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BP settles criminal charges for $4 billion in spill; supervisors indicted on manslaughter

bp oil spill
© Reuters
BP has agreed to a plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and will pay $4 billion over five years in a settlement with the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company and Justice Department announced Thursday.

In addition, the London-based oil giant will pay $525 million over three years to settle claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the company concealed information from investors.

"This marks both the single largest criminal fine - more than $1.25 billion - and the single largest total criminal resolution... in the history of the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference in New Orleans. "I hope this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this wanton misconduct that there will be a penalty paid."

Holder also announced a separate 23-count criminal indictment - including charges of seaman's and involuntary manslaughter - against the two top-ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig where a blowout occurred April 20, 2010, sinking the rig and killing 11 workers.

Holder also announced an indictment against David Rainey, a BP vice president, for hiding information from Congress and lying to law enforcement officials about the rate at which oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Handcuffs

Tears of Gaza - The War They Don't Show You


Star of David

BBC journalist cradles his dead baby son in his arms after Israeli rocket attack on Gaza

Gently cradling the tiny body of his baby son to his chest, Jihad Masharawi's face is transfixed by relentless and inescapable anguish. The BBC Arabic picture editor's 11-month-old son Omar was injured in Gaza by an Israeli airstrike yesterday and despite being rushed to a local hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Gaza Strip as Israel targeted the Islamic militants - the attack resulted in the death of eleven Palestinians including young Omar.
Image
© AP
Father's grief: BBC journalist Jihad Masharawi weeps while he holds the body of his 11-month old son Omar, at Shifa hospital

Map

War looms over Gaza as death toll rises

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© Reuters/Mohammed Salem
Palestinians evacuate a wounded man after an Israeli air strike took place near his car in the northern Gaza Strip November 15, 2012. A Hamas rocket killed three Israelis north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, drawing the first blood from Israel as the Palestinian death toll rose to 13 and a military showdown lurched closer to all-out war with an invasion of the enclave.
A Hamas rocket killed three Israelis north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, drawing the first blood from Israel as the Palestinian death toll rose to 15 in a military showdown lurching closer to all-out war and an invasion of the enclave.

On the second day of an assault Israel said might last many days and culminate in a ground attack, its warplanes bombed targets in and around Gaza city, where tall buildings trembled.

Plumes of smoke and dust furled into a sky laced with the vapor trails of outgoing rockets.

The sudden conflict, launched by Israel with the killing of Hamas's military chief, pours oil on the fire of a Middle East already ablaze with two years of revolution and an out-of-control civil war in Syria. Palestinian allies, led by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, denounced the Israeli offensive.

After watching powerlessly from the sidelines of the Arab Spring, Israel has been thrust to the centre of a volatile new world in which Islamist Hamas believes that Mursi and his newly dominant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will be its protectors.

Comment: "The United States condemned Hamas, shunned by the West as an obstacle to peace for its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel."
...
""There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel," said Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman."

The violence that Israel commits is, as always, overlooked by the US.

Israel, the eternal victim.


Display

Obama secretly signs the most aggressive cybersecurity directive ever

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© Reuters/Rick Wilking
Six years after the White House first started running amok on the computer networks of its adversaries, US President Barack Obama has signed off on a top-secret order that finally offers blueprints for the Pentagon's cyberwars.

Pres. Obama has autographed an executive order outlining protocol and procedures for the US military to take in the name of preventing cyberattacks from foreign countries, the Washington Post reports, once and for all providing instructions from the Oval Office on how to manage the hush-hush assaults against opposing nation-states that have all been confirmed by the White House while at the same time defending America from any possible harm from abroad.

According to Post's sources, namely "officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record," Pres. Obama signed the paperwork in mid-October. Those authorities explain to the paper that the initiative in question, Presidential Policy Directive 20, "establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace."

Confronting a threat may sound harmless, but begs to introduce a chicken-and-the-egg scenario that could have some very serious implications. The Post describes the directive as being "the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an 'offensive' and a 'defensive' action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism," but the ambiguous order may very well allow the US to continue assaulting the networks of other nations, now with a given go-ahead from the commander-in-chief. Next in line, the Post says, will be rules of engagement straight from the Pentagon that will provide guidelines for when to carry out assaults outside the realm of what is considered 'American' in terms of cyberspace.

"What it does, really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyber operations," one senior administration official tells the paper of the policy directive. "Network defense is what you're doing inside your own networks. . . . Cyber operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes."

Bizarro Earth

Israel Gaza strike: Mahmoud Abbas urges emergency Arab meeting

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© The Associated Press/Adel Hana
People gather around a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Wednesday for an urgent Arab League meeting on Israel's strikes on Gaza, Egypt's news agency MENA said, quoting a Palestinian official in Egypt.

"Barakat al-Fara, the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo and the Palestinian representative in the Arab League, announced that based on instructions from President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian state had asked for an urgent meeting of the Arab League to discuss the Israeli offense on Gaza strip," MENA said.

Source: Reuters


Heart - Black

Israel rejects truce and escalates fighting in Gaza with assassination of Hamas leader; 10 killed, 45 wounded in Israeli attacks


The IDF has announced it has assassinated Ahmed Al-Jabari, the head of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing. It is the start of what an IDF spokesperson on Twitter called "a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip, chief among them #Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets." The IDF has named the attack "Pillar of Defense."

One Israeli television analyst reported that the strike on Jabari was planned months ago. The IDF spokesperson's office said that "All options are on the table. If necessary, the IDF is ready to initiate a ground operation in Gaza." RT.com is reporting that Israel has initiated an emergency call up of reservists to prepare for the possible invasion.

More casualties are being reported from Gaza. Israeli channel 10 has reported that Ahmed al-Zahar, the brother of Mahmoud al-Zahar, a major Hamas figure, was killed along with Jabari, although Haaretz is reporting that it was his assistant Mohammed Hams who was killed in the car with him.

The assassination breaks a day-old lull in what was intense fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters in Gaza. A tacit truce was reached with the help of Egypt, but Israel has now broken it decisively.
Khaled Meshaa
© Reuters
Ahmed Al-Jabari (right, front) and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (left, front) pose with two Palestinian prisoners freed in the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel

Heart - Black

The BBC: Protecting Pedophiles and War Criminals Since 2004

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Over the last six weeks, the revelations that long-term BBC personality and 'household name' Sir Jimmy Savile was in fact a long-term child abuser have gripped and horrified the British public.

The vast majority of the British public knew Jimmy Savile as an eccentric, yet highly regarded, former TV children's show presenter and charity fundraiser. Savile's career began in the 1958 as a DJ for Radio Luxembourg. In 1968 he joined BBC Radio 1, where he presented Savile's Travels. From 1969 to 1973 he fronted Speakeasy, a discussion programme for teenagers. In 1964, he began presenting the first edition of the BBC music chart television programme Top of the Pops. Savile also hosted other BBC television programs, the most notable of which was children's show Jim'll Fix It, which he presented from 1975 to 1994. Because of the nature of the programs he hosted and his high-profile charity work, throughout his career, Savile was surrounded by children of different ages.

Mark Williams-Thomas is the detective-turned-reporter who first publicly exposed Jimmy Savile as a prolific sex offender in early October 2012 on the ITV program Exposure. William-Thomas, who is currently making a second program that will further investigate Savile's abuses, recently stated that the evidence he has gathered suggests that Savile engineered his entire career so that he could molest youngsters:
"In the previous programme it was unclear what came first," he said. "But I can very clearly tell you now that he created his television series as a vehicle for his offending.

"I believe he engineered his programmes within the BBC and Radio Luxembourg in order to gain access to children.

"The classic examples are Top of the Pops, Savile's Travels, Jim'll Fix It - all of them gave him access to young children. That's why there were so many victims."

Robot

Dronestagram - the website exposing the US's secret drone war

US drone attack
© James Bridle/booktwo.org
An image from Dronestagram showing the site of a US drone attack.
A new website shows the sites hit in US drone attacks - adding to the pressure for greater transparency from Washington

The military is normally only too pleased to herald its successes, and to praise the courage of the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country. Perhaps it is the link (or lack of it) between these two that encourages them to talk-up certain missions, and come over all sheepish when it comes to drones.

Piloted by remote control from thousands of miles away, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been the one unqualified military triumph of the war in Afghanistan. That is, if "success" comes in an equation where lots of people get killed, at next to no risk, at an affordable price.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles figures on drone strikes, the US has killed up to 3,378 people in 350 drone strikes in the past eight years. And that's just in Pakistan. The US also orchestrates drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia from a base in the tiny African state of Djibouti (which nobody is supposed to know about). But does the White House want to talk about this? Not unless it really has to. And not even then.

In April, President Obama's counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, gave a speech in which he defended the use of drones and said great care was taken to ensure attacks were legal and ethical. "We are at war," he said. "We are at war against a terrorist organisation called al-Qaida."

Who gets on the drone kill list, and how, and why attacks happen when they do and where they do, and who takes responsibility for them - well, that's for another day.

Sherlock

Italian newspapers report secret Bilderberg meeting in Rome shares hotel with International Film Festival

bilderberg group
Various newspapers and online articles in Italy are suggesting that a good portion of the Bilderberg group, at least 80 of them, have been called to Rome this week for a secret meeting regarding the engineered Euro financial crisis and the unrest that has come as a result.

This meeting is particularly unusual because it is so small and informal, but it is possible that they may have switched up their tactics after the massive turnout for this year's Bilderberg protest. It is also possible that these smaller meetings happen all the time, but were always able to slide under the radar.

This meeting is also unusual because they aren't renting out an entire hotel, in fact, they are using a hotel that is hosting a massive event at the same time. The hotel they have chosen is "the De Russi", which is the site of this year's International Film Festival, so that was either a major scheduling error or an attempt to hide in plain sight.

Despite all of the commotion surrounding the hotel this week, local publications were able to publish detailed lists of those who are attending the event. Most of the publications to cover the meeting are suggesting that the topic of discussion will be the new commissioner for Spain, Greece, Italy and other areas of the European Union that are in dire economic crisis.