Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Years After BP Oil Spill: IS THE GULF ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSING? - Video

It already HAS

Washington's Blog
04/18/2012

The Gulf Ecosystem Is Being Decimated

The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.


Gulf ecosystem destroyed by BP, will never recover

Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:

New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says

MSNBC: Gulf shrimp scarce this season (and see the Herald Tribune‘s report)

Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf

NYT: Oil Spill Affected Gulf Fish’s Cell Function, Study Finds

CBS:Expert: BP spill likely cause of sick Gulf fish (and see the Press Register’s report)

Study confirms oil from Deepwater spill entered food chain

Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive

Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews

MSNBC: Sea turtle deaths up along Gulf, joining dolphin trend

MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico

AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see the Guardian and AFP‘s write ups).

A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches

And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here.

NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”

If you still don’t have a sense of the devastation to the Gulf, American reporter Dahr Jamail lays it out pretty clearly:

“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

Eyeless Shrimp

Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”

Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]

“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.

Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.

“I’ve seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out,” Ladner told Al Jazeera. “The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday.”

While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and “their shells missing around their gills and head”.

“We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” he added.

Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.

Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week”.

Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.

“We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.”

Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is”.

“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.

Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.

***

“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.

Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic.

Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from “a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor”.

Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.

Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.

While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”

Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants.

“Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned”.

“The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”

The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings corresponded with Cowan’s: a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 per cent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them.

“I asked a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] sampler what percentage of fish they find with sores prior to 2010, and it’s one tenth of one percent,” Cowan said. “Which is what we found prior to 2010 as well. But nothing like we’ve seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill.”

“What we think is that it’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor,” Cowan said. “There’s no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

***

Crustacean biologist Darryl Felder, in the Department of Biology with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is in a unique position.

Felder has been monitoring the vicinity of BP’s blowout Macondo well both before and after the oil disaster began, because, as he told Al Jazeera, “the National Science Foundation was interested in these areas that are vulnerable due to all the drilling”.

“So we have before and after samples to compare to,” he added. “We have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities.”

Felder also has samples of inshore crabs with lesions. “Right here in Grand Isle we see lesions that are eroding down through their shell. We just got these samples last Thursday and are studying them now, because we have no idea what else to link this to as far as a natural event.”

According to Felder, there is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters.

“My fear is that these prior incidents of lesions might be traceable to microbes, and my questions are, did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil?”

One hypothesis he has is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals.

“You create a site where a lesion can occur, and microbes attack. We see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring.”

Felder added that his team is continuing to document the incidents: “And from what we can tell, there is a far higher incidence we’re finding after the spill.”

“We are also seeing much lower diversity of crustaceans,” he said. “We don’t have the same number of species as we did before [the spill].”

***

Felder is also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, and said: “It is consistently mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in [overly] high concentrations.”

***

Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.

Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.

“What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.

According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.

“That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.”

But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.

Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species.

What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”

***

Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster.

“Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.”

Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, fat, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.”

Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.”

Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster.

“I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”

***

“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets,” Rooks said. “Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”

Khuns and her husband told Al Jazeera that fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis.

Meanwhile Cowan continues his work, and remains concerned about what he is finding.

“We’ve also seen a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We believe we are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”
Did the BP Spill Ever Really Stop?

We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.

Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil – noted recently:

New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.

Water samples were taken by Dennis and Lori Bosarge, LEAN members from Coden, Alabama. The lab-certified test results are in (see full lab report at bottom), and they are startling in that they suggest that oil is still leaking from the Macondo reservoir – most likely from cracks and fissures in the seafloor around the plugged wellhead. Scientists believe the cracks were caused by BP’s heavy-handed “kill” efforts.

***

Despite numerous opportunities to do so, the U.S. Coast Guard has never publicly denied that the Macondo field is still leaking. And these latest sampling results out of Bayou La Batre provide damning new evidence that the BP oil spill never really ended.
Government Sits On Its Hands …

The New York Times notes today:

Congress’s response to the spill has been truly pathetic. It has not passed a single bill to prevent another catastrophe, according to a report issued Tuesday by former members of a presidential commission that investigated the spill. Congress has failed even to codify the Interior Department’s sound regulatory reforms, which could be undone by a future administration.

***

The administration has developed new standards for each stage of the drilling process — from rig design to spill response — insisting that operators fully prepare for worst-case scenarios. But the commissioners’ report notes that the new equipment systems have not yet been tested in deep-water conditions.

Indeed, Mother Jones notes that the White House pressured scientists to underestimate BP spill size. And see this Forbes write up, and our previous reporting on the topic.

Washington's Blog is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Washington's Blog






Video:  You Tube
 

Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




IMF: Oil Price to Rise if Iran Cuts Export to OECD : International Monetary Fund Criminals now shilling for Big Oil, Obama

Soverign nation destroyer IMF now spews bogus oil price propaganda for oil companies, needs to be dismantled, Directors, staff past and present charged with war crimes, genocide

PRESS TV
04/18/2012

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns crude prices could rise by 20 to 30 percent this year if Iran halts oil exports to members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
 
 
Oil companies screwing world and laughing all the way to bank
In its latest World Economic Outlook report published on Tuesday, the IMF said the eurozone debt crisis and rising oil prices pose the biggest threats to global economic recovery, AFP reported.

The IMF projected that a halt in Iran's crude exports to the OECD advanced economies could push prices up by about 20 to 30 percent, which could cause a slump similar in magnitude to the one that happened in the 1930s.

Iran has already stopped oil exports to Germany, Greece, France, Spain and the UK. Tehran says it is now considering halting crude sales to Italy.


THIS is what the IMF wishes for our oceans as it will facilitate the genocide of all poor peoples of the world; hand-picked IMF Director must be getting a heavy "subsidy" from BP, other oil company criminals, Obama criminal regime

Iran’s decision to cut crude exports to certain European countries was made after the EU foreign ministers agreed on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran and freeze the assets of the country’s Central Bank across the EU.

Last month, crude prices reached a peak after Tehran’s decision to embark on countersanctions against the European countries, pushing gasoline prices in the US and the UK to record highs.


PG/AZ/HGH

 
Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Obama Condemns Conduct of Troops who Posed with Dead Afghans

Obama put them there in the first place; Carney's lies becoming more and more detached from reality; thinks international public complete fools

LA Times

04/18/2012

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE –

President Obama has been briefed on a series of photos published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, and finds the conduct of troops who posed with the bodies of dead Afghans "reprehensible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.


Obama thinks public as stupid as he is
"The conduct depicted in those photographs is reprehensible and does not in any way represent the high standards of the U.S. military," Carney said Wednesday, as the president flew to Ohio for speech on job training. "The president certainly shares in the Defense secretary's opinion that this should be investigated and those held responsible will be held accountable."

Carney said he did not know if Obama had seen the photos. He repeated the Pentagon's argument that the newspaper should not have published photos out of concern for troop safety.

L.A. Times Editor Davan Maharaj said, "After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops."


Obama propaganda minister and War Criminal James Carney insults international public by suggesting he didn't know if Obama had seen photos, his lying becoming increasingly delusional; all "Press Secretaries" past and present should be tried for war crimes alongside their bosses, knew exactly crimes committed and lied about them anyways

Carney said the White House was "disappointed" in The Times' decision to published photos, despite being warned about the "dangers that publishing photographs like that can create for the men and women in uniform."

The Army launched a criminal investigation after The Times showed officials copies of the photos, which recently were given to the newspaper by a soldier from the division.


Faces of evil:  War Criminals Bush and Rove first to put U.S. troops illegally into Afghanistan

"It is a violation of Army standards to pose with corpses for photographs outside of officially sanctioned purposes," said George Wright, an Army spokesman. "Such actions fall short of what we expect of our uniformed service members in deployed areas."

Wright said that after the investigation, the Army would "take appropriate action" against those involved. Most of the soldiers in the photos have been identified, said Lt. Col. Margaret Kageleiry, an Army spokeswoman.


Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Rumsfeld, Powell, Franks, Feith, Perle, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Panetta, Petraeus et al. responsible for each and every U.S. military and Afghan civilian death; "mainstream media" also guilty for cheer leading their illegal wars, should be tried for war crimes

The soldier who provided The Times with 18 photos of soldiers posing with corpses did so on condition of anonymity. He served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne's 4th Brigade Combat Team from Ft. Bragg, N.C. He said the photos point to a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops. He expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated.

The photos were taken during a yearlong deployment of the 3,500-member brigade, which lost 35 men during that time, according to icasualties.org, a website that tracks casualties. At least 23 were killed by homemade bombs or suicide bombers.

Staff writer David Zucchino contributed to this report.


Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Panetta Spends $864,000 on Airfare for California Visits : How Much for Flights Around World?

Gee, did Panetta also take a mini-vacation to Napa as co-criminal GSA party animal Jeff Neely did to the tune of $823,000.00, as homeless American Senior citizens eat dog and cat food to stay alive

Examiner
By Harold Mandell
04/18/2012

The Obama administration may have some explaining to do to voters about why it has been acceptable for Defense Secretary Panetta to spend about $864,000 on airfare for visits to his home in California. Many citizens of Syracuse who have been struggling to survive rough economic times with high unemployment, poverty and homelessness for years appear shocked about this revelation. Lolita C. Baldor has reported for The Huffington Post "Leon Panetta Regrets Expense Of Weekend Trips Home."
  

Panetta:  "Hey, it wasn't even a MILLION!"
Earlier this week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he regrets the cost to taxpayers for his weekend trips to his California home, however he feels it's important "just to get your mind straight and your perspective straight." It is said that Panetta has taken about 27 round trip flights to his home in California since his appointment as the Pentagon chief last July. With each round trip costing about $32,000 that is a cost of about $864,000 to taxpayers.

Panetta has commented "I regret that it does, you know, that it does add costs that the taxpayer has to pick up. A taxpayer would have to pick up those costs with any secretary of state or secretary of defense. But having said that, I am trying to look at what are ... the alternatives here that I can look at that might possibly be able to save funds and, at the same time, be able to fulfill my responsibilities, not only to my job, but to my family."


Must be nice:  Most Ameicans never see that much money in thier lifetimes

When Panetta flies he is required to travel on military aircraft so he can remain in constant, secure contact with the White House and other top civilian and military leaders. The Pentagon has said it costs about $3,200 per flight hour to operate the small plane Panetta usually uses for the 10-hour round trip. Panetta has reimbursed the Treasury about $17,000 for the travel, or about $630 per round trip. But, based on fuel and other operating expenses for his Air Force plane, his 27 trips have cost the government as much as $860,000.


Perhaps Panetta can stop off in San Francisco and give some loose change to the homeless, who now number in the thousands

Generally Panetta flies on an Air Force C-37, which is somewhat comparable to a Gulfstream jet and which is the lowest-cost aircraft that can carry the necessary communications equipment. Although Panetta is said to work while visiting his family at home in California the costs of his travel may be hard for many Americans to handle at a time when many well qualified people across the country who have children to care for can not get jobs that pay even $32,000 a year let alone $864,000 over a lifetime.




Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




Taxes Push Americans to Leave U.S.; No More Money for Secret Service Whores

The 5th Estate recommends all American Patriots leave to fight another day

Reuters
By Atossa Abrahamian
04/16/2012
A year ago, in Action Comics, Superman declared plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
 

Surely who would want to leave the paradise of the United States
Genette Eysselinck renounced her U.S. citizenship to become Belgian. (Credit: Reuters/Pascal Parrot)"'Truth, justice, and the American way' - it's not enough anymore," the comic book superhero said, after both the Iranian and American governments criticized him for joining a peaceful anti-government protest in Tehran.

Last year, almost 1,800 people followed Superman's lead, renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That's a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It's also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

But not everyone's motivations are as lofty as Superman's. Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.

The United States is one of the only countries to tax its citizens on income earned while they're living abroad. And just as Americans stateside must file tax returns each April - this year, the deadline is Tuesday - an estimated 6.3 million U.S. citizens living abroad brace for what they describe as an even tougher process of reporting their income and foreign accounts to the IRS. For them, the deadline is June.


U.S. GSA (General Services Administration) official  Jeff Neely "We gonna pawty" does not worry about his taxes, especially when taking mini-vacation in Napa Valley, California that cost U.S. taxpayers $823,000.00 and Obama's "Secret Service" macho men also didn't pay taxes on the taxpayer-financed prostitute party they recently indulged themselves with

The National Taxpayer Advocate's Office, part of the IRS, released a report in December that details the difficulties of filing taxes from overseas. It cites heavy paperwork, a lack of online filing options and a dearth of local and foreign-language resources.

For those wishing to legally escape the filing requirements, the only way is to formally renounce their U.S. citizenship. Last year, IRS records show that at least 1,788 people did, and that's likely an underestimate. The IRS publishes in the Federal Register the names of those who give up their citizenship, and some who renounced say they haven't seen their name on the list yet.

The State Department said records it keeps differ from those published by the IRS. They indicate that renunciations have remained steady, at about 1,100 each year, said an official.

The decision by the IRS to publish the names is referred to by lawyers as "name and shame." That's because those who renounce are seen as willing to give up their citizenship primarily for financial reasons.

There's also an "exit tax" for the very rich who choose to leave. During the last 25 years, a number of millionaires and billionaires have renounced their citizenship. Among them: Ted Arison, the late founder of Carnival Cruises, and Michael Dingman, a former Ford Motor Co. director.

But those of more modest means renounce, too. They say leaving America is about more than money; it's about privacy and red tape.

LIABILITY, NOT PRIVILEGE

On April 7, 2011, Peter Dunn raised his right hand before a U.S. consular officer in Toronto and swore that he understood the consequences of giving up his U.S. citizenship. Dunn, a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen who has lived outside the United States since 1986, says he renounced because he felt American citizenship had become more of a liability than a privilege.

As an American, Dunn had to file tax returns and report all of his bank accounts - even joint accounts and his Canadian retirement fund. If he didn't, he would be breaking U.S. law and could face penalties of up to $100,000 or 50 percent of his undeclared accounts, whichever is larger. Dunn says he was tired of tracking IRS policy changes, and he had no intention of returning to the United States. Renouncing his citizenship, as he puts it, was "a no-brainer."

"If it was just me then it would be one thing," says Dunn, a part-time investor who worried that having to share information with the IRS would deter future business partners - and upset his wife, who is Canadian. "Disclosing joint accounts I hold with my wife and anyone I ever want to do business with - that's just too much. My wife's account is none of their business."

Dunn, who blogs about expatriation, takes issue with being characterized as a tax evader. He says the taxes he pays in Canada are higher than what he would pay in the United States, and he says he had always complied with the IRS before renouncing. But, Dunn says, the IRS approach to enforcing compliance is misguided. "It's making life difficult for a lot of people," he says. "It's driving us away."

OLD, NEW REGULATIONS

Dunn is referring to two filing requirements that affect Americans abroad: the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts - which has been around since 1970 but now carries penalties for noncompliance - and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, passed in 2010 with the aim of reducing offshore tax evasion.

The first regulation requires all Americans, including those living abroad, with at least $10,000 in overseas bank accounts, to file a supplementary form disclosing all of their foreign accounts. That includes any accounts in which the U.S. citizen has a financial interest. That could include a joint account with a spouse or child, accounts for corporations in which the American owns more than 50 percent of the value of shares of stock, or any trust or estate that benefits the U.S. citizen.

The tax compliance act - the newer law - asks foreign financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, and private equity funds to provide the IRS with information on U.S. clients.

The United States and five European Union countries recently announced their intent to allow institutions to report the information through their own governments, rather than directly to the IRS. Institutions that do not comply will be subject to a 30 percent withholding tax on certain U.S.-sourced payments and proceeds of property sales beginning in the 2013 tax year - for instance, dividends on investments in U.S. companies.

Some expatriates say they were unaware of the first regulation for years and even decades. In 2008, the IRS received only 218,840 such filings. American nationality law grants citizenship to almost everyone born in the United States or born abroad to American parents, regardless of how much time they've spent in the United States. Many may not even know the extent of their U.S. ties.

In 2004, the stakes for noncompliance rose. Failure to file meant potential fines and criminal charges. Americans abroad can be punished for noncompliance even if they owed no income tax - and IRS data show that most of them don't owe money.

Income up to $95,100 isn't taxed under a rule called the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. In 2009, the income cap was $91,400, and 88 percent of all taxpayers claiming the foreign earned income exclusion owed nothing. Since 2008, the IRS has offered several voluntary-disclosure grace periods during which expatriates can file back taxes without facing criminal charges - but with the possibility of incurring penalties.

Marylouise Serrato, head of American Citizens Abroad, a nonprofit organization based in Geneva, says that many members feel scared about reporting requirements they did not know existed. Their disenchantment, she says, is pushing some to renounce.

"Americans abroad are terrified. We've had people pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines. We've had people pay huge amounts of back taxes," she says. "Up to this point, we never heard of anyone renouncing, or if they did, they didn't talk about it," says Serrato, who says her group does not advocate renunciation.

"Now," she says, "we're seeing a lot of people speak openly about it and come to us for information."

Congress is taking note. "While I fully support measures that reduce fraud and address offshore havens, the U.S. should not have policies that place undue burdens on legitimate Americans abroad," says Representative Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and the chair of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus. Maloney says she has taken the matter to the Department of the Treasury, which oversees the IRS.

'TOO EXPENSIVE TO KEEP'


Lawyers report that banking is a big reason why people renounce. "I hear about banking problems again and again and again," says Phil Hodgen, an attorney who has been helping Americans expatriate since 2008. The new reporting rules, he says, pose "a huge administrative burden. It's made Americans too expensive to keep."

Francisca N. Mordi, vice president and senior tax counsel at the American Bankers Association, says she has received a number of calls from Americans in Europe complaining about banks closing their accounts. "They're going to drop Americans like hot potatoes," Mordi says. "The foreign banks are upset enough about the regulations that they're saying they just won't keep American customers, and it's giving (Americans living abroad) a lot of sleepless nights."

Taxpayer complaints sometimes make their way to Nina Olson, the U.S. taxpayer advocate for the IRS, who addressed some of the international tax issues in a December report.

"The complexity of international tax law, combined with the administrative burden placed on these taxpayers, creates an environment where taxpayers who are trying their best to comply simply cannot," the report reads. "For some, this means paying more U.S. tax than is legally required, while others may be subject to steep civil and criminal penalties. For some U.S taxpayers abroad, the tax requirements are so confusing and the compliance burden so great that they give up their U.S. citizenship."

In the same report, the IRS responded to the criticism, stating that the penalties for failing to report foreign accounts issued in its guidelines are maximums, not set amounts. It said the agency will not fine filers if the lapse is due to a "reasonable cause." The IRS also acknowledged the need for more public awareness, and it detailed its efforts to inform Americans overseas through fact sheets, a telephone help line and Twitter.

The IRS did not respond to requests for comment.

WOMEN IN A TOUGH SPOT

Around the world, American women's clubs - known for promoting American culture overseas through Fourth of July celebrations and Thanksgiving dinners - are growing empathetic toward those who renounce.

The American Women's Club in Dusseldorf, for instance, now links to renunciation information on its Website. The Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas has opposed new IRS rules, in part because the rules were pushing members to give up their citizenship. "The candidates are not tax-evaders or un-patriots," reads the organization's last annual report.

In Europe, American women say they feel pressure to renounce even from their husbands.

"American women married to non-Americans are only just now finding out that they have to disclose years and years of income and accounts," says Lucy Stensland Laederich, a leader of the women's club who lives in Bordeaux, France.

Laederich has been acting as the group's liaison with politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and plans to attend a meeting to discuss expatriate tax issues with Maloney and Treasury Department officials on Tuesday.

"When they decide to come clean and report everything," she says, "they have to go ask their husbands for all of their bank information, retirement funds, and investment accounts, everything."

Some of their husbands, Laederich says, refuse to hand over information to the IRS. That leaves the women in difficult predicaments.

"Your options are to ignore the IRS and stick your head in the sand; take your name off of all the accounts and live in a completely cash economy; divorce; or renounce U.S. citizenship," Laederich says. "We've seen all of these things happen."

DIVORCE OR DISCLOSE

Genette Eysselinck, a friend of Laederich's, renounced early this year. Her husband, a European Union civil servant, saw no good reason to share his account information with the IRS, she says. And after considering all her options, Eysselinck decided that renouncing was the best path.

"It created a lot of tensions around here," she says. "Divorce seemed a little extreme, so I asked myself, 'What am I gaining as an American?' And the cons outweighed the pros."

Eysselinck was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and says she grew up on military bases all over the world. Her father, she says, was an Air Force pilot. Eysselinck has lived abroad for decades and no longer has any close connections in the United States.

She spent her final months as an American collecting paperwork and filing tax returns from the past five years, even though she says she owed nothing. Her last act as a citizen was to swear before an American flag that she renounced all ties with the United States. She called the process "gut wrenching."

"I grew up in a military family where patriotic feeling was very strong" Eysselinck says. "I'm amazed at how terrible I felt renouncing. But it was the only way to get them off my back. It's very distressing and time consuming to keep up with all the paperwork. But if it's this bad when I'm 64, how bad will it be when I'm 74?"

Reporting By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian; editing by Blake Morrison and Michael Williams.



Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




"WE GONNA PAWTY," said High-Flying U.S. Government Official

And they sure as hell did - on the American taxpayers to the tune of $823,000.00 (conservative estimate) while homeless American Senior citizens eat dog and cat food to survive

Reuters
By Thomas Ferraro
04/19/2012

WASHINGTON - 
 
A U.S. government official at the center of an election-year spending scandal kept traveling far and wide at taxpayers' expense - long after his boss was advised a year ago of suspected abuses, according to a congressional review released on Tuesday. 
 
 
Party Animal: Jeff Neely does it up in style at taxpayer expense
The official, Jeff Neely, made four-day visits in March to Hawaii and Napa, California, just days before he was placed on leave at the General Services Administration, pending further investigation and possible criminal charges, the review showed.

In February, Neely, who refused to testify before Congress on Monday, citing his right against self-incrimination, made a five-day trip to Atlanta and a 17-day trip to Hawaii, Guam and Saipan.

"You allowed these trips to continue?" Republican Representative Jeff Denham, who released the review, angrily asked former GSA administrator Martha Johnson, who resigned under pressure this month. 
 
 
Partying in Napa, California Wine Country:  At least Neeley has good taste, Napa is a prohibitively expensive tourist destination of the rich and famous

"I'm amazed," said Denham, who accused the GSA of having a "culture of fraud, waste, corruption and coverups." He promised that Congress would dig deeper to expose all. 
 
 
Whores discussing cover-up of whoring
Denham made the comments at the second congressional hearing in as many days that has focused on a 2010 GSA training conference for 300 workers that Neely organized in Las Vegas. The GSA manages federal buildings and purchases government supplies.

The four-day gathering at a swank hotel cost $823,000, featured a comic, a clown and a mind reader - and has erupted into a scandal drawing Democratic and Republican fire.

With government spending a key issue in the November congressional and presidential elections, a third congressional hearing is set for Wednesday and a fourth on Thursday.

Denham's House transportation subcommittee released a two-page paper at the hearing based on its review of the GSA's own investigation.

Entitled, "Timeline of Investigation and Ongoing Travel Abuses," the paper showed that Neely continued to travel even after Johnson was first advised in May 2011 about suspected fraud and abuse at the October 2010 conference. 
 
 
SS chief Mark Sullivan needs to resign... NOW
An email described as from Neely to his wife, Deb, in preparation for a 17-day February trip, read: "Its yo birfday ... we gonna pawty ...."

Neely's wife accompanied him on the trip, but it was not immediately clear if Neely, as required by law, covered her expenses. Denham asked the GSA's inspector general to determine who paid for it.

The inspector general's office is reviewing Neely's other trips. Their cost has not yet been tabulated, a congressional aide said.

The GSA's office of inspector general on April 2 released a yearlong investigative report into the 2010 conference, concluding that numerous GSA expenses were "excessive, wasteful and in some cases impermissible."

The report's release came nearly a year after GSA Inspector General Brian Miller gave then-GSA administrator Johnson an interim report on his findings. 
 
 
 
Pussy Coward Secret Service "agents" try to deflect, blame Marines for their whoring at taxpayer expense

While Neely, a GSA regional administrator, refused to testify at Monday's hearing, he declined an invitation to even appear at Tuesday's hearing.

The story was refiled to correct typo in Saipan, paragraph 3.

Reporting By Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Jackie Frank.



Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



Secret Service: Scale of Prostitution Party in Colombia Revealed : Senator Susan Collins on the "Ball"

Screwed:  but not they way they wanted; SS agents careers over, and let's not forget repayment of whore fees to American taxpayers; scumbag Secret Service agents not men enough to take the rap, attempt to drag Marines into debacle to deflect heat off them; at least Marines spend own money on whores, fornicate off-duty


Christian Science Monitor
By Susan Cornwell and Tabassum Zakaria
04/18/2012

U.S. Secret Service agents gents and military personnel took as many as 21 women back to their hotel in Colombia in an incident last week involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes, a Republican senator said on Tuesday.


Pissed off:  U.S. Senator Susan Collins
"There are 11 agents involved. Twenty or 21 women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel, but allegedly Marines were involved with the rest," Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine - who was briefed by the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan - said in an email to Reuters.

"Director Sullivan is rightly appalled by the agents actions and is pursuing a vigorous internal investigation," said Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "He ordered all the agents to return to Washington immediately, and all have been interviewed."

More details about the incident that marred President Barack Obama's weekend trip to the Summit of the Americas in Categena, Colombia emerged on Tuesday.

A Marine Corps spokesman said two Marine dog handlers assigned to support the Secret Service are being investigated to determine whether they were involved in soliciting prostitutes.

The spokesman, Captain Kevin Schultz, said the Marines were on the advance team and were not in direct contact with Obama.


Secret Service whores paid for with American taxpayer money

The Secret Service has revoked the top security clearances of its 11 agents and placed them on administrative leave due to the incident.


SS Director Sullivan a goner
The agents brought the prostitutes to their beachfront hotel in Cartagena, before Obama arrived for the summit, according to a local police source. A U.S. official told Reuters that more than 10 military service members also may have been involved.

"The president has confidence in Director Sullivan," Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said. "The director acted swiftly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation."


Obama most likely sweating out SS revelations if put on tiral
INVESTIGATORS IN COLOMBIA

Another lawmaker who has spoken with Sullivan, Representative Peter King, said that investigators in Colombia for the Secret Service were interviewing the women involved, who had left identification at the hotel desk, King told Reuters.

"So far there is no information that any of them were involved with any narco-terrorist group or any organized crime. Nor is there any indication that the women were looking for the men," he said, addressing a concern that the agents might have been set up by someone with intent to compromise them.

King said he understood that each of the 11 agents took a woman to his room.

"A number (of the agents) are saying they did not consider them prostitutes," he said.


Overpaid, under-worked, poorly trained Secret Service scums scoping out the prostitutes for nighttime trysts paid for by American taxpayers, they obviously have way too much time on their hands; when caught try to fob off blame on Marines, who pay thier own way and do their screwing while not on duty and take their lumps like men when caught whoring

Addressing another security concern, King said he had been told there were no schedules of Obama's trip to Colombia in the agent's rooms.

King, a Republican who chairs the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said he had not decided whether to hold hearings on the incident, noting that he had not seen such behavior before from Secret Service agents.


Clinton believes she has right to travel in style
Collins said she asked Sullivan several questions, including who the women were. "Could they have been members of groups hostile to the United States? Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons, or ... jeopardized security of the president or our country?"

She also asked whether there was evidence of previous misconduct, and "given the number of agents involved, does this indicate a problem with the culture of the Secret Service?"

Sullivan promised to keep her updated and Collins said she was confident he would fully investigate and "pursue appropriate action against the agents should the allegations prove true."

NBC News reported that two Secret Service supervisors and three counter-assault team members were among the 11 employees implicated in the alleged misconduct in Colombia.

A Secret Service source told Reuters the employees involved were support personnel and not part of the advance team, so they would not have had detailed itineraries and schedules that far ahead of the president's arrival.

Also any such papers would not be left in the hotel room, but would be kept in a security room set up for foreign presidential trips and guarded by Marines.

"That kind of stuff is not kept in rooms," the Secret Service source said.

A report from ABC News said Secret Service agents partying at a club in Cartagena boasted that they worked for Obama and were in Colombia to protect him.

Additional Reporting By Emily Stephenson. Editing by Jackie Frank and Christopher Wilson.

 
Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.


This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

 photo
Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

 photo
STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

 photo capitalism_zpsah78uy5p.jpg
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

 photo TAMIFLU_small_zpssojx6okt.jpg
THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 photo WHO02_zpsplmhtlpr.jpg
The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

READ MORE >>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

READ MORE >>