Tag Archives: Aljazeera

The News That You Are NOT Being Told

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BP dispersants ‘causing sickness’

Investigation by Al Jazeera online correspondent finds toxic illnesses
linked to BP oil dispersants along Gulf coast.
Dahr Jamail

“People are already dying from this… I’m dealing with three autopsies’ right now. I don’t think we’ll have to wait years to see the effects like we did in Alaska, people are dropping dead now.

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Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe upper respiratory, sinus, and viral infections. His temperature has reached more than 39 degrees since September 15, yet his sicknesses continue to worsen.

His parents, some doctors, and environmental consultants believe the child’s ailments are linked to exposure to chemicals spilt by BP during its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Gavin’s father, mother, and cousin, Shayleigh, are also facing serious health problems. Their symptoms are being experienced by many others living along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely banned toxic dispersants

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants (one that has been banned in the UK), which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily.

Naman, who works at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, Alabama, has been carrying out studies to search for the chemical markers of the dispersants BP used to both sink and break up its oil.

According to Naman, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from this toxic mix are making people sick. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

Fisherman across the four states most heavily affected by the oil disaster – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida – have reported seeing BP spray dispersants from aircraft and boats offshore.

“The dispersants are being added to the water and are causing chemical compounds to become water soluble, which is then given off into the air, so it is coming down as rain, in addition to being in the water and beaches of these areas of the Gulf,” Naman added.

“I’m scared of what I’m finding. These cyclic compounds intermingle with the Corexit [dispersants] and generate other cyclic compounds that aren’t good. Many have double bonds, and many are on the EPA’s danger list. This is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

Commercial fisherman Donny Matsler also lives in Alabama.

“I was with my friend Albert, and we were both slammed with exposure,” Matsler explained of his experience on August 5, referring to toxic chemicals he inhaled that he believes are associated with BP’s dispersants. “We both saw the clumps of white bubbles on the surface that we know come from the dispersed oil.”

Gruesome symptoms

“I started to vomit brown, and my pee was brown also,” Matsler, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Dauphin Island, said. “I kept that up all day. Then I had a night of sweating and non-stop diarrhea unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

He was also suffering from skin rashes, nausea, and a sore throat.

At roughly the same time Matsler was exposed, local television station WKRG News 5 took a water sample from his area to test for dispersants. The sample literally exploded when it was mixed with an organic solvent separating the oil from the water.

Naman, the chemist who analyzed the sample, said: “We think that it most likely happened due to the presence of either methanol or methane gas or the presence of the dispersant Corexit.”

“I’m still feeling terrible,” Matsler told Al Jazeera recently. “I’m about to go to the doctor again right now. I’m short of breathe, the diarrhea has been real bad, I still have discoloration in my urine, and the day before yesterday, I was coughing up white foam with brown spots in it.”

As for Matsler’s physical reaction to his exposure, Hugh Kaufman, an EPA whistleblower and analyst, has reported this of the effects of the toxic dispersants:

“We have dolphins that are hemorrhaging. People who work near it are hemorrhaging internally. And that’s what dispersants are supposed to do…”

By the middle of last summer, the Alabama Department of Public Health said that 56 people in Mobile and Baldwin counties had sought treatment for what they believed were oil disaster-related illnesses.

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“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol,” Dr. Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist, and Exxon Valdez survivor, told Al Jazeera.

“Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” she continued, “Spill responders have told me that the hard rubber impellors in their engines and the soft rubber bushings on their outboard motor pumps are falling apart and need frequent replacement.”

“Given this evidence, it should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known,” Dr. Ott added.

“In ‘Generations at Risk’, medical doctor Ted Schettler and others warn that solvents can rapidly enter the human body. They evaporate in air and are easily inhaled, they penetrate skin easily, and they cross the placenta into fetuses. For example, 2- butoxyethanol (in Corexit) is a human health hazard substance; it is a fetal toxin and it breaks down blood cells, causing blood and kidney disorders.”

Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitization, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, genetic mutations, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiovascular damage.

Even the federal government has taken precautions for its employees. US military officials decided to reroute training flights in the Gulf region in order to avoid oil and dispersant tainted-areas.

Growing number of cases

And Al Jazeera is finding a growing number of illnesses across the Gulf Coast.

Denise Rednour of Long Beach, Mississippi, has been taking walks on Long Beach nearly every day since the disaster began on April 20, and she is dealing with constant health issues.

“I’ve had health problems since the middle of July,” she said. “At the end of August, I came home from walking on the beach and for four days had bloody, mucus-filled diarrhea, dry heaves, and blood running out of my ear.”

Karen Hopkins, in Grand Isle, Louisiana, has been sick since the middle of May. “I started feeling exhausted, disoriented, dizzy, nauseous, and my chest was burning and I can’t breath well at times,” she said.

Dean Blanchard, who runs a seafood distribution business in Grand Isle, is Hopkins’ boss. He too is experiencing similar symptoms.

“They [BP] are using us like lab rats,” he explained, “I’m thinking of moving to Costa Rica. When I leave here I feel better. When I come back I feel bad again. Feeling tired, coughing, sore throat, burning eyes, headaches, just like everyone around here feels.”

Lorrie Williams of Ocean Springs says her son’s asthma has “gotten exponentially worse since BP released all their oil and dispersants into the Gulf.”

“A plane flew over our house recently and sprayed what I believe are dispersants. A fine mist covered everything, and it smelled like pool chemicals. Noah is waking up unable to breath, and my husband has head and chest congestion and burning eyes,” Williams said.

Like others, when Lorrie’s family left the area for a vacation, they immediately felt better. But upon coming home, their symptoms returned.

Wilma Subra, a chemist in New Iberia, Louisiana, recently tested the blood of eight BP cleanup workers and residents in Alabama and Florida. “Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and Hexane are volatile organic chemicals that are present in the BP Crude Oil,” Subra said,

“The blood of all three females and five males had chemicals that are found in the BP Crude Oil. The acute impacts of these chemicals include nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, lung irritation, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting.”

Indications of exposure

Subra explained that there has been long enough exposure so as to create chronic impacts, that include “liver damage, kidney damage, and damage to the nervous system. So the presence of these chemicals in the blood indicates exposure.”

Testing by Subra has also revealed PAHs present “in coastal soil sediment, wetlands, and in crab, oyster and mussel tissues.”

Trisha Springstead, is a registered nurse of 36 years who lives and works in Brooksville, Florida.

“What I’m seeing are toxified people who have been chemically poisoned,” she said, “They have sore throats, respiratory problems, neurological problems, lesions, sores, and ulcers. These people have been poisoned and they are dying. Drugs aren’t going to help these people. They need to be detoxed.”

Chemist Bob Naman described the brownish, rubbery tar balls that are a product of BP’s dispersed oil that continue to wash up on beaches across the Gulf:

“Those are the ones kids are picking up and playing with and breathing the fumes that come off them when you crush them in your hand. These will affect anyone who comes into contact with it. You could have an open wound and this goes straight in. Women have a lot more open mucus membranes and they are getting sicker than men. They are bleeding from their vagina and anus. Small kids are bleeding from their ears. This stuff is busting red blood cells.”

Dr Ott said: “People are already dying from this… I’m dealing with three autopsies’ right now. I don’t think we’ll have to wait years to see the effects like we did in Alaska, people are dropping dead now. I know two people who are down to 4.75 per cent of their lung capacity, their heart has enlarged to make up for that, and their esophagus is disintegrating, and one of them is a 16-year-old boy who went swimming in the Gulf.”

Source:

Wikileaks releases nearly 400,000 new secret Iraq docs, with help from news orgs

A U.S. Soldier from the Nemesis troop, 3rd Squ...

Image via Wikipedia

AGAIN-It is Time to put an end to the madness and bring our troops home. If we don’t, we deserve whatever retribution, from those we have needlessly attacked, that is forthcoming.

I love this country but it’s government is completely out of control

BTW-notice the pic hanging on the wall behind this ravager of women and children. More evidence that this is about control and power and not islamic terrorists! (E)


Xeni Jardin at 1:58 PM Friday, Oct 22, 2010


IMAGE: Each death noted in the Iraq war logs released today by Wikileaks is mapped with Google Maps, by the Guardian.


Wikileaks has just published The Iraq War Logs, described as “the largest classified military leak in history.”

 

The 391,832 reports document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout. The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period.

The Guardian is among the first news orgs to publish analysis, and leads with the statement that the files show how the US turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq, and “expose serial abuse of detainees, 15,000 previously unknown deaths, and a full toll of Iraq’s five years of carnage.”

The archive is alleged to have been sourced from Pfc. Bradley Manning, the same US army intelligence analyst who is believed to have also leaked a smaller cache of 90,000 logs chronicling incidents in the Afghan war. According to the Guardian’s early analysis, the new logs detail how:

• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.

• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

Guardian’s full coverage here, with an infographic mapping every death here.

As of 1:46pm PT, Al Jazeera’s coverage is live online and on-air. Here is their inforgraphic/data-mapping effort. A statement regarding redactions ends with an indication of which other news orgs were granted early access by Assange: “But working alongside the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the UK’s Channel 4 TV, Al Jazeera is clear that releasing the Iraq files – despite their secret nature – is vital to the public interest.”

In a tweet posted around 145pm PT today, @wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange) wrote, “Al Jazeera have broken our embargo by 30 minutes. We release everyone from their Iraq War Logs embargoes.”

So, which other news organizations had embargoed access to the documents? Again, from @wikileaks: “TBIJ, IBC, Guardian, Spiegel, NYT, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Chan4, SVT, CNN, BBC and more in the next few hours. We maximise impact.”

Update, 2:05pm PT: The New York Times coverage is now live in multiple parts. An A-1 placement story is due in Saturday’s paper edition, and a profile of Assange is due out over the weekend as well. From the NYT overview:

A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war:¶ The deaths of Iraqi civilians — at the hands mainly of other Iraqis, but also of the American military — appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration.

¶ While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the American public and much of the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America’s Iraqi allies — a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes.

¶ Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.

¶ The war in Iraq spawned a reliance on private contractors on a scale not well recognized at the time and previously unknown in American wars. The documents describe an outsourcing of combat and other duties once performed by soldiers that grew and spread to Afghanistan to the point that there are more contractors there than soldiers. [An article on this topic is scheduled to appear in The New York Times on Sunday.]

Update, 2:08pm PT: Le Monde‘s infographic and full coverage is now live.

Update, 215pm PT: Swedish television network SVT’s data visualization effort goes live.

Update, 220pm PT: The “Bureau of Investigative Journalism”, aka iraqwarlogs.com, goes live with their treatment. Is this just an alternate url maintained by Wikileaks? Unclear.

Update, 230pm PT: BBC items are going up now. Blog coverage at the BBC about Pentagon reaction here. And Der Spiegel‘s infographic package is now up, here. Notably, nothing of substance is up yet at CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, or Wired; all were presumably left out of early access by Wikileaks.

Update, 3:10pm PT: In a press release pre-dated for tomorrow, Amnesty International demands that the US investigate how much military commanders knew of torture documented in the leaked secret documents.

Update, 3:17pm PT: CNN publishes an “exclusive interview” with Assange, in which the Wikileaks founder says the leaks contain “compelling evidence of war crimes” committed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi government forces.

Update, 414pm PT: Wired News analysis is here.


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