U.S. meningitis cases rise to 64

Update
Fungal meningitis causes more deaths in U.S.
New Jersey 10th state to report an illness
Oct 10, 2012

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

The number of Americans sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 119 cases, including 11 deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Tuesday.

New Jersey is the 10th state to report at least one illness. The other states involved in the outbreak are Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio.

Officials have tied the outbreak of rare fungal meningitis to steroid shots for back pain. The steroid was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. At least one contaminated vial was found at the company.

The company recalled the steroid that was sent to clinics in 23 states, and later recalled everything it makes. Source

Seven die from outbreak after getting back pain shots

Oct 6, 2012

External Links

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

U.S. health officials say the death toll in a rare fungal meningitis outbreak across several states has risen to seven as the outbreak has spread to more than 60 people.

In updated figures posted to its website Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak has is now in nine states. The latest cases have been confirmed in Minnesota and Ohio. And, the number deaths has gone up from five to seven.

Health officials have been busy identifying the medical clinics across the country that received steroid shots for back pain now linked to the illnesses.

Authorities took the step to help identify everyone who may have gotten sick — or may still get sick — in the outbreak.

“All patients who may have received these medications need to be tracked down immediately,” said Dr. Benjamin Park of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is possible that if patients with infection are identified soon and put on appropriate antifungal therapy, lives may be saved,” he said in a statement.

The CDC said the number of cases of the rare fungal meningitis reached 64 cases as of Saturday afternoon. According to the CDC’s website, the number of infections and deaths according to state is as follows:

  • Florida: 4 cases
  • Indiana: 5 cases
  • Maryland: 3 cases, including 1 death
  • Michigan: 8 cases, including 2 deaths
  • Minnesota: 1 case
  • North Carolina: 2 cases
  • Ohio: 1 case
  • Tennessee: 29 cases, including 3 deaths
  • Virginia: 11 cases, including 1 death

Investigators have focused on a fungal meningitis made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. All the outbreak patients had gotten shots of the steroid for back pain, a common treatment, and inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with fungus.

On Friday, officials said they have found fungal infections in nine sick patients. They weren’t able to identify what types of fungus in every one of those patients, but did distinguish at least two types — Aspergillus and Exserohilum.

The first known case in the meningitis outbreak was diagnosed about two weeks ago in Tennessee, and the steroid was recalled last week by the pharmacy, New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

Steriod used in 75 facilities in 23 states

About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid were covered in the recall. On Friday, the government released the names of about 75 facilities in 23 states that got recalled doses between July and September.

It’s not clear how many were sent to clinics, how many were used, or even whether everyone who got one will get sick. Once infected, it can take as long as a month for symptoms to appear.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

At the prompting of government officials, clinics are notifying all the patients who got shots from the recalled lots.

“There’s a massive effort to contact all the patients,” said Marsha Thiel, the chief executive officer of MAPS, a company that owns surgery center clinics in Minnesota.

She added, “If there’s any question at all, they’re being directed to go to their physician.”

As a precaution, the Food and Drug Administration urged doctors not to use any of the company’s products, and released a list Friday that included other steroids, anesthetics and a blood pressure medicine. The company, which is now closed, said in a statement Thursday that despite the FDA warning, “there is no indication of any potential issues with other products.”

The steroid is known as preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, which the compounding pharmacy creates by combining a powder with a liquid.

There are FDA-approved versions of the drug, sold by the brand name Depo-Medrol, in good supply. So patients who need the medicine should not encounter a shortage, the FDA said Friday.

Most of the anxiety now involves patients who got steroid shots for back pain and are worried about becoming seriously ill.

“Our phone is ringing off the hook this morning. Patients are calling. Of course, they’re concerned,” said Paulette Fry, practice manager at Wellspring Pain Solutions in Columbus, Ind., about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. She said the clinic was sending out letters to about 300 patients who received spinal injections with the drug.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious like the more common forms. The types of fungus linked to the outbreak are all around, but very rarely causes illness. Fungal meningitis is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital. Source

McDonald’s drops U.S. egg supplier over ‘disturbing’ animal-cruelty video

By Mira Oberman

Nov 19, 2011

CHICAGO — Fast food giant McDonald’s severed ties with one of its American egg suppliers Friday after a video taken by undercover animal rights activists exposed shocking cruelty to chickens at a farm.

The footage showed chicks having the tips of their beaks being burned off by a machine and then tossed into cages along with images of barely identifiable corpses of birds that were left to rot in cages.

It also showed unwanted chicks left to die in plastic bags, birds mangled by the bars of overcrowded cages, and a chicken flapping its wings in distress as a plant worker swung the creature on a rope in a wide circle.

There are no federal laws governing the treatment of poultry on U.S. farms and most states have sweeping exemptions for farmed animals which allow for abuses to run rampant without prosecution.

“Unfortunately, much of the abuse we documented is not only standard, it’s legal,” Nathan Runkle, director of Mercy for Animals, which obtained the clandestine footage, told AFP.

“We’ve done over a dozen investigations at factory farms from coast to coast,” he said. “Every time we’ve sent an investigator into one of these facilities they’ve come out with shocking evidence of abuse and neglect.”

McDonald’s confirmed it had directed its supplier, Cargill, to stop sourcing McDonald eggs from Sparboe, the company at the center of the cruelty video.

“The behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

“McDonald’s wants to assure our customers that we demand humane treatment of animals by our suppliers. We take this responsibility — along with our customers’ trust — very seriously.”

Sparboe, a family-run company, said it had launched a probe after learning of the video and has fired four workers who engaged in mistreatment of chickens.

In a message posted on a dedicated website, owner Beth Sparboe Schnell said an independent auditor from Iowa State University confirmed the company is in “full compliance with our animal welfare policies.”

She said Sparboe Farms was the first American egg producer to have its “science-based animal care production guideline” certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But Runkle noted that the video shows that “much of the mishandling type of abuse took place directly in front of and under the watch of supervisors and managers” at Sparboe facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado.

He also said McDonald’s decision to drop Sparboe as a supplier also fails to provide a solution to the real problem — the use of cramped battery cages which give hens no room to walk or spread their wings, Runkle added.

Mercy for Animals said it was urging McDonald’s to use its influence as the largest egg purchaser in the United States to improve industry standards and stop buying eggs from farms that use such cages.

The video was released a day after federal inspectors issued a warning letter to Sparboe citing “serious violations” of food safety rules, including inadequate rodent control and testing for the presence of deadly Salmonella bacteria. Source

McDonald’s Cruelty: The Rotten Truth About Egg McMuffins‬

November 17 2011

Factory Farming is what they are talking about.

Factory Farming is horrid and the cruelty towards animals is beyond anything imaginable. Your really should see what happens to the animals you are eating and the unhealthy environment they are raised in.

I have a few examples of it below.

Food Inc. An unflattering look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry.

This documentary covers Chickens and Cattle For eating.

Go HERE for Documentary Wait for the Free User to come up and click on it.

Go HERE for more links if the Above one does not work.

Now here we have a few other Shorter Videos on Factory Farming

Hens Abused at Major California Egg Factory Farm

Rosebud Hog Factory – Part 1

At this crowded South Dakota factory farm, pigs limp across their pens exhibiting basketball-sized ruptures (hernias) and huge infected abscesses.

Rosebud Hog Factory – Part 2

Nebraska Hog Factory – Part 1

Emaciated female breeding sows, many with open sores, are housed at this factory farm in crates measuring 19 inches wide — even smaller than the industry norm of 24 inches

Nebraska Hog Factory – Part 2

Downed Animals

Disabled cows at this Nebraska slaughterhouse are dragged off trucks with a chain, then are abandoned for days without food, water, or protection from the elements. Many die from their injuries, illnesses, starvation, or dehydration.

Humane Farming Association on Oprah

September 21, 2011

HFA’s Bradley Miller talking about the veal industry on Oprah.

 

Cow Factory Farming.

Investigation Reveals Cruelty at Pig Factory Farm

This video I posted so you can see what is done to the baby pigs.  Even if your not a vegetarian you must still see this as very cruel inhumane treatment of an animal.

The Pig Picture Part 1

The Pig Picture highlights never-before-seen-HFA investigative footage. This powerful 18-minute video traces the development of commercial pig rearing in America – from the small-scale family farms of yesterday – to the corporate owned pig factories of today.

 

The Pig Picture Part 2

More information and Videos HERE

Humane Farming Association

Mercy for Animals

Animals need room to roam.

They need fresh air and to be clean.

Any animals who are caged or over crowed, as the animals in the videos go insane.

Imagine if you were trapped in a small room 10 feet by 10 feet with 20 people how would you feel. You have to stay in that small room until the day you die.

Think about it.

There are still many farmers who do not use factory farming methods to raise their animals.

The food they produce is much safer and the animals have less illnesses.

Antibiotics nor hormones should be put into food fed to animals.

The only time antibiotics should be used is if he animals is ill.

The US needs to protect your food supply, not let things like Factory Farming take over your food supply.  Factory Farming should be outlawed and normal farmers grow your food. Farm Animals need to be protected.

Imagine if those things were done your a dog or cat. Well Farm Animals need love and protection just like your pets.

Farm animals  have feelings too.

I know I grew up around farmers. They never would  do anything this horrible to any animal.  They treated their animals extremely well.

Factory Farms are not Real Farmers they are just greedy profiteers.

Real Farmers take great care with their animals.

I buy all my meat from Real Farmers.

I know first hand how they are treated.

I know first hand what they are fed.

I know the Farmers personally.

Factory Farms put Real Farmers out of business.

The thought of eating anything that comes from a Factory farm turns my stomach.

I kid you not Been there, Done that, Got the tee shirts.

Just watching the Videos of those poor animals made me chuck my cookies.

I don’t eat Fast Food. I would never know where the meat comes from.

I don’t take chances with my health. I also do not want to contribute to animal cruelty.

If you hate puppy mills then you should hate Factory Farms.

If you however wish to continue to eat Factory Farm Food

Remember you are contributing to the cruelty of innocent animals.

A happy animal is a healthier animal.

Animals need to go outside and have freedom to live just like we do. They need to feel the grass under their feet, the sunshine and enjoy the shade of trees. They should be respected and treated humanly.

As a consumer you can demand food from Real Farmers who raise animals in a safe, clean, healthy and humane environment.

We are after all the 99%.

Don’t allow A Factory Farm in your community.

This doesn’t just happen in the US. Factory Farming has spread to other Countries.

Now for something else you should know about

Supreme Court case: meat industry sues to keep downed animals in food supply

By Michael Greger, M.D.
Nov 3 2011

This week I participated in a press briefing to discuss National Meat Association v. Harris, a case appearing before the Supreme Court next week. The meat industry is trying to overturn a California law meant to keep “downed” animals—those too sick and disabled to walk to slaughter—out of the American food supply.

In 2008, an undercover investigation of a dairy cow slaughterplant in California showed that downers were being dragged to slaughter for hamburger meat distributed to the Federal School Lunch Program. The Humane Society of the United States investigators documented workers dragging downed cows with chains, ramming them with forklifts, shocking cows repeatedly in the face and eyes, beating them, and even shooting high-pressure hoses up their nostrils—anything to squeeze every last bit of profit from these animals. The investigation triggered the largest meat recall in U.S. history—143 million pounds of beef—for violations of food safety regulations meant to protect the public from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow disease”).

The investigation prompted California to strengthen its laws to keep downer livestock out of the food supply.  The meat industry—represented by the National Meat Association and the American Meat Institute—responded by suing the State of California to block the enforcement of the law on the grounds that only USDA had the authority to determine which animals are turned into meat. The California Attorney General argued that states should have the right to protect their citizens from the risks and abuses inherent in slaughtering downed animals. In response to the meat industry lawsuit, a federal judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of the downer ban, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision and reinstated the law. So the National Meat Association took it to the Supreme Court.

The handling of downers is not just an animal welfare issue. Inability to stand can be a symptom of disease that could threaten public health. Compared to those able to walk, downed cows were found to have 3 times the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7, the strain that kills dozens of Americans a year. The researchers concluded “downer dairy cattle harboring E. coli O157:H7 at slaughter may be an important source of contamination and may contribute to the health risk associated with ground beef.” A single downed cow infected with such a pathogen could theoretically contaminate more than 100,000 hamburgers with an infectious dose.

Downer pigs and sheep may also present a food safety risk. Downed pigs have been found to have 16 times the odds of antibiotic resistant Campylobacter infection, the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in the United States. Allowing downer pigs in the food supply, concluded one team of researchers, “potentially endangers public health.”

Even if one doesn’t eat meat, more than half of downer pigs tested in the Midwest were found to be actively infected with swine flu, both the classic swine flu virus and the triple hybrid mutant that led to the 2009 human pandemic that killed more than ten thousand Americans.

Other human pathogens linked to downed farm animals include anthrax, Salmonella, and mad cow disease.  At least two-thirds of the 22 mad cows so far discovered in North America have been downer cows. Though the riskiest tissues—the brains, eyes, and spinal cords—of most cattle are now excluded from most food items in the United States, there may be contamination of muscle meat via aerosolization of the spinal cord during carcass splitting. Significant amounts of central nervous system debris found accumulating in the splitting saws used to halve the carcasses may have the potential to then transfer contagion from one carcass to the next. Although, technically, processors are instructed to knife-trim “material grossly identifiable as brain material, spinal cord, or fluid from punctured eyes,” researchers have reported finding nervous tissue contaminating muscle in a commercial slaughter plant. Contamination of meat derived from cattle cheeks with brain tissue can also occur if the cheek meat is not removed before the skull is fragmented or split. Finally, captive bolt stunning, the predominant method used to render farm animals insensible before being bled to death, may blow a shower of embolic brain tissue into the animals’ bloodstream. Texas A&M University researchers found bodily brain fragments as large as 14 cm. The researchers concluded that mad cow pathogens could potentially be “found throughout the bodies of animals stunned for slaughter.”

An unequivocal ban on the slaughter of downed animals for human consumption would remove the incentive for the meat industry to transport and torment these animals rather than euthanize them, and thereby bolster the safety of the food supply. Sick animals can lead to sick people. Source

USDA Wants Poultry Producers to Regulate Themselves

Mar 16, 2012

A report has been released by the Food & Water Watch which stated that the USDA wants poultry producers to regulate themselves. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) called this idea a “Recipe for food safety disaster”. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss this report and some of it’s more disgusting findings.

Related

Food Fraud-Yummy! Ammonia-Treated Pink Slime Now in Most U.S. Ground Beef

Added September 20 2012

“Pink Slime”: Back, With a $1.2 Billion Lawsuit

 

Recent

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Indonesian Citizens Protest Obama’s Visit to Bali

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Indonesian Citizens Protest Obama’s Visit to Bali

Activists in Bali protest against the ASEAN summit and the presence of U.S. president Barack Obama.

From November 18 2011

Indonesians demonstrate in Bali during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to protest US President Barack Obama’s presence at the meeting.

November 18 2011

Protesters gathered outside the United States consulate in Bali on Friday and chanted slogans against the ASEAN summit and East Asia Summit (EAS), Reuters reported.

The event is being held in Nusa Dua, around 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the provincial capital of Denpasar, amid a security lock down that has been in place since the weekend.

The Bali demonstrators called on Indonesians to reject capitalism and pressure the government to put the interests of the Indonesian people first.

“We reject the summit as it’s not important because in our opinion, the Indonesian government had better concentrate on their own country because all internal crises are caused by the country’s wealth being taken by other countries,” said protest coordinator Hendry Saragih said.

The Indonesian demonstrators also called on Washington to stop its economic and military initiatives in the Asia-Pacific and instead mind the massive anti-corporatism protests it has been faced with over the past two months.

“He (Obama) does not need to come to the summit in Indonesia. He should just take care of his own country, we can see by the Occupy Wall Street movement that the United States has a serious problem concerning capitalism, and he must acknowledge it,” Saragih urged.

Obama is the first United States president to take part in the East Asia summit, which comprises the 10-member ASEAN group, along with China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Russia. Source

This could start happening all over the world. The US is not wanted.

Can’t say I blame them.

Obama should be taking care of business at home for sure.

Police brutality is getting out of control as you will see in the link below.

Occupy Wall Street Updates

ASEAN partners walk the talk

By Esther Samboh
November 20 2011

Business and economic deals and commitments have been made between Southeast Asian nations and their partner countries during the 2011 ASEAN and East Asia Summit, which included the United States, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia.

ASEAN and China have pledged to further liberalize trade in services, signing a new protocol to expand sectoral coverage of their commitments beyond the existing general agreement on trade in services (GATS) and the first package of ASEAN China Trade in Services agreement (AC-TIS), according to an official press statement issued by ASEAN officials.

ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said the enlarged free trade pact, which previously only included trade of goods and investment, would further boost trade and investment between ASEAN and China.

Earlier on Friday, Chinese banks, led by state-run China Development Bank (CDB), signed a US$1.3 billion agreement to disburse loans for the $2 billion Sumatra coal railway to be executed by Indonesia’s Bukit Asam Transpacific Railways.

“China will actively participate in regional cooperation with solidarity, cooperation and development in the region. How to maintain the positive momentum has been a common aspiration of East Asian leaders,” China’s assistant foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said.

With the United States, which joined the East Asia Summit together with Russia this year, Indonesia, ASEAN’s chair for 2011 and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, also signed intergovernment and business-to-business deals surpassing $22 billion during the summit.

Indonesia’s largest private airline Lion Air has made the largest ever purchase of the 230 aircrafts from the US’ manufacturer Boeing in a deal worth $21.7 billion, which US President Barack Obama considered a milestone for the nation’s stalling economic recovery.

“What we see here, a multibillion-dollar deal between Lion Air, one of the fastest-growing airlines, not only in the region, but in the world, and Boeing, is going to result in over 100,000 jobs back in the United States of America over a long period of time,” Obama said in his remarks.

On the government-front, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has granted Indonesia $600 million for poverty reduction projects to sustain the country’s economic growth through plans in reducing energy costs, increasing productivity and improving public expenditure.

Outside of the ASEAN-Japan summit, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano has also met with Indonesian Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa to follow-up on Japan’s estimated ¥4 trillion investment commitment to ease infrastructure bottlenecks in the nation’s capital Jakarta in the Metropolitan Priority Area (MPA) master plan.

Adding to that, Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said Japanese multinational electronics giant Sharp is also eyeing a $1 billion investment to build solar energy in Indonesia, which could “provide electricity and reduce costs for people in remote areas”.

South Korea, Australia and India also seek to enhance economic activities in ASEAN, with the free trade agreements (FTA) and comprehensive economic partnerships they have already agreed to with the region.

The ASEAN Economic Community Council has mulled a plan to consolidate all of the region’s FTAs with its six dialog partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand), which would make a free market of half of the world’s population with combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $20 trillion, Indonesian Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said.

Source

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The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

 

Just added February 18 2012

The actually cost more and are more of a danger to the public.

A couple of thing from report.

A 1992 study by the New

Mexico Corrections Department showed that guards at a private CCA-run women’s correctional facility were pressured to issue disciplinary infractions to inmates that resulted in prolonging their incarceration out of a desire on the part of CCA executives to maximize quarterly dividends.

Prison-for-profit inmates were more likely to report a lack of structure in their day. The difference stems from the fact that public prisons force its inmates to participate in rehabilitation activities while the prisonfor- profit does little to promote these programs. another benefit to the private prison industry, because rehabilitated offenders do not fill private prison beds and therefore do not generate profits.

There fore private prison promote prisons to re-offend costing tax payer more money in the end.

Sometimes private prison operators are so greedy for revenue-generating human beings to fill their cells that they bribe judges to sentence children to serious jail time for the most minor and trivial of offenses.

The IRS sued CCA in 2002 after its audit of the company suggested it was abusing tax loopholes to avoid paying its share of federal taxes.

Some do not even pay their taxes. So they have to be sued to get them to pay them which cost tax payer more money.

Privatizing prisons remove responsibility from the state’s elected representatives and makes it more difficult for the facilities to be held accountable by the public.

Less Guards  working for less money caused safety issues for the guards, who are also not well trained either.

Not mentioned in the report.

There is also a job lose issue which was not mentioned. There are fewer Guards per capita working in private prisons then in state run ones. Privatization caused job losses.

The less people working the less income tax that is paid. The smaller wages also mean those guards are paying less taxes as well.

There is much more to read ans everyone should understand what has been happening so read the report and be informed.

A report of the Privatization of Prisons in the US

 

So lets start with a report from 2008.

There were only 2 million prisoners then.

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

by Vicky Pelaez

March 10, 2008

El Diario-La Prensa, New York

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP

According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES

Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. “Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex,” comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”

PRIVATE PRISONS

The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton’s program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, “the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners.” The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.

IMPORTING AND EXPORTING INMATES

Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state’s governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering “rent-a-cell” services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.

STATISTICS

Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness. Source

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 1-3

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 2-3

Billions Behind Bars – Inside America’s Prison Industry Part 3-3

The links below may explain why there are many innocent people in Jail.

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We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas, former NYPD detective testifies

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Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System -Prison Corruption

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Powell receives 18-month sentence in prison corruption case

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Judge: Guerra can’t re-indict

The Nov. 17 indictments that a grand jury returned charged Cheney and Gonzales with profiting from private prisons, neglecting conditions and stopping inquiries into assaults/

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From December 2006 7,000 a Year Die in U.S. Prisons

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In 2009:  People

  • On Probation 4,203,967
  • On Parole 819,308
  • In Jail  760,400
  • In Prison 1,524,513

Grand Total  7,225,800

In 2001

  • The average annual operating cost per state inmate in 2001 was $22,650, or $62.05 per day; among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it was $22,632 per inmate, or $62.01 per day.
  • In 2001 the average annual cost for state prisons per U.S. resident was $204, up from $49 in 1986.

Executions during 2009   52

Executions during  2010 46

Number of prisoners under sentence of death   3,173

Source

  • One out of 100 American adults are behind bars
  • One out of 32 Americans are on probation, parole or in prison.

This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spends about $74 billion a year on corrections.

I tried to find the cost of the average trial, but couldn’t find much information on it. I imagine it would be  a lot.


From 2002 I did find this on Death Penalty Trials

Counties Struggle With High Cost
Of Prosecuting Death-Penalty Cases

January 9, 2002

By RUSSELL GOLD

When a Utah police chief was shot to death in July after responding to a call about a domestic dispute, tiny Uintah County’s decision to seek the death penalty was easy. “It was a law-enforcement officer in the line of duty,” says county attorney JoAnn Stringham.

Now comes the hard part: paying for the trial. So far, the county hopes to avoid raising taxes on its 25,959 citizens by spreading the as-yet undetermined costs over three fiscal years.

Other counties haven’t been as lucky. Jasper County, Texas, ran up a huge bill seeking a capital-murder conviction of three men accused of killing James Byrd Jr., who was dragged to death in a 1998 case that attracted national attention. (Two were sentenced to death; the third got life in prison.) The cost — $1.02 million to date, with other expenses expected — has strained the county’s $10 million annual budget, forcing a 6.7% increase in property taxes over two years to pay for the trial. County auditor Jonetta Nash says only a massive flood that wiped out roads and bridges in the late 1970s came close to the fiscal impact of the trial.

As a growing number of local governments are discovering, there is often a new twist on an old saying: Nothing is certain except the death penalty and higher taxes.

Just prosecuting a capital crime can cost an average of $200,000 to $300,000, according to a conservative estimate by the Texas Office of Court Administration. Add indigent-defense lawyers, an almost-automatic appeal and a trial transcript, and death-penalty cases can easily cost many times that amount.

The cost, county officials say, can be an unexpected and severe budgetary shock — much like a natural disaster, but without any federal relief to ease the strain. To pay up, counties must raise taxes, cut services, or both.

In research published last summer, Dartmouth College economist Katherine Baicker found that counties that bring a death-penalty case had a tax rate 1.6% higher than those that didn’t. Her statistical examination of 14 years of budget data from all 3,043 U.S. counties showed those with a death penalty also spent 3.3% less on law enforcement and highways. Ms. Baicker’s analysis found that the same pattern of raised taxes and spending cuts hits all death-penalty counties regardless of size.

In Texas, Dallas County is struggling to pay for concurrent cases against six prison escapees accused of killing a suburban policeman last year. Gov. Rick Perry gave the county $250,000 from discretionary funds to help.

The fiscal fallout can linger for years. In Mississippi, Quitman County raised taxes three times in the 1990s and took out a $150,000 loan to pay for the 1990 capital-murder trials of two men that went on for years. Now, the county is having trouble attracting a new tenant to a vacant warehouse because it has higher property taxes than any nearby county. A death-penalty case “is almost like lightning striking,” says county administrator Butch Scipper. “It is catastrophic to a small rural county.”

The issue has become more pressing as death-penalty case costs have pushed higher, says Jay Kimbrough, criminal-justice director for Gov. Perry. Among the causes: DNA tests and appellate-court decisions that require longer jury selection and more expensive defense attorneys.

Now local officials are pressing state governments for relief. In Texas, Jasper County’s experience helped persuade lawmakers last year to expand a program to help counties pay for the “extraordinary costs” of prosecuting capital-murder cases. (The discretionary funds given Dallas County last April were not part of this program.) State Rep. Bob Turner, who sponsored the legislation, says he was worried that smaller counties were “downgrading cases” — pursuing lesser charges rather than the death penalty — “to preclude the tremendous drain on the county budget.” While Mr. Turner says he knows of no specific examples, he says he often heard about the cost pressures during meetings with officials from the 17 mostly rural counties he represents.

A Trial ‘s TallyJasper County,Texas,spent more than $1.02 million bringing death penalty cases against three men for the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. A breakdown of expenses:
Court-appointed defense attorneys 28.3%
Telephone, travel and misc 20.6
Salary for extra prosecutors 17.3
Jury, courthouse security, court reporter 15.5
Investigation 15.4
Psychiatric evaluation 2.9

Costs notwithstanding, county officials say they pursue the death penalty when the crime warrants it. “It is very expensive and it is very burdensome on communities, so that gives people pause,” says Arthur Eads, who was the district attorney in Killeen, Texas, for 24 years. But, he says, “I never felt the heat to do it or not to do it because of the money.”

Polk County, in east Texas, was the most recent county to receive state help. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the sentence of Johnny Paul Penry, convicted of fatally stabbing a woman in 1979, and sent the case back to Polk County for a third trial. County officials toted up the likely costs: $250 to $350 per hour for the forensic psychiatrist to review and testify about Mr. Penry’s medical records; $700 to copy his 1,500-page prison record; $20,000 to pay for hotels, meals and mileage for prosecutors, investigators and support staff when the trial is moved to a different county, as expected.

Total estimated cost: at least $200,000. In December, Polk received $100,000 from the state to help pay the bill.

Other states have begun to set up what amount to death-penalty risk pools, allowing counties to pay in annually and receive funds in the event of a death-penalty case. Utah created one of the first such pools in 1997 after “the legislature got tired of bailing out counties,” says Mark Nash, director of the Utah Prosecution Council.

Uintah was one of six Utah counties that didn’t participate in that state’s risk pool. The county, in the northeast corner of the state, had never had a death-penalty case until Roosevelt City police chief Cecil Gurr was shot and killed in July, just a few feet inside the county line.

Now, as the county struggles to pay for prosecuting the case, local officials are convinced the insurance is a good idea. In August, Uintah paid $21,500 to join the state risk pool — for the next death-penalty case. Source

So how much did it cost for all the trials. Do the math.

Executions during 2009   52

Executions during  2010 46

Number of prisoners  sentence of death   3,173

More on the cost of Death Penalty Trials in Washington State and other Goodies.

Documenting the high costs of pursuing the ultimate punishment in Washington state

Prison Legal News

Crime Statistics > Prisoners > Per capita (most recent) by country

Population in China was 1,330,044,544  in 2008 – about 4 times more people live in China then in the United States.

Population in United States was  303,824,640 in 2008

Both populations are a bit higher now.

Think about that when you check the statistics in the link below.

Crime Statistics > Number  of Prisoners  (most recent) by country

Guantanamo detainees must also be included ad the price of keeping them is high as well.

Is it physically possible to hang yourself when bound, masked and gagged.

More on  Guantanamo Bay

Marijuana: Public Enemy #1

by Robert C. Koehler

November 10, 2011

“Play faster!” he cried, wildly, over and over. “Play faster!”

The dame who was tickling the ivories complied, out of control herself. The music revved to a dangerous velocity — oh, too fast for decent, sober, well-behaved Americans to bear — and . . . well, you just knew, violence, madness, laughter were just around the corner. The year was 1936 and, oh my God, they were high on marijuana, public enemy number one.

The scene is from Reefer Madness, arguably the dumbest movie ever made — but smugly at the emotional and ideological core of American drug policy for the last three-quarters of a century. The policy, which morphed in 1970 into an all-out “war” on drugs, has filled our prisons to bursting, created powerful criminal enterprises, launched a real war in Mexico and presided over the skyrocketing of recreational drug use in the United States. The war on drugs just may be a bigger disaster than the war on terror.

“The war on drugs, as it has been waged, has not only failed to curtail drug use; it has become a major public health liability in its own right,” writes Christopher Glenn Fichtner in his comprehensive new book on our disastrous war on a plant, Cannabanomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point (Well Mind Books).

Fichtner, a psychiatrist — he served as Illinois Director of Mental Health for several years — takes a long, hard look at the politics of irrationality and lays out a compelling diagnosis: “essentially, social or mass psychosis.” You can also throw in racism. The war on drugs is simply a race war by another name, fueled by fear of Mexican and African American culture, with the weight of law brought down on African Americans with wildly disproportionate severity:

“. . . during a period when the number of prison sentences for drug-related convictions increased dramatically for all drug offenders,” Fichtner writes, citing Illinois statistics between 1983 and 2002, “it increased for African Americans at roughly eight times the rate of increase seen for Caucasians.”

But reading Cannabanomics kept leaving me with the sense that there was a deeper irrationality to our anti-marijuana crusade than even the racism. For instance, “Examples abound,” he writes, “in which the application of mandatory minimum sentences has led to harsher penalties for marijuana offenses than for violent crimes ranging from battery through sexual assault and even to murder.”

And the violent enforcement of zero tolerance hasn’t been limited to the pursuit of recreational potheads. Those using cannabis medicinally have also been harassed, arrested and sometimes treated with such shocking violence you have to wonder whether the official paranoia about marijuana use — that it leads to mental derangement and violent behavior — is sheer projection.

For instance, early in the book Fichtner relates the story of Garry, a California man who used marijuana to relieve arthritic pain. Despite the fact that this was legal under state law, his house was raided by federal agents: “As he opened his front door, he was greeted by a battering ram and a physical takedown maneuver that left him with a dislocated left shoulder, right hand fractures, blunt head trauma, and a back injury that aggravated the arthritis for which he grew cannabis in his garage in the first place.”

Much of Cannabanomics is devoted to the extraordinary medicinal uses of marijuana, which has been called one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to the human race. It has been used, usually with little if any side effect, to alleviate chronic pain and chemo-induced nausea and relieve the symptoms of a stunning array of illnesses and conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, diabetes, hepatitis C, AIDS, cancer, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s. The list goes on.

The herb has been “part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded,” according to Dr. Gregory T. Carter, writing on the NORML website.

In light of this, our war against it — at extraordinary human and economic cost — illuminates a crying need for us to change the way we govern and look after ourselves. Another story Fichtner tells is about an Illinois man named Seth, who had suffered from epileptic seizures most of his life. He reluctantly tried using marijuana — one inhalation a day — because his prescribed medications weren’t helping much, and soon reduced the incidence of grand mal seizures from several per week to one or two per month.

The amazing part of this story, Fichtner notes, is that none of his doctors were willing even to discuss the therapeutic use of marijuana, though they were quick to recommend invasive procedures, including temporal lobe surgery. “. . .we Americans,” he writes, “live in a society in which it is acceptable practice for surgeons to destroy a piece of someone’s brain in order to prevent seizures but where use of marijuana for the same purpose . . . is a criminal offense.”

To my mind, it all smacks of the military-industrial metaphor that rules the American roost. We’re quick to seize on something as the enemy and organize ourselves blindly around its destruction, never stopping to notice that what we’re destroying is ourselves. In the case of the war on drugs, our “enemy” is our greatest ally. Source

Top 3 things YOU need to know about the private prison money scheme:

1) The victims: Private prisons don’t care about who they lock up. At $200 per immigrant a night, this is the “perfect” money scheme.

2) The players: CCA, Geo Group and MTC — combined currently profit more than $5 billion a year.

3)The money: These corporations spend $20 million a year lobbying legislators to get anti-immigrant laws approved and thus more inmates.

Join The Virtual Vigil and Occupation
Shut Down Stewart  http://mycuentame.org/immigrantsforsale/

Roberto Martinez-Medina died in CCA’s Stewart Detention Center in Georgia in 2009.

Medina had been arrested a month earlier for not having a driver’s license.

CCA profited off of Medina’s incarceration, and ensured a greater profit by denying him critical health care.

CCA has gone to great lengths to hush Medina’s death.

Sign the petition to demand an investigation into Medina’s death: http://immigrantsforsale.org
Pedro Guzman spent 19 months at CCA’s Stewart private detention because he missed an immigration order.

Authorities showed no mercy after Guzman explained the court order was sent to an old address.

CCA profited approximately $72,000 from Pedro’s detention.

Guzman’s wife Emily and only son Logan endured a painful and debilitating struggle to survive while they fought for Pedro’s release.

Doesn’t Pedro deserve to be reimbursed for his unjust detention? Tell CCA To Pay Pedro Back: http://tinyurl.com/paypedroback

Immigration detention: fastest growing incarceration system in the U.S.

The Harper Government in Canada wants to create Legislation similar to the Drug offenses in the US. Lets hope Canadians do not get coerced into this. Marijuana is not that bad. It has many uses medically and fewer violent crimes if any are committed because of it. Alcohol is far worse as far as crimes.  Those who use Marijuana are non violent.

If a police officer had a choice of going into a room with 20 Marijuana users or 20 drunk people the room with the Marijuana uses would be a much safer room. Drunk people are much more violent and much more dangerous. Marijuana users would be listening to music and eating. They don’t even bother to argue they just enjoy themselves. Drunk people fight and argue and alcohol is addictive where as Marijuana is not.

So I have to say Harper’s bill is wrong on many counts. If anything Marijuana should be legalized and the Government could regulate it and make profits/taxes on it. Open stores to have it sold etc.

It would eliminate grow ops and many other problems now associated with Marijuana.

If individuals grew their own or buy it from a Government store there would be no need for dealers and all the other problems now faced by police at this time.

Then the police could spend their time looking for dangerous criminals.

It would save a lot of money and make a lot of money.

End of a lot of problems.

Check the link below and get some insight as to how Medical Marijuana helps people and it is safer then many Pharmaceuticals.

It will even get rid of a headache.

The lobby groups who want to prevent the legalization of Marijuana are the Pharmaceutical companies. Not because it is dangerous, but because it would cut into their profits.

Medical Marijuana

The Harper Government in Canada wants to pass some of the similar laws  used in the US. Most pertaining to Drugs.  They are not affective in the US and will not be affective in Canada. The crimes committed in Canada have dropped. There are enough laws to cover all crimes in Canada as it is, so no new laws are necessary.  This will just put people a select group of people in prison longer, no stop crime.  Go to the link below and check it out. If you know any Canadians pass this on to them.  Seems Harper’s  Gov. passes many Bills and Canadians know nothing about them.

Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

Legalizing Marijuana  would create a lot of jobs something we all can agree on is needed. Maybe the drinkers would take up smoking Marijuana and make the world a safer place especially for women who are beaten by their drunken spouses.

Hemp growing and use has created many jobs.

Hemp was kept illegal and it is not even a drug because of Oil companies.  If there is one thing oil companies did not want it is Hemp on the market. Finally Hemp is making a comeback.

Hemp is not legal to grow in the U.S. under Federal law all because of the Oil lobby. How foolish American are. Gas can be made from Hemp as can plastics and are better for the environment.

The US government would rather go to war for oil, kill millions while they do it, destroy everything in their path and pollute the land for years to come.

Hemp as fuel is safer to produce then it is to drill for oil.

Hemp does not need Pesticides or Herbicides either.

Ceasefire in the War on Drugs?

CIA Drug Trafficking over 50 years

Why do you think American troops are Guarding the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan? Afghanistan went from no Heroin to tons of Heroin.

Plus the US got their pipeline.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Cost of the war on Drugs in US

There have been over 4,000  Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested.

Police Brutality is becoming a growing problem.

Did You Know In the Wealthy United States of America, there were 1.3 million homeless as of December 30 2010. Guess what there are more now. Each year the homeless numbers grow in the US.

Check the link below for more information.

Occupy Wall Street Updates

How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police

By Arthur Rizer & Joseph Hartman

Nov 7 2011

Over the past 10 years, law enforcement officials have begun to look and act more and more like soldiers. Here’s why we should be alarmed. 

At around 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2011, officers with the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team surrounded the home of 26-year-old José Guerena, a former U.S. Marine and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, to serve a search warrant for narcotics. As the officers approached, Guerena lay sleeping in his bedroom after working the graveyard shift at a local mine. When his wife Vanessa woke him up, screaming that she had seen a man outside the window pointing a gun at her, Guerena grabbed his AR-15 rifle, instructed Vanessa to hide in the closet with their four-year old son, and left the bedroom to investigate.

Within moments, and without Guerena firing a shot–or even switching his rifle off of “safety”–he lay dying, his body riddled with 60 bullets. A subsequent investigation revealed that the initial shot that prompted the S.W.A.T. team barrage came from a S.W.A.T. team gun, not Guerena’s. Guerena, reports later revealed, had no criminal record, and no narcotics were found at his home.

Sadly, the Guerenas are not alone; in recent years we have witnessed a proliferation in incidents of excessive, military-style force by police S.W.A.T. teams, which often make national headlines due to their sheer brutality. Why has it become routine for police departments to deploy black-garbed, body-armored S.W.A.T. teams for routine domestic police work? The answer to this question requires a closer examination of post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy and the War on Terror.

Ever since September 14, 2001, when President Bush declared war on terrorism, there has been a crucial, yet often unrecognized, shift in United States policy. Before 9/11, law enforcement possessed the primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the United States. Today, the military is at the tip of the anti-terrorism spear. This shift appears to be permanent: in 2006, the White House’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism confidently announced that the United States had “broken old orthodoxies that once confined our counterterrorism efforts primarily to the criminal justice domain.”

In an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks. Though the reasons for this increasing militarization of American police forces seem obvious, the dangerous side effects are somewhat less apparent.

Undoubtedly, American police departments have substantially increased their use of military-grade equipment and weaponry to perform their counterterrorism duties, adopting everything from body armor to, in some cases, attack helicopters.  The logic behind this is understandable. If superior, military-grade equipment helps the police catch more criminals and avert, or at least reduce, the threat of a domestic terror attack, then we ought deem it an instance of positive sharing of technology — right? Not necessarily. Indeed, experts in the legal community have raised serious concerns that allowing civilian law enforcement to use military technology runs the risk of blurring the distinction between soldiers and peace officers.

This is especially true in cases where, much to the chagrin of civil liberty advocates, police departments have employed their newly acquired military weaponry not only to combat terrorism but also for everyday patrolling. Before 9/11, the usual heavy weaponry available to a small-town police officer consisted of a standard pump-action shot gun, perhaps a high power rifle, and possibly a surplus M-16, which would usually have been kept in the trunk of the supervising officer’s vehicle. Now, police officers routinely walk the beat armed with assault rifles and garbed in black full-battle uniforms. When one of us, Arthur Rizer, returned from active duty in Iraq, he saw a police officer at the Minneapolis airport armed with a M4 carbine assault rifle — the very same rifle Arthur carried during his combat tour in Fallujah.

The extent of this weapon “inflation” does not stop with high-powered rifles, either. In recent years, police departments both large and small have acquired bazookas, machine guns, and even armored vehicles (mini-tanks) for use in domestic police work.

To assist them in deploying this new weaponry, police departments have also sought and received extensive military training and tactical instruction. Originally, only the largest of America’s big-city police departments maintained S.W.A.T. teams, and they were called upon only when no other peaceful option was available and a truly military-level response was necessary. Today, virtually every police department in the nation has one or more S.W.A.T. teams, the members of whom are often trained by and with United States special operations commandos. Furthermore, with the safety of their officers in mind, these departments now habitually deploy their S.W.A.T. teams for minor operations such as serving warrants. In short, “special” has quietly become “routine.”

The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the “men in blue” from “peace officer” to soldier. This development is absolutely critical and represents a fundamental change in the nature of law enforcement. The primary mission of a police officer traditionally has been to “keep the peace.” Those whom an officer suspects to have committed a crime are treated as just that – suspects. Police officers are expected, under the rule of law, to protect the civil liberties of all citizens, even the “bad guys.” For domestic law enforcement, a suspect in custody remains innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, police officers operate among a largely friendly population and have traditionally been trained to solve problems using a complex legal system; the deployment of lethal violence is an absolute last resort.

Soldiers, by contrast, are trained to identify people they encounter as belonging to one of two groups — the enemy and the non-enemy — and they often reach this decision while surrounded by a population that considers the soldier an occupying force. Once this identification is made, a soldier’s mission is stark and simple: kill the enemy, “try” not to kill the non-enemy. Indeed, the Soldier’s Creed declares, “I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.” This is a far cry from the peace officer’s creed that expects its adherents “to protect and serve.”

The point here is not to suggest that police officers in the field should not take advantage of every tactic or piece of equipment that makes them safer as they carry out their often challenging and strenuous duties. Nor do I mean to suggest that a police officer, once trained in military tactics, will now seek to kill civilians. It is far too easy for Monday-morning quarterbacks to unfairly second-guess the way police officers perform their jobs while they are out on the streets waging what must, at times, feel like a war.

Notwithstanding this concern, however, Americans should remain mindful bringing military-style training to domestic law enforcement has real consequences. When police officers are dressed like soldiers, armed like soldiers, and trained like soldiers, it’s not surprising that they are beginning to act like soldiers. And remember: a soldier’s main objective is to kill the enemy. Source

José Guerena was innocent of any crime and yet the police shot him 60 times.  That say’s a lot about the reality America’s live in now.

Wake up America.  You live in a Violent Police State.

US Lawmakers Corruption “Busted”

Recent

Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya

ICC to Probe NATO, NTC War Crimes in Libya War

US, NATO and Rebel war crimes in Libya

The Libya American’s never saw on Television

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Canada: Mohawk Elders looking for mass graves of Children that died in Residential Schools

Deaths in Afghanistan 5.6 million due to war

The real terrorist was me

Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don’t understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it’s profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it’s profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us- Mike Prysner

TRANSCRIPT
I tried hard to be proud of my service
but all I can feel is shame
The racism you can not master the reality of the occupation
it's the people it's the human beings
I seem I claim by guilt every time I see
an elderly man like the one that couldn't walk
and we brought by the stretcher and we called the Iraq's Police to take him away
I feel guilt every time I see a mother with her children like the one who cried hysterically
and screaming that we are worst than Saddam, as we forced her from her home.
I feel guilt anytime I see a young girl, like the one I grabbed by the arm, and dragged into the street.
We are told we are fighting terrorists;
the real terrorist was me and the real terrorism is in this occupation.
Racism within the military has long been an important tool
to justify the destruction and occupation of another country.
It's long been used to justify the killing, subjugation and torture of another people.
Racism is a vital weapon employed by this government.
It's a more important weapon than a rifle, a tank, a bomber or a battleship.
It's more destructive than an artillery shell or a bunker buster, or a Tom Hawk Missile.
While all those weapons are created and owned by this government,
they are harmless without people willing to use them.
Those who send us to war do not have to pull a trigger, or lab a mortal round.
They don't have to fight the war, they merely have to sell the war.
They need a public who is willing to send their soldiers in the harms way.
They need soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed without question.
They can spend millions on a single bomb, but that bomb only becomes a weapon,
when the ranks of the military are willing to follow orders to use it.
They can send every last soldier anywhere on earth,
but there'll only be a war, as soldiers are willing to fight.
And the ruling class, the billionaires who profit from human suffering
care only about expending their wealth controlling the world economy.
Understand that their power lies only in their ability
to convince us that war, oppression and exploitation is in our interest.
They understand that their wealth is dependent on their ability
to convince the working class to die to control the market of another country.
And, convincing us to kill and die is based on their ability
to make us think that we are somehow superior.
Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen,
have nothing to gain from this occupation.
The vast majority of people living in the U.S. have nothing to gain from this occupation.
In fact, not only do we have nothing to gain,
but we suffer more because of it.
We lose wings, and bear trauma and give our lives
Our families have to watch flag draped coffins rolling into the earth.
Millions in this country without health care, jobs or access to education,
just watch over this government squander of a $ 450 million a day in this occupation.
Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in other country and make the rich richer
without racism we realize that we have more common with the Iraq people than we have with billionaires that send us to war
We need to wake up and realize
that our real enemy is not the ones living in a distant land
the people whose names we don't know
and cultures we don't understand
The enemy is people we know very well and people we can identify
The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable
the enemy is the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable,
the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable,
the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable.
Our enemies are not five thousands miles away
the are right here home
but if we organize and fight with our sisters and brothers
we can stop this war we can stop this government and we can create a better world
If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign ennemy...
The loss of Liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger
real or imagined from abroad..."
- James Madison -
Edité par Phaedrus
Related
Racism not just in the Military but in America itself.
Recent

Who Is Behind the 25,000 Deaths In Mexico?

By Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy

July 28, 2010

With at least 25,000 people slaughtered in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón hurled the Mexican Army into the anti-cartel battle, three questions remain unanswered: Who is being killed, who is doing the killing and why are people being killed? This is apparently considered a small matter to US leaders in the discussions about failed states, narco-states and the false claim that violence is spilling across the border.

President Calderón has stated repeatedly that 90 percent of the dead are connected to drug organizations. The United States has silently endorsed this statement and is bankrolling it with $1.4 billion through Plan Mérida, the three-year assistance plan passed by the Bush administration in 2008. Yet the daily torrent of local press accounts from Ciudad Juárez makes it clear that most of the murder victims are ordinary Mexicans who magically morph into drug cartel members before their blood dries on the streets, sidewalks, vacant lots, pool halls and barrooms where they fall dead, riddled with bullets. Juárez is ground zero in this war: more than one-fourth of the 25,000 dead that the Mexican government admits to since December 2006 have occurred in this one border city of slightly over 1.5 million people, nearly 6,300 as of July 21, 2010. When three people attached to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez were killed in March this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the murders “the latest horrible reminder of how much work we have to do together.”

Just what is this work?

No one seems to know, but on the ground it is death. Calderón’s war, assisted by the United States, terrorizes the Mexican people, generates thousands of documented human rights abuses by the police and Mexican Army and inspires lies told by American politicians that violence is spilling across the border (in fact, it has been declining on the US side of the border for years).

We are told of a War on Drugs that has no observable effect on drug distribution, price or sales in the United States. We are told the Mexican Army is incorruptible, when the Mexican government’s own human rights office has collected thousands of complaints that the army robs, kidnaps, steals, tortures, rapes and kills innocent citizens. We are told repeatedly that it is a war between cartels or that it is a war by the Mexican government against cartels, yet no evidence is presented to back up these claims. The evidence we do have is that the killings are not investigated, that the military suffers almost no casualties and that thousands of Mexicans have filed affidavits claiming abuse, often lethal, by the Mexican army.

Here is the US policy in a nutshell: we pay Mexicans to kill Mexicans, and this slaughter has no effect on drug shipments or prices.

This war gets personal. A friend calls late at night from Juárez and says if he is murdered before morning, be sure to tell his wife. It never occurs to him to call the police, nor does it occur to you.

A friend who is a Mexican reporter flees to the United States because the Mexican Army has come to his house and plans to kill him for writing a news story that displeases the generals. He is promptly thrown into prison by the Department of Homeland Security because he is considered a menace to American society.

On the Mexican side, a mother, stepfather and pregnant daughter are chased down on a highway in the Valle de Juárez, and shot in their car, while two toddlers watch. On the US side, a man receives a phone call and his father tells him, “I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dead.” He hears his sister pleading for her life, “Don’t kill me. No don’t kill me.” He thinks his niece and nephew are dead also, but they are taken to a hospital, sprayed with shattered glass. The little boy watched his mother die, her head blown apart by the bullets. A cousin waits in a parking lot surrounded by chainlink and razor-wire on the US side of the bridge for the bodies to be delivered so that he can bring them home. The next day, the family takes to the parking lots of two fast-food outlets in their hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, for a carwash. Young girls in pink shorts and T-shirts wave hand-lettered signs. They will wash your car and accept donations to help bury their parents and sister, to buy clothes for two small orphans. “This was just a family,” says cousin Cristina, collecting donations in a zippered bag. She says they are in shock, the full impact of what happened has yet to sink in. So for now, they will raise the money they need to take care of the children. An American family.

Or, you visit the room where nine people were shot to death in August 2008 as they raised their arms to praise God during a prayer meeting. Forty hours later, flies buzz over what lingers in cracks in the tile floor and bloody handprints mark the wall. This was the scene of the first of several mass killings at drug rehab centers where at least fifty people have been massacred over the past two years in Juárez and Chihuahua City. An evangelical preacher who survived the slaughter that night said she saw a truckload of soldiers parked at the end of the street a hundred yards from the building and that the automatic rifle fire went on for fifteen minutes.

Or you talk with a former member of the Juárez cartel who is shocked to learn of a new cabinet appointment by President Calderón because he says he used to deliver suitcases of money to the man as payment from the Juárez cartel.

The claim that ninety percent of the dead are criminals seems at best to be self-delusion. In June 2010, El Universal, a major daily in Mexico City, noted that the federal government had investigated only 5 percent of the first 22,000 executions, according to confidential material turned over to the Mexican Senate by the Mexican Attorney General. What constituted an investigation was not explained.

On June 21, Cronica, another Mexico City paper, presented a National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) study that examined more than 5,000 complaints filed by Mexican citizens against the army. Besides incidents of rape, murder, torture, kidnapping and robbery, the report described scenes like the following: “June 1, 2007, in the community of La Joya de los Martinez, Sinaloa de Leyva: Members of the Army were camped at the edge of the highway, drinking alcoholic beverages. Two of them were inebriated and probably under the influence of some drug. They opened fire against a truck that drove along the road carrying eight members of the Esparza Galaviz family. One adult and two minors died…The soldiers arranged sacks of decomposing marijuana on the vehicle that had been attacked and killed one of their own soldiers, whose body was arranged at the crime scene to indicate that the civilian drivers had been the aggressors and had killed the soldier.”

The CNDH also names the army as responsible for the shooting deaths of Martin and Brayan Almanza Salazar, aged 9 and 5, on April 3, 2010, as they traveled to the beach in Matamoros with their family. The only thing noteworthy about these cases is that they ever became public knowledge. Many more victims and survivors remain silent—afraid to report what has happened to them to any Mexican official or news reporter.

Such incidents pass unnoticed in the US press and apparently do not capture the attention of our government. Nor does the fact that in the midst of what is repeatedly called a war against drug cartels by both the American and Mexican governments and press, Mexican soldiers seem immune to bullets. With over 8,000 Mexicans killed in 2009 alone, the army reported losses of thirty-five that year. According to Reporters Without Borders, a total of sixty-seven journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, while eleven others have gone missing since 2003. Mexico is now one of the most dangerous places in the world to be reporter. And possibly the safest place in the world to be a soldier.

When there is a noteworthy massacre, the Mexican government says it proves the drug industry is crumbling. When there is a period of relative peace, the Mexican government says it shows their policy is winning. On the night of July 15, a remote-controlled car bomb exploded in downtown Juárez, killing at least three people—a federal policeman, a kidnap victim dressed in a police uniform and used as a decoy and a physician who rushed to the scene from his private office to help dozens of people injured in the blast. A graffiti message attributed the blast to the Juárez cartel and claimed it as a warning to police who work for the Sinaloa cartel.

On July 20, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, minimized the Juárez bombing, saying that it was not aimed indiscriminately at civilians and that it did not indicate any escalation in violence. He parroted the declaration of Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chávez that the motivation for the bombing is economic, not ideological, and that “we have no evidence in the country of narco-terrorism.” US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual also indicated that this violence in Mexico, which also included a grenade attack on the US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo a few months ago, “is disturbing but has not reached the level of terrorism.” We are supposed to believe in their evidence that 90 percent of the dead are criminals, but that they have no evidence at all of narco-terrorism? This, despite numerous incidents of grenades and other explosives being used in recent attacks in the states of Michoacan, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sonora and many other places in Mexico. And that “armed commandos” dressed like soldiers and wielding high-powered machine guns are witnessed at the scenes of hundreds of massacres documented since 2008.

No one asks or answers this question: How does such an escalation benefit the drug smuggling business which has not been diminished at all during the past three years of hyper-violence in Mexico? Each year, the death toll rises, each year there is no evidence of any disruption in the delivery of drugs to American consumers, each year the United States asserts its renewed support for this war. And each year, the basic claims about the war go unquestioned.

Let us make this simple: no one knows how many are dying, no one knows who is killing them and no one knows what role the drug industry has in these killings. There has been no investigation of the dead and so no one really knows whether they were criminals or why they died. There have been no interviews with heads of drug organizations and so no one really knows what they are thinking or what they are trying to accomplish.

It is difficult to have a useful discussion without facts, but it seems to be very easy to make policy without facts. We can look forward to fewer facts and more unquestioned and unsubstantiated government claims. Such as the response by General Felipe de Jesús Espitia, commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, to a 2008 report by El Diario de Juárez that one out of three Juárez citizens believed the army occupation of the city had accomplished little or nothing. “Those who feel this way, it is because their interests are affected or because they are paid by the narco-traffickers,” he said. “Who are these citizens?”

General Jorge Juárez Loera, the first commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, put it this way: “I would like to see reporters change their articles and instead of writing about one more murder victim, they should say, ‘one less criminal.’ ” Source

So who is behind the murder of these people the US and Mexican Governments. This is just a way to terrorize the Mexican people. There is no war on Drugs it is just a fabricated bunch of crap used to kill people.  If there was a real war on drugs do you think the US soldiers would be guarding the poppy field in Afghanistan.  People, drugs on the streets are good for governments, drugged up people are easier to manipulate. It also gives the governments scape goats to use to steal more tax dollars for scrupulous purposes.  The money is then used for well obviously the Military, in other words war. Profits are made from the sale of weapons etc etc.

The so called drug war is a scam. Always was and always will be. How much you want to bet a lot or all of the money used for the Mexican Military is spent in the US. Weapons manufacturers benefit from Mexico’s fake drug war.  US tax dollars again making Americas rich, richer.

Recent

DoD Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets’ Exposure to Depleted Uranium in 1993

Another oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

The attack on the Gaza relief flotilla jeopardizes Israel itself

Nobel Peace Prizes ‘are being awarded illegally’

US House Vote on Afghan War Funding a Disgrace

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

The attack on the Gaza relief flotilla jeopardizes Israel itself

Israel – What Next

July 28 2010

- The IDF has not become more competent in recent years. By almost all accounts—including the Israeli government’s own commission of inquiry—it performed abysmally in the 2006 Lebanon war. … Finally, there is the danger that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, which could have terrible consequences for the United States. The last thing America needs is another war with an Islamic country, especially one that could easily interfere in its ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is why the Pentagon opposes striking Iran, whether with Israeli or U.S. forces. But Netanyahu might do it anyway if he thinks it would be good for Israel, even if it were bad for the United States. -

By John J. Mearsheimer  in the American Conservative

Israel’s botched raid against the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31 is the latest sign that Israel is on a disastrous course that it seems incapable of reversing. The attack also highlights the extent to which Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States. This situation is likely to get worse over time, which will cause major problems for Americans who have a deep attachment to the Jewish state.

The bungled assault on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla, shows once again that Israel is addicted to using military force yet unable to do so effectively. One would think that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would improve over time from all the practice. Instead, it has become the gang that cannot shoot straight.

The IDF last scored a clear-cut victory in the Six Day War in 1967; the record since then is a litany of unsuccessful campaigns. The War of Attrition (1969-70) was at best a draw, and Israel fell victim to one of the great surprise attacks in military history in the October War of 1973. In 1982, the IDF invaded Lebanon and ended up in a protracted and bloody fight with Hezbollah. Eighteen years later, Israel conceded defeat and pulled out of the Lebanese quagmire. Israel tried to quell the First Intifada by force in the late 1980s, with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin telling his troops to break the bones of the Palestinian demonstrators. But that strategy failed and Israel was forced to join the Oslo Peace Process instead, which was another failed endeavor.

The IDF has not become more competent in recent years. By almost all accounts—including the Israeli government’s own commission of inquiry—it performed abysmally in the 2006 Lebanon war. The IDF then launched a new campaign against the people of Gaza in December 2008, in part to “restore Israel’s deterrence” but also to weaken or topple Hamas. Although the mighty IDF was free to pummel Gaza at will, Hamas survived and Israel was widely condemned for the destruction and killing it wrought on Gaza’s civilian population. Indeed, the Goldstone Report, written under UN auspices, accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Earlier this year, the Mossad murdered a Hamas leader in Dubai, but the assassins were seen on multiple security cameras and were found to have used forged passports from Australia and a handful of European countries. The result was an embarrassing diplomatic row, with Australia, Ireland, and Britain each expelling an Israeli diplomat.

Given this history, it is not surprising that the IDF mishandled the operation against the Gaza flotilla, despite having weeks to plan it. The assault forces that landed on the Mavi Marmara were unprepared for serious resistance and responded by shooting nine activists, some at point-blank range. None of the activists had their own guns. The bloody operation was condemned around the world—except in the United States, of course. Even within Israel, the IDF was roundly criticized for this latest failure.

These ill-conceived operations have harmful consequences for Israel. Failures leave adversaries intact and make Israeli leaders worry that their deterrent reputation is being undermined. To rectify that, the IDF is turned loose again, but the result is usually another misadventure, which gives Israel new incentives to do it again, and so on. This spiral logic, coupled with Israel’s intoxication with military force, helps explain why the Israeli press routinely carries articles predicting where Israel’s next war will be.

Israel’s recent debacles have also damaged its international reputation. Respondents to a 2010 worldwide opinion poll done for the BBC said that Israel, Iran, and Pakistan had the most negative influence in the world; even North Korea ranked better. More worrying for Israel is that its once close strategic relationship with Turkey has been badly damaged by the 2008-09 Gaza war and especially by the assault on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship filled with Turkish nationals. But surely the most troubling development for Israel is the growing chorus of voices in the United States who say that Israel’s behavior is threatening American interests around the world, to include endangering its soldiers. If that sentiment grows, it could seriously harm Israel’s relationship with the United States.

Life as an Apartheid State

The flotilla tragedy highlights another way in which Israel is in deep trouble. Israel’s response makes it obvious that its leaders are not interested in allowing the Palestinians to have a viable state in Gaza and the West Bank, but instead are bent on creating a “Greater Israel” in which the Palestinians are confined to a handful of impoverished enclaves.

Israel insists that its blockade is solely intended to keep weapons out of Gaza. Hardly anyone would criticize Israel if this were true, but it is not. The real aim of the blockade is to punish the people of Gaza for supporting Hamas and resisting Israel’s efforts to maintain Gaza as a giant open-air prison. Of course, there was much evidence that this was the case before the debacle on the Mavi Marmara. When the blockade began in 2006, Dov Weisglass, a close aide to Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, said, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” And the Gaza onslaught 18 months ago was designed to punish the Gazans, not enforce a weapons embargo. The ships in the flotilla were transporting humanitarian aid, not weapons for Hamas, and Israel’s willingness to use deadly force to prevent a humanitarian aid convoy from reaching Gaza makes it abundantly clear that Israel wants to humiliate and subdue the Palestinians, not live side-by-side with them in separate states.

Collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza is unlikely to end anytime soon. Israel’s leaders have shown little interest in lifting the blockade or negotiating sincerely. The sad truth is that Israel has been brutalizing the Palestinians for so long that it is almost impossible to break the habit. It is hardly surprising that Jimmy Carter said last year, “the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than human beings.” They are, and they will be for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, there is not going to be a two-state solution. Instead, Gaza and the West Bank will become part of a Greater Israel, which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at this comparison, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land. In fact, two former Israeli prime ministers—Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak—have made this very point. Olmert went so far as to argue, “as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”

He’s right, because Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians. But that process will take many years, and during that time, Israel will continue to oppress the Palestinians. Its actions will be seen and condemned by growing numbers of people and more and more governments around the world. Israel is unwittingly destroying its own future as a Jewish state, and doing so with tacit U.S. support.

America’s Albatross

The combination of Israel’s strategic incompetence and its gradual transformation into an apartheid state creates significant problems for the United States. There is growing recognition in both countries that their interests are diverging; indeed this perspective is even garnering attention inside the American Jewish community. Jewish Week, for example, recently published an article entitled “The Gaza Blockade: What Do You Do When U.S. and Israeli Interests Aren’t in Synch?” Leaders in both countries are now saying that Israeli policy toward the Palestinians is undermining U.S. security. Vice President Biden and Gen. David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, both made this point recently, and the head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, told the Knesset in June, “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.”

It is easy to see why. Because the United States gives Israel so much support and U.S. politicians routinely laud the “special relationship” in the most lavish terms, people around the globe naturally associate the United States with Israel’s actions. Unfortunately, this makes huge numbers of people in the Arab and Islamic world furious with the United States for supporting Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinians. That anger in turn helps fuel terrorism against America. Remember that the 9/11 Commission Report, which describes Khalid Sheik Muhammad as the “principal architect of the 9/11 attacks,” concludes that his “animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” Osama bin Laden’s hostility toward the United States was fuelled in part by this same concern.

Popular anger toward the United States also threatens the rulers of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, key U.S. allies who are frequently seen as America’s lackeys. The collapse of any of these regimes would be a big blow to the U.S. position in the region; however, Washington’s unyielding support for Israel makes these governments weaker, not stronger. More importantly, the rupture in Israel’s relationship with Turkey will surely damage America’s otherwise close relationship with Turkey, a NATO member and a key U.S. ally in Europe and the Middle East.

Finally, there is the danger that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, which could have terrible consequences for the United States. The last thing America needs is another war with an Islamic country, especially one that could easily interfere in its ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is why the Pentagon opposes striking Iran, whether with Israeli or U.S. forces. But Netanyahu might do it anyway if he thinks it would be good for Israel, even if it were bad for the United States.

Dark Days Ahead for the Lobby

Israel’s troubled trajectory is also causing major headaches for its American supporters. First, there is the matter of choosing between Israel and the United States. This is sometimes referred to as the issue of dual loyalty, but that term is a misnomer. Americans are allowed to have dual citizenship—and in effect, dual loyalty—and this is no problem as long as the interests of the other country are in synch with America’s interests. For decades, Israel’s supporters have striven to shape public discourse in the United States so that most Americans believe the two countries’ interests are identical. That situation is changing, however. Not only is there now open talk about clashing interests, but knowledgeable people are openly asking whether Israel’s actions are detrimental to U.S. security.

The lobby has been scrambling to discredit this new discourse, either by reasserting the standard argument that Israel’s interests are synonymous with America’s or by claiming that Israel—to quote a recent statement by Mortimer Zuckerman, a key figure in the lobby—“has been an ally that has paid dividends exceeding its costs.” A more sophisticated approach, which is reflected in an AIPAC-sponsored letter that 337 congresspersons sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March, acknowledges that there will be differences between the two countries, but argues that “such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence.” In other words, keep the differences behind closed doors and away from the American public. It is too late, however, to quell the public debate about whether Israel’s actions are damaging U.S. interests. In fact, it is likely to grow louder and more contentious with time.

This changing discourse creates a daunting problem for Israel’s supporters, because they will have to side either with Israel or the United States when the two countries’ interests clash. Thus far, most of the key individuals and institutions in the lobby have sided with Israel when there was a dispute. For example, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have had two big public fights over settlements. Both times the lobby sided with Netanyahu and helped him thwart Obama. It seems clear that individuals like Abraham Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, and organizations like AIPAC are primarily concerned about Israel’s interests, not America’s.

This situation is very dangerous for the lobby. The real problem is not dual loyalty but choosing between the two loyalties and ultimately putting the interests of Israel ahead of those of America. The lobby’s unstinting commitment to defending Israel, which sometimes means shortchanging U.S. interests, is likely to become more apparent to more Americans in the future, and that could lead to a wicked backlash against Israel’s supporters as well as Israel.

The lobby faces yet another challenge: defending an apartheid state in the liberal West is not going to be easy. Once it is widely recognized that the two-state solution is dead and Israel has become like white-ruled South Africa—and that day is not far off—support for Israel inside the American Jewish community is likely to diminish significantly. The main reason is that apartheid is a despicable political system that is fundamentally at odds with basic American values as well as core Jewish values. For sure there will be some Jews who will defend Israel no matter what kind of political system it has. But their numbers will shrink over time, in large part because survey data shows that younger American Jews feel less attachment to Israel than their elders, which makes them less inclined to defend Israel blindly.

The bottom line is that Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state over the long term because it will not be able to depend on the American Jewish community to defend such a reprehensible political order.

Assisted Suicide

Israel is facing a bleak future, yet there is no reason to think that it will change course anytime soon. The political center of gravity in Israel has shifted sharply to the right and there is no sizable pro-peace political party or movement. Moreover, it remains firmly committed to the belief that what cannot be solved by force can be solved with greater force, and many Israelis view the Palestinians with contempt if not hatred. Neither the Palestinians nor any of Israel’s immediate neighbors are powerful enough to deter it, and the lobby will remain influential enough over the next decade to protect Israel from meaningful U.S. pressure.

Remarkably, the lobby is helping Israel commit national suicide while also doing serious damage to American security interests. Voices challenging this tragic situation have grown slightly more numerous in recent years, but the majority of political commentators and virtually all U.S. politicians seem blissfully ignorant of where this is headed, or unwilling to risk their careers by speaking out.
__________________________________________

John J. Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and coauthor of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Source

Israel harms itself all the time this is nothing new. Seems they want everyone to hate them. They certainly go out of their way to make people hate what they do. They do some extremely horrid things.

Stealing body parts from people.

Torturing people including children.

Throwing thousands of Palestinians in prisons including children and Israelis who refuse to go to war or protest against Israels actions.

Radiating Jewish children.

Experimenting with radiation on their own people.

Using weapons of mass destruction on Palestinians or their neighbours that will also kill their own people and those in neighbouring countries.

Starving innocent people to achive a foolish political agenda.

Assiting the US in horrid wars as a funnel tunnel for money and weapons.

Israel is a rouge state and an Apartheid state. They helped South Africa create their Apartheid state as well.

Assassinations. Starting wars. Attacking the USS Liberty ETC.

Using terroist ideologies to take Palestine away from the Palestinian people.

Israel is not just a threat to the US it is a threat to the world. They love war. They just adore war.

Their history speaks for itself. Unfortunately most people don’t know all the horrid things they have done. What a shame.

Those who speak out against what they do and attempt to bring the truth to the fore front are demonized and terrorized.

Those who attempt to defend the Palestinians many times are killed by the Israelis as in the case of Rachel Corrie.

Children and others who protest peacefully are many times shot, injured or killed.

Wage war not to defend itself, but to simply attempt to prove they are more powerful.

Hamas did not break the ceasefire in 2008 Israel did.

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Jews around the world who fail to see the light and  blindly support Israel, obviously do not see the danger Israel posses, no only to the world at large, but to all Jews world wide. To be so blind is rather sad. One has to wonder how anyone could be so brainwashed.

There is enough evidence and history to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, Israel is dangerous.

These are just a few stories about Israel. These are a mere tip of a gigantic iceberg. There are more in my Archives.

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes, Fake Hijackers

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank

Arrest of Israeli officer leading organ trafficking ring

Israeli troops attack protesters injuring and killing Again!

The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Rachel Corrie’s parents Get Nasty Letter from professor at Haifa University

Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest

Israel “blackmails Gaza’s patients to turn them into collaborators”

Amir, ten years old, abducted by Israeli soldiers from his bed

“This Time We Went Too Far” Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion

E-book on Jewish National Fund’s role in colonization of Palestine

Israel on Trial – The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

Full Israeli  El Al flight took off on 9/11 from JFK to Tel Aviv

Mossad using Spanish passport Arrested in Algeria

British MPs call for review of arms export to Israel

Australia: Fraser calls for expulsion of Israeli diplomats

Israel to Allow Shoes into Gaza Strip After Three Year Ban

UK warns of Israel travel amid passport scandal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Israel floods Gaza villages, displacing a hundred families

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace

Gaza sees more newborns of malformation

Israeli war crimes: Soldiers admit to deliberate killing of Gaza civilians

Slavery and Human Trafficking Crimes

Jewish town, Mitzpeh Kamon, won’t let Arab build home on his own land

Israeli settlers attack mosque in West Bank

Jewish lobby wages war on Christmas trees and all symbols of Christianity

Israeli Occupation Authorities Deny Gaza Christians Permission to Travel to Bethlehem at Christmas

“We will have to kill them all”: Israeli Effie Eitam

West Bank Rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel including Children and even Babies

The Eviction Of Palestinian Families Continue, When they want a home the Israeli’s just steal it

UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods

A Palestinian student has been handcuffed, blindfolded and forcibly expelled to the Gaza

Recent

Nobel Peace Prizes ‘are being awarded illegally’

US House Vote on Afghan War Funding a Disgrace

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

July 24, 2010

By Sherwood Ross

The Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has confirmed the worst fears of its creator President Harry Truman that it might degenerate into “an American Gestapo.” It has  been just that for so long it is beyond redemption. It represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently.

Over the years “the Agency” as it is known, has given U.S. presidents so much wrong information on so many critical issues, broken so many laws, subverted so many elections, overthrown so many governments, funded so many dictators, and killed and tortured so many innocent human beings that the pages of its official history could be written in blood, not ink. People the world over regard it as infamous, and that evaluation, sadly for the reputation of America, is largely accurate.  Besides, since President Obama has half a dozen other major intelligence agencies to rely on for guidance, why does he need the CIA? In one swoop he could lop an estimated 27,000 employees off the Federal payroll, save taxpayers umpteen billions, and wipe the CIA stain from the American flag.

If you think this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical” is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter, the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President Obama has said, is chilling. These crimes have to be stopped somewhere, sometime, or they will occur again.

“The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before—beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama,” writes New York Times reporter Tim Weiner in his book “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA”(Random House). Weiner has won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the intelligence community. “It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before—beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before…”

In Iran in 1953, for example, a CIA-directed coup restored the Shah (king) to absolute power, initiating what journalist William Blum in “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press) called “a period of 25 years of repression and torture; while the oil industry was restored to foreign ownership, with the US and Britain each getting 40 percent.”  About the same time in Guatemala, Blum adds, a CIA-organized coup “overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military government death squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims—indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.” The massive slaughter compares, at least in terms of sheer numbers, with Hitler’s massacre of Romanian and Ukranian Jews during the holocaust. Yet few Americans know of it.

Blum provides yet other examples of CIA criminality. In Indonesia, it attempted in 1957-58 to overthrow neutralist president Sukarno. It plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government, including bombing runs by American pilots, Blum reported This particular attempt, like one in Costa Rica about the same time, failed. So did the CIA attempt in Iraq in 1960 to assassinate President Abdul Kassem. Other ventures proved more “successful”.

In Laos, the CIA was involved in coup attempts in 1958, 1959, and 1960, creating a clandestine army of 30,000 to overthrow the government. In Ecuador, the CIA ousted President Jose Velasco for recognizing the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The CIA also arranged the murder of elected Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and installation of Mobutu Seko who ruled “with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers,” Blum recalls.

In Ghana, in 1966, the CIA sponsored a military coup against leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1966; in Chile, it financed the overthrow of elected President Salvador Allende in 1973 and brought to power the murderous regime of General Augusto Pinochet who executed 3,000 political opponents and tortured thousands more.  In Greece in 1967, the CIA helped subvert the elections and backed a military coup that killed 8,000 Greeks in its first month of operation. “Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine,” Blum writes.

In South Africa, the CIA gave the apartheid government information that led to the arrest of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who subsequently spent years in prison. In Bolivia, in 1964, the CIA overthrew President Victor Paz; in Australia from 1972-75, the CIA slipped millions of dollars to political opponents of the Labor Party; ditto, Brazil in 1962; in Laos in 1960, the CIA stuffed ballot boxes to help a strongman into power;  in Portugal in the Seventies the candidates it financed triumphed over a pro-labor government; in the Philippines, the CIA backed governments in the 1970-90 period that employed torture and summary execution against its own people; in El Salvador, the CIA in the Nineties backed the wealthy in a civil war in which 75,000 civilians were killed; and the list goes on and on.

Of course, the hatred that the CIA engenders for the American people and American business interests is enormous. Because the Agency operates largely in secret, most Americans are unaware of the crimes it perpetrates in their names. As Chalmers Johnson writes in “Blowback”(Henry Holt), former long-time CIA director Robert Gates, now Obama’s defense secretary, admitted U.S. intelligence services began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion in December, 1979.

As has often been the case, the CIA responded to a criminal order from one of the succession of imperial presidents that have occupied the White House, in this instance one dated July 3, 1979, from President Jimmy Carter. The Agency was ordered to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul—aid that might sucker the Kremlin into invading. “The CIA supported Osama bin Laden, like so many other extreme fundamentalists among the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from at least 1984 on,” Johnson writes, helping bin Laden train many of the 35,000 Arab Afghans.

Thus Carter, like his successors in the George H.W. Bush government — Gates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Colin Powell, “all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well as the ‘collateral damage’ that befell New York City in September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance,” Johnson added. Worse, the Bush-Cheney regime after 9/11 “set no limits on what the agency could do. It was the foundation for a system of secret prisons where CIA officer and contractors used techniques that included torture,” Weiner has written. By some estimates, the CIA in 2006 held 14,000 souls in 11 secret prisons, a vast crime against humanity.

That the CIA has zero interest in justice and engages in gratuitous cruelty may be seen from the indiscriminate dragnet arrests it has perpetrated: “CIA officers snatched and grabbed more than three thousand people in more than one hundred countries in the year after 9/11,” Weiner writes, adding that only 14 men of all those seized “were high-ranking authority figures within al Qaeda and its affiliates. Along with them, the agency jailed hundreds of nobodies…(who) became ghost prisoners in the war on terror.”

As for providing the White House with accurate intelligence, the record of the CIA has been a fiasco. The Agency was telling President Carter the Shah of Iran was beloved by his people and was firmly entrenched in power in 1979 when any reader of Harper’s magazine, available on newsstands for a buck, could read that his overthrow was imminent—and it was. Over the years, the Agency has been wrong far more often than it has been right.

According to an Associated Press report, when confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director, Leon Panetta said the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers that “participated in harsh interrogations even if they constituted torture as long as they did not go beyond their instructions.” This will allow interrogators to evade prosecution for following the clearly criminal orders they would have been justified to disobey.

“Panetta also said that the Obama administration would continue to transfer foreign detainees to other countries for questioning but only if U.S. officials are confident that the prisoners will not be tortured,” the AP story continued. If past is prologue, how confident can Panetta be the CIA’s fellow goons in Egypt and Morocco will stop torturing prisoners? Why did the CIA kidnap men off the streets of Milan and New York and fly them to those countries in the first place if not for torture? They certainly weren’t treating them to a Mediterranean vacation. By its long and nearly perfect record of reckless disregard for international law, the CIA has deprived itself of the right to exist.

It will be worse than unfortunate if President Obama continues the inhumane (and illegal) CIA renditions that President Bill Clinton began and President Bush vastly expanded. If the White House thinks its operatives can roam the world and arrest and torture any person it chooses without a court order, without due process, and without answering for their crimes, this signifies Americans believe themselves to be a Master Race better than others and above international law. That’s not much different from the philosophy that motivated Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. It would be the supreme irony if the American electorate that repudiated racism last November has voted into its highest office a constitutional lawyer who reaffirms his predecessor’s illegal views on this activity. Renditions must be stopped. The CIA must be abolished. Source

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

The pilots waging America’s undeclared drone war in Pakistan could be liable to criminal prosecution for “war crimes,” a prominent law professor told a Congressional panel Wednesday.

It’s part of an ongoing legal debate about the CIA and U.S. military’s lethal drone operations, which have escalated in recent months…

NATO Smears a Truth-Teller in Afghanistan

When the CIA/US needed money or weapons shipped into a country they enlisted the help of Israel. Israel was the funnel tunnel used by the US.
Israel’s Latin American trail of terror

June 5 2003

By Jeremy Bigwood

“I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin. Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s. He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.

Castao’s right-wing Phalange-like AUC force is now by far the worst human rights violator in all of the Americas, and ties between that organisation and Israel are continually surfacing in the press.

Outside the law

The AUC paramilitaries are a fighting force that originally grew out of killers hired to protect drug-running operations and large landowners. They were organised into a cohesive force by Castao in 1997. It exists outside the law but often coordinates its actions with the Colombian military, in a way similar to the relationship of the Lebanese Phalange to the Israeli army throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.
Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.

The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.
In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.

Links with the continent

Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.
Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.

In the case of the Salvadoran conflict – a civil war between the right-wing landowning class supported by a particularly violent military pitted against left-wing popular organisations – the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.

From 1975 to 1979, 83% of El Salvador’s military imports came from Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By 1981, many of those in the civilian popular political movements who had survived the death squads headed for the hills to become guerrillas.

By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.
Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.
Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.

One notable Salvadoran officer trained by the Israelis was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who always held a high opinion of the Israelis. It was Major D’Aubuisson who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s archbishop amongst thousands of other murders.
Later he would organise the right-wing National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) and send his son to study abroad in the relative safety of Israel.

Dirty war

Amazingly, while the Israelis were training the El Salvadoran death squads they were also supporting the anti-semitic Argentine military government of the late 1970s and early 1980s – at a time when that government was involved_in another “dirty war” of death squads and disappearances.

In 1978, Nicaragua’s dictator Somoza was making his last stand against a general uprising of the Sandinista-led population who were sick of his family’s dynasty which had ruled and monopolised the county for half a century. The Israelis and the US had been supplying Somoza with weapons for years. But when President Jimmy Carter came into office in 1976 he ordered a cessation of all US military assistance to Nicaragua.

Filling the void, the Israelis immediately increased their weapons supplies to Somoza until he fled the country when the Sandinistas took power.

Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.
At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.

But by far the bloodiest case of Israeli involvement in Latin America was its involvement in Guatemala from the 1970s to the 1990s. As in El Salvador, a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army.

As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”
Active involvement

The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armoured personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed.
Like Israel’s original occupation of Palestine, several entire Guatemalan Indian villages were razed and a million people displaced. “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea,” said Guatemalan President Rios Montt in 1982.

Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.
From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.

Wrong

But the US grew to regret its actions. On 10 March 1999, US President Bill Clinton issued an apology for US involvement in the war: The “United States… support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression…was wrong.” No similar statement has ever been forthcoming from the Israelis.

At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.
Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Why does Israel continue to provide arms and expertise to the pariahs of the world? Clearly, part of the reason is the revenues produced by arms sales, and part of it has do with keeping up with trends in counter-insurgent war across the globe.
But another factor is what is demanded of Israel by the world’s only superpower, the US, in partial exchange for the superpower’s continued support for Israeli dominance in the Middle East. Assistance

This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.
One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”
Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.

He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”

In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the hit-man for the US. Source

Israel Trains Other Undemocratic, Abusive Regimes

For years, Israeli military expertise has been shared with other abusive undemocratic regimes across the globe. In the 1980s, Israeli security forces trained a Honduran military intelligence unit, Battalion 316, that disappeared, tortured and killed Honduran citizens. Israel also trained members of the South African apartheid regime’s Inkatha hit squads that targeted ANC leaders. US aid to Israel, then, has led to the support of regimes that US taxpayers perhaps would not have otherwise aided. Source

lsrael’s ties with South Africa seem to be especially disturbing to many who follow Israel’s international activities. Perhaps it is natural that Israel has been castigated more harshly for its arms sales to South Africa than for its sales to other countries: first, because there has been for a decade an arms embargo against South Africa; and second, because of the unsurpassed criminality of the white regime and the uses to which it puts the Israeli-supplied weapons.

Also

Israel has also been involved with the Mozambican “contras,” the South African-backed MNR (Mozambique National Resistance or “Renamo”), which has brought great economic and social distress to Mozambique. Renamo has a particular reputation for ideological incoherence, being regarded by most other right-wing insurgencies as a gang of cutthroats. For several years there have been stories coming from Southern Africa of captured mercenaries of Renamo who say they were trained in neighboring Malawi-one of the four nations to maintain relations with Israel after the Organization of African Unity (OAU) declared a diplomatic embargo in 1973-by Israelis. And more than one report has told of “substantial Israeli aid” to the MNR, thought to have been funded by the CIA and Saudi Arabia as well as South Africa and former Portuguese nationalists. Source

Israel and El Salvador
Israel and Guatemala
Isreal and Nicaragua and the Contras
Israel and Honduras and Costa Rica

Haiti Government was also toppled by the US

Israel and US were behind the Georgian Attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia

CIA Torture Tactics Endorsed in Secret Memos

Repression in the Dominican Republic

Another tactic used by the US

A Detailed Description of Management Strategy Fraud

Recent

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the United States

By Dana Visalli

May 7,2010

I was surprised on my recent trip to Afghanistan that I learned so much…about the United States. I was in Afghanistan for two weeks in March of this year, meeting with a large number of Afghans working in humanitarian endeavors – the principal of a girls’ school, the director of a school for street children, the Afghan Human Rights Commission, a group working on environmental issues. The one thing that all of these groups that we met with had in common was, they were penniless. They all survived on rather tenuous donations made by philanthropic foundations in Europe.

I had read that the United States had spent $300 billion dollars in Afghanistan since the invasion and occupation of that country ten years ago, so I naturally became curious where this tremendous quantity of money and resources had gone. Many Americans had said to me that we were in Afghanistan “to help Afghan women,” and yet we were told by the director of the Afghan Human Rights Commission, and we read in the recent UN report titled “Silence is Violence,” that the situation for women there was growing more violent and oppressive each year. So I decide to do some research.

95% of the $300 billion that the U.S. has spent on its Afghanistan operation since we invaded the country in 2001 has gone to our military operations there. Several reports indicate that it costs one million dollars to keep one American soldier in that country for one year. We will soon have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, which will cost a neat $100 billion a year.

US soldiers in Afghanistan spend almost all of their time on one of our 300 bases in that country, so there is nothing they can do to help the Afghan people, whose physical infrastructure has been destroyed by the “30-year war” there, and who are themselves mostly jobless in a society in which there is almost no economy and no work.

Some effort is made to see that the remaining 5% of the $300 billion spent to date in Afghanistan does help Afghan society, but there is so much corruption and general lawlessness that the endeavor is largely futile. We were told by a female member of the Afghan parliament of one symbolic incident in which a container of medical equipment that was purchased in the US with US government funds for a clinic in Ghawr province, west of Kabul. It was shipped from the US, but by the time it arrived in Ghawr it was just an empty shell; all the equipment had been pilfered along the way.

Violence against women is increasing in Afghanistan at the present time, not decreasing. The Director of the Afghan Human Rights Commission told us of a recent case in which a ten-year-old girl was picked up by an Afghan Army commander in his military vehicle, taken to the nearby base and raped. He brought her back to her home semiconscious and bleeding, after conveying to her that if she told what had happened he would kill her entire family. The human rights commissioner ended the tale by saying to us the he could tell us “a thousand stories like this.” There has been a rapid rise in the number of self-immolations – women burning themselves to death – in Afghanistan in the past three years, to escape the violence that pervades many women’s lives – under the nine-year US occupation.

Armed conflict and insecurity, along with criminality and lawlessness, are on the rise in Afghanistan. In this respect, the country mirrors experience elsewhere which indicates a near universal co-relation between heightened conflict, insecurity, and violence against women.

Once one understands that the US military presence in Afghanistan is not actually helping the Afghan people, the question of the effectiveness or goodwill of other major US military interventions in recent history arises. In Vietnam, for example, the country had been a colony of France for the 80 years prior to WW II, at which point the Japanese invaded and took over. When the Japanese surrendered, the Vietnamese declared their independence, on September 2, 1945. In their preamble they directly quoted the US Declaration of Independence (“All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness….”).

The United States responded first by supporting the French in their efforts to recapture their lost colony, and when that failed, the US dropped 10 million tons of bombs on Vietnam – more than were dropped in all of World War II – sprayed 29 million gallons of the carcinogenic defoliant Agent Orange on the country, and dropped 400,000 tons of napalm, killing a total 3.4 million people. This is an appreciable level of savagery, and it would be reasonable to ask why the United States responded in this way to the Vietnamese simply declaring their inalienable rights.

There was a sideshow to the Vietnam war, and that is that the United States conducted massive bombing campaigns against Vietnam’s two western neighbors, Laos and Cambodia. From 1964 to 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of ordnance over Laos in a operation consisting of 580,000 bombing missions – equal to a planeload of bombs every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. This unprecedented, secret bombing campaign was conducted without authorization from the US Congress and without the knowledge of the American people.

The ten-year bombing exercise killed an estimated 1 million Laotians. Despite questions surrounding the legality of the bombings and the large toll of innocent lives that were taken, the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs at the time, Alexis Johnson, stated, “The Laos operation is something of which we can be proud as Americans. It has involved virtually no American casualties. What we are getting for our money there . . . is, I think, to use the old phrase, very cost effective.”

One Laotian female refugee recalled the years of bombing in this way: “Our lives became like those of animals desperately trying to escape their hunters . . . Human beings, whose parents brought them into the world and carefully raised them with overflowing love despite so many difficulties, these human beings would die from a single blast as explosions burst, lying still without moving again at all. And who then thinks of the blood, flesh, sweat and strength of their parents, and who will have charity and pity for them? In reality, whatever happens, it is only the innocent who suffer.”

In Cambodia, the United States was concerned that the North Vietnamese might have established a military base in the country. In response, The US dropped three million tons of ordnance in 230,000 sorties on 113,000 sites between 1964 and 1975. 10% of this bombing was indiscriminate, with 3,580 of the sites listed as having “unknown” targets and another 8000 sites having no target listed at all. About a million Cambodians were killed (there was no one counting), and the destruction to society wrought by the indiscriminate, long-term destruction is widely thought to have given rise to the Khmer Rouge, who proceeded, in their hatred for all things Western, to kill another 2 million people.

Four days after Vietnam declared its independence on September 2, 1945, “Southern Korea” also declared independence (on September 6), with a primary goal of reuniting the country – which had been split into north and south by the United States only seven months before. Two days later, on September 8, 1945, the US military arrived with the first of 72,000 troops, dissolved the newly formed South Korean government, and flew in their own chosen leader, Syngman Rhee, who had spent the previous 40 years in Washington D.C. There was considerable opposition to the US control of the country, so much that 250,000 and 500,000 people were killed between 1945 and 1950 resisting the American occupation, before the actual Korean War even started.

The Korean War, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, was an asymmetrical war, in which the highly industrialized and mechanized US pulverized the comparatively primitive North Korean nation. One third of the population of North Korea was killed in the war, a total of three million people (along with one million Chinese and 58,000 Americans). Every city, every sizable town, every factory, every bridge, every road in North Korea was destroyed. General Curtis LeMay remarked at one point that the US had “turned every city into rubble,” and now was returning to “turn the rubble into dust.” A British reporter described one of the thousands of obliterated villages as “a low, wide mound of violet ashes.” General William Dean, who was captured after the battle of Taejon in July 1950 and taken to the North, later said that most of the towns and villages he saw were just “rubble or snowy open spaces.”

More napalm was dropped on Korea than on Vietnam, 600,000 tons compared to 400,000 tons in Vietnam. One report notes that, “By late August, 1950, B-29 formations were dropping 800 tons a day on the North. Much of it was pure napalm. Vietnam veteran Brian Wilson asks in this regard, “What it is like to pulverize ancient cultures into small pebbles, and not feel anything?”

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein came to power through a U.S.-CIA engineered coup in 1966 that overthrew the socialist government and installed Saddam’s Baath Party. Later conflict with Saddam let to the first and second Gulf Wars, and to thirteen years of severe U.S.-imposed economic sanctions on Iraq between the two wars, which taken together completely obliterated the Iraqi economy. An estimated one million people were killed in the two Gulf wars, and the United Nations estimates that the economic sanctions, in combination with the destruction of the social and economic infrastructure in the First Gulf War, killed another million Iraqis. Today both the economy and the political structure of Iraq are in ruins.

This trail of blood, tears and death smeared across the pages of recent history is the reason that Martin Luther King said in his famous Vietnam Speech that the United States is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie expanded the observation when he said in April of this year (2010) that, “The United States Government is a nonstop killing machine. The worst experience I had in Vietnam was experiencing the absolute truth of Martin Luther King’s statement. America is in absolute psychiatric denial of its genocidal maniacal nature.”

A further issue is that “war destroys the earth.” Not only does, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1960, “Every rocket fired signify a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” but every rocket that is fired reduces the life-sustaining capacity of the biosphere. In an ultimate sense it could be argued that those who wage war and those who pay for and support war, in reality bear some hidden hatred for life and some hidden desire to put and end to it.

What are our options? The short answer is, grow up. Grow up into the inherent depth of your own existence. After all, you are a “child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars, you have a right be here.” There is no viable, universally inscribed law that compels you to do as you are told to do by the multitude of dysfunctional and destructive authority figures that would demand your compliance, if you acquiesce.

“If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature,” wrote French author La Boétie in his book The Politics of Obedience,” we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody.” La Boétie wrote this in the year 1552, but people today remain slaves to external authority. “Our problem,” said historian Howard Zinn, “is not civil disobedience; our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.”

Do you want to spend your life paying for the death of people (executed by the US military) that you would probably have loved if you have met them? Do you want to spend your life paying for the arsenal of hydrogen bombs that could very well destroy most of the life on the planet? If not, if you want another kind of life, then as author James Howard Kunstler often suggests, ‘You will have to make other arrangements.” You will have to arrange to live according to your own deepest ethical standards, rather than living in fear of the nefarious authority figures that currently demand your obedience and threaten to punish you if you do not obey their demands on your one precious chance at life.

“We must know how the first ruler came by his authority.” ~ John Locke

“How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Dana Visalli [dana@methownet.com] is an ecologist, botanist and organic farmer living in Twisp, Washington. Source

Updated Version in  pdf with photo’s go   HERE

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NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

Two-Thirds of Boys in Afghan Jails Are Brutalised, Study Finds

Losing Afghan hearts and minds

By Julien Mercille

May 7 2010

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is losing hearts and minds in Afghanistan, according to a report by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) that gives a clear signal of the dangers of the military operation against Kandahar planned for this summer.

Contrary to its stated objectives of protecting the population from insurgents, NATO is actually raising the likelihood that poor Afghans will join the Taliban - not a great report card for General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, whose strategies seem to be backfiring.

The report, entitled Operation Moshtarak: Lessons Learned [1], is based on interviews conducted last month with over 400 Afghan men from Marjah, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar to investigate their views on the military operation to drive out the Taliban, launched in February in Helmand province, and its aftermath.

It corroborates previous assessments, such as one from the Pentagon released last week which concluded that popular support for the insurgency in the Pashtun south had increased over the past few months. Not one of the 92 districts that are deemed key to NATO operations supported the government, whereas the number of those sympathetic to or supporting the insurgency increased to 48 in March, from 33 in December 2009. [2]

There is no doubt Operation Moshtarak has upset Afghans: 61% of those interviewed said they now feel more negative about NATO forces than before the offensive. This plays into the insurgents hands, as 95% of respondents said they believed more young Afghans are now joining the Taliban. In addition, 67% said they do not support a strong NATO-ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) presence in their province and 71% said they just wanted foreign troops to leave Afghanistan entirely. Locals don’t have much confidence in NATO “clearing and holding” the area, as 59% thought the Taliban would return to Marjah once the dust settled, and in any case, 67% didn’t believe NATO and the Afghan security forces could defeat the Taliban.

The anger is easy enough to understand. Whereas aid agencies and human rights groups have estimated the number of civilian killed during Operation Moshtarak at fewer than 50, the great majority of respondents believe the toll to be about 200, or roughly a third of the number of insurgents killed; a “collateral damage” clearly too high to “win hearts and minds” – if such damage can ever be justified at all. Moreover, the operation against Marjah displaced about 30,000 people, many forced into refugee camps nearby with inadequate food, medical services or shelter. Such camps are good recruitment sites for the Taliban.

Locals say the main reason why their young men join the Taliban is for the job or money it provides, even if they don’t necessarily share the leaders’ ideological convictions. Indeed, the majority of those who join the ranks of the insurgency are often unemployed and disenfranchised. One solution could therefore be to spend more funds on reconstruction and development to generate employment. But this has never been a NATO priority: the US alone has spent US$227 billion on military operations in Afghanistan since 2001, while international donors together have spent less than 10% of that amount on development aid.

To make things worse, NATO seeks to eliminate the drugs industry, which makes up about 30% of the country’s total economy, often the best source of income for poor farmers. According to the ICOS report, eradication was opposed by 66% of those interviewed, not a surprising finding given that Helmand province cultivates over half the country’s poppies and produces about 60% of its opium, with Marjah dubbed by many to be Helmand’s “opium capital”. Even NATO’s new policy of paying farmers as an incentive for them to eliminate their own crops undermines the economy because sustainable alternative livelihoods are not offered.

The survey also points to a paradoxical finding: notwithstanding their negative perceptions about NATO, two-thirds of interviewees said foreign troops should clear the Taliban from the road linking Lashkar Gah to Kandahar and Kabul and start an operation against insurgents in Kandahar.

This apparent contradiction can be explained in immediate terms by the fact that locals wish to travel and conduct business more easily. From a broader perspective, it suggests that locals simply dislike both the Taliban and foreign troops. As summarized concisely by a major tribal leader from Kandahar, “Ten percent of the people are with the Taliban, 10% are with the government and 80% of the people are angry at the Taliban, the government and the foreigners.”

The roots of the dire situation of insecurity faced by many Afghans were explained by the mayor of Kandahar, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, who stated. “It was the international community that went to the warlords after the Taliban and brought them back,” with appalling consequences up to this day. [3]

Those views reflect those of democratic-minded Afghans such as member of parliament Malalai Joya and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), who have been campaigning for years against both the Taliban and the warlords and their NATO backers. Yet, their views have been completely ignored by coalition governments.

Rather, NATO and US forces have specialized in (botched) night raids that kill civilians, including pregnant women as happened in February in Paktia province. McChrystal has increased those Special Operations Forces raids since he became the top commander in Afghanistan, skills he had previously honed as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) from 2003 to 2008. Even though civilian deaths from air strikes have declined, those caused by night raids have increased, so much that the UN now estimates they account for half the civilians killed by foreign troops. This has contributed to the 33% increase in civilian deaths last month compared to the same period last year, adding to Afghans’ anger. [4]

Finally, 74% of those interviewed by ICOS support negotiations and dialogue with the Taliban, a clear sign that Afghans are tired of war. Bringing Taliban leaders in a political process already dominated by actors whose human rights record is atrocious might not be the ideal solution, but since in practice it is unlikely that NATO will push to have the warlords it allied itself with taken to court, it might be the best political alternative in the short term.

Notes
1. The International Council on Security and Development, formerly known as The Senlis Council, is an international think-tank known for its work in Afghanistan and other conflict zones such as Iraq and Somalia. It is a project of the Network of European Foundations’ Mercator Fund. ICOS currently runs three programs: Global Security, Public Security and Public Health and Drug Control.
2. Alissa J Rubin, US report on Afghan war finds few gains in six months. New York Times, April 29, 2010; Gareth Porter, Pentagon map shows wide Taliban zone in the South. Inter Press Service, May 1. 2010.
3. Kathy Gannon, Afghans blame both US, Taliban for insecurity. Associated Press, April 16, 2010.
4. Gareth Porter, Pentagon map belies Taliban’s sphere. Asia Times Online, May 4, 2010.  Source

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Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases

By Carol Rosenberg
May 5 2010

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed more than 100 habeas corpus lawsuits filed by former Guantanamo captives, ruling that because the Bush and Obama administrations had transferred them elsewhere, the courts need not decide whether the Pentagon imprisoned them illegally.

The ruling dismayed attorneys for some of the detainees who’d hoped any favorable U.S. court findings would help clear their clients of the stigma, travel restrictions and, in some instances, perhaps more jail time that resulted from their stay at Guantanamo.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote that he was “not unsympathetic” to the former detainees’ plight. “Detention for any length of time can be injurious. And certainly associations with Guantanamo tend to be negative,” he wrote.

But the detainees’ transfer from Guantanamo made their cases moot. “The court finds that petitioners no longer present a live case or controversy since a federal court cannot remedy the alleged collateral consequences of their prior detention at Guantanamo,” he wrote.

Hogan’s ruling, issued last Thursday, but not widely publicized, closed the files on 105 habeas corpus petitions, many of which had been pending for years as the Bush administration resisted the right of civilian judges to intervene in military detentions. The U.S. Supreme Court resolved that issue in 2008, ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees could challenge their captivity in civilian court. Since then, judges have ordered the release of 34 detainees while upholding the detention of 12.

Attorneys for the ex-detainees were deciding Monday whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said Shayana Kadidal, an attorney at New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights, which has taken the lead in championing Guantanamo habeas petitions.

The former prisoners who’d filed the dismissed suits ranged from “people who disappeared in Libyan prison to people who are home living with their family and can’t get a job,” Kadidal said.

The “vast, vast majority” of former Guantanamo prisoners are under some form of travel restriction, he said, as a result of either transfer agreements between the United States and where they now live or the stigma of having spent time in U.S. military custody.

“If you want to do haj at some point in your life,” he said, referring to a Muslim’s duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a freed detainee would need to get those restrictions lifted.

Moreover, he added, CCR affiliated attorneys have tracked former captives to prison at Pol-i-charki, Afghanistan, that was once run by the U.S. military. He said “the U.S. may be pulling the puppet strings” of their continued captivity.

In the case of two men sent home to Sudan, according to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Oregon Federal Public Defender’s office, which is representing them, the United States required as a condition for their release that Sudan seize their travel documents and prevent them from leaving the country.

Hogan said the attorneys for the former detainees hadn’t offered enough proof that other countries were operating essentially as U.S. proxies. “Petitioners are short on examples, except for the fact that former Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan transferred back to Afghanistan have been detained at a detention facility built by the United States,” he wrote.

Of the 183 men currently held at Guantanamo, 22 have had their habeas cases resolved — 10 who were ordered released, but are still being held and the 12 whose detentions were upheld.

It was unclear, however, how many of the other 161 might have cases pending. Some detainees have refused American lawyers’ offers to sue on their behalf, apparently rejecting the authority of any U.S. court to sit in judgment on them. An Obama administration panel has determined that about 50 of those should be held indefinitely without charges.  Source

This of course is American Justice.  No Justice at all.

Covering up American War Crimes, From Baghdad to New York

By Charles Glass

March 25, 2010

BBC correspondent John Simpson reported on March 4 that the number of defects in newborn babies in the Iraqi town of Fallujah had risen dramatically since the American assault there at the end of 2004. Some people in the town blame the abnormalities in their children on whatever chemicals the US Marines may have used in their conquest of the Sunni Muslim redoubt. Dr. Samira al-Ani, a paediatrician at Fallujah’s General Hospital, told Simpson that two or three children were born each day with serious cardiac problems. Before the first American attack on Fallujah in two years earlier, she noticed similar ailments in one baby every two months. “I have nothing documented,” she admitted, “but I can tell you that year by year the number [is] increasing.”

The Iraqi government, which supported the American attack with troops of its own, denies there has been any increase. “The US military authorities,” Simpson said, “are absolutely correct when they say they are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Fallujah—no official reports exist.” Nor are any likely to. By any standard, though, this was a big story. John Simpson is a serious journalist and a friend, and I listened carefully to his report that morning on the BBC World Service. I waited in vain for the New York Times, Washington Post, and other serious American journals to take up the story. All I read was a brief item on the CBS News website quoting Simpson.
“The US government does not want it known that it was using chemicals on human beings in a country whose leader it overthrew ostensibly because he retained the capacity to do the same thing.”

The US denied it anyway, perhaps out of habit. Military spokesman Michael Fitzpatrick responded predictably, “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues.” But, as Simpson said, there have not been any studies. American spokesmen were reluctantly forced to admit the use of White Phosphorous—or Willie Pete, as the troops call it—in Fallujah when someone noticed that Field Artillery Magazine, a U. S. Army publication, had already documented its deployment in its March/April 2005 edition. The magazine wrote, “We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP [White Phosphorous] to flush them out and HE [High Explosives] to take them out.” After Dahr Jamail, a brilliant freelance journalist, reported during the battle in 2004 that American forces were using WP on Iraqis, Project Censored gave him an award for the second most under-reported story of the year. It is still under-reported, but it is not difficult to understand why. The US government does not want it known that it was using chemicals on human beings in a country whose leader it overthrew ostensibly because he retained the capacity to do the same thing. And the US Treasury does not want to compensate foreigners for any harm its troops might have done. Let us turn now to New York and what has become the secular-sacred site of the former World Trade Center.

The government this month finally settled claims by 10,000 workers on the Ground Zero clean-up by agreeing to pay $657.5 million for the debilitating effects of the asbestos and other poisons they were exposed to. That’s an average of $65,750 a head, less the lawyers’ share. It doesn’t sound like much, but they’re doing better than anyone in Fallujah. There are precedents for government resistance to admitting responsibility. American Vietnam veterans crippled by the dioxin they dropped all over Vietnam waited many years for the government to acknowledge their plight. At first, the government resisted the connection between dioxin and the veterans’ cancer, Parkinson’s, and other fatal illnesses. By the time the government paid anything, the vets were observing that their children were being born with severe birth defects from dioxin in Agent Orange and other herbicides unleashed on the South Vietnamese countryside. Their children’s congenital deformities included spina bifida and other horrors that may go for generations to come. The Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t send them any money until 2003—thirty years after the last barrel of poison was dropped on Vietnam. Even that was restricted to 7,520 of the 99,226 veterans who claimed to have been affected.

While dioxin disabled thousands of American service personnel who merely handled it, as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese endured twenty-eight million gallons of toxic rain that drenched their skins, soaked their soil, and polluted their rivers and groundwater for ten years. As with the American war vets, then-unborn children were also affected. Vietnam has one of the world’s highest levels of birth defects, concentrated in the south where the American forced deployed most of the chemicals. Five children out of one hundred are born with serious abnormalities, including missing limbs, spina bifida, twisted or missing internal organs and grotesque malformations that have made their survival impossible. While reluctantly accepting a link between dioxin and birth defects in American service personnel’s children, the US denies any connection when it comes to Vietnamese. I guess it’s just one of those strange anomalies that nature throws up every so often, like Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates’ observation that the disproportion in African-American deaths from the police choking was due to the fact that “blacks might be more likely to die from chokeholds because their arteries do not open as fast as they do on ‘normal people’.” Perhaps Vietnamese born after 1961, when Operation Ranch Hand to defoliate South Vietnam began, were just not normal anyway.

The abnormal people of Iraq remember that the US denied Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons on its Kurdish citizens. In those days, Saddam was an American ally. When freelance journalist Gwynne Roberts brought back the soil samples from Hallabja that proved Saddam has gassed the Kurds, the US blamed the Iranians. That assessment became inoperative when condemning Saddam was politically useful. Now that the US has been caught using chemicals in the same country that the monster Saddam did, it admits using them on “insurgents” but not on civilians. It is hard in a city to blast chemicals at the people with guns and miss those who don’t have any. No matter. The US and Iraqi governments are blocking an investigation that would prove one way or another that White Phosphorous did any harm to Iraqi mothers and their children. It’s unlikely they’ll receive a cent for the next fifty years, if ever. But why the hell isn’t this a big story?

Source

There are a number of links to stories about the US and toxic poisoning of countries they have been in including Iraq.  One link has pictures of victims of White Phosphorous.  Not very pretty.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

A few more War Crimes. Many teachers were murdered as well.

Destroying Educational Institutions or Using Them For Military Purposes Is A War Crime

Have a Nice World War, Folks

March 25 2010

The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace.

I guess they really like war,  torturing and murdering innocent people.

They just recently had people in 150 cities across the US protesting against War. Maybe they should listen to the people instead of the war machine.

The US Government must stop creating more needless wars and end the ones they are in.

http://www.workers.org/2010/us/antiwar_0401/

http://www.thecorsaironline.com/opinion/anit-war-protestors-urge-soldiers-to-resist-deployment-1.1277316

Not only do they cover up their own war crimes they attempt to  cover up
Israels war crimes as well. They help
Israel commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, with money and weapons of mass destruction.

Birds of a feather.

More than 250 Congress Members Declare Commitment to ‘Unbreakable’ U.S.-Israel Bond
By Natasha Mozgavaya,
More than 250 members of Congress have signed on to a declaration reaffirming their commitment to “the unbreakable bond that exists between [U.S.] and the State of Israel”, in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Source
Obama Squeezed Between Israel and Iran
By Pepe Escobar
The AIPAC 2010 show predictably was yet one more “bomb Iran” special; but it was also a call to arms against the Barack Obama administration, as far as the turbo-charging of the illegal colonization of East Jerusalem is concerned.
Source
Judea Declares War On Obama
By Gilad Atzmon
Jewish lobbies certainly do not hold back when it comes to pressuring states, world leaders and even super powers. AIPAC’s behavior last week reminded me of the Jewish declaration of war against Nazi Germany in 1933.
Source
Israeli Intelligence, Our Constant Companion
By Jeff Stein
Acting on a complaint that the document was circulating on Capitol Hill, the FBI discovered that an Israeli diplomat had acquired the paper and given it to officials at AIPAC, the lobbying group whose annual convention drew both Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week.
Source

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Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem

March 13 2010

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell promised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. will bring a halt to Israeli building in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official told the newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Saturday.

“In a telephone conversation, Mitchell said the U.S. would make sure Israel stops building in the area,” the Palestinian official told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper.

The U.S. has recently expressed frustration over Israel’s announcement on Tuesday of new settlement construction, a move that deeply embarrassed visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and imperiled U.S. plans to launch indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an interview with CNN aired Friday night, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel’s announcement of new construction of homes in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem was “insulting” to the United States.

“I mean, it was just really a very unfortunate and difficult moment for everyone – the United States, our vice president who had gone to reassert our strong support for Israeli security – and I regret deeply that that occurred and made that known,” Clinton said during the CNN interview.

While Clinton did not blame Netanyahu personally for the announcement, she said, “He is the prime minister. Like the president or secretary of state…ultimately, you are responsible.”

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton spoke with Netanyahu on the phone and told him the announcement was a “deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship…and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process.”

“The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security,” Crowley said.

“She made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process,” he said.

Clinton’s rebuke of Netanyahu capped a week of tense exchanges between the United States and Israel, which on Tuesday announced it was building 1,600 new settler homes in an area of the occupied West Bank it annexed to Jerusalem.

The announcement infuriated the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which threatened to pull out of U.S.-brokered indirect “proximity” talks with Israel that Washington hoped would be the first step toward relaunching full peace negotiations after more than a year.

Another senior U.S. official said Friday that Netanyahu’s political standing is “perilous” because of divisions within his coalition over efforts to pursue peace with the Palestinians.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, predicted “a dicey period here in the next couple days to a couple of weeks” as Washington tries to get the indirect talks launched.

Quartet condemns Israel: Unilateral action cannot prejudge talks’ outcome

In addition to the U.S. condemnation of Israel’s announcement, the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers also condemned on Friday Israel’s announcement approving new construction in east Jerusalem.

“The Quartet condemns Israel’s decision to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem,” the statement said. “The Quartet has agreed to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground.”

“Unilateral action by the Israelis or Palestinians cannot prejudge the outcome of (peace) negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” the statement said.

“The Quartet will take full stock of the situation at its meeting in Moscow on March 19,” the statement said.

The Quartet called on all concerned to support the urgent resumption of
dialogue between the parties and to promote an atmosphere that is conducive to successful negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues of the conflict.

The group reiterated that Arab-Israeli peace and the establishment of an
independent, contiguous and viable state of Palestine is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all states in the region, and of the international community.

ADL ‘stunned’ by U.S. condemnation of Israel

The U.S. based Anti-Defamation League said late Friday that it was “stunned” by Clinton’s “dressing down” of Israel.

“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States,” said Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a statement.

The ADL called Clinton’s remarks a “gross overreaction” to a “policy difference among friends.”

“One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table,” Foxman said.

Source

Ya Right? I will believe it when I see it and not before. Sounds like a fantasy to me.

Meanwhile the reality.  Nothing will change. The US is just posturing to appeases voters or make themselves look better in the eyes of the world at large.

Settlers are still stealing land. Just another everyday occurrence.

Settlers torch olive orchard in Hebron
March 12, 2010

A group of fundamentalist Jewish settlers burnt on Thursday at night an olive orchard in Safa village, north west of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

Dozens of settlers torched the grove while the Israeli army did not attempt to intervene or stop them.

The residents called the local civil defense and firefighters but the army prevented them from reaching the grove.

Soldiers also attacked an international peace activist and confiscated his camera for taking pictures of the assault and the soldiers.

The land in question is 25 Dunams (6.17 Acres) planted with Olives and some evergreens.

Source

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Iran approves Uranium exchange plan

October 29, 2009

Iran has agreed to a plan to export its reserves of enriched uranium to have them processed into nuclear fuel rods, but it wants further negotiations over some details.

The news comes from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was speaking on Thursday on national TV.

“We welcome the fuel exchange, nuclear cooperation, building of power plants and reactors and we are ready to cooperate,” he said.

He added that Tehran’s commitment to the deal is a response to the international community’s abandoning of the “politics of confrontation” over Iran’s nuclear dossier.
However, once again, Ahmadinejad said the Islamic Republic will not give up its rights to have nuclear power. “As long as this government is in power, it will not retreat one iota on the undeniable rights of the Iranian nation,” the Iranian president declared.

Iranian negotiator Ali Asghar Soltanieh has delivered Tehran’s response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna. He also announced that some “important technical and economic amendments” to the draft agreement have been proposed by Iran. However, no further details have been made public yet.

According to Iranian media reports, Tehran will want two changes to the initial plan. Firstly, the Iranians will offer to transfer their low-enriched uranium abroad in small portions rather than all at once. The second modification would insist on transferring enriched fuel back to Tehran’s research reactor soon after every batch of low-enriched uranium is sent abroad.

The question is whether the international community and the IAEA would agree to such amendments.

According to the initial deal – which was sponsored by the IAEA and negotiated between Iran, Russia, France and the United States last week – most of Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium will be shipped to Russia for further enrichment. France will then produce fuel rods from the material, using American technology.

Iran needs fuel rods to run a research reactor built in the country before the Islamic Revolution. Its current fuel load will soon run low.

Meanwhile, the IAEA monitors returned Thursday after visiting Iran’s recently revealed uranium enrichment facility, known as Fordo, near the town of Qom. The inspectors are now preparing a report on their findings which will be announced in November. The fact that the Iranians did let the inspectors into the facility, which was kept secret up until September 21, is seen as Tehran’s readiness to cooperate.

Thursday’s news relaxes tension over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has insisted that it is purely for peaceful purposes, but several countries including Israel, the United States and Great Britain suspect that Iran wants to make a nuclear weapon.

Western powers have called for imposing harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic and there have even been speculations of a possibility of Israel launching a preemptive strike against Iran. Russia, however, has insisted on a diplomatic approach to the problem and negotiations.

Source

Considering what Israel and NATO have done they should be the ones being sanctioned.  They are the ones polluting the planet with Toxic, Poisonous, Radiation not Iran.

Israel, the United States and Great Britain are all guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Anything they say is irrelevant until they clean up their own Nuclear weapons and have those who are responsible for war crimes charged and jailed.  Until then their word means absolutely nothing. They are hypocrites.

Iran has not started any wars as the above three, nor have they killed millions of people. NATO is not innocent either.

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Healthcare reform without the Public Option is not Real Reform

Public option still plagues Dems

By Jeffrey Young
September 28 2009

The most controversial component of healthcare reform promises to vex Democrats the rest of the year.

The spotlight this week will continue on the Senate Finance Committee, where amendments to add the public insurance option will be offered by Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.).

The issue will also continue to be a battle in the House, where liberal and centrists Democrats are fighting over whether it should be included in a House healthcare bill.

The Finance committee votes, which could come as early as this week, promise to be discomfiting for both liberals and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the embattled chairman of the Finance panel who is likely to vote against them.

Baucus has personally signaled an openness to the public option but steadfastly maintains that it lacks enough support to pass the Senate, making it a pointless and politically volatile exercise to include it in his bill.

But it’s not going to be fun for Baucus – who’s been a punching bag for the political left — to join Republicans and vote against a Democratic amendment when the time comes.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chief advocate for the not-for-profit healthcare cooperatives that are included in the Finance bill as an alternative, is also expected to vote against the Schumer and Rockefeller amendments. Liberals have rejected the co-op compromise out of hand.

Conrad and Baucus on Thursday joined Republicans on the panel in defeating an amendment that would have caused the pharmaceutical industry to pull its support for the bill. That’s a pattern that could be repeated.

Rockefeller, Schumer and likeminded liberal senators begrudgingly acknowledge the votes are not there in the committee for the public option.

But they intend to force their colleagues to take a stand on the issue and possibly face the wrath of powerful interests such as labor unions and grassroots liberal activists.

The vehemence of support for the public option among liberals can hardly be overstated. Rockefeller summed up that view on Thursday when he said, “A healthcare plan without a public option is not much of a healthcare plan.”

Schumer declared that he and likeminded liberals would triumph in the end. “The healthcare bill that is signed into law by the president will have a good, strong, robust public option,” he said.

More votes on the public option are promised once the bill hits the Senate floor.

The issue will then become a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) instead of Baucus.

Before a healthcare bill even reaches the Senate floor, Reid will have to decide whether to abide by the Finance Committee position (no public option) or the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee position (strong public option).

Reid sent a clear signal that he is prepared to compromise on Thursday.

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (Maine), a crucial swing vote, has proposed establishing a “trigger” for the public option that would be pulled in markets with insufficient private competition. During a conference call with Nevada reporters, Reid described the trigger as a “pretty doggone good idea,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.

“My first choice is a public option, because I think it will create competition and make the insurance companies more honest,” Reid said. “My No. 2 choice is the trigger that Snowe talked about.” A trigger would be preferable to co-ops, Reid indicated.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn’t having any easier a time despite having a large majority dominated by liberals. The centrist voting bloc, led by the Blue Dog coalition, is holding its ground against the public option.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) broke the deadlock on his panel over the issue in July by weakening the power of the public option in the bill but the deal did not survive the rocky August recess intact.

Pelosi insists time and again that the House bill will have a public option. She went to great lengths this week to sell it to the centrists but did not appear to make much progress.

Pelosi has also came out against the trigger option. “I don’t even want to talk about a trigger,” Pelosi said, describing it as “an excuse for not doing anything.”

It’s not clear whether Pelosi will have the votes to win a healthcare vote on the floor if the public option is not included in the bill. But it’s also not clear she’ll win a vote with the public option, since Republicans are expected to vote en masse against the bill.

There’s no easy way out of this predicament. To paraphrase one of President Barack Obama’s favorite sayings, if it were easy, somebody would’ve done it by now.

Source

CALL YOUR SENATOR. Demand a public option. (202) 224-3121.

There’s no public option in Senator Max Baucus’ Healthcare bill. Instead, we are forced to buy private insurance. This is a major step backwards for the healthcare reform movement! Watch the video and call your senator at (202) 224-3121.

Anyone who votes against the public option, is not who you want representing you.

The Public Option is needed. It will also go a long way to helping the 45 million who are not insured and those who are under insured.

Republicans are bought and paid for by Phrama companies and Insurance companies. Of course they will vote against the public option. Wouldn’t want to loose all that money.

When will Americans realize Republicans work for the  Corporations and  not for the people who elected them.

Of course some of the Democrat’s  may be just as bad.

On both sides they get tons of Cooperate donations, which of course, I call “bribes”.  Simply becasue that is what they actually are?

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 1:25 am  Comments Off  
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America: Arms dealer to the stars! Who’s the number one weapons broker in the world, again? Take a guess

By Mark Morford

September 9, 2009

And then along comes one of those stories that makes you cringe down to your very core, that makes you see our semi-fine nation and the world around it through a bleak and unforgiving lens indeed. No matter how hard you try and how you spin the story and flip it around and try to forcibly shape it into something less slightly nauseating, all you can do is realize that sometimes ugliness and violence win the day, the year, the planet.

So it is that a new report has just emerged, announcing with a sort of drab and bitter capitalistic glee that America is once again the number one weapons dealer in the world. It’s true: We sell more guns, more major weaponry, tanks and rocket launchers, fighters and Gatling guns and all sorts of brutal devices specifically designed to destroy human life and induce fear and dread and all manner of sadistic horror, than any other developed nation on the planet. By a long shot.

But that’s not all. Despite the bleak economy, despite what you might expect to be a major downturn in such transactions, sales of American-made guns and weapons of mass annihilation worldwide are actually way up. As far as U.S.-made weapons are concerned, it appears to be a boom time for war and death and conflict. Isn’t that fun to swallow with your hopes and dreams for a peaceful and calmly evolving future?

So far ahead in weapons sales to the world are we, it’s not even a contest. We own the game. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, while overall weapons sales were indeed down due to global economic blight, sales of U.S. weaponry rose more than 50 percent in a single year, totaling about $37 billion, up from $25 billion the year before.

Translation: the U.S. now owns a whopping 68 percent of the arms games worldwide. We’re just like Wal-Mart, if Wal-Mart sold Browning M2s and Stingers and flamethrowers. Isn’t that reassuring?

Sure, you can water it down a bit, maybe propose to your exhausted soul that we only sell said weapons to our friendly, peace-seeking allies so they may protect themselves from various evildoers and swarthy terrorists whom we also detest and wish death and hate upon, or you could tell yourself that most of said weaponry is really for defense and for shielding babies and puppies and virgins from the darker nature of man.

You can even go so far as to suggest that our arms deals are not promoting war, per se, but actually promoting peace, in that inverse, bad-is-good, multiple-wrongs-make-a-right sort of way. It’s the classic, ridiculous NRA argument: if everyone owns a few thousand warheads, no one will shoot anyone simply because they don’t want to get shot themselves. It’s pathetic nonsense, but hey, whatever gets you through, right?

Sad fact is, capitalism trumps all rational arguments, all notions that we are out only to promote good in the world, and we will sell weapons to just about anyone anywhere short of Al Qaeda itself. Guerrillas? Dictators? Drug lords? If they somehow serve our global agenda, hell yes. We sell billions in arms to our pals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, for example, regimes second only in oppression and totalitarianism to the Taliban. We buy their oil, we turn around and sell them fighter jets and grenades and sniper rifles. It’s a win-win, where everybody loses.

Of course, it’s all nothing new. America has always been the world’s foremost arms dealer. Who can forget one of the classic hypocrisies of all time, Bush’s pathetic wail that we must stop the development of weapons of mass destruction in countries we do not like, when of course the United States owns more WMD than any developed nation on the planet? We argue it’s all about intent, all about protecting our vital interests. Which may be partly true. The other truth is, it’s also all about profit, ethics and morals bedamned.

I can’t help but recall that cute little scene in Iron Man, when Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark character, a cocky, heartless arms dealer, finally realizes the horrible human consequences of his trade, what sort of mayhem and death he has helped promote, and decides to turn his life around and fight for justice and help save the world.

Isn’t that a charming little cartoon fable? Isn’t that just ridiculous, ultraviolent fantasy? Don’t we nevertheless love to rub such childish ideological balm all over ourselves and think that’s really what America is all about, that selling death to oppressive regimes is merely a necessary evil and, gosh golly, if we could, we’d put a stop to all such sales tomorrow in favor of ensuring a peaceful and utopian future? Sure we do. In many ways, such a mass delusion is the only way we can really get out of bed in the morning.

I’m not exactly certain how you counterbalance such bleak data. I’m not sure where to look for an equally powerful story to battle the dour fact that we are, at heart, a rather ruthless capitalist military juggernaut that will gladly sell a sharpening stone to an axe murderer if it serves our purposes and makes Lockheed Martin a tidy profit.

Where do you look for proof that $37 billion in weapons sales does not, in fact, exert a simply massive downward thrust on the desire to imagine humanity is moving in an ultimately positive, hopeful, nonviolent direction? The green movement? Solar power? Hybrid cars? As if.

Maybe you don’t look at all. Maybe there is no such story, no way to offset the fact that war and violence are a major engine of capitalism, and always will be. Maybe you only swallow it whole, hope it doesn’t tear a permanent gash in your spirit, and eagerly await Iron Man 2.

Source

Weapons that do things like in the two links below

Each link contains numerous links. Seeing what these weapons do should be enlightening.

America promotes wars. They do it for profit. Politicians take donations at election (bribes) to help promote wars all over the world.

Some Politicians have stocks in the war industry. Profits for them as long as there is war.

If not that they have stocks in oil and gas companies, or like Cheny’s Haliburton.  All war profits in their pockets. Corruption running rapid for profit.

All this at the expense of the innocent victims who die, the destruction of countries and the theft of their resources.

The war machine is also one of the main polluter on the planet leaving behind things like radiation from DU, cluster bombs, land mines etc. The list goes on an on for an eternity.

Then American companies go in and take over anything and everything they possibly can. More profit.

Stop war starve the war machine.

(Afghanistan 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

US Raided Afghan Hospital

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
September 1, 2009

Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.

Graph of Chicago employers who underpay employees

“We were all surprised by the high prevalence rate,” said Ruth Milkman, one of the study’s authors and a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York. The study, to be released on Wednesday, was financed by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.

The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.

“The conventional wisdom has been that to the extent there were violations, it was confined to a few rogue employers or to especially disadvantaged workers, like undocumented immigrants,” said Nik Theodore, an author of the study and a professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “What our study shows is that this is a widespread phenomenon across the low-wage labor market in the United States.”

According to the study, 39 percent of those surveyed were illegal immigrants, 31 percent legal immigrants and 30 percent native-born Americans.

The study found that 26 percent of the workers had been paid less than the minimum wage the week before being surveyed and that one in seven had worked off the clock the previous week. In addition, 76 percent of those who had worked overtime the week before were not paid their proper overtime, the researchers found.

The new study, “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers,” was conducted in the first half of 2008, before the brunt of the recession hit. The median wage of the workers surveyed was $8.02 an hour — supervisors were not surveyed — with more than three-quarters of those interviewed earning less than $10 an hour. When the survey was conducted, the minimum wage was $7.15 in New York State, $7.50 in Illinois and $8 in California.

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis responded to the report with an e-mail statement, saying, “There is no excuse for the disregard of federal labor standards — especially those designed to protect the neediest among us.” Ms. Solis said she was in the process of hiring 250 more wage-and-hour investigators. “Today’s report clearly shows we still have a major task before us,” she said.

The study’s authors noted that many low-wage employers comply with wage and labor laws. The National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small-business owners, said it encouraged members “to stay in compliance with state and federal labor laws.”

But many small businesses say they are forced to violate wage laws to remain competitive.

The study found that women were far more likely to suffer minimum wage violations than men, with the highest prevalence among women who were illegal immigrants. Among American-born workers, African-Americans had a violation rate nearly triple that for whites.

“These practices are not just morally reprehensible, but they’re bad for the economy,” said Annette Bernhardt, an author of the study and policy co-director of the National Employment Law Project. “When unscrupulous employers break the law, they’re robbing families of money to put food on the table, they’re robbing communities of spending power and they’re robbing governments of vital tax revenues.”

When the Russell Sage Foundation announced a grant to help finance the survey, it said that low-wage workers were “hard to find” for interviews and that “government compliance surveys shy away from the difficult task of measuring workplace practices beyond the standard wage, benefits and hours questions.”

The report found that 57 percent of workers sampled had not received mandatory pay documents the previous week, which are intended to help make sure pay is legal and accurate. Of workers who receive tips, 12 percent said their employer had stolen some of the tips.

One in five workers reported having lodged a complaint about wages to their employer or trying to form a union in the previous year, and 43 percent of them said they had experienced some form of illegal retaliation, like firing or suspension, the study said.

In instances when workers’ compensation should have been used, the study found, one third of workers injured on the job paid the bills for treatment out of their own pocket and 22 percent used their health insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance paid medical expenses for only 6 percent of the injured workers surveyed, the researchers found.

Source

(Afghanistan 5) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

US Air Force Program: Marine Mammals and Other Sea Life to be Decimated

by Rosalind Peterson

August 16 2009

The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS under NOAA), has already approved the “taking” of marine mammals in more than a dozen Navy Range Warfare Testing Complexes (6), and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 millions marine mammals (32 Separate Species), to be decimated along the Northern, California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean (7).U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA (NMFS) Definition: “TAKE” Defined under the MMPA as “harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect.” Defined under the ESA as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking (12).

The total number of marine mammals that will be decimated in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico for the next five years is unknown. The NMFS approvals will have a devastating impact upon the marine mammal populations worldwide and this last Navy permit, which is expected to be issued in February 2010, for the “taking” of more than 11.7 million marine mammals in the Pacific will be the final nail in the coffin for any healthy populations of sea life to survive.
Now with ever-increasing numbers of permits being issued for sonar programs in more than twelve ranges in the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic regions of the United States, our marine mammals and other sea life are facing complete devastation. When you add bomb blasts to this list, warfare testing of all types, future war testing practice, and the toxic chemicals which are both airborne and to be used underwater, there is little chance that most marine life will survive in any significant numbers. Our U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen refuse to postpone these disastrous “takings” or hold U.S. Congressional Hearings while pretending to be ocean environment friendly in their re-election speeches.

Earlier this year, June 8th through June 16, 2009, a delegation from Connecticut and California spent time walking the halls of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. We left petitions, color fliers, and information about saving our marine mammals, requested a postponement and U.S. Congressional Hearings. Ninety-nine senate offices were visited and 2/3 of offices in the U.S. House of Representatives. The silent response from our elected officials regarding these two requests has been zero…one U.S. Congressman even stated that citizens would be “laughed out of the halls of the U.S. Congress for suggesting that we protect our marine mammals”. Corporate paid “Lobbyists”, who hand out money by the $Millions, on the other hand, are always accepted at hearings, give testimony, and are welcomed in the halls of Congress…apparently the voices of citizens of the United States are not given the same status.

These virtually unregulated Navy Warfare Testing Programs already approved are now taking a toll on marine mammals, the fishing and ocean tourism industries, and on all aquatic life. Many U.S. Senators and Congressmen are ignoring these issues by pretending that they doesn’t exist even though they have been informed in advance of these programs.

A brief history of the Navy Warfare Testing Program is needed to understand the full implications of this Pentagon/Navy Warfare Testing Program. In 2004, the Bush Administration signed a bill weakening U.S. Environmental Laws (1), with regard to the U.S. Navy. And then in 2008, President Bush signed an executive order allowing the Navy to be exempt from environmental laws which protects endangered and threatened species (2-4). The Navy Southern California Complex was the first one to benefit from this executive order. Soon other Navy Range Complexes were obtaining exemptions from the NMFS with little or no oversight or significant mitigation measures (5).

A partial listing of known Navy Range Complexes (6), shows the amazing scope of the disaster. According to U.S. Congressman Waxman in a letter dated March 12, 2009: “…The Navy estimates that its sonar training activities will “take” marine mammals more than 11.7 million times over the course of a five-year permit…The sonar exercises at issue would take place off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Hawaii, Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico – affecting literally every coastal state. In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of training exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur. Of particular concern are biologically sensitive marine habitats off our coasts, such as National Marine Sanctuary and other breeding habitats…In all, the Navy anticipates that its sonar exercises will “take” marine mammals more than 2.3 million times per year, or 11.7 million times over the course of a 5-year permit….” This statement was made in response to public inquiries regarding the Navy Northwest Training Range schedule for Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

KTVU Oakland San Francisco Television Station is the only television station to investigate and air a story about this U.S. Navy program (13), on May 18, 2009. It took a great deal of courage, in the face of the fact that no other major television networks would carry this story. A few courageous radio stations are also helping to get the word out to the public.

Published in the United States Federal Register on March 11, 2009:

The United States Navy published an application, as an addendum to their expanded Warfare Testing program, in the U.S. Federal Register, dated March 11, 2009. This application from the Navy “…requests authorization to take individuals of 32 species of marine mammals during upcoming Navy Warfare testing and training to be conducted in the NWTR areas (off the Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon, and northern California) over the course of 5 years…”

The Navy Warfare Testing Program will “…utilize mid- and high frequency active sonar sources and explosive detonations. These sonar and explosive sources will be utilized during Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Tracking Exercises, Mine Avoidance Training, Extended Echo Ranging and Improved Extended Echo Ranging (EER/IEER) events, Missile Exercises, Gunnery Exercises, Bombing Exercises, Sinking Exercises, and Mine Warfare Training…” (More listed in Navy E.I.S.)

The “taking” of marine mammals negatively impacts the entire ecology of our oceans and the life in them which feeds large numbers of people and other species around the world. It should be noted that the list of toxic chemicals that the Navy proposes to use is a long one as noted in the Navy E.I.S. Depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, mercury, lead, and a whole host of chemicals known to be toxic not only to man, but to marine life, are being served up on the “Navy Warfare Chemical Menu” that will contaminate our air, water, and soil.

Since all of the Navy Warfare Training Range Complexes have received, or will receive in the near future, permits to “take” marine mammals during their respective 5-year warfare training programs the cumulative and synergistic effects of losing millions of marine mammals will be disastrous. It is time to say no to any future permits being issued by the National Marine Fisheries Services. Please feel free to file protests by the August 12, 2009, deadline National Marine Fisheries Service (9), regarding the U.S. Navy Environmental Impact Statement (10).

On May 28, 2009, U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson from California, in a Press Release to NOAA, made the following statements which could be directed toward any ocean Navy testing range:

“…I am concerned about the United States Navy’s ability to properly review the environmental impacts of proposed enhancements in its Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC)… I am particularly concerned that NOAA’s existing mitigation measures may not be best suited for the protected marine mammals and endangered salmonids present in the Pacific Northwest… I am also concerned about proposed changes to current levels of activity in the NWTRC that focus on training for new aircraft and ship classes and physical enhancements to the training range. The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) acknowledges that these changes, particularly those related to its increased use of mid-frequency sonar, are likely to have measurable impacts on 32 protected marine mammal species known to inhabit the NWTRC…”

Congressman Thompson continues: “…As the Navy moves forward with plans to train on new weapons systems, it is essential that NOAA identifies the environmental impacts of these new aircraft, ships and submarines – and their accompanying mitigation measures – specifically with reference to the productive ocean habitats and species that define the Pacific Coast… I am not aware of any specific elements included in the evaluation and am concerned that the review will be inadequate to address the Navy’s EIS with respect to protection of Pacific Coast ocean ecosystems.

NOAA’s comprehensive review is particularly important given that the Navy has estimated shipboard visual monitoring for marine mammals – the most commonly employed sonar mitigation measure – to be effective only 9% of the time.

It is important that NOAA take immediate steps to validate its comprehensive review of mitigation measures. Specifically, I request that you provide my office with an outline of the comprehensive review process and answers to the following questions:

1. What mitigation measures will be reviewed during NOAA’s process?

2.
What data will NOAA use to identify those mitigation measures best able to protect marine species?

3.
How will your agency’s recommendations target specific species, habitats or training activities of concern?

4.
How will NOAA’s recommendations address sonar impacts to species other than marine mammals?

5.
How will NOAA or the Navy establish performance standards to ensure that recommended mitigation measures are functioning as intended?…”

The public should also be informed of any information received by Congressman Thompson’s office. In addition, there are a few more questions which need to be answered:

1. What are the synergistic and cumulative effects of all the permits that have been issued in the last two years to Naval Range Complex requests?

2. Bomb blasts and toxic chemicals are also being tested by the Navy and NOAA reviews are not including information on the Navy Hazardous Waste and Toxic Chemicals sections of the Navy E.I.S., such as bioaccumulation of chemicals in the food chain, death from exposure to toxic chemicals and bomb blasts.

3. The Navy will also be conducting classified future warfare testing. Since the public is not to be informed of those tests, chemicals being used, electromagnetic weapons systems, and other air or land based tests, who is protecting sea life, human health, water, soil, and air from pollution and other experimental tests?

4. Human health from airborne pollutants, toxic debris, and shoreline contamination from toxic chemicals should also be considered in the NMFS evaluation. The protection of cruise ships, fishermen, ocean tourists, U.S. Coastguard personnel, and the public who swim in the ocean should also be considered in their evaluations. This is not just a marine mammal issue.

It is now time for all of us to weigh in with regard to these warfare programs which will devastate our marine mammals, pollute our air and water, and have negative impacts on human health. We should have U.S. Congressional Hearings and a postponement of these programs until such time as the public can be informed about these issues.

Website: californiaskywatch.com
Website: agriculturedefensecoalition.org

Source

Obama Embraces Afghanistan, Time for Citizen Opposition to Escalate/End the Afghanistan War!

August 19 2009

Today Afghanistan votes in elections that many view as a fraud. The candidates are all approved by the U.S., there are no political parties, the Taliban cannot run candidates, and the vote takes place under U.S. bayonets. There have reports of the presidential election sparking violence, corruption, vote buying, and alliances between Karzai and war lords.

One Member of Parliament, a woman who is the youngest Member, wrote that Afghans have “no hope” in this election. A fake election will not bring peace and stability.

This weekend President Obama fully embraced the Afghanistan War and has done so at a time when generals and DoD officials are acknowledging the U.S. is losing, deaths are mounting, and that it is going to be a very long haul – measured in years not in months, one general saying four decades.

Those who oppose this war need to organize. We need more people informed about the facts and more people involved in ending the war. Please forward this email to people you know and urge them to take action.

And, take action yourself. Urge President Obama to end the Afghanistan War. The U.S. cannot succeed in the graveyard of Empires and cannot afford to continue this war. Take action at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1312/t/9050/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27796

The Pentagon is spending nearly $5 billion per month in Iraq and Afghanistan, a pace that would bring yearly costs to almost $60 billion.

Military fatalities are consistently rising. And civilian deaths are rapidly rising as the result of drones and air attacks. These deaths are undermining support for the U.S.

Military leaders in both the United States and Britain are saying troops will be needed for years in Afghanistan. State Department officials are describing a lengthy occupation lasting many years. The U.S. is showing its intention by building very large bases in Afghanistan. And there are calls for a vast increase in troops.

The U.S. is repeating mistakes of the Iraq war with very high civilian deaths and abusive prison camps. The Afghan insurgents are winning and holding land. They are a very difficult enemy for U.S. troops. The Taliban is stronger than any time since the war began. Afghanis are increasingly angry with the U.S. presence in their country. In some cases, overcoming Afghan resistance seems insurmountable and the U.S. is considering pulling troops from some regions.

It seems as if the United States can neither define victory nor measure success, nor does it have a clear objective in the Afghan War.

Not only is the Afghan war increasingly unpopular at home with only 41% supporting the war, but throughout the world opposition to the war is increasing. Even soldiers see the war as futile.

The Obama administration is at a critical crossroads regarding Afghanistan policy. Please write the president and urge him to end the Afghanistan War. And, urge everyone you know to do so. Take action at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1312/t/9050/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27796

Source

America’s Most Wanted The Top 50 US War Criminals

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

The brutal truth about America’s healthcare

An extraordinary report from Guy Adams in Los Angeles at the music arena that has been turned into a makeshift medical centre

August 15, 2009

The LA Forum in Inglewood, California, hosted dental and medical examinations, for thousands of people thanks to the charity Remote Area Medical. Some waited, above, for 36 hours to see the medical staff

GETTY IMAGES; AFP

The LA Forum in Inglewood, California, hosted dental and medical examinations, for thousands of people thanks to the charity Remote Area Medical. Some waited, above, for 36 hours to see the medical staff.

They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.

In the week that Britain’s National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an “evil and Orwellian” example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

The LA Forum, the arena that once hosted sell-out Madonna concerts, has been transformed – for eight days only – into a vast field hospital. In America, the offer of free healthcare is so rare, that news of the magical medical kingdom spread rapidly and long lines of prospective patients snaked around the venue for the chance of getting everyday treatments that many British people take for granted.

In the first two days, more than 1,500 men, women and children received free treatments worth $503,000 (£304,000). Thirty dentists pulled 471 teeth; 320 people were given standard issue spectacles; 80 had mammograms; dozens more had acupuncture, or saw kidney specialists. By the time the makeshift medical centre leaves town on Tuesday, staff expect to have dispensed $2m worth of treatments to 10,000 patients.

The gritty district of Inglewood lies just a few miles from the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills and the bright lights of Hollywood, but is a world away. And the residents who had flocked for the free medical care, courtesy of mobile charity Remote Area Medical, bore testament to the human cost of the healthcare mess that President Obama is attempting to fix.

Christine Smith arrived at 3am in the hope of seeing a dentist for the first time since she turned 18. That was almost eight years ago. Her need is obvious and pressing: 17 of her teeth are rotten; some have large visible holes in them. She is living in constant pain and has been unable to eat solid food for several years.

“I had a gastric bypass in 2002, but it went wrong, and stomach acid began rotting my teeth. I’ve had several jobs since, but none with medical insurance, so I’ve not been able to see a dentist to get it fixed,” she told The Independent. “I’ve not been able to chew food for as long as I can remember. I’ve been living on soup, and noodles, and blending meals in a food mixer. I’m in constant pain. Normally, it would cost $5,000 to fix it. So if I have to wait a week to get treated for free, I’ll do it. This will change my life.”

Along the hall, Liz Cruise was one of scores of people waiting for a free eye exam. She works for a major supermarket chain but can’t afford the $200 a month that would be deducted from her salary for insurance. “It’s a simple choice: pay my rent, or pay my healthcare. What am I supposed to do?” she asked. “I’m one of the working poor: people who do work but can’t afford healthcare and are ineligible for any free healthcare or assistance. I can’t remember the last time I saw a doctor.”

Although the Americans spend more on medicine than any nation on earth, there are an estimated 50 million with no health insurance at all. Many of those who have jobs can’t afford coverage, and even those with standard policies often find it doesn’t cover commonplace procedures. California’s unemployed – who rely on Medicaid – had their dental care axed last month.

Julie Shay was one of the many, waiting to slide into a dentist’s chair where teeth were being drilled in full view of passers-by. For years, she has been crossing over the Mexican border to get her teeth done on the cheap in Tijuana. But recently, the US started requiring citizens returning home from Mexico to produce a passport (previously all you needed was a driver’s license), and so that route is now closed. Today she has two abscesses and is in so much pain she can barely sleep. “I don’t have a passport, and I can’t afford one. So my husband and I slept in the car to make sure we got seen by a dentist. It sounds pathetic, but I really am that desperate.”

“You’d think, with the money in this country, that we’d be able to look after people’s health properly,” she said. “But the truth is that the rich, and the insurance firms, just don’t realise what we are going through, or simply don’t care. Look around this room and tell me that America’s healthcare don’t need fixing.”

President Obama’s healthcare plans had been a central plank of his first-term programme, but his reform package has taken a battering at the hands of Republican opponents in recent weeks. As the Democrats have failed to coalesce around a single, straightforward proposal, their rivals have seized on public hesitancy over “socialised medicine” and now the chance of far-reaching reform is in doubt.

Most damaging of all has been the tide of vociferous right-wing opponents whipping up scepticism at town hall meetings that were supposed to soothe doubts. In Pennsylvania this week, Senator Arlen Specter was greeted by a crowd of 1,000 at a venue designed to accommodate only 250, and of the 30 selected speakers at the event, almost all were hostile.

The packed bleachers in the LA Forum tell a different story. The mobile clinic has been organised by the remarkable Remote Area Medical. The charity usually focuses on the rural poor, although they worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now they are moving into more urban venues, this week’s event in Los Angeles is believed to be the largest free healthcare operation in the country.

Doctors, dentists and therapists volunteer their time, and resources to the organisation. To many US medical professionals, it offers a rare opportunity to plug into the public service ethos on which their trade was supposedly founded. “People come here who haven’t seen a doctor for years. And we’re able to say ‘Hey, you have this, you have this, you have this’,” said Dr Vincent Anthony, a kidney specialist volunteering five days of his team’s time. “It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Healthcare needs reform, obviously. There are so many people falling through the cracks, who don’t get care. That’s why so many are here.”

Ironically, given this week’s transatlantic spat over the NHS, Remote Area Medical was founded by an Englishman: Stan Brock. The 72-year-old former public schoolboy, Taekwondo black belt, and one-time presenter of Wild Kingdom, one of America’s most popular animal TV shows, left the celebrity gravy train in 1985 to, as he puts it, “make people better”.

Today, Brock has no money, no income, and no bank account. He spends 365 days a year at the charity events, sleeping on a small rolled-up mat on the floor and living on a diet made up entirely of porridge and fresh fruit. In some quarters, he has been described, without too much exaggeration, as a living saint.

Though anxious not to interfere in the potent healthcare debate, Mr Brock said yesterday that he, and many other professionals, believes the NHS should provide a benchmark for the future of US healthcare.

“Back in 1944, the UK government knew there was a serious problem with lack of healthcare for 49.7 million British citizens, of which I was one, so they said ‘Hey Mr Nye Bevan, you’re the Minister for Health… go fix it’. And so came the NHS. Well, fast forward now 66 years, and we’ve got about the same number of people, about 49 million people, here in the US, who don’t have access to healthcare.”

“I’ve been very conservative in my outlook for the whole of my life. I’ve been described as being about 90,000 miles to the right of Attila the Hun. But I think one reaches the reality that something doesn’t work… In this country something has to be done. And as a proud member of the US community but a loyal British subject to the core, I would say that if Britain could fix it in 1944, surely we could fix it here in America.

Healthcare compared

Health spending as a share of GDP

US 16%

UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)

US 45%

UK 82%

Health spending per head

US $7,290

UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)

US 2.4

UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)

US 10.6

UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)

US 2.7

UK 2.6

Life expectancy:

US 78

UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)

US 6.7

UK 4.8

Source

Health Insurance Abuses in US

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 1:47 am  Comments Off  
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Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda

Obama looks West, to the Web in health care fight
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Aug. 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is turning his eyes West and hitting the Web as he steps up his counteroffensive against critics of a proposed health care overhaul.

Obama assailed “wild misrepresentations” of his health care plan Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., taking on the role of fact-checker-in-chief for his top domestic priority. It’s a strategy he will employ at two more town halls this week in Montana and Colorado, and on the White House Web site.

To that end, the Obama-aligned Democratic National Committee is running health care overhaul ads nationally on cable channels and in spots the president will visit, joining a chorus of ads that has become a cacophony over a problem that has vexed Washington for decades.

On the other side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was joining the fray Wednesday, beginning to air 30-second spots in about 20 states criticizing the Democratic proposal to offer optional government health coverage, according to R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the nation’s largest business group.

The multimillion-dollar buy would be one of the largest so far critical of Obama’s effort, in a year in which opponents have been heavily outspent by supporters of the president’s plan. The spot, showing a balloon being inflated until it bursts, says: “Big tax increases, huge deficits, expanded government control of health care. Call Congress.”

In Portsmouth, Obama faced a polite crowd of 1,800 packed into a high school auditorium and a nationwide audience watching on cable television. He urged them not to listen to those who seek to “scare and mislead” on his plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

“Where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed,” he said. “Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks, and they’ll create boogeymen out there.”

The boogeymen have prompted the White House to strike back. The president ticked off the highest-profile, most emotional issues that critics have used to greatest advantage to interrupt town hall meetings held by lawmakers home for the August congressional recess.

For instance, Obama said the Democratic health care legislation would not create “death panels” to deny care to frail seniors — or “basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that it’s too expensive to let her live anymore,” as the president put it. The provision he said had led to such talk would only authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care if they want it, he contended.

He also disputed accusations that he seeks a federally run system, or one in which the government makes decisions about care.

Obama’s new message, sharpened amid sliding public support for him and his plan, targeted a vital and, polls show, particularly skeptical audience: the tens of millions of people who already have health insurance and aren’t yet convinced of a need to spend billions of dollars to change it or cover the nearly 50 million people who lack coverage.

That message is finding reinforcements online. The White House launched a Web site to counter critics and asked supporters to share with them e-mails they say misrepresent Obama’s positions. It’s a tactic similar to the one the tech-savvy Obama campaign used to win the White House.
Source

Well I am quite sure the Insurance companies will be putting out all sorts of propaganda about Health Care reforms.  Wouldn’t want anyone cutting into their profits.  Insurance companies will do anything and everything possible to stop any changes to Health Care, including lie to people. Fear mongering at it’s finest. Considering how may people are without health care and how many are insured and still denied treatments, people should be a bit more intelligent then to believe the the propaganda being put out there.  Many countries around the world have Government run Health Care systems and the majority work just fine. Universal Health Care is something no one should be afraid of unless of course you are the one loosing profits like insurance companies. Imagine never having a problem getting treated for an injuries or an illness.  Insurance companies could care less if you live or die.  No one should be denied Health Care. Insurance companies should be removed from the Health Care system as far as I am concerned.  They only profit from the sick and helpless. You may pay more taxes for Health Care, but when you remove the payments to Insurance companies you will pay less in the long run.  Government run Health Care is cheaper then through insurance companies. Governments don’t need profit, insurance companies do.

Health Care

“I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”

– President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

Progress

  • The President signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, which provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.
  • The President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act protects health coverage for 7 million Americans who lose their jobs through a 65 percent COBRA subsidy to make coverage affordable.
  • The Recovery Act also invests $19 billion in computerized medical records that will help to reduce costs and improve quality while ensuring patients’ privacy.
  • The Recovery Act also provides:
    • $1 billion for prevention and wellness to improve America’s health and help to reduce health care costs;
    • $1.1 billion for research to give doctors tools to make the best treatment decisions for their patients by providing objective information on the relative benefits of treatments; and
    • $500 million for health workforce to help train the next generation of doctors and nurses.

Guiding Principles

President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass comprehensive health reform in his first year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

Comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait. Rapidly escalating health care costs are crushing family, business, and government budgets. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have doubled in the last 9 years, a rate 3 times faster than cumulative wage increases. This forces families to sit around the kitchen table to make impossible choices between paying rent or paying health premiums. Given all that we spend on health care, American families should not be presented with that choice. The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system. This growing burden will limit other investments and priorities that are needed to grow our economy. Rising health care costs also affect our economic competitiveness in the global economy, as American companies compete against companies in other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs.

The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.

The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:

  • Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
  • Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
  • Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
  • Invest in prevention and wellness
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care
  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
  • Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions

Please visit www.HealthReform.gov to learn more about the President’s commitment to enacting comprehensive health reform this year.

Source

Don’t let Insurance Companies destroy the lives of people anymore.

Universal Health Care is the way to go. Let the people win this one.

All people rich or poor,  deserve Universal Health Care.

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Comments Off  
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Israel: “Did You Know?”

Did You Know?

January 31 2009

  • Did you know that non-Jewish Israelis cannot buy or lease land in the Zionist entity?
  • Did you know that Palestinian license plates in Zionist entity are color coded to distinguish jews from non-jews?
  • Did you know that Israel allots 85% of the water resources for jews and the remaining 15% is divided among all Palestinians in the territories? For example in Hebron, 85% of the water is given to about 400 settlers, while 15% must be divided among Hebron’s 120,000 Palestinians?
  • Did you know the United States awards the Israel $5 billion in aid each year?
  • Did you know that yearly US aid to Israel exceeds the aid the US grants to the whole African continent?
  • Did you know that the Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons? Over 200 Pakistan had one maybe still does.
  • Did you know that the Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections from its sites?
  • Did you know that Israel currently occupies territories of two sovereign nations (Lebanon and Syria) in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?
  • Did you know that Israel has for decades routinely sent assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies?
  • Did you know that high-ranking military officers in the Israeli Defense Forces have admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed by the IDF?
  • Did you know that Israel refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
  • Did you know that Israel routinely confiscates bank accounts, businesses, and land and refuses to pay compensation to those who suffer the confiscation?
  • Did you know that Israel blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship in international waters, killing 33 and wounding 177 American sailors? USS Liberty
  • Did you know that the second most powerful lobby in the United States, according to a recent Fortune magazine survey of Washington insiders, is the jewish AIPAC?
  • Did you know that Israel stands in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council Resolutions?
  • Did you know that today’s Israel sits on the former sites of more than 400 now-vanished Palestinian villages, and that the Israeli’s re- named almost every physical site in the country to cover up the traces?
  • Did you know that it was not until 1988 that Israelis were barred from running “jews Only” job ads?
  • Did you know that four prime ministers of Israel (Begin, Shamir, Rabin, and Sharon) have taken part in either bomb attacks on civilians, massacres of civilians, or forced expulsions of civilians from their villages?
  • Did you know that the Israeli Foreign Ministry pays two American public relations firms to promote Israel to Americans?
  • Did you know that Sharon’s coalition government includes a party — Molodet — which advocates expelling all Palestinians from the occupied territories?
  • Did you know that Israel’s settlement-building increased in the eight years since Oslo?
  • Did you know that settlement building under Barak doubled compared to settlement building under Netanyahu?
  • Did you know that Israel once dedicated a postage stamp to a man who attacked a civilian bus and killed several people?
  • Did you know that recently-declassified documents indicate that David Ben-Gurion in at least some instances approved of the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948?
  • Did you know that despite a ban on torture by Israel’s High Court of Justice, torture has continued by Shin Bet interrogators on Palestinian prisoners?
  • Did you know that Palestinian refugees make up the largest portion of the refugee population in the world? As of June 30 2008 Total number of Refugees 4,618,141
  • And finally do you know who is the terrorist now ?

Source

Well did you know?

If you didn’t know “Why” didn’t you know?

Did You Know this list is the tip of the Iceburg.

Did you know Israel has said that about 6,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, but in 8 years only 4 people have died because of them.

Seems the rockets are not targeting people per say. Or is it maybe Israelis are firing them and blaming it on Hamas.

Out of 6,000 rockets only 4 deaths in 8 years isn’t that rather odd.  I really have wondered about that. 6,000.

There is something really wrong with this picture,  it just doesn’t add up.

THE ROLE OF ZIONISM IN THE HOLOCAUST

Did You Know: About Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis

Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 4:15 am  Comments Off  
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200,000 War Veterans homeless in US

January 16 2009
Glantz: ‘We’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics’

200,000 war veterans homeless in US

300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans file disability claims with US federal government.

PACIFICA

For six years of war in Iraq, the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to take care of the hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans coming home, said Aaron Glantz, a journalist who has been covering the stories of US military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’ve had people brought into the VA, turned away, who have committed suicide after coming back from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We’ve had people redeployed to Iraq, even after they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans coming home with traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have filed disability claims with the federal government,” Glantz told Democracy Now! on Thursday.
“In many cases, there is no medical services at all, because remember that many people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan come from rural communities where the VA doesn’t even have a hospital,” he explained.
There are 200,000 homeless war veterans in the United States.
“On every night, 200,000 people who have put on the uniform and served this country sleep homeless on the streets,” said Glantz.
“Imagine that you come home from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental wound, or traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage often caused by a roadside bomb. The first thing that you have to do just to get in the door at the VA is to fill out a twenty-six-page form where you substantiate exactly how you were wounded, where you get letters of support from your battle buddies, from your commanders. You subpoena your own Army records, often with the help of your congressperson. And you present to the VA a gigantic claim folder, which they then sit on for an extended period of time. And that’s just to get in the door.

So we take our veterans when they’re most wounded and most vulnerable and exploit them by making them fill out a mound of paperwork just to get in the door,” noted Glantz.
“If you served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you come home and you say that you have PTSD, that the VA should assume that you got that in the war, not from a auto accident, not from some experience growing up, but perhaps your experience seeing your buddies killed or your experience killing an innocent civilian, that those might be the incidences that caused you to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder,” he explained.
But some problems date back way back to 1991.
“We are seventeen years after the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and veterans of that war are still fighting to get disability compensation and healthcare. And for the last seventeen years, up until about two months ago, the VA had said that Gulf War syndrome simply didn’t exist, and they called it ‘undiagnosed illness’. And one problem with that is if you call it undiagnosed illness, then there’s no way to treat it, because you’re pretty much throwing up your hands,” said Glantz.
“I think another question that we should be asking is, what is the ‘Gulf War illness’ of the war that we’re involved in right now?

Is it our troops’ exposure to depleted uranium, for example?

Is it our troops—the pills that our troops were forced to take before they went into this war?

Might those things have long-term effects on our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans?

Shouldn’t we get ahead of the curve this time and not wait until seventeen years after the war to begin to look at how to treat and compensate people who served in it?” Asked Glantz.
“We can’t forget about the 1.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are coming back into our communities. And if we don’t deal with this now, we’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics.”

Source

Well maybe the new president will take care of them.

Bush did everything including “cutting their health care” to help them. He helped as many as possible onto the streets. George was extremely helpful.

Nothing like being thrown in the trash, after serving your country.

Just another part of the Bush legacy.

Vietnam war vets were also treated badly. Many of them also ended up homeless.

The US has never taken good care of those who served.

They should be ashamed of this considering, these people put their lives on the line, to serve their country. But that is the American way. Has been for years.  Will it change with the new President,  maybe, maybe not.  They never really cared enough before to change anything so why would they now?  War Vets are disposable, as far as the US government is concerned. Like a Dixie Cup. Just throw them away, after they have served their purpose.

This is of course a “Human Rights Violation” under “UN LAW”.

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Gov’t Study Concludes “Gulf War Syndrome” is Legitimate Condition, Affects 1 in 4 Vets

Jan 7: Israel’s Gaza invasion provokes protests throughout Latin America

By TYLER BRIDGES
January 7 2009

Opposition to Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip is heating up throughout Latin America.

Venezuela has expelled Israel’s ambassador. Guatemala and Colombia have called on Israel to stop fighting and begin immediate peace talks. Demonstrators in Argentina, El Salvador and Bolivia have condemned the invasion. Brazil is sending aid to victims.

“There is a tradition in Latin America of rejecting violence to solve any international conflict,” said Adrian Bonilla, the director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Ecuador. “There is also a tradition of supporting the weakest country in a conflict since most Latin American countries have been part of the Third World network. Another factor is that Israel is a close ally of the United States.”

Not surprisingly, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has taken the harshest stance. On Tuesday, he kicked out Israel’s ambassador and diplomatic staff. The Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas applauded the move on Wednesday as a “courageous step.”

Chavez on Wednesday showed the photograph of a Palestinian child killed by Israeli bombs and said Israeli leaders should be tried for killing innocent men, women and children.

“Behind Israel is the American empire,” Chavez said.

Chavez questioned why President-elect Barack Obama “until now hasn’t said anything” about Israel’s aggression.

Abraham Levy, the president of the Confederation of Israeli Associations in Venezuela, said Wednesday that he found Chavez’s comments “worrisome.” He noted that Israel and Venezuela had warm relations until Chavez began seeking close ties with Iran and denounced Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

Some 15,000 Jews live in Venezuela.

The biggest protest in Latin America has taken place in Argentina, where some 20,000 people marched Tuesday from the Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires to the Israeli Embassy. Arab and student groups organized the march, along with the Argentine Communist Party and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights organization.

The protesters carried Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese flags and signs saying “Israel: Leave Gaza now” and “We are all Palestinians.” The march was peaceful, but some of the protesters threw paint and shoes against the embassy.

“The fifth largest army of the world is fighting against a helpless society,” Alejandro Salomon, the president of the Confederation of Argentina Arab Entities, said in an interview Wednesday. “We are protesting against the small effort made by the international community to stop this manslaughter.”

Jews are planning a pro-Israel countermarch in Buenos Aires on Thursday, ending at a building destroyed by Arab terrorists in a 1994 car bombing that killed nearly 100 people. With an estimated 240,000 Jews, Buenos Aires is said to be the second biggest home of Jews in the Americas after New York City.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, Iftaf Curiel, told the Jewish News Agency that Argentinians should support the “moderate elements of the (Middle Eastern) region – Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan – that are confronting the extreme elements of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Israeli officials have said they launched the Gaza invasion on Dec. 27 as a defensive measure to halt rocket fire from Hamas militants.

Televised images of the carnage have been shown throughout Latin America, especially on Telesur, the regionwide television network financed by the Venezuelan government. The attacks have killed some 600 Palestinians, including children.

Source

Jan 7: Lebanese children demonstrate for Gaza Children

Jan 7 : India- Protest in New Delhi over Israel raids

Jan 7: Australian Jews protest against Israel’s action

Jan 7: Canadian Jewish women protesting against Gaza War, Arrested after occupying the Israeli Consulate

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza0 all Jewish youth can sign

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza -Petitions

Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

Gaza (3): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (2): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus Shells/Targets UN School

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

Foreign Press still banned from Gaza/Israel attacks Media Building in Gaza City

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

War on Gaza – Timeline: June 19 2008 to January 3 2009

If Hamas Did Not Exist

‘This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace.’

By Jennifer Loewenstein
December 31 2008

Let us get one thing perfectly straight. If the wholesale mutilation and degradation of the Gaza Strip is going to continue; if Israel’s will is at one with that of the United States; if the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and all the international legal agencies and organizations spread across the globe are going to continue to sit by like hollow mannequins doing nothing but making repeated “calls” for a “ceasefire” on “both sides”; if the cowardly, obsequious and supine Arab States are going to stand by watching their brethren get slaughtered by the hour while the world’s bullying Superpower eyes them threateningly from Washington lest they say something a little to their disliking; then let us at least tell the truth why this hell on earth is taking place.

The state terror unleashed from the skies and on the ground against the Gaza Strip as we speak has nothing to do with Hamas. It has nothing to do with “Terror”. It has nothing to do with the long-term “security” of the Jewish State or with Hizbullah or Syria or Iran except insofar as it is aggravating the conditions that have led up to this crisis today. It has nothing to do with some conjured up “war” – a cynical and overused euphemism that amounts to little more the wholesale enslavement of any nation that dares claim its sovereign rights; that dares assert that its resources are its own; that doesn’t want one of the Empire’s obscene military bases sitting on its cherished land.

This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace. It is not about Mahmoud Zahhar or Khalid Mash’al or Ismail Haniyeh. It is not about Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are all circumstantial players who have gained a role in the current tempest only now that the situation has been allowed for 61 years to develop into the catastrophe that it is today. The Islamist factor has colored and will continue to color the atmosphere of the crisis; it has enlisted the current leaders and mobilized wide sectors of the world’s population. The primary symbols today are Islamic – the mosques, the Qur’an, the references to the Prophet Muhammad and to Jihad. But these symbols could disappear and the impasse would continue.

There was a time when Fatah and the PFLP held the day; when few Palestinians wanted anything to do with Islamist policies and politics. Such politics have nothing to do with primitive rockets being fired over the border, or smuggling tunnels and black-market weapons; just as Arafat’s Fatah had little to do with stones and suicide bombings. The associations are coincidental; the creations of a given political environment. They are the result of something entirely different than what the lying politicians and their analysts are telling you. They have become part of the landscape of human events in the modern Middle East today; but incidentals wholly as lethal, or as recalcitrant, deadly, angry or incorrigible could just as soon have been in their places.

Strip away the clichés and the vacuous newspeak blaring out across the servile media and its pathetic corps of voluntary state servants in the Western world and what you will find is the naked desire for hegemony; for power over the weak and dominion over the world’s wealth. Worse yet you will find that the selfishness, the hatred and indifference, the racism and bigotry, the egotism and hedonism that we try so hard to cover up with our sophisticated jargon, our refined academic theories and models actually help to guide our basest and ugliest desires. The callousness with which we in indulge in them all are endemic to our very culture; thriving here like flies on a corpse.

Strip away the current symbols and language of the victims of our selfish and devastating whims and you will find the simple, impassioned and unaffected cries of the downtrodden; of the ‘wretched of the earth’ begging you to cease your cold aggression against their children and their homes; their families and their villages; begging you to leave them alone to have their fish and their bread, their oranges, their olives and their thyme; asking you first politely and then with increasing disbelief why you cannot let them live undisturbed on the land of their ancestors; unexploited, free of the fear of expulsion; of ravishment and devastation; free of permits and roadblocks and checkpoints and crossings; of monstrous concrete walls, guard towers, concrete bunkers, and barbed wire; of tanks and prisons and torture and death. Why is life without these policies and instruments of hell impossible?

The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders. It had no intention of allowing it in 1948 when it grabbed 24% more land than what it was allotted legally, if unfairly, by UN Resolution 181. It had no intention of allowing it throughout the massacres and ploys of the 1950s. It had no intention of allowing two states when it conquered the remaining 22% of historic Palestine in 1967 and reinterpreted UN Security Council Resolution 248 to its own liking despite the overwhelming international consensus stating that Israel would receive full international recognition within secure and recognized borders if it withdrew from the lands it had only recently occupied.

It had no intention of acknowledging Palestinian national rights at the United Nations in 1974, when –alone with the United States—it voted against a two-state solution. It had no intention of allowing a comprehensive peace settlement when Egypt stood ready to deliver but received, and obediently accepted, a separate peace exclusive of the rights of Palestinians and the remaining peoples of the region. It had no intention of working toward a just two state solution in 1978 or 1982 when it invaded, fire-bombed, blasted and bulldozed Beirut so that it might annex the West Bank without hassle. It had no intention of granting a Palestinian state in 1987 when the first Intifada spread across occupied Palestine, into the Diaspora and the into the spirits of the global dispossessed, or when Israel deliberately aided the newly formed Hamas movement so that it might undermine the strength of the more secular-nationalist factions.

Israel had no intention of granting a Palestinian state at Madrid or at Oslo where the PLO was superseded by the quivering, quisling Palestinian Authority too many of whose cronies grasped at the wealth and prestige it gave them at the expense of their own kin. As Israel beamed into the world’s satellites and microphones its desire for peace and a two-state solution, it more than doubled the number of illegal Jewish settlements on the ground in the West Bank and around East Jerusalem, annexing them as it built and continues to build a superstructure of bypass roads and highways over the remaining, severed cities and villages of earthly Palestine. It has annexed the Jordan valley, the international border of Jordan, expelling any ‘locals’ inhabiting that land. It speaks with a viper’s tongue over the multiple amputee of Palestine whose head shall soon be severed from its body in the name of justice, peace and security.

Through the home demolitions, the assaults on civil society that attempted to cast Palestinian history and culture into a chasm of oblivion; through the unspeakable destruction of the refugee camp sieges and infrastructure bombardments of the second Intifada, through assassinations and summary executions, past the grandiose farce of disengagement and up to the nullification of free, fair and democratic Palestinian elections Israel has made its view known again and again in the strongest possible language, the language of military might, of threats, intimidation, harassment, defamation & degradation.

Israel, with the unconditional and approving support of the United States, has made it dramatically clear to the entire world over and over and over again, repeating in action after action that it will accept no viable Palestinian state next to its borders. What will it take for the rest of us to hear? What will it take to end the criminal silence of the ‘international community’? What will it take to see past the lies and indoctrination to what is taking place before us day after day in full view of the eyes of the world? The more horrific the actions on the ground, the more obscenely insistent are the words of peace. To listen and watch without hearing or seeing allows the indifference, the ignorance and complicity to continue and deepens with each grave our collective shame.

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

-Jennifer Loewenstein is the Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Source

If Hamas did not exist, Israel would find another scapegoat to blame. This is of course what they have always done.

The Holocaust

By Dahlia Wasfi
December 31, 2008

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic. But I’m not talking about World War II, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, or Ashkenazi Jews.  What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the last 60 years.  By definition, a holocaust is a mass slaughter of people or a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life, especially through fire.  There isn’t a more accurate description of the hell that US-armed and –funded Israeli Occupation Forces are unleashing on the people of Gaza at this moment.  Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.

If you think I’m being grandiose, let us look at the words of Matan Vilnai, Israel’s Deputy Defense [sic] Minister, from February of this year: “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” In Hebrew, “shoah” refers to the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940′s.  But massive airstrikes are not self-defense if you are the aggressor.  That goes for the whole stupid so-called “War on Terror,” in which not a single one of its victims had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.  That goes for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; that goes for Israel in Palestine.

And that goes for Germany in Poland.  In 1940, the Germans began massing Polish Jews into ghettoes prior to their deportation to extermination camps.  The largest one was the Warsaw Ghetto, where an uprising—a Jewish insurgency—began in 1943.

Today, Gaza is essentially a large ghetto, with a population of around 1.5 million living on about 139 square miles.  Israel controls Gaza’s land border, airspace, water, maritime access, and the flow of goods including food and medical supplies.

Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the people of Gaza, slowly starving them to death, slowly killing them by denial of medical care amidst intermittent gunship airstrikes.

These crimes against humanity are, of course, in violation of the Geneva Conventions—international law established after World War II in the spirit of “never again.”  Unlike in Warsaw, Gaza is not the staging area for the extermination camps; Gaza IS the extermination camp.

Qassam rockets fired from Gaza as retaliation for Israeli F-16 airstrikes are the equivalent of the Molotov cocktails used by the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943.  Like the small arms of the Polish Jews, they are no match for the sophisticated weaponry of the invading army.  This is why the death toll is so high for the people on the ground in Gaza, and minimal for Israelis.

The mainstream media is depicting this as an “all-out war,” as it depicts the illegal occupation of Iraq.  But in both cases, you have a starving, essentially unarmed people being assaulted with F-15s/F-16s, cruise missiles, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, tanks, and artillery.  This is not war; this is mass murder; this is genocide.  And it is American military, financial, and political support that makes this bloodletting possible.

From North America to Germany to Cambodia to Rwanda to Palestine to Iraq, mass murder is wrong.  When Americans are looking for whom to blame, we cannot blame the victims.  Yes, there are many players involved and many governments turning a blind eye to genocide, but don’t we brag about how much better we are than that?  Shouldn’t we stop being complicit in these supreme crimes against humanity?  All we have to do is abide by our own laws, which include all signed international treaties and agreements.

We must end our illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop funding and providing armaments for the illegal occupation and stealth of Palestinian land.  In the words of Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American college student who was murdered in Rafah by the Israeli Occupation Forces on March 16, 2003:

“…Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel.  Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world…So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Let us heed her brave wisdom, and end illegal occupation.  If we fail to act, then the next time someone flies airplanes into American buildings, let us not ask ignorantly, “Why do they hate us?”

Source

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Obama free to chart new course with Cuba

Fidel Castro -- 'El Commandante'

December 13 2008
By Tom Bevan, RealClearPolitics.com

New polling in Florida shows that for the first time a majority of Cuban-Americans favour lifting the trade embargo against Cuba that the United States has had in place since 1962. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed favored discontinuing the embargo, and 65 per cent said they were in favor of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the neighboring Communist regime.

During the Democratic primary, then candidate Barack Obama spelled out his willingness to ease the embargo with Cuba in an op-ed in the Miami Herald in August 2007, writing that he would “use aggressive and principled diplomacy to send an important message: If a post-Fidel government begins opening Cuba to democratic change, the United States (the president working with Congress) is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades.”

The following May, Obama gave a speech in Little Havana saying that his policy toward Cuba would be “guided by one word: libertad.” In the speech Obama again advocated easing restrictions on remittances and travel to Cuba.

Obama lost the meaningless Florida primary to Clinton in January by 17 points, which included a 33-point thumping among the state’s Hispanics.

But Obama won the Sunshine State 51-49 over McCain in November, including a majority of the Hispanic vote. Obama lost the Cuban vote to McCain by thirty points, 65-35, though there was a stark discrepancy among age group. The oldest demographic of Cuban-Americans (aged 65+) voted overwhelmingly for McCain, 84-16, but those Cuban-Americans under 30 backed Obama by a 55-45 margin.

As a result, the Associated Press declares that Obama will be the first president in 50 years to have “a relatively free hand” in forging a shift in America’s policy toward Cuba:

Cuban-Americans have had a mixed reaction to Obama’s campaign promises — most voted against him, but Obama carried Florida and didn’t even need the state’s votes to win the presidency, confounding the notion that the support of anti-Castro Cuban exiles is essential in presidential elections.

“Obama already has a much freer hand than Bush did,” said Daniel Erickson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C. think tank. “He does not owe any of his political success to Cuban-Americans in South Florida.”

Obama is therefore free to chart a new course. He can reverse some policies of President George W. Bush with a pen stroke, and while undoing the embargo would take a majority in Congress, that’s easier than ever with Democrats holding sizable majorities.

No doubt leading the charge in Congress will be one of President-elect Obama’s former rivals, Senator Chris Dodd, who’s been pushing for taking a softer line against Cuba for years.

Source

Maybe Barack could learn about Cuba’s Health Care system, apparently it is pretty good.

Fidel Castro has offered to speak with Barack Obama

Starvation slams Haiti: Kids dying after 4 storms ravage crops, livestock

December 7 2008

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

BAIE D’ORANGE, Haiti

The slow road to death runs high above the scenic coastline, past the crumbled bridges and buried rivers. It traverses a jagged trail passing green slopes and red fertile dirt before arriving here: an isolated mountain village where little Haitian girls dream of eating rice and the doctor is a three-hour walk away.

This is the place where children, suffering from stunted growth, look half their age, where struggling mothers cry that their half-starved babies with the brittle orange hair — evidence of malnutrition — neither crawl nor walk.

“He doesn’t cry, ‘Manman.’ Or ‘Papa,’ ” says Christmene Normilus, holding her malnourished 2-year-old son, Jean-Roselle Tata.

Emergency intervention
In the past month, international aid workers and doctors have airlifted 46 children on the brink of death from this southeastern village and neighboring communities to hospitals in Port-au-Prince, and elsewhere in the south.

The emergency intervention came after it was reported that 26 children from the Baie d’Orange region had died from severe malnutrition in the wake of the four successive storms that devastated Haiti in less than a month this summer.

But long before the deaths and hospitalizations plunged this poverty-stricken nation into the global spotlight amid fears of storm-related famine, the people of this farming community already were battling hunger.

Proud, they reluctantly admit that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to feed their children, many of whom already suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Their story is repeated throughout the countryside, where a lack of roads, potable water and public-health facilities, as well as deforestation, already had Haiti’s rural poor living in life-threatening misery before the four back-to-back storms washed out more roads, killed livestock and wiped out crops.

“We can’t give our children what they need,” said Jilesca Fulcal, 37, a mother of seven who recently sought medical care for her 2-year-old son, Jean-Samuel Jules. “There is no food. No work for the people. The children can’t live like that. The children are suffering in their mothers’ arms.”

In recent weeks, the United Nations World Food Program has delivered food to the region, taking care to treat the children who are severely malnourished. But with many parts of the hilly hinterland accessible only by foot and horseback, residents say some people still have no access to the food.

Unseen suffering
Unlike Port-au-Prince, where Haiti’s crushing poverty is visible in the crowded slums and on the streets, the misery here is through what visitors don’t see: the eight- to 10-hour walk for water because there are no rivers, able-bodied young men toiling in the fields, the daily struggle to find food — including three hours to walk 12 miles on a rugged road to see the doctor.

“What’s happening in Baie d’Orange is the result of poor political decision-making that has happened over several years,” said Fednel Zidor, the government delegate for the southeast, who has gone on the radio to bring attention to the community’s plight. “No one paid any attention to it.”

Source

A bit of history.

January 7 2005

Photos: © 2005 Haiti Information Project – A UN armored personnel vehicle rolls through Delmas 2 in Bel Air. Five people were killed on January 5 when the UN entered the pro-Lavalas neighborhood under the pretext of cleaning the streets of garbage. Although the UN force took advantage of several photo opportunities to show their public works projects yesterday, their only duty on January 5 was to enter the roiling slum on heavily armed patrols. ©2004 Haiti Information ProjectOn October 28, 2004, the Haitian police entered the slum of Bel Air and shot these four young men execution style. Now that the UN controls Bel Air, members of Aristide’s Lavalas party demanded the UN stop the police and the former military from committing more murders in their communities. Some residents decided to leave Bel Air after the UN assumed control of the streets on January 5, 2005. Although the UN claims responsibility for security, members of Lavalas accuse the multinational force of allowing the Haitian National Police  to execute armed raids in poor neighborhoods where support for ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide remains strong. Despite UN claims of having entered Bel Air with force on January 5th to clear the streets of trash, other than a few carefully planned photo opportunites with the Associated Press, there was little evidence of progress the next day.

A UN armored personnel vehicle rolls through a nearly deserted street in the neighborhood of Bel Air. Residents claim five persons were killed on January 5, 2005 when the UN invaded the slum with hundreds of Brazilian troops under the guise of street cleaning and civic improvement projects

UN occupies Bel Air in Haiti
Port au Prince, Haiti Hundreds of Brazilian soldiers and special units of the Haitian National Police stormed the pro-Aristide neighborhood of Bel Air in the early morning hours of January 5. Residents were surprised and frightened by the armed incursion as gunfire broke out. Witnesses reported that five persons were killed as the operation unfolded.

Bel Air is a slum in the capital of Port au Prince that has served as a launching site for demonstrations demanding the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was ousted last February 29th amid charges he was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and remains in exile in the Republic of South Africa. The Bel Air slum had been under siege by police since violence erupted last September 30th after police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators.

Following the military operation, UN peacekeepers were seen providing photo opportunities to the press as they fixed a few water pipes and cleared the carcasses of burned out vehicles blocking the road. One resident who refused to give their name fearing reprisals stated, “Do you think we want to live like this? We are more afraid of the police coming in here and killing everyone than we are of the rats and the garbage. Those wrecked cars were our security because it stopped the police from coming in here at night and shooting us. Now that the UN has opened the door for them we don’t know what is going to happen to us. Look what they did in Cite de Dieu yesterday.”

The UN incursion came one day after Haitian police were accused of committing another deadly raid in a neighborhood close to Haiti’s National Theater. In Cite de Dieu the police reportedly killed six people including a 16 year-old girl and later justified the slaughter claiming they were bandits.

An unidentified representative of Aristide’s Lavalas party commented on the situation, “If the UN is really going to provide security to our communities then they must stop the police from murdering our citizens. We all want peace but you cannot blame people for wanting to defend themselves while the UN allows the police to commit murder and fill the jails with political prisoners. They must stop the police and the former military from murdering our citizens.

“Last October 28th the police executed four young men they thought were Lavalas and the UN did nothing to stop them.

“The UN cannot on one-hand say they are bringing security while on the other they claim to be assisting the police as they kill us, beat us and arrest us. It is a contradiction they must resolve or there will never be peace. They must control the police and stop the killing! They must support us in releasing all the political prisoners filling our jails!

“For now, it appears the UN are equally responsible for this partisan campaign to exterminate Lavalas that is clearly meant to silence our opposition to the coup of February 29, 2004.”

Source

San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Kevin Pina Held in Haiti

by Leisa Faulkner
September 12, 2005

Reporter Kevin Pina opened his family home to me last month in Port au Prince, Haiti when violence closed the orphanage where I usually stay to do human rights work. Tonight, Kevin sleeps in a jail cell like those I visited in Cap Haitian just weeks ago. He has become part of the story he risks his life daily to tell.

UN works to squash followers of Aristide in Haiti Port-au-Prince, Haiti Corralling residents and kicking down doors, heavily armed troops of the UN and the Police Nationale de Haiti invaded several neighborhoods of Cite Soleil one day after an alleged attack on the headquarters of the mission of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Jan 9

Deaths reported as UN enters Haiti slum Port au Prince, Haiti Sustained and heavy gunfire erupted in the pro-Aristide slum of Cite Soleil at about 3 a.m. this morning and was followed by an incursion into the area by hundreds of Brazilian and Jordanian troops of the United Nations. – Dec 14 2004

Tearing up the Charter: UN’s Erosion Continues in Haiti Flashpoints Radio’s Dennis Bernstein interviews Kevin Pina and Brian Concannon. Oct 18 2004


Council On Hemispheric Affairs

Aiding Oppression in Haiti: Kofi Annan and General Heleno’s Complicity in Latortue’s Jackal Regime Dec 16 2004

Haiti’s Ship Sails on Without a Captain and With a Very Disreputable Crew: Kofi Annan, Roger Noriega, Colin Powell and Lula of Brazil have much to answer for failing to implement the UN’s Stabilization Mission - Dec 9

Brazil’s Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti: Doing God’s or Washington’s Work? -Dec 6

Oh, When All is Looted & Pillaged, Your Hunger Will Remain
February 28 2004
When President Bush took to the airwaves on Wednesday of this week, touting his Haitian counter-exodus measures, my suspicions of a repeat of 1991s coup d’etat were confirmed. The Coast Guard is to establish a wet line-of-defense, protecting the Cuban Shangri-La of Miami from boatloads of greasy, AIDS infected, odiferous Haitians. A carte blanche gifted to the water patrol units, granting cutter vessels total amnesty from any outcry resulting from dubious repatriation practices. The message was clear; this country will not tolerate another influx of non-European immigrants, especially those who defied our French brethren 200 years past.

Canada The Coup Coalition
March 7 2004
It looks like Paul Martin is already putting his mark on foreign affairs, with a shameful pandering to America in this. It was interesting to watch the hesitation in Foreign Affairs as the old hands working to save democracy in Haiti got the rug pulled out from under them by what Jamaica is already calling “new Canadians” – not meant to imply an improved version. I guess the business at any price types in the Liberal party have finally gotten their way.
So Americans, have no fear, or minor annoyance anyway – Canada will once again help hold the bag for you while you fill it with the corpses of anyone who dares to oppose your God given right to tell everyone else in the world how to manage their economy and live their lives.

Operation Enduring Sweatshop Another Bush Brings Hell to Haiti
March 10 2004

This week, the Bush administration added another violent “regime change” notch to its gunbelt, toppling the democratically elected president of Haiti and replacing him with an unelected gang of convicted killers, death squad leaders, militarists, narcoterrorists, CIA operatives, hereditary elitists and corporate predators – a bit like Team Bush itself, in other words.

Hidden from the Headlines
Haiti After the Coup The Final Chapter Has Yet To Be Written

When Hidden from the Headlines was first published in August 2003, we wrote: Since the election of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2000, the United States has moved to sabotage Haiti’s fledgling democracy through an economic aid embargo, massive funding of elite opposition groups, support for paramilitary coup attempts, and a propaganda offensive against the Aristide government. Hidden from the headlines for years, this campaign has now become an open effort to destroy a popularly elected, progressive government.

And I am sure the Sanctions they were under also helped them into extreme poverty as well.

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

Poverty crushing the People of Haiti /History on Sanctions

Save the Children has served the needs of some of Haiti’s poorest children and families since 1985. Today, through advocacy, by reinforcing government social services and supporting community-based development programs in protection, education, health, food security, livelihoods and humanitarian relief, we are improving the lives of some 425,000 children and adults in urban and rural communities in six provinces and 33 districts. To better serve the great needs of children and best use the vital resources of our donors, Save the Children recently merged programs and activities with other members of the International Save the Children Alliance who also have programs in Haiti.

Challenges for Children

Of all the nations in the Western Hemisphere, none faces greater challenges to improve the lives of its children than Haiti. In addition to its poor development indicators, Haiti is the country most affected by HIV/AIDS outside of sub-Saharan Africa, which aggravates the well-being of children whose health is already compromised by poverty and inadequate access to basic health care.

Improving the health, education and food security of poor children and women.
Improving the health, education and food security of poor children and women.

Numbers at a Glance

  • Average life expectancy in Haiti is 52 years.
  • Under-5 mortality rate is 120 per 1,000 live births.
  • Some 3.8 percent of the population is believed to be HIV positive, among them 17,000 children.
  • Some 500,000 girls and boys are out of school and some 300,000 children live in domestic servitude.

Our Response

Protection: In urban areas, including the capital of Port-au-Prince, Save the Children supports welcome centers for street children that provide food and shelter, education and health programs and counseling and play opportunities. Centers offer scholarship assistance so that children can attend school and provide on-site lessons to prepare children for formal schooling. Save the Children also supports children’s rights through direct local interventions and national advocacy. Through a network of children’s clubs, we educate girls and boys on their rights, offers recreational youth activities and endorse positive civic participation.

Education: Save the Children implements a rural education program in over 200 community, government and mission schools. Through it, we reach over 22,000 students in Haiti’s Central Plateau, Southeast and Artibonite regions. We advocate for state recognition and more resources for the country’s growing network of community-run schools. We also pilot school readiness programs for pre-school girls and boys to increase their chances for later educational success.  Primary children benefit from our school health and nutrition activities, receiving de-worming medication, iodine, iron supplementation and hygiene training, all of which help them stay in school. Innovative radio learning programs further extend the reach of our educational initiatives. And, Haiti is also part of Save the Children’s Rewrite the Future campaign to support education in conflict-affected countries.

Community Health: In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Save the Children provides quality primary health care to mothers and young children in the Artibonite and Central provinces. We help prevent and treat malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. We also train health care workers, invest in health infrastructure and medical equipment and develop community-based health committees to promote local participation and community well-being. In addition, we vaccinate children, provide them with supplemental vitamins and micronutrients, promote the benefits of breastfeeding and address childhood illnesses such as diarrhea. Save the Children projects also increase access to potable drinking water and oral re-hydration therapies. Reproductive health activities promote family planning, pre- and post-natal visits, safe deliveries and sexual education.

HIV/AIDS: Save the Children implements an HIV/AIDS program which has been greatly scaled up over the past year. Its goals are to improve access to prevention services and testing and counseling, mobilize community support for orphans and vulnerably children, improve the management of antiretroviral treatment programs and develop a coordinated system of care in the Artibonite, Central, Western and Nippes provinces. Activities include: mobilizing communities to assist persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; and promotion of safer sexual practices among youth. We help form local support groups and health committees and organize public awareness campaigns such as weekly radio broadcasts. Save the Children also leads a consortium of other organizations which is expanding HIV/AIDS programs into disadvantaged rural areas.

Food Security: Save the Children helps improve the nutritional status of children in eight districts in the Central and Artibonite provinces. We monitor children’s nutrition, provide food to pregnant and lactating women, children under age 2 and malnourished children; improve community health and nutrition practices and promote improved agricultural production and marketing to bolster local economic growth.

Humanitarian Relief: Save the Children provides humanitarian relief and child-centered assistance for children and families affected by natural disasters. Over the past five years, we also have conducted community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation activities.

Sponsorship: In Haiti, Save the Children sponsors are one of our most important resources. Through this support, we improve the lives of thousands of children every year by providing primary education and school health and nutrition programs in the Maïssade district in the Central Plateau. We are currently exploring expansion possibilities to other regions.

Looking Forward for Children

Save the Children continues to integrate its protection, education, primary health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and food security programs, while promoting household economic growth activities in communities. We also plan to broaden our impact through expanded geographic coverage in both urban and rural areas and increase our advocacy work for children’s rights.

More Teachers Help Make a Difference for Mona

Like many children from the community of Maissade, Mona began attending the local public school when she was 6. She is now in 3rd grade, but despite good attendance and health, Mona did not pass the tests that would have promoted her to the next grade. Save the Children learned that the school Mona attended had six classrooms managed by only one director and one teacher.

Save the Children responds to the shortage of teachers in public schools by training and placing new teachers in classrooms. In partnership with a local university and the Ministry of Education, high school graduates receive intensive teacher training followed by an assignment to a classroom that previously had no teacher.

The increased teacher-student ratio has made a difference in the quality of learning for Mona. She passed all of her exams; many girls just like Mona are advancing to the next grades.

Loudouide and Friends: A Chance to Attend School

“Because of Save the Children, all the children in my community can go to school and I am happy about that.”

Loudouide and her family live in a remote part of Maïssade District, an eight-hour drive from the capital of Port-au-Prince. In a country where half a million children do not go to school because their families cannot afford to send them, and only 2 percent finish secondary education, Loudouide and her village friends are benefiting from a golden opportunity – a chance to attend school.

Thanks to our community schools initiative, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of children attending school in the areas where we work. In a country where nearly one person in every two is illiterate, this presents a life-changing opportunity for children such as Loudouide and her friends, their families and community.

Donate now to support Save the Children’s work in the U.S. and around the world

Large sections of Haiti’s population, particularly in the capital, Port-au- Prince, live in precarious conditions due to poverty, neglect, urban violence and lack of access to basic healthcare. Violence continues, especially in Martissant, where MSF treated over 200 gunshot injuries. An MSF survey between January 2006 to July 2007 showed that nearly one in four deaths in Martissant was related to violence.

Violence and conflict
Since December 2006, MSF has operated an emergency health center in Martissant, a neighborhood characterized by daily violence and a lack of medical facilities. Every day, patients are referred from the emergency health center to the other hospitals where MSF works. MSF established a number of mobile clinics in the heart of the Martissant neighborhoods, with medical teams offering primary healthcare to some 400 patients a day.

At the end of 2007, MSF handed over its project in the slum of Cité Soleil, where the security situation has improved, to the Ministry of Health. The project started in July 2005 to guarantee access to care for victims of the violence. The ongoing presence of MSF teams, even during the most intense fighting, resulted in 72,000 consultations at the primary health center of Chapi and 32,000 at Choscal hospital, where more than 13,000 patients were hospitalized. However, since April the situation has got better, with no patient with a bullet wound seen at the Tuscaloosa hospital and people in the neighborhood no longer living in fear and isolation.

MSF continued to provide medical and surgical care at its Trinite trauma center in Port-au- Prince, admitting more than 14,000 patients compared with 11,000 in 2006. The number of admissions for gunshot wounds fell from 1,300 in 2006 to 500 in 2007, although the number of victims of stab wounds, rape and beatings continued to rise. In total, 2,847 patients were admitted for violence-related trauma.

Throughout the year, MSF medical teams focused on improving quality of care, working to perfect the recently introduced surgical technique of orthopedic internal fixation. A total of 205 patients benefited from this technique, which sharply reduced their length of stay in hospital.

MSF also operates a physical rehabilitation center where patients needing specialized post-operative treatment can receive physiotherapy and psychological care.

In June, MSF increased its capacity to treat victims of sexual violence in the capital, offering comprehensive psychological and medical treatment. The program treated 242 victims between July 2006 and June 2007. Awareness campaigns emphasizing confidentiality and the need to seek treatment within 72 hours resumed in July in the shantytowns and city center.

Maternal health needs
Maternal mortality rates in Haiti are the highest in the western hemisphere (approximately 630 women die for 100,000 births), mainly due to eclampsia. The insecure urban slum environment where many women live limits their access to healthcare as physical and sexual violence, extortion and common crime are serious threats.

In 2006, the emergency maternal Jude Ann hospital was opened in Port-au-Prince, the only hospital in Haiti to offer free emergency obstetric care. By the end of 2007, over 13,000 women had given birth here. MSF also started providing services in fixed clinics in selected slum communities, with ante- and post-natal care and a referral service in the three slums of La Saline, Pelé Simon and Solino. Mental health services will be added in 2008.

MSF has worked in Haiti since 1991.

More Reports or to Donate

Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims Demand Accountability from US, Chemical Companies in Suit

December 4 2008

The Second National Congress of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange just concluded in Hanoi Wednesday. Vietnamese victims continue to demand accountability and compensation from the US government as well as the largest makers of Agent Orange, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Earlier this year, a delegation of women victims of Agent Orange toured the United States. We speak with two of them: 71-year old Dang Hong Nhut, who has had several miscarriages and now has cancer, and 21-year-old Tran Thi Hoan, a second-generation victim of Agent Orange who was born without two legs and with one hand seriously atrophied.

Dang Hong Nhut, 71-year-old victim of Agent Orange. She was a part of the Vietnamese resistance for five years between 1961 and 1966 and was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during that time. Since then, she has had several miscarriages and now has cancer. Her husband, who was also sprayed with Agent Orange, died of cancer in 1999.

Tran Thi Hoan, a 21-year-old university student from Vietnam and a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. Her mother was sprayed during the war.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue on this lawsuit that has just been filed against the former Halliburton subsidiary, now its own company, KBR. It’s based in Houston. Michael Doyle joins us from Houston, lead counsel for the Indiana Guardsmen who have filed the lawsuit. Jody Aistrop is one of those Indiana National Guard who are suing KBR.

The lawsuit, Michael Doyle, talks about KBR seeking to conceal the contamination and, once discovered, limiting exposed individuals’ knowledge about the level of poisoning they suffered. First of all, how did the chemical get there? And how do you know all of this?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, we know the chemical was there, because the Iraqis apparently were using it. It was being used as an anti-corrosive. This is a huge water plant that’s used to pump water down into oil wells so the oil keeps coming up. And this is basically—was used. It had been banned pretty much everywhere in the world for a number of years, but they were using it to keep the pipes clean. And it contained an extremely high amount, almost pure hexavalent chromium.

There are some indications, and it’s really just speculation, but there are some indications from the Iraqis that they gave to some of the civilian workers on site, that as part of the sabotage by the Baathist Party, Saddam Hussein’s folks, before the Americans got there, they had spread it around even more than it had been before. And that’s why, as a result, it was all over the place, not just in one limited area in this very large industrial site where these people were doing all this work and the Guardsmen were providing security on a daily basis.

The reason why we know a lot of this stuff is, a number—ten of the American civilian workers out there filed an arbitration claim, which is one of the things that Halliburton required all their employees, including of these Cayman Island subsidiaries of KBR, to sign an arbitration agreement to go work over there. Ten of these folks, including the medic on site, who is a fellow named Ed Black, who I think you could call him almost a whistleblower here, filed a claim. It’s pending in arbitration, and there has been testimony taken and documents produced in that arbitration that have kind of shed a lot of light about what the managers at the KBR level and the safety folks and the other managers involved knew about it.

And one of the important issues that came out in that was that as it became more and more clear—in other words, they kept getting reports of sodium dichromate out there, deadly carcinogen—their plant workers were getting sick, those people out there. The Cayman Island subsidiary folks were actually experiencing these blood clots, which unfortunately is the most acute sign of poisoning from hexavalent chromium. And that’s kind of the characteristic. They actually call it “chrome nose.” Even as they’re getting these reports, they put off doing any testing until after the windy season had ended. The very first—at least what they’ve owned up to—testing was done not when they were hired to do it, when they were supposed to do it back in April and May, but not until August, after these folks had been out there for three to four months.

And not only was the testing inadequate, they basically were very selective about how they did it, and it didn’t line up—the air testing didn’t line up with the soil testing. But when they actually did some blood testing on the civilian workers there, and almost all of them had elevated chromium, which just basically measures all the chromium in your blood, but when you’ve got these guys exposed, that’s a big red flag. There was actually a meeting here with the medical director of Halliburton/KBR and a number of the managers, where they discussed the need—or if you’re really going to test and see whether or not hexavalent chromium is in these guys, the incredibly dangerous substance, there’s a test you’re supposed to do, and they decided not to do that test. And unfortunately, not just for the civilians but also for the National Guardsmen, if that test isn’t done fairly shortly after the exposure—and they knew that—there’s no real way to document the level of exposure, so tracking these guys health-wise forward is going to be that much more difficult.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Michael Doyle, we asked KBR to join us today, but they declined our request. And we did receive a statement from their director of corporate communications, Heather Browne. She said the company intends to vigorously defend—and I want—defend against the suit, and I want to read to you part of the statement. It says, quote, “We deny the assertion that KBR harmed troops and was responsible for an unsafe condition. KBR appropriately notified the Army Corps of Engineers upon discovery of the existence of the substance on the site and the Corps of Engineers concluded that KBR’s efforts to remediate the situation were effective. Further the company in no way condones any action that would compromise the safety of those we serve or employ.” I’d like to ask you to respond to that and also to what the military did, if they were informed by KBR, of the existence of this problem.

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, thanks, Juan. I think that there’s really two things in there. One of them is that their indication that they informed the military in a timely manner—one of the things that has been provided to these soldiers by the National Guard was a timeline that was actually—we were able to attach to the complaint—that was apparently provided based on information the Army got from KBR. And one of the most glaring kind of issues in there is that when you look at it, it claims KBR didn’t know about this sodium dichromate on site until almost the end of July and then immediately notified the military. We know that’s not true.

Likewise, the issue about their remediation, they finally admitted that this was a problem. The actual top manager of KBR in Iraq did a site inspection in the middle of August in full protective gear. It still took him about three weeks before they finally said, “OK, we’ve got these blood tests now. Let’s go ahead and shut down the plant.” And they did eventually seal off the entire plant, seal off the sodium dichromate, more or less encase it all, and ensure that folks finally were given protective equipment that they should have had three months earlier and told about what was out there. But that’s a little bit late for the folks that had been working there for three to four months.

AMY GOODMAN: Jody Aistrop, what about the KBR workers inside? You were guarding outside, and you got sick. What happened to them?

JODY AISTROP: From the beginning, we were guarding inside. We didn’t actually pull outside until they deemed the site unsafe. So from the beginning of going into the plant for KBR to work on it, we were inside right with them. We would follow them around like we were attached to them.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you know what happened to any of them? Any of them suffering like you did the nose bleed, for example?

JODY AISTROP: The only thing that I know is I did some research on the net, and that’s where I found out about the lawsuit from Mr. Ed Black. I actually know Mr. Black. I protected him over there.

AMY GOODMAN: The medic?

JODY AISTROP: Yes, yes. And that’s how I know KBR, they were suffering the same symptoms that we were. And then, you know, I received a letter about the town hall meeting, and then the Guard informed us what was going on.

AMY GOODMAN: And when you all got these nosebleeds, again, what KBR told you, how they explained those nosebleeds away?

JODY AISTROP: We were basically told that it was due to dry air, the sand blowing, you know, it’s not that big a deal.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Michael Doyle, you filed the lawsuit now. In what court will it be heard? And when do you expect to begin taking—having discovery or depositions?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, it’s filed in federal court in Evansville, Indiana in the southern division—or Southern District of Indiana. The hope is, as soon as possible. We’ve been told by the folks we’re working with in Indiana that normal timetable is a year, year and a half for trial. We obviously intend to try and get to the bottom of it as soon as we can, as soon as the court will let us.

AMY GOODMAN: And the secret KBR memos that you got a hold of, can you talk about them?

MICHAEL DOYLE: No. I mean, there is some documents. Ed Black was actually able to obtain when he was there in Iraq, in Kuwait, some documents that, when he saw these, that made it real clear who knew and how long they knew it. Those documents aren’t protected. But as part of this arbitration deal, at least at this point, KBR has taken the position that every single document related to this is secret and can’t be released. So I really can’t talk about the documents. I can talk about the testimony, but the documents at this point are subject to a protective order.

AMY GOODMAN: The KBR memo from 2003 that shows the KBR managers talking about, acknowledging the presence of sodium dichromate?

MICHAEL DOYLE: Well, there is one that Ed Black actually obtained back in 2003 that we were able to file with the papers of the Guardsmen suit. But the great mass of documents, the really documentation of the timeline and all that stuff, I really am not at liberty to talk about, at least at this point.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both very much for being with us, Jody Aistrop, former member of the Indiana National Guard—they were based in Tell City—one of sixteen soldiers who are suing KBR, which was owned by Halliburton, which was headed by Dick Cheney before he was Vice President; and Michael Doyle, lead counsel for the National Guardsmen. He is based in Houston, where KBR is based.

AMY GOODMAN: In our last segment, we’re going to go back to the Persian Gulf War, as we continue this special on poisons of war. But now we’ll go back even further. Juan?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, to another US war, the Vietnam War. And we hear from the victims of the chemical poisoning caused by the deadly dioxin known as Agent Orange.

Between 1962 and 1971, US warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous dioxin over Vietnam. The Vietnamese government says this has left more than three million people disabled. Today, more than three decades after the end of the war, the effects of Agent Orange remain.

The Second National Congress of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange just concluded in Hanoi Wednesday. Vietnamese victims continue to demand accountability and compensation from the US government as well as the largest makers of Agent Orange, Dow Chemical and Monsanto.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this year, a delegation of women victims of Agent Orange toured the United States. Dang Hong Nhut is seventy-one years old, a victim of Agent Orange, part of the Vietnamese resistance for five years between ’61 and 1966. She was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during that time. Since then, she has had several miscarriages, now has cancer. Her husband, who was also sprayed with Agent Orange, died of cancer in 1999.

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] In 1965, I visited my husband in Tay Ninh, Cu Chi. And when I was there, one day I heard the airplanes flying over there, and I hid in an underground shelter. And after the airplane flew away, I went out of the shelter, and I saw that the sky looked like very foggy, and I could see the white dust on the leaves of the trees over there. And I smelled something very irritating, and I felt very sick after that. I lived there for more than one month.

    After that, I suffer from skin problems and diarrhea. And then, after that, each time I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage. So, continuously, I had five pregnancies and five miscarriages. And at one time, I was pregnant, and it was found out that it was a deformed fetus. In 2002, that was thirty-seven years after that, I had a tumor in my intestine, and I had to have an operation to have it taken out. And in 2003, I had another problem in my thyroid, and I had an operation in my thyroid.

    I could not imagine how serious, how harmful and how poisonous this Agent Orange was. It is going with all my life. And that is why I am together with other Vietnamese plaintiffs. We filed our lawsuit in the US courts, and we would like to ask the US government as well as the US chemical companies to do something for us. Even though our lawsuit was turned down, was dismissed twice by the US courts, we continued to present our petition. We want to ask for justice for us. We want to ask for compensation for us, all the victims of Agent Orange. Agent Orange does not avoid anyone. We Vietnamese are victims. And also, there are victims from the US allied countries. And we all are victims, so we want to ask for justice, for compensation for us all, the victims.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mrs. Dang Hong Nhut, do you know that one of our presidential candidates, John McCain, was a Vietnam vet? Do you have anything you would like to say to him?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] Who ever would be the president of the United States would have to pay attention to solve the consequences left behind by the war. Also, he should do something to help the victims, and he should be responsible and accountable for what the American troops caused in Vietnam. And he must have moral and legal responsibility to make compensations for the victims.

    AMY GOODMAN: What message do you have for Monsanto, Dow, the other chemical companies who produced Agent Orange?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] Dow and Monsanto chemical companies, they are the ones that manufactured the Agent Orange that caused sufferings to the human beings and environment in Vietnam. They must be held accountable for what they did, and they must be accountable to make compensation for the victims and to clean up all the environment in Vietnam.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what would you say to those who would say you were fighting a war with the United States, this is the cost of war?

    DANG HONG NHUT: [translated] The war ends long time ago. However, still the Vietnamese victims, they are still suffering. This is something unacceptable, because during the war, someone might get killed. That’s understandable. When the war is over for a long time, but the Vietnamese victims, they are suffering, and nobody here makes any—has any responsibility towards them.

AMY GOODMAN: Dang Hong Nhut, a victim of Agent Orange poisoning. I also spoke to Tran Thi Hoan, a twenty-one-year-old university student from Vietnam. She had just come to the United States as part of this tour. She’s a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. Her mother was sprayed during the Vietnam War.

    TRAN THI HOAN: I was born without two legs and one hand. Now I live in Peace Village in Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. Peace Village is the place to take care of the victim of Agent Orange very well. And now my Peace Village have sixty children. All of them are victims of Agent Orange.

    AMY GOODMAN: Peace Village has sixty children?

    TRAN THI HOAN: Yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: What has it meant to you, Tran Thi Hoan, to be with other victims of Agent Orange?

    TRAN THI HOAN: First time, I was scared, because I saw many defects. For example, they have a big head, and they cannot walk, they cannot see, and they only lie in the bed. Some of them can walk and can do something. You know, before when I come to Tu Du Hospital, I couldn’t go to school, because everybody thinks I will make their children will be sick and children scare me. So when I come to Peace Village, I can go to school, and I can do something, and I feel I am lucky.

    AMY GOODMAN: You’re now a college student studying computers?

    TRAN THI HOAN: Yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why have you come to America, to the United States?

    TRAN THI HOAN: I come here. I want to tell everybody about my story and the suffering of victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. And I hope the US government will not make the war in other countries, because if they make the war, maybe have many, many children and many, many people will be look like me. And I hope when everybody can understand the suffering of victims of Agent Orange. And after that, many people, all people, will come with us to ask the US government and the chemical companies, will we have justice for us?

AMY GOODMAN: Tran Thi Hoan, twenty-one years old, university student from Vietnam, a second-generation victim of Agent Orange. I spoke to her several months ago, when she was here in the United States as part of this tour.

Last year, we also spoke to those who came to this country as part of the tour to let people know about the lawsuit against over three dozen chemical companies that manufactured the toxin, Nguyen Van Quy and Nguyen Thi Hong. Unfortunately, one of them has died since that time.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. Before we go to break, Juan, you’ve been looking at Agent Orange. We haven’t even talked about the tens of thousands of US soldiers who were affected, not to mention the millions of Vietnamese, effects of Agent Orange. You were looking at this decades ago.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah. Well, you know, this is one of the great war crimes in American history that the media in this country, unfortunately, and our government continue to ignore. I remember almost thirty years ago, as a young reporter in Philadelphia, in about 1979, 1980, just after the war, I was covering the returning veterans from that war who were complaining about their exposures and their illnesses, and they thought it was related to Agent Orange. At the time, the government was denying it. Now the government gives compensation to some American soldiers for rashes or chloracne related to Agent Orange exposure.

But at the time, I noticed that there had been—there was a report—I think it was in Time magazine—that the Minister of Health of North Vietnam was conducting their own study of the effects of Agent Orange on these soldiers who had fought, the Vietnamese soldiers who had fought, and their families. So, by chance, I wrote a letter to the minister of North Vietnam and asked him, “When you finish your study, could you send me a copy?” I never expected to get an answer.

About four or five months later, I get a letter at the Philadelphia Daily News from the Minister of Health of North Vietnam, and it is in French, a typewritten—there were typewriters still in those days—a typewritten report, where the government had compared North Vietnamese soldiers who had gone into the south to fight and who had been exposed to Agent Orange and North Vietnamese soldiers who had stayed in the north and had never been exposed to Agent Orange. And they traced what was happening to their families. And they found enormous—much higher degrees of birth defects, miscarriages and sterility problems with the wives and also in the children, the birth defects in the children, of those who had gone south.

So, I go to my editor at the time at the paper, and I say, “Look, this study just came out, and nobody knows about it. And it’s clear proof that Agent Orange is causing major, major problems in the Vietnamese population.” My editor looked at it and said, “This is communist propaganda. It’s coming from an enemy of the United States. We’re not going to run it.” And they never published the article that I started to write on it. And here we are, thirty years later now, when you see these horrific pictures of what the impact has been on the Vietnamese population, and it’s amazing that the media in this country is still not providing sufficient coverage to the issue.

AMY GOODMAN: And just to clarify, this delegation that has come to the United States, well, this year and last year, last year two members of the delegation, this in 2007, Nguyen Van Quy and Nguyen Thi Hong, weeks after they left the United States after visiting, they died. We had interviewed Nguyen Thi Hong. And you can go to our website, democracynow.org, to see and watch and read that interview.

Source

U.S. warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous dioxin during the Vietnam War.  This has left more than three million people disabled.

Agent Orange Health Effects

During the Vietnam War Agent Orange, a chemical used to kill acres of jungle foliage to make it easier for U.S. troops to have visibility, was used. Between 1962 and 1971, an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicides like Agent Orange were used in Vietnam. A recent study stated two million more gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants were sprayed over Vietnam than earlier estimates. Despite reports of serious Agent Orange health effects, the government continued to insist the chemical was not problematic.

Since the 1970s, veterans suffering Agent Orange health effects have been trying to recover damages. According to documents, U.S. leaders knew the dangers of Agent Orange health effects since at least 1972, or even earlier. Officials continued to insist Agent Orange was not harmful and the herbicide continued to be used.

Some dioxins are highly toxic, and the most hazardous dioxin is tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin, an ingredient of Agent Orange. Even today, adverse Agent Orange health effects continue to be suffered. Third generation of grandchildren of the war and its victims are still being born with birth defects because of Agent Orange exposure.

Scientists involved in Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for the aerial spraying of herbicides, as well as in the findings of documents uncovered, indicate military officials were aware of the potential long-term Agent Orange health effects of spraying the herbicide. An Air Force scientist in Vietnam, Dr. James Clary, said the Air Force knew Agent Orange was much more hazardous to the health of humans than anyone would admit at the time.

In a 1988 letter to a member of Congress investigating Agent Orange health effects, Clary wrote, “When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide.” In January 2004, military researchers reported Air Force veterans exposed to Agent Orange had a higher than average risk of prostate and melanoma cancer, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Earlier studies have found increased risk for Agent Orange health effects include prostate cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and diabetes.

The January 2004 study included Ranch Hand veterans that were being regularly examined because medical experts say they got the highest exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans continue to suffer Agent Orange health effects because dioxin builds up in the body. Many of the diseases that have been associated to Agent Orange exposure can take years to develop, so veterans today are still being diagnosed with illnesses.

Agent Orange health effects suffered have included multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancer, type II diabetes, Hodgkin”s disease, non-Hodgkin”s lymphoma, chlorance, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft tissue sarcoma, peripheral neuropathy, as well as other illnesses. The government started to investigate Agent Orange health effects systematically in the 1970s after veterans continued to complain for years about a variety of illnesses.

Source

Agent Orange continues to contaminate food supplies and local people in Vietnam, over 30 years after it was dropped, a new study has found.

From

August 15 2003
The finding, published in the Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine, found that six out of sixteen food samples had levels of the TCDD-dioxin (1) from Agent Orange as high as those during the Vietnam war. It concludes that food is the main source of intake for the dioxin, and, consequently, the reason that approximately 95% of blood samples taken in the area were found to have elevated TCDD levels.

Typical blood TCDD levels are 2 parts per trillion (ppt) in Vietnamese people, but levels as high as 413ppt were found in some. This is the highest level ever recorded. Elevated levels of the dioxin were found even in those born many years after the spraying ended.

Agent Orange was sprayed from US aircraft during the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1972, primarily for use as a defoliant, destroying both tree cover and crops.

Dr Arnold Schecter, lead researcher of the study, said: “This study is one of many that shows Agent Orange is not history. Dioxin contamination is still found in high levels in some Vietnamese, as high as when spraying was going on.”

The study was conducted in Bien Hoa City, near Ho Chi Minh City, an area heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during the war. It was also the site of a substantial leak of over 5,000 gallons of Agent Orange approximately 30 years before the study took place.

Sixteen food samples were collected of chicken, duck, pork, beef, fish, and a toad. Duck meat had the highest levels of the dioxin, followed by the Channa Striata, or snakehead, fish and the toad.

In addition, soil and sediment samples from the Bien Hung Lake also contained elevated TCDD levels.

Dr Schecter told edie that dioxins are only soluble in fat, so only meat samples were chosen. He said that public health measures should now include not eating food from contaminated areas and removing fat from food before cooking. He also urged further studies of the potential health effects of dioxins and other toxic chemicals among veterans of the Vietnam War.

Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to birth defects and a variety of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and spina bifida.

Dr Schecter stressed that most of Vietnam’s food supply was not affected as only a relatively small area in the south was sprayed during the war. (1) TCDD = 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

  • Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
  • After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
  • The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.

Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.

DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.

This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.

Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:

  • UK
  • US
  • France
  • Russia
  • China
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Israel
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Belarus
  • Pakistan
  • Oman

Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.

Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.

Health Problems

  • DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
  • Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
  • Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
  • Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat

Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.

In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.


Epidemiology

What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.

In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.

However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.

Environmental Impacts
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.

It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.

Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.

Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.

The Campaign
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.

CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.

Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote

The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008

The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.

In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.

In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.

The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.

The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.

Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.

The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.

Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.

The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.

Voting results in full

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the “peacekeeping missions” in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,

“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.” The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following.  Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen.  It is up to us to bring this to his attention.  THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock’s November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:
Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer:  Scroll down on the page and you’ll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

Be sure to encourage those who are still not supporting the ban,  that it  is something that needs to be banned.

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

  1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
  2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
  3. Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
  4. Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.
  5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
  6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off  
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Iceland’s Glitnir seeks protection from U.S. creditors

November 26 2008

NEW YORK
Icelandic bank Glitnir banki hf sought bankruptcy protection on Wednesday from creditors in the United States.

The Reykjavik-based bank filed a Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The bank was taken over by Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority last month as the global financial crisis took its toll on the country.

The International Monetary Fund approved a $2.1 billion loan for Iceland on November 19.

According to court documents, Glitnir’s court-appointed overseer wants to have the company’s court proceedings in Iceland recognized in the United States.

The company said in the filing that it had more than $1 billion in assets, and liabilities of more than $1 billion.

Iceland’s three biggest banks, Kaupthing , Landsbanki and Glitnir, collapsed in October under the weight of billions of dollars of debt accumulated in an aggressive overseas expansion. The government moved to takeover the banks, but the financial collapse shattered the country’s currency and forced Iceland to seek aid from the IMF.

(Reporting by Emily Chasan and Jonathan Stempel)

Source

Iceland to Pay ISK 245 Billion for Icesave?

November 27 2008

The net expenses that the Icelandic state has to cover because of deposits of Icelandic banks in foreign countries will amount to approximately ISK 245 billion (USD 1.8 billion, EUR 1.4 billion) according to a preliminary estimate by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and former majority owner of Landsbanki Björgólfur Gudmundsson have stated that the assets of the banks are likely to cover the deposits, the IMF does not appear to share their estimates. The IMF calculates that the assets of the Icelandic banks abroad will only cover about half of claims made by foreign states because of insured deposits, Fréttabladid reports.

According to IMF’s estimates, the gross expenses of the Icelandic state because of the deposits will amount to 47 percent of this year’s gross domestic produce (GDP). Assuming that the bank’s assets suffice for roughly half, around 19 percent will be the responsibility of Icelandic tax payers.

Iceland’s GDP in 2007 was more than ISK 1,293 billion (USD 9.2 billion, EUR 7.1 billion) according to numbers from Statistics Iceland.

Although it is unclear what this year’s GDP will be, the IMF expects Icelandic tax payers to be responsible for paying ISK 245 billion for foreign deposits, most of which are deposits in Landsbanki’s Icesave. However, Glitnir and Kaupthing banks also had deposits abroad.

That means that every Icelandic resident will be indebted by ISK 800,000 (USD 5,700, EUR 4,400) because of these deposits alone. To put these amounts in perspective, Fréttabladid states that ISK 245 billion would suffice to cover the operations of Iceland’s entire healthcare system for two years.

The newspaper was unable to receive comments from the resolution committees of the banks and Minister of Commerce and Banking Björgvin G. Sigurdsson.

Source

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 6:40 am  Comments Off  
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Clinton’s moment

By Andrew Cohen

November 25, 2008

Barack Obama — king of composure, emperor of events — is about to lose control over both. “No Drama Obama” is writing the plot of his very own soap opera.

Its name is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is expected that Mr. Obama will appoint Mrs. Clinton secretary of state. This is the most prestigious position in the cabinet, the face of America to the world. On the surface, the move is brilliant.

After all, before there was Mr. Obama, there was Hillary Clinton. She was the Supernova before he was the Usurper. She was the best-known woman in the country. Her success seemed inevitable less than a year ago; she would win the nomination of the Democratic party and the presidency, too.

Now Mr. Obama has apparently invited her to join his administration. Why? And she has apparently accepted. Why? For Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and the country, it’s a mistake.

Mr. Obama did not need Mrs. Clinton in his inner circle. If he had, he would have asked her to become his vice-president in August. He had more reason then; she had won almost as many votes as he did (18 million) in that long, enervating political season from January to June.

But Mr. Obama never seriously considered Mrs. Clinton for the vice-presidency. We know this because he never “vetted” her or her husband. He concluded, correctly, that he did not need her to “unite” Democrats. He could win with Joe Biden.

He had other grounds for caution then. It was thought that Mrs. Clinton would blunt his message of change and would establish a rival centre of power within his administration.

And there was Bill Clinton, whose indiscretion in his wife’s campaign diminished his carefully cultivated stature as a conscientious, philanthropic former president. Moreover, his shady business dealings with strutting strongmen since leaving office threatened to undermine Mr. Obama’s squeaky-clean image.

Having first rejected Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama seems to want her now. He knows once he chooses her he is stuck with her; politically speaking, she cannot be fired.

The appointment is hard to fathom. Her eight years in the Senate (on the armed services committee) and eight as first lady (she travelled widely in a ceremonial role) have exposed her to the world, yes, but they have scarcely made her a seasoned diplomat or a cabinet secretary, a glaring inexperience Mr. Obama noted during the primary season.

Cosmopolitan and intelligent as she is, Mrs. Clinton does not come from diplomacy, the academy, the military, the bureaucracy or the cabinet, which have produced almost all postwar secretaries of state. Dean Gooderham Acheson, George C. Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, James Baker, Warren Christopher and Colin Powell all brought far more expertise to the job than she does.

This hasn’t fazed Mr. Obama. Perhaps he wants to recreate Lincoln’s fabled “team of rivals.” Perhaps he wants her out of the Senate, which is why John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson as his vice-president. Perhaps he wants her international star power (not that he doesn’t have enough of his own).

He could have had Bill Richardson, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Bill Bradley, Sam Nunn, all successful active or former politicians. Or the creative Strobe Talbott or Richard Holbrooke.

Yet, if the appointment raises doubts, it is about judgment more than generosity. It takes a self-confident chief executive to appoint a rival to his inner circle, especially one with a flawed, egotistical husband. Mr. Obama has done it.

If the choice is dubious for Mr. Obama, it is mystifying for Mrs. Clinton. At 61, she has presumably concluded that this job (whether four or eight years) is her last in public life. She could run for president in 2016, at 69, but it’s unlikely.

Now she gives up her seat in the Senate, where she might have had a position of leadership. She might have spent the next 20 years or so there, becoming the spiritual successor to the incomparable Edward M. Kennedy.

As the U.S. enters a new liberal hour, she might have become its tribune. She might have become the champion of health care (redressing her mishandling of the file in 1993), the green economy and a multilateral foreign policy. Ultimately, like Senator Kennedy, she might have made her mark as a legislator.

Instead, she imagines herself a stateswoman, representing a resurgent United States. It may be that she and the new president have a fine relationship. It may be that Mr. Biden, who was to be chief diplomat, won’t resent the competition. It may be that Bill behaves himself.

If this doesn’t work, though, if the team of rivals becomes a clash of the titans, no one should be surprised.

Source

Is the World in Obama’s ‘Shock and Trance’ Mode?

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