Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Dutch announce results of MH17 inquiry

The Dutch have announced the results of their bogus inquiry. Guess who’s to blame.


Ukraine fully responsible for security of its own airspace’ – MH17 victims’ lawyer to RT


RT,
28 September, 2016
While international investigators suspect Russia of supplying rebels with the Buk missile system that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, a lawyer representing four victims’ families in relation to the case blames Kiev for the tragedy.
In July, four relatives of victims in the Boeing 777 crash filed lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Ukraine for Kiev’s failure to close down its airspace amid a raging conflict in the east of the country.

Unidentified family members from Malaysia place a sign on the hedge of compassion asking for justice for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 after a commemoration ceremony © Michael Kooren
The lawsuit filed by German citizens Elena Ioppa and Tim Laushet, living in Australia, as well as Chris and Denise Kenke, seeks €1 million ($1.1mn) in compensation for the crash which claimed the lives of 15 crew members and 283 passengers, including 80 children.
Our argument is that the Ukrainian government was completely aware of what happened on the ground, that there was a separatist movement. They obviously knew about the equipment they had. That the equipment could reach higher altitudes, because the government closed the airspace two days before the downing of MH17. It closed the airspace after the level of 6,600 meters which is not enough because given the size of the danger the whole airspace should have been closed,” Elmar Giemulla, the victim’s lawyer and leading expert on air law told RT.

When asked by RT correspondent Paula Slier if Ukraine “could be to blame” for the MH17 tragedy, Giemulla emphasized that “whoever shot or pushed the button of the missile – this is not relevant for my case,” because the aim of the lawsuit is to create a strong precedent in international civil aviation making government responsible for sky safety over its territory, the lawyer said, adding that “of course” the relatives of the victims want to find the responsible party as well.

Giemulla’s comments come the same day as a Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report concluded that the Buk missile that was allegedly used by the rebels in Ukraine to take down the Boeing was taken to Ukraine from Russian territory.


Moscow has challenged the conclusions of the Dutch probe saying that there isn’t enough evidence, accusing Ukraine of fabrication and JIT for completely disregarding Russian data and intelligence pertaining to the incident. The victims’ lawyer told RT that MH17 would never have been downed if Kiev had acted more responsibly.

Each country is responsible not just for the state area on the ground. The airspace belongs to the state area and that is why each government is fully responsible for the security of its own airspace. This is what the government of Ukraine has neglected and this is why hundreds of people had to die,” Giemulla said.

The lawyer hopes that Kiev will respond to the ECHR by the mid-November deadline, presenting their defense in the case. So far, Giemulla, says Kiev has not officially denied any of the accusations presented in the lawsuit.

The State Dept warns Russia to "stop the violence" "or else"

Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags’: US warns Moscow if Syria violence goes on

RT,
28 September, 2016
Unless Russia “stops the violence” in Syria, extremists would “exploit the vacuum” to attack Russian interests and even cities, the US State Department has said.

 “Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” John Kirby, the State Department's spokesperson, told reporters at Wednesday's press briefing.


If the war continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down,” Kirby said.

Early on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to end all cooperation between the United States and Russia to stop Syria’s civil war, unless Moscow and Damascus ended the current attack on East Aleppo.

We are working through steps that we might have to take to begin to suspend our engagement with Russia on Syria. We haven’t taken those steps yet,” said Kirby. “The message to the [Russian] Foreign Minister today was that we are perfectly willing and able to move forward on those steps that would end with the suspension of US-Russia bi-lateral engagement in Syria.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented a different version of the call with Secretary Kerry, with the demand that the US live up to its obligation to separate opposition forces from extremist groups.

The US promised long ago to separate the rebels from terrorists and it needs to live up to that obligation, Lavrov told Kerry, bringing up the recent interview of an Al-Nusra commander about how the group is receiving outside support – including American weapons – as well as the statement of a Syrian opposition leader Riyad Hijab that he did not consider Al-Nusra terrorists.

Foreign Minister Lavrov told Kerry that many US-backed groups are working side by side with the Al-Qaeda affiliate, and brought up media reports that Nusra was receiving weapons from the US.

During the press briefing, Kirby said the US had “influence over some of the [rebel] groups but not all."

There are other nations that have influence. We have admitted that not all opposition groups on every single day have abided by it, and we have continued to work with them on that,” Kirby said, asked about the rebels' violations of the Syrian ceasefire.

The Obama Administration has consistently called for regime change in Syria, and Kirby told reporters on Wednesday“Obviously, we don’t want to see the regime acquire any additional territory” in Aleppo.

In response to the statement that Russia was targeting Nusra Front and terrorists, Kirby said “That’s not what’s happening. They’re hitting hospitals, civilian infrastructure."

When asked about the US arming Saudi Arabia, Kirby said the State Department had been critical about the “lack of precision in some strikes” in Yemen.

We have a strong defense relationship with Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia is under attack from missiles that are finding their ways to Yemen from Iran,” said Kirby, rejecting any comparison between what was happening in Yemen and what was happening in Syria, as“a ludicrous exercise.”

Explaining why he thought Russia should agree to US demands, Kirby said, "We know that they (Russians) want a measure of cooperation between our two militariesWe know that they want the establishment of a joint implementation center. We want that, too."

Washington has dragged its feet on setting up the JIC, however, with Kirby telling reporters on September 16 that its establishment was contingent on humanitarian aid reaching Aleppo.

"We don't have any intention of having an intelligence sharing agreement with the Russians," GeneralJoseph Dunford,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers last Tuesday.

Former congressman Dr. Ron Paul says Washington “should not be there [Syria]” at all, despite this being an “unpopular” opinion in political circles, because the intervention contributes to jihadists expanding even further.

So, I think we are doing the wrong thing,” he told RT. “I don’t think it’s good for our national defense. I think it makes us more vulnerable, because it does create more enemies. It’s unpopular to suggest that maybe our presence over there contributes significantly to those who become radical jihadists and would like to do us harm.”


Paul says moreover the US has no “moral authority” to be in Syria and has been violating its own laws.

It’s not a proper function – we don’t have the moral authority. We haven’t followed our own laws that said that we should not be involved in war and [the] overthrow of governments without a declaration of war,” he said.


‘Russia will continue to send troops home [from Syria] in body bags’ – US State Dept


Mass arrests at Dakota Access pipeline

Military-Style Raid Ends Native Prayer Against Dakota Pipeline
Up to 21 people were arrested during a peaceful prayer service.
North Dakota authorities using heavy handed tactics on Water Protectors.
28 September, 2016

North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.
ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer,” wrote the Sacred Stone Camp, in a Facebook post.
Officers with military-style armored vehicles and shotguns threatened the protesters, who call themselves “water protectors” for defending the Missouri River from imminent pollution, reported Unicorn Riot. Up to 21 were arrested, the channel reported.
Witnesses filmed the crackdown but said their access their Facebook was blocked. One participant, Thomas H. Joseph II, posted a chilling video narrating the mobilization and his getaway. Helicopters are heard as he says that tear gas is being dropped, and an officer loads his gun as protesters, some on horseback, chant, "We have no guns."
In the video, Joseph said that “one guy’s about ready to blast us” but later added that no fires were shot
We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave," he later wrote in a Facebook post. "No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.”
Police and private security personnel have been more aggressively cracking down on actions against the pipeline since the governor declared a state of emergency. The state is currently investigating an incident in which contracted private security film Frost Kennels unleashed dogs during a nonviolent direct action, ending with six bitten, including a pregnant woman and a child, according to organizers at the action.
Alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot previously accused Facebook of censoring its livestream of police repression, saying they received a popup security alert when they tried to post the video.
RELATED:​
Over 1,200 Academics Sign Petition Against Dakota Pipeline

We will not let them stop our mission to amplify the voices of people who might otherwise go unheard, and broadcast the stories that might otherwise go untold,“ they told RT.

The pipeline, expected to transport over half a million barrels of oil a day through four states, has united over 300 tribes in resistance. Several lawsuits are pending against the company, which has retaliated with restraining orders. The White House halted construction on federal land, which makes up three percent of the pipeline's path, but has not issued any other statement against the pipeline—motivating Facebook users to demand a response after Wednesday's crackdown.
President Barack Obama met with tribal representatives on Monday but only made an indirect reference to the historic native gathering: “I know that many of you have come together across tribes and across the country to support the community at Standing Rock,“ he said. “And together, you’re making your voices heard.“
CORRECTION
A prior version of this article described the Sacred Stone Camp as the main tribal-led camp. This is not correct. The Oceti Sakowin is the main tribal-led camp.
This article was first published Sept. 28. Updated Sept. 28, 2016 at 8:24 p.m

Hot oceans boost extreme weather globally

From Maryland to the Caribbean to Asia, Record-Hot Ocean Waters Give Extreme Weather Potentials a Big Boost


27 September, 2016

The forecasts began coming in this morning: Heavy rainfall expected over the next two days. Possible flash flooding. Turn around, don’t drown.
These advisories buzzed up from local news media for the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia metro areas as a crazy, wavy Jet Stream spawned an upper-level low that’s predicted to gorge on an insane amount of moisture spewing up off the record-hot Atlantic Ocean.
Forecast GFS model guidance shows an upper-level low-pressure system situated over the Great Lakes region in association with a big trough dipping down from the Arctic. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the low is expected to shift south and east. Becoming cut off from the upper-level flow, the low is then predicted to set up a persistent rainfall pattern over DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
noaa-extreme-rainfall-dc-metro-area
(NOAA’s precipitation forecast model shows extreme rainfall predicted for the DC area over the next seven days. Note that record global heat and, in particular, excessively hot sea-surface temperature anomalies off the U.S. east coast are providing an unprecedented amount of fuel for storms. Should such storms fire off, they could produce rainfall totals in excess of those currently predicted. Image source: NOAA.)

Easterly winds are expected to be drawn into the low from a record-hot Atlantic Ocean. These winds will bear upon them an extraordinary burden of atmospheric moisture which has been continuously evaporating up from a very warm Gulf Stream. Such moisture is fuel for powerful rainstorms. Given the destabilizing kick provided by the upper-level low, it is expected to deliver some pretty intense downpours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
NOAA model guidance shows rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches over the area for the next five days. However, given the high atmospheric moisture content and the record atmospheric and ocean heat that’s spiking storm energy potentials, there is a possibility for locally higher amounts.
Extreme Ocean Heat Contributes to Severe Weather

As the DC area prepares for what could be another record or near-record rainfall event, various other regions over the Atlantic and on the other side of the world are also facing the possibility of intense weather. Very warm sea-surface temperatures are the common thread that links all these events.
atlantic-ocean-heat
(Hot sea surfaces are loading up the atmosphere with moisture and helping to produce convective updrafts that heighten storm tops. Such are the results of climate change, which has now dumped an extraordinary amount of heat energy into the Earth’s ocean and atmosphere — energy that now provides fuel for both extreme rainfall events and more-intense hurricanes. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

In the Atlantic Ocean, just off Maryland and DC, sea-surface temperatures running at an amazing 5.7 degrees Celsius above average are helping fuel this week’s possible extreme rainfall event. For reference, ocean temperatures over the course of the 20th century tended to range between 2 C above average to 2 C below average. Any deviation beyond a 2 C departure for any significant length of time was considered pretty out of the ordinary. But off the U.S. east coast over the past couple of years and concurrent with record-hot global temperatures, sea surfaces have regularly hit such high ranges. The heat bleeding off those waters has contributed to a growing number of intense precipitation events.

Possible Strong Cyclone to Form in Caribbean, Track Toward U.S. Coast
Farther south, the Caribbean is also quite hot. Ranging from 1-2 C above average, this region of warmer-than-normal ocean water is about to receive a strong tropical wave running in from the east. Over the next week, this wave is expected to gorge on these hot waters, firing off intense thunderstorms with rising tops around a tightening center of circulation, and developing into a tropical cyclone that could reach hurricane strength by late this week or early next week. Long-range model runs predict all kinds of possible rough weather related to this potential storm for the U.S. east or Gulf coasts or even for the Canadian Maritimes.

florida-hurricane-october-7-ecmwf
(Most recent ECMWF model run shows an extremely powerful 938-millibar hurricane threatening southeast Florida on October 7. If such a storm does form, it will be fueled by hotter-than-normal ocean conditions brought about by human-caused climate change. Image source: Tropical Tidbits.)

One of the most accurate forecast models, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), is pointing toward the possibility of a major hurricane of 938-mb intensity threatening the southeast coast of Florida by October 7. Though such long-range forecasts are highly uncertain so far out, the underlying models are obviously picking up on the potential energy provided by all that ocean heat. The result is a kind of climate roulette — with a few extra bullets in the chambers. In other words, with all that ocean heat laying around, the potential for a big storm is just sitting there, waiting for something big to come along and suck it up. This ongoing, worsening situation could result in some serious added weather consequences over the next ten days or so.
Megi is Third Tropical Cyclone to Impact Taiwan

All across the world this year, big rainfall and related storm events have been popping up. Louisiana alone saw two 30-inch plus rainfall events while nearby Texas got hit again and again and again. This week, major floods in Iowa spurred officials to urge thousands to evacuate. Meanwhile, the recent Ellicott City, Maryland flood has people in the DC area on edge over this week’s potential for very heavy rainfall.


It’s worth noting that rainfall hasn’t stopped over Taiwan yet, even as the massive circulation of Megi plows toward China — which is likely to receive heavy rainfall from the storm as well.
Like the possible extreme weather events related to very-hot surface waters in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, Megi formed over waters that are 1-3 C hotter than normal. But what’s a bit odd about Megi is that she followed almost in the exact tracks of two other cyclones — one which brushed by just to the north of Taiwan, and another which skirted the island’s south side. Typically, upwelling of cooler waters caused by hurricanes and tropical storms is enough to prevent an immediate follow-on by powerful systems, due to the fact that surface waters tend to be warmer than waters below the surface. But Megi followed these two systems and was able to tap enough ocean heat to reach Category 4 intensity even as it supported a massive outflow.
typhoon-megi-crosses-taiwan
(Typhoon Megi dwarfs Taiwan. Image source: Earth Observatory.)

How did this happen? Well, considering the fact that ocean surfaces in Megi’s path are still 1-2 C hotter than normal, it’s likely that the waters at depth were also much warmer than usual, meaning storm-related upwelling wasn’t able to limit the strength of follow-on storms. This possible new feature of the Western Pacific raises the strange potential for regions to be hit by a train of tropical storms and cyclones, as happened with Taiwan over the past couple of weeks.
Conditions in Context — Record-Hot Ocean, Atmosphere Fuels More Severe Storms

The common link between the forthcoming potential severe weather along the U.S. east coast and the intensity of Typhoon Megi upon following behind two other storms is increased ocean heat. Such heat acts as a kind of energy and moisture engine for more, and more powerful, storms, such as the aforementioned extreme rainfall events and powerful, peak-intensity cyclones. In short, these are aspects of a world undergoing fundamental climate shifts — shifts that continue to ramp up due to the great and ongoing emission of greenhouse gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Links:
Scientific Hat tip to Dr. Jeff Masters
Hat tip to DT Lange
Hat tip to Colorado Bob



Siberian wildfires "too big to fight"

Robertscibbler is becoming one of those who is too frightened to tell the truth. I shall continue to repost his articles where I think they are not too much off the mark (a more frequent happening).


For One Month We Are Suffocating From Smoke” — For Russia, Climate Change is Already Producing Fires that are Too Big to Fight


For one month we are suffocating from the smoke. The weather is hot, and there is a strong smell of burning…” 
 Residents of Bratsk, northwest of Lake Baikal, in a petition to Vladimir Putin pleading him to fight the fires now raging there.

*****
28 September, 2016

For a moment, let’s take a snapshot in time of where we are from the climate change perspective. This year, global temperatures will probably hit between 1.2 and 1.25 C hotter than 1880s averages. This new heat, in a range likely not seen in 115,000 years, is catapulting us swiftly into dangerous new climate states. We’re starting to see the hard changes happen. Weather is growing more extreme, wildfires are worsening, the seas are rising, the glaciers are melting, and ocean health is declining. Threats of destabilization and disruption are ramping up. But compared to what we will see in the future if the world continues to warm, if we continue to burn fossil fuels, the seemingly rough changes we are experiencing now due to human-forced warming are minor and easy to manage.
These are the early, easy outliers of human-forced climate change. But for some, even for a nation as powerful as Russia, certain events have already overwhelmed certain emergency response capabilities.
****
lake-baikal-wildfires-september-28-2016
(Fire season should have ended by late August around the region of Lake Baikal in Russia. However, due to climate change related influences, massive fires continued to burn throughout September. The above image is from today — September 28. Bottom edge of frame is approximately 600 miles. Lake Baikal is visible to the right side of frame. Smoke from large fires currently covering approximately 2.5 million acres is visible throughout the shot. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Climate Change Spikes Fire Incidence in Siberia

Over the past decade or so, a rapid warming of Siberia has resulted in a dramatic increase in fire incidence. The vast boreal forests were being thrust into hotter, drier conditions by a human-forced warming of the globe. Meanwhile, permafrost thaw added its own massive and growing volumes of peat-like fuel for burning. As the years progressed, very large fires have erupted with rising frequency. Mostly under-reported, according to Greenpeace and independent satellite analysis by experts, these fires have covered millions of acres year after year after year.
If you look at the whole area over the past 30 years, there’s a significant increase in burned area that is very clear by the early 2000s,” said Susan Conrad, a former U.S. Forest Service scientist who has spent decades researching the impact of fire on Siberia, in an interview with ClimateWire.

Often, fighting such fires has required the effort of thousands of emergency responders supported by hundreds of pieces of equipment. And, as a result, the growing size of these fires and the lengthening of the season in which they burn has put a strain on the coffers of an already cash-strapped Russia. Firefighting has thus been cut or set aside for instances when a city, town or vital piece of infrastructure required defending. So, more and more often, these great fires have expanded even as they have been abandoned to burn on — uncontrolled.
2016 Lake Baikal Fires Too Dangerous to Fight

This year, an unrelenting (climate change related) drought around the region of Lake Baikal Russia combined with abnormal heat to produce massive fires. The fires raged and flared throughout summer. But as the typical wildfire season came to an end during late August, the fires continued to burn and to spread. According to Greenpeace, the fires burning during September in this region alone covered nearly 5 million acres. That’s an area about the size of Massachusetts. Satellite shots of the massive fires were dramatic — revealing plumes of dense smoke spewing out over hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. Meanwhile, residents of cities and towns around Lake Baikal experienced terrible conditions due to a suffocating pall of dense smoke covering the area.

Despite the risk to public health and increasing cases where schools, communities and infrastructure were threatened by the fires, the Russian Emergencies Ministry has claimed that such large fires are now increasingly uncontrollable. Spokesmen with the agency note that the fires are so intense that they present an unmanageable danger to firefighting personnel. According to Radio Free Europe:
Aleksandr Bruykhanov, senior researcher at the Forestry Institute in Krasnoyarsk, told the Siberian Times that massive wildfires have become more frequent and cannot be fully controlled by the government. He said they will only be extinguished when rain returns to the region.
The Emergencies Ministry won’t be able to help here but will only cause some extra work for foresters, who will have to rescue rescuers. (emphasis added)”

For One Month We Are Suffocating From Smoke

All that said, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed throughout the region in isolated efforts to stem the more eminent blazes. Near the city of Bratsk, 600 firefighters and about 123 pieces of heavy equipment were reported to be engaged with the fires on September 23rd. But the firefighting has, thus far, been mostly unsuccessful.

lake-baikal-carbon-monoxide-spike
(High carbon monoxide readings north and west of Lake Baikal, Russia on September 28 of 2016. This expansive plume of carbon monoxide is coming from very large fires burning in the region. Residents in a nearby city recently complained of carbon monoxide poisoning in a petition to Vladimir Putin to fight the fires. But Emergencies Agencies spokespersons have claimed that the fires are increasingly un-containable and that the best hope for stopping the fires is when rains return to the area. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Failure to control the massive burning has resulted in abysmal air quality for the region. In some cases, life-threatening conditions have been reported — with adults and children hospitalized. In Bratsk, a city of 250,000 people, thousands of residents are complaining of stifling smoke and incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning. A heavy pall of dense smoke has hung over the city for more than a month. The conditions there are so bad that 3,000 people have signed a petition to Vladimir Putin, urging him to deploy more resources to fight the fires, and stating that:
For one month we are suffocating from the smoke. The weather is hot, and there is a strong smell of burning and smoke. It is not possible to open windows, we cannot go out because we soon feel dizziness… Some adults and children are in hospital with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. We are for clean air! We want to breathe. We have that right. Do not remain indifferent to our health and our future!’
Signs of Exhaustion At The Start of a Rough Climate Future

Exhaustion of emergency response resources is one of the big threats posed by climate change. In instances where entire regions see extreme weather conditions that are far outside the norm for an extended period of time, such as as severe droughts, floods, and fires, instances of exhaustion are more likely to occur. Exhaustion also occurs when events appear that are too large or intense to manage. And it appears that firefighting efforts in Russia are starting to show some signs of exhaustion. Not good. Especially considering the fact that these conditions are tame compared to what will happen in future years without some very serious climate change mitigation and response efforts.
For whether they realize it or not, the residents of Bratsk are living at the start of a much rougher climate future. And they are just now starting to see a hint of the very bad conditions that will keep worsening as the world continues to warm and Siberia becomes one of the places to see the worst of it. It’s a situation caused by the very fossil fuel burning that Putin currently promotes. A crisis of warming that will cause more forests to burn, cause the fires to continue to enlarge, and cause the peat-like thawing permafrost to become increasingly involved in that burning.
The only way to stop this trend is to halt global temperature rise. And that requires a very heavy lift. An international effort on a scale which the world has not yet managed to fully commit to. An effort that would inevitably result in the fossil fuels Putin seeks to exploit being left in the ground in favor of far more benevolent energy sources.
Links:

Hat tip to mlparrish
Hat tip to Colorado Bob