Posts tagged California
Posts tagged California
SOURCE [A gallery can be seen here]
A rash of up to 70 moderate earthquakes were felt on Sunday from Orange County and San Diego County into Arizona as part of a swarm of shakers located at the south end of the Salton Sea near Brawley, Calif.
According to the USGS, the largest quake was 5.5-magnitude that rattled Brawley, Calif., just before 2 p.m.
A 5.3-magnitude quake centered in Brawley was felt throughout San Diego county at 12:30 p.m. A 4.9-magnitude quake followed minutes later, as well as several lower magnitude earthquakes and aftershocks.
The epicenters of the bigger earthquakes were 11 to 12 miles from Imperial, Calif., and 15 to 16 miles from El Centro, Calif., the USGS reported.
According to the USGS, there have been roughly 70 lower magnitude earthquakes in the Brawley area on Sunday alone.
In San Diego, residents across the county reported feeling the quake in places including downtown San Diego, Mission Valley, Santee and Chula Vista. No injuries were reported.
San Diego State University geology expert Pat Abbott told NBC 7 San Diego that Sunday’s earthquakes were in the middle of the Brawley Seismic Zone, famous for swarms of quakes. He said Southern California residents should expect aftershocks.
“[The Brawley Seismic Zone] is a broad zone with lots of little faults,” explained Abbott.
“This area has clearly activated. We will likely experience swarms of 3, 4 and 5-magnitude [earthquakes] but they are not likely to increase in intensity. Of course, there are no guarantees on this, but history says they likely won’t get bigger – that we will experience more of the same or smaller quakes,” he added.
As of 1:30 p.m., San Diego Fire Dispatch had no reports of earthquake-related damages or injuries in San Diego county.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station declared a “Notice of Unusual Event” following the earthquakes around 12:30 p.m.
“An earthquake was detected by the station’s monitoring system. The station subsequently received reports of earthquakes near the Mexico border. The plant has been off-line since earlier this year, and there is no safety risk for the public or SONGS employees,” a statement from the plant read.
The declaration is part of protocol set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
At around 1:40 p.m. Southern California Edison posted this update to their Twitter feed: “Earthquake felt in [San Onofre power plant] SCE _SONGS control room. Plant is safely shutdown.”
At 1:57 p.m., USGS reported another 5.4-magnitude earthquake centered three miles from Brawley, Calif. USGS later upgraded the quake’s magnitude to 5.5.
In compliance with regulations, the San Onofre Generating Station issued a second “Notice of Unusual Event” at 2:03 p.m., following the 5.5-magnitude quake.
Southern California Edison posted this update on its Twitter feed following the second Notice:
“Once again, no plant systems harmed at @SCE_Songs and no risk to public safety. Will update when second NOUE has been closed.”
As of 4 p.m., Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley, Calif., was beginning to evacuate patients due to the ongoing quakes in the area. About a dozen patients were transferred to hospitals in San Diego and Riverside Counties, but the majority of the hospital was operating with a generator.
Brawley Mayor George Nava said all damage to the area was mostly cosmetic damage to businesses and homes. About 30 mobile home residents were displaced, and Red Cross helped them find shelter.
Several outages were also reported following the earthquakes in Brawley. Workers were repairing low pressure instances and power outages in the hours following the quakes.
Monday marks the first day of school for Brawley students, but all schools will be closed to assess the damages.
At least two individuals have been subpoenad to a federal grand jury that appears to be investigating a 2008 fire at the home of an animal experimenter at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
One of the people subpoenaed,José Palafox, said:
“I was approached by two FBI agents at the BART Station at 19th and Broadway in Oakland. They asked my name, identified themselves as Carrie and Matt from the FBI, and served me a subpoena to testify before a federal Grand Jury. They informed me that I had been served and left without asking me any other questions….
“I know nothing about the Santa Cruz action but believe this is a political prosecution and part of a government attempt to gather information on activists, specifically involved in the animal rights movement.”
Grand juries are often used to compel political activists to testify about their political beliefs and political associations. When activists enter a grand jury, they check their rights at the door. Those who refuse to take part in these political witch hunts face prison time. [Utah animal rights activist Jordan Halliday is currently in prison for his principled stand .]
In addition to Palafox, at least one other person has been subpoenaed, and another received a visit from the FBI.
Grand juries are secret, but there is some information about the scope of this one. The 2008 fire was also at issue in the prosecution of the “AETA 4″ on animal enterprise terrorism charges (which were all dismissed). And the prosecutor in that case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker, is also involved in this grand jury.
I’ll post more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you are contacted by the FBI or receive a grand jury subpoena, immediately contact the National Lawyers Guild hotline, (888) 654-3265. Also, watch this video.
Based on media coverage of the past week, here are some highlights:
—-Monday April 30th, San Francisco, nighttime—-
-Several hundred people march from Dolores Park behind a banner reading ‘Strike Early; Strike Often.
-First police cruiser to respond is covered with paint bombs and has its windows smashed by a garbage can, forcing it to retreat.
-Police who attempt to respond are forced back inside the Mission Police station when the crowd arrives and begins attacking. Windows are broken. the building, several vehicles, and a few cops are rained upon by paint bombs.
-Roughly a dozen yuppie business on 18th street and on Valencia have their windows broke and/or are hit with paint bombs.
-The fence is torn down from around a multi-million dollar condo construction site, which then loses its brand new windows.
-Several cars are have their windows broken and tires slashed. The vast majority of which were luxury cars. One luxury SUV is set on fire.
—-Tuesday May 1st, Oakland, daytime—-
-Snake marches leave strike stations and attempt to force the closure of several banks, businesses and government agencies (including CPS). Several scuffles break out with police and do-gooders. One such bank is entered and trashed from within.
-Police attack, fire crowd control weaponry, arrests, de-arrests, all out brawling.
-Several banks and ATMs suffer vandalism. As do a handful of businesses, including Mcdonalds.
-Windows smashed out of Police van which is trying to make arrests.
-Windows smashed on one news media van parked at Oscar Grant Plaza, tires slashed on another.
-Plaza is temporarily re-occupied and the surrounding area covered in graffiti.
—-Tuesday May 1st, San Francisco, daytime—-
-Building at 888 Turk is re-occupied and declared to be the SF Commune once again. Banner dropped from the facade reading ‘ACAB’.
-Individuals on the roof of the SF Commune fight the police who are attempting to evict it. One throws several pipes at SFPD vehicles, breaking their windows and otherwise damaging them. Another masked individual throws bricks at the police, knocking down officers and those standing too near to them.
—-Tuesday May 1st, Oakland, nighttime—-
-Police attack demonstrators at Oscar Grant Plaza, all hell breaks lose. Running battles between police and demonstrators all throughout downtown. Police use snatch squads and brute force.
-Many dumpsters and trash cans are set on fire along Broadway.
-Banks are attacked by demonstrators evading the swarming riot police.
-Two OPD cruisers are set on fire.
-CalTrain building is attacked
-Four Fremont Police vehicles have their windows and/or tires taken out.
Strength to those arrested in relation to the May Day events in the Bay, and elsewhere.
Freedom for Pax, and all other comrades imprisoned and awaiting trial.
Love to all the rebels who demonstrated their ferocity this week, including those who carried out targeted attacks in Bloomington, Portland, Memphis, Denver and NOLA.
Particular affection for the comrades in Seattle and New York: Seattle which made us cry in the face of pure beauty; and NYC which tried its hardest to do the damn thing, in spite of having to confront the world’s seventh largest standing army in order to do so.
Everything for Everyone! Let’s abolish this absence!
Death to the existent!
Wreckage including lumber, footballs, parts of roofs and factories, and even bikes will soon start coming ashore in North America
Wreckage from Japan’s tsunami – fishing gear and furniture, footballs and ships – has swept across the Pacific far faster than expected, with thousands of tonnes projected to land on North American shores this year.
Scientists believe lighter objects such as buoys and oil drums began reaching land last November or December. The rest is spread over thousands of miles of ocean between the Midway atoll and the northern islands of Hawaii.
About 95% will probably never come ashore and is destined for that massive swirl of floating plastic known as the north Pacific garbage patch. The remaining fraction is due to reach the west coast of the US and Canada in October.
No one expects to wake up one morning to a tsunami of rubbish. “It is not like you are going to be standing on the beach looking at the horizon and see a wall of debris come in,” said Nicholas Mallos, a marine debris expert at the Ocean Conservancy.
But there have already been some bizarre finds. This week a beachcomber in British Columbia found a moving crate containing a rusting Harley-Davidson motorcycle registered to Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, which absorbed the brunt of the tsunami. The crate also contained a set of golf clubs.
Last month a a football washed up on an uninhabited island off Alaskaand was traced to its owner, a Japanese schoolboy from the town of Rikuzentakata which was almost flattened by the tsunami. A 160ft fishing boat, the Ryou-Un Maru, drifting to within 300 miles of the British Columbia coast before it was deemed a hazard to shipping and sunk by the US coastguard, was also found.
Washington state officials last week put up posters advising residents what may arrive on their beaches, from common litter to aluminium canisters possibly containing insecticide, and derelict boats.
People were still talking Monday about a meteor shower over Northern California that created a loud “boom” heard and felt across much of the region.
A meteor streaked across the sky Sunday when it apparently broke up above the Earth, sending the sound reverberating across the area, said Stefanie Henry, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.
The National Weather Service received reports of the sound across Northern California, and even as far south as Orange County, she said.
Though the peak of the shower was Saturday evening, beams of light will probably be visible for several days.
However, light pollution around large cities such as Los Angeles may make it difficult to catch a glimpse, Henry said.
Title: SAN ONOFRE: Nuke plant tube inspections complete
Source: North County Times
Date: Apr 20, 2012
[…] Meanwhile, a fire in Unit 2′s electrical panel on the non-radiological side broke out Friday, but it was extinguished in less than an hour. No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The fire started at 12:34 p.m. Friday in an electrical panel in an area where non-radioactive steam pushes the turbine that generates electricity and burned until the plant’s fire crew put it out at 1:14 p.m., said David Song, a utility spokesman.
Edison spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre said the fire was “controlled easily.”
The utility reported an “unusual event” to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 12:49 p.m. and ended the event at 1:41 p.m.
Title: Small electrical fire reported at San Onofre
Source: The Orange County Register
Author: PAT BRENNAN
Date: Apr 20, 2012
A small fire broke out in an electrical panel Friday at the San Onofre nuclear plant, but the fire was put out quickly and did not involve nuclear material, plant operators said.
Both of San Onofre’s reactors remain shut down as the operator, Southern California Edison, continues to probe troubled steam generator tubes that have shown signs of premature wear; the cause is so far unknown. […]
Actually ‘probe’ is complete… just not released to public
Title: SAN ONOFRE: Nuke plant tube inspections complete
Source: North County Times
Date: Apr 20, 2012
Inspections of faulty tubes that caused the shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have been completed, but findings are not yet being released, Southern California Edison said Friday.
Kelp off California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s coastline, according to a new scientific study.
Scientists from CSU Long Beach tested giant kelp collected off Orange County, Santa Cruz and other locations after the March 2011 accident and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor.
The largest concentration was about 250 times higher than levels found in kelp before the accident.
“Basically, we saw it in all the California kelp blades we sampled,” said Steven Manley, a CSU Long Beach biology professor who specializes in kelp.
The radioactivity had no known effects on the giant kelp, or on fish and other marine life, and it was undetectable a month later.
Iodine 131 “has an eight-day half-life, so it’s pretty much all gone,” Manley said. “But this shows what happens half a world away does effect what happens here. I don’t think these levels are harmful, but it’s better if we don’t have it at all.”
Spread in large, dense, brown forests across the ocean off California, giant kelp is the largest of all algae and grows faster than virtually any other life on Earth. It accumulates iodine, making it a useful way to check how far radioactive material spreads.
“Kelp forests are some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth,” he said. “One thing about (kelp) is it has a large surface canopy,” which means it is continually exposed to the air and whatever contaminants are in it.
In addition, giant kelp concentrates radioactive iodine - for every 1 molecule in the water, there would be 10,000 in its tissues.
Kelp was collected at three sites off Orange County, as well as Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara, Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. The highest concentration of iodine 131 was found in the kelp off Corona del Mar, a town near Newport Beach that receives runoff from a large portion of Orange County. Its kelp was collected on April 15 of last year and tested five days later.
The level of radioactive iodine found there - 2.5 becquerel per gram of dry weight - was “well above” levels sampled in kelps prior to the Fukushima release, according to the paper, published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
It’s been over 50 years, but Wayne Ritchiesays he can still remember how it felt to be dosed with acid.
He was drinking bourbon and soda with other federal officers at a holiday party in 1957 at the U.S. Post Office Building on Seventh and Mission streets. They were cracking jokes and swapping stories when, suddenly, the room began to spin. The red and green lights on the Christmas tree in the corner spiraled wildly. Ritchie’s body temperature rose. His gaze fixed on the dizzying colors around him.
The deputy U.S. marshal excused himself and went upstairs to his office, where he sat down and drank a glass of water. He needed to compose himself. But instead he came unglued. Ritchie feared the other marshals didn’t want him around anymore. Then he obsessed about the probation officers across the hall and how they didn’t like him, either.Everyone was out to get him. Ritchie felt he had to escape.
He fled to his apartment and sought comfort from his live-in girlfriend. It didn’t go as planned. His girlfriend was there, but an argument erupted. She told him she was growing tired of San Francisco and wanted to return to New York City. Ritchie couldn’t handle the situation. Frantic, he ran away again, this time to the Vagabond Bar where he threw back more bourbon and sodas. From there, he hit a few more bars, further cranking up his buzz. As he drank his way back to Seventh and Mission, Ritchie concocted a plan that would change his life.
Now in his mid-eighties and living in San Jose, Ritchie may be among the last of the living victims of MK-ULTRA, a Central Intelligence Agency operation that covertly tested lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on unwitting Americans in San Francisco and New York City from 1953 to 1964.
“I remember that night very clearly, yes I do,” he said in a recent interview. “I was paranoid. I got down to where I thought everyone was against me. The whole world was against me.”
After the day had bled into night on Dec. 20, 1957, Ritchie returned to his office in the Post Office Building and retrieved two service revolvers from his locker. He was going rogue.
“I decided if they want to get rid of me, I’ll help them. I’ll just go out and get my guns from my office and hold up a bar,” Ritchie recalls. “I thought, ‘I can get enough money to get my girlfriend an airline ticket back to New York, and I’ll turn myself in.’ But I was unsuccessful.”
Out of his skull on a hallucinogen and alcohol, Ritchie rolled into the Shady Grove in the Fillmore District, and ordered one final bourbon and soda. After swallowing down the final drops, he pointed his revolver at the bartender and demanded money. Before joining the marshals, Ritchie served five years in the Marines and spent a year as anAlcatraz prison guard. But the cop had suddenly become the robber.
It was over in a flash. A waitress came up behind him and asked Ritchie what he was doing. When Ritchie turned around, a patron hit him over the head and knocked him unconscious. He awoke to a pair of police officers standing over him.
Ritchie says he had expected to get caught or killed.
The judge went easy on him and Ritchie avoided prison. He resigned from the Marshals Service, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, paid a $500 fine, and was sentenced to five years’ probation.
Ritchie’s story is certainly peculiar, but not unique. Other San Franciscans were unsuspecting participants in a strange research program in which the government effectively broke the law in an effort to fight the Cold War.
Seymour Hersh first exposed MK-ULTRA in aNew York Times article in 1974 that documented CIA illegalities, including the use of its own citizens as guinea pigs in games of war and espionage. John Marks expertly chronicled more of the operation in his 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. There have been other reports on the CIA’s doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation.
San Francisco may be known for antiwar movements and peace rallies, but when local law enforcement agencies needed help with supplies, they’ve turned to the U.S. military.
Over the past two decades, San Francisco authorities have acquired infrared devices, combat helmets, chemical protective gloves, vehicles and even a boat as discarded hand-me-downs free of charge from the Department of Defense.
In total, the San Francisco police and sheriff’s departments have taken $1.4 million in equipment, from a $20 pair of evidence boxes to “climber’s equipment” worth $325,000 in 1996.
Several other government agencies in California also have tapped the vast supply of free military surplus goods, equipping themselves with assault-style weapons and even tanks, first as part of the war on drugs and later in the name of fighting terrorism.
The agencies and their employees accumulated more equipment during 2011 than any other year in the program’s two-decade history, according to a California Watch analysis of U.S. Department of Defense data.
A total of 163,344 new and used items valued at $26.2 million - from bath mats acquired by the sheriff of Sonoma County to a full-tracked tank for rural San Joaquin County - were transferred last year to state and local agencies.
Police nationwide sought $498 million worth of equipment, including 60 aircraft and thousands more weapons than in 2010. Listed dollar amounts are based on what the military initially paid for the equipment.
More than 17,000 public agencies across the nation - including police, sheriff and fire departments - have taken advantage of the equipment giveaway of an estimated $2.8 billion since Congress enacted laws in the 1990s that created the program.
For the sheriff of Orange County, it was hundreds of flashlights, exercise equipment, four trumpets and gun parts. The Vacaville Police Department got “combat coats,” pistol holsters and canteens.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, which in years past picked up a $4.4 million, 85-foot patrol boat as well as a grenade launcher, in 2011 asked for four rifles and more than 200 pillowcases, along with tools, a $200 medical treatment table and other equipment.
The program is run online and open to law enforcement and other public agencies that sign up with the Department of Defense. Once the goods are transferred, the civilian police departments are responsible for maintenance and storage.
Police are allowed to sell or transfer the military surplus after a year. But weapons and anything else with “offensive military capability” can’t be sold - the equipment technically belongs to the Department of Defense and is considered on permanent loan to the civilian police agencies.
The program has ballooned despite congressional largesse that since 2002 has resulted in billions of dollars worth of homeland security grants - including $3.8 billion for California alone - set aside for disaster preparation and counterterrorism.
Erroll Southers, a former top state homeland security official, said the combat-ready equipment can look intimidating to the public, but it enhances safety during critical, high-stress calls.
“I don’t know how it could not look threatening, but that’s not the intent,” said Southers, now an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.
Side note: Also see Michigan State Police Extracting Your Cell Phone Data During Traffic Stops (From 2011)
WASHINGTON — Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.
The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.
With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.
But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.
The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.
The Journal Environmental Science and Technology reports in a new study that the Fukushima radiation plume contacted North America at California “with greatest exposure in central and southern California”, and that Southern California’s seaweed tested over 500% higher for radioactive iodine-131 than anywhere else in the U.S. and Canada:
Projected paths of the radioactive atmospheric plume emanating from the Fukushima reactors, best described as airborne particles or aerosols for 131I, 137Cs, and 35S, and subsequent atmospheric monitoring showed it coming in contact with the North American continent at California, with greatest exposure in central and southern California. Government monitoring sites in Anaheim (southern California) recorded peak airborne concentrations of 131I at 1.9 pCi m−3
Anaheim is where Disneyland is located.
EneNews summarizes the data:
Corona Del Mar (Highest in Southern California)
- 2.5 Bq/gdwt (gram dry weight)= 2,500 Bq/kg of dry seaweed
Santa Cruz (Highest in Central California)
- 2.0 Bq/gdwt = 2,000 Bq/kg of dry seaweed
Simon Fraser University in Canada also tested North American seaweed after Fukushima:
- “In samples of dehydrated seaweed taken on March 15 near the North Vancouver SeaBus terminal, the count was zero; on March 22 it was 310 Bq per kilogram; and by March 28 it was 380 Bq/kg.” -Vancouver Sun
- Seaweed in Seattle also tested positive for iodine-131; levels were not reported -KIRO
- No results after March 28 were reported
In addition, radioactive debris is starting to wash up on the Pacific Coast. And because the Japanese are burning radioactive materials instead of disposing of them, radioactive rain-outs will continue for some time … even on the Pacific Coast.
Of course, the government is doing everything it can to help citizens cover up what’s occurring. Wepointed out in January:
Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that high-level friends in the State Department told him that Hillary Clinton signed a pact with her counterpart in Japan agreeing that the U.S. will continue buying seafood from Japan, despite that food not being tested for radioactive materials [see this].
And the Department of Energy is trying to replace the scientifically accepted model of the dangers of low dose radiation based on voodoo science. Specifically, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley Labs used a mutant line of human cells in a petri dish which was able to repair damage from low doses of radiation, and extrapolated to the unsupported conclusion that everyone is immune to low doses of radiation….
American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborne radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising“acceptable” radiation levels.)
Indeed, the core problem is that all of the world’s nuclear agencies are wholly captured by the nuclear industry … as are virtually all of the supposedly independent health agencies.
So the failure of the American, Canadian and other governments to test for and share results is making it difficult to hold an open scientific debate about what is happening.
And it’s not just radiation from Japan. An effort by the Southern California Edison power company to secretly ramp up production to avoid public disclosure may have led to a leak at the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
And see these articles on California radiation exposure courtesy of EneNews:
Side note: The question remains: Is this PATRIOTISM or MURDER? [Considering all the jingoism in this fucked up shit-hole of a country, this question NEEDS to be asked, especially to all those self-righteous “patriotic” fucks out there.]
LOS ANGELES — An Iraqi woman brutally beaten in her southern California home in an apparently racially-motivated attack has died in hospital, US media reported.
Shaima Alawadi, 32 and a mother of five, died after she had been taken off life support Saturday at a hospital in San Diego County, CNN television reported.
Alawadi had been on life support since Wednesday when her teenage daughter found her unconscious in the living room of their home, the report said.
“During the initial stages of this investigation, a threatening note was discovered very close to where the victim was found,” police Lieutenant Mark Coit told the network.
Alawadi’s daughter said the note told the family to go back to Iraq and called them “terrorists,” CNN noted.
“A week ago they left a letter saying, ‘This is our country, not yours, you terrorists,’” the daughter, Fatima Al Himidi told CNN affiliate KGTV. “So my mom ignored that, thinking (it was) kids playing around, pranking. And so the day they hurt her, they left it again and it said the same thing.”
The family reportedly came to the United States from Iraq in the mid-1990s.