Guy Parent finds badly wounded soldiers not getting disability cheques

Aug 19, 2014

A new report by Canada’s veterans watchdog says nearly half of the country’s most severely disabled ex-soldiers are not receiving a government allowance intended to compensate them for their physical and mental wounds.

Veterans ombudsman Guy Parent also concluded that those who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance, along with a recently introduced supplement, are only awarded the lowest grade of the benefit.

The criteria used by federal bureaucrats to evaluate disability do not match the intent of the allowance, and the guidelines are too restrictive, the report said.

It doesn’t make sense to set aside cash to deal with a problem and then not spend it, Parent said. “You can flood programs with money, but of you don’t broaden the access, then you haven’t accomplished anything.”

It’s a pattern with the current government, he said, noting how the Conservatives poured funding into the burial program for impoverished ex-soldiers in 2013, but took a year to ease the eligibility criteria so people could actually qualify.

“The evidence presented in the report clearly demonstrates that many severely impaired veterans are either not receiving these benefits or may be receiving them at a grade level that is too low,” the ombudsman said.

“This is unfair and needs to be corrected.”

Investigators could find no evidence that Veterans Affairs adjudicators consider the effect of an enduring injury on an individual’s long-term employment and career prospects, he added.

Findings under review

In a statement, Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino said the findings of the ombudsman’s latest report will be considered as the government prepares its response to a Commons committee review, which has recommended a series of improvements to the legislation governing veterans benefits.

“I have asked officials at Veterans Affairs to ensure that they consider the recommendations found in the veterans ombudsman’s PIA report as well as consult his office in the development of solutions to improve the New Veterans Charter,” Fantino said.

In defending itself against criticism that veterans are being short-changed, the Harper government has been quick to point to the allowance and the supplement as a sign of its generosity.

Fantino told a House of Commons committee last spring that some permanently disabled soldiers receive more than $10,000 per month, but figures from his own department show that only four individuals in the entire country receive that much.

The department went a step further and released a chart at the end of July that shows the maximum benefits soldiers of different ranks could qualify for under existing legislation — a “misleading” display that could raise “false expectations” among veterans, Parent said.

The latest report also noted that when a veteran dies, the spouse automatically loses the allowance, creating financial hardship for the family. Under the old Pension Act system, the widow or widower continued to receive support.

The permanent impairment allowance is a taxable benefit awarded to disabled soldiers in three grade levels as compensation for lost future earnings. The Harper government introduced a supplement to the allowance in 2011.

In some respects, that supplement contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of applications.

According to figures released by Veterans Affairs in June, some 521 ex-soldiers are deemed to be the most critically injured, but the vast majority of them — 92 per cent — receive the lowest grade of allowance support.

The ombudsman’s report estimates Canada has a total of 1,911 severely wounded soldiers, 924 of whom receive no allowance at all.

Ron Cundell, of the web site VeteranVoice.info, said the latest review doesn’t tell ex-soldiers anything they don’t know already.

“It’s a shame,” Cundell said. “The (office of the veterans ombudsman) reports are proving what the veteran community has known for a long time. Veterans Affairs is not treating veterans fairly.”

One of the best comments.

This also applies to most countries not just Canada.

 

Strange world this western world, give a man a helmet and a rifle, send him to a strange country, feed him some army rations, pay him as little as possible, send him home and try to forget about him, healthy or wounded.
Give a man a helmet and a football, fly him all over your own country, put him up in luxury hotels, feed him steaks and champagne, pay him more then his agent asks for, put his name and picture on the front pages of everything from magazines to breakfast cereal box, if he gets hurt provide him with his own private doctor and full staff, retire him in a mansion with full compensation and staff and talk about him for years at every sports program.

Seems Harper has followed what the US does to it’s Veterans. As little as possible or nothing.

More times then not these young men and women are sent to wars that are fabricated so weapons manufactures, banks, oil companies etc make profit.

ISIS in Syria are freedom fighters, but in Iraq they are the bad guys.

John McCain happens to be friends of those ISIS terrorists.

ISIS brags about links to US Senator John McCain

The US and the Harper Regime also support the Ukrainian Government,

which is killing people in Eastern Ukraine,

Both also support Israel who is killing people in Gaza.

Both supported the killing of people in Libya.

Both support the killing of Syrians.

All of the above are fabricated, wars based on Lies.

Those so called freedom fighters in Libya, Syria are Terrorist funded by the US.

The US started the war in the Ukraine. That is typical of the US however, they have been starting wars for years.

The main stream media is a disgrace. They push the propaganda and lies produced by the Governments.

Like the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. All lies.

Those so called freedom fighter remind me of Death Squads.

Well we all know, who trains them, now don’t we?

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Najaf: A toxic “health catastrophe” – US weapons blamed for Iraq’s birth defects

July 22, 2013

The Iraq war may be over, but it’s legacy continues to haunt residents in cities all across the country. In an exclusive report, Lucy Kafanov travelled to the city of Najaf where locals say that a health epidemic quietly rages beneath the surface. Birth defects and cancer rates are soaring in Najaf, but few outside of the city are aware of the scale of the catastrophe. American and British forces allegedly used depleted uranium rounds and other toxic weapons during the war, which some Iraqi scientists believe is to blame for the rising cancer and birth defect rates in Najaf. While no one knows exactly what’s making these Iraqi children ill, anecdotal evidence shows that a crisis does exist. High levels of congenital heart defects, malformed limbs and other defects have been documented in the city of Fallujah, but as Lucy Kafanov reports, the crisis could be far more widespread than previously thought.

This is an ongoing problem with DU as noted in the link below.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Depleted Uranium Dust – Public Health Disaster For The People Of Iraq and Afghanistan

In 1979, depleted uranium (DU) particles escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, N.Y.,which was manufacturing DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980, for releasing morethan 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing over 100 million dollars.

Imagine a far worse scenario. Terrorists acquire a million pounds of the deadly dust and scatter it in populated areas throughout the U.S. Hundreds of children report symptoms. Many acquire cancer and leukemia, suffering an early and painful death. Huge increases in severe birth defects are reported. Oncologists are overwhelmed. Soccer fields, sand lots and parks, traditional play areas for kids, are no longer safe. People lose their most basic freedom, the ability to go outside and safely breathe. Sounds worse than 9/11? Welcome to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Jawad Al-Ali (55), director of the Oncology Center at the largest hospital in Basra, Iraq stated, at a recent ( 2003) conference in Japan:

“Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with 2 cancers – one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney–he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a general Surgeon here has two uncles, a sister and cousin affected with cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist, has six family members suffering from cancer. My wife has nine members of her family with cancer”.

“Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most, however, cancer of the lymph system which can develop anywhere on the body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common.”,

“We were accused of spreading propaganda for Saddam before the war. When I have gone to do talks I have had people accuse me of being pro-Saddam. Sometimes I feel afraid to even talk. Regime people have been stealing my data and calling it their own, and using it for their own agendas. The Kuwaitis banned me from entering Kuwait – we were accused of being Saddam supporters.”

John Hanchette, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and one of the founding editors of USA TODAY related the following to DU researcher Leuren Moret.  He stated  that he had prepared news breaking stories about the effects of DU on Gulf War soldiers and Iraqi citizens, but that each time he was ready to publish, he received a phone call from the Pentagon asking him not to print the story.  He has since been replaced as editor of USA TODAY.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, The World Health Organization’s chief expert on radiation and health for 11 years and author of an unpublished study has charged that his report ” on the cancer risk to civilians in Iraq from breathing uranium contaminated dust ” was  also deliberately suppressed.

The information released by the U.S. Dept. of Defense is not reliable, according to some sources even within the military.

In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, 

“The [US government’s] Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.”

At that time Dr. Durakovic was a colonel in the U.S. Army.  He has since left the military, to found the Uranium Medical Research Center, a privately funded organization with headquarters in Canada.

PFC Stuart Grainger of 23 Army Division, 34th Platoon. (Names and numbers have been changed) was diagnosed with cancer several after returning from Iraq.  Seven other men in the Platoon also have malignancies.

Doug Rokke, U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:,

“Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity.”

Rokke’s own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated:

“When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,”

After performing clean-up operations in the desert (mistakenly without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and most others”including Rokke himself”developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.

 ”We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension.

Yet the D.O.D still insists such ingestion is “not sufficient to make troops seriously ill in most cases.”

Then why did it make the clean up crew seriously or terminally ill in nearly all cases?

Marion Falk, a retired chemical physicist who built nuclear bombs for more than 20 years at Lawrence Livermore Lab, was asked if he thought that DU weapons operate in a similar manner as a dirty bomb.

“That’s exactly what they are. They fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way.”

According to Falk, more than 30 percent of the DU fired from the cannons of U.S. tanks is reduced to particles one-tenth of a micron (one millionth of a meter) in size or smaller on impact.  “The larger the bang” the greater the amount of DU that is dispersed into the atmosphere, Falk said. With the larger missiles and bombs, nearly 100 percent of the DU is reduced to radioactive dust particles of the “micron size” or smaller, he said.

When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Falk was more specific:

“I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

When a DU round or bomb strikes a hard target, most of its kinetic energy is converted to heat ” sufficient heat to ignite the DU.  From 40% to 70% of the DU is converted to extremely fine dust particles of ceramic uranium oxide (primarily dioxide, though other formulations also occur). Over 60% of these particles are smaller than 5 microns in diameter, about the same size as the cigarette ash particles in cigarette smoke and therefore respirable.

Because conditions are so chaotic in Iraq, the medical infrastructure has been greatly compromised.  In terms of both cancer and birth defects due to DU, only a small fraction of the cases are being reported.

Doctors in southern Iraq are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. They have numerous photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on an on.  Such birth defects were extremely rare in Iraq prior to the large scale use of DU. Weapons. Now they are commonplace.  In hospitals across Iraq, the mothers are no longer asking, “Doctor, is it a boy or girl?” but rather, “Doctor, is it normal?”  The photos are horrendous, they can be viewed on the following website

Ross B. Mirkarimi, a spokesman at The Arms Control Research Centre stated:

“Unborn children of the region are being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA.”

Prior to her death from leukemia in Sept. 2004, Nuha Al Radi , an accomplished Iraqi artist and author  of the “Baghdad Diaries” wrote:

“Everyone seems to be dying of cancer. Every day one hears about another acquaintance or friend of a friend dying. How many more die in hospitals that one does not know? Apparently, over thirty percent of Iraqis have cancer, and there are lots of kids with leukemia.”

“The depleted uranium left by the U.S. bombing campaign has turned Iraq into a cancer-infested country. For hundreds of years to come, the effects of the uranium will continue to wreak havoc on Iraq and its surrounding areas.”

This excerpt in her diary was written in 1993, after Gulf War I (Approximately 300 tons of DU ordinance, mostly in desert areas)  but before Operation Iraqi Freedom, (Est. 1,700 tons with much more near major population centers).  So, it’s 5-6 times worse now than it was when she wrote than diary entry!!   Estimates of the percentage of D.U. which was ‘aerosolized’ into fine uranium oxide dust are approximately 30-40%. That works out to over one million pounds of dust scattered throughout Iraq.

As a special advisor to the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ahmad Hardan has documented the effects of DU in Iraq between 1991 and 2002.

“American forces admit to using over 300 tons of DU weapons in 1991.  The actual figure is closer to 800.  This has caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a million people.  As if that was not enough, America went on and used 200 tons more in Bagdad alone during the recent invasion.

I don”t know about other parts of Iraq, it will take me years to document that.

 ”In Basra, it took us two years to obtain conclusive proof of what DU does, but we now know what to look for and the results are terrifying.”

By far the most devastating effect is on unborn children.  Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved fetuses ” scarcely human in appearance. Iraq is now seeing babies with terribly foreshortened limbs, with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumors where their eyes should be, or with a single eye-like Cyclops, or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly, some of the defects are almost unknown outside textbooks showing the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific.

Dr. Hardan also states:

“I arranged for a delegation from Japan’s Hiroshima Hospital to come and share their expertise in the radiological diseases we

Are likely to face over time. The delegation told me the Americans had objected and they decided not to come. Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq.”

Not only are we poisoning the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are making a concerted effort to keep out specialists from other countries who can help.  The U.S. Military doesn”t want the rest of the world to find out what we have done.

Such relatively swift development of cancers has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the US military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.
Just 467 US personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served in the first Gulf War now have medical problems.

Although not reported in the mainstream American press, a recent Tokyo tribunal, guided by the principles of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law, found President George W. Bush guilty of war crimes. On March 14, 2004, Nao Shimoyachi, reported in The Japan Times that President Bush was found guilty “for attacking civilians with indiscriminate weapons and other arms,”and the “tribunal also issued recommendations for banning Depleted Uranium shells and other weapons that indiscriminately harm people.”  Although this was a “Citizen’s Court” having no legal authority, the participants were sincere in their determination that international laws have been violated and a war crimes conviction is warranted.

Troops involved in actual combat are not the only servicemen reporting symptoms. Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

“I got sick instantly in June,” said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. “My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach.”

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, UMRC founder, and nuclear medicine expert examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

If so, the men – Sgt. Hector Vega, Sgt. Ray Ramos, Sgt. Agustin Matos and Cpl. Anthony Yonnone – are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.

The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq in Easter of 2003, the unit’s members had been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi police. The entire company is due to return home later this month.

“These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were military police not exposed to the heat of battle,” said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who examined the G.I.s and performed the testing.

In a group of eight U.S. led Coalition servicemen whose babies were born without eyes, seven are known to have been directly exposed to DU dust. In a much group (250 soldiers) exposed during the first Gulf war, 67% of the children conceived after the war had birth defects.

Dr. Durakovic’s  UMRC research team also conducted a three-week field trip to Iraq in October of 2003. It collected about 100 samples of substances such as soil, civilian urine and the tissue from the corpses of Iraqi soldiers in 10 cities, including Baghdad, Basra and Najaf. Durakovic said preliminary tests show that the air, soil and water samples contained “hundreds to thousands of times” the normal levels of radiation.

“This high level of contamination is because much more depleted uranium was used this year than in (the Gulf War of) 1991,” Durakovic told The Japan Times.

“They are hampering efforts to prove the connection between Depleted Uranium and the illness,” Durakovic said

“They do not want to admit that they committed war crimes” by using weapons that kill indiscriminately, which are banned under international law.”

(NOTE ABOUT DR. DURAKOVIC;  First, he was warned to stop his work, then he was fired from his position, then his house was ransacked, and he has also reported receiving death threats.  Evidently the U.S. D.O.D is very keen on censoring DU whistle-blowers!)

Dr. Durakovic, UMRC  research associates Patricia Horan and Leonard Dietz, published a unique study in the August 2002 issue of Military Medicine Medical Journal. The study is believed to be the first to look at inhaled DU among Gulf War veterans, using the ultrasensitive technique of thermal ionization mass spectrometry, which enabled them to easily distinguish between natural uranium and DU.  The study, which examined British, Canadian and U.S. veterans, all suffering typical Gulf War Syndrome ailments, found that, nine years after the war, 14 of 27 veterans studied had DU in their urine. DU also was found in the lung and bone of a deceased Gulf War veteran. That no governmental study has been done on inhaled DU “amounts to a massive malpractice,” Dietz said in an interview.

The Japanese began studying DU effects in the southern Iraq in the summer of 2003. They had a Geiger counter which they watched go off the scale on many occasions. During their visit,a local hospital was treating upwards of 600 children per day, many of which suffered symptoms of internal poisoning by radiation.  600 children per day?  How many of these children will get cancer and suffer and early and painful death?

“Ingested DU particles can cause up to 1,000 times the damage of an X-ray”, said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist and biologist at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington D.C.

It is this difference in particle size as well as the dust’s crystalline structure that make the presence of DU dust in the environment such an extreme hazard, and which differentiates its properties from that of the natural uranium dust that is ubiquitous and to which we all are exposed every day, which seldom reaches such a small size.  This point is being stressed, as comparing DU particles to much larger natural ones is misleading.

The U.S. Military and its supporters regularly quote a Rand Corp. Study which uses the natural uranium inhaled by miners.

Particles smaller than 10 microns can access the innermost recesses of lung tissue where they become permanently lodged. Furthermore, if the substance is relatively insoluble, such as the ceramic DU-oxide dust produced from burning DU, it will remain in place for decades, dissolving very slowly into the bloodstream and lymphatic fluids through the course of time. Studies have identified DU in the urine of Gulf War veterans nine years after that conflict, testifying to the permanence of ceramic DU-oxide in the lungs.  Thus the effects are far different from natural uranium dust, whose coarse particles are almost entirely excreted by the body within 24 hours. 

The military is aware of DU’s harmful effects on the human genetic code. A 2001 study of DU’s effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., indicates that DU’s chemical instability causes 1 million times more genetic damage than would be expected from its radiation effect alone.

Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic chemical composition. British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard has reported that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size.

For example, when mice were exposed to virus-size particles of Teflon (0.13 microns) in a University of Rochester study, there were no ill effects. But when mice were exposed to nano-particles of Teflon for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours.

“Exposure pathways for depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation, and ingestion,”  writes Lauren Moret, another DU researcher. “Nano-particles have high mobility and can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood.

“When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can cross the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain,” she wrote. “Many Gulf era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed with brain tumors, brain damage and impaired thought processes. Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy for the nerve processes, and transmittal of the nerve signal across synapses in the brain.

Based on dissolution and excretion rate data, it is possible to approximate the amount of DU initially inhaled by these veterans. For the handful of veterans studied, this amount averaged 0.34 milligrams. Knowing the specific activity (radiation rate) for DU allows one to determine that the total radiation (alpha, beta and gamma) occurring from DU and its radioactive decay products within their bodies comes to about 26 radiation events every second, or 800 million events each year.  At .34 milligrams per dose, there are over 10 trillion doses floating around Iraq and Afghanistan.

How many additional deaths are we talking about? In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the UK Atomic Energy Authority came up with estimates for the potential effects of the DU contamination left by the conflict. It calculated that “this could cause “500,000 potential deaths”. This was “a theoretical figure”, it stressed, that indicated “a significant problem”.

The AEA’s calculation was made in a confidential memo to the privatized munitions company, Royal Ordnance, dated 30 April 1991. The high number of potential deaths was dismissed as “very far from realistic” by a British defense minister, Lord Gilbert. “Since the rounds were fired in the desert, many miles from the nearest village, it is highly unlikely that the local population would have been exposed to any significant amount of respirable oxide,” he said.  These remarks were made prior to the more recent invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, where DU munitions were used on a larger scale in and near many of the most populated areas.  If the amount of DU ordinance used in the first Gulf War was sufficient to cause 500,000 potential deaths, (had it been used near the populated areas), then what of the nearly six times that amount used in operation Iraqi Freedom, which was used in and near the major towns and cities?  Extrapolating the U.K. AEA estimate with this amount gives a figure of potentially 3 million extra deaths from inhaling DU dust in Iraq alone, not including Afghanistan. This is about 11% of Iraq’s total population of 27 million. Dan Bishop, Ph.d chemist for IDUST feels that this estimate may be low, if the long life of DU dust is considered.  In Afghanistan, the concentration in some areas is greater than Iraq.

What can an otherwise healthy person expect when inhaling the deadly dust? Captain Terry Riordon was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Gulf War I. He passed away in April 1999 at age 45. Terry left Canada a very fit man who did cross-country skiing and ran in marathons. On his return only two months later he could barely walk.

He returned to Canada in February 1991 with documented loss of motor control, chronic fatigue, respiratory difficulties, chest pain, difficulty breathing, sleep problems, short-term memory loss, testicle pain, body pains, aching bones, diarrhea, and depression. After his death, depleted uranium contamination was discovered in his lungs and bones. For eight years he suffered his innumerable ailments and struggled with the military bureaucracy and the system to get proper diagnosis and treatment.  He had arranged, upon his death, to bequeath his body to the UMRC.  Through his gift, the UMRC was able to obtain conclusive evidence that inhaling fine particles of depleted uranium dust completely destroyed his heath.  How many Terry Riordans are out there among the troops being exposed, not to mention Iraqi and Afghan civilians?

Inhaling the dust will not kill large numbers of Iraqi and Afghan civilians right away, any more than it did Captain Riordan. Rather, what we will see is vast numbers of people who are chronically and severely ill, having their life spans drastically shortened, many with multiple cancers.

Melissa Sterry, another sick veteran, served for six months at a supply base in Kuwait during the winter of 1991-92. Part of her job with the National Guard’s Combat Equipment Company “A” was to clean out tanks and other armored vehicles that had been used during the war, preparing them for storage.

She said she swept out the armored vehicles, cleaning up dust, sand and debris, sometimes being ordered to help bury contaminated parts. In a telephone interview, she stated that after researching depleted uranium she chose not to take the military’s test because she could not trust the results.  It is alarming that Melissa was stationed in Kuwait, not Iraq.  Cleaning out tanks with DU dust was enough to make her ill.

In, 2003, the Christian Science Monitor sent reporters to Iraq to investigate long-term effects of depleted uranium. Staff writer Scott Peterson saw children playing on top of a burnt-out tank near a vegetable stand on the outskirts of Baghdad, a tank that had been destroyed by armor-piercing shells coated with depleted uranium. Wearing his mask and protective clothing, he pointed his Geiger counter toward the tank. It registered 1,000 times the normal background radiation. If the troops were on a mission of mercy to bring democracy to Iraq, wouldn”t keeping children away from such dangers be the top priority?

The laws of war prohibit the use of weapons that have deadly and inhumane effects beyond the field of battle. Nor can weapons be legally deployed in war when they are known to remain active, or cause harm after the war concludes.  It is no surprise that the Japanese Court found President Bush guilty of war crimes.

Dr. Alim Yacoub of Basra University conducted an epidemiological study into incidences of malignancies in children under fifteen years old, in the Basra area (an area bombed with DU during the first Gulf War). They found over the 1990 to 1999 period, there was a 242% rise.  That was before the recent invasion.

In Kosovo, similar spikes in cancer and birth defects were noticed by numerous international experts, although the quantity of DU weapons used was only a small fraction of what was used in Iraq.
FIELD STUDY RESULTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

Verifiable statistics for Iraq will remain elusive for some time, but widespread field studies in Afghanistan point to the existence of a large scale public health disaster. In May of 2002, the UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Center) sent a field team to interview and examine residents and internally displaced people in Afghanistan.  The UMRC field team began by first identifying several hundred people suffering from illnesses and medical conditions displaying clinical symptoms which are considered to be characteristic of radiation exposure.  To investigate the possibility that the symptoms were due to radiation sickness, the UMRC team collected urine specimens and soil samples, transporting them to an independent research lab in England.

UMRC’s Field Team found Afghan civilians with acute symptoms of radiation poisoning, along with chronic symptoms of internal uranium contamination, including congenital problems in newborns. Local civilians reported large, dense dust clouds and smoke plumes rising from the point of impact, an acrid smell, followed by burning of the nasal passages, throat and upper respiratory tract. Subjects in all locations presented identical symptom profiles and chronologies. The victims reported symptoms including pain in the cervical column, upper shoulders and basal area of the skull, lower back/kidney pain, joint and muscle weakness, sleeping difficulties, headaches, memory problems and disorientation.

Two additional scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million people. The city itself contains the highest recorded number of fixed targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. For the study’s purposes, the vicinity of three major bomb sites were examined. It was predicted that signatures of depleted or enriched uranium would be found in the urine and soil samples taken during the research. The team was unprepared for the shock of its findings, which indicated in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was causing the high levels of illness. Tests taken from a number of Jalalabad subjects showed concentrations 400% to 2000% above that for normal populations, amounts which have not been recorded in civilian studies before.

Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.  How many of these people will suffer a painful and early death from cancer? Even the study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months.

In August of 2002, UMRC completed its preliminary analysis of the results from Nangarhar.  Without exception, every person donating urine specimens tested positive for uranium contamination. The specific results indicated an astoundingly high level of contamination; concentrations were 100 to 400 times greater than those of the Gulf War Veterans tested in 1999.   A researcher reported. “We took both soil and biological samples, and found considerable presence in urine samples of radioactivity; the heavy concentration astonished us.  They were beyond our wildest imagination.”

In the fall of 2002, the UMRC field team went back to Afghanistan for a broader survey, and revealed a potentially larger exposure than initially anticipated. Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness.  New born babies were among those displaying symptoms, with village elders reporting that over 25% of the infants were inexplicably ill.

How widespread and extensive is the exposure?  A quote from the UMRC field report reads:

“The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by uranium.”

In Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, UMRC lab results indicated high concentrations of NON-DEPLETED URANIUM, with the concentrations being much higher than in DU victims from Iraq. Afghanistan was used as a testing ground for a new generation of “bunker buster” bombs containing high concentrations of other uranium alloys.

“A significant portion of the civilian population”? It appears that by going after a handful of terrorists in Afghanistan we have poisoned a huge number of innocent civilians, with a disproportionate number of them being children.

The military has found depleted uranium in the urine of some soldiers but contends it was not enough to make them seriously ill in most cases. Critics have asked for more sensitive, more expensive testing.

————————————

According to an October 2004  Dispatch from the Italian Military Health Observatory, a total of 109 Italian soldiers have died thus far due to exposure to depleted uranium.  A spokesman at the Military Health Observatory, Domenico Leggiero, states “The total of 109 casualties exceeds the total number of persons dying as a consequence of road accidents. Anyone denying the significance of such data is purely acting out of ill faith, and the truth is that our soldiers are dying out there due to a lack of adequate protection against depleted uranium”.     Members of the Observatory have petitioned for an urgent hearing “in order to study effective prevention and safeguard measures aimed at reducing the death-toll amongst our serving soldiers”.

There were only 3,000 Italian soldiers sent to Iraq, and they were there for a short time.  The number of 109 represents about 3.6% of the total.  If the same percentage of Iraqis get a similar exposure, that would amount to 936,000.  As Iraqis are permanently living in the same contaminated environment, their percentage will be higher.

The Pentagon/DoD have interfered with UMRC’s ability to have its studies published by managing, a progressive and persistent misinformation program in the press against UMRC, and through the use of its control of science research grants to refute UMRC’s scientific findings and destroy the reputation of UMRC’s scientific staff, physicians and laboratories. UMRC is the first independent research organization to find Depleted Uranium in the bodies of US, UK and Canadian Gulf War I veterans and has subsequently, following Operation Iraqi Freedom, found Depleted Uranium in the water, soils and atmosphere of Iraq as well as biological samples donated by Iraqi civilians. Yet the first thing that comes up on Internet searches are these supposed “studies repeatedly showing DU to be harmless.”  The technique is to approach the story as a debate between government and independent experts in which public interest is stimulated by polarizing the issues rather than telling the scientific and medical truth. The issues are systematically confused and misinformed by government, UN regulatory agencies (WHO, UNEP, IAEA, CDC, DOE, etc) and defense sector (military and the weapons developers and manufacturers).

Dr. Yuko Fujita, an assistant professor at Keio University, Japan who examined the effects of radioactivity in Iraq from May to June, 2003,  said : “I doubt that Iraq is fabricating data because in fact there are many children suffering from leukemia in hospitals,” Fujita said. “As a result of the Iraq war, the situation will be desperate in some five to 10 years.”

The  March 14, 2004  Tokyo Citizen’s Tribunal that “convicted” President Bush gave the following summation regarding DU weapons: (This court was a citizen’s court with no binding legal authority)

1.   Their use has indiscriminate effects;

2.   Their use is out of proportion with the pursuit of military objectives;

3.   Their use adversely affects the environment in a widespread, long term and severe manner;

4.   Their use causes superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering.

Two years ago, President Bush withdrew the United States as a signatory to the International Criminal Court’s statute, which has been ratified by all other Western democracies. The White House actually seeks to immunize U.S. leaders from war crimes prosecutions entirely. It has also demanded express immunity from ICC prosecution for American nationals.

CONCLUSIONS:

If terrorists succeeded in spreading something throughout the U.S. that ended up causing hundreds of thousands of cancer cases and birth defects over a period of many years, they would be guilty of a crime against humanity that far surpasses the Sept. 11th attacks in scope and severity. Although not deliberate, with our military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have done just that.  If the physical environment is so unsafe and unhealthy that one cannot safely breath, then the outer trappings of democracy have little meaning. At least under Saddam, the Iraqi people could stay healthy and conceive normal children. Few Americans are aware that in getting rid of Saddam, we left something much worse in his place.  Source

Related content:

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Canada: Aboriginal children were used in government experiments

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Canada: Aboriginal children were used in government experiments

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s, researcher says

New historical research says hungry aboriginal children and adults were once used as unwitting subjects in nutritional experiments by the Canadian government.

By: Andrew Livingstone News reporter, Bob Weber The Canadian Press,

July 16 2013

Aboriginal children were deliberately starved in the 1940s and ’50s by government researchers in the name of science.

Milk rations were halved for years at residential schools across the country.

Essential vitamins were kept from people who needed them.

Dental services were withheld because gum health was a measuring tool for scientists and dental care would distort research.

For over a decade, aboriginal children and adults were unknowingly subjected to nutritional experiments by Canadian government bureaucrats.

This disturbing look into government policy toward aboriginals after World War II comes to light in recently published historical research.

When Canadian researchers went to a number of northern Manitoba reserves in 1942 they found rampant malnourishment. But instead of recommending increased federal support to improve the health of hundreds of aboriginals suffering from a collapsing fur trade and already limited government aid, they decided against it. Nutritionally deprived aboriginals would be the perfect test subjects, researchers thought.

The details come from Ian Mosby, a post-doctorate at the University of Guelph, whose research focused on one of the most horrific aspects of government policy toward aboriginals during a time when rules for research on humans were just being adopted by the scientific community.

Researching the development of health policy for a different research project, Mosby uncovered “vague references to studies conducted on ‘Indians’ ” and began to investigate.

Government documents eventually revealed a long-standing, government-run experiment that came to span the entire country and involved at least 1,300 aboriginals, most of them children.

These experiments aren’t surprising to Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission became aware of the experiments during their collection of documents relating to the treatment and abuse of native children at residential schools across Canada from the 1870s to the 1990s.

It’s a disturbing piece of research, he said, and the experiments are entrenched with the racism of the time.

“This discovery, it’s indicative of the attitude toward aboriginals,” Sinclair said. “They thought aboriginals shouldn’t be consulted and their consent shouldn’t be asked for. They looked at it as a right to do what they wanted then.”

In the research paper, published in May, Mosby wrote, “the experiment seems to have been driven, at least in part, by the nutrition experts’ desire to test their theories on a ready-made ‘laboratory’ populated with already malnourished human experimental subjects.”

Researchers visited The Pas and Norway House in northern Manitoba in 1942 and found a demoralized population marked by, in their words, “shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia.”

They decided that isolated, dependent, hungry people would be ideal subjects for tests on the effects of different diets.

“In the 1940s, there were a lot of questions about what are human requirements for vitamins,” Mosby said. “Malnourished aboriginal people became viewed as possible means of testing these theories.”

These experiments are “abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” said Andrea Richer, spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt.

The first experiment began in 1942 on 300 Norway House Cree. Of that group, 125 were selected to receive vitamin supplements, which were withheld from the rest.

At the time, researchers calculated the local people were living on less than 1,500 calories a day. Normal, healthy adults generally require at least 2,000.

In 1947, plans were developed for research on about 1,000 hungry aboriginal children in six residential schools in Port Alberni, B.C., Kenora, Ont., Schubenacadie, N.S., and Lethbridge, Alta.

One school for two years deliberately held milk rations to less than half the recommended amount to get a ‘baseline’ reading for when the allowance was increased. At another school, children were divided into one group that received vitamin, iron and iodine supplements and one that didn’t.

One school depressed levels of vitamin B1 to create another baseline before levels were boosted.

And, so that all the results could be properly measured, one school was allowed none of those supplements.

The experiments, repugnant today, would probably have been considered ethically dubious even at the time, said Mosby.

“I think they really did think they were helping people. Whether they thought they were helping the people that were actually involved in the studies — that’s a different question. Source

More on this story

Hungry aboriginal people used in bureaucrats’ experiments

Update July 18 2013

First Nations leaders demand apology for nutritional experiments

Update July 19 2013

Canadian nutrition experiments ‘alarming’ but not surprising, says former aboriginal student

Update July 30 2013

Aboriginal nutritional experiments had Ottawa’s approval

Update July 31 2013

Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says

Aboriginal Canadians were not only subjected to nutritional experiments by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s but were also used as medical test subjects, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday, Justice Murray Sinclair told host Jo-Ann Roberts that commission staff has “seen the documents that relate to the experiments that were conducted in residential schools.”

Other documents related to experimentation in aboriginal communities outside of residential schools have not yet been obtained, Sinclair said.

“We do know that there were research initiatives that were conducted with regard to medicines that were used ultimately to treat the Canadian population. Some of those medicines were tested in aboriginal communities and residential schools before they were utilized publicly.”

Sinclair said some of those medicines developed were then withheld from the same aboriginal children they were originally tested on.

“Some of those medicines which we know were able to work in the general population, we also have discovered were withheld from children in residential schools, and we’re trying to find the documents which explain that too,” Sinclair said.

CBC News has not seen the documents in the possession of the commission.

Recent revelations that the Canadian government used at least 1,300 aboriginal children attending residential schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia as test subjects have prompted further calls from aboriginal groups to pressure the federal government to turn over all archival documents related to residential schools.

“Our government recognizes that the relationship between Canada and First Nations has helped shape the country we know today,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s director of communications Jason MacDonald said Wednesday in a statement.

“While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and ensure that those dark chapters are not repeated.”

MacDonald said that is why the Conservative government apologized for the residential school policy and “that is why we continue to focus on the work of reconciliation, on improving living conditions for First Nations, and on creating economic opportunities for First Nation communities.”

The commission, according to Sinclair, is in possession of the documents used by historian Ian Mosby to show that the Canadian government conducted nutritional experiments on malnourished aboriginal children and adults attending residential schools during and after the Second World War.

However, the commission has not been able to obtain documents “related to experimentation that went on in aboriginal communities outside of the residential school setting.”

“We haven’t seen those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

Valcourt’s office has said they have turned over 900 documents related to this to the work by the commission.

Ottawa ordered to provide all documents

In January, an Ontario Court ordered the Canadian government to turn over all residential school archival documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and while the federal government has expressed a willingness to comply, Sinclair said “we haven’t seen the documents start to flow yet.”

The worry now, said Sinclair, is that even with the best of intentions Ottawa may not have the resources to provide all these archival documents in a timely manner.

“It’s a question of capacity and whether they have sufficient resources and time to be able to get them to us before our mandate as a commission expires on July 1, 2014.”

Sinclair said that if the federal government is unable to turn over all of the documents from Library and Archives Canada before the commission’s mandate expires next summer, the commission may have to turn to the courts once more.

Many of the documents are said to reside with departments outside of Aboriginal Affairs, such as the Health Department.

But a final report without all the documents would not be a “truthful” report, according to Sinclair.

“The report itself, in our view, only complies with the mandate if we are able to write a full and complete history of residential schools and in order to do that, we need those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

The residential schools system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s, removed about 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and sent them to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.

Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.

In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the churches that ran the schools and the Canadian government.

The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper followed by the creation of the commission in 2008. Source

August 19 2013 Update

80 per cent of Kenora residential school students had TB

Newly released archival documents show alarming rate of deadly disease

For the rest of the story go HERE

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Canada: Railway Disaster in  Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

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Anti-NSA protest and Petition Letter to Members of Congress

Syria: A few Insights

Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”

“I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This”: A Soldier’s Last Words

Daniel   Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force   Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a   Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more   than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee,   interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community   leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents   and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special   Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul   where he ran the Northern    Iraq Intelligence    Center. His official   role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon,   Syria, Jordan, Israel,   and part of Turkey).   Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain   injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel   wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was   30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

By Daniel Somers

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

The Death of Daniel Somers

By Ron Paul

I am reading the heartbreaking suicide note of Daniel Somers, aUS combat veteran who spent several years fighting inIraq. Mr. Somers was only 30 years old when he took his own life, after being tormented by the horrific memories of what he experienced inIraq.  He wrote: 

“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.”

Many who shout the loudest that we must “support the troops” urge sending them off to unwinnable and undeclared wars in which there is no legitimate US interest. The US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense. This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies.

The numbers sadly tell the story: more military suicides than combat deaths in 2012, some 22 military veterans take their lives every day, nearly 30 percent of veterans treated by the VA have PTSD.

We should be saddened but not shocked when we see the broken men and women return from battles overseas. We should be angry with those who send them to suffer and die in unnecessary wars. We should be angry with those who send them to kill so many people overseas for no purpose whatsoever. We should be afraid of the consequences of such a foolish and dangerous foreign policy. We should demand an end to the abuse of military members and a return to a foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity instead of war and poverty. Source

Over 8 thousand US war veterans, take their own lives a year.

To make matters even worse Victims of Sexual Assault also tend to take their own lives. Victims are scarred for life.

They too, are left with a nightmare to deal with.

Out of fear many Sexual Assaults, are never reported.

One must also remember, that those perpetrators, will and have, gone on to Sexually Assault victims from the countries they are stationed in.

That is not new and has been happening for years, as far back as I can remember. Apparently in Vietnam it was borderline considered Stand procedure. That was part of the un-written, code of conduct.

That information is from Vietnam war veterans, I have spoken to and the Winter Soldier testimony of that era.

Published on May 8, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. “The numbers are outrageous and I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” Bhagwati says. “The American public is furious.”

Suicide Data Report, 2012

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Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

War Veteran Jesse Huff Commits suicide  outside VA Hospital

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the   United States

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Comments Off on Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Afghanistan, Heroin, Addiction, Death

Thought it was time to do a post on Heroin.

Seems we have a world wide epidemic now.

The profiteers are happy. Billions of dollars happy.

The addicts and those who have to deal with them, are not so happy.

The farmers who grow it do not make a lot of money, but everyone after them does. They make a fortune. Typical in the profiteering business however.

Troops are busy still Gurading the fields

U.S. Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, patrol through a poppy field during Operation Lariat in the Lui Tal district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 16, 2012. The Marines conducted the operation to disrupt enemy logistics and establish a presence in the area. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ismael E. Ortega/Released)

Nov 5, 2012

$8.8M worth of heroin seized at Toronto airport-22 kg of the drug found in backpacks inside a box

Border services officers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport noticed a suspicious package unloaded from a plane from Pakistan last week and found 22 kilograms of heroin hidden inside.For the rest of the story go HERE

Nov 5, 2012

Heroin user infected with anthrax in Oxford

2012

Case is the 12th in Europe since June and follows two deaths in Blackpool- For the rest of the story go HERE

Some soldiers are becoming addicts.

Addiction in the Ranks, Soldiers and Heroin

Canada faces flood of Heroin and Addicts

December 12, 2010

Treatment centres in cities around Canada are struggling to cope with a surge of addicts — many younger than ever before — who are hooked on a rising tide of heroin pouring into this country from war-torn Afghanistan.  For the rest of the story go HERE

Mar 12, 2010

By Kevin Hayden

For relatively pure heroin, cultivated and shipped from Afghanistan, the world’s largest supplier of heroin – it would net you $19,923,200 USD PER BARREL.

Now, by the time that hits American and Russian streets…and is cut up and diluted several times, you are looking at roughly $60,000,000 – $80,000,000 US dollars per barrel of heroin.

For the rest of the story go HERE

From 2009

Then we have the Soldiers making sure the poppy fields are safe.

A few pictures as well as reports.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

CIA, Heroin Still Rule Day in Afghanistan

December 1, 2008

By Victor Thorn

Afghanistan now supplies over 90 percent of the world’s heroin, generating nearly $200 billion in revenue. Since the U.S. invasion on Oct. 7, 2001, opium output has increased 33-fold (to over 8,250 metric tons a year).

The U.S. has been in Afghanistan for over seven years, has spent $177 billion in that country alone, and has the most powerful and technologically advanced military on Earth. GPS tracking devices can locate any spot imaginable by simply pushing a few buttons.

Still, bumper crops keep flourishing year after year, even though heroin production is a laborious, intricate process. The poppies must be planted, grown and harvested; then after the morphine is extracted it has to be cooked, refined, packaged into bricks and transported from rural locales across national borders. To make heroin from morphine requires another 12-14 hours of laborious chemical reactions. Thousands of people are involved, yet—despite the massive resources at our disposal—heroin keeps flowing at record levels.

Common sense suggests that such prolific trade over an extended period of time is no accident, especially when the history of what has transpired in that region is considered. While the CIA ran its operations during the Vietnam War, the Golden Triangle supplied the world with most of its heroin. After that war ended in 1975, an intriguing event took place in 1979 when Zbigniew Brzezinski covertly manipulated the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan.

Behind the scenes, the CIA, along with Pakistan’s ISI, were secretly funding Afghanistan’s mujahideen to fight their Russian foes. Prior to this war, opium production in Afghanistan was minimal. But according to historian Alfred McCoy, an expert on the subject, a shift in focus took place. “Within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer.”

Soon,  as Professor Michel Chossudovsky notes, “CIA assets again controlled the heroin trade. As the mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant poppies as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories.”

Eventually, the Soviet Union was defeated (their version of Vietnam), and ultimately lost the Cold War. The aftermath, however, proved to be an entirely new can of worms. During his research, McCoy discovered that “the CIA supported various Afghan drug lords, for instance Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection.”

By 1994, a new force emerged in the region—the Taliban—that took over the drug trade. Chossudovsky again discovered that “the Americans had secretly, and through the Pakistanis [specifically the ISI], supported the Taliban’s assumption of power.”

These strange bedfellows endured a rocky relationship until July 2000 when Taliban leaders banned the planting of poppies. This alarming development, along with other disagreements over proposed oil pipelines through Eurasia, posed a serious problem for power centers in the West. Without heroin money at their disposal, billions of dollars could not be funneled into various CIA black budget projects. Already sensing trouble in this volatile region, 18 influential neo-cons signed a letter in 1998 which became a blueprint for war—the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

Fifteen days after 9-11, CIA Director George Tenet sent his top-secret Special Operations Group (SOG) into Afghanistan. One of the biggest revelations in Tenet’s book, At the Center of the Storm, was that CIA forces directed the Afghanistan invasion, not the Pentagon.

In the Jan. 26, 2003, issue of Time magazine, Douglas Waller describes Donald Rumsfeld’s reaction to this development. “When aides told Rumsfeld that his Army Green Beret A-Teams couldn’t go into Afghanistan until the CIA contingent had lain the groundwork with

local warlords, he erupted, ‘I have all these guys under arms, and we’ve got to wait like little birds in a nest for the CIA to let us go in?’”

ARMITAGE A MAJOR PLAYER

But the real operator in Afghanistan was Richard Armitage, a man whose legend includes being the biggest heroin trafficker in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War; director of the State Department’s Foreign Narcotics Control Office (a front for CIA drug dealing); head of the Far East Company (used to funnel drug money out of the Golden Triangle); a close liaison with Oliver North during the Iran-Contra cocaine-for-guns scandal; a primary Pentagon official in the terror and covert ops field under George Bush the Elder; one of the original signatories of the infamous PNAC document; and the man who helped CIA Director William Casey run weapons to the mujahideen during their war against the Soviet Union. Armitage was also stationed in Iran during the mid-1970s right before Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the shah. Armitage may well be the greatest covert operator in U.S. history.

On Sept. 10, 2001, Armitage met with the UK’s national security advisor, Sir David Manning. Was Armitage “passing on specific intelligence information about the impending terrorist attacks”? The scenario is plausible because one day later—on 9-11—Dick Cheney directly called for Armitage’s presence down in his bunker. Immediately after WTC 2 was struck, Armitage told BBC Radio, “I was told to go to the operations center [where] I spent the rest of the day in the ops center with the vice president.”

These two share a long history together. Not only was Armitage employed by Cheney’s former company Halliburton (via Brown & Root), he was also a deputy when Cheney was secretary of defense under Bush the Elder. More importantly, Cheney and Armitage had joint business and consulting interests in the Central Asian pipeline which had been contracted by Unocal. The only problem standing between them and the Caspian Sea’s vast energy reserves was the Taliban.

Since the 1980s, Armitage amassed a huge roster of allies in Pakistan’s ISI. He was also one of the “Vulcans”—along with Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Rabbi Dov Zakheim—who coordinated Bush’s geo-strategic foreign policy initiatives. Then, after 9-11, he negotiated with the Pakistanis prior to our invasion of Afghanistan, while also becoming Bush’s deputy secretary of state stationed in Afghanistan.

Our “enemy,” or course, was the Taliban “terrorists.” But George Tenet, Colin Powell, Porter Goss, and Armitage had developed a close relationship with Pakistan’s military head of the ISI—General Mahmoud Ahmad— who was cited in a Sept. 2001 FBI report as “supporting and financing the alleged 9-11 terrorists, as well as having links to al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

The line between friend and foe gets even murkier. Afghan President Hamid Karzai not only collaborated with the Taliban, but he was also on Unocal’s payroll in the mid-1990s. He is also described by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan newspaper as being  “a Central Intelligence Agency covert operator since the 1980s that collaborated with the CIA in funding U.S. aid to the Taliban.”

Capturing a new, abundant source for heroin was an integral part of the U.S. “war on terror.” Hamid Karzai is a puppet ruler of the CIA; Afghanistan is a full-fledged narco-state; and the poppies that flourish there have yet to be eradicated, as was proven in 2003 when the Bush administration refused to destroy the crops, despite having the chance to do so. Major drug dealers are rarely arrested, smugglers enjoy carte blanche immunity, and Nushin Arbabzadah, writing for The Guardian, theorized that “U.S. Army planes leave Afghanistan carrying coffins empty of bodies, but filled with drugs.” Is that why the military protested so vehemently when reporters tried to photograph returning caskets? Source

A war for drugs.

Afghanistan’s Opium Trail, Documentary.

CBC Passionate Eye

Afghanistan – 10 Years of Failure & Oppression [Documentary]


Afghan children work in a poppy field in the area of Karez-e-Sayyidi, Helmand province, April 2010. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Afghanistan’s Child Drug Addicts

A little History

Secrets of the CIA

“The CIA is a state-sponsored terrorists association. You don’t look at people as human beings. They are nothing but pieces on the chessboard.” — Verne Lyon, former CIA agent in revealing documentary.

The UN Report documents how the world’s deadliest drug has created a market worth $65 billion, catering to 15 million addicts, causing up to 100,000 deaths per year, spreading HIV at an unprecedented rate.

You can thank the US invasion of Afghanistan for the problem.

UN World Drug Report 2012

Here there is a Map on drug use world wide. It was created using the statistics from the UN Report. It is not complete as there is nothing about Heroin use in Canada which of course is wrong, There are Heroin Addicts in Canada. But it does give you a good idea how wide spread the problem is. You can change the type of drug you want to look at on a world wide scale. Choices are Cannabis, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Amphetamines, Opiates/Heroin

Here is another map.

This map Can give a lot of details on Drug seizures.You can segregate by drug.

If you put in Heroin and Opium it is rather interesting.

Better still scroll down a bit and there is another Search you can do. “Search Events”, Try putting in the details you want. You can do it for a certain country and certain dates etc. So I put in Heroin and Opium. I choose dates from 2000 to now. I included all countries. There sure is a lot of Heroin and Opium out there.

I found that the info only goes back to 2009. Even so it is very informative.

The information is only the ones that were caught. So one can only imagine how much more is out there. Odds are there are also many events that are not listed. Finding them all would take  lot of time. Whoever runs the site has done an excellent job however.

Recent

Fugitive Nathan Jacobson, a friend of Harper, you decide

Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists

Updated November 3rd -Canada: Coroner’s Inquest of Ashley Smith’s death in Prison

Japan: Radioactive cesium levels in most fish has not declined

 

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Canada: Coroner’s Inquest of Ashley Smith’s death in Prison

Updated November 3, 2012

Public opinion I do believe has motivated a few changes.

Government won’t interfere in Ashley Smith inquest, Harper says

Even though Prime Minister Stephen Harper concedes the treatment of Ashley Smith while in custody was “unacceptable,” he says his government is not in a position to interfere with the coroner’s inquest called to look into the New Brunswick teen’s death.

Corrections told to to ‘co-operate fully’ in Ashley Smith inquest at link below

Parliamentary secretary calls videos of ill teenager’s custody ‘completely unacceptable’

Corrections Canada to drop Ashley Smith inquest challenge

Lawyers for Corrections Canada have told Ashley Smith’s family they are dropping their challenge to the scope of an Ontario coroner’s inquest into the circumstances of her death.

What are Torture methods used on Ashley.

If you take the time to read the articles and watch all the videos

This is what you find. There may be a few missing bit most of it is there.

She was beaten by a guard. Head pounded into the floor.

After someone reported it they too were intimidated, threatened and had their tires slashed. Etc. So not only was Ashley intimidated and threatened, so were people who worked there who wee willing to come forward.

Ashley was-

Intimidated

Shamed, she was stripped naked and left that way for some time.

Shunned, Isolated/Solitary confinement with absolutely little human contact or the lack of anything to do.  No mental stimulation makes matters even worse for anyone.

Prisoners who are isolated for prolonged periods of time have been known to experience “depression, despair, anxiety, claustrophobia, hallucinations, problems with impulse control, and/or an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or remember, increased risk of suicide, PTSD, visual and auditory hallucinations ,hypersensitivity to noise and touch, insomnia and paranoia, uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear, distortions of time and perception”

She was in Solitary Confinement for the majority of her stay in all the Prisons.

In rooms with nothing. She was lucky to get a small blanket. She slept on the hard floor. Just a room with a toilet and sink, 4 walls and a video camera.

Pharmacological –She was given drugs against her will.

Ridiculed her- like “Are you dead Yet! Stand out.

Threatened her-“I will Duck tape your face!” as said to her on the Plane while being transferred.

Being pepper sprayed or threatening to do so. Both were done to her.

Being threatened with more drugs shoved into her.

Those are just a few.

Lights were left on 24 hours a day/Sleep deprivation

Being tied up for hours on end in a certain positions- often

Defecting or urinating herself, with no choice and left that way for hours. This happened when in the Wrap as they called it.

Also while being transferred by plane after being Duck taped up, with the 2 spit screens over here head.

There were probably many times she had this happen which have not come to light as of yet.

Being trapped in a room filled with pepper spray with no way out

These are all forms of torture.

Just imagine how you would feel if these thing happened to you..

Number of prisoners harming themselves triples in five years: reports from 2012 check the links Below.

There are more Ashley’s in the prison system it seems. The numbers are growing.

Suicide attempts, self-harm rising in Canada’s prisons-Aboriginal offenders account for 45% of all incidents, ombudsman’s report finds

From 2009

Risk of prison suicides ‘unacceptably high’: ombudsman

Mental health issues overlooked in Canada’s prisons: report

By Allison Cross, December 19, 2009

OTTAWA — The number of inmates who died in Canadian jails as a result of homicide, suicide, accident or drug overdose increased this year, as prisoners with mental-health issues continued to be denied the treatment they need, according to a report by Canada’s prison watchdog.

The Government cannot say they do not know, there is a growing problem.

But obviously they can.

Toews ignores facts, evidence

October 26, 2012

A couple of  paragraphs from the story
Days before Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told Winnipeg reporters in July that the federal government’s tough-on-crime agenda hadn’t brought on an “influx of new inmates,” he received a report from Canada’s correctional investigator saying the exact opposite.

Not only did the June 26 report by Howard Sapers clearly state “in recent years, corrections has seen significant growth,” but it said that the prison population shot up by 6.8 per cent between March 2010 and March 2012.

————————————————————

A criminal justice system that appears by design to target the mentally ill, racially marginalized and socially disadvantaged is a symptom of a sick society.

Since 36 per cent of those entering prison are identified at admission as requiring some form of psychiatric or psychological care, and 63 per cent are there because of substance abuse, it would seem wiser to expend efforts to deal with those issues before victims are created than to into overcrowded jails people who need help for their illnesses.   Read more

The affects of Solitary Confinement

Psychiatric Effects of Solitary Confinement

The Health Effects of Solitary confinement

Solitary would enhance her wanting to harm herself.

Many people cut themselves because it gives them a sense of relief. Some people use cutting as a means to cope with a problem. Some teens say that when they hurt themselves, they are trying to stop feeling lonely, angry, or hopeless. Some teens who hurt themselves have low self-esteem, they may feel unloved by their family and friends, and they may have an eating disorder, an alcohol or drug problem, or may have been victims of abuse.

 

Teens who hurt themselves often keep their feelings “bottled up” inside and have a hard time letting their feelings show. Some teens who hurt themselves say that feeling the pain provides a sense of relief from intense feelings. Cutting can relieve the tension from bottled up sadness or anxiety. Others hurt themselves in order to “feel.” Often people who hold back strong emotions can begin feeling numb, and cutting can be a way to cope with this because it causes them to feel something. Some teens also may hurt themselves because they want to fit in with others who do it. Source

Self Harm is also a cry for help.

A way to alleviate Psychological pain they feel.

It helps to calm themselves.

Among other things.

They are often victims of abuse.

Research has been done on Self Harming.

Here is one I found and there are probably many many more who have also done research into this problem.

This approach may have been much better, then what they did to Ashley.

Helping Those Who Hurt Themselves

By Tracy Alderman, Ph.D.
The Prevention Researcher,
The year 2000,

If you work with youth, it?s likely that at some point you will come in contact with someone who self-injures. This article is intended to provide some support, advice, and education to those who have students or clients who engage in activities of self-inflicted violence.

What You May Feel

Shock and Denial
Because self-inflicted violence (SIV) is a secretive behavior, it can be shocking to learn that someone you know is a self-injurer. You may not have noticed many of the signs of SIV, such as a refusal to wear shorts or short sleeved shirts, even on the warmest of days. You probably gave no thought to the frequent “accidents” or the numerous bruises and cuts on the arms and legs of a student which were always accounted for by a logical source. Self-inflicted violence lends itself to secrecy quite well ? it usually takes place in isolation and the results can be concealed with relative ease. Also, most people are often eager to ignore or deny many of the tell-tale signs of this behavior. Thus, when you find out about the self-injurious behavior, it is shocking.

Denial is related to the shock. At times, denial is appropriate, useful and necessary. However, with self-inflicted violence denial is detrimental. People who injure themselves are in a great deal of psychological distress. To deny this distress will communicate that you are not interested, not able to help, or do not understand their SIV behaviors. When you are confronted with the self-injurious behaviors it is important you do not deny the reality and implications of the situation. Although this may be difficult, responding to the SIV, rather than denying its existence, is necessary in order to aid those individuals who are injuring themselves.

Anger and Frustration
Anger is a common response when learning of an individual’s self-injurious behaviors. There are many reasons for this. First, anger may stem from the deception which often surrounds SIV. Many individuals who hurt themselves lie about the causes of their injuries. Deception is used as a way of reducing feelings of shame and warding off possible reactions of anger, disgust or rejection from others. However, when the deception is discovered it often produces those very same feared reactions.

Additionally, believing that the self-inflicted violence was not necessary may also anger you. Watching individuals do things to physically damage themselves is frustrating. You may be inclined to scold them or force them to stop hurting themselves. Frustration stems from our inability to control the behaviors of others.

Self-injury, as opposed to many other self-damaging behaviors, usually produces visible, physical evidence. This evidence forces us to realize the extent of our helplessness in changing the individual’s behaviors, causing us frustration and anger.

Empathy, Sympathy and Sadness
Empathy is often a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it allows you to be more helpful while also causing you to feel similar sadness and psychological pain as the individual with whom you are dealing. Individuals who engage in self-inflicted violence experience enormous psychological distress. It is essential to understand the immense nature of this distress providing support and assistance. However, by doing so, you run the risk of allowing that person’s inner world to penetrate you. The result of our inability to remain detached is that you may feel some of their sadness and pain.

We may also feel sad for the individual who is performing self inflicted violence. However, feeling sympathetic towards others, may cause you to see them as figures worthy of our pity. In many ways, this is condescending. While empathy is helpful, sympathy is not. Individuals who hurt themselves may view their SIV as a positive action, an action which helped them to survive. Being sympathetic, you may see their SIV as a negative and pitiful behavior, an act of desperation. Thus, sympathy is not a particularly useful.

Guilt
Self inflicted violence often provokes feelings of guilt for those who are close to the individuals performing these behaviors. You may feel as if you did something wrong which caused this person to self-injure. Perhaps you may think you weren’t the best teacher, parent, or friend. Guilt can be a useful emotion, but in the case of SIV, it is often not appropriate, necessary, or useful.

It is more helpful to surpass these feelings and focus your energy in a more positive and useful direction. Talk with the self injuring student and find out how you can be helpful at this point in time. Wallowing in your own guilt will keep you immobilized instead of becoming an active and helpful participant.

What You May Think

A variety of thoughts commonly accompany the knowledge that someone you know is performing SIV. Some of the more common are:
* It’s all my fault.
* I can fix this.
* You’re nuts!
* This changes our whole relationship.
* You’re not who I thought you were.
* You’re doing this to manipulate me.

Considered objectively, many or all of these thoughts are erroneous and could easily negatively influence your feelings. It is important to be aware of your thoughts so you can prevent them from influencing negative emotional responses which could damage your relationship with the self injurer.

What to Do and Not Do

We don’t like to see others in pain. It is almost instinctual that we try to end another’s misery. When we see students or clients injuring themselves, we begin to understand the enormity of their psychological pain and it is only natural that we want to help. However, without the proper education and training, helping could do more damage than good. This section will provide some ideas of what you should and should not do when trying to assist those individuals who are injuring themselves.

Talk About Self Inflicted Violence
As mentioned previously, SIV is surrounded by shame and secrecy. SIV exists whether you talk about it or not. Ignoring something does not make it disappear. The same is true with self inflicted violence: it will not go away by pretending it does not exist.

Avoiding SIV has several negative effects. First, it reinforces and strengthens the feelings of shame attached to this behavior. Individuals engaging in SIV may get the idea that the behavior is so shameful that even talking about it is taboo. Thus, the secrecy and feelings of shame surrounding self inflicted violence are strengthened.

When communication is decreased, feelings of isolation and alienation, the same feelings which often precede an act of self injury, are increased. Not talking about SIV, may actually increase the likelihood that the self-injurer will hurt themselves again. Silence makes a very powerful statement.

Talking about self inflicted violence is essential. Openly discussing SIV helps those who are hurting themselves. By addressing the issues of self injury you remove the secrecy which surrounds it and reduce the shame attached. You are encouraging a connection between you and the self injurer. The mere fact that you are willing to discuss SIV helps to create change.

You may not know what to say to the individual who is performing acts of SIV. Fortunately, you don’t have to know exactly what to say. By acknowledging that you want to talk, even though you’re not sure how to proceed, you are opening the channels of communication.

Here are some questions you might want to use to facilitate the discussion.
* How long have you been hurting yourself?
* Why do you hurt yourself?
* How do you hurt yourself?
* When and where do you usually injure yourself?
* How often do you injure yourself?
* How did you learn to hurt yourself?
* What is it like for you to talk with me about hurting yourself?
* Does it hurt when you injure yourself?
* How open are you about your self injurious behaviors?
* Do you want to change your SIV behaviors?
* How can I help you with your SIV?

It is necessary to talk about SIV so that the person who is engaging in these activities feels more supported, less isolated, and more connected. Simply talking about SIV will help to decrease the individual’s need for self injurious behaviors.

Be Supportive
Talking is one way to provide support, however, there are numerous other ways to show your support to another. One of the best ways to determine how you can best offer support is to directly ask the self-injurer how you might be helpful. In doing so, you might find that your idea of support is vastly different from how others view it. Knowing what kind, and when to offer support, is necessary.

A key component in being supportive is to keep your negative reactions to yourself. This is not to say that you should not, or will not, have judgments or negative reactions to SIV. However, you must conceal these beliefs and feelings while you are being supportive. Later, when you are not offering assistance, you may release and express these thoughts and emotions.

Be Available
Most individuals who injure themselves, will not do so in the presence of others. Therefore, the more you are with those individuals who hurt themselves, the less opportunity they will have to inflict self harm. By offering your company and your support, you are actively decreasing the likelihood of SIV.

Many people who hurt themselves have difficulty recognizing or stating their own needs. Therefore, it is helpful for you offer the ways in which you are willing to help. This will allow your students to know when and in what ways they are able to rely on you.

Don’t Discourage Self Injury
Typically, when we are told that we can’t or shouldn’t engage in a given behavior, it is for a good reason. However, these reasons take on much more meaning and relevance if they are self-determined. The consequences of our behaviors help us to determine what we should or should not do. Rules, should?s, shouldn’ts, dos and don’ts, limit us and restrict our freedom. When we maintain the right to choose, our choices are much more powerful and effective.

It is both aversive and condescending to tell an individual to not self-injure. As mentioned previously, SIV is a method of coping, and it is often used as a final attempt to relieve emotional distress. Most individuals would choose to not hurt themselves if they could. Although SIV produces feelings of shame, secrecy, guilt and isolation, it continues to be utilized as a method of coping. Because some individuals engage in self injurious behaviors despite the many negative effects is a clear indication of the necessity of this action to their survival.

When you tell someone to stop something, you are inserting a barrier to communication. This barrier will likely increase the secrecy around self inflicted violence. Even a casual comment indicating that your students should stop hurting themselves, runs the risk of damaging the communication and relationship which exists between you. Self-injurers will continue to injure themselves as long as they need to. Your directives will not change this. However, the amount of secrecy and shame experienced because of these actions might change significantly.

Additionally, some individuals who injure themselves may have an adverse reaction to your demand of cessation. By imposing your limits on others, you are creating an atmosphere for failure. Thus, in order to feel control, some who self injure will increase their SIV behaviors in order to feel as if they have choice and control over these actions.

Although it may be incredibly difficult to witness someone’s fresh wounds, it is important that you offer support, and not limits, to that individual.

Recognize the Severity of the Person’s Distress
Most people don’t self injure because they are curious about what it would be like to hurt themselves. Instead, most SIV is the result of high levels of emotional distress with few available means to cope. Although it may be difficult for you to recognize and tolerate, it is important to realize the extreme level of emotional pain individuals experience surrounding SIV activities.

Open wounds are a fairly direct expression of emotional pain. One of the reasons why individuals injure themselves is so that they transform internal pain into something more tangible, external and treatable. The wound becomes a symbol of both intense suffering and of survival. It is important to acknowledge the messages sent by these scars and injuries. An ability to understand the severity of the self-injurer?s distress and empathize appropriately will enhance your communication and connection. Do not be afraid to raise the subject of emotional pain. Allow the youth to speak about his/her inner turmoil rather than express it through self-damaging methods.

Get Help For Your Own Reactions
At some point in our lives, most of us have had the experience of feeling distressed by our reactions to someone else’s behavior. Al Anon and similar self help groups were created to help the friends and families of individuals dealing with problems of addiction and similar behaviors. At this point in time no such organizations exist for those coping with SIV behaviors. However, the basic premise upon which these groups were designed clearly applies to the issue of self inflicted violence. Sometimes the behavior of others affects us in such a profound manner that we need help in dealing with our reactions.

Entering psychotherapy to deal with your responses to SIV is one such way to handle the reactions which you may find to be overwhelming or disturbing. You may also ask friends or colleagues for support or speak with a religious counselor.

In conclusion, dealing with those who self injure can be tremendously difficult. Your own reactions and responses can make all the difference in helping those who are hurting themselves. Remember, you don’t need to be perfect ? you just need to be willing to learn, grow, and be honest with yourself and those who you’re helping. Source

There is a lot of information on how to deal with these types of behavior other then what was done to Ashley.

There are no excuses that are acceptable from Doctors, Guards or the Government.

The treatment of Ashely is unforgivable considering all the knowledge available to all concerned.

I have not found any reports about further trials, other then the one for throwing the crab apples. How did a 1 month sentence get turned into years in a prison and death of young woman?

Are those in the prison system Judge, Jury and Crown Attorney.

As I said I have not found any information on any further trials. What happened to innocent until proven guilty and the right to stand before a court to plead your case? It seems that is thrown out the window when you enter the Prison system.

Who decided that Ashley must stay in prison?

She should have been released after 1 month. Not kept there for years.

Have Canadian prison become like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba? There are a few similarities unfortunately. Well if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck and acts like a duck. It’s probably a duck.

So many questions and so few answers.

Here is another Report from Fifth Estate on Ashely

Fifth Estate Out of Control

This one I moved up so they are together.

Behind the Wall: the fifth estate’s award-winning doc on the Ashley Smith case

Both are well done and extremely informative.

The other 3 videos are below in the October 31 Update

Updated October 31, 3012

Link to some videos released below. Both are must watch videos. They wore gas mask. Full body Armour etc.

In and out of youth jail since she was 14 for disturbing the peace in her Moncton neighbourhood — playing chicken in the streets with traffic, pulling fire alarms, making harassing telephone calls and breaching probation —She also threw crab apples at a postman and stole a CD.

There may be a couple of other things I missed, but she was not a hardened criminal, by any scene of the word.

She may have been a bit of a problem child, but she did not deserve to die the way she did. There is certainly a lot that needs to be brought to the forefront. She wasn’t even, what I would call a criminal, just a kid who needed direction. I have come across a few teens who have done many of the same things.  They were not really all that bad either.

At New Brunswick Youth Centre in Miramichi — where she served two-thirds of her sentence in solitary confinement and was sometimes restrained in shackles or a full-body “cocoon” topped off with a hockey helmet in case she toppled over or tried to bite someone — staff levelled more than 500 “institutional” charges against her.

She was transferred 17 times, to different prisons, in 4 different provinces. This 19-year-old woman’s entire time in federal custody; 11 months spent shuttled from one solitary confinement cell to another across the country.

Being in Solitary confinement in of itself, could drive a person insane.

Being out of the province away from her family could also cause a lot of torment to her. She must have been horridly lonely.

Videos show ‘dehumanizing’ treatment of teen Ashley Smith

Corrections Canada had tried to stop videos from being made public

CBC News

Oct 31, 2012

Related Stories

Ashley Smith inquest to see treatment videos
Feds take Ashley Smith ‘death video’ ruling to court
Ashley Smith family lawyer alleges ‘coverup’ of videos

Videos of teenager Ashley Smith taken in the months before she died in a prison cell show the teen was subjected to “degrading and dehumanizing” treatment, her family’s lawyer told a coroner’s hearing in Toronto Wednesday.

Julian Falconer led the hearing through the video clips shot prior to Oct. 19, 2007, the day the New Brunswick teen died from strangulation after tying ligatures to her neck in her cell at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont.

Corrections Canada had gone to court to try to block the videos from being made public, but lost the case. Falconer is now fighting to have the videos played in front of a coroner’s jury.

“To people who think this can’t happen in Canada to a mentally ill 19-year-old, you know a picture speaks a thousand words. I’m embarrassed to be Canadian when I look at that video,” the lawyer said outside the hearing.

In one of the videos, the 19-year-old is seen on an RCMP plane being transferred from a correctional service psychiatric facility in Saskatchewan to one in Quebec.

Smith is wearing two mesh hoods to stop her from spitting.

The RCMP co-pilot can be seen duct-taping her hands together and then to her seat. He then threatens to duct-tape Smith’s face if she does not behave.

“This is how the [correctional service] does business in transferring a victim,” Falconer said.

Another video shows Smith tied to a gurney at Joliette Prison in Quebec after she tried to cut herself in her cell. She is surrounded by corrections officers in full riot gear, including shields.

One of the officers places a shield on Smith’s torso while a nurse injects her with a tranquillizer, described by Falconer as a “chemical restraint.” She received five more injections over the next nine hours, the hearing was told.

Another video taken on July 26, 2007, shows half a dozen guards in riot gear entering Smith’s cell at 5:32 a.m. and telling her she had to have two injections in preparation for a transfer to another facility. Smith objects mildly but, surrounded by the guards, she presents her arm for the shots.

Falconer said a correctional service inquiry board had determined Smith agreed to the shots of her “own free will and without force being used.” Falconer pointed out that a psychiatrist had only recommended drugs be administered to Smith if required and said the “abuse” of the rules contributed to her death.

Smith was first incarcerated at the age of 15 for throwing crab apples at a postal worker.

She racked up six years worth of additional time behind bars for infractions while in youth custody — so many that she eventually ended up serving time in the federal adult prison system.

During the year she spent in federal custody, Smith was transferred 17 times between nine institutions in five provinces.

The correctional service is arguing that presiding coroner Dr. John Carlisle has no jurisdiction to investigate how Smith was treated in prisons in other provinces and that the videos should not be shown to the jury.

The agency is fighting to narrow the scope of the inquest into Smith’s death, claiming the coroner has no jurisdiction to delve into the federal prison system.

Falconer called the position absurd.

“Don’t let them get away with it,” he told Carlisle.

“If you mistreat someone often enough, surely that will affect how they behave.”

Focus of inquest questioned

Carlisle wants a broadly focused inquest that looks, among other things, into how the teenager was treated after repeated episodes of self-harm.

Lawyers for the correctional service and three Ontario doctors involved in Smith’s treatment argued Carlisle’s approach oversteps his legal and constitutional authority.

“This has become an investigation into how [Corrections Canada] treated Ms. Smith, and not an investigation into her death,” correctional service lawyer Nancy Noble said.

Carlisle wants to turn the inquest “into full-blown inquiry into operations and management of [Corrections Canada],” she said.

The agency wants the inquest limited to Smith’s time at Grand Valley Institution, said Lori Pothier, a spokeswoman for Corrections Canada.

The hearing was adjourned until Nov. 13.

The coroner’s inquest is set to officially start with a jury in January.

You must see them to believe it.

For the Videos go HERE and HERE

On April, 12, 2007, the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon prepared to transfer Smith following an alleged assault by a staff supervisor. A staff member reported seeing the supervisor strike Smith’s head against the floor.

Falconer described the decision to transfer her out of the facility where she had been receiving mental health care a “breach of trust.”

“You’re beaten and the way to deal with it is to ship the victim out. . . . This is how Correctional Service Canada does business.”

At 6:27 p.m., Smith boarded the plane en route to Institut Philippe-Pinel, a psychiatric centre in Montreal.

Surveillance video shows guards putting two mesh-and-canvas “spit hoods” on her head — a penal garment used to deal with troublesome inmates.

Smith, though, appears relaxed.

“Make a knot,” a female guard said, instructing a colleague on how to fasten the two hoods around Smith’s neck.

“Does that work?” one guard asked?

“It’s going to work,” another replied.

“We’ll have to cut it after.”

She asks guards to use the washroom, promising to not remove the hood.

Her pleas are ignored.

“You stay calm for a little while and then maybe we’ll talk,” a female guard tells Smith.

“Trust me, I am calm,” Smith says.

She begs guards to stop pushing on her left hand, which looks red and bloated.

“I think she took a dump . . . it smells,” a male guard says.

“That’s great,” another replies.

At 6:33 p.m., the plane’s co-pilot emerges from the cockpit in dark sunglasses; a reel of duct tape in his hand.

“First, tape the two wrists together and then after strap (inaudible) legs,” he says.

“Owwww!” Smith screams, her entire body jerking as the co-pilot works the tape around her arms like a lasso.

“Don’t bite me,” he tells Smith.

Her mouth is concealed behind the black veil; there is not a tooth in sight.

“I’m not!” Smith says.

“It will get worse if you do,” he says.

“How can it get worse?” Smith asks.

“I’ll duct-tape your face,” he replies.

Smith snickers.

“He’s serious,” a female guard says.

On April, 12, 2007, the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon prepared to transfer Smith following an alleged assault by a staff supervisor. A staff member reported seeing the supervisor strike Smith’s head against the floor.

Falconer described the decision to transfer her out of the facility where she had been receiving mental health care a “breach of trust.”

“You’re beaten and the way to deal with it is to ship the victim out. . . . This is how Correctional Service Canada does business.”

At 6:27 p.m., Smith boarded the plane en route to Institut Philippe-Pinel, a psychiatric centre in Montreal.

Surveillance video shows guards putting two mesh-and-canvas “spit hoods” on her head — a penal garment used to deal with troublesome inmates.

Smith, though, appears relaxed.

“Make a knot,” a female guard said, instructing a colleague on how to fasten the two hoods around Smith’s neck.

“Does that work?” one guard asked?

“It’s going to work,” another replied.

“We’ll have to cut it after.”

She asks guards to use the washroom, promising to not remove the hood.

Her pleas are ignored.

“You stay calm for a little while and then maybe we’ll talk,” a female guard tells Smith.

“Trust me, I am calm,” Smith says.

She begs guards to stop pushing on her left hand, which looks red and bloated.

“I think she took a dump . . . it smells,” a male guard says.

“That’s great,” another replies.

At 6:33 p.m., the plane’s co-pilot emerges from the cockpit in dark sunglasses; a reel of duct tape in his hand.

“First, tape the two wrists together and then after strap (inaudible) legs,” he says.

“Owwww!” Smith screams, her entire body jerking as the co-pilot works the tape around her arms like a lasso.

“Don’t bite me,” he tells Smith.

Her mouth is concealed behind the black veil; there is not a tooth in sight.

“I’m not!” Smith says.

“It will get worse if you do,” he says.

“How can it get worse?” Smith asks.

“I’ll duct-tape your face,” he replies.

Smith snickers.

“He’s serious,” a female guard says.

and HERE

Smith, who spent 23 hours a day in isolation wearing little more than an asbestos gown, tied a cloth ligature around her neck on Oct. 19, 2007 after telling a guard she had the urge to “tie up” again. Ordered by managers to not intervene so long as Smith appeared to be breathing, seven correctional officers watched as she strangled herself. Sapers issued a report last year, concluding her death was “preventable.”

Videos in Ashley Smith case will not be blocked

Published on Thursday October 25, 2012

THE CANADIAN PRESS An undated family handout photo of Ashley Smith. She died in an isolation cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., in October 2007.

Diana Zlomislic
Staff Reporter

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PDF: Ashley Smith lawsuit

The federal government will not make a last, last-ditch attempt to block graphic prison videos depicting abuses against teen inmate Ashley Smith from being shown at the inquest into her death next week.

The Correctional Service of Canada said it accepts a Divisional Court judge’s ruling on Wednesday dismissing its bid for an emergency stay of the inquest.

A government spokesperson said the prison service is “not only committed to openness and transparency, but the integrity of these proceedings.”

That doesn’t mean the legal battles that have plagued the Smith inquest are over.

Next Wednesday, lawyers will reconvene at coroner’s court in Toronto to argue about the scope of the inquest and the witness list.

Presiding coroner Dr. John Carlisle wants the inquest to examine the 19-year-old woman’s entire time in federal custody; 11 months spent shuttled from one solitary confinement cell to another across the country. She was transferred 17 times before she choked herself to death on Oct. 19, 2007 while a group of guards at Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ont., who were ordered not to intervene unless she stopped breathing, watched.

The coroner, the Smith family and almost every other party with standing at the inquest maintains that the conditions of Smith’s confinement had an impact on her mental state; that her self-harm attempts became more frequent with each transfer.

The inquest’s purpose, to prevent deaths in similar circumstances, cannot be fulfilled, they say, without looking at the entire sequence of events.

But the prison service and a group of doctors who treated Smith in institutions outside of Ontario disagree. They say the coroner’s authority to examine Smith’s life begins and ends in Ontario.

The videos to be played next week offer a glimpse of Smith’s incarcerated life outside of the province. A portion of the footage will show her being duct-taped to the seat of an airplane, forcibly tranquilized, and left lying in a wet gown on a metal gurney for hours without food or water.

This is the second inquest into Smith’s death. The first was derailed after the presiding coroner decided to retire after months of legal wrangling.

“If the Correctional Service wants to be a constructive partner, it would abandon the challenges to the inquest and work with the family to get to the truth,” said lawyer Julian Falconer, representing Smith’s parents who live in Moncton, N.B. Source

They just watched her die. Her death was preventable.

There are a lot of links below. This is a long story and it is far from over.

The first of it all is at the bottom of the page. So for the beginning, go to the bottom and work your way up.

This could happen to anyone. This could happen to your child. We should all be concerned.

Oct 24, 2012

Ashley Smith videos to be shown in court

The inquest into the teen’s death will resume next week with what is expected to be…

Oct 23, 2012

Ashley Smith: Prison videos to be shown in court

“Shocking and disturbing” prison surveillance videos of teenage inmate Ashley Smith…

Oct 16, 2012

Prison service wants Ashley Smith videos kept secret

Federal prison officials are fighting to prevent disturbing videos of teen inmate Ashley Smith duct…

Sep 27, 2012

Doctors fight scope of inquest into Ashley Smith’s death

Doctors who treated a deeply troubled teenager are fighting the scope of a coroner’s inquest into…

Sep 20, 2012

Coroner’s inquest into death of Ashley Smith starts fresh in Toronto

Lawyers submit clients’ applications for standing as inquiry begins anew.

May 09, 2012

Mentally ill female prisoners treated cruelly, inhumanly, report finds

Canada’s treatment of mentally ill female prisoners amounts to “cruel and inhuman..

Jul 19, 2011

Health board criticizes Ashley Smith’s prison treatment before death

A delay-plagued coroner’s inquest into Smith’s death has been put off until September, when it will…

Jun 29, 2011

Embattled Ashley Smith coroner replaced

The embattled coroner at the inquest into the prison death of teen inmate Ashley Smith has been…

Jun 21, 2011

Ashley Smith inquest delayed until September

The high-profile coroner’s inquest into Ashley Smith’s prison death has been delayed once again…

Jun 21, 2011

Star challenges secrecy around teen’s death in jail

The province’s youth ministry and attorney general have deployed an army of lawyers to keep records…

Jun 15, 2011

Ashley Smith inquest may be webcast

Ontario’s chief coroner may webcast an inquest into the death of teen inmate Ashley Smith so the…

Jun 14, 2011

Fifth Estate wins Michener Award for Ashley Smith story

CBC-TV’s investigative program The Fifth Estate has won the 2010 Michener Award for its…

May 30, 2011

Ashley Smith jurors might return June 13

Inquest into teen inmate’s death delayed two weeks, possibly longer, while coroner deliberates…

May 28, 2011

Coroner in Ashley Smith inquest faces barrage of criticism

A bumpy first two weeks at the coroner’s inquest into the death of teen Ashley Smith has some…

May 27, 2012

Ashley Smith inquest delayed

A vague public statement says coroner needs more time to decide contentious issues about release of…

May 25, 2011

Coroner’s decisions under fire at Ashley Smith inquest

A dozen lawyers challenge Dr. Bonita Porter on her order to restrict the public’s access to prison…

May 24, 2011

Ashley Smith inquest: Guards want faces on video blurred

Media lawyers at the Ashley Smith inquest argue that not showing guards’ faces amounts to censoring…

May 19, 2011

Graphic videos show Ashley Smith turning purple in cell

As Ashley Smith’s sentence grew, so did her self-destructive behaviour. The Smith family says her…

May 18, 2011

Ashley Smith guards told ‘If she’s still breathing, don’t enter cell’

The inquest into teen Ashley Smith’s jail death sees the first video of her, shot by guards as they…

May 17, 2011

Ashley Smith charged over 500 times for behaviour in jail, court hears

Guard’s charges, for self-harming, disruptive and violent behaviour in jail, greatly hiked…

May 16, 2011

Prison wants Ashley Smith documents kept secret

The Ashley Smith inquest jury will hear its first witness Tuesday as a detective describes the teen…

May 04, 2011

Exclusive: Ashley Smith’s family settles wrongful death lawsuit

Smith’s family sought $11 million, but the parties would not release details of the settlement…

Apr 27, 2011

Court will not see Ashley Smith tapes

Court ruling on ashley smith tape access.

Apr 18, 2011

Judge weighs release of Ashley Smith prison videos

Superior Court Justice will take week to decide whether prison service should produce controversial…

Apr 15, 2011

Prison chief fights release of Ashley Smith video

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Mar 31, 2011

Ashley Smith inquest delayed

Jury probing teen’s prison death to hear first witnesses on May 16

Mar 29, 2011

Ashley Smith’s family challenges coroner’s ruling

Ontario Divisional Court to hear arguments on disturbing video evidence in teen inmate’s death

Feb 28, 2011

Ashley Smith jurors barred from stark video

A prison video showing a teen inmate forcefully injected with tranquilizers while strapped to a…

Jan 11, 2011

Ashley Smith inquest delayed until April

More than 100 witnesses are expected to testify at expanded inquest into teen inmate’s death.

Nov 12, 2010

Ashley Smith coroner’s inquest scope expanded

Inquest will probe repeated use of solitary confinement in teen inmate’s death.

Nov 11, 2010

Ashley Smith’s requests for help ignored

Internal prison documents reveal the teen inmate was trying to turn her life around.

Nov 02, 2010

Family calls for RCMP to probe Ashley Smith prison death

Smith’s family wrote two letters in mid-October asking the RCMP to investigate the Correctional…

Sep 06, 2010

Did nine other inmates die like Ashley Smith?

Since Ashley Smith’s death, Canada’s prison watchdog told the Star he has discovered nine similar…

Aug 23, 2010

Ashley Smith’s prison files to be released

The federal prison service has dropped its bid to keep the personal files of a teen inmate who…

Jan 09, 2010

Family boycotts inquest into teen’s death

The family of a teenager who strangled herself in a Kitchener prison cell while seven guards…

Oct 17, 2009

Ashley Smith suicide prompts probe into other prison deaths

The federal prison watchdog is probing two more “troubling” inmate deaths, which he says question…

Not so long ago a women who was pregnant was put in Solitary when she went into labour and had the premature baby, a breach birth, in the cell.

On October 18, Julie Bilotta was reunited with her newborn, whose in an Ottawa jail cell three weeks earlier shocked and angered a city. As Ms. Bilotta laboured, she was ignored and ridiculed by guards. Eventually, she was relegated to solitary confinement where she would birth her baby.

That our justice system failed Ms. Bilotta is beyond debate. The guards at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) were callous and cruel, robbing Ms. Bilotta of the basic dignity all women – innocent, accused or guilty – deserve. Those who ignored her pleas for help deserve whatever comeuppance they receive. That her ordeal will lead to better care for pregnant women at the OCDC is about the only positive aspect that can come out of this ordeal.

Location: Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

But for all that Ms. Bilotta endured, there is a second victim: her son. Not only was he given inadequate care as he was being born, he was robbed of the basic essentials of life for his first three weeks out of his mother’s womb. Until October 18, her son was not given the benefit of his mother’s touch or his mother’s milk.

Contact, skin-to-skin contact, is vitally important in establishing the mother-child bond, facilitating breastfeeding and offering the much-needed emotional support every child deserves. For twenty long days, this child was robbed of what most of us were afforded during the beginning of our lives.

We do not know if Ms. Bilotta intended to breastfeed her son, but we do know that any such intent has likely been thwarted by our corrections system. A mother is an automated milk-producing system. The breastfeeding relationship must be cultivated in order to stimulate the supply of the mother’s milk and to ensure that the baby “learns” to suckle.

We also know that human milk is the ideal food for newborns. Both the World Health Organization and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life. It is further recommended for that breastfeeding continue for at least the first two years of a child’s life. This child has likely been robbed of such a start to life.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services needs to fix the problems in Ontario’s detention centres. (Ironically, had Ms. Bilotta been convicted of her alleged crimes and sentenced to prison, she and her baby would have received far better treatment.) The current neglect on display by our government not only unduly punishes people like Ms. Bilotta; it gravely punishes the most innocent among us, newborn babies. Source

The mother and child could have both died. Breach births are very dangerous. No matter what anyone thinks of the mother, she deserved better then what happened to her. Her child absolutely, deserved the best care possible. He committed, no crime whatsoever. o come into the world like that was just unthinkable and certainly not acceptable.

—–

Why Canada’s prisons can’t cope with flood of mentally ill inmates

Kirk Makin

Milton, Ont. — The Globe and Mail

 Jan. 26 2011

The “headbanger” arrived in a police van and wasted little time in earning his nickname. “He would just dive at walls and doors,” smashing into them head-first, Janet Gauthier recalls.

“It is a very traumatic experience,” she adds. “There are cases here that would confound any psychiatric facility.”

But the Maplehurst Correctional Complex, where Ms. Gauthier is deputy superintendent, is not a psychiatric facility: The young schizophrenic is one of the thousands of mentally ill people flooding Canada’s prisons.

“We try to learn from each one of them,” Ms. Gauthier says, but the central lesson is simply that jail is an abysmal place to stuff the sick and demented.

The ritual is never-ending. Offenders who are often disoriented and babbling are disgorged at prison gates, leaving harried staff to gauge how dangerous they are and place them where they are least likely to run afoul of tougher inmates or try to take their own lives.

The mind-bending isolation of a segregation cell brings no peace to a depressed or unhinged mind. Nor does an environment of slamming cell doors, fear and intimidation. Behind bars, effective treatment is rarely more than a promise while reality is a severe shortage of psychiatric professionals and a patient population so diverse it can explode if different kinds of inmate mix.

The cost to society is immense. After clogging cell blocks for months or years, untreated prisoners often are released only to get into trouble all over again.

Recent figures indicate that nearly 35 per cent of the 13,300 inmates in federal penitentiaries have a mental impairment requiring treatment – triple the estimated total as recently as 2004, and far higher than the incidence of mental illness in the general population.

“The numbers are staggering,” says Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers, whose office oversees the operations of Correctional Services Canada (CSC).

Yet, even as correctional officials appeal for saner strategies, the federal government’s much-publicized policies designed to get tough on crime are pouring thousands of new offenders into prisons that are already perilously overcrowded.

“It is a huge problem,” Mr. Sapers says. “The pressures are going to be even more extreme.”

In a report last fall, Mr. Sapers was unsparing in his criticism of CSC’s long-term strategy for treating the mentally impaired more humanely and effectively. A recent infusion of $50-million represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shore up facilities for the mentally ill, but the money was mismanaged and poorly targeted, he wrote.

“Funding is delayed to such an extent that, at this pace, it could easily take decades to fully implement.”

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, the government’s law-and-order point man, declined to comment on the situation this week, but CSC spokesman Suzanne Leclerc says the new laws will bloat the system with 4,500 new inmates by 2014.

Thus far, the government has committed $600-million to create 2,552 beds to accommodate them, but Mr. Sapers says the new and renovated cells are “based on existing designs that are inadequate. We are not going to see more common space, more therapeutic space or more treatment capacity.”

Jails are hard-wired to mete out punishment, not therapy, so the mentally impaired often go untreated, sometimes languishing in isolatation 23 hours a day.

Some correctional officials concede that the best they can do is limit the damage. “As long as there is a valid court order, we are required to admit them and take care of them,” says Steve Small, assistant deputy minister of correctional and community services for Ontario. “We do our best, but there are certainly other locations that would be preferable for these types of inmates.”

Cells on suicide watch

Less than an hour’s drive west of Toronto, Maplehurst is a sprawling complex guarded by high fences and overhead mesh (designed to foil slingshot delivery of drugs to inmates in the exercise yard) that primarily houses offenders on trial or waiting out adjournments. About 200 of its 1,200 inmates have a serious mental impairment, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, brain injuries and the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Others suffer from dementia or low intelligence and a lack of coping skills. The most floridly psychotic inmates are kept under suicide watch in bunker-like cells.

Unlike staff at a psychiatric facility, guards have difficulty responding instantly to emergencies – such as a recent case in which a schizophrenic became hysteric in the belief that his cell was crawling with mice and snakes. “Staff knew how terrified he was,” Ms. Gauthier recalls. “The look in their eyes was compassion. But they had to force him back in his cell.”

On a 50-man range reserved for the most severe cases, offenders float quietly between their cells and a narrow corridor with tables bolted to the floor. Like a herd of deer, they appear docile, yet leery; most are heavily medicated.

“I used to say that I had never seen anyone as sick as I had seen in hospital forensic units, but I can’t say that any longer,” Ms. Gauthier remarks. “A psychiatric facility has different equipment, a different model. Correctional centres were never set up to be mental-health centres.”

Guards and nursing staff on the mental-health ranges appear genuinely caring, referring to inmates by name and keeping elaborate charts of any change in behaviour that may point toward a suicide attempt or sudden attack. However, they are not always trained in the finer points of mental illness.

“A schizophrenic may think that a guard is the devil and start calling him really foul names,” Ms. Gauthier says. “If he were a healthy person, he would be up for misconduct. One of the challenges is to understand that this is a symptom of an illness.”

Graham Glancy, a forensic psychiatrist who works three days a week at Maplehurst, sounds like a battlefield medic as he describes what it’s like to process patients in 20-minute intervals all day long: “Basically, it’s a matter of medication and management – and trying to drop one little pearl of wisdom on them.”

Some offenders are violent or hallucinate wildly, but exercise their right to refuse treatment. Staff can try to persuade local hospitals to medicate them involuntarily, Dr. Glancy explains, but getting them there requires diplomacy. “You have to be very careful about it. I can only send one or two at a time, or the hospital can get swamped.”

On another range, 50 inmates with brain damage or subnormal intelligence gaze warily at strangers. All they have in common is the fact that, in prison, they’re highly vulnerable. Some are chronic bedwetters. Others are old, scraggly and demented. Some are hulking men, but behave like school kids.

“The developmentally delayed are the forgotten population,” Ms. Gauthier says. “… It is like putting four-year-olds in custody. They cry all day for their mommies. Social workers give them colouring books and crayons.”

She recalls an inmate who arrived clinging desperately to a Beanie Baby, which prison rules didn’t allow in his cell. “He had never been separated from it. He finally let us take a picture of it so he could hold that.”

How did Canada’s prison system turn into a holding tank for mentally damaged individuals?

Many officials trace it to the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients over the past 30 years. Patients wound up on the street when neighbourhoods shunned them and social-service agencies failed to provide adequate housing or care. In many cases, their mental state deteriorated, and they turned to crime, everything from the mundane to murder.

“We see people who … felt there was no other way,” says Mr. Small, the assistant deputy minister. “We also see people with mental-health issues who couldn’t even form the intent to commit a crime.”

Treating mentally damaged offenders can be close to impossible in provincial jails, where inmates are on short court remands or serve sentences of less than two years. Longer federal sentences allow time for treatment, but it’s rarely available.

“There are waiting lists for almost every program at every institution,” says Mr. Sapers, the federal investigator. “Although a program may be advertised as being available at a particular institution, it very likely isn’t. This is where it all falls apart.”

If mentally impaired inmates do not get appropriate treatment, they’re unlikely to qualify for early parole, winding up warehoused until their sentences are almost over. Thus, parole officers have little time to help them return to the community. “This leaves them at a higher risk of reoffending,” Mr. Sapers says. “It is a great irony. The cycle is very counterproductive.”

Correctional officials scramble to link the mentally ill with agencies that can provide beds and medical care after they are released, Mr. Small says. But many offenders have wandered far from home or been abandoned by their families, making it an enormous challenge.

To complicate matters more, ex-convicts with mental problems tend to be shunned even by well-meaning agencies. “Once you have been in jail, you have a stigma,” Ms. Gauthier says. “Those beds are closed off, so we end up having to rely a lot on hostels and transition housing.”

Uncertainty on the horizon

Looking ahead to the spike in the penal population, the correction service says it has no idea how many new inmates will require mental-health care. Ms. Leclerc says her department works hard to meet its legislative mandate “to provide every inmate with essential … services” and “reasonable access” to services that aren’t essential, but “will contribute to the inmate’s rehabilitation and successful reintegration into the community.”

In the past five years, she adds, the $50-million has been spent largely on assessing new inmates and helping offenders after they are released. But Mr. Sapers says that money has done little to make treatment or more suitable accommodation available to most inmates.

He says it is urgent that the federal government work more closely with provincial correctional systems and psychiatric hospitals.

If not, Maplehurst’s Ms. Gauthier adds, people like the headbanger will remain caught in a revolving door between jail and the street. “The primary concern is getting medication and the right treatment,” she says. “There was a day when these offenders all would have been in psychiatric facilities. That day is gone. Now, we have incarceration.”

And what has become of the young schizophrenic?

To prevent further damage, he was placed in a special restraining cot and had to wait in his own private hell until the hospital could be persuaded to medicate him. Returned in a much more placid state, he was able to complete his two-month sentence and then released.

For how long is anyone’s guess. Source

Update December 19 2013

Ashley Smith Death has been ruled a Homicide

Other Canadian problems.

Privatization in Canada’s Health Care System is Killing People

Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Three

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Two

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue

Recent

Japan: Radioactive cesium levels in most fish has not declined

US Election Fraud

US Drones that kill innocent Civilians is Murder – CIA chiefs face arrest

Hay East donations disappoint Ontario farmers

U.S. meningitis cases rise to 64

//

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 6:20 am  Comments Off on Canada: Coroner’s Inquest of Ashley Smith’s death in Prison  
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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

UN’s World Food Programme, to buy fish from Japan, to feed school children, in poor countries

A year on from Fukushima, Japan is struggling to convince consumers that fish from contaminated areas is safe. With new limits imposed on radioactive substances in food, the government is sending canned fish to developing countries to feed children.

­A year on from Fukushima, Japan is struggling to convince consumers that fish from contaminated areas is safe. With new limits imposed on radioactive substances in food, the government is sending canned fish to developing countries to feed children.

As of April 1, 2012, the ceiling on radioactive Cesium in food has been lowered from 500 becquerels per kilogram to 100. With stricter regulations in place, authorities in the Tohoku and Kanto regions said Friday they are ready to increase the number of food tests to win the trust of consumers.

The food aid program will be carried out jointly by the Japanese government, Britain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), reports Sankei Shibun news website.

Last week, the Japanese government exchanged letters with WFP so that processed marine products made in the areas affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami could be used as food aid for people in developing countries. The program is specifically designed for fisheries from the disaster-affected areas, so that they could eliminate “reputational damage” caused by consumer fears.

According to Sankei Shibun, canned fish from Tohoku region will be shipped to five developing countries and used to feed schoolchildren. Five recipient countries are discussed, however, the only one named is Cambodia.

One billion yen’s (that’s just over 12 million dollars’) worth of canned sardines and mackerel will be purchased by WPF from factories in Aomori, Iwate, Ibaraki, and Chiba Prefectures. The money was allocated to WPF in 2011 by Japanese government. Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Toshiyuki Kato in the ceremony of exchanging letters said that “fish processing companies in the disaster area were severely damaged, however, they are making an effort towards resuming full operation”.

Not everyone supports the ODA initiative. Several citizens’ groups have opposed the move, saying that they do not trust the safety of food that comes from disaster-affected areas. Top officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brushed off the doubts, saying all necessary radiation tests will be taken and only those products that do no raise any concerns will be exported. Source

Cesium is not the only radiaocative thing in the fish. Giveing this to children is the worst possible senerio. Children are the most vunerable when it comes to radiation.

Radiation has harmful effects on child development.

In Japan: The standard is 40 becquerels or less per kilogram for radioactive substances contained in the lunches, and will essentially be used as a regulation threshold. Source

Well seems the regulations in Japan are one thing, but for poor people in another country it is different.

This fellow explains the different types of Radiation.

Video Gundersen Discusses Various Types of Radiation Experienced at Fukushima

Gamma, Beta and Alpha radiation

Radiation (from here, we will use the word ‘radiation’, to mean nuclear radiation) can destroy molecules, including the molecules in our bodies. When DNA-molecules in our cells are destroyed, this creates a run a risk of developing cancer. Radiation is therefore called carcinogenic: it causes cancer. The specific problem with radiation, compared to other carcinogenic substances (i.e. chemical etc.) is that there is no ‘safe dose’ below which there is no effect.


 

Basics of Radiation

Understanding Radiation:
Becquerels and Sieverts

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Federal Judge: FDA Must Act to Stem Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Feed

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Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm  Comments Off on UN’s World Food Programme, to buy fish from Japan, to feed school children, in poor countries  
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Federal Judge: FDA Must Act to Stem Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Feed


Public Health Victory: FDA Must Act to Stem Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Feed

NRDC: “The rise of superbugs that we see now was predicted by FDA in the 70’s”

By  Common Dreams staff
March 23, 2012

Yesterday a federal judge in New York ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act on the growing human health threats caused by the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed.

The FDA had started proceedings in 1977 over concerns that antibiotics, including commonly used tetracyclines and penicillin, could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people, but the proceedings were never completed, leaving the use of the antibiotics appoved.

If the makers of the drugs can’t provide evidence that their use is safe, the FDA must withdraw their approval, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ruled yesterday.

Roughly 70% of all U.S. antibiotics are used for livestock.

The decision results from a lawsuit filed last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), Public Citizen, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Margaret Mellon, senior scientist with UCS’s Food & Environment Program, stated, “This ruling is an important victory for public health.”

“The rise of superbugs that we see now was predicted by FDA in the 70’s,” said NRDC attorney Jen Sorenson. “Thanks to the Court’s order, drug manufacturers will finally have to do what FDA should have made them do 35 years ago: prove that their drugs are safe for human health, or take them off the market.”

* * *

Union of Concerned Scientists: Judge Rules FDA Must Act to Protect Americans from Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock
Statement by Margaret Mellon, senior scientist with UCS’s Food & Environment Program:

“This ruling is an important victory for public health. The FDA has known since the 1970s that the routine use of powerful antibiotics in livestock leads to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause infections that are more difficult to treat in both people and animals.

“For the past 35 years, while advocates and citizens alike have been urging FDA to take action, the problem has steadily worsened and FDA has sat on its hands, which begs the question of whose interests the agency is protecting.

“This ruling changes the landscape at FDA, making it clear that the agency has a statutory obligation to use its legal authority to cancel the approvals for uses of veterinary drugs the agency has found to be unsafe. The ruling calls into question policies that rely on companies to voluntarily withdraw label claims.

“The glacial pace of the FDA response on animal antibiotics is unacceptable. The agency needs to curb the unnecessary uses of vital antibiotics in animal agriculture. Peoples’ lives depend on it.”

* * *

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Court Orders FDA to Address Antibiotic Overuse in Livestock and Protect Effectiveness of Medicine for Humans

NEW YORK – March 23 – The Food and Drug Administration must act to address the growing human health threats resulting from the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed, according to a federal court ruling issued last night. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), Public Citizen, and Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) last year.

“For over 35 years ago, FDA has sat idly on the sidelines largely letting the livestock industry police itself,” said Avinash Kar, NRDC health attorney. “In that time, the overuse of antibiotics in healthy animals has skyrocketed – contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that endanger human health. Today, we take a long overdue step toward ensuring that we preserve these life-saving medicines for those who need them most – people.

“These drugs are intended to cure disease, not fatten pigs and chickens,” Kar said.

* * *

In February, David Wallinga, M.D., of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy gave a TEDX talk “Raising Pigs & Problems: Saying No to Antibiotics in Animal Feed.”
Physician, writer and full-time advocate, David Wallinga, M.D., represents the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) as a de facto doctor to the nation’s ailing food system. Through his work, Dr. Wallinga sheds a spotlight- and a public health lens- on the less savory side of the food system, like mercury in high fructose corn syrup, or arsenic being fed to chickens and turkeys. His 2010 essay on farm policy and the obesity epidemic in Health Affairs helped launch unprecedented interest in the health of the 2012 Farm Bill; subsequently, dozens of the nation’s medical and public luminaries have signed onto IATP’s Charter for a Healthy Farm Bill . Dr. Wallinga has also served as the only physician on the steering committee of Keep Antibiotics Working : The Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse since 2000.  Source


More information at http://www.tedxmanhattan.org

Factory Farming is the cause, for the use of Antibiotics.

There a number of videos on Factory Farming in the link  below. One should see how animals are treated. Not a pretty sight. Very cruel.

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

This also happens to the animals. Be sure to check it out.

Side affects of Antibiotics in Humans

Antibiotics also kill all bacteria, even the Frendly Bacterisa

This of course would also happen to all animals fed Antibiotics in their food.

Antibiotics, one of the wonder drugs of the 20th century, have helped overcome many diseases that previously may have resulted in death or disablement. However, we now know that antibiotics have limitations and their use and misuse has frequently led to ill health. There are a number of bacteria that have developed partial or total resistance to some antibiotics. Furthermore, broad-spectrum antibiotics don’t distinguish between “bad” and “good” bacteria. They kill the probiotics along with the bad bacteria and this may be one of the worst side effects of using antibiotics. The pathogenic bacteria will invade the digestive tract and multiplies in high numbers. This disturbs the delicate balance between the good, beneficial probiotics and bad bacteria.

Probiotics not only collectively provide profound health benefits, such as vastly improved digestion and nutrient absorption, but probiotics also provide superior protection against the invasion of foreign pathogens and other infectious agents.

  • improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • dramatically improve human immune function.
  • protect against invasion of foreign pathogens and other infectious agents and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight infections;
  • provide a main source of Vitamin K;
  • lower cholesterol by metabolizing it;
  • control bowel toxicity and decrease the risk of bowel cancer; and
  • reduce gas production by non-disease-producing microorganisms.
  • protect the body from the potentially devastating effects of accumulated toxins and carcinogenic substances.
  • produce short chain fatty adds that are converted into energy.
  • help protect against unhealthy cholesterol buildup that could lead to cardiovascular disease and even death.

There are negative effects resulting from loss of probiotics:

  • Loss of probiotics lead to the overgrowth of detrimental, disease-causing bacteria & yeasts e.g. Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Clostridium dificile, Yersinia enterocolitica, etc
  • Loss of probiotics contribute to digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, diverticulitis etc
  • Loss of probiotics allow specific detrimental bacteria to thrive that have been proven to cause severe health problems. E.g. E. Coli may lead to problems with insulin and blood sugar function. Yersinia enterocolitica, a pathogenic bacterium, produces substances that cause the over-production of the thyroid hormone. This detrimental bacterium, reportedly, contributes to autoimmune diseases.
  • Loss Of probiotics lead to the production of endotoxins in the digestive tract, which contributes to conditions like lupus erythematosus, pancreatitis, psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Loss of probiotics allow entry of partially digested proteins to the bloodstream contributing to eczema, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other immune system disorders  Source

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Privatization in Canada’s Health Care System is Killing People

March 22 2012

Poor hospital cleaning revealed as major problem

‘Some hospitals are a real freaking disaster’

The health of hospitalized Canadians and their visitors is being seriously put at risk by hospitals that have cut corners in cleaning budgets to a Marketplace investigation has revealed.

The program took hidden cameras inside 11 hospitals in Ontario and British Columbia. What they found in many of them were surprisingly inadequate cleaning regimens – in short, dirty hospitals that could make you sick.

In many hospitals, Marketplace staffers applied a harmless gel to places that many people would touch – hand rails, door handles, light switches, elevator buttons.

DIRTY HOSPITALS

The full story, Dirty Hospitals, can be seen on CBC-TV’s Marketplace tonight at 8 p.m., 8:30 in Newfoundland.

The gel glows when seen under an ultra-violet light. But most of the time – and this was true in every hospital where Marketplace carried out gel tests – the gel was still there more than 24 hours later, meaning the surfaces had not been cleaned at all.

The program talked to cleaners, supervisors, nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators to get a handle on what has become a major problem at Canadian health-care facilities – a shocking number of hospital-acquired infections.

While Canadians love to crow about their first-rate health-care system, it also leads in one area that doesn’t get the same glowing reviews.

About 250,000 Canadians come down with life-threatening infections while in hospitals every year. That’s the highest rate in the developed world. As many as 12,000 people a year die.

Denise Ball’s husband Gary became one of those statistics last year.

He was admitted to Niagara General Hospital for treatment of pancreatitis. While there, the 63-year-old retired school teacher contracted C. difficile – a life-threatening superbug that is all too common in Canadian hospitals. It ended up playing a role in his death a few months later.

Denise Ball remembers the cleaning regimen in her husband’s room was less than adequate, saying the cleaners would spend only 10 minutes on a room everyone knew was infected with C. difficile. She says a proper cleaning would have taken much longer.

“This has to stop,” she says. “This is Canada.”

More with less

Time and again, hospital insiders told Marketplace that cleaners were being asked to do more with less. “We used to have one person to one wing of a hospital to clean,” one cleaner said. “Now, we have three floors to clean.”

A cleaning supervisor at one hospital told Marketplace host Erica Johnson that it’s “common practice” for cleaners not to change the cleaning solution in the bucket when mopping up. “They just don’t have the time,” the supervisor said.

‘Some hospitals are a real freaking disaster.’—Infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Gardam

Sometimes there aren’t enough cleaning supplies. A nurse, whose identity Marketplace protected, said she’s seen a cleaner mopping common areas after having mopped the rooms of infected patients because she didn’t have enough mops to change. “She’s just cross-contaminated the whole area, so there’s no area that was actually clean.”

Sometimes, only one cleaner would be on staff in an entire hospital during night shifts. “That kind of day-night difference is very common, and it makes no sense,” says Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease expert at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Gardam has seen enough in his time looking at hospital cleaning practices to know that some hospitals are worse than others – much worse. “Some hospitals are a real freaking disaster,” he told Marketplace.”They’ve been told to actually cut their number of housekeeping staff by outside auditors who are trying to help them balance their budgets.”

In recent years, many hospitals have cut the portion of their budget that is devoted to cleaning. Sometimes, they’ve done that by contracting out cleaners or their management.

C. difficile outbreaks common

It’s not like we haven’t seen the devastating results of hospital-acquired illness. Newscasts and newspapers have been filled with stories of hospitals under quarantine because of C. difficile outbreaks. In the last decade, outbreaks have hit hospitals in most provinces. A huge outbreak in 2003 and 2004 led to as many as 2,000 deaths in Quebec.

Last year, there were outbreaks in at least 10 hospitals across Ontario alone. One of the worst was the Niagara Health System in Ontario. More than 100 cases were diagnosed and the infection was a factor in the deaths of 37 patients, including Gary Ball, the patient mentioned earlier in the story.

The man appointed by the Ontario government to get the Niagara outbreaks under control, Dr. Kevin Smith, denies that hospitals have been cutting back on cleaning. “I think they’re experimenting with new models of cleaning,” he says.

When informed that workers in the Niagara hospital system told Marketplace that they still don’t have the time or resources to do an adequate cleaning job, he says, “I haven’t heard that message,” saying “everybody” feels rushed in health care these days.

The outbreaks are officially over in the Niagara Health System. But when Marketplace showed Smith several areas where researchers had applied test gel in three hospitals he supervises, most of the surfaces showed no evidence of cleaning. The ultra-violet light showed uncleaned hand rails outside an isolation room, uncleaned support rails in a public washroom and uncleaned hand rails in a ward with highly contagious patients.

“I’m obviously very disappointed to see that. That is a less than optimal cleaning opportunity. We need to fix it,” Smith said.

There’s something else that some observers think is helping to drive the pressure to skimp on cleaning. In Ontario and British Columbia, for example, hospitals are given bonuses for turning over beds quickly – hundreds of extra dollars each time a hospital gets a patient out of a room before a certain time. More money is dangled for quickly transferring a patient from the emergency ward to a room. Hospital CEOs, already well-paid, receive bonuses that depend, in part, on reducing wait times.

While the goal of such rewards may be admirable, critics say the actual effect has been to speed up cleaning to an unhealthy degree.

“They just don’t get it,” says Denise Ball. “And maybe until one of their loved ones that went in healthy and … a few months later … they’re going to their grave. Maybe that’s what will wake them up.” There is a video at the Source

Related Stories

8 tips to ensure you won’t get a hospital-acquired infection

FAQs: What is C. difficile?

Opportunistic superbug present in most hospitals

Since the cleaning services have been privatized, the problems began.

The ones now doing the cleaning are not trained well. Poorly paid and over worked. They have to much to do and not enough time.

It is actually costing Canada more to use private companies.

A lesson leaned the hard way. Remember:

About 250,000 Canadians come down with life-threatening infections while in hospitals every year. That’s the highest rate in the developed world. As many as 12,000 people a year die.
The Ontario Ombudsman is the only provincial watchdog in Canada restricted from investigating and resolving issues/complaints in hospitals, long-term care, children’s aid. And there are serious issues that are not being resolved. Please check out how Ontario compares to the rest of Canada:

http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/About-Us/The-Ombudsman-s-Office/Who-We-Oversee/MUSH-Sector.aspx

Please download a copy of this petition and speak to your MPP about expanding the mandate of the Ombudsman to ensure the public is protected and issues of mistreatment, abuse, poor care are addressed properly in these institutions.

http://ontariocfa.com/documents/ombudsman_petition.pdf

http://ontariocfa.com/

Pass this on to all your Canadians friends.

Don’t let Harper privatize any more in Health Care and the privatization that has taken place, must be reversed to save lives. The life you save may be your own.

Update March 27 2012

CBC’s ‘dirty hospital’ report sparks changes

Niagara health authority ends relationship with private U.S. cleaning company Aramark

March 26, 2012

A CBC investigation into unsanitary conditions at the nation’s hospitals has sparked a change in policy by Canada’s biggest health authority and a flood of email messages from concerned viewers.

With hidden cameras, including Canada’s first hidden camera glow-gel test, the consumer show Marketplace visited several hospitals in Ontario and British Columbia, secretly applying a harmless gel to high-touch surfaces, then returning 24 hours later to see whether the gel had been removed, which would indicate the surface had been cleaned.

The program revealed many instances where cleaning had not been carried out, and that sparked a response from the Niagara Health System (NHS), the biggest in the country, whose hospitals have suffered a recent Clostridium difficile outbreak. It has decided to end its relationship with the private U.S. cleaning company Aramark.

NHS authorities wouldn’t specify why they made the move, but did tell CBC News they will be adding “the equivalent of 18 new full-time cleaning positions.” It has been suggested that Aramark was at least partly to blame for the C. difficile outbreaks.

“They made decisions around staffing levels,” Eoin Callan of the Service Employees International Union told CBC News. “They made decisions around what was cleaned, what was not cleaned — how frequently things were cleaned. And they also had an incentive to use cheaper diluted cleaning chemicals that were not as effective because it allowed them to pad their profit margins.”

Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews wouldn’t talk on camera, but told Marketplace: “We expect our hospitals to make the best decisions to protect patient safety in their communities.”

The NHS decision may be good news for those awaiting a hospital stay, but cold comfort to people such as Ken Hough, who returned home three weeks ago after a stay at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas, Ont.

“You really wouldn’t believe it, unless you’ve seen it,” Hough told Marketplace reporter Erica Johnson, describing rooms where he says dirty bandages and plastic needle covers littered the floor.

The bathroom was the worst, he said.

“Feces on the back of the toilet,” he recalled. “You’d go in to use it, and you’d pivot. I put on rubber gloves to use the toilet seat and just thought, no, I’m not doing this.”

Emails from across the country echoed Hough’s observations.

“The waste baskets in the bathroom were overflowing,” an email from Vancouver read. It took “three days to clean up vomit,” a Calgary viewer wrote. And an email from Winnipeg described “feces left on the floor” for days.

About one-third of hospitals in Ontario outsource their janitorial services, CBC News has learned, and that figure is higher in British Columbia and some other provinces. With files from the CBC’s Erica Johnson Source

That is good news for a change. Now if they could get all the hospitals cleaned up.

With the number of deaths and those who got sick, because of the filth, there were no savings.

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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.

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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

 

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Poorer Canadians less likely to survive cancer

August 2, 2010

Cancer patients from poor communities have lower survival rates than those from more affluent neighbourhoods, a new Canadian study has found.

What’s more, the research team discovered that the explanation for similar disparities in U.S. research — that patients from poorer areas are more likely to be diagnosed when their cancer is at a later stage — did not hold true.

The researchers, led by Dr. Christopher Booth at the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University in Ontario, found that poorer patients had a greater chance of dying prematurely from their disease even though cancer stage at the time of diagnosis was similar across socioeconomic groups.

“Contrary to what has been reported in studies from the U.S., we have found that stage of cancer at time of diagnosis does not account for any substantial component of the difference in survival across social groups,” Booth said in a statement.

The findings, though only gleaned from Ontario data, suggest other factors play a role in survival, including the unique biology of each patient’s disease, the presence of other illnesses, access to treatment and overall quality of care.

The study was published Monday in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.

For the study, the research team compared median household income data from the 2001 Canadian census with diagnosis information from the Ontario Cancer Registry. The team analyzed all cases of breast, colon, rectal, non-small cell lung, cervical and laryngeal cancer diagnosed in the province between 2003 and 2007.

Their findings include:

  • The chance a woman from a poor community will be alive five years after a breast cancer diagnosis is 77 per cent, compared to 84 per cent for a wealthy woman.
  • Fifty-two per cent of patients with colorectal cancer from poor neighbourhoods are still alive five years after diagnosis, compared to 60 per cent of patients from wealthy communities.

The team said the fact that stage of disease at the time of diagnosis was similar across socioeconomic groups may be explained by universal health coverage in Ontario, “which may facilitate access to primary care physicians and/or cancer screening,” Booth said.

However, the disparity in survival rates, while they seem small, “are important and meaningful differences,” he told The Canadian Press.

“If we had a form of chemotherapy or cancer treatment that led to an improvement or difference in five-year survival of seven, eight, nine per cent — the order of magnitude we’re seeing with these differences — it would be a blockbuster home run as far as cancer treatment advances,” Booth said.

The team said further research is needed to identify the specific factors that are leading to the disparities in survival, which will then allow experts to devise strategies to reduce those disparities. Source

Poverty means less food, more stress and worry.

You can have the best medical treatment in the world but if you don’t have proper food you will be less likely to recover from many illnesses not just cancer.

People living in poverty are under a great deal more stress as well. Their day to day lives are filled with things like can I afford rent, heat and hydro. They have less of an ability to get to treatments, (Cost is always a factor which adds to their stress and anxiety).

So do they buy groceries are go for treatments? Well what would you do?

People living in poverty are also more prone to illnesses as they are under stress and do not have proper food to start with.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out what the problems are.

Even the stupidest person should be able to figure that one out.

Recent

Fox News moves up to the front row in the White House briefing room

Mental illness rising among US troops

July 25 2010
America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on US soldiers, as the latest statistics show one out of every nine American soldiers leaves the army on a medical discharge due to a mental disorder.

“We have 100,000 troops and a third of them suffer some sort of mental health disease and half of those suffer multiple health disease,” Paul Martin from Peace Action told Press TV’s correspondent.

The army alone saw a 64 percent increase in those forced out due to mental illness between 2005 and 2009, the numbers equal to one in nine of all medical discharges.

According to army statistics, last year alone 1,224 soldiers suffering from mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, received a medical discharge.

According to Mental health experts there is a growing emotional toll on the US military which has been fighting for seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan, and there is a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Some experts say age is also a factor.

“We are talking young people — 18 to 24-year-olds, who are seeing the horrors of war,” Martin said.

Analysts are concerned that with budget cuts looming, military medical programs will be the first on the chopping block.

The soldiers who are discharged for having both a mental and physical disability increased by 174% during the last 5 years from a little under 1,400 in 2005, to more than 3,800 in 2009, according to army statistics.

The suicide rate among US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has escalated to a record high, with an average of one suicide per day in June.

According to US Army statistics, a total of 32 soldiers took their own lives last month, making it the worst month on record for Army suicides. Twenty-one were on active duty, with the rest being among National Guards or Army Reserves in an inactive status, CNN reported earlier in July. Source

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Did Contractor Expose Troops To Toxin?

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Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Mental illness rising among US troops  
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Israel “blackmails Gaza’s patients to turn them into collaborators”

March 3 2010

In a message to Israel’s Attorney General, human rights organizations have criticized Israeli intelligence agencies for blackmailing Palestinian patients in Gaza, exploiting their vulnerability in order to pressure them into collaborating with the occupation authorities. According to the organizations, a number of patients have been given false promises that they would be allowed to leave the Gaza Strip for medical care. However, once they reached the Beit Hanoun border crossing, they have been arrested and led to prisons inside Israel. “This is an illegal policy in which the desperate situation of the patients is taken advantage of, and medical care turns into a tool that serves the security body,” said a spokesman.

The organizations include Israel’s Physicians for Human Rights, the ADALA centre and Mezan Centre for Human Rights. In their message they included three case studies of patients who were detained in prisons inside Israel. In two of those recent cases, the patients were arrested while they were at Erez border crossing on their way to receive medical treatment.

These three cases trigger concerns that there is an official policy of misleading patients and taking advantage of their desperate need for medical treatment, so as to entice them to cooperate with Israeli security bodies.

“We believe that if the aforementioned policy is being adopted, it represents an unethical abuse of the medical system, and also of patients’ suffering and desperate medical conditions, in order to carry out arrests and interrogations. Thus, this policy must be stopped immediately.”

Source

Taking advantage of desperate people. Israel leave no stone unturned.

Then of course we have the Justice System which is unbeliveable.

Judge tries to hide his shame while extending child’s detention pending trial
March 3 2010

The trial of a child turned into a farce when, to laughter from those assembled in the courtroom, the lawyer Leah Tsiml took a balloon out of her purse and gave it to Hassan, aged 12, to play with during his trial. This move prompted the judge to lower his head and hide his shame behind a computer screen.

This mockery of the legal system continued when the judge asked the father of the child to pay a fine of 5000 NIS (New Israeli Shekels), reduced subsequently to 2000 NIS. The boy’s father, Fadel Al-Muhtaseb, refused to pay and told the judge of the military court in Ofer, “What kind of law is it that brings a child to trial and asks the father to pay the fine? I will not pay the fine, and you must release my child.”

Mr. Al-Muhtaseb continued, “My son was brought to the court wearing handcuffs, with shackles on his feet so he couldn’t walk; he was very scared and frightened of the soldiers who surrounded him. It is ironic that the judge has extended Hassan’s detention in order to allow time for an indictment to be filed against him. They came to the court without an indictment and the judge is asking me to pay 2000 NIS fine; this is the ‘justice’ of the Israeli occupation.”

Hassan was detained by Israeli soldiers along with his brother Amir, aged 7, while they were on Ash-Shalala Street in Hebron. Amir was released ten hours after his detention. Mr. Al-Muhtaseb said he heard about his children’s detention from local residents, who told him that Hassan and Amir had been taken to an unknown location. When he returned home, he found Amir standing outside the front door.

“I received a phone call from one of the detainees in Ofer prison who told me Hassan was there and would be sent before an Israeli military court on charges of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers,” he added, before calling on children’s rights and international organizations to defend the interests of all children under occupation and to work with him for the release of his child from Israeli custody. Source

Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israels Hungry

Hiba Al-Shamaree Iraqi Female Blogger Trial set for March 3 2010

Canadian students participate in Israeli Apartheid Week

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This Is One of the Biggest Wall Street Frauds Ever

Assassination latest act in nightmare without end

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Help Haiti Everybody Hurts Video

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 2:06 am  Comments Off on Israel “blackmails Gaza’s patients to turn them into collaborators”  
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IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl

At an early childhood centre children play, learn and, most importantly, eat. But for many, this will be their only meal

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in north-western Zimbabwe

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in
north-western Zimbabwe

December 21 2008

The 36 children attending an early childhood centre in north-west Zimbabwe were lucky, and they knew it. They were wearing their best clothes – even if, as in the case of three-year-old Milesh, this meant a shirt that, while clean, was shredded at the back.

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean children the same age are on the brink of starvation, and millions are losing their education as the collapse in government services closes school after school. All are at risk from the cholera epidemic. But Milesh and friends were looking forward not only to playing and learning together, but to getting what for many of them would be their only meal of the day – a plate of porridge.

The children waited patiently under a tree, clapping and singing while the food was prepared. They could not have been more orderly as they came forward, were given a plate and carried it carefully back into the shade. As soon as they were sitting down, the porridge – a special formula called corn-soya blend, or CSB, fortified with minerals and sweetened with sugar – disappeared in seconds.

Save the Children is helping more than 1,000 pre-school children in Zimbabwe in this way, but such is the chaos in the country that it is having to feed the centre’s helpers, too. “It would be very difficult for me to travel here on an empty stomach,” said one. She was scanning the pupils to see who was missing, and was not surprised that Godgave, four, was absent.

“Godgave is an orphan, and lives with his widowed grandmother,” said the helper. “They are very poor. He is often too weak from hunger – he comes for one or two days, then he is away sick. We go and check on him, but we have no food to carry to him.” In such a state any childhood disease, let alone cholera, could take his life.

Some of the children at the centre showed signs of malnutrition. While most rushed around once they had eaten, playing on the slide and the climbing frame, Milesh’s six-year-old sister Zineth hovered near those with food, until an adult gave her a half-eaten portion of CSB. She made instant work of it. When workers later checked the children’s weight-to-height ratio, Zineth was one of seven who fell into the red zone on the chart, showing she was malnourished. Milesh and 12 others were in the green zone, indicating normal development. Another 16 came up yellow, which meant that of the 36 children at the centre that day, 23 were either suffering from malnutrition or were close to it.

It is not uncommon in Africa for boys in a family to be favoured over girls at times of hardship, but when we accompanied Zineth and Milesh home, their grandfather Mathias denied it was intentional. “We want to treat the children the same,” he said. “But when we have very little food, we give it to the youngest. It’s not because he is a boy.”

Mathias and his wife Mary have brought up their daughter’s three children since she died five years ago and her husband deserted them soon afterwards. “We haven’t had sadza [a mash, made from maize meal, that is Zimbabwe’s staple food] for three days,” he said. “We’ve been eating wild fruits and begging a little maize meal from our neighbours. We got a few cupfuls, which we gave to the children to eat. We had nothing for ourselves.”

The United Nations estimates that more than five million Zimbabweans, roughly half of them children, urgently need food aid. Save the Children is preparing to set up emergency feeding centres for children under five, where even the severely malnourished can be rescued with a special food called Plumpynut. Neither of these programmes will benefit Mathias and his family, however, because they have livestock, and others are worse off.

“We have three donkeys, which we use to plough our field,” he said. “We didn’t get any seeds when they were given out, but we managed to barter some with a neighbour, in exchange for ploughing his field. We’re living each day as it comes. It’s hard for the children – they see others getting food and toys at Christmas, but we have nothing.” His wife added: “When they ask us about the situation, we have no answers. We feel very helpless.”

This story is being repeated across Zimbabwe. Millions are suffering, through no fault of their own, as the nation falls into chaos. Unless we help them, they have no cause for hope.

Source

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE IoS APPEAL

Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Now anthrax takes toll on the starving in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic hits 10,000 to 11,000 and rising

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 7:38 pm  Comments Off on IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl  
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IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti:Mr. President, are you listening?

IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti KUDOS TO IDB

The decision by the Inter American Development Bank to offer Haiti an additional $50 million in assistance next year may be the best news that beleaguered Caribbean country has received in a long time. In a nation as poor as Haiti, that extra aid should make a difference in the lives of some of the neediest people.

”Haiti is the most fragile of our member countries,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno when he announced the grant last weekend. “No other nation in Latin America and the Caribbean is as vulnerable to economic shocks and natural disasters. As such, it requires extraordinary assistance from the international community.”

He’s right. Simply giving Haiti more money won’t put it on a stable footing, but the level of destitution is such that the country can’t even begin to think about stability or rebuilding until it can improve its ability to feed and house its people and restart the economy.

That requires foreign aid. Other nations and international organizations should follow the IDB’s example.

ICE: THUMBS DOWN

If the IDB is part of the solution for Haiti, the U.S. government agency that enforces immigration is part of the problem. By any measure, Haiti is ill-prepared to care for more destitute people, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE — has resumed deportations after a brief respite because of the devastation wreaked by this year’s storms.

This wrongheaded decision makes no sense at all. The country remains in dire straits, a nation suffering from hunger, misery and a host of associated ills, yet ICE cited ”the circumstances in Haiti” as the basis for resuming deportations.

Six South Florida members of Congress — three Democrats and three Republicans — have appealed to the White House to adopt a more compassionate position. ”Sending Haitian nationals back to Haiti is both inhumane and unsafe,” Republican lawmakers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in their joint letter.

Mr. President, are you listening?

Source

Poverty crushing the People of Haiti

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

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

Haiti’s road to ruin

The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti:Mr. President, are you listening?  
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1 Billion People Face Hunger

December 19 2008

The number of people affected by hunger has hit one billion, says the World Food Program (WFP). This year alone, 40 million people were pushed into hunger by the high world food prices, thus exerting more pressure on the food assistance of the WFP.

It therefore urged the international community to step up assistance and allocate resources to urgent hunger needs, warning that the WFP would not be able to feed the world’s hungry if assistance to the program continued to dwindle.

A statement by the Executive Director of WFP, Josette Sheeran, projected that food assistance to hunger hot spots would run out by March next year.

WFP aims to feed nearly 100 million of the world hungriest people in 2009 and will need close to $5.2million to sustain its activities in Haiti, D R Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia and other hunger hot spots.

It said if one percent of what the USA and Europe proposed to rescue their economies from total collapse was geared toward supporting the activities of WFP, “developed countries would make a mark toward meeting the other urgent hunger needs”.

“As we take care of Wall Street and Main Street, we cannot forget the places that have no streets,” the statement said, noting the need “to send a bold signal of hope to the world with a human rescue package.”

The statement said as the world population climbed gradually towards nine billion by 2050, there was the risk of hunger to spiral out of control.

“The world is poised to produce trillions for financial rescue packages. What will they produce for the human rescue?” it asked.

It said hunger negatively affected children particularly in their early years and prevented children from achieving their full intellectual capacity.

“We cannot afford to lose the next generation,” the statement noted.

In Ghana, WFP in collaboration with the Ghana School Feeding Program, supports the provision of meals to primary school children and food packages for malnourished children and underweight mothers.

This year, WFP Ghana injected nearly $6million into the national economy through its local procurement program.

Source

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 6:10 am  Comments Off on 1 Billion People Face Hunger  
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The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

Soros Cyclone over Haiti
The rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

01

Thousands of Haitians demonstrated throughout Haiti on December 16, 2008. The date commemorated Haiti’s first free and democratic elections in 1990 that signaled the birth of the Lavalas political movement.

02

ON Dec. 16, 2008- Demonstrators demanded the return of Aristide who now lives in exile in the Republic of South Africa. They also demanded an end to the UN occupation, the release of all Lavalas political prisoners who still remain behind bars, and an end to the rampant profiteering by Haiti’s predatory wealthy elite that has resulted in growing misery and hunger.

By Kevin Pina

The US, France and Canada worked to oust the democratically elected government of Haiti in 2004 in a coup that was purposely cloaked in a so-called domestic rebellion. To this day an uncritical international press, that was itself culpable in hiding the truth behind Aristide’s ouster, continues to parrot ridiculous assertions about the reality behind his overthrow and the intense campaign of political repression against his Lavalas movement.

During 2004-2006, thousands of Haitians were murdered by the police, jailed or forced into exile. What emerged was a wholesale campaign of violence waged against Lavalas that was largely maintained through the silence of human rights organizations and the international press.

The unfortunate truth is that the police and their operatives in the Haitian state were often aided and abetted; at first, by U.S, Marines, Canadian Special Forces, French Foreign Legion; and later by U.N. forces in Haiti. The ultimate purpose and intent of this violent campaign has been all too clear, to mutilate Lavalas and alter, through violence, Haiti’s political landscape.

Yesterday, December 16, was the 18th anniversary of Haiti’s first free and democratic elections that gave rise to the Lavalas movement which catapulted Aristide into the presidency in 1990.

Thousands of Haitians took to the streets throughout the country to commemorate that day and to demand the return of Aristide who now lives in exile in the Republic of South Africa. They also demanded an end to the UN occupation, the release of all Lavalas political prisoners who still remain behind bars, and an end to the rampant profiteering by Haiti’s predatory wealthy elite that has resulted in growing misery and hunger.

The event stood as a stark reminder to those policy makers who were behind the coup, and those who continue to maintain order based upon its outcome, that the Lavalas movement in Haiti is far from dead.

This reality raises several important questions. The first question is to those who supported the coup and the violent campaign against the Lavalas movement: can you honestly say that Haitians are better off today than they were before February 29, 2004?

Did you really expect the intervention to improve Haiti when, in fact, all indicators are that Haitians are suffering today from levels of malnutrition and infant mortality that are considered high even by Haitian standards?

For everyone concerned about Haiti today: as the presidential elections approach in 2011 and Lavalas reorganizes as a serious contender, once again representing the poor majority, will democratic elections be realized?

Or will Haiti have to endure this endless cycle of foreign intervention all over again?

Can real democracy prevail even as powerful interests, from foreign governments and Haiti’s wealthy elite to a plethora of non-governmental organizations, risk losing their investments in altering the political landscape and turning the page on the Lavalas movement?

If history is any indicator, the current supporters and apologists for the cynical nation-building and social engineering project Haiti has become in the international community, have dug their tentacles deep into the flesh of Haiti’s body politic.

As an indicator of just how deep, the president of the Haitian Senate, Kely Bastien, said earlier this week that the majority of Haiti’s national budget (provided by the international community) is managed by non-governmental organizations. Still, they should know, the concepts of self-determination, freedom and liberty in Haitian culture runs more deeply to the bone.

Konbit and the concept of Haitians working for the benefit of Haitians, is not dead in Haiti. It quietly resides in the consciousness of the Haitian people and waits for the right moment to awaken.

Yesterday’s commemoration of December 16 is but one of several reminders that Haitians have not forgotten what it is like to run their own country and tend to their own affairs.

Contrary to popular belief, Haitians were not always forced to live off charity and rely upon the largess of foreign patrons.

For most Haitians, their dream is that this nightmare will soon come to an end, and for better or worse, that they will once again be free to rise and fall based upon their own strengths and efforts. That simple freedom, which many of Haiti’s patrons claim for themselves and take for granted, is the wellspring of dignity and self-sufficiency for any people. It is the real message of December 16 in Haiti.

Source

They need help they have been through many tragedies the 4 storms have made things much worse. One never sees anything on the News about Haiti like it is a secret. Where they have been and what they have been through should not be hidden , the rest of the world should know what is happening to them. Ignoring their plight is not acceptable.

To many are dieing. To many are starving.

They are getting some help  but it certainly isn’t enough.

Why is the world media ignoring them? One really has to wonder.

Few are helping Haitians recover from natural disaster-and still fewer see the bigger problem.

Haiti’s road to ruin

Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera
December 18 2008
By Nelson Banya

HARARE

The death toll from a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has soared to 1,111, the United Nations said on Thursday, adding to pressure for a quick solution to the crisis in the southern African country.

South African ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma ruled out military intervention and backed a diplomatic push as the way to end political deadlock and prevent a total collapse of the once relatively prosperous nation.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs Jendayi Frazer also backed a political rather than military solution but was far from hopeful about talks between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition on forming a unity government.

“We certainly think that the power sharing deal is on life support, it’s close to dead,” Frazer said in Mozambique.

That cast doubt on comments from South African President Kgalema Motlanthe that he hoped for agreement this week.

The latest cholera figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva included a new outbreak in Chegutu Urban, west of Harare, where more than 378 cases and 121 deaths were recorded, it said in a statement.

It added that more than 20,580 people had been affected by cholera since August.

The spread of the disease, which causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration and is normally easy to treat, has increased international pressure on Mugabe. Western countries have renewed calls on the veteran leader to step down.

Prominent figures, including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Nobel peace laureate and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have called for Mugabe to go or for peacekeeping troops to be sent to Zimbabwe.

When asked in an interview with South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio whether he favoured sending troops to Zimbabwe, ANC leader Zuma said: “No. Why military intervention when there is no war? We should be pressurising them to see the light.”

MEDIATION

South Africa’s ANC-led government, however, has continued to back the regional SADC group’s efforts to mediate an end to the crisis. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is leading the mediation of the power-sharing talks.

Mugabe, 84, agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in September, raising hopes that a unity government could reverse the country’s economic meltdown and rebuild basic services.

Inflation in Zimbabwe has spiralled out of control. Prices are doubling every 24 hours and unemployment is above 80 percent. Millions have fled to South Africa and neighbouring countries is search of work and food.

South African President Motlanthe announced on Wednesday that Zimbabwe’s neighbours would launch an urgent humanitarian campaign. Motlanthe’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said on Thursday it would focus on agricultural aid and would be non-partisan to ensure it could not be used as a political weapon.

The amount of the aid had yet to be finalised and was likely to depend on how much countries could give, he said.

Negotiations between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change are deadlocked over who should control key ministries, and there are growing fears the agreement will unravel and lead to violence.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March presidential election but without an absolute majority. He pulled out of the run-off in June, saying scores of his supporters had been killed.

The opposition says attacks have picked up again. They say more than 20 people have been abducted from their homes and offices in the past two weeks. The government has denied the accusations.

Source

Zimbabwe: MSF/Doctors Without Boarders, responds to worst cholera outbreak in years
More than 11,000 patients seen by MSF/Doctors without Boarders

December 12 2008

MSF/Doctors without Boarders, has seen more than 11,000 patients since August in Zimbabwe’s worst cholera outbreak in years and has opened dozens of cholera treatment centres throughout the country. Cases have been found in nearly all provinces. More than 500 national and international MSF staff members are working to identify new cases and to treat patients in need of care.

Harare has been the center of the outbreak; MSF has treated more than 6,000 people in the densely populated capital. A town on the border with South Africa, Beitbridge, has also been hard hit. MSF has provided care to more than 3,000 people with suspected cases of cholera.

Zimbabwe has had major outbreaks of cholera before – it is endemic in certain rural areas – but until the last few years it has been relatively rare in urban areas.

“The scale and the sheer numbers of infection especially in Harare is unprecedented,” says an epidemiologist for MSF who has worked periodically in Zimbabwe for the past seven years. He explains that the key reasons for the outbreak are the inability to access clean water, burst and blocked sewage systems and uncollected garbage overflowing in the streets. “The fact that the outbreak has become so large is an indication that the country’s health system can’t cope.”

MSF is working in two cholera treatment centers (CTCs) which are located in existing health facilities in Harare. The two main CTCs saw in total more than 2,000 people with cases of suspected cholera in the first week of December.

An MSF emergency coordinator in Harare describes the situation: “Imagine a cholera ward with dozens of people under the most basic conditions. For instance, there is only a little electricity so there is hardly any light. It is difficult for the doctors and nurses to even see the patients they are treating. The nurses have to monitor multitudes of IV bags to make sure they don’t run dry which is also difficult to do in the dark and when there are so many patients.”

In Beitbridge, MSF has set up cholera treatment centers run mainly by MSF staff using supplies shipped in from all over the world. The peak of the emergency was unusually early in Beitbridge, which resulted in a high mortality rate within the first couple of days of the severe outbreak in the town. By the fourth day, however, MSF had established a cholera treatment centre and the mortality rate eventually dropped from 15% to less than 1%.

Because MSF has been in the country since 2000 running HIV programs, it has been able to react from the ground and quickly bring in emergency cholera response units.

The outbreak is particularly worrying as it began well before the rainy season. A major concern is that once the heavy rains start, unprotected water sources will become contaminated, causing the further spread of cholera. The rainy season normally starts in November and continues through March, although the heavy rains have yet to be seen in some areas.

An additional challenge has been that government health workers in certain areas, particularly in Harare, are on strike. This has required MSF to rapidly recruit hundreds of nurses and other staff to handle the influx of cholera cases. Significant time and energy is needed to train the new staff, adding considerably to the workload of the existing staff.

MSF has also conducted exploratory missions in rural communities and responded to scattered reports of cholera cases. Low numbers of cases have been found in a number of small villages; MSF established small cholera treatment units (CTUs) where necessary. MSF has eight CTUs in five districts spread over the Manicaland and Mashvingo provinces in the eastern part of Zimbabwe and treated more than 770 patients.

A town on the border with Mozambique, Nyamapanda, also has been affected. When MSF arrived in early November the team found about 150 cholera patients and helped set up one cholera treatment center in the town, as well as four others with the Ministry of Health in the surrounding areas. In total, 1,600 patients have been seen in Mudzi District.

MSF will continue to monitor the situation and treat people in the most affected areas, as well as send emergency staff and supplies to various locations in Zimbabwe where new cases arise.

“A cholera outbreak of this proportion usually continues for several months,” the MSF epidemiologist says. “MSF expects to be caring for cholera patients in Zimbabwe for some time to come.”

Source

CARE Fights Cholera in Zimbabwe
Humanitarian group says as little as $10 could save a life

December 12 2008

Click photo to view an enlarged version (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE))

Children play with stagnant raw sewage at the Machipisa suburb in Harare November 28, 2008. Fast-spreading cholera is “the tip of the iceberg” of what stands to be a major health crisis in Zimbabwe, United Nations agencies said on Friday. Nearly 400 Zimbabweans have died from the disease. (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE))

HARARE, Zimbabwe

CARE is ramping up food aid and sanitation programs in Zimbabwe as part of the international effort to combat one of the worst cholera outbreaks the world has seen in recent years. The humanitarian organization also is calling on the public to help. As little as $10 could save a life. That’s what it takes to provide a household with a bar of soap, a water container and two months worth of aqua-tabs for water purification.

The epidemic has already killed more than 780 people and infected at least 16,400. Almost half the country’s population will be dependant on food aid by January, humanitarian officials project. Unfortunately, because they require large gatherings, food distributions are a perfect conduit for the spread of cholera. So CARE, one of the World Food Program’s largest partners in Zimbabwe, is providing sanitation training and improved access to water, too, in an effort to serve at least 900,000 people.

“More than five million people in the country need food aid right now,” said Fridah Kalumba, CARE’s assistant country director in Zimbabwe. “But with the cholera outbreak, we need to ensure people are protected during distributions, so the disease doesn’t
spread further.”
Click photo to view an enlarged version (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE))

A girl collects drinking water from a stream in Glen Norah, Harare November 27 2008. Zimbabwe, which is battling a serious cholera outbreak amid a worsening economic crisis, is set to get vaccines from China to fight the disease, state media reported on Thursday. (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE))
The crisis is about to enter a pivotal stage. Health workers fear
that the coming rainy season, combined with families traveling
home from urban centers for Christmas, could cause cholera cases to soar in rural districts.

“Cholera outbreaks are usually localized,” said Teresa Chiesa, a
CARE health expert working to stem the crisis in Zimbabwe. “I have never before seen one like this with so many communities over
such a wide area being affected at the same time. It’s a horrific situation.”

CARE, which has been working in Zimbabwe since 1992, employs nearly 600 staffers in the provinces of Masvingo and Midlands. That has allowed CARE to coach people on proper sanitary measures in food distribution centers, schools, orphanages and seniors homes. CARE is supplying families with water jugs, chlorine, water
treatment tablets and soap. And the humanitarian group is building
hand-washing stations at critical sites.

In the longer term, if CARE can raise sufficient funds, it will launch a program to develop a secure supply of clean water. CARE needs $750,000 to carry out its preventative education program and a plan to drill new wells in water-starved communities. Drilling one borehole alone costs approximately $25,000.

“If we do not secure the water supply for these people in the long term,” Chiesa said, “the country will be looking at another outbreak next year, and the year after that, and so on.”

Source

Save the Children, )


Zimbabwe cholera epidemic ‘worsening’ says aid agency

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic is not under control, Save the Children said today.

December 12 2008
Speaking from the agency’s HQ in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare today, Rachel Pounds, a Save the Children country director said: “If anything is certain in the chaos of Zimbabwe today it is that the cholera outbreak is not under control. According to the latest figures 775 people have died so far. Save the Children knows this is an underestimate – not least because the figures do not include areas in which we work and where we know there have been many unrecorded deaths.

“Also, the percentage of people who are dying having contracted cholera in the first place is way higher than normal for this disease, in some areas. With even the most basic health care on hand, you would expect to see a death rate of only one or two percent. In some areas of Zimbabwe a third of those who have contracted the infection are dying.”

Ms Pounds added that said that the crisis was almost certainly worsening. “Reliable figures are hard to come by, but there is much evidence out there that this crisis is growing, not diminishing, especially as we know there are many people can’t get to cholera centres. Given that this is a disease spread by unclean water and exacerbated by hunger which weakens victims, this problem has clearly not gone away. Water and health services have collapsed and more than half the 10 million population needs emergency food aid. This deadly disease will continue to spread unless we get more money and more resources to halt the contamination and treat victims promptly.”

Save the Children urged the international community to listen to aid agencies working in Zimbabwe and to Zimbabweans themselves living with the horror of hunger and cholera. “It is ordinary families who are bearing the brunt of this crisis, and it is to them the world must listen,” said Ms Pounds. “They should listen to the mothers whose babies have died, and to the children waiting outside health clinics to see if their mothers or fathers will come out alive. That’s the reality here.”

Save the Children’s 200-strong team in Zimbabwe is helping to provide drugs to treat cholera and educating communities how to avoid infection, as well as providing food so that safe cholera treatment camps can be set up to prevent further contamination.

The aid organisation is feeding close to 200,000 people and helping families prepare for the future by distributing seed, small livestock and helping to set up vegetable gardens. Save the Children has worked in Zimbabwe for 25 years.
For more information
Please contact the Save the Children media unit on +44 207 012 6836 / +44 7831 650 409

Notes to Editors

The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has now reached unprecedented proportions. A cholera epidemic is already crippling the country, which has killed over 775 people.

Up to 5.1 million people will be in need of food aid to survive by the end of the year, over half the country’s population. One in 10 children in Zimbabwe die before the age of five, although with rocketing rates of malnutrition and disease, the child mortality rate will also rise.

Save the Children’s 200-strong team in Zimbabwe is helping to provide drugs to treat cholera and educating communities how to avoid infection, as well as providing food so that safe cholera treatment camps can be set up to prevent further contamination.

The aid organisation is feeding close to 700,000 people and helping families prepare for the future by distributing seed, small livestock and helping to set up vegetable gardens. Save the Children has worked in Zimbabwe for 25 years.

Source

Zimbabwe’s meltdown in figures
December 18

2008The death toll from a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has soared to 1,111, the United Nations said on Thursday, adding to pressure for a quick solution to the crisis in the southern African country.

Below are some details of Zimbabwe’s decline in figures:

* INFLATION

Inflation reached 231 million percent a year in July, the latest month for which a figure has been announced. Economists think it is now much higher and say prices are doubling daily.

* GDP

Gross domestic product has fallen every year since 2000, down 10.4 percent in 2003 alone. The IMF estimated that the economy shrank 6.1 percent in 2007.

Per capita GDP was estimated at $200 in 2007, from nearer $900 in 1990. Zimbabwe has the world’s fastest shrinking economy for a country not at war, according to the World Bank.

* INCOME

An estimated 83 percent of the population was living on below $2 a day by 2005. Since then, the situation has only worsened.

* EXPORTS

Exports averaged 33.5 percent of GDP between 1997 and 2001. UBS forecast this would decline to 9.9 percent in 2007.

* AGRICULTURE

Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now needs to import maize. The U.N. agricultural production index for Zimbabwe fell from nearly 107 in 2000 to just over 74 in 2005.

Official figures show maize production at 800,000 tonnes last season against national demand of 2 million tonnes.

* GOLD

Gold output, which accounts for a third of export earnings, hit a low of 125 kg in October, from a peak of 2,400 kg, as the economic crisis forced mines to close.

* UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent. Well over 3 million Zimbabweans are thought to have fled, mostly to South Africa, in search of work and food.

* AID

Aid agencies say 5 million people — almost half the population — might need food aid by early 2009.

* IMF ARREARS

Zimbabwe fell into arrears with the International Monetary Fund in 2001. In February 2008, it owed $88 million, of which nearly $80 million has been in arrears for three years or more. While Zimbabwe has averted expulsion, the IMF has suspended financial and technical assistance.

* LIFE EXPECTANCY

Average life expectancy fell from 63 years in 1990 to 40.9 years in 2005, according to U.N. figures.

The mortality rate for children under five rose to 132 deaths per 1,000 in 2005 from 76 deaths in 1990.

* CHOLERA

The official death toll from a cholera epidemic since August is at least 1,111 with over 20,581 infected, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Zimbabwe.

* HIV/AIDS

In 2007, HIV prevalence was 15.6 percent among adults aged 15 to 49 — the fourth highest in the world. It causes the death of about 3,200 people per week in the country of 13.3 million.

HIV prevalence among pregnant women at clinics actually fell from 26 percent in 2002 to 18 in 2006, but some put that down to high mortality and emigration rather than prevention measures.

* ANTHRAX

Save the Children said this month that an anthrax outbreak in the south west had killed three people and could wipe out at least 60,000 livestock.

Source

They left out Sanctions of course. Which has enhanced Zimbabwe’s problem substantially.

Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

Canadian Governments willing to help Auto Industry

Nelson Gonzalez washes new Chevrolet cars offered for sale at the GM Felix dealership in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. (AP / Damian Dovarganes)

Nelson Gonzalez washes new Chevrolet cars offered for sale at the GM Felix dealership in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. (AP / Damian Dovarganes)

CAW President Ken Lewenza speaks during a press conference in downtown Toronto, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.

CAW President Ken Lewenza speaks during a press conference in downtown Toronto, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.

Auto bailout should hinge on saving jobs: CAW

December 13 2008

Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza praised the announcement of a potential $3.3-billion lifeline to the country’s car industry, but warned that it should hinge on promises by manufacturers to maintain jobs and keep plants open.

“The reason the CAW pushed for government involvement is because all governments are intervening in the economy and in particular the auto industry,” Lewenza told CTV Newsnet Saturday.

“But we want to protect our existing investment and our existing facilities. So there has to be a condition of government intervening to support the existing facilities and keep them open.”

Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton said automakers should be providing both employment and product guarantees, if they are receiving government assistance.

“You need to get product guarantees, in other words, you want to be producing the cars and trucks of the future that people want to buy,” he said during an appearance on CTV Newsnet on Saturday.

“And secondly, you need some job guarantees.”

On Friday, Industry Minister Tony Clement announced the bailout package, which is a joint effort between the federal and Ontario governments.

Clement indicated during a news conference that manufacturers will have to prove they have plans for maintaining long-term viability in order to receive funds.

As well, the entire payout hinges on whether or not the United States approves its own proposed $14 billion bailout package.

Hampton said he felt the Canadian efforts appeared to be on the right track.

“My understanding is that the money that is being put out the door, or the money that is being offered, is conditional upon the proportion of auto sector jobs that are in Ontario and Canada now, staying in Ontario and Canada,” he said.

“That’s a fair start,” Hampton added.

$70 per hour?

While some critics have suggested autoworkers are costing their industry too much and making wages of more than $70 per hour, the Detroit Three automakers each report paying an average hourly wage of less than $30 U.S. for their workers.

The contentious $70 figure, which has been applied to U.S. workers only, also factors in health care costs and benefits for retired employees.

Hampton said the overriding market conditions are to blame for auto industry’s immediate financial challenges — not labour costs.

“It’s not workers’ wages that have resulted in this calamity,” he said.

“What’s really happened is this: American consumers are so scared right now that they’ve stopped buying just about everything.”

During a meeting with Chrysler executives on Friday, Lewenza said, company officials indicated that if market conditions change, they would be able to pay back government loans within two to three years.

According to Lewenza, auto manufacturers understand the importance of changing their business plans to include initiatives such as developing more environmentally friendly vehicles.

However, he said a shift in practices will “take some time.”

The news of the Canadian bailout package came a day after the U.S. Senate voted down the proposed $14-billion American bailout, after the United Auto Workers refused to make wage cut concessions.

After the vote, the White House announced it may dip into the US$700-billion bank bailout fund to help the auto sector.

The haggling coincides with an announcement by General Motors that it will shut down nearly all production in its North American plants throughout the month of January.

The move will affect 21 factories and cut 250,000 cars from the company’s first quarter production schedule.

GM’s Oshawa, Ont., plant will shut down for six weeks beginning in January.

Source

If the US had a Universal Health Care system, the Heath Care benefits would not even have to be a consideration for the US auto workers.

How sad they the US government used that against them.

Not having Medical Insurance is one of the major causes  of Bankruptcies in the US. Even if you have insurance, it may not cover all medical expenses. Everyone needs Health Care. That is an absolute necessity.

So if Health Care Insurance is so expensive through insurance companies and the private sector and it is, which do a terrible job at any rate, they should be eliminated and it should be in the hands of the state.

Health Care is not something that should be in the hands of the private sector. It costs more then it should. Profit you know. Many treatments that are required by a person are many times, denied by the “Insurance Companies” as well. People actually have to get a lawyer and go to court to get the treatments they need, because  the insurance companies denied  treatment. Of course by the time this is finished and you finally get the treatment, too often it is too late and you die.

Insurance companies will not even give you  insurance because you have a pre exsiting condition or for many other reason. That is just not acceptable.

If the US blames Auto workers they are dead wrong, they should be looking at their own foolish greed, orientated, Health Care system.

Not receiving medical treatment is just a form of “Torture” as far as I am concerned.

In Canada Health Care is not even a consideration as they have Universal Health Care for everyone. Maybe  the US should be going down the same path as Canada.

Even Cuba has Universal Health Care for their people.

I would even go vacation in Cuba, because if I were to get sick while vacationing there could I could go to one of their hospitals and “guess what” they would give me help.  No problem.

So given a choice of vacation spots Cuba wins over the US. To go on vacation in the US I would have to purchase Insurance just in case and even if I had that and were to get sick it may not cover my needs.  Insurance companies are like that, you pay them not to help you when you need it most.  They love you until you become ill, then they don’t love you anymore.

Universal Health Care should be a priority in any country.

Insurance companies are not to be trusted with something so important as Health Care.

Insurance companies can at the drop of a hat declare bankruptcy and go out of business as well. Here today gone tomorrow.

The other thing that stopped the bill in the Senate from going through is the Republicans didn’t want to force care makers to make cars that were fuel efficient.  They were totally against that. Well all cars  should be more fuel efficient.

So instead of looking at how things operate in the the US they choose to blame the Auto Workers for all the problems as to why the bill did not pass. Auto workers are not to blame in all this. They are the victims.

US profiteering, policies are.  Of course lest we forget it was their deregulation, greed, orientated policies, that caused the “Financial Crisis” in the first place now wasn’t it?

Capitalism always implodes on itself. It is not sustainable over the long term. That has been proven quite adequately it seems. Privatization drives up the price of everything until no one can afford anything.

The US seems to have never learned these lessons.  They still push their policies even though they are complete and utter failures. They have rammed their policies down the throats of every country they can  and they have failed there as well. If you don’t like their policies they will and have many times gone to war with those countries. They just feed their people a bunch of propaganda and lies and away they go.

They are the bully on the block, who if they don’t get their own way will beat the crap out of you.

They don’t care who dies in their own country, why would they care who dies in any other country?

For all we know they created this Financial Crisis on purpose.

Seems to me many country’s  are now having to go to the World bank or IMF to get loans which means those country’s are under the control of the lenders.

As Rothchild said:

Let me control a peoples currency and I care not who makes their laws

— Meyer Nathaniel Rothchild in a speech to a gathering of world bankers February 12, 1912.The following year, we subscribed to the “services” of the newly incorporated Federal Reserve, headed by Mr. Rothchild.

Auto bailout collapses in Senate

Under Bush Administration were you Better Off?

“As Budgets Tighten, More People Decide Medical Care Can Wait”

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 3:00 pm  Comments Off on Canadian Governments willing to help Auto Industry  

Haiti’s road to ruin

Tallulah Photography

This season’s hurricanes have made homes in Gonaïves, Haiti, unlivable, and conditions primed for environmental disaster will lead to more ecological refugees.

December 11, 2008
By Roberta Staley

Few are helping Haitians recover from natural disaster-and still fewer see the bigger problem

The drive north to Gonaïves from Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince is calculated in time rather than distance-it can take from three-and-a-half to five hours, depending upon rain and your four-wheel-drive’s suspension, to navigate the 150 kilometres of erosion-gnawed road that skirt the country’s coastline.

But nothing on the journey—not the cavernous potholes, trenches, or caved-in shoulders—prepares you for the apocalyptic dried-mud moonscape that is Gonaïves. More than two months after hurricanes Fay, Gustav, and Ike and tropical storm Hanna battered Haiti from August 17 to September 8, Gonaïves is barely better off than it was right after the tempests.

Mounds of dried mud cover city streets that United Nations tanks, motorcycles, and SUVs churn into thick dust that hangs like a grey-beige fog. Starving dogs, their vertebrae and ribs jutting through dry, pale hide, skirt among the wheels in a single-minded search for food, sometimes dragging limbs crushed by lurching vehicles.

The hurricanes skinned Gonaïves’s surrounding hills and mountains—denuded of trees for decades—as deftly as a taxidermist, allowing unfettered rivers of topsoil, clay, and water to submerge 80 percent of the city in goop more than a storey high. When the water evaporated, two-metre-deep mud remained. At least 466 people perished from August to September—more than double the number of people who were killed in the rest of the country. As of November, many of the surrounding rice, banana, and plantain fields were still flooded, as were homes on the outskirts of the city. (In total, about 70 percent of Haiti’s crops were wiped out, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme.)

Bulldozers have started the cumbersome task of shifting tonnes of topsoil and clay from roadways, manoeuvring around overturned and crushed vehicles encased in mud like fossils. Some of the 300,000 residents who have returned to find the walls of their one- and two-room houses still standing are using shovels to dig out the thick, cracking earth, leaving chunks mixed with rotting trash outside doorways. But the homes are unlivable, and families dwell in tents on rooftops, leaving the city’s 40,000 female-headed households vulnerable to sexual predators. Too few trucks carry the mud away, and much of it is simply pushed into hills in the middle of intersections or along one side, creating a surreal version of a giant child’s sandbox.

But it is international apathy—as well as mud—that has Médecins Sans Frontières–Belgium (MSF–B) project coordinator Vikki Stienen so frustrated. Stienen, who is Dutch, arrived in Gonaïves in October, one month after the Nobel Peace Prize–winning NGO arrived to provide emergency medical care to hurricane survivors. MSF–B has managed—minimally—to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of citizens, creating a replacement water system and a new hospital as well as a mobile-clinic system serving the urban and rural populations still isolated by impassable streets and roads. A handsome, almost rakish, man with green eyes and a jagged front tooth, Stienen was given the task of creating a temporary replacement for the destroyed water and sanitation systems. With the water mains clogged with mud, MSF–B sends several tanker trucks of water every day from a deep well it drilled in September outside the city. The tankers drain chlorinated water into pipes that link to bladders, enormous canvas water containers that, in turn, are linked to communal taps scattered throughout the city.

With the project set to end January 15, the MSF–B team is working desperately to try to ensure the rudimentary water system is expanded and can be maintained by local government workers. However, with the city still blanketed by mud, it is impossible to create any sort of sanitation system, Stienen says. Without toilets, people relieve themselves in the street and behind the mud mounds, with the result that dried excrement mixes with the dust-laden air. Rebuilding the sanitation system is dependent upon all the mud being cleared away, a task that could take a year, Stienen says.

MSF–B feels isolated and overwhelmed by the need; MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, should be doing more, Stienen says. “You don’t like to bash the UN, but we had a coordination meeting and you would think they were talking about something else,” says Stienen, leaning back, loose-limbed, in a white plastic chair in the shade, dressed in wide-leg linen pants, brightly coloured loose shirt, and red flip-flops in the more than 30 ° C heat. “Other NGOs and the UN, you see their reaction and it’s as if they don’t care. Where does this apathy come from? Why are they so indifferent?”

Before the hurricanes, most of Gonaïves’s 300,000 citizens obtained their water from about 5,000 communal wells. However, these are also contaminated with mud and must be cleaned out and fitted with new pumps, something MSF–B is also trying to do before it withdraws. “Normally,” Stienen says, “this would be the World Health Organization who would do this, but they’re not here either.”

Stienen is especially worried by the UN’s apparent inability to ensure the safety of the citizens of Gonaïves. The incidence of rape is so high among women, perched on roofs with their children in the dark, that MSF–B has added a psychologist to its mobile clinic to provide trauma counselling. “You ask them, ‘How long will you sit on your roof?’ They say, ‘We are forgotten by the government and the UN,’ ” Stienen says. “This is not security, to sit on the roof with no electricity. So it adds to my question: ‘Is the government and UN taking it seriously?’ ”

Stienen muses that what lies at the root of international apathy is simple cynicism over Haiti’s propensity for disaster. Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, weathered a severe storm four years ago when hurricane Jeanne killed about 3,000 people. Foreign aid rebuilt the water and sanitation system in Gonaïves and the international community faces the obligation of rebuilding it once more. Once it’s constructed, it is only a matter of time before more hurricanes destroy it again. “People say Haiti is complicated, but this is not a reason not to care,” Stienen says. “Maybe that’s where the apathy comes from, because this country is unmanageable.”

Brazil’s Maj.-Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, force commander of MINUSTAH since January 2007, addresses the question of security several days later in an interview in Port-au-Prince. In Gonaïves, the main task of the local UN force, which consists of about 500 Argentine and Pakistani troops as well as local police, is to maintain a safe environment, but “in practice we keep the stability through support of the local police,” Santos Cruz says.

During the hurricanes, he says, UN troops threw themselves into humanitarian assistance: evacuating patients from La Providence Hospital (a once-pretty white-and-green facility, renovated after the 2004 hurricane, that is now mired in dried, grey muck), saving the medicines, and assisting birthing women. Now, Santos Cruz says, the main focus is guarding the warehouse where supplies are stored for the World Food Programme (WFP), which allocated US$33 million for emergency food supplies at the beginning of September. (Only one-third of this amount has been forthcoming from member states.) However, Stienen condemned a decision by the WFP to stop distributing food after fights broke out at a depot weeks after the hurricanes. The WFP cited mismanagement of the depots and a lack of safety as reasons for stopping distribution. WFP Haiti spokesperson Hilary Clarke says that the UN organization still managed to deliver food to women staying in shelters in Gonaïves.

Regular food distribution has resumed, Clarke says, and virtually all of Gonaïves’s citizens are receiving food packages every two weeks containing such staples as rice, beans, and oil, most of it imported from the United States. Still, some children have sickened from lack of food and show signs of protein starvation, called kwashiorkor: reddish, thinning hair; enlarged abdomen; sad, sagging faces; stick-thin arms and legs; and edema so severe it cracks the skin. At MSF–B’s new Hôpital Secours Gonaïves, built in a warehouse once used by the humanitarian group CARE, 15-month-old Cindjina sits on the lap of her mother, Thelse Almonur, in the pediatric ward. Cindjina was 5.9 kilograms, the average weight of a two-month-old, when she was admitted September 27. Thelse is feeding her daughter a peanut-butter paste mixed with vitamins. The paste has helped Cindjina gain weight and, six weeks later, she is up to 6.5 kilograms, still four kilograms below the average weight for her age.

Generally, about one-third of children in Haiti suffer from chronic malnutrition. However, a recent survey by the aid organization Action Contre la Faim showed the malnutrition level in Gonaïves to be about four percent, due in large part to the large-scale food distribution, Clarke says.

Stienen shakes his head. “In Gonaïves, you see more than chronic malnutrition. It is a weakened population, with the most vulnerable being the children. Those families with four to five children, they suffer the most.”

The future does not look promising for Gonaïves’s people. National food shortages have put the country in a “highly volatile situation”, according to the WFP’s Bettina Luescher, speaking from her UN office in New York City. The WFP is planning to begin phasing out food distribution in Gonaïves in 2009 to “avoid creating a context of assistance and food dependency”.

Some people think that a simple solution to this enormous problem would be to move Gonaïves, which sits below sea level at the confluence of three rivers, to higher ground. Stienen laughs humourlessly at the notion; this will never happen, he says. There are neither sufficient resources nor the political will to relocate 300,000 souls up the steep, bare, infertile, erosion-prone hills and mountains.

What lies at the root of this dilemma? Environmental degradation caused by the wholesale cutting of trees. A century ago, Haiti was a tropical rainforest with huge stands of mahogany. However, 20th-century exploitation by foreign corporations and the Haitian government’s need to service an egregious national debt owed its former slave-owning colonial master, France, meant that much of the forest cover was felled for cash. Now only 1.5 percent of the country is forested, according to the UN—a sharp contrast to the lush Dominican Republic, a country adjoining Haiti on the same West Indies island.

But the people of Haiti are also responsible for deforestation. The majority of Haiti’s 9.5 million people rely upon charcoal for cooking; most electricity is privately generated and there is no gas or kerosene. Charcoal is made by cutting down a tree, leaving it to dry in the sun, then slowly cooking it in a makeshift kiln. In an effort to preserve the life of the tree, the stump is left, with the hope it will send out shoots. This woeful attempt at silviculture is largely unsuccessful. In the area around Gonaïves, Stienen says, there are fewer trees than there were in 2004.

The string of environmental disasters experienced by Gonaïves, as well as other places around the world, is giving rise to a world phenomenon: ecological refugees. Rising sea levels and more destructive cyclones and hurricanes that experts link to global warming, as well as widespread deforestation and erosion, have created populations of desperate people fleeing disasters. In Gonaïves, for example, Stienen estimates that there are only 10,000 male-headed households, one quarter the number of female-headed families. The rest of the men have fled to other countries for jobs and a more secure life. However, their families cannot follow and are left to carry on a life of struggle and, possibly, worse hunger than they face now.

But fleeing can be as dangerous as staying. No one knows this better than 22-year-old Timanit Cherisma. Cherisma lies silent on her side in the obstetrics ward of the MSF–B hospital, an intravenous drip in one arm. Just an hour ago, Cherisma gave birth to twin girls. But there is no joy in the room, and the only sound is muted mewing, like new kittens, from the twins, bound in a blue blanket on a cot. The father of the infants died after his boat capsized while he was fleeing Haiti to try to find work in the Bahamas. The twins have no home to go to—it was washed away in the flood. “I see no hope for the babies,” Cherisma’s mother, 48-year-old Tazilia Esenvile, says in Creole.

Back in Port-au-Prince, a handful of courageous people are making an 11th-hour attempt to turn back the tide of total environmental degradation in Haiti, which, at 27,750 square kilometres, is about three-quarters the size of Vancouver Island. The Fondation Seguin was cofounded in 2004 by Serge Cantave to try to save the country’s last remaining pockets of natural forest and to educate teachers and youth about conservation. Through its Ecole Verte program, a sense of responsibility toward the environment is also being cultivated when students travel to mountain regions to plant trees. To date, 30,000 trees have been planted by students, says Cantave, whose organization is financially supported by the development organization Yéle Haiti, headed by Haitian-American hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean.

Without reforestation, Haiti will simply wash away into the ocean. “It will disappear,” says Cantave, who estimates it will take a century of dedicated tree-planting to reverse the clear-cutting. The way this can be achieved, Cantave says, is for the Fondation Seguin to work with an international network of ecological groups. Cantave looks to British Columbia, which has spawned generations of dedicated environmentalists, for help in coordinating tree-planting programs and educating Haiti’s young. “We are asking you to share with us your experiences,” Cantave says. “We are begging the international community for support.” (Another organization, the Lambi Fund of Haiti, which is allied to Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize–winner Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement, has plans to plant one million trees.)

Haiti, despite the meagre streaks of green across its topography, is important internationally for its unique biodiversity: it is a potential source of medicinal plants and a key resting and feeding place for migrating birds, Cantave says. For example, Canada’s black-throated blue warbler, which breeds in southeastern Canada but winters in the Caribbean, stops in Haiti’s Parc National La Visite, a 2,000-hectare oasis. (Haiti’s national parks include Sources Puantes, at 10 hectares; Sources Chaudes, 20 hectares; Forêt des Pins, 30,000 hectares; Sources Cerisier, 10 hectares; and Fort Jacques et Alexandre, which is only nine hectares.)

Some support has been forthcoming. The German international-cooperation enterprise Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit recently donated about $800,000 to the Fondation Seguin for a special project to plant 120,000 fruit, evergreen, and spice trees, as well as pasture grass to retain the soil. Cantave says the project is married to economic and infrastructure development for surrounding subsistence farmers to encourage them to support reforestation efforts.

Is Haiti doomed to be a country of no hope? Many, it would seem, despair that Haiti’s political, economic, social, and ecological wrongs will keep it in a state of desperation that will never be overcome. Yet if history has proven anything, it is that human will is an unstoppable force. People like Stienen and Cantave, with their sense of moral outrage, are an inspiration to the rest of the world to show the will to help Haiti overcome the myriad of problems afflicting its beleaguered people.

Source

MSF/Doctors Without Boarders Canada

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

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

By Timothy B. Hurst
December 6 2008
Extraction and refining heavy oil from Canadian tar sands will have increasingly devastating impacts on migratory bird populations, according to a new study.

oil refinery in canadian tar sands

According to anew report, the cumulative impact of developing Canadian tar sands over the next 30–50 years could be as high as 166 million birds lost, including future generations. Written by scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Boreal Songbird Initiative, and Pembina Institute, the peer-reviewed paper suggests that avian mortality from continued development of Canada’s tar sands would provide a serious blow to migratory bird populations in North America.

It is estimated that half of America’s migratory birds nest in the Boreal forest, and each year 22–170 million birds breed in the area that could eventually be developed for tar sands oil if the rate of development continues at it is currently planned.

“At a time when bird populations are rapidly declining, this report puts into perspective the far reaching effects of tar sands oil development on North America’s birds,” said the report’s lead author Jeff Wells, Ph.D. of the Boreal Songbird Initiative. “The public needs to understand the real and long-term ecological costs of this development and determine if this is acceptable,” added Wells.

suncor tar sands mining in alberta, canada

In Alberta, tar sands mining and drilling causes significant habitat loss and fragmentation. Expansive toxic tailings ponds are protected by propane cannons that are used to keep ducks from landing in them.

toxic oil shale tailings

When those cannons fail, we see unfortunate accidents like the one this past summer in Alberta when some 500 ducks were killed after landing in a tailings pond. Toxic tailing ponds result in 8,000 to 100,000 oiled and drowned birds annually.

duck being cleaned of oil

Authors of the report suggest that an immediate solution to the unsustainable pace of development and to environmental problems relating to tar sands oil development is a moratorium on all new projects, project expansions, and to clean up existing projects.

For Canada to take the kind of substantive action necessary to prevent the ecological damage suggested by this report, it may require international pressure; the kind of pressure that could be applied by a renegotiated NAFTA that strengthens environmental laws, something that president-elect Obama has suggested he would like to see.

Images courtesy of: 1. & 3. David Dodge/Pembina Institute; 2. & 4. D. Faucher/Ducks Unlimited; 5. Sun Media Corp.

Source

The report covers the various ways tar sands development affects bird populations, including:

-Habitat Loss
-Tailings Ponds and Oiled Birds
-Fragmentation of Habitat from Drilling
-Water Withdrawals
-Air and Water Toxins
-High Emissions and Global Warming

In the Beginning.

1970’s Film – The Tar Sands

This clip shows the various refinement steps required to convert tar sands into usable crude oil and other petroleum products.

The methods have changed since then, but the  environmental impact is still very disturbing.

As Alberta’s tar sands production continues to increase at a rapid rate new ‘tailings ponds’ or toxic lakes from spent refining of the heavy crude oil trapped in sand are popping up everywhere and kilometers in size for the most part.

Tar Sands the Beginning of the End of the Carbon Age -Clearing the forest for the Oil Sands

At the Athabasca tar sands deposits north of Fort McMurray companies like Syncrude move unfettered and with strong support from local media companies despite the high pollution levels and carbon dioxide emissions.

America Looks to Canada’s Tar Sands for Next Century As the neighbor to the north Canada it appears is more then happy to develop its tar sands at any cost and as fast as possible despite the environmental fallout from the heavy crude oil reserves.

Source for Videos

Alberta  Oil Sands Cause Acid Rain

The Human Cost

By Matthew Kruchak and James Wood
February 16, 2008

Acid rain caused by Alberta oilsands production is pouring down on Saskatchewan and if governments don’t take note, any oilsands development in this province will contribute to the “most destructive project on Earth,” the Environmental Defence organization warns.

A report released Friday by the group says 70 per cent of the sulphur entering Alberta’s air ends up in Saskatchewan. Acid rain is produced by the interaction between water, sulphur and nitrogen oxides.

“Acid rain causes damage and death to the ecosystem and also human health,” said Christopher Hatch, a climate change campaigner with Environmental Defence. “People in Saskatchewan should be very concerned that neither the federal nor provincial governments are getting to the bottom of this.

“So what is it that they don’t want people to know? There’s obviously a problem — any layperson can tell that. Why are they not funding studies to ensure human health?”

The report, titled Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth, outlines the environmental and human health effects of the oilsands and offers the federal government solutions, Hatch said.

“It’s a toxic nightmare — it really is,” he said. “To fly over the Alberta oilsands as it is — and it’s only just beginning — it’s a toxic moonscape.”

The group is calling on the federal government to step in and force the cleanup or work with the Alberta government to address environmental issues, he said.

In the past 12 years, at a Saskatchewan site (which was not identified) 200 kilometres downwind from the oilsands, the mean level of acid in precipitation had increased, the report stated, with measurements going from pH 5.3 to 4.1. Normal rainfall has a pH of 5.6.

Saskatchewan Environment ran 10 monitoring stations across the oilsands in the northwest of the province and found a buildup of nitrogen from Alberta, the report stated in a section called Raining Acid on Saskatchewan.

“On the toxic front, it’s really a looming human health disaster,” Hatch said.

Environment Minster Nancy Heppner had little to say about the report Friday.

Asked about the environmental impact of the Alberta oilsands projects, Heppner said she didn’t have any details.

“I’ve heard things, that water’s being contaminated and those sorts of things. I don’t have any specifics. I haven’t seen the report you are talking about today and obviously there’s more information we’ll be looking at to make sure that if there were mistakes made on the Alberta side that we won’t be making those here,” Heppner told reporters at the legislature just before leaving for a climate change conference in Australia.

However, she said the government is concerned about acid rain from the oilsands.

“I understand there’s some concern and we’ve met with some people, some residents of northern Saskatchewan, who are concerned about acidification of our lakes and that’s something we’re going to look at,” said Heppner.

NDP environment critic Sandra Morin questioned Heppner’s lack of knowledge about the report.

Morin said “she had no reason to doubt” the report’s characterization of the oilsands as “the most destructive project on Earth.”

“It’s incredibly distressing that 70 per cent of the acid rain, the contamination, is going to be affecting Saskatchewan. Clearly, with the development happening there and 70 per cent of those emissions affecting Saskatchewan people, one has to be concerned about the further development of the oilsands in Alberta, which is supposed to triple in the next 10 years, not to mention the further development of the oilsands projects that are happening in Saskatchewan.”

The Saskatchewan Party government is supportive of oilsands projects in this province, but Heppner said the environment won’t be sacrificed.

“We are committed as a government going forward with development to make sure the environment is protected. There are environmental impact assessments that are done for projects and that will certainly be the case going forward. We do not want our environment to be destroyed while we develop our province,” she said.

Officials from the Ministry of Environment were unavailable for comment Friday.

A representative from Oilsands Quest, a company leading the development of the oilsands industry in Saskatchewan, was also unavailable for comment Friday.

Source

I  love this car more every day.

Solar car completes 1st round-the-world trip

These ones too.

Car that runs on air!

Air Car (1 of 2) from France

Air Car (2 of 2) from Australia

The UN’s carbon trading system in numbers

The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism was intended to offer rich countries an efficient market mechanism to achieve some of of their emission-cutting obligations at lower cost by installing green technology in developing countries. Since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005, more than 1,800 projects have been registered.

In other words Carbon Credits means going into another country setting up a facility and selling the product. Privatization and profit.

This does nothing to remove pollution from ones country just an opportunity for profit in another country.

Pollution should be removed from your own country, not using another country to make it look like you are removing pollution from your own.

Carbon Credits are bogus.

Added May 15 2012

Stop Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project

Please Sign petition below.

http://freedomtrain2012.nationbuilder.com/

Added September 7 2010

More birds dying in Alberta oil sands than first reported

‘Secret’ Environment Canada presentation warns of oilsands’ impact on habitat December 22, 2011

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue March 2 2012

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Uranium Mining, Grand Canyon now at Risk, Dangers, Pollution, History

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Uranium Mining, Grand Canyon now at Risk, Dangers, Pollution, History

Grand Canyon protection from mining about to end

By Ginger D. Richardson

December.5 2008
The Arizona Republic

The Bureau of Land Management today is expected to eliminate a regulation that gave two congressional committees the ability to block future uranium mining and exploration on public lands near the Grand Canyon.

The little-used provision, which is buried in Section 204 of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, has for decades provided the House and Senate natural-resources committees with the authority to take emergency action to protect threatened federal land.

It was last invoked in June by Tucson Democrat Raul Grijalva, in a failed attempt to order Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to ban immediately new mining claims on more than 1 million acres of property near the Canyon for a period up to three years.

The department ignored the order, questioning its constitutionality, and started in late October the public process to abolish the rule.

Thursday, Grijalva, who is rumored to be a leading candidate to head the Interior Department in President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet, blasted the Bush administration’s decision to abolish the regulation.

“This last-minute change puts at risk the health of millions of citizens of the West,” Grijalva said in a statement, adding that “in my view, the Grand Canyon is one of those places that deserves extra protection from the impact of industrial activities.”

Roger Clark, air and energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, expressed similar sentiments.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Bush administration places a higher priority on helping the mining industry than it does on protecting the Grand Canyon,” he said.

Environmentalists fear that uranium mining could adversely harm the national park and have a negative impact on the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to residents in Arizona, Nevada and California.

But the BLM, one of several agencies under the umbrella of the Interior Department, has argued that ample protections are in place to protect the Grand Canyon and to ensure the sanctity of federal lands.

This week’s action likely will not end the fight; environmental groups have sued over the mining issue, and that case is pending in U.S. District Court.

Source

The Effects of Uranium Mining are Disastrous.
Extracting a disaster

By David Thorp

December 5 2008

The increased sourcing of raw uranium that will arise from nuclear new build is an ethical and environmental nightmare currently being ignored by the government.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA), the trade body for companies that make up 90% of the industry, admits that in “emerging uranium producing countries” there is frequently no adequate environmental health and safety legislation, let alone monitoring. It is considerately proposing a Charter of Ethics containing principles of uranium stewardship for its members to follow. But this is a self-policing voluntary arrangement. Similarly, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safety guide to the Management of Radioactive Waste from the Mining and Milling of Ores (pdf) are not legally binding on operators.

The problem is that transparency is not a value enshrined in the extractive or the nuclear industries. Journalists find themselves blocked. Recently, to tackle this issue, Panos Institute West Africa (IPAO) held a training seminar for journalists in Senegal which highlighted that only persistent investigation – or, in the case of the Niger’s Tuareg, violent rebellion – has a chance of uncovering the truth.

The co-editor of the Republican in Niger, Ousseini Issa, said that only due to local media campaigns was there a revision of the contract linking Niger to the French company Areva. “As a result of our efforts, the price of a kilogram of uranium increased from 25,000 to 40,000 CFA francs,” he said. The local community hopes now to see more of the income from the extraction of its resources.

IPAO has much evidence that in Africa the legacy of mining is often terrible health, water contamination and other pollution problems. IPAO would laugh at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – an Orwellian creation launched by Tony Blair in 2001.

What is the effect of uranium mining? Nuclear fuel from fresh uranium is cheaper than from recycled uranium or recycled plutonium (MOX), which is why there is a worldwide uranium rush.

To produce the 25 tonnes or so of uranium fuel needed to keep your average reactor going for a year entails the extraction of half a million tonnes of waste rock and over 100,000 tonnes of mill tailings. These are toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. The conversion plant will generate another 144 tonnes of solid waste and 1343 cubic metres of liquid waste.

Contamination of local water supplies around uranium mines and processing plants has been documented in Brazil, Colorado, Texas, Australia, Namibia and many other sites. To supply even a fraction of the power stations the industry expects to be online worldwide in 2020 would mean generating 50 million tonnes of toxic radioactive residues every single year.

These tailings contain uranium, thorium, radium, polonium, and emit radon-222. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency sets limits of emissions from the dumps and monitors them. This does not happen in many less developed areas.

The long-term management cost of these dumps is left out of the current market prices for nuclear fuel and may be as high as the uranium cost itself. The situation for the depleted uranium waste arising during enrichment even may be worse, says the World Information Service on Energy.

No one can convince me that the above process is carbon-free, as politicians claim. It takes a lot of – almost certainly fossil-fuelled – energy to move that amount of rock and process the ore. But the carbon cost is often not in the country where the fuel is consumed.

And what of the other costs? Over half of the world’s uranium is in Australia and Canada. In Australia the government is planning to make money from the nuclear renaissance being predicted; uranium mining is expanding everywhere. Australian Greens are fast losing the optimism they felt when the Labor party won the last election.

In the Northern Territory plans to expand a nuclear dump at Muckaty station are being pushed forward with no regard for the land’s Aboriginal owners. The supposedly greener new Australian government Minister Martin Ferguson has failed to deliver an election promise to overturn the Howard government’s Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act, which earmarks a series of sites for nuclear waste dumps.

In South Australia, in August the Australian government approved the expansion of a controversial uranium mine, Beverley ISL. This was dubbed a “blank cheque licence for pollution”. Groundwater specialist Dr Gavin Mudd has examined the data from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and called for it to be “independently verified by people not subservient to the mining industry” (The Epoch Times September 2 2008).

Elsewhere in the Northern Territory, BHP Billiton plans to have the first of five planned stages of expansion at its Olympic Dam mine in production by 2013. This will increase production capacity to 200,000 tonnes of copper, 4500 tonnes of uranium and 120,000 ounces of gold. This is a vast open cast mine, from which the wind can carry away radioactive dust.

Not far away locals are fighting a new uranium mine 25 kilometres south of Alice Springs. At the Ranger mines, Energy Resources of Australia – 68.4% owned by Rio Tinto – expects to find 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of ore in the Ranger 3 Deeps area. In October it agreed to supply uranium oxide to a Chinese utility, signing a safety accord. This is how safe the mine in fact is – and you won’t find such records at African mines: almost 15,000 litres of acid uranium solution leaked in a 2002 incident, and since then further leaks ranging from 50 to over 23,000 litres have been reported.

The list goes on.

The bottom line is this: UK ministers are blind to the consequences of their pro-nuclear evangelism. Carbon credits under the Kyoto mechanism have to be independently audited by a global body to ensure that new renewable energy is unique, additional and lives up to its claims. At the very least there should be an independent, global body verifying the ethics, health and long-term safety of the nuclear supply chain.

Better, just leave it in the ground.

Source

A little history on the Risks:

Uranium mining dangers being hidden, expert warns

Geopolitical, environmental concerns not worth short-term economic gain, author argues

Katie Daubs

January 23 2008

An expert on uranium mining is coming to the Ottawa region with a warning: Don’t let it happen to you.

Jim Harding, the former director of research in the School of Human Justice at the University of Regina, will be in Ottawa and Wakefield this week to discuss his book, Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System.

From Saskatchewan himself, Mr. Harding takes issue with the uranium mining that occurs in the north of the province, “out of sight and out of mind” of most citizens.

He argues that the geopolitical uses and long-term environmental effects are being hidden, and outweigh the short-term economic gain by which communities and governments are sometimes wooed.

He cites the Harper government’s eager acceptance of nuclear energy as evidence that Canada is going down a path of misplaced intentions.

“We like to think we’re a peace broker, but behind the scenes, we’ve been supplying fuel for the weapons system since the ’50s,” he said.

Murray Elston, the president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, dismisses Mr. Harding’s allegations as an exaggeration of the facts.

“Other people do have weapons and that’s true, but the folks at Foreign Affairs are very strong about the use of the materials,” he said.

Mr. Elston is citing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Canada has signed as a non-nuclear nation. Through the agreement, all trade is prefaced with the understanding that nuclear products will only be used for energy purposes.

For his part, Mr. Elston also cites a few of nuclear energy’s positive impacts on society: medical isotopes and clean energy.

But Mr. Harding isn’t convinced about that last part. He cites the Ham Commission of 1976 that studied the health effects of radon gas on uranium miners in Elliot Lake. The study found a high incidence of lung cancer in the miners and made several recommendations that created new safety standards.

Mr. Elston was not able to comment on the Ham Commission specifically, but said other studies have shown that exposure does not cause health problems.

The only active uranium mines in Canada are located in Saskatchewan. Mr. Harding said companies are now looking elsewhere as demand is high and supply is dwindling.

The prospect of uranium mining has been widely debated in Eastern Ontario and western Quebec, as claims dot a large swath of land in the two regions, including unceded Algonquin land in the Sharbot Lake area.

George White, the CEO of Frontenac Ventures, the company in the midst of the turmoil, dismissed Mr. Harding as “just another alarmist.”

He said the only thing he could agree with Mr. Harding about is the fact that the long- term effects of the spent uranium, or “tailings,” are unknown.

“That’s why they’re storing it until they can figure out how to handle it,” he said.

Much of the uproar regarding uranium mining results from the fact that the Ontario and Quebec mining acts do not require public consultation before mining can occur. Companies can legally stake a claim on private property if the owner does not possess the mineral rights.

The province of Ontario received notice of intent for a class action lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the act in December. Nothing similar has been filed in Quebec, although public consultations with the Quebec ministry of natural resources were held in October and a report is set to come out soon, said Michael Patenaude of the West Quebec Coalition Against Mining.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Source

Whether it by Mining,  Reactors or War, Uranium is dangerous.

Cancer Statistics of Children Living near Nuclear Reactors 2003 report.

Major Nuclear Power Plant Accidents 1952-1999

Elliot Lake Uranium Mines The majority of uranium tailings in Canada — about 200 million tonnes are located in Elliot Lake.

Health Dangers of Uranium Mining BC Medical Association. August l980

Occupational Health effects of Uranium Mining Australia-Radiation and Health

Health Impacts for Uranium Mine and Mill Residents- 2008

Human Health Impacts on the Navajo Nation from Uranium Mining

Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims

Depleted Uranium Weapons Lessons from the 1991 Gulf War

Depleted Uranium weapons in 2001-2002 Occupational, public and environmental health issues Mystery Metal Nightmare in Afghanistan?

Letter to the Prime Minister regarding UK support for US war plans for Iraq, 13 October 2002

Depleted Uranium Watch

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

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

Troops with brain injuries face other possible problems

December  5 2008

Traumatic brain injuries have become the signature wound of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and troops who sustain them face a daunting array of potential medical consequences later on, says a report on the issue commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The report from the Institute of Medicine – a body that advises the U.S. government on science, medicine and health – said military personnel who sustain severe or even moderate brain injuries may go on to develop Alzheimer’s-like dementia or symptoms similar to Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease.

They face a higher risk of developing seizure disorders and psychoses, problems with social interactions and difficulty holding down a job. Troops who sustain even mild brain injuries are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And all are at a higher risk of experiencing aggressive behaviour, depression and memory problems.

The report urged the U.S. government to ramp up research in the area, saying there isn’t enough evidence in the medical literature – especially as relates to mild brain injuries – to determine what today’s troops face and how best to help them recover from or cope with the health problems they may develop.

“The more severe the injury, the more likely there are to be bad long-term outcomes,” Dr. George Rutherford, chair of the panel that produced the report, acknowledged in an interview from Washington.

But Rutherford said that brain injuries don’t have to be severe or involve penetration of the skull to set up a soldier for significant health consequences.

“If you have a traumatic brain injury – especially if it’s moderate or severe – you have some chance of developing a disease down the line that you would not have developed otherwise,” said Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

“For mild brain injuries, which is a much bigger group of injuries and it has a much broader scope, what we can say is for those kinds of injuries that there’s a probable association between having one of those – especially with loss of consciousness – and having depression, having aggressive behaviour … or having persistent post-concussive symptoms.”

“Like memory loss, like headaches, like dizziness.”

The panel read 1,900 studies on brain injuries looking for evidence of what troops who suffer brain injuries might face. But most of the studies relate to injuries suffered in car crashes and sports. The report says the injury picture could look different for troops who may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder from experiences in combat and that more research is needed.

The report noted that as of January 2008, more than 5,500 U.S. military personnel had suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the widespread use against them of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

A similar Canadian figure for troops deployed to Afghanistan is not available, Maj. Andre Berdais, a senior public affairs officer with the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, said via email.

Berdais said that kind of data is not tracked by the Department of National Defence, as it isn’t “essential in supporting our primary responsibility of patient care.”

But New Democrat MP Dawn Black, who has pressed the issue as a member of the House of Commons’ defence committee, said these injuries are a growing problem among Canadian troops.

“The rates are going up,” Black said from Ottawa. “Intuitively we know. But we also know from anecdotal evidence from people in the field.”

Black said the problem was put on her radar by soldiers and their families. “I’ve met with some of them and seen it. I’ve met with some of the families and seen it.”

The force of an explosion can induce what is essentially a concussion in the brain, sending it ricocheting around within the confines of the skull.

The damage caused by even a mild brain injury can take six months to heal, said Dr. Donald Stuss, a brain expert and vice-president of research at the Rotman Research Institute of Toronto’s Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

Injury can be done to different parts of the brain, triggering a variety of problems. But Stuss stressed that after-effects – or whether there are any long-term problems – will vary from person to person.

“So you may end up having somebody with a head injury who recovers perfectly and then afterwards has tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness from inner ear problems…. You may have some who end up with long-term memory problems,” he said.

Stuss said the key is to identify people with the problem and start treating them quickly.

The Forces’ Berdais said troops who have been exposed to explosions and may have suffered blast-induced injuries are screened for traumatic brain injury. Those found to be suffering from it are removed from active duty while they are symptomatic to prevent the risk of a repeat injury that could compound the insult on the brain.

And he said the Canadian Forces’ new physical rehabilitation program is in the process of developing policies and procedures for troops who continue to show symptoms of traumatic brain injury despite having received care.

Psychologist Gerrit Groeneweg, executive director of Calgary’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, said people suffering lingering problems from traumatic brain injuries can benefit from being taught coping techniques – strategies for improving memory and training to help overcome problems with attention.

But finding out how to best treat traumatic brain injuries among troops remains a challenge, said Dr. Greg Passey, a psychiatrist with Vancouver Coastal Health Services who spent 22 years in the Canadian Forces and who now specializes in treating PTSD.

“We don’t have a really clear understanding of what the potential long-term effects are,” Passey said.

“Because some of our soldiers have been exposed – they’re getting blown up more than one time. And although they don’t have significant outward physical injuries, you can certainly develop things like post-traumatic stress disorder or other types of psychological or psychiatric disorders.”

Source

Those who go to war can suffer so many different problems.

There is  Depleted Uranium, which caused many problems. Then  you have  LandminesCluster Bombs and other types of bombs and there are many. Many types of weapons could be deafening or deadly.

Troops can be exposed to so many things.  If or when they come home they need the best treatment and deserve it.

They should not be ignored as the ones from the First Gulf war. It took  17 years for the US to say well yes they are sick. There is such a thing as Gulf War Syndrome. Well 17 years is too long for any soldier to wait.

The US however will not stop using  Depleted UraniumLandminesCluster Bombs.   They say they have a purpose. The only purpose of these weapons are to kill and they kill long after the wars are over.

Other countries are in the process of eliminating these weapons however. Those who refuse to stop using them are the ones, who need to be pressured into stopping their use.

Of course troops  going to war in any country with the US will be exposed to these types of weapons. What a shame.

If I am not mistaken the first two British soldiers to die in Kosovo were killed by a cluster bomb. If they had not been used those two soldiers may still be alive today.

In the Old Days they had something called Shell Shock
“By 1914 British doctors working in military hospitals noticed patients suffering from “shell shock”. Early symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually the men suffered mental breakdowns making it impossible for them to remain in the front-line. Some came to the conclusion that the soldiers condition was caused by the enemy’s heavy artillery. These doctors argued that a bursting shell creates a vacuum, and when the air rushes into this vacuum it disturbs the cerebro-spinal fluid and this can upset the working of the brain.

Some doctors argued that the only cure for shell-shock was a complete rest away from the fighting. If you were an officer you were likely to be sent back home to recuperate. However, the army was less sympathetic to ordinary soldiers with shell-shock. Some senior officers took the view that these men were cowards who were trying to get out of fighting.”

Well many today are still called Cowards because, they become mentally ill. When will that ever change?

Many are still being sent back to war, that should not be sent back.  War caused problems mental and physical. It always has and it always will. This problem is not new, but very old indeed.

They are still exposed to many dangers. They are not cowards they are sick. War makes people sick.

They need all the understanding and help they can possibly get.

They should never be ignored.  Their needs are very real.

Governments cannot hide the truth forever.  Someone is always watching.

Canadian Forces not tracking incidence of brain injuries, hearing loss

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

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

Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

Our special correspondent reports from Mashonaland West, where Zimbabwe’s hard-pressed doctors are doing all they can to stop the spread of disease

December 7 2008

Kitty, 19, on the one usable bed in the Mashonaland West clinic where she is being treated for cholera. Zimbabwe's desperate food shortage has made the outbreak even more lethal than usual

RACHEL DWYER

Kitty, 19, on the one usable bed in the Mashonaland West clinic where she is being treated for cholera. Zimbabwe’s desperate food shortage has made the outbreak even more lethal than usual

The folding bed on which the cholera patient lay was the only piece of furniture in the room. The bag of 5 per cent dextrose fluid going into her arm had to be tied to the metal window frame, in which half the panes were broken, because the isolation camp had no drip stands. But 19-year-old Kitty was fortunate, in more ways than one.

The high-school student was the only cholera patient in the camp, set up in two derelict brick houses in a remote area of the Zambezi River valley, to have a bed. Other patients had to lie on the floor, with just a blanket between them and the bare concrete. Save the Children had donated two special cholera beds, which can easily be disinfected between patients, but a 60-year-old woman had died in the other one earlier in the day. Her body lay on the floor in another room, wrapped in blankets.

Cholera is extremely infectious – Kitty and her grandfather, also a patient in the camp, had both contracted the disease at the funeral of another victim – but easily treatable if caught in time. “I feel better already,” said the young woman, just over 12 hours after she was admitted. Nobody had the heart, however, to tell her that her grandfather was not expected to last the day. Like many older patients, he had suffered kidney failure, caused by acute dehydration.

It is a measure of Zimbabwe’s collapse under President Robert Mugabe that cholera has been allowed to get out of control. Last week his government finally stopped playing down the worst epidemic in decades, and declared a national emergency. More than 12,000 people have been infected, and nearly 600 have died, according to official figures, but health professionals believe the real totals are much higher. Food shortages and economic collapse have crippled the country’s health services so badly that many unrecorded deaths are thought to have occurred in remote areas, beyond the reach of treatment.

Nor is that the only reason why the disease has taken hold. In several cases, starving rural people have failed to report suspected cases of cholera, because they know that the authorities will immediately ban public gatherings, and wrongly believe that this will extend to food distributions. Only when victims start dying does the news get out, and by then infection has spread far and wide.

Cholera is endemic in parts of Mashonaland West, and there are well-established procedures for dealing with the disease, which usually makes its appearance much later in the rainy season, in March or April. Isolation camps are immediately set up at the scene of an outbreak, and are not closed until 14 days after the last case is declared over. But one rural doctor said there was simply not enough food for the staff, let alone the patients, to set up the number of camps required in his area. “We are just firefighting,” he said.

Steady rain was falling as we arrived at Kitty’s isolation camp, set up next to a clinic that had never been completed, because desperate local people had stolen building materials to sell for food. Before entering, we had to retie our shoelaces to ensure they did not brush the floor, and afterwards our shoes were disinfected. Only a timely donation of maize meal from Save the Children had allowed this camp to stay open, but Kitty’s luck did not end there.

Unlike one family, in which a woman lost her mother and three of her four children in two days, the 19-year-old had recognised her symptoms straight away, and when she arrived, the camp had enough intravenous fluids and antibiotics to treat her. The doctor said he knew of at least two cases of patients dying because supplies of fluid had run out, and after the first few cases, the local laboratory had exhausted its supply of the reagents needed to test patients for cholera. “I must be the most frustrated doctor in Zimbabwe,” he said.

If anything, conditions are even worse in the urban areas. Roughly half the deaths have been in the capital, Harare, where sewage runs down the streets in many poor districts. The water supply has been cut off to much of the city, because the municipality cannot pay for the chemicals to treat it. With monthly salaries for medical staff barely covering the cost of a single day’s bus fare to and from work, all Harare’s hospitals have ceased functioning. Last week riot police broke up a demonstration by doctors and nurses demanding better pay and conditions.

Even if a massive infusion of international aid brings the cholera outbreak under control, however, doctors fear that an equally fatal epidemic of malaria will soon follow. In a tropical country such as Zimbabwe, some cases of malaria can be expected every year. But in the low-lying Zambezi Valley there used to be a network of modestly paid community health workers who would cut the grass in which mosquitoes breed, and spray each house ahead of the summer rains, helping to keep the disease under control. That system broke down a couple of years ago, and the number of cases shot up last summer. With this year’s rains, the situation is expected to be even worse.

Another deadly disease, anthrax, has already made an appearance in north-western Zimbabwe, and has spread from animals to humans, because hungry villagers have eaten the meat of infected cattle. At least three people have died in the worst anthrax outbreak since the liberation war of the 1970s. More deaths are likely, because administrative disarray means the strict quarantine and slaughter system needed to defeat the disease is unlikely to be implemented. Inoculation of livestock against the disease all but stopped five years ago.

All these health disasters are on top of the ravages of HIV/Aids. Zimbabwe has one of the highest infection rates in the world, but progress was being made. Thanks to huge efforts by the Global Fund, anti-retroviral drugs have been widely distributed, but they are ineffective unless the person taking them is adequately fed.

In every case it is the children who are most vulnerable. David and Tambu’s nine-year-old daughter Sarah showed symptoms of cholera at 4am, and by the same evening she was dead – probably, according to a doctor, because she was undernourished and had latent malaria as well. “She had been playing with children from a village where there was cholera,” said David, who carried Sarah on his back for three hours to reach the nearest clinic. “We all went to church on Sunday, and on Monday she was dead. If the clinic here had still been running, perhaps she might have lived, but it closed a long time ago.”

For Tambu, who was heavily pregnant with another child, the cruelest blow was that her daughter’s body was returned to them encased in heavy plastic, to prevent infection. “If I had at least been able to see her one more time, it would have helped me grieve,” she said. “I don’t know how to tell the other children what has happened.” Her fears for the family are growing, because they are dependent on food handouts. “We have traded our cooking pots for something to eat, and have nothing left to barter with,” she said. “If no more food comes, we will die.”

The doctor, who had been unable to save Sarah’s life, said: “Cholera, malaria and deaths in childbirth are all easily preventable. Save the Children is a very strong pillar for us – compared with other districts, we lose far fewer people to these causes.” Never, though, have the ordinary people of Zimbabwe been in greater need than now, and we are their only source of hope.

Some names have been changed

Anatomy of a killer

* Cholera, a bacterial infection, results from poor hygiene and contaminated water or food. It is common in crowded, insanitary environments, such as pre-20th-century London.

* One of the earliest breakthroughs in public health came when a cholera outbreak was traced to an infected well in Soho, London, in 1854.

* The disease causes massive diarrhoea and vomiting in its most virulent form, leading to dehydration and kidney failure. It can kill in as little as three hours if not treated.

* Cholera is easily treated by oral rehydration and antibiotics. But the disease will kill more than half those infected if left to run its course.

How you can help

Our Christmas Appeal has already raised over £10,000, but much more is still needed.

£5 will buy a mosquito net to protect a child from malaria.

£40 will buy a kit to treat a cholera patient with a drip, fluid and drugs.

£66 will build a safe toilet to prevent disease spreading.

£230 will fund a borehole and water pump so a village has clean water.

£660 will set up an isolation camp to treat cholera victims safely, and stop the disease from being spread.

You can also pledge at www.independent.co.uk/iosappeal

Source

UN forced to cut food aid to Zimbabwe’s starving people

Half a million will go without emergency handouts this month, and more will be hungry in January. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown says it’s time to tell Mugabe ‘enough is enough’

By a special correspondent in Zimbabwe
December 7 2008

Zimbabwean villagers have resorted to selling wild berries by the side of the road to buy food

EPA

Zimbabwean villagers have resorted to selling wild berries by the side of the road to buy food

Half a million people in Zimbabwe will go without food handouts this month, the UN agency responsible for feeding more than two-fifths of the country’s population warned yesterday, as shortages of funds force further cuts in rations.

“We are still four months away from the [maize] harvest. We haven’t seen the worst yet,” Richard Lee, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Johannesburg, told The Independent on Sunday. “The situation has worsened more quickly than expected. We have reduced rations in December, and will have to do so again in January.”

The food crisis has contributed to the rapid spread of the cholera epidemic now ravaging the country. So far nearly 600 people have died and more than 12,000 have been infected, according to the authorities, but the real figures are believed to be much higher as the disease takes its toll among people weakened by hunger.

The WFP expects 5.1 million Zimbabweans – well over half the nine million people remaining in the country – to need food aid by January. The target for this month was 4.2 million, but rations for only 3.7 million are available. “Rather than excluding entire households from the distribution, we have decided to set a maximum of six rations per household,” Mr Lee said. “Families with more than that number of mouths to feed will have to share.” In November the monthly ration per person was cut from 12kg of maize meal to 10kg, and from 1.8kg of beans to 1kg.

Drought this year drastically increased Zimbabwe’s food deficit. The rains have been good so far this season, but the country’s economic collapse means the area planted with grain is well below what is needed to feed the population. The WFP says it needs an extra $100m (£68m) to cover the shortfall up to March 2009.

With millions of Zimbabweans starving and cholera raging, Gordon Brown called on the international community yesterday to tell President Robert Mugabe that “enough is enough”, saying: “The whole world is angry because they see avoidable deaths – of children, mothers, and families… This is a humanitarian catastrophe. This is a breakdown in civil society. It is a blood-stained regime that is letting down its own people.”

As cholera spills across Zimbabwe’s borders into neighbouring countries, Mr Brown said the crisis was an “international rather than a national emergency” that demanded a co-ordinated response. Since there was no administration willing or able to protect the people, Mr Brown said a “command and control structure” should be put in place in the capital, Harare, to manage aid efforts.

Mr Mugabe is not expected to heed Mr Brown’s call – if anything, he is likely to use it as proof of his claim that Britain is seeking to recolonise Zimbabwe. The population is constantly told that its problems are due to sanctions imposed by Britain and the US, though in fact these are targeted only at the leadership. But the Mr Brown’s strongest statement yet on Zimbabwe echoes growing anger in Africa at the death toll caused by the cholera epidemic and the political and economic breakdown from which it stems.

Desmond Tutu, the Nobel peace laureate, said last week that Mr Mugabe was “destroying a wonderful country” and should be deposed by force if he refused to step down. Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, said earlier: “It’s time for African governments to take decisive action to push him out of power.”

Mr Brown did not explicitly call yesterday for Mr Mugabe to step down, but on Friday the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said his departure from office was long overdue: “The fact is there was a sham election; there has been a sham process of power-sharing talks and now we are seeing not only political and economic total devastation… but a humanitarian toll of the cholera epidemic.”

Source

So did they really cut off aid because of a shortage or because they want to oust Mugabe?

Sanctions can and do kill innocent citizens in every country where they have been implemented. They cause extreme hardship to the people.  Sanctions cause numerous problems. Illness, poverty, starvation and the list goes on and on. They can and do cripple countries and the people in them.

Also Doctors  Without Boarder and Save the Children are taking Donations.  Both are also helping in Zimbabwe. Links to their sites are on posts below.

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Now anthrax takes toll on the starving in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic hits 10,000 to 11,000 and rising

Published in: on December 7, 2008 at 7:56 am  Comments Off on Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax  
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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 on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

By Angus Shaw, AP
December 4 2008

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over its cholera epidemic and the collapse of its health system due the country’s economic crisis.

“Our central hospitals are literally not functioning,” Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper today.

The Herald said Parirenyatwa declared the state of emergency at a meeting Wednesday of government and international aid officials in Harare. He appealed for money to pay doctors and nurses, and for drugs, food and equipment for Zimbabwe’s hospitals.

“Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived,” he was quoted as saying.

The United Nations puts deaths from the cholera epidemic at more than 500. The outbreak is blamed on lack of water treatment and broken sewage pipes in a country that once had a sophisticated infrastructure.

The deputy water minister, Walter Mzembi, who also attended Wednesday’s meeting, said his ministry had only enough chemicals to treat water for 12 more weeks.

The Herald said UN agencies, embassies and non-governmental organizations at the meeting pledged to help. The European Commission had said Wednesday it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with cholera in Zimbabwe.

“We need to pool our resources together and see how best we can respond to this emergency,” Agostinho Zacarias, the UN Development Program director in Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods.

Source

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

Israel’s settlement on Capital Hill
By Robert Weitzel

December 3 2008

Soon after the sand settled following the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlements began dotting the hills in the occupied territories. These settlements are typically located on the high ground to better control the surrounding landscape. Today there are 127 Jewish settlements with a population exceeding 468,000 in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem (Beit-ul-Moqaddas) — the last of nearly 8,000 settlers were removed from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

According to a recent Amnesty International report, “”In the first six months of 2008 Israel has expanded settlements in the West Bank/East Jerusalem (Beit-ul-Moqaddas) at a faster rate than in the previous seven years.””

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.

This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government — including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories –violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968 — are “”facts on the ground”” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the center of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “”self defensive”” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity.

John Holmes, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that Israel’s blockade of vital supplies to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket attacks “”amounts to collective punishment and is contrary to international humanitarian law.””

Collective punishment is forbidden by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “”No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.”” A “”protected person”” is someone who is under the control of an “”Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”” Only the most ideologically blinkered individual would fail to recognize the Gaza Strip as occupied territory.

Israel’s current blockade of Gaza, which began on November 4, is resulting in what the UN Relief and Works Agency is calling a humanitarian catastrophe. Before the blockade, 1000 truckloads of food, fuel and essential supplies per day were necessary to sustain the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned behind the concrete and barbed wire of the 25-mile long border. Eighty percent of Gazans live on two dollars a day and depend on international aid to survive. Since the border crossings were sealed, less than 100 truckloads have been permitted through.

The imprisoned Palestinians — 50 percent of whom are younger than 15 — are slowly starving. They lack the fuel to generate electricity for lighting, water purification, and sewage treatment. The erratic, intermittent electrical power puts the lives of patients in intensive care wards and those who are connected to live-sustaining equipment in grave peril. The lack of basic medicines such as antibiotics and insulin pose an equally fatal threat.

Twenty human rights organizations and all Israeli and international journalists have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip since the blockade began. A letter of protest signed by most major news organizations was sent to Prime Minister Olmert. Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror responded to the letter by saying that Israel was afraid journalists would inflate the Palestinians’ suffering. No one is allow to speak out on behalf of this beleaguered population.

President-elect Obama has been speaking out “”swiftly and boldly”” about the economic catastrophe threatening our 401Ks, but his silence regarding the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe threatening the lives of Palestinians is both deafening and telling of the price he’s willing to pay to maintain his status as kibbutznik-in-good-standing in Israel’s westernmost hilltop settlement.

Obama’s unconditional support for Israel’s policy of “”self defense,”” preemptive attacks, and repressive occupations is not one iota different from that of George W. Bush, an internationally recognized war criminal. This is not an encouraging beginning for a man whose battle cry was “”change we can believe in.””

By any rational, humanitarian standard, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to collective punishment and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators of such crimes, whether they are individuals or governments or willing allies, are criminals who should one day sit in the dock of the International Court of Justice in The Hague — just as defendants sat in a Nuremberg court 60 years ago — and be held accountable for their crimes.

Until Israel’s hilltop settlement in our nation’s capital is dismantled, allowing for the possibility of a just and lasting peace in Palestine-Israel, its influence on both branches of our government and its insidious affect on U.S. Middle East policy will continue to make willing — or unwitting — kibbutzniks of all Americans. We will be held as complicit, and as culpable, as the citizens of the country whose leaders sat in the dock at Nuremberg.

The world will ask, “”Why didn’t you do something to stop it?”” The majority of us will reply, “”We didn’t know!””

Source

By Paul J. Balles

30 November 2008

Paul J. Balles considers the “irony of Jews … denying food to hundreds of thousands of children [in Gaza] in order, allegedly, to insure their own security”, with US and European connivance and Arab regime silence.

While Americans concentrate on the cost of rescuing the US financial system, and Europeans worry about how the worldwide financial crisis will affect them, Israel blithely, with US government and European community approval, deprives Gaza’s entire civilian population of food, medicine and clean drinking water.

When pushed to explain their behaviour, they claim self-defence. Defence against whom? More than 50 per cent of the population in Gaza is comprised of children under the age of 15. Few people outside of Gaza even notice this slow genocide.

Israel always manages to commit its worst deeds when no one else is looking. If they happen to be caught, they blame it on the Palestinians – on a few resistance fighters lobbing rockets into Israel in retaliation for a broken cease-fire. To the Israeli, the actions of a few violent Palestinians are justifiable cause for genocide of the entire Palestinian population in Gaza. Joe Mowrey writes:

As conditions in the Gaza Strip approach a catastrophic level of deprivation, the world media, and in particular the US media, remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel, appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings.

As soon as someone takes notice of what Mowrey is talking about, the Israelis open the gates to allow a smattering of fuel or food into Gaza. Ironically, Khaled Meshaal has noted even Arab and Islamic regimes have remained silent about the tragedy resulting from the “criminal blockade” of Gaza. Andrea Becker, head of advocacy for Medical Aid for Palestinians, has written about how the blockade has affected the hospitals and medical facilities. These are hardly resistance fighters:

…a child on life support doesn’t have the oxygen of a mechanical ventilator. A nurse on a neo-natal ward rushes between patients, battling the random schedule of power cuts. A hospital worker tries to keep a few kidney dialysis machines from breaking down, by farming spare parts from those that already have. The surgeon operates without a bulb in the surgery lamp, across from the anaesthetist who can no longer prevent patient pain. The hospital administrator updates lists of essential drugs and medical supplies that have run out, which vaccines from medical fridges are now unusable because they can’t be kept cold, and which procedures must be cancelled altogether. The ambulance driver decides whether to respond to an emergency call, based on dwindling petrol in the tank.

Joe Mowrey reflects on the most bitter irony of all:

Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony of Jews … denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order, allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could ever have imagined such a thing?

The Jewish Studies Global Directory of Holocaust Museums lists 61 memorial sites, including four in Israel and 24 in the United States. Reminders to the world? But not to Israelis? Not to Jews in America? Is it conceivable that Jews who remember the Holocaust only recognize genocide when they are the victims? Rabbi Meir Hirsh, Neturei Karta Palestine, provides an answer:

How long will Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who claim the mantle of civilization and morality remain silent in the face of the ongoing state terrorism practised by the Zionist state against the Palestinian People, most visibly today in Gaza, where the Zionists believe they can starve the Palestinians into submission in violation of all tenets of international law, all religious values in general, including the values of the Jewish faith?

Source

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza