Floods and Fires Worldwide

I have compiled this information from the Lunatic Outpost thread:

Moscow Choked by Smoke as Forest, Peat-Bog Fires Spread, Delaying Flights


Hundreds of wildfires burn in Canada’s British Columbia


Lightning-sparked fires in WA prompt smoke warning


Forest Service warns of Tongass National Forest fire risk (Alaska)


Record Hot Summer Ignites Forest Fires in Iran


Fresh showers worsen flood conditions (Pakistan)


500 missing after floods in Indian Kashmir


Ten dead, thousands evacuated in central Europe floods (Poland, Germany, Czech Republic)


At least 65 die in China flooding


Floods could cost farmers up to $3B (Canada)


Moscow authorities on Sunday opened more than 120 “anti-smog” centers to give residents an escape from record-breaking heat and choking smoke from wildfires blazing around the capital. Dozens of flights were grounded at local airports.


Trash clogging Three Gorges Dam


At least 127 dead, more than 1,000 missing after landslides in northwest China


Morgues and crematoria ‘overcrowded’ as toxic smog chokes Moscow


Via Lunatic Outpost:


Animals in peril from unseen force

Dead penguins, dolphins wash ashore in Brazil


Hundreds of dead penguins, birds wash up


Task force to clean up seashells from Sea View


Warmonger Wins Peace Prize

Warmonger Wins Peace Prize

By Paul Craig Roberts

It took 25 years longer than George Orwell thought for the slogans of 1984 to become reality.

“War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength.”

I would add, “Lie is Truth.”

The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to President Obama, the person who started a new war in Pakistan, upped the war in Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran does what the US government demands and relinquishes its rights as a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty.

The Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland said, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

Obama, the committee gushed, has created “a new climate in international politics.”

Tell that to the 2 million displaced Pakistanis and the unknown numbers of dead ones that Obama has racked up in his few months in office.  Tell that to the Afghans where civilian deaths continue to mount as Obama’s “war of necessity” drones on indeterminably.

No Bush policy has changed. Iraq is still occupied. The Guantanamo torture prison is still functioning. Rendition and assassinations are still occurring. Spying on Americans without warrants is still the order of the day.  Civil liberties are continuing to be violated in the name of Oceania’s “war on terror.”

Apparently, the Nobel committee is suffering from the delusion that, being a minority, Obama is going to put a stop to Western hegemony over darker-skinned peoples.

The non-cynical can say that the Nobel committee is seizing on Obama’s rhetoric to lock him into the pursuit of peace instead of war.  We can all hope that it works.  But the more likely result is that the award has made “War is Peace” the reality.

Obama has done nothing to hold the criminal Bush regime to account, and the Obama administration has bribed and threatened the Palestinian Authority to go along with the US/Israeli plan to deep-six the UN’s Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed during Israel’s inhuman military attack on the defenseless civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto.

The US Ministry of Truth is delivering the Obama administration’s propaganda that Iran only notified the IAEA of its “secret” new nuclear facility because Iran discovered that US intelligence had discovered the “secret” facility.  This propaganda is designed to undercut the fact of Iran’s compliance with the Safeguards Agreement and to continue the momentum for a military attack on Iran.

The Nobel committee has placed all its hopes on a bit of skin color.

“War is Peace” is now the position of the formerly antiwar organization, Code Pink.

Code Pink has decided that women’s rights are worth a war in Afghanistan.

When justifications for war become almost endless—oil, hegemony, women’s rights, democracy, revenge for 9/11, denying bases to al Qaeda and protecting against terrorists—war becomes the path to peace.

The Nobel committee has bestowed the prestige of its Peace Prize on Newspeak and Doublethink.


US Hummers Enter Pakistan, Undercover American Soldiers Swarm Islamabad

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Undercover armed Americans are swarming the Pakistani capital in the latest sign that the elected government has allowed Washington to dispatch what is believed to be a large number of American special operations agents and contractual security guards, including the infamous Blackwater private militia.

This comes at a time when whistleblowers within the government and the military are reporting the arrival of a large number of US Marines in Pakistan. Some reports put the figure at 1,000 US soldiers, much of whom are thought to be arriving as part of the massive expansion of the US Embassy and four consulates across the country. While the US embassy continues to deny this, new buildings are under construction to house security teams. The expanded US embassy is supposed to become the largest US embassy in the world.

Above is an exclusive picture taken by a source at the entrance of Port Qasim near Karachi, showing US Hummers being transported out of the facility. According to the source, the shipment was not destined for Afghanistan. The picture was taken on Aug. 19, 2009 and being released here for the first time.

The latest evidence of the growing American military presence in the Pakistani capital is the arrest of four Americans carrying automatic weapons in a part of the Pakistani capital that foreigners seldom visit.

The four were arrested in Sector G-9 of Islamabad in the evening of Saturday, Aug. 29.

A police picket stopped two cars carrying the four Americans who refused to explain why they were carrying sophisticated automatic weapons in the capital city. Diplomats are not supposed to carry weapons because their security is the responsibility of the host government, and security guards are not supposed to be carrying weapons outside the embassy except during official assignments. The four were taken to a police station for interrogation but were released when two retired Pakistani army officers showed up and threatened police officers of dire consequences.

The police established that the four Americans carried diplomatic status and were part of the US embassy staff.

When I called today US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire about the incident, he refused to comment and referred me to the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistani police.

“Do US diplomats normally carry weapons?” I asked.

Mr. Snelsire’s reply was, “Only if they are permitted” to do so by the Pakistani government. But he avoided commenting on the incident or explaining whether the four were diplomats.

The spokesman’s reaction confirms suspicions that private US security guards are active in Pakistan. For obvious reasons these guards do not come under the cover of US Department of State employees in Pakistan. This could be one reason why US embassy spokesperson declined comment on the story since the presence and the activities of the four armed men might be beyond the purview of the US embassy in Islamabad.

There is strong evidence that the private US mercenary army, Blackwater, has also established office in the Pakistani capital. Authorities have received several complaints of ill mannered military-type westerners misbehaving or recklessly driving by.

The Pakistani capital was the scene of at least two incidents recently where armed American diplomats verbally and physically assaulted Pakistani police officers. In one case, newspapers called for expelling an armed US diplomat who cursed and swore at the host country. The Pakistani government, which is known to be pro-American, refused to take action.

The Americans appear to have recruited a large number of retired Pakistani army officers, in addition to quietly hiring Pakistani civil servants without making any of this public. A famous government university professor in Islamabad who is active in US media campaigns against Pakistan’s nuclear program has also been hired as a consultant. Government employees cannot offer their services to foreign governments but this is happening now under an increasingly weak Pakistani state and government.

Who Is Inviting US Military To Pakistan

There are indications that the PPP government and some other politicians, like Nawaz Sharif, are encouraging the Americans to get involved in domestic issues especially as a hedge against a powerful Pakistani military. Politicians are aware they have led the country to a national failure on all fronts since the general elections in February 2008. The public mood is gradually turning against them. This has stoked the rumor mill about disgruntlement within the Pakistani military regarding the failures of the politicians.

Washington is spending nearly one billion dollars to expand its Islamabad embassy. On completion, the US embassy in Islamabad will become the largest in the world. Interestingly, both the government, led by President Zardari, and the opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif, refuse to question why Washington has been granted exceptional concessions to construct an imperial-size embassy and how at least 18 acres of the most expensive real state in the capital has been handed over to the Americans for this purpose at throwaway prices.


US concerned about Pakistani nukes: report

*Meanwhile, in the background…*

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Faced with a surge of Islamic militant activity in Pakistan, the US government is increasingly concerned about the potential vulnerability of the country’s nuclear arsenal, The New York Times has reported.

Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper late on Sunday said the administration of President Barack Obama is worried about the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.

The officials emphasized that there was no reason to believe that the arsenal, most of which is deployed south of Islamabad, was facing an imminent threat, the report said.

But the United States does not know where exactly all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns have intensified in the last two weeks, after Taliban fighters entered Buner, a district just 60 miles from the capital, the paper said.

According to The Times, the insurgency has left US officials less willing to accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.

But the Pakistanis have continued to rebuff American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites, the report noted.

Some of the Pakistani reluctance stemmed from longstanding concern that the United States might be tempted to seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal if the insurgency spread further, according to the paper.

But the officials said the US government had not yet engaged the most senior officials of the Pakistani government on the issue, The Times said.

That may begin this week as Obama meets at the White House with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday, the report said.

“We are largely relying on assurances, the same assurances we have been hearing for years,” The Times quotes one senior official as saying. “The worse things get, the more strongly they hew to the line, “Don’t worry, we’ve got it under control.”


‘US strike’ kills 27 in Pakistan

At least 27 militants have been killed in a suspected US missile attack in north-west Pakistan, officials say.

The missile strike hit a house in the South Waziristan area, near the Afghan border, which officials said was used as a hide-out for Taleban militants.

The US has carried out more than 20 air strikes from drones in north-western Pakistan in recent months.

President Asif Zardari has told US TV that the Taleban are now established across much of Pakistan.

“We’re fighting for the survival of Pakistan. We’re not fighting for the survival of anyone else,” CBS says he told them in an interview to be screened on Sunday.

Islamabad has long argued that US air strikes complicate its own fight against insurgents, and violate its sovereignty.

Pakistani leaders had expressed hope that the new US administration of Barack Obama would halt the controversial manoeuvres.

But earlier this week Mr Obama said there was no doubt militants were operating in safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal belt and that the US would make sure Pakistan was a strong ally in fighting that threat.

Wanted militant

The latest suspected drone attack took place on Saturday morning in a village near the town of Ladha.

A house owned by a local clan member was struck by two missiles. Most of the dead were Uzbeks, officials say. Several people were wounded.

Witnesses in the area say the rockets were fired from a drone and say the house was frequented by militants from Pakistani Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud’s organisation.

The BBC’s Shoaib Hasan, in Islamabad, says Mehsud is one of the most wanted men in the region.

Our correspondent says Mehsud is believed to be responsible for a number of atrocities, including the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto – President Zardari’s wife.


India alerts air force along Line of Control Transports heavy guns, ammunition

Islamabad—As India continued transporting heavy guns and war machines to strategic areas along Line of Control Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor Thursday rushed to Siachen Glacier and forward areas of occupied Jammu and Kashmir “to check the operational preparedness of the troops.”

Intelligence reports confirmed Thursday extra-ordinary moves at India’s Western Air Command with headquarters in Delhi which is responsible for air operations from occupied Kashmir to Rajasthan including Punjab. Thursday a movement of Indian Air Force Operations Group dedicated for occupied Jammu & Kashmir including Ladakh was also detected by the defence observers in the region.

According to Indian media reports that Gen Kapoor left for Siachen Glacier “on Thursday and will interact with the unit commanders and senior officers, before returning to the Capital after taking stock of the situation.”

The report added that India too had deployed Quick Reaction Air Force and Army teams at Western border.

The media reports confirmed that India has deployed Quick Reaction Air Force and Army teams on the western border. “Air force units have also been deployed at Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bhuj”.

There are five operational air commands in India controlling 45 fixed-wing squadrons and 20 helicopter units.

India’s Mi 26 heavy lift helicopter fleet was also seen active Thursday transporting heavy gins and ammunition along the borders with Pakistan while Mi 17s and Mi 8s, were also seen moving along the LoC.