Residents of Flint, Michigan in the United States remain exposed to water contaminated with lead and bacteria three years since the water crisis first hit the headlines.
April 25, 2017
Residents of Flint, Michigan in the United States remain exposed to water contaminated with lead and bacteria three years since the water crisis first hit the headlines.
Anger is still palpable among its residents, who are facing the prospect of at least another three years before the problem is fixed despite the vast sums of money allocated to fix the problem. The people of Flint have now been without clean water for 1,096 days.
Lead levels have now reportedly dropped below federal standards, but the water remains contaminated with bacteria and residents have been advised to only drink bottled or filtered water.
Local and state officials have been accused of failing to do enough to fix the water, causing ongoing health problems due to pipe corrosion. The long-term effects to residents’ health have yet to be established.
In March, a judge ordered the state of Michigan to give the city up to $87 million to replace its lead-tainted pipes with steel ones. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave $100 million to Flint, following a vote in Congress.
The Flint water crisis began in April, 2014, when officials decided to change the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the Flint River in a cost-saving initiative.
City officials, however, failed to properly treat the water, which led to corrosion in the water pipes, many of which are made of lead. Dangerous levels of bacteria, including E.coli, also developed in the water.
When residents began to complain about the water smelling, tasting and looking different, officials denied anything was wrong.
Yet testing revealed dangerous levels of lead in the water, with traces of the metallic element doubling in the blood levels of children.
Officials delayed changing the water supply until October 2015, and a state of emergency was declared in January 2016.
Flint now says it will replace the lead pipes and the water will be drinkable in the next two to three years, meaning the residents of Flint will have endured serious water problems for up to six years.
On the three-year anniversary of the crisis, trust in Flint’s water and its officials remains as eroded as the city’s water pipes.
Frustration was evident at a town hall meeting last week with Mayor Karen Weaver and other officials. The meeting was held in a church and armed police were present. Six residents were arrested for disorderly conduct.
Harold Harrington of a local plumber’s union told independent media that the problem can be solved in less than three years, and that officials are not properly investing the money in personnel to do so.
“We could have 50 crews in here and get it done in less than two years easily,” he said.
In an effort to highlight the city’s ailing water supply, a camp has been set up at Kearsley Park, which calls for clean water and improved healthcare facilities to deal with long-term health issues resulting from the contaminated water.
Protesters are also calling for Governor Rick Snyder to be held accountable for his role in the crisis.
“Our goals are to connect the whole Flint community, including the local government and local police force,” the group said. “We hope to work with the city to ensure the best solution to the Flint Water Crisis for every resident of the city.”
Is President Trump preparing for war?
April 25th, 2017
With a U.S. Naval Fleet set to fully arrive off the North Korean coast this week and the rogue state’s leader Kim Jong Un reportedly continuing to expand his nuclear program and missile testing, President Donald Trump told United Nations Security Council ambassadors that the status quo must change. The President has asked that new sanctions be placed on North Korea, something his predecessors attempted to implement with little success.
But unlike his predecessors, Trump’s latest moves suggest he is prepared to commit U.S. forces to North Korea should the state fail to comply with demands to stifle their nuclear program, and according to a new report from Reuters, the President is doubling down on his efforts, hinting that he is indeed preparing military action.
Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea.
All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday.
While administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy matters, it is unusual for the entire Senate to go to the White House, and for all four of those officials to be involved.
Wednesday’s briefing was originally scheduled for a secure room at the Capitol, but President Donald Trump suggested a shift to the White House, congressional aides said.
Washington has expressed mounting concern over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.
Having all 100 U.S. Senators attend what is essentially an intelligence briefing about a country that has repeatedly threatened the United States with nuclear attack suggests that the President is looking to convince Congressional members that we may need to declare war on North Korea if they refuse to comply with new and existing sanctions.
Given that the United States now has a Naval strike group in the region, China has massed 150,000 troops on the border and Russia is quickly following suit, it appears that it is only a matter of time before a North Korea invasion becomes a reality. As we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, Kim Jong Un appears to be stepping up his rhetoric, as well as his military aspirations.
While the state has been allowed to run freely for the last decade by ignoring sanctions, President Trump has made clear that he is ready and willing to take military action as evidenced by his missile strike on Syria and most recently, the dropping of the Mother of All Bombs on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan.
North Korea is a different animal altogether. They are reportedly nuclear capable, so there is a real possibility that they could launch a devastating attack on South Korea, Japan or even the West Coast of the United States, leading to hundreds of thousands of casualties and widespread geo-political and economic chaos. Thus, any attack initiated by President Trump will likely result in a response from North Korea, which could ultimately lead to a much wider conflict as we really don’t know which side Russia and China are on.
President Trump likely understands the seriousness of the situation, which would explain why he has invited 100 Senators to the White House for an intelligence briefing. Per the Constitution, only Congress can declare war, and it appears this is exactly the direction we’re headed.
“The United States is the most dangerous terrorist force on Earth, largely because it is run by rulers who forge lies all the time for waging wars and obliterating humans.”
Current president and Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump, is himself the object of fraudulent US intelligence, accused of “collusion with Russian agents.” In a rare admission, the Washington Times this week described the US intel dossier against Trump as “riddled with fiction.”Yet, ironically, Trump, in turn, serves as a shameless conduit for US propaganda to fuel conflict with Syria and North Korea.
In the latter case, a world war could break out at any moment as a result of insane American goading. The dispatch of a US nuclear-powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula this week is just another reckless provocation by Trump.
On Syria, the Trump administration has slapped on more economic sanctions over an alleged chemical weapons incident earlier this month. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the “sweeping sanctions” were because of “Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent men, women and children.”Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the latest US sanctions were “unfounded” since there is no proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Idlib Province on April 4.
Indeed, several respected international authorities, such as American professor Theodore Postol, a weapons expert at MIT, have dismissed official US claims about the chemical incident. The only “proof” provided by the US government and Western media are videos of alleged victims. That is, videos supplied by al Qaeda-linked terrorists and their media agents known as the White Helmets. This terror nexus is a creation of US, British and French military intelligence, financed with Saudi and Qatari money.
Thus, the April 4 chemical incident in Idlib was plausibly a “false flag” staged by Western-sponsored terrorist proxies to elicit American military attack on Syria. In other words, innocent people, including children, were murdered with lethal chemicals, and the whole macabre spectacle videoed for dissemination by the Western news media. It would not be the first time. The August 2013 “chemical weapons” incident near Damascus was probably also another macabre set-up by the terror groups.So, here we have an American president citing a false flag orchestrated by his own intelligence agencies to justify his subsequent order for a missile strike on Syria on April 7. And now we see the US government slapping punitive sanctions on Syria as a further warped response.
Of huge significance is the fact that the US, Britain and France have blocked Russian, Iranian and Syrian demands for an impartial on-site investigation to be carried out in the town of Khan Shaykhun where the chemical incident allegedly happened. As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out, the Western powers do not want to find out what really happened because that would interfere with their agenda for regime change in Syria.By way of shoring up the false narrative on Syria, this week US media carried “reports” alleging that North Korea has been supplying the Syrian government with chemical weapons technology. As usual, no verifiable evidence is presented, just more bombastic assertions and concocted claims.
But we can see where this is going. US intelligence, mouthed by its president and controlled media, are laying down dots to entice the Western public to join up with false logic and prejudice, all so that the US authorities can give themselves a legal, moral mandate to justify aggression. Conveniently, the contrived North Korea-Syria connection allows for two birds to be hit with one stone.
The pattern of deception here by the US government, aided and abetted by propagandizing “news services,” is classic modus operandi. Time and again, down through history, the US ruling class have used false flags, distortion and outright lies to promote their hegemonic desires of inciting war, conflict and aggression.For a country like the United States, which has been waging war on other foreign nations for over 95 per cent of its history since its foundation as a modern state in 1776, it only stands to reason that such an astounding record of belligerence, decade-after-decade, must inevitably require a concomitant warmongering propaganda system in order to make it all possible.
We could mention, for example, the deliberate sinking of one of its own warships, the USS Maine, in Havana Harbor in 1898, which was used to instigate the Spanish-American War. That war was key to the US emerging as an imperial power in the Western Hemisphere.
The later sinking of the civilian passenger ship, the Lusitania, in 1915 off Ireland is another case of deliberate sabotage, to frame-up the Germans, which the US then used to launch itself into the First World War.More recently, the fabricated US claims of Afghanistan sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were invoked to sell American wars of revenge for 9/11 terror attacks in New York, which were themselves most probably propaganda stunts staged by US intelligence.
Another flagrant case of US authorities mounting a false flag was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which served as a pretext for American escalation of the Vietnam War. In 1964, communist North Vietnam was framed up for allegedly firing on a US navy vessel. That incident allowed the US government to dispatch conventional armed forces to Vietnam. Some 50,000 US troops were killed in that 10-year war, as well as three million Vietnamese. The only beneficiaries were US corporations and the Pentagon war machine.
Of course, the US is not unique in using false pretexts to cover for acts of war and criminality. But there can be little doubt from any objective study of history that the US stands out – without any compare – as the biggest purveyor of false flags, lies and propaganda to promote its warmongering. Warmongering that has destroyed dozens of countries around the world and inflicted tens of millions of deaths.Today, we are on another cusp of US-led war. Syria has been set up with a brazen false flag over chemical weapons, which in all probability is a sickening charade by Western-sponsored terror groups.
Russia and Iran, by extension, are smeared as part of an “axis of evil” by the US propaganda system owing to their otherwise principled alliance with Syria to defeat Western-backed terrorist proxies.
Most alarming is the US false flag effort against North Korea. This small, independent nation, which is not at war with anybody, is, in fact, a victim of American aggression – an aggression involving the sailing of nuclear-powered submarines and warships to its coastal waters.And yet US President Trump, whose country has thousands of nuclear weapons enough to destroy the entire planet, is labeling North Korea as the “world’s number one threat.”
The United States is the most dangerous terrorist force on Earth, largely because it is run by rulers who forge lies all the time for waging wars and obliterating humans. The supposed Commander-in-Chief President Donald Trump is himself a target of US lies. Can you get any more deranged than that?
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
French energy major Total could be the first Western firm to develop Iran’s vital natural gas project, with an agreement expected within weeks, according to Iran’s oil ministry.
Total is waiting to see “positive” developments in the US concerning sanctions, according to Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Trade Amir Hossein Zamaninia.
“Those developments are taking place, and Total will continue negotiating with Iran toward a final agreement over the project. This will depend on how prepared Iran would be and how long it would take to write the text of the deal. I don’t think it would take longer than a month,” he said as quoted by Iran’s ISNA news agency.
A preliminary agreement on developing the South Pars gas field’s Phase 11 was signed last November. Total along with China’s CNPC and Iran’s Petropars plan to invest $4.8 billion into the project.
Earlier this year, Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Ali Kardor announced that Total had started planning the construction of the first pillar of the platform at South Pars.
Total may become the first big Western corporation to start investing in Iran’s oil and gas sector since the international sanctions on Tehran were lifted at the beginning of 2016.
The French firm is leading a consortium that aims to develop the field, which will reportedly have a production capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day or 370,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Total’s has a 50.1 percent interest in the enterprise, according to the company.
Total had been waiting for an extension to a waiver on US sanctions against Iran before making the final decision on the investment worth $2.2 billion.
Last week, the White House confirmed that the Islamic Republic had so far complied with the agreed nuclear deal.
The 2015 agreement between Iran and six major powers lifted the decades-long sanctions. Since then, the country has been ramping up crude production to restore much of its lost market share. However, after years of economic isolation and underinvestment, Iran’s aging oil and gas infrastructure needs to get upgraded and redeveloped.
April 21, 2017
“The more arms produced, particularly in countries with unstable societies, the more potential exists for terrorist acquisition and use of nuclear weapons.”
It comes as Donald Trump of the US and Vladmir Putin of Russia have both indicated support for expanding their country’s nuclear weapon arsenals.
Deterrence is at the “greatest risk of breaking down” in North Korea and between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir, it said .