Sec’y Kerry Rejects Syria Offer to Surrender Chemical Weapons

Wedding Party in Chicago borrows anti-war signs for photo
Wedding Party in Chicago borrows anti-war signs for photo

Kerry Couldn’t Sell a Used Car

By davidswanson – Posted on 09 September 2013

After Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that President Bashar al-Assad avoid a war by handing over any chemical weapons his government possesses, Russia quickly seconded the motion, and Assad agreed to it.  Just as quickly, aparently panicked by the possible delay or prevention of missile strikes, Kerry’s staff put out this statement:

“Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used.  His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.”

Could Assad be lying?  Could he hope to stash away a hidden weapons stockpile? Yes, and then at least a U.S. attack would have been delayed and more time gained to work on preventing it.  But that’s not likely.  Inspectors are very good.  That’s why Prsident George W. Bush wanted them pulled out of Iraq, where they had done a stellar job and the weaponry been eliminated.  That could conceivably also be why President Barack Obama wanted them kept away from the site of the August 21st attack and wanted to send missiles into Syria before the inspectors reached any results.

So, to all appearances, Assad has immediately done what Kerry just declared impossible.  How reliable, then, are other assertions of which Kerry professes to be certain?

Is it really an important international norm that one nation should bomb another in support of fanatical terrorists and on the stated basis that people had been killed with the wrong variety of weapon?

Continue reading Sec’y Kerry Rejects Syria Offer to Surrender Chemical Weapons

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Obama Plans ‘Shock and Awe’ in Syria

Obama Plans ‘Shock and Awe’ in Syria

Bob Dreyfuss on September 9, 2013 – 10:35 AM ET

President Barack Obama talks with bipartisan congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

President Obama’s plan to have Congress approve his ill-considered war on behalf of Al Qaeda in Syria will shock everyone, when it happens, with its sheer intensity. Those expecting a “limited” strike against a handful of Syrian military installations, including those involved in delivering chemical weapons, are in for a rude awakening. Instead, what the president will order will be a lot closer to President George W. Bush’s “shock and awe” bombardment of Baghdad before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

That isn’t to say that Obama is planning an invasion of Syria. He’s not. (Although if the state collapses, and Syria descends into chaos, the United States may very well end up with “boots on the ground” and body bags for American soldiers.)

In trying to market his war plans to Congress and the American public, Obama has repeatedly stated that he’s seeking authority for a limited war, and some officials have suggested—especially at the beginning of Obama’s war push—that “the strike,” as the belligerent Secretary of State John Kerry calls it, might involve only a couple of dozen cruise missiles. Don’t believe that for a second.

Even the drafts of resolutions being circulated in Congress suggest that Obama will get the “authority” to wage war against Syria for up to sixty days, with the possibility of an extension. That’s war, folks, not a “strike.”

Continue reading Obama Plans ‘Shock and Awe’ in Syria

Frack Waste Injection Wells Blamed for Earthquakes in OH & PA

Confirmed: Fracking practices to blame for Ohio earthquakes

Charles Q. Choi LiveScience

Sep. 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM ET

Fracking

USGS
This map shows the intensity of shaking in the area of a magnitude-3.9 earthquake that struck near Youngstown, Ohio, on Dec. 31, 2011. Research has linked this earthquake to the underground injection of wastewater from fracking.

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, sand and other materials under high pressures into a well to fracture rock. This opens up fissures that help oil and natural gas flow out more freely. This process generates wastewater that is often pumped underground as well, in order to get rid of it.

A furious debate has erupted over the safety of the practice. Advocates claim fracking is a safe, economical source of clean energy, while critics argue that it can taint drinking water supplies, among other problems.

One of the most profitable areas for fracking lies over the geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which reaches deep underground from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and southern New York. The Marcellus Shale is rich in natural gas; geologists estimate it may contain up to 489 trillion cubic feet (13.8 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas, more than 440 times the amount New York State uses annually. Many of the rural communities living over the formation face economic challenges and want to attract money from the energy industry.

Youngstown quakes
Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, which is located on the Marcellus Shale, had never experienced an earthquake, at least not since researchers began observations in 1776. However, in December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. The well was shut down after the quake.

Scientists have known for decades that fracking and wastewater injection can trigger earthquakes. For instance, it appears linked with Oklahoma’s strongest recorded quake in 2011, as well as a rash of more than 180 minor tremors in Texas between Oct. 30, 2008, and May 31, 2009.

The new investigation of the Youngstown earthquakes, detailed in the July issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that their onset, end and even temporary dips in activity were apparently all tied to activity at the Northstar 1 well.

Continue reading Frack Waste Injection Wells Blamed for Earthquakes in OH & PA