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Archive for July, 2012

Playing the Holocaust Card: Will Romney Visit Auschwitz?

By Michael Carmichael
Global Research, July 28th, 2012
Mitt Romney is now embarked on his highly touted international tour.  Find Full Article Here:-
The first reactions to Romney’s diplomatic charm offensive were surprisingly negative.  Romney insulted the British when he suggested that London was not prepared to hold the Olympic Games.  
Led by Fleet Street, a feeding frenzy ensued that pulverized Romney far more brutally than anything he had experienced to date.  Even Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Sun, (daily circulation 5 million) proclaimed Romney to be:  “Mitt the Twit.”
David Cameron, the Conservative Prime Minister blasted Romney for insulting the British Olympics, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London (another Conservative) held Romney up for ridicule before an audience of 60,000 Londoners at the new Olympic Stadium.  The Cameron and Johnson statements received massive media coverage.  “Mitt the Twit” was labeled “Nowhere Man” for bragging about his Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City – described as “in the middle of nowhere” by Prime Minister David Cameron, and Romney crawled back into his shell.
Now in Israel, Romney enjoyed a warm welcome with a massive interview in the tiny nation’s largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, that is owned by his major financial backer, the controversial American casino billionaire, Sheldon Adelson.  Of course, Romney effectively pledged himself to war with Iran to please the current right-wing coalition that governs Israel.  Adelson is a major financial backer of Binyamin Netanyahu and his party, Likud, so the political fit is far more comfortable for Romney than Britain.
While Romney’s political intentions in both Britain (the Olympics) and Israel are clear, the reason for his visit to Poland is still somewhat obscure. In fact, the central reason for Romney’s plan to visit Poland has been kept totally under wraps to date.
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Steve Bell on the government and London 2012 – cartoon.

27.07.12: Steve Bell on the government and the Olympics

Categories: Cartoons

US bunker-buster bomb ‘ready to go’.

By , 27th July 2012.  Find Article Here:-

The US Air Force’s massive 30,000lb bunker-buster bomb critical for striking heavily fortified Iranian nuclear facilities is “ready to go”

US Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley

US Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley Photo: AFP
Michael Donley, the US Air Force Secretary, said that the bomb “if it need to go today”, would be available.
“We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing,” he said “We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”
The endorsement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) – the world’s largest conventional bomb – comes after concerns were raised that the weapon still needed refining if was to be effective against Iran’s deepest installations.
Last February Congress agreed to an “urgent” Pentagon request to divert $81.6m (£52m) into improvements for the 14-ton MOP.
The 20ft long, 1ft wide weapon will be delivered by the B2 stealth bomber, is the critical piece of military hardware that underwrites American assurances to Israel that it will neutralise Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy and sanctions fail.
Last month talks in Moscow between Iran and six world powers ended in deadlock, raising the risk of a pre-emptive Israeli strike. A follow-up meeting in Istanbul this week also ended without apparent progress.
Barack Obama has repeatedly reassured Israel that the US “has your back”, but it remains unclear if Israel is prepared to wait to the point where Iran’s facilities are placed beyond the reach of its own GBU-28 bunker-busters which weigh just 5,000lbs.
Iran’s facilities at Natanz, in the centre of the country, which are buried under 33ft feet of earth and 6ft of concrete and at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, which are buried in a mountainside, would be the hardest to hit, according to military analysts.
Tensions have been rising steadily in the Gulf, with the US Navy announcing this month that it would deploy a second carrier battle group, led by the USS John C Stennis, to the region some four months ahead of schedule.
Iran’s foreign ministry warned last week that the increased presence of US warships was a “real threat” to regional security, while repeating threats to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, an arterial shipping lane which carries 20 per cent of the world’s oil.

Experts condemn plans to lift ban on research into deadly H5N1 birdflu virus.

By Steve Connor   July 27th 2012.    Find Full Article Here:-

Plans to lift a voluntary ban on research into the deadly H5N1 birdflu virus have been denounced by leading scientists who are appalled that the work has already led to flu strains that are potentially infectious between humans.
Flu researchers announced the moratorium last January after growing concerns about two experiments funded by the US Government where scientists deliberately mutated H5N1 birdflu to see whether it could be transmitted between ferrets, a standard animal substitute for flu in humans.
The moratorium on deliberately creating highly infectious strains of H5N1 was supposed to last 60 days but has continued for six months.
This weekend, influenza scientists will meet in New York in the hope of lifting the ban and allowing the work to continue.
However, leading experts contacted by The Independent said that lifting the moratorium would be wrong given that a highly-transmissible form of H5N1 birdflu – which is known to be extremely lethal to humans – could escape from a research laboratory to cause a deadly flu pandemic.
“The moratorium should be continued until a broader, dispassionate, international discussion can be held to carefully consider the risks and benefits,” said David Relman, professor of infectious diseases at Stanford University in California.
“The consequences of misuse or accidental release are potentially catastrophic on the global human and animal populations. Scientists have a deep moral and ethical responsibility to back off…it should not be decided by a group of flu researchers,” said Dr Relman, who also sits on the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.
The meeting in New York is being organised by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases whose director, Tony Fauci, has gone on record as saying that he would like to “expedite as quickly as possible the lifting of the moratorium”.
The institute is part of the huge US National Institutes of Health (NIH) which funded the two research projects into highly transmissible H5N1 virus. One was led by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the other by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

No Wi-Fi, Please, We’re British: Olympics Will Ban Personal Hotspots.

By John Biggs July 25th 2012.  Find Article Here:-

As if the rules at the 2012 London Olympics didn’t sound draconian enough, the organization has banned personal Wi-Fi hotspots from the games, thereby ensuring that people will just tether their phones in secret and surf the web like the champions they are.

This follows hot on the heels of prohibitions from sharing Olympic news via social media. Can we all just agree that this isn’t about sportsmanship anymore and is rather about the host city not getting stuck with a janky Olympic village in the middle of town and instead making loads and loads of money?

Of note, other prohibited items include:

– Excessive amounts of food
– Flags of countries not participating in the Games (this excludes the flags of nations under the umbrella of a participating country such as England, Scotland and Wales)
– Noisemakers such as hunting horns, air horns, klaxons, drums, vuvuzelas and whistles

Which means I shan’t be visiting in costume as Corpulent North Korean Klaxon Man.

New report suggests summer storms could create new ozone holes as Earth warms.

July 27th 2012.    Find Article Here:-

 

Summer storms may create new holes in our protective ozone layer as Earth heats up—bringing increased solar ultraviolet radiation to densely populated areas, a new study says. What’s more, if more sunlight reaches Earth, skin cancer could become the new marquee risk of global warming. As the planet warms, some studies have suggested summer storms may become more frequent and intense. This would send more water vapor—a potent greenhouse gas—into the stratosphere, the middle layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which sits between 9 and 22 miles (14 and 35 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. In a recent series of research flights over the United States, Harvard University atmospheric chemist James Anderson and colleagues found that summer storms often loft water vapor into the stratosphere. “It was an unequivocal observation,’ he said. “We had a number of flights, and this was an abiding feature” of the storms. Under the right conditions, this water vapor could trigger chemical reactions that deplete the ozone layer, which prevents harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching Earth’s surface, the study says. Even small reductions in the ozone layer can make people more susceptible to skin cancer and eye damage, experts say. The finding concerned Anderson, whose research in the 1980s and ‘90s played a pivotal role in establishing the Montreal Protocol. The international treaty phased out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were found in a variety of products, including hairsprays and refrigerators. CFCs produce a form of chlorine that degrades ozone particles in the stratosphere, most significantly over the Arctic and Antarctic. Subsequent studies in the Arctic and in the laboratory revealed that both temperature and water vapor concentrations are crucial in a chemical reaction that makes chlorine attack ozone. Now, the new observations over the United States suggest summer storms create the same combination of temperature and water vapor conditions at mid-latitudes. “We essentially have the chemistry that’s present in the Arctic that is clearly very potent for destroying ozone,” Anderson said. The findings, published today in the journal Science, calculate ozone loss at a rate between 4 and 6 percent per day in water vapor-rich areas of the stratosphere. The effect could persist for several weeks after a storm, he added. What worries Anderson most is where and when this phenomenon appears to occur. “It is not ozone loss in Antarctica and the Arctic under winter conditions. It is an attack on the ozone layer in the summer over populated regions of the Northern Hemisphere,” he said. –National GeographicJuly 27, 2012 – CLIMATE – Summer storms may create new holes in our protective ozone layer as Earth heats up—bringing increased solar ultraviolet radiation to densely populated areas, a new study says. What’s more, if more sunlight reaches Earth, skin cancer could become the new marquee risk of global warming. As the planet warms, some studies have suggested summer storms may become more frequent and intense. This would send more water vapor—a potent greenhouse gas—into the stratosphere, the middle layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which sits between 9 and 22 miles (14 and 35 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. In a recent series of research flights over the United States, Harvard University atmospheric chemist James Anderson and colleagues found that summer storms often loft water vapor into the stratosphere. “It was an unequivocal observation,’ he said. “We had a number of flights, and this was an abiding feature” of the storms. Under the right conditions, this water vapor could trigger chemical reactions that deplete the ozone layer, which prevents harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching Earth’s surface, the study says. Even small reductions in the ozone layer can make people more susceptible to skin cancer and eye damage, experts say. The finding concerned Anderson, whose research in the 1980s and ‘90s played a pivotal role in establishing the Montreal Protocol. The international treaty phased out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were found in a variety of products, including hairsprays and refrigerators. CFCs produce a form of chlorine that degrades ozone particles in the stratosphere, most significantly over the Arctic and Antarctic. Subsequent studies in the Arctic and in the laboratory revealed that both temperature and water vapor concentrations are crucial in a chemical reaction that makes chlorine attack ozone. Now, the new observations over the United States suggest summer storms create the same combination of temperature and water vapor conditions at mid-latitudes. “We essentially have the chemistry that’s present in the Arctic that is clearly very potent for destroying ozone,” Anderson said. The findings, published today in the journal Science, calculate ozone loss at a rate between 4 and 6 percent per day in water vapor-rich areas of the stratosphere. The effect could persist for several weeks after a storm, he added. What worries Anderson most is where and when this phenomenon appears to occur. “It is not ozone loss in Antarctica and the Arctic under winter conditions. It is an attack on the ozone layer in the summer over populated regions of the Northern Hemisphere,” he said. –National Geographic

 

The Nazi Origins of the Olympic Flame Relay.

May 10th 2012.    Find Full Article Here:-

Though dressed up as an ancient Greek tradition, the torch relay ceremony was originally designed to further Hitler’s nationalist propaganda.
mftorch may10 p.jpg

Nazi soldiers salute to greet the arrival of the Olympic torch and commencement of the 1936 games.

Adolf Hitler hadn’t wanted to host the Olympics. They were “an invention of Jews and Freemasons,” he’d said, a celebration of the internationalism and multiculturalism he loathed. But he loved propaganda, the lavish shows of German power and prestige, and by 1934 Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had convinced him of the Olympics’ value in the greater Nazi mission. “German sport has only one task: to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence,” Goebbels said in April 1933.

The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics were to be, according to Arnd Krüger and William J. Murray’s history of “The Nazi Games,” a means of furthering Hitler’s ethnic and nationalist messages, a tool of Nazi soft power. Few aspects of the bizarre and highly political ’36 games exemplified Hitler’s propaganda mission better than the Olympic torch relay and ceremony. Though propagandists portrayed the torch relay as ancient tradition stretching back to the original Greek competitions, the event was in fact a Nazi invention, one typical of the Reich’s love of flashy ceremonies and historical allusions to the old empires. And it’s a tradition we still continue today, with this morning’s lighting of the flame in Olympia, the birthplace of the original games circa 776 B.C., from which it will be carried by a series of relay runners to the site of the games, in this case London.

Though Goebbels and Hitler both seemed to have loved the idea of the torch relay, it wasn’t their idea. A man named Carl Diem, the secretary general of the organizing committee of the Berlin games, proposed it, inspired by the torch that had burned over the 1928 games in Amsterdam. Though an official in the Nazi government, Diem was a sport administrator first. After his years-long campaign to hold the Olympics in Germany had finally trickled up to the top of the government, he had lobbied, though unsuccessfully, to more freely allow German Jews to participate in the Olympics. So it’s tough to blame Diem entirely for the Nazi propaganda piece that his torch relay became.