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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MFS -The Other News - What the main papers don't say.

  Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Russia 5.3 - 5.1 ; Japan 5.4 - 5.2 ; Vanuatu 5.1  !More info here.

  • ATF Implicated in another DHS Agent's Death; Where is Napolitano's Outrage?(BN).This new development could indicate that Rep. Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley have come into possession of the best evidence yet that ICE Agent Jaime Zapata's murder was a direct result of an ATF Fast and Furious type operation. It involves a man named Manuel Barba, whom I posted about here last week. Barba had been convicted of trafficking a weapon connected to Zapata's death without the Zapata family being notified. That is noteworthy in itself.On the heels of that astonishing news, Issa and Grassley have sent another letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and it contains information that may indicate exactly why the DOJ wanted to let Barba's prosecution fly under the radar.To this point, there have been three other men with ties to guns that were used in Zapata's murder but they reportedly weren't under ATF surveillance at the time. Though they had plenty of reason to be. The names of those three other men are Otilio and Rafael Osorio and Kelvin Morrison. The addition of Barba to this grouping may point directly to a Fast and Furious style operation that led to Zapata's murder, which would seemingly contradict a statement made by an ATF spokesman.Here is a portion of the letter to Holder I had sitting in my inbox from Issa Press Secretary Becca Watkins this morning.Read the full story here.

  • 20 Signs That Dust Bowl Conditions Will Soon Return To The Heartland Of America.(BLN).By Michael Snyder.For decades, the heartland of America has been the breadbasket of the world. Unfortunately, those days will shortly come to an end. The central United States is rapidly drying up and dust bowl conditions will soon return. There are a couple of major reasons for this. Number one, the Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted at an astounding pace. The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the entire world, and water from it currently irrigates more than 15 million acres of crops. When that water is gone we will be in a world of hurt. Secondly, drought conditions have become the “new normal” in many areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and other states in the middle part of the country. Scientists tell us that the wet conditions that we enjoyed for several decades after World War II were actually the exception to the rule and that most of time time the interior west is incredibly dry. They also tell us that when dust bowl conditions return to the area, they might stay with us a lot longer than a decade like they did during the 1930s. Unfortunately, without water you cannot grow food, and with global food supplies as tight as they are right now we cannot afford to have a significant decrease in agricultural production. But it is not just the central United States that is experiencing the early stages of a major water crisis. Already many other areas around the nation are rapidly developing their own water problems. As supplies of fresh water get tighter and tighter, some really tough decisions are going to have to be made. Fresh water is absolutely essential to life, and it is going to become increasingly precious in the years ahead.Most Americans have never even heard of the Ogallala Aquifer, but the truth is that it is one of the most important bodies of water on the globe. It covers well over 100,000 square miles and it sits underneath the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.Water drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer is used to water more than 15 million acres of crops. Without this source of water, the United States would not be the breadbasket of the world.That is why what is happening right now is so alarming.The following are 20 signs that dust bowl conditions will soon return to the heartland of America….
  1. The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.
  2. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, since 1940 “a volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie” has been permanently lost from the Ogallala Aquifer.
  3. Decades ago, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of approximately 240 feet, but today the average depth is just 80 feet. In some areas of Texas, the water is gone completely.Read the full story here.

  • Google offers $1 million reward to hackers who exploit Chrome.(DR).There's security and then there's security.Google has pledged cash prizes totaling $1 million to people who successfully hack its Chrome browser at next week's CanSecWest security conference.Google will reward winning contestants with prizes of $60,000, $40,000, and $20,000 depending on the severity of the exploits they demonstrate on Windows 7 machines running the browser. Members of the company's security team announced the Pwnium contest on their blog on Monday. There is no splitting of winnings, and prizes will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis until the $1 million threshold is reached....At last year's competition, Internet Explorer and Safari were both toppled but no one even attempted an exploit against Chrome (despite Google offering an additional $20,000 beyond the $15,000 provided by contest organizer Tipping Point).Chrome is currently the only browser eligible for Pwn2Own never to be brought down. One reason repeatedly cited by contestants for its lack of attention is the difficulty of bypassing Google's security sandbox.Read the full story here.

  • Iran: Only military can decide if IAEA can visit Parchin.(JPost).TEHRAN - It is up to Iran's military to decide whether UN nuclear inspectors can visit a site they want to see as part of their investigation of Iranian nuclear activities, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said last week that it had requested access to the Parchin military facility during high-level talks in Tehran earlier this month, but that the Iranian side had not granted it.The IAEA had hoped that Iran would start addressing its mounting concerns about possible military links to the Iranian nuclear program but made no progress in its talks.Iran rejects Western accusations that it is secretly trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability and says it wants nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes, notably electricity generation and medical uses.The official IRNA news agency quoted Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, as saying IAEA inspectors could visit the country's nuclear sites "whenever they want."But "Whether or not IAEA inspectors can visit Parchin will be a decision for the country's military officials," he said, adding that his organization was under no obligation "to show them anywhere they ask to visit in the country."The IAEA's request to visit Parchin, a military complex southeast of Tehran, followed a report the Vienna-based agency issued in November suggesting Iran had pursued military nuclear technology. This helped precipitate the latest round of US and EU sanctions on Iran.The report said the IAEA had information that Iran had built a large containment chamber at the Parchin complex to conduct high-explosives tests. There were "strong indicators of possible weapon development," the agency said.Suspicions about activities at the Parchin complex date back at least to 2004, when a prominent nuclear expert said satellite images showed it might be a site for research and testing relevant to nuclear weapons.UN inspectors visited Parchin in 2005, but did not see the place where the IAEA now believes the explosives chamber was built.Read the full story here.

  • Gaza, Jerusalem, Nicosia, Baku.(HD).Since Turkey decided to isolate Israel in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara raid in which Israeli commandos killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American in May 2010, the events have not exactly taken the route Ankara wished them to take. A well-deserved apology for the Israeli fiasco and the unnecessary loss of life has never arrived. Nor has compensation for the families of the victims. And the termination of Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip remains a Turkish dream. Meanwhile, two-way trade between Turkey and Israel rose by nearly 30 percent to $4.449 billion last year from $3.440 billion in 2010. In the same period, Turkish imports from the Jewish state rose more than 50 percent. Turkey’s “brotherly” relations with its southern and eastern Muslim neighbors – Syria, Iraq and Iran – have metamorphosed into something reminiscent of relations among brothers claiming the Ottoman throne. In the meantime, Israel has cultivated closer ties with Balkan countries such as Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece. It has also put in more effort to strengthen ties with Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, India and China. But the brawl goes on. In December, an Israeli defense company, Elbit, canceled a sale of hi-tech surveillance systems to the Turkish Air Force. More recently, Turkey imposed tighter restrictions on Israeli cargo flights entering the Turkish airspace, leading to economic losses for Israeli companies.If the “Israeli defense officials” chose the timing to announce the lucrative Azeri deal, they must have a genuine sense of humor: A $1.6 billion handshake between Israel and “one nation-two states” Azerbaijan on the same day when the other of the (one nation) two states was exhibiting solidarity for the Azeri victims of Karabakh in demonstrations previously unseen!If there is one region that is the ostensible reason for all this reshuffling of political balances in this part of the world, it is Gaza (see Ömer Çelik, deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party, who said that the “Gaza conflict is Turkey’s domestic issue”). If there should be another, it is Jerusalem.Now we have Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay swinging his sword in the Battle for Jerusalem. A few days ago, Mr. Atalay said Jerusalem had to be freed of Israeli occupation if a lasting settlement was to reign in the Middle East. “Without the liberation of Jerusalem,” he said, “No real peace and stability can be achieved.” Speaking at the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar, Mr. Atalay described Jerusalem as “a captive city in the hands of Israel.”Hmmmm.......I think The US could solve it's energy probs if only they could catch and transform all the 'hot air' coming from Turkey in energy.Read the full story here.

  • Defense Minister: US to Face New Environment in Battle with Iran.(Fars).Tehran - Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi warned about the country's crushing response to any aggressive move by the enemies, and said Iran has not revealed all its capacities and capabilities and the US and its allies will face a new realm and environment if they dare to enter war with Iran. "Undoubtedly, since our defense is an independent and defensive one based on our own defensive policies, special defense doctrines and our own indigenous defense and internal capabilities, the US will face a completely new environment when gets involved with the new issues that Iran is pursuing and it will be obliged to think of this new environment," Vahidi told FNA on Tuesday. He underlined the US Armed Forces' passivity in confronting Iran's military programs, and said, "Naturally, they cannot reach this point since we have not displayed all our capabilities and capacities." Iran has recently renewed and upgraded the weapons and defense systems of its air defense units. Late in September, Iran equipped its air defense units across the country with large numbers of the home-made Mersad Air Defense Missile System. In November and during the massive air defense exercises in Iran, the power, capability, weapons and military systems of the Rapid Reaction units of Iran's Air Defense Force were tested. The Iranian Air Defense Force's rapid reaction units used their state-of-the-art, home-made weapons and systems, including multi-frequency radar equipment, anti-aircraft canons and different types of air defense missiles to force hypothetical enemy aircraft out of the country's air space. Later in the drills, the rapid reaction units tested their ability against the hypothetical enemies' surprised night raids and blitzkrieg with full radio silence.Read the full story here.

  • Al-Shabab Migrates to Yemen.(BM).SANA’A: Amid leaking intelligence pointing to the American militarization of the Arabian Peninsula, as it prepares for a potential armed conflict with Iran, and steps up its “War on Terror” in the region, officials in Somalia announced that hundreds upon hundreds of al-Shabab Jihadists fighters were headed for Yemen in a bid to join up with al-Qaeda there.Reports already confirmed that as many as 8 boats had left Kismayu port in Somalia for Yemen in the past 48 hours alone. Since informants advanced that each boat had an 100 person capacity, 800 armed militants could be now heading for the shore of the poorest and most unstable country in the Arabian Peninsula.The Jihadist mercenaries, also known as al-Mujahedeen al-Muhajereen (the migrants jihadists), could be now turning their attention towards Yemen and its Ansar al Shariah as they believe their task in Somalia complete, while Yemen’s campaign was only starting.Even since the beginning of the Yemeni popular uprising, al-Qaeda fighters in the country used the power vacuum left by the protests to further their territorial ambitions in the tribal southern provinces of Abyan and Mareb, seizing towns and villages.Emboldened by the government’s inability to thwart their moves, al-Qaeda declared a few months ago that it aimed at setting up an Islamic Caliphate in Yemen, returning to an ancestral governing system based solely on the Muslims scriptures.In February, al-Shabab declared in a statement that it was looking at partnering with al-Qaeda in Yemen in a bid to control the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, saying it had already sent dozens of fighters.Read the full story here.

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