Archive for January 3rd, 2013

03/01/2013

White House Wins Fight to Keep Drone Killings of Americans Secret

Human Wrongs Watch

By RT*, 3 January 2013 — A federal judge issued a 75-page ruling on Wednesday that declares that the US Justice Department does not have a legal obligation to explain the rationale behind killing Americans with targeted drone strikes.

**Aeryon Scout UAV in flight | Credit: Dkroetsch | Wikimedia Commons.

**Aeryon Scout UAV in flight | Credit: Dkroetsch | Wikimedia Commons.

United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon wrote in her finding this week that the Obama administration was largely in the right by rejecting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times for materials pertaining to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to execute three US citizens abroad in late 2011 [pdf].

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both US nationals with alleged ties to al-Qaeda, were killed on September 30 of that year using drone aircraft; days later, al-Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was executed in the same manner.

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03/01/2013

Growing Poverty in Germany ‘Politically Desired’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Dietmar Henning, WSWS*, 3 January, 2013 — Austerity measures dictated by the German government are plunging the peoples of Europe into a social catastrophe. Before Christmas, the National Conference on Poverty (NAK), an amalgamation of charities, churches and the German Trade Union Federation (DGB), presented its “Shadow Report”, which concludes that the growth and consolidation of poverty is “politically desired”.

**Berlin | Photo: Dnsob | Wikimedia Commons

**Berlin | Photo: Dnsob | Wikimedia Commons

The report, entitled “Those in the shadows are not seen”, is a response to the fourth official government report on poverty and wealth, which will probably be released by the cabinet in January 2013.

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03/01/2013

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans Go from Bad to Worse

Human Wrongs Watch

By Ben Ayliffe*, January 2, 2013 – In another example of why drilling for oil in the Arctic is such a monumentally bad idea, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, has run aground off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak in Alaska.

Shell’s drill rig, the Kulluk, runs aground after being towed from the Arctic back to Dutch Harbour in Alaska, USA. Source: Greenpeace

Shell’s drill rig, the Kulluk, runs aground after being towed from the Arctic back to Dutch Harbour in Alaska, USA. Source: Greenpeace

The ancient rig was being towed back to harbour after a spectacularly unsuccessful summer drilling season when it ran into serious trouble and hit the shore.

Last Thursday [29 December 2012] the Kulluk was being towed from the Arctic by Shell’s brand new $200 million tug the Aiviq when it hit heavy weather in the Bering Sea that caused the 400 foot towing line to break and the rig to drift free.

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03/01/2013

Arctic Sea Ice Loss Will Cause ‘Pronounced’ Future Melt – Study

By EurActiv*, 3 Januray 2013  A new study has found that Arctic Sea ice melt is creating a warming spiral, with the thinner winter sheets that replace long-term sea ice absorbing more solar heat and energy.

ice-berg-creative-commons-rita-willaert | Source EurActiv

ice-berg-creative-commons-rita-willaert | EurActiv

The paper by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany discovered that solar radiation through ‘first year ice’ was three times greater and allowed 50% more energy absorption than was with the case with ‘multi-year ice’.

This in turn could change the face of the Arctic. “Ice melt and less sea ice cover will [themselves] make it more likely that more ice will melt in the next years ahead,” Marcel Nicolaus, one of the report’s authors, told EurActiv. “We see that light transmission through sea ice will increase in the future.”

While previous studies had indicated that solar radiation was melting sea ice at the surface, and warmer oceans were melting it at the bottom, the new paper found that Arctic ice sheets were increasingly melting from within too.

“We showed here that the older multi-year ice is covered with fewer ponds at the surface, while the newer, younger ice has more ponds,” Nicolaus said. “This albedo radiation transfer effect will be more pronounced in the future,” he added.

Increased Arctic light transmission will also affect sea life in the Arctic oceans, although more research is needed to understand how.

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