TBR News February 26, 2013

Feb 26 2013

The Voice of the White House

           

Washington, D.C. February 26, 2013: “Amidst the rumors generated by the unexpected resignation of the Pope, one is of considerable interest. This concerns a new book, “Christ the Essene” due out very soon. This is a translation of an original, and period, Dead Sea scroll that proves quits conclusively, that Jesus was an Essene and as such, a practicing homosexual. It also proves that early Christian dogma is the Essene dogma and it is obvious from reading a copy of the manuscript that the Gospels and other writings are post-event propaganda and have no historical connection. If this thesis gets any kind of publicity, as it surely will, the havoc it can cause to current Christian theology will be significant. No wonder an old, ill Pope wants to get out before he has to deal with this, and other, more current, problems.”

Vatican dismisses reports linking pope’s resignation to gay conclave discovery

Pope Benedict talks of ‘evil, suffering and corruption’ in the world in remarks to Vatican Curia as he prepares to vacate papacy

 

February 23, 2013

by Conal Urquhart, John Hooper and agencies

guardian.co.uk   

 

The Vatican has attacked reports in the Italian media linking Pope Benedict XVI‘s resignation to the alleged discovery of a network of gay prelates as attempts to influence the cardinals in their choice of a new pontiff.

 

The Vatican secretariat of state said in a statement: “It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.”

 

The statement was made as Pope Benedict XVI had his final meeting with senior clerics, lamenting the “evil, suffering and corruption” that have defaced God’s creation in a final address to Vatican officials.

 

Benedict spoke on Saturday at the end of a week-long spiritual retreat coinciding with Lent, the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. For the past week, Italian cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi has led the Vatican on meditations that have covered everything from the family to denouncing the “divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies” that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy.

 

Ravasi’s blunt critique of the dysfunction within the Vatican Curia comes as cardinals from around the world are arriving for the final days of Benedict’s papacy and the conclave to elect his successor. Bureaucratic reform is a high priority for the next pope.

 

The pontiff’s speech follows a report that has linked his resignation to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom have reportedly been targeted by blackmailers.

 

The Italian daily newspaper La Republica said the pope decided to resign on 17 December – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called “Vatileaks” affair.

 

Last May Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with stealing leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

 

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were “united by sexual orientation”. It added that some Vatican officials had been subjected to “external influence” from laymen with whom they had links of a “worldly nature”. La Republica said this was a clear reference to blackmail.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns amid claims of inappropriate behaviour

Pope accepts resignation of UK’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, who has been accused of ‘inappropriate acts’

 

February 25, 2013

by Severin Carrell and Sam Jones

guardian.co.uk 

 

            Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the UK’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has resigned with immediate effect after being accused of “inappropriate acts” towards fellow priests.

 

News that Pope Benedict had accepted the cardinal’s resignation as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh came after the Observer disclosed a series of allegations by three priests and one former priest.

 

O’Brien has denied the allegations and had been expected to continue in his post as head of the Scottish Catholic church until mid-March, when he was due to retire at age 75.

 

However, in a statement released by the church on Monday, it emerged that the pope had accepted O’Brien’s resignation a week ago, on 18 February.

 

In the statement, O’Brien apologised to any people he had let down and said he did not want the controversy to overshadow the election of the new pope.

 

“I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest,” he said. “Looking back over my years of ministry, for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.”

 

His unexpectedly early resignation means the cardinal will not now take part in the election for a successor to Pope Benedict. This will leave Britain unrepresented in the process as he was the only cardinal in the British Catholic churches.

 

O’Brien, who missed celebrating mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday, had been due to fly out to the Vatican on Tuesday for the long conclave to choose the next pope.

 

His resignation is a heavy blow to the church and Benedict, whose papacy has been beset by repeated controversies over misconduct by clergy in Europe and the US and allegations of corruption and incompetence at the Vatican.

 

However, with the Vatican and Benedict’s successor facing a series of serious challenges to its reputation, O’Brien’s speedy retirement will allow the church to move quickly to settle this controversy.

 

The Observer reported that the four men came forward last week to demand his resignation largely because the complainants did not want O’Brien taking part in the papal election.

 

O’Brien said he had already agreed with Benedict that he would step down on 17 March as he was “approaching the age of seventy-five and at times in indifferent health”. The pope had now agreed he could resign immediately, he said, forcing the church to find an “apostolic administrator” to run the diocese until a new archbishop could be appointed.

 

Confirming he would not now go to the Vatican conclave, O’Brien said: “I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me and on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement.

 

“I also ask God’s blessing on my brother cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me, but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the church.

 

“May God, who has blessed me so often in my ministry, continue to bless and help me in the years which remain for me on Earth and may he shower his blessings on all the peoples of Scotland especially those I was privileged to serve in a special way in the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.”

 

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, said he had learned of the cardinal’s decision with “the greatest sadness”.

 

He added: “In all of my dealings with the cardinal, he has been a considerate and thoughtful leader of the Catholic church in Scotland, stalwart in his faith but constructive in his approach.

 

“The hugely successful visit of Pope Benedict in 2010 was a highlight of his cardinalship and symbolised the key role of the Catholic church in Scottish society.”

 

Salmond also said it would be a “great pity if a lifetime of positive work was lost from comment in the circumstances of his resignation”, adding: “None of us know the outcome of the investigation into the claims made against him but I have found him to be a good man for his church and country.”

 

Austen Ivereigh, a Catholic writer and co-ordinator of Catholic Voices, said he was not surprised that the church had moved so quickly following the emergence of the allegations.

 

“I think the speed of the announcement has everything to do with the fact that these accusations were made on the eve of the papal election,” he said. “It was important not to distract from the pope and the election process, and I think frankly it was a necessary act and [O'Brien] did it for the good of the church.”

 

Ivereigh said the rapid response showed both the church’s “renewed transparency and accountability” and its desire for the election of Benedict XVI’s successor to proceed as uncontroversially as possible.

 

He described O’Brien as a “very affable, warm and hospitable” man who was always unafraid to speak his mind.

 

“He’s never been considered one of the high-flying cardinals; he doesn’t know Rome that well or have fluent Italian and so he’s never been a cardinal who has been as significant in the Vatican as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor,” said Ivereigh. “But he’s been a very stalwart defender of the Scottish church’s stances on various issues and he has been valued for his forthrightness and directness – even though I think sometimes some of his pronouncements have not been judiciously phrased.”

 

Ivereigh also pointed out that although O’Brien’s resignation left British Catholics without a vote in the election of the next pope, it did not leave them without a voice. Despite being over 80 and therefore no longer eligible to vote at the conclave, he said, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor would still be able to have his say in the election.

 

“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the conclave where cardinals bring their influence to bear,” he said. “In many ways the more important time over the next few weeks will be the general congregations when the cardinals meet together before the conclave to discuss the state of the world and the state of the church – and Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor will be present at those because the over-80 cardinals are part of those discussions; they’re just not allowed to vote. I think the perspectives of the British church will still make themselves felt within the college because of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s presence and influence.”

 

O’Brien has been an outspoken critic of gay rights, denouncing plans for the legalisation of same-sex marriage as “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved”. He was named bigot of the year in 2012 by the gay rights group Stonewall because of his central role in opposing gay marriage laws in Scotland.

 

Colin Macfarlane, the director of Stonewall Scotland, called for a full inquiry into the claims against the former cardinal. “We trust that there will now be a full investigation into the serious allegations made against ex-cardinal O’Brien,” Macfarlane said. “We hope that his successor will show a little more Christian charity towards openly gay people than the former cardinal did himself.”

Court won’t allow challenge to surveillance law

February 26 2013

by Jesse J. Holland

AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply-divided Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out an attempt by U.S. citizens to challenge the expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects.

 

With a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations can’t sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because they can’t prove that the government will monitor their conversations along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets.

 

Justices “have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court’s majority.

 

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, was enacted in 1978. It allows the government to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects abroad for intelligence purposes. The 2008 FISA amendments allow the government to obtain from a secret court broad, yearlong intercept orders, raising the prospect that phone calls and emails between those foreign targets and innocent Americans in this country would be swept under the umbrella of surveillance.

 

Without proof that the law would directly affect them, Americans can’t sue, Alito said in the ruling.

 

Despite their documented fears and the expense of activities that some Americans have taken to be sure they don’t get caught up in government monitoring, they “have set forth no specific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted,” he added.

 

Alito also said the FISA expansion merely authorizes, but does not mandate or direct, the government monitoring. Because of that, he said, “respondents’ allegations are necessarily conjectural. Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the attorney general and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.”

 

Alito was joined in his decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

 

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing in dissent, said that he would have allowed the lawsuit to move forward because he thinks “the government has a strong motive to listen to conversations of the kind described.”

 

“We need only assume that the government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are party,” Breyer said. “The majority is wrong when it describes the harm threatened plaintiffs as “speculative,” Breyer said.

 

He was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

 

A federal judge originally threw out the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit. The Supreme Court was not considering the constitutionality of the expansion, only whether lawyers could file a lawsuit to challenge it in federal court.

 

Alito re-emphasized that point, saying the decision did not insulate the FISA expansion from judicial review, and he suggested a couple of ways a challenge could be brought to court, including a scenario in which an American lawyer actually did get swept up in FISA monitoring.

 

“It is possible that the monitoring of the target’s conversations with his or her attorney would provide grounds for a claim of standing on the part of the attorney,” Alito said. “Such an attorney would certainly have a stronger evidentiary basis for establishing standing than do respondents in the present case.”

 

13,753 Gov’t Requests for Google E-Mail Data in 2012, Most Without a Warrant

Federal law says that opened email stored remotely – not on a computer’s hard drive – can be accessed without a warrant.

February 22, 2013

CNSNews.com

            American government agencies – state, local, and federal — made a record 13,753 requests to read emails or gather other information sent through Google’s Gmail and other services in 2012, more than half without warrants, according to statistics released by Google.

            The total number of users about whom government agencies wanted information also set a record at 31,072, up from 23,300 in 2011, the first year Google began reporting the data. The discrepancy comes because government agencies request information on multiple users or accounts at the same time.

            Most of these 13,753 requests, 6,542 of 8,438 in the latter half of 2012 alone, were done without a search warrant, Google data show. Google did not make available any detailed data prior to June 2012, nor did it make available which requests came from the federal government and which came from state or local law enforcement agencies, when asked by CNSNews.com.

            Google spokesman Chris Gaither said the company only started tracking which type of legal authority – subpoena, court order, or search warrant – was used in the latter half of 2012. Google issues biannual reports on the requests for user data it receives from government agencies from around the world, including ones in the U.S.

            Google announced in June 2012 that it had 425 million active Gmail subscribers, making it the largest e-mail provider in the world.  It also provides users the ability to store documents via its Google Drive service, phone service via Google Voice, YouTube, personal blogs via Blogger, as well as email hosting services for corporate clients through Gmail.

            Google keep records of all email and other communication sent through its e-mail, telephone, YouTube, and other services, storing the information on cloud servers – a move that allows government agencies, local, state, and federal, to access some information without a warrant.

            Federal law allows government agencies to access Google’s archived email and other data, including chat logs, YouTube user information, voice messages, and blogger information without obtaining a search warrant or establishing probable cause, and Google says that it complies with the vast majority of government requests for data.

            From July-December 2012 Google provided user information in 88 percent of cases. From January to June 2012, it provided information in 90 percent of cases. Those figures were down from 2011 when it provided user information in 93 percent of cases.

            The government can access data, including the content of emails sent or received through Gmail, because Google keeps records of all communications sent over its various services and stores the information on cloud servers, lowering the legal threshold government agencies need to access some of the data, including the name, Internet address, and telephone number of Gmail, YouTube, and other Google users.

            The federal law that allows this is known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which says that opened email stored remotely – not on a computer’s hard drive – can be accessed without a warrant.

            If the government wants to read the content of an email accessed through Gmail, hear a voicemail message sent over Google’s telephone service Google Voice, or read other private content, it must still obtain a search warrant under federal law.

            However, information not sent in the body of an email or recorded in a voice message can be obtained by a simple subpoena – which does not require a government agency to show probable cause. Such information includes the name of an e-mail account holder, the IP address used when signing into and out of Gmail including dates and times, and other information you gave to Google when you created Gmail or other Google account.

            Other types of information require a court order from a judge, such as the IP address of a particular email, email addresses of those you correspond with, and the web sites a person has visited.

            A search warrant is required to read the content of an email stored on Google’s servers, as well access as internet search histories, YouTube videos, photos, and other documents.

            Because all types of requests usually come through some kind of criminal investigation, Google does not notify users when the government demands to read their emails or access their account information. However, Google says that in cases where it is legally allowed to inform users, it tries to do so.

            “We notify users about legal demands when appropriate, unless prohibited by law or court order,” Google says on its transparency website.

            “We can’t notify you if, for example, your account has been closed, or if we’re legally prohibited from doing so. We sometimes fight to give users notice of a data request by seeking to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants.”

            Google says it requires government agencies make a formal, written claim under ECPA before it will release any user data.

            “The government needs legal process—such as a subpoena, court order or search warrant—to force Google to disclose user information. Exceptions can be made in certain emergency cases, though even then the government can’t force Google to disclose.”

 

 

HAARP Research Station

February 22, 2013

by Robert Beckhusen

Wired.com

 

The HAARP Research Station is in the strange situation of being both widely known and obscure at the same time. A Pentagon-funded project to research the Earth’s ionosphere, the High Frequency Auroral Research Program is more widely known as a focus of popular conspiracy theories. In numerous (fiction) books and television shows and according to innumerable conspiracy websites, it’s a sinister mind-control weapon, or a device to cause earthquakes and hurricanes. No, it’s none of that. But it’s enough to have overshadowed what HAARP is all about.

 

To start with, HAARP is a $250 million high-frequency radio array that can stimulate the ionosphere — a region of charged particles starting 50 miles up that’s created by the interaction of radiation from the sun with the Earth’s atmosphere. Built in the 1990s in rural Gakona, Alaska, and far enough north to where the ionosphere meets the Earth’s magnetic field, HAARP can do all kinds of interesting things. The array can send out enough energy to manipulate the ionosphere into transmitting radio waves, and can artificially produce the aurora effect by exciting free electrons. For the Pentagon, it could be potentially used to help communicate with submarines deep underwater and help clean up electrons left over from nuclear tests — thereby clearing up interference with communication satellites.

 

But it’s this combination of theoretical science and dependency on Pentagon funding — HAARP’s funding increased from $9 million per year in 2010 to $22 million in 2012 — that helped fuel the conspiracies. To secure funding, HAARP’s scientists have had to sell the array as something with military utility. Combine that with the military’s tendency towards secrecy when it comes to advanced research projects, and you have fertile ground for conspiracy theories to thrive. The downside is that it’s obscured what the science is all about.

 

 

An interesting analysis of an FBI tracking device discovered on a victim’s car/

 

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Tracking+Device+Teardown/5250/2

A study in conspiracy theory

            On September 17, 2002, an article on the 9/11 attack appeared   onhttp://www.serendipity.li/wot/aa11.htm. It was attributed to a Leonard Spencer and set forth his interesting views on certain elements of the attack. Copies of this article appeared in various forums and eventually, seven months later, was brought to my attention by several interested parties. In the material sent to us, there was no indication of the source but after it was included for reader interest on the TBRnews site, the editor received a message from a Peter Meyer who apparently runs the serendipity site.

            Mr. Meyer was not amused and informed the editor that this piece had been copyrighted and could not be published without his consent, which he would not give.

            He requested that this article from his site be removed and this has been done.

 

            However, that having been said, the article by Mr. Spencer was so illustrative of various opinions being expressed in the wake of 9/11 that is has been decided to critique the contents without actually quoting directly from it.

 

            Review of The Incredible 9-11 Evidence We’ve All been Overlooking by Leonard Spencer, September 17, 2002.

 

            In trying to piece together what really happened on September 11, a lot of work has been done — much of it useful and interesting — into those ‘hijacked’ flights for which the publicly-available evidence is sketchy and contradictory. There are web sites for instance wholly dedicated to investigating the true fate of Flight 93 and others that attempt to get a clearer idea of what really happened at the Pentagon. Both these incidents however are characterised by a pronounced absence of substantive material evidence and it is this, I suppose, that raises our suspicions and curiosity.

 

There is one flight however that has received insufficient attention and this is American Airlines Flight 11, the plane that allegedly crashed into WTC1, the North Tower. It was the first of the terrorist attacks that day. It has been a big mistake not to subject this flight to the same kind of scrutiny as the others because, unlike the others, a very good and important piece of documentary evidence of this flight exists in the public domain. This is the so-called ‘Fireman’s Video’ and we really haven’t looked at it closely enough. It really does deserve a second look.

 

The story of the ‘Fireman’s Video’ is well known. Two French filmmakers, the Naudet Brothers, were in New York on September 11 making a documentary about the New York Fire Service. The footage shows that, while filming in Canal Street, firemen and crew are distracted by a plane flying low overhead. The camera operator instinctively turns his camera towards the North Tower and, for little more than a second or so, we get a clear view of the plane crashing into the tower. It is a precious, priceless second. It is the one-second of video that really makes the sinister Bush junta nervous. It really gives them nightmares. They really didn’t want a professional cameraman to catch that moment on broadcast-quality tape.

 

If you’ve got it on tape I strongly suggest you take another look at it, with the pause and frame-forward buttons at the ready. If you don’t have it taped you can purchase the documentary in which it appears on video and DVD. It’s called simply ’9/11′.

 

When seen at full speed, you might first of all think that there isn’t a great deal to see. There’s half a second or so when we see the plane flying through the air then it smashes into the tower, creating an explosion and leaving a great gash across the building. Notice though that immediately before it hits the building the plane emits a brief, bright flash. Notice too that the scar it leaves on the building is rather larger than seems appropriate for the size of the aircraft.

 

Now pause the sequence at the beginning and advance it frame by frame. Firstly, look at the plane. Does that look like a Boeing jet to you? Is its wingspan wide enough? Does it have engines attached to its wings? These however are but minor details compared with what comes next. Watch carefully what happens as the plane approaches and crashes into the tower. I leave you to come to your own conclusions about what you see (watch it over and over again, backwards and forwards), but I’ll tell you what I see. Immediately before the plane strikes it fires a missile that blows a hole in the building’s façade. This is the cause of that brief flash. The plane then begins to disappear neatly into this hole, leaving no wing impressions. (A plane disappearing into a hole? Where have I heard that before; wasn’t there something about a plane at the Pentagon?) Just before it disappears however it fires two more missiles from somewhere near its tail. One goes to the left, one to the right (and up a bit) and it is the blast holes from these three separate missiles that form the great gash across the building.

 

There’s more. Keep an eye on the adjacent east side of the building, which is also visible. See how, a few frames into the explosion, a white jet of smoke erupts out of the east side at the same level as the plane. The jet comes straight out of the wall at right angles to it, not angled in accordance with the trajectory of the plane. Also it’s just white smoke and dust, no orange flames or anything like that. It is clearly a bomb going off, creating the gash that appears on the east wall.

 

I know what I am describing sounds incredible. I suggest only that you look at the footage yourself and come to your own conclusions about what you see.

 

The plane that hit the North Tower was not American Airlines Flight 11. It was not a Boeing 767. It was a custom-built military plane carrying three missiles that created the impression of a plane crash without leaving any wreckage. In order for it precisely to strike the correct part of the tower (in line with the bomb already planted in the east wall) it must have been flown remotely using cruise navigation. I believe a similar plane was used to strike the Pentagon.

 

The ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ have got it dead right this time. The true Flights 11, 175, 77 and 93 were indeed substituted with other planes when the transponders were switched off. Someone hijacked the hijackers to make sure the job was done properly.


The ‘Fireman’s Video’ is Bush’s true smoking gun. It is in the public domain and it is even available on DVD. It is probably sitting in the video shelves of thousands and thousands of homes across the world. It is vitally important that the American people see this video frame by frame so they can make their own minds up about what really happened on September 11.

 

There has been a silent coup in America but few have noticed yet. The Bush Administration is clearly very sinister indeed and God only knows what it has in store for us next. There is a clue though in the things of which it accuses Saddam Hussein: building and using weapons of mass destruction (nuclear and biological) and killing his own people. When Bush describes Saddam he is describing himself.

 

We have entered the Age of the Conjurer and it is going to be a tricky time. The 9-11 stunt was a huge magic trick and we all bought it at first. Magicians can be very convincing. You have to look very hard to see the trick and not be fooled. On this occasion slow motion exposes the sleight of hand, but remember how the magician works: he can make almost anything seem real if he can make his audience look in the wrong place at crucial moments.

 

Only the American people can now stop the imminent slaughter and the imposition of a global fascist police state, but they are currently sleepwalking into their own enslavement. It may already be too late. But maybe if enough Americans get out their videos and their remote controls (pardon the pun) and take a long hard look at that remarkable footage of that plane hitting the North Tower, then an armed and outraged middle America might just pull it off.


 

More Incredible Evidence

 

It concerns Flight 175, the jet which hit WTC2, the South Tower. If you have copies of the various shots of Flight 175 hitting WTC2 they’re worth looking at again. In particular there’s one bit of footage of this incident where the camera is facing the south side of WTC2, the side that took the impact. In this footage you can see the plane bank sharply seconds before impact and you can also see it actually penetrate the building.

 

If you pause the tape just before it strikes you can see that the plane is carrying an anomalous device on its right wing, very close to the fuselage. It almost looks like a third engine and is connected by tubing to the tail section. The video (use your pause and frame forward buttons again) shows that, just as the plane’s nose strikes the building this device fires a jet of flames, a split-second before the explosion starts. I wonder what this device can be?

 

The dark stripe down the side is not part of the paintwork (check out the United Airlines livery) but the shadow of the device and its pipework. In the last second or two the plane banks so much to the left that the sun (to the right of the picture) catches the plane’s underside and the mystery objects cast shadows. Start perhaps with the silvery ‘lump’ tucked, so to speak, in the plane’s right ‘armpit’. What is that? Note too that if you look closely, what I call the nozzle is not part of the plane’s own outline but is separate from it. And on the video this nozzle can be seen firing a jet of flame, just before it penetrates the building.

 

It’s interesting to note that the two plane crashes into the two towers were very different from one another. The first crash, seen in the Fireman’s Video, was a rather modest affair. After the initial explosion the smoke and flames die down quickly and such flames as there are reddish in color. The second plane on the other hand causes a vast spectacular yellow fireball and the resultant fire in the building is much more extensive and intense than that caused by the first. Given that both planes were supposed to be 767s, were both flying from Boston to the West coast and had both been in the air for around 45 minutes before they crashed, this is rather strange because they should have both been carrying roughly the same amount of fuel.

 

As the Fireman’s Video shows, the first plane was not a 767 and it fired missiles to create most of the damage. The rather small fireball and fire was probably due to the fact that it had very little fuel on board. The second plane doesn’t fire missiles (well, the world’s media was in place by then) but the explosion it creates is clearly very fuel-rich indeed. There are several eyewitness reports that mention the smell of fuel in the air after this plane crashes. I suspect that this plane was absolutely full of fuel, a flying fuel-tank, hence the mighty fireball. So the object on the right wing is probably an ignition device, triggered just as the plane strikes, to ensure that the fuel explodes as required.

 

When Flight 175 took off from Boston at 8:13 a.m. it is rather unlikely that there was such an ignition device attached to the plane, since it would surely have been visible to anyone observing its departure. Therefore the plane which hit the South Tower was not the plane which took off from Boston. This point has been in more detail elsewhere.

 

The terrorist attacks on 9-11 are unique in at least one regard. As far as I can tell they are the only terrorist incidents to have been played out right under the noses of a waiting media. I believe this was no accident. The incidents were timed and sequenced to ensure that this was the case. The first crash (which we were most definitely not meant to see) brought the media to the WTC and ensured plenty of cameras were trained on the towers in time for the next crash around 15 minutes later. So we all see the second crash in all its glory, from every conceivable angle. Spectacular isn’t it? And of course even more cameras were around by the time the towers magnificently and apocalyptically collapsed an hour later. I believe that the cinematic brilliance of these shots was a major objective of the overall operation. Remember how we were practically force-fed these images for two whole days, so everyone saw them hundreds of times? This is invaluable propaganda and brain-washing.

 

It’s important to remember that if there’s one thing that Americans are really better at doing than anyone else on the planet it’s making movies. Big, spectacular movies.They understand better than anyone the immense potential of the moving image to inform, entertain and suggest. Above all they know how to manipulate and guide our emotions through film. They use this knowledge and skill whenever they can and I believe 9-11 is only the most recent instance.

 

As in the case of Flight 11, video footage of Flight 175 again reveals the hand of the magician and the movie maker. It seems to me that close examination of these two pieces of video proves beyond all reasonable doubt that 9-11 was a sophisticated military operation for which only the US itself could be responsible. The evidence is irrefutable and would stand up in a court of law. While Bush is in power there will be no such court case. What the hell do we do now?

—    Leonard Spencer

 

Comment by Lt.Col Harold R. Krieg, AUS ret 

 

This article is an excellent textbook example of conspiracy theory. A number of incidents attract the interest of people who become fascinated with various theories and then go to enormous trouble to attempt to construct elaborate support structures in support of them. History is replete with such alternative theories.

 

There is the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor that precipitated the Spanish American war. An expansionist party in America that chanted about Manifest Destiny, was eager to expand America in various areas and warmly supported a war with the decayed Spanish Empire. Insurrection in the Spanish colony of Cuba gave these jingoists an excuse to press for war. When the Maine blew up while on a show-the-flag visit to Cuba, war was a foregone conclusion. The sunken battleship was subject to extensive investigation after the war and it was discovered that the massive explosion occurred from inside the ship. In all probability it was the explosion of very volatile coal dust but it could also have been a bomb. Since the battleship was manned at the time, neither Spanish nor Cuban revolutionaries could be held accountable. The remains of the Maine were towed out into the Caribbean and sunk in a very deep area, precluding further examination.

 

Then there was the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915. The fast Cunard passenger liner was carrying a mixed cargo of explosives, military equipment, fuzed shells, a draft of Canadian volunteers and over a thousand passengers. The ship was sent, without escort, into an area where German submarines were known to be operating and one of them fired one torpedo into her bows. The first explosion very obviously ignited something in the cargo and the second explosion blew out much of her bows underwater and the ship sank in less than twenty minutes with a heavy loss of life. In the intervening years, the controversy has raged about the nature of the Lusitania’s cargo and many theories have been postulated about coal dust, ruptured steam pipes and multiple torpedo hits but the plain fact is that the Lusitania was listed in official books as an armed auxiliary cruiser, was carrying military contraband making her a legitimate military target and her sinking had been expected in London circles to draw a neutral America into the European war.

 

       Apologists for the British in general and First British Sea Lord, Winston Churchill in specific have made extensive attempts to finesse the facts but in the final analysis, the Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo that ignited her illegal cargo. That British authorities knowingly permitted civilians to travel on a ship full of explosive contraband was cynical at best and criminal at worst.

 

There is then the great Pearl Harbor controversy. One side of the issue claims that President Roosevelt had foreknowledge of the attack through American intercepts of secret coded Japanese diplomatic and military radio messages. Others have maintained that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, of Lusitania fame, informed the American President in advance of the attack and Roosevelt merely permitted it to happen. This school of thought claims that Roosevelt, eager to fight his arch-enemy Hitler, pushed the Japanese until they responded with a military attack that opened a war in the Pacific that enabled Roosevelt to have his war in the Atlantic. The government apologists have claimed that no one had any foreknowledge of the attack and that such high-minded men as Roosevelt and Churchill would never have plotted to begin a war for their own ends.

 

There is no doubt whatsoever that a plethora of secret Japanese messages were decoded but not a great deal of evidence that official Washington was fully aware of the pending attack. That Japan planned to attack the United States is beyond question, Roosevelt supporters to the contrary, but it is not known the degree or extent that these plans were either known, or if known, comprehended in either the White House or official Army and Navy circles. Circumstantial evidence, not direct evidence, would indicate that the attack was not a surprise to the military chiefs and the President.

 

No article on conspiracy would be complete without the myths and legends surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The obvious prevarications of the infamous Warren Commission were so blatant that an enormous forest of theories, suppositions and postulations flooded the bookshelves of America. These books ranged from the very serious and academic through the interesting to the ludicrous. A recent book by Gregory Douglas, “Regicide,” contains a wealth of official documentation and is probably the best and most logical explanation of the killing

 

This aspect of the 9/11 attack is interesting but inherently implausible. Too many have watched the original impacts and the many reruns of them to accept that what struck the WTC buildings were not commercial aircraft. Stories of mysterious blasts inside the building, of special drones used for the attack and other theories do not hold water because they presuppose an enormous conspiracy that under no circumstances could be kept quiet…unless all the many participants were silenced and then one must consider what would happen to the assassins of the dangerous witnesses.

 

Not even the tightly controlled American press could be counted upon to conspire to maintain utter silence in such matters so while the writer of this article has articulate views, they represent more wishful fantasy than actual fact.

 

Blessed Prozac Moments: Did God Rods Cause  US Space Weapon, Not Meteors, To Hit Russia And Cuba?

February 16, 2013
by Yoichi Shimatsu
Exclusive to Rense.com   
 

            The Western media cover-up, promoted by so-called “meteor experts” planted by the military complex, tells of a fantastic meteorite striking Russia’s Urals region, while trying to ignore a second spectacular space disaster in Cuba, which occurred just hours later.

            A pair of massive meteorites, each brighter than the Sun, has never been recorded before in the entire history of astral chronologies. Obviously, the bus-size objects that fell from the sky are man-made and not freaks of nature.

            While it is too early yet for a conclusive determination, one scenario can explain the twin disasters, and that is a free fall of a U.S. Air Force orbital weapons platform loaded with super-heavy “God Rods”. A dual-cabin space-based bomber likely caused the falsely attributed “meteorite” hits on Russia’s Urals region and, just hours later, on Cuban territory. In both cases, witnesses and videophone images showed “bus-shaped” objects “brighter than the Sun” falling to Earth in regions halfway around the world from each other.

 Rods from God

            God Rods are the ultimate bunker busters, which strike with Luciferian power despite their name, which came no doubt from the apocalyptic corps of evangelical graduates of the Air Force Academy. To prepare a God Rod assault on Iran’s hardened nuclear bunkers, the USAF dual-chamber orbital ship would be positioned into a slower near-geostationary orbit over the Caspian Sea.

            The Rods from God are depleted uranium rods sheathed in a ceramic foam shell, which prevents friction-caused searing vaporization during re-entry. The DU rods rely on kinetic energy from gravity acceleration reaching supersonic speeds along a close-to vertical trajectory. Upon impact with the Earth’s surface, the ceramic shell is shattered into powder, while the DU becomes a red-hot searing liquid fire that burns through rock and concrete. Turning into dust and gas, the depleted uranium will ignite the air inside any bunker or tunnel, creating shock waves that cause  the roof to cave in.

            A test drop of a God Rod probably caused the seismic blast and destruction of an underground Iranian nuclear lab in late January.

 What Goes Up

            One problem of near-geostationary orbit, however, is the massive weight of the God Rod canisters aboard the space bus. With the slightest miscalculation of minimum orbital momentum, the space-based weapons platform tumbles into free fall.

             Plummeting to Earth along an oscillating parabolic path, the astro-soldiers aboard the USAF weapons platform would have to decouple the weapons-carrying cabin from the command module. Presumably the crew boarded an escape pod, the blue streak seen by San Franciscans, which landed at sea in the Gulf or Atlantic. Their fate will never be revealed to the public, despite the loud claims from the United States of being a democracy with information transparency in contrast to evil dictatorships.

            It was probably the weapons cabin that hit the Russian Urals, a region with a dozen nuclear research reactors around the Chelyabinsk nuclear-weapons zone and the large power reactor near Ekaterinaberg. Besides injuring 1,400 people, mainly from flying glass of windows broken by sonic booms, the vaporized DU rods will also add more radiation to the atmosphere, already contaminated by the Fukushima meltdowns, and further degrade the Siberian environment, which is highly radioactive from reckless Soviet strategic weapons testing in the past.

             If the USAF vehicle had smashed into one of the many terrestrial research reactors, a nuclear power station or a warhead facility in the Urals, there would undoubtedly have been a thermonuclear exchange between Russia and the US. A Russian “retaliatory strike” would have destroyed every US military base worldwide and most major cities in America.

            The complacent and amoral American public has tolerated the secret space-based weapons program and so would have no grounds for complaint at the loss of a hundred million or more lives inside their own territory. The rest of the world, of course, would not be so forgiving to the USA for triggering an Armageddon.

            As for the gung-ho evangelical Air Force officer corps, it seems the loss of their space toy means that God must be on the other side of the rod.

            Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of The Japan Times Weekly, is a Hong Kong-based science writer

 

Dumb and Dumber

A Secret CIA Drone Base, a Blowback World, and Why Washington Has No Learning Curve

February 12, 2013.

by Tom Engelhardt

 

            You could, of course, sit there, slack-jawed, thinking about how mindlessly repetitive American foreign and military policy is these days. Or you could wield all sorts of fancy analytic words to explain it.  Or you could just settle for a few simple, all-American ones.  Like dumb. Stupid. Dimwitted. Thick-headed. Or you could speak about the second administration in a row that wanted to leave no child behind, but was itself incapable of learning, or reasonably assessing its situation in the world.

 

Or you could simply wonder what’s in Washington’s water supply. Last week, after all, there was a perfect drone storm of a story, only a year or so late — and no, it wasn’t that leaked “white paper” justifying the White House-directed assassination of an American citizen; and no, it wasn’t the two secret Justice Department “legal” memos on the same subject that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were allowed to “view,” but in such secrecy that they couldn’t even ask John O. Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism tsar and choice for CIA director, questions about them at his public nomination hearings; and no, it wasn’t anything that Brennan, the man who oversaw the White House “kill list” and those presidentially chosen drone strikes, said at the hearings. And here’s the most striking thing: it should have set everyone’s teeth on edge, yet next to nobody even noticed.

 

Last Tuesday, the Washington Post published a piece by Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung about a reportorial discovery which that paper, along with other news outlets (including the New York Times), had by “an informal arrangement” agreed to suppress (and not even very well) at the request of the Obama administration. More than a year later, and only because the Times was breaking the story on the same day (buried in a long investigative piece on drone strikes), the Post finally put the news on record.  It was half-buried in a piece about the then-upcoming Brennan hearings. Until that moment, its editors had done their patriotic duty, urged on by the CIA and the White House, and kept the news from the public. Never mind, that the project was so outright loony, given our history, that they should have felt the obligation to publish it instantly with screaming front-page headlines and a lead editorial demanding an explanation.

 

On the other hand, you can understand just why the Obama administration and the CIA preferred that the story not come out. Among other things, it had the possibility of making them look like so many horses’ asses and, again based on a historical record that any numbskull or government bureaucrat or intelligence analyst should recall, it couldn’t have been a more dangerous thing to do. It’s just the sort of Washington project that brings the word “blowback” instantly and chillingly to mind.  It’s just the sort of story that should make Americans wonder why we pay billions of dollars to the CIA to think up ideas so lame that you have to wonder what the last two CIA directors, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, were thinking. (Or if anyone was thinking at all.)

 

“Agitated Muslims” and the “100 Hour War”

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, I have yet to mention what that suppressed story was, and given the way it disappeared from sight, the odds are that you don’t know, so here goes. The somewhat less than riveting headline on the Post piece was: “Brennan Nomination Exposes Criticism on Targeted Killings and Secret Saudi Base.” The base story was obviously tacked on at the last second. (There had actually been no “criticism” of that base, since next to nothing was known about it.)  It, too, was buried, making its first real appearance only in the 10th paragraph of the piece.

 

According to the Post, approximately two years ago, the CIA got permission from the Saudi government to build one of its growing empire of drone bases in a distant desert region of that kingdom. The purpose was to pursue an already ongoing air war in neighboring Yemen against al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.

 

The first drone mission from that base seems to have taken off on September 30, 2011, and killed American citizen and al-Qaeda supporter Anwar al-Awlaki. Many more lethal missions have evidently been flown from it since, most or all directed at Yemen in a campaign that notoriously seems to be creating more angry Yemenis and terror recruits than it’s killing. So that’s the story you waited an extra year to hear from our watchdog press (though for news jockeys, the existence of the base was indeed mentioned in the interim by numerous media outlets).

 

One more bit of information: Brennan, the president’s right-hand counterterrorism guy, who oversaw Obama’s drone assassination program from an office in the White House basement (you can’t take anything away from Washington when it comes to symbolism) and who is clearly going to be approved by the Senate as our the new CIA director, was himself a former CIA station chief in Riyadh. The Post reports that he worked closely with the Saudis to “gain approval” for the base. So spread the credit around for this one. And note as well that there hasn’t been a CIA director with such close ties to a president since William Casey ran the outfit for President Ronald Reagan, and he was the man who got this whole ball of wax rolling by supporting, funding, and arming any Islamic fundamentalist in sight — the more extreme the better — to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

 

Chalmers Johnson used to refer to the CIA as “the president’s private army.” Now, run by this president’s most trusted aide, it once again truly will be so.

 

Okay, maybe it’s time to put this secret drone base in a bit of historical context. (Think of this as my contribution to a leave-no-administration-behind policy.) In fact, that Afghan War Casey funded might be a good place to start. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about the present Afghan War, still ongoing after a mere 11-plus years, but our long forgotten First Afghan War. That was the one where we referred to those Muslim extremists we were arming as “freedom fighters” and our president spoke of them as “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.”

 

It was launched to give the Soviets a bloody nose and meant as payback for our bitter defeat in Vietnam less than a decade earlier. And what a bloody nose it would be! Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev would dub the Soviet disaster there “the bleeding wound,” and two years after it ended, the Soviet Union would be gone. I’m talking about the war that, years later, President Jimmy Carter’s former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski summed up this way: “What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

 

That’s all ancient history and painful to recall now that “agitated Muslims” are a dime a dozen and we are (as Washington loves to say) in a perpetual global “war” with a “metastasizing” al-Qaeda, an organization that emerged from among our allies in the First Afghan War, as did so many of the extremists now fighting us in Afghanistan.

 

So how about moving on to a shining moment a decade later: our triumph in the “100 Hour War” in which Washington ignominiously ejected its former ally (and later Hitler-substitute) Saddam Hussein and his invading Iraqi army from oil-rich Kuwait?  Those first 100 hours were, in every sense, a blast. The problems only began to multiply with all the 100-hour periods that followed for the next decade, the 80,000th, all of which were ever less fun, what with eternal no-fly zones to patrol and an Iraqi dictator who wouldn’t leave the scene.

 

The Worldwide Attack Matrix and a Global War on Terror

 

Maybe, like Washington, we do best to skip that episode, too.  Let’s focus instead on the moment when, in preparation for that war, U.S. troops first landed in Saudi Arabia, that fabulously fundamentalist giant oil reserve; when those 100 hours were over (and Saddam wasn’t), they never left. Instead, they moved into bases and hunkered down for the long haul.

 

By now, I’m sure some of this is coming back to you: how disturbed, for instance, the rich young Saudi royal and Afghan war veteran Osama bin Laden and his young organization al-Qaeda were on seeing those “infidels” based in (or, as they saw it, occupying) the country that held Islam’s holiest shrines and pilgrimage sites.  I’m sure you can trace al-Qaeda’s brief grim history from there: its major operations every couple of years against U.S. targets to back up its demand that those troops depart the kingdom, including the Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. airmen in 1996, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and the blowing up of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000.  Finally, of course, there was al-Qaeda’s extraordinary stroke of dumb luck (and good planning), those attacks of September 11, 2001, which managed — to the reported shock of at least one al-Qaeda figure — to create an apocalyptic-looking landscape of destruction in downtown New York City.

 

And here’s where we go from dumb luck to just plain dumb. Lusting for revenge, dreaming of a Middle Eastern (or even global) Pax Americana, and eager to loose a military that they believed could eternally dominate any situation, the Bush administration declared a “global war” on terrorism. Only six days after the World Trade Center towers went down, George W. Bush granted the CIA an unprecedented license to wage planet-wide war. By then, it had already presented a plan with a title worthy of a sci-fi film: the “Worldwide Attack Matrix.” According to journalist Ron Suskind in his book The One Percent Doctrine, the plan “detailed operations [to come] against terrorists in 80 countries.”

 

This was, of course, a kind of madness. After all, al-Qaeda wasn’t a state or even much of an organization; in real terms, it barely existed.  So declaring “war” on its scattered minions globally was little short of a bizarre and fantastical act. And yet any other approach to what had happened was promptly laughed out of the American room. And before you could blink, the U.S. was invading… nuts, you already knew the answer: Afghanistan.

 

After another dazzlingly brief and triumphant campaign, using tiny numbers of American military personnel and CIA operatives (as well as U.S. air power), the first of Washington’s you-can’t-go-home-again crew marched into downtown Kabul and began hunkering down, building bases, and preparing to stay. One Afghan war, it turned out, hadn’t been faintly enough for Washington. And soon, it would be clear that one Iraq war wasn’t either. By now, we were in the express lane in the Möbius loop of history.

 

“Stuff Happens”

 

This should be getting more familiar to you. It might also strike you — though it certainly didn’t Washington back in 2002-2003 — that there was no reason things should turn out better the second time around. With that new “secret Saudi base” in mind, remember that somewhere in the urge to invade Iraq was the desire to find a place in the heart of the planet’s oil lands where the Pentagon would be welcome to create “enduring camps” (please don’t call them “permanent bases”!) — and hang in for enduring decades to come.

 

So in early April 2003, invading American troops entered a chaotic Baghdad, a city being looted. (“Stuff happens,” commented Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in response.) On April 29th, Rumsfeld held a news conference with Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, broadcast on Saudi TV, announcing that the U.S. would pull all its combat troops out of that country. No more garrisons in Saudi Arabia.  Ever.  U.S. air operations were to move to al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.  As for the rest, there was no need even to mention Iraq. This was just two days before President Bush landed a jet, Top Gun-style, on an aircraft carrier off San Diego and — under a White House-produced banner reading “Mission Accomplished” — declared “the end of major combat operations in Iraq.” And all’s well that ends well, no?

 

You know the rest, the various predictable disasters that followed (as well as the predictably unpredictable ones). But don’t think that, as America’s leaders repeat their mistakes endlessly — using varying tactics, ranging from surges to counterinsurgency to special operations raids to drones, all to similar purposes — everything remains repetitively the same. Not at all. The repeated invasions, occupations, interventions, drone wars, and the like have played a major role in the unraveling of the Greater Middle East and increasingly of northern Africa as well.

 

Here, in fact, is a rule of thumb for you: keep your eye on the latest drone bases the CIA and the U.S. military are setting up abroad — in Niger, near its border with Mali, for example — and you have a reasonable set of markers for tracing the further destabilization of the planet. Each eerily familiar tactical course change (always treated as a brilliant strategic coup), each next application of force, and more things “metastasize.”

 

And so we reach this moment and the news of that two-year-old secret Saudi drone base. You might ask yourself, given the previous history of U.S. bases in that country, why the CIA or any administration would entertain the idea of opening a new U.S. outpost there. Evidently, it’s the equivalent of catnip for cats; they just couldn’t help themselves.

 

We don’t, of course, know whether they blanked out on recent history or simply dismissed it out of hand, but we do know that once again garrisoning Saudi Arabia seemed too alluring to resist.  Without a Saudi base, how could they conveniently strike al-Qaeda wannabes in a neighboring land they were already attacking from the air? And if they weren’t to concentrate every last bit of drone power on taking out al-Qaeda types (and civilians) in Yemen, one of the more resource-poor and poverty-stricken places on the planet?  Why, the next thing you know, al-Qaeda might indeed be ruling a Middle Eastern Caliphate.  And after that, who knows? The world?

 

Honestly, could there have been a stupider gamble to take (again)? This is the sort of thing that helps you understand why conspiracy theories get started — because people in the everyday world just can’t accept that, in Washington, dumb and then dumber is the order of the day.

 

When it comes to that “secret” Saudi base, if truth be told, it does look like a conspiracy — of stupidity.  After all, the CIA pushed for and built that base; the White House clearly accepted it as a fine idea. An informal network of key media sources agreed that it really wasn’t worth the bother to tell the American people just how stupidly their government was acting. (The managing editor of the New York Times explained its suppression by labeling the story nothing more than “a footnote.”)  And last week, at the public part of the Brennan nomination hearings, none of the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to provide the CIA and the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community with what little oversight they get, thought it appropriate to ask a single question about the Saudi base, then in the news.

 

The story was once again buried. Silence reigned. If, in the future, blowback does occur, thanks to the decision to build and use that base, Americans won’t make the connection.  How could they?

 

It all sounds so familiar to me. Doesn’t it to you? Shouldn’t it to Washington?

 

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.

 

Siberian permafrost thaw warning sparked by cave data

 

February 22,2013

BBC News

 

Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5C could see permafrost thaw over a large area of Siberia.

 

A study shows that more than a trillion tonnes of the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane could be released into the atmosphere as a result.

 

An international team has published details in the journal Science.

 

The evidence comes from analysis of stalactites and stalagmites in caves along the “permafrost frontier”.

 

This is where ground begins to be permanently frozen in layers that can be tens to hundreds of metres thick.

 

Stalactites and stalagmites only grow when liquid rainwater and snowmelt drip into the caves.

 

So these formations record 500,000 years of changing permafrost conditions – including warmer periods similar to the climate of today.

 

The records from a particularly warm period called Marine Isotopic Stage 11, which occurred around 400,000 years ago, suggest that warming of 1.5C compared to the present is enough to cause substantial thawing of permafrost – even in areas far north from its present-day southern limit.

 

“The stalactites and stalagmites from these caves are a way of looking back in time to see how warm periods similar to our modern climate affect how far permafrost extends across Siberia,” said Dr Anton Vaks from the University of Oxford.

 

“As permafrost covers 24% of the land surface of the Northern Hemisphere, significant thawing could affect vast areas and release (billions of tonnes) of carbon.”

 

He added: “‘This has huge implications for ecosystems in the region, and for aspects of the human environment.

 

“For instance, natural gas facilities in the region, as well as power lines, roads, railways and buildings are all built on permafrost and are vulnerable to thawing. Such a thaw could damage this infrastructure with obvious economic implications.”

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