Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: People Piping Up Over Plovers

"A resurgence of plovers rankles beachgoers" by David Abel Globe Staff  June 07, 2015

REVERE — No one imagined that the tiny, threatened birds would stage a comeback on a beach where jets constantly swoop low overhead and thousands of people often pack nearly every square foot of sand.

But the state has been so successful in nurturing the piping plovers back to health on Revere Beach and elsewhere in Massachusetts that their nesting areas have begun consuming wide swaths of the state’s beaches.

That surprises me because I was told the oil spill was no day at the beach for them.

The result has been happy birds and angry humans.

We can't share the shore, huh? 

Think I'll pipe down for a while.

In recent weeks, as the sand-colored birds have arrived to roost on their eggs, the people detailed to protect them say they have been taunted, cursed at, and dismissed as flunkies of a state more concerned about birds than people. The bathers want their sandy shores back.

“A man told me the other day that he has spent his life trying to fight what we do,” said Lyra Brennan, a field technician for Mass Audubon, who has had to call on state park rangers for help as she patrols the beach with binoculars and a notebook.

When federal officials designated the region’s plovers as threatened in 1986, there were just 139 breeding pairs in Massachusetts. Since then, after spending $150,000 a year to help avert the extinction of the short-and-stocky species, the state has seen a resurgence of plovers, with an estimated 664 pairs nesting last year. That exceeds the federal goal of 625 pairs.

The success of the rescue effort has meant that more of the state’s beaches — and often more acreage on those beaches — are interlaced with fences at the time of year when people most want to use them. The plovers typically arrive from southern climes in late March, hatch their chicks, and then teach them to forage until July or later.

The tension sparked by the increasing number of protected areas is especially evident at Revere Beach, where 16 plover pairsare now in residence, nearly double the population last year and up from just one in 2007. The enclosures to protect the birds, which have set up nests near the bathhouses of a public beach that often attracts 10,000 people on a summer day, now take up 15 percent of the beach at high tide.

Local residents have circulated petitions, asking state officials to reduce the fencing or move the birds. But federal laws designed to protect the birds forbid this, and local officials can do little but relay their concerns to federal officials.

“I believe the anger is justified,” said Representative RoseLee Vincent, a Democrat from Revere, who last month held a meeting about plovers with constituents, the mayor, and representatives from Senator Edward J. Markey’s office.

The number of calls, e-mails, and other complaints are running at four times the rate she experienced before the plover resurgence.

“People are very concerned that if the barriers keep growing, there will be none of America’s first public beach left,” Vincent said. “The barricades have grown to a point of absurdity.”

With the huge crowds, large planes flying overhead to Logan, and all the noise and wind-blown detritus of an urban beach, ecologists were surprised in 2007 when the first pair of plovers began nesting in Revere.

“We would have never predicted there would now be this many birds here,” said Jon Regosin, chief of conservation science at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. “We have learned that they aren’t disturbed by noise.”

The birds have also managed to raise significantly more chicks in Revere than elsewhere. Last year, the plovers there succeeded in raising an average of 3.3 chicks, compared with about 1.3 chicks on other beaches in the state, Regosin said.

“The incredible success in Revere is because they’re getting extraordinary protection,” said Katharine Parsons, director of Mass Audubon’s coastal waterbird program.

The birds, however, are not doing as well elsewhere.

They have struggled on less-crowded beaches across the state and throughout their range along the Atlantic coast, where there is often limited protection from predators, such as gulls and skunks. They also struggle to fledge chicks on beaches subject to erosion; narrower shores mean less room to camouflage themselves with and eggs more frequently washed out to sea.

Across their range from North Carolina to Eastern Canada, there were an estimated 1,761 plover pairs last year – down 7 percent from their high in 2007 and well below federal goals. The US Fish and Wildlife Service won’t consider removing the birds from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act until, among other signs of revival, they maintain a population of 2,000 pairs for more than five years.

But the success of conservation efforts in Massachusetts has raised questions about whether the state is preserving the plovers at the expense of people, especially in Revere.

Really? How many people are dying because they can't swim at the beach?

“They’re denying us the right to use our beach,” said Cecilia Solomon, 87, one of scores of residents who live across from Revere Beach and signed a petition urging the state to take down much of the fencing. “It’s like they care more about the plovers than the people.” 

They probably do.

Ralph Carchedi, 75, who has lived in a tower over the beach for 30 years, called the 11 enclosures on Revere “a disgrace.”

“There’s no place left for the bathers,” he said. “It doesn’t even look like a beach anymore.”

State officials have heard the complaints in Revere and elsewhere, and in an effort to maintain public support, they have sought a waiver from the federal government from some of the Endangered Species Act’s strict rules.

They said they hope that, by next year, the federal government will grant Massachusetts more flexibility, allowing cars on some beaches, parking lots to open near nests, and for state officials to move some eggs, if deemed necessary.

For now, state officials say they are trying to balance the tensions.

They have sought to make the enclosures less obtrusive, using fiberglass rods and blue signs, which they say blend in better. And they say their focus is on educating the public, rather than threatening them with fines.

But there are challenges. Kids sometimes chase the birds. Others pick them up. Some have set bonfires near the nests, retrieve balls from the enclosures, and fly kites nearby, which plovers sometimes confuse with predators.

This week, the eggs on four of Revere Beach’s nests disappeared.


“This is hard work,” said Jorge Ayub, a coastal ecologist with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. “It’s all about striking the right balance.”

And there it is again!


At least the beaches are cleaner than the ones in Brazil:

"Activists staged a demonstration Saturday on a sewage- and trash-filled strewn Rio de Janeiro beach to protest authorities’ failure to make good on promises to clean up the Olympic city’s filthy waters ahead of the 2016 Games. Protesters met on Rio’s Botafogo Beach, in the Guanabara Bay near where Olympic sailing events are to be held, and unfurled a banner reading ‘‘One billion dollars and it’s still disgusting.’’ 

I wonder where that money washed away to and sank whose pockets.

And $peak of the devil:

"Scituate vacation home gets additional $180,000 in federal funds; Seaside rebuilding a mistake, critics say" by Beth Daley and Marta Craviotto New England Center for Investigative Reporting   June 03, 2015

SCITUATE — A vacation home damaged at least 10 times by Atlantic storms will be elevated with money from a federal grant for the second time in a dozen years – this time for $180,000 — town records show.

The 48 Oceanside Drive house has emerged as a symbol of controversial federal policies that financially support the rebuilding of homes on the ocean’s edge with tax dollars, no matter how vulnerable they are to rising seas from climate change and more severe storms. The grants add to the nearly $1 million the house has received for flood damage in the past four decades through insurance payouts and grants funded in part through taxpayer dollars.

Maybe the state should just seize it, huh?

“This is a repeated mistake,” said Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for Mass Audubon, an advocacy group calling for better management of coastal resources in light of global warming. “The way the federal flood insurance is administered now, there is a threat to public safety, a threat to public tax dollars and a threat to the environment by rebuilding in these vulnerable places.”

Have you gotten your bill yet?

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting learned about the grant to elevate the house because it was noted in a building permit for the property filed in late April. The grant was also confirmed by a government source.

The owner, a Florida widow, could not be reached for comment.

The house, which sold for more than $1 million in 2007, was last hit during the Jan. 26 blizzard. Once a small cottage, the house was renovated and expanded by various owners after flood and insurance payouts. It is now a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom house. The structure was first raised about 3 feet with a $40,000 federal grant about a dozen years ago. This time, it will go 5 feet higher.

The house is situated on the frontline of New England’s losing battle with the sea. Scituate hosts some 150 houses that, like 48 Oceanside Drive, are hit so often they are designated “severe, repetitive loss properties” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the national flood-insurance program. Most of these homes in the town of 18,000 have received at least four payments from the federal flood-insurance program.

Though always subsidized, the federal flood-insurance program was once self-sustaining, operating with enough paying homeowners to cover losses. But it has been in the red ever since a series of punishing storms began with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The program is now more than $20 billion in debt and relies on the federal government to stay afloat.

That is the $tory of this corrupt government.

Congress attempted to end the program’s premium subsidies in a 2012 law, but backlash over the enormous proposed increases in homeowners’ payments for flood insurance — coupled with new federal flood maps that assigned skyrocketing premiums for houses never hit by water — led to a new, less onerous law.

Properties designated as severe, repetitive loss properties now pay higher premiums. Yet the law also allows owners to receive 100 percent reimbursement for the price of elevating their homes.

Elevating houses can work; economic studies show that every dollar spent to elevate or protect buildings from flooding reduces future losses by $4 or more. That means taxpayers save money, said Doris Crary, a Scituate resident who elevated her house in 2010 and has not had a major hit by the sea since.

But the program has been controversial because many homes along the coast are owned by the wealthy and the flood-insurance and elevation grant programs do not look at income as a basis for reimbursement. 

Look, it's obvious government serves them because they are government. It's been nine + years of typing the same goddamn thing.

Clarke said that is not likely to change, but there needs to be a closer examination of houses often hit by the sea to see if they should be voluntarily bought out.

“There needs to be a portfolio of options ranging from elevating structures to abandoning areas that are repeatedly hit,’’ Clarke said.

Massachusetts officials have been looking at many options, including a buyback program for some homes, but that effort remains unfunded. On Tuesday, a coastal erosion commission refined recommendations — from an offshore sand-mining project to finding better ways to stabilize barrier beaches — before sending them to the Legislature for a vote.

Meanwhile, a legislative committee heard a bill last week that would require the state to plan for more severe coastal storms and erosion in the future.

“Warmer oceans, rising seas, and more severe storms are a recipe for disaster along the built shoreline,’’ Clarke said. “Eighty-seven percent of our 6 million [state] residents live within 50 miles of the shore.”

Then why is the Seaport district steaming ahead with development? It'll all be under water and subject to damage. Unless... 


Oh, yeah, and those premiums....

"Rich towns pay less for flood coverage, study finds; UMass report says reasons are unclear; wealthier towns may have more defenses" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  June 03, 2015

In Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, where stately homes and oceanfront retreats have lured sea captains, celebrities and even vacationing presidents, homeowners pay an average of about $1,400 annually in flood insurance premiums, less than many other coastal Massachusetts communities.

Yet, in Fairhaven, a blue collar community that shares its harbor with New Bedford, the owners of more modest homes pay an average of nearly $1,800 a year, nearly one-third more than the rich and famous on the Vineyard.

Across Massachusetts, wealthier communities, with higher-value properties, in general pay hundreds of dollars less in premiums than their lower income neighbors under the National Flood Insurance Program, designed to provide coverage to waterfront homes and businesses, according to a study to be released Wednesday by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

I'm going to pipe down again.

The reasons for the disparity in costs aren’t entirely clear, said Chad McGuire, the study’s author and a public policy professor at UMass Dartmouth.

They are to me.

It may be that wealthier communities have more out-of-pocket resources, so individual homeowners can spend tens of thousands to elevate their homes on stilts and move their properties further away from the water’s reach, thereby reducing their premiums.

Local governments, supported by a tax base of multimillion-dollar homes, are probably more able to build seawalls, set aside open space land, and otherwise invest in reducing the risks of flooding, thereby helping their homeowners qualify for federal insurance discounts.

But these factors don’t explain all the disparities....

Can't make any more excuses for your money ma$ters and audience anymore?


Let's sail on over the the Seaport for a bit:

"With a new mayor and a booming real estate market, we’re at the threshold of a major era in the architectural life of Boston."

"Towers on market for $1.5b may create record deal; Two Back Bay office buildings up for sale" by Dan Adams Globe Correspondent  June 04, 2015

Two well-known office and retail buildings along Boylston Street in the Back Bay are on the market for $1.5 billion, probably one of the highest asking prices for commercial space in Boston’s history.

Forget the increasing homelessness and hunger.

New York-based Blackstone Group LP is preparing to sell the abutting office buildings at 500 Boylston St. and 222 Berkeley St., according to a Boston real estate executive familiar with Blackstone’s offering. Details of the listing were also reported by Bloomberg News and the website Real Estate Alert on Wednesday.

The buildings total about 1.3 million square feet in size. A sale for $1.5 billion would put the price at nearly $1,150 per square foot, far higher than the selling prices of other commercial properties in Boston’s key business districts, which rarely top $700 per square foot.

“I don’t think any office building in the city has gone for that kind of money, and if they can get it, it shows how strong the market is,” said Larry DiCara , a veteran real estate lawyer at Nixon Peabody International LLP.

The listings come at a time of tremendous growth in Boston’s real estate market, with new towers and construction cranes dotting the skyline, and several super-size complexes under development or in planning.

Vacancy rates in Boston and Cambridge office buildings remain low, and rents in prime properties are climbing. A number of large US and international investors have also begun snapping up properties in Boston, contributing to a favorable climate for sellers....


RelatedDeveloper plans hotel for North End’s Lewis Wharf

And if you can't afford the luxury, you can always stay at the Pine Street Inn

"Once homeless, Boston job training graduates celebrate success" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Correspondent  June 04, 2015

In March 2013, Boston native Ronald Taylor left his foreclosed condominium with a backpack and nowhere to go. The 60-year-old college-educated accountant from American University was homeless, but if you ask him, he never lost his sense of direction.

“We’re hit with challenges every day; it’s only a matter of how you respond to them,” he said.

Two years later, he has responded in impressive fashion, donning another cap and gown Wednesday at Pine Street Inn’s job training graduation ceremony for the formerly homeless. Together, Taylor and 106 fellow graduates have completed the nonprofit’s intensive training in housekeeping, building maintenance, and food services.

Almost half the members of the graduating class have already gained full-time employment, said Lyndia Downie, the organization’s president and executive director. 

Oh, that's so wonderful! It's so great to see such success stories amidst such suffering and wealth inequality! Hooray for the insultingly corporate liberalism of the Bo$ton Globe!

“How many people here believe in superheroes?” Taylor, the graduation’s student speaker, asked the crowd. “I believe that if you’re in this room and wearing a cap and gown today, you are a superhero.”

Pine Street Inn has operated an emergency shelter and supportive housing for the homeless since 1969, but Downie says it began holding a formal graduation ceremony for job training graduates only in the past 10 years.

Some trainees, unlike Taylor, had not experienced the thrill of a college or high school graduation, and Downie wanted to provide the experience. She said it has been important for graduates of the training to receive a public acknowledgment for all their hard work.

Why do they need that? I don't.


One graduate, 53-year-old Patricia Baker, said she’s excited to put her training into practice after losing her health care job in 2009. Baker is now back on the job market, thanks to her newly acquired food service skills and Pine Street Inn training certificate. She has not found employment yet, but she’s enrolled in classes at Bunker Hill Community College and believes things are looking up.


What a TRAGEDY! 

Btw, she's taking away an entry level job for some kid. 

Enjoy the debt enslavement as you work your way up the burger-slinging ladder.

Still, in a ceremony packed with advice, the personal narrative of Ronald Taylor’s misfortune and resurgence was the unquestioned highlight, as evidenced by the whooping crowd. He is graduating from the building maintenance program.

“Life is not scripted,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

Life is not scripted, but the news is. In fact, much of the news is fake.

Taylor told the crowd that homelessness was his greatest challenge, and because he conquered that, he and his fellow graduates can do anything else, too.

After all, in March 2013, he was homeless and broken. And by March 2015, he had his own one-bedroom apartment to call home.

Let the applause begin. It's what I live for.


I wonder who is on patrol in that area.

Look what else washed up on the Globe beach:

"Elite SEAL team taking a greater role; Secrecy reflects new US way of waging war" by Mark Mazzetti, Nicholas Kulish and Christopher Drew New York Times  June 07, 2015

They have plotted deadly missions from secret bases in the badlands of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own. On clandestine raids in the dead of night, their weapons of choice have ranged from customized carbines to primeval tomahawks.

Around the world, they have run spying stations disguised as commercial boats, posed as civilian employees of front companies and operated undercover at embassies as male-female pairs, tracking those the United States wants to kill or capture.

In other words, so much of what is claimed in my paper is deception, and many of the "conspiracy kooks" have been right all along!!

Those operations are part of the hidden history of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, one of the nation’s most mythologized, most secretive, and least scrutinized military organizations. Once a small group reserved for specialized but rare missions, the unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine.

The bin Laden bit was all a bunch of bulls***.

See: Bin Laden Stories Show AmeriKan Media Not to be Believed 

They are not to be believed regarding anything anymore.

That role reflects America’s new way of war, in which conflict is distinguished not by battlefield wins and losses, but by the relentless killing of suspected militants.

It's not really new, the assassins squad bit.

Almost everything about SEAL Team 6, a classified Special Operations unit, is shrouded in secrecy — the Pentagon does not even publicly acknowledge that name — though some of its exploits have emerged in largely admiring accounts in recent years. But an examination of Team 6’s evolution, drawn from dozens of interviews with current and former team members, other military officials and reviews of government documents, reveals a far more complex, provocative tale.

While fighting grinding wars of attrition in Afghanistan and Iraq, Team 6 performed missions elsewhere that blurred the traditional lines between soldier and spy.

So did the U.S. of private contractors, an issue never even discussed in the propaganda pre$$ these days.

The team’s sniper unit was remade to carry out clandestine intelligence operations, and the SEALs joined CIA operatives in an initiative called the Omega Program, which offered greater latitude in hunting adversaries.

Team 6 has successfully carried out thousands of dangerous raids that military leaders credit with weakening militant networks, but its activities have also spurred recurring concerns about excessive killing and civilian deaths.

That's all well and fine, and Obummer should return that worthless peace prize.

When suspicions have been raised about misconduct, outside oversight has been limited. Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees SEAL Team 6 missions, conducted its own inquiries into more than a half-dozen episodes, but seldom referred them to Navy investigators. “JSOC investigates JSOC, and that’s part of the problem,” said one former senior military officer experienced in special operations, who like many others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity because Team 6’s activities are classified.

Even the military’s civilian overseers do not regularly examine the unit’s operations. “This is an area where Congress notoriously doesn’t want to know too much,” said Harold Koh, the State Department’s former top legal adviser, who provided guidance to the Obama administration on clandestine war.

Like the torture.

Waves of money have sluiced through SEAL Team 6 since 2001, allowing it to significantly expand its ranks — reaching roughly 300 assault troops, called operators, and 1,500 support personnel — to meet new demands. But some team members question whether the relentless pace of operations has eroded the unit’s elite culture and worn down Team 6 on combat missions of little importance. The group was sent to Afghanistan to hunt Al Qaeda leaders, but instead spent years conducting close-in battle against mid- to low-level Taliban and other enemy fighters. Team 6 members, one former operator said, served as “utility infielders with guns.” 

Actually, Taliban being beheaded by ISIS now so they are back to being friends. Wait a minute. U.S created ISIS insofar as it exists, so.... tough to know whose side of the war you are on when your government is on both sides. Good way to keep wars going in perpetuity though.

The cost was high: More members of the unit have died over the past 14 years than in all its previous history. Repeated assaults, parachute jumps, rugged climbs and blasts from explosives have left many battered, physically and mentally.

Actually, the strange and suspicious deaths are likely a rub-out campaign so these guys won't talk -- ever.


Did you see what they did to the latest victim?

What else washed up on the shore of this blog:

"Phoenix Rises: The Global Omega Program of SEAL Team 6 Death-squads

Phoenix: “the bloodiest and most inhumane covert operation in the CIA’s history.

Today a little truth pops out from the intrepid New York Times. The truth that I am speaking of is the fact that SEAL Team 6 is nothing more than a global death-squad running around ever corner of the world killing people who stand in the way of our “national interests” (i.e. corporate and banking masters)

Modeled on the old Vietnam-era Phoenix Program, the Omega Program combines SEAL Team 6, hired mercenaries, thugs cultivated from the locals and of course… Capitalism’s Invisible Army, or the CIA for short (and what kind of trucks are they driving again? hmmm)

But of course, being the New York Times, they tell this truth in such a way as make us all fawn over the prowess and tenacity of our most elite, bestest death-squad we’ve ever produced.

They have plotted deadly missions from secret bases in the badlands of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own. On clandestine raids in the dead of the night, their weapons of choice have ranged from customized carbines to primeval tomahawks. 
Around the world, they have run spying stations disguised as commercial boats, posed as civilian employees of front companies and operated undercover at embassies as male-female pairs, tracking those the United States wants to kill or capture. 
Those operations are part of the hidden history of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, one of the nation’s most mythologized, most secretive and least scrutinized military organizations. Once a small group reserved for specialized but rare missions, the unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine. New York Times
Engaging in “intimate combat” in the “badlands” getting “soaked in blood” during their “clandestine raids”? Is this the New York Times or a John Woo movie?

Hard to tell the difference these days ain’t it?

Yes, that’s how the Times decided to spin this story. They turned a global death-squad into a world class “manhunting machine”
Special Operations troops struck a seemingly endless succession of targets… 
But between 2006 and 2008, Team 6 operators said, there were intense periods in which for weeks at a time their unit logged 10 to 15 kills on many nights, and sometimes up to 25. 
The accelerated pace caused “guys to become fierce,” said a former Team 6 officer. “These killing fests had become routine.”.. 
“Whether they were facilitators, Taliban subcommanders, Taliban commanders, financiers, it no longer became important,” he added… New York Times
You see, it became irrelevant who these guys were sent to kill or why they were sent to kill them (and anyone who happened to be around them at that particular moment)

Such questions lead to confusion and unnecessary internal conflicts. It was enough that the CIA wanted them dead in whatever country they happened to be in at the time, so off they went with their CIA handlers, the few, the proud, the SEALS.

Oh wait. Did I happen to mention the SEALS were being led by the CIA now? Forgot that part. Here you go;
The missions, part of the Omega Program, allowed the SEALs to conduct “deniable operations” against the Taliban and other militants in Pakistan. Omega was modeled after the Vietnam-era Phoenix Program, when C.I.A. officers and Special Operations troops conducted interrogations and assassinations to try to dismantle the Vietcong’s guerrilla networks in South Vietnam. New York Times
Speaking of Hollywood.. wasn’t there a movie where a muscle-bound ex-governor and his muscle-bound crew of SEALS went into the jungle with a muscle-bound CIA guy and the ex-governor’s character got mad at the CIA guy because, and I quote, “my guys don’t do this kind of work!” (meaning assassinations)? I kinda remember something like that. And back in those days we were supposed to think that meant he was a soldier of integrity. A hero. Someone you could root for.

The times, they are a changin, huh?

Do you notice that little reference to the Phoenix Program? You notice what they say about it? It’s hardly accurate. Well, it’s about as accurate as anything else you might read in the Times.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Predator was about the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. They go in after a helicopter is downed, attack a small group of insurgents, capture one of them dragging her along with them, all on the behest of a CIA asshole who wants nothing more than intel on other resistance leaders so he can round them up and kill them as well. What they find is a nearly invisible enemy stalking them, blending into the background of a jungle they know nothing about, killing them one by one with almost primeval weapons. Clearly a smaller force but one with a tenacity and resolution that makes it deadly to our hapless band of SEAL Team members.

But enough about that.

If you want to know the truth about the Phoenix Program and what it was, you can start by reading this review of Douglas Valentine’s “The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam
Thus the CIA was confronted with a peasantry for whom land reform and peaceful cultivation in villages within families were paramount. In Latin America, the US regime had inherited the colonial latifundia systems imposed by the Spanish centuries ago. Southeast Asia was completely different. Of course this did not prevent the CIA from taking action. Drawing on what they thought were the lessons of US counter-insurgency in the Philippines and Sir Robert Thompson’s model Malayan campaign, a variety of tools were developed on the assumption that there are in essence two Vietnams south of the DMZ.22 The task of the CIA was to disaggregate them. The term that emerged was “VCI” or Viet Cong Infrastructure (Vietnamese communist infrastructure). The “real” Vietnamese were to be corralled and branded while the “communists” were to be culled from the herd. 
Since this distinction was an ideological fiction—albeit an indispensable one—two processes were needed: one which would create the real herd of South Vietnamese, identifiable at least by demonstrated loyalty or dependence on the Saigon regime; and one which would continuously cull the “enemy” from the herd. This loyal herd could be led to the elections that would validate the Republic of Vietnam (South). The rest could be “captured, turned, or killed”. This is essentially the way corporations create markets for superfluous products. There was no need for the Saigon government since most Vietnamese were justified in believing that when the French withdrew it was only a matter of time before the country would be unified under one government. However, to create a viable client regime the CIA had to create a market for it. T.P. Wilkinson, 2014
The Phoenix Program was about a lot more than simply getting rid of the “VietCong” guerrilla networks. It was about creating a new population in South Vietnam that would accept and support our neoliberal policies and whatever government we chose to install in their country with that end in mind. In order to get to that point, members of the population who would oppose us, not “guerrillas”, just everyday people, had to be culled from the herd. Removed. Kidnapped. Tortured. Killed.

That’s the Phoenix Program.
In the darkest days of the Vietnam War, America’s Central Intelligence Agency secretly initiated a sweeping program of kidnap, torture, and assassination devised to destabilize the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam, commonly known as the “Viet Cong.” The victims of the Phoenix Program were Vietnamese civilians, male and female, suspected of harboring information about the enemy—though many on the blacklist were targeted by corrupt South Vietnamese security personnel looking to extort money or remove a rival. Between 1965 and 1972, more than eighty thousand noncombatants were “neutralized,” as men and women alike were subjected to extended imprisonment without trial, horrific torture, brutal rape, and in many cases execution, all under the watchful eyes of US government agencies. 
Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with former participants and observers, Douglas Valentine’s startling exposé blows the lid off of what was possibly the bloodiest and most inhumane covert operation in the CIA’s history. 
The ebook edition includes “The Phoenix Has Landed,” a new introduction that addresses the “Phoenix-style network” that constitutes America’s internal security apparatus today. Residents on American soil are routinely targeted under the guise of protecting us from terrorism—which is why, more than ever, people need to understand what Phoenix is all about. 
The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam
This expose from the Times which casually mentions a comparison between today’s Omega Program and Phoenix, “ possibly the bloodiest and most inhumane covert operation in the CIA’s history.“, isn’t the first time Omega has been brought up via the MSM.

Back in 2011, the Washington Post wrote about these new hybrid omega-teams made up of Special Forces, CIA, contractors and hired thugs from various countries. Notice the type of vehicles they drive around in: Toyota Hilux.
“You couldn’t tell the difference between CIA officers, Special Forces guys and contractors,” said a senior U.S. official after a recent tour through Afghanistan. “They’re all three blended together. All under the command of the CIA.” 
Their activities occupy an expanding netherworld between intelligence and military operations. Sometimes their missions are considered military “preparation of the battlefield,” and others fall under covert findings obtained by the CIA. As a result, congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view. 
Hybrid units called “omega” or “cross matrix” teams have operated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, according to senior U.S. military officials. 
Those employed in Afghanistan were “mostly designed against specific high-value targets with the intent of looking across the border” into Pakistan, said a former senior U.S. military official involved in Special Operations missions. They wore civilian clothes and traveled in Toyota Hilux trucks rather than military vehicles. Washington Post
Who else drives around in Helix trucks? Let me think about that for a second…

Food for thought.
The CIA’s post-Sept. 11 arsenal has also included elite Afghan militias trained and led by the agency’s Special Activities Division, its paramilitary branch. Washington Post
Given the fact that the CIA’s monstrous Phoenix Program has been reconstituted, re-branded and globalized on an almost industrial scale, one might think the New York Times might take exception to that fact or at least present the news of it in such a way as to cause a bit of alarm in their target market.

Instead what we get is their typical white-wash of both the new program and the older one.

The Phoenix Program, when it went public, caused a great deal of outrage among Americans. The thought of our brave soldiers torturing, raping and killing random civilians in Vietnam didn’t sit well with most. There was even a congressional inquiry. Phoenix died a quick death after that only to be reborn from it’s ashes in several other programs like F-6 to mention one.

But today, we are treated to a little glimpse of the latest version of the CIA operation. The global Omega Program. Night raids, black bag kidnapping, torture sessions and blood orgies so commonplace, the operatives (as they are called) can’t tell one target from the other. So many victims, their names or crimes failed to even be considered important anymore.

Those aren’t soldiers that do that kind of thing… though there is a name for groups like that.

Quite a testimony is it not? How we’ve been changed in such a fundamental way that a program that was once condemned now serves as a model of operations? Risen from it’s own ashes, now larger in scope and limitless in geography.

Quite a thing to behold, is it not?

And where will the outrage be on the left? Where is it in the Times piece?


He's right. No one is piping up about AmeriKa's assassination squads roaming the planet.


I didn't mention yesterday because the Globe had cleaned up its coverage (amazing how oil spills are quickly cleaned up by the propaganda pre$$ even as the endless fart mist spews forth):

"Crews say 44 percent of Calif. coast oil spill cleaned" Associated Press  June 08, 2015

GOLETA, Calif. — Cleanup teams have determined that 44 percent of 96.5 miles of California coastline is clear of oil from the Refugio Oil Spill, a state official said Sunday.

The 44 percent includes mostly sandy beaches, which only have trace amounts, or less than 1 percent of oil, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Alexia Retallack. She said tar and oil is naturally found through seeps at Southern California beaches and should be avoided.

Yeah, the busted pipeline had nothing to do with it.

Never mind me, though; you go and believe the government liars and their mouthpiece media whores. 

Oh, and btw, this idea that energy conglomerates are fighting the health of Mother Earth is another bunch of hooey and calls into question those posing that argument as a false dichotomy. Otherwise, the tar sands guys wouldn't be calling for a carbon tax, 'er, price that will only benefit banks and Wall Street traders who can create CDOs out of carbon taxes. Haven't we smelled enough of that fart mist already?

Cleanup efforts span from northern Santa Barbara County into Ventura County. What’s left is more intensive and includes cobbled beaches. Retallack said there is no timeline for completion of the cleanup efforts and that some already cleared shoreline areas are still being monitored to ensure they aren’t re-oiled.

Oil blackened beaches in the area and created a 10-square-mile slick in the ocean after the onshore pipeline leaked up to 101,000 gallons on May 19.

More than 1,000 workers from local, state and federal agencies have been working to clean up the beaches, examining the areas at high and low tide, looking below the sand down to two feet and all rock and other beach structures for oils.

Honestly, thank God they are looking out for the health of us all, huh?

The spill has killed one sea lion, nine pelicans and untold numbers of fish. El Refugio and El Capitan beaches remain closed.



Hey, better than the beaches in Morocco:

"Eleven teenagers drowned Sunday during a beach outing south of the Moroccan capital after they were carried away by waves, authorities said. The report by the state news agency said five bodies have been recovered and six others are still missing and presumed drowned following lengthy searches by police. Two were saved. Morocco’s Atlantic coast often features rough waves but beaches have been packed amid hot weather."

The print brief I saw was expanded upon by the web.

Kids are lucky they drowned rather than end up in a Moroccan jail.

Turning to that sphere for a quick update (as the waves have calmed down):

"Politicians in north Italy vow to resist migrants’ settlement" by Frances D’Emilio Associated Press  June 08, 2015

ROME — Heartened by recent election successes by an anti-immigrant party, Italian politicians based in the north vowed Sunday not to shelter any more migrants saved at sea, even as hundreds more were being rescued in the Mediterranean from smugglers’ boats in distress.

Over the weekend, nearly 6,000 migrants were rescued by an array of European military vessels, including 2,371 who were saved Sunday from 15 boats that ran into difficulty shortly after smugglers set off with them from Libyan shores, the Italian coast guard said. Two German military ships brought some 1,400 people to Sicilian ports Sunday.

Mayors of Sicilian and other southern towns have warned for months that they have run out of room for migrants, and thousands of the rescued are being resettled in shelters in central and northern Italy while their asylum requests are processed. The migrants flee poverty, persecution, and war in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Gee, who was created those conditions, huh?

Among the north-based Italian politicians refusing to accept more migrants Sunday was the newly elected governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti. His candidacy was backed by his mentor, former center-right prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and by the anti-immigrant Northern League party.

Trying to make a comeback is that scum?

In Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, the Northern League leader, Governor Roberto Maroni, asked followers on Twitter if they agreed with him that ‘‘Lombardy mayors must refuse to welcome clandestine migrants’’ or else face regional funding cuts as punishment.

That's where my print copy ended the article.

Fueling pledges to welcome no more migrants in their regions was a warning Saturday from Britain’s defense secretary, Michael Fallon, that hundreds of thousands of migrants might be in Libya, poised to attempt the perilous sea crossing over the summer months.

Another UN refugee agency official, Carlotta Sami, called such figures speculation. But Northern League leader Matteo Salvini cited the huge figure when he spoke about ‘‘an alarm’’ of a flood of migrants.

Also pledging his region won’t accept more rescued migrants was Veneto Governor Luca Zaia, a Northern League proponent who scored a resounding victory for a second term in the May 31 vote. ‘‘First of all, we must do away with the illusion that we can support and manage a biblical exodus,’’ he said in an interview in Corriere della Sera daily Sunday.

Zaia contended his northeastern Veneto region, home to many family-run or medium-sized businesses, had no more room for migrants.

According to Interior Ministry figures, as of early May, Veneto was sheltering some 3,000 rescued migrants, or 4 percent of the national total. By comparison, Sicily, where unemployment is chronic, was sheltering 16,000 migrants for 22 percent of the total, while the more affluent region of Lazio, including Rome, had about half that number, for 12 percent, and Maroni’s Lombardy had some 6,600, or 9 percent of the total.

While these politicians in the north were saying no to more migrants, corruption investigations have showed that other Italian politicians and local officials see the shelters as a way to make money.

No f***in' $hit?

Last week, 44 people, including local politicians from the center-left to the center-right in the Rome area, were arrested for investigation of alleged corruption or tampering with public contract bidding. The Rome-based probe, which netted dozens of arrests a few months ago in an earlier chapter, examined public contracts for social services, including for asylum-seekers at a migrant center in Sicily.

In intercepted phone calls, one suspect was heard referring to migrant shelters as a ‘‘cow to milk’’ for money.

Rome daily La Repubblica on Sunday reported that prosecutors in Florence, the Tuscan capital, and in Bari and Catania in the south were also scrutinizing contracts for feeding and sheltering migrants. It put costs this year at more than $1.1 billion, about 40 percent more than was spent last year, when Italy rescued 170,000 migrants from smugglers’ boats in the waters off Libya.

Most of the migrants want to reach family or other support networks in northern Europe. They are supposed to stay in Italy until asylum applications are evaluated, although thousands slip away from the shelters and make their way to Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and elsewhere.

Not a terrorist among them, right?


Also see:

"World leaders on Sunday increased the pressure on Europe to resolve the Greek debt crisis, hours after one of the chief European negotiators expressed exasperation with how Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece was handling the talks. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, host of the Group of 7 summit, said she and France’s president, François Hollande, spoke to Tsipras late Saturday and briefed other leaders on the conversation. “We can’t say yet that the problem is solved,” Merkel told the broadcaster ZDF. “We are working flat out.” President Obama also intensified the pressure for a resolution, with the White House warning that a failure to reach a deal could spark financial instability around the globe. Earlier Sunday, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, accused Tsipras of failing to disclose important details of the proposal made by Greece’s creditors when he addressed Parliament Friday. Juncker said he wanted Greece to remain in the euro currency zone but could not “pull a rabbit out of the hat.” Greece has until June 30 to work out a deal with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, or it could default on its debt. The three entities lent Greece $240 billion in 2010 and 2012."

That will get you into the Balkans and there are no beaches there (well, there are, but I need to draw the line somewhere).