Secret tax-haven names released to public

Offshore account holders

Notable names in the colossal leak of offshore financial records include, from left, banking family scion Élie de Rothschild, Imee Marcos of the Philippine political dynasty and millionaire former playboy Gunther Sachs, who married Brigitte Bardot. (CP/Reuters/Getty)

A glimpse at an enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance.

The information, contained in a new online database released Friday night, has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities — mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands — and the people associated with them.

CBC News has had exclusive Canadian access to the data for months and has determined that it names at least 550 Canadians. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions.

The online names database was released late Friday night by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations, including the CBC.

Off shore map
The web-based database of names from the leaked tax-haven records maps out links between people and secret offshore entities. (ICIJ)“What we’re doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what’s routinely done in many countries around the world — making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record,” said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium.

“This is about transparency and accountability. There is a growing consensus that no one should be able to own a company secretly. No one should be able to hide in the shadows behind a company or trusts.”

The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them.

For example, a search of “Ghermezian” finds the name of Alberta businessman David Ghermezian, president of the West Edmonton Mall, and links him to a British Virgin Islands-registered company called Regal Mega Malls Development Corp . and a group of Chinese, Taiwanese and Canadian entrepreneurs.

Buying secrecy

Ghermezian has told CBC News his offshore company was a legal joint venture to develop a mega-shopping centre in China, but the project fizzled.

The names database does not contain the much vaster cache of potentially confidential information from the offshore data leak, such as bank account numbers, passport data, telephone numbers, financial transactions and emails.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.

“ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come from crowd-sourcing, when readers explore the database,” the organization said in a press release.

Offshore companies not necessarily illegal

Under Canadian law, it is not illegal to create an offshore company or trust as long as it is properly declared for tax purposes. There are a variety of reasons for setting one up, though all offshore entities typically enjoy strict secrecy under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they’re based.

“We’re not saying that everyone in the database has done something wrong,” Hudson said. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, however, you shouldn’t have anything to fear from this disclosure.”

CBC News has reported that the leaked files show that a Canadian senator and her husband, one of the country’s most prominent class-action lawyers, were beneficiaries of a confidential offshore trust in the Cook Islands that was used to make investments via Bermuda.

High-profile figures, from Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan to an officially bankrupt Swedish real-estate mogul to European banking dynast Élie de Rothschild, have used offshore accounts to hide wealth.

However, the leaked data also discloses dozens of cases of crooks, money-launderers and even democratically elected officials using the secrecy afforded by tax havens.

As CBC News reported recently, for example, the data shows how Russian criminals used offshore companies set up and administered by a Canadian firm in the Caribbean to launder part of a $230-million heist of the Russian treasury.

Other media outlets have found that the current or past leaders of countries such as Azerbaijan, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia have ties to offshore companies, sometimes in cases that would present serious conflicts of interest.

“A lot of people will be panicked to wonder if their names are on that sort of list and what it’s going to mean for them,” said Raymond Baker, president of Global Financial Integrity, a U.S. non-profit that campaigns to stop illicit movements of money.

“Right now there are millions and millions of entities around the world, shell companies where we don’t know who owns those entities. This is ridiculous. If we want to curtail the flow of illicit money, step one is knowing who owns the businesses that we are dealing with,” he said.

Tax probes underway

While journalists have their hands on the full set of leaked offshore records, so do national tax agencies. Britain, Australia and the United States announced last month that they’ve launched what could be the biggest ever international investigation into tax cheats using the data. Britain said it obtained the leaked files in late 2010.

Canada was offered the data by confidential sources for a price sometime before last December, but rejected it due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s policy at the time of not paying for such information. The federal government overturned that policy in its recent budget, which ushered in a plan to pay tipsters up to 15 per cent where the CRA recovers more than $100,000 from someone using offshore accounts to dodge their tax obligations.

Hudson said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hoping people will use its new database to find leads on other potential abuse of tax havens.

“It’s not a panacea. It’s not going to tell you everything. But it’s a tool,” he said.

“It’s a starting place for research for average citizens, for journalists, for government officials to start seeing connections and start documenting who’s out there and who’s using offshore.”

If you have more information on this story, or other investigative tips to pass on, please email investigations@cbc.ca.

Source

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Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm  Comments Off on Secret tax-haven names released to public  
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Food industry probe reveals abuse of foreign workers

Migrant workers used and abused becoming an epidemic world wide. A few story’s on the topic.

Food industry probe reveals abuse of foreign workers

March 12 2010

By Robert Verkaik, Home Affairs Editor

Foreign labourers employed in the meat and poultry industry face physical and racist abuse by British staff, an investigation has found.

Many workers reported being pushed, kicked or having things thrown at them by line managers, said investigators from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Some of the worst abuses were committed against pregnant women who were also forced to continue to undertake work that posed risks to their health, including heavy lifting and extended periods of standing.

The inquiry uncovered frequent breaches of the law and licensing standards in meat processing factories – some of which supply the UK’s biggest supermarkets – and the agencies that supply workers to them. It also highlighted conditions which flout minimum ethical trading standards and basic human rights.

The report said: “Physical and verbal abuse were not uncommon, with a fifth of workers interviewed reporting being pushed, kicked or having things thrown at them by line managers; over a third of workers interviewed said they had experienced, or witnessed verbal abuse, often on a daily basis.”

It added: “Workers also reported being refused permission to take toilet breaks, and subsequently urinating or bleeding on themselves at the production line.”

Responding to the report, union leaders said “Britain’s Supermarkets should hang their heads in shame”.

Unite Deputy General Secretary, Jack Dromey said: “The EHRC report exposes labour practices in the supermarket supply chain that are an affront to human decency – physical and verbal abuse, a lack of health and safety protection, shameful treatment of pregnant women and a culture of fear. The report says, and rightly so, that there are reputable employers but they are undercut by the rogues.”

The inquiry, which was launched in October 2008, examined the employment and recruitment practices in the sector to identify differences in pay and conditions between agency and temporary workers and employees with permanent or directly employed status.

One third of the permanent workforce and over two thirds of agency workers in the industry are migrant workers. At one in six meat processing sites involved in the study, every single agency worker used in the past twelve months was a migrant worker. This is in part due to difficulties in recruiting British workers to what is physically demanding, low paid work. It may also be due to perceptions amongst employers and agencies that British workers are either unable or unwilling to work in the sector.

More than eight out of ten of the 260 workers that gave evidence said that agency workers were treated worse than directly employed workers. Seven out of ten workers said they thought they were treated badly in factories or by agencies because of their race or nationality.

Neil Kinghan, Director General of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “The Commission’s inquiry reveals widespread and significant ill-treatment in the industry. We have heard stories of workers subjected to bullying, violence and being humiliated and degraded by being denied toilet breaks. Some workers feel they have little choice but to put up with these conditions out of economic necessity.

Source

This happens in other countries as well. The UK is not alone on this one.

New Center Report: Foreign Guestworkers Routinely Exploited by U.S. Employers

From 2007

Guestworkers who come to the United States are routinely cheated out of wages; forced to mortgage their futures to obtain low-wage, temporary jobs; held virtually captive by employers who seize their documents; forced to live in squalid conditions; and denied medical benefits for injuries, according to a new report released by the Center today.

The report  Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States comes as Congress is about to begin debating immigration legislation that could greatly expand guestworker programs to cover hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new temporary foreign workers.

“Congress should reform our broken immigration system, but reform should not rely on creating a vast new guestworker program,” said Mary Bauer, director of the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project and author of the report. “The current program is shamefully abusive in practice, and there is almost no enforcement of worker rights.”

The 48-page report, based on interviews with thousands of guestworkers and dozens of legal cases, describes the systematic abuse of workers under what is known as the H-2 system administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program was created in 1943 to allow the sugar cane industry to bring in temporary workers and was revised by Congress in 1986 to include non-agricultural workers.

Employers in 2005 “imported” more than 121,000 temporary H-2 guestworkers  32,000 H-2A workers for agricultural work and 89,000 H-2B workers for jobs in forestry, seafood processing, landscaping, construction and other non-agricultural industries.

“Guestworkers are usually poor people who are lured here by the promise of decent jobs,” Bauer said. “But all too often, their dreams are based on lies, their hopes shattered by the reality of a system that treats them as commodities. They’re the disposable workers of the global economy.”

Hugo Martin Recinos-Recinos, a former guestworker from Guatemala, borrowed thousands of dollars to pay recruiting fees for a forestry job in the United States. “I had to leave the deed to my home,” he said. “When I got to the U.S., I was always underpaid, living in small hotel rooms and working 10-hour days. The debt from my recruitment and travel to the States made the low pay even harder to bear. When I filed a lawsuit about the conditions, my family and I were threatened. The guestworker program was abuse from beginning to end.”

The most fundamental problem with the H-2 system is that employers hold all the cards. They decide which workers can come to the United States and which cannot. They decide whether a worker can stay in this country. They usually decide where and under what conditions workers live and how they travel.

Guestworkers are typically powerless to enforce their rights. “If guestworkers complain about abuses, they face deportation, blacklisting or other retaliation,” the report says.

“Guestworkers don’t enjoy the most basic protections of a free labor market the ability to change jobs if they are cheated or abused by their employer,” Bauer said.

The rights that H-2 workers do have exist mostly on paper. The federal government has failed to protect them from unscrupulous employers, and most cannot obtain private legal assistance to enforce their rights through the courts.

The report concludes that the H-2 guestworker program should not serve as a model for immigration reform, but in fact should be overhauled if allowed to continue. It offers specific recommendations to remedy the worst abuses.

“The mistreatment of temporary foreign workers in America today is one of the major civil rights issues of our time,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “For too long, we’ve reaped the economic benefits of their labor but have ignored the incredible degree of abuse and exploitation they endure.

“Congress now has an opportunity to right this terrible wrong. As part of the reform of our broken immigration system, Congress should eliminate the current H-2 system entirely or commit to making it a fair program with strong worker protections that are vigorously enforced.” Source

Apparently they have been attempting to get things changed.

US firms ‘paid Colombia militias’
Also from 2007

The right-wing paramilitary groups were formed
as private armies in the 1980s

A paramilitary commander has accused US companies which buy Colombia’s bananas of financing illegal right-wing militias that have killed thousands of people in more than a decade. In testimony to investigators, jailed commander Salvatore Mancuso named Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte as having made regular payments to the paramilitaries, according to Jesus Vargas, a lawyer for victims of paramilitary violence who was present at the hearing.The hearing was closed to the press.

Mancuso testified that “each one paid one [US] cent for each box of bananas they exported”, according to Vargas.
‘War taxes’

Mancuso’s lawyer, Hernando Benavides, confirmed his client’s testimony.

Mancuso did not specify why the companies paid the illegal militias but paramilitaries commonly exact “war taxes” from businesses and ranchers in areas where they operate.

Across the country, the paramilitaries countered leftist rebel extortion. They also served as union busters, and killed hundreds of labour rights activists.

A spokesman for California-based Dole Food denied the accusation.

“Recent press accounts implicating Dole with illegal organisations in Colombia is absolutely untrue,” said Marty Ordman.

A Del Monte spinoff, Del Monte Fresh Produce, has a subsidiary in Colombia that buys bananas. It did not immediately return phone calls from the Associated Press.

Chiquita Brands International has previously acknowledged that a subsidiary, Banadex, paid paramilitaries $1.7m over six years.

The Colombian chief federal prosecutor’s office says a Banadex ship was also used to unload 3,000 Kalashnikov rifles and more than 2.5 million bullets in 2001.

It agreed to pay a fine of $25m in a deal with the US justice department.

Chiquita says the payments were made to protect the safety of its workers but Colombia’s chief prosecutor has said companies that made such payments shared the responsibility for paramilitary murders.

Labour and human rights activists say Colombia companies and multinationals routinely paid paramilitaries to act as union busters and kill union leaders.

Mancuso, testifying as part of a peace deal with the government, also accused Colombian beverage and coal companies of paying “taxes” to the paramilitaries.

Wealthy landowners and drug traffickers first created the paramilitaries in the early 1980s to protect them from rebel extortion and kidnapping but the groups have since largely degenerated into murderous gangs.

The paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, were listed as a “foreign terrorists organisation” in 2001 by the US government.

The prosecutor’s office estimates the paramilitaries left at least 10,000 bodies across this war-scarred terrain in mass graves. Source

So if you can’t abuse them in yhour own contry abuse them where they live.

One has to wonder how many other countries do this?

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US-COLOMBIA: Activists Target “World of Coca-Cola”

From November 2009

They had eight union leaders murdered. We’ve been augmenting their legal suit,” Friedman said.

“There’s plenty of evidence that shows the plant managers were very cozy with the paramilitaries,” he added.

New report highlights Israeli exploitation of migrant workers

Report condemns treatment of migrant workers in Canada

Rampant exploitation of women’s labour, sexuality

March 10 2010

One hundred years after the world recognised the role of women in society, women are still robbed off their rights.

On the occasion of the 100th year anniversary of International Women’s Day yesterday, Caram Asia calls upon governments in both sending and receiving countries to protect the rights of migrant women who constitute more than half of the migrant population in the world today.

Migrant workers in Slovenia hunger strike for unpaid wages

March 2010

Contractor by the name of Perkovič has not compensated them for the work they have done in the past 15 months.

Italy: migrant workers strike!

Submitted on 9 March 9, 2010

March 1 2010 will go down in history as the date when tens of thousands of the four and a half million immigrant population of Italy threw down the gauntlet to the racist government of Silvio Berlusconi and the ever-widening persecution emanating from the pores of a society deep in crisis, by going on strike. It was a challenge to a society that in the time-honoured capitalist manner is increasingly forced to survive by sowing and maintaining divisions among the majority it exploits, scapegoating its weakest and most vulnerable.

The above are just the tip of the iceburg..

Seems not much has changed over the years.

U.S. Contractor in Iraq, KBR, Accused of SlaveryTell them your giving them a job, ship them off to a war zone, take their passports and force them to work

Another war realated Story about migrant workers

Homeless Nepalese in Baghdad are victims of Human trafficking

Even Call Centers are bad employers in many countries, Seems they don’t like to pay their employees either. August 27, 2008 What has changed not much. They love to exploit workers world wide.

Call centers lawsuits

Call center (BOSS) Burnout stress syndrome

Human Issues in Call Centers – A Report

February 16 2010

Call Centers has given many gifts to People , few of them are: High Stress Level, Number of other Illnesses, Broken Marriages Etc.

How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quake

Slavery and Human Trafficking Crimes

An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world according to the International Labor Organization.

Trans Fair

Like all great social change movements, Fair Trade is a messy and imperfect project.

A grassroots movement that for some emerged in opposition to global free trade eventually gave rise to an ambitious labeling and certification system that has now grown into a complex global organization. A simple yet powerful idea that began with small scale coffee farmers now spans a vast range of products that includes soccer balls and soon artisanal gold.  From the 1988 launch of the world’s first Fair Trade labelling initiative, Stichting Max Havelaar is today part of a worldwide network of twenty-three certifying bodies, that includes TransFair Canada, and three producer networks within the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International.

Check to see if what you buy is Fair Trade Goods or those done by slave labor or unscrupulous employers who abuse their workers.. Always check for the logo on goods you purchase. Fair Trade Labeling International

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Water shortage in Fiji, not for US Water Corporation however

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

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Comments Off on Food industry probe reveals abuse of foreign workers  
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Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza

Israel get weapons from everyone and their dog.

This is unbelievable. All of the countries are also violating International Laws as well.

Hamas has little to nothing in comparison to Israel.

The difference is staggering.

Shame on those who supply grossly, massive, amounts of Weapons of Mass Destruction to Israel.

Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict

Both Israel and Hamas used weapons supplied from abroad to carry out attacks on civilians. This briefing contains fresh evidence on the munitions used during the three-week conflict in Gaza and southern Israel and includes information on the supplies of arms to all parties to the conflict. It explains why Amnesty International is calling for a cessation of arms supplies to the parties to the conflict and calling on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo.

Introduction

With fragile ceasefires now in place in Gaza and southern Israel, the full extent of the devastation caused in recent weeks is becoming increasingly clear. Amnesty International researchers visiting Gaza and southern Israel during and after the fighting found evidence of war crimes and other serious violations of international law by all parties to the conflict.

In the three weeks following the start of the Israeli military offensive on 27 December, Israeli forces killed more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 300 children and many other civilians, and injured over 5,000 other Palestinians, again including many civilians. Israeli forces also destroyed thousands of homes and other property and caused significant damage to the infrastructure of Gaza, causing a worsening of the humanitarian crisis arising from the 18-month blockade maintained by Israel. Some of the Israeli bombardments and other attacks were directed at civilians or civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip; others were disproportionate or indiscriminate. Amnesty International has found indisputable evidence that Israeli forces used white phosphorus, which has a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated residential areas in Gaza, putting the Palestinian civilian population at high risk. Israeli forces’ use of artillery and other non-precision weapons in densely-populated residential areas increased the risk, and the harm done, to the civilian population.

During the same period, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups continued to fire indiscriminate rockets into residential areas of southern Israel, killing three civilians.

Direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks are war crimes.

Amnesty International is calling on the United Nations, and the Security Council (SC) in particular, to establish an immediate independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and other serious violations of international law committed by all sides to the conflict and for those found responsible to be brought to justice in order to ensure accountability. The organization notes and welcomes the investigation established by the UN Secretary-General into attacks on UN installations in Gaza but considers this insufficient, and that an independent international investigation must be held into all allegations of war crimes and other violations of international law by all the parties to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel. As well, Amnesty International is calling on the UN, notably the Security Council, to impose an immediate, comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, and on all states to take action individually to impose national embargoes on any arms or weapons transfers to the parties to the conflict until there is no longer a substantial risk that such arms or weapons could be used to commit serious violations of international law.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that weaponry, munitions and other military equipment supplied to Israel have been used by Israeli armed forces to carry out direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, and attacks which were disproportionate or indiscriminate. Amnesty International is also concerned that Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have been firing indiscriminate rockets, supplied or constructed of materials supplied from outside Gaza, at civilian population centres in southern Israel.

Misuse of conventional arms by Israeli forces

Hundreds of civilians taking no part in the hostilities, including over 300 children and more than 100 civilian police cadets who were not directly participating in the hostilities, were killed in attacks by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip. Civilian homes and other buildings, including medical facilities, schools and a university, were also damaged or destroyed by Israeli air strikes and artillery and other attacks — artillery is an area weapon, not one that can be used with pinpoint accuracy, and so should never be used in densely-populated civilian areas.

Amnesty International researchers, including a weapons expert, found various fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army during the three-week military offensive launched on 27 December. They include fragments of artillery shells (white phosphorus, high explosive and illuminating), tank shells, mortar fins, highly incendiary white phosphorus-impregnated felt wedges, anti-tank mines and a range of live and spent bullets casings of various calibres – including 7.62 mm, 5.56 mm and the larger .50 calibre.

The information below describes the types of munitions and military equipment used during the conflict that Amnesty International has documented, including in circumstances which violate international humanitarian law and, in some cases, may amount to war crimes.Amnesty International called on the Israeli authorities to disclose the weapons used by their forces in Gaza so that medical staff would be adequately informed to treat victims of the conflict.

Air delivered munitions

Amnesty International found remnants of air-delivered munitions — ranging from fragments of 20mm cannon and Hellfire and other missiles fired from helicopters and unmanned drones, to large fragments of large laser-guided and other bombs dropped from F-16 warplanes, as well as pieces of rocket motors, circuit boards and other electrical components of the missiles. Fragments from these bombardments are all over Gaza – on the streets, in school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes. Fragments from one 500lb bomb contained the inscription ‘For use on MK-82 fin guided bomb’ and the markings 96214 ASSY 837760-4. The cage code 96214 indicates that this fin was produced by the US company Raytheon. A US government solicitation notice dated 22 October 2001 for ‘bomb spare parts’ included AFG Fin, Raytheon part number 837760-4.

Fragments from a MK-82 bomb ©Amnesty International

By the rubble of the American School in Gaza, Amnesty International delegates spoke to the father of the school guard, Mahmoud Mohammed Selmi Abu Qleiq, who was killed when Israeli F16 aircraft bombed the school campus. Hundreds of homes were completely destroyed as a result of bombardments by F-16 aircraft.

At the northern end of the al-Shati (Beach) refugee camp in Gaza City, Amnesty International visited the Abu ‘Eisha family. Five members of the family – three children and their parents – were killed on the night of 5 January, when an Israeli aircraft dropped a bomb which struck and partially destroyed the house. The following day, 6 January, another Israeli F-16 bombardment killed 23 members of the al-Daya family, most of them children and women, as they slept in their home in the Zaytoun district of Gaza City. When Amnesty International delegates visited the ruins of the house two weeks later, several of the dead were still trapped under the huge pile of rubble.

Anti-Tank Mines

An Israeli anti-tank mine with Hebrew markings ©Amnesty International

On Wednesday 28 January, at the home of the Mardi family in Atatra, where 20 members of the family lived, Amnesty International delegates found one of the anti-tank mines that was used by Israeli soldiers to blow up the family’s house on 4 January. The mine was damaged but had failed to explode. The family said that they had found another such mine, wholly unexploded, which had been removed by the local police. The mine, like others – exploded and unexploded – found by AI delegates in the rubble of other destroyed houses, bore Hebrew writing and serial numbers. Though designed for use against tanks, these mines are easily adapted to other purposes through the addition of an explosive charge and fuse. Israeli soldiers have previously confirmed to Amnesty International that these anti-tank mines have long been used to destroy Palestinian houses, most often in the West Bank but also in Gaza.

Artillery and Mortars

During the three-week military campaign Israeli forces made extensive use of artillery including 155mm white phosphorus shells (see below White Phosphorus) in residential areas, causing death and injuries to civilians. Homes, schools, medical facilities and UN buildings — all civilian objects – took direct hits from Israeli artillery shelling. Artillery shells are for use on conventional battlefields and are not capable of pinpoint targeting. Yet in Gaza they were fired into densely-populated civilian residential areas.

In an UNRWA primary school in Beit Lahia, where 1,600 people were sheltering from the fighting, an artillery carrier shell hit a classroom on the second floor where 35 people were sleeping at 6am on 17 January. Two brothers, aged five and seven, were killed and 14 others were injured, including the boys’ mother, whose leg had to be amputated. Two days after the incident Amnesty International delegates found remains of 155 mm white phosphorus artillery shells and still smouldering remains of white phosphorus at the school.

Eleven days earlier, on 6 January, mortar shells fired by Israeli forces had landed in the street outside another UNRWA school in Jabalia, killing at least 41 people, among them 10 members of one family.

White Phosphorus

There is evidence that white phosphorus was used by Israeli forces across Gaza. Amnesty International came across many white phosphorus 155mm artillery carrier shells throughout Gaza with markings M825 A1 — a US-made munition. These are the same markings of the 155mm white phosphorus shells photographed in Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) stockpiles (see section Arms supplies to Israel below).

Several white phosphorus artillery shells hit the UNRWA field operations headquarters in Gaza City on 15 January, causing a large fire which destroyed tens of tons of humanitarian aid, including, medicines, food and other non-food items.Amnesty International delegates who visited the site found the marking PB-91K018-035 on the fragments of one of the artillery shells which is the lot number and indicates that they were assembled by Pine Bluff Arsenal (PB) in 1991 (91) in October (K).

A white phosphorus carrier shell ©Amnesty International

Amnesty International found that the Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely-populated civilian residential areas in and around Gaza City, and in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The organization’s delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January – that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces. Amnesty International considers that the repeated use of white phosphorus in this way in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime.

White phosphorus is a weapon intended to provide a smokescreen for troop movements on the battlefield. When each 155mm artillery shell bursts, it releases 116 wedges impregnated with white phosphorus which ignite on contact with oxygen and can scatter, depending on the height at which it is burst (and wind conditions), over an area at least the size of a football pitch. In addition to the indiscriminate effect of air-bursting such a weapon, firing such shells as artillery exacerbates the likelihood that civilians will be affected. When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen. It can contaminate other parts of the patient’s body or even those treating the injuries.
A 16-year-old girl, Samia Salman Al-Manay’a, was asleep in her home in the Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City, when a phosphorus shell landed on the first floor of the house at 8pm on 10 January. Ten days later, from her hospital bed, she told Amnesty International that she was still experiencing intense pain due to the burns to her face and legs. “The pain is piercing. It’s as though a fire is burning in my body. It’s too much for me to bear. In spite of all the medicine they are giving me the pain is still so strong.”

Amnesty International has seen documents written during the Israeli military offensive on Gaza by the office of the Israeli army Chief Medical Officer and Medical Field Operations headquarters.A document signed by Colonel Dr Gil Hirschorn, head of trauma in the office of the army’s Chief Medical Officer, states: “When the phosphorus comes in contact with living tissue it causes its damage by ‘eating’ away at it. Characteristics of a phosphorus wound are: chemical burns accompanied by extreme pain, damage to tissue … the phosphorus may seep into the body and damage internal organs. In the long run, kidney failure and the spread of infection are characteristic … In conclusion: a wound by an ordnance containing explosive phosphorus is inherently dangerous and has the potential to cause serious damage to tissue.”

Another document entitled “Exposure to White Phosphorus,” prepared by Medical Field Operations HQ and sent from the Health Ministry, notes that “most of the data on phosphorus wounds stems from animal testing and accidents. Exposure to white phosphorus is highly poisonous, according to many lab experiments. Burns covering a small area of the body, 12-15 percent in lab animals and less than 10 percent in humans, may be lethal as a result of its effects, mostly on the liver, heart and kidneys.”

In addition to the danger posed by the incendiary effect of white phosphorus, the artillery shells themselves continued to pose lethal threat after they dispersed the white phosphorus, as they continued on their trajectory and in many cases smashed into home full of civilians.

In Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza, Amnesty International delegates found white phosphorus artillery carrier shells, both whole and in fragments, in several homes in a densely-populated residential area. In one home, they found the fragments of another 155mm artillery carrier shell which had killed 47-year-old Hanan al-Najjar, a mother of four. She and her family had fled their home and were staying with relatives in a residential area well inside the town. On the evening of 10 January an artillery shell penetrated the roof of the house and travelled through two rooms, breaking up in the hall, where a large fragment hit Hanan in the chest, almost severing the upper part of her body. She was killed instantly. In the patio of the house, Amnesty International delegates found an artillery shell (illuminating round) and in a nearby house they found another whole artillery carrier shell which had crashed through the wall and landed on the young couple’s bed, where a baby had been sleeping only minutes earlier.

Illuminating artillery shells

Amnesty International delegates encountered 155mm M485 A2 illuminating shells used by the IDF which had landed in built up residential areas in Gaza. These eject a phosphorus canister, which floats down under a parachute. At least three of these carrier shells were found which had landed in people’s homes. These shells are yellow and one had the following markings: TZ 1-81 155-M 485 A2. TZ is a known marking on Israeli ammunition.

An artillery carrier shell which ejects a canister for illumination ©Amnesty International

At the home of journalist Samir Khalifa, in the Zaitoun district of Gaza City, Amnesty International delegates found a 155mm artillery shell which had smashed into his fourth floor apartment at 6am on 10 January, striking the room next to where he and his wife and children usually slept The family escaped harm as they were sleeping downstairs with the grandparents.

Flechettes

Flechettes are not specifically prohibited under international humanitarian law. However, their use in densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza contributed to unlawful killings of and injuries to civilians. Flechettes are 4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 of these darts are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m long and 100m wide.Flechette rounds are designed to be used against massed infantry attacks or squads of troops in the open and obviously pose a very high risk to civilians when fired in densely-populated civilian residential areas, as deployed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

Amnesty International investigated several deaths and injuries of civilians in Gaza caused by flechettes in January.In one case, on 4 January 2009, an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes after a missile strike in Beit Lahiya that apparently targeted five unarmed young men. The ambulance was hit a few minutes later by a tank shell filled with flechettes. Two paramedics were seriously wounded in the incident and one of them, Arafa Hani Abd-al-Dayem, later died.

The following morning, Israeli forces fired several flechette shells into the main road near the Abd al-Dayem family home in ‘Izbet Beit Hanoun, to the south-west of the town of Beit Hanoun. Two people, a child and a woman, were killed and several others were injured. Sixteen-year-old Islam Jaber Abd-al-Dayem was struck in the neck by a flechette. He was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit but died three days later. Mizar, his brother, was injured in the same attack and still has a flechette lodged in his back. Nearby, 21-year-old Wafa’ Abu Jarad, who was pregnant, her two-year-old son, her husband, and her father and brother-in-law were all injured by flechettes in the courtyard of their home. Wafa’ Abu Jarad died of her injuries two days later.

Amnesty International has previously documented Israeli forces use of flechette rounds in Gaza resulting in the killing of children. The manner in which shells containing flechettes were used by Israeli forces in Gaza — fired in densely populated civilian areas – violates the international law prohibition on indiscriminate attack. Prior to their use during the recent military offensive, the last known incident when flechettes were used in Gaza was on 16 April 2008, when Israeli soldiers fired a flechette tank shell at Reuters journalist Fadel Shana, while he was filming the tank, killing him and three other unarmed civilians, including two children.

In 2001, Jane’s defense publication quoted an Israeli military source, who stated: “The Israeli military obtained these weapons from the USA after the 1973 war and we have thousands of old shells in warehouses…The weapon is not regarded as reliable or effective and gunners have a difficult time in aiming this properly.”
Tank Ammunition

The markings on the base of one tank round found by Amnesty International delegates in Gaza at the destroyed house of the Abu ‘Ida family indicated that it was a 120mm M830 High Explosive Multi Purpose Cartridge made in the USA.

Base of tank cartridge found by Abu Abdullah Abu ‘Ida outside his house ©Amnesty International

Amnesty International delegates found fragments from 120mm tank rounds all over Gaza, including in homes where these munitions had killed children and other civilians. Tank rounds are precision munitions. The killings of so many civilians, many in their homes, indicates that these munitions were — at best — used in a reckless or indiscriminate manner. In Jabaliya, north Gaza, at the home of Dr Izz al-Din Abu al-‘Eish, a gynaecologist who works in an Israeli hospital, Amnesty International delegates found fragments of the two 120mm tank shells which were fired by Israeli soldiers into the bedroom of Dr Abu al-‘Eish’s daughters on the afternoon of 16 January. Three of the doctor’s daughters and his niece were killed on the spot and another daughter and niece were seriously injured.

Missiles from UAVs — or “drones”, helicopters and aircraft

Three paramedics in their mid 20s — Anas Fadhel Na’im, Yaser Kamal Shbeir, and Raf’at Abd al-‘Al — were killed in the early afternoon of 4 January in Gaza City as they walked through a small field on their way to rescue two wounded men in a nearby orchard. A 12-year-old boy, Omar Ahmad al-Barade’e, who was standing near his home indicating to the paramedic the place where the wounded were, was also killed in the same strike.

Amnesty International went to the scene of the incident with the two ambulance drivers who had accompanied the paramedics and who had witnessed the attack and met the child’s distraught mother and found the remains of the missile that killed the three paramedics and the child. The label read “guided missile, surface attack” and the USA is mentioned as the weapon’s country of origin.This AGM 114 Hellfire missile, usually launched from Apache helicopters, was produced by Hellfire Systems of Orlando,a Lockheed Martin/Boeing joint venture, under a contract with the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama which uses the number DAAH01-03-C-0106 on its contracts.

Label on the remains of a missile that killed three paramedics and a child ©Amnesty International

Amnesty International found evidence of missile components, including Hellfire AGM 114, from the air attack on the police cadet parade that took place on 27 December 2008. One of the electrical components had “made in France” written on it.

Cube-shaped shrapnel

Amnesty International delegates in Gaza also found evidence of the use of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which explodes large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2 and 4 mm square in size. This purpose-made shrapnel can penetrate even thick metal doors and many were seen by Amnesty International’s delegates embedded deep in concrete walls. They appear designed to cause maximum injury and, in some respects, seem to be a more sophisticated version of the ball-bearings or nails and bolts which armed groups often pack into crude rockets and suicide bombs. The signature of these new missiles, in addition to the deadly tiny metal cubes, is a small and deep hole in the ground (about 10 cm or less in diameter and up to several metres in depth) and a small quantity of shrapnel made of very thin metal, seemingly from the missile’s casing.

An X-ray of a young man who had been injured in one of these missile attacks, which killed a dozen youths and injured several others, showed the tiny metal pellets still embedded in his thigh.

A 13-year-old girl who was asleep in her bed; three primary school-age boys who were carrying sugar canes; two young women on their way to a shelter in search of safety; a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle; eight secondary school students who were waiting for the school bus to take them home; an entire family sitting in the courtyard of their home, and many others were all killed in attacks with these missiles.

Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME)

There have been reports of the use by Israeli forces of DIME munitions in Gaza. Amnesty International researchers in Gaza were not able to confirm the use of such weapons but they interviewed doctors who described treating patients with injuries that could be consistent with the use of DIME weapons.

According to the military publication, Jane’s Intelligence Defence Review, DIME munitions contain high explosives mixed with a powdered, high-density metal such as tungsten, a design which reportedly”improves the blast impulse and lethality near the detonation point (near field) but reduces the more distant (far field) effects.”

DIME munitions are not specifically prohibited under international law. However, as a relatively new weapon, there are questions about their long-term health consequences, which require further study. It is suspected by some scientists that embedded weapons-grade tungsten alloy shrapnel rapidly causes cancer in rats and, while it is not known whether the rate of inducement would be equivalent in human beings, further studies are required into the effects, and risks posed to humans exposed to it, of weaponsgrade tungsten shrapnel.

Some medical doctors in Gaza described attending victims who had unusual wounds that might have been caused by DIME weapons. Patterns of injury include limbs severed in a sharp amputation-like manner, with wounds looking as if cauterized and with little or no bleeding; very deep burns; and unexplained deterioration and deaths of patients with seemingly light injuries. Doctors are finding it difficult to treat these patients because of uncertainty about the nature of the munitions which caused the injuries.

Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to disclose the weapons and munitions used by their forces in Gaza, in order to facilitate treatment of the injured. The organization believes further studies are required before it can be determined whether the use of DIME munitions is lawful under international law. If it were determined that such weapons cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, or if they violate the provisions of the Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons) of 10 October 1980, then their use even against combatants, not only civilians, would be prohibited.

Unlawful use of indiscriminate rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups

Palestinian armed groups affiliated to Hamas and to other Palestinian factions (including the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s party) have been launching rockets into towns and villages in south Israel. Although most of these rockets fall in empty areas, they have caused the deaths of several Israeli civilians, injured scores and caused damage to civilian property. In some cases these rockets have failed to reach Israel and have fallen inside Gaza, and some have killed and injured Palestinian civilians. In January 2009, as an increasing number of Palestinian rockets hit Ashkelon, Israeli officials reported that up to 40 percent of the city’s 122,000 inhabitants had left their homes temporarily to stay in other parts of Israel. Sderot and villages in the area have also been similarly affected.

The rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups cannot accurately be directed at specific targets especially at longer distances. They include rockets described as Grads (Russian generic names which may indicate specific (Grad 122mm) calibres, or generically describe multiple-launched rockets) which have a range of about 35km, and home-made short range “Qassam” rockets (another generic name).The military publication Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor has described the “Qassam” rockets as: “inaccurate, short-range and rarely lethal”. According to Jane’s the “Qassam” is a Palestinian improvised artillery weapon.Amnesty International delegates visited Sderot and Ashkelon police stations, where they saw the rockets which have struck the towns and surrounding areas, including Grads, Qassams and Quds. The latter two are very crude, rusty 60, 90, or 120mm pipes about 1.5 metres long with fins welded onto them. They can hold about five kilograms of explosives as well as shrapnel in the form of nails, bolts, or round metal sheets which rip into pieces on impact. They have a range of up to 20km, but cannot be aimed accurately. Grad rockets are more professionally built and according to Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld are smuggled into Gaza, not produced locally there.

According to the Israeli army, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched 643 rocket attacks on Israel between 27 December 2008 and 11 January 2009. See the table for more information:

Fueled IDF Reports of Number of rocket attacks by Hamas

27 December 2008 — 11 January 2009

TOTAL: 643

Seven Israeli civilians were killed in 2008 by rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza into communities in south Israel. Three of the victims were killed in separate attacks on three consecutive days, on 27, 28 and 29 December 2008.

Fifty-eight-year-old Beber Vaknin was killed when a rocket fired from Gaza hit his apartment building in Netivot on 27 December 2008. The following day, on 28 December a 27-year-old Bedouin, Hani al-Mahdi, was killed and 16 of his co-workers were injured when a Grad rocket missile launched by Hamas militias from Gaza exploded at a construction site in the town of Ashkelon, where the group worked. A third Israeli, Irit Sheetrit, aged 39, was killed the following day, on 29 December 2008 when another Grad rocket hit the centre of the town of Ashdod. As with the attack of the previous day, Hamas also claimed responsibility for the attack.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Hamas and all other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza to stop firing indiscriminate rockets against towns and villages in southern Israel, and continues to do so.2

Arms supplies to Israel

Israel is a significant manufacturer of conventional arms, falling within the top 10 of arms exporters in the world, but also relies on imports of military equipment, parts and technologies. For example, Merkava-4 tanks produced in Israel have used diesel engines assembled in the USA incorporating components produced in Germany.

Since 2001, the USA has been by far the major supplier of conventional arms to Israel based on the value of export deliveries of all conventional arms including government to government as well as private commercial sales. US foreign military sales to Israel have continued on a large scale (see Appendix 1). The US authorities reported to the UN that the USA commercially traded $1,313 million in “arms and ammunition” to Israel in the years from 2004 to 2007, of which $447 million was traded in 2007. Israel did not report this trade to the UN. These figures for US trade would normally exclude gifts of military equipment and associated or “dual use” equipment and technologies. In addition to this trade, the USA has provided large funding each year for Israel to procure arms despite US legislation that restricts such aid to consistently gross human rights violators.

Since 2002, during the Bush administration, Israel received over $21 billion in US military and security assistance, including $19 billion in direct military aid under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. Put simply, Israel’s military intervention in the Gaza Strip has been equipped to a large extent by US-supplied weapons, munitions and military equipment paid for with US taxpayers’ money.

Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” which includes “acts of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.” Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act authorizes the supply of US military equipment and training only for lawful purposes of internal security, “legitimate self-defense,” or participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations or other operations consistent with the U.N. Charter. However, under the US Export Administration Act, security assistance may be provided if the President certifies that “extraordinary circumstances” exist, so Section 502B is circumvented. The Leahy Law, named after the senator who introduced the amendment to US legislation, prohibits the USA from providing most forms of security assistance to any military or police unit when there is “credible evidence” that members of the unit are committing gross human rights violations. Assistance can resume if the government in question takes “effective measures” and, under the Pentagon’s interpretation of the law, if the foreign government filters out the “few bad apples” in that particular unit, security assistance can continue.

On 16 August 2007, the US and Israeli governments signed a 10-year agreement for the provision of $30 billion in US military aid. Full details of the package were not disclosed; however, it is reported to include a new generation of F-35 fighter jets, advanced bombs, and laser-guided missiles. This military aid package, amounting to $3 billion per year, represented a 25 percent increase of the US annual military aid appropriation to Israel of $2.4 billion. Israel was already the largest recipient in the world of US military aid before the proposed increase. Even after the start of the current conflict and reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law by the IDF in Gaza, the US authorities continued to authorize large consignments of US munitions, including white phosphorus munitions, to Israel.

Other major arms exporting states such as France, Germany and the UK have been exporting far less to Israel than the US since 2004 but nevertheless these exports appear significant. According to the EU’s 2008 report on arms export licences, published in December for the 2007 calendar year and consolidating the accounts that Member States must annually submit, 18 EU Member States authorised a total of 1,018 such licences to Israel worth €199,409,348. France, Germany and Romania were the top three exporters. France issued export licences worth €126 million, Germany authorised €28 million and Romania €17 million. Export authorisations from states do not necessarily correspond to actual arms export data in any one year for a variety of reasons, but licence authorisations do show the willingness of governments of exporting States to equip Israel’s armed forces. Actual annual arms export data from the EU to Israel until the end of 2007 are shown in the table below.

Under Criterion 2 of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, Member States are supposed to “deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression” or “be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law”. The term “internal repression” “includes, inter alia, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary or arbitrary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions and other major violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as set out in relevant international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” Across the EU, only 28 export licences were refused as a result of human rights, internal security or regional stability reasons.

As a result of political pressure in some EU countries concerned about the conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, nine EU states including Sweden now claim not to export any arms to Israel and states such as Italy and the UK have claimed to restrict their exports of conventional arms overall, but sometimes such exports to Israel consist of components or transit trade. Nonetheless export data show that such states have exported infantry weapons, military vehicles and components for arms sent to Israel.

Other significant suppliers of military equipment to Israel since 2001 are (in alphabetical order) Austria, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea and Spain. The Netherlands and Greece have been major transit countries for military equipment sent to Israel. Albania, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Brazil, Colombia, and India are reported to have been in the top 20 commercial suppliers of arms and ammunition.

International obligations regarding conventional arms transfers

The UN Security Council, in Operative Provision 6 of Resolution 1860 (2009), of 8 January 2009, called on Member States “to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to … prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition…” According to the 1996 United Nations Guidelines for International Arms Transfers, the term “illicit arms trafficking is understood to cover that international trade in conventional arms, which is contrary to the laws of States and/or international law.”

The responsibility of all states to prohibit international arms transfers that will facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights derives from their obligation not to participate in the internationally wrongful acts of another state. The principle is stated in Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts in terms which reflect customary international law, binding on all States. Article 16 states: “A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if: (a) that State does so with knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act; and (b) the act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State.” General international law prohibits conduct that involves patterns of blatant abuse and complicity in such a pattern of blatant abuse. The expression “gross” or “serious” violation of human rights is commonly used to convey a sense of scale, evoking both the number of violations and the gravity of their consequences for the victims. It also suggests a measure of intent.

The table below shows the USA and EU suppliers of conventional arms to Israel, including government to government transfers and commercial sales — up to the most recent period publicly available.

Actual Export of US and EU conventional military equipment to Israel for the period 2004 to 2007:

USA USD
2004 1,204,413,883
2005 2,634,108,000
2006 2,487,285,000
2007 1,529,306,000
Total 7,855,112,883
FMS USD
2004 1,203,995,000
2005 1,523,885,000
2006 1,285,861,000
2007 1,269,031,000
Total 5,282,772,000
DCS USD
2004 418,883,000
2005 1,110,223,000
2006 1,201,424,000
2007 260,275,000
Total 2,990,805,000

Bulgaria EUR
2006 249,445
Total 249,445

Czech Republic EUR
2004 821,000
2005 1,289,000
2006 261,000
2007 2,442,820
Total 4,813,820

France EUR
2004 17,300,000
2005 12,808,032
2006 21,358,751
2007 7,998,720
Total 59,465,503

Germany EUR
2004 417,000
2005 477,000
2006 14,000
2007 770,000
Total 1,678,000

Greece EUR
2005 558,858
2006 88,606
2007 29,640
Total 677,104

Italy EUR
2004 161,780
2005 220,095
2006 42,588
2007 444,670
Total 869,133

Netherlands EUR
2005 3,253,083
Total 3,253,083

Poland EUR
2005 508,819
Total 508,819

Romania EUR
2004 3,154,943
2005 3,395,240
2006 6,809,454
2007 7,631,156
Total 20,990,793

Slovakia EUR
2005 304,656
2006 205,506
Total 510,162

Slovenia EUR
2004 435,818
2005 233,544
2006 492,150
2007 1,138,180
Total 2,299,692

Spain EUR
2004 35,257
2005 273,728
2006 441,335
2007 1,515,934
Total 2,266,254

UK GBP
2005 582,071
2006 3,572,788
2007 6,315,960
Total 10,470,819

This shows actual exports of military equipment as reported by the USA and EU governments. The value of the deliveries is shown in the different currencies as reported. Statistics are compiled differently by states. There is no available data for 2008. The above has been compiled, with the exception of the USA, in alphabetical order of the countries named.

Major commercial suppliers of infantry weapons, munitions and armoured vehicles, and aircraft to Israel

Based upon customs data submitted by states to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade) the US accounted for 95 percent of all commercial sales – which are those sales made directly to Israel by manufacturers to foreign recipients falling within the broad UN customs category 891 of “arms and ammunition” between 2004 and 2007 amounting to a total recorded value of over US$1.3 billion. Other major suppliers in this category were Serbia and Montenegro (in 2004), Poland, Romania, Serbia (since 2005), South Korea, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Finland and Austria.

The table below shows the top 20 arms suppliers to Israel by value in US$ according to this UN customs category of “arms and ammunition”, code 891. UN data is not yet available for 2008.

Top 20 Arms and Ammunition Deliveries to Israel between2004-2007 measured in US$
USA 1,312,909,556
Serbia and Montenegro (2004 only) 8,626,560
Poland 7,455,679
Romania 6,757,241
Serbia 6,331,138
Korea, South 5,864,486
Slovakia 5,415,005
Czech Republic 4,491,753
Finland 4,138,731
Austria 4,015,987
Italy 3,187,896
Brazil 1,983,166
Bosnia-Herzogovina 1,880,499
Germany 1,531,000
Colombia 1,496,192
Albania 1,255,415
India 1,052,680
Spain 952,725
Netherlands 784,714
UK 754,367
Canada 707,384

A note on UN Comtrade data

No useful information is submitted by States to the UN Comtrade database on the quantity or exact types of military equipment or munitions transferred. The only indicator of the size of the shipment(s) is the value in US$. Also, not all States report or report reliably to the UN and do not necessarily report their trade statistics for each and every year. However, UN Comtrade data can be used to ask governments about the exact nature of these deliveries, what equipment they exactly covered, what quantity, who the end-user is and what is the intended end-use. Nonetheless, the UN data does show which States are the main suppliers of arms to Israel.

Aircraft and Helicopters

Over the years, the US has also supplied Israel with US-made F-16 combat aircraft, Apache AH-64 helicopters and Black Hawk UH-60 combat helicopters.

According to the most recent data available submitted to the UN Register on Conventional Arms by the US government, during 2007 the US exported to Israel one M577A2 Command armoured combat vehicle; 18 F-16D combat aircraft; and 50 LAU-129 A/A launcher missile launchers. In 2006, the USA exported to Israel 21 F16 aircraft in 2006 and 42 Bell AH-1F Cobra. The Bell AH-1F Cobra gunship incorporates the 2.75 inch rockets fired from 7-tube M158, 19-tube M200, 7-tube M-260, or 19-tube M261 rocket pods, the M65 TOWmissile system and the M197 20mm gun.

Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles

According to the UN Comtrade database the following countries are the top five suppliers of equipment under the category of ‘tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles’ code 89111.

Top 5 suppliers of armoured fighting vehicles between 2004-2007 in US$
USA 540,900,776
Romania 5,819,346
Slovakia 901,676
Korea, South 530,775
Kazakhstan 197,861
Ammunition

According to the UN Comtrade database, the US was the largest commercial supplier of “munitions of war” under the code 89129 to Israel between 2004-2007 with US$480 million – 98% of all commercial sales in this category.

Top 10 deliveries of ‘munitions’ 2004-2007 in US$
USA 480,814,850
Finland 4,093,348
Korea, South 4,048,761
Germany 823,000
Serbia30 760,635
Poland 393,587
Albania 387,169
Serbia and Montenegro (2004 only) 376,681
Romania 329,150
Estonia 185,772
UK 8,048

According to research by Amnesty International and International Peace Information Service (a NGO based in Antwerp), Serbian and Bosnian companies have in recent years exported large quantities of small arms ammunition and components, as well as artillery shell and mortar components to Israeli companies that supply such weapons to the IDF. Such exports have been sanctioned by the governments of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzogovina.

The primary Israeli importer of small arms ammunition components and finished products from the Balkans is the company Israeli Military Industries (IMI). During 2005 and 2006, IMI imported millions of rounds of 5.56 calibre ammunition from the Prvi Partizan factory in Serbia. IMI also ordered 45 million rounds of 5.56 calibre ammunition compatible with IDF assault rifles from a Bosnian factory in September 2005. IMI continued to import massive quantities of IDF compatible ammunition from Serbia. IMI is the leading small arms supplier to the IDF. See below for information on small arms and light weapons.

Rockets and Missiles

Israel typically uses the AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles which are fired from the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The armament of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter consists of the 2.75 inch (70mm) Hydra rockets carried in 19-tube rocket pods and the M230 30mm chain gun.The US supplies these to Israel as the table below shows.

Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

2,000

14

1,000

200

500

100

Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-87

28,000

60,000

M72A7 66mm Light Anti-Armor Weapons (LAAWs),M72AS 21mm Sub-Caliber Training Rockets.
Bombs

The table below shows proposed US supplies of the GBU-28 ‘bunker buster’ and other bombs to Israel between 2005 and 2008.

Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

29/04/05

Transmittal 05-10

100

GBU-28 bombs that include: BLU-113A/B penetration warhead, WGU-36A/B guidance control unit, FMU-143H/B bomb fuze, and BSG-92/B airfoil group guide. Also included are: support equipment; testing, spare and repair parts; supply support; publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and

other related elements of logistics support.

20/04/07

Transmittal 07-21

3,500

MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

1,500

2,000

50

MK-84 live bombs;

MK- 82 live bombs;

BLU-109 live bombs;

GBU-28 guided live bombs

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-82

1,000

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1)

The US Department of Defense contracted Boeing in September 2006 to incorporate focused lethality munition (FLM) technology into small diameter bombs.According to the table above 1000 GBU-39s were ordered in September 2008 by Israel. There are reports that the FLM uses DIME technology.

Artillery shells including white phosphorus shells

During the Gaza conflict, photographic evidence emerged of the Israeli army using stocks of white phosphorus smoke shells. Amnesty International has identified the pale blue 155mm rounds, clearly marked with the designation M825A1, as an American-made white phosphorus munition.White phosphorus is also marked in the US list of munitions due to be carried on a ‘ship of shame’ from the USA to Israel — see section on “US arms ships” below.

The table below shows government-to-government sales’ notices for the shipment of artillery munitions from the US to Israel:

Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

150,048

8,000

30,003

100,000

5,000

M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) CartridgesM930 120MM Illuminating CartridgesM889A1 81MM High Explosive Cartridges with M935 FuzesM107 155MM High Explosive Artillery RoundsM141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions

Israeli companies such as Soltam Systems have also purchased large quantities of key mortar and artillery shell components from Bosnia & Herzegovina.Soltam Systems is a leading supplier of artillery and mortar shells to the IDF.

Small Arms and Light Weapons

Israel makes its own pistols, assault rifles (Galil and Tavor), machines guns and other light weapons, while such items in the hands of Hamas and other Palestinian groups are usually former USSR types smuggled in from unknown sources.

The US has been a large supplier of firearms and light weapons to Israel. Many Israeli soldiers can be seen carrying M4 carbine assault rifles. According to EU reports for exports to Israel during 2007, Bulgaria and Poland issued licences for small arms and/or light weapons worth over €2 million, with Germany, Spain, Slovenia and the UK approving small amounts of less than €500,000.

The top five suppliers to Israel of ‘military weapons’ (under the code 89112 in the UN Comtrade database) have been:

Top 5: 2004-2007In US$
USA 31,181,225
Albania 868,246
Netherlands 420,360
Mexico 115,080
Croatia 47,342
Electronic Equipment

The EU’s 2008 consolidated report on arms exports lists “electronic equipment specifically designed or modified for military use” with licences for export to Israel approved by France (€89 million) and Germany (€5 million) during 2007. In addition, France approved the export of €22 million of “imaging or countermeasure equipment for military use”. The US is also thought to be a major supplier of such equipment.

Components

According to the UN Comtrade data, the US was the largest commercial supplier of “parts and accessories for military weapons and non-military weapons” to Israel. Between 2004 and 2007 the US exported US$151 million-worth of such parts and accessories – 97% of all commercial sales in this category. Other suppliers include: Austria which shipped $3,045,131 worth during the same period; the Netherlands $361,841; the UK $279,565 and the Czech Republic $116,304. The table below shows proposed government to government transfers from the US to Israel:

Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008 (DSCA)

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

2,500

500

1,000

10,000

10,000

Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

FMU-139 live fuze components; and

FMU-152 live fuze components.

The UK is also coming under increasing scrutiny about the export of components. Amnesty International remains particularly concerned about the exports of UK components that may have been incorporated into military systems used by the IDF. The introduction in 2002 of revised UK guidelines for the control of exports of components for incorporation in military systems were specifically intended to allow the export of UK components to the USA for incorporation in military equipment such as F-16 combat aircraft and Apache combat helicopters which were known be exported to the Israel. The UK has also licensed components for a wide variety of military equipment directly to Israel. Details contained within UK government reports do not allow for a meaningful assessment of the end-user of this equipment, but Amnesty International has concerns that some of this equipment, particularly components for UAVs and naval equipment, may have been exported to Israeli military forces and used for serious violations.

In addition, numerous credible sources, including company promotional literature, established defence industry journals and sources from within the Israeli military have stated that a UK company provides the engines for the Hermes 450 pilotless “drone” UAV aircraft manufactured in Israel by Elbit systems. The Hermes 450 UAVs are currently operated by the IDF as well as other armed forces. It has been widely reported that the Hermes 450 UAV uses a ‘UEL AR-80-1010’ engine manufactured by a company based in Lichfield. The initial version of the aircraft was reportedly powered by an ‘AR741’ engine, also produced by the Lichfield company, when at the time the IDF were the only users of the Hermes 450.

A spokesperson for Elbit Systems has denied these claims, stating that whilst the UK company does provide engines for Hermes 450s that are destined for export, the UK company does not provide the engines for any of the drones used by the Israeli armed forces. Amnesty International is not alleging any illegality on the part of UK companies, nor suggesting that any of its exports have not been authorised by the necessary export licenses from the UK government.

UAVs have been extensively used in combat operations by the IDF in Lebanon and Gaza. The claims have been strongly Denied by Elbit systems, the Israeli manufacturer of the Hermes 450, who have stated that UK engines are only used in variants manufactured for export and not used by the IDF. Amnesty International-UK has written to the UK government to seek assurances that it has not licensed components for use in UAVs and that it has undertaken sufficient end-use monitoring to ascertain that UK engines are not and have not been used in UAVs operated by the IDF. Government officialshave admitted that they are unable to say whether UK engines have been incorporated into drones used by the IDF. MPs are calling for a full account into arms exports to Israel. The lack of a robust end-use monitoring and verification system hampers public and parliamentary scrutiny of UK arms supplies, especially where it concerns the transfer of components that are incorporated into military equipment.

According to the Canadian NGO Ploughshares, Canadian-built components are also included in many US weapons systems that are exported to Israel.

Special Fuels

Under the Foreign Military Sales program the US government regularly provides the Israeli government with various fuels: EN590 diesel fuel and JP-8 jet fuel. Because of its properties JP-8 is also used in ground-based operations, for example armoured vehicles.See appendix two for a table showing fuel contracts for the Israeli government between 2002 and 2008.

Current US arms ships

Since early December 2008, the US Military Sealift Command has been organizing three large deliveries by sea of military ammunition and high explosives, including explosives with white phosphorus, from the US base at Sunny Hill, North Carolina, to an Israeli port near Gaza.

On 4 December 2008, the USA’s military shipping service, Military Sealift Command, issued a request to charter a commercial cargo vessel to move a very large consignment of “containerized ammunition and other containerized ammunition supplies” from Sunny Point, North Carolina — the location of a US Military Ocean Terminal – to Ashdod in Israel. The contract was awarded on 8 December 2008 to a German shipping company, Oskar Wehr KG GmbH, and the cargo was due to be loaded in North Carolina on 13 December 2008.

The US military tender request indicated an extremely large quantity of ammunition and associated supplies: the first planned shipment consisted of the equivalent of 989 standard (20ft) shipping containers of cargo, and required the ship to carry at least 5.8 million lbs (around 2600 metric tons) of ‘net explosive weight’, a measure of the explosive content of the cargo. The ship was placed under the tactical control of the US Sealift Logistics Command for the duration of the voyage, and was required to have up to 12 US armed forces personnel on board.

On 31 December 2008, just four days after the start of Israel’s attacks on targets in Gaza, a second request was issued by the US Military Sealift Command for a ship to transport two further shipments of ammunition from Astakos in Greece to Ashdod, Israel. These shipments were to comprise 157 and 168 standard shipping containers of ammunition with a net explosive weight of nearly 1 million lbs. The ‘Hazard Codes’ of the cargo indicate that the cargo would include articles containing white phosphorus.

Planned US munitions shipments to Ashdod (Israel), according to US tender documents:

From Loading date Latest Arrival Date in Ashdod Cargo Size (equivalent no. of 20ft shipping containers) Net Explosive Weight (lbs)
Shipment 1 Sunny Point, NC, USA 13 Dec 2008 ?? (42 day charter) 989 containers 5,800,000
Shipment 2 Astakos, Greece 18-19 Jan 2009 22 Jan 2009 157 containers 971,575.9
Shipment 3 Astakos, Greece 25 Jan 2009? [latest arrival date in Astakos] 29 Jan 2009 168 containers 973,164.3

Transport tenders for these second and third shipments were cancelled on 9 January. However, a US military spokesperson confirmed on 12 January that they were still seeking a way to deliver these shipments, likewise destined for the Israel stockpile. US forces have also previously transferred ammunition consignments between vessels at sea around the Greek mainland and Crete.

According to Amnesty International research with the NGOs TransArms and the Omega Research Foundation, on 20 December 2008, the first delivery of 989 containers was taken from North Carolina in a container ship, the Wehr Elbe, owned by Oskar Wehr KG. This arms ship entered Gibraltar on 28 December, but the German firm told Amnesty International that its ship did not unload the arms in Israel. According to maritime tracking facilities, the Wehr Elbe sailed off the coast of Greece near Astakos for several days then disappeared off the radar on 12 January reportedly after the Greek Government refused to grant permission to tranship the munitions to Israel. The Wehr Elbe has a capacity of over 2,500 20 ft shipping containers and thus has the capacity to load the first shipment of ammunition in North Carolina, load the other shipments in Astakos, and sail on to Ashdod. As of 27 January, according to maritime tracking facilities, the ship’s last port of call was Augusta, Italy. As of 17 February, the ship has not subsequently docked anywhere.

According to a report from Reuters on 9 January 2009, a US naval spokesperson stated that the delivery was “to a pre-positioned U.S. munitions stockpile in Israel in accordance with a congressionally authorized 1990 agreement between the U.S. and Israel…This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza.” However, the portion of US Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) maintained in Israel is the War Reserve Stocks for Allies — Israel (WRSA-I) stockpile. According to information provided to Congress in 2003 by the US Department of Defense, this is a “separate stockpile of U.S.–owned munitions and equipment set aside, reserved, or intended for use as war reserve stocks by the U.S. and which may be transferred to the Government of Israel in an emergency, subject to reimbursement.”

Arms supplies to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups

Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have smuggled small arms, light weapons, rockets and rocket components into Gaza, using tunnels from Egypt into Gaza; this weaponry has been acquired from clandestine sources. “Katyusha” rockets are originally Russian-made, but those being used by Palestinian fighters are unlikely to have been acquired directly from Russia. Such imports and holdings are on a very small scale compared to those of Israel. A rocket arsenal that provides an offensive or deterrent capability similar to that fielded by the Lebanese group Hizbullah during the 2006 war with Israel is beyond the reach of Palestinian militant groups.

It is reported by Jane’s Defence Weekly that Hamas has an estimated rocket arsenal of 3,000, primarily locally made, short-range rockets: the Qassam 1, 2 and 3. The longer-range rockets are purchased abroad and smuggled into Gaza via Egypt. These include the 122mm Grad rocket, originally Russian-made, the Iranian-made 220mm Fadjr-3, and allegedly also Chinese-made rockets smuggled from Sudan. The explosives used in the warheads is either manufactured locally from fertilizer or smuggled into Gaza through tunnels or from the sea.

Over the years several arms shipments allegedly en route to Gaza are reported to have been intercepted by Israeli or Egyptian security forces. In May 2006 the Israeli Navy said it had intercepted a Palestinian fishing boat with 500kg of weapons grade TNT.The Egyptian police said they recovered 1,000 kg of explosives in Sinai — 30 km from Gaza – in October 2006.Also, in 2008, several large caches were reportedly recovered: Egyptian police uncovered a cache in May 2008 containing 500kg of TNT500 metres from the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.In late May 2008, an Egyptian police official told the Associated Press news agency that the Egyptian authorities had found ammunition boxes, RPGs and anti-aircraft missiles apparently bound for Gaza some 80 km south of Rafah.

The table below estimates the Hamas rocket arsenal:

Type

Range

Warhead Payload

Origin

Qassam-1

3 km

0.5 kg

Locally made

Qassam-2

6-10 km

5-7 kg

Locally made

Qassam-3

10 km

10 kg

Locally made

122mm Grad

20 km

USSR/Russia, various

220mm Fadjr-3

40 km

45 kg

Iran

122mm

40 km

China

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, Hamas is in the possession of several home-made anti-armour rockets: the Al-Battar, the Banna 1 and Banna 2.

There have been several reports that Iran has provided military equipment and munitions, including rockets, to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups but Amnesty International has not seen any evidence to verify these allegations.

Recommendations

  • Impose UN SC arms embargo – Impose immediately a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons or munitions and other military equipment will not be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This must include ensuring that alleged violations are thoroughly and impartially investigated and accountability, with any persons who are found responsible being brought to justice in fair trials.
  • Suspend All Arms Transfers – Act immediately to unilaterally suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions, as well as those which may be diverted, to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk that such equipment will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.
  • Accountability – Establish without delay thorough, independent and impartial investigation of violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the Israeli attacks which have been directed at civilians or civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip, or which are disproportionate, and Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian centres in southern Israel. Amnesty International has collected evidence of possible war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. There must be full accountability for such crimes. Where appropriate states must be ready to initiate criminal investigations and carry out prosecutions before their own courts if the evidence warrants it.
  • Support for the Golden Rule on Human Rights – Actively support the establishment of an effective global Arms Trade Treaty that includes the “Golden Rule” on human rights and international humanitarian law to avoid and minimise the recurrence of arms supplies contributing to such serious violations — the Golden Rule promoted by Amnesty International and other NGOs is that all States will prevent the transfer of arms, including military weapons, ammunition and equipment, where there is a substantial risk that the arms are likely to be used for serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Public Document

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Appendix One: Proposed US Foreign Military Sales notified to Congress 2005-2008

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

29/04/05

Transmittal 05-10

100

GBU-28 bombs that include: BLU-113A/B penetration warhead, WGU-36A/B guidance control unit, FMU-143H/B bomb fuze, and BSG-92/B airfoil group guide. Also included are: support equipment; testing, spare and repair parts; supply support; publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and

other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$30 million.

20/04/07

Transmittal 07-21

3,500

MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units, testing, support equipment, spares and repair parts, supply support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$65 million.

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

2,500

500

1,000

10,000

1,500

2,000

50

10,000

10,000

Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

MK-84 live bombs;

MK- 82 live bombs;

BLU-109 live bombs;

GBU-28 guided live bombs;

FMU-139 live fuze components; and

FMU-152 live fuze components.

Also included: Containers, bomb components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. Total value could be US$465 million

24/08/07

Transmittal 07-37

30

500

RGM-84L BLOCK II HARPOON Anti-Ship missiles with containers andAIM-9M SIDEWINDER Short Range Air-to-Air Infrared Guided missiles, spares and repair parts for support equipment, training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$163 million.

24/08/07

Transmittal 07-43

200

AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air (AMRAAM) missiles, containers, components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is US$171 million.

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

2,000

14

1,000

200

500

100

150,048

8,000

30,003

100,000

5,000

Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Cartridges

M930 120MM Illuminating Cartridges

M889A1 81MM HE Cartridges with M935 Fuzes

M107 155MM HE Projectiles

M141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions

Also, includes non-MDE cartridges, projectiles, charges, fuzes, containers, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, Quality Assurance Team support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$1.329 billion.

09/06/08

Transmittal 08-42

25

T-6A Texan aircraft, Global Positioning System (GPS) with CMA-4124 GNSSA card and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) spares, ferry maintenance, tanker support, aircraft ferry services, site survey, unit level trainer, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$190 million.

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-62

3

PATRIOT System Configuration 3 Modification kits to upgrade 3 PATRIOT fire units to Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3) and Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3). Non-MDE includes: communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$164 million.

15/07/08

Transmittal 06-63

4

Littoral Combat Ships (LCS-I variant): Hull, and all mechanical and electrical functions. Each ship will be equipped with: 2 MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems, 8 cells for each system; 1 Close-In-Weapon System, Block 1A, 1 Enhanced HARPOON Launching System with launchers; 2 MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; Communications and Sensors; Link 16; COMBATSS-21 with SPY-1F(V) and MK-99 Fire Control System; or Ship Self-Defense System. Also includes design and integration services, hardware and software, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$1.9 billion.

30/07/08

Transmittal 08-76

9

6

9

9

9

9

4

10

4

3

1

2

10

5

Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 United States Air Force (USAF) baseline aircraft including USAF baseline equipment and Block 7.0 Software;Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 spare engines;AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (includes three spares) ;AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receivers (includes three spares);AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems (includes three spares) ;AN/AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE III Special Operations Suites (includes three spares) ;spare AN/ARC-210 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS);spare Secure Voice Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency Radios ;spare Secure Voice High Frequency Radios ;

spare AN/AAR-222 SINCGARS and Key Gen (KV-10) Systems ;

KIV-119 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

ARC-210 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

External Pylons and Fuel Tanks ;

Internal Israeli Tank Modification Kits ;

Also included are spare and repair parts, configurations updates, communications security equipment and radios, integration studies, support equipment, aircraft ferry and tanker support, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logisticis US$1.9 billion.

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-82

1,000

150

30

2

7

1

2

12

3

2

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1),

BRU-61/A SDB1 Mounting Carriages,

Guided Test Vehicles,

BRU-61/A SDB Instrumented Carriages,

Jettison Test Vehicles,

Separation Test Vehicle,

Reliability and Assessment Vehicles,

Common Munitions BIT and Reprogramming Equipment with Test Equipment and Adapters,

SDB1 Weapons Simulators, and

Load Crew Trainers.

Also includes containers, flight test integration, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$77 million.

29/09/08

Transmittal 08-83

25

(+50 optional)

25 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft with an option to purchase at a later date an additional 50 F-35 CTOL or Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. All aircraft will be configured with either the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines or General Electric-Rolls Royce F-136 engines. Other aircraft equipment includes: Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence/Communication, Navigational and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Flight Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability, and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; unique systems or sovereign requirements; reprogramming center, Hardware/Software In-the-Loop Laboratory Capability; External Fuel Tanks; and F-35 Performance Based Logistics. Also includes: software development/integration, flight test instrumentation, aircraft ferry and tanker support, support equipment, tools and test equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is US$15.2 billion.

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-87

28,000

60,000

M72A7 66mm Light Anti-Armor Weapons (LAAWs),M72AS 21mm Sub-Caliber Training Rockets, spare and repair parts, support equipment,publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is US$89 million.

Appendix Two: US Foreign Military Sales Fuel Contracts for Israeli government 2002-2008

Award No.

Awardee

Description

Source

SP0600-08-D-0495

Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

$45,978,408.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for fuel. Using service is the Government of Israel. The date of performance completion is Aug. 13, 2008

Defense Contracts, No. 562-08

(3 July 2008)

SP0600-06-D-0506 Refinery Associates of Texas, Inc., New Braunfels, Texas, a maximum $22,556,374 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for diesel fuel. The using service is foreign military sales — Israel. The other location of performance is Compagnie Industrielle Maritime SNC, Le Harve, France. This is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity type contract. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2006.

Defense Contracts, No. 707-06

(25 July 2006)

SP0600-06-D-0542 Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas a maximum $36,781,780 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for JP8 jet fuel for the government of Israel. The date of performance completion is Jan. 30, 2007.

Defense Contracts, No. 669-06

(14 July 2006)

SP0600-05-D-0453

Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

A $103,331,200 fixed price with economic price adjustment type contract for fuel for the government of Israel. Performance completion date is expected to be December 31, 2005.

Defense Contracts, No. 1216-04

(29 November 2004)

SP0600-05-D-0451

ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

A maximum $32,306,080 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for USG of EN590 and EN 228 for Foreign Military Sale to Israel. Performance completion date is Dec. 31, 2005.

Defense Contracts, No. 229-05

(4 March 2005)

SP0600-04-D-0452

ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

A $24,314,094 fixed price with economic price adjustment for fuel for Foreign Military Sale (Israel). Performance completion date is expected to be March 1, 2005.

Defense Contracts, No. 965-03

(19 December 2003)

SP0600-04-D-0454

Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

A $7,093,519 fixed price with economic price adjustment type of contract for fuel for the government of Israel. Performance completion date is expected to be November 30, 2003.

Defense Contracts, No. 817-03

(4 November 2003)

SP0600-03-D-0457

Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

A $87,199,890 fixed-price with economic-price adjustment type contract for JP8 and EN590 fuel for the government of Israel. The performance completion date is January 30, 2004.

Defense Contracts, No. 618-02

(5 December 2002)

SP0600-02-R-0552

Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

A $6,922,338 fixed price with economic price adjustment type contract for JP8 jet Fuel for the Government of Israel. Performance completion date is scheduled for October 2002.

Defense Contracts, No. 464-02

(12 September 2002)

SP0600-02-D-0502

Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

A $8,744,537 fixed-price with economic price adjustment type contract for 10,500,000 USG of EN590 for the Government of Israel. Performance completion is expected to be April 30, 2002.

Defense Contracts, No. 164-02

(5 April 2002)

Source

Plus Israel also possesses over 200 Nuclear Bombs.

Early next week the report heads to the floor of the US Congress and the UN General Assembly, and we’re expecting continued pressure to have this important document roundly dismissed.

The continued attacks on the Goldstone Report prevent accountability for the civilian victims before, during and after the attack on Gaza — both Palestinians and Israelis — and shred the rule of law.

Israel decided not to cooperate with the investigation and now claims that the report and its results are biased. Worse yet, Israel claims that the report negates its right to defend its population, when in reality, all the report does is insist that such a defense take place within the bounds of international law.

The truth is that the Goldstone Report is a well-researched, fair-minded report. It accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the attack on Gaza, and it calls on Israel and Hamas to conduct credible, independent investigations or face the International Criminal Court.

The United States and other countries are repeating the same lines, and have exerted great diplomatic pressure to kill the report.

The US Congress is getting ready to pass a resolution next week calling on President Obama to do everything he can to bury the Goldstone Report. The UN General Assembly will vote on it. Israel might launch its own investigation, if it is pressured enough to do so. And if it does, our task will be to ensure that the investigation is comprehensive, impartial, and aimed towards addressing, punishing and preventing future human rights abused – and not at changing the laws of war such that another blatant assault on civilian life and property as the Gaza war will ever become acceptable under international law.

The UN Goldstone report is a well-researched, fair-minded report. Israel and Hamas must conduct credible, independent investigations on war crimes and possible crimes against humanity or face the International Criminal Court. We demand accountability for all victims, respect for the rule of law, international law and human rights.

Go HERE To Sign Petition

Or contact Representative Directly.

The Goldstone report must not be shoved aside. It is important to all of us. If these kind of crimes can be perpetrated on those in Gaza and disregarded it can be perpetrated on anyone in any country including ours.
This is a crime against all of us not just those in Gaza. The International Laws must be respected for all our sakes.
Scream at your representatives.
Senators of the 111th Congress
http://www.senate.gov/general/ co…enators_cfm.cfm
Contact the White house
http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/
Pass it on. War Crimes and Crimes against humanity must not go unpunished.

Depleted uranium was found in Gaza victims by Norwegian Doctors.

LEGALITY TEST FOR WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
Weapons must pass four tests in order to determine that they are legal under international law. The tests are:
(1)TEMPORAL TEST. Weapons must not continue to act after the battle is over.
(2)ENVIRONMENTAL TEST. Weapons must not be unduly harmful to the environment.
(3)TERRITORIAL TEST. Weapons must not act off of the battlefield.
(4)HUMANENESS TEST. Weapons must not kill or wound inhumanely. Depleted uranium weaponry fails all four tests. For that reason it is illegal under all Treaties, all agreements and all war conventions.

At least 18 countries are thought to have weapon systems with DU in their arsenals. These include: UK, US, France, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, Thailand, China, India and Taiwan. Many of them were sold DU ammunition by the US while others, Including France, China,Russia, Pakistan ,UK and India are thought to have developed it independently.

April 2011 Report

US Weapons Sales to Israel

The SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies, 2010

The Arms Trade is Big Business

Who’s Arming Israel? Report 2001-2007

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US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies

By Rick Rozoff

September 22, 2009
Stop NATO

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 Year Book documented that international military expenditures for 2008 reached $1.464 trillion. The denomination in dollars is germane as the United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world total.

Earlier this month the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that American weapons sales abroad reached $37.8 billion, or 68.4 percent of all global arms transactions. The next largest weapons supplier was Italy at $3.7 billion, less than one-tenth the U.S. amount. Russia was third at $3.5 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, asserted that Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.

Western nations in general and the U.S. overwhelmingly among them dominate the global arms market.

21st century weaponry is daily more technologically advanced, more linked with computer networks and satellite communications, and progressively approaching a blurring of conventional and strategic, terrestrial and space-based capabilities.

And in the U.S. and allied nations the notion of so-called preemptive warfare has advanced precariously to include cyber and satellite attacks that can cripple a targeted nation’s communications, control and air defense centers, thus rendering it both helpless and toothless: Not able to fend off attacks and unable to retaliate against or even forestall them with a secure deterrent force.

The vast preponderance of American and other NATO states’ arms are sold to nations neither in North America and Europe nor on their peripheries.

They are sold to nations like Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Morocco and other Western client states and military outposts far removed from the much-vaunted Euro-Atlantic space.

The weapons along with the military technicians, trainers and advisers that inevitably accompany them are spread throughout nations in geostrategically vital areas of the world, near large oil and natural gas reserves and astride key shipping lanes and choke points. In many instances Western-fueled arms buildups are accelerating in nations bordering Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. Geopolitics in its most transparent, cynical and brutal manifestation.

The growing sales of Western arms in the Persian Gulf, the South Caucasus, South America (Chile and Colombia most pronouncedly), Africa, Far East Asia and the South Pacific (Australia in the first instance) are an integral element of American and general Western plans to gain access to and domination over world energy resources.

The campaign is not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.

The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and accessibility network.

Those who are allowed to exploit, sell and transit hydrocarbons to the Western and ultimately world market are levied for a handsome share of their energy-derived revenues for unprecedented acquisition of arms and for the stationing of U.S. and other NATO states’ military forces on their soil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.

A United Press International report of August 25, 2009 estimated that Middle Eastern nations would purchase $100 billion worth of arms over the next five years, with the lion’s share going to the oil-rich Western client states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

There are six major areas in the world that the United States and its allies have targeted in history’s largest scramble for hydrocarbons and, it’s important to remember, against a recent backdrop of diminishing energy consumption, plunging prices and both the discovery and presumption of oil and natural gas reserves hitherto unexploited.

They are the Persian Gulf, the southern rim of the Caribbean Basin, the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Western Africa, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Ocean and adjoining parts of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The first two were the private preserves of Washington and Western Europe until the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the first example and in the second the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 and subsequent developments in that country and in nearby Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

South American oil and gas are no longer available to Washington on its own terms. Though Venezuelan and Ecuadoran officials have voiced the suspicion that the U.S. has recently acquired the use of seven new military bases in neighboring Colombia in part to seize the region’s energy resources.

The U.S. belatedly compensated for the loss of Iran after the overthrow of its proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, thirty years ago by invading neighboring Iraq in 2003.

The announcement of the Carter Doctrine in January of 1980, which bluntly affirmed that the U.S. would wage war for control of Persian Gulf energy resources and by extension those in other parts of the world, codified then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s threat five years earlier to go to war over oil after the Arab petroleum boycott of 1973-1974.

President Carter’s State of the Union address in 1980 included the following comments:

“This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East….Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

The reference to an outside force at the time was the Soviet Union, much nearer the Persian Gulf than the United States. It was later used against a nation in the Gulf, Iraq in 1991, and now is aimed at Iran, another Persian Gulf country.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in the same year that the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf allies first applied the Carter Doctrine, 1991, areas that for several decades had been off limits to the West now became open frontiers for a new oil rush. The Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions most immediately.

The Gulf of Guinea, where America is planning to soon import 25 percent of all its oil – high-grade crude shipped straight across the Atlantic Ocean on tankers – is the center of plans going back to the beginning of this century for what is now Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S.’s first new regional command since Central Command (CENTCOM), which itself was set up in 1983 as an upgrade of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East, and the NATO Response Force.

In addition to securing West African oil, U.S. and NATO military expansion in the region also aims at denying it to nations like China and Russia. The practice of acquiring oil wells abroad and of denying them to competitors played no small role in triggering the two world wars of the last century.

The Arctic oil and natural gas bonanza is arguably among the main world developments of the new millennium and an analogous situation obtains in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans.

Three news reports of the past week, one American and two Russian, provide an idea of the magnitude of what is at stake.

On September 17 United Press International ran a feature called “Amid Africa’s oil boom, U.S. binds ties” which included these observations:

“Potentially major oil strikes announced by an American-led consortium and a British company in West Africa have bolstered the region’s reputation as the world’s hottest energy zone.

“It has also become the focus of the U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies….”

The “U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies” is a phrase that warrants being pondered deliberately and within historical perspective. Even the bellicose brusqueness of Kissinger’s war-for-oil advocacy and the Carter Doctrine pale in comparison to the strategic scope of what is now underway.

The same article added these details, pertaining to both ends of the African continent:

“The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday its deepwater Venus 1B well off the coast of Sierra Leone had hit paydirt and formed one of two ‘bookends’ 700 miles apart across two prospective basins that extend into waters controlled by Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

“These could each contain 150 million to 1 billion barrels of oil, according to Anadarko’s CEO Al Walker.

“One of Anadarko’s consortium partners, Tullow Oil of Britain, which has a vast array of licenses in Africa, recently announced a new potentially important discovery in its Ngassa field in Uganda.”

The United Press International report sums up the situation in a single effective sentence: “In the scramble for new oil reserves as the planet’s older fields become depleted, the U.S. military has become a predominant force in U.S.-African relations.”

A billion barrels of oil is not an insignificant figure, yet far more is being fought over in an area where there is a serious rival with one of the world’s two major nuclear arsenals and strategic nuclear triads.

The Voice of Russia on September 15 revealed that “British Petroleum, Europe’s second largest oil company, estimates that the Arctic Ocean may hold around 200 billion barrels of oil resources, about a half of the world’s prospective hydrocarbons. This is the main reason behind a sharp surge of interest in the Arctic ‘oil pie.'”

According to a recent estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal, the world’s largest petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, possesses approximately 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Arctic Ocean, whose reserves have yet to be explored in any thorough manner, may be home to even more.

In May the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of a study on the Arctic which estimated that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil may be in the Arctic Circle.

If the British Petroleum figure cited above is closer to the truth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimate is woefully conservative.

With the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap and the navigability of the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history opening up the area for energy exploitation, the U.S. released National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009, which contained these claims:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Sixteen days later NATO abruptly convened a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland and then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments included:

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….”

Alluding to the fact that of the five formal claimants to Arctic territory – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway – only the first is not a member of the bloc, Scheffer said, “NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”

On September 16 the Voice of Russia featured an article on Antarctica which reported that “British geologists have discovered a wide array of oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands….Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey Agency…experts insisted that as much as 60 billion barrels may be recoverable on the shelf. If these estimates prove right that may well rival the world’s oil-rich nations, not least Libya and Nigeria.

“The late 1970s saw breaking news about a spate of lucrative oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands – deposits that experts insisted were 13 times as much as those in the North Sea at the time.

“Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic.”

On May 11 of this year Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometers in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.

As early as October 23, 2007 The Scotsman reported that “the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”

Britain is two hemispheres, the west and south, away from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which lie off the southeastern coast of Argentina.

The Russia source quoted earlier warned:

“Given London’s unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot.”

In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, through some combination of select compliance and procedural negligence if not complicity, granted Australia – Britain’s, the U.S.’s and increasingly NATO’s main outpost in the South Pacific – 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as quoted by Agence France-Presse on April 21, 2008, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”

The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.

In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western energy companies.

In the interim several oil and natural gas transit projects – the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco natural gas pipelines – have been launched.

The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines mentioned above end.

Plans for what has accurately been called a Peace Pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and to India and China were heavy-handedly quashed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor.

Caspian energy supplies are only to flow west to Europe and east to Asia by routes under Western control if the U.S. and its partners have their way.

The Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan on September 16 reproduced parts of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had begun the process with the Contract of the Century, to President Ilham Aliyev from which the following is excerpted:

“The development of the Azeri-Chiraq-Gunashli offshore oilfields, and the
subsequent formation of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), was a landmark event in international oil and gas development, as well as a great success for international energy diplomacy.

“Promotion of international energy security remains critical for the Eurasia region. In this regard, the July 13 signing of the Nabucco inter-governmental agreement was a major milestone in our joint efforts to open the Southern Corridor, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.

“We hope that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other interested countries will be able to build on this momentum and agree on those remaining issues needed to make the southern corridor [Nabucco] a reality.

“Azerbaijan is on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy development, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and other leaders in the region to develop new oil and gas resources and new routes to bring those resources to market.”

New routes mean any other than Russian ones.

The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline is to branch out through Ukraine – where the reverse flow of Russian oil has been cut off – and from there to Poland and the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk.

The Russian South Stream project to transport natural gas from Russia to Greece and the Balkans and then to Central Europe is being undermined by the Nabucco pipeline. The Nord Stream pipeline planned to deliver Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea is also under assault, with pro-Western figures in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland accusing it of being a security and even a military threat.

Never before in history have all parts of the world been so intensely fought over simultaneously as they are currently.

Nothing less than uncontested, irreversible global domination is what is being sought by the West – the United States and its NATO, Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern allies and clients.

Possession of energy supplies and control of their destinations and transit routes are an essential part of that strategy and will be enforced through a military machine that has penetrated most of the world and is still expanding.

Source

Map of Oil Reserves, Consumption and Producers

Well I knew this years ago. All one had to do was follow the trail of oil, gas, mining and wars.  Just have to connect the dots is all.

Their quest for resources however is causing a great deal of pollution. War, Free Trade, WTO, IMF are all connected to their quest for control over resources. They all have lead to pollution in many countries including their own.  Their corporations are the ones who are polluting.

They are killing and polluting for resources.  They are power hungry and suffering from a total lack of morality.

They are killing the entire planet.  They are the cause of Global warming.

They dump their garbage in third world countries. They poison their water and their land. They could care less who suffers or dies.

How blind are those people who, elect these politicians to their Governments? The US has been the worst of the culprits, but the followers are just as guilty.

Follow the Corporations that Pollution, Wars, Free Trade, WTO, IMF.

One doesn’t have to a genius to figure it out just well read. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of adding things up.

It’s like putting a puzzle togeather.

They all connect.

Pollution in Africa compliment if the IMF

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2002 in US

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Pollution Costs Trillions Annually

US Air Testing Bombs

Depleated Uranium Information

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human experiments and WMD

The world’s worst radiation hotspot

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

A Few of the World’s most polluted places

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

Depleted Uranium – Far Worse Than 9/11

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

By Doug Westerman
May 3, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Hardan also states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIELD STUDY RESULTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————

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

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

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

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

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

1.   Their use has indiscriminate effects;

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

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

4.   Their use causes superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering.

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

CONCLUSIONS:

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

Source

Congratulations NATO. You are Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

You leave this “gift of death” everywhere you go.

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’/Israels Latin America “Trail of Terror”

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’
Israel has warned military officers and senior officials that a threat of prosecution for alleged war crimes in Gaza could hinder future travel abroad.

By Damien McElroy in Jerusalem
January 24 2009

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza 'war crimes'
Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published Photo: AFP

At least four human rights groups are believed to be compiling suits alleging that Israelis perpetrated war crimes in planning or carrying out the three-week operation Cast Lead.

Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published.

More than 1,300 Palestinian deaths were reported during the offensive in Gaza and the United Nations has led demands that Israel investigate high-profile incidents including the shelling of its facilities.

Private prosecutions are already being prepared. “We are building files on war crimes throughout the chain of command from the top to the local level,” said Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “We are convinced these have been the most bloody days for Gaza since the occupation and that war crimes were perpetrated against Palestinian civilians.”

Courts in six countries, including Britain, have accepted petitions to prosecute alleged war crimes in previous wars. Most notoriously, activists in Belgium used a clause, since removed from the statute, to target the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

Accusations of war crimes strike an especially sensitive chord in Israel, a nation founded in the wake of the Holocaust. Comparisons between the long siege of Gaza and the Jewish ghettoes of central Europe draw a vociferous denunciation from the government. Israel insists troops did their best to limit civilian casualties in heavily populated areas where Hamas gunmen were attacking from tunnels and had booby-trapped civilian homes.

While senior politicians travel with diplomatic immunity, retired officials have already faced problems travelling abroad.

A retired major general, Doron Almog, was forced to remain on an El Al plane at Heathrow in 2005 after the Israeli military attaché warned he would be arrested if he disembarked. Gen Almog commanded Israeli forces in Gaza when a bombing raid on an apartment block that killed a Hamas commander, Salah Shehadeh, resulted in the deaths of 14 others. The magistrates’ warrant was later quashed.

An unknown number of officials have been notified that they should submit future travel plans to the military for review. Avigdor Feldman, an Israeli lawyer, said that thousands of serving officers could be affected. “I would highly recommend any soldier or officer contemplating going to the UK to reconsider,” he told an Israeli newspaper.

According to Lt Col David Benjamin of the Military Advocate Corps, lawyers were deployed at divisional commands in operation Cast Lead. He said: “Approval of targets which can be attacked, methods of warfare – it all has gone through us.”

But ensuring that those involved in the Gaza Campaign are never sentenced is set to be a long-term challenge for Israel. “The government will stand like a fortified wall to protect each and every one of you from allegations,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, at a military gathering after a ceasefire was called last week.

Source

How dare they scream  Holocaust, when in fact they have helped in the murder of millions.

Screaming Holocaust is there favorite pass time, but it doens’t cut it,  when you look at their history.

Israel was on the road, long before the Holocaust transpired at any rate anyway. Anyone who knows the history of the Jewish Community would know that.

Seems they always use that as a tactic. The rest of the world is suppose to feel guilty and forgive them for their terrorizing innocent people.

Well there have been numerous Holocausts. Like all the Aboriginal Indians in North and South America. In Africa  and other countries. There has even been a Holocaust in Palestine.  Perpetrated by the Israelis them selves. That being said lets move on.

Here are a few Facts about Israel, I had tucked away for prosperity.

They are not the sweet wonderful country, they pretend to be.

Israel’s Latin American trail of terror
By Jeremy Bigwood
June 5, 2003

“I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin.

Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s.

He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.

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

Outside the law

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

According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.

Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.

The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.

In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.

Links with the continent

Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.

Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.

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

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

By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.

Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.

Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.

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

Dirty war

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

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

Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.

At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.

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

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

Active involvement

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

Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.

From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.

Wrong

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

At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.

Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

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

Assistance

This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.

One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.

He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”
In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the “hit-man” for the US.

Wars funded by American Tax Dollars.

Wars and funding to prop up Brutal governments or regimes.

Israel the, Money Laundering, “Funnel Tunnel” for the US.

They love extermination pure and simple. They were more, then willing to help other regimes exterminate innocent people.

Of course it doesn’t end there, they also supplied weapons etc to other countries as well. Africa is also on my list as well. It’s a pretty long list.

What has changed over the years, not much.

Why would anything change.

We will in the future find out who and how many.

The trail of cookie crumbs, is not all that hard to follow.

Have a cruel bloodthirsty regime and you will find both the US or Israeli involvement.

Most time they work together. All in the name of profit, power, control and death.

They call it Self Defense or I am rescuing you.

Iran is evil because thy want to help innocent victims rebuild.

Hamas is pure evil are they?  The Hamas they helped create.

Haitian’s are pure evil are they?

Indians are pure evil are they?

All the innocent people they had a hand, in murdering are all evil are they?

Death Squads are a good thing are they?

I can almost bet, the “Death Squads” in the Philippines, were trained by Israelis.

The Israeli Gov. and the US Gov. should mind their own business and clean up their, own moral bankruptcy.

They both should clean up their own Weapons of Mass Destruction.

They are two the most corrupt, countries in the world.

They blame everyone else of crimes, they themselves are actually committing.

Well like all criminals they will plead not guilty. They are no different from any other criminal.

Both countries lied to their people.

Both oppressed their own people.

Both are warmongering countries.

They could pass as twins, in their sins against humanity.

Those who are corrupt past and present should be rooted out and charged.

There is no statute of limitation on murder or war crimes.

They should be held responsible for the millions, they have murdered or helped murder. Directly or indirectly they are responsible.

Can or will Obama be able to clean up the US.

Maybe:  We will have to wait and see.

Will the corruption in Israel, get cleaned up, not flippin likely.

Will the corruption in the International Agency’s get cleaned up, we will have to wait and see.

The less they do to stop those in the US Gov. and Israeli Gov. the more obvious it is, they are corrupted.

Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

What Types of Gruesome Weapons Did Israel Use in Lebanon?

UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed

Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

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

Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

Israel Navy ships turn back “Spirit of Humanity” carrying Gaza humanitarian aid

President of the United Nations General Assembly: Israel violating International Law

Israel Hits another “United Nations” Building in Gaza

Israel Violating Egyptian Airspace to attack Gaza

Israel continues to attack Hospitals, Clinics and Public Buildings in Gaza

Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access wounded

The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

Samouni family recounts Gaza horror

79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Shoot Then Ask, Israeli Soldiers Told

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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

By TYLER BRIDGES
January 7 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some 15,000 Jews live in Venezuela.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Jan 7: Lebanese children demonstrate for Gaza Children

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

Jan 7: Australian Jews protest against Israel’s action

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

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

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza -Petitions

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

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

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

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

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

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

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

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

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

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

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 5:11 am  Comments Off on Jan 7: Israel’s Gaza invasion provokes protests throughout Latin America  
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141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

  • Depleted Uranium is a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process.
  • After natural uranium has been ‘enriched’ to concentrate the isotope U235 for use in nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons, what remains is DU.
  • The process produces about 7 times more DU than enriched uranium.

Despite claims that DU is much less radioactive than natural uranium, it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity. It is very dense and when it strikes armour it burns (it is ‘pyrophoric’). As a waste product, it is stockpiled by nuclear states, which then have an interest in finding uses for it.

DU is used as the ‘penetrator’ – a long dart at the core of the weapon – in armour piercing tank rounds and bullets. It is usually alloyed with another metal. When DU munitions strike a hard target the penetrator sheds around 20% of its mass, creating a fine dust of DU, burning at extremely high temperatures.

This dust can spread 400 metres from the site immediately after an impact. It can be resuspended by human activity, or by the wind, and has been reported to have travelled twenty-five miles on air currents. The heat of the DU impact and secondary fires means that much of the dust produced is ceramic, and can remain in the lungs for years if inhaled.

Who uses it?
At least 18 countries are known to have DU in their arsenals:

  • UK
  • US
  • France
  • Russia
  • China
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Taiwan
  • Israel
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Belarus
  • Pakistan
  • Oman

Most of these countries were sold DU by the US, although the UK, France and Pakistan developed it independently.

Only the US and the UK are known to have fired it in warfare. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War, in the 2003 Iraq War, and also in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s and during the NATO war with Serbia in 1999. While its use has been claimed in a number of other conflicts, this has not been confirmed.

Health Problems

  • DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. In laboratory tests it damages human cells, causing DNA mutations and other carcinogenic effects.
  • Reports of increased rates of cancer and birth defects have consistently followed DU usage.
  • Representatives from both the Serbian and Iraqi governments have linked its use with health problems amongst civilians.
  • Many veterans remain convinced DU is responsible for health problems they have experienced since combat

Information from animal studies suggests DU may cause several different kinds of cancer. In rats, DU in the blood-stream builds up in the kidneys, bone, muscles, liver, spleen, and brain. In other studies it has been shown to cross both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, with obvious implications for the health of the foetus. In general, the effects of DU will be more severe for women and children than for healthy men.

In 2008 a study by the Institute of Medicine in the US listed medical conditions that were a high priority to study for possible links with DU exposure: cancers of the lung, testes and kidney; lung disease; nervous system disorders; and reproductive and developmental problems.


Epidemiology

What is missing from the picture is large-scale epidemiological studies on the effects of DU – where negative health effects match individuals with exposure to DU. None of the studies done on the effects on soldiers have been large enough to make meaningful conclusions. No large scale studies have been done on civilian populations.

In the case of Iraq, where the largest volume of DU has been fired, the UK and US governments are largely responsible for the conditions which have made studies of the type required impossible. Despite this, these same governments use the scientific uncertainties to maintain that it is safe, and that concerns about it are misplaced.

However, in cases where human health is in jeopardy, a precautionary approach should prevail. Scientific scepticism should prevent a hazardous course of action from being taken until safety is assured. To allow it to continue until the danger has been proved beyond dispute is an abuse of the principle of scientific caution.

Environmental Impacts
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has studied some of the sites contaminated by DU in the Balkans, but it has only been able to produce a desk study on Iraq. Bullets and penetrators made of DU that do not hit armour become embedded in the ground and corrode away, releasing material into the environment.

It is not known what will happen to DU in the long term in such circumstances. The UNEP mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina found DU in drinking water, and could still detect it in the air after seven years – the longest period of time a study has been done after the end of a conflict.

Uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, so DU released into the environment will be a hazard for unimaginable timescales.

Decontaminating sites where DU has been used requires detailed scrutiny and monitoring, followed by the removal and reburial of large amounts of soil and other materials. Monitoring of groundwater for contamination is also advised by UNEP. CADU calls for the cost of cleaning up and decontaminating DU affected sites to be met by the countries responsible for the contamination.

The Campaign
CADU is a founder member of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) – now comprising over 102 member organisations in 27 countries.

CADU and ICBUW campaign for a precautionary approach: there is significant evidence that DU is dangerous, and faced with scientific uncertainty the responsible course of action is for it not to be used. To this end CADU and ICBUW are working towards an international treaty that bans the use of uranium in weapons akin to those banning cluster bombs and landmines.

Through the efforts of campaigners worldwide the use of DU has been condemned by four resolutions in the European Parliament, been the subject of an outright ban in Belgium, and brought onto the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

141 states support second uranium weapons resolution in UN General Assembly vote

The United Nations General Assembly has passed, by a huge majority, a resolution requesting its agencies to update their positions on the health and environmental effects of uranium weapons.
December 2 2008

The resolution, which had passed the First Committee stage on October 31st by 127 states to four, calls on three UN agencies – the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update their positions on uranium weapons. The overwhelming support for the text reflects increasing international concern over the long-term impact of uranium contamination in post-conflict environments and military ranges.

In the 17 years since uranium weapons were first used on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, a huge volume of peer-reviewed research has highlighted previously unknown pathways through which exposure to uranium’s heavy metal toxicity and radioactivity may damage human health.
Throughout the world, parliamentarians have responded by supporting calls for a moratorium and ban, urging governments and the military to take a precautionary approach. However the WHO and IAEA have been slow to react to this wealth of new evidence and it is hoped that this resolution will go some way to resolving this situation.

In a welcome move, the text requests that all three agencies work closely with countries affected by the use of uranium weapons in compiling their research. Until now, most research by UN member states has focused on exposure in veterans and not on the civilian populations living in contaminated areas. Furthermore, recent investigations into US veteran studies have found them to be wholly incapable of producing useful data.

The text also repeats the request for states to submit reports and opinions on uranium weapons to the UN Secretary General in the process that was started by last year’s resolution. Thus far, 19 states have submitted reports to the Secretary General; many of them call for action on uranium weapons and back a precautionary approach. It also places the issue on the agenda of the General Assembly’s 65th Session; this will begin in September 2010.

The First Committee vote saw significant voting changes in comparison to the previous year’s resolution, with key EU and NATO members such as the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Iceland changing position to support calls for further action on the issue. These changes were echoed at the General Assembly vote. Once again Japan, which has been under considerable pressure from campaigners, supported the resolution.

Of the permanent five Security Council members, the US, UK and France voted against. They were joined by Israel. Russia abstained and China refused to vote.

The list of states abstaining from the vote, while shorter than in 2007, still contains Belgium, the only state to have implemented a domestic ban on uranium weapons, a fact that continues to anger Belgian campaigners. It is suspected that the Belgian government is wary of becoming isolated on the issue internationally. Two Nordic states, Denmark and Sweden continue to blow cold, elsewhere in Europe Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are also dragging their feet, in spite of a call for a moratorium and ban by 94% of MEPs earlier this year. Many of the abstainers are recent EU/NATO accession states or ex-Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan.

Australia and Canada, both of whom have extensive uranium mining interests and close ties to US foreign policy also abstained.

The resolution was submitted by Cuba and Indonesia on behalf of the League of Non-Aligned States.

Voting results in full

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.

Absent: Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia.

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the “peacekeeping missions” in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi En Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,

“When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds.”

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution, on October 31st, calling for “relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010.” The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I’ve put together the following.  Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually “depleted” of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful – there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium – and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is “pyrophoric”, which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip – and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO “peace-keeping” bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who’d served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO’s Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock’s report, “Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium”, detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium’s health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 – 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to “Shock and Awe” Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain’s Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen.  It is up to us to bring this to his attention.  THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock’s November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:
Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer:  Scroll down on the page and you’ll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

Be sure to encourage those who are still not supporting the ban,  that it  is something that needs to be banned.

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

We, the people, need to let governments and the United Nations know that these weapons can have no part in a humane and caring world. Every signature counts!

  1. An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.
  2. Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.
  3. Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.
  4. Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.
  5. An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.
  6. A Convention for a Total Ban on Uranium Weapons.

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Latin Americas Private Pension Funds in Doubt

By Marcela Valente

November 26 2008

BUENOS AIRES

Pension funds in Latin America have suffered sometimes drastic losses as a result of the global financial crisis. Argentina decided to nationalise its private pension funds, and in Chile, Colombia and Mexico there are voices urgently calling for reforms.

Many of the private sector pension plans, created mainly in the 1990s under the influence of neoliberal, free-market reforms and structural adjustment policies, followed the model adopted in 1981 by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) in Chile.

In 1993, Argentina adapted the model, without eliminating the parallel public system, which allowed workers to choose either one. But on Nov. 20, the Argentine parliament eliminated the private pension funds, which were in a state of collapse.

It is not yet clear how the financial crisis will affect private pension funds in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

According to the International Association of Latin American Pension Fund Supervisors (AIOS), the 10 Latin American countries that make up the association had 76 million pension fund affiliates as of late 2007, but only 32 million — 37 percent of the economically active population — made regular payments.

The largest number of members of private pension plans — 39 million — were in Mexico. This was followed by 9.5 million in Argentina (who will now go into the public social security system), and by Chile and Colombia, with around eight million each.

The AIOS reported that in late 2007, private pension funds in the region held 275 billion dollars, equivalent to 16 percent of the 10 member countries’ GDP.

“We are going to keep a close eye on what happens in Chile, the pioneer of the model,” said Jorge D’Angelo, chairman of the Inter-American Conference on Social Security’s (CISS) commission on the elderly. “We’ll have to see how bad the crisis gets, and whether Chile will be able to weather the storm,” he told IPS.

In Chile, which has the highest proportion of retirees in private pension plans in the region, the average monthly pension stands at 264 dollars, just over the minimum monthly wage. In the rest of the countries, pensioners draw even more meagre amounts. In Chile, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) central trade union and citizen, social and political groups are demanding alternatives to the private pension funds. CUT is calling for a public social security system based on the principle of solidarity.

Senator Alejandro Navarro, who recently left the co-governing Socialist Party, is pushing for the creation of a public administrator of individual retirement accounts.

Between Oct. 31, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2008, Chile’s private pension fund assets shrank from 94.3 to 69.1 billion dollars.

In 2002, the private pension administrators created five different funds, classified as A, B, C, D and E, ranging from high to low risk, for workers to choose from. So far this year, profit margins have shrunk by 40.9 percent in the A funds, 30.1 percent in the B funds, and 18.6 percent in the C funds, to mention the sharpest falls.

And since the creation of Chile’s multi-fund system in 2002, returns have ranged between 2.8 and 4.2 percent, depending on the level of risk exposure. But if measured since 1981, returns have averaged 8.8 percent

“The worries of workers are logical and understandable,” Fabio Bertranou, a Chilean expert on social security with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), told IPS. “The value of the funds has shrunk due to the sharp drop in the value of their financial assets.”

Chile accounts for 35 percent of the region’s private pension fund assets that are invested in equities abroad.

“It is difficult to predict how long it will take for the value of the assets to rally,” admitted Bertranou. “We have to issue a call for reflection and reassess how individual retirement savings accounts work during times of crisis, in order to take the necessary precautions. There isn’t a great deal of experience in the matter.”

Early this year, the Chilean government passed a new law that created a system built on three pillars: a pay-as-you-go guaranteed minimum pension funded with help from the government, a solidarity system, and voluntary individual savings.

The most notable aspect was the creation of the “basic solidarity pension” and the “solidarity pension contribution” for the poorest of the poor.

That reform “has taken a fundamental step towards the creation of a mixed social security system. The incorporation of the solidarity pension component will give workers, especially low-income workers, a more secure future,” said Bertranou.

In his view, “the decline in the value of pension funds is not the only problem. It is also necessary to address the drop in occupational coverage that will result from the economic slowdown, and the subsequent fall in income and job creation and stability.”

Uruguay’s system, unique in Latin America, seems to be the one least affected by the crisis so far.

Under the mixed or multi-pillar system, contributions and benefits are linked to both a state-managed pay-as-you-go system and privately managed individual retirement accounts. Workers contribute to each, depending on where they fall within a salary level band, and receive two pensions when they retire, with the exception of those who earn less than 715 dollars a month, who are not required to pay into an individual savings account.

Alongside the mandatory individual capitalisation system, the public sector maintains a basic minimum pension under the pay-as-you-go regime.

In the quarter that ended in September, private pension funds went down 2.6 percent, due to the drop in value of the debt bonds in which most of their assets are invested. But since the system began to operate in 1996, returns have ranged between nine and 11 percent, depending on the currency in which they are measured.

Nearly 38 percent of workers paying into private retirement accounts in Uruguay chose an administrator that is run by three state banks. By law, the pension fund administrators can only invest a limited amount of their assets abroad.

Pension fund returns depend partly on where the assets are invested. In some countries, a majority have been placed in equities in foreign companies that are now in crisis, while others are invested in public bonds, whose drop in value varies from country to country.

“In Argentina, the debate had become abstract, because the decline in the value of private funds was so steep that when beneficiaries were ready to retire, the state had to step in to help pay their pensions, since their savings were too small,” said D’Angelo.

According to the superintendency of private pension fund administrators (AFJPs) in Argentina, only 3.6 million of the 9.5 million members of the private system were actually making payments. And of the six million workers still affiliated with the public social security system, only two million were contributing.

In October, total AFJP assets plunged 17 percent with respect to the previous month. And the returns over the last year have reflected a loss of 25.4 percent — compared to an average annual profitability rate of 6.6 percent.

Given that situation, the government of Cristina Fernández proposed the creation of an integrated pensions system and the elimination of the private funds. Within less than a month, the new law made it through both houses of Congress, approved by the legislators of the governing Justicialista (Peronist) Party and some opposition lawmakers.

The drop in the value of the funds has also been drastic in Mexico, whose current pension system began to operate in 1996. According to the national commission of the retirement savings system, between May and October, the value of the individual retirement accounts of 39 million workers fell by 3.36 billion dollars.

The national union of social security workers is demanding that the Mexican Congress review the laws on private pension funds and intervene so that limits are set on the proportion of assets that can be put into high-risk equities abroad.

People in Colombia, where reforms incorporating a private pension system went into effect in 1994, are worried too. According to the Colombian association of pension fund administrators, losses climbed to more than 94 million dollars in the first six months of the year.

“We are much worse off than they are in Argentina,” Saúl Peña, president of the union of Colombia’s Social Security Institute workers, told IPS. “Our problems are more serious because of the low level of wages, the labour instability and the low profitability.”

There are currently 12,000 retirees in Colombia’s private pension system, and nearly all of them now draw a monthly pension equivalent to the minimum wage, he said. “The only thing that can be done now is to wait and see whether we will recover in the long-term, maybe in 2009, or 2010. It’s chance, it’s a gamble,” he said.

* With additional reporting from Daniela Estrada in Santiago and Helda Martínez in Bogotá.

Source

Bush baulks at Obama’s plan to protect jobs

November 12 2008

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

An ideological battle has erupted between George Bush and Barack Obama, with the outgoing President baulking at proposals to prop up General Motors, once the world’s largest car maker, which could go bust by Christmas.

Despite the smiles for the cameras at the White House on Monday, a tense stand-off is flaring between the two. It is testing Mr Obama’s assertion that “we only have one president at a time” and his desire to stay out of Mr Bush’s way in the remaining two and a half months of his presidency. With car sales collapsing in a steadily worsening economy, the President-elect wants to avoid the prospect of tens of thousands of Democrat-voting union workers being thrown out of work just as he starts his term of office.

According to one account of their Oval Office discussions, Mr Obama asked Mr Bush to use some of the billions of dollars in the financial bailout package to prop up the car industry. Economists are already warning that if GM goes broke it could bring down the rest of the economy and tip the world into a much-feared depression.

Mr Bush seems determined to play hardball by refusing the car industry access to any of the $700bn (£450bn) financial rescue package agreed by Congress, say sources quoted by The New York Times and Associated Press. Hand-over meetings between incoming and outgoing presidents are traditionally confidential and Mr Bush was reported to be furious over leaks from the Obama camp, perceived as undermining his remaining days in office.

As Mr Bush sees it, he has one last opportunity to secure a legacy as a champion of free trade, and he reportedly tied the Democrat’s request for billions of taxpayer dollars for the failing car industry to a controversial trade deal with Colombia. The White House denied Mr Bush had suggested a “quid pro quo” but confirmed that he had spoken about the “merits of free trade”.

Mr Obama has already voted to block the Colombia deal in the Senate because of widespread human rights abuses against union workers. He seems ready to call Mr Bush’s bluff, calculating that the outgoing President is so unpopular that he will buckle rather than be accused of driving a stake through the heart of an iconic, century-old American company.

GM has watched helplessly as US consumers stop buying gas-guzzling Cadillacs, Hummers and Chevrolet pick-ups in favour of hybrid and other more fuel-efficient vehicles. With no money coming in, the company has burnt through cash reserves so quickly that its share price yesterday fell below $3 for the first time since 1943 and Wall Street analysts have started to predict that shares in the company could actually be worthless.

Last week, Mr Obama called the car sector “the backbone of American manufacturing”. The three big makers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, have operations across America and if they collapse, it would devastate the economy. The estimates are that three million jobs would be lost, counting the car-workers, their suppliers and even the hot-dog sellers outside the factories.

Even Mr Obama’s generosity towards the car companies has its limits. As part of his energy and environmental plans being drafted with the help of Al Gore, he wants to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely in a way that helps reduce dependence on imported oil and fights climate change. He asked Mr Bush to quickly release $25bn which has already been agreed to help companies retool to make more fuel-efficient cars. Mr Gore is advising that “we should help America’s automotive industry to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run off renewable energy that will be available”.

Car companies have lobbied hard to block higher fuel-efficiency standards which average 17 miles per gallon. The big three say they need immediate unrestricted access to cash just to meet their wage and supplier bills. The Michigan-based Centre for Automotive Research has warned that the price of their failure would reach as much as $156bn in lost taxes and extra costs of health care and unemployment assistance.

Another problem Mr Bush and Mr Obama now face is that the bailed-out financial companies have come back for more money. On top of that, the country’s credit-card industry is grinding to a halt. Even American Express has its hand out for taxpayer money. This week, it joined commercial banks and became eligible for rescue funds. The credit-card giant is in danger of collapse because millions of Americans have failed to repay debts run up to fund consumer-driven lifestyles.

The Bush administration has spent all but $60bn of the first half of the bailout funds and only this week had to cough up more money for the insurance giant, AIG.

Source

Well fuel-efficient vehicles are something GM should be making instead of the gas gulers considering the oil and gas situation on the planet.  Maybe bailing them out might be a consideration if they produced more fuel efficient vehicles. There is not much point in GM continuing on the road to bankruptcy, by producing the gas guzzlers however.

Maybe they should start making Chevettes again. Damb good little cars and fuel efficient as well.

Bush had no problem bailing out the banks. So why is he Balking about GM? I guess GM didn’t bribe him with enough money at election time or something.

No problem bailing out AIG twice.  I am so confused.

Nothing like making something people aren’t going to purchase.

As for Columbia well Human Rights should be considered on all levels, Free Trade included.

Most trade agreements do not benefit the people of a country, benefit usually go to the Corporations who want cheap labour and massive profits.

All trade agreements should protect the people of the country. People are more important.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Bush baulks at Obama’s plan to protect jobs  
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