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Archive for June 10th, 2010

Federal Officials Confirm Giant Oil ‘Plumes’ In The Gulf Of Mexico

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June 10, 2010: Paul Quinlan and Josh Voorhees / The New York Times – June 8, 2010

Vast underwater concentrations of oil sprawling for miles in the Gulf of Mexico from the damaged, crude-belching BP PLC well are unprecedented in “human history” and threaten to wreak havoc on marine life, a team of scientists said today, a finding confirmed for the first time by federal officials.

Researchers aboard the F.G. Walton Smith vessel briefed reporters on a two-week cruise in which they traced an underwater oil plum 15 miles wide, 3 miles long and about 600 feet thick. The plume’s core is 1,100 to 1,300 meters below the surface, they said. “It’s an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history,” said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, the expedition leader.

Bacteria are breaking down the oil’s hydrocarbons in a massive, microorganism feeding frenzy that has sent oxygen levels plunging close to what is considered “dead zone” conditions, at which most marine life are smothered for a lack of dissolved oxygen. Such low-oxygen conditions were noticed farther from the spill site, although Joye said she did not think the process would immediately produce a dead zone, since low nutrient concentrations in the water would limit the rate of the bacterial consumption.

Joye said her team also measured extremely high levels of methane, which is also spewing from the gushing BP well at up to 10,000 times background levels in Gulf waters. “I’ve been working in the Gulf of Mexico for 15 years,” Joye said. “I’ve never seen methane concentration this high anywhere in the water.”

Less clear to researchers like Joye are what role the unprecedented deployment of oil-dispersing chemicals are having on the undersea gathering of oil. She said dispersants likely played a role in keeping the oil underwater but that they are “certainly not required” to produce such an effect, given the deep-water — as opposed to surface — injection of oil and gas.

Also still unclear, she said, are the long-term effects of oil and dispersant use on fisheries. “The primary producers — the base of the food web in the ocean — is going to be altered. There’s no doubt about that,” Joye said. “We have no idea what dispersants are going to do to microorganisms. We know they are toxic to many larvae. It’s impossible to know what the impacts are going to be.”

A full understanding and the full impact to the Gulf’s fishery may be years away, she said. “It’s a very, very complicated problem, and there are a lot of people doing fisheries work to try to get a handle on this, but it’s going to be months or years probably before we realize the full consequences of this spill,” Joye said.

Asked to react to BP officials earlier assertions that the Gulf of Mexico was a large enough body of water to absorb the impact of an oil spill under way, Joye bristled. “The solution to pollution is not dilution,” she said. “It’s an excuse, and it’s arm-waving, and it takes away from the important things that we should be thinking about,” she said, such as measuring the scope of the spill and its effects.

Federal Confirmation

Federal officials for the first time today confirmed the researchers’ findings, although Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is leading the federal response to the spill, questioned the use of the term “plume” to describe that underwater oil. “The term ‘plume’ has been used for quite awhile, [but] I think what we are talking about are concentrations,” he said. “‘Cloud’ is a better term.” Joye’s team’s results echo the findings of a University of South Florida team aboard the Weatherbird II vessel.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco said her agency had finished testing water samples collected by the USF team that confirmed the presence of the oil. “The bottom line is, yes there is oil in the water columns,” she told reporters. “That’s confirmed for the sites we’ve done the analyses.”

BP CEO Tony Hayward had disputed the presence of plumes, saying on June 6 that there was “no evidence” of their existence. BP spokesman John Pack said today they would be paying attention to the data that is coming in. “We will obviously listen to what they have to say,” Pack said.

Lubchenco said the test confirms the presence of subsurface oil, which she said federal scientists suspected was present. Lubchenco said that oil was found in “very low concentrations” in the range of less than 0.5 parts per million. NOAA tested samples from three collection sites, confirming the presence of subsea oil 40 nautical miles northeast of the well. She said samples from a site 42 nautical miles northeast were inconclusive and that samples from a site 142 miles southeast “were not consistent with the oil spill.”

“That does not mean it doesn’t have significant impact. A more complete picture will require additional information, and we’re in the process of getting that,” Lubchenco said. “We remain concerned about the location of oil on the surface and under the sea,” Lubchenco said. “We are attacking it aggressively to mitigate the harm and understand the impact.” Lubchenco said “there is definitely oil subsurface” and that NOAA would continue to analyze water samples as they were collected. “We will continue to do research to understand where it is and in what concentrations and what are its impacts,” she said.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: It only took the Federal Government and BP a month to have to admit to what scientists have been reporting since early May of this year– SJH 

Link to original article below…

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/08/08greenwire-scientist-awed-by-size-density-of-undersea-oil-98517.html

Emergency Disaster And Terrorist Drills Begin In Chicago 6/14/10

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June 10, 2010: Staff Report / Chicago Tribune via Chicago Breaking News Center – June 9, 2010

A massive emergency response exercise is scheduled for the Chicago area beginning Sunday. The practice events spread over five days will include a simulated commercial airplane crash, a simulated rail-car evacuation and a simulated terrorist attack.

Road closures and detours are possible in the Chicago area.

“It is a full-scale exercise, so residents can expect to see emergency responders looking and acting as if this was a real homeland security/domestic response mission,” the Illinois Army and Air National Guard said in a press release.

The exercise will begin Sunday with a simulated jetliner crash in southwest suburban Oak Lawn, “with debris and mass casualties scattered throughout the area,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart of the Illinois National Guard.

Toyota Park in Bridgeview will be the staging area for the Guard starting Monday. Also, Chicago‘s Office of Emergency Management will practice setting up a remote command center at Soldier Field to handle a large-scale disaster. On Tuesday, a simulated meth lab will be raided on Green and York Streets in Bensenville.

On Wednesday, Bensenville area also will be the site of numerous simulated terrorist attacks “including takedowns of suspected terrorists,” simulated building collapses with trapped victims  and mass decontamination and medical care by the National Guard. At the same time, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will receive “suspected biological agent patients to decontaminate and medically evaluate.”

On Wednesday evening, the CTA will stage a rail-car evacuation SWAT incident at 15th and Clark streets. Chicago police K-9 units will detect “simulated explosives manufactured by a terrorist group on a CTA train.” A simulated explosion will occur from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. There will be road closings in the area.

On Thursday there will be another takedown situation in the Bensenville area and a simulated chemical explosion at the Nalco Co. (emphasis mine) plant at 6233 W. 66th St. in Chicago.

The Illinois National Guard says more than 50 local, state, federal and private agencies will participate in the drill to learn how to respond to disasters. The five-day training exercise will run from Sunday through Thursday, June 17.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Very interesting to note here that Nalco Co. is the maker of Corexit 9500, the highly toxic dispersant being used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster

Ingredients Of Controversial Dispersants (Nalco’s Corexit 9500) Used On Gulf Spill Are Secrets No More

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/09/09greenwire-ingredients-of-controversial-dispersants-used-42891.html

Corexit Is Killing The Gulf: Part 1

Corexit Is Killing The Gulf: Part 2

Is it a coincidence that Nalco, the producer of this toxic dispersant Corexit 9500 being poured into the Gulf of Mexico by BP is one of the targets of ‘terrorism’ in a military drill here in Chicago? I think not! – SJH  

Link to original article below…

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/06/emergency-drill-may-close-chicago-area-roads.html

US North Com Trains Military For Mass Evacuations In Gulf Region

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June 10, 2010: Shepard Ambellas / Intel Hub – June 9, 2010

USNORTHCOM admits that they are preparing military operations within the United States. This is the first time in history this has been done. They will be working with DHS, state and local law enforcement on U.S. soil.

The focus of this operation will be in our back yard. This ORI is planning on defending against enemy attacks, supporting civilian authorities with fighting an unconventional foe in the U.S.

NORTHCOM went on to say that the drill will be in the Gulf area (emphasis mine). They antcicipate no infrastructure and extreme weather conditions.

“Even more significant, this inspection marked the first time that any Air Force unit has been wartime validated in support of the security and defense of the United States of America. That’s huge,” Col. Greg Nelson, the commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing said. The survival of thousands Americans rests on this training they went on to say.

The Intel Hub believes they are preparing for a major biological attack or false flag. We will keep you posted. This could be part of Operation Garden Plot. This could be why there is a hardened troop build up in the Gulf.

Units Make History With Air Force’s First Homeland Defense ORI

By Maj. Dale Greer: 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs – June 3, 2010

GULFPORT, Miss. Three units representing each component of the Air Force made history here May 16 through 23 when they successfully completed the first homeland defense operational readiness inspection.

The ORI, held at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center here, was administered by the Air Mobility Command Inspector General on a trial basis, but it may help pave the way for future inspections, officials said.

“For the very first time, the U.S. Air Force has validated a unit’s wartime capability to defend the homeland by fighting an enemy right here on U.S. soil,” said Col. Greg Nelson, the commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, which served as the lead organization for the ORI.

“That represents a major shift in the way Air Force (leaders evaluate) unit readiness, because it puts the focus in our own backyard, rather than a simulated overseas location where these evaluations are usually staged,” he said.

The inspection was a total force effort, with the 123rd Airlift Wing representing the Air National Guard; the 317th Airlift Group from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, providing active-duty forces; and the 70th Aerial Port Squadron from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., contributing Air Force Reserve members and equipment.

As with traditional ORIs, this one tested the ability of each unit to mobilize Airmen and equipment, fly to a remote site, operate in a hostile environment, defend against enemy attacks, and redeploy back home, all while AMC inspectors evaluated every phase of the operation.

Unlike traditional ORIs, in this one the participants were tasked with supporting civil authorities while fighting an unconventional foe in the United States. In the past, ORIs have typically required units to deploy to simulated overseas bases and defend against conventional military forces.

“I’m pleased to say that all three units passed this new test with flying colors,” Nelson said. “We are ready to perform our mission of theater airlift anytime, anywhere, whether it be in support of our allies abroad or here at home in defense of the United States of America.”

The ORI scenario that played out in Mississippi required more than 300 Kentucky Air Guard members to establish operations in concert with about 175 Airmen from the Texas and Florida units, forming the notional (national?) 104th Air Expeditionary Wing.

All three organizations worked seamlessly to launch theater airlift and medical evacuation sorties across the Gulf Coast region, supporting U.S. Northern Command missions and civil authorities, while foiling multiple attacks by well-organized terrorists.

The inspection posed an unusually challenging environment because of extreme weather conditions and several eleventh-hour changes caused by the non-availability of infrastructure, Nelson said.

“We didn’t flinch. We didn’t whine. We didn’t push back to any challenge, from changes in taskings, to changes in locations, to changes in facilities at the last minute,” he said. “(With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees), it also was the hottest ORI the team chief had even seen. But we maintained a great attitude, we operated safely, and we performed our mission with a level of excellence that makes me proud.

“Even more significant, this inspection marked the first time that any Air Force unit has been wartime validated in support of the security and defense of the United States of America. That’s huge,” Nelson said. Col. Dan Dagher, the 317th Airlift Group commander, agreed.

“The 317th (AG), 123rd (AW) and 70th (APS) are ready — and now tested — to meet the challenge, reduce human suffering and save lives,” he said. “If an attack on the homeland happens, we will be the first responders. Americans can sleep better knowing that the 317th (AG), 123rd (AW) and 70th (APS) can provide defense support to civil authorities in the United States, and that the very survival of thousands of … Americans rests on our now-tested ability to immediately respond and perform mass-casualty medical evacuations after a chemical attack.”

Nelson said the idea for a homeland defense/homeland security ORI originated at the Kentucky Air Guard, whose leaders asked AMC to consider using the alternate approach because it better reflects the realities of a post-9/11 world in which homeland defense has taken center stage.

“Almost everything that an airlift wing would do in support of a real-world homeland security/homeland defense mission, whether it be response to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil or humanitarian aid following a hurricane, would be in support of a lead civilian agency at the federal, state or local level,” Nelson said. “As a result, the overall command and control aspects are completely different from those of an overseas operation.

“So we took our plan to the IG and said, ‘You need to evaluate us on this,'” Nelson said. “They thought our approach had a lot of merit, and agreed to implement it on a trial basis. A lot of changes were required to make this approach work, but the IG developed new scenarios to test the interoperability of Department of Defense, federal, state and local agencies in defense of the homeland. As a result, our ORI provided a unique opportunity to validate how we provide tactical airlift during an emergency in the United States.”

Link to United States Northern Command press release below…

http://www.northcom.mil/News/2010/060310.html

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: More and more evidence points to the declaration of Martial Law and the evacuation of up to 50 million US residents from the entire Gulf coast region. Stay tuned– SJH 

Link to original article below…

http://theintelhub.com/2010/06/09/usnorthcom-gears-up-for-potential-attack-on-u-s-soil/