All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’ (Source globalresearch.ca) NATO is sending vast arms shipments to the Kiev junta, along with “Special Forces” advisers and counter-insurgency experts in anticipation of a full-scale attack against the rebels in the Donbas. The Kiev regime has never abided by the Minsk cease fire. According to the UN Human Rights office 13 people on average –mostly civilians –have been killed each day since the September cease fire. In eight weeks, the UN reports that 957 people have killed –overwhelmingly by Kiev’s armed forces. The Kiev regime, in turn, has cut all basic social and public services to the Peoples’ Republics’, including electricity, fuel, civil service salaries, pensions, medical supplies, salaries for teachers and medical workers, municipal workers wages; banking and transport have been blockaded. The strategy is to further strangle the economy, destroy the infrastructure, force an even greater mass exodus of destitute refugees from the densely populated cities across the border into Russia and then to launch massive air, missile, artillery and ground assaults on urban centers as well as rebel bases. Each and every escalation of economic sanctions against Russia is designed to weaken the capacity of the Donbas resistance fighters to defend their homes, towns and cities NATO has decided on an ‘all-or-nothing campaign’: to seize all of Ukraine or, failing that, destroy the restive southeast, obliterate its population and productive capacity and engage in an all-out economic (and possibly shooting) war with Russia. Putin finally responded by expanding Russia’s air and ground troop preparedness along its borders while accelerating Moscow’s economic pivot to Asia.
3 BILLION GALLONS OF FRACKING WASTEWATER PUMPED INTO CLEAN CALIFORNIA AQUIFIERS: “ERRORS WERE MADE” STATE ADMITS (Source ZERO HEDGE)
Dear California readers: if you drank tap water this morning (or at any point in the past few weeks/months), you may be in luck as you no longer need to buy oil to lubricate your engine: just use your blood, and think of the cost-savings. That’s the good news. Also, the bad news, because as the California’s Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, California state officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump up to 3 billion gallons (call it 70 million barrels) of oil fracking-contaminated waste water into formerly clean aquifiers, aquifiers which at least on paper are supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity, and are protected by the government’s EPA – an agency which, it appears, was richly compensated by the same oil and gas companies to look elsewhere. In “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing operations, oil and gas companies use massive amounts of water to force the release of underground fossil fuels. The practice produces large amounts of waste water that must then be disposed of. Marshall said that often times, oil and gas companies simply re-inject that waste water back deep underground where the oil extraction took place. But other times, Marshall said, the waste water is re-injected into aquifers closer to the surface. Those injections are supposed to go into aquifers that the EPA calls “exempt”—in other words, not clean enough for humans to drink or use. But in the State’s letter to the EPA, officials admit that in at least nine waste water injection wells, the waste water was injected into “non-exempt” or clean aquifers containing high quality water.
It’s Official: Pope Francis Will Come to Philly for World Meeting of Families (Source nbcphiladelphia.com) It’s official. Pope Francis is coming to Philly. The pontiff confirmed he plans to attend the highly-anticipated World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year. The three-day visit will include a public Sunday mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015. Officials estimate up to 2 million people could come to see the pope. “This will be the largest event in the city’s modern history,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. The mayor called the visit a “massive undertaking” that will require a “tremendous amount of coordination.” It will be the Pope’s first visit to the United States since he was elected to lead the Catholic church in March 2013. The last time a pope visited Philadelphia was in October 1979 when John Paul II to deliver mass along the Parkway. Over history, only four popes have visited the United States a total of nine times. The World Meeting of Families will be held from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, 2015 in Philadelphia. Held every three years, the conference is a celebration of families, love and life, organizers say. It’s also the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell said that Francis is expected to arrive Sept. 25. Besides the Parkway mass, the Pontiff is also expected to attend the intercultural Festival of Families on Sept. 26, according to the archdiocese. The Vatican will reveal detailed plans in spring or summer of 2015
NATO Intensifies Threats against Russia over Ukraine (Source globalresearch.ca) NATO countries have stepped up their threats against Russia on the eve of the G20 summit in Australia. While they accuse the country of violating Ukrainian sovereignty, they are themselves preparing a massive escalation of military violence. The Ukrainian Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) warned of “unpredictable threats to the security of Europe” resulting from the Russian activities. The spokesman for the National Security Council, Andriy Lysenko, even said that Ukraine was preparing for an attack by Russia from the Black Sea. Neither government representatives nor the NATO Secretary General provided concrete evidence for these accusations. Russia rejected the allegations. These were “nothing but hot air,” said Major General Igor Konashenkov. “All this is not based on facts.” The separatists also contradicted reports of military support from Russia. According to both parties to the conflict, the fighting in the region has persisted. Again and again there have been heavy artillery attacks on Donetsk. On Thursday, for the first time, the Kiev regime admitted to also carrying out military actions behind the front line. Fierce fighting has continued around Donetsk airport, which was actually ceded to the separatists in the Minsk Accord. However, the Ukrainian units have refused to withdraw and have engaged in fierce fighting with the rebel forces ever since. In the fighting on Thursday, at least four Ukrainian soldiers were killed, according to government figures. The separatists spoke of numerous civilians being killed in the attacks on Donetsk. The OSCE reported that the separatists had been able to make some territorial gains.
NEARLY HALF OF FLORIDA HOUSEHOLDS ARE STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY, UNITED WAY REPORTS HOUSEHOLDS NOT EARNING ENOUGH TO PAY FOR BASIC NECESSITIES… (Source Herald Tribune) Nearly half of Florida households do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way that seeks to cast a light on the large group of state residents who struggle financially but do not meet the official criteria for being in poverty. While 15 percent of Florida households are below the poverty level, another 30 percent are financially insecure — a figure that also applies to Sarasota and Manatee counties — based on a new measurement developed by the United Way. The report zeroes in on the plight of low-income workers, people who have steady jobs but grapple with low wages and the increasing costs of many necessities. The United Way — a leading nonprofit in many communities that helps funnel donations to other organizations that assist those in need — created a new way of defining this population in an attempt to spark a broader discussion about those experiencing economic hardship and spur community leaders to action.
China Flaunts Stolen American Technology (Source thetrumpet.com)United States President Barack Obama was all smiles last week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by China. During the festivities, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama agreed to limit greenhouse emissions. This was one deal the Chinese leader has been very reluctant to act upon for the past few years. President Obama said the greenhouse deal was “a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship.” He stated that “when the U.S. and China are able to work together effectively, the whole world benefits.” America and China are working together—but contrary to President Obama’s assertions, it is in the worst possible way. Also at the summit, President Obama called upon Xi to curtail Chinese cyberattacks on American assets. Last year, China’s involvement in attacking and stealing from American corporations came to light in a February 2013 report released by Mandiant, a cybersecurity company. The report showed that over the past five years, members of the Chinese military have hacked more than 100 Mandiant clients. Many of the hacked companies are based in the U.S. How did China respond? During the summit, China’s military hosted a major arms show in the southern city of Zhuhai. The main attraction of the event was the debut of China’s new J-31 stealth fighter jet. This is China’s second radar-evading warplane. Its unveiling during the APEC summit was no coincidence. The J-31 fighter jet happens to be a well-known product of stolen Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter technology. For China to showcase this jet during President Obama’s summit was a slap in America’s face. While America’s president calls for a halt on cyberattacks, China flaunts the fruits of its cyber handiwork. America and China are working together, but it is a one-way relationship where American companies do the work of designing and developing technology while China benefits by stealing it.
STATE DEPARTMENT HACKED, SHUTS DOWN WORLDWIDE EMAIL SYSTEM (Source ZERO HEDGE) The State Department has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire unclassified email system as technicians repair possible damage from a suspected hacker attack. Earlier attacks have been blamed on Russian or Chinese attackers, although their origin has never been publicly confirmed. The State Department has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire unclassified email system as technicians repair possible damage from a suspected hacker attack. A senior department official said Sunday that “activity of concern” was detected in the system around the same time as a previously reported incident that targeted the White House computer network. That incident was made public in late October, but there was no indication then that the State Department had been affected. Since then, a number of agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service and the National Weather Service, have reported attacks. The official said none of the State Department’s classified systems were affected. However, the official said the department shut down its worldwide email late on Friday as part of a scheduled outage of some of its internet-linked systems to make security improvements to its main unclassified computer network. The official was not authorized to speak about the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said the department expects that all of its systems will be operating as normal in the near future, but would not discuss who might be responsible for the breach. Earlier attacks have been blamed on Russian or Chinese attackers, although their origin has never been publicly confirmed. The State Department is expected to address the shutdown once the security improvements have been completed on Monday or
Understanding Iran: The Head of the Snake (Source thetrumpet.com) If you are watching the Middle East, chances are that startling, graphic headlines about the Islamic State have grabbed your attention. The Islamic State’s barbarism is mirrored closely by the brutality of the civil war raging in Syria. The horrific headlines keep viewers mindful of the atrocities taking place in these regions and the urgent demand for a solution. But focusing solely on the loudest stories in the Middle East would be the equivalent of a mouse being worried about a rattlesnake’s tail. A far greater threat coiled up in the Middle East must be recognized: Iran—the head of the terrorist snake. The media decries the Islamic State collecting up to $3 million per day on black market oil, ensuring its status as the world’s richest terrorist organization. Yet Iran—the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror—goes unnoticed with a 2013 gross domestic product of $368.9 billion. People worry about the Islamic State seizing United States military hardware abandoned after the Iraq War. Meanwhile, Iran is on the cusp of building nuclear weapons. The Islamic State controls northern Iraq—while Iran controls the fourth-largest crude oil reserves in the world and the second-largest natural gas reserves. It also borders one of the world’s most crucial sea gates, the Strait of Hormuz To ignore these facts is to decide that the snake’s tail is more fearsome than its head. It can be easy to focus on the loudest stories in the region and fail to recognize the greater dangers. If you haven’t been keeping a wary eye on the deadly end of the snake, here is a snapshot of where that head is today. For almost a year, Iran has been involved in negotiations over its controversial nuclear program. Furious attempts have been made to cement a deal whereby Iran gives up its capabilities to create a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief. Short-term deals have been reached where Iran has promised certain measures to “roll back” its nuclear program. Of course, the process has been drawn out by Iran, which gives it a distinct advantage. Firstly, it gives the nation a chance to rebuild an economy crippled by sanctions. Stalling also means Iran has more time to transform its image. Since Hassan Rouhani came to power last year, Tehran has been working to establish a fresh image as a “moderate” nation. Calls to Western leaders and the occasional tweet have been enough to distract people from the hate-filled speeches that still rain down from Iran’s ayatollahs.
‘Economic isolation breach of intl law’ (Source RT) Putin believes that the creation of the 2 US-led trade pacts – one Transatlantic and the other Transpacific – will only create more global imbalance. The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) doesn’t include China or Russia. All new emerging economic blocks like BRICS and the so-called ‘new G7’, which in addition to Brazil, Russia, India and China also includes Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, should come as something complementary to the existing groups, Putin said. The Russian president also said that all regional integrations like the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan shouldn’t isolate, but complement, global institutions.
Russian Strategic Bombers to Patrol off US Coastlines (Source wsws.org) As fighting flares again between the NATO-backed regime in Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Russia announced Wednesday that it is re-starting regular patrols in international air space off the US coastline by nuclear-capable strategic bombers. This is the first time since the end of the Cold War that Russia is planning routine patrols off the coast of the United States. This is a sharp warning that the confrontation the United States and the NATO powers are waging with Russia and China—enormously escalated by the right-wing US-backed coup in Ukraine—poses the risk of world war and a nuclear conflagration. At a meeting of Russia’s national military council announcing the decision, Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu said: “In the current situation, we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Due to that, as part of the drills, Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean.” Shoigu made clear that this deployment was a response to NATO threats in the Ukraine crisis. “In many respects, this is connected with the situation in Ukraine, with fomentation of anti-Russian moods on the part of NATO and reinforcement of foreign military presence next to our border,” he explained. The Kremlin is thought to be negotiating deals for naval or aerial resupply with countries around the world: Algeria and Cyprus in the Mediterranean; Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba in Latin America; Seychelles in the Indian Ocean; and Vietnam and Singapore in Southeast Asia.
As fighting flares in nearby Ukraine, Shoigu also announced that Russia would strengthen its forces on the Crimean peninsula. “Under these conditions, the formation of full-fledged and self-sufficient forces on the Crimean peninsula is a priority task,” he said. He also stated that Russia’s southern military district, the area of the Russian mainland bordering Ukraine, would be reinforced. Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling is utterly reactionary. Nonetheless, central responsibility for the risk of nuclear war rests with the imperialist powers of the NATO alliance.