Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade

By Jason Ditz,
December 18, 2009

As the single largest expense of the 2010 foreign aid budget, President Obama approved $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel, the first payment in a decade-long commitment that will reach at least $30 billion.

Last year, Israel’s military budget amounted to $13.3 billion, so the US funding is a significant portion of their overall expenditure. The US formerly provided both military and civilian aid, but it has since been folded entirely into military aid, at Israel’s request.

The money is not a blank check, however. The US requires that Israel spend at least 75% of the money given in military aid with US military contractors, effectively using the foreign aid budget to subsidize domestic weapon-makers.

In addition to military aid, the US also provides $3.148 billion in loan guarantees to Israel, part of a Treasury Department program aimed at keep Israel’s debt manageable. Ironically, though the US budget is spiraling out of control and America’s own debt continues to rise, there was no serious debate of reducing aid to Israel.

The budget also pledges $500 million in American aid to the Fatah Party’s Palestinian Authority. This aid is contingent on certain requirements, including that the group recognize Israel. This funding is distinct from any funding the CIA may give the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, which would be secret.

$500 Million in Aid Also to Go to Palestinian Authority

Source

The US debt is now nearing 13 trillion.

CIA working with Palestinian Authority security agents

US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank.

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups.

The relationship between the CIA and the two Palestinian agencies involved – Preventive Security Organisation (PSO) and General Intelligence Service (GI) – is said by some western diplomats and other officials in the region to be so close that the American agency appears to be supervising the Palestinians’ work.

One senior western official said: “The [Central Intelligence] Agency consider them as their property, those two Palestinian services.” A diplomatic source added that US influence over the agencies was so great they could be considered “an advanced arm of the war on terror”.

While the CIA and the Palestinian Authority (PA) deny the US agency controls its Palestinian counterparts, neither denies that they interact closely in the West Bank. Details of that co-operation are emerging as some human rights organisations are beginning to question whether US intelligence agencies may be turning a blind eye to abusive interrogations conducted by other countries’ intelligence agencies with whom they are working. According to the Palestinian watchdog al-Haq, human rights in the West Bank and Gaza have “gravely deteriorated due to the spreading violations committed by Palestinian actors” this year.

Most of those held without trial and allegedly tortured in the West Bank have been supporters of Hamas, which won the Palestinian elections in 2006 but is denounced as a terrorist organisation by the PA – which in turn is dominated by the rival Fatah political faction – and by the US and EU. In the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been in control for more than two years, there have been reports of its forces detaining and torturing Fatah sympathisers in the same way.

Among the human rights organisations that have documented or complained about the mistreatment of detainees held by the PA in the West Bank are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, al-Haq and the Israeli watchdog B’Tselem. Even the PA’s human rights commission has expressed “deep concern” over the mistreatment of detainees.

The most common complaint is that detainees are severely beaten and subjected to a torture known as shabeh, during which they are shackled and forced to assume painful positions for long periods. There have also been reports of sleep deprivation, and of large numbers of detainees being crammed into small cells to prevent rest. Instead of being brought before civilian courts, almost all the detainees enter a system of military justice under which they need not be brought before a court for six months.

According to PA officials, between 400 and 500 Hamas sympathisers are held by the PSO and GI.

Some of the mistreatment has been so severe that at least three detainees have died in custody this year. The most recent was Haitham Amr, a 33-year-old nurse and Hamas supporter from Hebron who died four days after he was detained by GI officials last June. Extensive bruising around his kidneys suggested he had been beaten to death. Among those who died in GI custody last year was Majid al-Barghuti, 42, an imam at a village near Ramallah.

While there is no evidence that the CIA has been commissioning such mistreatment, human rights activists say it would end promptly if US pressure was brought to bear on the Palestinian authorities.

Shawan Jabarin, general director of al-Haq, said: “The Americans could stop it any time. All they would have to do is go to [prime minister] Salam Fayyad and tell him they were making it an issue.. Then they could deal with the specifics: they could tell him that detainees needed to be brought promptly before the courts.”

A diplomat in the region said “at the very least” US intelligence officers were aware of the torture and not doing enough to stop it. He added: “There are a number of questions for the US administration: what is their objective, what are their rules of engagement? Do they train the GI and PSO according to the manual which was established by the previous administration, including water-boarding? Are they in control, or are they just witnessing?”

Sa’id Abu-Ali, the PA’s interior minister, accepted detainees had been tortured and some had died, but said such abuses had not been official policy and steps were being taken to prevent them. He said such abuses “happen in every country in the world”. Abu-Ali sought initially to deny the CIA was “deeply involved” with the two Palestinian intelligence agencies responsible for the torture of Hamas sympathisers, but then conceded that links did exist. “There is a connection, but there is no supervision by the Americans,” he said. “It is solely a Palestinian affair. But the Americans help us.”

The CIA does not deny working with the PSO and GI in the West Bank, although it will not say what use it has made of intelligence extracted during the interrogation of Hamas supporters. But it denies turning what one official described as “a Nelson’s eye to abuse”.

The CIA’s spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, denied it played a supervisory role over the PSO or GI. “The notion that this agency somehow runs other intelligence services … is simply wrong,” he said. “The CIA … only supports, and is interested in, lawful methods that produce sound intelligence.”

Concern about detainee abuse is growing in the West Bank despite an effort by the international community to create Palestinian institutions that will guarantee greater security as a first step towards creating a Palestinian state. More than half of the PA’s $2.8bn (£1.66bn) budget came from international donors last year; more than a quarter was swallowed up by the ministry of the interior and national security. Human Rights Watch and al-Haq have said that in raising the security capacity of the PA, donor countries have a responsibility to ensure it observes international human rights standards.

At the heart of the international effort is the creation of the Palestinian national security force, a 7,500-strong gendarmerie trained by US, British, Canadian and Turkish army officers under the command of a US general, Keith Dayton. Many Palestinians blame Dayton for the mistreatment of Hamas sympathisers, although the general’s remit does not extend to either of the intelligence agencies responsible.

Some in Dayton’s team are said to have been warned by senior CIA officers that they should not attempt to interfere in the work of the PSO or GI. Privately, some of them are said to fear that the mistreatment of detainees, and the anger this is arousing among the population, may undermine their mission. One source said: “I know that Dayton and his crew are very concerned about what is happening in those detention centres because they know it can jeopardise their work.”

Source

The CIA are the torture teachers. They seem to be doing what they always do, considering Obama said no more torture. I guess he lied.

I have great faith the CIA  have helped immensely in the torture of
Hamas victims. I don’t believe the so called spokes person for the CIA. Not knowing what I know about the history of the CIA.  They are in it up to their ears, as usual.

Torture is illegal under  International Law.

At least Hamas was elected democratically and they are the ones being punished by the PA, Israel, the CIA and the rest of the world just sits idly by while they are also being tortured as well.  US tax dollars hard at work.

Just more Guantanamo Bay slop.

So the US tortures, Israelis torture and now the Palestinian Authority also tortures.

Those citizens who pay for this in the US should be so proud their tax dollars go to a good cause. The Enablers are as bad as the ones who torture.

Aid should be for the hungry people of the world not for torture or weapons. Of course all the weapons that are purchased with the military aid are from  US weapons manufactures.  They make a fortune off the tax payers in the US who pay for it all.  The enablers of wars around the world.

The US Gov uses tax payers money given to other countries to buy weapons from the US.  Not profitable at all.

Not for the people who give their hard earned money in taxes just to profit the weapons dealers.
I bet those weapons manufactures  give a whole lot of money to candidates at election time however. Nothing like getting business on silver platter given to you.

1263 – U.S. Foreign Economic and Military Aid by Major Recipient Country [Excel 74k] | [PDF 458k] Up to 2007 Source

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Traumatised British troops get payout pittance after Afghanistan and Iraq

November 15 2009

Soldiers whose lives have been shattered by the trauma of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are being given as little as £3,000 compensation after their medical discharge.

One victim, who saw his friend’s throat ripped out by a bomb blast, said he would have been better off if he was unemployed and on benefits. Another accused ministers of washing their hands of mentally ill servicemen and women.

Since November 2005 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid 155 mentally traumatised soldiers, who experience delusions, hallucinations, flashbacks and severe depression, an average of just under £6,000, according to official figures. Four others received payments above £9,075.

Sir John Major, the former prime minister, is so concerned by the low payouts that he has written to Gordon Brown to object in what aides describe as “the strongest possible terms”.

Charities, senior military and legal figures last week demanded changes to the compensation system in submissions to a government review.

The review was launched in August after disclosures by The Sunday Times that Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, was trying to cut compensation payouts through the courts.

Brigadier Ed Butler, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “We have got one hell of a problem brewing up. Post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] needs to be fully recognised and adequately compensated. When you’re talking about £3,000 for someone who has got PTSD it’s not enough.”

In the past two years 4,916 cases of mental disorder have been identified in British troops who toured Afghanistan and Iraq, while 67 who served in the two war zones have committed suicide since 2003.

The true toll of mental illness is likely to be far higher. In the United States, commanders have stated that 30% of all troops deployed suffer from some form of PTSD.

Captain Neil Christie, a Royal Marine, developed PTSD after being posted to Afghanistan in 2006. In one instance he was asked to identify a friend who had been killed by friendly fire. He said: “His face was all gnarled, his back had been ripped apart and mutilated . He was just a distorted carcass.”

A convoy of his comrades were hit by a suicide bomber and Christie said: “One of my friends had his throat ripped out. We had to wash the blood from their vehicles and equipment afterwards.”

His abiding memory was of Afghan children treated at Camp Bastion after sustaining injuries by walking into mines: “I can never forget their faces, some of them were as young as five or six who had lost limbs. ”

On his return home in 2007 he struggled to adjust and was diagnosed with PTSD in January 2008. He received a £5,000 lump sum, £180 a month and no other benefits. If he was unemployed he would get £260 a month in income support.

Christie, 28, said: “I was disgusted, I felt like the army had washed their hands of me, they just didn’t care. I’d have been better off being unemployed. I would be out on a walk down in Devon by the sea cliffs and think about just jumping off.

“I had been to hell and couldn’t process all the mental and emotional shit that went with that.” Christie received intensive counselling from Talking2minds, a charity for traumatised soldiers. He now works for it as a counsellor.

Sean Chance, 21, was diagnosed with PTSD after serving as a trooper with the Queen’s Royal Hussars in Iraq. He lost half his left foot when a rocket pierced the armour of his Challenger 2 tank. He received just £6,000 for his post-traumatic stress, which was increased on appeal to £11,000. He now earns £90 a week mowing lawns.

He said: “We were under constant attack, you couldn’t sleep for the mortar bombing. These people hated us. I remember once standing next to a sergeant and he was shot in the chin. His face was this red, lumpy mess.

“The compensation was a massive insult. I feel like they have just paid me off and abandoned me. I can’t sleep, I feel depressed and angry.

“The MoD sent me to a counsellor who just wanted me to relive the trauma, which is the last thing I want to be doing. It did nothing for me.”

Peter Doolan, 28, was diagnosed with PTSD in 1999, after serving in Kosovo. Despite his illness he went on to serve in Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland and did two tours of Iraq.

Doolan, a father of three, was medically discharged in 2007. Under the old war pensions compensation system he receives just £60 a week. “I saw horrific stuff in Kosovo. We arrived in villages where everyone was dead. We had to dig bloody graves,” he said.

“In Iraq it was full throttle. Every time we went out we were attacked. Out of my company we lost six. I got to a point in Iraq where my battle partner was shot through the throat [and] I didn’t give a shit.”

Doolan has struggled to adapt to civilian life in Dereham, Norfolk. He sleeps alone in his son’s bed because he fears he will hit out at his wife in his sleep. He has suffered severe depression and also become prone to violence.

“If I get nervous or upset I can’t control the shaking. I will physically start throwing up. When I have nightmares, even though I know it’s a dream, I can’t wake myself up. I start kicking out and screaming.

“I have hallucinations. I see people, animals, mostly cats. I’ve even seen flowers grow out of my carpet. I’ve not been to a pub in 11 months. The last time, in January, at my granny’s funeral, I beat up three of my brothers.”

Doolan is furious with the level of compensation for PTSD: “They have no bloody idea what it’s like for us. I think they must hate soldiers.”

David Hill, chief of Combat Stress, the charity, said: “These are hidden wounds and the compensation scheme discriminates quite unjustly against people suffering from mental disorders.”

The MoD said veterans requiring mental health care receive “excellent support” from the National Health Service. Ainsworth pledged that the review into the compensation system would be “thorough and wide-ranging”.

Source

Brown and companay will not take care of those who are injured or mentally ill but more then willing to send more to Afghanistan.

Brown: Britain Will Send More Troops to Afghanistan

By Sonja Pace
London
November 13 2009

Britain’s prime minister says the UK will send more troops to Afghanistan if other allies do the same. Speaking on British radio, BBC’s Radio Four, Gordon Brown said he’s confident of that support.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said British envoys are being sent out to talk with coalition partners and NATO allies to make the case for sending more troops to Afghanistan. For the rest go  here.

The  Treatment of Soldiers is appalling.

Wars for Oil,  Gas and pipelines.

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Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

A very large delivery of  US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” of “ammunition” is scheduled to sail to Israel. The size and nature of the shipments are described as “unusual”:

“Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.

“Shipping brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were rare. (Reuters, Jan 10, 2009)

The Pentagon has entrusted a Greek merchant shipping company to deliver the weapons to Israel:

“The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.(Ibid)

It is worth noting that a similar unusually large shipment of  US ordinance to Israel was scheduled in early December:

“Tender documents indicate that the German ship hired by the US in early December also carried a massive cargo of weapons that weighed over 2.6 million kg [2600 tons] and filled up to 989 standard 20-foot containers to Ashdod from North Carolina.” (Press TV, 10 Jan 2009)

Are These Large Shipments of Ordinance Connected to the Invasion of Gaza?

The request by the Pentagon to transport ordinance in a commercial vessel, according to Reuters, was made on December 31, 4 days after the commencement of the aerial bombings of Gaza by F16 Fighter jets.

Analysts have hastily concluded, without evidence, that the 2 shipments of “ammunition” were intended to supply Israel’s armed forces in support of its military invasion of Gaza.

“A senior military analyst in London who declined to be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be “irregular” and linked to the Gaza offensive.” (Reuters, January 10, 2009)

These reports are mistaken. Delivery of ordinance always precedes the onslaught of a military operation. The ordinance required under “Operation Cast Lead” was decided upon in June 2008. Further to Tel Aviv’s request under the US military aid program to Israel, the U.S. Congress approved in September 2008 the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster high precision GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39).

The GBU 39 smart bombs produced by Boeing were delivered to Israel in November. They were used in the initial air raids on Gaza:

“…The Israel Air Force has used the new lightweight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb acquired from the USA, in the recent attacks in Gaza. The [Jerusalem] Post mentioned the new weapons ordered last September having arrived last month [November], and already put to action with the IAF fighters. These weapons could have been deployed by the Boeing/IAF F-15Is, since sofar SDB is cleared for use only with this type of aircraft.

It is highly unlikely that the bulk of the weaponry included in these two large shipments, scheduled to arrive in Israel in late January, is intended to be used in Israel’s military operation in Gaza. The GBU-39 is lightweight (130 kg). The entire shipment of GBU 39s (1000 units) would be of the order of a modest 130 tons. In other words, the specifications of the GBU 39 do not match the description of the “unusually large” and  “heavy” shipment of ordinance.

GBU-39

Escalation Scenario

The shipment ordered on December 31 is of the order of 3000 tons, an unusually large and heavy cargo of “ammunition” pointing to the transfer of heavy weaponry to Israel.

According to US military statements, the ordinance is for stockpiling, to be used “at short notice” in the eventuality of a conflict:

“This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza. …The U.S. military pre-positions stockpiles in some countries in case it needs supplies at short notice.” (Reuters, 10 Jan 2009, emphasis added)

Whatever the nature of these large weapons shipments, they are intended for use in a future military operation in the Middle East.

Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term Operation Operation (TIRANNT) in May 2003, an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria has been envisaged. TIRANNT was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous official statements and US military documents have pointed to an expanded Middle East war.

What these shipments suggest is that the “escalation scenario” not only prevails, but has reached a more active stage in the process of US-Israeli military planning.

Whether these weapons will be used or not is not known. The central question, in this regard, is whether the Gaza invasion is part of a broader military adventure directed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in which heavier weaponry including US made bunker buster bombs will be used.

History of US Weapons Shipments to Israel

The stockpiling of US made bunker buster bombs by Israel has been ongoing since 2005:

“The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years.

Among the bombs the [Israeli] air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.

The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel’s qualitative advantage [against Iran], and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.” (Jewish Virtual Library: September 21-22, 2004, Haaretz / Jerusalem Post.)

The actual shipments of US made bunker buster bombs started in 2005. The US approved in April 2005, the delivery of:

some 5,000  “smart air launched weapons” including some 500 BLU 109 ‘bunker-buster bombs. The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than ‘adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster [a variant of the GBU 28]'” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Nuclear Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005)

The BLU-109 is smaller than the GBU 28. “It  is a 2,000lbs warhead that can be used in combination with a GPS guidance kit […], and can penetrate up to 15 feet of fortified concrete.” (See F16.net)

In 2006 at the height of the Lebanon War in August 2006, a major shipment of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 bombs, according to the New York Times, was dispatched to Israel.

The GBU 28 is produced by Raytheon. It was used against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, has the the capability of penetrating some 20 feet of reinforced concrete. (Haaretz, 9 Nov 2008)  In contrast to the GBU 39 smart bombs (130 kg) used against Gaza, each GBU-28 weighs a hefty 2.2 tons.

“The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) is a special weapon developed for penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep underground. The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead.” Federation of American Scientists,

(For a visual depiction see  “Bob Sherman, How the GBU-28 works”, USA Today on-line.).

GBU-28

Video of GBU 28 on UTube

The recent unusually large shipments of weaponry to Israel are part of the 2004 agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, financed by US military aid to Israel.

As mentioned above, there is a history of delivery of bunker buster bombs (including the GBU 28), going back to 2005. While the nature and composition of these recent weapons shipments to Israel are not known, one suspects that they include the heavier version of the bunker buster bombs including the GBU-28.

In this regard, it is worth noting that last Summer, Israel requested the Pentagon to deliver GBU-28 bunker buster bombs. The stated purpose was to use them in the eventuality of a military operation directed against Iran.

In September 2008, according to US and Israeli press reports quoting Pentagon officials, Tel Aviv’s request was turned down. According to the reports, Washington categorically refused to deliver the shipment of GBU 28 bunker buster bombs, to be used to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Instead” Washington accepted to deliver the lightweight GBU-39 for use against Gaza.

The U.S. had “rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

The Americans viewed [Israel’s] request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran. In early September, Haaretz reported that the request had included GBU-28 “bunker-buster” bombs.

In mid-September, the U.S. agreed instead to sell Israel 1000 GBU-39 “bunker buster” bombs which Israeli military experts said “could provide a powerful new weapon” in Gaza, AP reported.

So: when Israel requested weapons that the U.S. expected would be used for bombing Iran, the U.S. said no, and added explicitly that it did not want to see an Israeli attack on Iran. And there was no Israeli attack on Iran. (Defense Update.com, December 2008)

Media Disinformation

The official statements and press reports are bogus. Israel and the US have always acted in close coordination. Washington does not “demand that Israel give them prior notice” of a military operation:

The report in Haaretz suggests that the Bush Administration was adamant and did not want the Israelis to attack Iran. In fact, the reports suggested that the US would shoot down Israeli planes, if they tried to attack Iran:

“Air-space authorization: An attack on Iran would apparently require passage through Iraqi air space. For this to occur, an air corridor would be needed that Israeli fighter jets could cross without being targeted by American planes or anti-aircraft missiles. The Americans also turned down this request. According to one account, to avoid the issue, the Americans told the Israelis to ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for permission, along the lines of “If you want, coordinate with him.” (Haaretz Nov 9, 2008)

This Israeli report is misleading. Israel is America’s ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Israel does not act without Washington’s approval and the US does not shoot down the planes of its closest ally.

The Nature and Composition of  the Recent US Weapons Shipments to Israel

These unusually large shipments of ordinance would normally require Congressional approval.  To our knowledge, there is no public record of approval of the unusually large shipments of heavy “ammunition” to Israel.

The nature and composition of the shipments are not known. Was Israel’s request for the delivery of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 accepted by Washington, bypassing the US Congress? Are GBU 28 bombs, each of which weighs 2.2 tons part of the 3000 ton shipments to Israel. Are tactical bunker buster mini-nuclear bombs included in Israel’s arsenal? These are questions to be raised in the US Congress.

The two shipments of “ammunition” are slated to arrive in Israel, respectively no later than the 25th and 31st of January.

Secretary Robert Gates who remains at the helm of the Department of Defense ensures continuity in the military agenda.

Preparing for a Confrontation with Iran: Beefing Up Israel’s Missile Defense System

In early January, the Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new sophisticated X-band early warning radar system. This project is part of the military aid package to Israel approved by the Pentagon in September 2008:

The Israeli government requested the system to help defend against a potential missile attack from Iran. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed off on the deployment order in mid-September. ….

Once fully operational, the system will be capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space, according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials. It also will integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network.

“This will enable the Israelis to track medium- and long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to,” Morrell said. “It will … more than double the range of Israel’s missile defense radars and increase its available engagement time.”

This, he said, will greatly enhance Israel’s defensive capabilities. “There is a growing ballistic missile threat in the region, particularly from Iran,” Morrell said. “And no one in the region should feel more nervous about that threat than the Israelis. And they clearly do, and they have asked for our assistance.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009, emphasis added.)

The new X-band radar system ‘permits an intercept soon after launch over enemy instead of friendly territory” (Sen. Joseph Azzolina, Protecting Israel from Iran’s missiles, Bayshore News, December 26, 2008).

The X-band radar would “integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.” (Ibid)

What this means is that Washington calls the shots. The US rather than Israel would control the Air Defense system:  ”This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.'” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009, emphasis added).

In other words, the US military controls Israel’s Air Defense system, which is integrated into the US global missile defense system. Under these circumstances, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without the consent of the US High Command.

The large shipments of US ordinance, slated to arrive in Israel after the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and Commander in Chief are part of the broader program of US-Israeli military cooperation in relation to Iran.

The reinforcement of Israel’s missile defenses combined with the large shipments of US weapons are part of an escalation scenario, which could lead the World under an Obama Administration into a broader Middle East war.

New Cold War?

There has been a military build on both sides. Iran has responded to the Israeli-US initiative, by beefing up it own missile defense system with the support of Russia. According to reports (December 21), Moscow and Tehran have been holding talks on the supply by Russia of “medium-range air defense systems – specifically, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems” (Asian Times, January 9, 2009)

Source

I did post a story on this earlier:
US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

So “why” does Israel need so many Weapons of Mass Destruction?

“Who” is paying for them? Their bank records should be examined to see who and how money is being “funneled” into the country to pay for weapons.  Said money should be also stopped.  Funding a “war criminal” is the same as funding a terrorist state, and  is a crime. Check the “Patriot Act” I do believe it is all probably in there. Anyone could be funneling money into Israel for war toys. No different then Saddam in Iraq or any other terrorists/rogue  state.

Banks could also be funding Israel as well, not to hard to launder money so it can be funneled into a terrorist/rogue state and if the US can go after Lloyds in England one could,  go after money headed to Israel.

Banks like the one George Bushes grand-daddy worked for,  gave money to Hitler and so did many other banks in the US.  This of course was considered a crime then and is still a crime today.

Banks could fund terrorism and launder money just as well, if not better then anyone else. Maybe the banks are stealing “tax dollars” for bailouts to fund wars, for all we know.

Seems they don’t want to tell anyone, where the money from the bailouts, is going or to who.

Could they be doing what Georges grand-daddy did?

Could they be helping terrorists/rogue states.  Sure they could. They did it before they may be doing it now. Where there is one, there is always more and do we trust banks these days? Especially the ones who so desperately needed bailout money. And now refuse to tell us where the money went and seems the Bank of America, is again asking for more Bailout money? Banks make money from war. Go figure.

Seems no one is really checking and those who have tryed got no answers. Maybe they are being naughty.

When there is no transparency, they could be doing anything.  Banks and War have always gone hand in hand however.

Just a thought to ponder.  Of course ? I was pondering that thought even before the Financial Crisis hit.

Israel has been accused of “War Crimes”.

Like any criminal that murders, you would not give them  weapons until the trial is over and only if they were found not guilty .

In light of these circumstances “NO weapons of this magnitude.”, should be allowed into Israel. Nor should they be given money to purchase or produce weapons.

Any more then you would give it to Saddam.

Who was of course accused of war crimes. Triad and convicted.

What is good for one leader, is good for all leaders. Equality you know. We all must obey the laws of the world and country. Justice is there to serve all.

There is really no difference,  a war crime, is a war crime, no matter who does it.

If  Sadddam did to those in” GAZA” that Israel just did, who would be the first to jump on the “sanction him” , HE is a terrorist, war criminal, charge him, bandwagon? Saddam was also an Ally of the US,  received “weapons of mass destruction” from the US and! and! and!

He only did what Israel leaders are doing.  I see no difference in their crimes against humanity, war crimes etc. The US also wanted Saddam to attack Iran. Talk about Dejavue.

Did Israel using illegal weapons in its offensive on Gaza?

January 16 2009

The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies.

All of this is being caused by the bombs Israel is dropping on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, according to reports and testimonies from there. Since the first day of the Israeli aerial attack, people have been giving exact descriptions of the side effects of the bombing, and claiming that Israel is using weapons and ammunition that they have not seen during the past eight years.

Furthermore, the kinds of grave injuries doctors at hospitals in the Strip have reported are providing yet another explanation for the overwhelming dread inhabitants are experiencing in any case.

It is precisely for this reason that Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch (HRW), has come to Israel. His mission: to examine whether the weapons that both sides are using are themselves legal and whether the use of them is legal.

The American-born Garlasco has not been permitted to enter Gaza – as is also the case with people from other human rights organizations and foreign journalists. Therefore, he says, since he is unable to examine actual remnants of the explosives and see the wreckage with his own eyes, he can only guess or make assumptions in some cases. But even from afar, he has no doubt: Israel is using white phosphorus bombs. That was immediately clear to him while he stood last week on a hill facing the Gaza Strip and observed the Israel Defense Forces’ bombings for several hours.

Last Saturday HRW hastened to publish a call to Israel to “stop unlawful use of white phosphorus in Gaza.” The use of white phosphorus is permitted on the battlefield, explains Garlasco, but the side effects on humans and the environment are severe and highly dangerous. The statement notes that the “potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.”

The fireworks-like explosions, the thick smoke, suffocating gas, and flames that are not extinguished by water, but rather are heightened by it – all of these are characteristic of the white phosphorus bombs the IDF is using. Garlasco believes the decision to make such extensive use of these bombs, manufactured by America’s General Dynamics Corporation, stems from conclusions drawn from the Second Lebanon War, in which the IDF lost many tanks.

“The phosphorus bombs create a thick smokescreen and if Hamas has an anti-tank rocket, the smoke prevents the rocket from tracking the tank,” he explains. There are two ways to use the bombs: The first is to impact them on the ground, in which case the resulting thick smokescreen covers a limited area; the second way is an airburst of a bomb, which contains 116 wafers doused in phosphorus. The moment the bomb blows up and the phosphorus comes in contact with oxygen – it ignites. This is what creates the “fireworks” and billows of jellyfish-shaped smoke. The fallout covers a wide area and the danger of fires and harm to civilians is enormous. The phosphorus burns glass, and immediately ignites paper, trees, wood – anything that is dry. The burning wafers causes terrible injury to anyone who comes in contact with them. The irony is that tear gas is included in the Chemical Weapons Convention and is subject to all kinds of restrictions, whereas phosphorus is not.

And in the meantime, in the hospitals in Gaza there are people lying in beds – among them many children – whose severe injuries and burns have appalled the medical teams.

Missing the target

Another new weapon that has forced itself upon Gazans is the GPS-guided mortar – a system equipped with satellite navigation, developed in Israel in late 2006-early 2007, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. According to local military sources, it was this kind of mortar that missed its target by 30 meters and erroneously hit a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school last week; according to the UN report, 30 people were killed immediately and others died later of their injuries. “It really boggles my mind,” Garlasco comments. “According to the literature, it has 3 meters’ error – not 30.” It is a mortar that is launched in an arc toward an unseen target, he explains, with the intention of being precise and to some extent minimize civilian casualties.

Garlasco says this is the first time the weapon has been used in any military conflict: “The Palestinians say, ‘Oh, they use it on us, “experiment” with it for the Americans.’ Experimenting has a different meaning for Americans. We think animal experimenting, but it is indeed a field test.”

The new mortar was developed jointly by the Israeli weapons industry and a private American company called . Israel, notes Garlasco, has learned a lot from the wars the U.S. is waging in Afghanistan and Iraq, but above all learned from its own war in Lebanon in 2006. The mortar that was not supposed to have landed on the school was developed with the knowledge that troops “are fighting an enemy that is in a densely populated area, and here is the first time they use it.”

Another important lesson Israel learned from the Lebanon war is that it cannot rely entirely on the U.S. to provide weapons. During that war, when the IDF ran out of cluster bombs, Israel asked for an emergency shipment of 1,200 such munitions (each containing 644 bomblets). The United States refused, and at that point, Garlasco notes, Israel realized it could not rely solely on American help in this realm.

Therefore, Israel has, for example, developed a new type of rifle, the (Tavor) TAR-21 (“an incredible weapon,” says Garlasco; he can’t help being complimentary) to take the place of the U.S.-made M-16. It has also invented the Delilah guided missile, but Garlasco does not know whether it has been used in Gaza. But not to worry, he adds: Despite the cluster bombs and independent Israeli development, Israel and the United States “still have a great relationship. By and large, the weaponry that Israel is using is American.”

Not all of the weapons are new and innovative. Most, in fact, are American products developed during the Cold War. The artillery and incendiary weapons in Israel’s possession were designed to destroy Russian tanks “and not Palestinian homes,” he notes. The weapons being produced now are developed in the knowledge that the target is militants who operate from within a civilian population. Yet, much of the killing and destruction in Gaza are the result of old-fashioned, cheaper and less-sophisticated weapons.

Only last September did the United States grant Israel’s request to supply it with 1,000 bombs of a new type, the GBU-39. They arrived at the beginning of December, and inhabitants of Rafah have witnessed their use – without knowing what they were – since the first day of the aerial attacks on the tunnels there. (The Jerusalem Post was the first to identify these as GBU-39s.) Gazans were surprised when they did not hear an explosion immediately after the Israeli aircraft fired; instead, the earth shook beneath their feet.

The manufacturer of the GBU-39 is the Boeing Corporation. The small diameter and light weight of these guided bombs ensure that any fighter plane can carry a large number of them and thus increase the number of attacks in every sortie. Garlasco says that the weapon is very accurate and penetrates deep into the earth. It is also designed to minimize collateral damage, since it does not explode over a large area like other bombs do. But other types of bombs are also being used and are destroying houses along the border with Egypt.

Gazans have noticed that there are bombs that produce mushroom clouds in various shades of red. Here, Garlasco admits, “I can only speculate. It looks like Israel is maybe using a new weapon that it was not using before: DIME – the dense inert metal explosive, consisting of 25 percent TNT and 75 percent tungsten, a heavy metal. You mix the two, in a fine grain, like pepper, and when the bomb hits the ground it aerosolizes. In less than a second, the mist dissipates and explodes.”

He says the advantage of DIME is that “it strikes a very small area, 10 to 20 meters, and the fire it ignites burns out very quickly; if it hits us now, we will die, but no one around us will be hurt. The problem is that when you are killed – you are ripped to shreds and there is nothing left.” Indeed, the injuries DIME causes are in general more severe than those caused by a “regular” bomb.

A paramedic at the Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalya refugee camp has told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that about 90 percent of the wounded he has rescued during the past few weeks were brought in with at least one limb missing. Is it the DIME that is causing the severe injuries being reported by the medical staff? Garlasco says there are “only rumors. No one has ever seen it used before, maybe it is being used now, but with Israel not letting in journalists and human rights organizations, these rumors are growing, and people say that Israeli is using terrible new weapons.”

Perhaps, he says, the redness is a result of the metal in the explosives, but it will only be possible to ascertain this if experts are allowed into the Gaza Strip, or they talk to the IDF. Garlasco notes that herein lies the big difference between the Israeli army and the American army: As a worker for a human rights organization, he receives daily e-mails from the U.S. Air Force with a detailed report of the bombs it has dropped in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The Israelis would never do that,” he explains. “They would never talk about what weapons they use and will never allow any discussion in society of whether the weapons should be used.”

Another new weapon that he believes is now in use is the Spike: “It is very new, [from] 2005-2006, a special missile that is made to make very high-speed turns, so if you have a target that is moving and running away from you, you can chase him with the weapon. It was developed by the U.S. Navy jointly with Rafael [the Israel Armament Development Authority]. Rafael is the manufacturer.”

Drones, incidentally, are a totally Israeli product, he notes; Israel is the world leader in this field, and America is learning a lot from it. The warships bombing Gaza are also Israeli made. But the cannons on the ships are Italian, produced by the Oto Melera company.

From his frustrating observation point outside Gaza, and on the basis of Israel’s “very bad record of using cluster bombs in Lebanon and selling them to Georgia,” Garlasco says he is worried that Israel is also now using the APAM (Anti Personnel/Anti Materiel) – a new type of round, or unit of ammunition, for tanks that was developed after Lebanon, each of which contains six cluster bombs. The tank guns aim above a target that is hiding behind some kind of cover and the ammunition explodes above people’s heads – like those of Iz al-Din al-Qassam cells, for example, when they are firing rockets.

The other side

Garlasco and Human Rights Watch also examine the other side, and he says, “We believe that the Grad and Qassam are illegal weapons because they are not accurate enough to be used in this situation.” He adds that Hamas makes frequent use of land mines and explosive charges that are liable to injure civilians.

However, because he and his fellow experts can’t go into Gaza, “We don’t know what the extent of any [Palestinian] civilian casualties is because of Hamas – whether they are shooting soldiers and their bullets end up killing civilians, or whether their anti-tank missiles miss an Israeli tank and hit a house. We don’t know.”

In 2005, Garlasco met with a political representative of Hamas and told him that use of Grads is a contravention of the Geneva Convention. The reply he got from the Hamas man was: “‘All Israelis are military.’ And I explained to them that their reading of international law is wrong.” It is amazing, he adds, that the Palestinians can manufacture the Qassams under the conditions in Gaza. The Grad, however, “is a real military weapon, three meters long. It has a significant warhead. The problem is that it is designed to be fired in mass, to be fired 21 rockets at a time, so that you are covering an area and you are having a shock effect. You don’t only have an explosion, but also a shock and it covers a big area. Shooting one at a time is almost useless from a military perspective.”

As for the Israeli claim about weapons and ammunition being hidden in public buildings such as mosques, Garlasco reiterates that only independent sources will be able to examine this claim and clarify its veracity. If the mosques blown up in the heart of densely populated residential neighborhoods indeed served as hiding places for weapons and ammunition, he would expect to see many secondary explosions, which would have caused significant collateral damage and deep craters. It is difficult to analyze the Israeli claims on the basis of photographs, he notes.

Garlasco is not prepared to accept without question the Israeli claim that Hamas hides behind civilians and makes use of civilians. “Israelis are very quick to say they are doing it, but very short on proof. By keeping the independent people out, they leave doubt in people’s minds.” Furthermore, he believes, Israel has a record of not telling the truth: “They said in Lebanon they did not use cluster bombs. We found 4 million. They evade answering that they use phosphorus, and we stand there every day watching. They claim to have bombed a truck full of Grad missiles, and according to witnesses who spoke with Haaretz, it turned out to be a truck with oxygen tanks. Not everything that is long is a missile. How can anyone trust the Israeli military?'”

The IDF Spokesman responds: “The IDF is fighting the terror elements while meticulously observing the rules of engagement under international law. For understandable operational reasons, the IDF will not relate to a detailing of the materiel that is in its possession and the parameters in which it used. It should be emphasized, however, that the IDF uses only methods and materiel that are permitted under international law.”

Source

Did Israel test new weapons in Gaza?

Did they use people in Gaza as “Guinea Pigs”? Experimenting on people like this would be illegal and yet another war crime.

If in fact they tested new weapons on the innocent civilians in Gaza, they will also be bragging, to potential buyers about how  effective they are and of course want to sell them.

They may even be planing on selling some of the ones being shipped in by the US. Or they are planning on bombing the crap out of the entire Middle East.

Getting the weapons while Bush was still in power may have also been the only way they would get any to stockpile as well. Obama may not be so Generous.

Obviously there is something going on the Public is unaware of.

I wouldn’t give a mass murder weapons of this sort. No one should.

This shipment should be stopped and confiscated. If by no one else, the UN it self.

If  a Police officer is accused of “pre mediated murder” would you ?

Let him have a weapon?

Let him have a passport so he could flee the country?

Would you even let him out on Bail?

Would any accuse murderer for that matter?

The leaders of Israel are not to be treated any differently then any person or country or leader ore civilian accused of murderer.

Would Saddam have been given Weapons while he was waiting trial for War Crimes?

Lets just stop and think here for a moment,  are those leaders in Israel any better then Saddam?

Seems to me they may be worse if they are not stopped now.

A very large delivery of  US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” is not, what one would  give to an accused “war criminal”. Anymore then you would give a machine gun to an accused murder.

Israel shells another UN school in Gaza: Israel just had to get one last UN building  in before it says, it is going into a Ceasefire.  A ceasefire at their discretion, of course.  The blockade on Gaza  still stands and they will, still be short of food, medical supplies etc.  The starvation continues as the leaders in Israel pat themselves on the back. They are thinking they did such a wonderful job.
They are mad of course in their thinking and  relishing in their murderous rampage, as justifiable.

January 17 2009

un-school-jan-17

The UN has called for a war crimes investigation over the shelling of its school. Photo:  AFP

Two Palestinian boys have been killed after Israeli tank shells hit a UN-run school in Gaza – hours before Israel’s security cabinet is expected to vote on a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire.

The boys, aged five and seven, died and 25 other Gazans were wounded as they sought to shelter in the school run by the UN relief and works agency (Unrwa) in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.

The school is the third UN shelter to be hit by Israeli fire in its 22-day war on the territory.

The attack came as heavy artillery and aerial bombardment of what Israel described as “Hamas targets” continued on Saturday.

Christopher Gunness, an Unrwa spokesman, said several rounds hit the UN school at about 6:45am. The third floor of the school took a direct hit after a short pause, killing the pair and injuring another 14 people.

Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape.

Investigation demanded

About 1,600 civilians had sought refuge from the fighting inside the building, Gunness said.

“The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there,” he said.

“When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said: “I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous attack, which is the third time it’s happened.

“Top Israeli leaders have apologised and assured me two days ago that UN premises would be fully respected.

“I strongly demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible,” he told reporters in Beirut.

John Ging, the director of Unrwa, told Al Jazeera: “People today are alleging war crimes here in Gaza. Let’s have it properly accounted for. Let’s have the legal process which will establish exactly what has happened here.

‘A failure for humanity’
“It is another failure for our humanity and it is exposing the impotence of our [the international community’s] inability to protect civilians in conflict.”

In Jabaliya refugee camp, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor from al-Shifa hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.

At least 10 people were also killed late on Friday after a tank shell slammed into their home during a funeral wake in Gaza City.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, including more than 400 children, according to UN and Palestinian medical sources.

At least 13 Israelis have also died in the same period, three of them civilians.

About five rockets were reported to have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday.

Source

Under no circumstances, should Israel be given any weapons.

Nor should they be given anything, to make weapons of their own.

Prevention is paramount.

Israel must also open their doors, to weapons inspectors.

Gaza must be allowed to let in “Inspectors” to “investigate” what type of weapons Israel used.

Israel is accused of war crimes and in any criminal investigation, investigators must be allowed to gather “evidence”.

Israels refusal to allow the media or anyone else into Gaza is a sign of guilt.

The more times they  refuse, the “guiltier”,  they obviously are.

They are trying to hide their crimes.

They are covering up “evidence” with Bulldozers even.

They have lied.

They have mislead their own Citizens.

They have attempted to mislead the world.

Apologizing for destroying UN building or hospitals doesn’t cut it.

Apologizing for killing innocent civilians doesn’t cut it either.

Rates right up there with the wife beater: saying he is sorry to the woman, he just pounded the crap out of.  “Oh honey I am so sorry”. Cry, whimper and big pretend, tears of sorrow. “I will never do it again”.

Well anyone with any knowledge of spousal abuse knows, how it goes.

After 10 or 20 beating, still comes the “I am sorry BS”.

“Israel is so sorry”. “B.S.” are we actually, all suppose to  fall for that crap?

So what Israel is saying in essence is:

If I kill my next door neighbour, my saying “I am sorry”  would be sufficient enough to allow me to “walk free” with  weapons in hand. Wouldn’t it?

Of course:

In the eyes of the Police, the Courts or the rest of the public at large,  “Not flippin likely”.

Israel is not to be trusted at this point in time.

It is in the best interest of everyone on the planet, that these weapons are kept out of the hands of Israel. Preventing them from building more in their own country is also essential.

Prevention, as I said before paramount.

If the UN body or other International bodies fail to see this or do nothing then I can only assume they are corrupt.

They can and should be stopped.

Who wants another world war?

I don’t, do you?

The Israeli Government: is not Sorry.

They are in fact very proud,  about what they have done.

If Saddam can be prosecuted,  so can any leader, any where in the world. No exceptions. Commit a war crime go to trial. What goes for one leader goes for all leaders.  Elected or not. Makes no difference.

A criminal is a criminal.

Mass murder is a crime.

You have become a very dangerous, untrustworthy, leadership. Not only to the rest of the world, but also you endanger your own people.

You are more Dangerous then Saddam. He after all really didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction now did he?

We know for a fact the Israeli Government has  “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

We know  for a fact the  Israeli Government, would use them on innocent civilians.

The State of Israel: Since its Creation

Well to those in the Israeli Government:

“I am so sorry,  but I don’t trust you and I don’t believe you”.

“You like anyone, who has betrayed my trust,  now have to prove to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you can be trusted.  Sorry isn’t good enough”.

What you say and what you do are two very different animals.

Ban Ki-moon should not trust you either. No one should. You are treating the UN, the same as an abusive woman beater, treats his wife.

You have given me the “Yah Yah syndrome” just like George W. Bush did.

yah yah???????????????????????????????????????????

I had tons of clues before,  you were a rogue state . Now I have “3000 more tons” of clues headed your way.

“Bunker Busters” are Nuclear bombs.  Just a different type,  so to speak, but a Nuclear bomb all the same.

700 Israelis arrested for protesting against war

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction against Gaza

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Any casualties in Gaza Resemble those from the Iraq War.

I wonder. US Dropped Nuke on Iraq

Or Images of War Afgahanistan and Iraq

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction again Gaza

Israel “Using banned arms against Gazans”
January 8 2009

beglari200901082136178281

Israel has been using phosphorus bombs, cluster ammunitions and banned arms against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, a report says.

After examining video footage of the military operation in Gaza, Turkish military analysts confirmed that such weapons have been used by the Israeli military in Gaza, the Today Zaman reported Thursday.

Cluster bombs contain hundreds of bomblets, which can bring about a catastrophe when used in civilian areas. The bomblets often remain unexploded during the military operation and cause casualties thereafter.

The United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel have so far refused to sign an agreement to ban the use of cluster ammunitions.

Journalists and medics also reported the use of white phosphorus shells by Israel in the Gaza offensive. The chemical can cause serious burns or death if it comes to contact with human skin.

Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 and escalated its offensive into a massive ground incursion late Saturday night.

The offensive has so far claimed 772 lives in Gaza and left more than 3,100 others wounded.

SB/MD

white-phosperous-weapons3

The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munition.

January 8 2009
By Michael Evans, Defence Editor and Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem

Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces.

There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law.

The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition. The shell is an improved version with a more limited dispersion of the phosphorus, which ignites on contact with oxygen, and is being used by the Israeli gunners to create a smoke screen on the ground.

The rounds, which explode into a shower of burning white streaks, were first identified by The Times at the weekend when they were fired over Gaza at the start of Israel’s ground offensive. Artillery experts said that the Israeli troops would be in trouble if they were banned from using WP because it is the simplest way of creating smoke to protect them from enemy fire.

There were indications last night that Palestinian civilians have been injured by the bombs, which burn intensely. Hassan Khalass, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told The Times that he had been dealing with patients who he suspected had been burnt by white phosphorus. Muhammad Azayzeh, 28, an emergency medical technician in the city, said: “The burns are very unusual. They don’t look like burns we have normally seen. They are third-level burns that we can’t seem to control. ”Victims with embedded WP particles in their flesh have to have the affected areas flushed with water. Particles that cannot be removed with tweezers are covered with a saline-soaked dressing.

Nafez Abu Shaban, the head of the burns unit at al-Shifa hospital, said: “I am not familiar with phosphorus but many of the patients wounded in the past weeks have strange burns. They are very deep and not like burns we used to see.”

When The Times reported on Monday that the Israeli troops appeared to be firing WP shells to create a thick smoke camouflage for units advancing into Gaza, an IDF spokesman denied the use of phosphorus and said that Israel was using only the weapons that were allowed under international law.

Rows of the pale blue M825A1 WP shells were photographed on January 4 on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. Another picture showed the same munitions stacked up behind an Israeli self-propelled howitzer.

Confronted with the latest evidence, an IDF spokeswoman insisted that the M825A1 shell was not a WP type. “This is what we call a quiet shell – it is empty, it has no explosives and no white phosphorus. There is nothing inside it,” she said.

“We shoot it to mark the target before we launch a real shell. We launch two or three of the quiet shells which are empty so that the real shells will be accurate. It’s not for killing people,” she said.

Asked what shell was being used to create the smokescreen effect seen so clearly on television images, she said: “We’re using what other armies use and we’re not using any weapons that are banned under international law.”

Neil Gibson, technical adviser to Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, insisted that the M825A1 was a WP round. “The M825A1 is an improved model. The WP does not fill the shell but is impregnated into 116 felt wedges which, once dispersed [by a high-explosive charge], start to burn within four to five seconds. They then burn for five to ten minutes. The smoke screen produced is extremely effective,” he said.

The shell is not defined as an incendiary weapon by the Third Protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons because its principal use is to produce smoke to protect troops. However, Marc Galasco, of Human Rights Watch, said: “Recognising the significant incidental incendiary effect that white phosphorus creates, there is great concern that Israel is failing to take all feasible steps to avoid civilian loss of life and property by using WP in densely populated urban areas. This concern is amplified given the technique evidenced in media photographs of air-bursting WP projectiles at relatively low levels, seemingly to maximise its incendiary effect.”

He added, however, that Human Rights Watch had no evidence that Israel was using incendiaries as weapons.

British and American artillery units have stocks of white phosphorus munitions but they are banned as anti-personnel weapons. “These munitions are not unlawful as their purpose is to provide obscuration and not cause injury by burning,” a Ministry of Defence source said.

Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian war surgery specialist working in Gaza, told The Times that he had seen injuries believed to have resulted from Israel’s use of a new “dense inert metal explosive” that caused “extreme explosions”. He said: “Those inside the perimeter of this weapon’s power zone will be torn completely apart. We have seen numerous amputations that we suspect have been caused by this.”

Source

Bunker Busters in Action

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS GAZAAn explosion is seen as missiles fired from an Israeli aircraft fly towards a target in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. .  Photo: AP/Gil Nechushtan

Bunker Busters are radioactive and  that will cause horrendous health problems in the future, not just in Gaza but also in Israel itself.

The wind blows and the radiation goes.

Israel can expect many things such as cancer, birth defects among other numerous health problems thanks to their own Government. Israel is killing it own people not just those in Gaza.

I can also be  sure there will also be health effects in Israel from the White phosphorus as well. The wind blows it goes. “Israel Breath Deep the Gathering Gloom.”

There is something  for Israeli’s to think about come election time. Their present Government is killing them too.

They also have used them before as well.

Bunker buster bombs containing depleted uranium warheads used by Israel against civilian targets in Lebanon


White Phosphorus

white-phosphorous

Israel used White Phosphorus against Hamas targets in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

White Phosphorus (WP), known as Willy Pete, is used for signaling, screening, and incendiary purposes. White Phosphorus can be used to destroy the enemy’s equipment or to limit his vision.

It is used against vehicles, petroleum, oils and lubricants (POL) and ammunition storage areas, and enemy observers. WP can be used as an aid in target location and navigation. It is usually dispersed by explosive munitions.

It can be fired with fuze time to obtain an airburst. White phosphorus was used most often during World War II in military formulations for smoke screens, marker shells, incendiaries, hand grenades, smoke markers, colored flares, and tracer bullets.

The Battle of Fallujah was conducted from 8 to 20 November 2004 with the last fire mission on 17 November. The battle was fought by an Army, Marine and Iraqi force of about 15,000 under the I Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF). US forces found WP to be useful in the Battle of Fallujah. “WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out. … We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions.”

White phosphorus is not banned by any treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Smokes and obscurants comprise a category of materials that are not used militarily as direct chemical agents. The United States retains its ability to employ incendiaries to hold high-priority military targets at risk in a manner consistent with the principle of proportionality that governs the use of all weapons under existing law.

The use of white phosphorus or fuel air explosives are not prohibited or restricted by Protocol II of the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCWC), the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects.

White Phosphorus (WP) – Incendiary

WP is a colorless to yellow translucent wax-like substance with a pungent, garlic-like smell. The form used by the military is highly energetic (active) and ignites once it is exposed to oxygen. White phosphorus is a pyrophoric material, that is, it is spontaneously flammable).

When exposed to air, it spontaneously ignites and is oxidized rapidly to phosphorus pentoxide. Such heat is produced by this reaction that the element bursts into a yellow flame and produces a dense white smoke. Phosphorus also becomes luminous in the dark, and this property is conveyed to “tracer bullets.” This chemical reaction continues until either all the material is consumed or the element is deprived of oxygen. Up to 15 percent of the WP remains within the charred wedge and can reignite if the felt is crushed and the unburned WP is exposed to the atmosphere.

White phosphorus results in painful chemical burn injuries. The resultant burn typically appears as a necrotic area with a yellowish color and characteristic garliclike odor. White phosphorus is highly lipid soluble and as such, is believed to have rapid dermal penetration once particles are embedded under the skin. Because of its enhanced lipid solubility, many have believed that these injuries result in delayed wound healing. This has not been well studied; therefore, all that can be stated is that white phosphorus burns represent a small subsegment of chemical burns, all of which typically result in delayed wound healing.

Incandescent particles of WP may produce extensive burns. Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful; a firm eschar is produced and is surrounded by vesiculation.

The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen. Contact with these particles can cause local burns.

These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears. If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone. Burns usually are limited to areas of exposed skin (upper extremities, face). Burns frequently are second and third degree because of the rapid ignition and highly lipophilic properties of white phosphorus.

If burning particles of WP strike and stick to the clothing, take off the contaminated clothing quickly before the WP burns through to the skin. Remove quickly all clothing affected by phosphorus to prevent phosphorus burning through to skin. If this is impossible, plunge skin or clothing affected by phosphorus in cold water or moisten strongly to extinguish or prevent fire. Then immediately remove affected clothing and rinse affected skin areas with cold sodium bicarbonate solution or with cold water. Moisten skin and remove visible phosphorus (preferably under water) with squared object (knife-back etc.) or tweezers. Do not touch phosphorus with fingers! Throw removed phosphorus or clothing affected by phosphorus into water or allow to bum in suitable location. Cover phosphorus burns with moist dressing and keep moist to prevent renewed inflammation. It is neccessary to dress white phosphorus-injured patients with saline-soaked dressings to prevent reignition of the phosphorus by contact with the air.

Some nations recommend washing the skin with a 0.5-2.0% copper sulphate solution or a copper sulphate impregnated pad. Wounds may be rinsed with a 0.1%-0.2% copper sulphate solution, if available. Dark coloured deposits may be removed with forceps. Prevent prolonged contact of any copper sulphate preparations with the tissues by prompt, copious flushing with water or saline, as there is a definite danger of copper poisoning. It may be necessary to repeat the first aid measures to completely remove all phosphorus.
White Phosphorus (WP) – Smoke
White Phosphorus (WP) creates a smoke screen as it burns. Phosphorus smokes are generated by a variety of munitions. Some of these munitions such as the M825 (155-mm round) may, on explosion, distribute particles of incompletely oxidized white phosphorus.

Smokes obscure vision and are used to hide troops, equipment, and areas from detection. Smoke screens are essential for movement in city fighting. In the December 1994 battle for Grozny in Chechnya, every fourth or fifth Russian artillery or mortar round fired was a smoke or white phosphorus round.

White Phosphorus and Red Phosphorus burn to produce a hygroscopic smoke containing phosphoric acids. Red phosphorus (RP) is not nearly as reactive as white phosphorus. It reacts slowly with atmospheric moisture and the smoke does not produce thermal injury, hence the smoke is less toxic. The extinction for these smokes is primarily due to scattering in the visible and absorption in the infrared (IR). These smokes are composed of spherical liquid particles that grow with relative humidity to an equilibrium size by absorbing ambient moisture that depends on the ambient relative humidity. The mass extinction varies significantly with relative humidity.

The White Phosphorus flame produces a hot, dense white smoke composed of particles of phosphorus pentoxide, which are converted by moist air into phosphoric acid. This acid, depending on concentration and duration of exposure, may produce a variety of topically irritative injuries.

Most smokes are not hazardous in concentrations which are useful for obscuring purposes. However, any smoke can be hazardous to health if the concentration is sufficient or if the exposure is long enough. Medical personnel should be prepared to treat potential reactions to military smokes once such smokes have been introduced to the battlefield. Exposure to heavy smoke concentrations for extended periods (particularly if near the source of emission) may cause illness or even death.

Casualties from WP smoke have not occurred in combat operations. At room temperature, white phosphorus is somewhat volatile and may produce a toxic inhalational injury. In moist air, the phosphorus pentoxide produces phosphoric acid. This acid, depending on concentration and duration of exposure, may produce a variety of topically irritative injuries. Irritation of the eyes and irritation of the mucous membranes are the most commonly seen injuries. These complaints remit spontaneously with the soldier’s removal from the exposure site. With intense exposures, a very explosive cough may occur, which renders gas mask adjustment difficult. There are no reported deaths resulting from exposure to phosphorus smokes. Generally, treatment of WP smoke irritation is unnecessary. Spontaneous recovery is rapid.

White phosphorus fume can cause severe eye irritation with blepharospasm, photophobia, and lacrimation. Irritation of the eyes and irritation of the mucous membranes are the most commonly seen injuries. These complaints remit spontaneously with the soldier’s removal from the exposure site. The WP smoke irritates the eyes and nose in moderate concentrations. With intense exposures, a very explosive cough may occur, which renders gas mask adjustment difficult. There are no reported deaths resulting from exposure to phosphorus smokes.
White Phosphorus – Non-Military Applications
The amazing thing is that White Phosphorus is used in almost every product imaginable – from soft drinks to toothpaste. White phosphorus is used by industry to produce phosphoric acid and other chemicals for use in fertilizers, food additives, and cleaning compounds. Small amounts of white phosphorus were used in the past in pesticides and fireworks.

In recent years, concentrated phosphoric acids, which may contain as much as 70% to 75% P2O5 content, have become of great importance to agriculture and farm production. World-wide demand for fertilizers has caused record phosphate production. Phosphates are used in the production of special glasses, such as those used for sodium lamps.

Bone-ash, calcium phosphate, is used to create fine chinaware and to produce mono-calcium phosphate, used in baking powder. Phosphorus is also important in the production of steels, phosphor bronze, and many other products. Trisodium phosphate is important as a cleaning agent, as a water softener, and for preventing boiler scale and corrosion of pipes and boiler tubes.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and numerous state/local law enforcement authorities throughout the United States, have noted an alarming trend involving illicit methamphetamine production. Methamphetamine (AKA speed, crank or meth) is a major drug problem in the United States. All businesses engaged in the sale of red phosphorus, white phosphorus and hypophosphorous acid products should be aware of the use of these products by clandestine methamphetamine laboratory operators.
White Phosphorus – Background
Phosphorus is an element, the name derived from the Greek “phosphoros” or light bearing, the ancient name for the planet Venus when appearing before sunrise. Brand discovered phosphorus in 1669 by preparing it from urine. Phosphorus exists in four or more allotropic forms: white (or yellow), red, and black (or violet). Ordinary phosphorus is a waxy white solid; when pure it is colorless and transparent. White phosphorus has two modifications: alpha and beta with a transition temperature at -3.8oC. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in carbon disulfide.

Never found free in nature, Phosphorus is widely distributed in combination with minerals. Phosphate rock, which contains the mineral apatite, an impure tri-calcium phosphate, is an important source of the element. Large deposits are found in Russia, in Morocco, and in Florida, Tennessee, Utah, Idaho, and elsewhere.

White phosphorus may be made by several methods. By one process, tri-calcium phosphate, the essential ingredient of phosphate rock, is heated in the presence of carbon and silica in an electric furnace or fuelfired furnace. Elementary phosphorus is liberated as vapor and may be collected under phosphoric acid, an important compound in making super-phosphate fertilizers.
White Phosphorus (WP) – Other Health Effects
Systemic toxicity may occur if therapy is not administered. Therapy consists of topical use of a bicarbonate solution to neutralize phosphoric acids and mechanical removal and debridement of particles. A Wood’s lamp in a darkened room may help to identify remaining luminescent particles. The early signs of systemic intoxication by phosphorus are abdominal pain, jaundice, and a garlic odor of the breath; prolonged intake may cause anemia, as well as cachexia and necrosis of bone, involving typically the maxilla and mandible (phossy jaw). Prolonged absorption of phosphorus causes necrosis of bones. It is a hepatotoxin.

The presenting complaints of overexposed workers may be toothache and excessive salivation. There may be a dull red appearance of the oral mucosa. One or more teeth may loosen, with subsequent pain and swelling of the jaw; healing may be delayed following dental procedures such as extractions; with necrosis of bone, a sequestrum may develop with sinus tract formation. In a series of 10 cases, the shortest period of exposure to phosphorus fume (concentrations not measured) that led to bone necrosis was 10 months (two cases), and the longest period of exposure was 18 years.

Signs and symptoms include irritation of the eyes and the respiratory tract; abdominal pain, nausea, and jaundice; anemia, cachexia, pain, and loosening of teeth, excessive salivation, and pain and swelling of the jaw; skin and eye burns. Phossy jaw must be differentiated from other forms of osteomyelitis. With phossy jaw, a sequestrum forms in the bone and is released from weeks to months later; the sequestra are light in weight, yellow to brown, osteoporotic, and decalcified, whereas sequestra from acute staphylococcal osteomyelitis are sharp, white spicules of bone, dense and well calcified. In acute staphylococcal osteomyelitis, the radiographic picture changes rapidly and closely follows the clinical course, but with phossy jaw the diagnosis sometimes is clinically obvious before radiological changes are discernible. It is good dental practice to take routine X-ray films of jaws, but experience indicates that necrosis can occur in the absence of any pathology that is visible on the roentgenogram.

Source

They are also using weapons that will contaminate the areas in and around Gaza for years to come. This will not only affect Gaza but Israel, Egypt,  Lebanon, Saudi Arabia,  Syria, and Jordon. It will pollute the Mediterranean sea as well. The wind blows and it goes.

The surrounding areas of Iraq have been contaminated by pollutants from the war and has extended for thousands of miles. This war on Gaza will and is doing the same thing. This just adds to the pollution in these countries compliments of wars.

contaminated-with-depleted-uranium-since-19911Contaminated with depleted uranium since1991

This is a very small tip, of a very large Iceburg.

This is a relatively old map. That means the pollution has  now had time to spread farther because of  wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Gaza and is in fact more concentrated in these areas. Add to this the other Chemicals and Toxins from war and the area is extremely polluted.

Pollutants from war or any other pollutant for that matter can travel a very great distance. It can travel around the world. Each time there is a war and weapons such as the ones in Gaza, are used, they affect the entire planet.

The Toxins whether it be DU of other Toxic Chemicals will in time kill millions of people. Stop killing, future innocent victims. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but pollution from wars is really pissing me  off. The planet cannot sustain war pollution. War is destroying the planet in and extreme way. Radiation alone has killed millions around the world. DU is radioactive and one small invisible, particle can kill you.

Stop polluting the Air.

Stop polluting the water.

Stop polluting the earth.

Stop murdering future generations.

To all Israeli’s:

Next time you look at your children, ask yourself how long will  it be before they get cancer or other  related health problems, cause by the use of WMD used by your own Government, against those in Gaza.

Then, ask your self  how long will it be before you become ill?

You will die sooner,  now you have used this right next door to you country. The closer you are to ground zero the sooner you die.

History taught me that one. One teeny, tiny, invisible, particle is all it takes. There is no place to run. No place to hide. War pollution can affect you regardless of where you live. We are all trapped on this planet together. No escape for any of us. Warmongers are fools. Warmongers are Profiteers. Warmongers make everyone sick.

Oh and be sure to thank the US for giving you those lovely  deadly, weapons, to protect you from the evils of the world…..You should be so grateful for their help, in killing you and your children. This is however how the US Government saves people.


White Phosphorus Health Affects

Gaza (4): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

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

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

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

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

British cost of Iraq and Afghanistan reaches £13Billion

November 26 2008

Michael Evans

The sharply rising costs of the war in Afghanistan were laid bare yesterday when the Ministry of Defence said that it would need more than £2.3 billion from Treasury reserves to pay for the campaign in Helmand province this year.

The estimated cost for Iraq in the same period will be nearly £1.4 billion, despite the planned reduction of British troops in the south from the present 4,100 to a few hundred from May.

The latest combined estimated bill of £3.7 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year means that the two operations will have cost the taxpayer £13.2 billion over the past six years.

Most of the funds have come from Treasury contingency reserves, although the MoD has had to bear some of the financial burden from its own budget to share the costs of new armoured vehicles sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

If troop cuts go ahead in Iraq as planned, the cost of Operation Telic — codename for the military campaign — should come down markedly next year. The reduced military presence, which could even be cut to zero by the end of 2009, would be concerned solely with training the Iraqi Army’s 14th Division based in Basra. This would make it possible to transfer much-needed helicopters and other equipment to Afghanistan.

The cost of Operation Herrick, the campaign in Helmand, however, looks set to rise and rise. The bill in 2005-06 was £199 million. This increased to £738 million the following year, when British troop numbers were boosted to 7,500, and the cost last year was £1.5 billion. This was largely due to the multiple orders from the MoD for hundreds of extra armoured vehicles to meet “urgent operational requirements”.

Force protection has become the key issue after the deaths of about 36 British service personnel, killed by roadside bombs and landmines while travelling in the lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers, sent to Iraq and Afghanistan from Northern Ireland.

Extra measures have also had to be taken to improve the survivability of helicopters in the harsh environment of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to fit better communications to all aircraft.

Costs for Operation Herrick will rise further if ministers give in to pressure from Barak Obama, when he becomes US President in January, for Britain to send more troops to Afghanistan. The Government has not ruled out sending more troops, but with 8,100 already serving in Afghanistan, Washington has been told that other Nato countries should be first in line to boost troop numbers.

In anticipation of British troop reductions in Iraq in the spring, a restructuring of coalition regional commands was announced yesterday. Until now the region south of Baghdad has been divided into three multinational divisional areas — centre, under US control; centre-south, under the Poles; and southeast, controlled by the British.

In future, there will only be one multinational divisional command headquarters south of Baghdad, which will be run by the Americans, who will also take “overwatch” control of three provinces that were once the responsibility of the British — Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan, the security for which was handed over to the Iraqis some time ago.

The British southeast area of responsibility will be confined to Basra.

Source

Miliband refuses to rule out Afghanistan increase

MoD faces £2bn black hole

Pentagon wants UK troops for Afghan surge

Afghan president wants date for pullout of foreign troops

Obama’s Afghan War Plans May Run Into Weary Public, Deficits

British troops ‘cannot bear brunt of Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge’

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

Afghan veterans more likely to suffer from mental illness

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on British cost of Iraq and Afghanistan reaches £13Billion  
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Canadian Forces not tracking incidence of brain injuries, hearing loss

HALIFAX, N.S. — The Canadian Forces is not tracking how many of its soldiers are suffering from service-related hearing loss and traumatic brain trauma, two of the so-called signature injuries of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defence Department doesn’t have the systems working or in place to record the number of people returning from tours overseas who have identified hearing loss or brain injuries, giving them little sense as to the extent of what are thought to be rising problems in the ranks.

Unlike the British and American militaries, which have better means of tracking conditions affecting their troops, the Canadian Forces has yet to implement computerized programs that can digitally compile information and point to any trends for certain injuries.

“We have no way to systematically collect that data,” Steve Tsekrekos, an occupational medicine specialist with Force Health Protection, said from Ottawa.

“There’s much room for improvement compared to what we’re currently doing. It’s a question of continually to push that this is an issue that we need to address.”

Forces members are examined for a variety of possible injuries in theatre and when they return from a deployment, but the data in most cases is contained in a paper record that goes into individual files.

It’s also up to soldiers to indicate in questionnaires if they suspect they have sustained certain injuries.

To test for hearing loss at home, military doctors have to rely on antiquated 1970s-vintage audiometres for which replacement parts are not being made and can produce only a paper document.

The absence of any condensed data on injuries has left the Forces without a global, detailed picture of the injuries affecting soldiers serving in environments characterized by bomb blasts, gunfire and loud equipment.

“The usefulness of that sort of data is to provide us with a track record as to changes in the patterns of injuries or illnesses,” says Bryan Garber, a deployment health specialist with the Canadian Forces health services group in Ottawa.

“We don’t actually have any current numbers on the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury in the Canadian Forces population serving in Afghanistan.”

Statistics and studies coming out of the U.S. indicate one in four soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan have damaged hearing, caused largely by blasts from improvised explosive devices, suicide bomb explosions and prolonged exposure to noisy vehicles.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, close to 320 military personnel who served in Afghanistan since 2001 are now receiving disability benefits linked to hearing loss.

Of the total number of Canadian veterans receiving benefits, roughly half are due to a hearing impairment.

“There are a lot we do in the military that are very damaging to hearing and that has always been so,” said Maj. Sandra West, a base surgeon at the Ottawa military clinic who spent seven months in Afghanistan earlier this year.

“It’s very hard to protect your hearing all the time just because of the sorts of things we do.”

In 2001, Veterans Affairs had 37,374 clients in receipt of treatment benefits for their hearing loss with total expenditures of $22.6 million.

By this March, that number had risen to 47,347 clients at a cost of $38.5 million.

“This is a huge problem,” said Tsekrekos. “Hearing loss is the biggest occupational health issue in the Canadian Forces.”

More than seven years after troops have been on the ground in Afghanistan, the Forces are in the process of trying to implement systems to collect data on brain injuries and hearing loss.

Tsekrekos says they plan on introducing new computerized audiometres possibly in the next few years that will create a digital record and help produce a Force-wide picture of hearing loss.

The military is also implementing a system to collect information on brain injuries used by the United States called the Joint Theatre Trauma Registry. Garber said the system should be up and running sometime next year.

He estimates that the numbers of troops indicating mild traumatic brain injuries could range up to 20 per cent, but that most wouldn’t likely have long-term problems.

“It should be providing more stable statistics on the incidence of this and what the recovery looks like,” he said.

A recent study by the U.S. RAND Corp. found that 320,000 former serving members sustained mild traumatic brain injuries, but that the majority had no persistent symptoms.

Garber said reports on brain injuries among international troops have overstated the extent of the problem and fail to explain that the bulk of people who experience mild brain injuries recover spontaneously within weeks or months.

Source

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

They Can’t win the war in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan Is A No-Win Situation
By Stephen C. Rose

The situation in Afghanistan weighs more and more heavily on us. I took it up in a Huffington Post piece a while back titled Could Barack Obama Suffer The Fate of LBJ?

Many wish the war on terror to be translated from a military trap into a POLICE ACTION, something sane observers believe it should have been from the very start.

Today, comes a sad vindication of the reality and a stark warning that there can be no winning in Afghanistan. It will be Barack Obama’s task to cut a deal and be honest about why
Violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest levels since the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in 2001 Source

A Pakistani decision to temporarily bar some trucks from a key passageway to Afghanistan threatened a critical supply route for U.S. and NATO troops on Sunday and raised more fears about deteriorating security in the militant-plagued border region.
The suspension of oil tankers and trucks carrying sealed containers came as U.S.-led coalition troops in eastern Afghanistan reported killing five al-Qaida-linked fighters and detaining eight others, including a militant leader.

Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters are behind much of the escalating violence along the lengthy, porous Afghan-Pakistan border, and both nations have traded accusations that the other was not doing enough to keep militants out from its side.

The tensions come as violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest levels since the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in 2001 and as a surge in U.S. missile strikes on the Pakistani side of the border has prompted protests from Pakistan government leaders.

And this piece from UK notes that the answer lies in cutting a deal with the Taliban, period. Source

There is no question that British troops win almost every battle and firefight, but the Taliban refuse to go away.
For every 10 men they lose, there are 10 more waiting to take their place.

The insurgents have a saying: “You have the clocks, we have the time.”

The British and American strategy seems to be to fight on with increased numbers of troops and try to train the Afghan forces to take over.

Building a country virtually from scratch, containing the Taliban and developing a national army in a land that’s riven by ethnic rivalries and feuding warlords is probably a challenge too far.

Cutting and running is not an option – so cutting a deal may have to be.

Repeat: The War in Afghanistan is a no-win situation. The answer lies in talking to the Taliban, something Barack has already advocated. A protracted military engagement should be avoided like a plague.

Source

Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win

A comparison with the 1980s is in order. The 100,000-strong Soviet army operated alongside a full-fledged Afghan army of equal strength with an officer corps trained in the elite Soviet military academies, and backed by aviation, armored vehicles and artillery, with all the advantages of a functioning, politically motivated government in Kabul. And yet it proved no match for the Afghan resistance.

In comparison, there are about 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, plus roughly the same number of troops belonging to NATO contingents, which includes 5,400 troops from Britain, 2,500 from Canada and 2,300 from the Netherlands. Nominally, there is a 42,000-strong Afghan National Army, but it suffers from a high rate of defection.

Source


War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief

Britain’s most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

Source

US Kills Dozens of Wedding Guests in Afganistan

Who profits from WAR?

Tactics versus strategy in Afghanistan

The Terrible Plight of Afghan Children

The U.S. bombing upon Afghanistan has been a low bombing intensity, high civilian casualty campaign [in both absolute terms and relative to other U.S. air campaigns]. Secondly, this has happened notwithstanding the far greater accuracy of the weapons because of U.S. military planners decisions to employ powerful weapons in populated regions and to bomb what are dubious military targets. Thirdly, the U.S. mainstream corporate media has been derelict in its non-reporting of civilian casualties when ample evidence existed from foreign places that the U.S. air war upon Afghanistan was creating such casualties in large numbers. Fourthly, the decision by U.S. military planners to execute such a bombing campaign reveals and reflects the differential values they place upon Afghan and American lives. Fifth, this report counters the dangerous notion that the United States can henceforth wage a war and only kill enemy combatants. Sixth, the U.S. bombing campaign has targeted numerous civilian facilities and the heavy use of cluster bombs, will have a lasting legacy born by one of the poorest, most desperate peoples of our world. In sum, though not intended to be, the U.S. bombing campaign which began on the evening of October 7th, has been a war upon the people, the homes, the farms and the villages of Afghanistan, as well as upon the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Source

Injuries and Deaths From Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan, 2002-2006

At least 706,899 people have been killed, and
1,354,224 seriously injured in Afghanistan and Iraq
since the U.S. and coalition attacks, based on lowest credible estimates.

Source

The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US invasion.

We must not forget these people who died at the hand of the US.

Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody up to October 2005

Many of the prisoners that died of “Natural Causes” may have died because they didn’t receive Medical treatment or Medication, which is still Murder. Others died because they were tortured.  There are many ways to kill a person.  Cause and Affect.

There have been more deaths since then. How many,  well that is yet to be determined.

The death toll in both wars is staggering to say the least. The number of civilian deaths alone is enough to infuriate anyone.

There no winners in War.

Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 10:10 pm  Comments Off on They Can’t win the war in Afghanistan  
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Dutch, British block IMF loan to Iceland – NRC


November 7 2008

The Netherlands and Britain are blocking a €2.1bn loan from the International Monetary Fund to Iceland pending agreement on compensation for Dutch and British savers, the NRC reports on Friday.

The paper says Icelandic MPs were told at a meeting in Brussels that the loan would not be approved until the financial aspects of compensating hundreds of thousands of savers has been worked out.

Sources at the Dutch finance ministry have confirmed the veto off the record but refuse to comment officially. Nor would British officials comment, the paper says.

Yesterday, Iceland’s prime minister Geir Haarde said that the IMF loan and the repayment agreement were ‘two separate issues which should not be linked,’ the paper said.

Dutch savers have some €1.6bn on deposit at Icesave which they cannot access.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the government, the province of Noord-Holland and 22 local councils over their claims against Iceland escalated on Friday. In total, local governments have some €400m in Icesave.

Finance mnister Wouter Bos and the queen’s commissioner in Noord-Holland have been embroiled in a public spat over the province’s determination to go it alone in trying to recover its money.

On Friday home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst said the government had used a royal decree to annul local government claims to Landsbanki property abroad. ‘Their behaviour is hindering the difficult and complex discussions with the Icelandic government,’ she said.

Source

Maybe Iceland should just declare bankruptcy.

Seems all the way around things just are getting more ridiculous.

All the banks have being going through the same thing but it seems Iceland is really being hung out to dry.

Of course I have little or no trust when it comes to the IMF at any rate.

Maybe not getting a loan from them is a “good thing”.

There certainly seems to be a lot of manipulation going on when it comes to Iceland.

A few tid bits.

Iceland to Receive Unexpected Loan from Poland

Norwegian loan to Iceland confirmed

Iceland lifts interest rates to record 18% to secure IMF $2bn loan

Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO

Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK

Iceland ‘working day and night’

UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

The worst of all was being treated as a Terrorist country.

Browns actions have not helped in any way.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland’

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 5:17 am  Comments Off on Dutch, British block IMF loan to Iceland – NRC  
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Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

October 15 2008
UK MEP gets emotional about Iceland

iceland-mount

Writing in The Times yesterday, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan criticised Gordon Brown’s attitude towards Iceland in recent weeks in a impassioned column, published in whole below:

Shall I tell you the worst thing about this wretched business? Worse than the return of socialism, worse than the indenturing of our children? It’s the way we’ve treated Iceland, until last week perhaps the most Anglophile country in Europe.

To seize the assets of a friendly state was bad enough; to use anti-terrorist legislation was unforgivable. When the Crime and Security Act was passed in 2001, we were repeatedly told that it would be used only in cases of imminent danger: “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear.”

Nothing to fear, eh? Since then it has been invoked to eject a heckler from the Labour conference, to detain a woman walking on a cycle path and to prevent recitation of the names of fallen servicemen at the Cenotaph. Now this.

Gordon Brown claims that the expropriation was necessary because Iceland planned to default on British Icesave accounts. How he got this impression is a mystery. Iceland’s finance minister made clear in meetings with the British authorities that depositors would be paid. The Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, said in public: “We will immediately review the matter together to find a mutually satisfactory solution. We are determined to make sure that the current financial crisis does not overshadow the important and longstanding friendship that we have with the UK.”

Brown’s response? To seize the UK assets, not of the bank that ran Icesave, but of a wholly unrelated bank, Kaupthing, thereby collapsing it. Icelanders, who had been expecting to negotiate a guarantee to British depositors – eventually agreed on Monday – were stunned. They couldn’t bring themselves to believe that the leader of a country they admired would destroy their last solvent bank simply to give himself what Labour MPs have since called “his Falklands moment”. Except that Britain wasn’t the aggressor in the Falklands. To pick on a country with half the population of Wiltshire was cowardice, not courage.

For courage, ponder this message on my blog from an Icelandic fisherman who had saved up to attend university in Denmark. Suddenly, his savings are gone, his currency worthless. “We have lost our money, we may lose our economic freedom, but we will not lose our honour. Iceland will meet its obligations to the British people, no matter what. I will quit school and abandon my dreams, go back to my boat and work till my fingers bleed to play my part in paying off our debt.” Read those words, Prime Minister, and hang your head in shame.

Source

Brown may have totally destroyed Iceland. The method he used was not necessary.  Brown should be hanging his head in shame over this one.

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

October 16 2008
Also fro the Times
The Government has put Ernst & Young, the accountancy firm, on standby to step in as administrator of the UK assets of Landsbanki.

The administration would have huge implications for the embattled British high street because a large part of it, including the Icelandic retail group Baugur, is funded by Landsbanki and its Icelandic rival Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, of which Ernst & Young is already administrator.

The problems surrounding the future of the Icelandic-backed stores groups is becoming increasingly politicised. Baugur employs 55,000 staff and City sources say a £100 million loan granted by the Bank of England to the struggling Landsbanki on Monday helped to give the bank sufficent liquidity to start relending to the British retailers that banked there.

The administration of Landsbanki would also have serious diplomatic repercussions for the already strained relationship between the UK and Iceland, which said yesterday that it would sue the British Government over the seizure of Kaupthing’s assets.

The Government’s call to E&Y at the weekend comes as the retail magnate Sir Philip Green seeks ministerial support to help him to buy Baugur, whose assets include House of Fraser, a stake in Debenhams and high street chains, including Whistles and Karen Millen.

It is understood that Sir Philip has approached Gordon Brown, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and Treasury officials to ask them to support his move for Baugur. He wants assurances that if he buys assets from the Icelandic Government he will not have to deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if Iceland, as expected, turns to the IMF to stave off national bankruptcy.

Sources said that Sir Philip and rival bidders for Baugur’s assets – including Alchemy, Permira and TPG – fear that the IMF could try to claw back businesses sold by the Icelandic Government if the country went into default.

It is understood that Alan Bloom, an Ernst & Young partner, was asked by the Government to prepare to go into Landsbanki this week as administrator if necessary. Ernst & Young, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority declined to comment on the standby appointment.

Mr Bloom and his team are already advising on the Kaupthing administration and the administration of Heritable bank, Landsbanki’s UK subsidiary.

On Monday the British Government lifted a freezing order on Landsbanki that was preventing all the bank’s corporate clients from drawing down more money on their overdrafts. Sources said the Government feared that restricted cash flow could put some retailers at risk of bankruptcy.

It is believed that the Government wants to seize and sell on Landsbanki’s assets to cover the £588 million of local councils’ money deposited in Icelandic banks and now in the hands of the Icelandic Government.

Source

Iraq says time for British troops to Go

Oct 12 2008

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was quoted on Monday as saying it was time for British combat forces to leave the south of the country because they were no longer needed to maintain security and control.

Maliki told The Times newspaper in an interview there might still be a need for their experience in training Iraqi forces and on some technological issues, but the emphasis was now on business links.

He thanked U.S.-led forces for their “important help” but said “the page has been turned.”

“The Iraqi arena is open for British companies and British friendship, for economic exchange and positive cooperation in science and education,” he said.

Britain was U.S. President George W. Bush’s main ally in the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein from power.

British troops have helped train the Iraqi army and navy, while a special forces unit based in Baghdad has been used to strike at militants from al Qaeda and other groups. Britain has 4,100 troops in Iraq at present.

Maliki referred to what was widely seen as low point in Britain’s presence in Iraq when its forces left their base in the southern city of Basra last year for a base at the airport on the outskirts.

“They stayed away from the confrontation, which gave the gangs and militias the chance to control the city,” said Maliki.

“The situation deteriorated so badly that corrupted youths were carrying swords and cutting the throats of women and children,” he said.

“The citizens of Basra called out for our help … and (Iraqi forces) moved to regain the city.”

By Avril Ormsby

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NATO to consider talks with the Taliban?

An Afghan soldier holds his weapon at a check point in Arghandab district, recaptured from the Taliban militants, in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday June 22, 2008. (AP / Musadeq Sadeq)An Afghan soldier holds his weapon at a check point in Arghandab district, recaptured from the Taliban militants, in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday June 22, 2008. (AP / Musadeq Sadeq)

Oct. 8 2008

LONDON — When NATO defence ministers meet in Budapest on Thursday, they will face a worsening situation in Afghanistan and vexing questions about whether the war can be won.

Increasingly, military commanders and political leaders are asking: Is it time to talk to the Taliban?

With U.S. and NATO forces suffering their deadliest year so far in Afghanistan, a rising chorus of voices, including U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the incoming head of U.S. Central Command, have endorsed efforts to reach out to members of the Taliban considered willing to seek an accommodation with President Hamid Karzai’s government.

“That is one of the key long-term solutions in Afghanistan, just as it has been in Iraq,” Gates told reporters Monday. “Part of the solution is reconciliation with people who are willing to work with the Afghan government going forward.”

Gen. David Petraeus, who will become responsible for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan as head of U.S. Central Command on Oct. 31, agreed.

“I do think you have to talk to enemies,” Petraeus said Wednesday at an appearance at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, when asked about potential dialogue with the Taliban.

“You’ve got to set things up. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to. You’ve got to have your objectives straight,” he said. “But I mean, what we did do in Iraq ultimately was sit down with some of those that were shooting at us. What we tried to do was identify those who might be reconcilable.”

In terms of Afghanistan, he said: “The key there is making sure that all of that is done in complete co-ordination with complete support of the Afghan government — and with President Karzai.”

But entering negotiations with the Taliban raises difficult issues.

It is not clear whether there is a unified Taliban command structure that could engage in serious talks, and the group still embraces the hardline ideology that made them pariahs in the West until their ouster from power in 2001.

During its 1996-2001 rule, Afghan women and girls were barred from attending school or holding jobs, music and television were banned, men were compelled to wear beards, and artwork or statues deemed idolatrous or anti-Muslim were destroyed.

In an assault that provoked an international outcry, Taliban fighters blew up two giant statues of Buddha that had graced the ancient Silk Road town of Bamiyan for some 1,500 years.

Seven years after the U.S. invasion, what was originally considered a quick military success has turned into an increasingly violent counterinsurgency fight.

An unprecedented number of U.S. troops — about 32,000 — are in Afghanistan today, and the Pentagon plans to send several thousand more in the coming months. Gates is expected to press for additional troops and money for the fight in Afghanistan at this week’s NATO meeting.

At least 131 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan this year, surpassing the previous annual high of 111 in 2007. An additional 100 troops from other NATO countries have died in 2008.

Canada, which has some 2,500 troops in southern Kandahar province, has lost 23 soldiers so far this year.

NATO commander says peacemaking up to Afghan gov’t

Speaking in London on Monday, U.S. Gen. John Craddock, NATO’s supreme operational commander, said he is open to talks with the Taliban as long as any peacemaking bid is led by the Afghan government, not western forces.

“I have said over and over again this is not going to be won by military means,” Craddock said, adding that NATO’s goal is to create a safe environment so responsibility for security can be transferred to Afghan authorities.

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, added his voice to the rising chorus, saying Tuesday it was “desirable” to have direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and offering to host any such meeting.

The problem, say some analysts, is identifying who within the Taliban can be a reliable negotiating partner.

“The Taliban are no longer a monolithic force; with whom do you negotiate if you want to talk with the Taliban?” asked Eric Rosenbach, executive director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Rather than high-level, high-profile negotiations, “the Afghan government should pursue talks with individual commanders and warlords” who have renounced violence, he said.

“This approach is much more likely to succeed, will further fracture the opposition, and will place the Afghan government in a position of strength for future negotiations.”

Charles Heyman, editor of Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, said there is widespread agreement that the original U.S. and British goal of building a liberal, western-style democracy in Afghanistan is not attainable because the Taliban never were routed or forced to disband.

“There is going to be an accommodation with the Taliban whether people like it or not,” he said. “Everyone knows this is going to be very, very difficult.”

He said the West’s long-term interest would be served by ensuring that al-Qaida doesn’t have a presence in Afghanistan. That would mean making sure any future Afghan leadership, even if it includes Taliban elements, understands that it will come under sustained attack if it allows al-Qaida to set up training camps there.

Ayesha Khan, an associate fellow at the Chatham House research group in London, said it is possible that clerics close to fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar could meet with Afghan government representatives.

“This desire to engage the Taliban started last year and has gained momentum,” she said. “The British government is involved in strategizing it. They are trying to separate the more moderate Taliban from the more extremist ones.”

Source

US military admits killing 33 civilians in Afghanistan air strike

October 9. 2008

The US military has admitted killing 33 civilians in an air strike on a village in Afghanistan in August, far more than it has previously acknowledged.

Following the attack on August 22 on Azizabad, in Heart province, the Afghan government claimed that 90 civilians, mainly women and children, were killed, a figure backed by the UN.

Until now the US has estimated that that no more than seven civilians died in the attack. It launched an inquiry after it emerged that film recorded on mobile phones showed rows of bodies of children and babies in a makeshift morgue.

The inquiry found that of the 33 dead civilians, eight were men, three women and 12 children. The 10 others were undetermined. It also claimed that 22 Taliban fighters were killed in the attack.

The inquiry dismissed the Afghan government’s estimate as over reliant on statements from villagers.

“Their reports lack independent evidence to support the allegations of higher numbers of civilian casualties,” the US report said. A spokesman for the Afghan government said it stood by its estimate.

The US expressed regret for the civilian losses but blamed the Taliban for having chosen to take up fighting positions near civilians.

“Unfortunately, and unknown to the US and Afghan forces, the (militants) chose fighting positions in close proximity to civilians,” the report said.

The acting commander of US forces in the Middle East, lieutenant general Martin Dempsey, said the attack was based on credible intelligence and was made in self defence.

“We are deeply saddened at the loss of innocent life in Azizabad. We go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan in all our operations, but as we have seen all too often, this ruthless enemy routinely surround themselves with innocents,” he said.

US central command said its investigation was based on 28 interviews resulting in more than 20 hours of recorded testimony from Afghan government officials, Afghan village elders, officials from nongovernmental organisations, US and Afghan troops, 236 documents and 11 videos.

The issue of civilian deaths has outraged Afghans and strained relations with foreign forces in Afghanistan to help fight the insurgency. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has warned US and NATO for years that they must stop killing civilians on bombing runs against militants, saying the deaths undermine his government and the international mission.

Following the raid on Azizabad Nato’s commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, issued a revised tactics and procedures for air and ground assaults against insurgents.

Source

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Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees

October 6, 2008

The Government is facing increased pressure to follow its European counterparts in pledging 100 per cent protection for UK savers.

What has the German government pledged?

Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed that the federal government would guarantee all private savings accounts in German banks. Finance minister Peer Steinbrueck said that from today German citizens need not worry about “a single euro of their deposits” during the global financial crisis.

Is Germany the only country to offer such a promise?

No. Last week Ireland said all money held in savings accounts at six institutions – Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Anglo-Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and the Educational Building Society – will be guaranteed in their entirety.

Greece has likewise guaranteed its depositors’ savings.

What is the situation in the UK?

In the UK, savings of £50,000 are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The limit relates to deposits with an organisation, regardless of how many accounts the customer holds. The limit had, until recently, been set at £35,000 but as a result of the current crisis, ministers agreed to up the ceiling.

Can UK citizens benefit from the announcements in other countries?

Yes. Three Irish banks – Allied Irish Bank, Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland – have branches in the UK. These will be covered by the Irish Government’s guarantee and British citizens can open accounts with relative ease at branches in the UK. In addition, the Post Office’s savings products are run by Bank of Ireland, giving customers 100% protection.

There is also nothing stopping UK customers opening up an account with a bank branch in Ireland. Although it may be harder, as many will want you to appear in person to open the account.

How have British banks responded? Aren’t they at a disadvantage?

On Wednesday the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) challenged the Irish government, claiming that the guarantee was anti-competitive, especially for banks in Northern Ireland. It fears that UK savers will move their money to Irish banks in a bid to benefit from the guarantee offered.

But don’t some institutions in the UK already offer 100 per cent protection?

Yes. When Northern Rock collapsed, the UK Government made an exception to end the run on the bank, ensuring that all of the Rock’s savers will have deposits covered in their entirety.

National Savings & Investment, which is backed by the Treasury, also offers complete protection on people saving through its products.

And Bradford & Bingley savings are safe while part of the collapsed bank goes through the process of being transferred to Santander, owners of Abbey.

So, if ministers pledged complete protection for Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, what’s to say they won’t do the same if another bank fails?

Nothing. The whole question in many experts’ view is purely theoretical. It would, it is argued, be almost inconceivable for the Government to let savers lose their money as a result of a bank failing.

Unlike more risky investments, people are not given explicit warnings that they could lose their savings – the whole stability of the banking system depends on the belief that money is safe in the bank.

If people started to lose money, it would lead to instability on a grand scale and a return to a run on the banks as panicked savers attempt to move cash out.

So why don’t the Government just follow the German and Irish lead and guarantee all savings?

Because it shifts liability from the banks to the taxpayers. And we are talking about a lot of money. Estimates suggest it would mean a risk running into the trillions of pounds – that is £1,000,000,000,000s. This would place a huge burden on public finances.

And it could be the “thin end of the wedge”, some fear. Bank’s business customers may be next in asking for their money to be covered.

An 100 per cent guarantee could also impact on the Government’s ability to raise funds which in turn could hit public spending. The theory has it that with a promise to protect all savings, people would be less willing to buy into secure state-backed bonds.

The main attraction of Government “gilt-edged” bonds is that they are seen as one of the safest places you can put money.

If bank saving accounts are covered by a Government guarantee this will no longer be the case. As such they would be deemed to be less attractive, especially as they currently offer a return which is less than that of a top savings account.

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The £2trillion question for British economy

By Ben Russell, political correspondent, and Tony Paterson in Berlin

October 6 2008

Gordon Brown is under intense pressure to guarantee all savings in British bank accounts after Germany and Denmark became the latest European countries to make the move.

Treasury officials were scrambling to discover the extent of the response by the German leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, to the deepening financial crisis, which immediately sparked speculation that other European nations would be forced to follow suit. Late last night, the Danish government guaranteed all bank deposits as part of a deal to set up a 35bn Danish kroner (£3.6bn) liquidation fund.

Until now, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has only gone as far as raising the guaranteed deposits from £35,000 to £50,000. Britain’s banks hold about £2 trillion (or £2,000bn) in private and corporate deposits – close to double the UK’s annual GDP. Personal deposits account for £900bn.

The Prime Minister will chair the first meeting today of the Government’s economic war cabinet. It will have to find a response to Germany’s decision, which follows moves by Ireland and Greece to ward off the financial crisis by offering savers unlimited protection. The UK Government is likely to have been angered by these unilateral actions but will probably follow suit to prevent the large-scale flow of capital out of the country.

Ms Merkel, however, had previously said that she was opposed to moves by other countries to do exactly what she condoned yesterday.

Over the weekend, Peter Mandelson, the former EU trade commissioner who is now the Business Secretary, said unilateral moves by individual countries to guarantee bank deposits could “spark a new wave of economic nationalism”. He added: “People have to realise that selective or national approaches could lead markets to look to parts of the financial system in a distorted way.”

Ms Merkel’s surprise announcement was made hours before the German government and banks agreed a €50bn salvage plan for Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Bank, the country’s second-biggest commercial property mortgage bank. Talks over a €35bn rescue plan collapsed earlier in the day, before an extra €15bn was found.

“We will not allow the problems of one financial institution to affect the entire system,” said Ms Merkel. “We are saying to all savings account holders that your deposits are safe. The government guarantees this.”

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, called for a pan-European system of deposit guarantees. “Germany is Europe’s economic superpower,” he said. “Ireland’s action last week to guarantee all deposits made a common European approach to deposit guarantees necessary. Germany’s decision today makes it completely unavoidable.”

The German decision comes just days after the Irish government issued its own blanket guarantee for commercial and private bank deposits. This sparked international protests as funds began to pour into Irish banks and prompted the Treasury to raise the guarantee on British deposits from £35,000 to £50,000.

Ed Mayo, the chief executive of the Government’s new consumer watchdog, Consumer Focus, said Britain should follow Ireland’s example and underwrite all individual holdings with its national banks. “The best way to build consumer confidence is by giving absolute rights,” he said.

Mr Darling signalled yesterday he was ready to pump billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into Britain’s banks as he pledged to take “pretty big steps that we wouldn’t take in ordinary times” as it emerged that contingencies being considered by Treasury officials include buying stakes in a host of banks. The Chancellor said the Treasury was ready to offer further help to individual banks in difficulty. Ms Merkel’s decision will dominate the first meeting of the Government’s National Economic Council today.

A Treasury source said the Government’s £50,000 guarantee for savers remained unchanged. He said officials were clarifying the extent of the German guarantee before deciding on Britain’s response. The German announcement was not mentioned during talks in Paris between leaders of the four biggest European economies, when Britain, Germany, Italy and France agreed to co-operate to support financial institutions.

Tomorrow, the Government will publish its Banking Bill, designed to streamline emergency legislation passed to allow the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

Brown’s National Economic Council

Gordon Brown: Prime Minister and council chairman

Alistair Darling: Chancellor of the Exchequer and deputy chairman

David Miliband: Foreign Secretary

Peter Mandelson: Business Secretary

John Denham: Innovations, Universities and Skills Secretary

Ed Balls: Children’s Secretary

Ed Miliband: Energy and Climate Change Secretary

Hilary Benn: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary

James Purnell: Work and Pensions Secretary

Hazel Blears: Communities Secretary

Jim Murphy: Scottish Secretary

Paul Murphy: Welsh Secretary

Shaun Woodward: Northern Ireland Secretary

Yvette Cooper: Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Margaret Beckett: Housing minister

Lord Drayson: Science minister

Paul Myners: minister for the City

Baroness Vadera: minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business

Stephen Carter: minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting

The council will meet in the Cobra meeting room in the basement of the Cabinet Office. The windowless briefing room has been established for meetings that tackle national crises.

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