by Nafeez Ahmed / The Guardian
U.N. chemical weapons experts visit people affected by an apparent gas attack, at a hospital in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters
On 21 August, hundreds – perhaps over a thousand – people were killed in a chemical weapon attack in Ghouta, Damascus, prompting the US, UK, Israel and France to raise the spectre of military strikes against Bashir al Assad’s forces.
The latest episode is merely one more horrific event in a conflict that has increasingly taken on genocidal characteristics. The case for action at first glance is indisputable. The UN now confirms a death toll over 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom have been killed by Assad’s troops. An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. International observers have overwhelmingly confirmed Assad’s complicity in the preponderance of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people. The illegitimacy of his regime, and the legitimacy of the uprising, is clear.
From WW4 Report
Libyan oil production this month fell below 400,000 barrels per day—from 1.65 million bpd a year ago—as striking workers shut down export terminals. The Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) appealed to the Defense Ministry for military reinforcements after clashes at the Zueitina oil port Aug. 20. PFG chief Edris Abokhamada claimed that armed protesters at the facility “fired on civilians” after being asked to leave—apparently with no injuries. Clashes were also reported at the Brega terminal, and the Es Sider facility remains shut by worker occupations. The terminals are run by a partnership between Libya’s National Oil Corporation and majors Occidental Petroleum and Austria’s OMV.
On Aug. 19, Libya’s coast guard stopped a tanker from “illegally entering” the Es Sider terminal, amid accusations armed gangs are trying to market oil outside government control. According to Libyan oil officials, the vessel didn’t have any authorization to load from the port, which exports oil from concessions run by Libya’s NOC with Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips and Hess Corp. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has accused the striking guards at the terminals of trying to illegally market stored oil under their control. Global prices this week jumped above $110 a barrel in response to the loss of Libyan exports and unrest in Egypt. (Gulf Times, Aug. 21; WSJ, AFP, Libya Herald, Al Bawaba, Aug. 20; AP, Aug. 15; Libya Herald, Aug. 12)
Libyan oil production has been interrupted repeatedly since the fall of Qaddafi by striking workers, unemployed youth, and political protesters.
by Jeffry Ruigendijk / Al Jazeera
One of Abu Zechariah’s sons covers his mouth and nose while working with the refinery to avoid inhaling smoke emitted from the rusty tank.
Ras al-Ain, Syria – Abu Zechariah and his two sons are farmers in the Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain, in northeastern Syria. They are one of many families throughout Syria that have decided to start privately refining crude oil as a way to make money.
Trucks come from Ramlan to Ras al-Ain, where they then begin to extract the low-quality fuel using rudimentary and dangerous equipment.
Rival rebel groups and regime forces continue to battle for control of strategic oil and gas fields in Syria’s northeast. Since the war began, local demand for oil has soared due to the disruption in supply from the West, which has led to small, privately owned refineries being built throughout Syria. Though profitable, this process of refining “rock oil” is unhealthy, and explosions are always a risk.
“An Insurgency Against Fracking… Has Begun”
EF! Blockade at Momentive facility, NC, July 8 2013. Credit: Croatan Earth First!.
The following text is from a press release of the newly-formed Earth First! Media office, which provides correspondence to news outlets around the world.
Raleigh, NC—Earlier this month, activists with Earth First! blockaded the North Carolina facility of a company involved in hydrofracking for oil and gas. According to Earth First!, this action is the start of a coordinated effort to target businesses involved with the controversial fracking industry.
Following this action by Croatan Earth First!—a group based in central North Carolina—a new online resource, FrackIndustry.org, was also launched. The website provides detailed information, including addresses of offices and facilities operated by companies such as Carbo Ceramics, US Silica, Rainbow Ceramics, Northern Frac Proppants, and Momentive, the target of this month’s blockade in Morganton, N.C.
Croatan Earth First! says Momentive is a prime example, being one of the largest worldwide distributors of “resin coated proppants,”a necessary component for fracking. Each stage of the industrial process requires approximately 136 tons of the proppants. Continue reading
Timothy Gardner / Reuters
U.S. oil and natural gas operations are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks that can harm the competitiveness of energy companies or lead to costly outages at pipelines, refineries or drilling platforms, a report said on Wednesday.
The energy business, including oil and gas producers, was hit by more targeted malware attacks from April to September last year than any other industry, said the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report, citing data from a Houston-based security company, Alert Logic.
by Claire Thompson / Grist
It’s no secret that fracking companies engage in some shady behavior. But a report in The New Republic reveals just how low they’ll sink in the rush to exploit natural gas: Energy companies in eastern Ohio — home to the world’s largest Amish population and billions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves — have been convincing Amish farmers to sign away drilling rights to their land for far less than they’re worth, knowing that because their religious tradition frowns on lawsuits, the landowners will have little recourse for justice once they realize they’ve been duped.
by Kate Galbraith / The Texas Tribune
photo by Jennifer Whitney
Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water.
John Nanny, an Irion County commissioner and an official with Barnhart’s water supply corporation, said on Thursday that the situation was serious. When reached by telephone, he was working on pumping operations and hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center, he said.
The town has one main well that serves 112 customers, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But the well stopped pumping quickly enough Tuesday evening, and while there is still some water in it, Nanny said, “We don’t want to get down to the mud.”
Nanny said he had checked for a leak but had not found one. The Barnhart area has been hard-hit by drought, he said, just as surging oil and gas drilling activities have increased local water demands. Barnhart was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal owing to the increase in oil boom-related railroad traffic through the town. (Incidentally, Barnhart’s backup water well was drilled by the railroad in the early 1900s, Nanny said.)