Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Investigative Reporter Reveals U.S. Terrorist Army Get Weapons from NATO Bulgaria through Qatar

RT | Apr 26, 2017

Weapons from a NATO member state have ended up in the hands of Jihadists in Syria that is according to an investigation carried out by a Bulgarian journalist.

A commander from the western-backed Free Syrian Army claims the US-led coalition is aware of this but chooses to look the other way. RT’s Emily Sui investigates.

The PR Coup: Crosstalk on French Election

RT | Apr 26, 2017

The choice could not be more stark. In the second and final round of France’s presidential election voters have before them two candidates: Macron is an arch-Europhile and Le Pen is a Eurosceptic.

This is truly momentous for France, Europe, and the Western world. CrossTalking with John Laughland and Pepe Escobar.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#FlintWaterCrisis: 1,096 days, over $100mn in aid and US city still has no clean drinking water

RT | Apr 25, 2017

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Residents of Flint, Michigan in the United States remain exposed to water contaminated with lead and bacteria three years since the water crisis first hit the headlines.

Anger is still palpable among its residents, who are facing the prospect of at least another three years before the problem is fixed despite the vast sums of money allocated to fix the problem. The people of Flint have now been without clean water for 1,096 days.

Lead levels have now reportedly dropped below federal standards, but the water remains contaminated with bacteria and residents have been advised to only drink bottled or filtered water.

Local and state officials have been accused of failing to do enough to fix the water, causing ongoing health problems due to pipe corrosion. The long-term effects to residents’ health have yet to be established.

In March, a judge ordered the state of Michigan to give the city up to $87 million to replace its lead-tainted pipes with steel ones. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave $100 million to Flint, following a vote in Congress.
The Flint water crisis began in April, 2014, when officials decided to change the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the Flint River in a cost-saving initiative.

City officials, however, failed to properly treat the water, which led to corrosion in the water pipes, many of which are made of lead. Dangerous levels of bacteria, including E.coli, also developed in the water.

When residents began to complain about the water smelling, tasting and looking different, officials denied anything was wrong.
Yet testing revealed dangerous levels of lead in the water, with traces of the metallic element doubling in the blood levels of children.

Officials delayed changing the water supply until October 2015, and a state of emergency was declared in January 2016.

Flint now says it will replace the lead pipes and the water will be drinkable in the next two to three years, meaning the residents of Flint will have endured serious water problems for up to six years.

On the three-year anniversary of the crisis, trust in Flint’s water and its officials remains as eroded as the city’s water pipes.
Frustration was evident at a town hall meeting last week with Mayor Karen Weaver and other officials. The meeting was held in a church and armed police were present. Six residents were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Harold Harrington of a local plumber’s union told independent media that the problem can be solved in less than three years, and that officials are not properly investing the money in personnel to do so.

“We could have 50 crews in here and get it done in less than two years easily,” he said.

In an effort to highlight the city’s ailing water supply, a camp has been set up at Kearsley Park, which calls for clean water and improved healthcare facilities to deal with long-term health issues resulting from the contaminated water.

Protesters are also calling for Governor Rick Snyder to be held accountable for his role in the crisis.

“Our goals are to connect the whole Flint community, including the local government and local police force,” the group said. “We hope to work with the city to ensure the best solution to the Flint Water Crisis for every resident of the city.”

Air Force polluted Michigan town's drinking water, refuses to offer clean supply

RT | Apr 25, 2017

A US Air Force base long leeched toxic fluorocarbons into a Michigan town's groundwater, and new tests show contaminants have spread. Yet the Air Force has largely denied responsibility despite an expanding community health hazard.

The Air Force, however, refuses to comply with the state law, saying that very few residential well owners have showed that their drinking water has exceeded PFAS standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Until levels hit that threshold, the Air Force says it is not obligated to provide compensation. The Department of Defense (DOD) has claimed that the law is "unnecessary" and "would not be enforceable" because the military is immune from state law.

"Because the proposed legislation discriminates against the DOD, we would not be able to expend funds to comply with it if it became law," wrote DOD environmental coordinator James R. Hartman in a letter to the state Legislature in November.

The Air Force has maintained its posture. Spokesman Mark Kinkade said the law "does discriminate as it only applies to federal and state agencies, not to all entities and persons" and that the Air Force is "not authorized" to follow the law.

The latest testing for PFASs found a second instance of drinking wellwater that has exceeded EPA standards. A well around Oscoda High School is the second such well in the area to show levels above the federal health threshold, MLive reported. Firefighting foam was used by the base at the school during a 1995 fire, investigators believe.

Local officials say they will seek to hold the Air Force accountable for its damage to the community.

"I am extremely disappointed in the US Air Force for not living up to its word and its responsibilities," state Senator Jim Stamas, the sponsor of the state law, told AP. "The federal government needs to be held accountable for what they did, and I will be asking Attorney General Bill Schuette to pursue action to enforce the law."

US Rep. Dan Kildee added that he thinks the Air Force is not "moving with the urgency they should be" on the issue.

"Ultimately, the logical conclusion says the Air Force is going to have to spend some money to get this out of the ground," Kildee said. "Let's get on with it and do it on a scale that's somehow equal to the size of the problem."

A 2016 Harvard study of approximately 36,000 EPA water samples taken from 2013 to 2015 at industrial sites, military fire training locations, airports and wastewater treatment plants found levels of PFASs that go beyond what is considered safe by the federal government. Researchers determined that drinking water for 6 million people in the US is at or beyond the EPA safety threshold for PFAS levels.

Xindi Hu, the study's lead author, warned that "the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population—about 100 million people."

‘Unprofessional and lying’: Lavrov slams US claims of Russia arming Taliban

RT | Apr 25, 2017

Washington’s recent accusations that Moscow supplies the Taliban with weapons are unprofessional and baseless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that the US has not provided any evidence.

Lavrov was speaking at a press conference following talks with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier in Moscow.

The Russian foreign minister said that Washington’s claims are a possible smokescreen aimed at diverting attention from changing course on Syria and returning to ‘regime-change’ rhetoric.

“As for the statements on [Russia] allegedly supplying the Taliban with weapons, which are heard from the military in Washington and from those who head the US military group in the region, including Afghanistan – those [statements] are unprofessional and groundless,” Lavrov said. The minister added that those in Washington in charge of gathering intelligence “know perfectly well that those statements are untrue,” and “not a single fact” was provided.

“We feel the attempts by some of our colleagues to scrap the UN Security Council resolution on a political solution through inter-Syrian dialogue and go to the old rhetoric of regime change,” Lavrov stated, adding that Russia will oppose it.

Recalling the absence of US representatives at the recent Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Lavrov said that this might have been a part of America’s strategy to “put the blame for Washington’s failures in Afghanistan” on Russia.

The US’ longstanding operation in Afghanistan has only multiplied terrorist and drug threats from the country, Lavrov said. He also noted that Washington itself had contacts with the Taliban after the latter opened an office in the Qatari capital, Doha. 

Moscow believes it is necessary that the Taliban engages in dialogue with Kabul to achieve peace in Afghanistan, Lavrov said, adding that the group must “stop violence, cut ties with terrorism, respect the constitution.”

During US Defense Secretary James Mattis’ visit to Afghanistan on Monday, the head of the US and international forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, accused Russia of sending weapons to Taliban insurgents. The allegations are nothing new, and Moscow has previously denied the claims.

The US military campaign in Afghanistan ended in 2014, though 9,800 US soldiers remain there to assist Afghan forces, and the US seeks to boost its military forces on the ground, after General John Nicholson stated that the US “cannot afford to walk away from Afghanistan,” asking Congress to send “a few thousand more” troops.

Empire Files: The Hidden Purging of Millions of Voters

teleSUR | Apr 25, 2017

With all the discussion of the contentious 2016 election, the most shocking fact is often ignored: that millions of people had their votes stolen through malicious, means. The Republican Party is currently working to purge millions more voters leading up to the 2018 election.

To explain this major attack on our supposed democratic process, Abby Martin interviews investigative reporter Greg Palast, who has done the most extensive work uncovering this massive disenfranchisement campaign.