The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: Breaking News: Second Possible Case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas — How many Biosafety Level 4 Hospital Beds are there in the United States? — 22 Hospital Beds — Too few for An Airborne Ebola Pandemic! — Center for Disease Control (CDC) Sacrifices Hospital and Medical Staff To Open Borders And Amnesty For Illegal Aliens! — Will The Ebola Dallas Strain Jump To Another Human Host? — Breaking News — Videos
Second patient in Texas showing signs consistent with Ebola
EBOLA IN AMERICA – WE’RE SCREWED Says Major Garrett in OPEN MIC at Press Conference (Full)
EBOLA IN AMERICA – WE’RE SCREWED! Says Major Garrett in OPEN MIC
Texas EBOLA PATIENT Thomas Eric Duncan DIED (Video) First Ebola Patient Diagnosed In The U.S Dies
CDC: New Ebola situation in Texas being…
Soon: Frisco Texas Officials To Update On Possible Second Ebola Case – Fox News Reporting
Author tracks Ebola outbreaks over decades, calls virus “Jack The Ripper”
Elbows-Deep in Ebola Virus – Richard Preston
In the Hot Zone with Virus X – Richard Preston
USAMRIID The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease
Jerry & Nancy Jaax discuss biosafety facilities
The Jaax’s worked in biocontainment facilities for years and discuss safety measures used.
State of Tomorrow Interview – CJ Peters: Wake Up Call
UTHSC Regional Biocontainment Laboratory
Ebola & Emerging Viral Diseases: Overview of the Science
Ebola & Emerging Viral Diseases: How the Virus Attacks Us
Ebola and Emerging Viral Diseases: New Drug Therapy
Suspect in the 2001 Anthrax Attacks Gets $5.8 Million!
Steven Hatfill Anthrax Denial
CDC Set To Slow Large Ebola Outbreak by Placing Doctors At Risk
Inhalation Ebola: Governments Ready For World War Ebola
US Army: Ebola like FLU needs Winter Weather to go AIRBORNE
MWV Episode 68 – Threading the NEIDL: TWiV Goes Inside a BSL-4
Aerosolizing ONE DROP of EBOLA = 1/2 MILLION DEAD
NEIDL: Biosafety Level 4
MWV Episode 68 – Threading the NEIDL: TWiV Goes Inside a BSL-4
How scientists enter and exit BSL-4 laboratories
Ebola Spreads, Worst Outbreak In History
Obama’s Border Crisis Could Result In The Deaths Of Millions Of Americans
Dallas County Ebola press conference
‘A Virus Walks Into a Bar…’ and Other Science Jokes – Brian Malow
Science comedian Brian Malow jokes that a virus is “the ultimate David and Goliath” when compared with humans. He then rattles off a series of science-related jokes. “Schrodinger’s cat walks into a bar, and doesn’t.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) warned an Ebola outbreak in Central America or the Caribbean could trigger a mass migration to the U.S. of people fleeing the disease and implied established Central American illegal trafficking networks could introduce the infected into the U.S., during remarks at a Tuesday panel on security issues in the Western Hemisphere at the National Defense University.
“If it comes to the Western Hemisphere, the countries that we’re talking about have almost no ability to deal with it — particularly in Haiti and Central America,” SOUTHCOM Commander, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, said in response to a question of his near term concerns in the region.
“It will make the 68,000 unaccompanied minors look like a small problem.”
An Ebola outbreak could encourage the poor and increasingly desperate populations in Central American countries — like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — to leave in droves.
“I think you’ve seen this so many times in the past, when in doubt, take off,” he said.
Though an ocean away from Ebola hotspots in Africa, a growing numbers of West Africans are using the illicit trafficking routes through Central America to enter the U.S. illegally and could introduce the disease in the U.S.
Kelly stressed through out the panel session at NDU how effective the criminal transportation networks were at moving people and material into the U.S.
“We see a lot of West Africans moving in that network,” he said.
Kelly passed on a story from a border checkpoint in Costa Rica — told to him by an American embassy official — in which five or six men from Liberia were waiting to cross into Nicaragua.
The group had flown into Trinidad and then traveled to Costa Rica hoping to travel up the Central American isthmus and into the U.S.
Given the length of the journey, “they could have been in New York City well within the incubation period for Ebola,” Kelly said.
The realities of a potential outbreak caused Kelly to ask his staff to start thinking about the affects to the SOUTHCOM area of operations (AO) and pay attention to the response of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The U.S. has sent 4,000 troops to West Africa to assist countries in dealing with the Ebola outbreaks in the region.
“The five services of the U.S. military will get it done and be a large solution to this problem,” Kelly said.
In the meantime, SOUTHCOM is regular contact with AFRICOM in the event of the worst-case outcome.
“We’re watching what AFRICOM is doing and their plan will be our plan,” Kelly said.
“The nightmare scenario, I think, is right around the corner.”
Ebola Patient Has Died During a Crucial Week for Dallas
If Thomas Eric Duncan passed the virus onto anyone else, that would likely become evident this week.
(Mike Stone/Getty Images)
October 8, 2014 The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has died, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Wednesday.
The news of Thomas Eric Duncan’s passing comes as those he came into contact with enter a critical period this week in determining whether they have also contracted the deadly virus.
Duncan, 42, was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30, after arriving in the U.S. from Liberia on Sept. 20. He first went to the Dallas hospital with a fever on Sept. 26, but was sent home,despite telling a nurse he came from the Ebola-stricken country. The information did not reach doctors at the hospital, and he was discharged with antibiotics. He returned to the hospital two days later and was placed in isolation.
Texas officials continue to monitor 10 people who had direct contact with him while he was symptomatic, as well as 38 others who may have had contact. None have shown symptoms of the disease up to this point.
The incubation period of Ebola is a maximum of 21 days, with symptoms commonly beginning to present eight to 10 days after exposure. If Duncan passed the virus onto anyone else, that would likely become evident this week.
If any show signs of a fever, or other symptoms, health officials plan to immediately isolate and test those individuals for the virus.
Duncan was in serious condition until this past weekend, when his condition was changed to critical, and he was given the experimental drug brincidofovir, an oral medicine developed by Chimerix. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for the treatment; it had previously been tested against Ebola only in test-tube studies.
Duncan is the first patient to die of Ebola in the U.S. At least five patients already diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa had been taken to the U.S. for treatment. Two were treated and released from Emory University Hospital, one was treated and released from Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, a fourth is currently in treatment at Emory, and a fifth is in treatment in Nebraska.
The current Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people in Duncan’s native Liberia, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization. There have been more than 3,400 total deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and more than twice as many reported cases.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 a.m.,” the hospital said in a statement. “Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”
Duncan had reportedly come to the U.S. to marry his girlfriend, Louise Troh, from whom he had been separated for nearly two decades. Troh and three others who live in the apartment where Duncan stayed in Dallas remain in isolation.
Officials continue to closely monitor those who came into contact with Duncan, and they remain confident that an outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely.
Triage and Management of Accidental Laboratory Exposures to Biosafety Level-3 and -4 Agents
The recent expansion of biocontainment laboratory capacity in the United States has drawn attention to the possibility of occupational exposures to BSL-3 and -4 agents and has prompted a reassessment of medical management procedures and facilities to deal with these contingencies. A workshop hosted by the National Interagency Biodefense Campus was held in October 2007 and was attended by representatives of all existing and planned BSL-4 research facilities in the U.S. and Canada. This report summarizes important points of discussion and recommendations for future coordinated action, including guidelines for the engineering and operational controls appropriate for a hospital care and isolation unit. Recommendations pertained to initial management of exposures (ie, immediate treatment of penetrating injuries, reporting of exposures, initial evaluation, and triage). Isolation and medical care in a referral hospital (including minimum standards for isolation units), staff recruitment and training, and community outreach also were addressed. Workshop participants agreed that any unit designated for the isolation and treatment of laboratory employees accidentally infected with a BSL-3 or -4 pathogen should be designed to maximize the efficacy of patient care while minimizing the risk of transmission of infection. Further, participants concurred that there is no medically based rationale for building care and isolation units to standards approximating a BSL-4 laboratory. Instead, laboratory workers accidentally exposed to pathogens should be cared for in hospital isolation suites staffed by highly trained professionals following strict infection control procedures.
The construction of a number of new federally funded biocontainment laboratories in response to the 2001 terror attacks, in compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directives 10 and 18,1,2 has raised concerns that a significant expansion in the laboratory workforce will result in an increased number of accidental exposures, some of which might lead to actual infection.3 While it is true that accidental infections of laboratory workers studying pathogenic bacteria and viruses were at one time fairly common, their incidence has been markedly reduced as a result of the standardization of laboratory design, biosafety practices, and employee training, so that only a handful of cases have occurred in the past few decades.4
Much of this new capacity in Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) biocontainment laboratories will be centered on the National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC) at Fort Detrick, which includes the existing United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and a planned expansion, plus the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Integrated Research Facility (NIAID-IRF) and a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) laboratory, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). NIH also has upgraded the laboratory capacity at its Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, by expanding the amount of Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) space and adding a new BSL-4 lab, and it is supporting the construction of National Biocontainment Laboratories at Boston University and at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, both of which will contain BSL-3 and -4 units. In anticipation of public concerns, the NIBC Executive Steering Committee tasked its Scientific Interactions Subcommittee with organizing a workshop to review procedures for dealing with accidental exposures in laboratories currently conducting research on highly pathogenic (BSL-3 and -4) agents and to recommend optimal strategies for their detection and management in the future expanded biodefense research community.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
||This article’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2013)
A biosafety level is a level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have specified these levels. In the European Union, the same biosafety levels are defined in a directive.
The first prototype Class III (maximum containment) biosafety cabinet was fashioned in 1943 by Hubert Kaempf Jr., then a U.S. Army soldier, under the direction of Dr. Arnold G. Wedum, Director (1944–69) of Industrial Health and Safety at the United States Army Biological Warfare Laboratories, Camp Detrick, Maryland. Kaempf was tired of his MP duties at Detrick and was able to transfer to the sheet metal department working with the contractor, the H.K. Ferguson Co.
On 18 April 1955, fourteen representatives met at Camp Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. The meeting was to share knowledge and experiences regarding biosafety, chemical, radiological, and industrial safety issues that were common to the operations at the three principal biological warfare (BW) laboratories of the U.S. Army.Because of the potential implication of the work conducted at biological warfare laboratories, the conferences were restricted to top level security clearances. Beginning in 1957, these conferences were planned to include non-classified sessions as well as classified sessions to enable broader sharing of biological safety information. It was not until 1964, however, that conferences were held in a government installation not associated with a biological warfare program.
Over the next ten years, the biological safety conferences grew to include representatives from all federal agencies that sponsored or conducted research with pathogenic microorganisms. By 1966 it began to include representatives from universities, private laboratories, hospitals, and industrial complexes. Throughout the 1970s, participation in the conferences continued to expand and by 1983 discussions began regarding the creation of a formal organization. The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) was officially established in 1984 and a constitution and bylaws were drafted the same year. As of 2008, ABSA includes some 1,600 members in its professional association.
CDC technician dons an older-model positive-pressure suit before entering one of the CDC’s earlier maximum containment labs.
Biocontainment can be classified by the relative danger to the surrounding environment as biological safety levels (BSL). As of 2006, there are four safety levels. These are called BSL1 through BSL4, with one anomalous level BSL3-ag for agricultural hazards between BSL3 and BSL4. Facilities with these designations are also sometimes given as P1 through P4 (for Pathogen or Protection level), as in the term P3 laboratory. Higher numbers indicate a greater risk to the external environment. Seebiological hazard.
At the lowest level of biocontainment, the containment zone may only be a chemical fume hood. At the highest level the containment involves isolation of an organism by means of building systems, sealed rooms, sealed containers, positive pressure personnel suits (sometimes referred to as “space suits”) and elaborate procedures for entering the room, and decontamination procedures for leaving the room. In most cases this also includes high levels of security for access to the facility, ensuring that only authorized personnel may be admitted to any area that may have some effect on the quality of the containment zone. This is considered a hot zone.
Biosafety level 1
This level is suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment (CDC,1997).
It includes several kinds of bacteria and viruses including canine hepatitis, non-pathogenic Escherichia coli, as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level, precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal and most likely involve gloves and some sort of facial protection. The laboratory is not necessarily separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is generally conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday microorganisms (i.e., washing one’s hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc.). In a lab environment all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave. Laboratory personnel have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory and are supervised by a scientist with general training in microbiology or a related science.
Biosafety level 2
This level is similar to Biosafety Level 1 and is suitable for work involving agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment. It includes various bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as C. difficile, most Chlamydiae, hepatitis A, B, and C, orthopoxviruses (other than smallpox), influenza A, Lyme disease, Salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, MRSA, and VRSA. BSL-2 differs from BSL-1 in that:
- laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic agents and are directed by scientists with advanced training;
- access to the laboratory is limited when work is being conducted;
- extreme precautions are taken with contaminated sharp items; and
- certain procedures in which infectious aerosols or splashes may be created are conducted in biological safety cabinets or other physical containment equipment.
Biosafety level 3
Researcher at US Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, working with influenza virus under biosafety level 3 conditions, with respirator inside a biosafety cabinet (BSC).
This level is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease after inhalation. It includes various bacteria, parasites and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans but for which treatments exist, such as Yersinia pestis (causative agent of plague), Francisella tularensis, Leishmania donovani, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Chlamydia psittaci, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus, SARS coronavirus, Coxiella burnetii, Rift Valley fever virus,Rickettsia rickettsii, several species of Brucella, rabies virus, chikungunya, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus.
Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone.
All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets, specially designed hoods, or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features.
It is recognized, however, that some existing facilities may not have all the facility features recommended for Biosafety Level 3 (i.e., double-door access zone and sealed penetrations). In this circumstance, an acceptable level of safety for the conduct of routine procedures, (e.g., diagnostic procedures involving the propagation of an agent for identification, typing, susceptibility testing, etc.), may be achieved in a biosafety level 2 (P2) facility, providing
- the filtered exhaust air from the laboratory room is discharged to the outdoors,
- the ventilation to the laboratory is balanced to provide directional airflow into the room,
- access to the laboratory is restricted when work is in progress, and
- the recommended Standard Microbiological Practices, Special Practices, and Safety Equipment for Biosafety Level 3 are rigorously followed.
The decision to implement this modification of biosafety level 3 recommendations is made only by the laboratory director.
Biosafety level 4
This level is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections, agents which cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which vaccines or other treatments are notavailable, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and various other hemorrhagic diseases. This level is also used for work with agents such as smallpox that are considered dangerous enough to require the additional safety measures, regardless of vaccination availability. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a level four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors from opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a biosafety level 4 (or P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Agents with a close or identical antigenic relationship to biosafety level 4 agents are handled at this level until sufficient data are obtained either to confirm continued work at this level, or to work with them at a lower level.
Members of the laboratory staff have specific and thorough training in handling extremely hazardous infectious agents and they understand the primary and secondary containment functions of the standard and special practices, the containment equipment, and the laboratory design characteristics. They are supervised by qualified scientists who are trained and experienced in working with these agents. Access to the laboratory is strictly controlled by the laboratory director.
The facility is either in a separate building or in a controlled area within a building, which is completely isolated from all other areas of the building. A specific facility operations manual is prepared or adopted. Building protocols for preventing contamination often use negatively pressurized facilities, which, even if compromised, would severely inhibit an outbreak of aerosol pathogens.
Within work areas of the facility, all activities are confined to Class III biological safety cabinets, or Class II biological safety cabinets used with one-piece positive pressure personnel suits ventilated by a life support system.
List of BSL-4 facilities
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published on October 4, 2007, a total of 1,356 CDC/USDA registered BSL-3 facilities were identified throughout the United States (GAO-08-108T ). This represents a very conservative estimate of the number of facilities in the US in 2007. Approximately 36% of these laboratories are located in academia. Only 15 BSL-4 facilities were identified in the U.S. in 2007, including nine at federal labs.
The following is a list of existing BSL-4 facilities worldwide.
|Virology Laboratory of the Queensland Department of Health
||Australia, Queensland,Coopers Plains
|Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC)
||Osong, Cheongwoncounty, North Chungcheong province, South Korea
|University of Queensland – Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre (SASVRC) Royal Women’s Hospital Brisbane P3 (BL3)
|Australian Animal Health Laboratory
|National High Security Laboratory
||Australia, Victoria, North Melbourne
||National High Security Laboratory Operates under the auspice of the Victoria Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory.
|Republican Research and Practical Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology
||Department of Molecular Epidemiology & Innovational Biotechnologies
|National Microbiology Laboratory
||Located at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, it is jointly operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
|Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
||China, Hubei, Wuhan
||Wuhan Institute of Virology already hosts a BSL-3 laboratory. A distinct BSL-4 facility is currently being built based on P4 standards, the original technology for confinement developed by France. It will be the first at level 4 in China, under the direction of Shi Zhengli.
|Biological Defense Center
||Czech Republic,Pardubice, Těchonín
||1971, rebuilt 2003-2007
||Located at the Centrum biologické ochrany (Biological Defense Center)
|Laboratoire P4 Jean Mérieux
||Jean Mérieux laboratory is a co-operation between the Pasteur Institute and INSERM. Note that in France, it is P4 for Pathogen or Protection level 4.
|Laboratoire de la DGA
||The Laboratoire de la DGA  is part of the Ministry of Defence.
|Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville
||This facility is operated by a research organization supported by both Gabonese (mainly) and French governments, and is West Africa’s only P4 lab (BSL-4).
|Robert Koch Institute
||The facility was licenced for construction by City of Berlin on November 30, 2008.
|Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine
|Friedrich Loeffler Institute on the Isle of Riems
||Germany, Isle of Riems (Greifswald)
||Deals especially with virology
|Philipps University of Marburg
||The facility is licenced to work with genetically modified organisms
|High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL)
||This facility deals especially to zoonotic organisms and emerging infectious disease threats.
|Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
||National Bio-Safety Level-4 Containment Facility for Human Infectious Diseases & Clinical Research Facility in Regenerative Medicine 
|All India Institute of Medical Sciences
||India, New Delhi
||Conducts studies on major pathogenic organisms. Has contributed in discovering new strains & vaccines.
|Microbial Containment Complex
||Bio-Safety Level-IV Laboratory established by ICMR with support from Department of Science & Technology
|Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale Luigi Sacco
||Italy, Lombardy, Milan
||A university hospital located in the city’s Polo Universitario; it contains two special vehicles for the safe transportation of infectious patients.
|Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive
||Italy, Lazio, Rome
||The “National Institute of Infectious Diseases” used to operate within the Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital; the facility is now independent and is home to five BSL-3 labs as well as a single BSL-4 laboratory, which was completed in 1997. 
|National Institute for Infectious Diseases
||Located at National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Department of Virology I; this lab has the potential of operating as a BSL-4, however it is limited to perform work on only BSL-3 agents due to opposition from local residents and communities.
|Institute of Physical and Chemical Research
||Japan, Ibaraki, Tsukuba
||This is a non-operating BSL-4 facility.
|Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
|Cantacuzino Microbiological Research Institute (INCDMI)
|“Dr. Carol Davila” Central Military Hospital
|State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR
||Russia, Novosibirsk Oblast, Koltsovo
||It is one of two facilities in the world that officially hold smallpox. The other Russian BSL-4 facilities have been dismantled.
|National Institute for Communicable Diseases
||National Institute for Communicable Diseases of Special Pathogens Unit is one of only two BSL-4 facilities in Africa but the only suit laboratory on the continent.
|The Swedish BSL-4 Laboratory
||Located at the Public Health Agency of Sweden premises, this is the only BSL-4 facility in the Nordic region. The facility also houses a BSL-3 laboratory.
|University Hospital of Geneva
|Kwen-yang Laboratory (昆陽實驗室) Center of Disease Control
||Part of the Department of Health, Taiwan.
|Preventive Medical Institute of ROC Ministry of National Defense
|Health Protection Agency‘s Centre for Infections
||Located in the Viral Zoonosis unit.
|National Institute for Medical Research
|Institute for Animal Health
|Institute for Animal Health Compton Laboratory
|Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
||United Kingdom, Porton Down
|Health Protection Agency
||United Kingdom, Porton Down
||Special Pathogens Reference Unit.
|Health Protection Agency
||United Kingdom, Porton Down
|Francis Crick Institute
||Under construction. The UKCMRI will not work on Human Hazard Group 4 agents.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
||United States, Georgia,Atlanta
||Currently operates in two buildings. One of two facilities in the world that officially holdsmallpox.
|Georgia State University
||United States, Georgia,Atlanta
||Is an older design “glovebox” facility.
|National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility(NBAF), Kansas State University
||United States, Kansas,Manhattan
||Under construction. Facility to be operated by the Department of Homeland Security, and replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (which is not a BSL-4 facility). Planned to be operational by 2015, but likely delayed.
|National Institutes of Health (NIH)
||United States,Maryland, Bethesda
||Located on the NIH Campus, it currently only operates with BSL-3 agents.
|Integrated Research Facility
||United States,Maryland, Fort Detrick
||Under construction. This facility will be operated by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), it is planned to begin operating at 2009 at the earliest.
|National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC)
||United States,Maryland, Fort Detrick
||Under construction, it will be operated for the Department of Homeland Security.
|US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
||United States,Maryland, Fort Detrick
|US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
||United States,Maryland, Fort Detrick
||New building, currently under construction
|National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL), Boston University
||United States,Massachusetts, Boston
||Under construction by Boston University, building and staff training complete, waiting for regulatory approval.
|NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories
||United States, Montana,Hamilton
||National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
|Kent State University, Kent Campus
||United States, Ohio,Kent
||Operates as a clean lab at level 3 for training purposes. Scheduled for conversion to a hot level 4 lab in response to a bioterrorism event in the USA.
|Galveston National Laboratory, National Biocontainment Facility
||United States, Texas,Galveston
||Opened in 2008, facility is operated by the University of Texas Medical Branch.
||United States, Texas,Galveston
||Operated by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).
|Texas Biomedical Research Institute
||United States, Texas,San Antonio
||The only privately owned BSL-4 lab in the US.
Texas Ebola patient’s remains will be cremated
updated 3:28 PM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
(CNN) — [Breaking news update, posted at 3:28 p.m. ET]
The body of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died in Texas from Ebola, will be cremated, state health officials said Wednesday.
Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas said Wednesday that he told Duncan’s partner of his death. “It was a painful and difficult time for her. She reacted as almost anyone would, with great shock and despair. She expressed that in her own personal way, with great emotion,” Mason told reporters.
Duncan’s family members were devastated upon learning of his death, Mason said, and worried that “this will be the course that their life will take next.”
Duncan’s partner responded with many “what ifs” about his care when she learned about his death from Ebola, Mason said.
“She is not seeking to create any kinds of divisions in our community over this. She certainly, like all of us, would want to see justice done. She wants to see that people are treated well and treated fairly, and that includes Mr. Duncan. But this is a human drama. It’s not a political drama. … It is a drama of human grief,” Mason said.
A memorial for Duncan be held Wednesday evening, Mason said. The event was originally planned as a prayer vigil, but will now be a memorial for Duncan, Mason said.
[Previous story, posted at 2:49 p.m. ET]
(CNN) — Thomas Eric Duncan, a man with Ebola who traveled to the United States from Liberia, died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital said.
He had been in critical condition after being diagnosed with the virus in mid-September. People who had contact with the 42-year-old Liberian national are being monitored for symptoms.
Read more: Who was Duncan?
Louise Troh, Duncan’s longtime partner, said through a public relations firm that she believes “a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care.”
“I am now dealing with the sorrow and anger that his son was not able to see him before he died,” Troh said. “This will take some time, but in the end, I believe in a merciful God.”
Did Duncan know he had Ebola?
U.S. to check travelers for fevers
Some members of Duncan’s family are being monitored for the virus — their temperatures taken twice daily — to make sure they don’t have symptoms. Ebola can take 21 days to show itself. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Tuesday, they had not shown any symptoms.
Several who have had contact with him were moved to a secure location Friday.
After word of the death, CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman went to a Dallas apartment where Duncan’s family members were previously and spoke with the adult daughter of Duncan’s partner.
The daughter, Youngor Jallah, is not considered to have come into contact with Duncan. She was crying and declined to speak, though she did say the family had received a call from the hospital and knew that Duncan had died.
Five Dallas schoolchildren who possibly had contact with Duncan remain on the school district’s homebound program during the 21-day wait, and none are showing symptoms, the district said Wednesday.
It has just been a little over a week since Duncan was hospitalized for treatment.
Those days have been an “enormous test of our health system,” said Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“For one family it has been far more personal,” he said in a statement. “Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts.”
He vowed that health care workers will continue to try to stop the spread of the virus “and protect people from this threat.”
The Ebola virus can live in dead bodies, the CDC says, and it can be transmitted after death if the body is cut, body fluids are splashed, or if the body is handled. Only personnel trained in handling infected human remains, wearing protective gear, should touch or move Ebola-infected remains, the agency says. An autopsy should be avoided, it says, but if one is necessary, the CDC should be consulted.
New measures at U.S. airports to screen for people possibly carrying the Ebola virus will include taking passengers’ temperatures and handing them questionnaires, according to a federal official and a second person briefed on an announcement the federal government plans to make Wednesday.
The enhanced methods, focused on people coming from West African nations hit by the Ebola crisis, will begin soon at New York’s JFK airport and then expand to four other major international airports: Newark, Chicago, Washington Dulles and Atlanta.
A federal official says the enhanced screening will apply only to passengers arriving from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
The new measures at U.S. airports come a day after Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, told reporters that devising travel guidelines was in the works but nothing had yet been finalized enough to announce.
Can you catch Ebola on a plane?
The Ebola virus can spread through contact with bodily fluids — blood, sweat, feces, vomit, semen and saliva — and only by someone who is showing symptoms, according to the CDC.
People with Ebola may not be symptomatic for up to 21 days.
Symptoms generally occur abruptly eight to 10 days after infection, though that period can range from two to 21 days, health officials say.
Air travelers must keep in mind that Ebola is not transmitted through the air, said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.
“There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood,” he stressed.
Questions about Duncan’s case
Duncan came to the U.S. to visit family and friends, departing Liberia on September 19, according to the CDC. It was his first trip to America, his half-brother Wilfred Smallwood said. Liberian authorities said he was screened for Ebola before flying.
It’s unclear how he got Ebola, but witnesses have said that he had been helping victims of the virus in Liberia, and The New York Times said he’d had direct contact with an Ebola-stricken pregnant woman. Duncan answered “no” to questions about whether he’d cared for someone with the virus.
His symptoms first appeared “four to five days” after he landed in the U.S., Frieden said.
Duncan went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after 10 p.m. on September 25 and was treated for a fever, vomiting and abdominal pain — all symptoms of Ebola — but he was sent home with antibiotics and a pain reliever and was not screened for Ebola.
He returned two days later and was then tested for Ebola, after which his treatment at the hospital began.
There are a lot of questions about the handling of Duncan’s case.
Dr. Alex Van Tulleken, an expert in tropical diseases at Fordham University in New York who is not involved in the case, said on CNN on Wednesday that the two-day lag time could have been “significant.”
Cases in Europe
Meanwhile, Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for the European Commission, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been eight confirmed cases of Ebola in European countries. There is one case in the United Kingdom that has been treated and the person has recovered; one case in France like that; two cases in Germany in which patients are receiving treatment; and three cases in Spain: two deceased Spanish missionaries and a nurse’s assistant who is being treated.
There is also a case in which a Norwegian staffer with Doctors Without Borders is being treated, he said.
Also in Spain, health officials said four more potential Ebola cases — in addition to the nurse’s assistant — are under observation.
The nurse’s assistant said that she had no idea how she had contracted the virus, but a doctor treating her said that she may have been exposed while she removed her protective suit.
Dr. German Ramirez said the assistant, who is in isolation at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital, had told him it was possible that a part of the suit — possibly the gloves — touched her face.
On Wednesday, top British officials discussed ways to contain the virus. Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the meeting, received the latest updates about the United Kingdom’s efforts in Sierra Leone, where it has provided support. The UK will also deploy 750 defense personnel to help establish the Ebola treatment centers.
U.S. personnel are also being deployed.
Read more: Pentagon says troops heading to West Africa
Cases in West Africa
The globe’s largest outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since March, more than 7,400 people have contracted Ebola in those nations, according to the World Health Organization.
The CDC is tracking the latest cases in the region.
NBC News freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo was diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia on Thursday. He left Liberia on a specially equipped plane Sunday and was headed to Nebraska, the network reported.
Mukpo is in stable condition at The Nebraska Medical Center, hospital representative Taylor Wilson said Wednesday.
The CDC’s Frieden said Tuesday that battling the virus will be a “long, hard fight.”
“The virus is spreading so fast,” he said, “that it’s hard to keep up.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Steven Jay Hatfill (born October 24, 1953) is an American physician, virologist and bio-weapons expert who underwent what was considered by many to be a trial by media with great toll on his personal and professional life. After eight months of pressure from the media and amateur detectives, the US Department of Justice identified the former government scientist as a “person of interest” in its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. FBIsearches of his apartment in July and August 2002 were well-attended by journalists, many of whom had been pointing at Hatfill for months. Hatfill later sued the government for ruining his reputation, a case which the government settled for US$ 5.8 million. He also filed lawsuits against several periodicals that had identified him as a figure warranting further investigation. Hatfill’s lawsuit against The New York Times was dismissed on the grounds that he was a “public figure” and malice had not been proven. His lawsuit against Vanity Fair and Reader’s Digest was settled out of court, and the details were not disclosed. FBI and DOJ officials later blamed another government scientist, Bruce Edwards Ivins, although questions about the validity of that assertion have persisted.
Early life and education
Hatfill was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Mattoon Senior High School, Mattoon, Illinois (1971), and Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas (1975), where he studied biology.
Hatfill was enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army from 1975 to 1977. (In 1999, he would tell a journalist during an interview that he had been a “captain in the U.S. Special Forces“, but in a subsequent investigation the Army stated that he had never served with the Special Forces.) Following his Army discharge, Hatfill qualified and worked as a medical laboratory technician, but soon resolved to become a doctor.
Hatfill then settled in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) entering the Godfrey Huggins Medical School in Salisbury (now Harare) in 1978. (His claimed military associations during this period included assistance as a medic with the Selous Scouts and membership in theRhodesian SAS, but according to one journalist the regimental association of the latter is “adamant Hatfill never belonged to the unit”.) He graduated (after failing in 1983) with a M ChB degree in 1984 and then completed a one year internship (1984–85) at a small rural hospital in South Africa’s North West Province. The South African government recruited him to be medical officer on a 14 month (1986–88) tour of duty in Antarctica with the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE). He then completed (1988) a master’s degree in microbiology at the University of Cape Town. He worked toward a second master’s (1990; medical biochemistry and radiation biology) at the University of Stellenbosch, while working again as a paid med tech in the University’s clinical hematology lab. A 3-yearhematological pathology residency (1991–93) at Stellenbosch followed, during which time Hatfill conducted research on the treatment of leukemia with thalidomide. This research, toward an anticipated PhD degree, was conducted (1992–95) under the supervision of Professor Ralph Kirby at Rhodes University.
Hatfill submitted his PhD thesis for examination to Rhodes in January 1995, but it was failed in November and no degree was ever granted. Hatfill later claimed a Ph.D. degree in “molecular cell biology” from Rhodes, as well as completion of a post-doctoral fellowship (1994–95) at the University of Oxford in England and three master’s degrees (in microbial genetics, medical biochemistry, and experimental pathology). Some of these credentials have been questioned. During a later investigation, officials at Rhodes insisted that he had never been awarded a Ph.D. from their institution. (In 2007, Hatfill’s lawyer Tom Connolly — in his lawsuit against former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI — admitted that his client had “Puffed on his resume. Absolutely. Forged a diploma. Yes, that’s true.”)
Back in the U.S., another of Hatfill’s post-doctoral appointments commenced at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1995. He subsequently worked (1997–99) as a civilian researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. Department of Defense‘s medical research institute for biological warfare (BW) defense at Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD. There he studied, under aNational Research Council fellowship, new drug treatments for the Ebola virus and became a specialist in virology and BW defense.
In January 1999 Hatfill transferred to a “consulting job” at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which has a “sprawling campus” in nearby McLean, Virginia. The corporation did work for a multitude of federal agencies. Many projects were classified.
By this time there had been a number of hoax anthrax mailings in the United States. Hatfill and his collaborator, SAIC vice president Joseph Soukup, commissioned William C. Patrick, retired head of the old US bioweapons program (who had also been a mentor of Hatfill) to write a report on the possibilities of terrorist anthrax mailing attacks. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (director of the Federation of American Scientists‘ biochem weapons working group in 2002) said that the report was commissioned “under a CIA contract to SAIC”. However, SAIC said Hatfill and Soukup commissioned it internally — there was no outside client.
The resulting report, dated February 1999, was subsequently seen by some as a “blueprint” for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Amongst other things, it suggested the maximum amount of anthrax powder – 2.5 grams – that could be put in an envelope without making a suspicious bulge. The quantity in the envelope sent to Senator Patrick Leahy in October 2001 was .871 grams. After the attacks, the report drew the attention of the media and others, and led to their investigation of Patrick and Hatfill.
Assertions by Rosenberg
In October 2001, as soon as it became known that the Ames strain of anthrax had been used in the attacks, Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and others began suggesting that the attack might be the work of a “rogue CIA agent”, and they provided the name of the “most likely” person to the FBI. On November 21, 2001, Rosenberg made similar statements to the Biological and Toxic Weapons convention in Geneva. In December 2001, she published “A Compilation of Evidence and Comments on the Source of the Mailed Anthrax” via the web site of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) suggesting the attacks were “perpetrated with the unwitting assistance of a sophisticated government program”.
Rosenberg discussed the case with reporters from the New York Times. On January 4, 2002, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times published a column titled “Profile of a Killer” stating “I think I know who sent out the anthrax last fall.” For months, Rosenberg gave speeches and stated her beliefs to many reporters from around the world. She posted “Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks” to the FAS web site on January 17, 2002. On February 5, 2002 she published an article called “Is the FBI Dragging Its Feet?” At the time, the FBI denied reports that investigators had identified a chief suspect, saying “There is no prime suspect in this case at this time.” The Washington Post reported that “FBI officials over the last week have flatly discounted Dr. Rosenberg’s claims.”
On June 13, 2002, Rosenberg posted “The Anthrax Case: What the FBI Knows” to the FAS site. On June 18, 2002, Rosenberg presented her theories to senate staffers working for Senators Daschle and Leahy. One week later, on June 25, the FBI publicly searched Hatfill’s apartment, turning him into a household name. “The FBI also pointed out that Hatfill had agreed to the search and is not considered a suspect.” Both The American Prospect and Salon.com reported that “Hatfill is not a suspect in the anthrax case, the FBI says.” On August 3, 2002, Rosenberg told the media that the FBI asked her if “a team of government scientists could be trying to frame Steven J. Hatfill.”
Person of interest
In August 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft labeled Hatfill a “person of interest” in a press conference, although no charges were brought against him. Hatfill, a virologist, vehemently denied he had anything to do with the anthrax (bacteria) mailings and sued the FBI, the Justice Department, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, and others for violating his constitutional rights and for violating the Privacy Act. On June 27, 2008, the Department of Justice announced it would settle Hatfill’s case for $5.8 million.
Hatfill later went to work at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA. In September 2001 SAIC was commissioned by the Pentagon to create a replica of a mobile WMD “laboratory”, alleged to have been used by Saddam Hussein, who was President of Iraq at the time. The Pentagon claimed the trailer was to be used as a training aid for teams seeking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
His lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg, stated: “Steve’s life has been devastated by a drumbeat of innuendo, implication and speculation. We have a frightening public attack on an individual who, guilty or not, should not be exposed to this type of public opprobrium based on speculation.”
In an embarrassing incident, FBI agents trailing Hatfill in a motor vehicle ran over his foot when he attempted to approach them in May 2003. Police responding to the incident did not cite the driver, but issued Hatfill a citation for “walking to create a hazard”. He and his attorneys fought the ticket, but a hearing officer upheld the ticket and ordered Hatfill to pay the requisite $5 fine.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III changed leadership of the investigation in late 2006, and at that time another suspect, USAMRIID bacteriologist Bruce Ivins, became the main focus of the investigation. Considerable questions have been raised, however, about the credibility of the case against Ivins as well.
60 Minutes interview
Hatfill’s lawyer, Tom Connolly, was featured in a CBS News 60 Minutes interview about the anthrax incidents on March 11, 2007. In the interview it was revealed that Hatfill forged a Ph.D. degree certificate. “It is true. It is true that he has puffed on his resume. Absolutely”, Connolly acknowledged. “Forged a diploma. Yes, that’s true.” He went on to state, “Listen, if puffing on your resume made you the anthrax killer, then half this town should be suspect.”
The New York Times stated in their paper that Hatfill had obtained an anti-anthrax medicine (ciprofloxacin) immediately prior to the anthrax mailings. Connolly explained, “Before the attacks he had surgery. So yes, he’s on Cipro. But the fuller truth is in fact he was on Cipro because a doctor gave it to him after sinus surgery”. Hatfill had previously said the antibiotic was for a lingering sinus infection. The omission in the Times’ article, of the reason why he had been taking Cipro, is one reason Hatfill sued the newspaper. The newspaper won a summary judgment ruling in early 2007, squelching the libel suit that had been filed by Steven Hatfill against it and columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Hatfill v. John Ashcroft, et al.
On the 26th of August 2003, Hatfill filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft, the United States Department of Justice, DOJ employees Timothy Beres and Daryl Darnell, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Van Harp and an unknown number of FBI agents.
On March 30, 2007, US District Judge Reggie Walton issued an order warning Hatfill that he could lose his civil lawsuit over the leaks if he did not compel journalists to name their sources. He gave Hatfill until April 16 to decide whether to press the journalists to give up their sources.
On April 16, Hatfill gave notice that he would “proceed with discovery to attempt to obtain the identity of the alleged source or sources at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation who allegedly provided information to news reporters concerning the criminal investigation of Dr. Hatfill.”
On April 27, 2007, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, federal prosecutors
wrote that Steven Hatfill had overstepped court orders allowing him to compel testimony from reporters whom he had already questioned and had instead “served a new round of subpoenas” on organizations “that he failed to question during the discovery period.”
During the first round of depositions, Hatfill subpoenaed six reporters: Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek, Brian Ross of ABC, Allan Lengel of The Washington Post, Jim Stewart of CBS, and Toni Locy of USA Today.
Hatfill now has subpoenaed eight news organizations, including three that he didn’t name before: The New York Times (Nicolas Kristof, David Johnson, William Broad, Kate Zernike, Judith Miller, Scott Shane, and Frank D. Roylance), The Baltimore Sun (Gretchen Parker and Curt Anderson), and the Associated Press. Subpoenas for Washington Post writers Marilyn W. Thompson, David Snyder, Guy Gugliotta, Tom Jackman, Dan Eggen and Carol D. Loenning, and for Mark Miller of Newsweek, are now included.
The Justice Department responded to Hatfill’s subpoenas, saying that they went too far. “The court should reject this attempt to expand discovery,” prosecutors wrote. In a status conference on Friday 11 January 2008, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered the attorneys for the government and for Hatfill to seek mediation over the next two months. According to the Scheduling Order, the parties will be in mediation from January 14 until May 14, 2008. The prospects of a mediated settlement notwithstanding, Walton said he expected that a trial on the lawsuit could begin in December. Afterward, Hatfill’s attorney Mark A. Grannis said: “The court has set a schedule for bringing this case to trial this year, and we’re very pleased at the prospect that Dr. Hatfill will finally have his day in court.”
On March 7, 2008, Toni Locy of USA Today was ordered to personally pay contempt of court fines of up to $5,000 a day which begin the following Tuesday, until she identifies her sources.
On June 27, 2008 Hatfill was exonerated by the government and a settlement was announced in which the Justice Department has agreed to pay $4.6 million (consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying $150,000 a year for 20 years) to settle the lawsuit in which Hatfill claimed the Justice Department violated his privacy rights by speaking with reporters about the case.
Hatfill v. The New York Times
In July 2004, Hatfill filed a lawsuit against The New York Times Company and Nicholas D. Kristof.
In a sealed motion on December 29, 2006, The New York Times argued that the classification restrictions imposed on the case were tantamount to an assertion of the state secrets privilege. Times attorneys cited the case law on state secrets to support their argument that the case should be dismissed. The “state secrets” doctrine, they said, “precludes a case from proceeding to trial when national security precludes a party from obtaining evidence that is… necessary to support a valid defense. Dismissal is warranted in this case because the Times has been denied access to such evidence, specifically documents and testimony concerning the work done by plaintiff [Hatfill] on classified government projects relating to bioweapons, including anthrax.”
A redacted copy of the December 29, 2006 New York Times Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant’s Motion for an Order Dismissing the Complaint Under the “State Secrets” Doctrine was obtained by Secrecy News.
Attorneys for Hatfill filed a sealed response on January 12, 2007 in opposition to the motion for dismissal on state secrets grounds. A redacted copy of their opposition has been made available by Secrecy News.
On January 12, 2007, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Hatfill against The New York Times.
On January 30, 2007, Judge Hilton’s order dismissing the Hatfill v. The New York Times was made public, along with a Memorandum Opinion explaining his ruling.Kenneth A. Richieri, Vice President and General Counsel of The New York Times scored what he called a “very satisfying win” at the beginning of 2007 in the Eastern District of Virginia. The newspaper won a summary judgment ruling squelching a libel suit that had been filed by anthrax poisoning “person of interest” Steven Hatfill against it and columnist Nicholas Kristof.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the trial court, ruling that a jury should decide that issue. In March 2008, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari in the case, effectively leaving the appeals court decision in place.
The case was dismissed in a Summary Judgment on January 12, 2007. The appeals were heard on March 21, 2008, and the dismissal was upheld by the appeals court on July 14, 2008. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and was rejected by the Supreme Court on Dec. 15, 2008. The basis for the dismissal was that Dr. Hatfill was a “public figure”, and he had not proved malice on the part of The New York Times.
Hatfill v. Foster
Donald Foster, an expert in forensic linguistics, advised the FBI during the investigation of the anthrax attacks. He later wrote an article for Vanity Fair about his investigation of Hatfill. In the October 2003 article Foster described how he had tried to match up Hatfill’s travels with the postmarks on the anthrax letters, and analyzed old interviews and an unpublished novel by Hatfill about a bioterror attack on the United States. Foster wrote that “When I lined up Hatfill’s known movements with the postmark locations of reported biothreats, those hoax anthrax attacks appeared to trail him like a vapor cloud”.
Hatfill subsequently sued Donald Foster, Condé Nast Publications, Vassar College, and The Reader’s Digest Association. The suit sought $10 million in damages, claiming defamation. The Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the article in December 2003.
The lawyers delayed bringing the Hatfill v. Foster lawsuit to court because “the parties are close to finalizing the settlement”.
On February 27, 2007, The New York Sun reported that he settled without a trial.
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Obama: U.S. strategy over Islamic State requires Sunni cooperation in Iraq, Syria
News Wrap: Islamic State executes captured Syrian fighters
Beyond Iraq, what’s next for the Islamic State?
What is ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State?
Is the U.S. underestimating the Islamic State?
The Islamic State (Full Length)
Irreconcilable differences: genocide in Iraq, Part 1
By Raymond Thomas Pronk
Map of Iraq. Credit: theguardian.com
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, when asked in November 2008 what one word best describes Iraq, answered “fear.” Today it’s terror.
When Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008, he said in his victory speech “To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you.”
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), certainly qualifies as a terrorist army of extremist fanatics who want to “tear down the world” and transform it into a global Islamic state, called the caliphate, ruled by Islamic Shariah law.
The last caliphate was the Ottoman Empire until its collapse in 1918. It was abolished in 1922 and included what is today the nations of Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria,, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
In World War I (1914-1918) the Allied Powers including Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States defeated the Central Powers of Austria-Hungry, German and Ottoman Empires. The victorious nations split up the Ottoman Empire into a number of nations including Iraq and Syria.
States or governments kill people, especially when they go to war. About 16 million died in World War I of which an estimated 8 to nearly 11 million were military and about 2 to nearly 7 million were civilian deaths. Another 22 to 23 million were wounded military casualties.
When governments systematically kill people due to their ethnic, national, racial or religious group membership, it is called genocide, a term coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin that combines the Greek genos (“race, people”) and Latin cidere (“to kill”).
Today, according to Dr. Hisham al-Hashimi, Iraq’s leading expert on ISIS, “I would say there are now between 30,000 and 50,000 of them. Of those, I would say 30 percent are ideologues. The others have joined out of fear or coercion.” They are noted for their brutality and violence directed primarily at Iraq Shia Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities and the Iraq army, police and government dominated by Shia Muslims.
On June 29, ISIS changed its name to Islamic State and proclaimed a caliphate with its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, named caliph. The Islamic State is systematically killing those who do not share their religious Sunni Islamic faith, including Shia Iraqis, Sunni Kurds, Yasidis, Christians and those who do not speak Arabic and do not obey Sharia law.
The genocidal atrocities committed by the Islamic State are graphically displayed and documented in many videos posted on YouTube and used by the Islamic State as propaganda to terrorize all those living in Iraq as well as abroad. Iraqis fleeing their homes and communities are literally running for their lives.
The inspiration of most modern violent Islamic terrorist jihadist groups including Hamas, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is the Muslim Brotherhood, also known as the Ikhwan and Society of Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by a school teacher, Hassan al-Banna. .
The Brotherhood is a totalitarian and Islamic supremacist movement that seeks world domination mainly through violent jihad or holy war as mandated by Allah through his prophet, Mohammed. One of Mohammed’s final “revelations” set out in the Quran is the “Verse of the Sword” which states in part: “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.” (9:5)
The doctrine of a violent or offense jihad or holy war against all infidels of other religious faiths including Christians, Jews, Hindis, and Buddhists is the mainstream interpretation of Islamic scripture, not just the interpretation of terrorist Jihadists such as the newly created Islamic State.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the world’s most well-known and respected Sunni clerics and Islamic scholars based in Qatar who broadcasts a weekly program on al-Jazeera, “Shariah and Life” to an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide. Al Qaradawi is the spiritual leader of Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has sanctioned the use by the Palestine brothers of suicide bombings in Israel as divine justice and stated Shias are not Muslims and must be killed, according to videos posted on YouTube. He inspires the Islamic State’s genocide in Iraq of Shias, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians and other religious minorities.
What motivates the Muslims of the Islamic State to embrace the violent jihadist ideology? A former terrorist named Tawik Hamid explains how he embraced the jihidist mindset of the violent Islamic Salafi sect: “I passed through three psychological stages to reach this level of comfort with death: hatred of non-Muslims or dissenting Muslims; suppression of my conscience; and acceptance of violence in the service of Allah. Salafi religious indoctrination played a major role in this process. Salafists promoted our hatred for non-Muslims …” quoted in the book authored by Erick Stakelbeck, “The Terrorist Next Door.”
The Islamic State’s violent jihadist ideology and indoctrination directly leads to the systematic killing or genocide of those who do not share their religious beliefs and ideology. Convert or be killed.
Parst 2 and 3 of this column will address how Obama and the U.S. government are responding to the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State and their continuing genocide or mass murder in Iraq and Syria.
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Story 1: Russian Separatist Rebels in Ukraine Shot Down Malaysian Airline Flight MH 17 Killing 298 Passengers and Crew With A Russian Provided SA 11 Gadfly Surface to Air Missile (SAM) From A BUK Launcher — Videos
Scenes reminiscent of MH370 disaster as distraught MH17 relatives gather at airports to learn the fate of their missing loved ones
- Relatives gathered at airports in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur
- Nine Britons and 27 Australians were among those on board, according to Dutch authorities
- Fears that up to 23 Americans could have been on Malaysian Airlines flight
- Plane was shot down over territory held by Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine
Clutching the side of an escalator for support, one man weeps after finding out the fate of his relative at an information point set up at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, where the doomed plane took off from at lunchtime today.
At Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where flight MH 17 was due to land shortly after 6am local time on Friday morning, women cry into tissues as they hear about the fate of their loved ones.
Up to 100 children were thought to be among the 283 passengers and 15 crew who died when the plane was shot down in an ‘act of terrorism’ on the Russia-Ukraine border.
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A woman who believes that a relative was travelling on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 cries as she waits for more information about the crashed plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A relative of a passenger on flight MH17 walks past members of the press as he arrives at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, to find out more information
A woman sobs on the phone after finding out the fate of her relative who was on board flight MH17. A full passenger list of those who were travelling on the plane has still not been published
A man clutches his head in anguish as he leaves Schiphol airport on a bus provided for the families of passengers travelling on MH17
A woman weeps into a tissue after hearing news regarding a relative who was travelling on the plane. She was one of a group of people who gathered in Kuala Lumpur International Airport early on Friday morning local time
Izzy Sim is visibly shaken after learning that she cheated death
Nine British passengers are among the 298 feared dead after a Malaysian Airlines plane was ‘shot down’ on the Russia-Ukraine border, according to Dutch authorities.
There were are fears that there were up to 23 Americans on the flight, though it has yet to be confirmed that any were on board.
In one image taken from the crash site, a pile of passports can be seen scattered amid the rubble.
Witnesses say body parts are scattered over a distance of 15km, suggesting the plane broke up in mid-air.
As shocking images emerged of bodies amid the smouldering wreckage of the Boeing 777 it raised concerns of renewed tension between the US and Russia.
A woman lights a candle in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev on Thursday night to commemorate passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
A young girl places her head on a teddy bear as people around her light candles at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev. They gathered on Thursday night to pay tribute to those on flight MH17
Flowers, signs and candles line the street in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev. They commemorate the 295 passengers who died when flight MH17 was shot down
Tearful family members leave Schiphol airport in a bus provided after finding out the fate of their relatives. The crash site was littered with remains of charred passports
A tearful couple, who had loved ones on board flight MH 17, hold on to each other for support as they leave Schiphol airport on Thursday evening
Relatives, eyes red from crying, head towards the area in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam where family members of the victims are gathering to await further information
A family anxiously await news of passengers on flight MH17 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport early on Friday morning local time
Smoke and debris believed to be from flight MH17 falling to Earth
Pictures and footage taken from the wreckage show the charred remains of passports and suitcases scattered on the crash site.
MH17: DEATH TOLL SO FAR
154 Dutch nationals 45 Malaysians (including 15 crew members) 27 Australians 12 Indonesians Nine Britons Four Germans Four Belgians Three Filipinos One Canadian 41 unconfirmed
Emergency workers are seen tackling the blazes that broke out after the aircraft crashed near Donestsk, where pro-Russian rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government forces. TV pictures from the scene showed a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft. Among those feared dead is a Dutch man who posted a photo on Facebook of the plane on the tarmac just hours before the crash.
Initially, friends commented on the photo wishing him happy holidays. But their messages turned to ones of concern once news of the crash broke.
Based on the number of flights leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, and the timing of his Facebook status, it is feared he was on the fated flight. His cousin later posted the flight number beneath the picture and shortly after friends began leaving messages saying ‘rest in peace’. Another said that his girlfriend was on the flight with him.
A relative of passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam speaks on the phone as he waits for information outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A couple walks towards the information point at Schiphol Airport that has been set up for loved ones of passengers travelling on flight MH17
One passenger is believed to have posted this picture of the doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine
Passports from some of the doomed passengers on-board MH17 found
Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘I’m shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster. Officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts.’
In a statement on Thursday night Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: ‘We do believe that there were British Nationals on board the flight we’re currently working through passenger data cross checking it and referencing it to establish exactly the numbers and identities of those British nationals and as soon as we have further information we will be in contact with the families.’
It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace.
Russian news footage taken from the crash site shows passports on the ground among the wreckage of MH17
A suitcase is found among the wreckage of flight MH17. Six British passengers were killed after the aircraft was shot down, according to Dutch authorities
Suitcases and bags are pictured at the crash site of Malaysian Airways flight MH17
A spokesman from the Foreign Office would not be drawn on whether any British nationals had been on board the plane.
‘We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened,’ he said.
Asked about reports that up to 10 British people had been on board, the spokesman added: ‘Our first priority is to establish if there are any British persons on board but we are not in a position to go beyond that line.’
David Cameron has summoned officials from across Whitehall for urgent talks at 7pm to discuss the latest on the crash, and what is known about any British casualties.
The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board.
Malaysian Airlines said they have no information about any survivors.
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
Charred plane parts litter the ground at the crash site of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
Firefighters put out smouldering wreckage of ‘shot down’ MH17
In a tweet, the airline said: ‘Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.’
A Boeing spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones.
‘Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities.’
The jet would have been flying at high altitude on an intercontinental flight that took it over the crisis hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft.
A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine
Carnage: A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine
Kuala Lumpur International airport after plane downed
The crash comes four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which is thought to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. Two weeks ago, investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean. The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane’s black box recorders were heard along a final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location
2014 – BBC World News – Obama: US Has Evidence MAS Plane Shot Down from Inside Ukraine – 19/7/14
Malaysian MH17 : SA 11 Buk Missile Dating to Soviet Era Eyed in MH17 Attack
U.S. Evidence Points to Separatist Missile Downing Airliner
Flight MH17: Ukraine releases video of ‘Buk missile unit’
Footage Emerges Of BUK Missile Launcher Being Smuggled Back To Russia ~ MISSING TOW ROCKETS!!!
Malaysia Airlines MH17 killed by Buk missile launcher in Ukraine rebel territory
SA-11 Gadfly (9К37 Бук) Soviet SAM System
The Buk missile system is the successor to the NIIP/Vympel 2K12 Kub (NATO reporting name SA-6 “Gainful”).
The first version of Buk adopted into service carried the GRAU designation 9K37 and was identified in the west with the NATO reporting name “Gadfly” as well as the US Department of Defense designation SA-11. Designed: 1972-1977, testing in 1977-1978, operation in 1979
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 Crash: Timeline Of Flight MH17 Malaysian Plane Shot Down In Ukraine
List of Nationalities Aboard Malaysia Airlines MH-17
Obama says Malaysian plane shot down by missile from rebel-held part of Ukraine
President Obama said Friday that a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people, including at least one U.S. citizen, was evidently shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. In a White House news conference a day after the Boeing 777 crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Obama stopped short of saying who fired the missile or directly blaming Russia for the deaths, which he called “an outrage of unspeakable proportions.” But he said the separatists “have received a steady flow of support from Russia,” including heavy arms, training and antiaircraft weapons. Pointing to rebel claims to have shot down several Ukrainian aircraft in recent weeks, including a Ukrainian fighter jet, Obama said it was “not possible for these separatists to function the way they’re functioning . . . without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training, and that is coming from Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin “has the most control over that situation, and so far at least, he has not exercised it,” Obama said. He spoke after U.S. officials disclosed a preliminary intelligence assessment indicating that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was likely shot down by pro-Russian separatists with an SA-11 missile. The SA-11 is an early version of the Buk antiaircraft system that was previously identified by Ukrainian authorities as the weapon used to bring down the airliner.
As emergency workers continue to search for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 after it was shot down near the Russian border, world leaders are calling for a cease-fire in Ukraine. (AP)
In public statements, senior members of the administration from the president down did not specify the perpetrators of the shootdown, although they made it clear that the rebels are the likeliest suspects.
Because of the “technical complexity” of the Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, “it is impossible to rule out Russian technical assistance” to the separatists in operating it, Samantha Power , the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council earlier Friday. Separately, military and intelligence officials said Friday that the United States has gathered a significant body of evidence that Ukrainian separatists have been trained on Russian territory in recent weeks to fire antiaircraft missiles. Obama identified the American victim on the plane as Quinn Lucas Schansman, a 19-year-old U.S.-Dutch dual national who reportedly lived in Amsterdam and was traveling to Kuala Lumpur to meet his family for a vacation. The president called for “a credible international investigation” into the tragedy and urged Russia to cooperate with it. As the shootdown sent the Ukraine war into the realm of international crisis, Obama called it a “global tragedy,” saying that “it is not going to be localized; it is not going to be contained.” He joined calls for an international investigation and said investigators from the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board have already been dispatched. At an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Friday morning, Power was much more direct in holding Russia responsible for the shootdown, detailing the volume of weapons and other assistance that Moscow has provided to the separatists.
“Russia can end this war,” she said. “Russia must end this war.”
Among the 298 victims, Power said, were 80 children and three listed on the passenger manifest as infants. In response, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin did not directly address charges that Moscow bears responsibility and was complicit in the missile attack. Agreeing that an international investigation is needed, Churkin criticized those who he said are “trying to prejudge the outcome with broad statements and insinuations,” and he accused the Ukrainian government of failing to warn international aviation to avoid the conflict area in eastern Ukraine. “Why did Ukrainian aviation dispatchers send [the Malaysian plane] to an area of strife, where there were antiaircraft systems in operation?” he asked. By continuing its military offensive to dislodge the separatists, Ukraine “chose the wrong path, and their Western colleagues supported them,” Churkin said. “I’m talking about the United States; they actually pushed them to escalate,” he said, and now “they are trying to lay the blame on Russia.” Britain, which lost nine citizens in the crash and called for the emergency Security Council meeting, demanded an independent international investigation. “The immediate priority has to be for investigators to gain access to the crash site,” British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said. “There must be no interfering or tampering with the evidence.” As the council session continued, and before any Russian response, most representatives concentrated on the need for an immediate cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and an independent probe. Many indirectly accused Russia of responsibility for the separatists’ actions, although China cautioned member nations not to “jump to any conclusions . . . or trade accusations.”
Speaking later in the White House briefing room, Obama said it was “too early for us to be able to guess what the intentions were of those who might have launched” the missile. “What we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now, is that a surface-to-air missile was fired, and this is what brought the jet down. . . . That shot was taken within territory that was controlled by the Russian-backed separatists.” The identities of “what individuals or groups of personnel ordered” the strike, he said, are “still subject to additional information that we’re going to be gathering.” But after months of conflict in Ukraine, the shootdown should “snap everyone’s head” to action, he said. “We don’t have time for propaganda; we don’t have time for games.” “Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation,” Obama said. At least in public, the leaders of Germany, France and Britain expressed outrage over the downing of the airliner but were careful not to rush to judgment or publicly accuse Russia. Countries in the region considered more hawkish on Russia, however, were more willing to assign blame. “We are concerned over press reports that the Ukrainian side has captured phone conversation recordings indicating that pro-Russian separatists might be responsible for shooting the plane down,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. British and German leaders were more cautious. “We have some information, but we need to find more information,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. He called for an proper international investigation but added, “until we know more, it’s not really possible to say more.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday pressed Russia to work harder toward a political solution in the Ukrainian conflict. But she also drew a line between the Russians and the separatists. “We’re assuming that the Russian president of course has an influence on Russian separatists,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “But still one has to differentiate between the separatists and the Russian government.” On Wednesday, both the United States and European Union slapped new sanctions on Russia, but the European moves were significantly less stinging. Suggesting Friday that she was in no rush to go further, Merkel called Wednesday’s move “an adequate response to what happened in the past few days.” But she also noted that the E.U. decision had left open the door to “act on a new level” if necessary. As the day wore on, and particularly after the Security Council meeting, the rhetoric grew somewhat harsher. “Those who are responsible for this would forfeit their right to claim their own concerns in the name of humanity,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Mexico City. In France, pressure mounted on the government to cancel the $1.7 billion sale to Russia of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers — capable of transporting 16 attack helicopters, dozens of tanks and 700 soldiers. Philippe Migault, a Russia expert at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations in Paris, said canceling the sale would cost the nation hundreds of jobs, result in a substantial cash penalty and portray France a nation that does not meet its defense contracts.
But, he said, “if there is further evidence of the responsibility of the pro-Russian rebels, there are chances that it might be” canceled. European governments have been more reluctant than the Americans to slap tougher sanctions on the Russians largely due to Moscow’s economic clout in the region. Should the pro-Russian separatists — with the direct or indirect aid of Russia — ultimately be proven responsible for the shootdown, analysts said the calculations in the region could change. “It’s a game-changer because it’s very difficult to see how anyone in Europe can continue as business as usual,” said Jonathan Eyal, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “This time we have our own European casualties. It’s not a theoretical conflict in which people we do not know are dying.” Yet other analysts insisted that the desire of the Europeans to sidestep truly forceful sanctions to protect their economies should not be underestimated. Just as vital to their calculations, analysts said, will be a desire not to take steps that could dramatically ratchet up tensions and prompt the Russians to respond by cutting off important energy supplies to the region. “How Europe reacts, we don’t know. It could go either way,” said Andrew Wilson, senior policy fellow in the London office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Jakov Devcic, deputy bureau chief of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kiev, a group associated with Merkel’s CDU party, said that in Europe, as in the United States, military intervention remained ruled out. But if the rebels are found to have filed the missile, Germany and the E.U. will consider further sanctions, including import bans on luxury goods and, as a second step, moves targeting Russian financial transactions.
The U.S. intelligence assessment that rebels were responsible for the shootdown came as Ukrainian leaders stepped up their condemnation of Russia over the crash, calling for Moscow to be held accountable for allegedly supplying the missile system that they said was used by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. “This is a crime against humanity,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, as he called for swift international justice. “All red lines have been already crossed. . . . We ask our international partners to call an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting and to [do] everything we can to stop this war: a war against Ukraine, a war against Europe, and after these terrorists shot down a Malaysian aircraft, this is a war against the world.” Yatsenyuk added: “Everyone is to be accountable and responsible. I mean everyone who supports these terrorists, including Russians and the Russian regime.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, addressing the nation early Friday, also blamed pro-Russian separatists and those he called their Russian masters for the downing of the Boeing 777 with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The victims included “nearly 100 researchers and advocates” who were en route from Amsterdam via Kuala Lumpur to attend an AIDS conference in Australia, Obama said. “They were taken from us in a senseless act of violence,” he said. AIDS conference organizers have confirmed only seven names and said they think the number of people flying to the conference on the Malaysian flight could be much lower than 100.
“War has gone beyond the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said earlier Friday. “Consequences of this war have already reached the whole world.” Russia and the separatists both denied any responsibility for the shootdown, pinning the blame instead on the Ukrainian government. But Poroshenko said recordings of what the Ukraine Security Service described as intercepted phone conversations between separatist rebels and Russian intelligence officials implicated them in the shootdown. The Security Service released new recordings Friday in which it said rebels discussed possessing and moving the Russian-made Buk missile launcher that Ukraine says shot down the airliner. The Ukrainian government released video purporting to show rebels moving a Buk antiaircraft missile system to the Russian border Friday from eastern Ukraine. The government claimed that the missile-launcher was missing one of its missiles. Neither the claims nor the authenticity of the video could be independently verified. Russia pushed back Friday, accusing Poroshenko of poisoning efforts to investigate the crash. A rebel leader on Thursday had briefly claimed responsibility for downing a plane that he described as a Ukrainian military aircraft. Soon after it was established that a commercial airliner had been shot down, the claim was removed. Ukraine’s top intelligence official said Friday that the plane crash was being investigated as a criminal case under Ukraine’s terrorism laws. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, head of the Ukraine Security Service, said Ukraine now believes that the Boeing 777 was shot down by rebel forces using a Buk antiaircraft missile launcher that had recently been moved over the border from Russia. He said Ukraine has detained two Russian citizens who allegedly helped bring the missile launcher into Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence services also observed rebels trying to move back into Russia a Buk launcher that had fired two missiles, he added. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claims.
“The terrorists are trying to hide the crime,” Nalyvaichenko said. The Ukraine Security Service on Friday released a second series of recordings of what it said were intercepted phone calls between pro-Russian separatists over the last few days, in which the voices describe being in possession of and moving the Buk missile launcher. In the first conversation, which the Security Service said took place on July 14, an alleged rebel called “Oleg” said he missed a plane flying above a village. “We already have the Buk,” a woman identified as “Oreon” told him. “We’ll be knocking it down.” The Security Service said that on additional tapes from July 17, rebels discuss moving the Buk launcher. “Where do we ship this beauty to, Nikolayevich?” asked an alleged rebel identified by the Security Service as “Buryat.” “It’s not necessary to hide it anywhere,” came the reply. The rebel identified as Nikolayevich, also known as “Khmuri,” also talked about stocks of other weapons and the rebels’ relationship with the Russians at one point. “The thing is, we have Grads, but no spotters,” he said, referring to the mobile, Russian-made multiple rocket launcher. “We are waiting. Supposedly Russia should strike from that side at their positions.” In recent months, the rebels have shot down numerous Ukrainian military aircraft using short-range surface-to-air missiles. Experts said such missiles probably could not reach a plane flying at 33,000 feet, the reported altitude of Flight 17. But Ukrainian authorities have said the rebels recently obtained Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missiles — a complex system using ground radar to guide a missile to its target. Experts said it requires expertise and training to operate.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that the international community could not expect Russia to get the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine to lay down their arms. But Lavrov said he hoped that the OSCE would send monitors to the Russian-Ukrainian border before the end of the week. In an interview with Rossiya-24 television, he added that Russia was ready to guarantee the safety of those observers at Russia’s own border checkpoints but could make no promises about keeping them safe from bombardments from Ukraine, Interfax reported. Lavrov also accused Poroshenko of potentially poisoning the investigation of the plane crash by calling for a commission to look into it while also declaring it an act of terrorism. “Of course, attempts to claim that this was a terrorist act, so the Ukrainian researchers will be guided by this in their work — this is unacceptable, this pressure on the acts of the this commission,” Lavrov said. In an effort to cooperate with international investigations, Lavrov said, Russia would not accept the black box that rebels said they had recovered from the plane. “We are not going to take away these boxes,” he said. “We are not going to violate the rules existing with regard to this sort of cases within the international community.” Aleksey Komarov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, called for “a thorough investigation with the use of representatives from all the interested international organizations.” He alleged that, according to the information available to the Russians, a Ukrainian military Buk-M1 type air defense system capable of bringing down the jet as it cruised at 33,000 feet was stationed in the area near the crash.
“Ukrainian Air Force planes armed with various types of missiles are constantly present in the Donetsk region airspace,” he said on Rossiya 24 TV. “This is an indisputable fact.” He said Kiev’s claims that these systems or planes did not shoot at airborne targets “raise serious doubts.” He added that “planes of the Russian Air Force did not fly in Russian regions bordering the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014.” The Ukrainians, however, have cited the purported intercepts and conflicting claims by the pro-Russian rebels, who have been operating with tactical Russian assistance, as evidence of their guilt. In recent days, the rebels, who have shot down numerous Ukrainian military aircraft using shorter-range missiles, claimed to have obtained more advanced antiaircraft missile systems. “Evidence and information we have as of now confirm that it was pro-Russian groups, and unfortunately this tragedy took the lives of 298 people,” Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s ambassador to NATO, told the BBC. Sergei Kavtaradze, a representative of the separatist militias, told Interfax on Friday that the purported recordings of intercepted phone calls amounted to “unprofessional propaganda.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/missile-downs-malaysia-airlines-plane-over-ukraine-killing-298-kiev-blames-rebels/2014/07/18/d30205c8-0e4a-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html
Did MH17 pilot divert INTO the danger zone? Aviation expert claims captain made last-minute change of course over Ukraine because he ‘felt uncomfortable’
- Russian military expert claims pilot radioed his concerns about the route before diverting over rebel-held territory
- Russian media explores theory that Ukrainian armed forces shot down Boeing 777 after mistaking it for Putin’s jet
- Malaysia Airlines filed flight plan requesting 35,000 feet through airspace but was told to fly at 33,000
- Kremlin leader was flying back to Moscow from Brazilian World Cup at around same time passenger plane crashed
- Russian aviation sources said the routes of the two planes ‘crossed at the same point and on the same altitude’
- Ukrainian official accuses Putin of smuggling missile launcher back into Russia to cover up Kremlin involvement
- Malaysian transport minister said MH17 was flying on approved route and pilot given no last-minute instructions
- Putin calls for a ceasefire by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces to allow for negotiations
- Confusion over the two black boxes: Rebel says none found, another said it has eight, Ukraine says it has both
- Ukrainian officials issue plea for respect as it emerges looters are raiding the possessions of dead passengers
The pilot of MH17 radioed that he ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and fatally altered his course to hostile territory, according to an expert. Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez, in eastern Ukraine, after mistaking his plane for a government military transport aircraft. He told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 ‘felt bad’ about his course over Ukrainian airspace, so changed direction. Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels who brought it down using a ground-to-air Buk missile system. Malaysia Airlines today denied that the plane was told to alter its course. His comments come as Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces to allow for negotiations. A top separatist leader in east Ukraine has ruled out a truce with government forces but pledged to allow investigators to access the crash site. ‘There is no question of a ceasefire but we will let experts access the site of the catastrophe,’ Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, told journalists.
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Is this proof that MH17 change course into a war zone? A route map compiled by Twitter user Vagelis Karmiros using data from flight-tracking website Flightaware claims to show how the doomed Malaysia Airlines plane took a different flightpath to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights
Stunned: Ukrainians inspect the wreckage of MH17 as coal miners, farmers and other volunteers help with the grisly task of clearing up the crash sites after the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the east of the country
Decimated: A pro-Russian separatist looks at wreckage from the nose section of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane which was downed near the village of Rozsypne
Disturbing: A woman walks past a body covered with a plastic sheet in a sunflower field near the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne
All hand on deck: Coal miners help with the search effort at the crash site near the village of Rozsypne in eastern Ukraine
Emergency workers, police officers and even coal miners spread out across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of MH17
Out of the blue: A Ukrainian covers a body with a plastic sheet in a field. Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
BRITAIN BLAMES PUTIN AS UKRAINE CALLS ON WORLD LEADERS TO ‘BRING THOSE B******* TO JUSTICE’
Britain today formally accused Russia of being responsible for bringing down flight MH17 over Ukraine – killing on 298 passengers on board. The UK’s representative at the UN said it was ‘clear’ who was to blame for shooting down the Malaysian Airways aircraft over Ukraine. Speaking at the UN in New York today, Ambassador Peter Wilson said the blame lay with ‘the senseless violence of armed separatists and with those who have supported, equipped and advised them’. Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged Western leaders to ‘bring justice to those b*******’ who brought down the flight. He said world leaders needed to realised there was ‘a war in the heart of Europe’ taking place, amid growing fury at Moscow’s backing the pro-Russian separatists suspected of carrying out the assault.
Dr Sutyagin’s theory appears to be supported by a route map which shows the passenger plane travelling on a different course to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights. Twitter user Vagelis Karmiros collated the information from Flightaware, the largest flight tracking website in the world. Dr Sutyagin said: ‘There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian border.
‘It’s blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian border, so they can’t get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft. ‘Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he “felt bad” and wanted to change course south to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen. ‘The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.’ His comments came as Malaysia Airlines said it filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet through Ukraine airspace but was instructed by Ukraine air traffic control to fly at 33,000. It would still have been in range of the missile were it flying at the higher altitude, however.
Rescue workers, police and even coal miners are today combing the site where a Malaysian Airlines jet crashed after being shot from the sky by a surface-to-air missile, scattering wreckage and bodies across the Ukrainian countryside.
Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board, while the Russian media today blamed everyone but pro-Moscow rebels for the Malaysia Airlines horror.
One theory explored by TV and newspapers was that the Ukrainian armed forces may have shot the Boeing out of the sky after mistaking it for Vladimir Putin’s official Ilyushin jet.
The Kremlin leader was flying back to Moscow from Brazil at around the same time that the Boeing 777 was downed, stated TV and newspaper reports.
Video of debris at the site of MH17 plane crash in Ukraine
Blaming the Ukraine: Self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai (centre), arrives at the crash site
Blame game: The pro-Russian self-proclaimed governor of the Donetsk region Paul Gubarev (centre) is surrounded by armed guards as he looks at debris of the Boeing
Under pressure: Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey arrives for a meeting with media in Kramatorsk as global demands mounted to find those responsible for downing the airliner
HORRIFIC IMAGE OF DEAD BABY IN FIELD ‘ON PUTIN’S CONSCIENCE’
A shocking photograph released today by an Ukrainian official shows the harrowing image of an infant victim lying on its own in a field. The baby, who is pictured sprawled in the dirt near the crash site, is thought to be the youngest victim of the crash. Ukraine government advisor Anton Gerashchenko, who published the picture, said in a statement: ‘This baby’s death is on your conscience Putin’ – placing the blame squarely on Russia. The nationality of the baby is still unknown.
Evidence for the theory seems scant, but an anonymous source in Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transportation was quoted saying that there was a crossover flight path between the doomed Malaysian aircraft and Russian plane ‘number one’ used by Putin.
A source at the agency was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper as saying: ‘Vladimir Putin’s plane could have been a target for a Ukrainian missile.’
NTV cited a source from the same body as saying: ‘I can say that the routes of plane Number One and the Malaysian Boeing crossed at the same point and on the same altitude.
‘It was near Warsaw at altitude 10,100 metres, echelon 330. The plane Number One was at that point at 16.21 Moscow time, the Malaysian plane was there at 15.44 Moscow time.’
The source also said that the ‘plane’ contours are similar in principle, the real sizes are also similar, and ‘as for their liveries then at the distance they are almost identical’.
Putin’s equivalent of Air Force One is a specially modified Ilyushin, the Il-96 300. It is a four-engine long distance aircraft, with a length of 55 metres, and a wingspan of 60 metres.
The Boeing 777-200 is 63 metres long, and its wingspan 61 metres.
Asked last night on the route of Putin’s plane, agency head Alexander Neradko said: ‘We never comment on the routes and other details of the flights of the president of Russia.’
Obama: Ukraine crash is an outrage of unspeakable proportions
Political storm: Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the Malaysian Airlines tragedy that claimed the lives of all 298 people on board
Crumpled: Wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a day after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in east Ukraine
Complex investigation: Rescue workers pick through the debris of Flight MH17 at the crash site outside Shakhtyorsk in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine
‘Circumstances need to be investigated carefully and objectively': Vladimir Putin has called for a thorough probe into the cause of disaster
Earlier, Ukrainian government official Anton Gerashchenko accused Mr Putin of ‘a desperate attempt to hide the consequences of his deeds’ by permitting the smuggling of the Buk rocket launcher – suspected of being used to shoot down the Boeing – across the frontier into Russia.
An effort during the night was made ‘to hide the Buk rocket complex on Russian territory’, he alleged.
He did not say if it was known whether or not it had moved into Russia.
‘It is most likely that the machinery which fired the missiles at Malaysian aircraft will be destroyed and the people who committed the act of terror will be annihilated,’ warned Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Interior Ministry in Kiev.
‘Several hours ago, Putin made a statement in regard the catastrophic crash of the Malaysian Boeing in which he blamed it all on Ukrainian side. What else is there to be done for an international terrorist? Only lie.’
Missile system ‘seen in Ukraine’ hours before MH17 shot down
Poignant: A white flag placed by the Ukrainian Emergency Services marks the location of a body (not pictured) the settlement of Grabovo
Mangled: Malaysia Airlines is trying to arrange safe access for relatives of victims to the site in eastern Ukraine where its Boeing 777 airliner crashed
Distressing: Cards, games and money belonging to passengers on MH17 lie strewn across the grass near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine
Clear-up operation: Personal luggage is collected at the site of the crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne
Global response: The UN Security Council has called for ‘a full, thorough and independent international investigation’ after approving a statement expressing ‘deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims’
Meanwhile, Pro-Kremlin Izvestia cited separatists claiming the shooting out of the sky was ‘a planned provocation by Kiev’.
‘Judge for yourself, who could have done it? The rebels don’t have weapons that you could use to shoot down a plane at such a height, but Kiev does,’ one local leader told the paper.
Tabloid Tvoi Den splashed a full-page cover photograph of the crash scene with a line reading: ‘Donetsk People’s Republic Authorities Claim Plane Destroyed by Ukrainian Buk Missile,’ an anti-aircraft system.
Rebel official Sergei Kavtaradze was quoted saying: ‘According to our information, this plane was shot down by Ukrainian armed forces.’
Other media claimed it could have been a Ukrainian plot to give the Americans an excuse to deploy NATO on the ground in the eastern European country.
But a Ukrainian military expert, Igor Levchenko, told Kommersant business daily that although Kiev did have several Buks in the conflict zone, they ‘definitely would not be used against such a target as a passenger liner.’
IS THIS THE SMOKING GUN THAT PROVES SEPARATISTS WERE TO BLAME? FOOTAGE SHOWS MISSILE LAUNCHER BEING SMUGGLED BACK TO RUSSIA WITH TWO ROCKETS MISSING
An expert believes that MH17 was downed by a missile fired from rebel-held Torez in eastern Ukraine – and a BUK anti-aircraft launcher has been pictured rumbling into the town just two hours before the crash, leading to speculation that it was this piece of equipment that was used to bring about the tragedy.
On Friday a missile launcher with two rockets missing was then filmed by Ukrainian intelligence services being smuggled on the back of a truck to Russia.
Anton Gerashchenko, from Ukraine’s interior ministry, said of the missing missiles that ‘it’s not hard to guess why’.
Suspicious: Ukrainian spies reportedly filmed the launcher used in the attack being smuggled to Russia – with two missiles missing
A view of what is believed to be a BUK surface-to-air missile battery being driven along a path on July 17 in Torez, Ukraine
Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed
‘It was exactly these missiles which brought death to almost 300 innocent passengers of the ill-fated Malaysian Boeing,’ he said, according to the Telegraph.
He continued: ‘International terrorist Igor Strelkov, aka Girkin, last night visited Snizhne to settle the situation with the downed Malaysian Boeing.
‘In the night the Buk system, from which the missile was launched, was removed to Russia, where it is likely to be destroyed.’
He claimed that the ‘direct performers of the terrorist attack’ are also likely to have been killed to avoid any witnesses.
The rebels ‘happily announced that they had downed the Ukrainian AN-26′ when in fact they had shot the Boeing, he said.
Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez.
Russian air defense missile system BUK M2 seen at a military show at the international forum in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, in 2010
A map showing the distance between the launch site and the MH17 crash site
Is this SAM, missing 2 missiles, being smuggled out of Ukraine?
Missile system ‘seen in Ukraine’ hours before MH17 shot down
Dr Sutyagin said the evidence that Russian separatists were responsible was very strong – and that there’s even a suggestion the BUK missile launcher was being manned by soldiers from Russia.
He said: ‘These separatists boasted on Twitter about capturing an BUK SA11 missile launcher [capable of downing high-flying airliners] on June 29, and several hours before the downing of the plane locals in Torez reported seeing BUK missile launchers and separatist flags around the city.
‘Later, there was lots of video posted of the plane falling down and rebels saying that “it was not pointless moving it [the BUK] there”.’
Dr Sutyagin then underscored the emerging Russian link to the tragedy.
He said: ‘The military leader of the Donetsk Republic, Igor Strelkov, real name Girkin, a Muscovite, a Russian citizen, posts a video of the intercept.’
This video was taken down once it was discovered that the downed plane was civilian.
The expert implicated Russia further, revealing that the former commander of Russian Air Force Special Operations Command, a Colonel-General, stated recently in an interview that the separatists did not have the expertise to operate the BUK launchers, that only Russian personnel could do so.
It’s also suspicious, Dr Sutyagin said, that Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported the crash at 16.13 Moscow time, several minutes before the crash actually happened – at 16.20.
‘The plane is safely in the sky, and RIA Novosti publishes information that it has been shot down,’ he said.
Grim: Bodies lie strewn among the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 a day after it was shot down over pro-Russian rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine
Macabre: As shocking pictures of bodies and debris emerged, the tragedy sparked a full-blown international crisis, increasing tension between Moscow and Washington
Devastation: Dutch authorities have said that at least nine Britons, 154 Dutch, 27 Australians were among the passengers and crew killed on board the flight
Turning some of the blame towards the aviation industry, the same paper cited aviation sources saying it was ‘reckless’ to allow passenger flights over the region.
Government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said: ‘It remains unclear how a Boeing 777 came to be above a conflict zone and why air traffic controllers didn’t prevent a potentially dangerous situation.
Malaysia’s transport minister today insisted there were no last-minute instructions to the pilots of MH17 before it took off.
Liow Tiong Lai said the Boeing 777 was flying on an internationally-approved route which other airlines had been using ‘in the hours before the incident’.
He said: ‘Our sympathies are with those affected by this tragedy. There were 298 passengers and crew. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this incredibly difficult time for them.’
Mr Lai reiterated that the plane had ‘a clean bill of health’ and all its systems were functioning normally.
The route taken over Ukraine was one approved by the International Civil Aviation Authority and by the International Air Transport Association.
He went on: ‘There were no last-minute instructions given to the pilots to change the route. In the hours before the incident, a number of airlines used this route.’
Mr Lai said that of the 41 passengers whose nationalities were initially unknown, 21 had now been identified.
Listing the nationalities, he confirmed that nine UK passengers were among those lost.
He added that the full passenger manifesto would be released once all next of kin had been informed.
Mr Lai called for the crash site to be preserved, adding that Malaysia was sending a dozens-strong team to Ukraine, which would include 15 medical staff. Malaysia Airlines is also sending 40 staff to Amsterdam to support families there.
Speaking at a media conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Lai said Ukraine would start the investigation into the crash and he supported a call for an international investigation.
LOOTERS RAIDING POSSESSIONS OF 298 PASSENGERS AND CREW STREWN BETWEEN DEAD BODIES
Cash and jewellery is being stolen from victims of the Malaysian plane crash, Ukrainian politicians claim. The missile strike which brought down the MH17 flight left naked bodies strewn across fields surrounded by hundreds of possessions including children’s books, playing cards, slippers, letters and old vinyl records. But tonight it has emerged looters have descended on the distressing scene, stealing valuable goods from the 298 passengers and crew, who all died in the blast. Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Kiev government, said: ‘I have received information that terrorist death-hunters were collecting not only cash and jewellery of the crashed Boeing dead passengers but also the credit cards of the victims. ‘Currently, they might as well try to use them in Ukraine or pass them on to Russia. ‘My humble request to the relatives of the victims to freeze their credit cards, so that they won’t loose their assets to terrorists.’
The Duke of Cambridge spoke today of his ‘deep sadness’ over the Ukraine plane disaster.
Speaking at an event at Australia House in London to remember a British explorer, William said words ‘cannot do justice to our sense of loss’.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine was ‘an absolutely appalling, shocking, horrific incident’ and said his thoughts were with the families of those killed.
Mr Cameron said: ‘If, as seems possible, this was brought down, then those responsible must be held to account and we must lose no time in doing that.’
Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a jetliner shot down as it flew miles above the country’s battlefield.
By midday, 181 bodies had been located, according to emergency workers in contact with officials in Kiev.
Malaysia Airlines said the passengers included 189 Dutch, 29 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one person each from Canada and New Zealand.
Still Nataliya Bystro, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s emergency services, said rebel militiamen were interfering with the recovery operation.
It came as the UN Security Council has called for ‘a full, thorough and independent international investigation’ after approving a statement expressing ‘deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash’.
Security Council members stood in a moment of silent tribute to the 298 victims at the start of an emergency council meeting.
The council called for an investigation ‘in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability’.
It stressed the need for ‘immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident’.
The crash site is spread out between two villages in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russia separatists apparently controlling access in and out.
Confusion surrounds the fate of the plane’s flight recorders after conflicting reports over whether they had been found.
An assistant to the insurgency’s military commander, Igor Girkin, said earlier that eight out of the plane’s 12 black boxes had been located and that he was considering whether to give international crash investigators access to the crash site.
Since planes usually have two black boxes – one for recording flight data and the other for recording cockpit voices – it was not clear what the number 12 referred to.
But another separatist leader, Aleksandr Borodai, said later: ‘No black boxes have been found. We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened.’
Earlier, the separatists claimed that one of the black boxes had been sent to Moscow.
Meanwhile, Kostyantyn Batozsky, adviser to the Donetsk regional governor, claimed the voice and data recording devices by the Ukrainian Emergency Services Ministry after workers were granted access to the crash site by rebels, it was reported by The New York Times. But Mr Batozsky said he did not know the current location of the devices or who had them.
Large chunks of the Boeing 777 that bore the airline’s red, white and blue markings lay strewn over a field.
The cockpit and one of the turbines lay more than half a mile (1km) apart and residents said the tail landed about six miles (10km) away, indicating that the aircraft probably broke up before hitting the ground.
PASSENGERS AND CREW WILL HAVE BEEN OBLIVIOUS TO HORROR AS MISSILE BLEW APART AIRCRAFT
The 298 passengers and crew aboard MH17 will have been oblivious to the horror as a shrapnel-based missile instantly shredded the doomed plane, experts claim. The SA-11 missile – known as a Grizzly – that hit the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight is designed to pulverise aircraft on impact. It will have perforated the plane at various points, ignited the fuel, and taken out the engines and the wings within a split second – meaning the people aboard will have been unconscious almost instantly. Justin Bronk, researcher analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told MailOnline: ‘An SA-11 missile is designed to shred aircraft. ‘The extent at which the remains of the aircraft are spread across a large area seems to confirm that. ‘The missile is programmed using a tracker to get within a metre of the target then let off a ring of shrapnel, which will enter the aircraft at various points. ‘The shrapnel will have hit the wings, the engines and the fuel tanks, igniting the fuel. ‘A large aircraft like that is highly pressurised to allow humans to breathe at that altitude so it will have exploded instantly.’
Bodies and body parts strewn across the field outside the village of Rozsypne about 2.5 miles (4km) away from the crash site. Shocking new accounts of the carnage emerged today. ‘The plane broke up in the air and the parts and human bodies are lying within a three-kilometre area,’ said a post by Vsevolod Petrovsky after visiting the scene. ‘One body broke a hole in the thin roof of a summer terrace in a private house. I got out of the car and immediately saw the naked body of a woman, covered by some leaves. ‘There were many bodies without clothes around. Probably, their clothing was torn away after the loss of pressurisation. Horrible. ‘I go further and see a hill made of the cockpit parts. The area is lit. The pilot’s body is in this seat, with seat belt fastened, he is dressed in his clothes. ‘Among the plane parts there were many parcels. Letters tied with a rope, books, old vinyl records, somebody’s shoes. Children’s caps with the Dutch national flag colours. Amazingly, almost all of these things are not destroyed. ‘There was no fire in this part of the plane. The fire was in the back part which is lying not far from Grabovo village.’ A local farmer said: ‘I was herding my cows and heard a buzzing noise. I lay on the ground and thinking only that it would not hit me and my cows. ‘Then I looked and saw that something turns sharply and two big wings were flying. Bang. And something explodes. It came from eastern side, from the side of Sokholikha mountain.’
American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down but are still working on who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukrainian side of the border, a U.S. official said.
Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
More than half of the passengers on board – 154 – were Dutch citizens, with 43 from Malaysia, including the 15 crew members.
Another 27 were Australians, 12 from Indonesia, and nine Britons. The victims included three infants.
Earlier it was feared that 23 Americans had perished based on a Reuters report, but there has been no confirmation of any U.S. deaths since then from the State Department.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called it an ‘act of terrorism’ and demanded an international investigation. He insisted his forces did not shoot down the plane.
U.S. Senator John McCain said there ‘would be hell to pay’ if the plane was shot down by the Russian military or separatists.
Putin lays blame on Ukrainian government after MH17 tragedy
Earlier this week, the rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down two Ukrainian military planes.
In Kuala Lumpur, several relatives of those on board the jet gathered at the international airport.
A distraught Akmar Mohamad Noor, 67, said her older sister was coming to visit the family for the first time in five years.
‘She called me just before she boarded the plane and said, “See you soon”,’ she said.
Counsellors were meeting with a few family members in the airport viewing gallery, sealed off from a horde of journalists. One woman emerged in tears and was escorted out of the airport by a security officer without saying anything.
‘This is just too much,’ said Cindy Tan, who was waiting at the airport for a friend on another flight.
‘I don’t know really why this happened to a MAS (Malaysia Airlines) plane again.’
Ukraine’s security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that showed rebels were responsible.
In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane.
In the second, two rebel fighters – one of them at the crash scene – say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 15 miles (25km) north of the site.
MH17 WASN’T THE ONLY ONE FLYING OVER DANGER ZONE: 55 OTHER AIRCRAFT ALSO DID ON THE SAME DAY
A Singapore Airlines passenger plane was flying just 15 miles away from flight MH17 when it was shot out of the sky over Ukraine.
Data from Flightradar24.com reveals the Copenhagen to Singapore flight was in airspace above the dangerous Donetsk region just two minutes before a surface-to-air missile hit the Malaysia Airlines plane on Thursday.
Figures also reveal 55 planes – including six flights from London’s Heathrow Airport – flew over the war zone on the same day the tragedy happened.
The flights were still operating in the conflict zone despite warnings from as far back as April from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about potential risks to commercial planes.
Danger zone: Flightradar24.com data shows the closest plane in the air to MH17 just two minutes before it was shot out of the sky over Ukraine was a Singapore Airlines flight
The radar route of Malaysian Airlines plane MH17
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Sergey Kavtaradze, a special representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic leader, as denying that the intercepted phone conversations were genuine.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the crash a ‘terrible tragedy’ and spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Mr Poroshenko. Britain called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine.
Later, Mr Putin said Ukraine bore responsibility for the crash, but he did not address the question of who might have shot it down and did not accuse Ukraine of doing so.
‘This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine,’ he said, according to a Kremlin statement issued early today.
‘And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.’ At the United Nations, Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev told the AP that Russia gave the separatists a sophisticated missile system and thus Moscow bears responsibility, along with the rebels.
SHOT OUT OF THE SKY: OTHER PLANES HIT MID-FLIGHT
April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union. After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire September 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament today that authorities owe it to the families of the dead to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible.
‘As things stand, this looks less like an accident than a crime. And if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice,’ he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was ‘horrified’ by the crash, and the United States was prepared to help with an international investigation.
Ukraine’s crisis began after pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February by a protest movement among citizens angry about endemic corruption and seeking closer ties with the European Union.
Russia later annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine, and pro-Russians in the country’s eastern regions began occupying government buildings and pressing for independence. Moscow denies Western charges that it is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest.
Kenneth Quinn, of the Flight Safety Foundation, said an international coalition of countries should lead the investigation.
Safety experts say they are concerned that, because the plane crashed in area of Ukraine that is in dispute, political considerations could affect the investigation.
The RIA-Novosti agency quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying that talks were under way with Ukrainian authorities on calling a short truce for humanitarian reasons. He said international organisations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.
Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to yesterday’s crash, but many carriers, including cash-strapped Malaysia Airlines, had continued to use the route because ‘it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money,’ said aviation expert Norman Shanks.
Within hours of the tragedy, several airlines said they were avoiding parts of Ukrainian airspace.
A U.S. official said American intelligence authorities believe the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile but are still working to determine additional details about the crash, including who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukraine side of the border.
But American intelligence assessments suggest it is more likely pro-Russian separatists or the Russians rather than Ukrainian government forces shot down the plane, according to the official.
The United States has sophisticated technologies which can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from the rocket engine.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at about 33,000ft (10,000m) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 72,000ft (22,000m). He said only that his information was based on ‘intelligence’.
Igor Sutyagin, a research fellow in Russian studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said both Ukrainian and Russian forces have SA-17 missile systems – also known as Buk ground-to-air launcher systems.
Rebels had recently bragged about having acquired Buk systems.
Mr Sutyagin said Russia had supplied separatists with military hardware but had seen no evidence ‘of the transfer of that type of system from Russia’.
Earlier yesterday, AP journalists saw a launcher that looked like a Buk missile system near the eastern town of Snizhne, which is held by the rebels.
Mr Poroshenko said his country’s armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets.
Separatist leader Andrei Purgin told the Associated Press news agency he was certain that Ukrainian troops had shot the plane down, but gave no explanation or proof.
There have been several disputes over planes being shot down over eastern Ukraine in recent days.
A Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down on Wednesday by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the insurgents.
Pro-Russia rebels claimed responsibility for strikes on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets on Wednesday. Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile but the pilot landed safely.
The tragic victims of Flight MH17: EIGHTY children among the 298 who perished on doomed plane – including a brilliant young British mathematician, Catholic nun, UN worker and leading Aids doctor
- Three Australian children – Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged between eight and 12 – were among those killed
- An entire Indonesian family – including a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, also died in the attack
- Two British students – Richard Mayne, 20, and Ben Pocock, in his early 20s, were also named as victims today
- Also named were press officer Glenn Thomas, 49, and Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney
- As many as 100 of the victims are thought to have been Aids experts on their way to a conference in Melbourne
By SIMON TOMLINSON and MICHAEL SEAMARK and LOUISE ECCLES and WILL STEWART and TED THORNHILL
Eighty children were among the victims killed when a passenger jet was shot out of the sky at 32,000ft by a surface-to-air missile yesterday.
Two Indonesians aged just three and five who were flying with their parents, as well as three Australian children headed home with their grandfather, numbered among the 298 dead after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held Ukraine yesterday.
Also on board the doomed flight were around 100 Aids experts on their way to an international conference, a Catholic nun from Australia and a British university student.
The nationalities of more victims were confirmed today – with the toll now including 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and nine Britons. Four passengers are yet to be verified. No victims are thought to be U.S. citizens.
The Boeing 777 aircraft was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the attack.
Children: Evie (left), Mo (centre) and Otis (right) Maslin, pictured celebrating a birthday, are among the Australian victims of the disaster, in which a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by a missile over Ukraine
Young: Evie Maslin, 10, from Australia was flying with her siblings
Accompanying: Grandfather Nick Norris, pictured, was on board the flight with his three grandchildren
Pose: Mo Maslin has is pictured above at a parade
Child victims: Three grandchildren, Mo Maslin, 12, (left), his brother Otis, eight, (centre) and sister Evie Maslin, 10, (right) were killed on the flight along with their grandfather Nick Morris
At one swoop: An entire Indonesian family was killed in the attack: John Paulissen, his wife Yuli Hastini and two children, Martin Arjuna Paulissen, five and Sri Paulissen, three
Devastation: A surviving relative shows photographers images of the family, who were on the doomed plane
The plane was shot down in an ‘act of terrorism’, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, including three Australian children, aged between eight and 12, who were travelling with their grandfather. The family had been on holiday and the children’s parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few extra days, but Mr Norris took his grandchildren on MH17 to get them back to Australia in time for school, Australian broadcasters reported.
NATIONALITIES OF THE MH17 VICTIMS
Netherlands: 189 Malaysia: 44 Australia: 27 Indonesia: 12 UK: 9 Germany: 4 Belgium: 4 Philippines: 3 Canada: 1 New Zealand: 1 Unverified: 4
The tragedy has sparked outrage across the globe, with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk leading calls on world powers to support his government in bringing to justice ‘those b****** who committed this international crime’ after a passenger plane was shot down over his country.
Security forces from Ukraine claim to have intercepted two phone conversations in which in which pro-Russian separatists seem to celebrate hitting the plane. In the wake of the aviation disaster tributes have poured in for the victims, who include families and renowned researchers.
Nick Norris, from Perth, Australia, was flying on the service with his grandchildren Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis Maslin, eight, when it was shot down at around 16.00 BST yesterday.
Mr Norris’s son Brack, 24, paid tribute to his father, niece and nephews. ‘I’m a bit dizzy right now,’ he told MailOnline in Australia. The family had been on holiday and the children’s parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few extra days, but Mr Norris took his grandchildren on MH17 to get them back to Australia in time for school, Australian broadcasters reported. Mr Norris, the managing director of management consulting firm Collaborative Systemic Change Pty Ltd, is survived by his son Brack, who is the company’s marketing manager, and daughter Kirstin, a marine engineer with the Royal Australian Navy. He was a well-known member of the South Perth Yacht Club. The identities of British victims also emerged today, including two Newcastle United fans on their way to see the club play in New Zealand, and a student from Leeds University.
A Leeds university student has also been named as one of the British nationals who died when flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine. Richard Mayne, 20, was originally from Leicester where he lived with his parents.
He also leaves behind his brothers Thomas, 24, and William, 19. Mr Mayne was studying maths and finance at the university.
Student: Richard Mayne, 20, was another of the British victims, who studied maths and finance at Leeds University
Traveller: Mr Mayne was on his way to spend a year in Australia, friends said, and had been at a celebratory barbecue days before where he was wished good luck
Speaking from the family home today, his father Simon, 53, said: ‘He was on his way to Perth. When we were looking at flights together, there was this one that stopped in Amsterdam and we thought it would be perfect.
‘I took him to the airport at 3am myself, to fly to Amsterdam. When I first saw it on the news, my heart dropped. I just thought, oh god, oh god – I couldn’t believe it. We were hoping and praying he had fallen asleep at Amsterdam and missed his flight. ‘You think you’ve got problems and them something like this happens and it all just takes over. I can’t even bring myself to look at a photograph of him. We are beyond devastated. It is such a beautiful sunny day but our lives have been torn apart.’ Student Ben Pocock from Bristol was also named today as one of the victims. Mr Pocock, who was in his early 20s, had just finished studying at Loughborough University and was headed to Australia for a year’s placement abroad. The university paid tribute to Mr Pocock, today, saying he was destined to achieve a first-class degree. ‘We are incredibly saddened to hear that one of our students, Ben Pocock, was believed to be a passenger on flight MH17,’ a spokesman said.
Student: Ben Pocock, a student from Bristol who had just finished exams at Loughborough University, was headed to a holiday in Australia on MH17
‘Ben had just completed the second year of his international business BSc degree and was flying out to begin a professional placement and to study abroad at the University of Western Australia as part of his third year. ‘Ben was an excellent student and on course to gain a first class degree. He was also a fine athlete, who played on the university athletic union’s Ultimate Frisbee team and won their Player of the Year honour.’ Glenn Thomas, a 49-year-old UN worker from Blackpool, was on board the flight. Mr Thomas was a media relations co-ordinator for the World Health Organisation, an agency of the United Nations agency, and had previously worked as a journalist for the BBC.
Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysian (including 15 crew and two infants), 12 Indonesian, nine British, four German, three Filipino, and one Canadian citizen were also on the plane.
Mr Thomas grew up in Blackpool and worked as a journalist in the Lancashire seaside resort in the early 1990s, where his twin sister Tracey Withers still lives. The Blackpool Gazette reported that he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, a decade ago to start working for the WHO. He was said to have posted a status update shortly before starting his journey, which was supposed to end in Melbourne.
He caught a place from Geneva to Amsterdam, and boarded the doomed service from the Dutch capital to Kuala Lumpur, where he would have boarded a connecting flight. Mr Thomas lived in Geneva with his partner who lived in Geneva with his partner Claudio-Manoel Villaca-Vanetta, but is said to have kept up his ties to Blackpool.
Today one of his nephews said the family was ‘totally torn up’ by his death. The relative, a son of Mr Thomas’s sister Tracey and her husband Mark, said his parents were on holiday in Spain when they heard the news. He said: ‘She is on her way home; she is totally torn up. Like any twins they are very close-one of them feels everything the other does.She must have known in her mind something terrible was going on.’
Tributes were paid to Mr Thomas today, whom colleagues described as ‘a wonderful personal and a great professional’. WHO spokesman Fadela Chaib said: ‘I can confirm he was on the flight travelling to Australia to attend the Aids conference in Australia.
Victim: Briton Glenn Thomas, 49, was among the 298 killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was blasted out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile
International: Mr Thomas (circled) is pictured above at a press conference delivered by the World Health Organisation – an agency of the United Nations – and is surrounded by high-ranking experts from the body
‘For the time being we would like to give his family time to grieve. We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.’
It was also revealed that two Newcastle United fans were among the nine Britons killed. A fan site for the football club posted that two people were aboard MH17 on their way to New Zealand, where the team is playing in a pre-season tour.
One of the men is thought to be fan John Alder, who was in his 60s. The loyal supporter is known to other fans as The Undertaker because of his tradition of wearing a suit to every game.
He is thought only to have missed a single match since he started attending in 1973, and follows the team around the world for their away games.
It is believed John was travelling to the game with another 28-year-old fan, believed to be Liam Sweeney, from Newcastle.
Before the flight John had made his way from Amsterdam, then boarded the flight destined for Kuala Lumpur.
Tributes have started to pour in for the former BT worker, who was also known for his mullet-style haircut.
Newcastle Fans: John Alder, pictured left, and Liam Sweeney, right, were football supporters who were travelling to watch Newcastle United play in New Zealand when MH17 was shot out of the skies
GROWING LIST OF THE DEAD: NAMED VICTIMS FROM THE MH17 TRAGEDY
Mo Maslin, 12, Australian Otis Malsin, eight, Australian Evie Maslin, 10, Australian John Paulissen, Indonesian Yuli Hastini, Indonesian Martin Arjuna Paulissen, five, Indonesian Sri Paulissen, three, Indonesian Glenn Thomas, 49, British, WHO press officer Richard Mayne, 20, British, student John Alder, 60s, NUFC fan Liam Sweeney, 28, NUFC fan Elaine Teoh, student, Australian Nick Norris, Australian Albert Rizk, Australian, estate agent Mari Rizk, Australian Sister Philomene Tiernan, Australian, nun Roger Guard, Australian, pathologist Jill Guard, Australian Joep Lange, leading HIV expert Pim de Kuijer, Aids expert Martine de Schutter, Aids expert Eugene Choo Jin Leong, Malaysian, pilot Regis Crolla, Dutch Azrina Yakob, Malaysian, air stewardess Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, Malaysian, air steward Shazana Salleh, Malaysian, air hostess Angeline Premila, Malaysian, air hostess Ben Pocock, early 20s, British, student Fatima Dyczynski, Australian, entrepreneur Liliane Derden, Australian, researcher Willem Witteveen, 62, Dutch, senator Cameron Dalziel, British, helicopter pilot Fan Shun-Po, Hong Kong, chef
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said today his players were ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ at the deaths of two such ‘dedicated’ fans.
The club said both men were familiar faces at every United away game and attended reserve and academy matches as well as first-team games.
The sixth Briton named today was helicopter rescue pilot and father-of-two Cameron Dalziel.
Mr Dalziel, 43, is from South Africa but travels on a British passport, it is believed. He moveed to Malaysia last October with his wife Reine, and their two sons Sheldon, 14, and four year-old Cruz, to take up a job with CHC Helicopter.
He had previously worked as a helicopter rescue pilot in KwaZulu-Natal, a province of South Africa.
Mr Dalziel’s brother-in-law, Shane Hattingh, said his sister Reine was so traumatised she has not been able to answer phone calls from anxious relatives, according to Eye Witness News.
He said: ‘She is basically alone there other than with new friends. So she couldn’t even talk to me. Apparently three people from the company were there with her. It’s crazy, the kids are going to be absolutely shattered.’
It is understood Mr Dalziel had been sent for training in the Netherlands and was returning on yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines flight when the plane was shot down.
Helicopter pilot: Cameron Dalziel, who lived in South Africa but used a British Passport, was named today as another victim, the sixth Briton
The airline has now said that all European flights operated by Malaysia Airlines will now be taking alternative routes, avoiding the usual route over Ukraine. A real estate agent, from Victoria, Australia, his wife, a Perth management consultant, a Melbourne university student and a Sydney Catholic nun are among the Australian dead on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border. A Catholic nun from Sydney was also on board the flight. Sister Philomena, a teacher at girls’ high school Kincoppal-Rose Bay, was the relative of school students at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in North Sydney. Malaysian student Elaine Teoh, who had been studying at Melbourne University, was on the flight, along with recently retired pathologist Roger Guard and his wife Jill from Toowoomba in Queensland, have also been identified from the MH17 flight. Dr Guard was well regarded in the medical community, acting as the director within the Pathology Queensland laboratory in Toowoomba Hospital. He also helped perform autopsies on the victims of the Queensland flood and was well known for organising local marathon events in his local community for the Toowoomba Road Runner fitness group. A Victorian couple Frankie Davison and her husband Liam were on MH17. Mrs Davison was a teacher at Toorak College Community, south-east of Melbourne.
Entrepreneur: Fatima Dyczynski, the founder of data company Xoterra Space, is thought to have been on board. Her parents are believed to be Australian
Pilot: Eugene Choo Jin Leong was flying MH17 when it was shot down. Malaysia Airlines has described him as one of their most trusted pilots
Victims: Melbourne student Elaine Teoh
It has also been confirmed that NSW resident Sister Philomene Tiernan (centre), a teacher at eastern Sydney’s Catholic girls’ school in Kincoppal-Rose Bay, was also on the plane
Shot down: Recently retired pathologist Roger Guard (left) and his wife Jill (right) from Toowoomba in Queensland, have also been identified from the MH17 flight
Scientist: Leading HIV researcher Joep Lange (pictured) died in the MH17 crash
Conference: Pim de Kuijer, another AIDS researcher, was on his way to the Melbourne conference
Victim: Martine de Schutter, pictured, was another one of the delegation
‘Toorak College Community is saddened by the loss of much loved teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam who were on the Malaysia Airlines flight that was brought down over Ukraine, this morning,’ said a statement on the college Facebook page. ‘Our hearts and sympathy goes out to their children Milly and Sam, and family. We are devastated by the news of this tragedy.’ Victorian real estate agent, Albert Rizk, and his wife Marie also died in the crash.
They had been in Europe on holidays for several weeks. They had been travelling with family friends who took an earlier flight and were waiting for the Rizks to arrive home in Sunbury, Victoria, where they were high-profile members of a tight-knit community.
Mr Rizk was a director of Raine & Horne in Sunbury.
President of the Sunbury Football Club Phil Lithgow said Mr Rizk was a sponsor of the AFL club as well as an enthusiastic community worker and his wife worked in the club canteen.
The couple’s son James, who is also a real estate agent, plays football for the Sunbury club.
‘He is a very good footballer and Albert and Marie were just lovely people,’ Mr Lithgow told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It is a shock to us all, Albert was just such a community person in the area.’
Australian death: Liliane Derden, from Canberra, was also named as a victim. She worked for the National Health and Medical Research Council
Victims from around the world: Regis Crolla, left, was one of the 189 Dutch nationals on board the flight out of Amsterdam, while stewardess Azrina Yakob, right, was thought to have been working on board the flight
Twist of fate: Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, switched shifts on to the doomed liner at short notice
Loss: Shazana Salleh, pictured, was reportedly one of the Malaysian flight attendants on board
‘Killed': Angeline Premila was another airline worker thought to have been on board
A spokesman for The University of Melbourne released a statement saying they were ‘saddened’ to hear reports about one of their students.
‘Ms Teoh graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2008,’ the spokesman said. ‘Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.’
Other victims from around the world were also name today, including four members of the Malaysia Airlines cabin crew and the pilot. Authorities confirmed that almost two thirds of those on board were Dutch, including a member of the country’s Senate, Professor Willem Witteveen. Also named was Hong Kong native Fan Shun-po, a chef at an Asian restaurant in Rotterdam. He is thought been on board with his Malaysian wife Jenny Loh, who owns the restaurant.
Denis Napthine, a political leader in Victoria, Australia, confirmed MH17 was to connect with MH129 arriving in Melbourne this evening.
‘It is with deep regret that I can now confirm nine Australian nationals from Victoria are among those who have been killed in the MH17 tragedy,’ he said.
‘This is a sad and tragic day, not just for Victorians, but for all people and all nations. The shooting down of a passenger aircraft full of innocent civilians is an unspeakable act that will forever leave a dark stain on our history.’
Travellers: Asian chef Fan Shun-Po, left, from Hong Kong, and Dutch senator Willem Witteveen, right, were also named today as victims
Mourners have laid flowers at the doorstep of the embassy to pay respect to victims
Passengers board their Malaysia Airlines flight at Bangkok airport as it prepares to depart for Kuala Lumpur early on July 18
Relics in the rubble: Passports of victims, such as this one which appears to show a Dutch teenager, were found in the crash site wreckage
UN chief expresses “deep condolences” over MH17 crash
Leading HIV researchers, including former president of the International Aids Society Joep Lange, were en route to the 20th International Aids Conference, AIDS2014, which will begin this weekend despite the attack. It was also revealed today that the U.S. government does not believe any of its own citizens were on board, as nobody used an American passport to get on the plane. Internal White House emails shown to Buzzfeed indicate that a list of passengers on the flight seen by government officials did not include details of U.S. passports.
Although there is a possibility that U.S. citizens with dual nationalities – which could give them access to another passport – were on board, nobody is thought to have contacted the U.S. consulate in Amsterdam.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Incident summaryDate17 July 2014SummaryAppears to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched from Ukraine, although still under investigationSiteNear Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine 48°7′56″N 38°39′19″ECoordinates: 48°7′56″N 38°39′19″EPassengers283Crew15Fatalities298Survivors0Aircraft typeBoeing 777-200EROperatorMalaysia AirlinesRegistration9M-MRDFlight originAmsterdam Airport SchipholDestinationKuala Lumpur International Airport
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17)[a] was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam toKuala Lumpur that appears to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched from Ukraine on 17 July 2014 near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40 km (25 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft were killed. The crash occurred in the conflict zone of the ongoing Donbass insurgency. Ukrainian Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko said a Buk missile hit the aircraft at an altitude of 10,000 m (33,000 ft). Ukrainian security services said they intercepted two phone conversations in which pro-Russian separatists discuss having just shot down a civilian plane with Russian intelligence officers. Russia’s Defence Ministry said that a Ukrainian Buk missile system radar was operational in the area where the Malaysian plane was downed. Pro-Russian separatist rebels, however, accused the Ukrainian government of shooting down the plane. U.S. President Barack Obama, citing U.S. intelligence officials, said the plane was shot down by a missile and that there was “credible evidence” it was fired from a rebel-held location. The crash, Malaysia Airlines’ deadliest ever, was the airline’s second major incident of the year; Flight 370 (9M-MRO) disappeared on 8 March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. With 298 deaths, MH17 was the deadliest aviation incident since the 11 September 2001 attacks and the deadliest-ever Boeing 777 hull loss.
Flight 17 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[b] serial number 28411, registration 9M-MRD. The 84th Boeing 777 produced, it first flew on 17 July 1997, exactly 17 years before the incident, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 29 July 1997. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines and configured to carry 282 passengers in a 35-Business and 248-Economy configuration, the aircraft had logged more than 43,000 hours of flight time, including 6,950 cycles, before the crash. The Boeing 777 entered commercial service on 7 June 1995; as of June 2014, there were more than 1,200 in service. Aviation experts say it has one of the best safety records in commercial aircraft. Only four other 777s have suffered a hull loss: British Airways Flight 38 in January 2008; a cockpit fire in a parked EgyptAir777-200 at Cairo International Airport in 2011; and Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in July 2013, in which three people died. Another Malaysia Airlines 777, Flight 370(registration 9M-MRO), went missing on 8 March 2014 and was still being searched for at the time of Flight 17’s crash.
Passengers and crew
There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members aboard; all perished. The 15 crew members were all Malaysian. Two thirds of the passengers were from the Netherlands. Authorities initially said there were 295 people on board, having not accounted for three infants. Among the passengers were delegates en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, including Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. Also on board was Dutchsenator Willem Witteveen.
Route of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Kuala LumpurInternational Airport
Location of crash site, departure and destination airports
The aircraft departed from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Gate G03 at 12:14 CEST (10:14 UTC). It was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 11 hours and 45 minutes later at 06:00, 18 July MYT(22:00, 17 July UTC). According to Malaysia Airlines, MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet throughout Ukrainian airspace, but “upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet”. Malaysia Airlines released a statement saying “it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT)[f] at 30 km (19 mi) from [the] TAMAK waypoint (47°51′24″N 39°13′6″E ), approximately 50 km (31 mi) from theRussia–Ukraine border.” The plane crashed near the village of Hrabove just north of Torez, a city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, as it was approaching the Russian border. The moment at which a fireball rose due to the impact was captured on a video clip. Flightradar24 reported that a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (Flight SQ351) and an Air India Boeing 787-8 (Flight AI113) were each about 25 km (16 mi) away from the Malaysian airliner when it disappeared. Photographs from the site of the crash show scattered pieces of broken fuselage and engine parts, as well as bodies and passports. Some of the wreckage fell close to houses in Hrabove. In the evening on 17 July, the lifenews.ru portal released the following statement “On July 17 near the village of Rassypnoye over the Torez city in Donetsk region an An-26 transport plane of Ukrainian Air Force was taken down, said the militia. According to them, the plane crashed somewhere near the “Progress” mine, away from residential areas. According to one of the militias, at approximately 17:30 local time an An-26 flew over the city. It was hit by a rocket, there was an explosion and the plane went to the ground, leaving a black smoke. Debris fell from the sky”. ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti had also reported that an An-26 had been shot down by the militia near Torez at around 16:00 local time.
Closure of airspace
As a result of the incident, Ukraine closed all routes in the Eastern Ukraine airspace, at all altitudes. The airspace above Donetsk Oblast had been previously closed by Ukraine on 1 July 2014 below 26,000 feet (7,900 m), and on 14 July 2014 below 32,000 feet (9,800 m). Eurocontrol issued a statement in which it explained that at the time of the crash the MH17 was at Flight Level 330 (33,000 feet or 10,058.4 metres), so the aircraft was above restricted airspace. A few airlines, such as Qantas, Korean Air Lines and British Airways, had already been avoiding the area for a number of months because of security concerns.
On the day of the crash, a meeting was convened in the Trilateral Contact Group (consisting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian national government, and Russia). After they had held a video conference with representatives of the Novorossiya rebels (who control the area where the plane crashed), the rebels promised to “provide safe access and security guarantees” to “the national investigation commission” by cooperating with Ukrainian authorities and OSCE monitors. However, on 18 August the militants denied the OSCE team free access to the crash site; after spending only 75 minutes on the site, the team returned to Dontesk. According to National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, “all evidence being seized” by the militants who “have surrounded the crash site and SES crews work literally at gunpoint”. Off-duty coal miners, along with local police and rescue crews, were assisting in the immediate response to the crash, by combing through debris and searching for survivors. A senior U.S. administration official said to ABC News that FBI and NTSB officials are poised to head to Ukraine in an “advisory role” in the investigation.
Events before the crash
- On 29 June, NTV reported that separatists had access to a Buk after taking control of a Ukrainian air defence base A-1402. On the same day, the Donetsk People’s Republic claimed possession of such a system in a since-deleted tweet.
- On 10 July, shorter-range vehicle-mounted 9K35 Strela-10 missiles were filmed by Russian Lifenews team near Donetsk. On the other hand, high ranking Ukrainian officials have stated that rebels do not possess Buk systems. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, additionally stated that the Ukraine did not have sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems in the area.
- On 13 July Sergey Kurginyan declared that Buk launchers taken over from Ukrainian army were going to be fixed soon by specialists from Russia.
- On 14 July, a Ukrainian military An-26 transport aircraft was shot down (confirmed to be shot using “Buk”).
- On 16 July, a Ukrainian military Sukhoi Su-25 close air support aircraft was shot down and Ukrainian government officials accused the Russian military of downing the aircraft, but a spokesman for Russia’s Defence Ministry rejected those accusations as absurd.
- On 17 July, an unnamed Associated Press journalist had seen a Buk launcher in Snizhne, a town in the Donetsk Oblast, roughly 10 miles southeast of the crash site. The reporter also saw seven rebel tanks at a filling station near the town.
Hypotheses on cause
Multiple sources cited a post on the VKontakte social networking service that was attributed to Igor Girkin, commander of the pro-Russian Donbass People’s Militia, in which he acknowledged shooting down an aircraft at approximately the same time that the flight was reported to have crashed in eastern Ukraine in the same area near the Russian border. The post specifically referenced how warnings were issued for planes not to fly in their airspace and the downing of an Antonov An-26 which the Ukraine Crisis Media Center suggested was a case of misidentification with MH17. The post was deleted later in the day and the account behind it said that Igor Girkin had no official account on that social network. Ukrainian interior ministry official Anton Gerashchenko stated that the airliner was “shot down with a surface-to-air missile by terrorists”, referring to militants seeking to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia. Later the Ukrainian President stated that Ukrainian authorities “don’t exclude” the possibility that the plane was shot down. This was denied by the rebels, stating that they have no weapons capable of shooting down planes at the height the Malaysian airliner was flying. A defence expert later reported that to shoot down an aircraft at such a high altitude would have required a long-range surface-to-air missile, possibly assisted by radar, or an air-to-air missile from another aircraft. After the MH17 crash, the DNR said on numerous occasions that they “do not have access to weapons able to reach airplane at 10 km”. Just before the MH17 crash, DNR reported having access to a Buk missile system that can fire missiles up to 22,000 metres (72,000 ft), and uses radar guidance for targeting. On 18 July, a Ukrainian newspaper said that a column of three tanks, 2 BTR vehicles and Buk transported on a lorry was photographed near Dmitrovka village. Jane’s Defense Weekly and Defense24.pl stated in their analyses that a Buk missile launcher vehicle without well trained crew or without its support vehicles (command vehicle and acquisition radar vehicle) would have been unable to tell a civilian Boeing 777 from a military AN-26 aircraft, but would still would be able to hit it. Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at Harvard University said that without extensive training crews would be unable to hit anything at all. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. agencies are divided over whether the plane was downed by the Russian military or by pro-Russia separatists, who may lack the expertise required. Still they insist that, “All roads lead to the Russians to some degree”. On 18 July 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a White House briefing that the missile was fired from a territory controlled by Russian-supported separatists. A source from Russia’s Agency Rosaviatsia said the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine had closed its airspace over eastern Ukraine because of what it called “anti-terrorist operation[s].” Shortly after the crash theInternational Air Transport Association wrote in a statement: “Based on the information currently available it is believed that the airspace that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.” The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published what they said were wiretaps of separatist commanders reporting that a civilian airliner had been shot down. According to the recording, Flight 17 was shot down by a group of pro-Russian separatists manning a checkpoint near the village of Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 km (50 mi) north-west ofDonetsk. On 18 July, Russian Defence Ministry declared that at the time of the crash “anti-aircraft units of Russian Federation did not operate in that area”. Russia said that Ukrainian Buk-M1 units were located north-west from Donetsk and that Russian units detected their radar activity at the time of the incident. The Ministry also stated that the Ukrainian Buk battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner. DPR representatives made a number of statements, some reporting seeing that a military An-26 transport aircraft was hit, others stating they had no missiles that could reach 10 km altitude and hit an airliner , while LPR representatives said that they had witnessed a Ukrainian aircraft, identified as a Su-25, shoot down the Boeing. Gazeta.ru pointed out that both sides of the conflict, Ukraine and DPR, have Buk missiles capable of reaching 10 km altitude, but that the service ceiling at 5 km of Su-25 aircraft make it impossible for it to shoot down a high altitude airliner.
- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed support for a Dutch probe into the crash, which he called an act of terrorism. He offered condolences for the air disaster in a telephone conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ukrainian citizens spontaneously brought flowers to the Dutch and Malaysian embassies in support.
- Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said that the foreign ministry would be working closely with the Russian and Ukrainian governments with regard to the incident. Prime Minister Najib Razak later said on his statement that “At this stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy. But we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned”. He also added “If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice”. The Malaysian government has declared to fly the country national flagat half-mast from 18 July until 21 July.
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that if the incident was proven to be a shoot-down, it would be a crime and the perpetrators would be brought to justice. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said the incident was a huge tragedy and that any Australians who were concerned about family members’ wellbeing should try to contact them directly. It also said it was awaiting confirmation on the number of Australian passengers on board.
- Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said “On behalf of the Belgian government, he expressed his sincere condolences to the families and friends of the many victims of the flight of Malaysia Airlines. His thoughts are paying particular to the five Belgian victims, their families. He also spoke of his deep sympathy for the Dutch people and the Dutch authorities, as stood on his statement issued in Friday. Di Rupo wants “full clarity comes over the exact circumstances of this tragedy and those who are responsible should be quickly identified and brought to justice”.
- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “Canada stands ready to provide whatever support it can to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.”
- The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is important that an independent international body investigate the shooting and name those responsible for “this cowardly and inhumane act”. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described the crash as “unusual, rare and shocking”, and added that “a significant influx of refugees from eastern areas of Ukraine has been registered in Transcarpathia. These movements affect the Hungarian community living there as well as Hungary itself”.
- India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Twitter feedback, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives on board Flight MH17. We stand with them in this hour of grief.”
- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the aircraft downing is “a violation against international law and the law of war“. He asked that whoever shot down the aircraft be punished unequivocally, and offered to help with the investigation.
- Philippines Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement “Malacañang offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims, recognising full well the enormity of their loss. At this difficult time, we stand with them in solidarity as one people and one country”.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences and his most sincere words of compassion and support to the families and friends of the victims, but said responsibility for the crash rests with “the country in whose airspace the plane was in when it crashed”, and that “the disaster wouldn’t happen if the military action in south-east of Ukraine was not reenabled”.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron described the crash as “an absolutely appalling, shocking, horrific incident”, and stated that “if, as seems possible, this was brought down then those responsible must be brought to account and we must lose no time in doing that”. The United Kingdom has requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
- U.S. President Barack Obama said, “The U.S. will offer any assistance we can to determine what happened and why. As a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.” In a press statement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called for an immediate ceasefire. Vice President Joe Biden said the plane appeared to have been deliberately “blown out of the sky”, and vowed U.S. assistance for the investigation into the crash. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power stated that the flight “was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine,” that the U.S. could not “rule out technical assistance by Russian personnel” in operating the system, and that “Russia must end this war.”
- The UN Security Council was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis. A British-drafted statement calling for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation” into what caused the crash and stressing the need for “all parties to grant immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident” will be discussed.
Airline Aeroflot, Transaero, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Lufthansa and S7 announced their intention to make flights overflew Ukraine. Eurocontrol airspace closed in eastern Ukraine for civil aviation.
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Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation. This hypothesis had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the scientific understanding of ice age cycles. In contrast to the global cooling conjecture, the current scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth has not durably cooled, but undergone global warming throughout the twentieth century.
Concerns about nuclear winter arose in the early 1980s from several reports. Similar speculations have appeared over effects due to catastrophes such as asteroid impacts and massive volcanic eruptions. A prediction that massive oil well fires in Kuwait would cause significant effects on climate was quite incorrect.
The idea of a global cooling as the result of global warming was already proposed in the 1990s. In 2003, the Office of Net Assessment at the United States Department of Defense was commissioned to produce a study on the likely and potential effects of a modern climate change, especially of a shutdown of thermohaline circulation. The study, conducted under ONA head Andrew Marshall, modelled its prospective climate change on the 8.2 kiloyear event, precisely because it was the middle alternative between the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age. The study caused controversy in the media when it was made public in 2004. However, scientists acknowledge that “abrupt climate change initiated by Greenland ice sheet melting is not a realistic scenario for the 21st century”.
Currently, the concern that cooler temperatures would continue, and perhaps at a faster rate, has been observed to be incorrect by the IPCC. More has to be learned about climate, but the growing records have shown that the cooling concerns of 1975 have not been borne out.
As for the prospects of the end of the current interglacial (again, valid only in the absence of human perturbations): it isn’t true that interglacials have previously only lasted about 10,000 years; and Milankovitch-type calculations indicate that the present interglacial would probably continue for tens of thousands of years naturally. Other estimates (Loutre and Berger, based on orbital calculations) put the unperturbed length of the present interglacial at 50,000 years. Berger (EGU 2005 presentation) believes that the present CO2 perturbation will last long enough to suppress the next glacial cycle entirely.
As the NAS report indicates, scientific knowledge regarding climate change was more uncertain than it is today. At the time that Rasool and Schneider wrote their 1971 paper, climatologists had not yet recognized the significance of greenhouse gases other than water vapor and carbon dioxide, such as methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Early in that decade, carbon dioxide was the only widely studied human-influenced greenhouse gas. The attention drawn to atmospheric gases in the 1970s stimulated many discoveries in future decades. As the temperature pattern changed, global cooling was of waning interest by 1979
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Blizzard to Reach From NYC to Boston Thursday Night
By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
January 02, 2014; 2:32 PM
A major snowstorm will reach from across part of the Midwest to the central Appalachians and New England Thursday into Friday. A blizzard will evolve from the storm in parts of the Northeast.
During Thursday and Thursday night, the storm will affect 20 states with more than 120 million people in the Midwest and theNortheast combined and could have a major negative impact on travel for people returning from holiday destinations, heading back to school or resuming business activities.
It will be far from the worst storm to ever hit the area, but people should be prepared for flight delays and cancellations because of direct and indirect impacts from the far-reaching storm. Some roads may even close for a time.
Deicing operations, poor visibility and increasing winds will put some airlines behind schedule. Aircraft and crews may not be where they are supposed to be, even if the weather is clear.
As colder air invades the storm, snow will stick to the roads. A layer of ice may form on some highways.
The worst of the storm is likely to be Thursday night in the Northeast but will cause enough snow to make roads slippery in some locations from the Midwest to New England.
The storm is forecast to bring a large area of 6- to 12-inch snowfall beginning in northern Pennsylvania and upstate New York to a large part of New Jersey and New England. This includes the entire metropolitan area of New York City and Long Island, northward to Albany, N.Y., and Scranton, Pa.
Between 12 and 18 inches of snow will fall in localized areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut and the cities of Providence, R.I., and Boston.
Within the heaviest snow area, the snow will fall at the rate of 2 inches per hour in some locations, making it difficult for plows to keep up.
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A significant, but lesser snowfall is in store farther southwest in Philadelphia, and farther north in Bangor, Maine; Burlington, Vt.; and Pittsburgh. Around Baltimore and Washington, D.C., where a small amount of snow is forecast, a quick freeze and slippery travel is possible Thursday evening.
For many areas this will be a dry, powdery snow. However, along the mid-Atlantic coast and even southern New England coast for a brief time, a wintery mix will occur early. As colder air invades the storm, wet areas will freeze and the snow will become powdery.
The storm will strengthen quickly enough to kick up winds. Blowing and drifting snow will occur during the middle and last part of the storm from Pennsylvania to New England. From parts of New England to around New York City, a full-blown blizzard is forecast to evolve with strong winds, dangerous cold and low visibility.
The wind will cause waves to build along the New England and the mid-Atlantic coast. Where these winds are onshore longest, over eastern New England and along the north shore of Long Island, flooding at times of high tide is likely, along with beach erosion. The new moon from New Year’s Day will contribute to higher tide levels during part of the storm.
The coldest air of the season so far will empty out of eastern Canada on gusty winds in the wake of the storm. For some locations it will bring the coldest weather in several years.
Areas from New England to much of the mid-Atlantic will be very cold Friday into Saturday, while travel conditions will improve.
According to Long Range Weather Expert Jack Boston, “If New York’s Central Park fails to reach 20 degrees for a high temperature on Friday, it will be the first time this has occurred since Jan. 16, 2009.”
In the South, the colder air will be accompanied by a biting wind as well.
Another storm may eye the Northeast with snow, a wintry mix and rain Sunday into Monday as 2014 kicks winter up to a whole new level of intensity. Very cold air could also make a far-reaching appearance from the Midwest to the Northeast early next week.
Tune in to AccuWeather Live Mornings every weekday at 7 a.m. EST. We will be talking about the snowstorm in the Northeast and Midwest, along with the brutal cold.
By Natalie O’Neill and Bob Fredericks
January 2, 2014 | 4:46am
A powerful storm bearing down on the Northeast could dump up to 10 inches of snow on New York City and even more upstate and across Long Island and southern New England, forecasters predicted Thursday.
“The worst conditions are likely Thursday night, when the snow will be the heaviest, and winds and cold will cause the snow to blow and drift,” said senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski on AccuWeather.com
And hard on the heels of Winter Storm Hercules – which Sosnowski said will produce blizzard and white out conditions – is the coldest blast of arctic air of the season, dropping temperatures into the single digits across the Northeast.
The expected total snowfall for the five boroughs is between 6 and 10 inches, with higher amounts north and west of New York City.
The city on New Year’s Day declared a “snow alert” to take effect at 1 a.m. on Thursday, and is prepping for the arctic blast with a fleet of street plows and salt spreaders.
“What makes [Thursday] pm’s blizzard a bigger deal than most snowstorms in NYC? Close proximity of cold air will drive strong winds,” meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted.
The massive storm will smack the southern half of New York State, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and southern Vermont and New Hampshire before it fizzles on Friday.
And plunging temperatures on Friday will make for a treacherous morning commute, with icy, snow-covered roads and lousy visibility.
Air travelers can expect delays and cancellations at Newark, Kennedy and La Guardia airports and rail service on Metro-North, the LIRR and PATH trains will likely be disrupted as well.
U.S. airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights nationwide on Thursday in advance of the storm. Many were on regional airlines that handle shorter flights for the major carriers.
More than 500 flights in or out of O’Hare airport were canceled, according to FlightStats.com. The flights that were getting out were delayed more than half an hour, and incoming flights were being delayed at their origin, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Airlines already have canceled more than 500 flights scheduled for Friday.
The frigid blast of arctic air from Canada will send temperatures plummeting on Friday, with wind chills near zero.
“If Central Park fails to reach 20 degrees for a high temperature on Friday, it will be the first time this has occurred since Jan. 16, 2009, when the high was only 16 degrees,” said Jack Boston, another AccuWeather meteorologist.
The snow started early Thursday, slowing the morning commute and adding an extra day to the Christmas break for thousands of students.
Up to 5 inches of snow had fallen in eastern New York early Thursday, but the National Weather Service said some areas from Buffalo to Albany could get up to 14 inches by the time the storm subsides on Friday. Windy conditions and lows well below zero will make it feel like minus-30 in some parts of the Adirondacks Thursday night and Friday morning, the national Weather Service said.
Crashes were reported on some upstate roads, but none of them appeared serious as motorists were forced to ease up on the gas pedal because of the icy driving conditions.
“Everybody’s slowed down for the conditions,” said state police Sgt. David Malone of the Thruway detail in Albany. “Hopefully it stays this way for the rest of the day.”
The city will suspend alternate-side parking, and the state plans to close some major highways, including the Long Island Expressway.
“We’re telling people to prepare for road closings . . . The roadways may be closed on your way home. Mass transit is a prudent option,” Gov. Cuomo said. Parts of I-84 and I-684 could be closed as well.
Some schools in New York City’s northern suburbs were closing early Thursday, while scores of others in the Hudson Valley and other parts of eastern New York called off classes or delayed their start by a couple hours.
Some upstate districts are off through Friday for the Christmas break, but many others had planned to resume classes on Thursday.
Light flurries began late on Wednesday and temperatures fell to a frosty 29 degrees — a chill so intense a swimmer at Coney Island’s annual Polar Bear Plunge in Coney Island had to be treated for hypothermia.
The shocked swimmer was plucked from the icy water at around 1:20 p.m. then rushed to an on-sight medic, an EMT source said.
Roughly 1,000 people showed up at for the New Year’s Day tradition.
“It’s an unbelievable experience. I have never tried it — but you have to try something new every day. That’s why I’m here. It’s a new year,” said Miguel Flores, 23, of Coney Island.
Louis Alabaraeo, 20, of Midwood liked it so much, organizers had to ask him to get out of the water.
“Once you get in, it’s amazing,” he said. “The feeling is exciting.”
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Segment 0: New Revealations About Benghazi Scandal From CBS 60 Minutes — Congress Demands Benghazi Survivors Testify As To What Happened! — Videos
The Benghazi cover story
By Raymond Thomas Pronk
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak at transfer of remains ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base for Americans killed in Benghazi. Credit:www.vosizneias.com
The Benghazi cover story was an awful, offensive, crude and disgusting online video that insulted believers in Islam lead to a spontaneous protest that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
On Sept. 14, 2012 during the transfer of remains ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made remarks to the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi. She briefly reviewed the careers and lives of the deceased: Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Clinton said, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”
On Sept. 16, 2012, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on all five Sunday morning TV news shows. The interviewers on all five shows asked Rice to provide the Obama administration’s explanation for the murder of the four Americans in Benghazi.
On ABC’s “This Week,” in response to a question by Jake Tapper, Rice answered, “But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.” Rice repeated this explanation on all five shows.
On Sept. 25, 2012, President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He also repeated Rice’s explanation for what happened in Benghazi. Obama said, “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video.”
According to an Associated Press story by Paul Schemm and Michael Maggie: “Within 24 hours of the attack, both the embassy in Tripoli and the CIA station chief sent word to Washington that it was a planned militant attack,” and “there was no sign of a spontaneous protest against an American-made movie denigrating Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”
The terrorist attackers numbering about 150 are suspected of being members of the powerful militia organization Ansar al-Shariah. Their members espouse a jihadist al-Qaida-like ideology. They fought in the Libyan civil war that overthrew the 42-year dictatorship of Moammar Gadhafi.
Gregory Hicks was deputy chief of mission and charge d’affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya on Sept. 11. He was called to testify before the House Oversight Committee that is investigating Benghazi on May 9. Hicks said, “I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go. I think everybody at the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.”
On Oct. 27 CBS’s 60 Minutes Lara Logan said, “Contrary to the White House’s public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al-Qaida in a well-planned assault.”
Logan’s reporting coup was an interview with a new source, a British security officer, who uses a pseudonym. He said, “On his first drive through Benghazi, he noticed the black flags of al- Qaida flying openly in the streets and he grew concerned about the guard forces as soon as he pulled up to the U.S. compound.”
Also interviewed was Lt. Col. Andy Wood, chief security officer in Libya, and Hicks. Wood said, “Al-Qaida — using a familiar tactic — had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time ‘til they captured the third one.”
Wood added, “I made it known in a country team meeting, ‘You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It’s gonna happen. You need to change your security profile.’”
On Oct. 28 Fox News interviewed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). He said, “So I am calling for a joint select committee. … The people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes. I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to the Congress.”
The truth was known from the beginning that the terrorist attacks were planned and well-organized by a militia group called Ansar al-Shariah and had absolutely nothing to do with a YouTube video. The Benghazi cover story was a lie repeatedly told to deceive the American people during an election year.
60 Minutes – Benghazi (CBS – Oct 27, 2013) (Full)
Lara Logan reports on the events in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. The al Qaeda attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador, Chris Stevens.
Lindsey Graham To FOX Blocking Every Senate Appointment Until Benghazi Survivors Can Testify
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Wants Answers From Hillary, Obama On Benghazi Believe It Or Not!
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“Ingratitude is the essence of vileness.”
Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones – with ingratitude.
Ezra Klein to MSNBC Obamacare Rollout a Big Failure So Far
White House planned Obamacare website glitches to hide how costly health plans are
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“The Amateur: Barack Obama In The White House” by Edward Klein
Red State Update: Oprah For President
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As the White House was gearing up to sell ObamaCare to the American people last summer, Valerie Jarrett, the president’s pointwoman on a host of issues, phoned Oprah Winfrey.
She invited the Queen of All Media to join celebrities, including Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, to meet with President Obama and discuss how they could generate publicity for his health-care law.
Barack and Michelle Obama with Oprah Winfrey in 2011.Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
“All of Oprah’s top people thought she would go, because when the president invites you to the White House, most people automatically say yes,” said one of Oprah’s closest advisers. “But Oprah said she didn’t have the time or inclination to go. It wasn’t like she had to think it over. It was an immediate, flat-out, unequivocal no.”
Instead, Oprah sent a low-level rep from one of her talent agencies, which was regarded as a insult. Obama had been counting on Oprah’s immense persuasive powers to help enroll millions in ObamaCare. But as the rollout turned into a disaster, Oprah didn’t lift a finger to help.
The story of why Oprah has changed her tune and gone AWOL on ObamaCare goes well beyond mere gossip. It speaks volumes about the convergence of celebrity and politics under Obama and about a president who thinks nothing of using and then discarding his most loyal supporters.
Everyone remembers that Oprah went all out for Obama during the 2008 presidential election. What was not reported was that, in return, Oprah was promised unique access to the White House if Obama won. She’d get regular briefings on initiatives and a heads-up on programs to give her material for her fledgling cable network, OWN.
“Oprah intended to make her unique White House access a part of her new network,” a source close to Oprah told me. “There were big plans, and a team was put together to come up with proposals that would have been mutually beneficial.
“But none of that ever happened. Oprah sent notes and a rep to talk to Valerie Jarrett, but nothing came of it. It slowly dawned on Oprah that the Obamas had absolutely no intention of keeping their word and bringing her into their confidence.”
Oprah did not campaign for Obama in the 2012 race, and she has been absent from his battles on gun control, immigration reform and the environment. She claims she is too busy to get involved in politics, even though she hosted a fund-raiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who won a US Senate seat last week.
Oprah’s friends publicly dismiss the idea that she had a falling out with Obama. They note that she phoned Michelle Obama right after the 2012 election to congratulate her. They say Michelle invited her to have dinner with the first family. But the dinner never took place, and Oprah continues to be frozen out.
“Oprah was hoping there would be a genuine change in the atmospherics,” one of her friends told me. “But there hasn’t been. Clearly, she is being rebuffed at the level of Michelle and Valerie. And, just as obviously, President Obama hasn’t interfered on Oprah’s behalf.”
During Obama’s first term, I argued in my book “The Amateur” that Michelle was jealous of Oprah, furious that he was seeking her advice.
“For her part, Oprah doesn’t like being with Michelle, because the first lady is constantly one-upping the president and anybody else around her,” said an Oprah adviser.
“Oprah has struck back by banning the Obamas from her O, The Oprah Magazine . . . It probably hurts Oprah more than Obama, who, if he had his head screwed on straight, would have flown to California and begged Oprah to help him save ObamaCare.
“But Obama hasn’t budged, and neither has Oprah. She’s hurt and angry, and I seriously doubt that Oprah will ever make up with the Obamas. She knows how to hold a grudge.”
Edward Klein is the author of the New York Times No. 1 best seller “The Amateur,” available in paperback.
Michelle Obama vs. Oprah: A weighty matter
A report that Michelle Obama said that Oprah’s “huge girth” makes her a terrible role model for kids is just one of the weighty issues that form the center an excerpt from bestselling author Ed Klein’s new book, “The Amateur,” published Monday in the New York Post.
Oprah Winfrey was a huge supporter of Obama from early on, throwing fundraisers for him and ultimately putting her professional reputation on the line to giver her endorsement.
“[S]he felt proud that she had been instrumental in electing the first black president of the United States,” Ed Klein writes in his book, ”and she believed that she had earned a place in the president-elect’s brain trust.”
Subsequently, Michelle and Oprah quickly became pals.
So why all the drama?
After the inauguration, things started to get dicey: According to Klein’s accounts, there was an immediate shift in tone between Michelle and Oprah.
When Oprah wanted to do an interview with the first lady, she had to go through middle men and red tape, getting the questions pre-approved. When she was ultimately allowed to interview Michelle, Michelle directed most of her answers and asides at Gayle King, Oprah’s long time best friend, instead of at Oprah.
This was all happening while Michelle was being told by advisers Valerie Jarrett and Desiree Rogers to distance herself from Oprah, and that Oprah was getting too close to the president and starting to act like the first lady herself.
The whole account sounds oddly similar to the movie “Mean Girls.” Michelle Obama was also allegedly jealous of Oprah’s relationships with Barack. In fact, Michelle was so paranoid of all the women working near her husband that she reportedly asked her “inner circle” to keep an eye on any girl that Barack got “touchy” with.
When Oprah went back to try to do another interview with Michelle about her anti-obesity campaign, she was flat out rejected. According to sources, Oprah told Gayle King that she really wanted to get on the phone and let Michelle have it, adding, “Michelle hates fat people and doesn’t want me waddling around the White House!”
If that seems harsh, apparently the feeling is mutual. Michelle Obama has been known to go on rants about Oprah.
“Oprah only wants to cash in, using the White House as a backdrop for her show to perk up her ratings,” Michelle was quoted as telling her staff. “Oprah, with her yo-yo dieting and huge girth, is a terrible role model. Kids will look at Oprah, who’s rich and famous and huge, and figure it’s OK to be fat.”
This election cycle, Oprah has yet to throw the president lavish fundraisers like she did in 2007. Still, Obama cites Oprah for helping to make him president, thanking her for throwing her weight behind him when no one else did.
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Glenn Beck: When You Lose Jon Stewart on Obamacare ‘You’re Done’
ObamaCare vs Free Market Approach to Health Care Reform
“What a train wreck”
Jon Stewart grills Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare
Kathleen Sebelius: Individuals Can Get A One Year Obamacare Delay — By Paying The Penalty
Jon Stewart accuses Kathleen Sebelius of lying
Rush Limbaugh Gives Jon Stewart Props for Tough Kathleen Sebelius Interview – 10/8/13
Jon Stewart Grills Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare: Incompetence That’s Larger Than What It Should Be
Civil disobedience for doctors? BJ Lawson of Physician Care Direct has a way out of Obamacare
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House Oversight Draft Report on Benghazi shows ARB never fully investigated Hillary Clinton
Benghazi Scandal – Benghazi Committee Urged Firing But 2 Staffers Reportedly Back On The Job
National Security Advisor Susan Rice (Benghazi Scandal) To Brief Lawmakers On Syria Tomorrow 9/11
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Benghazi Talking Points New Calls For All E Mail To Be Released By Obama Admin Megyn Kelly
Benghazi Scandal – Will Benghazi Survivors Testify? – Reporter Grills State Dept Spokesperson
Benghazi Scandal – Benghazi One Year Later – High Tech Weapons With Night Vision Targeting Missing
Benghazi Scandal Investigation Widening Lawmakers Seek Interviews Of 13 Top Officials
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Love Potion #9
Love Potion No. 9
Love Potion No. 9 is a 1992 movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan. Inspired by the famous doo-wop song of the same title, it’s about a special elixir (Love Potion No. 8) that enables a person to make people of the opposite sex become completely infatuated with them by simply talking. The potion also makes people of the same sex loathe, and sometimes physically attack, the one who is using the potion.
Paul Matthews (Tate Donovan) is a lonely biochemist with a crush on his unavailable co-worker, biologist Diane Farrow (Sandra Bullock). His friends take him to a gypsy on 34th and Vine named Madame Ruth (Anne Bancroft). After reading his palm and seeing absolutely no romance in his life, Ruth gives him a small amount Love Potion No. 8 on a piece of paper. As a scientist, Paul has doubts and ends up throwing it in the trash when he gets home. Around this time, Paul’s friends buy him the services of Marisa, but all they do is talk.
His cat gets into the trash and eats some of the potion; then it meows and attracts all the other cats in the neighborhood. When Paul sees the results, he takes it to Diane, and they find out the “scientific” properties of it. After analyzing it, they decide to use themselves as human test subjects. Diane ends up attracting an Italian car mogul and the prince of England, ending up getting a makeover in the process, while Paul has a string of hookups with women in bars, supermarkets, cars, and sorority houses.
Paul and Diane realize their romantic attraction to each other and become involved. Eventually, Paul plans a proposal to Diane; however, when he comes by her house to do so, she has fallen into the arms of Gary, who was originally only using her for sex, since she’s under the influence of the potion. Paul gathers his friends and tells them about the potion, which causes them to laugh in his face. Marisa arrives at the house and uses the potion (which she earlier found and used to rob Paul) and uses it on Paul and his friends, proving the power of the potion.
By this time, Diane and Gary are getting married. Paul goes back to Madame Ruth, who gives him Love Potion No. 9, which will purify Diane and Paul’s love forever (unless Diane was never entirely in love with him, in which case Paul will love Diane for his entire life and Diane will eternally hate him). Paul and friends coerce the matron of honor at Diane’s wedding to help them, and Diane ends up running out of the wedding into Paul’s arms.
The film gives a pseudoscientific explanation as to how Love Potion No. 8 “works.” It’s explained:
- When swallowed it affects the vocal cords directly so that when you speak micro-tremors encoded within your voice stimulate tiny little hairs in the inner ear of the opposite sex. The hair vibrates, sending a signal along a nerve to the brain, which in turn produces a combination of mood-altering, endogenous chemicals responsible for the biochemical process of falling in love. It makes members of the same sex hostile. It only works for four hours at a time.
Love Potion No. 9 prevents love from fading, and overrides the effects of Love Potion No. 8.
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Michael Spence — The Future of Economic Growth
3 Michael Spence on Economic Growth The Economist
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Perot Museum of Nature & Science Sneak Preview
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Eichengreen on the Gold Standard, the Dollar Standard, and a New Global Currency Order
Is the Age of Dollar Dominance Coming to an End?
Conversations with History: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar
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Louisiana Sinkhole Crisis is Out of Control — GET OUT of Southern Louisiana
BAYOU CORNE, La. — The Assumption Parish sinkhole is a lot like a living, breathing thing. More than 200 days after it mysteriously started swallowing up the swamp, hundreds of residents are still under a mandatory evacuation order. Geophysicists say the cavern that caused the sinkhole at the surface is still collapsing, leaving Bayou Corne residents wondering if there will ever be an end in sight. Geophyisicists now say the western side of one of the brine caverns is collapsing, filling in from deep in the Earth, causing the sinkhole at the surface to expand and contract.
One of those questions: What caused the cavern to collapse? “The sinkhole is constantly changing. It changes every time we go out there. Not just on the surface, but in the sub-surface,” said Gary Hecox, a hydrogeologist with CB&I, formerly the Shaw Group, who is a consultant for the state about how to best handle the sinkhole.
He said it’s uncharted territory. “The cavern was 3,400 feet deep, which is deeper than any known cavern failure impacting the surface in the international record,” Hecox said.
Nowhere in the world has a brine cavern this large collapsed, and Hecox said the data shows it’s not finished yet. “We still have 450 feet to fill. How long is it gonna take to fill this up? At one foot per day, we’re still looking at an event that’s gonna run over a year,” he said.
Every time it shifts, recently installed seismic monitors pick up tremors like little earthquakes. When it does, big bubbles of natural gas, vegetation and crude oil are released to the surface. They call it a “burp”. “It appears that the sand and gravel that’s in the bottom of the sinkhole breaks up a large gas bubble into many small bubbles just like an aquarium,” Hecox continued, “That is a good thing. Because if you get a single bubble up and have an ignition source you can have a flash over.” A flash over is an explosion, like the kind you can see if you leave the gas on too long before lighting a propane grill. But Hecox said a large natural gas bubble from the sinkhole lit by any ignition source could mean major damage on the surface. Instead those little bubbles are coming out all around the actual sinkhole site in the form of bubble sites in the bayou. Twenty new bubble sites have been spotted in the last month.
In recent weeks, some of the residents who stayed behind, and are living in the area at their own risk, noticed some problems that are typically invisible to the naked eye.
Bubble sites popped up in neighborhoods that are typically dry during flooding after a recent rain storm. It caused Wilma Subra, a chemist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, to raise a red flag with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.” A house acts like a tent. So, if it’s migrating up through the soil, and it’s being caught in the house, it’s building up concentrations in the house. And then if it reaches explosive level, then one little spark in the house would set it off,” Subra said.
Many feel forgotten, Weber said. Especially by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The governor has yet to visit the sinkhole site or publicly talk about it. “He’s promoting plants around the area, chemical plants. And he was in the area and he wouldn’t, still to this day does not acknowledge it,” Weber said.
In October and November of 2012, Jindal announced two chemical plant expansions a few miles from Bayou Corne, one in nearby Geismar and one in Donaldsonville.
But in six months, he’s made no visit to the sinkhole site. “Where is he? Where is Jindal? He’s all over the United States, but he can’t come forty minutes south of Baton Rouge and visit,” Weber asked.
As photos from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network show, when the sinkhole first appeared, it was just 400 feet in diameter. As of mid-February, it had swallowed nine acres.
Official: Louisiana sinkhole Spud talks w/Joe Harrison about the sinkhole
Background Articles and Videos
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Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools
How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another — then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.
Andreas Schleicher – 2012 School Administrators Conference
After No Child Left Behind – Now what do we do?
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“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Why Rand Was Right to Endorse Romney
“I did not come to praise the progressive Republican establishment but to replace them.”
Raymond Thomas Pronk
SA@TheDC – Conservatism for What?
Open Memo To Republican Party: No more progressives or your party will go the way of the Whigs.
Dewey, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney–Progressive Republicans all.
Since the end of World War II, the only conservative libertarian Republican elected President was Ronald Reagan and the progressive Republicans or Rockefeller Republicans did not want him.
Millions of Independent conservatives as well as Republican conservatives stayed home in 2012 or did not vote for either Romney nor Obama, get a clue Republican Party establishment.
I stayed home.
The time has come for tea party candidates to form their own political party.
The Republican Party like the Democratic Party is controlled by progressive Republicans that favor big government intervention in the economy and abroad.
Conservatives are leaving the Republican Party in droves.
The only way to get a politician or political party’s attention is to not vote for them.
Have we got your attention.
I doubt it.
Why would any progressive vote for a Republican progressive?
Why would any conservative–traditional, national defense, social, religious, fiscal or libertarian–vote for a progressive Republican.
Neoconservatives are not conservatives, they are right-wing progressives from the Democratic Party.
Soon the number of independent voters will exceed the number of registered Democrats as well as the number of registered Republicans.
All the Republican Party had to do in 2012 was nominate a conservative, instead the Republican Party establishment nominated a progressive.
Some people and parties never learn.
Romney did not get the young vote.
Ron Paul did in the primaries.
Barack Obama got the majority of the young vote–18-29.
For sheer stupidity and arrogance read the post below from a Romney volunteer and their get out the vote software or website failure!
Romney’s team did not the basics down.
Should be a Havard Business School case study in how not to run a campaign.
Senator Rand Paul for President in 2016!
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Turnout shaping up to be lower than 2008
A drop in voter turnout in Tuesday’s election didn’t keep President Barack Obama from winning a second term.
Preliminary figures suggest fewer people voted this year than four years ago, when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Obama to his first term.
In most states, the numbers are shaping up to be even lower than in 2004, said Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Every state is showing lower numbers than in 2008, Gans said. Still, the full picture may not be known for weeks because much of the counting takes place after Election Day.
“This is one of those rare elections in which turnout in every state in the nation went down,” Gans said.
In Texas, turnout for the presidential race dropped almost 11 percent from 2008. Vermont and South Carolina saw declines that were almost as large. The drop-off was more than 7 percent in Maryland, where voters approved a ballot measure allowing gay marriage.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press’ figures showed more than 118 million people had voted in the White House race, but that number will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Experts calculate turnout in different ways based on who they consider eligible voters. A separate, preliminary estimate from George Mason University’s Michael McDonald put the 2012 turnout rate at 60 percent of eligible voters. That figure was expected to be revised as more precincts reported and absentee votes were counted. …”
Read more: http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/national/turnout-shaping-up-to-be-lower-than-2008_7991483#ixzz2BZ1CMrNE
Read more: http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/national/turnout-shaping-up-to-be-lower-than-2008_7991483#ixzz2BZ00bhK8
November 08, 2012
The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA
What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:
Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.
Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The “massive undertaking” is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second). This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s. And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure.
The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.
From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.
Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.
On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by “packet”. Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again). So, at this point I became panicked. I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open. I was thankfully able to find a Kinko’s open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do. They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day? From what I hear, other people had similar experiences. In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.
At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn’t have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had “registered me”. Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn’t inform people that this was a requirement. In fact, check out my “checklist” from my ORCA packet:Notice anything missing? My guess is the second “Chair (if allowed)” was supposed to be “poll watcher certificate” but they put chair twice. This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people. Did no one proof-read it?
So, I headed back home to see if I could get my certificate. I called their official help line. It went unanswered. I tried their legal line. Same thing. I emailed them. No response. I continued to do this for six straight hours and never got a response. I even tried to call three local victory centers. All went straight to voicemail.
While I was home, I took to Twitter and the web to try to find some answers. From what I saw, these problems were widespread. People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate. Others never received their pdf packets. Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area. Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn’t work.
Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an “app” when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or “web app”). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn’t find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn’t download it. Well, that’s because it didn’t exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn’t even “turn it on” until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn’t properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.
Next, and this part I find mind-boggingly absurd, the web address was located at “https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca”. Notice the “s” after http. This denotes it’s a secure connection, something that’s used for e-commerce and web-based email. So far, so good. The problem is that they didn’t auto-forward the regular “http” to “https” and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down. Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it. This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to “http” when you just start with “www” (as 95% of the world does).
By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here’s the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.
So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake.
The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.
I’m on Twitter at @JohnEkdahl if you have any questions.
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U-6 Unemployment Rate
Debacle: How Obama Incentivized Sloth & Created the Weakest Recovery In Modern History
Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) speaks about July’s Employment Numbers on CNBC
The President’s Policies Aren’t Working
Economic recovery is weakest since World War II
“…recession that ended three years ago this summer has been followed by the feeblest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest.
The ugliness goes well beyond unemployment, which at 8.3 percent is the highest this long after a recession ended.
Economic growth has never been weaker in a postwar recovery. Consumer spending has never been so slack. Only once has job growth been slower.
More than in any other post-World War II recovery, people who have jobs are hurting: Their paychecks have fallen behind inflation.
Many economists say the agonizing recovery from the Great Recession, which began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, is the predictable consequence of a housing bust and a grave financial crisis.
Credit, the fuel that powers economies, evaporated after Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008. And a 30 percent drop in housing prices erased trillions in home equity and brought construction to a near-standstill.
So any recovery was destined to be a slog.
“A housing collapse is very different from a stock market bubble and crash,” says Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It affects so many people. It only corrects very slowly.”
The U.S. economy has other problems, too. Europe’s troubles have undermined consumer and business confidence on both sides of the Atlantic. And the deeply divided U.S. political system has delivered growth-chilling uncertainty.
The AP compared nine economic recoveries since the end of World War II that lasted at least three years. A 10th recovery that ran from 1945 to 1948 was not included because the statistics from that period aren’t comprehensive, although the available data show that hiring was robust. There were two short-lived recoveries — 24 months and 12 months — after the recessions of 1957-58 and 1980.
Here is a closer look at how the comeback from the Great Recession stacks up with the others:
America’s gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — grew 6.8 percent from the April-June quarter of 2009 through the same quarter this year, the slowest in the first three years of a postwar recovery. GDP grew an average of 15.5 percent in the first three years of the eight other comebacks analyzed.
The engines that usually drive recoveries aren’t firing this time.
Investment in housing, which grew an average of nearly 34 percent this far into previous postwar recoveries, is up just 8 percent since the April-June quarter of 2009.
That’s because the overbuilding of the mid-2000s left a glut of houses. Prices fell and remain depressed. The housing market has yet to return to anything close to full health even as mortgage rates have plunged to record lows.
Government spending and investment at the federal, state and local levels was 4.5 percent lower in the second quarter than three years earlier.
Three years into previous postwar recoveries, government spending had risen an average 12.5 percent. In the first three years after the 1981-82 recession, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, the economy got a jolt from a 15 percent increase in government spending and investment.
This time, state and local governments have been slashing spending — and jobs. And since passing President Barack Obama’s $862 billion stimulus package in 2009, a divided Congress has been reluctant to try to help the economy with federal spending programs. Trying to contain the $11.1 trillion federal debt has been a higher priority.
Since June 2009, governments at all levels have slashed 642,000 jobs, the only time government employment has fallen in the three years after a recession. This long after the 1973-74 recession, by contrast, governments had added more than 1 million jobs.
Consumer spending has grown just 6.5 percent since the recession ended, feeblest in a postwar recovery. In the first three years of previous recoveries, spending rose an average of nearly 14 percent.
It’s no mystery why consumers are being frugal. Many have lost access to credit, which fueled their spending in the 2000s. Home equity has evaporated and credit cards have been canceled. Falling home prices have slashed home equity 49 percent, from $13.2 trillion in 2005 to $6.7 trillion early this year.
Others are spending less because they’re paying down debt or saving more. Household debt peaked at 126 percent of after-tax income in mid-2007 and has fallen to 107 percent, according to Haver Analytics. The savings rate has risen from 1.1 percent of after-tax income in 2005 to 4.4 percent in June. Consumers have cut credit card debt by 14 percent — to $865 billion — since it peaked at over $1 trillion in December 2007.
“We were in a period in which we borrowed too much,” says Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics. “We are now deleveraging. That’s a process that slows us down.”
—THE JOBS HOLE
The economy shed a staggering 8.8 million jobs during and shortly after the recession. Since employment hit bottom, the economy has created just over 4 million jobs. So the new hiring has replaced 46 percent of the lost jobs, by far the worst performance since World War II. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy had regained more than 350 percent of the jobs lost, on average.
During the 1981-82 recession, the U.S. lost 2.8 million jobs. In the three years and one month after that recession ended, the economy added 9.8 million — replacing the 2.8 million and adding 7 million more.
Never before have so many Americans been unemployed for so long three years into a recovery. Nearly 5.2 million have been out of work for six months or more. The long-term unemployed account for 41 percent of the jobless; the highest mark in the other recoveries was 22 percent.
Gregory Mann, 58, lost his job as a real estate appraiser three years ago. “Basically, I am looking for anything,” he says. He has applied to McDonald’s, Target and Nordstrom’s.
“Nothing, not even a rejection letter,” he says.
His wife, a registered nurse, has lost two jobs in the interim — and just received an offer to work reviewing medical records near Atlanta.
“We are broke and nearly homeless,” he says. “If this job for my wife hadn’t come through, we would be out on the street come Sept. 1 or would have had to move in with relatives.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has called long-term unemployment a “national crisis.” The longer people remain unemployed, the harder it is to find work, Bernanke has said. Skills erode, and people lose contact with former colleagues who could help with the job search.
Usually, workers’ pay rises as the economy picks up momentum after a recession. Not this time. Employers don’t have to be generous in a weak job market because most workers don’t have anywhere to go.
As a result, pay raises haven’t kept up with even modest levels of inflation. Earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers — a category that covers about 80 percent of the private, nonfarm workforce — have risen just over 6.2 percent since June 2009. Consumer prices have risen nearly 7.2 percent. Adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen 0.8 percent. In the previous five recoveries —the records go back only to 1964 — real wages had gone up an average 1.5 percent at this point.
Falling wages haven’t hurt everyone. Lower labor costs helped push corporate profits to a record 10.6 percent of U.S. GDP in the first three months of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And those surging profits helped lift the Dow Jones industrials 54 percent from the end of June 2009 to the end of last month. Only after the recessions of 1948-49 and 1953-54 did stocks rise more.
Stock investments may be coming back, but savings are still getting squeezed by the rock-bottom interest rates the Fed has engineered to boost the economy. The money Americans earn from interest payments fell from nearly $1.4 trillion in 2008 to barely $1 trillion last year — a drop of more than $370 billion, or 27 percent. That amounts to shrinking income for many retirees.
Washington isn’t doing much to help the economy. An impasse between Obama and congressional Republicans brought the U.S. to the brink of default on the federal debt last year —a confrontation that rattled financial markets and sapped consumer and business confidence.
Given the political divide, businesses and consumers don’t know what’s going to happen to taxes, government spending or regulation. Sharp tax increases and spending cuts are scheduled to kick in at year’s end unless Congress and the White House reach a budget deal.
In the meantime, it’s difficult for consumers to summon the confidence to spend and businesses the confidence to hire and expand. Never in the postwar period has there been so much uncertainty about what policymakers will do, says Steven Davis, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business: “No one is sure what will actually happen.”
As weak as this recovery is, it’s nothing like what the U.S. went through in the 1930s. The period known as the Great Depression actually included two severe recessions separated by a recovery that lasted from March 1933 until May 1937.
It’s tough to compare the current recovery with the 1933-37 version. Economic figures comparable to today’s go back only to the late 1940s. But calculations by economist Robert Coen, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, suggest that things were far bleaker during the recovery three-quarters of a century ago: Coen found that unemployment remained well above 10 percent — and usually above 15 percent — throughout the 1930s.
Only the approach and outbreak of World War II — the ultimate government stimulus program — restored the economy and the job market to full health.
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1492 The Columbian Exchange-part 1
1492 The Columbian Exchange-part 2
1492 The Columbian Exchange-part 3
1492 The Columbian Exchange-part 4
1492 The Columbian Exchange-part
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“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Cardinal-designate on contraception controversy
Battle over birth control
GOP turns up heat on Obama contraceptive law
Religious Freedom and the Obama Administration | THE PLAIN TRUTH by Judge Napolitano 2/07/12
Ron Paul Exposes Obamacare on Freedom Watch
Ron Paul, Obama hires of IRS agents to enforce new Obamacare regulations
Ronald Reagan Warning of Socialized medicine Pt1
Ronald Reagan Warning of Socialized medicine Pt2
State of the Union: Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?
Trends in Party Identification of Religious Groups
Newt: Obama Has Declared War on Religious Freedom in America
Obama Administration, Catholic Leaders Clash Over Contraception Mandate
Catholic League Poised To Go To War With Obama
The Health Care Betrayal
Obama Birth Control Mandate Debate Heats Up
Citizenlink Report: HHS Draws Line in Sand
Becket Fund on Stossel discussing HHS mandate
Our President Who Art in DC
Obama’s Anti-Catholic HHS Mandate
Obama Promises Abortion in Public Plan
Abortion doctor: ‘Am I killing? Yes, I am’
Glenn Beck & Bill Donohue Discuss Obama Admin vs. Catholic Church Contraception Debate – Part 1
Glenn Beck & Bill Donohue Discuss Obama Admin vs. Catholic Church Contraception Debate – Part II
Fr. David interviewed about HHS mandate and the Church
Ave Maria University Will Fight HHS Mandate
Obama Admin: Birth Control Mandate is Final; Bishops Vow to Fight
We Will Not Comply': Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
Obama The Betrayer of The Constitution and The American People
Obamacare: Abortion’s Trojan Horse
For The Record : Obama’s Abortion Bailout
Barack’s Big Abortion Bailout
Planned Parenthood’s Roots
Planned Parenthood’s Victims
Abortion and Black Genocide (Barack Obama and the Negro Project)
“…Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Are we being targeted? Isn’t that genocide? We are the only minority in America that is on the decline in population. If the current trend continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant. Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society? The founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.” Is her vision being fulfilled today? …”
Obama SUPPORTS Black Genocide. The Cover-Up!
Bill Gates on Overpopulation and Global Poverty
Alex Jones – The Real Story Behind Bill Gates And his Death Panels!
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 1/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 2/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 3/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 4/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 5/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 6/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 7/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 8/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 9/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 10/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 11/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 12/13)
Abortion: Black Genocide in 21st Century America (Part 13/13)
Repealing Obamacare and Restoring a Free Market in Healthcare
The Elite’s Plan for Global Extermination(Depopulation Eugenics) Exposed by Webster Tarpley 1 of 4
The Elite’s Plan for Global Extermination(Depopulation Eugenics) Exposed by Webster Tarpley 2 of 4
The Elite’s Plan for Global Extermination(Depopulation Eugenics) Exposed by Webster Tarpley 3 of 4
The Elite’s Plan for Global Extermination(Depopulation Eugenics) Exposed by Webster Tarpley 4 of 4
GlennBeck Eugenics part1 Short History
GlennBeck Eugenics part2 Healthcare Czars
Glenn Beck Eugenics part3 Healthcare Tree
Obama’s Eugenics Hoax Exposed
Ron Paul Exposes Obamacare on Freedom Watch
“Ron Paul slammed Obama’s unconstitutional healthcare package on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch. The Congressman announced that he will introduce legislation to stop the government from forcing people to buy health insurance.
Ron Paul is America’s leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies.”
Ron Paul – Life is Precious
New Ron Paul Ad (Pro-Life): Staying on the Right Path
Ron Paul or Rick Santorum: Whom Should Catholics Choose?
Obama doesn’t believe in Natural law
Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell on Obamacare, Swine Flu and Big Government 8.18.09
President Obama will lose the Catholic vote and any chance he had to be re-elected President.
The Catholics are organizing to defeat Obama.
People of all religious faiths should wake up to this state threat to religious freedom.
Vote Obama and his radical progressive socialists out of office.
Repeal Obamacare by supporting and voting for only candidates for public office who want the repeal of Obamacare.
Ron Paul is defender of the Constitution and for liberty.
Both young voters and independents are the biggest supporters of Ron Paul.
Catholics and grandparents are now seeing the wisdom of voting for a defender of freedom of religion and the Constitution.
Death panels to kill the old and birth control, sterilization and abortion to kill the young.
The radical progressive socialists are dangerous to your health and life.
Wake up. The life you save may be your own.
I am voting for Paul for President.
Obama birth-control rule stokes election-year fight
“…But Obama, at a meeting with Senate Democrats, reaffirmed his decision and was “not equivocating,” Senator Frank Lautenberg, who attended the closed-door session, told Reuters.
Republicans have seized upon the issue, seeing a chance to paint Obama as anti-religion and put him on the defensive at a time when signs of economic improvement appear to have energized his re-election bid.
The White House, caught off-guard by the fury of the response and now trying to calm objections, accused the Republicans of trying to make “political hay” out of the issue. It said it had begun outside discussions but gave no immediate sign of what, if any, concessions it might make.
“This attack … on religious freedom in our country cannot stand and will not stand,” Boehner vowed in a speech on the floor of his chamber.
The escalating fight centers on a provision in the 2010 healthcare law that requires health insurance to cover basic birth control services for women – even at Catholic charities, hospitals and universities.
Catholic bishops contend the policy infringes on religious liberty because the church does not condone the use of birth control pills or other contraceptives.
Boehner said if the president refuses to rescind the measure, Congress will do so legislatively.
But such a bill would have little chance of getting through a divided Congress. While Boehner may secure backing in the Republican-dominated House, he faces problems in the Senate, which is controlled by Obama’s fellow Democrats.
No matter how Congress responds, Obama is in a political bind. A retreat would anger his liberal base, while refusal to budge could alienate some Catholic voters. …”
Obamacare vs. the Catholics
The administration’s breach of faith.
By JONATHAN V. LAST
“…As soon as Sebelius released this decision, the Catholic church panicked. The Conference of Catholic Bishops reached out to the administration to explain the position in which it had put them. But the tone of their concern was largely friendly: Most Catholic leaders were convinced that the entire thing was a misunderstanding and that the policy—which was labeled an “interim” measure—would eventually be amended.
The reason for this optimism was that more than a few important Catholics had previously climbed out on a high branch for Obama politically, and for his health care reform as a matter of policy. Despite what you may read in the New York Times, most lay Catholics are nominally at home in the Democratic party. (Remember that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama in 2008.) And what is true of the laity goes double for those in religious life. In 2009, Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins welcomed President Obama as the school’s commencement speaker in the face of a heated student protest. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops mostly kept its powder dry during the fight over Obamacare, and very few members of the church hierarchy actively, or even tacitly, opposed the bill. Others, such as Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, actually lobbied in favor of it, early and often. So most Catholics took the president at his word when he met with Archbishop Timothy Dolan last fall and assured him that when the final version of the policy was eventually released, any fears would be allayed.
That was their mistake. Obama telephoned Dolan on the morning of January 20 to inform him that the only concession he intended to offer in the final policy was to extend the deadline for conformity to August 2013. Every other aspect of the policy enunciated by Sebelius would remain rigidly in place.
It’s unclear whether Obama anticipated the blowback which resulted from this announcement, or perhaps even welcomed the fight. The liberal Catholic establishment nearly exploded. Sister Keehan was so horrified she threw her lot in with the more conservative Dolan in full-throated opposition to Obama. Cardinal Roger Mahony, the spectacularly liberal archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, wrote, “I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience. . . . This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic community can muster.” Michael Sean Winters, the National Catholic Reporter’s leftist lion, penned a 1,800-word cri de coeur titled “J’accuse!” in which he declared that, as God was his witness, he would never again vote for Obama. The editors of the Jesuit magazine America denounced a “wrong decision,” while the Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne called the policy “unconscionable.” When you’ve lost even E.J. and the Jesuits, you’ve lost the church.
The reason liberal Catholics were so wounded is twofold. First, this isn’t a religio-cultural fight over Latin in the Mass or Gregorian chant. The subjects of contraception, abortion, and sterilization are not ornamental aspects of the Catholic faith; they flow from the Church’s central teachings about the dignity of the human person. Second, Obama has left Catholic organizations a very narrow set of options. (1) They may truckle to the government’s mandate, in violation of their beliefs. (2) They may cease providing health insurance to their employees altogether, though this would incur significant financial penalties under Obamacare. (The church seems unlikely to obtain any of Nancy Pelosi’s golden waivers.) Or (3) they may simply shut down. There is precedent for this final option. In 2006, Boston’s Catholic Charities closed its adoption service—one of the most successful in the nation—after Massachusetts law required that the organization must place children in same-sex households.
Which means that what is actually on the block are precisely the kind of social-justice services—education, health care, and aid to the needy—that liberal Catholics believe to be the most vital works of the church. For conservative Catholics, Obama merely confirmed their darkest suspicions; for liberals, it was a betrayal in full.
As a matter of law, this decision by Obama’s health care bureaucrats seems unlikely to survive. Last month, the Supreme Court struck down another attempt by the administration to bully religious believers in the Hosanna-Tabor case. In that instance, Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued that a religious organization does not have the right to control its hiring and firing according to its religious belief. The Court struck down this argument 9-0 in a rebuke so embarrassing that Justice Elena Kagan came close to openly mocking her successor as Obama’s solicitor general during oral arguments. It was the kind of sweeping decision that should have deterred the Obama administration from forcing Catholics into complying with the health insurance mandate, because it suggested that the Court will very likely side against the administration once this matter comes before it. Presidents typically dislike being overturned unanimously by the High Court …”
“…While Catholics were blindsided by the January decision, the left had been paying close attention to the subject for months. In November, several leftist and feminist blogs began beating the war drums, warning Obama not to “cave” (their word) to the bishops. They were joined by the Nation, Salon, the Huffington Post, and the usual suspects. (Sample headline: “The Men Behind the War on Women.”) At the same time, Planned Parenthood and NARAL launched grassroots lobbying efforts and delivered petitions with 100,000 and 135,000 signatures respectively to the White House urging Obama to uphold the policy and not compromise.
In that sense, Obama’s decision might be thought of as akin to his decision halting the Keystone oil pipeline: a conscious attempt to energize his base at the expense of swing voters, who he concluded were already lost.
The other possibility, of course, is that Obama sees the dismantling of Catholic institutions as part of a larger ideological mission, worth losing votes over. As Yuval Levin noted in National Review Online last week, institutions such as the Catholic church represent a mediating layer between the individual and the state. This layer, known as civil society, is one of the principal differences between Western liberal order and the socialist view. …”
Catholic League Poised To Go To War With Obama Over Mandatory Birth Control Payments
Donohue Says 70 Million Of His Voters Ready To Alter Presidential Election
“…Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs and sterilization coverage for their employees.
“Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church,” said Catholic League head Bill Donohue.
Already Archbishop Timothy Dolan has spoken out against the law and priests around the country have mobilized, reading letters from the pulpit. Donohue said Catholic officials will stop at nothing to put a stop to it.
“This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets,” Donohue said. …”
Planned Parenthood’s Hostages
The abortion provider uses a vast media and political network to maintain its subsidies from government and private charities.
“…Planned Parenthood has spent millions fighting even those legislative initiatives that command extremely wide public support, such as laws requiring parental notification and informed consent for abortions, and those banning late-term abortions when the child developing in the womb is fully viable. Planned Parenthood even opposes a bill recently introduced in Congress to ban abortions for the purpose of sex selection.
It is easy to see why Komen might not wish to be associated with Planned Parenthood. Fighting breast cancer is something all Americans can and do agree on; promoting and performing abortions is something that divides us bitterly.
While Planned Parenthood’s target in the Komen case was new, its tactics are not. In the past two years, we have seen the abortion giant (and the politicians it funds) hold for ransom a diverse array of hostages.
In 2010, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress risked and narrowly averted the rejection of their signature health-care law in order to block the inclusion of provisions (such as the 1970s Hyde Amendment) that prevent federal abortion funding. At the 11th hour, a handful of “pro-life” Democrats capitulated, giving Mr. Obama and Planned Parenthood their victory.
Last year, in April, Mr. Obama risked a government shutdown over language in a resolution that would have defunded Planned Parenthood at the federal level. At the last moment, congressional Republicans gave way and allowed the federal money to keep flowing.
Also in 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services threatened to withhold billions of dollars in Medicaid funds from those states such as Indiana that prohibit state funding of Planned Parenthood and other entities that provide elective abortions. Planned Parenthood strongly opposed Indiana’s attempt to cut off its funding and celebrated the federal government’s intervention. Indiana is currently litigating the matter in federal court.
Most recently, after intense lobbying, the Department of Health and Human Services did the bidding of Planned Parenthood by imposing a mandate on virtually all employers to provide insurance coverage (without cost-sharing) for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives. This threatens to force many religiously affiliated charitable institutions out of the business of providing education, health care and social services to the poor. …”
Archbishop to U.S. Troops: Obamacare Reg ‘Is a Blow to a Freedom…for Which You Have Seen Your Buddies Fall in Battle’
“…The regulation the archbishop spoke about was finalized by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Jan. 20. It mandates that all health-care plans in the United States cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions. A “religious” employer exemption included in the regulation only applies to organizations that primarily focus on inculcating the tenets of the church in question, primarily employ members of the church, primarily serve members of the church, and is organized under the section of the Internal Revenue Code used by actual parishes.
Catholic hospitals, universities and charitable institutions would not be exempt from the regulation, nor would Catholic individuals, business owners, or insurers.
Because the Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception, and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics cannot be involved in them, and because the Obamacare law requires that all individual purchase health insurance and that larger employers provide health insurance to their workers or face a penalty, the regulation would force Catholics to act against the teachings of their faith and against their consciences.
Archbishop Broglio’s letter opposing the regulation and describing it as a violation of the constitutional rights of Catholics was read verbatim at Masses served by Navy and Air Force chaplains around the world.
However, the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains attempted to silence Catholic Army chaplains from reading it at their Masses—an effort rejected and resisted by Archbishop Broglio.
“On Thursday, January 26, Archbishop Broglio emailed a pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it be read from the pulpit at Sunday Masses the following weekend in all military chapels,” the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military said in a statement.
“The letter calls on Catholics to resist the policy initiative, recently affirmed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for federally mandated health insurance covering sterilization, abortifacients and contraception, because it represents a violation of the freedom of religion recognized by the U.S. Constitution,” said the statement by the archdiocese.
“The Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop’s letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit,” said the archdiocese’s statement. “The Chief’s office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.”
On Saturday, Jan. 28, after the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains issued this directive, Archbishop Broglio spoke with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, a political appointee of President Barack Obama.
Archbishop Broglio’s position was that, in trying to stop Catholic Army chaplains from reading his pastoral letter, the Army was violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and the First Amendment rights of Catholic chaplains and Catholic service members. …”
Obama administration struggles to contain uproar over birth-control rule
By Amie Parnes and Sam Baker -
“…The White House struggled Wednesday to contain the growing uproar over its birth-control mandate, with Democrats peeling off one by one in what has become an increasingly divisive election-year controversy.
Pressure to roll back the new contraception policy mounted quickly as the day wore on, driven by divisions among Democrats, mixed messages from President Obama’s advisers and a constant drumbeat from the GOP.
“It’s becoming a thorny problem for the White House and it appears to only be getting worse,” said one Democratic strategist. “The politically astute move would be to modify this thing, and quick.”
Asked if the administration should shift course, a former senior administration official said, “I don’t see how they couldn’t. It’s pretty bad.”
With the consternation rising to a fever pitch, Republicans announced a plan to move a bill soon that would repeal the mandate. And prominent Democrats are breaking with the administration over the policy, which requires some religious organizations to cover contraception in their employees’ healthcare plans.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) urged the White House last week to broaden the exception for religious employers. Several of their Democratic colleagues have piled on since.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said Wednesday that the Health and Human Services Department “misstepped” in adopting the new policy.
“I just don’t think this is a fight that should have been picked and I think it needs to be fixed,” Connolly said. “I have every confidence that the administration will do so.”
Tim Kaine, a former Democratic National Committee chairman running for Senate in Virginia this year, also said the White House should revisit the rule’s exemptions for religious organizations. The current policy does not apply to churches, but institutions such as Catholic hospitals and universities have to comply.
“I think the White House made a good decision in including a mandate for contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act insurance policy, but I think they made a bad decision in not allowing a broad enough religious-employer exemption,” Kaine said in a radio interview, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. …”
Southern Baptist leader: If Obama mandate isn’t changed, Christians will go to jail
by Ben Johnson
“…One of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States says Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told LifeSiteNews.com “we will not comply” with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortifacient products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD.
“We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,” Dr. Land said.
Dr. Land wrote an op-ed on Tuesday with Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research at ERLC, calling his fellow Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians throughout America to oppose any infringement on the First Amendment. …”
Reverse rule for contraception coverage
“…I thank Vice President Joe Biden for visiting Ohio today.
The Sisters of Charity Health System is a Cleveland-based Catholic health-care organization which, in collaboration with other Catholic health ministries, actively promoted the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We are dedicated to increased health-care coverage and access and are supportive of the law’s efforts to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.
I ask the vice president to help Catholic and other faith-based employers with a recent federal action. We are very disappointed with the Health and Human Services rule on women’s preventive services that requires the inclusion of contraceptive coverage and sterilization in employer-based employee-benefits plans. The regulation denies adequate conscience protections for religious employers like us.
Our faith motivates us; we carry out the healing mission because of God’s call. And we are blessed to be joined in our ministry by a diverse and inclusive work force.
We urge President Barack Obama to be consistent with existing provider conscience-protection laws and allow us to exercise our First Amendment rights to conscience protection as faith-based employers. Please fix this discriminatory rule.
SISTER JUDITH ANN KARAM
President and chief executive officer
Sisters of Charity Health System …”
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