Friday, March 13, 2015

WAYNE MADSEN : FIVE EYES Neo - Colonialism In The Pacific Region

U.S., Australia want to return ASEAN and especially Indonesia to "the good old days" of colonialism  

By Wayne Madsen

The recent revelations from the documents provided by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden that the NSA’s two Pacific partners, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) conduct wholesale eavesdropping on the communications of the island nations of the Pacific may not be "news" but the reaction to the surveillance by regional leaders points to the neo-colonialism practiced by the NSA’s FIVE EYES intelligence partners.

U.S., AU want to return Indonesia, ASEAN to the "good old
days" of colonialism 
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, whose arrogance and corruption is matched by his fellow neo-conservative prime ministers of the old British Commonwealth – Tony Abbott of Australia, David Cameron of Britain, and Stephen Harper of Canada – expressed his belief that those who are revealing that New Zealand violated its own GCSB Act by conducting wholesale surveillance of New Zealanders, masked as "incidental interception," are "left-wing kooks" spreading "lies
and disinformation." 

At least Key is showing that the eavesdropping revelations are hitting a raw nerve by lashing out at critics. The old standard "I refuse to comment on intelligence matters" involving signals intelligence operations has always been used by Australian, British, New Zealander, and Canadian prime ministers going back to Australia’s Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, Canada’s Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, and Britain’s James Callaghan and John Major.

Classified GCSB documents procured and released by Snowden reveal that the NSA system known as XKEYSCORE has conducted "full-take collection" on intercepted telecommunications from New Zealand citizens throughout the Pacific region. Although the GCSB Act prohibits GCSB from conducting surveillance of "New Zealand Persons," defined as any New Zealand citizen, including Cook Islanders and Niueans from two self-governing territories of New Zealand and citizens of other countries who are legal permanent residents of New Zealand, it does not prevent NSA’s partner agency from intercepting the communications of New Zealanders acting as agents of foreign interests. New Zealand Signals Intelligence Directive Number 7 (NZSID 7) (a practical duplicate of NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18) prohibits collection on New Zealand, U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada "persons" but this does not include government officials of the Cook Islands and Niue, who are New Zealand passport holders and citizens. 

Neither does NZSID 7 include New Zealanders who are agents of foreign concerns. An explanation of the New Zealand directive specifically mentions in regard to foreign agents New Zealanders employed by the Bank of China and Japan’s Itochu Corporation, the latter a large trading corporation which bought Dole Foods Asia fresh produce and worldwide packaged foods businesses. 

NCSID 7 is vague for a reason. Although the directive states that the Tokelau atolls of the south Pacific and the Ross Dependency of Antarctica are part of New Zealand and thus are covered by the directive, it includes the governments of the Cook Islands and Niue as targets of surveillance. It does not mention anything about the government of Tokelau, although Tokelauans, as residents of a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand, are New Zealand citizens. However, considering the fact that members of the governments of the Cook Islands and Niue, also New Zealand citizens, are subject to "full take collection" by GCSB and its NSA master, there is no reason to believe that Tokelau’s Taupulega (Village Council of Elders), General Fono (National Assembly), and the Council for the Ongoing Government (Executive Government) of Tokelau are exempt from similar surveillance, especially where Tokelau conducts Pacific outreach to other Polynesian states like Samoa and Tonga. Most definitely any communications that involved Tokelau’s claim to Swains Island, which is illegally occupied by the United States as part of the American colony of American Samoa, are bound the be grabbed and stored by GCSB and NSA. Tokelau’s Self Determination Referendum of 2006 reaffirmed Tokelau’s claim to Swains, which is actually owned in a feudalistic arrangement with Washington by the Jennings family, Americans whose family has maintained a coconut plantation on the island since 1814. American Samoa’s governor, Togiola Talalelei A. Tulafono, who is backed by Washington, has stated that he does not intend to give up the island to Tokelau, even though the island’s population is Tokelauan. The ancestors of the Tokelauans on Swains were transported as slaves by the Jennings family from Tokelau to Swains Island on Peruvian ships after slavery was abolished in the United States by President Abraham Lincoln. They were forced to work on the Jennings family’s coconut plantation. 

The GCSB’s acquiescence to American imperialism, neo-colonialism, and, in the case of Swains Island, neo-feudalism over South Pacific island states and territories is bolstered by the cooperation offered to the GCSB/NSA alliance by a number of South Pacific leaders who see nothing wrong in New Zealand’s and America’s "full take collection" of satellite and fiber optics communications in the Pacific region.

Perhaps one of the most pathetic responses to New Zealand’s and America’s "take it all" approach to electronic surveillance came from Samoa’s prime minister. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi joined New Zealand’s Key in slamming the news media for "sensationalising" the eavesdropping issue. Malilegaoi claimed that those who conduct surveillance for the FIVE EYES nations are intelligence "well-trained professionals."

In additional comments displaying his naivety, the Samoan prime minister, whose country is specifically listed in leaked Top Secret documents as being the subject of massive surveillance, said, "Samoa doesn't have anything to hide. Our daily lives are an open book. We follow good governance principles of transparency and accountability . . . We are not a security risk to any small island nearby and I'm sure the phone conversations by an old matai (chief) and his son in New Zealand for a taulaga (money) envelope will not be of interest to the FBI of the great USA. In fact, the diplomats reporting from Samoa would no doubt be sending back information saying we treat them well and we love them - as we love our brothers and our neighbors in Fiji and Tonga." 

The prime minister might be shocked at what the GCSB and NSA intercepted about his meeting in Fiji with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Fiji last November when China announced a strategic partnership with eight South Pacific island states. They included the Cook Islands and Niue. 

Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva echoed his Samoan counterpart’s comments about the eavesdropping. He said, "If New Zealand has good reason to believe it is important for the New Zealand Government to share such information with other partners, with other countries, it is entirely a matter for New Zealand to decide. Remember Tonga is small and we have nothing to hide."

In fact, these island nations’ relations with China are of paramount interest to New Zealand and the other FIVE EYES countries. Pohiva’s predecessor, Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano, met with China’s president in Fiji. President Xi also met with Cook Islands Premier Henry Puna and Niue Premier Toke Talagi. When GCSB’s NZSID 7 exempts the government leaders of the Cook Islands and Niue from surveillance constraints it is exactly because the allied signals intelligence agencies want to know all about China’s activities in the region. The Samoan and Tongan leaders may claim they have no secrets from their neo-colonialist masters in Wellington, Canberra, and Washington but their attempts to broaden their diplomatic horizons with close relations with China, Japan, and other countries will earn them some "surge surveillance" from GCSB and its Australian ASD counterpart. 

The Tongan prime minister said, "New Zealand is a sovereign independent country. It is entirely up to them to decide what they should do." Not exactly. When New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange demanded to know the nature of his country’s intelligence relationship with NSA in the 1980s, he was blindsided by his own intelligence chiefs.

GCSB’s former director, Sir Bruce Ferguson, actually admitted that his agency conducted mass surveillance of the communications of Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, and French Polynesia but that it "discards items it cannot have." He also said such surveillance was helping the small island states, as well as New Zealand. Given the comments of the Samoan and Tongan prime ministers, some South Pacific leaders have actually been convinced that the surveillance of their and their citizens’ communications by the FIVE EYES is a palliative cure for their security woes. The South Pacific leaders are showing the world that they are independent member states of the United Nations in name only.

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen
Investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist, Madsen has over twenty years experience in security issues. 

As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. Madsen has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC and MS-NBC. He has been invited to testify as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club, Madsen is based and reports from Washington, D.C.

The Relationship Between Washington And ISIS : The Evidence

The fact that the USAF cannot or will not target CIA/ISIS captured U.S. armor parading around in broad daylight is evidence enough  

By Prof. Tim Anderson

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a renewal of Bush’s ‘war on terror.'

CNN, Fox "News" and their fraud "journalists" will be held
responsible and accountable for their war-shilling this time
A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. 

In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, ‘The Redirection’, the US would make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, not least the Saudis, to ‘contain’ the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS ‘caliph’ al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US ‘war’ against ISIS. 

So what is the broader evidence on Washington’s covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ ISIS ]‘. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

Geriatric doofus Biden shills for CIA/ISIS
The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’. Biden’s admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money,' Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the ‘moderate rebels’, now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, ‘Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave’, reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest ‘Free Syrian Army’ group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’.

After the collapse of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel’s Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel’s hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. 

This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘ Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]‘. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.’

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. 

In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘ Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’. In that same month, ‘rebels’ in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

Despite unlimited assets the USAF can't seem to "find" much less take out U.S. armor captured by CIA/ISIS goat herders

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria , as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a ‘non aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the ‘rebels’.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to ‘Syrian rebels’ from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

Traitor McCain has supplied weapons to CIA/ISIS that have killed U.S. military personnel

With ‘major Arab allies’ backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. 

The US admitted the seizure but said this was a ‘mistake’. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. 

Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US , European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington’s Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were ‘surprisingly supportive of democracy’. After all the well published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq . Their ‘war’ on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is ‘not fighting ISIS’. This alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. 

MSM frauds, hacks and shills will be held personally responsible for their war-mongering this time around - and they know it

While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation. A decade after Washington’s ‘creative destruction’ plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran’s influence is ‘at its highest point in almost four centuries’.


Select References

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

This news bureau 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.

Fracking Wastewater In California Full Of Harmful, Cancerous Chemicals – Report

With a world-wide oil glut and decreasing demand there is now no excuse for "fracking" of any kind - except blind greed  


Disclosures in California revealed this week that a bevy of toxic, cancer-linked chemicals in fracking wastewater are routinely injected back into the ground. State regulators of the oil and gas industry, meanwhile, admitted to substandard oversight.

Fracking wastewater
More than a year after California’s unprecedented law requiring transparency over contents of hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- wastewater, a new report by the Environmental Working Group showed that the state has allowed a variety of carcinogenic chemicals to be pumped back into the ground after use, thereby freeing oil and gas deposits. The group said that “more than a dozen hazardous chemicals and metals as well as radiation were detected in the wastewater, some at average levels that are hundreds or thousands of times higher than the state’s drinking water standards or public health goals.”

The report – ‘Toxic Stew: What’s in Fracking Wastewater’ – stemmed from the state’s 2013 disclosure law which mandates the comprehensive testing and public release of the chemicals in drilling wastewater. The oil and gas industry has fought hard – with cover from government regulators like the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California’s own Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources – to obfuscate and conceal what it injects into the Earth.

“Petroleum chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive elements, plus high levels of dissolved solids, are among the pollutants found in fracking wastewater samples tested under the new disclosure program,” the Environmental Working Group wrote.

“They include benzene, chromium-6, lead and arsenic – all listed under California’s Proposition 65 as causes of cancer or reproductive harm. Nearly every one of the 293 samples tested contained benzene at levels ranging from twice to more than 7,000 times the state drinking water standard. The wastewater also carried, on average, thousands of times more radioactive radium than the state’s public health goals consider safe, as well as elevated levels of potentially harmful ions such as nitrate and chloride.”

State officials have said there is “no evidence to date that California aquifers currently used for drinking water have been contaminated by fracking chemicals,” the Environmental Working Group wrote.

Yet, in October, the state found that the oil and gas industry had illegally injected about three billion gallons of fracking wastewater into central California drinking water and farm irrigation aquifers.

Last week, the state ordered a halt to drilling at 12 wastewater injection wells in California’s Central Valley "out of an abundance of caution for public health,” said Steve Bohlen, head of the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. The state has shut down 23 of the hundreds of injection wells located in aquifers that are not approved for wastewater, the Los Angeles Times reported.

To unleash oil or natural gas from shale or other areas, the fracking process requires blasting large volumes of highly pressurized water, sand, and other chemicals into layers of rock. Once used, toxic fracking wastewater is then either stored in deep underground wells, disposed of in open pits for evaporation, sprayed into waste fields, or used over again. Fracking has been linked to groundwater contamination, heightened earthquake activity, exacerbation ofdrought conditions, and a variety of health concerns for humans and the local environment.

Oil and gas companies are under increasingly intense pressure nationwide to respond over increased transparency of chemicals used in the fracking process. As RT has reported, industry has avoided divulging -- often under the cover of official regulatory agencies -- just what chemicals are involved in their toxic injection fluids. Yet drillers insist the chemicals do not endanger human health, contradictingfindings by scientists and environmentalists.

Critics -- including the US Government Accountability Office -- have long contended that the EPA has been soft on the industry because they believe the agency is reluctant to stand in the way of what has quickly become a very profitable business model amid the oil and gas boom in North America.

State Regulators

California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, meanwhile, took a grilling this week in Sacramento, as a Senate panel lambasted the agency for failing to adequately protect drinking water from oil and gas development, among other “endemic” shortcomings.

"There has been a serious imbalance between the role regulating the oil and gas industry and the role of protecting the public," said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Officials from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) admitted that the agency had for years allowed for the breaking of federal law when companies injected fracking and other wastewater into hundreds of disposal wells within protected aquifers.

The DOGGR officials blamed past errors on inconsistent record-keeping and outdated data collection.

In its new report, the Environmental Working Group noted that “the mandated [fracking chemical] disclosure data on the state’s website is still incomplete and confusing,” and that “California allows drillers to request permission to keep the exact recipe of their fracking fluid off the publicly accessible website.”

Last month, it was reported that California officials permitted oil and gas companies to dispose of waste and other fluids into aquifers containing drinking and irrigation water more than 2,500 times. Significantly, 46 percent of these permits were authorized within the last four years – the same timeframe during which the EPA warned California that regulators were not sufficiently protecting underground water reserves in the drought-stricken state.

State regulators subsequently offered the EPA a new plan that detailed how California would change its permit approval process. The plan also addresses how the state would confront contamination risks. Steve Bohlen, the head of DOGGR, said last month that 140 of the affected injection sites were actively pumping waste into aquifers holding good quality water.

In July 2014, seven companies were hit with cease and desist letters in California after 11 wastewater injection sites were shut down over contamination concerns.

Despite popular support, a moratorium on fracking in the state was killed in the California Senate last May. The oil industry spent nearly $1.5 million in three months fighting the bill.

California is the third-largest oil producing state in the US, but it’s also in its fourth year of a severe drought, highlighting the need to keep its water reserves safe.

This news bureau 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.



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

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



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

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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.



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

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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.



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...



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


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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...



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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 . . .



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.