabbard-ebola-incubation-period_n_6017290.html

 

How is the end of an Ebola outbreak decided and declared?

Information note – October 2014

Who decides the date?

The WHO Ebola outbreak response team is responsible for establishing the date of the end of the outbreak in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory.

How is the date determined?

An Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared over once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days). This 42-day period starts from the last day that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.

This includes health care workers who have been exposed to patients with Ebola virus disease, even if the health worker was wearing personal protective equipment and followed infection control procedures since such a person could be exposed accidentally without realizing it. In the setting of an Ebola treatment centre, the date of the last infectious contact is defined as the day when the last patient in the treatment centre tested negative for Ebola virus disease, using a real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

If no new case has been detected at the end of this 42-day period, the risk of a further case is very low, and the outbreak is declared over.

Why 42 days?

The maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease is 21 days. The 42-day period set by WHO (twice the maximum incubation period) provides a margin of security to cover any possible missed cases, uncertainty in reporting dates or hidden chains of transmission. (*)

During the 42-day period, the surveillance system should be fully functional, so that all contacts of the last patient are followed to detect possible chains of transmission.

What is the procedure to make the declaration?

The WHO Ebola outbreak response team in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory determines the date of the end of the epidemic. The government of the affected country, in collaboration with WHO and international partners, makes an official declaration of the end of the epidemic.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/declaration-ebola-end/en/

Reversal: Obama sets Ebola travel restrictions

BY PAUL BEDARD

The Obama administration has reversed course on putting travel restrictions on those coming from three West African nations tainted with Ebola and is putting in place demands that they enter only through five U.S. airports prepared to screen for the virus.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that the new rules will take effect Wednesday, bowing to demands from both parties that the U.S. do a better job so secure the border from Ebola.

“Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries,” said Johnson.

He said the rules require that anyone coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea enter the U.S. only through the five airports where special Ebola screenings have been set up: New York’s John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare.

“All passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed,” said the statement.

He said that passengers flying into those airports on flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea “are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States. These airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the United States from these countries.”

There are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to the U.S.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/reversal-obama-sets-ebola-travel-restrictions/article/2555074

 

NIH unit treating Dallas nurse for Ebola is one of 4 special isolation facilities in U.S.

By Lena H. Sun

It has a specially designed air-flow system to prevent contaminated air from leaving the patient room. It requires anyone who enters to be buzzed in. Personnel who work there receive special training in infection control to prevent the spread of bio­terror agents, natural or man-made. It also has a tiny gym.

Welcome to the Special Clinical Studies Unit at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. It is a 4,000-square-foot unit inside the NIH Clinical Center, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to research, which provides free state-of-the-art care to very sick patients from all over the world.

Now it’s home to its first confirmed Ebola patient, Nina Pham.
Pham is the first patient with a confirmed infectious disease to be cared for in the special seven-bed unit, center director John Gallin said in an interview Friday. Opened in 2010 for patients who need advanced isolation and extended stays, the unit was initially designed to take care of personnel working at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in case they were exposed to infectious agents. In more recent years, it has been used to house healthy volunteers participating in live vaccine trials. The volunteers need to be monitored in a place where they can be safely quarantined, Gallin said. To accommodate those healthy volunteers, the unit has a dining room and a “tiny fitness area,” he said.

Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for a patient in Dallas, is in fair and stable condition, officials said Friday morning.
What does an Ebola isolation ward look like?
“We are giving her the best possible care on a symptomatic and systemic basis,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference.

Pham, 26, was transferred to the facility, one of four in the country with a special bio­containment unit, late Thursday. She was diagnosed with Ebola on Sunday, becoming the first person to contract the disease on U.S. soil. Pham had been part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to Dallas last month before being diagnosed with Ebola. Duncan died last week, four days before it was announced that Pham had contracted the disease.

“There is no specific therapy that has been proven to be effective against Ebola, and that’s why excellent medical care is critical,” Fauci said. He said Pham was “very, very tired” from her trip.

Patients infected with the Ebola virus require a large number of staffers to provide care around-the-clock. At NIH, that comes out to about 27 people a week — doctors, nurses, support staff — for one patient, Gallin said. With about 50 to 60 such personnel specially trained for infectious disease and critical care, NIH can only care for two Ebola patients at a time, he said.

The four facilities that provide such care were designed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to protect against bio­terrorism. Two of them, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the Nebraska Medical Center, are each treating one Ebola patient. The other facility is St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Mont.

They require staff to undergo more rigorous training in infection control, and staff must follow strict protocol for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment in a separate anteroom. Officials say meticulous attention to detail in following protocols is what sets them apart from other facilities.
Games – Click Here for More!
Emory has treated three Ebola patients, all of whom have recovered. The University of Nebraska treated one patient who recovered and is now caring for a freelance NBC cameraman. St. Patrick has not yet treated an Ebola patient. The hospital has received so many inquiries that it has set up a special hotline where they are transcribed and forwarded to the appropriate departments.
Bruce Ribner gives a tour of the Emory University Hospital isolation unit which has been used for treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus. (Emory University via YouTube)
Unlike the Dallas hospital where Pham and another nurse were infected, which officials said most likely occurred because of a breach of protocol involving personal protective equipment, no health workers taking care of the Ebola patients at the special facilities have become infected.

“There is a step-by-step, checklisted procedure to putting on your personal protective equipment for when you go in to the patient’s room to perform your duties and when you come out,” said Mark Rupp, medical director of Nebraska Medical Center’s infection control department, which includes the special unit. “That’s the big difference with what goes on in our unit and what goes on in a regular intensive-care unit.”

The facilities have one person whose only job is to make sure health-care workers put on and take off their protective equipment correctly. At NIH, this person is dubbed “the Watson,” Gallin said, for the sidekick to Sherlock Holmes.

The Watson “has the authority to stop everything at any moment if someone looks like they’re breaking protocol,” Gallin said. The Watson has a checklist, like a pilot’s preflight checklist, and everything has to be done in that order. If not, the Watson can “scream at them and tell them to stop,” Gallin said, which apparently happened at least once Thursday night when doctors and staff were admitting Pham.

The protective gear that health-care workers take off is autoclaved (sanitized via pressurized steam) and then incinerated. Equipment that is not disposable is disinfected according to the manufacturer’s directions. The units also have negative air pressure to prevent germs from spreading beyond patient rooms. For Ebola patients, contaminated air is not such a concern because the disease is not transmitted through the air, but through contact with bodily fluids.

 

What does an Ebola isolation ward look like?

The seven-bed, 4,000-square-foot biocontainment unit at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., is a state-of-the-art facility built to keep the world’s scariest pathogens from escaping. The four U.S. facilities are all different — NIH’s even has a gym — but they contain many of the same things. This layout is based on the unit at Emory University in Atlanta.

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The Pronk Pops Show 348, October 14, 2014, Story 1: Story 1: Stop The Ebola Illegal Alien Invasion/Pandemic — Secure The U.S./Mexican Border — Videos

Posted on October 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Ebola, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medical, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Science, Security, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

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Story 1: Stop The Ebola Illegal Alien Invasion/Pandemic — Secure The U.S./Mexican Border — Videos

USA Invaded by Central America….

RED ALERT: TOP GENERAL WARNS EBOLA WILL NOT STAY IN WEST AFRICA!!!!

Why Do Viruses Kill

MicroKillers: Super Flu

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

We Heard the Bells: The Influenza of 1918 (full documentary)

In 1918-1919, the worst flu in recorded history killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The U.S. death toll was 675,000 – five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in World War I. Where did the 1918 flu come from? Why was it so lethal? What did we learn?

After Armageddon  (when deadly virus strikes)

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Video: Ebola patient escapes quarantine, spreads panic in Monrovia (Liberia)

Judge Jeanine Pirro – Hidden Danger? – Could Illegal Immigrant Kids Bring Diseases To U.S.?

Obama Triggers a Massive Surge of Illegal Immigrant Children(90,000!)

Reporters Confront U.S. Border Patrol Over Illegal Immigration Stand-Down

Pestilence : Illegal Aliens bringing serious diseases across the U.S. Border (Aug 01, 2014)

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immigrants bring in serious, contagious diseases

PJTV – Illegal Immigrants Being Illegally Dumped in Arizona…Illegally

Gen. Kelly at University of South Florida

 

 

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Is The Ebola Dallas Strain (EDS), an airborne, contagious, incurable and lethal virus mutation, now the source of a world-wide pandemic? — The American People Demand To Be Told The Truth — Videos

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Story 1: Is The Ebola Dallas Strain (EDS), an airborne, contagious, incurable and lethal virus mutation, now the source of a world-wide pandemic? — The American People Demand To Be Told The Truth — Videos

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CDC: Airborne Ebola possible but unlikely

By Elise Viebeck

The Ebola virus becoming airborne is a possible but unlikely outcome in the current epidemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said Tuesday.

The outbreak involves Ebola Zaire, a strain that is passed through bodily fluids, not the air. But some experts have expressed fear about viral mutations due to the unprecedented — and rising — number of Ebola cases.

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Frieden sought to allay those fears during a call with reporters.

“The rate of change [with Ebola] is slower than most viruses, and most viruses don’t change how they spread,” he said. Frieden is unofficially spearheading the U.S. response to Ebola.

“That is not to say it’s impossible that it could change [to become airborne],” he continued. “That would be the worst-case scenario. We would know that by looking at … what is happening in Africa. That is why we have scientists from the CDC on the ground tracking that.”

A change in the way Ebola spreads would make the virus significantly more dangerous. The disease kills roughly half the people it infects, and lacking a vaccine or cure, its traceable chain of transmission through bodily fluids is one reason officials believe they can contain it.

Still, there is almost no precedent for a human virus mutating to become transmissible in a different way, a key piece of evidence in weighing whether that kind of shift is likely for Ebola.

“We have so many problems with Ebola, let’s not make another one that, of course, is theoretically possible but is pretty way down on the list of likely issues,” infectious diseases expert William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University told Scientific American.

Frieden touted new progress against Ebola in West Africa and Dallas, where a Liberian man remains in critical condition, but warned that “globally, this is going to be a long, hard fight.”

The Dallas patient interacted with 10 definite and 38 possible interlocturos who are now being monitored, he said. None have shown symptoms.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/220046-cdc-airborne-ebola-possible-but-unlikely

 

Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed

Ebola could be spread through air in tight quarters, some scientists fear
Some Ebola experts worry that the virus may spread more easily than thought — through the air in small spaces, for example.
By DAVID WILLMAN contact the reporter NationMedical ResearchAfricaScientific ResearchDiseases and IllnessesEbolaU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ebola researcher says he would not rule out possibility that the virus spreads through air in tight quarters
‘There are too many unknowns here,’ a virologist says of how Ebola may spread
Ebola researcher says he thinks there is a chance asymptomatic people could spread the virus
U.S. officials leading the fight against history’s worst outbreak of Ebola have said they know the ways the virus is spread and how to stop it. They say that unless an air traveler from disease-ravaged West Africa has a fever of at least 101.5 degrees or other symptoms, co-passengers are not at risk.

“At this point there is zero risk of transmission on the flight,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said after a Liberian man who flew through airports in Brussels and Washington was diagnosed with the disease last week in Dallas.

First Ebola infection outside West Africa
Three more people have been hospitalized in Madrid for possible exposure to the Ebola virus after a Spanish nurse tested positive for the virus.
Other public health officials have voiced similar assurances, saying Ebola is spread only through physical contact with a symptomatic individual or their bodily fluids. “Ebola is not transmitted by the air. It is not an airborne infection,” said Dr. Edward Goodman of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the Liberian patient remains in critical condition.

Yet some scientists who have long studied Ebola say such assurances are premature — and they are concerned about what is not known about the strain now on the loose. It is an Ebola outbreak like none seen before, jumping from the bush to urban areas, giving the virus more opportunities to evolve as it passes through multiple human hosts.

Dr. C.J. Peters, who battled a 1989 outbreak of the virus among research monkeys housed in Virginia and who later led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmissibility in humans, said he would not rule out the possibility that it spreads through the air in tight quarters.

“We just don’t have the data to exclude it,” said Peters, who continues to research viral diseases at the University of Texas in Galveston.

 

Dr. Philip K. Russell, a virologist who oversaw Ebola research while heading the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, and who later led the government’s massive stockpiling of smallpox vaccine after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also said much was still to be learned. “Being dogmatic is, I think, ill-advised, because there are too many unknowns here.”

If Ebola were to mutate on its path from human to human, said Russell and other scientists, its virulence might wane — or it might spread in ways not observed during past outbreaks, which were stopped after transmission among just two to three people, before the virus had a greater chance to evolve. The present outbreak in West Africa has killed approximately 3,400 people, and there is no medical cure for Ebola.

“I see the reasons to dampen down public fears,” Russell said. “But scientifically, we’re in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man…. God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don’t.”
A resident looks from behind a gate during the Liberian government’s 11-day Ebola quarantine in the West Point district of Monrovia.
Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta, said health officials were basing their response to Ebola on what has been learned from battling the virus since its discovery in central Africa in 1976. The CDC remains confident, he said, that Ebola is transmitted principally by direct physical contact with an ill person or their bodily fluids.

Skinner also said the CDC is conducting ongoing lab analyses to assess whether the present strain of Ebola is mutating in ways that would require the government to change its policies on responding to it. The results so far have not provided cause for concern, he said.

The researchers reached in recent days for this article cited grounds to question U.S. officials’ assumptions in three categories.

 

One issue is whether airport screenings of prospective travelers to the U.S. from West Africa can reliably detect those who might have Ebola. Frieden has said the CDC protocols used at West African airports can be relied on to prevent more infected passengers from coming to the U.S.

“One hundred percent of the individuals getting on planes are screened for fever before they get on the plane,” Frieden said Sept. 30. “And if they have a fever, they are pulled out of the line, assessed for Ebola, and don’t fly unless Ebola is ruled out.”

Individuals who have flown recently from one or more of the affected countries suggested that travelers could easily subvert the screening procedures — and might have incentive to do so: Compared with the depleted medical resources in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the prospect of hospital care in the U.S. may offer an Ebola-exposed person the only chance to survive.

U.S. To Increase Airport Screening For Ebola
The deteriorating conditions in Africa make it more likely additional cases of Ebola will appear in the United States and officials are pushing for increased screenings at airports.
A person could pass body temperature checks performed at the airports by taking ibuprofen or any common analgesic. And prospective passengers have much to fear from identifying themselves as sick, said Kim Beer, a resident of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, who is working to get medical supplies into the country to cope with Ebola.

“It is highly unlikely that someone would acknowledge having a fever, or simply feeling unwell,” Beer said via email. “Not only will they probably not get on the flight — they may even be taken to/required to go to a ‘holding facility’ where they would have to stay for days until it is confirmed that it is not caused by Ebola. That is just about the last place one would want to go.”

Liberian officials said last week that the patient hospitalized in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, did not report to airport screeners that he had had previous contact with an Ebola-stricken woman. It is not known whether Duncan knew she suffered from Ebola; her family told neighbors it was malaria.
The potential disincentive for passengers to reveal their own symptoms was echoed by Sheka Forna, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and Britain who manages a communications firm in Freetown. Forna said he considered it “very possible” that people with fever would medicate themselves to appear asymptomatic.

It would be perilous to admit even nonspecific symptoms at the airport, Forna said in a telephone interview. “You’d be confined to wards with people with full-blown disease.”

On Monday, the White House announced that a review was underway of existing airport procedures. Frieden and President Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism, Lisa Monaco, said Friday that closing the U.S. to passengers from the Ebola-affected countries would risk obstructing relief efforts.

CDC officials also say that asymptomatic patients cannot spread Ebola. This assumption is crucial for assessing how many people are at risk of getting the disease. Yet diagnosing a symptom can depend on subjective understandings of what constitutes a symptom, and some may not be easily recognizable. Is a person mildly fatigued because of short sleep the night before a flight — or because of the early onset of disease?
Moreover, said some public health specialists, there is no proof that a person infected — but who lacks symptoms — could not spread the virus to others.

“It’s really unclear,” said Michael Osterholm, a public health scientist at the University of Minnesota who recently served on the U.S. government’s National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. “None of us know.”

Russell, who oversaw the Army’s research on Ebola, said he found the epidemiological data unconvincing.
“The definition of ‘symptomatic’ is a little difficult to deal with,” he said. “It may be generally true that patients aren’t excreting very much virus until they become ill, but to say that we know the course of [the virus' entry into the bloodstream] and the course of when a virus appears in the various secretions, I think, is premature.”

The CDC’s Skinner said that while officials remained confident that Ebola can be spread only by the overtly sick, the ongoing studies would assess whether mutations that might occur could increase the potential for asymptomatic patients to spread it.

Finally, some also question the official assertion that Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air. In late 1989, virus researcher Charles L. Bailey supervised the government’s response to an outbreak of Ebola among several dozen rhesus monkeys housed for research in Reston, Va., a suburb of Washington.

What Bailey learned from the episode informs his suspicion that the current strain of Ebola afflicting humans might be spread through tiny liquid droplets propelled into the air by coughing or sneezing.

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“We know for a fact that the virus occurs in sputum and no one has ever done a study [disproving that] coughing or sneezing is a viable means of transmitting,” he said. Unqualified assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air, Bailey said, are “misleading.”

Peters, whose CDC team studied cases from 27 households that emerged during a 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, said that while most could be attributed to contact with infected late-stage patients or their bodily fluids, “some” infections may have occurred via “aerosol transmission.”

Ailing in Monrovia, Liberia
Relatives pray over a weak Siata Johnson, 23, outside the Ebola treatment center at a hospital on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore / Getty Images)
Skinner of the CDC, who cited the Peters-led study as the most extensive of Ebola’s transmissibility, said that while the evidence “is really overwhelming” that people are most at risk when they touch either those who are sick or such a person’s vomit, blood or diarrhea, “we can never say never” about spread through close-range coughing or sneezing.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that if a person who is highly viremic … were to sneeze or cough right in the face of somebody who wasn’t protected, that we wouldn’t have a transmission,” Skinner said.

Peters, Russell and Bailey, who in 1989 was deputy commander for research of the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Frederick, Md., said the primates in Reston had appeared to spread Ebola to other monkeys through their breath.

 

The Ebola strain found in the monkeys did not infect their human handlers. Bailey, who now directs a biocontainment lab at George Mason University in Virginia, said he was seeking to research the genetic differences between the Ebola found in the Reston monkeys and the strain currently circulating in West Africa.

Though he acknowledged that the means of disease transmission among the animals would not guarantee the same result among humans, Bailey said the outcome may hold lessons for the present Ebola epidemic.

“Those monkeys were dying in a pattern that was certainly suggestive of coughing and sneezing — some sort of aerosol movement,” Bailey said. “They were dying and spreading it so quickly from cage to cage. We finally came to the conclusion that the best action was to euthanize them all.”

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ebola-questions-20141007-story.html#page=2

No gloves, no masks: Dallas officials send a message of calm amid Ebola fears

By Abby Phillip

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins pulled into the Ivy Apartments community late in the evening Friday wearing suit pants and a lavender dress shirt.

There were hazardous materials trucks all around, as cleaning crews had arrived to remove materials that might have been touched by Thomas Duncan, a Liberian man who is hospitalized in Texas with Ebola. The hazmat workers were covered from head to toe in bright yellow body suits, green gloves and breathing masks.

Jenkins walked into the apartment in building No. 6 to greet Louise Troh, her family and others who live with her and had been court-ordered to stay in their home because they were considered high risk after coming into contact with Duncan.

It was time to move, and Troh, her 13-year old son, a relative of Duncan’s and another man — all of whom lived in the apartment — got into the judge’s car for the 45-minute drive to their new, temporary home, in an undisclosed part of Dallas.

Jenkins, the judge, never covered up.

“I’m a married man with a little girl,” Jenkins told reporters later that night. “I’m wearing the same shirt I was when I was in the car with that family.

“I was in their house next to those materials, meeting with them, listening to them, and assuring them last night and again of course today. If there were any risk, I would not expose myself or my family to that risk.”

He added: “There is zero risk.”

In the face of widespread fear — and in some cases misinformation — about Ebola following the first diagnosis of the virus in the United States, Dallas officials have taken a notable visual approach to make the point that, at least right now, the city is safe.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has reached the United States, as officials confirm one case in Dallas. Here’s how U.S. health officials plan to stop the virus. (Gillian Brockell and Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)
On a daily basis, workers monitoring the temperatures and health of as many as nine individuals who they believe might have had direct contact with Duncan have entered those people’s homes with no gloves, no masks and no personal protective equipment whatsoever.

And city officials including Jenkins, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson have interacted with the family no differently that they might have if the four people who are in a state of semi-isolation had been suspected of having come into contact with somebody sick with the flu.
“Based on our assessment, they were asymptomatic; therefore, I didn’t feel they posed any threat to me,” Thompson said in an interview with The Washington Post on Monday. “There is a standard procedure for when they should be using the PPE’s (personal protective equipment). In this case we knew our nurses, our staff, had assessed that they were asymptomatic.”

So far, none of the people who have potentially had contact with Duncan are showing any symptoms, Thompson said.

Yet concern and stigma are widespread in Dallas.

Photographs from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — where the epidemic is spiraling out of control — frequently show fully masked health workers carrying infected people to hospitals or burial sites. Those images have become closely associated with the virus and the outbreak in the public’s mind.

And for one day, similar images briefly appeared in Dallas as cleaning crews removed materials from Troh’s apartment that might have come into contact with the virus.
A hazmat team arrives on Oct. 3 to clean a unit at the Dallas apartment complex where the confirmed Ebola patient was staying. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The decision for the crew to wear personal protective equipment was made by the company, the “Cleaning Guys,” according to Dallas officials.

“We train for this type of thing,” company executive Brad Smith told ABC News. “Obviously, we haven’t trained for Ebola because there hasn’t been a situation in Texas until now.”

The Ebola virus is not very hearty outside of the human body.

Still, touching and destroying potentially infected materials is far different from speaking to or being in the same room with people who might have been exposed to the virus.

And public health expert Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, who worked in Nigeria to end that country’s outbreak, said that treating people with a sense of humanity and not feeding hysteria is critical to managing the Dallas Ebola case and others that might occur around the world.

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“Even in West Africa when we do contact tracing, we don’t put on personal protective equipment,” said Macgregor-Skinner, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “We have the six-feet rule: We stay about six feet away from people and I can interview them and I can make them feel like people.

“If they have no symptoms, we need to make them feel normal, like they’re part of the community, like they are still loved.”

Dallas officials have also urged residents to go about their normal activities and attend community gatherings and fairs without fear.

“The broader perspective is that we had done immediate disease tracking and contact tracing and the family had been identified who had had close contact and they had not shown any symptoms,” said Thompson. “Other than that one case, basically, his virus has been contained.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/10/06/no-gloves-no-masks-dallas-officials-send-a-message-of-calm-amid-ebola-fears/

 

‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola – now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’

Peter Piot was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire
Peter Piot
Professor Peter Piot, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: ‘Around June it became clear to me there was something different about this outbreak. I began to get really worried’ Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP

Professor Piot, as a young scientist in Antwerp, you were part of the team that discovered the Ebola virus in 1976. How did it happen?

I still remember exactly. One day in September, a pilot from Sabena Airlines brought us a shiny blue Thermos and a letter from a doctor in Kinshasa in what was then Zaire. In the Thermos, he wrote, there was a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had recently fallen ill from a mysterious sickness in Yambuku, a remote village in the northern part of the country. He asked us to test the sample for yellow fever.

These days, Ebola may only be researched in high-security laboratories. How did you protect yourself back then?

We had no idea how dangerous the virus was. And there were no high-security labs in Belgium. We just wore our white lab coats and protective gloves. When we opened the Thermos, the ice inside had largely melted and one of the vials had broken. Blood and glass shards were floating in the ice water. We fished the other, intact, test tube out of the slop and began examining the blood for pathogens, using the methods that were standard at the time.

But the yellow fever virus apparently had nothing to do with the nun’s illness.

No. And the tests for Lassa fever and typhoid were also negative. What, then, could it be? Our hopes were dependent on being able to isolate the virus from the sample. To do so, we injected it into mice and other lab animals. At first nothing happened for several days. We thought that perhaps the pathogen had been damaged from insufficient refrigeration in the Thermos. But then one animal after the next began to die. We began to realise that the sample contained something quite deadly.

But you continued?

Other samples from the nun, who had since died, arrived from Kinshasa. When we were just about able to begin examining the virus under an electron microscope, the World Health Organisation instructed us to send all of our samples to a high-security lab in England. But my boss at the time wanted to bring our work to conclusion no matter what. He grabbed a vial containing virus material to examine it, but his hand was shaking and he dropped it on a colleague’s foot. The vial shattered. My only thought was: “Oh, shit!” We immediately disinfected everything, and luckily our colleague was wearing thick leather shoes. Nothing happened to any of us.

In the end, you were finally able to create an image of the virus using the electron microscope.

Yes, and our first thought was: “What the hell is that?” The virus that we had spent so much time searching for was very big, very long and worm-like. It had no similarities with yellow fever. Rather, it looked like the extremely dangerous Marburg virus which, like ebola, causes a haemorrhagic fever. In the 1960s the virus killed several laboratory workers in Marburg, Germany.

Were you afraid at that point?

I knew almost nothing about the Marburg virus at the time. When I tell my students about it today, they think I must come from the stone age. But I actually had to go the library and look it up in an atlas of virology. It was the American Centres for Disease Control which determined a short time later that it wasn’t the Marburg virus, but a related, unknown virus. We had also learned in the meantime that hundreds of people had already succumbed to the virus in Yambuku and the area around it.

A few days later, you became one of the first scientists to fly to Zaire.

Yes. The nun who had died and her fellow sisters were all from Belgium. In Yambuku, which had been part of the Belgian Congo, they operated a small mission hospital. When the Belgian government decided to send someone, I volunteered immediately. I was 27 and felt a bit like my childhood hero, Tintin. And, I have to admit, I was intoxicated by the chance to track down something totally new.

Suspected Ebola patient in MonroviaA girl is led to an ambulance after showing signs of Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, 30 miles north of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Photograph: Jerome Delay/APWas there any room for fear, or at least worry?

Of course it was clear to us that we were dealing with one of the deadliest infectious diseases the world had ever seen – and we had no idea that it was transmitted via bodily fluids! It could also have been mosquitoes. We wore protective suits and latex gloves and I even borrowed a pair of motorcycle goggles to cover my eyes. But in the jungle heat it was impossible to use the gas masks that we bought in Kinshasa. Even so, the Ebola patients I treated were probably just as shocked by my appearance as they were about their intense suffering. I took blood from around 10 of these patients. I was most worried about accidentally poking myself with the needle and infecting myself that way.

But you apparently managed to avoid becoming infected.

Well, at some point I did actually develop a high fever, a headache and diarrhoea …

… similar to Ebola symptoms?

Exactly. I immediately thought: “Damn, this is it!” But then I tried to keep my cool. I knew the symptoms I had could be from something completely different and harmless. And it really would have been stupid to spend two weeks in the horrible isolation tent that had been set up for us scientists for the worst case. So I just stayed alone in my room and waited. Of course, I didn’t get a wink of sleep, but luckily I began feeling better by the next day. It was just a gastrointestinal infection. Actually, that is the best thing that can happen in your life: you look death in the eye but survive. It changed my whole approach, my whole outlook on life at the time.

You were also the one who gave the virus its name. Why Ebola?

On that day our team sat together late into the night – we had also had a couple of drinks – discussing the question. We definitely didn’t want to name the new pathogen “Yambuku virus”, because that would have stigmatised the place forever. There was a map hanging on the wall and our American team leader suggested looking for the nearest river and giving the virus its name. It was the Ebola river. So by around three or four in the morning we had found a name. But the map was small and inexact. We only learned later that the nearest river was actually a different one. But Ebola is a nice name, isn’t it?

In the end, you discovered that the Belgian nuns had unwittingly spread the virus. How did that happen?

In their hospital they regularly gave pregnant women vitamin injections using unsterilised needles. By doing so, they infected many young women in Yambuku with the virus. We told the nuns about the terrible mistake they had made, but looking back I would say that we were much too careful in our choice of words. Clinics that failed to observe this and other rules of hygiene functioned as catalysts in all additional Ebola outbreaks. They drastically sped up the spread of the virus or made the spread possible in the first place. Even in the current Ebola outbreak in westAfrica, hospitals unfortunately played this ignominious role in the beginning.

After Yambuku, you spent the next 30 years of your professional life devoted to combating Aids. But now Ebola has caught up to you again. American scientists fear that hundreds of thousands of people could ultimately become infected. Was such an epidemic to be expected?

No, not at all. On the contrary, I always thought that Ebola, in comparison to Aids or malaria, didn’t present much of a problem because the outbreaks were always brief and local. Around June it became clear to me that there was something fundamentally different about this outbreak. At about the same time, the aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières sounded the alarm. We Flemish tend to be rather unemotional, but it was at that point that I began to get really worried.

Why did WHO react so late?

On the one hand, it was because their African regional office isn’t staffed with the most capable people but with political appointees. And the headquarters in Geneva suffered large budget cuts that had been agreed to by member states. The department for haemorrhagic fever and the one responsible for the management of epidemic emergencies were hit hard. But since August WHO has regained a leadership role.

There is actually a well-established procedure for curtailing Ebola outbreaks: isolating those infected and closely monitoring those who had contact with them. How could a catastrophe such as the one we are now seeing even happen?

I think it is what people call a perfect storm: when every individual circumstance is a bit worse than normal and they then combine to create a disaster. And with this epidemic there were many factors that were disadvantageous from the very beginning. Some of the countries involved were just emerging from terrible civil wars, many of their doctors had fled and their healthcare systems had collapsed. In all of Liberia, for example, there were only 51 doctors in 2010, and many of them have since died of Ebola.

The fact that the outbreak began in the densely populated border region between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia …

… also contributed to the catastrophe. Because the people there are extremely mobile, it was much more difficult than usual to track down those who had had contact with the infected people. Because the dead in this region are traditionally buried in the towns and villages they were born in, there were highly contagious Ebola corpses travelling back and forth across the borders in pickups and taxis. The result was that the epidemic kept flaring up in different places.

For the first time in its history, the virus also reached metropolises such as Monrovia and Freetown. Is that the worst thing that can happen?

In large cities – particularly in chaotic slums – it is virtually impossible to find those who had contact with patients, no matter how great the effort. That is why I am so worried about Nigeria as well. The country is home to mega-cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, and if the Ebola virus lodges there and begins to spread, it would be an unimaginable catastrophe.

Have we completely lost control of the epidemic?

I have always been an optimist and I think that we now have no other choice than to try everything, really everything. It’s good that the United States and some other countries are finally beginning to help. But Germany or even Belgium, for example, must do a lot more. And it should be clear to all of us: This isn’t just an epidemic any more. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. We don’t just need care personnel, but also logistics experts, trucks, jeeps and foodstuffs. Such an epidemic can destabilise entire regions. I can only hope that we will be able to get it under control. I really never thought that it could get this bad.

What can really be done in a situation when anyone can become infected on the streets and, like in Monrovia, even the taxis are contaminated?

We urgently need to come up with new strategies. Currently, helpers are no longer able to care for all the patients in treatment centres. So caregivers need to teach family members who are providing care to patients how to protect themselves from infection to the extent possible. This on-site educational work is currently the greatest challenge. Sierra Leone experimented with a three-day curfew in an attempt to at least flatten out the infection curve a bit. At first I thought: “That is totally crazy.” But now I wonder, “why not?” At least, as long as these measures aren’t imposed with military power.

A three-day curfew sounds a bit desperate.

Yes, it is rather medieval. But what can you do? Even in 2014, we hardly have any way to combat this virus.

Do you think we might be facing the beginnings of a pandemic?

There will certainly be Ebola patients from Africa who come to us in the hopes of receiving treatment. And they might even infect a few people here who may then die. But an outbreak in Europe or North America would quickly be brought under control. I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in west Africa. It would only take one of them to become infected, travel to India to visit relatives during the virus’s incubation period, and then, once he becomes sick, go to a public hospital there. Doctors and nurses in India, too, often don’t wear protective gloves. They would immediately become infected and spread the virus.

The virus is continually changing its genetic makeup. The more people who become infected, the greater the chance becomes that it will mutate …

… which might speed its spread. Yes, that really is the apocalyptic scenario. Humans are actually just an accidental host for the virus, and not a good one. From the perspective of a virus, it isn’t desirable for its host, within which the pathogen hopes to multiply, to die so quickly. It would be much better for the virus to allow us to stay alive longer.

Could the virus suddenly change itself such that it could be spread through the air?

Like measles, you mean? Luckily that is extremely unlikely. But a mutation that would allow Ebola patients to live a couple of weeks longer is certainly possible and would be advantageous for the virus. But that would allow Ebola patients to infect many, many more people than is currently the case.

But that is just speculation, isn’t it?

Certainly. But it is just one of many possible ways the virus could change to spread itself more easily. And it is clear that the virus is mutating.

You and two colleagues wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journalsupporting the testing of experimental drugs. Do you think that could be the solution?

Patients could probably be treated most quickly with blood serum from Ebola survivors, even if that would likely be extremely difficult given the chaotic local conditions. We need to find out now if these methods, or if experimental drugs like ZMapp, really help. But we should definitely not rely entirely on new treatments. For most people, they will come too late in this epidemic. But if they help, they should be made available for the next outbreak.

Testing of two vaccines is also beginning. It will take a while, of course, but could it be that only a vaccine can stop the epidemic?

I hope that’s not the case. But who knows? Maybe.

In Zaire during that first outbreak, a hospital with poor hygiene was responsible for spreading the illness. Today almost the same thing is happening. Was Louis Pasteur right when he said: “It is the microbes who will have the last word”?

Of course, we are a long way away from declaring victory over bacteria and viruses. HIV is still here; in London alone, five gay men become infected daily. An increasing number of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. And I can still see the Ebola patients in Yambuku, how they died in their shacks and we couldn’t do anything except let them die. In principle, it’s still the same today. That is very depressing. But it also provides me with a strong motivation to do something. I love life. That is why I am doing everything I can to convince the powerful in this world to finally send sufficient help to west Africa. Now!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/04/ebola-zaire-peter-piot-outbreak

Ebola virus disease

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Ebola” redirects here. For other uses, see Ebola (disambiguation).
Ebola virus disease
Classification and external resources
7042 lores-Ebola-Zaire-CDC Photo.jpg

A 1976 photograph of two nurses standing in front of Mayinga N., a person with Ebola virus disease; she died only a few days later due to severe internal hemorrhaging.
ICD-10 A98.4
ICD-9 065.8
DiseasesDB 18043
MedlinePlus 001339
eMedicine med/626
MeSH D019142

Ebola virus disease (EVD), Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), or simply Ebola is a disease of humans and other primates caused by an ebolavirus. Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with afever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the bodyand externally.[1]

The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected human or other animal.[1] Spreading through the air has not been documented in the natural environment.[2] Fruit bats are believed to be a carrier and may spread the virus without being affected. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people, as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months. To make the diagnosis, typically other diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, cholera and other viral hemorrhagic fevers are first excluded. To confirm the diagnosis, blood samples are tested for viral antibodies, viralRNA, or the virus itself.[1]

Outbreak control require community engagement, case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, and safe burials.[1] Prevention includes decreasing the spread of disease from infected animals to humans. This may be done by checking such animals for infection and killing and properly disposing of the bodies if the disease is discovered. Properly cooking meat and wearing protective clothing when handling meat may also be helpful, as are wearing protective clothing and washing hands when around a person with the disease. Samples of bodily fluids and tissues from people with the disease should be handled with special caution.[1]

No specific treatment for the disease is yet available.[1] Efforts to help those who are infected are supportive and include giving either oral rehydration therapy (slightly sweet and salty water to drink) or intravenous fluids.[1] This supportive care improves outcomes.[1] The disease has a high risk of death, killing between 50% and 90% of those infected with the virus.[1][3] EVD was first identified in an area of Sudan that is now part of South Sudan, as well as in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The disease typically occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa.[1] From 1976 (when it was first identified) through 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases.[1][4] The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.[5][6] As of 28 September 2014, 7,157 suspected cases resulting in the deaths of 3,330 have been reported.[7] Efforts are under way to develop a vaccine; however, none yet exists.[1]

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Ebola.[8]

Signs and symptoms of Ebola usually begin suddenly with an influenza-like stage characterized by fatigue, fever, headaches, joint, muscle, and abdominal pain.[9][10] Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are also common.[10]Less common symptoms include the following: sore throat, chest pain, hiccups, shortness of breath, and trouble swallowing.[10] The average time between contracting the infection and the start of symptoms (incubation period) is 8 to 10 days, but it can vary between 2 and 21 days.[10][11] Skin manifestations may include a maculopapular rash (in about 50% of cases).[12] Early symptoms of EVD may be similar to those of malaria, dengue fever, or other tropical fevers, before the disease progresses to the bleeding phase.[9]

In 40–50% of cases, bleeding from puncture sites and mucous membranes (e.g., gastrointestinal tract, nose, vagina, and gums) has been reported.[13] In the bleeding phase, which typically begins five to seven days after first symptoms,[14] internal and subcutaneous bleeding may present itself in the form of reddened eyes and bloody vomit.[9] Bleeding into the skin may create petechiae, purpura, ecchymoses, and hematomas (especially around needle injection sites). Sufferers may cough up blood, vomit it, or excrete it in their stool.

Heavy bleeding is rare and is usually confined to the gastrointestinal tract.[12][15] In general, the development of bleeding symptoms often indicates a worse prognosis and this blood loss can result in death.[9] All people infected show some signs of circulatory system involvement, including impaired blood clotting.[12] If the infected person does not recover, death due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome occurs within 7 to 16 days (usually between days 8 and 9) after first symptoms.[14]

Causes

Life cycles of the Ebolavirus

EVD is caused by four of five viruses classified in the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The four disease-causing viruses are Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Taï Forest virus (TAFV), and one called, simply, Ebola virus (EBOV, formerly Zaire Ebola virus)). Ebola virus is the sole member of the Zaire ebolavirus species and the most dangerous of the known Ebola disease-causing viruses, as well as being responsible for the largest number of outbreaks.[16] The fifth virus, Reston virus (RESTV), is not thought to be disease-causing in humans. These five viruses are closely related to the Marburg viruses.

Transmission

Human-to-human transmission can occur via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person (including embalming of an infected dead person) or by contact with objects contaminated by the virus, particularly needles and syringes.[17] Other body fluids with ebola virus include saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine, and semen. Entry points include the nose, mouth, eyes, or open wounds, cuts and abrasions.[18] The potential for widespread EVD infections is considered low as the disease is only spread by direct contact with the secretions from someone who is showing signs of infection.[17] The symptoms limit a person’s ability to spread the disease as they are often too sick to travel.[19] Because dead bodies are still infectious, traditional burial rituals may spread the disease. Nearly two thirds of the cases of Ebola in Guinea during the 2014 outbreak are believed to be due to burial practices.[20][21] Semen may be infectious in survivors for up to 7 weeks.[1] It is not entirely clear how an outbreak is initially started.[22] The initial infection is believed to occur after ebola virus is transmitted to a human by contact with an infected animal’s body fluids.

One of the primary reasons for spread is that the health systems in the part of Africa where the disease occurs function poorly.[23] Medical workers who do not wear appropriate protective clothing may contract the disease.[24] Hospital-acquired transmission has occurred in African countries due to the reuse of needles and lack of universal precautions.[25][26] Some healthcare centers caring for people with the disease do not have running water.[27]

Airborne transmission has not been documented during EVD outbreaks.[2] They are, however, infectious as breathable 0.8– to 1.2-μm laboratory-generated droplets.[28] The virus has been shown to travel, without contact, from pigs to primates, although the same study failed to demonstrate similar transmission between non-human primates.[29]

Bats drop partially eaten fruits and pulp, then land mammals such as gorillas and duikers feed on these fallen fruits. This chain of events forms a possible indirect means of transmission from the natural host to animal populations, which has led to research towards viral shedding in the saliva of bats. Fruit production, animal behavior, and other factors vary at different times and places that may trigger outbreaks among animal populations.[30]

Reservoir

Bushmeat being prepared for cooking in Ghana, 2013. Human consumption of equatorial animals in Africa in the form of bushmeat has been linked to the transmission of diseases to people, including Ebola.[31]

Bats are considered the most likely natural reservoir of the EBOV. Plants, arthropods, and birds were also considered.[1][32] Bats were known to reside in the cotton factory in which the first cases for the 1976 and 1979 outbreaks were observed, and they have also been implicated in Marburg virus infections in 1975 and 1980.[33] Of 24 plant species and 19 vertebrate species experimentally inoculated with EBOV, only bats became infected.[34] The absence of clinical signs in these bats is characteristic of a reservoir species. In a 2002–2003 survey of 1,030 animals including 679 bats from Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, 13 fruit bats were found to contain EBOV RNA fragments.[35] As of 2005, three types of fruit bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti, and Myonycteris torquata) have been identified as being in contact with EBOV. They are now suspected to represent the EBOV reservoir hosts.[36][37] Antibodies against Zaire and Reston viruses have been found in fruit bats in Bangladesh, thus identifying potential virus hosts and signs of the filoviruses in Asia.[38]

Between 1976 and 1998, in 30,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods sampled from outbreak regions, no ebolavirus was detected apart from some genetic traces found in six rodents (Mus setulosus andPraomys) and one shrew (Sylvisorex ollula) collected from the Central African Republic.[33][39] Traces of EBOV were detected in the carcasses of gorillas and chimpanzees during outbreaks in 2001 and 2003, which later became the source of human infections. However, the high lethality from infection in these species makes them unlikely as a natural reservoir.[33]

Transmission between natural reservoir and humans is rare, and outbreaks are usually traceable to a single case where an individual has handled the carcass of gorilla, chimpanzee or duiker.[40] Fruit bats are also eaten by people in parts of West Africa where they are smoked, grilled or made into a spicy soup.[37][41]

Virology

Genome

Electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion

Like all mononegaviruses, ebolavirions contain linear nonsegmented, single-strand, non-infectious RNA genomes of negative polarity that possesses inverse-complementary 3′ and 5′ termini, do not possess a 5′ cap, are notpolyadenylated, and are not covalently linked to a protein.[42] Ebolavirus genomes are approximately 19 kilobase pairs long and contain seven genes in the order 3′-UTR-NP-VP35-VP40-GP-VP30-VP24-L-5′-UTR.[43] The genomes of the five different ebolaviruses (BDBV, EBOV, RESTV, SUDV, and TAFV) differ in sequence and the number and location of gene overlaps.

Structure

Like all filoviruses, ebolavirions are filamentous particles that may appear in the shape of a shepherd’s crook or in the shape of a “U” or a “6”, and they may be coiled, toroid, or branched.[43] In general, ebolavirions are 80 nm in width, but vary somewhat in length. In general, the median particle length of ebolaviruses ranges from 974 to 1,086 nm (in contrast to marburgvirions, whose median particle length was measured at 795–828 nm), but particles as long as 14,000 nm have been detected in tissue culture.[44]

Replication

The ebolavirus life cycle begins with virion attachment to specific cell-surface receptors, followed by fusion of the virion envelope with cellular membranes and the concomitant release of the virus nucleocapsid into the cytosol. The viral RNA polymerase, encoded by the L gene, partially uncoats the nucleocapsid and transcribes the genes into positive-strand mRNAs, which are then translated into structural and nonstructural proteins. Ebolavirus RNA polymerase (L) binds to a single promoter located at the 3′ end of the genome. Transcription either terminates after a gene or continues to the next gene downstream. This means that genes close to the 3′ end of the genome are transcribed in the greatest abundance, whereas those toward the 5′ end are least likely to be transcribed. The gene order is, therefore, a simple but effective form of transcriptional regulation. The most abundant protein produced is the nucleoprotein, whose concentration in the cell determines when L switches from gene transcription to genome replication. Replication results in full-length, positive-strand antigenomes that are, in turn, transcribed into negative-strand virus progeny genome copy. Newly synthesized structural proteins and genomes self-assemble and accumulate near the inside of the cell membrane. Virions bud off from the cell, gaining their envelopes from the cellular membrane they bud from. The mature progeny particles then infect other cells to repeat the cycle. The Ebola virus genetics are difficult to study due to its virulent nature.[45]

Pathophysiology

Pathogenesis schematic

Endothelial cells, macrophages, monocytes, and liver cells are the main targets of infection. After infection, a secreted glycoprotein (sGP) known as the Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP) is synthesized. Ebola replication overwhelms protein synthesis of infected cells and host immune defenses. The GP forms a trimeric complex, which binds the virus to the endothelial cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels. The sGP forms a dimeric protein that interferes with the signaling of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, which allows the virus to evade the immune system by inhibiting early steps of neutrophil activation. These white blood cells also serve as carriers to transport the virus throughout the entire body to places such as the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, and spleen.[46]

The presence of viral particles and cell damage resulting from budding causes the release of chemical signals (to be specific, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, etc.), which are the signaling molecules for fever and inflammation. The cytopathic effect, from infection in the endothelial cells, results in a loss of vascular integrity. This loss in vascular integrity is furthered with synthesis of GP, which reduces specific integrins responsible for cell adhesion to the inter-cellular structure, and damage to the liver, which leads to improper clotting.[47]

Diagnosis

The travel and work history along with exposure to wildlife are important to consider when the diagnosis of EVD is suspected. The diagnosis is confirmed by isolating the virus, detecting its RNA or proteins, or detecting antibodiesagainst the virus in a person’s blood. Isolating the virus by cell culture, detecting the viral RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and detecting proteins by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) works best early and in those who have died from the disease. Detecting antibodies against the virus works best late in the disease and in those who recover.[48]

During an outbreak, virus isolation is often not feasible. The most common diagnostic methods are therefore real-time PCR and ELISA detection of proteins, which can be performed in field or mobile hospitals.[49] Filovirions can be seen and identified in cell culture by electron microscopy due to their unique filamentous shapes, but electron microscopy cannot tell the difference between the various filoviruses despite there being some length differences.[44]

Phylogenetic tree comparing the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus. Numbers indicate percent confidence of branches.

Classification

The genera Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus were originally classified as the species of the now-obsolete Filovirus genus. In March 1998, the Vertebrate Virus Subcommittee proposed in the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) to change the Filovirus genus to the Filoviridae family with two specific genera: Ebola-like viruses andMarburg-like viruses. This proposal was implemented in Washington, DC, on April 2001 and in Paris on July 2002. In 2000, another proposal was made in Washington, D.C., to change the “-like viruses” to “-virus” resulting in today’s Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus.[50]

Rates of genetic change are 100 times slower than influenza A in humans, but on the same magnitude as those of hepatitis B. Extrapolating backwards using these rates indicates that Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus diverged several thousand years ago.[51] However, paleoviruses (genomic fossils) of filoviruses (Filoviridae) found in mammals indicate that the family itself is at least tens of millions of years old.[52] Fossilized viruses that are closely related to ebolaviruses have been found in the genome of the Chinese hamster.[53]

Differential diagnosis

The symptoms of EVD are similar to those of Marburg virus disease.[54] It can also easily be confused with many other diseases common in Equatorial Africa such as other viral hemorrhagic fevers, falciparum malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, rickettsial diseases such astyphus, cholera, gram-negative septicemia, borreliosis such as relapsing fever or EHEC enteritis. Other infectious diseases that should be included in the differential diagnosis include the following: leptospirosis, scrub typhus, plague, Q fever, candidiasis, histoplasmosis,trypanosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis, hemorrhagic smallpox, measles, and fulminant viral hepatitis.[55] Non-infectious diseases that can be confused with EVD are acute promyelocytic leukemia, hemolytic uremic syndrome, snake envenomation, clotting factordeficiencies/platelet disorders, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, Kawasaki disease, and even warfarin poisoning.[56][57][58][59]

Prevention

A researcher working with the Ebola virus while wearing a BSL-4 positive pressure suit to avoid infection

Infection control and containment

The risk of transmission is increased among those caring for people infected. Recommended measures when caring for those who are infected include isolating them, sterilizing equipment and surfaces, and wearing protective clothing including masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles.[22] If a person with Ebola dies, direct contact with the body of the deceased patient should be avoided.[22]

In order to reduce the spread, the World Health Organization recommends raising community awareness of the risk factors for Ebola infection and the protective measures individuals can take.[60] These include avoiding contact with infected people and regular hand washing using soap and water.[61] Traditional burial rituals, especially those requiring washing or embalming of bodies, should be discouraged or modified.[62][63] Social anthropologists may help find alternatives to traditional rules for burials.[64] Airline crews are instructed to isolate anyone who has symptoms resembling Ebola virus.[65]

The Ebola virus can be eliminated with heat (heating for 30 to 60 minutes at 60 °C or boiling for 5 minutes). On surfaces, some lipid solvents such as some alcohol-based products, detergents, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (bleaching powder), and other suitable disinfectants at appropriate concentrations can be used as disinfectants.[66][67]

In laboratories where diagnostic testing is carried out, biosafety level 4-equivalent containment is required, since Ebola viruses are World Health Organization Risk Group 4 pathogens. Laboratory researchers must be properly trained in BSL-4 practices and wear proper personal protective equipment.

Quarantine

Quarantine, also known as enforced isolation, is usually effective in decreasing spread.[68][69] Governments often quarantine areas where the disease is occurring or individuals who may be infected.[70] In the United States, the law allows quarantine of those infected with Ebola.[71] During the 2014 outbreak, Liberia closed schools.[72]

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is regarded as important to contain an outbreak. It involves finding everyone who had close contact with infected individuals and watching for signs of illness for 21 days. If any of these contacts comes down with the disease, they should be isolated, tested, and treated. Then repeat the process by tracing the contacts’ contacts.[73][74]

Treatment

Standard support

A hospital isolation ward in Gulu, Uganda, during the October 2000 outbreak

No ebolavirus-specific treatment is currently approved.[75] However, survival is improved by early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment.[1] Treatment is primarily supportive in nature.[76] These measures may include management of pain, nausea, fever and anxiety, as well as rehydration via the oral or by intravenous route.[76] Blood products such as packed red blood cells, platelets or fresh frozen plasma may also be used.[76] Other regulators of coagulation have also been tried including heparin in an effort to prevent disseminated intravascular coagulation and clotting factors to decrease bleeding.[76] Antimalarial medications and antibiotics are often used before the diagnosis is confirmed,[76] though there is no evidence to suggest such treatment is in any way helpful.

Intensive care

Intensive care is often used in the developed world.[77] This may include maintaining blood volume and electrolytes (salts) balance as well as treating any bacterial infections that may develop.[77] Dialysis may be needed for kidney failure while extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may be used for lung dysfunction.[77]

Prognosis

The disease has a high mortality rate: often between 25 percent and 90 percent.[1][3] As of September 2014, information from WHO across all occurrences to date puts the overall fatality rate at 50%.[1] There are indications based on variations in death rate between countries that early and effective treatment of symptoms (e.g., supportive care to prevent dehydration) may reduce the fatality rate significantly.[78] If an infected person survives, recovery may be quick and complete. Prolonged cases are often complicated by the occurrence of long-term problems, such as inflammation of the testicles, joint pains, muscle pains, skin peeling, or hair loss. Eye symptoms, such as light sensitivity, excess tearing, iritis, iridocyclitis, choroiditis, and blindness have also been described. EBOV and SUDV may be able to persist in the semen of some survivors for up to seven weeks, which could give rise to infections and disease via sexual intercourse.[1]

Epidemiology

For more about specific outbreaks and their descriptions, see List of Ebola outbreaks.

CDC worker incinerates medical waste from Ebola patients in Zaire in 1976

The disease typically occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.[1] From 1976 (when it was first identified) through 2013, the World Health Organization reported 1,716 confirmed cases.[1][4] The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing 2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.[5][6] As of 13 August, 2,127 cases have been identified, with 1,145 deaths.[5]

1976

The first identified case of Ebola was on 26 August 1976, in Yambuku, a small rural village in Mongala District in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire).[79] The first victim, and the index case for the disease, was village school headmaster Mabalo Lokela, who had toured an area near the Central African Republic border along the Ebola river between 12–22 August. On 8 September he died of what would become known as the Ebola virus species of the ebolavirus.[80] Subsequently a number of other cases were reported, almost all centered on the Yambuku mission hospital or having close contact with another case.[80] 318 cases and 280 deaths (a 88% fatality rate) occurred in the DRC.[81] The Ebola outbreak was contained with the help of the World Health Organization and transport from the Congolese air force, by quarantining villagers, sterilizing medical equipment, and providing protective clothing. The virus responsible for the initial outbreak, first thought to be Marburg virus, was later identified as a new type of virus related to Marburg, and named after the nearby Ebola river. Another ebolavirus, the Sudan virus species, was also identified that same year when an outbreak occurred in Sudan, affecting 284 people and killing 151.[82]

1995 to 2013

The second major outbreak occurred in 1995 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, affecting 315 and killing 254. The next major outbreak occurred in Uganda in 2000, affecting 425 and killing 224; in this case the Sudan virus was found to be the ebolavirus species responsible for the outbreak.[83] In 2003 there was an outbreak in the Republic of Congo that affected 143 and killed 128, a death rate of 90%, the highest to date.[84]

In August 2007, 103 people were infected by a suspected hemorrhagic fever outbreak in the village of Kampungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak started after the funerals of two village chiefs, and 217 people in four villages fell ill.[83][85][86] The 2007 outbreak eventually affected 264 individuals and resulted in the deaths of 187.[1]

On 30 November 2007, the Uganda Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in the Bundibugyo District in Western Uganda. After confirmation of samples tested by the United States National Reference Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization confirmed the presence of a new species of Ebolavirus, which was tentatively named Bundibugyo.[87] The WHO reported 149 cases of this new strain and 37 of those led to deaths.[1]

The WHO confirmed two small outbreaks in Uganda in 2012. The first outbreak affected 7 people and resulted in the death of 4 and the second affected 24, resulting in the death of 17. The Sudan variant was responsible for both outbreaks.[1]

On 17 August 2012, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported an outbreak of the Ebola-Bundibugyo variant[88] in the eastern region.[89][90] Other than its discovery in 2007, this was the only time that this variant has been identified as the ebolavirus responsible for an outbreak. The WHO revealed that the virus had sickened 57 people and claimed 29 lives. The probable cause of the outbreak was tainted bush meat hunted by local villagers around the towns of Isiro and Viadana.[1][91]

2014 outbreak

Increase over time in the cases and deaths during the 2014 outbreak

In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a major Ebola outbreak in Guinea, a western African nation.[92] Researchers traced the outbreak to a two-year old child who died on 28 December 2013.[93][94] The disease then rapidly spread to the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is the largest Ebola outbreak ever documented, and the first recorded in the region.[92]

On 8 August 2014, the WHO declared the epidemic to be an international public health emergency. Urging the world to offer aid to the affected regions, the Director-General said, “Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible.”[95] By mid-August 2014, Doctors Without Borders reported the situation in Liberia’s capital Monrovia as “catastrophic” and “deteriorating daily”. They reported that fears of Ebola among staff members and patients had shut down much of the city’s health system, leaving many people without treatment for other conditions.[96] By late August 2014, the disease had spread to Nigeria, and one case was reported in Senegal.[97][98] [99][100] On 30 September 2014, the first confirmed case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas.[101]

Aside from the human cost, the outbreak has severely eroded the economies of the affected countries. A Financial Times report suggested the economic impact of the outbreak could kill more people than the virus itself. As of 23 September, in the three hardest hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, there were only 893 treatment beds available while the current need was 2122. In a 26 September statement, the WHO said, “The Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times. Never before in recorded history has a biosafety level four pathogen infected so many people so quickly, over such a broad geographical area, for so long.”[102]

By 29 September 2014, 7,192 suspected cases and 3,286 deaths had been reported, however the World Health Organization has said that these numbers may be vastly underestimated.[103] The WHO reports that more than 216 healthcare workers are among the dead, partly due to the lack of equipment and long hours.[104][105]

History

For more about the outbreak in Virginia, US, see Reston virus.

Cases of ebola fever in Africa from 1979 to 2008.

The first recorded outbreak of EBD occurred in Southern Sudan in June 1976. A second outbreak soon followed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire).[106] Virus isolated from both outbreaks was named “Ebola virus” by Belgian researchers[107] after the Ebola River, located near the Zaire outbreak.[108] Although it was assumed that the two outbreaks were connected, scientists later realized that they were caused by distinct species of filoviruses, Sudan virus and Ebola virus.[106]

In late 1989, Hazelton Research Products’ Reston Quarantine Unit in Reston, Virginia suffered a mysterious outbreak of fatal illness (initially diagnosed as Simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV)) among a shipment of crab-eating macaque monkeys imported from the Philippines. Hazelton’s veterinary pathologist sent tissue samples from dead animals to the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where a laboratory test known as an ELISA assay showed antibodies to Ebola virus.[109] An electron microscopist from USAMRIID discoveredfiloviruses similar in appearance to Ebola in the tissue samples sent from Hazelton Research Products’ Reston Quarantine Unit.[110]

Shortly afterward, a US Army team headquartered at USAMRIID went into action to euthanize the monkeys which had not yet died, bringing those monkeys and those which had already died of the disease toFt. Detrick for study by the Army’s veterinary pathologists and virologists, and eventual disposal under safe conditions.[109]

Blood samples were taken from 178 animal handlers during the incident.[111] Of those, six animal handlers eventually seroconverted, including one who had cut himself with a bloody scalpel.[46][112] When the handlers did not become ill, the CDC concluded that the virus had a very low pathogenicity to humans.[112]

The Philippines and the United States had no previous cases of Ebola infection, and upon further isolation, researchers concluded it was another strain of Ebola, or a new filovirus of Asian origin, which they named Reston ebolavirus (REBOV) after the location of the incident.[109]

Society and culture

Ebolavirus is classified as a biosafety level 4 agent, as well as a Category A bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has the potential to be weaponized for use in biological warfare,[113][114] and was investigated by the Biopreparat for such use, but might be difficult to prepare as a weapon of mass destruction because the virus becomes ineffective quickly in open air.[115]

Literature

Richard Preston‘s 1995 best-selling book, The Hot Zone, dramatized the Ebola outbreak in Reston, Virginia.[116]

William Close‘s 1995 Ebola: A Documentary Novel of Its First Explosion and 2002 Ebola: Through the Eyes of the People focused on individuals’ reactions to the 1976 Ebola outbreak in Zaire.[117]

Tom Clancy‘s 1996 novel, Executive Orders, involves a Middle Eastern terrorist attack on the United States using an airborne form of a deadly Ebola virus strain named “Ebola Mayinga” (see Mayinga N’Seka).[118]

Other animals

Wild animals

It is widely believed that outbreaks of EVD among human populations result from handling infected wild animal carcasses. Some research suggests that an outbreak in the wild animals used for consumption, bushmeat, may result in a corresponding human outbreak. Since 2003, such outbreaks have been monitored through surveillance of animal populations with the aim of predicting and preventing Ebola outbreaks in humans.[119]

Recovered carcasses from gorillas contain multiple Ebola virus strains, which suggest multiple introductions of the virus. Bodies decompose quickly and carcasses are not infectious after three to four days. Contact between gorilla groups is rare, suggesting transmission among gorilla groups is unlikely, and that outbreaks result from transmission between viral reservoir and animal populations.[120]

Ebola has a high mortality among primates.[121] Frequent outbreaks of Ebola may have resulted in the deaths of 5,000 gorillas.[122] Outbreaks of Ebola may have been responsible for an 88% decline in tracking indices of observed chimpanzee populations in 420 square kilometer Lossi Sanctuary between 2002 and 2003.[120] Transmission among chimpanzees through meat consumption constitutes a significant risk factor, while contact between individuals, such as touching dead bodies and grooming, is not.[123]

Domesticated animals

Reston ebolavirus (REBOV) can be transmitted to pigs.[124] This virus was discovered during an outbreak of what at the time was thought to be simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV) in crab-eating macaques in Reston, Virginia (hence the name Reston elabavirus) in 1989. Since the initial outbreak it has since been found in nonhuman primates in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Italy. In each case, the affected animals had been imported from a facility in the Philippines,[70] where the virus had infected pigs.[125] Despite its status as a Level‑4organism and its apparent pathogenicity in monkeys, REBOV has not caused disease in exposed human laboratory workers.[126] In 2012 it was demonstrated that the virus can travel without contact from pigs to nonhuman primates, although the same study failed to achieve transmission in that manner between primates.[124] According to the WHO, routine cleaning and disinfection of pig (or monkey) farms with sodium hypochlorite or other detergents should be effective in inactivating the Reston ebolavirus. If an outbreak is suspected, the area must be immediately quarantined.[82]

While pigs that have been infected with REBOV tend to show symptoms of the disease, it has been shown that dogs may become infected with EBOV and remain asymptomatic. Dogs in some parts of Africa scavenge for their food and it is known that they sometimes eat infected animals and the corpses of humans. Although they remain asymptomatic, a 2005 survey of dogs during an EBOV outbreak found that over 31.8% showed a seroprevalence for EBOV closest to an outbreak versus 9% a farther distance away.[127]

Research

A number of experimental treatments are being studied.[128] In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s animal efficacy rule is being used to demonstrate reasonable safety to obtain permission to treat people who are infected with Ebola. It is being used as the normal path for testing drugs is not possible for diseases caused by dangerous pathogens or toxins. Experimental drugs are made available for use with the approval of regulatory agencies under named patient programs, known in the US as “expanded access”.[129] On 12 August 2014 the WHO released a statement that the use of not yet proven treatments is ethical in certain situations in an effort to treat or prevent the disease.[130]

Medications

Researchers looking at slides of cultures of cells that make monoclonal antibodies. These are grown in a lab and the researchers are analyzing the products to select the most promising of them.

As of August 14, 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs to treat or prevent Ebola and advises people to watch out for fraudulent products.[131] The unavailability of experimental treatments in the most affected regions during the 2014 outbreak spurred controversy, with some calling for experimental drugs to be made more widely available in Africa on a humanitarian basis, and others warning that making unproven experimental drugs widely available would be unethical, especially in light of past experimentation conducted in developing countries by Western drug companies.[132][133]

The FDA has allowed three drugs: ZMapp, an RNA interference drug called TKM-Ebola, and brincidofovir to be used in people infected with Ebola under these programs during the 2014 outbreak.[134][135] BioCryst’s BCX4430 small molecule is undergoing further animal testing as a possible therapy in humans.[136] Another drug favipiravir has been used with apparent success in a patient medically evacuated to France.[137]

ZMapp is a monoclonal antibody vaccine. The limited supply of the drug has been used to treat a small number of individuals infected with the Ebola virus. Although some of these have recovered the outcome is not consideredstatistically significant.[138] ZMapp has proved effective in a trial involving Rhesus macaque monkeys.[139]

Antivirals

A number of antiviral medications are being studied. Favipiravir, an anti-viral drug approved in Japan for stockpiling against influenza pandemics, appears to be useful in a mouse model of Ebola.[9][140] On 4 October 2014, it was reported that a French nun who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Liberia was cured with Favipiravir treatment.[141] BCX4430 is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals and currently being researched as a potential treatment for Ebola by USAMRIID.[142] The drug has been approved to progress to Phase 1 trials, expected late in 2014.[143] Brincidofovir, another broad-spectrum antiviral drug, has been granted an emergency FDA approval as an investigational new drug for the treatment of Ebola, after it was found to be effective against Ebolavirus in in vitro tests.[144] It has subsequently been used to treat the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the USA, after he had recently returned from Liberia.[145] The antiviral drug lamivudine, which is usually used to treat HIV / AIDS, was reported in September 2014 to have been used successfully to treat 13 out of 15 Ebola-infected patients by a doctor in Liberia, as part of a combination therapy also involving intravenous fluids and antibiotics to combat opportunistic bacterial infection of Ebola-compromised internal organs.[146] Western virologists have however expressed caution about the results, due to the small number of patients treated and confounding factors present. Researchers at the NIH stated that lamivudine had so far failed to demonstrate anti-Ebola activity in preliminary in vitro tests, but that they would continue to test it under different conditions and would progress it to trials if even slight evidence for efficacy is found.[147]

Antisense technology

Other promising treatments rely on antisense technology. Both small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs) targeting the Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV) RNA polymerase L protein could prevent disease in nonhuman primates.[148][149] TKM-Ebola is a small-interfering RNA compound, currently being tested in a Phase I clinical trial in humans.[134][150] Sarepta Therapeutics has completed a Phase I clinical trial with its Morpholino oligo targeting Ebola.[151]

Other

Two selective estrogen receptor modulators used to treat infertility and breast cancer (clomiphene and toremifene) have been found to inhibit the progress of Ebola virus in infected mice. Ninety percent of the mice treated with clomiphene and fifty percent of those treated with toremifene survived the tests.[152]

A 2014 study found that three ion channel blockers used in the treatment of heart arrhythmias, amiodarone, dronedarone and verapamil, block the entry of Ebolavirus into cells in vitro.[153] Given their oral availability and history of human use, these drugs would be candidates for treating Ebola virus infection in remote geographical locations, either on their own or together with other antiviral drugs.

Melatonin has also been suggested as a potential treatment for Ebola based on promising in vitro results.[154]

Blood products

The WHO has stated that transfusion of whole blood or purified serum from Ebola survivors is the therapy with the greatest potential to be implemented immediately, although there is little information as to its efficacy.[155] At the end of September, WHO issued an interim guideline for this therapy.[156] The blood serum from those who have survived an infection is currently being studied to see if it is an effective treatment.[157] During a meeting arranged by WHO this research was deemed to be a top priority.[157] Seven of eight people with Ebola survived after receiving a transfusion of blood donated by individuals who had previously survived the infection in an 1999 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[76][158] This treatment, however, was started late in the disease meaning they may have already been recovering on their own and the rest of their care was better than usual.[76] Thus this potential treatment remains controversial.[77] Intravenous antibodies appear to be protective in non-human primates who have been exposed to large doses of Ebola.[159]The World Health Organisation has approved the use of convalescent serum and whole blood products to treat people with Ebola.[160]

Vaccine

As of September 2014, no vaccine was approved for clinical use in humans.[131][157] It was hoped that one would be initially available by November 2014.[157] The most promising candidates are DNA vaccines[161] or vaccines derived from adenoviruses,[162] vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSIV)[163][164][165] or filovirus-like particles (VLPs)[166] because these candidates could protect nonhuman primates from ebolavirus-induced disease. DNA vaccines, adenovirus-based vaccines, and VSIV-based vaccines have entered clinical trials.[167][168][169][170]

Vaccines have protected nonhuman primates. Immunization takes six months, which impedes the counter-epidemic use of the vaccines. Searching for a quicker onset of effectiveness, in 2003, a vaccine using an adenoviral (ADV) vector carrying the Ebola spike protein was tested on crab-eating macaques. Twenty-eight days later, they were challenged with the virus and remained resistant.[162] A vaccine based on attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vector carrying either the Ebola glycoprotein or the Marburg glycoprotein in 2005 protected nonhuman primates,[171] opening clinical trials in humans.[167] The study by October completed the first human trial, over three months giving three vaccinations safely inducing an immune response. Individuals for a year were followed, and, in 2006, a study testing a faster-acting, single-shot vaccine began; this new study was completed in 2008.[168] Trying the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that more resembles one that infects humans is the next step.[172] On 6 December 2011, the development of a successfulvaccine against Ebola for mice was reported. Unlike the predecessors, it can be freeze-dried and thus stored for long periods in wait for an outbreak.[173] An experimental vaccine made by researchers at Canada’s national laboratory in Winnipeg was used, in 2009, to pre-emptively treat a German scientist who might have been infected during a lab accident.[174] However, actual EBOV infection was never demonstrated beyond doubt.[175] Experimentally, recombinant vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSIV) expressing the glycoprotein of EBOV or SUDV has been used successfully in nonhuman primate models as post-exposure prophylaxis.[176][177] The CDC’s recommendations are currently under review.[citation needed]

Simultaneous phase 1 trials of an experimental vaccine known as the NIAID/GSK vaccine commenced in September 2014.[178] GlaxoSmithKline and the NIH jointly developed the vaccine,[178] based on a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, and contains parts of the Zaireand Sudan ebola strains.[178] If this phase is completed successfully, the vaccine will be fast tracked for use in West Africa. In preparation for this, GSK is preparing a stockpile of 10,000 doses.[179][180]

See also

References

Notes

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Bibliography

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease

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Supervolcano — Videos

Posted on September 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, Climate, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Food, Geology, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Science, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, Volcano, Water, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Naked Science – Super Volcanoes

Supervolcano (full movie)

Yellowstone Caldera : The Biggest Volcanic Eruption Ever Awaits Mankind

Supervolcano.The Truth About Yellowstone.

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Cascade Range of Volcano Earthquake Swarm — Will Mount Rainier and Mammoth Mountain Be Next To Erupt — Yellowstone? — Will It Happen? Yes. When? Do not know! — Videos

Posted on September 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Chemistry, Communications, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Energy, Federal Government, Geology, government spending, history, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Radio, Science, Strategy, Technology, Video, Volcano, Water, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Cascade_Range_map

screen_poster_lahar_hazrainier-lahar-flow-map-lgmt-rainier-lahars-from-eruption-will-create-massive-tsunamisdebris_flows

California SUPERVOLCANO Earthquake Swarm — Mono Lake / Mammoth Mountain

Top 10 Most Dangerous Volcanoes in the USA

Top 10 Highest Cascade Volcanoes! “Perfect Harmony,” Music by MrPerfectHarmony

Mount Rainier Volcano is a Ticking Time Bomb

Yellowstone Caldera : The Biggest Volcanic Eruption Ever Awaits Mankind

Mount Rainier Volcano is a Ticking Time Bomb

Supervolcano.The Truth About Yellowstone.

Supervolcano (full movie)

 

 

 

 

Mammoth earthquake swarm is the largest in nearly a decade

 

Morre than 600 small earthquakes have rattled the Mammoth Lakes region in less than 36 hours as ripple effects continued across one of the most seismically active volcanic regions in California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The swarm of quakes — ranging from magnitude 1.0 to 3.8 — began just before 5 a.m. Thursday, according to the USGS.
“This is one of the largest earthquake swarms we’ve seen in the past decade or so,” said David Shelly, a USGS research seismologist who has been studying the volcanic system near Mammoth Lakes. “We’ll be tracking it closely.”

Residents reported periodic rattles through the day but said they were used to the shaking given that Mammoth is a seismically active area.

Earthquake swarms are not uncommon to this region in California’s Eastern Sierra. Countless small faults crisscross the area known as the Long Valley Caldera, Shelly said. This roughly 20-mile-wide crater-like depression, adjacent to Mammoth Mountain, was formed from ash and pumice deposits during a volcanic “super eruption” about 760,000 years ago.

At 11,053 feet, Mammoth Mountain is a lava dome complex on the southwest rim of the caldera and last erupted about 57,000 years ago. The volcanic region is one of the most seismically active in a mostly quiet network of 17 volcanoes throughout California.

The central part of the caldera has been uplifting slowly in recent decades, and these earthquake swarms happen episodically as part of the volcanic and tectonic interactions in the area, Shelly said.

It doesn’t mean that the volcano is any more active. It’s an ongoing process in an volcanic system.
– David Shelly, USGS research seismologist
Deep down in the earth, there is magma, but the magma is not what’s moving, Shelly said. The earthquakes are usually triggered when water and carbon dioxide above the magma move up into higher layers of the earth’s crust and into the cracks of the small faults. The increase in fluid pressure sets off the movements.

“It doesn’t mean that the volcano is any more active,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process in an volcanic system.”

The latest earthquakes seem to be occurring in the same location as a swarm in July, when about 200 quakes of magnitude 2.7 or smaller rocked the area.

The size of the most recent swarm was notable, but was not nearly the size of some swarms in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1980s, the area was hit with multiple 6.0-magnitude temblors, which were likely overshadowed by the Mount St. Helens eruption in Washington state, Shelly said.

The last larger swarm occurred in 1997, when temblors as high as magnitude 4.9 shook the region. Thousands of earthquakes were part of that sequence, which lasted several months, Shelly said.

Mammoth quake swarm
Mammoth Mountain is one of the most seismically active volcanoes in California. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
There has been no indication that this week’s earthquakes will turn into anything like what happened in 1997. About 109 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater have been recorded since Thursday morning, while hundreds of smaller 1.0-magnitude quakes made up a bulk of the activity. At least six were greater than 3.0 magnitude.

By midday Friday, the swarm seemed to be slowing down, but Shelly said scientists would continue to monitor the area closely.

“At this point, we don’t know if it would continue to die down, or if there’d be another stage to this swarm,” Shelly said. “This is certainly an interesting scientific opportunity to better understand the processes that are driving this activity.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mammoth-earthquake-swarm-largest-in-a-decade-20140926-story.html

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Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
09/17/2014 12,767,522,798,389.80 4,997,219,915,398.95 17,764,742,713,788.75

 

TABLE I -- SUMMARY OF TREASURY SECURITIES OUTSTANDING, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                              By the Public         Holdings
Marketable:
  Bills.......................................        1,450,293                     1,704                1,451,998
  Notes.......................................        8,109,269                     7,365                8,116,634
  Bonds.......................................        1,521,088                        57                1,521,144
  Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.....        1,031,836                        52                1,031,888
  Floating Rate Notes  21  ...................          109,996                         0                  109,996
  Federal Financing Bank  1  .................                0                    13,612                   13,612
Total Marketable  a...........................       12,222,481                    22,790 2             12,245,271
Nonmarketable:
  Domestic Series.............................           29,995                         0                   29,995
  Foreign Series..............................            2,986                         0                    2,986
  State and Local Government Series...........          105,440                         0                  105,440
  United States Savings Securities............          177,030                         0                  177,030
  Government Account Series...................          193,237                 4,993,277                5,186,514
  Hope Bonds 19...............................                0                       494                      494
  Other.......................................            1,443                         0                    1,443
Total Nonmarketable  b........................          510,130                 4,993,771                5,503,901
Total Public Debt Outstanding ................       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
TABLE II -- STATUTORY DEBT LIMIT, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                                 By the Public 17, 2Holdings
Debt Subject to Limit: 17, 20
  Total Public Debt Outstanding...............       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
  Less Debt Not Subject to Limit:
    Other Debt ...............................              485                         0                      485
    Unamortized Discount  3...................           15,742                    12,421                   28,163
    Federal Financing Bank  1     ............                0                    13,612                   13,612
    Hope Bonds 19.............................                0                       494                      494
  Plus Other Debt Subject to Limit:
    Guaranteed Debt of Government Agencies  4                 *                         0                        *
  Total Public Debt Subject to Limit .........       12,716,386                 4,990,033               17,706,419
  Statutory Debt Limit  5.....................................................................                   0
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
THE BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
www.TreasuryDirect.gov

Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:

Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

The fiscal year represents the total interest expense on the Debt Outstanding for a given fiscal year. This includes the months of October through September. View current month details (XLS Format, File size 199KB, uploaded 09/05/2014).

Note: To read or print a PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (v5.0 or higher) software installed on your computer. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website.

If you need help downloading…

Interest Expense Fiscal Year 2014
August $27,093,517,258.24
July $29,260,530,745.98
June $97,565,768,696.69
May $32,081,384,628.40
April $31,099,852,014.96
March $26,269,559,883.36
February $21,293,863,450.50
January $19,498,592,676.78
December $88,275,817,263.03
November $22,327,099,682.97
October $16,451,313,332.09
Fiscal Year Total $411,217,855,816.94
Available Historical Data Fiscal Year End
2013 $415,688,781,248.40
2012 $359,796,008,919.49
2011 $454,393,280,417.03
2010 $413,954,825,362.17
2009 $383,071,060,815.42
2008 $451,154,049,950.63
2007 $429,977,998,108.20
2006 $405,872,109,315.83
2005 $352,350,252,507.90
2004 $321,566,323,971.29
2003 $318,148,529,151.51
2002 $332,536,958,599.42
2001 $359,507,635,242.41
2000 $361,997,734,302.36
1999 $353,511,471,722.87
1998 $363,823,722,920.26
1997 $355,795,834,214.66
1996 $343,955,076,695.15
1995 $332,413,555,030.62
1994 $296,277,764,246.26
1993 $292,502,219,484.25
1992 $292,361,073,070.74
1991 $286,021,921,181.04
1990 $264,852,544,615.90
1989 $240,863,231,535.71
1988 $214,145,028,847.73

chart

fredgraph

fredgraph

BND-10-Year-Treasury-Yield-09122014

 JIM ROGERS Financial disaster coming – Dollar collapse – Countries Move Away From USD

US Fed signals move to normalize monetary policy

Dollar Meltdown, Massive Financial Bubble, Economic Collapse Marc Faber

Peter Schiff Iraq Crisis Threatens Global Economy

Peter Schiff – Fantasy About US Recovery Is Not Going To Materialize

Most important video Americans will see today – Doug Casey Interview

James Grant: Two Alternative Outcomes From Fed Policy – Much Higher Inflation or More Money Printing

Investor Jim Grant on Bubbles And Bargains

Jim Rogers Discusses Concern Over The Market

Jim Rogers On Economic Collapse And The US Debt‬

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause Huge Economic Crisis!

US ECONOMY COLLAPSE WILL LEAVE MILLIONS IN POVERTY

There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly

US Massive Financial Crisis Coming

Dan Mitchell Discussing Harvard Survey, Arguing for Growth over Class Warfare

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards

Market Crash, Economic collapse 2014, The coming of World War 3 – Stock Market

Forbes: Obama’s Economic Reforms Are the Definition of Insanity

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey-No Way Out-Stock, Bond and Real Estate Markets Will Collapse

Russia conspired to destroy US dollar with China – clip from Meltdown America documentary

http://www.caseyresearch.com/lg/meltdown-video

 

 

Here a bubble, there a bubble: Ol’ Marc Faber

Even after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm.

“We have a bubble in everything, everywhere,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated stock prices.

The catalyst for a market decline, as he sees it, could be a “raise in interest rates, not engineered by the Fed,” referring an increase in bond yields.

 

Faber also expressed concern about American consumers. “Their cost of living have gone up more than the salary increases, so they’re getting squeezed. So that’s why retailing is not doing particularly well.”

A real black swan event, he argued, would be a global recession. “The big surprise will be that the global economy slows down and goes into recession. And that will shock markets.”

If economies around the world can’t recovery with the Fed and other central banks pumping easy money into the system, that would send a dire message, Faber added. He believes the best way for world economies to recover is to cut the size of government.

Read MoreBond market hears Fed hawks; stocks see doves

There’s a dual-economy in the U.S. and around the world with the rich doing really well and others struggling, he said. “[But] the rich will get creamed one day, especially in Europe, on wealth taxes.”

On the other end of the market spectrum, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Tuesday (ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy statement leaving interest rate guidance unchanged) that he stands by his Dow 18,000 prediction.

The Wharton School professor sees second half economic growth of 3 to 4 percent, S&P 500 earnings near $120, and the start of Fed rate hikes in the spring or summer of 2015

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102016166

 

Fed and TWTR Overvaluation, Evidence of Looming Market Crash: Stockman

The Federal Reserve Wednesday reassured investors that it will hold interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing in October. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at a new record high.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of the book, The Great Deformation, David Stockman, has significant concerns about that very policy.

“I’m worried… that we’ve got the greatest bubble created by a central bank in human history,” he told Yahoo Finance.

In a recent blog post, Stockman offered a handful of high-flying stocks as evidence of what he sees as “madness.”

                                               “…Twitter, is all that is required to remind us that once

                                               again markets are trading in the nosebleed section

                                               of history, rivaling even the madness of March 2000.”

Behind the madness

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Stockman blamed Fed policy for creating that madness.

“We have been shoving zero-cost money into the financial markets for 6-years running,” he said. “That’s the kerosene that drives speculative trading – the carry trades. That’s what the gamblers use to fund their position as they move from one momentum play and trade to another.”

And that, he says, is not sustainable. While Stockman believes tech stocks are especially overvalued, he warns that it’s not just tech valuations that are inflated. “Everything’s massively overvalued, and it’s predicated on zero-cost overnight money that continues these carry trades; It can’t continue.”

And he still believes, as he has for some time – so far, incorrectly – that there will be a day of reckoning.

“When the trades begin to unwind because the carry cost has to normalize, you’re going to have a dramatic re-pricing dislocation in these financial markets.”

As Yahoo Finance’s Lauren Lyster points out in the associated video, investors who heeded Stockman’s advice last year would have missed out on a 28% run-up in stocks. But Stockman remains steadfast in his belief that the current Fed policy and the resultant market behavior can not continue. “I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”

 

 

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, H.4.1, Factors Affecting Reserve Balances; title with eagle logo links to Statistical Release home page
Release Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Release dates | Data Download Program (DDP) | About | Announcements | Technical Q&As
Current release  Other formats: Screen reader | ASCII | PDF (21 KB)


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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release

H.4.1

Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks September 11, 2014

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Reserve Bank credit 4,377,690 +    4,183 +  761,693 4,379,719
Securities held outright1 4,159,537 +    2,675 +  765,361 4,160,521
U.S. Treasury securities 2,439,657 +    2,671 +  401,376 2,440,637
Bills2          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,325,368 +    2,678 +  386,333 2,326,351
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   11,737     97,755
Inflation compensation3     16,534 -        7 +    3,306     16,531
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,868     41,562
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,317 +        4 +  386,851 1,678,322
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,963 -      219 +    5,815    208,907
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,664 +       21 -   12,958    -18,654
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0
Loans        291 -        8 +       18        352
Primary credit         10 -       18 -        8         53
Secondary credit          0          0          0          0
Seasonal credit        247 +        9 +       94        266
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility7         34          0 -       68         34
Other credit extensions          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC8      1,664 -        1 +      171      1,665
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC9         63          0 -        1         63
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC10         22          0          0         22
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC11         44          0 -       80         44
Float       -675 -       69 +       94       -627
Central bank liquidity swaps12         77 +        1 -      243         77
Other Federal Reserve assets13     26,369 +    1,784 +    3,517     27,349
Foreign currency denominated assets14     22,933 -      353 -      737     22,801
Gold stock     11,041          0          0     11,041
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0      5,200
Treasury currency outstanding15     46,103 +       14 +      820     46,103
Total factors supplying reserve funds 4,462,967 +    3,844 +  761,776 4,464,863

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions (continued)

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Currency in circulation15 1,292,467 -      442 +   84,956 1,291,993
Reverse repurchase agreements16    266,584 +      818 +  173,996    267,602
Foreign official and international accounts    102,228 -      296 +    9,640    107,303
Others    164,356 +    1,115 +  164,356    160,299
Treasury cash holdings        165 +        4 +       23        164
Deposits with F.R. Banks, other than reserve balances     52,715 -    6,170 -   19,233     53,117
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0
U.S. Treasury, General Account     39,081 -    3,787 +      530     31,872
Foreign official      5,432 -    1,134 -    3,562      5,241
Other17      8,202 -    1,248 -   16,201     16,004
Other liabilities and capital18     63,991 -        1 +      818     63,033
Total factors, other than reserve balances,
absorbing reserve funds
1,675,922 -    5,792 +  240,561 1,675,910
Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks 2,787,045 +    9,636 +  521,214 2,788,954

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of
the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Includes credit extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to eligible borrowers through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
8. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
12. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned
to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the
foreign central bank.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.  Also, includes Reserve Bank premises and equipment net of allowances for depreciation.
14. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
15. Estimated.
16. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
17. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
18. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury. Refer to table 8 and table 9.

Sources: Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1A. Memorandum Items

Millions of dollars

Memorandum item Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Securities held in custody for foreign official and international accounts 3,338,309 -      417 +   61,832 3,343,937
Marketable U.S. Treasury securities1 3,010,563 -      456 +   86,414 3,016,027
Federal agency debt and mortgage-backed securities2    285,805 +       28 -   29,008    285,934
Other securities3     41,942 +       12 +    4,427     41,976
Securities lent to dealers     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
Overnight facility4     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
U.S. Treasury securities      9,860 +    1,721 -    1,405     10,373
Federal agency debt securities        810 -       72 -       23        750

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities and U.S. Treasury STRIPS at face value, and inflation compensation on TIPS. Does not include securities pledged as collateral to foreign official and international account holders against reverse repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve presented in tables 1, 8, and 9.
2. Face value of federal agency securities and current face value of mortgage-backed securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
3. Includes non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, and commercial paper at face value.
4. Face value. Fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
2. Maturity Distribution of Securities, Loans, and Selected Other Assets and Liabilities, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Remaining Maturity Within 15
days
16 days to
90 days
91 days to
1 year
Over 1 year
to 5 years
Over 5 year
to 10 years
Over 10
years
All
Loans1        118        234          0          0          0        352
U.S. Treasury securities2
Holdings          0         90      3,194 1,037,162    742,261    657,930 2,440,637
Weekly changes          0          0          0 +    1,615 -        1 +    2,037 +    3,651
Federal agency debt securities3
Holdings      1,556      1,329      3,584     32,746          0      2,347     41,562
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Mortgage-backed securities4
Holdings          0          0          0         10      4,698 1,673,614 1,678,322
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0 +      863 -      857 +        6
Asset-backed securities held by
TALF LLC5
         0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Central bank liquidity swaps7         77          0          0          0          0          0         77
Reverse repurchase agreements6    267,602          0    267,602
Term deposits          0          0          0          0

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
…Not applicable.

1. Excludes the loans from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden
Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC. The loans were eliminated when preparing the FRBNY’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation
under generally accepted accounting principles.
2. Face value. For inflation-indexed securities, includes the original face value and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the
original face value of such securities.
3. Face value.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Face value of asset-backed securities held by TALF LLC, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying assets.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.

3. Supplemental Information on Mortgage-Backed Securities

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Mortgage-backed securities held outright1 1,678,322
Commitments to buy mortgage-backed securities2     80,643
Commitments to sell mortgage-backed securities2          0
Cash and cash equivalents3          4
1. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
2. Current face value. Generally settle within 180 days and include commitments associated with outright transactions, dollar rolls, and coupon swaps.
3. This amount is included in other Federal Reserve assets in table 1 and in other assets in table 8 and table 9.

4. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC1      1,665
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to JPMorgan Chase & Co.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On June 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended credit to Maiden Lane LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns and to manage those assets through time to maximize repayment of the credit extended and to minimize disruption to financial markets. Payments by Maiden Lane LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of the LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and interest due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Any remaining funds will be paid to the FRBNY.

5. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane II LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC1         63
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Deferred payment and accrued interest payable to subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The deferred payment represents the portion of the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings due to subsidiaries of American
International Group, Inc. in accordance with the asset purchase agreement. The fair value of this payment and accrued interest payable are
included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On December 12, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane II LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG subsidiaries). Payments by Maiden Lane II LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane II LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, and deferred payment and interest due to AIG subsidiaries. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG subsidiaries.

6. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane III LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC1         22
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane III LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) on which the Financial Products group of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has written credit default swap (CDS) contracts. In connection with the purchase of CDOs, the CDS counterparties will concurrently unwind the related CDS transactions. Payments by Maiden Lane III LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane III LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to AIG, and interest due to AIG. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG.

7. Information on Principal Accounts of TALF LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Asset-backed securities holdings1          0
Other investments, net         44
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC         44
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Funding provided by U.S. Treasury to TALF LLC, including accrued interest payable3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) under theauthority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is a facility under which the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended loans with a term of up to five years to holders of eligible asset-backed securities. The Federal Reserve closed the TALF for new loan extensions in 2010. The loans provided through the TALF to eligible borrowers are non-recourse, meaning that the obligation of the borrower can be discharged by surrendering the collateral to the FRBNY.

TALF LLC is a limited liability company formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a TALF loan. TALF LLC has committed, for a fee, to purchase all asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in conjunction with a TALF loan at a price equal to the TALF loan plus accrued but unpaid interest. Prior to January 15, 2013, the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) committed backup funding to TALF LLC, providing credit protection to the FRBNY. However, the accumulated fees and income collected through the TALF and held by TALF LLC now exceed the remaining amount of TALF loans outstanding. Accordingly, the TARP credit protection commitment has been terminated, and TALF LLC has begun to distribute excess proceeds to the Treasury and the FRBNY. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037          0          0
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0
Coin      1,930 +        8 -       62
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements, and loans 4,351,126 +    3,534 +  756,847
Securities held outright1 4,160,521 +    3,657 +  763,739
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637 +    3,651 +  399,549
Bills2          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,326,351 +    3,661 +  385,784
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   10,546
Inflation compensation3     16,531 -       10 +    3,219
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,654
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322 +        6 +  386,844
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907 -      132 +    5,820
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654 +       19 -   12,787
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Loans        352 -       10 +       75
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC7      1,665 +        1 +      167
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC8         63          0 -        1
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC9         22          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0 -       68
Items in process of collection (0)         94 -       22 -       31
Bank premises      2,255          0 -       29
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77 +        1 -      243
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801 -      404 -      925
Other assets13     25,095 +    2,704 +    3,719
Total assets (0) 4,421,408 +    5,821 +  759,373

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes, net of F.R. Bank holdings 1,247,980 -    2,086 +   84,510
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602 +   17,296 +  175,438
Deposits (0) 2,842,072 -    8,612 +  499,663
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954 -   24,799 +  513,312
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872 +   10,836 +    1,852
Foreign official      5,241 -    1,326 -    3,524
Other15 (0)     16,004 +    6,676 -   11,978
Deferred availability cash items (0)        721 -      482 -      163
Other liabilities and accrued dividends16      6,693 -      299 -    1,529
Total liabilities (0) 4,365,067 +    5,817 +  757,919
Capital accounts
Capital paid in     28,170 +        2 +      726
Surplus     28,170 +        2 +      726
Other capital accounts          0          0          0
Total capital     56,341 +        4 +    1,454

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037        352      4,125        338        464        824      1,349        706        278        173        291        880      1,257
Special drawing rights certificate acct.      5,200        196      1,818        210        237        412        654        424        150         90        153        282        574
Coin      1,930         32         94        124        123        320        222        276         25         46        153        182        332
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements,
and loans
4,351,126     88,009 2,670,390    104,231     94,993    243,168    240,542    177,833     53,725     26,795     57,330    132,586    461,524
Securities held outright1 4,160,521     84,160 2,553,576     99,673     90,839    232,534    229,991    170,046     51,317     25,497     54,804    126,772    441,311
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Bills2          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds3 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562        841     25,509        996        907      2,323      2,298      1,699        513        255        547      1,266      4,409
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322     33,949 1,030,093     40,207     36,644     93,803     92,777     68,595     20,701     10,285     22,107     51,139    178,021
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907      4,226    128,220      5,005      4,561     11,676     11,548      8,538      2,577      1,280      2,752      6,365     22,159
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654       -377    -11,449       -447       -407     -1,043     -1,031       -762       -230       -114       -246       -568     -1,979
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Loans        352          1         44          0          0          0         34         11         61        132         20         17         33
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane LLC7      1,665          0      1,665          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane II LLC8         63          0         63          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane III LLC9         22          0         22          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0         44          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Items in process of collection         94          0          0          0          0          0         93          0          0          1          0          0          0
Bank premises      2,255        121        434         74        110        222        209        198        124         97        243        224        200
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77          4         25          6          6         16          4          2          1          0          1          1         11
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801      1,037      7,335      1,714      1,813      4,754      1,311        629        192         96        240        381      3,299
Other assets13     25,095        535     15,039        739        546      1,547      1,374      1,014        356        219        347        798      2,580
Interdistrict settlement account          0 +   10,547 -   58,585 +    2,678 +    9,252 +      197 +    8,040 -   10,297 -   10,950 -    2,083 -      134 +    2,635 +   48,701
Total assets 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974     44,572    489,349     42,766     65,118    103,568    212,875     94,569     37,360     21,242     36,783    115,911    179,862
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks    195,994      5,311     63,063      6,357      8,870     11,177     20,690     11,915      4,937      4,278      5,302     25,736     28,359
Federal Reserve notes, net 1,247,980     39,261    426,285     36,409     56,248     92,391    192,186     82,654     32,423     16,964     31,481     90,175    151,503
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602      5,413    164,244      6,411      5,843     14,956     14,793     10,937      3,301      1,640      3,525      8,154     28,385
Deposits 2,842,072     53,409 2,030,175     62,876     40,791    131,999     42,547     75,315      7,510      6,356     22,882     38,429    329,783
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954     53,397 1,977,410     62,837     40,788    131,731     42,538     75,306      7,510      6,355     22,881     38,428    329,774
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872          0     31,872          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Foreign official      5,241          2      5,214          3          3          8          2          1          0          0          0          1          6
Other15     16,004         11     15,679         36          0        260          7          7          0          0          1          0          3
Deferred availability cash items        721          0          0          0          0          0        611          0          0        110          0          0          0
Interest on Federal Reserve notes due
to U.S. Treasury16
     1,693         19      1,199         20         10         23         86         73         20         12         20         54        155
Other liabilities and accrued
dividends17
     5,000        167      2,179        211        208        544        361        282        142        118        126        208        454
Total liabilities 4,365,067     98,270 2,624,083    105,927    103,101    239,913    250,583    169,261     43,395     25,200     58,034    137,021    510,279
Capital
Capital paid in     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Surplus     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Other capital          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Total liabilities and capital 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Includes the original face value of inflation-indexed securities and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of such securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation below.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation below.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation below.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation below.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate
equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Represents the estimated weekly remittances to U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes or, in those cases where the Reserve Bank’s net earnings are not sufficient to equate surplus to capital paid-in, the deferred asset for interest on Federal Reserve notes. The amount of any deferred asset, which is presented as a negative amount in this line, represents the amount of the Federal Reserve Bank’s earnings that must be retained before remittances to the U.S. Treasury resume. The amounts on this line are calculated in accordance with Board of Governors policy, which requires the Federal Reserve Banks to remit residual earnings to the U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
17. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation below.

Note on consolidation:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has extended loans to several limited liability companies under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. On June 26, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane LLC, which was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns. On November 25, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane III LLC, which was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations on which the Financial Products group of the American International Group, Inc. has written credit default swap contracts. On December 12, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane II LLC, which was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized the FRBNY to extend credit to TALF LLC, which was formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a loan extended under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of TALF LLC, because of the two beneficiaries of the LLC, the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury, the FRBNY is primarily responsible for directing the financial activities of TALF LLC. The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of the other LLCs cited above because it will receive a majority of any residual returns of the LLCs and absorb a majority of any residual losses of the LLCs. Consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, the assets and liabilities of these LLCs have been consolidated with the assets and liabilities of the FRBNY in the preparation of the statements of condition shown on this release. As a consequence of the consolidation, the extensions of credit from the FRBNY to the LLCs are eliminated, the net assets of the LLCs appear as assets on the previous page (and in table 1 and table 8), and the liabilities of the LLCs to entities other than the FRBNY, including those with recourse only to the portfolio holdings of the LLCs, are included in other liabilities in this table (and table 1 and table 8).

10. Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes: Federal Reserve Agents’ Accounts

Millions of dollars

Federal Reserve notes and collateral Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks not subject to collateralization    195,994
Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 1,247,980
Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 1,247,980
Gold certificate account     11,037
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged1,2 1,231,743
Other assets pledged          0
Memo:
Total U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities1,2 4,160,521
Less: Face value of securities under reverse repurchase agreements    257,508
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities eligible to be pledged 3,903,013

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes face value of U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities held outright, compensation to adjust for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities, and cash value of repurchase agreements.
2. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.

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The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians — The War on Christians! — Videos

Posted on September 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, Genocide, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Tax Policy, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians —  The War on Christians! — Videos

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Chaffetz: Clinton’s Top Aides Involved In Benghazi Documents Scrub

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House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes (Updated) (Video)

After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.

That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.

“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement

Just before the CR vote, lawmakers voted 273-156 to adopt the Syrian rebel amendment. 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against it.

As voting on the amendment took place, members stared at the board in the House chamber showing who was voting for the amendment and who was voting against it. Despite a tally that was never really close, it was a dramatic vote.

Much of the debate on the CR turned into a debate on the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, and, more broadly, the specter of another war in the Middle East. In fact, the CR has become such a proxy for the Syria amendment that the Club for Growth, a conservative group opposed to the spending bill, withdrew its key vote on the legislation, explaining that the vote was now largely driven by foreign policy.

But if it were true that foreign policy was driving decisions on the CR, then it was the memories of past foreign policy decisions largely driving this current debate.

Liberal Democrats and some conservative Republicans worried on the House floor that this initial authorization was the first step of a larger military entanglement.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a staunch opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said the six-hour debate on the amendment reminded her of “the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11,” which, she said resulted in an overly broad authorization that was a “blank check for perpetual war.”

Other members voted against the amendment because they worried of an opposite effect. Louisiana Republican John Fleming expressed concern that the authorization was “little more than an incremental strategy, not unlike the one used in Vietnam.”

“History warns of the dangers of such approaches,” Fleming said. “By moving hesitantly in piecemeal fashion, the enemy has more time to learn, adapt and get stronger. This is a recipe for a stalemate and failure.”

Many other lawmakers expressed concern over the stated strategy of arming the Free Syrian Army. They said there was no guarantee those rebels would always be allies of the United States, or that they wouldn’t simply use their U.S.-supplied weapons to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of ISIL.

The Obama administration says there will be a thorough vetting process before any Syrian rebel is handed a weapon, but, by Wednesday, many lawmakers remained less than convinced. California Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the administration’s plan “wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

But congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle insisted the authority was needed.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Wednesday that Obama deserved the support of Democrats in what she acknowledged was a “war vote,” but a proposal that was “discrete” and “short-term.”

“It is not pleasant, it’s not easy,” Pelosi later said on the House floor. “It’s hard. But it really is necessary for the House to approve this.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said ISIL was already threatening U.S. allies in the Middle East and in Europe.  ”And if left unchecked,” he said, “it will surely threaten us here at home.”

The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, Adam Smith of Washington, argued that arming Syrian rebels would deny ISIL a “safe-haven,” and Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, who sponsored the amendment, said there was “no doubt” that any strategy to defeat ISIL would need to include a Syria component.

The plan to arm Syrian rebels is a middle-of-the-road response to the rise of ISIL. It isn’t an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as the amendment explicitly indicates, and it won’t, by itself, dismantle terrorists in the region. But it’s not nothing.

Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to his conference by arguing this was a first step toward defeating ISIL, saying Congress had a responsibility to give the president this authority. While hetold reporters Tuesday there’s “a lot more” the U.S. needed to be doing to address ISIL, the Ohio Republican said there was “no reason not to do what the president asked us to do.”

Already, GOP leaders seem to be indicating that the House may soon consider a new authorization for use of military force for the Middle East, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthytelling reporters on Monday that, “after November,” there may be an “opportunity” to debate a larger military authorization.

As for the CR itself, the 10-week extension, if it is — as expected — agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, will force lawmakers to return after the midterm elections and begin work on a more permanent spending solution. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he was hopeful the House and Senate could work out an omnibus package similar to the one lawmakers worked out in January 2014.

“It is my sincere hope that if this CR is enacted, we can use the coming months wisely to craft agreement on all 12 bills by Dec. 11,” said the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita M. Lowey of New York. “There is absolutely no reason to punt our responsibilities into the new year and new Congress.”

Conservatives had pushed for a longer CR — one that would fund the government until, say, March 1, 2015 — so that a new Congress, perhaps one with a Senate under Republican control, could set the spending levels. Conservatives also voiced concern over extending the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. They wanted to simply let the credit agency expire.

But the reauthorization until June 30 seemed to scare Democrats more than Republicans. Democrats are showing unease that they won’t have a must-pass bill in June to which they can attach another extension of the Ex-Im Bank, and they worry that decoupling the agency from a spending bill will ultimately kill it.

Democrats seemed to understand, however, that holding up the CR over the length of extension on such an inside-the-Beltway issue would not be politically advantageous just before an election.

Passing the CR allows both Republicans and Democrats to get back to their districts early and campaign for about six weeks before the midterms. While the House is scheduled to be in session next week, most aides expect McCarthy to cancel the remaining legislative days before November and send everyone to the campaign trail early.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/house-votes-to-arm-syrian-rebels-passes-cr/?dcz=

Clinton insiders screened Benghazi documents before ARB probe, official says

 BY ED MORRISSEY

Just how unfettered was that “unfettered access” promised by the State Department to the Accountability Review Board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack two years ago? According to one of the four officials punished and then cleared by State for the failures that led to the death of four men, a weekend housecleaning operation kept the ARB from seeing some of the most explosive documentation related to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that the operation was supervised by advisers within Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, in this Daily Signal exclusive:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. …

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Not long afterward, two people high up the State Department chain arrived to check on the operation. Attkisson describes them as “close confidants” of Hillary Clinton, probably from Maxwell’s own description, although neither are named in Attkisson’s report. Maxwell says that both of them accompanied him into another office with a fourth person, where they personally vetted more documents:

Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.

“I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.

Don’t expect that this will disappear as quietly. Maxwell says that members of the select House committee on Benghazi have already deposed him on this weekend filing session, including both chair Trey Gowdy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz told Attkisson that he is “100% confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”

The ARB has insisted all along that they conducted a thorough and independent probe, a claim at which Maxwell scoffs on both counts in Attkisson’s report. This could let them off the hook, though. If State conspired to hide evidence from them, it will give the ARB an opening to withdraw their report — which would be a PR move entirely, since the ARB had no authoritative status otherwise — and give Congress even more validation for pursuing this in select-committee form. If Maxwell testifies to this in open session and the BSC finds one or more corroborating witnesses, it will put this right back front and center. And we may still yet hear from the unnamed advisers, too, as to what their orders were, and who gave them.

Benghazi Post-Attack Satellite Revelations

Benghazi, Libya showing the locations of the U. S. Consulate and CIA Annex on the outskirts of town

Perplexing questions yet remain surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Satellite images taken before and AFTER the attacks, which anyone can view on Google Earth, show evidence of the attacks at both the Consulate and CIA Annex. They help clarify conditions on the ground at the time.

Google Earth (GE) is an incredibly useful online tool. With it, armchair sleuths at home can uncover important details about news events that get overlooked by the big shot mainstream media.

Such is the case with the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Geography and News Events

Google Earth provides two unique capabilities to the armchair sleuth:

  • A scalable geographic look at any place on Earth and its surroundings
  • A history of images of that place to investigate its background and history

Most important for investigating the Benghazi attacks is that the most current GE satellite image of both the Consulate and CIA Annex were taken on 9/17/2012, just 6 days after the attack.

GE’s image history is used to go back and forth between before and after images to identify evidence of the attacks visible from space.

For the attack on the CIA Annex this is particularly important because Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed when hit by mortar fire while defending the Annex from a rooftop position.

The U.S. Consulate


—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Plainly visible on the satellite image of the Consulate complex are the burned out remains of two vehicles, the charred remains of burnt furniture next to one of the vehicles and the couch and other things tossed into the swimming pool by either the terrorists or looters.

GE shows us that the U.S. Consulate is located on the outskirts of Benghazi in a very open area surrounded by an orchard and soccer field. Contrary to news reports, GE tells us it is in a narrow rectangular shaped property about 300 feet wide and 800 feet long.

The property is surrounded by trees with no visible wall. It was built as a residence. It has two gates.
The back gate has no defenses whatsoever.

The consulate has three main buildings and a guardhouse at the front gate. The front gate has been fortified with barriers since October of 2011. Those barriers are the only visible signs of increased security at the Consulate. The unprotected back gate opens onto Fourth Ring Road, one of the main streets circling Benghazi.

Its three main structures are the consulate building, a detached Ambassador’s residence with saferoom where Ambassador Stephens was found; and a nearby guard barracks near the front gate.

GE history reveals the main consulate building, detached residence and swimming pool were a lonely patch of dirt in August of 2007 and that they were under construction in June of 2009. Little has changed since then.

During the consulate attack Navy SEAL Woods and others came from the CIA Annex, fought their way to consulate, rescued staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith. They took them back to the CIA Annex from the consulate.

The CIA Annex

CIA Annex showing where mortar rounds struck building tops and grounds

Line of sight, the CIA Annex complex is located about a mile from the consulate next to what appears to be a large warehouse with many buildings.

The annex is within a thick wall surrounding a 300 X 400 foot rectangle. It is better fortified and much more defensible than the consulate. It is also closer to civilian targets.

The annex took mortar fire. Mortar strikes show up as distinct smudges on the satellite image near the red dots. Navy SEALs Doherty and Woods were killed by one of the rooftop mortar strikes.

GE history reveals the annex was built some time after June 28th, 2009.

Conclusions

From satellite images it is easy to see why Ambassador Stephens would be seriously concerned about consulate security, especially given all the al Qaeda activity in area and previous attacks.

The consulate, originally built as someone’s house, was barely modified after it was acquired by the U.S. government. It is not even clear from satellite imagery that it had a surrounding wall. Its unguarded back gate opens onto a main Benghazi street and is easily penetrable.

The Annex is better protected and was successfully defended against a physical breach, albeit at the cost of Doherty and Woods who gave their lives defending the annex from a rooftop position.

Woods and Doherty probably deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic efforts.

Armchair sleuthing reveals this immutable fact… the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world, was woefully under-protected at the time of the attacks. The warning signs of another inevitable attack were all present. Those up the chain of command had been told.

Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and the others didn’t stand a chance.
Someone MUST be held accountable!

Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away

In May CNN’s Jake Tapper argued that the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on September 11, 2012, should be scrutinized.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) agreed, saying: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and  of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi.

Here’s what we know:

benghaziThe attack

At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.

Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.

At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.

At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.

So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.

And according to Paula Broadwell, the mistress of David Petraeus when he was CIA director, the CIA may have provided an impetus for the attack by holding prisoners: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”charlene lamb

At its heart a CIA operation’

The top-secret presence and location of the CIA outpost was first acknowledged by Charlene Lamb, a top official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, during Congressional testimony in October.

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa immediately called a point of order when Lamb exposed the location of the annex, and asked for the revelation to be stricken from the record.

“I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz. said. “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

In November The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. mission in Benghazi “was at its heart a CIA operation.”

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]” looted from the stockpiles of toppled Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The State Department “consulate” served as diplomatic cover for the previously-hidden annex.

AnnexWeapons from Benghazi to Syria

Also in October we reported the connection between Ambassador Stevens, who died in the attack, and a reported September shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles (i.e. MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through southern Turkey.

That 400-ton shipment — “the largest consignment of weapons” yet for Syrian rebels — was organized by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was the newly-appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council.

In March 2011 Stevens, the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan rebels, worked directly with Belhadj while he headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

Syrian rebels subsequently began shooting down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets with SA-7s akin to those in Qaddafi’s looted stock. (The interim Libyan government also sent money and fighters to Syria.)

What did the CIA know?

Collectively these details raise the question of what the CIA knew, given that Agency operatives in Libya were rounding up SA-7s, ostensibly to destroy them, while operatives in southern Turkey were funneling weapons to the rebels.

The State Department told CNN that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries, but it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

Ambassador Stevens certainly would have known if the new Libyan government was sending 400 tons of heavy weapons to Turkey from Benghazi’s port.

Just like the CIA would know if those the weapons arrived in Turkey and began showing up in Syria.

Journalist Damien Spleeters created this sourced map, drawing info shared on social media such as YouTube, that gives an idea of the MANPADS presence in Syria.

We’ve added red tag noting the Turkish port, Iskenderun, where the massive SA-7 shipment docked.

And this map of nearby Turkish highways shows that the heavy weapons could have been transported from the port to the Syrian city of Aleppo in three hours.

syriaOther intriguing details

This week Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens twice turned down offers for additional security, despite specifically asking for more men in cables to the State Department.

Right after the attack American Matthew VanDyke, who fought with Libyan rebels during their revolution, told us he suspected that extremist groups in the nearby mountains — who felt marginalized by the new Libyan government — “saw their opportunity to pounce.”

In May Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) told CNN: “I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria. … Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex? I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered.”

So now that the White House has released more than 100 pages of Benghazi emails, and the State Department’s role during and after the attack have been probed ad nauseam, the only thing to explore is “whatever [the CIA] was doing.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-cia-mission-in-benghazi-2013-8

UN has testimony showing Syrian rebels used sarin gas

WW3 UPDATE – U.S. Intelligence: Rebels Used Sarin Gas

U.N. Strong Suspicions That Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Syria Gas Attack – ‘Eyes Twitching, Noses Foaming’ (CNN, 30Aug13)

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Caught with Sarin Gas inside Turkey

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (1 of 2)

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (2 of 2)

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

U.S. Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria’s Worst Chemical Arms: Pentagon

Syrian Sarin gas chemicals destroyed.

 

 

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.

*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

 

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’

The complaints focus on what Washington did not have: any advance warning from the assumed source of the attack. The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August. For two days – 20 and 21 August – there was no mention of Syria. On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria. Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.

Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore. The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: ‘We are unable to conclusively determine [chemical weapons] use. But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.’ The administration’s tone had hardened by 27 August, when Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters – without providing any specific information – that any suggestions that the Syrian government was not responsible ‘are as preposterous as suggestions that the attack itself didn’t occur’.

On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

The Post report also provided the first indication of a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. The sensors are monitored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that controls all US intelligence satellites in orbit. According to the Postsummary, the NRO is also assigned ‘to extract data from sensors placed on the ground’ inside Syria. The former senior intelligence official, who had direct knowledge of the programme, told me that NRO sensors have been implanted near all known chemical warfare sites in Syria. They are designed to provide constant monitoring of the movement of chemical warheads stored by the military. But far more important, in terms of early warning, is the sensors’ ability to alert US and Israeli intelligence when warheads are being loaded with sarin. (As a neighbouring country, Israel has always been on the alert for changes in the Syrian chemical arsenal, and works closely with American intelligence on early warnings.) A chemical warhead, once loaded with sarin, has a shelf life of a few days or less – the nerve agent begins eroding the rocket almost immediately: it’s a use-it-or-lose-it mass killer. ‘The Syrian army doesn’t have three days to prepare for a chemical attack,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘We created the sensor system for immediate reaction, like an air raid warning or a fire alarm. You can’t have a warning over three days because everyone involved would be dead. It is either right now or you’re history. You do not spend three days getting ready to fire nerve gas.’ The sensors detected no movement in the months and days before 21 August, the former official said. It is of course possible that sarin had been supplied to the Syrian army by other means, but the lack of warning meant that Washington was unable to monitor the events in Eastern Ghouta as they unfolded.

The sensors had worked in the past, as the Syrian leadership knew all too well. Last December the sensor system picked up signs of what seemed to be sarin production at a chemical weapons depot. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian army was simulating sarin production as part of an exercise (all militaries constantly carry out such exercises) or actually preparing an attack. At the time, Obama publicly warned Syria that using sarin was ‘totally unacceptable’; a similar message was also passed by diplomatic means. The event was later determined to be part of a series of exercises, according to the former senior intelligence official: ‘If what the sensors saw last December was so important that the president had to call and say, “Knock it off,” why didn’t the president issue the same warning three days before the gas attack in August?’

The NSA would of course monitor Assad’s office around the clock if it could, the former official said. Other communications – from various army units in combat throughout Syria – would be far less important, and not analysed in real time. ‘There are literally thousands of tactical radio frequencies used by field units in Syria for mundane routine communications,’ he said, ‘and it would take a huge number of NSA cryptological technicians to listen in – and the useful return would be zilch.’ But the ‘chatter’ is routinely stored on computers. Once the scale of events on 21 August was understood, the NSA mounted a comprehensive effort to search for any links to the attack, sorting through the full archive of stored communications. A keyword or two would be selected and a filter would be employed to find relevant conversations. ‘What happened here is that the NSA intelligence weenies started with an event – the use of sarin – and reached to find chatter that might relate,’ the former official said. ‘This does not lead to a high confidence assessment, unless you start with high confidence that Bashar Assad ordered it, and began looking for anything that supports that belief.’ The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war.

*The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. The document laid out what was essentially a political argument to bolster the administration’s case against the Assad government. It was, however, more specific than Obama would be later, in his speech on 10 September: American intelligence, it stated, knew that Syria had begun ‘preparing chemical munitions’ three days before the attack. In an aggressive speech later that day, John Kerry provided more details. He said that Syria’s ‘chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations’ by 18 August. ‘We know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.’ The government assessment and Kerry’s comments made it seem as if the administration had been tracking the sarin attack as it happened. It is this version of events, untrue but unchallenged, that was widely reported at the time.

An unforeseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ (The number of deaths attributable to the attack varied widely, from at least 1429, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, to many fewer. A Syrian human rights group reported 502 deaths; Médicins sans Frontières put it at 355; and a French report listed 281 known fatalities. The strikingly precise US total was later reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been based not on an actual body count, but on an extrapolation by CIA analysts, who scanned more than a hundred YouTube videos from Eastern Ghouta into a computer system and looked for images of the dead. In other words, it was little more than a guess.)

Five days later, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to the complaints. A statement to the Associated Press said that the intelligence behind the earlier administration assertions was not known at the time of the attack, but recovered only subsequently: ‘Let’s be clear, the United States did not watch, in real time, as this horrible attack took place. The intelligence community was able to gather and analyse information after the fact and determine that elements of the Assad regime had in fact taken steps to prepare prior to using chemical weapons.’ But since the American press corps had their story, the retraction received scant attention. On 31 August the Washington Post, relying on the government assessment, had vividly reported on its front page that American intelligence was able to record ‘each step’ of the Syrian army attack in real time, ‘from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials’. It did not publish the AP corrective, and the White House maintained control of the narrative.

So when Obama said on 10 September that his administration knew Assad’s chemical weapons personnel had prepared the attack in advance, he was basing the statement not on an intercept caught as it happened, but on communications analysed days after 21 August. The former senior intelligence official explained that the hunt for relevant chatter went back to the exercise detected the previous December, in which, as Obama later said to the public, the Syrian army mobilised chemical weapons personnel and distributed gas masks to its troops. The White House’s government assessment and Obama’s speech were not descriptions of the specific events leading up to the 21 August attack, but an account of the sequence the Syrian military would have followed for any chemical attack. ‘They put together a back story,’ the former official said, ‘and there are lots of different pieces and parts. The template they used was the template that goes back to December.’ It is possible, of course, that Obama was unaware that this account was obtained from an analysis of Syrian army protocol for conducting a gas attack, rather than from direct evidence. Either way he had come to a hasty judgment.

The press would follow suit. The UN report on 16 September confirming the use of sarin was careful to note that its investigators’ access to the attack sites, which came five days after the gassing, had been controlled by rebel forces. ‘As with other sites,’ the report warned, ‘the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission … During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.’ Still, the New York Times seized on the report, as did American and British officials, and claimed that it provided crucial evidence backing up the administration’s assertions. An annex to the UN report reproduced YouTube photographs of some recovered munitions, including a rocket that ‘indicatively matches’ the specifics of a 330mm calibre artillery rocket. The New York Times wrote that the existence of the rockets essentially proved that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack ‘because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency’.

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. Postol and a colleague, Richard M. Lloyd, published an analysis two weeks after 21 August in which they correctly assessed that the rockets involved carried a far greater payload of sarin than previously estimated. The Times reported on that analysis at length, describing Postol and Lloyd as ‘leading weapons experts’. The pair’s later study about the rockets’ flight paths and range, which contradicted previous Times reporting, was emailed to the newspaper last week; it has so far gone unreported.

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)

Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.

Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.

Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

There is evidence that during the summer some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were troubled by the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria as well as by Obama’s professed desire to give rebel factions non-lethal support. In July, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, provided a gloomy assessment, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee in public testimony that ‘thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces’ would be needed to seize Syria’s widely dispersed chemical warfare arsenal, along with ‘hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers’. Pentagon estimates put the number of troops at seventy thousand, in part because US forces would also have to guard the Syrian rocket fleet: accessing large volumes of the chemicals that create sarin without the means to deliver it would be of little value to a rebel force. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Dempsey cautioned that a decision to grab the Syrian arsenal could have unintended consequences: ‘We have learned from the past ten years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state … Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.’

The CIA declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

The administration’s public affairs officials are not as concerned about al-Nusra’s military potential as Shedd has been in his public statements. In late July, he gave an alarming account of al-Nusra’s strength at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. ‘I count no less than 1200 disparate groups in the opposition,’ Shedd said, according to a recording of his presentation. ‘And within the opposition, the al-Nusra Front is … most effective and is gaining in strength.’ This, he said, ‘is of serious concern to us. If left unchecked, I am very concerned that the most radical elements’ – he also cited al-Qaida in Iraq – ‘will take over.’ The civil war, he went on, ‘will only grow worse over time … Unfathomable violence is yet to come.’ Shedd made no mention of chemical weapons in his talk, but he was not allowed to: the reports his office received were highly classified.

*

A series of secret dispatches from Syria over the summer reported that members of the FSA were complaining to American intelligence operatives about repeated attacks on their forces by al-Nusra and al-Qaida fighters. The reports, according to the senior intelligence consultant who read them, provided evidence that the FSA is ‘more worried about the crazies than it is about Assad’. The FSA is largely composed of defectors from the Syrian army. The Obama administration, committed to the end of the Assad regime and continued support for the rebels, has sought in its public statements since the attack to downplay the influence of Salafist and Wahhabist factions. In early September, John Kerry dumbfounded a Congressional hearing with a sudden claim that al-Nusra and other Islamist groups were minority players in the Syrian opposition. He later withdrew the claim.

In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’

It is not known whether the highly classified reporting on al-Nusra was made available to Power’s office, but her comment was a reflection of the attitude that swept through the administration. ‘The immediate assumption was that Assad had done it,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘The new director of the CIA, [John] Brennan, jumped to that conclusion … drives to the White House and says: “Look at what I’ve got!” It was all verbal; they just waved the bloody shirt. There was a lot of political pressure to bring Obama to the table to help the rebels, and there was wishful thinking that this [tying Assad to the sarin attack] would force Obama’s hand: “This is the Zimmermann telegram of the Syrian rebellion and now Obama can react.” Wishful thinking by the Samantha Power wing within the administration. Unfortunately, some members of the Joint Chiefs who were alerted that he was going to attack weren’t so sure it was a good thing.’

The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.

 

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My trip to Al-Qaeda — Videos

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My trip to Al-Qaeda

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