4-Year-Old Aisha Lost Her Face in a U.S. Drone Strike

4-Year-Old Aisha Lost Her Face in a U.S. Drone Strike

By Matt Lemas

4-Year-Old Aisha

June 11, 2014 “ICH” – “RYOT” – On September 7th 2013, an American drone in Afghanistan struck a car carrying 15 passengers. Everyone was killed in the attack except for one — a four-year-old girl named Aisha.

The girl was traveling with her parents, a sibling, and other relatives to their home in Gamber, a village in the Kunar province of Aghanistan.

Referred to by the locals as “American birds,” U.S. drone strikes are a common fixture in Kunar, where the Taliban reportedly has a strong presence.

The wreckage was discovered by Aisha’s uncle, Meya Kan, and other villagers on the road after they received a phone call from a neighboring village.

Kan saw body parts strewn all around the wreckage, and assumed everyone was dead — until he he heard a voice calling out for water.

It was Aisha.

Upon being pulled from the ruined vehicle, the four-year-old girl was unrecognizable. She’d lost both eyes and her nose.

The Investigation

Journalist Terese Cristiansson came across Aisha’s story while Swedish newspaper Expressen was interviewing Afghan hospital personnel about children who were injured after being forced to plant roadside bombs.

The doctor she met with, Humayoon Zaheer, couldn’t refer her to any roadside bomb injuries within the hospital. Instead, he related one particularly gruesome tale — the story of Aisha.

“We had another case here,” Zaheer told Expressen. “She came in a couple of weeks ago, in September. A little girl who had lost her face in a drone strike. It was a very unusual case. I’ll never forget it.”

Expressen reports that Aisha was brought into the hospital with her nose, both eyes, and one hand missing.

The girl was shuffled to two different hospitals in Afghanistan before being transferred to a medical facility in the capital of Kabul, the only place in the country capable of treating her severe injuries.

A few days after being in Kabul, Aisha was visited by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was at the hospital for a goodwill mission. In an interview with the Washington Post five months after the attack, Karzai recalled that seeing Aisha at the hospital was his “worst day in office.”
“The worst of it was when I went to visit a little girl in the French hospital who had no face, who was 4 1/2 years old, who had no face, completely blown off from the chin up to the eyes. She was blinded — her eyes were there but were blinded. Her arm was also not there. And she had lost the whole family, the entire family, 14 of them, in the bombing in Kunar. And that day . . . [note: there is a 39-second pause as Karzai struggles with his emotions] . . . that day, I wished she were dead and not alive, so she could be buried with her parents and brothers and sisters.”

Following the president’s visit, Aisha was moved across the globe to a hospital in the United States — without the consent of her remaining family. The girl’s two uncles were not allowed to accompany her.

It was at this point — five weeks after the initial strike — that Cristiansson sought to find Aisha. The girl’s uncles granted the journalist power of attorney, which made her the family’s official representative.

Through her research, she discovered that Aisha had been flown to the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Washington. From there, Aisha was put in the care of Solace for Children, a relief organization that treats Afghan children with war injuries, then finds them foster families until they can be flown back to their homes.

As the representative of Aisha’s family, Cristiansson reached out to Solace, but the organization said they’d been told that the girl didn’t have any relatives. After the journalist confirmed to the organization that Aisha did in fact have living family in Afghanistan, Solace declined to participate in any further questioning.

For weeks, Cristiansson was blackballed by the organization and heard nothing about Aisha’s condition. To both the journalist and the girl’s family, it seemed like a cover-up. Aisha’s two uncles believed that the U.S. military was withholding their niece to limit negative coverage of drone strikes.

“They probably don’t want her to become a poster girl for drone repercussions,” they told Expressen.

During this time, the International Security Assistance Force told Cristiansson that the September strike was performed because there were eight Taliban affiliates in the vehicle, and that they regret the civilian casualties.

The family of Aisha, however, said otherwise.

“How could they [commission an air strike?] They are not Taliban and there were several women and children in the car,” said Hasrat Gul, one of Aisha’s uncles.

It was not until March of this year that the family was finally updated on Aisha’s condition. When Cristiansson visted them, they told her that Aisha had been placed with a Muslim foster family in the United States. They added that her wounds had healed, but she’s still without her hand, eyes and nose.

In the end, the two uncles stressed that they just want Aisha to come home, rather than being stuck “in a country that killed her mother, father and little brother.”

“She belongs at home with us,” Meya Jan said.

The Toll of The Drone Program

2014 marks the fifth year of the U.S. drone program under President Obama, and it’s estimated that over this period at least 2,400 people have been killed. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, were among those who’ve died in Pakistan alone.

Additionally, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemn the drone program, citing civilian casualties in Yemen and Pakistan that violate laws of war.

Just this March, the United Nations criticized American drone procedure for “the lack of transparency regarding the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal justification for specific attacks, and the lack of accountability for the loss of life resulting from such attacks.”

Nevertheless, the White House has held firm on their stance when it comes to drones.

In September of 2013, the same month Aisha was so badly injured in the devastating attack, the Obama administration denied claims from the aforementioned human rights organizations that laws were being broken.

Obama’s Chief Spokesman Jay Carney said current counterterrorism methods are “lawful” and “effective,” and that other methods would only increase civilian casualties.

In an interview with The New Yorker, President Obama asserted that the use of drones is only necessary when terrorists can’t be captured, and stated that his goal isn’t to “go around blowing things up.” He mentioned that he “wrestles” with the idea of civilians being caught in the crossfire.

“What I’ve tried to do is to tighten the process so much and limit the risks of civilian casualties so much that we have the least fallout from those actions,” Obama told the New Yorker. “But it’s not perfect.”

But accepting those types of imperfections is what led to Aisha’s horrific injuries. Isn’t it time we open our eyes and start to make a change?

Tired of hearing about drones killing innocent civilians? You can tell President Obama’s administration how you feel by signing Code Pink’s petition asking the US to take away the CIA’s lethal drone program. Click the action box to sign the petition and share this story to Become the News!
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

Source

Why is the mainstream media not talking about this child?

If the Taliban had done this it would be everywhere.

Ne sure to share this with your friends.

This is the true face of the US drones.

If we don’t tell people who will? Certainly not the main stream media.

They also fail to tell the truth about the Ukraine as well.

They all tell the public Russia is to blame for all the deaths, when in fact that is a blatant lie.

1 trillion of our tax dollars are wasted on NATO.

About 75 percent of it is used by the US.

No accountability No audits as to how the money is spent.

How many children are like little  4-Year-Old Aisha?

1 trillion dollars, can buy a lot of death and maiming.

Add to that all the money US tax dollars that go to war.

About Half of the US budget is earmarked for war.

So how many children have the US taken?

What a shame we have so few real reporters left in the world.

 

 

 

 

//

Afghanistan, Heroin, Addiction, Death

Thought it was time to do a post on Heroin.

Seems we have a world wide epidemic now.

The profiteers are happy. Billions of dollars happy.

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

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

Troops are busy still Gurading the fields

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

Nov 5, 2012

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

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

Nov 5, 2012

Heroin user infected with anthrax in Oxford

2012

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

Some soldiers are becoming addicts.

Addiction in the Ranks, Soldiers and Heroin

Canada faces flood of Heroin and Addicts

December 12, 2010

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

Mar 12, 2010

By Kevin Hayden

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

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

For the rest of the story go HERE

From 2009

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

A few pictures as well as reports.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

CIA, Heroin Still Rule Day in Afghanistan

December 1, 2008

By Victor Thorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARMITAGE A MAJOR PLAYER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A war for drugs.

Afghanistan’s Opium Trail, Documentary.

CBC Passionate Eye

Afghanistan – 10 Years of Failure & Oppression [Documentary]


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

Afghanistan’s Child Drug Addicts

A little History

Secrets of the CIA

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

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

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

UN World Drug Report 2012

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

Here is another map.

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

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

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

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

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

Recent

Fugitive Nathan Jacobson, a friend of Harper, you decide

Turkey: Jailing is the Agenda to silence critical Journalists

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

Japan: Radioactive cesium levels in most fish has not declined

 

//

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

CIA chiefs face arrest over horrific evidence of bloody ‘video-game’ sorties by drone pilots

By David Rose

October 21 2012

The Mail on Sunday today reveals shocking new evidence of the full horrific impact of US drone attacks in Pakistan.

A damning dossier assembled from exhaustive research into  the strikes’ targets sets out in heartbreaking detail the deaths of teachers, students and Pakistani policemen. It also describes how bereaved relatives are forced to gather their loved ones’ dismembered body parts in the aftermath of strikes.

The dossier has been assembled by human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who works for Pakistan’s Foundation for Fundamental Rights and the British human rights charity Reprieve.

Filed in two separate court cases, it is set to trigger a formal murder investigation by police into the roles of two US officials said to have ordered the strikes. They are Jonathan Banks, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Islamabad station, and John A. Rizzo, the CIA’s former chief lawyer. Mr Akbar and his staff have already gathered further testimony which has yet to be filed.

How the attacks unfolded…

‘We have statements from a further 82 victims’ families relating to more than 30 drone strikes,’ he said. ‘This is their only hope of justice.’

In the first case, which has already been heard by a court in Islamabad, judgment is expected imminently. If the judge grants Mr Akbar’s petition,  an international arrest warrant will be issued via Interpol against the  two Americans.

The second case is being heard in the city of Peshawar. In it, Mr Akbar and the families of drone victims who are civilians are seeking a ruling that further strikes in Pakistani airspace should be viewed as ‘acts of war’.

They argue that means the Pakistan Air Force should try to shoot down the drones and that the government should sever diplomatic relations with the US and launch murder inquiries against those responsible.

According to a report last month by academics at Stanford and New York universities, between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed since the strikes in Pakistan began in 2004.

The report said of those, up to  881 were civilians, including 176  children. Only 41 people who had  died had been confirmed as ‘high-value’ terrorist targets.

Getting at the truth is difficult because the tribal regions along the frontier are closed to journalists. US security officials continue to claim that almost all those killed are militants who use bases in Pakistan to launch attacks on Western forces across the border in Afghanistan.

In his only acknowledgement that the US has ever launched such attacks at all, President Barack Obama said in January: ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists, who are trying to go in and harm Americans.’

But behind the dry legal papers seen by The Mail on Sunday lies the most detailed investigation into  individual strikes that has yet been  carried out. It suggests that the US President was mistaken.

Missile attacks in in Pakistan have had devastating affects, the dossier revealed

The plaintiff in the Islamabad case is Karim Khan, 45, a journalist and translator with two masters’ degrees, whose family comes from the village of Machi Khel in the tribal region of North Waziristan.

His eldest son, Zahinullah, 18, and his brother, Asif Iqbal, 35, were killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone that struck the  family’s guest dining room at about 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve, 2009.

Asif had changed his surname because he loved to recite Iqbal,  Pakistan’s national poet, and Mr Khan said: ‘We are an educated family.  My uncle is a hospital doctor in  Islamabad, and we all work in professions such as teaching.

‘We have never had anything to do with militants or terrorists, and for that reason I always assumed we would be safe.’

Mr Khan said: ‘Zahinullah, who had been studying in Islamabad, had returned to the village to work his way through college, taking a part-time job as a school caretaker.

‘He was a quiet boy and studious – always in the top group of his class.’ Zahinullah also liked football, cricket and hunting partridges.

Asif, he added, was an English teacher and had spent several years taking further courses to improve his qualifications while already in work.

Mr Khan said: ‘He was my kid brother. We used to have a laugh, tell jokes.’ His first child was less than a year old when Asif was killed.

Included in the legal dossier are documents that corroborate Asif and Zahinulla’s educational and employment records, as well as their death certificates. Killed alongside them was Khaliq Dad, a stonemason who was staying with the family while he worked on a local mosque.

Mr Khan, who had been working for a TV station in Islamabad, said he was given the news of their deaths in a 2am phone call from a cousin.

Drones have caused untold damage, and the dossier reveals just how devastating they have been for families

‘I called a friend who had a car and we started driving through the night to get back to the village,’ he said. ‘It was a terrible journey. I was shocked,  grieving, angry, like anyone who had lost their loved ones.’

He got home soon after dawn and describes his return ‘like entering a village of the dead – it was so quiet.  There was a crowd gathered outside the compound but nowhere for them to sit because the guest rooms had been destroyed’.

Zahinullah, Mr Khan discovered, had been killed instantly, but despite his horrific injuries, Asif had survived long enough to be taken to a nearby hospital. However, he died during the night.

‘We always bury people quickly in our culture. The funeral was at three o’clock that afternoon, and more than 1,000 people came,’ Mr Khan said. ‘Zahinullah had a wound on the side of his face and his body was crushed and charred. I am told the people who push the buttons to  fire the missiles call these strikes “bug-splats”.

‘It is beyond my imagination how they can lack all mercy and compassion, and carry on doing this for years. They are not human beings.’

Mr Khan found Mr Akbar through a friend who had attended lectures he gave at an Islamabad university. In 2010, he filed a criminal complaint – known as a first information report – to police naming  Mr Banks. However, they took no action, therefore triggering the  lawsuit – a judicial review of that failure to act.

If the judge finds in favour of  Mr Khan, his decision cannot be appealed, thus making the full criminal inquiry and Interpol warrants inevitable.

According to the legal claim, someone from the Pakistan CIA network led by Mr Banks – who left Pakistan in 2010 – targeted the Khan family and guided the Hellfire missile by throwing a GPS homing device into their compound.

A senior CIA officer said: ‘We do not discuss active operations or  allegations against specific individuals.’

Mr Rizzo is named because of  an interview he gave to a US reporter after he retired as CIA General Counsel last year. In it, he boasted that he had personally authorised every drone strike in which America’s enemies were ‘hunted down and blown to bits’.

He added: ‘It’s basically a hit-list .  .  . The Predator is the weapon of choice, but it could also be someone putting a bullet in your head.’

Last night a senior Pakistani  security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI, has always been excluded by the CIA from choosing drone  targets.

‘They insist on using their own networks, paying their own informants. Dollars can be very persuasive,’ said the official.

He claimed the intelligence behind drone strikes was often seriously flawed. As a result, ‘they are causing the loss of innocent lives’.

But even this, he added, was not  as objectionable as the so-called ‘signature strikes’ – when a drone operator, sitting at a computer screen thousands of miles away in Nevada, selects a target because he thinks the drone camera has spotted something suspicious.

He said: ‘It could be a vehicle  containing armed men heading towards the border, and the operator thinks, “Let’s get them before they get there,” without any idea of who they are.

‘It could also just be people sitting together. In the frontier region, every male is armed but it doesn’t mean they are militants.’

One such signature strike killed more than 40 people in Datta Khel in North Waziristan on March 17 last year. The victims, Mr Akbar’s dossier makes clear, had gathered for a jirga – a tribal meeting – in order to discuss a dispute between two clans over the division of royalties from a chromite mine.

Some of the most horrifying testimony comes from Khalil Khan, the son of Malik Haji Babat, a tribal leader and police officer. ‘My father was not a terrorist. He was not an enemy of the United States,’ Khalil’s legal statement says. ‘He was a hard-working and upstanding citizen, the type of person others looked up to and aspired to be like.’

Khalil, 32, last saw his father three hours before his death, when he left for a business meeting in a nearby town. Informed his father had been killed, Khalil hurried to the scene.

‘What I saw when I got off the bus at Datta Khel was horrible,’ he said. ‘I immediately saw flames and women and children were saying there had been a drone strike. The fires spread after the strike.

‘I went to the location where the jirga had been held. The situation was really very bad. There were still people lying around injured.

‘The tribal elders who had been killed could not be identified because there were body parts strewn about. The smell was awful. I just collected the pieces that I believed belonged to my father and placed them in a small coffin.’

Khalil said that as a police officer, his father had earned a good salary, on which he supported his family. Khalil has considered returning to the Gulf, where he worked for 14 years, but ‘because of the frequency of drones I am concerned to leave my family’.

He added that schools in the area were empty because ‘parents are afraid their children will be hit by  a missile’.

In another statement – one of 13 taken by Mr Akbar concerning the Datta Khel strike – driver Ahmed Jan, 52, describes the moment the missile hit: ‘We were in the middle of our discussion and I was thrown about 24ft from where I was sitting. I was knocked unconscious. When I awoke, I saw many individuals who were injured or dead.

‘I have lost the use of one of my feet and have a rod inserted because of the injuries. It is so painful for me to walk. There are scars on my face because I had to have an operation on my nose when it would not stop bleeding.’

Mr Jan says he has spent £3,600 on medical treatment but ‘I have never been offered compensation of any kind .  .  . I do not know why this jirga was targeted. I am a malik [elder] of my tribe and therefore a government servant. We were not doing anything wrong or illegal.’

Another survivor was Mohammed Noor, 27, a stonemason, who attended the jirga with his uncle and his cousin, both of whom were killed. ‘The parts of their bodies had to be collected first. These parts were all we had of them,’ he said.

Mr Akbar said that fighting back through the courts was the only way ‘to solve the larger problem’ of the ongoing terrorist conflict.

‘It is the only way to break the cycle of violence,’ he said. ‘If we want to change the people of Waziristan, we first have to show them that we respect the rule of law.’

A senior CIA officer said: ‘We do not discuss active operations or  allegations against specific individuals.’ A White House source last night declined to comment. Source

Most of the links in the story below lead to a story. You will have to mouse over them and if an ad doesn’t pop up it is a legitimate link.
Unfortunately those ad links, are all over the web and are rather annoying.

Predator Drone Strikes: 50 Civilians Are Killed For Every 1 Terrorist, and the CIA Only Wants to Up Drone Warfare

By Robert Taylor

While the 2012 presidential election racket focuses on gaffes, Romney’s binders, and Big Bird, the CIA and the Pentagon are currently busy finding ways to increase their military power and influence around the globe. According to the Washington Post, CIA Director David Petraeus wants an increased drone fleet to “bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging Al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots.”

And with the final presidential debate on Monday focusing on foreign policy, the issue of drone strikes could not be more prescient. President Obama and former Governor Romney both carefully tiptoed around discussing anything of real substance concerning domestic issues and the economy, and will both look to outhawk each other next week concerning the use of unmanned armed drones overseas — if it is even discussed at all.

It’s easy to see why they might want to avoid the subject. The use of drone strikes have increased exponentially under the Obama administration, becoming a signature aspect of his incredibly aggressive and reckless foreign policy. And while the president and his advisers defend both their supposed legality and precision while simultaneously bragging when convenient and denying when pressured that the drone program even exists, a closer look at the use of Predator drones tells a very different story.

Despite claims from the administration that drone strikes have killed very few civilians, multiple independent reports confirm that Obama is severely downplaying the wreckage that these drone strikes inflict. It is ultimately impossible to get exact numbers, but a new study from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute finds that the number of Pakistani civilians killed in drone strikes are “significantly and consistently underestimated” by tracking organizations which are trying to take the place of government estimates on casualties.

There are estimates as high as 98% of drone strike casualties being civilians (50 for every one “suspected terrorist”). The Bureau of Investigative Journalism issued a report detailing how the CIA is deliberately targeting those who show up after the sight of an attack, rescuers, and mourners at funerals as a part of a “double-tap” strategy eerily reminiscient of methods used by terrorist groups like Hamas.

These numbers and reports alone should cast much doubt on the effectiveness at protecting the U.S. and combating terrorism that the Obama admnistration uses as justification for drone strikes. If a drone kills an actual terrorist but leaves multiple, sometimes dozens, of innocent civilians vaporized as well, this creates a brand new set of enemies and blowback. According to Jeremy Scahill’s reporting at The Nation, U.S. drone strikes in Yemen are the primary source for Al-Qaeda’s presence in the Arabian Peninsula. Obama’s “signature strikes” — where targets are hit for displaying “suspicious behavior” and which Petraeus also wants to expand — are backfiring and can only boomerang back to us.

While the CIA claims that the drone program operates “under a framework of legal and close government oversight,” multiple legal experts are challenging the legality of the drone program under both American and international law. But much like how the Obama administration is blocking any challenges to the provisions in the NDAA that essentially nullify habeus corpus and Posse Comitatus, any lawsuit or inquiry into the drone program has been met with staunch opposition — especially concerning the targeted assassinations by drones of Anwar Al-Awlaki and his 16-year old son, both U.S. citizens.

The Obama-CIA drone program is the perfect example of government secrecy, lawlessness, and the inevitable next step in the U.S. government’s long tradition of claiming the right to intervene military anywhere and everywhere it pleases. Government programs, whether they be welfare transfer payments or weapons contracts, like cancer, grow for growth’s sake.

Many Americans may display indifference to the use of drones and the CIA’s desire to expand the program. After all, these strikes are done thousands of miles away, and our noble public servants would never mislead us or fearmonger about a supposed foreign threat. Besides, it is far better to have CIA agents in Virginia or Nevada flying weaponized robots by remote control than to send in thousands of Marines, right?

The problem with this, of course, is twofold. First, the basic justification for the use of drones is the threat of terrorism. But terrorism is simply a predictable consequence of an interventionist foreign policy, the propping up of puppet dictators, and the embrace of empire that began after World War II (at least). The use of drones simply compounds this problem, creating more potential terrorists for every one that is killed.

Secondly, foreign and domestic policy are incredibly intertwined, and empires always eventually turn inward. During the occupation of the Philippines, the U.S. government experimented with drug prohibition and torture, programs that eventually became standard domestically. Police are now increasingly resembling, in both attire, attitude, and tactics, their overseas counterparts in Baghdad and Kandahar. Given that in just a few years, drones are set to police American skies, how long will they remained unarmed?

This is why the the drone program, and the CIA’s desire to expand it, are so troubling. More than anything, the issue of whether the President, in a supposedly free society and a constitutional republic, should have this type of power at his fingertips should be front and center.

But since the only critique of Obama’s foreign policy that Romney offers is that it isn’t aggressive enough, the American people will sadly once again be deprived of a debate on the most substantive issues facing the future of what’s left of our republic. Source

Drone attacks kill innocent people. If the US did this in Canada, France, Britain or any other NATO country do you think it would be condemned or condoned?
There is no excuse to do this in Pakistan. Pakistan is not at war with the US. Just like Canada, France or the UK are not at war against the US.
This type of arrogant behavior is not acceptable on any level.
Pakistan is not the only country, who have had many civilians killed by US drones.
Killing innocent people, is murder no matter what the circumstances.
Drone killings are illegal.
Remote-Control Killers

Five Reasons Drone Assassinations are Illegal

May 15, 2012
By BILL QUIGLEY
Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer who teaches at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

US civilian and military employees regularly target and fire lethal unmanned drone guided missiles at people across the world.  Thousands of people have been assassinated.   Hundreds of those killed were civilians. Some of those killed were rescuers and mourners.

These killings would be criminal acts if they occurred inside the US.  Does it make legal sense that these killings would be legal outside the US?

Some Facts About Drone Assassinations 

The US has used drones to kill thousands of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.   But the government routinely refuses to provide any official information on local reports of civilian deaths or the identities of most of those killed.

In Pakistan alone, the New America Foundation reports US forces have launched 297 drone strikes killing at least 1800 people, three to four hundred of whom were not even combatants.   Other investigative journalists report four to eight hundred civilians killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Very few of these drone strikes kill high level leaders of terror groups.  A recent article in FOREIGN AFFAIRS estimated “only one out of every seven drone attacks in Pakistan kills a militant leader.  The majority of those killed in such strikes are not important insurgent commanders but rather low level fighters, together with a small number of civilians.”

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal in November 2011 revealed that most of the time the US did not even know the identities of the people being killed by drones in Pakistan.  The WSJ reported there are two types of drone strikes.  Personality strikes target known terrorist leaders.  Signature strikes target groups of men believed to be militants but are people whose identities are not known.  Most of the drone strikes are signature strikes.

In Yemen, there have been at least 34 drone assassination attacks so far in 2012 alone, according to the London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  Using drones against people in Yemen, who are thought to be militants but whose names are not even known, was authorized by the Obama administration in April 2012, according to the Washington Post.   Somalia has been the site of ten drone attacks with a growing number in recent months.

Civilian deaths in drone strikes are regularly reported but more chilling is the practice of firing a second set of drone strikes at the scene once people have come to find out what happened or to give aid.  Glen Greenwald of Salon, a leading critic of the increasing use of drones, recently pointed out that drones routinely kill civilians who are in the vicinity of people thought to be “militants” and are thus “incidental” killings.  But also the US also frequently fires drones again at people who show up at the scene of an attack, thus deliberately targeting rescuers and mourners.

Here are five reasons why these drone assassinations are illegal.

One.  Assassination by the US government has been illegal since 1976 

Drone killings are acts of premeditated murder.  Premeditated murder is a crime in all fifty states and under federal criminal law.  These murders are also the textbook definition of assassination, which is murder by sudden or secret attack for political reasons.

In 1976 U.S. President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g), which states “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.” President Reagan followed up to make the ban clearer in Executive Order 12333. Section 2.11 of that Order states “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” Section 2.12 further says “Indirect participation.  No agency of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this Order.”  This ban on assassination still stands.

The reason for the ban on assassinations was that the CIA was involved in attempts to assassinate national leaders opposed by the US. Among others, US forces sought to kill Fidel Castro of Cuba, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.

Two.  United Nations report directly questions the legality of US drone killings

The UN directly questioned the legality of US drone killings in a May 2010 report by NYU law professor Philip Alston.  Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, said drone killings may be lawful in the context of authorized armed conflict (eg Afghanistan where the US sought and received international approval to invade and wage war on another country).  However, the use of drones “far from the battle zone” is highly questionable legally.  “Outside the context of armed conflict, the use of drones for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.” Can drone killings be justified as anticipatory self-defense?  “Applying such a scenario to targeted killings threatens to eviscerate the human rights law prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life.” Likewise, countries which engage in such killings must provide transparency and accountability, which no country has done.  “The refusal by States who conduct targeted killings to provide transparency about their policies violates the international law framework that limits the unlawful use of lethal force against individuals.”

Three.  International law experts condemn US drone killings 

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international affairs and politics at Princeton University thinks the widespread killing of civilians in drone strikes may well constitute war crimes.  “There are two fundamental concerns. One is embarking on this sort of automated warfare in ways that further dehumanize the process of armed conflict in ways that I think have disturbing implications for the future,” Falk said. “Related to that are the concerns I’ve had recently with my preoccupation with the occupation of Gaza of a one-sided warfare where the high-tech side decides how to inflict pain and suffering on the other side that is, essentially, helpless.”

Human rights groups in Pakistan challenge the legality of US drone strikes there and assert that Pakistan can prosecute military and civilians involved for murder.

While stopping short of direct condemnation, international law expert Notre Dame Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell seriously questions the legality of drone attacks in Pakistan.  In powerful testimony before Congress and in an article in America magazine she points out that under the charter of the United Nations, international law authorizes nations to kill people in other countries only in self-defense to an armed attack, if authorized by the UN, or is assisting another country in their lawful use of force.  Outside of war, she writes, the full body of human rights applies, including the prohibition on killing without warning.  Because the US is not at war with Pakistan, using the justification of war to authorize the killings is “to violate fundamental human rights principles.”

Four.  Military law of war does not authorize widespread drone killing of civilians  

According to the current US Military Law of War Deskbook, the law of war allows killing only when consistent with four key principles: military necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity.   These principles preclude both direct targeting of civilians and medical personnel but also set out how much “incidental” loss of civilian life is allowed.  Some argue precision-guided weapons like drones can be used only when there is no probable cause of civilian deaths.  But the US military disputes that burden and instead directs “all practicable precautions” be taken to weigh the anticipated loss of civilian life against the advantages expected to be gained by the strike.

Even using the more lenient standard, there is little legal justification of deliberately allowing the killing of civilians who are “incidental” to the killings of people whose identities are unknown.

Five.  Retired high-ranking military and CIA veterans challenge the legality and efficacy of drone killings 

Retired US Army Colonel Ann Wright squarely denies the legality of drone warfare, telling Democracy Now:  “These drones, you might as well just call them assassination machines.  That is what these drones are used for: targeted assassination, extrajudicial ultimate death for people who have not been convicted of anything.”

Drone strikes are also counterproductive.  Robert Grenier, recently retired Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center, wrote, “One wonders how many Yemenis may be moved in the future to violent extremism in reaction to carelessly targeted missile strikes, and how many Yemeni militants with strictly local agendas will become dedicated enemies of the West in response to US military actions against them.”

Recent polls of the Pakistan people show high levels of anger in Pakistan at US military attacks there.  This anger in turn leads to high support for suicide attacks against US military targets.

US Defense of Drone Assassinations 

US officials claim these drone killings are not assassinations because the US has the legal right to kill anyone considered a terrorist, anywhere, if they can argue it is in self-defense.  Attorney General Holder and White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan recently defended the legality of drone strikes and argued they are not assassinations because the killings are in response to the 9/11 attacks and are carried out in self-defense even when not in Afghanistan or Iraq.  This argument is based on the highly criticized claim of anticipatory self-defense which justifies killings in a global war on terror when traditional self-defense would clearly not.  The government refuses to provide copies of the legal opinions relied upon by the government.

Growing Resistance to Drone Assassinations 

In signs of hope, people in the US are resisting the increasing use of drones.

CODEPINK, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the London-based human rights group Reprieve co-sponsored an International Drone Summit in Washington DC to challenge drone assassinations.   Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill noted that Congress only managed to scrape up six votes to oppose the assassination of US citizens abroad.  “What is happening to this country? We have become a nation of assassins.   We have become a nation that is somehow silent in the face of the idea that assassination should be one of the centerpieces of US policy.”

The American Society of International Law issued a report “Targeting Operations with Drone Technology: Humanitarian Law Implications” in March 2011.   Concerned that drones may be the future of warfare, scholars examined three questions in the US use of drone technology: the scope of armed conflict (what is the battlefield upon which deadly force of drone killing is authorized); who may be targeted; and the legal implications of who conducts the targeting (since it is often not military but clandestine CIA agents who decide who dies).   Concluding that the US may soon find itself “on the other end of the drone” as this technology expands, they criticize official US silence on these key legal questions.

Others are taking direct action.  Select examples include: fourteen people arrested in April 2009 outside Creech Air Force base in Nevada in connection with a protest against drones by the Nevada Desert Experience; in January 2010 people protested drones outside the CIA headquarters in Langley Virginia; in April 2011, thirty-seven were arrested at Hancock Air Force base in upstate New York as part of a four hundred person protest against the use of drones;  in October 2011, as part of the International Week of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space there were protests outside of Raytheon Missile Systems plant in Tucson;  in April 2012, twenty-eight people were pre-emptively arrested on their way to protest drones at Hancock Air Force Base.

There is a brilliant new book, DRONE WARFARE authored by global activist Medea Benjamin which documents the nuts and bolts of the drone industry and the money involved in their production and operation.  She collects many global media reports of innocent civilian deaths, investigations into these deaths, and gives voice to international opposition groups like her own CODEPINK, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Fellowship of Reconciliation, War Resisters International, Human Rights Watch, the Catholic Worker movement, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and others working against the drones.

As National Public Radio and The New Republic jointly editorialized, there is good reason to doubt the veracity of US claims that drone killings are even effective.  Drone use has escalated and expanded the US global war on terror and thus should be subject to higher levels of scrutiny than it is now.  As the use of drones escalates so too does the risk of killing innocents which produces “legitimate anti-American anger that terrorist recruiters can exploit….Such a steady escalation of the drone war, and the inevitable increase in civilian casualties that will accompany it, could easily tip the delicate balance that assures we kill more terrorists than we produce.”

There is incredible danger in allowing US military and civilians to murder people anywhere in the world with no public or Congressional or judicial oversight.  This authorizes the President and the executive branch, according to the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, to be prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner.

The use of drones to assassinate people violates US and international law in multiple ways.  US military and civilian employees, who plan, target and execute people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia are violating the law and, ultimately, risk prosecution.  As the technology for drone attacks spreads, protests by the US that drone attacks by others are illegal will sound quite hollow.  Continuation of flagrantly illegal drone attacks by the US also risks justifying the exact same actions, taken by others, against us. Source
If the US did this in your country or you, how would you feel about it?

Imagine for a few moments, that it happened to your family or friends.

Imagine it happened to your next door neighbors or to you, yourself.

Well you could be next. Something to think about for a while.

Something else to think about. Those who tell the truth, can end up in prison.

President Obama Keeps a Yemeni Journalist in Jail

As the battle continues against NDAA the indefinite detention a journalist is being detained for exposing US lies about the murder of civilians in a drone strike.

Why would President Obama want a Yemeni journalist, known for his reports of human rights abuses, to remain in Yemeni prison?

That’s the question Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ wants to know after two years in detention following his reports – later proven correct — that the United States was involved in a deadly attack on an alleged al-Qa’ida training camp which took place on Dec. 17, 2009. For the entire story go to the Source

Recent

US Election Fraud

Hay East donations disappoint Ontario farmers

U.S. meningitis cases rise to 64

 

//

//

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm  Comments Off on US Drones that kill innocent Civilians is Murder – CIA chiefs face arrest  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. meningitis cases rise to 64

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

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

Seven die from outbreak after getting back pain shots

Oct 6, 2012

External Links

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steriod used in 75 facilities in 23 states

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Privatization in Canada’s Health Care System is Killing People

March 22 2012

Poor hospital cleaning revealed as major problem

‘Some hospitals are a real freaking disaster’

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

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

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

DIRTY HOSPITALS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More with less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. difficile outbreaks common

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Stories

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

FAQs: What is C. difficile?

Opportunistic superbug present in most hospitals

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

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

It is actually costing Canada more to use private companies.

A lesson leaned the hard way. Remember:

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

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

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

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

http://ontariocfa.com/

Pass this on to all your Canadians friends.

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

Update March 27 2012

CBC’s ‘dirty hospital’ report sparks changes

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

March 26, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bathroom was the worst, he said.

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

Emails from across the country echoed Hough’s observations.

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

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

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

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

Recent

UK teenager arrested for anti-war Facebook post

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

3 Canadians accuse U.S. border guards of ‘molestation’

Outrage grows over ‘Stop Kony’ campaign

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

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue

Pfizer pays Nigeria drug-trial victims

US-based Pfizer pays first four of possible 546 families for deaths and disabilities caused by meningitis test vaccine.

August 11 2011

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun long-awaited compensation payments to families over a 1996 drug trial blamed for the deaths of 11 children and disabilities in dozens of others.

But the payments, which started on Thursday, were initially distributed only to four families, while some 200 children participated in the trial of meningitis drug, Trovan.

Parents of four of the children who died as a result of the trial received cheques of $175,000 each at a reception in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, where the trial took place.

A dispute over whether DNA testing should be used to verify the identification of victims had held up compensation payments.

It had been earlier reported that the test scheme has intimidated families of victims of the drug trial from following through in the compensation process.

Thursday’s payments followed the release of eight results out of the 546 saliva swab DNA tests, said Abubakar Bashir Wali, who heads the claims verification committee.

“Out of these eight results, four died as a result of their participation in the clinical trial and each is entitled to … $175,000 as full and final settlement of compensation,” Wali said at the reception.

The trial drug left the other four whose DNA results came back with permanent deformities, and Wali said they would be compensated commensurate with their disabilities.

It was not clear how the disabilities could be quantified monetarily.

“The compensation cannot replace my loss, but will only cushion the hardship the drug trial caused me and my family,” Hauwa Umar, who lost a child, said between sobs.

‘Frustrating’ DNA process

Outside the ceremony, a group of claimants accused the compensation committee of unnecessary delay in the verification and payment of claims.

“It is frustrating that 10 months after taking over 500 swabs for DNA tests only eight results have been released despite assurance that the results would be out within six weeks,” Surajo Hassan said.

Hassan said his nephew suffered deafness from the trial.

“The procedures contained in the settlement agreement are quite cumbersome, and we appeal to all stakeholders to be patient…,” Wali said at the ceremony.

Pfizer issued a statement from New York, saying: “We are pleased that these four individuals, the first group of qualified claimants…have received compensation”.

The statement described the initial payments as a “milestone in the implementation of the settlement agreement reached by Kano state government and Pfizer”.

The payments were part of a $75m out-of-court settlement reached between Pfizer and the Kano state government in July 2009 over the drug trial, which occurred during a meningitis epidemic that, according to Pfizer, killed nearly 12,000 people.

Pfizer says it was given approval from government authorities and about 200 children were involved in the trial, half of whom were treated with Trovan.

Last year, the pharmaceutical giant hired investigators to find evidence of corruption in Kano’s government.

France-based medical charity Doctors Without Borders, which was at the time urgently trying to treat meningitis patients in Nigeria, has harshly criticised Pfizer over the trial. Source

Recent


UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya

(Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Families Cry Out for Palestinian Prisoners

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Pfizer pays Nigeria drug-trial victims  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya

August 12 2011

UNITED NATIONS: UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed alarm over the rising number of civilian casualties in the Libya conflict, including those inflicted in NATO airstrikes.

Without specifically naming any side, Ban called on “all parties” to use “extreme caution” in the battle, said a UN statement. Ban also stepped up calls for a political solution to the conflict, in which rebels have sought to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade-old regime.

“The secretary general is deeply concerned by reports of the unacceptably large number of civilian casualties as a result of the conflict in Libya,” said the statement.

“The secretary general calls on all parties to exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimize any further loss of civilian life,” it added.

When asked if NATO was included in the message, a UN spokeswoman stressed the “all parties” phrase.

Ban has been a staunch defender of the NATO air campaign against Gaddafi, which began in March.

But the air attacks have drawn harsh criticism from members of the UN Security Council, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, who say the action goes beyond UN resolutions on Libya.

UNESCO’s director general Irina Bokova this week branded as “unacceptable” a NATO attack on the Libyan state broadcasting headquarters in which three people died, saying that media should not be targeted.

NATO has insisted that its attacks are in keeping with UN resolutions passed this year which allow military action to protect civilians in Libya.

On Wednesday, Ban spoke with Gaddafi’s prime minister, Baghdadi Mahmudi, to press for the protection of civilians and demand new efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, the United Nations said.

Ban told Mahmudi “he was very troubled that there had been an absolute lack of progress in the efforts to find a politically negotiated solution” to the conflict, it said.

In the latest statement, Ban reaffirmed “his strongly held belief that there can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis.

“A ceasefire that is linked to a political process which would meet the aspirations of the Libyan people is the only viable means to achieving peace and security in Libya.”

He urged Gaddafi and the rebels “to immediately engage” with special UN envoy Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, and “respond concretely and positively to the ideas presented to them, in order to end the bloodshed in the country.”

The former Jordanian foreign minister has spent months shuttling between Tripoli and the rebel base at Benghazi trying to start ceasefire talks between the Gaddafi regime and the rebels’ governing council. Source

There have been at least 3,657–3,914 reported civilians killed by August 9, 2011.

Source Libyan casualties Time period
World Health Organization 2,000 killed February 15 – March 2, 2011
International Federation for Human Rights 3,000 killed February 15 – March 5, 2011
Libyan League for Human Rights 6,000 kille February 15 – March 5, 2011
National Transitional Council 10,000 killed February 15 – April 12, 2011
UN Human Rights Council 10,000–15,000 killed February 15 – June 9, 2011
Al Jazeera English 13,000 killed February 15 – June 18, 2011

The numbers vary. Source

I couldn’t find out how many have been injured. Seems no one is talking about it.

I imagine many thousands have been injured. The truth will come out eventually.

Recent

(Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Families Cry Out for Palestinian Prisoners

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

“Tortured” veterans to sue Donald Rumsfeld

Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 4:21 am  Comments Off on UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

August 9 2011
At least 85 civilians have been killed in the latest NATO airstrikes in Libya near the western city of Zlitan, a Libyan official says.

The attacks took place in the village of Majer, south of Zlitan, which is located 160 km (100 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli, late on Monday, Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said, AFP reported.

Thirty three children, 32 women and 20 men from 12 families were killed in the “massacre,” Ibrahim added.

“After the first three bombs dropped at around 11:00 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Monday, many residents of the area ran to the bombed houses to try to save their loved ones. Three more bombs struck,” he further said.

The US and NATO have unleashed a punishing, UN-mandated offensive against embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in an alleged attempt to pressure him into giving up power.

NATO has conducted thousands of airstrikes against Libya since it assumed control of the military campaign in late March.

The airstrikes by the military alliance have killed many civilians as well as revolutionary forces that are fighting against the government troops.

Experts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the North African country. Source

NATO is also going to poison the land, water and people with radioactive garbage (DU), as they have everywhere else they go. In the end millions will die. Seems like an instant replay of Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else NATO goes..We can expect death rates to skyrocket from cancer etc. NATO always give the gift of death that keeps on killing for years to come. They have the Gaul to call themselves the good guys.

War for resources is old hat for NATO and friends.

NATO and the US should be ashamed of themselves and their people need to tell their governments enough is enough. They are sick of their bloody wars.

Every time NATO and the US start yet another war the price of Gas/Oil goes up.

Guess who pays for all those wars your tax dollars? You who are just getting by.

I am sick of paying for their bloody wars.

I am fed up with all the deaths of innocent people.

The wars are destroying the environment of the world. That radiations goes with the wind. You can expect cancer rates around the world to go up yet again like one in three isn’t high enough. I guess they want to kill off everyone of us.  So when we all die of radiation, who will be left? Then I guess they will say oops we made a mistake. Well it will be to late then. No wonder Health Care costs are going up all the time, the war machine is making us all sick. Don’t ever think because it is in another country you are safe you are not.

When the Nuclear reactor in Japan went up it spread all around the entire planet. Especially the Northern hemisphere but it will make it’s way south in the near future. Radiation knows no boundaries, nor does DU radiation.

I will be starting new pages of photos of the dead in days to come.

I am sure there will be many.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

The people are angry, This video isn’t in English, but you don’t have to be a translator to figure out what they are saying.

‘NATO after vast oil reserves in Lybia’

August 10 2011

A political analyst says he believes that the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the North African country.

“It is undoubtedly true that the oil resources, the natural resources of Libya, are an important issue for the Western powers… even more important than the oil resources was the desire to intervene in the process of the Arab revolutions and to try and get some control over.” John Reese, from Stop the War Coalition, said in an exclusive interview with Press TV.

NATO has conducted thousands of airstrikes against Libya since it assumed control of the military campaign in late March.

NATO has deployed its full range of aircraft in the war on Libya.

The developments come as the Western forces claim the operation in Libya is aimed at protecting civilians.

Scores of civilians have been killed in Libya since US-led forces launched aerial and sea attacks on the North African country.

Libyan troops have also killed thousands of civilians since a revolution started against embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi in mid-February.

Reese also criticized Saudis involvement in Bahrain, saying that Washington gave them the green light to attack the Bahraini people.

He concluded that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was pursuing the US interests in the Middle East.

Critics accuse the West of hypocrisy over the offensive on Libya, along with its silence towards the brutal crackdowns on similar anti-regime movements elsewhere in the Arab world, such as in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  Source Very informative video at site.

LIBYA produces 1.7m of the world’s 88m barrels a day (b/d) of oil. OECD countries import 1.2m b/d, and China another 150,000. The chart shows which of Libya’s main export markets are most dependent on it for their oil. The little boxes at the right on the graph tell who imports the most.  . Italy is the biggest importer: in 2010 it took 376,000 b/d .

Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 42 billion barrels of oil and over 1.3 trillion cubic metres of gas. With only 25% of Libya’s surface territory explored to date there is every chance that actual reserves could see this figure dwarfed in coming years.

As Europe’s single largest oil supplier, the second largest oil producer in Africa and the continent’s fourth largest gas supplier, Libya dominates the petroleum sector in the Southern Mediterranean area and has ambitious plans for the future.

More than 50 international oil companies are present in the market and together with subsidiaries of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) are contributing to the country’s current production capacity of 2m b/d. NOC plans oilfield investment of some $10bn over the coming three years to increase potential production.

More on Libyan oil and gas Here.

There are some videos of men searching through the rubble to find bodies on this post. (Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Recent

“Tortured” veterans to sue Donald Rumsfeld

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: High Radiation Levels In America! Oklahoma City

Israel’s middle class launches mass protest at rising cost of living

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Shining India, Over 5,000 Children Die Every Day From Hunger And Malnutrition

By Devinder Sharma

September 9, 2010

The startling figure still resonates in my memory. Some 25 years back, I remember reading a report in one of the major dailies which said that some 5,000 children die every day in India. Today morning, my attention therefore was automatically drawn to a news report: 1.83 million children die before fifth bithday every year: Report (Indian Express, Sept 8, 2010).

I immediately took out a pen and paper to find out the per day child mortality rate. I wanted to know whether the child mortality rate has come down, and by how much, in the last 25 years or so. My disappointment has grown. The calculations shows that every day 5,013 children are succumbing to malnutrition. Given that a half of all children in India are under-nourished as per the National Family Health Survey III (2005-06), of which over 5,000 die every day I think every Indian needs to hang his/her head in shame.

Globally, 14,600 children die every day. This means that India alone has the dubious distinction of having more than a third of the world’s child mortality. This is ironically happening at a time when food is rotting in the godowns.

Yes, India is surely an emerging economic superpower, but building an Empire over hungry stomachs! Mera Bharat Mahaan!!

A new global report “A fair Chance at Life” by the international child rights organisation Save the Children is not only a damming indictment of the supplementary nutrition programmes that have been running for several decades now, but also is an eye-opener in many ways. While it tells us how hollow the global claims under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are, nationally it shows us the stark hidden realities. A country which doesn’t get tired of patting itself in the back for creating an impressive list of 50 billionaires, and off and on does bask under the fictitious glow of Shining India, the dark underbelly remains deliberately hidden from the media glare.

Let us look at what the report says: “Of the 26 million children born in India every year, approximately 1.83 million died before their fifth birthday. “What these aggregate figures do not reveal are the huge inequities in mortality rates across the country, within States and between them, as well as between children in urban and rural areas.”

Half of these children actually die within a month of being born. In other words, nearly 2,500 children of those who die have not even survived for more than a month. This is an indication of not only the inability of the parents to provide adequate nutrition to their new born, but more than that is a reflection of the impoverished condition of the especially the mother. Does it not tell us to what extent poverty and hunger prevails in this country? Do we need to still work out more effective parameters to measure hunger and malnutrition? Do we really need to find a new estimate of people living below the poverty line (BPL)?

Madhya Pradesh tops the list, followed closely by Uttar Pradesh. The under-5 mortality rate in Kerala was 14 deaths per 1000 live births. This stood at a sharp contrast to Madhya Pradesh at 92 per 1000 and 91 per 1000 for Uttar Pradesh.

I am reproducing below a news report from the pages of The Hindu (Sept 8, 2010):

‘Children from poorest section 3 times more likely to die before age of 5 than those from high income groups’

Children from the poorest communities are three times more likely to die before they reach the age of 5 than those from high income groups, Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation has said.

In a global report titled A Fair Chance at Life, the organisation said the policy to lower child mortality in India and elsewhere appeared to focus on children from better-off communities, leaving out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The 41 percentage decline in child mortality over the last two decades masks a dangerous expansion of the child mortality gap between the richest and poorest families in India,” Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said.

Child mortality is often described as the best barometer of social and economic progress. Despite being one of the fastest growing economies, there has been no visible pattern between per capita income growth and the rate of reduction of child mortality rates. In 2008, 5.3 lakh children under 5 died in the lowest income quintile in comparison to 1.78 lakh among the wealthy quintile. The rate of decline between 2005-06 and 1997-98 among the lowest income quintile is 22.69 per cent, compared to 34.37 per cent among the high income quintile for the same period.

Of the 26 million children born in India every year, approximately 1.83 million died before their fifth birthday. “What these aggregate figures do not reveal are the huge inequities in mortality rates across the country, within States and between them, as well as between children in urban and rural areas,” Mr. Chandy said.

The under-5 mortality rate in Kerala was 14 deaths per 1000 live births. This stood at a sharp contrast to Madhya Pradesh at 92 per 1000 and 91 per 1000 for Uttar Pradesh.

“Every child has the right to survive and the Indian government has an obligation to protect them. Save the Children’s research shows that prioritising marginalised and excluded communities, especially in the States lagging behind, is one of the surest ways that India can reduce the number of children dying from easily preventable causes. The National Rural Health Mission, for example, should have a clear focus on social inclusion of Dalits and adivasis in terms of access to healthcare,” he said.

Save the Children’s report comes two weeks before a high-level U.N. summit in New York from September 20-22 to assess progress against the Millennium Development Goals.

By demonstrating a political will and the right policies, MDG4 could be achieved in India. The good schemes in place needed to be matched by effective implementation. And there was enough experience in India proving that low-cost interventions can make the difference between life and death for a child, the report said.

Huge inequity in child mortality rates: Survey
http://www.thehindu.com/news/article617626.ece

Source

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

Recent

The boycott of Israel is “gaining speed”

The next big thing in autos: a hand-cranked hybrid?

More birds dying in Alberta oil sands than first reported

Blackwater Worldwide/Xe Services formed a network of 30 shell companies

Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography

More birds dying in Alberta oil sands than first reported

September 7 2010

A new report suggests more birds are dying in Alberta’s tar sands than the government has let on.

Government industries have estimated that on average, about 65 birds die each year from tailings pond exposure, according to the study released Tuesday. The mean annual rate was determined by analyzing the mortality rate between 2000 and 2007.

However the study, which has been published in September’s edition of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, suggests a number that is at least seven times higher than the industries estimate.

Researchers report that on average, between 458 and 5,029 birds die each year at the Bitumen Tailings Pond in northeastern Alberta.

In fact, researchers say that average is likely conservative because the data that was studied doesn’t include bird deaths that occurred before spring, between spring and fall migration and after fall migration.

Researchers say the wide range is due to spatial and temporal variations in bird mortality rates.

Tailings ponds are said to contain bitumen, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, naphthenic acids, brine, heavy metals, and ammonia.

The study concludes by saying the government needs to introduce a system that is “statistically valid” and is standardized.

“Systematic monitoring and accurate, timely reporting would provide data useful to all those concerned with bird conservation and management in the tar sands region,” the study says.

Dr. Kevin Timoney, a scientist with Treeline Ecological Research, said the industries’ estimates are hampering efforts to protect wildlife in the tar sands.

“The ad hoc monitoring by industry, sanctioned by government, cannot address pressing questions whose answers would aid in the conservation of both migratory and resident birds,” said Timoney, a co-author of the study.

Greenpeace Canada expressed outrage at the finding of the study and released a statement asking for an “independent scientific analysis.”

“We can no longer let the fox guard the hen house,” Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, was quoted as saying. “It has become glaringly obvious that we can’t trust the government to give us accurate information on the tar sands industry.

“It’s time for independent scientific analysis so that the public knows the full scope of this horrific industry and can make a decision about the kind of future we want to invest in: a toxic legacy or a green economy we can all live and breathe in?”

The study also found:

  • Landing deterrent systems at tailings ponds are only partially effective and don’t always prevent bird deaths.
  • Researchers are unable to determine the fate of lightly oiled birds that continue on the migration path.
  • There is not enough data on deaths reported during extreme weather or how often there are circumstances leading to massive bird deaths.

The Alberta government stated that oilsands companies must have monitoring and deterrence mechanisms in operation for all animals.

However, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Minister Mel Knight admitted that more needs to be done.

“I would not argue at all with the study with respect to the fact that there could be better work done on monitoring, and we’re going to work to do that,” he said. “At the end of the day we’ll come to appreciate the advice that is being given to us and we’ll use it.” Source

Related

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

There is a major pollution problem in Alberta. This not only affects wild life but also the people who live near the pollution as well.

All Wild Life in the area of the oil sands should be studied as well.

This also will get into the ground water and contaminate for years to come.

Recent

Blackwater Worldwide/Xe Services formed a network of 30 shell companies

Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

June 4, 2010 updates added at bottom. Updates of upcoming protests and a petition to the United Nations have been added. Will be adding more as I find them.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region.

Reports on deaths of victims of the Israeli attack varies from 9 to 19 depending on which reports you read.

Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists:

First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials

By Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith

June 01, 2010

Survivors of the Israeli assault on a flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza returned to Greece and Turkey today, giving the first eyewitness accounts of the raid in which at least 10 people died.

Arriving at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked.

“It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood,” said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara’s chief engineer.

She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. “The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn’t stop these warnings turned into an attack,” she said.

“There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters.”

Cetin is among a handful of Turkish activists to be released; more than 300 remain in Israeli custody. She said she agreed to extradition from Israel after she was warned that conditions in jail would be too harsh for her child.

“I am one of the first passengers to be sent home, just because I have baby. When we arrived at the Israeli port of Ashdod we were met by the Israeli interior and foreign ministry officials and police; there were no soldiers. They asked me only a few questions. But they took everything – cameras, laptops, cellphones, personal belongings including our clothes,” she said.

Kutlu Tiryaki was a captain of another vessel in the flotilla. “We continuously told them we did not have weapons, we came here to bring humanitarian help and not to fight,” he said.

“The attack on the Mavi Marmara came in an instant: they attacked it with 12 or 13 attack boats and also with commandos from helicopters. We heard the gunshots over our portable radio handsets, which we used to communicate with the Mavi Marmara, because our ship communication system was disrupted. There were three or four helicopters also used in the attack. We were told by Mavi Marmara their crew and civilians were being shot at and windows and doors were being broken by Israelis.”

Six Greek activists who returned to Athens accused Israeli commandos of using electric shocks during the raid.

Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni, told reporters: “Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat. They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.”

Michalis Grigoropoulos, who was at the wheel of the Free Mediterranean, said: “We were in international waters. The Israelis acted like pirates, completely out of the normal way that they conduct nautical exercises, and seized our ship. They took us hostage, pointing guns at our heads; they descended from helicopters and fired tear gas and bullets. There was absolutely nothing we could do … Those who tried to resist forming a human ring on the bridge were given electric shocks.”

Grigoropoulos, who insisted the ship was full of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza “and nothing more”, said that, once detained, the human rights activists were not allowed to contact a lawyer or the Greek embassy in Tel Aviv. “They didn’t let us go to the toilet, eat or drink water and throughout they videoed us. They confiscated everything, mobile phones, laptops, cameras and personal effects. They only allowed us to keep our papers.”

Turkey said it was sending three ambulance planes to Israel to pick up 20 more Turkish activists injured in the operation.

Three Turkish Airlines planes were on standby, waiting to fly back other activists, the prime minister’s office said. “Source

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

By Craig Murray

June 02, 2010

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:
“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a human rights activist, writer, former British Ambassador, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. Visit his blog http://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Source

Israel‘s Moral Superiority?
Netanyahu: World ‘Hypocritical’ for Condemning Gaza Flotilla Raid

In first address to nation, Netanyahu says had Turkish-flagged ship breached blockade, so could hundreds of vessels carrying weapons.

By Barak Ravid

June 02, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended the Israel Navy’s raid of a pro-Palestinian convoy en route to the Gaza Strip earlier this week, in his first address to the nation regarding the botched operation which left nine people dead and several more wounded.

Netanyahu accused international critics of “hypocrisy” and declared that Israel would continue to blockade the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, saying that to lift the embargo would turn it into a base for Iranian missiles that would threaten both Israel and Europe.

“Iran is continuing to smuggle weapons into Gaza,” said Netanyahu in a televised address. “It is our obligation to prevent these weapons from being brought in by land and sea. The previous government understood this and imposed a closure.”

“The goal of the flotilla was to breach [the closure] and not to bring goods, as we would have allowed them to do,” said Netanyahu. “If the blockade had been broken, dozens and hundreds more ships carrying weapons could have come.”

Netanyahu, who canceled his trip to Washington and a meeting with President Barack Obama due to the raid, declared that Israel had no opposition to seeing humanitarian aid brought into the Gaza Strip.

But Hamas’ growing armament was a cause for concern and a crucial reason to leave the blockade in place, said the prime minister. Without a blockade and intense inspection of every ship nearing the area, said Netanyahu, “Gaza will turn into an Iranian port.”

Nanyahu told his political-security cabinet during a special session on Tuesday that international condemnation would not stop Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The raid of the Turkish-flagged ship awakened a storm of criticism among Israel’s friends and foes alike, leading many members of the United Nations Security Council – including Britain – to call on Israel to lift its years-long siege of the Hamas-ruled coastal territory.

At a special meeting convened in the wake of the raid, Netanyahu told his ministers that the blockade was still necessary to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

“We know from the experience of Operation Cast Lead that the weapons entering Gaza are being turned against our civilians,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip that ended in January 2009.

“Gaza is a terror state funded by the Iranians, and therefore we must try to prevent any weapons from being brought into Gaza by air, sea and land,” he said.

Netanyahu acknowledged that militants were still capable of smuggling weapons in via tunnels from Egypt, but emphasized that the large amounts of weapons that could be brought by sea made the threat a completely different affair.

“On the Francop ship alone we confiscated some 200 tons of weapons being smuggled to Hezbollah,” the prime minister said, in reference to the Antiguan-flagged ship Israel intercepted off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009.

“Opening a naval route to Gaza will present an enormous danger to the security of our citizens,” said Netanyahu. “Therefore, we will stand firm on our policy of a naval blockade and of inspecting incoming ships.”

“It’s true that there is international pressure and criticism of this policy, but [the world] must understand that it is crucial to preserving Israel’s security and the right of the State of Israel to defend itself.”

Source
The Flotilla was not a threat to anyone in Israel.
What a BS. If anyone believes the Flotilla was a threat quick go find a Psychiatrist. You need one obviously.
Self defense against defenseless people delivering Humanitarian Aid??? Who is Netanyahu trying to kid?
Does he think everyone on the planet has “Complete Idiot” written across their foreheads. He is really pushing the Gullibility factor.

I for one am completely and utterly insulted, if thinks I am that stupid.

Israel is the perpetrator of the crimes in this case.

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Footage from the flotilla’s lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded and claimed troops opened fire after “demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs”.

Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Our correspondent said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.

Before losing communication with our correspondent, a voice in Hebrew was clearly heard saying: “Everyone shut up”.

Israeli intervention

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.

Organisers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

“All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have been put on a heightened state of alert across the country to prevent any civil disturbances.

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading member of the Islamic Movement who was on board the ship, was reported to have been seriously injured. He was being treated in Israel’s Tal Hasharon hospital.

In Um Al Faham, the stronghold of the Islamic movement in Israel and the birth place of Salah, preparations for mass demonstrations were under way.

Protests

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially declared a three-day state of mourning over Monday’s deaths.

Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned the Israeli ambassador’s in their respective countries to protest against the deadly assault.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted “Damn Israel” as police blocked them.

“(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has also dubbed the Israeli action as “barbaric”.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, were with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

The convoy came from the UK, Ireland, Algeria, Kuwait, Greece and Turkey, and was comprised of about 700 people from 50 nationalities.

But Israel had said it would not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.

Israel said the boats were embarking on “an act of provocation” against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

It asserted that the flotilla would be breaking international law by landing in Gaza, a claim the organisers rejected. Source

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 2. LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA

Article 3

Breadth of the territorial sea

Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km = over 35 nautical miles off the Gaza coast.

For all the Israeli’s knew the Flotilla could have been headed to Egypt to dock and have the goods transported to Gaza via the Egyptian boarder as well.

Either way what Israel did was a violation of International Law of the Sea. The Flotilla was under no obligation to stop for the Israelis as they were over the 12 Nautical miles out to sea at the time Israel attacked them..

Israel has no legal right to arrest anyone or hold any ships hostage. Israel committed an act of deliberate, premeditated, murder and piracy. Other crimes also include assault and battery, kidnapping and imprisonment of innocent civilians, and theft.

The people in the Flotilla  had committed absolutely no crime what so ever.

If I thought about it for a while I could come up with a few more charges that should be laid against the Israelis.

It could be a long list of violations. Murder, kidnapping, assault and battery,theft on land or sea are crimes and those responsible should be charged and imprisoned for their crimes, as any of us would be, if we committed these crimes.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed this and he did, he is as guilty of these crimes as those who committed them. He is responsible and should be tried for these crimes as well, as any other Government Representative or other Official who ordered or allowed  these crimes to be committed.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 86

Application of the provisions of this Part

The provisions of this Part apply to all parts of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State. This article does not entail any abridgement of the freedoms enjoyed by all States in the exclusive economic zone in accordance with article 58.

Article 87

Freedom of the high seas

1. The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States:

(a) freedom of navigation;

(b) freedom of overflight;

(c) freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines, subject to Part VI;

(d) freedom to construct artificial islands and other installations permitted under international law, subject to Part VI;

(e) freedom of fishing, subject to the conditions laid down in section 2;

(f) freedom of scientific research, subject to Parts VI and XIII.

2. These freedoms shall be exercised by all States with due regard for the interests of other States in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas, and also with due regard for the rights under this Convention with respect to activities in the Area.

Article 88

Reservation of the high seas for peaceful purposes

The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes.

Article 89

Invalidity of claims of sovereignty over the high seas

No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90

Right of navigation

Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Article 101

Definition of piracy

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Article 102

Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft

whose crew has mutinied

The acts of piracy, as defined in article 101, committed by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a private ship or aircraft.

Article 103

Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft

A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of committing one of the acts referred to in article 101. The same applies if the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip for an unlimited amount of time. Seems Egypt is not pleased with Israel over this attack.

Turkey is calling for Israel to be severely punished for it’s acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Protests have broken out in many countries over the incident.

Jordanians protest Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla

Jordanians took to the streets in Amman on Monday, protesting the Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza Strip.

During a march from the Jordanian professional associations’ headquarters to the Prime Ministry, the demonstrators chanted slogans against Israel, calling for closing the Israeli embassy in Amman.

The demonstrators urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman and annul the Wadi Arabia peace treaty Jordan and Israel signed in 1994. Source

Thousands in Istanbul protest against Israeli attack on flotilla


East Bay Citizens Condemn Israel Attack on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Minneapolis Demonstration Against Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre she lost her left eye. Source

Photos of Protests from: Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus, Britain, West Bank,  France, Indonesia, US, Lebanon

America Complicit In Israel’s Crimes

As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House.

Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story. Source

Related

Gaza Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity

Remember  to add this when you protests or write to a Government officials.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region. The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast. Israel had no legal right to stop them.

Keep up the pressure – End the siege of Gaza
Call on Canadian politicians to condemn the murder of the Gaza flotilla activists.
Global Day of Action – Saturday, June 5

International pressure is growing to end the siege of Gaza. The murder of the flotilla activists has thrust the issue into the mainstream, forcing governments around the world to speak out against the blockade.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper has not condemned the attacks and supported the U.S. initiative to water down the UN security council resolution on an investigation into the crimes. Both the U.S. and Canada have said that, rather than have the UN hold an independent investigation, Israel should investigate itself. This self-examination will be a smokescreen designed to hide the truth.

We in Canada have to speak out and demand that Harper stop being silent on war crimes, whether in Afghanistan or Palestine.

What can you do?

  • Join the events this week. Events are posed on the CPA website.

Palestinian groups are urging people to organize a global day of protest this Saturday, June 5. Many CPA members groups are already organizing events on Saturday and we are calling on peace activists to either join events already organized or, where there is no event, to try and organize one in your city. If you are organizing an event send the details to cpa@web.ca so we can post the information. Please feel free to contact the CPA for materials and information about the day of action.
To read the global call for action check the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) website.

There are also events each day in Canada condemning the attacks. Please keep checking the CPA website for the most up-to-date events listings for Canada. For global event listings check out the Gaza Freedom March website.

  • Send a letter to your MP

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East have put out a call for you to write letters to Canadian MP’s urging them to condemn the attacks. Click here to go to the website and send your letter.

Event Listings
Halifax
Israeli Attack on Humanitarian Aid Shipment
No to Israeli War Crimes! Support Gaza and the Palestinian People!
Join the Daily Mass Informational Pickets and Vigil

4 – 5 p.m. Wednesday (June 2), Thursday (June 3), Friday (June 4)

Maritime Mall (Aliant Bldg., where the passport office is)
Barrington Street and foot of Spring Garden Road

We call on everyone to join the people of the world in condemning the murderous attack on the Freedom Flotilla

Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Palestine
e-mail: shunpike@shunpiking.com
Hamilton
Bring this Message to Harper:
Lift the Siege of Gaza NOW!
Stop the killing of innocents!
Demand the release of Canadian prisoners!

Friday, June 4th
Federal Government Building in Hamilton – 55 Bay St. North
Across the Street from Copps Colosseum – 5:00 p.m.

Ample parking is available

NO TO PIRACY!!!
NO TO WAR CRIMES!!
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Montreal
Samedi 5 Juin 13h30
coin Peel et St-Catherine
Place Dorchester
métro Peel

Apportez vos drapeaux, vos pancartes originales, vos instruments de musique!

http://www.tadamon.ca/post/6961

Appel pour une action de solidarité à Montréal avec les victimes du massacre de la flottille humanitaire “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” et le peuple palestinien. Manifestons au centre-ville de Montréal pour appeler à la fin du siège israélien sur Gaza et la fin de la complicité du Canada dans l’apartheid israélien. Cette manifestation sera coordonnée avec plusieurs d’autres à travers le monde ce samedi, en réponse à l’appel de la société civile palestinien pour des manifestations globales.

Ottawa:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Global Day of Action in Ottawa – Rally and March
3:00pm.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Human Rights Monument
Organized by the Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network
http://notowarcrimes.blogspot.com | ottawa.palestine@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122130111158157

Penticton, BC
Rally at Stockwell Day’s Office

The Penticton Peace Groups believes that the Israeli government has committed new war crimes in an act of piracy and murder against the flotilla of small ships delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.

We are calling on the people of the south Okanagan to take this message to MP Stockwell Day’s office, this Saturday, June 5, 2010 at noon, meeting at Nanaimo Square.
For more information contact: Brigid Kemp at: bridiekemp@gmail.com

Toronto:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Global Day of Action: Saturday, June 5

Rally and March
Date: Saturday, June 5
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West

June 5 also marks the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Our action aims to draw the world’s attention to Israel’s continuing illegal occupation, its refusal to abide by international law, and its massacre of innocent humanitarian workers.

Organized by:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestine House Community Centre, Canadian Arab Federation, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Peace Alliance

Find us on Facebook: http://bit.ly/dBPiGY
To endorse, please email endapartheid@riseup.net.

Waterloo
Protest: Israel`s Flotilla Raid, Tuesday June 8

We would like to invite you to join us at 1pm on Tuesday, June 8th in the SLC courtyard for a march around campus to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis involving Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla. We feel is is extremely important to bring as much awareness of this issue at this time and express our deepest disapproval of the actions committed by the Israeli Defense Forces. We hope to see you there! Should you have any questions, comments,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information please see: Students for Palestinian Rights

Winnipeg
Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Independent Jewish Voices and CanPalNet, will be holding a demonstration to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza, to express our sorrow at the murder of peaceful activists, and to join hands with people around the world in expressing our outrage at Israel’s actions.

Please join us.

Friday, June 4, 2010
4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Broadway Avenue and Osborne Street in Winnipeg. For more information please see: Peace Alliance Winnipeg

From the Jewish Voice for Peace

When I got the news about Israel’s armed attack on the Gaza Flotilla at 2:30 am on the morning of May 31, I felt sick. I immediately called a dear friend in Jerusalem, one of the most committed activists I know.  Across the ocean, I could hear in her voice that she was in tears. “The worst part about it, ” she said, “is that nothing will change.”

“No,” I replied. “I can’t believe that can be true.  Things have to change.””Well,” she said, “then it is up to you, the internationals.”

She’s right. It is up to us, the internationals both here in the United States and abroad.

That is why I want you to send a message to US President Obama if you live outside of the United States, and to Obama and the US Congress if you are a U.S. resident, demanding the immediate release of the detained human rights activists, an end to the siege on Gaza, an impartial investigation of the attack on the flotilla, and a suspension of US aid until Israel abides by international law.We still don’t know a lot about what happened to the flotilla of boats carrying some 700 human rights activists from around the world and over 10 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza– Israel has kept the activists under a near total media blackout while sharing only its implausible narrative of events. What we do know is that Israeli commandos boarded a ship in international waters and killed at least ten activists, injuring dozens of others.

Israel insists that highly trained commandos were forced to lethally fire on activists, creating a new definition of self-defense. In the first alternative accounts to appear, an Israeli Knesset member and an Al Jazeera cameraman who were on board the ship at the time each described something different, a scene of chaos with civilians waving white flags and commandos using stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas. Regardless of what actually happened when armed soldiers landed, Israel’s wanton killing of civilians is unacceptable.

We still don’t know th
e names of those who were killed or injured, or where they are from. And we don’t know the whereabouts or well-being of more than 400 activists still being held by Israel.

These deaths, and the attacks on the boats, have hit all of us around the world particularly hard. There were people from 40 different countries on board the ships, including Israelis and Palestinians. Israel sent armed commandos onto a civilian ship in international waters, a brazenly illegal act to enforce Israel’s nearly 3-year illegal siege of Gaza – a siege that has left 1.5 million men, women and children living like prisoners on substandard diets, deprived of the simplest things like potato chips, musical instruments, and toys. The flotilla wasn’t just about this one delivery of aid. It was about the right of Palestinians to have sea, land and air routes to the rest of the world and for the need to end the blockade.

I know that there comes a point in one’s life when you simply have to take a stand. You cannot sit by silently and watch ongoing and wholly unjustified destruction of life, tacitly supported by governments around the world, and simply do nothing.

The flotilla was filled with people just like you and me who finally decided it was time to risk life and limb to take a stand, to break through those prison walls, and we thank them for it.

Now, as citizens of the world, we owe it to the people of Palestine, and the people of Israel who want to live in peace, and the brave people on that flotilla, to build the movement to make Israel accountable to international law and standards of simple human decency – especially because our governments have failed us.

he response of the U.S. government thus far has been wholly inadequate, with a mild statement “regretting the loss of life,” without assigning any blame for the fiasco, let alone applying any sanctions for Israel’s acts.  Please, join me in telling President Obama and Congress enough is enough

. US taxpayer dollars fund Israel’s occupation, and together with wall to wall uncritical diplomatic support have sent the message that any Israeli action, no matter how foolhardy, will be backed by the full might of the United States.

It’s time for that to stop.

We must also continue to build the already massive global people’s movement for justice, which has undeniably found its greatest impact in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is about all of the ways, big and small, people can bypass their often ineffective governments to use economic pressure to make the Israeli government accountable to international law. After launching our energetic support for campus efforts to divest from the occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace will let you know soon about our own divestment campaign to help bring pressure on Israel to reach a just solution.It is time for the United States, as Israel’s closest ally and most powerful nation in the world, to stop unconditional support for the Israeli government.Doing so will protect Israelis and Palestinians, American citizens, and internationals alike.

Click here to demand that President Obama and Congress call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza,

An international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission, and the suspension of military aid to Israel until he can assure the American public that our aid is not used to commit similar abuses.
Rebecca Vilkomerson,
Executive Director,
Jewish Voice for Peace

PS, We’ve prepared posters in PDF format that you can use at protests, in your car window or on bulletin boards. Download them here.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Also a Petition to the UN

Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.

Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy — Israel’s blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don’t know where they’ll find their next meal.

The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words — as they have so many times before.

Let’s make the world’s outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza — click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names — and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren’t enough — that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.

As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year’s budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps — let’s make the world’s voice unignorable: it’s time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it’s time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:

Recent

Most Jerusalem Palestinians Live in Poverty

Why won’t Israel allow Gazan’s to import coriander?

What I Learned in Afghanistan – About the United States

Total number of suspected Mossad agents involved in Dubai assassination reaches 32

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes,’ Law Prof Says
By Nathan Hodge
April 29, 2010

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

Harold Koh, the State Department’s top legal adviser, outlined the administration’s legal case for the robotic attacks last month. Now, some legal experts are taking turns to punch holes in Koh’s argument.

It’s part of an ongoing legal debate about the CIA and U.S. military’s lethal drone operations, which have escalated in recent months — and which have received some technological upgrades. Critics of the program, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that the campaign amounts to a program of targeted killing that may violate the laws of war.

In a hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s national security and foreign affairs panel, several professors of national security law seemed open to that argument. But there are still plenty of caveats, and the risks to U.S. drone operators are at this point theoretical: Unless a judge in, say, Pakistan, wanted to issue a warrant, it doesn’t seem likely. But that’s just one of the possible legal hazards of robotic warfare.

Loyola Law School professor David Glazier, a former Navy surface warfare officer, said the pilots operating the drones from afar could — in theory — be hauled into court in the countries where the attacks occur. That’s because the CIA’s drone pilots aren’t combatants in a legal sense. “It is my opinion, as well as that of most other law-of-war scholars I know, that those who participate in hostilities without the combatant’s privilege do not violate the law of war by doing so, they simply gain no immunity from domestic laws,” he said.

“Under this view CIA drone pilots are liable to prosecution under the law of any jurisdiction where attacks occur for any injuries, deaths or property damage they cause,” Glazier continued. “But under the legal theories adopted by our government in prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, these CIA officers as well as any higher-level government officials who have authorized or directed their attacks are committing war crimes.”

The drones themselves are a lawful tool of war; “In fact, the ability of the drones to engage in a higher level of precision and to discriminate more carefully between military and civilian targets than has existed in the past actually suggests that they’re preferable to many older weapons,” Glazier added. But employing CIA personnel to carry out those armed attacks, he concluded, “clearly fall outside the scope of permissible conduct and ought to be reconsidered, particularly as the United States seeks to prosecute members of its adversaries for generally similar conduct.”

Drone attacks haven’t just become the primary weapon in the American bid to wipe out Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist networks. “Very frankly, it’s the only game in town in terms of confronting or trying to disrupt the al Qaeda leadership,” CIA director Leon Panetta said.

But that “embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radical new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force,” The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer recently observed. Before 9/11, the American government regularly condemned Israel for taking out individual terrorists. “Seven years later, there is no longer any doubt that targeted killing has become official U.S. policy.”

The U.S. government has since defended the strikes as legitimate self-defense — without going into details about the operations. Kenneth Anderson, an American University law professor, said the government’s reluctance to talk about the missions — as well as its reliance on an intelligence agency to carry out military action — raises some serious questions.

In his prepared statement (.pdf), Anderson said Koh “nowhere mentions the CIA by name in his defense of drone operations. It is, of course, what is plainly intended when speaking of self-defense separate from armed conflict. One understands the hesitation of senior lawyers to name the CIA’s use of drones as lawful when the official position of the U.S. government, despite everything, is still not to confirm or deny the CIA’s operations.”

What’s more, Anderson argued, Congress has been reluctant to talk about the bigger policy issue: Why this is a CIA mission in the first place. “Why should the CIA, or any other civilian agency, ever use force (leaving aside conventional law enforcement)?” he said. “Even granting the existence of self-defense as a legal category, why ever have force used by anyone other than the uniformed military?”

Mary Ellen O’Connell, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, was much more blunt in her statement. “Combat drones are battlefield weapons,” she told the panel. “They fire missiles or drop bombs capable of inflicting very serious damage. Drones are not lawful for use outside combat zones. Outside such zones, police are the proper law enforcement agents, and police are generally required to warn before using lethal force.”

“Restricting drones to the battlefield is the most important single rule governing their use, O’Connell continued. “Yet, the United States is failing to follow it more often than not.”

Not all of the law professors testifying today agreed. Syracuse University’s William Banks, for one, said that “the intelligence laws permit the president broad discretion to utilize the nation’s intelligence agencies to carry out national security operations, implicitly including targeted killing.” Current U.S. laws “supply adequate – albeit not well articulated or understood – legal authority for these drone strikes.”

But American laws may not be on the only ones applicable to drone strikes, critics contend. As Anderson argued, the United States may face legal challenges from what he called the “international-law community” – nongovernmental organizations, international bodies, U.N. agencies and others who view this as a program of targeted killing that falls outside the bounds of armed conflict.

Either way, this hearing will not end the controversy. As we’ve noted here before, the government has been less than forthcoming about who, exactly, authorizes drone strikes, how the targets are chosen and how many civilians may have been inadvertently killed.

– Nathan Hodge and Noah Shachtman Source

The US is not at war with Pakistan and therefore if they kill anyone in Pakistan, it is pre meditated murder..

Attacking Pakistan is equal to attacking Britain, Canada, Dubai  or France for example.

Whether the army were the pilots or not it makes no difference. It is still murder.

That is my opinion. That is the way everyone should view it.

Pakistan can take care of it’s own. The US has murdered innocent civilians in Pakistan more times then I care to remember.

Pakistan has told the US numerous times to stop the bombings. This is one of those times.

Obama has been told and so had the Bush administration Pakistan doesn’t want them bombing in their country. So what part of NO doesn’t the US get the N or the O.

They do not have Pakistan permission to drop  bombs in their country. Any bombing done by any US citizen,  military or not, are illegal.

Pakistan

Civilian Deaths -1256

Civilians Injured -427

Al-Qaeeda deaths -30

Success Rate of Drone Attacks against Al-Qaeeda ~ 2.5%

http://www.pakistanbodycount.org/

US drone strike kills 6 in Pakistan

May 3 2010

A US drone attack has killed at least six people and wounded several others in the troubled tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan, officials say.

According to Pakistani officials, the drone fired three missiles in the Mir Ali area in Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border on Monday, DPA reported.

The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are reported to be in critical condition, sources said.

According to the sources, those killed were “militants.”

So far this year, 300 people have lost their lives in 42 drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Washington claims the raids target militants in Pakistan, but hundreds of civilians have fallen victim to the US drone attacks since 2008.

Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the strikes, saying they threaten the country’s sovereignty and fuel public anger. Source

CNN made a big deal out of Iran flying over a ship in the Arabian sea. Seems to me the US shouldn’t be there either.

Who do they think they are? They do not own the world.

Iran may have flown over and may not have.

For all we know it could have been Israel who flew over the US ship.

Of course they didn’t fly over the ship anyway, who ever was in the planes, were flying over half a mile away.

‘Iranian fighters may fly over US forces’

The Title should have been

Iranian fighters may have flow near US forces

April 29 2010
A senior Iranian Air Force officer does not rule out reports that an Iranian fighter jet might have flown over a US aircraft carrier last week in the Arabian Sea.

The incident was first reported by CNN on Tuesday. According to the report, a plane belonging to the Iranian Navy was flying as low as 300 feet near the USS Eisenhower on April 21.

The Eisenhower was in the northern Arabian Sea when the Iranian maritime patrol aircraft flew within 1,000 yards of the vessel, US military officials claimed.
Mohammad Alavi, deputy commander of the Iranian Air Force said that the fighter jet may have come close to the US aircraft carrier during a routine patrol.

“Iran has scheduled flights in the air corridor in the altitude of up to 20,000 feet, and its plane might have come close to the US aircraft carrier while flying in this corridor,” Fars news agency quoted Alavi as saying on Thursday.

He added, “Nobody can criticize such flights because they are being conducted within the framework of international law. We conduct routine reconnaissance flights with different aircrafts, including drones, and they may have come across the US forces.”   Source

(1000 yards = 3,000 feet, 1 mile = 5280 feet so they were over half a mile away from the ship. ( 0.56818 miles or almost 1 kilometer -0.91439 kilometers)  That isn’t exactly over the ship now is it?

They were also 91,439.99986 Centimeters or 35,999.99990 Inches away from the ship as well. But I digress. Now I am just being stupid.

So what the American ship doing there anyway? There is the question that should be asked. Were they spying on others? Probably.

Iran wasn’t breaking any Laws, if in fact it even was their fighters.

Could the US have been breaking the Law, is the other question that should be asked?

A US-Sponsored Terror Network-Death Squads in Afghanistan

By Francis Shor

April 27 2010

It should no longer be a matter of dispute that US Special Forces in Afghanistan are responsible for an increasing number of murders, whether part of targeted extra-judicial killings or the result of bad intelligence.  From the attack on a bridal shower in Gardez on February 12, 2010 that killed numerous civilians, including two pregnant women, to the growing list of executions of insurgents in the Kandahar area, Special Forces have become the US military version of death squads. For Entire Story Go HERE

Recent

US Senate votes to ban big bank ‘bailouts’

Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

TIME SQUARE BOMB HOAX, Israeli Intel Group Shows It’s Hand

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

Can You Pass The Iran Quiz

NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out

Pilot cleared of 9/11 accusations, gets compensation

Khadr legal team turns down plea offer from U.S

Israeli troops attack protesters injuring and killing Again!

The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Canada unfairly blocked British MP George Galloway, court hears

Ukrainian Government in Action: Egg Throwing? Smoke Bombs? Wrestling?

A Book: “The Shepherd’s Granddaughter” to remain in Toronto schools

Blowout: BP’s deadly oil rig disaster

Haitians worry free food distribution halted too soon

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm  Comments Off on Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

UK: AWOL soldier, Joe Glenton loses sentence appeal

By Joe Sinclair

April 21 2010

A soldier who went absent without leave as he was about to be deployed to Afghanistan lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his nine-month sentence today.

Joe Glenton, from York, who was handed the custodial term and demoted to private from lance corporal after admitting the Awol charge at a court martial last month, was present for the ruling by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges in London.

The military court in Colchester, Essex, heard Glenton was discovered missing on June 11 2007 and was absent for 737 days before handing himself in.

The 27-year-old had performed a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006, serving with the Royal Logistic Corps. The judges heard that he was promoted to lance coroporal because of the “exemplary” way he carried out his duties during that operation.

Glenton, who has so far served 75 days of his sentence, said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his first stint in the war zone.

It was argued on his behalf today that because of a diagnosis of PTSD it had been “wrong in principle” to have imposed an immediate custodial sentence on him. The court was urged to either suspend it or reduce it to allow for his release.

But the judges, sitting in London, ruled that his sentence was neither excessive nor wrong in principle. Source

How sad the Judges are so foolish as to jail a man with PTSD.

This is not a person you want in a war zone under any circumstances either.

Seems to me the judges need to get their act together if this is the way they treat a sick man.

This is how soldiers get treated.  No compassion.

Governments have no problem sending them to kill people, but when soldiers have a problem, just throw them, to the wolves..

When Joe Glenton went Awol, so did compassion

‘Lucky’ Lance Corporal Glenton refused to return to Afghanistan and was branded a coward and a malingerer

By Barbara Ellen

March 7 2010

The word I keep coming across in relation to Lance Corporal Joe Glenton is “lucky”. Glenton, 27, who refused to return to Afghanistan, and went absent without leave for two years, speaking out against the war, has been demoted and sentenced to nine months.

Nine months was also the amount of time between Glenton’s first tour of Afghanistan and when he was ordered back, despite government guidelines of an 18-month gap. Despite also Glenton admitting to losing faith in the conflict, feeling “guilty and useless”, having nightmares about dead serviceman in coffins and generally showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. After this, Glenton was intimidated, bullied, branded a “coward” and “malingerer”, which, strangely enough, is the point when he went Awol.

The “lucky” bit? That’s because, as related with lip-smacking relish all over the internet, in the olden days Glenton would have been shot for desertion. No namby-pamby concern for a soldier’s state of mind then – just a blindfold and a volley of bullets from a firing squad. “Lucky” Joe Glenton indeed!

Is this the best we can do when our soldiers fall to pieces and run away – not shoot them any more, as we did in their hundreds during the First World War? Indeed, while Glenton’s loss of faith in the conflict doubtless contributed to his distress, this was not the whole story. Even if Glenton had been pro-war, surely his mental fragility would have remained a concern? So would a pro-war Glenton have received a more sympathetic hearing? Does “cowardice” conveniently transform into PTSD when the sufferer is on-message?

The army has to be tough on soldiers going Awol and no one is forced to sign up. However, could young men such as Glenton seriously be expected to know how they are going to handle war? And, if they can’t, even if not on the frontline, how are they “cowards”? My grandfather survived Dunkirk, but did he? PTSD was not diagnosed then, but he returned, by all accounts, “a changed man” with what were then termed “bad nerves” and died in his 40s of a heart attack. Bloody malingerer, eh? And, you wonder, has battle shock changed so much since then? Or do we have sympathy for the distress of servicemen only when the footage is soaked in sepia and broadcast on the History channel?

Certainly it is unjust that, in some quarters, Glenton seems to have been cast almost as a joke figure – the British services answer to Mash‘s Corporal Klinger, who donned dresses and feigned madness to get himself discharged. Or a born-again hippie, placing flowers in the ends of rifles. What a crock. Pro-war, anti-war, the fact is that Glenton felt himself unravelling, appealed for help and received insults and a bollocking instead.

Are we in danger of regressing to a culture of white feathers – with nothing but scorn and judgment for those who “can’t hack it”, for whatever reason, in the war zone? Are our “brave boys” only adored when they are brave by military criteria? Indeed, while the outpourings of grief at Wootton Bassett for the fallen heroes are undeniably moving, one has to wonder, what is the point if people who don’t die physically, but who fall mentally and emotionally, are treated so shabbily?

This is the tragedy of Glenton’s sentencing. Some feel that he has been made an example of because of his anti-war beliefs. However, isn’t he also an example to other servicemen, of what to expect if they dare to succumb to mental fragility? So, sure, Glenton was “luckier” than those deserters who used to be stood against walls and shot, but, by allegedly enlightened 21st century standards, is this anywhere near “lucky” enough? Source

The US is no better.  Those who suffer from war injuries do not get the help they need either

War Veteran Jesse Huff Commits suicide outside VA Hospital

Joe is so far fortunate enough to still be alive to tell his story.

He speaks out against the war.

Well when I look back in time a few things comes to mind.

In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran  uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert and buried in mass graves.  Watch video

The Pentagon’s Fantasy Numbers on Afghan Civilian Deaths

NATO Smears a Truth-Teller in Afghanistan

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

British officer leaked 8,000 Civilians killed in Afghanistan

(Afghanistan 8) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Fallen Canadian and British Soldiers Come Home

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Injured Troops

Afghanistan: US Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Why: War in Iraq and Afghanistan

That is just the tip of the iceburg.

Both wars were based on lies.

Recent

Israel threatens Syria with war

Philippines: Arrests, Torture, and the Presidential Election

Paulson and Co. made a $3.7 billion profit on collapse of subprime mortgage market

The 2nd Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in south Iceland

Arrest of Israeli officer leading organ trafficking ring

Experts fear human trafficking more widespread

ElBaradei: Gaza, world’s largest jail

US violates UN law by threatening Iran

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm  Comments Off on UK: AWOL soldier, Joe Glenton loses sentence appeal  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poland mourns dead president

Everyone on the plane  died in the crash  The numbers vary in the reports I have read to date, so anywhere from 96 to 130 died. It is agreed in all reports there were no survivors.

April 10 2010

Thousands of Poles have gathered at the presidential palace in Warsaw to mourn Lech Kaczynski, the president, and the 96 others who were killed in an air crash in western Russia.

A significant part of Poland’s political establishment was wiped out as all the passengers on board the plane, including senior government officials and parliamentarians, were killed on Saturday.

Poles flocked to churches across the nation to lay flowers, light candles, sing hymns and pray.

Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, described the accident as “the most tragic event of the country’s post-war history”, before flying to the crash site where he and Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, met and laid flowers together.

The heads of Poland’s armed forces, the central bank governor, deputy ministers and 15 MPs were among those killed when the jet tried to land in heavy fog and crashed in a forest.

Wreckage scattered

Wreckage, including the engines, was scattered across a forest and parts of it burned for more than an hour.

The officials had been on their way to the city of Smolensk to take part in reconciliatory ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre where Russian forces killed more than 20,000 Polish prisoners of war.

Kaczynski’s wife, Polish church leaders and families of Katyn massacre victims were also killed.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from Warsaw, said: “Katyn was a major blight between the Soviet Union and Poland for many many years … Thousands of prisoners of war massacred, among them senior officers, troops and also intellectuals – the elite really, who were wiped out effectively in that massacre.

“The irony, of course, is not lost on many people that in Saturday’s tragic crash, the elite were all on board one aircraft going towards Katyn to commemorate that event.”

Following the constitution, Bronislaw Komorowski, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, took over as interim head of state and a presidential election has to be held before the end of June.

Komorowski said he would announce the date of the poll after talks with all political parties.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has appointed Putin to chair a special commission to investigate the crash.

‘Instructions ignored’

Alexander Alyoshin, the first deputy chief of the Russian air force’s general staff, said the plane’s pilot repeatedly ignored instructions from air traffic controllers.

“The head of the air traffic control group gave a command to the crew to put the aircraft into the horizontal position and when the crew did not implement this order, several times gave orders to divert to an alternative airport,” he was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

“Despite this, the crew continued the descent. Unfortunately this ended in tragedy.”

Authorities have found both flight recorders, commonly known as “black boxes”, from the jet.

Komorowski, Poland’s acting president, declared a week of mourning after the crash.

“We are united – there is no [political] left or right – we are united in national mourning,” he said.

Poland had been due to hold a presidential election in October, when Kaczynski was likely to have run against the liberal Komorowski.

Popular president

The conservative Kaczynski, who had served as president of Poland since 2005, had a reputation for being incorruptible and was a popular figure.

Marek Matraszek, a political consultant in Warsaw, told Al Jazeera that politically, Kaczynski had been loosing in popularity recently.

“But even his deepest enemies would not deny that he was hugely respected by the Polish people,” he said.

“Many of his political opponents, while disagreeing with him politically, respected him for his career, his personality, his principles … This will very much go forward into cementing how Poles will remember him: not as a politician but rather as a man of deep principle.”

Matraszek said the loss of so many politicians would have a significant effect on the political scene in Poland.

“This is an issue that cuts across political barriers … Every political party and every part of the political establishment has been affected. These were very senior people with a great deal of experience who will be very difficult to replace … Many of the people who died had no real successors.” Source

April 10 2010

Locals in Smolensk region shared with RT dramatic eyewitness accounts.

Crash site

Both Polish and the Russians will be doing an investigation into the crash.

This is a tragic event for all concerned.

April 10, 2010 — Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has addressed the Polish nation on the death of their president and expressed his condolences over the tragic events in Smolensk.

In Poland

Suppressed History: The Genocide at Vinnitsa

Recent

Thailand protests claim first lives

Russian urges adoption freeze after boy age 7 returned alone

Kyrgyzstan: The nepotism that sparked a revolution

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, rules sheriff

Thailand protesters defy government decree

Australia: Locals do their block as big gas moves into Queensland

Thailand protests claim first lives

Thai army pulls back from protest clashes; 15 dead

By GRANT PECK

April 10 2010

BANGKOK — A crackdown on anti-government protesters in Thailand’s capital Saturday left at least 15 people dead and more than 650 injured, with no progress toward ending a monthlong standoff with demonstrators demanding new elections.

It was the worst violence in Bangkok since more than four dozen people were killed in an antimilitary protest in 1992. Bullet casings, rocks and pools of blood littered the streets where pitched battles raged for hours.

Army troops later retreated and asked protesters to do the same, resulting in an unofficial truce.

Four soldiers and 11 civilians, including a Japanese cameraman, were killed, according to the government’s Erawan emergency center.

The savage fighting erupted after security forces tried to push out demonstrators who have been staging a month of disruptive protests demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajva dissolve Parliament and call new elections.

The demonstrations are part of a long-running battle between the mostly poor and rural supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and the ruling elite they say orchestrated the 2006 military coup that removed him from power on corruption allegations.

The protesters, called “Red Shirts” for their garb, see the Oxford-educated Abhisit as a symbol of an elite impervious to the plight of Thailand’s poor and claim he took office illegitimately in December 2008 after the military pressured Parliament to vote for him.

Saturday’s violence and failure to dislodge the protesters are likely to make it harder to end the political deadlock. Previously, both sides had exercised considerable restraint.

Abhisit “failed miserably,” said Michael Nelson, a German scholar of Southeast Asian studies working in Bangkok.

Tanet Charoengmuang, a political scientist at Chiang Mai University sympathetic to the Red Shirt’s cause, said he expects the fighting will resume because the protesters are unafraid and the government refused to listen to them.

Abhisit went on national television shortly before midnight to pay condolences to the families of victims and indirectly assert that he would not bow to the protesters’ demands.

“The government and I are still responsible for easing the situation and trying to bring peace and order to the country,” Abhisit said.

Nelson said he had been hopeful the situation would calm down after the troops pulled back but that Abhisit’s TV appearance raised doubts because he seemed “totally defiant.”

The army had vowed to clear the protesters out of one of their two bases in Bangkok by nightfall, but the push instead set off street fighting. There was a continuous sound of gunfire and explosions, mostly from Molotov cocktails. After more than two hours of fierce clashes, the soldiers pulled back.

Army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd went on television to ask the protesters to retreat as well. He also accused them of firing live rounds and throwing grenades. An APTN cameraman saw two Red Shirt security guards carrying assault rifles.

At least 678 people were injured, according to the Erawan emergency center. The deaths included Japanese cameraman Hiro Muramoto, who worked for Thomson Reuters news agency. In a statement, Reuters said he was shot in the chest.

Most of the fighting took place around Democracy Monument, but spread to the Khao San Road area, a favorite of foreign backpackers.

Soldiers made repeated charges to clear the Red Shirts, while some tourists stood by watching. Two protesters and a Buddhist monk with them were badly beaten by soldiers and taken away by ambulance.

A Japanese tourist who was wearing a red shirt was also clubbed by soldiers until bystanders rescued him.

Thai media reported that several soldiers were captured by the protesters. Red Shirts also staged protests in several other provinces, seizing the provincial hall in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thaksin’s hometown.

On Friday, the police and army failed to prevent demonstrators from breaking into the compound of a satellite transmission station and briefly restarting a pro-Red Shirt television station that had been shut down by the government under a state of emergency. The humiliating rout raised questions about how much control Abhisit has over the police and army.

Thailand’s military has traditionally played a major role in politics, staging almost a score of coups since the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

The Red Shirts have a second rally site in the heart of Bangkok’s upscale shopping district, and more troops were sent there Saturday as well. The city’s elevated mass transit system known as the Skytrain, which runs past that site, stopped running and closed all its stations.

Merchants say the demonstrations have cost them hundreds of millions of baht (tens of millions of dollars), and luxury hotels near the site have been under virtual siege.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 27 Red Shirt leaders, but none is known to have been taken into custody.

Associated Press writers Denis D. Gray, Jocelyn Gecker and Thanyarat Doksone contributed to this report. Source

Anti-government demonstrators run away from tear gas, during a clash against Thai security forces, Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai security forces launched a large-scale crackdown Saturday on anti-government demonstrators who have been staging disruptive protests in the Thai capital for the past month, vowing to clear one of their main encampments by nightfall. Scores of people have been hurt in street clashes. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Anti-government demonstrators run away from tear gas during a clash against Thai security forces, Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai security forces launched a large-scale crackdown Saturday on anti-government demonstrators who have been staging disruptive protests in the Thai capital for the past month, vowing to clear one of their main encampments by nightfall. Scores of people have been hurt in street clashes.(AP Photo/Wason Waintchakorn)

April 10 2010

At least four soldiers and four opposition protesters have been killed during clashes in the Thai capital Bangkok, with at least 500 others injured.

April 10 2010

The figures were given by Bangkok’s deputy governor. A bomb went off near the office of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva but no one was injured.

Red-shirted protesters hurled rocks as troops tried to clear them from the capital’s historic district. Riot police responded by firing rubber-coated bullets and tear gas. Tensions have been escalating as mass protests are entering their fifth week and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra keep defying a state of emergency in the capital.

The protesters in Bangkok, numbering tens of thousands, are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and fresh elections.

On Friday, a court issued a further 17 arrest warrants against opposition leaders accused of breaching emergency laws. None of them have so far been detained.  Source

Related

Thailand: Over 800 injured and 21 deaths during protests/Update April 12.Over 800 injured, 21 deaths

Thailand protesters defy government decree

Recent

Kyrgyzstan: The nepotism that sparked a revolution

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, rules sheriff

Australia: Locals do their block as big gas moves into Queensland

Iran: International Nuclear disarmament summit widely welcomed

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes

Japan Tokunoshima islanders reject US Marines base

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm  Comments Off on Thailand protests claim first lives  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kyrgyzstan: The nepotism that sparked a revolution

Sons were catapulted into key positions by Kyrgyz leader forced to flee office

By Shaun Walker

April 10 2010

Residents of Bishkek yesterday flocked to the city’s main square to remember the dozens of people who died in Wednesday’s violence. But grief was tinged with anger at ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who authorised troops to shoot on demonstrating civilians.

Mr Bakiyev fled to the south of the country as his government fell. Many in Bishkek hope that he, and his hated sons, will not return. The ousted president has denounced the revolution, which led to government offices being torched and looted, as a foreign-backed coup and told The Independent after fleeing that he still has the support of the majority of the country.

However, the mood on the streets yesterday suggests that he is out of touch with a people furious at his authoritarianism, corruption and nepotism. More than anything, it was the catapulting of his sons and brothers into senior state positions that angered ordinary Kyrgyz. It is telling that while interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said Mr Bakiyev will be guaranteed safe passage out of the country if he capitulates, no such offer has been extended to his family members.

The country’s new prosecutor-general yesterday announced that a case was being prepared against Maxim Bakiyev, the president’s son and the most reviled man in the country.

Aged 32, he was, many suspect, being groomed to succeed his father. He headed a specially created agency to manage the hundreds of millions of dollars of Russian loan money, called the Central Agency for the Development of Investment and Innovation.

Critics noted that the Russian abbreviation for the agency sounded remarkably like “Tsar” – which is exactly what many in the country thought Mr Bakiyev behaved like.

“Even in the name of this agency, the ambitions of the Bakiyev sons for power were clear,” said Daniil Kislov, the editor-in-chief of the respected Fergana.ru website.

“They helped their father usurp power, and also seized various different businesses.

“They directly gave orders to put pressure on journalists, politicians, oppositionists and even members of parliament who opposed them. Many of these people had to leave Kyrgyzstan, and some of them were killed.”

Last December, Gennady Pavlyuk, a prominent Kyrgyz journalist who had often criticised the authorities, died after falling from an upper-storey apartment window on a trip to neighbouring Kazakhstan. Earlier last year, Medet Sardykulov, a former head of Mr Bakiyev’s administration, who had gone into opposition, was found dead in his car on the outskirts of Bishkek.

One of Mr Bakiyev’s key platforms when he came to power in the so-called Tulip Revolution in 2005 was that he would end the nepotism with which the ousted Askar Akayev had ruled. But politics came full circle, and in recent months his opponents have accused his regime of being even more corrupt and authoritarian. In addition to Maxim, Mr Bakiyev’s other son, Marat, and three of his brothers all held senior positions in the government.

After the uprising, Mr Bakiyev defended his family and insisted that he had put them in senior positions because of their experience.

“Maxim has an excellent knowledge of business, finance, and foreign languages, and was highly qualified to do the job he was doing,” he told The Independent. “Many of my relatives have had positions in the government for years, even before I came to power. They are highly qualified people.”

This is unlikely to placate his opponents. Prosecutors say they have testimony showing that it was he who ordered troops to fire on the protesters. Whether they will have the chance to prove this in court is unclear. Maxim Bakiyev is said to have departed for the United States shortly after the demonstrations started.

There were rumours spreading yesterday that in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad, Mr Bakiyev was readying supporters to stir further violence. Ms Otunbayeva insisted that the country would not spiral into civil war. “We have enough resources and capabilities and all the people’s support that we need,” she said.  Source

The Death toll apparently has reached 79. Approximately 1,400 have been injured.

April 09, 2010 — Kyrgyzstan is holding a day of national mourning for the victims of bloody protests which ousted the government.

The first funerals are being held for those who died in the unrest which forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.

Mr Bakiyev has refused to resign but has offered to talk to the opposition, which has set up an interim government.

But interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said she has no plans to negotiate with Mr Bakiyev and demanded he stand down.

Both the US and Russia have key military bases in Kyrgyzstan, and are watching the situation there closely.

The US says it has now resumed normal operations at its Manas base after military flights were suspended on Wednesday.

The deputy head of the interim government, Almazbek Atambayev, has gone to Moscow “for talks on economic aid”, the government said in a statement.

‘Never forgive’

Thousands of mourners gathered in the main square of the capital, Bishkek, on Friday to remember those killed in Wednesday’s violence

Kyrgyz pray as they gather to mourn revolt victims on central square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Kyrgyz people mourn revolt victims on central square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Sergey Grits)

Related

Kyrgyzstan: Thousands of protesters furious over corruption 40 deaths over 400 injured/Updated April 9 2010

Recent

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, rules sheriff

Thailand protesters defy government decree

Australia: Locals do their block as big gas moves into Queensland

Iran: International Nuclear disarmament summit widely welcomed

Rachel Corrie Civil Lawsuit: Bulldozer operator told not to cooperate with investigation

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes

Japan Tokunoshima islanders reject US Marines base

Kyrgyzstan: Thousands of protesters furious over corruption 40 deaths over 400 injured

By Peter Leonard

April 7 2010

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – Thousands of protesters furious over corruption and spiraling utility bills seized government buildings and clashed with police Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan, throwing control of the Central Asian nation into doubt. Police opened fire on demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

The eruption of violence shattered the relative stability of this mountainous former Soviet republic, which houses a U.S. military base that is a key supply centre in the fight against the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan. The unrest in Kyrgyzstan did not appear likely to spread across former Soviet Central Asia, however.

The chaos erupted after elite police at government headquarters in the capital, Bishkek, began shooting to drive back crowds of demonstrators called onto the streets by opposition parties for a day of protest.

The crowds took control of the state TV building and looted it, then marched toward the Interior Ministry, according to Associated Press reporters on the scene, before changing direction and attacking a national security building nearby. They were repelled by security forces.

The leader of the main opposition party said on the former state television channel that he had formed a new government and was negotiating with the president and demanding he step down. Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the claim.

Dozens of wounded demonstrators lined the corridors of one of Bishkek’s main hospitals, a block away from the main square, where doctors were unable to cope with the flood of patients. Weeping nurses slumped over dead bodies, doctors shouted at each other and the floors were covered in blood.

Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said 40 people had died and more than 400 were wounded in clashes with police. Opposition activist Toktoim Umetalieva said at least 100 people had died after police opened fire with live ammunition.

Opposition activist Shamil Murat told the AP that Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev had been beaten to death by a mob in the western town of Talas where the unrest began a day ago. The respected Fergana.ru Web site reported later that Kongatiyev was badly beaten but had not dead, saying its own reporter had witnessed the beating.

The unrest began Tuesday in the western city of Talas, where demonstrators stormed a government office and held a governor hostage, prompting a government warning of “severe” repercussions for continuing unrest.

The opposition called nationwide protests for Wednesday, vowing to defy increasingly authoritarian President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Since coming to power in 2005 on a wave of street protests known as the Tulip Revolution, Bakiyev has ensured a measure of stability, but many observers say he has done so at the expense of democratic standards while enriching himself and his family.

Over the past two years, Kyrgyz authorities have clamped down on free media, and opposition activists say they have routinely been subjected to physical intimidation and targeted by politically motivated criminal investigations. Many of the opposition leaders once were allies of Bakiyev.

Anti-government forces have been in disarray until recently, but widespread anger over a 200 per cent hike in electricity and heating gas bills has galvanized the fractious opposition.

Police in Bishkek at first used rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and concussion grenades Wednesday to try to control crowds of young men clad in black who were chasing police officers, beating them up and seizing their arms, trucks and armoured personnel carriers.

Some protesters then tried to use a personnel carrier to ram the gates of the government headquarters, known as the White House. Many of the protesters threw rocks, but about a half dozen young protesters shot Kalashnikovs into the air from the square in front of the building.

“We don’t want this rotten power!” protester Makhsat Talbadyev said, as he and others in Bishkek waved opposition party flags and chanted: “Bakiyev out!”

Some 200 elite police began firing, pushing the crowd back from the government headquarters. The president was not seen in public Wednesday and his whereabouts were unclear.

Protesters set fire to the prosecutor general’s office in the city centre, and a giant plume of black smoke billowed into the sky.

Groups of protesters then set out across Bishkek, attacking more government buildings.

At least 10 opposition leaders were arrested overnight and were being held at the security headquarters in Bishkek, opposition lawmaker Irina Karamushkina said.

One of them, Temir Sariyev, was freed Wednesday by protesters.

The U.S. State Department called for peace and restraint on both sides.

The prime minister, meanwhile, accused the opposition of provoking the violence in the country of 5 million people.

“What kind of opposition is this? They are just bandits,” Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov said.

Unrest also broke out for a second day in the western town of Talas and spread to the southern city of Naryn.

Some 5,000 protesters seized Naryn’s regional administration building and installed a new governor, opposition activist Adilet Eshenov said. At least four people were wounded in clashes, including the regional police chief, he said.

Another 10,000 protesters stormed police headquarters Wednesday in Talas, where on Tuesday protesters had held the regional governor hostage in his office.

The protesters beat up the interior minister, Kongatiyev, and forced him to call his subordinates in Bishkek and call off the crackdown on protesters, a correspondent for the local affiliate of U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.

Witnesses said the crowd in Talas looted police headquarters Wednesday, removing computers and furniture. Dozens of police officers left the building and mingled with protesters.

In the eastern region of Issyk-Kul, protesters seized the regional administration building and declared they installed their governor, the Ata-Meken opposition party said on its Web site.

Hundreds of protesters overran the government building Tuesday on Talas’ main square. They were initially dispersed by baton-wielding police, but then fought through tear gas and flash grenades to regroup, burning police cars and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.

Usenov said Tuesday’s violence in Talas had left 85 officers injured and 15 unaccounted for.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who met with Bakiyev in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, arrived in Moscow on Wednesday at the end of a trip to several Central Asian nations.

“The secretary-general is shocked by the reported deaths and injuries that have occurred today in Kyrgyzstan,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. “He once again calls on all concerned to show restraint. He urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed.”

The leaders of the four other former Soviet republics in the region were certain to be watching events in Bishkek with concern, but the authoritarian, and in some cases dictatorial, natures of their governments would likely allow them to squash any attempts to challenge their rules.

In Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, people have been too terrified to challenge Stalinist-style governments. In Tajikistan, the legacy of a 1990s civil war has made people wary of conflict. Immediate unrest also appeared unlikely in energy-rich Kazakhstan, where politically apathy is combined with a weak opposition.

After the March 2005 protests that brought Bakiyev to power, some hoped that the democracy he then promised to bring to Kyrgyzstan would spread to the other former Soviet republics in the region. But those countries responded by clamping down further, equating democracy with regime change.

Just two months later, in May 2005, the Uzbek government brutally suppressed an uprising in the city of Andijan.

Writer Leila Saralayeva contributed to this report.

Source

This is what happens when you piss people off. You cannot steal from people and oppress them and expect them to sit ideally by and do nothing. Sooner or latter they will turn on you.

A state of emergency has been declared in Kyrgyzstan as thousands of protesters calling for President Bakiev to resign, clash with police across the country. Unconfirmed reports suggest at least 17 people have been killed and hundreds injured. Witnesses say Kyrgyz interior minister has died from injuries in Kyrgyz city of Talas.

A state of emergency has been declared in Kyrgyzstan as thousands of protesters calling for President Bakiev to resign, clash with police across the country. Unconfirmed reports suggest at least 17 people have been killed and over 140 are injured.

Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has reportedly left the country after thousands of protesters, calling for him to step down, clashed with police. The opposition claims one hundred people have been killed, but the country’s Health Ministry, says the number of dead is 40.

Where there is US involvement there are always problems.  Leaders the US stand behind are unusably corrupt and oppress the people.  History tells us that. Most countries do not want US Military bases on their soil.

When there are problems in a country, more times then not, the cookie crumbs lead back to the US. The US just wants Kyrgyzstan so they can use it to wage war. Which is just what they have been doing. That is what all their Military bases are for to wage war on other countries. The US could care less about the people living in Kyrgyzstan however. With their Military bases comes war, pollution and crime.

Related

Kyrgyz elders want US base shut, troops gone
March 14 2010

The Council of Elders in Kyrgyzstan has demanded that the country’s authorities shut down a US base at Manas International Airport outside the capital, Bishkek. Besides the closure demand, the council is also calling for an immediate withdrawal of the US Troops from their country. “Until the entire contingent leaves [Kyrgyzstan], all flights of combat airplanes must be banned, but civilian airplanes can be authorized to deliver humanitarian and other peaceful supplies,” they said.

The military presence of the U.S. and other NATO member states in the territory of Kyrgyzstan poses a threat to our national interests,” the council said in a statement read at a news conference on Wednesday.  Source

Kyrgyz rally against US air base

Bishkek (AFP) Oct 22, 2008

Some 100 activists from two Kyrgyz political groups rallied Tuesday in capital Bishkek, calling for withdrawal of the US air base from Kyrgyzstan.Protesters from the nationalist Zhoomart group and the Sergiy Radonezhsky Fund cheered as Zhoomart’s leader Nurlan Motuyev publicly burned a US flag and an effigy of US President George W. Bush.

“Americans are the first to begin wars everywhere, they kill peaceful Muslims, spill fuel on our soil and make farmers suffer from poor crops. Away with the air base!” Motuyev called.

“There is a threat that if a US base stays in Kyrgyzstan, Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and China would take vengeance on us,” the Fund’s leader Igor Trofimov warned.

Police, though present, did not interfere.

Local protests against US military presence are often staged both in Bishkek and next to the air base.

The air base, which shares premises with the country’s main airport at Manas, outside the capital, is crucial to Washington’s operations in Afghanistan.

About 1,000 US troops are stationed at Manas. Source

PROTESTS AGAINST U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE HELD IN BISHKEK

October 22, 2008

The U.S. image in Kyrgyzstan was considerably tarnished following the shooting of a Kyrgyz truck driver Aleksander Ivanov in December 2006 by U.S. serviceman Zackary Hatfield. Since then a group of activists, including Ivanov’s widow Marina Ivanova, several journalists, and NGO leaders have been active campaigning for the withdrawal of the U.S. base. Source

Kyrgyzstan unveils US military training base plan

March 7 2010

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) – Officials in the impoverished Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan say the United States plans to build a $5 million military base for training local troops to assist in the fight against international terrorism.

Kyrgyzstan already hosts a U.S. military base in Manas, outside the capital Bishkek, used by Washington as a regional hub for the U.S.-led war in nearby Afghanistan.

A Kyrgyz Defense Ministry statement released Wednesday says the training base – complete with barracks, dining hall, classrooms and an assault course – will be constructed near the southern town of Batken.

No timeframe was mentioned.

The Kyrgyz government last year backed off a threat to evict U.S. forces from Manas after Washington offered to increase the rent it pays threefold. Source

Japan Tokunoshima islanders reject US Marines base

Raising the price of heat and hydro over 200 percent is just stupid. I wonder if the President had share in the companies?

Privatization leads to higher prices.

Then there are those who wish to exploit the countries resources.

Kyrgyzstan – prospective one day, poison the next

By Robin Bromby
April 08, 2010
SHAREHOLDERS in a clutch of junior explorers will today be watching events in the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan with great interest – or, possibly, with trepidation. There has been severe political unrest in the capital, Bishkek, overnight with conflicting reports as to whether the government is still controlling the country. Certainly many people have been killed, possibly 100 or more.

Australian explorers have been keen on this country for some time – it is known to contain uranium (it being the first source of yellowcake when the Soviet Union went nuclear after World War II) and has great promise with gold, base metals, geothermal and hydrocarbon. And, it must be added, the uprising may be shortlived, a new government may well ensure that resources companies are unaffected and most of the projects are located well away from the capital and strife.

But this surge of political risk couldn’t have come at a worse time for Kentor Gold which is on the brink of giving the green light to its Andash copper gold development.

Others affected include Caspian Oil & Gas which has a large acreage position around the Fergana Basin, an area which has been supporting oil production the early 1900s. In late February CIG announced that its joint venture partner in Kyrgyzstan,Santos, had decided to withdraw after spending $US16 million on the project. Caspian is now looking for a new JV partner.

And it was just last week that Manas Resources announced some very encouraging gold drilling results from its Shambesai project in the central Asian republic.

But there are a couple of juniors that will be thinking they dodged a bullet.

Panax Geothermal has effectively wound back work in the country while it awaits news on its application for World Bank financing, Ram Resources last year handed over its Kyrgyzstan interests in lieu of debt to its former Canadian partner, while Namibian Copper last year kicked the tyres on two uranium projects before deciding that Africa was a better bet.

brombyr@theaustralian.com.au

The writer implies no investment recommendation and this report contains material that is speculative in nature. Investors should seek professional investment advice. The writer does not shares in any company mentioned.

April 8 2010 Updates

Why large-scale riots in Kyrgyzstan?

Also

PM and cabinet of Kyrgyzstan resign and flee the country

Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov with his entire cabinet resigned last night and fled to neighbouring Kazakhstan. Anti-government protesters have seized the Parliament and clashed with security forces in which at least 40 people were killed and over 400 injured.

Interfax news agency reported from capital Bishkek that Usenov signed his cabinet’s resignation and handed over the powers to the leader opposition in Parliament Roza Otunbayeva.

Later in a statement Otunbayeva declared that the power in this of Central Asian republic has been assumed by the government of popular trust. Source

The death toll is between 68 and 100.  The number was about 40 deaths earlier.

Update April 9 2010

I am still the president, cries ousted Kyrgyz leader

Recent

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, rules sheriff

Thailand protesters defy government decree

Australia: Locals do their block as big gas moves into Queensland

Iran: International Nuclear disarmament summit widely welcomed

Rachel Corrie Civil Lawsuit: Bulldozer operator told not to cooperate with investigation

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes

Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Depravity

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

Israel bombards Gaza – and threatens worse

Israel Gags News on Extra-Judicial Killings

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm  Comments Off on Kyrgyzstan: Thousands of protesters furious over corruption 40 deaths over 400 injured  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Breaking News: 4 killed in Gaza as Israel strikes food-tunnels

South Gaza, January 8, 2010

Following the extensive Israeli attacks across Gaza Strip, Israeli air force launched a number of air raids against the food tunnels with Egypt. Medical sources reported that 4 civilians killed and a number injured in the heavy bombardment.

Israeli F16 were used in the attack and easily heard directly within the targeted the area. Due to the raids number of 10 Palestinian civilians is missing at the moment, while 4 have been confirmed as dead.

There are more than 1500 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt that are mainly used for smuggling food as Israelis impose a harsh siege. The tunnels considered to be the key lifeline as the main crossings blocked via Israeli occupation.

Less than 2 hours ago a massive explosion took place few moments ago western Gaza City, in Tal Al Hawa neighborhood. Eyewitness reported that Israeli F16s launched an Arial attack midnight. The attack was followed by a series of air raids.

Palestine Telegraph reported that a number of air raids took place northern Gaza Strip while no new reported about the attacks yet. The attacks also targeted the middle areas of Gaza Strip.

Medical sources reported no casualties till this moment while ambulances hurried to the targeted area.
A number of F16 can be heard at the moment and a case of panic and fear spread amongst the civilians who were in a sleep.

The attacks came amid a very densely populated area where around 150 thousands Palestinians live.
Israeli army launched a number of attacks last week killing a number of Palestinians.

via Ayman Quaider and Sameh A. Habeeb

Source

The leaflets bore telephone numbers and email addressed, urging people to inform the Israeli army of any activities by the Palestinians in the border area.

They also warned residents to stay at least 300 meters away from the border with Israel.

Settler Violence Report: November – December 2009

If Gaza was not  under the blockade there would be no need for the tunnels. The tunnels are needed to get food to those in Gaza.

It is Israel who is at fault. They are the cause of all the violence.

Remove the blockades,  remove checkpoints, open the boarders and treat Palestinians with human compassion, then and only then will there be any progress.

Israel creates the problems. They have always created the problems only they are too blind to see it.

If this were done to those in Israel they would dig tunnels too, just like the Jews did in Warsaw.  There is really little difference.

The Jews in Warsaw were considered brave and heroes. Those in
Gaza doing exactly the same thing for the same reasons are considered terrorists. Israel needs to be sanctioned. There needs to be an arms embargo agains Israel as well.

All Aid to Israel should be cut off until they stop torturing, imprisoning and starving Palestinians.

Do to them exactly, what they are doing to Palestinians.

It’s time for the International Community to wake up.

To all Americans Ask Your Rep to End Gaza Suffering

Take Action

Write to your representative and urge him or her to join this important effort to end Gaza suffering and reinvigorate U.S. Middle East diplomacy.

http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=14524516

Arbitrary occupier’s law used to clamp down on Palestinian life

Reading “The Collection of UN Resolutions on the Question of Palestine 1948-1982” can get you arrested by Israel

This is Gaza. From July 13, 2009. Nothing has changed since then. What you see here cannot be rebuilt as construction material is not getting into Gaza. Israel will not let it across the borders.

This is what Israel doesn’t want the outside world to see.  This is why they keep out reporters and thsoe from the Gaza Freedom March. That is why those in the Viva Palestina Convoy can only stay for 48 hours.

Heaven forbid they see the destruction and devastation caused by Israel.

Believe me when I say Egypt is enabeling Israel. Just as the US is.

Just as much as the West and the EU. Anyone who remains silent on this is enabling Israel. Shame on them all who remain silent. There are no excuses. No reasons.

To remain silent is a crime against humanity.

To do nothing is a crime against humanity.

Viva Palestina Update George Galloway and Ron McKay Deported from Cairo

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

Recent

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

55 activists injured in clashes in Egypt/Egyptian authorities called in over 2,000 riot police to block Viva Palestina convoy in port of Al-Arish

UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods

Israel: Arresting Peaceful Protesters In Occupied Palestine

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 12:13 am  Comments Off on Breaking News: 4 killed in Gaza as Israel strikes food-tunnels  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Chicago: Protesters tell Ehud Olmert what they think

By Maureen Clare Murphy

October 16, 2009

Approximately 30 activists — mainly students from area universities — disrupted a lecture given in Chicago by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday which was hosted by the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. While Olmert’s speech was disrupted inside the lecture hall, approximately 150 activists protested outside the hall in the freezing rain.

Protesters inside the hall read off the names of Palestinian children killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza last winter. They shouted that it was unacceptable that the war crimes suspect be invited to speak at a Chicago university when his army destroyed a university in Gaza in January. They reminded the audience of the more than 1,400 Palestinians killed during the Gaza attacks and the more than 1,200 killed during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Both invasions happened during Olmert’s premiership.



With interventions coming every few minutes throughout his appearance, Olmert had difficulty giving his speech and often appeared frustrated. At one point he appealed for “just five minutes” to speak without being interrupted.

The demonstration was mobilized last week after organizers learned of the lecture, paid for by a grant provided by Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Within hours an appeal was issued, urging those concerned with Palestinian rights to call the university and demand that the lecture be canceled. The call was put out by major community organizations such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, American Muslims for Palestine and the United States Palestine Community Network, as well as solidarity organizations al-Awda, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the International Solidarity Movement, the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago and area campus groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as the Arab Student Union at Moraine Valley.

The security presence at the lecture was severe with university police, the US Secret Service and Israeli security present — many of them visibly armed — with Israeli security checking in those who had registered in advance to attend the lecture. Video and photography was banned inside the hall and media were not allowed to cover the lecture. Despite these restrictions, activists managed to take video inside the hall and drop an eight-foot-long banner from the mezzanine that read “Goldstone” in both English and Hebrew, referring to the recently published UN report investigating violations of international law during the Gaza invasion. One activist was arrested and put in a headlock by a police officer, witnesses said, and released around midnight. Approximately 30 supporters waited for him at the police station while he was detained.

Towards the end of the lecture, Olmert put his hand over his brow and squinted to search out the source of the shout, “There’s no discussion with a war criminal — the only discussion you should be having is in court!” That call was made by Ream Qato, who graduated from the university in 2007, and added, “You belong in the Hague!” Qato told The Electronic Intifada that yesterday’s protest “Set the stage for University of Chicago students and students in the Chicago area … no one should be afraid of speaking out against someone.” She added that the demonstration was significant because “The Palestinian community [in Chicago] for the first time went to a university campus to protest.”

Second-year medical student Afshan Mohiuddin was removed from the hall after she voiced her disapproval at the Harris School dean’s on-stage assertion that Olmert was invited to express his views. “He can do that at the International Court of Justice, not at this university,” Mohiuddin shouted, adding, “[Olmert] belongs in a cage, not on a stage!”

Mohiuddin told The Electronic Intifada that “it was ironic that they searched us [instead of him],” considering that Olmert is suspected of war crimes. She added, “As a University of Chicago student I was upset with the lack of commotion on behalf of the student body before the event … No one has protested the event.”

Mohiuddin’s frustration was echoed in a commentary published by the University of Chicago’s student publication The Chicago Maroon earlier this week, in which third-year student Nadia Marie Ismail decried the lack of protest by the university community towards the Olmert speech. She contrasted this silence with the pressure the Center for Middle Eastern Studies faced after a lecture earlier this year by The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah (who was the first to disrupt Olmert’s speech yesterday), University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Norman Finkelstein, whose lost bid for tenure at DePaul University is attributed to outside pressure by Israel government apologists. “[T]hat University center was put under unprecedented pressure for weeks before and months after the event, with claims that University centers and schools should not host ‘one-sided’ speakers,” Ismail wrote.

Olmert’s lecture in Chicago was one of several scheduled throughout the United States. His speech at the University of Kentucky the previous day was disrupted by activists and met with a protest outside. These demonstrations are part of a wave of notched-up dissent towards Israeli officials implicated in war crimes and racist policy. In 2003, former Israeli minister Natan Sharansky was greeted with a pie in the face by an activist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Last year at the UK’s Oxford University, a speech by Israeli President Shimon Peres was drowned out by protesters outside while students inside the hall disrupted his talk.

One of the organizers of the protest, Hatem Abudayyeh, National Coordinating Committee member of the United States Palestine Community Network, hoped for a larger count of protesters despite the adverse weather. However, he said, “The fact that there’s people around the world who know about it, the fact that PACBI [the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel] sent us a letter of support and endorsement of our action, the fact that there was coordination with the outside protest and the inside disruption — all of these components and aspects of the action made it one of the more successful ones that we’ve done.”

He added, “There is real change happening, whether it’s the international response to the Lebanon war or the international response to the Gaza war. The US is the most powerful country in the world, Israel is a powerful military as well, but the Palestinians have the world on their side.”

Source

From Chicago Tribune

“This is a one-sided conversation,” said Aya Odeh, 19, a Loyola University Chicago student. “I don’t mind listening to what he has to say, but if all he has to say is that we’re wicked people, I refuse to listen to that. ”

——————————————————————–

Imagine letting a “war criminal”  give a speech at a University no less.

How dare anyone think this was OK. Welcome him with open arms America?  Are they out of their minds?

Would they let Hitler give a speech?

Some in the US thought it was  a nightmare for children to sing  a song about Obama,  in school, which was really no big deal.  He is after all their President.

But it is fine to let a “war criminal”  give a speech and influence children.

I would not want this man speaking to my children or anyone children for that matter.  I would not even want them in the same room with him.

I don’t think children of any age,  should be exposed to this type of criminal.

So now the US schools are promoting war criminals?

Unbelievable??? But true!

On every level imaginable this is just wrong!

UN backs Goldstone UN Mission Report in spite of Israeli Threats

TEL AVIV | You could call him Israel’s Patrick Fitzgerald.

October 11, 2009

Like the crusading U.S. federal prosecutor in Chicago, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has built a reputation bringing down politicians.

Although he began his five-year term with a controversial decision to abandon corruption allegations against then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Mr. Mazuz has more than compensated by issuing the first corruption indictment against a former prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

Afghanistan: 24 Civilians Killed by NATO in past week

6 Children and 3 Women Killed During NATO Raid in Afghanistan
The new accidental killing of civilians was reported by Daud Ahmadi, spokesperson of the provincial governor.
October 1 2009

Kandahar – Six children and three women were killed during a NATO air raid in the province of Helmand, southern Afghanistan. The new accidental killing of civilians was reported by Daud Ahmadi, spokesperson of the provincial governor. The raid, which claimed the life of 4 armed Taliban, was ordered as a reply to an attack against a convoy of NATO and Afghan forces in a village located in the Nad Ali district.

The male wounded civilians were admitted to a NATO hospital. ISAF confirmed the air raid, but not the number of victims, explaining that it was decided following an extended armed clash with guerrilla forces barricaded in the raided house. On September 4 dozens of civilians (30, according to the government investigation) died during the explosion of two tankers hit by NATO jets after that they had been seized by the Taliban.

Source

US soldiers gun down schoolboy in Paktika
The teenager was hit in the head by foreign soldiers.

By Obaid Kharotai

September 28, 2009

SHARAN: US forces shot dead a schoolboy on his way home in the southeastern province of Paktika on Monday, the victim’s father said.

Ghulam Shah, father of the 13-year-old Zeeshan, told Pajhwok Afghan News his son was returning home on a bicycle from school. He alleged NATO-led soldiers opened fire on the boy in Madatkhel area on the outskirts of Sharan, the provincial capital.

“No one can ask American troops about the killings of our sons, brothers and sisters,” an angry Ghulam Shah said, adding that his son also worked with a mechanic in the main Sharan bazaar during his free time.

A Sharan Civil Hospital employee, Najibullah, confirmed receiving Zeeshan’s bullet-riddled body. The teenager was hit in the head by foreign soldiers. The ISAF press office in the eastern zone also confirmed the incident and admitted it was a mistaken firing incident.

It said the boy was stuck by a bullet fired into the air and his family members would be provided compensation. The troops expressed sympathies with relatives of the victim.

Source

Six civilians dead in Kandahar air strike by foreign forces
Locals said there was no Taliban in the area. They expressed their wonder why the foreign forces conducted the air strike.

By Basher Ahmad Nadem

September 24 2009

KANDAHAR: Six people were killed and several others wounded in an air strike by foreign forces in Arghandab district of the volatile southern Kandahar province, residents said Thursday.

The air raid was conducted late Wednesday night in Nagahan area that lasted one hour, according to residents, who had brought their injured relatives to the Mirwais Civil Hospital in Kandahar City.

Abdul Wahid, a resident said, several gunship helicopters arrived in the area and suddenly started bombing their houses.

He said till morning six dead bodies were retrieved from beneath the rubbles of the destroyed houses.

He feared the death toll could be increased as residents were searching for bodies.

Health Director Dr. Abdul Qayyum told Pajhwok Afghan News seven injured people were brought to the hospital from Arghandab district.

A senior police officer in the province, Fazl Ahmad Sherzad, confirmed the air strike.

He added that 5 Taliban were killed and 15 other were injured in this air strike.

Some residents said the attack was carried out in the area of a tribal elder Pehlawan, who had raised a tribal force against Taliban militants.

Locals said there was no Taliban in the area. They expressed their wonder why the foreign forces conducted the air strike.

Foreign forces based in Kandahar have said nothing about the air raid.

Source

Eight civilians killed in air raid of foreign troops in Helmand
Neighbors gathered to transfer the wounded to the hospital, once again there was a rocket attack from the air and eight civilians were killed as a result
By Zainulah Stanikzay

September 23 2009

Eight civilians are killed and four others wounded in the air strike by foreign troops, a number of residents from the Marja district of Helmand province are claiming.

This statement was said to Pajhowk Afghan News in Lashkargah Emergency Hospital by the residents of Marja district who brought their injured .

On September 23, a man named Abdul Khaliq told Pajhowk about the shelling of foreign troops from their helicopters during their patrol.

He added, four guests had come for Eid celebration to his home and were sleeping in the yard when they got injured by the firing of foreign troops.

According to him when they and their neighbors gathered to transfer the wounded to the hospital, once again there was a rocket attack from the air and eight civilians were killed as a result.

Another resident named Norullah from the same district told PAN that there were no Taliban near this village but the armed Taliban from the nearby village had fired on helicopters.

In the correspondent attack of foreign troops it caused civilian casualties to the village he added.

The British troops stationed in Helmand and the Afghan authorities expressed as they were unaware of the incident.

Although the armed Taliban hasn’t said any thing about this, but Qari Yousaf the Taliban spokes person is giving news about the number of foreign troops killed in separate explosions in Greshk and Lashkargah.

According to another news a ten year old boy has been killed as a result of the firing of foreign troops in Nadali district.

Jalal one of the residents of the district told the PAN about the attack of armed Taliban over the troops from the Nadali district the day before that incident.

He added that in the correspondent attack of foreign troops, no Talib has been killed, but a ten year old boy who was standing opposite to his home was shot dead.

Source

‘Hush’ over Afghan mission must end

(Afghanistan 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Injured Troops

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Afghanistan: 24 Civilians Killed by NATO in past week  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping

Petition filed in Dutch court claims Trafigura knew waste that maimed thousands in Ivory Coast was hazardous

By Cahal Milmo

September 18 2009

Trafigura, the oil-trading company at the centre of the scandal caused by the dumping of tons of toxic waste in one of the world’s poorest countries, could be prosecuted for murder after a dossier of evidence was submitted to a court in the Netherlands yesterday, alleging that the sludge caused deaths and serious injuries. A complaint filed by Greenpeace Netherlands calls for a Dutch prosecution arising from Trafigura’s actions in July 2006 – when a chartered tanker carrying the contaminated waste arrived in Amsterdam – to be widened to include events in Ivory Coast a month later which caused thousands of people to fall ill after tons of the foul-smelling slurry was dumped in the port of Abidjan. The campaigning group wants Dutch courts to order public prosecutors to bring charges of murder, manslaughter, negligence and conspiracy against the London-based commodities giant, which has vigorously denied any knowledge of the fly-tipping of the waste by an Ivorian sub-contractor in August 2006.

Emails between Trafigura employees submitted to the court in The Hague are claimed by Greenpeace to show that the company knew the waste – described in one internal memo as “the shit” – was potentially hazardous and could not be exported outside the European Union. Trafigura insists that its managers sought at all times to dispose lawfully of the “slops” on board its chartered tanker, the Probo Koala.

Trafigura, which last year had a turnover of $73bn (£44bn, equivalent to twice the GDP of Ivory Coast), has agreed to a multimillion-pound payout to settle Britain’s largest group lawsuit, brought by 30,000 Abidjan residents who fell ill after breathing in fumes from the sludge.

The settlement of the High Court case, expected to be finalised within weeks, concerns claims by victims who suffered short-term illnesses. But it does not apply to allegations, which will now not be tested in the British courts, that the dumped waste caused more serious problems, including deaths, miscarriages and birth defects.

Trafigura has fought a three-year battle, engaging PR consultants and libel lawyers to dispute critical reporting of the incident, and insists that the waste could not have caused the serious injuries alleged. A United Nations report this week stated that there seemed to be “prima facie evidence” that up to a dozen deaths in Abidjan were linked to the sludge.

The oil trader, the third-largest of its kind in the world, is already being prosecuted in the Netherlands over claims that it breached Dutch and European laws by misdeclaring the nature of the sludge on the Probo Koala when it arrived in Amsterdam, and by subsequently taking the waste outside EU borders. A Greenpeace spokesman said: “The emails show that Trafigura employees knew the waste would be difficult to deal with and were desperate to find someone who would take it off their hands.

“There are now no legal proceedings which will test the claims that as well as making thousands of people in Ivory Coast sick, the waste was also responsible for deaths and other serious injuries of innocent people. We are asking the Dutch courts to change that.”

The contaminated sludge – its composition is disputed by Trafigura and opponents – was the by-product of deals struck by the company’s traders in 2005 and 2006 to buy a cheap and dirty oil known as “coker naptha” from a Mexican refinery and extract clean fuel from it by adding a mixture of caustic soda and a catalyst. Emails show Trafigura expected to make a profit of $7m (£4m) from each cargo, despite the fact that “caustic washes are banned in most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste”. This do-it-yourself process was performed in or about April 2006 on board the Probo Koala while it was anchored off Gibraltar. The resulting waste arrived in Abidjan on 19 August 2006 and was unloaded from the tanker into trucks hired by Compagnie Tommy, the sub-contractor employed by Trafigura’s shipping agent.

It was then dumped at 18 sites, including drains and lagoons, around the sprawling city, leading to a flood of victims complaining of symptoms including sickness, diarrhoea and breathing difficulties. Autopsy reports included in the Greenpeace dossier suggest that the bodies of 12 people who died in Abidjan showed high levels of hydrogen sulphide, a poisonous gas which campaigners claim was present in the waste. Trafigura insists the gas could not have been emitted by the sludge.

In a statement, the company accused Greenpeace of a “wholly selective interpretation” of a small number of emails containing “trader-speak” which could not be taken literally. It added: “More importantly, on a proper analysis of all the material and of what in fact happened, it is clear that the responsible individuals at Trafigura sought at all times to ensure that the slops were disposed of lawfully.

“Greenpeace Netherlands’ unfounded accusations are utterly rejected by Trafigura. It is deeply regrettable that Greenpeace has chosen to make a number of serious and unfounded remarks, without any regard to the available scientific evidence or to statements made by Trafigura based on detailed analysis by independent experts.”

Source

The toxic price paid by the poor in processing our waste

The Trafigura episode is part of a far wider scandal
The saga of Trafigura and the poisoning of Abidjan is, first and foremost, the tale of a single company’s grotesque – and possibly criminal – irresponsibility. But this episode is also a lurid illustration of the wider scandal of Western companies and nations dumping their harmful waste on vulnerable communities around the world.

It was probably sheer accident that Trafigura’s activities in 2006 came to public attention. The local Ivory Coast trucking firm which Trafigura paid to get rid of the toxic contents of its tanks dumped all the waste around a single city, thus precipitating a mass poisoning. If they had been less lazy and spread the material over a larger area it is entirely possible the crime would never have been detected, or at least not traced back to Trafigura.

There is likely to be a great deal more of this sort of illegal dumping going on in benighted parts of the world where environmental controls are weak and there are poor and unscrupulous locals willing to despoil their surroundings for a relatively cheap fee.

It is not just toxic chemicals which poison communities. Earlier this year an investigation in which this newspaper took part uncovered that British waste subcontractors are sending “e-waste” (defunct televisions, computers and assorted electronic gadgets) collected from UK council dumps, to Africa.

British law says such potentially hazardous items must be dismantled, or recycled, by specialist firms. But there is evidence that subcontractors are ignoring that law and simply dispatching the refuse to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. Here the items are stripped of their raw metals by poor Africans working on poisoned waste dumps.

And it is not just Africa which is suffering from the manner in which our societies dispose of our waste. Streams and trees in southern China have been found clogged with plastic bags and other non-degradable rubbish that originated in Britain.

This pollution is the by-product of an entirely legal trade. European Union regulations prevent member states from dumping garbage overseas. But what they are allowed to do is send waste for recycling abroad. This is what happens with much British refuse. The problem is that the sorting often ends up taking place in places such as southern China where health risks and pollution are a low priority for local authorities.

The effects of such activities might not be as dramatic as Trafigura’s mass dumping of hazardous chemicals. But they can be just as damaging to the health of the people who live in the areas where this waste ends up. And the turning of a blind eye by Western interests (some of them public servants) who are looking to save some money is no less shameful.

Trafigura must be held fully to account for what it has done, not least to send a powerful message to other firms around the world who are using similarly unscrupulous waste disposal methods. But we delude ourselves if we imagine this was an isolated case of bad behaviour in Western waste disposal.

The globalisation of trade has brought many benefits to rich and poor alike around the world. But the manner in which we have imposed the toxic cost of disposing of our refuse on those with the weakest defences shows its dark side. We cannot continue to wash our hands – and our consciences – of the consequences.

Source

For Trafigura Emails go to below link.

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

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

image Palestinians carry the bodies of three toddlers Ahmed, Mohamed, and Issa Samouni, who according to Palestinian medical sources were killed in an Israeli strike, during their funeral in Gaza City, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

January 6 2009

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Wailing in grief, Salah Samouni banged his head against a wall inside the hospital morgue where the bodies of his three young nephews lay on the floor Monday.

After 10 days of a relentless Israeli assault, Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, is overwhelmed. Bodies were crowded two to a morgue drawer, and some — like 3-year-old Issa, 4-year-old Mohammed and 5-year-old Ahmad — were on the floor.

Shifa’s shabby halls echoed Monday with the sounds of people screaming and the wail of ambulance sirens. Many of the wounded were being treated in hallways by harried doctors and nurses running on little sleep. The hospital was powered by emergency generators after shelling damaged power lines.

Since Israel began a ground offensive Saturday, most of the dead and wounded arriving at Shifa are civilians, as Israel’s offensive shifts from airstrikes to artillery shelling and fighting close to densely populated areas.

Israel says it is targeting only the Hamas militants who control Gaza in an attempt to halt seven years of rocket fire at Israeli communities. But the 550 Palestinians who have been killed include at least 200 civilians, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanein of the Gaza Health Ministry.

On Monday, 20 children between the ages of 2 and 15 were killed, he said. Since the military offensive began Dec. 27, three Israeli civilians and two soldiers have been killed.

Nurse Ahmad Abdul Salam, 34, red-eyed and smelling of sweat, his clothes stained with blood, said he couldn’t sleep. “When my shift ends, I help my colleagues. These are our brothers and friends who are being harmed,” he said.

The hospital’s most gruesome scene was in its morgue, where blood pooled on the floor and refrigerators meant to hold 35 bodies were crammed with 70, laid side-by-side in drawers.

Lying on a gray mat on the floor, the three Samouni brothers appeared baby-faced and almost as though they were asleep, except for a large bandage wrapped around Issa’s head.

The children’s father was also killed in what relatives said was an Israeli strike on a house in eastern Gaza City where the family had fled to escape fighting nearby.

Relatives wept Monday and one man screamed for help for other family members he said were buried under the rubble of the house. “For God’s sake, rescue them!” he pleaded.

No militants were seen at Shifa. Israel says its forces have killed dozens of Palestinian gunmen, but Hamas has not listed its casualties and it is unclear where militants are being treated or where their bodies were taken.

Shifa has been powered by generators since power completely cut out in Gaza City three days ago. Israel has not replenished Gaza’s power station with industrial fuel since fighting began, and airstrikes have badly damaged power lines.

U.N. health official Mahmoud Daher said the generators were meant only as an emergency backup and he feared they would break down with the constant use, imperiling some 70 people hooked up to lifesaving equipment.

Throughout the day, exhausted medics rushed in with the wounded and the bodies of the dead.

Mohammed Salman, 26, a volunteer medic washing blood from the inside of an ambulance, said he had treated people with horrific injuries, including headless children and a woman whose stomach had been torn open.

The woman screamed, “Leave me and save my children,” he said, and burst into tears.

Israeli aircraft have hit three ambulances in Gaza since the campaign began, killing seven medics, according to Gaza health officials.

A medical building owned by a relief organization not connected to Hamas was also bombed, said Daher. He said the building was destroyed, along with an ambulance, three mobile clinics and donated medicines.

The Israeli army says it has no records of any of those strikes.

Raed Arini, a Shifa hospital official, said he has stopped filling out the space on death certificates that says “reason for death.”

“The reason for death is the Israeli army,” he said, as medics rushed in with more wounded people.

Source

Israeli Forces Surround Gaza City

Gaza City January 5 2009

Families in fear of being killed by the Israelis
are leaving their homes gathering in schools and other locations
together with their children and relatives in the surrounded Gaza City
Photo ” name withheld” – PalestineFreeVoice Images

By Hiyam Noir

January 6 2009 1.26 am
Gaza – On Saturday before noon, Israeli tanks and troops launched a ground invasion in the northern Gaza strip, as Israeli air crafts escalated its assault on Gaza Strip.The Israelis said the assault might take “many long days”, as thousands of more Israeli reservists were drafted. As Israeli tanks and infantry crossed into northern Gaza, reports of fierce fighting between Hamas forces and Israeli troops began, Hamas warned the Israelis that if they would trespass Palestinian territories, they would face a “black destiny”.

Hours earlier, heavy assault from Israeli artillery along the border, intended to clear mines or roadside bombs for the invasion. The ground offensive followed a day of heavy air,  sea and artillery bombardment of Gaza that left at least 50 Gaza residents, including children, dead and dozens injured, when an Israeli missile strike a mosque in Beit Lahiya, as worshippers were praying inside. The invading Israeli forces also attacked the American school in northern Gaza,  a security guard was killed there.

Since the Israeli ground invasion on Saturday early morning,  members of the Palestinian resistance has been detained during clashes with the invading Israeli military. The Israelis have abducted dozens of Palestinian fighters and other residents across the border for interrogation. As many as 100 Palestinians have been abducted during recent Israeli invasion.

The Israelis considers Gaza residents “illegal” combatants:)). Same tactics were used in the West Bank ,during a manhunt in the last years of the second Intifada, when the Israeli occupant listed the Palestinian resistance on what was called a ” wanted list”..and abducted members of Al Qassam Brigades, Al Aqsa Brigades and Islamic Jihad and other groups, attempting to retrieve information that sometimes lead to the capture of other members of the resistance.

The death toll, as the Israeli massive assault on Gaza entered its second week,more than 550 Palestinians are counted dead,7 Israelis are killed by Hamas rocket fire. Khaled Meshaal the exiled leader of Hamas has rejected a ceasefire in Gaza ,until the Israelis have agreed to end its three-year blockade of Gaza, which has caused economic infrastructural collapse and a widespread suffering.Meshaal said in a televised address that Hamas organization had been contacted by European and Arab countries about a ceasefire and Egypt,the same people who together with Mahmoud Abbas ( Fatah) locked the borders to Gaza, says it has now resumed its talks with Hamas.
Just after midnight, on Tuesday morning sources tell that the Israelis have declared Gaza City as ” partially besieged”. Israeli ground troops and snipers, backed by artillery of tanks, bulldozers and Apache helicopters have encircled Gaza City and cut the Gaza Strip in two. The inhabitants have with their families and relatives left their homes, to stay in schools and in other locations.

The air in Gaza hospitals is thick of grievance, the morgues are crowded with corpses of hundreds of slain’ Palestinians.Tormented, brutalized bodies lay lined up on the floor, in hospital corridors this Monday evening. Some poor souls share the place in the morgue drawers, the little body of a 4 year old girl and a 12 year old boy are wrapped in blood stained sheets, their cold tiny bodies are covered in blankets.

The Al Awda Hospital and Kamal Edwan hospital in the northern parts of Gaza Strip have no space left for all the dead. The hospitals can not take the situation any more, in one week a disaster is imminent. Just before noon on Monday, a patient waiting in Al Awda hospital emergency room, was injured from falling large chokes of glass from the windows, which exploded after an Israeli air strike nearby, also in front of the Al Awda hospital a police car was shelled.

In Al Shefa hospital in Gaza City, burnt corpses,  collected pieces of body parts, lies there in a morgue overwhelmed by cruel dead, after the Israelis relentless missiles and bombs pondering across the city and the densely populated refuge camps in the area. Many children are killed, some are lying there on the cold floor,  surrounded by parents and relatives stricken by grief.

Since the Zionist Israel began its ground offensive on Saturday, most of the dead and wounded arriving at the Shefa hospital are civilians, as the Israeli offensive change from airs trikes to artillery shelling and the clashes between the courageous Palestinian resistance and the Israeli military, continued close to densely populated areas.

Traumatized people scream in agony, many of the wounded are treated in hallways, by nurses and doctors in distress, deeply affected by the heavy burden of responsibility and fear, tired to their bones, having not enough of sleep, the extremely horrible consequences of the Israelis terror have taken its weighty toll on them too.

Emergency generators gives the Gaza Strip hospitals power, after Israeli missile attacks have targeted and destroyed the power lines. In northern parts of Gaza Strip the towns and villages only receive approximately 1.5 hour/24 of electricity. Another problem that is devastating the Gaza Strip population, the banks and money transfer offices have been closed for the 5th consequent day.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Israelis have killed over 100 children in Gaza Strip, in the past 3 days of massive assault. On Monday, 23 children between the ages of 2 and 15 were killed, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said. 10 people from 2 families including 6 children, where killed in the Eastern parts of Gaza. The Israeli predators claim they only target Hamas fighters and rocket launching sites.

That is a big fat lie, the Israelis do not even allowed Palestinian medical crews in ambulances to recover the bodies of dead and injured people, only the Red Cross is allowed into the areas. However the Red Cross ambulances have also been shelled in the Israeli bombardment.Israeli aircraft have shelled three ambulances in Gaza, since the terror campaign began, killing seven Palestinian medics,  according to Gaza hospital sources.

On Monday, more than 50 Gaza residents has been killed in Beit Hanoun. On Sunday, Israeli warplanes bombed a house in Beit Hanoun, where Palestinians were mourning the death of a paramedic who was killed on Saturday, many people were wounded in this attack. A medical building owned by a relief organization was also bombed, the building was destroyed, along with an ambulance and three mobile medical clinics.Israeli artillery killed four people and wounded 16 others in a market in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp late on Monday. These killings bring the number of Palestinians killed on Monday to 50 people including children.

Earlier a man was killed on Monday by Israeli ground forces in the Atatra neigh borhood in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip. Two corpses has also been transferred from Jabaliya Refugee Camp to Kamal Edwan Hospital.A Hamas commander, Rafat Salman was killed earlier, and his home destroyed by heavy artillery shelling in the north eastern parts of Gaza Strip, This is where the resistance is strong. Israeli ground troops have failed to enter the center of the town. Palestinian fighters of all fractions, have together resisted, defending the northern frontier with heavy machine gunfire, launching projectiles and setting off explosive charges against invading Israeli predators.

On Monday night, Israeli troops had encircled Gaza City after approaching from four directions, afraid to be killed if invading the central parts of the city, where many unexpected surprises are waiting. Meanwhile Israeli warplanes continue to pound from the air the central parts of the city. A major confrontation is taking place in the area, a fierce battle between the Palestinian armed resistance and the Israeli military have raged the northern outskirts of Gaza City. So far it appears that resistance groups other than Al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas armed branch, including Al Quds Brigade (Islamic Jihad), and Al-Aqsa Brigades ( Fatah ) are involved in the battle in the front lines. It is possible the Al Qassam Brigades with an army of 20.000 soldiers are awaiting in the last lines, the confrontations with the Israeli army.

Source

Beit Lahia Families Seak Safety In UNRWA Schools

January 6 2009
By Hiyam Noir

Beit Lahia January 6 2009
Photo ” name withheld ”
PalestineFreeVoice Images

BEIT LAHIA – After Israeli ground invasion of Gaza Strip, Palestinian families in Beit Lahia has found safety in UNRWA schools. More than 50 people including 17 children have been killed by Israeli air strikes and artillery fire in less than three days in the Beit Lahia area.  The people in this northern town and the surrounding area, have only access to electric power during 1.5 of 24 hours.

Local Mosques, schools and other public buildings, pharmacists, hospitals, homes, markets, farmland, police cars, ambulances and private cars has been targeted, bombed and destroyed by the Zionists. The Palestinian resistance, Good Bless them, held the northern frontier of Gaza Strip stationed in and around of Beit Lahia, where the resistance is strong, defending courageously the little town in spite of heavy Israeli bombardments.

Source

Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza

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 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Comments Off on Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Ten Myths About Iraq, 2008

By Juan Cole
December 26, 2008

1. Iraqis are safer because of Bush’s War. In fact, conditions of insecurity have helped created both an internal and external refugee problem:

‘ At least 4.2 million Iraqis were displaced. These included 2.2 million who were displaced within Iraq and some 2 million refugees, mostly in Syria (around 1.4 million) and Jordan (around half a million). In the last months of the year both these neighbouring states, struggling to meet the health, education and other needs of the Iraqi refugees already present, introduced visa requirements that impeded the entry of Iraqis seeking refuge. Within Iraq, most governorates barred entry to Iraqis fleeing sectarian violence elsewhere.’

2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned. In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.

3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush’s war. In fact, A million Iraqis are “food insecure” and another 6 million need UN food rations to survive. Oxfam estimated in summer, 2007, that 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished.

4. The Bush administration scored a major victory with its Status of Forces Agreement. In fact, The Iraqis forced on Bush an agreement that the US would withdraw combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, 2009,and would completely withdraw from the Country by the end of 2011. The Bush administration had wanted 58 long-term bases, and the authority to arrest Iraqis at will and to launch military operations unilaterally.

5. Minorities in Iraq are safer since Bush’s invasion. In fact, there have in 2008 been significant attacks on and displacement of Iraqi Christians from Mosul. In early January of 2008, guerrillas bombed churches in Mosul, wounding a number of persons. More recently, some 13,000 Christians have had to flee Mosul because of violence.

6. The sole explanation for the fall in the monthly death rate for Iraqi civilians was the troop excalation or surge of 30,000 extra US troops in 2007. In fact, troop levels had been that high before without major effect. The US military did good counter-insurgency in 2007. The major reason for the fall in the death toll, however, was that the Shiites won the war for Baghdad, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Sunnis from the capital, and turning it into a city with a Shiite majority of 75 to 80 percent. (When Bush invaded, Baghdad was about 50/50 Sunni and Shiite). The high death tolls in 2006 and 2007 were a by-product of this massive ethnic cleansing campaign. Now, a Shiite militiaman in Baghdad would have to drive for a while to find a Sunni Arab to kill.

7. John McCain alleged that if the US left Iraq, it would be promptly taken over by al-Qaeda. In fact, there are few followers of Usamah Bin Laden in Iraq. The fundamentalist extremists, if that is what McCain meant, are not supported by most Sunni Arabs. They are supported by no Shiites (60% of Iraq) or Kurds (20% of Iraq), and are hated by Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan, who would never allow such a takeover.

8. The Iraq War made the world safer from terrorism. In fact, Iraq has become a major training ground for extremists and is implicated in the major bombings in Madrid, London, and Glasgow.

9. Bush went to war in Iraq because he was given bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In fact, the State Department’s Intelligence & Research (I & R) division cast doubt on the alarmist WMD stories that Bush/Cheney put about. The CIA refused to sign off on the inclusion of the Niger uranium lie in the State of the Union address, which made Bush source it to the British MI6 instead. The Downing Street Memo revealed that Bush fixed the intelligence around the policy. Bush sought to get up a provocation such as a false flag attack on UN planes so as to blame it on Iraq. And UN weapons inspectors in Feb.-Mar. of 2003 examined 100 of 600 suspected weapons sites and found nothing; Bush’s response was to pull them out and go to war.

10. Douglas Feith and other Neoconservatives didn’t really want a war with Iraq (!). Yeah, that was why they demanded war on Iraq with their 1996 white paper for Bibi Netanyahu and again in their 1998 Project for a New American Century letter to Clinton, where they explicitly called for military action. The Neoconservatives are notorious liars and by the time they get through with rewriting history, they will be a combination of Gandhi and Mother Teresa and the Iraq War will be Bill Clinton’s fault. The only thing is, I think people are wise to them by now. Being a liar can actually get you somewhere. Being a notorious liar is a disadvantage if what you want to is get people to listen to you and act on your advice. I say, Never Again.

See also my article in The Nation, “Iraq: The Necessary Withdrawal,” and this piece in the Toronto Star.

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute – Visit his website http://www.juancole.com/

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 5:37 am  Comments Off on Top Ten Myths About Iraq, 2008  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist
Call for his release and tribute to Iraqis who have suffered under US occupation

WHAT: Peace activists to gather with shoes in solidarity to Iraqi journalist
WHEN: 11 a.m., Weds. Dec. 17
WHERE:  In front of White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

In solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush at a Baghdad press conference Sunday, peace activists will gather outside the White House with bags of shoes representing Iraqis and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush Administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

They aim to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at President Bush while he spoke at the conference on his “surprise” visit to discuss the war. Al-Zaidi is currently being held by Iraqi police and questioned on his actions. The peace activists are calling on the Iraqi government to release al-Zaidi without charges and have set up a fund to support him and his family.”

“It’s outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis,” says Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. “The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes.”

The gesture of throwing shoes is considered a major insult in Arabic culture.

“Al-Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience expresses the disgust that so many Iraqis and Americans feel towards a man who has caused so much pain and suffering,” says Anas Shallal of Iraqi Voices for Peace. “It is indeed a fitting tribute to the end of the Bush reign of terror.”

U.S. veterans who served in Iraq will also participate in the shoe action at the White House.

“Having one shoe thrown at George Bush pales in comparison to the suffering that veterans and Iraqis go through everyday,” says Geoffrey Milliard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “Perhaps if Bush can see some more of these shoes before he leaves office, he will feel some of our pain.”

For more information, please call Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.

Source

Farewell Kiss: Show Soles of Shoe Solidarity Stand
Wednesday, December 17th 2008 8:00am
Bush Farewell Kiss: Shoes in Solidarity with Iraqi Journalist al Zaidi Wednesday; CodePINK calls for his release and tribute to Iraqis who have severely suffered under US occupation

WHAT: CodePINK anti-war activists and allies to march holding shoes in the air around Marine Recruiting Station in solidarity with Iraqi journalist and all civil disobedience against war and torture
WHEN: 8 a.m., Weds. Dec. 17
WHERE: MRS/Marine Recruiting Station, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley

BERKELEY – In solidarity with an Iraqi journalist, Muntader al Zaidi – who hurled his shoes at George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference Sunday – CodePINK activists and allies will gather outside the Marine Recruiting Station (MRS) holding shoes in the air and lining them up around the station Wednesday.

In addition to representing support for al Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience, the shoes will embody the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured, maimed and U.S. soldiers who’ve died since the Bush Administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq, said CodePINK.

Showing the soul of shoes to someone is a symbol of extreme disrespect in Arab countries; throwing shoes is an even stronger statement. As he hurled his shoes at Bush, al Zaidi shouted “This is your farewell kiss, you dog”. He is currently being held, questioned, and tortured in jail.

Activists are calling on the Iraqi government to release al Zaidi immediately without charges and have set up a fund to support him and his family. They are also demanding Bush intervene for al Zaidi’s immediate release.

“It’s outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis,” said Medea Benjamin of CodePINK. “The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes.”

“Al-Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience expresses the disgust that so many Iraqis and Americans feel towards a man who has caused so much pain and suffering,” added Anas Shallal of Iraqi Voices for Peace. “It is indeed a fitting tribute to the end of the Bush reign of terror.”

CodePINK activists will bestow the “Farewell Kiss” on Bush, on Recruiting our Youth, and on Invading Afghanistan as well.

Source

What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted out. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.” And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged,  al-Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”


Story and Petitions to sign for his release.

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm  Comments Off on Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Senate Report Links Bush to Detainee Homicides; Media Yawns

By Glenn Greenwald
December 15, 2008

The bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report issued on Thursday — which documents that “former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” and “that Rumsfeld’s actions were ‘a direct cause of detainee abuse‘ at Guantanamo and ‘influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques … in Afghanistan and Iraq'” — raises an obvious and glaring question:  how can it possibly be justified that the low-level Army personnel carrying out these policies at Abu Ghraib have been charged, convicted and imprisoned, while the high-level political officials and lawyers who directed and authorized these same policies remain free of any risk of prosecution?   The culpability which the Report assigns for these war crimes is vast in scope and unambiguous:

The executive summary also traces the erosion of detainee treatment standards to a Feb,. 7, 2002, memorandum signed by President George W. Bush stating that the Geneva Convention did not apply to the U.S. war with al Qaeda and that Taliban detainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or legal protections.

“The president’s order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment,” the summary said.

Members of Bush’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed, according to the report.

The policies which the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously concludes were authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and several other top Bush officials did not merely lead to “abuse” and humiliating treatment, but are directly — and unquestionably — responsible for numerous detainee murders.  Many of those deaths caused by abusive treatment have been formally characterized as “homicides” by autopsies performed in Iraq and Afghanistan (see these chilling compilations of autopsy findings on detainees in U.S. custody, obtained by the ACLU, which reads like a classic and compelling exhibit in a war crimes trial).

While the bulk of the attention over detainee abuse has been directed to Guantanamo, the U.S., to this day, continues to imprison — with no charges — thousands of Iraqi citizens.  In Iraq an Afghanistan, detainee deaths were rampant and, to this day, detainees continue to die under extremely suspicious circumstances.  Just yesterday, there was yet another death of a very young Iraqi detainee whose death was attributed to quite unlikely natural causes.

The U.S. military says a detainee has died of an apparent heart attack while in custody at a U.S. detention facility in Baghdad.

Monday’s statement says the 25-year-old man was pronounced dead by doctors at a combat hospital after losing consciousness at Camp Cropper. . . .

The U.S. military is holding thousands of prisoners at Camp Cropper near the Baghdad airport and Camp Bucca in the southern desert.

For years, it has been common to attribute detainee deaths to “heart attacks” where the evidence makes clear that abusive interrogation techniques and other inhumane treatment — the very policies authorized at the highest levels of the U.S. government — were the actual proximate cause of the deaths.  This deceptive practice was documented in this fact-intensive report — entitled:  “Medical Investigations of Homicides of Prisoners of War in Iraq and Afghanistan” — by Steven H. Miles, Professor of Medicine and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota:

It is probably inevitable that some prisoners who reportedly die of “natural causes” in truth died of homicide. However, the nature of Armed Forces’ medical investigations made this kind of error more likely. The AFME reported homicide as the cause of death in 10 of the 23 death certificates released in May 2004. The death of Mohamed Taiq Zaid was initially attributed to “heat”; it is currently and belatedly being investigated as a possible homicide due to abusive exposure to the hot Iraqi climate and deprivation of water.

Eight prisoners suffered “natural” deaths from heart attacks or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Threats, beatings, fear, police interrogation, and arrests are known to cause “homicide by heart attack” or life-threatening heart failure. People with preexisting heart disease, dehydration, hyperthermia, or exhaustion are especially susceptible. No forensic investigation of lethal “heart attacks” explores the possibility that these men died of stress-induced heart attacks. There are a number of reports of “heart attack” following harsh procedures in rounding up noncombatants in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A typically sketchy US Army report says, “Detainee Death during weekend combat …. Army led raid this past weekend of a house in Iraq … an Iraqi who was detained and zip-locked (flexi-cuffed with plastic bands tying his wrists together) died while in custody. Preliminary information is that the detainee died from an apparent heart attack.” Sher Mohammad Khan was picked up in Afghanistan in September 2004. Shortly thereafter, his bruised body was given to his family. Military officials told journalists that he had died of a heart attack within hours of being taken into custody. No investigation, autopsy, or death certificate is available.

Or consider this:

Adbul Kareen Abdura Lafta (also known as Abu Malik Kenami) was admitted to Mosul prison on December 5, 2003 and died 4 days later.[20,21] The short, stocky, 44-year-old man weighed 175 pounds. He was never given a medical examination, and there is no medical record. After interrogation, a sandbag was put over his head. When he tried to remove it, guards made him jump up and down for 20 minutes with his wrists tied in front of him and then 20 minutes more with his wrists bound behind his back with a plastic binder. The bound and head-bagged man was put to bed. He was restless and “jibbering in Arabic.” The guards told him to be quiet.

The next morning, he was found dead. The body had “bloodshot” eyes, lacerations on his wrists from the plastic ties, unexplained bruises on his abdomen, and a fresh, bruised laceration on the back of his head. US Army investigators noted that the body did not have defensive bruises on his arms, an odd notation given that a man cannot raise bound arms in defense. No autopsy was performed. The death certificate lists the cause of death as unknown. It seems likely that Mr. Kenami died of positional asphyxia because of how he was restrained, hooded, and positioned. Positional asphyxia looks just like death by a natural heart attack except for those telltale conjunctival hemorrhages in his eyes.

There are countless other episodes like this of human beings in American custody dying because of the mistreatment — authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and others — to which we subjected them.  These are murders and war crimes in every sense of the word.  That the highest level Bush officials and the President himself are responsible for the policies that spawned these crimes against humanity have been long known to anyone paying minimal attention, but now we have a bipartisan Senate Report — signed by the presidential nominee of Bush’s own political party — that directly assigns culpability for these war crimes to the President and his policies.  It’s nothing less than a formal declaration from the Senate that the President and his top aides are war criminals.
***
This Report was issued on Thursday.  Not a single mention was made of it on any of the Sunday news talk shows, with the sole exception being when John McCain told George Stephanopoulos that it was “not his job” to opine on whether criminal prosecutions were warranted for the Bush officials whose policies led to these crimes.  What really matters, explained McCain, was not that we get caught up in the past, but instead, that we ensure this never happens again — yet, like everyone else who makes this argument, he offered no explanation as to how we could possibly ensure that “it never happens again” if we simultaneously announce that our political leaders will be immunized, not prosecuted, when they commit war crimes.  Doesn’t that mindset, rather obviously, substantially increase the likelihood — if not render inevitable — that such behavior will occur again? Other than that brief exchange, this Senate Report was a non-entity on the Sunday shows.

Instead, TV pundits were consumed with righteous anger over the petty, titillating, sleazy Rod Blagojevich scandal, competing with one another over who could spew the most derision and scorn for this pitiful, lowly, broken individual and his brazen though relatively inconsequential crimes.  Every exciting detail was vouyeristically and meticulously dissected by political pundits — many, if not most, of whom have never bothered to acquaint themselves with any of the basic facts surrounding the monumental Bush lawbreaking and war crimes scandals.  TV “journalists” who have never even heard of the Taguba report — the incredible indictment issued by a former U.S. General, who subsequently observed:  “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimesThe only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account” — spent the weekend opining on the intricacies of Blogojevich’s hair and terribly upsetting propensity to use curse words.

The auction conducted by Blagojevich was just a slightly more flamboyant, vulgar and reckless expression of how our national political class conducts itself generally (are there really any fundamental differences between Blagojevich’s conduct and Chuck Schumer’s systematic, transparent influence-peddling and vote-selling to Wall Street donors, as documented by this excellent and highly incriminating New York Times piece from Sunday — “A Champion of Wall St. Reaps the Benefits”)?  But Blagojevich is an impotent figure, stripped of all power, a national joke.  And attacking and condemning him is thus cheap and easy.  It threatens nobody in power.  To the contrary, his downfall is deceptively and usefully held up as an extreme aberration — proof that government officials are held accountable when they break the law.

The media fixation on the ultimately irrelevant Blagojevich scandal, juxtaposed with their steadfast ignoring of the Senate report documenting systematic U.S. war crimes, is perfectly reflective of how our political establishment thinks.  Blagojevich’s laughable scheme is transformed into a national fixation and made into the target of collective hate sessions, while the systematic, ongoing sale of the legislative process to corporations and their lobbyists are overlooked as the normal course of business.  Lynndie England is uniformly scorned and imprisoned while George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are headed off to lives of luxury, great wealth, respect, and immunity from the consequences for their far more serious crimes.  And the courageous and principled career Justice Department lawyer who blew the whistle on Bush’s illegal spying programs — Thomas Tamm — continues to have his life destroyed, while the countless high-level government officials, lawyers and judges who also knew about it and did nothing about it are rewarded and honored, and those who committed the actual crimes are protected and immunized.

Just ponder the uproar if, in any other country, the political parties joined together and issued a report documenting that the country’s President and highest aides were directly responsible for war crimes and widespread detainee abuse and death.  Compare the inevitable reaction to such an event if it happened in another country to what happens in the U.S. when such an event occurs — a virtual media blackout, ongoing fixations by political journalists with petty scandals, and an undisturbed consensus that, no matter what else is true, high-level American political figures (as opposed to powerless low-level functionaries) must never be held accountable for their crimes.

UPDATE:  Here — from July of this year — is one of the more remarkable quotes of the Bush era; it’s from Nancy Pelosi, who was explicitly briefed on the CIA’s torture program in 2002:

Q:  You’ve ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney, and now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you insist on not impeaching these people, so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they’ve committed?

PELOSI: I thought that impeachment would be divisive for the country. . . . If somebody had a crime that the President had committed, that would be a different story.

It’s not like there’s any evidence that Bush committed any crimes or anything, said Pelosi.  From Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side (h/t Hume’s Ghost)

One year of the Afghan prison operation alone cost an estimated 100 million, which Congress hid in a classified annex of the first supplemental Afghan appropriation bill in 2002. Among the services that U.S. taxpayers unwittingly paid for were medieval-like dungeons, including a reviled former brick factory outside of Kabul known as “The Salt Pit.” In 2004, a still-unidentified prisoner froze to death there after a young CIA supervisor ordered guards to strip him naked and chain him overnight to the concrete floor. The CIA has never accounted for the death, nor publicly reprimanded the supervisor. Instead, the Agency reportedly promoted him.

Those Blagojevich tapes sure are disgusting, aren’t they?  Let’s study those some more.

UPDATE II:  Well worth reading on the various implications of the Senate report are Dan Froomkin, Scott Horton, and Andrew Sullivan (scroll down for multiple posts).

Source

Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture

Blame Bush policies for detainee abuse: U.S. Senate report

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

By Angus Shaw, AP
December 4 2008

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over its cholera epidemic and the collapse of its health system due the country’s economic crisis.

“Our central hospitals are literally not functioning,” Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper today.

The Herald said Parirenyatwa declared the state of emergency at a meeting Wednesday of government and international aid officials in Harare. He appealed for money to pay doctors and nurses, and for drugs, food and equipment for Zimbabwe’s hospitals.

“Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived,” he was quoted as saying.

The United Nations puts deaths from the cholera epidemic at more than 500. The outbreak is blamed on lack of water treatment and broken sewage pipes in a country that once had a sophisticated infrastructure.

The deputy water minister, Walter Mzembi, who also attended Wednesday’s meeting, said his ministry had only enough chemicals to treat water for 12 more weeks.

The Herald said UN agencies, embassies and non-governmental organizations at the meeting pledged to help. The European Commission had said Wednesday it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with cholera in Zimbabwe.

“We need to pool our resources together and see how best we can respond to this emergency,” Agostinho Zacarias, the UN Development Program director in Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods.

Source

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

Life gets worse for Haiti’s hungry children

Long before dozens of Haitian children died from severe malnutrition, their rural community was no stranger to hunger.

December 1 2008

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

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

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

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

In the last month, international aid workers and doctors have airlifted 46 children on the brink of death from this southeastern village and neighboring communities to hospitals in Port-au-Prince, and elsewhere in the south. The emergency intervention came after it was reported that 26 children from the Baie d’Orange region had died from severe malnutrition in the wake of the four successive storms that devastated Haiti in less than a month this summer.

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

Proud, they reluctantly admit that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to feed their children, many of whom already suffer from chronic malnutrition. Their story is repeated throughout the countryside, where a lack of roads, potable water and public-health facilities, as well as deforestation, already had Haiti’s rural poor living in life-threatening misery before the four back-to-back storms washed out more roads, killed livestock and wiped out crops.

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

Fulcal’s own cupboards are bare. By mid-afternoon on a recent Sunday, she and her husband, the pastor of a tiny roadside Protestant church, had yet to feed any of the children. The night before, the day’s only meal consisted of rice with black beans — gifts from a friend, they say.

Recently, Fulcal’s husband, Mecéné Jules, terraced several rows of carrots and sweet peas in the family’s front yard. Showing off the humble plot, he says there is no guarantee of a harvest. Everything can be lost with too much sun or too much rain.

Behind him, more vegetable plots dot the rocky hillside where even the few grazing cows are skinny. Decades of cutting down trees for charcoal have denuded the mountain, stripping away the topsoil, which washes down during heavy rainfalls. Now, instead of fertile soil, there are only patches of red dirt between the rocks.

”Before, people didn’t have a lot of money, but they lived because the soil used to produce a lot of food,” says Jules, 50. “There were potatoes, pigeon peas, all in large quantities. Now, with all of these hurricanes, what’s left of the soil has washed away. Crops don’t grow. There is no cabbage, no vegetables.

A one-time cane cutter in the neighboring Dominican Republic before he moved back here, Jules says the suffering in Baie d’Orange has been decades in the making, and no one is immune. The people are living on faith, he says, remarking that the Sunday offering earlier that morning amounted to eight cents.

CHILDREN CRYING

”Sometimes you go to buy food on credit from someone, and you are buying without the hope of being able to pay them back,” Jules says. “We just don’t have the means, and as a result, the children are crying at your knees.”

His wife adds: “The children are eating, but only God knows how they are living.”

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

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

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

Zidor says the hurricanes simply aggravated an already worsening situation. As a result of the storms, he says, the community was completely isolated and people could not get down the mountain because roads were cut off.

The 15,000 or so residents ate the few crops that were not wiped out. But soon, starvation began to set in and the chronic malnutrition became acute in some cases.

”Parents didn’t want other people to know they had their child who was dying of hunger, so people would not criticize them,” he says. “One child dies, a second dies, and they bury them quickly so people wouldn’t find out.”

Zidor has been trying to get seeds, farming experts and a public-health clinic for the area. He says all are needed, along with a change in the way farmers harvest. Because of the cooler temperatures at high altitude, farmers grow once a year, and there isn’t much variety in their crops.

But despite the environmental degradation, Zidor believes that what is happening in Baie d’Orange “is not a question of the mountain itself. It’s a question of having the means to cultivate the soil. That is what we are searching for: to get some technical assistance and seeds into the area so that residents can restart their lives and put it on the path to normalcy.”

Jean-Claude Pierre, 36, who splits his time between here and Port-au-Prince, says he would like to see things change for the better. For the first time, he says, he had to choose which two of his four school-age children would get to attend school this year. After deciding on the two oldest, he then had to decide which one would have to make the daily two-hour walk to the cheaper, government-operated school.

”That hurt,” says Pierre, who like many young men from here supplements his income by hustling on the streets of Port-au-Prince. In his case, he shines shoes.

Like most children from the area, Judith Saintilus, 9, says she and her siblings regularly go to sleep with empty stomachs. When they do eat, it’s mostly beans, she says. Asked if she could have anything, what would it be?

”I want to eat rice,” she says with a child’s smile.

”It’s a very precarious situation,” says Jean-Maurice Buteau, a Haitian mango exporter who is familiar with the region and its challenges. “Every time there is rain, the roads get cut off.”

Buteau says the area needs a quick government intervention coupled with an extensive reforestation program. Without either, he warns, “you will see the whole population moving away because they have nothing to hold on to.”

HIGH-CALORIE DIET

Haiti’s new health minister, Dr. Alex Larsen, says his ministry will continue to treat the children with meals of high-calorie peanut butter until they are healthy.

But saving the children of Baie d’Orange will take more than a high-calorie diet.

”This problem requires a global response: medicine, nutrition, agriculture,” Larsen told The Miami Herald. “We are working rapidly to find a solution, a solution that will last long-term.”

Source

Poverty crushing the People of Haiti

EU member states urged to sign, ratify, implement cluster bomb ban treaty

December 1 2008

OSLO: Some 100 countries will ban the use of cluster bombs with the signing of a treaty Wednesday in Oslo but major producers such as China, Russia and the United States are shunning the pact.

The treaty, agreed upon in Dublin in May, outlaws the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions which primarily kill civilians.

“It’s only one of the very few times in history that an entire category of weapons has been banned,” said Thomas Nash of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) umbrella group that comprises some 300 non-governmental organisations.

It’s unlikely now that you’re going to see large scale use of cluster bombs,” he said.

Dropped from planes or fired from artillery, cluster bombs explode in mid-air to randomly scatter hundreds of bomblets, which can be three inches (eight centimetres) in size.

Many cluster bomblets can fail to explode, often leaving poverty-stricken areas trying to recover from war littered with countless de-facto landmines.

According to Handicap International, about 100,000 people have been maimed or killed by cluster bombs around the world since 1965, 98 per cent of them civilians.

More than a quarter of the victims are children who mistake the bomblets for toys or tin cans.

“This is not about disarmament, this is not about arms control. This is a humanitarian issue,” said Annette Abelsen, a senior advisor at the foreign ministry in Norway which played a key role in hammering out the international agreement.

In Laos, the most affected country in the world, the US Air Force dropped 260 million cluster bombs between 1964 and 1973, or the equivalent of a fully-loaded B52 bomber’s cargo dropped every eight minutes for nine years.

Dispersed in fields and pastures, the weapons make it perilous to cultivate the land and can claim numerous lives for decades after the end of a conflict.

On Wednesday, France and Britain will be represented by their foreign ministers, Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband. Japan, Canada, Germany and Australia will also sign the treaty.

But, as was the case with the Ottawa Convention that outlaws landmines, key countries such as the United States, Russia, China and Israel have objected to the ban and will not sign it because they are the biggest producers and users.

The election of Barack Obama as president may however bring about a change in the US position, activists hope.

“Obama has voted for, previously, a national regulation in the US for cluster ammunitions,” said Grethe Oestern, a policy advisor at the Norwegian People’s Aid organisation and a co-chair of the CMC.

“So that’s not just a theoretical possibility at all that we could see the US onboard this treaty sometime in the future,” she added.

In 2006, Obama voted in the US Senate to ban the use of cluster munitions in heavily populated areas, but in the end the motion was rejected.

The Oslo Convention is nonetheless expected to stigmatise the use of the weapon even by non-signatory countries, according to activists.

While the United States, Russia and China “seem to have an allergy to international law in general,” there are signs that “the stigma against this weapon is already working,” Nash said.

NATO’s decision not to use cluster bombs, including in Afghanistan, and the lightning-quick denial from Moscow when it was accused of using the munitions against Georgia in the August war shows that these countries also find the weapon “morally unacceptable,” Nash said.

“Even big countries like Russia don’t want to be associated in the media with having used cluster bombs.”

Source

November 21 2008

BRUSSELS,

The European Parliament on Thursday urged European Union (EU) member states to sign and ratify the Convention of Cluster Munitions (CCM) as soon as possible and to take steps toward implementation even before it is signed and ratified.

The resolution was adopted with 471 votes in favor, 6 against and 21 abstentions in Strasbourg, France.

The European Parliament requests EU member states not to use, invest in, stockpile, produce, transfer or export cluster munitions even though the CCM has not entered into force.

EU member states which have used cluster munitions are called on to provide assistance to affected populations and to provide technical and financial assistance for the clearance and destruction of cluster munitions remnants.

The European Parliament urged the European Commission to increase financial assistance through all available instruments to communities and individuals affected by unexploded cluster munitions.

Cluster bombs scatter over a wide area when dropped from the air or used in artillery shells. Many do not explode and it is often children who pick them up, with devastating consequences.

The charity Handicap International estimates that 98 percent of the victims of cluster bombs are civilians, of whom 27 percent are children.

EU member states are also requested to refrain from taking action, which might circumvent or jeopardize the CCM and its provisions. In particular, the parliament called on all EU members not to adopt, endorse or subsequently ratify a possible Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol allowing for the use of cluster munitions which would not be compatible with the CCM.

Source


How Big is the Problem?

Timeline and Use


Laos still paying the price of Vietnam war
November 5 2008

Cluster bomb survivor Ta with examples of the weapons that maimed him. Photo by Stanislas Fradelizi.

Cluster bomb survivor Ta with examples of the weapons that maimed him. Photo by Stanislas Fradelizi.

Xieng Khouang, Laos –

Imagine growing up in a country where the equivalent of a B52 planeload of cluster bombs was dropped every eight minutes for nine years. Then imagine seeing your children and grandchildren being killed and maimed by the same bombs, three decades after the war is over.

Welcome to Laos, a country with the unwanted claim to fame of being the most bombed nation per capita in the world. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military dropped more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance, including an estimated 260 million cluster munitions – also known as bombie in Laos.

To put this into perspective, this is more bombs than fell on Europe during World War Two.

The U.S. bombing was largely aimed at destroying enemy supply lines during the Vietnam war which passed through Laos. The war ended 35 years ago, yet the civilian casualties continue.

According to aid agency Handicap International, as many as 12,000 civilians have been killed or maimed since, and there are hundreds of new casualties every year.

Take Ta, a father of seven who lives in a remote village in Khammoune Province in southern Laos. One morning four years ago, he saw something that looked like a bombie. He knew it was dangerous, but he had also heard that the explosive inside could be used for catching fish, so he decided to touch it with a stick. That one small tap cost him both arms and an eye. Ta had to travel nine hours to get medical help. He sold his livestock to pay hospital bills, and when he ran out of things to sell, he went home.

Ta says he had to ‘eat like a dog’ for four years, before non-governmental organisation COPE provided him with prosthetic arms. Now he is able to help in small domestic chores.

When $50 is too much:

Then there is 31-year-old Yee Lee. He was digging around in his garden in August when suddenly his hoe came down hard on a bombie. He lost both legs and two fingers.

I met Lee at Xieng Khouang provincial hospital where he was having a moulding done for prosthetic legs. He was unsure and worried about what the future held. “I have five very young children, and my wife is six months pregnant,” he said. For now, his elderly parents and younger brother help his family. “I hope, with the prosthetic leg, to get back to work either in the field or around the house.”

Unfortunately, most survivors are unable to continue physical work, even if, like Lee, they receive free treatment and prosthetic limbs from agencies such as COPE and World Education . A prosthetic leg that can last up to two years costs as little as $50, yet in a country consistently ranked one of the region’s poorest and where almost 30 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day, this is more than most families can afford. Worse, loss of a breadwinner means loss of income and increased poverty.

Cluster bombs are dropped by planes or fired by mortars. They open mid-air releasing multiple explosive sub-munitions that scatter over a large area. These bomblets are usually the size of tennis balls.

Aid agencies say the indiscriminate nature of these weapons and the fact many bomblets fail to go off mean they have a devastating humanitarian impact.

On December 3 this year, over 100 nations will sign an international treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs.

Legacy of Vietnam War:

In Laos, it’s thought that around 30 percent of bombies failed to explode on impact, leaving about 80 million live munitions lying on or under the soil which has posed a serious threat to people’s lives and livelihood.

So far, fewer than 400,000 bombies have been cleared, a meagre 0.47 per cent. The United Nations estimates almost half of all cluster munition victims are from Laos.

Even with community awareness programmes run by national authority UXO Laos, with support from numerous aid agencies, the injuries and deaths continue. Sometimes people touch the bombies out of ignorance, other times it’s out of curiosity (children) or for economic reasons (adults).

With scrap metal going at $1 to $3 a kilogramme, some people collect war remnants to sell, and this includes unexploded ordnance.

In a private foundry on the outskirts of Phonsavanh, the capital of Xieng Khouang, the humanitarian organisation Mines Advisory Group (MAG) sorted through five years’ worth of scrap metal, and discovered over 24,000 live items, including 500 cluster munitions.

Xieng Khouang, in northern Laos, is one of the most affected areas – more than 500,000 tons of bombs were dropped here.

The mountainous and beautiful terrain is marred by craters of all sizes – locals liken it to the surface of the moon – and littered with metal shrapnel.

Children are at constant risk. In a small village school 20 minutes from the provincial capital, 248 bombies were found in a 4,200 sq metre area.

The province is also famous for the Plain of Jars – a vast plateau of ancient stone jars whose origins remain a mystery. But the amount of war debris scattered between the giant jars has seriously hampered archaeologists’ efforts to find out more about them.

David Hayter, country director of MAG, says the sad truth is that Laos will never be 100 percent rid of cluster bombs. “The priority is in clearing the land where people are living and working,” he said. “We are teaching them to learn to live safely within the environment. It’s a mixture of education and clearance.”

Source

Cluster Bomb

Thursday, 29 May 2008

cluster_big.png

More than 100 nations have reached an agreement on a treaty which would ban current designs of cluster bombs. Diplomats meeting in Dublin agreed to back an international ban on the use of the controversial weapons following 10 days of talks. But some of the world’s main producers and stockpilers – including the US, Russia and China – oppose the move. Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it a “big step forward to make the world a safer place”.

He announced earlier that Britain would be taking cluster bombs out of service. The final draft of the treaty went before delegates from a total of 109 countries on Wednesday afternoon.

How a Cluster Bomb Works (Source: Handicap International)

Cluster bombs are complex weapons. The following sequence explains its functioning and why bomblets cover a large area.

cluster1.pngStep 1: The cluster bomb CBU-87 is dropped from a plane. It weighs about 430 kg and carries about 200 bomblets. This bomb can be dropped from a wide range of aircrafts from many different countries. The bomb can fly about 9 miles by itself before the bomblets are released.


cluster2.pngStep 2: A short time before the bomblets are released the cluster bombs begin to spin. The canister opens at an altitude between 100m and 1000m. The height, velocity and rotation speed determine what area will be covered by the bomblets.


cluster3.pngStep 3: Each bomblet is the size of a soft drink can. They deploy a little parachute that stabilizes them and makes sure that they descend with their nose down. Each of the bomblets holds hundreds of metal pieces, which can pierce armour.


cluster4.pngStep 4: Depending on the altitude from which the bomblets were released and on the wind conditions, the bomblets can cover an area of up to 200m by 400 m. When the bomblets explode, they cause injury and damage across a wide area. The blast of one bomblet can cause deadly shrapnel injuries of in a radius of up to 25 metres.


cluster5.pngThis map shows the area of Trafalgar Square, London. It illustrates the radius of the bomblets. One cluster bomb could spread bomblets covering the red area. The green area shows the radius in which the bomblets could cause fatal injuries.

‘Bomblets’

Cluster bombs have been used in countries including Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon.They are made up of a big container which opens in mid-air, dropping hundreds of smaller individual sub-munitions, or “bomblets”, across a wide area.

Source


All politicians around the world should be “Urged” to sign and ratify this Treaty.

Don’t hesitate to give your “Government” a call or e-mail them.

Some times a bit of encouragement is needed.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Landmine Treaty Ignored, 5,400 killed or injured in 2007

US Kills Dozens of Wedding Guests in Afganistan

By JESSICA LEEDER AND ALEX STRICK VAN LINSCHOTEN

November 4, 2008


Dozens of Afghan civilians are dead and dozens more are wounded after a series of air strikes aimed at Taliban fighters fell short of their target and exploded in the middle of a wedding party in a mountainous region north of Kandahar city, tribal elders and wedding guests told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.

Survivors of the attacks, which occurred in the village of Wech Baghtu in the district of Shah Wali Kowt on Monday evening, said the majority of the dead and injured were women – the bombs struck while male and female wedding guests were segregated, as is customary in Kandahar province.

They said the bodies of at least 36 women have been identified, and hundreds more men and women have been injured. Local leaders have yet to establish a firm casualty count because many of the victims remain buried beneath rubble, said Abdul Hakim Khan, a tribal elder from the district.

In interviews at Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar city, where at least 16 male victims and dozens of female victims were being treated Tuesday night, several villagers described the attack. While Mr. Khan corroborated much of the information witnesses gave during a separate interview, it was not possible to independently verify their account or the numbers of dead and injured they gave.

Witnesses gave conflicting statements about the identity of troops who arrived at the scene after the air attacks, with some saying they saw Canadian soldiers while others said they saw U.S. troops.

It was not immediately clear which international forces were responsible for the air strikes.

A Canadian military source denied that Canada, which has responsibility for Kandahar province, had any involvement. “Task Force Kandahar has not been in any significant military engagement in Shah Vali Kowt in the last two days,” the source said.

The sparsely populated mountainous region surrounding the village is a known Taliban stronghold. In the past the area has been a target of various anti-insurgent special operations.

Mr. Khan said his village is situated at the foot of a mountain frequented by Taliban insurgents. At the time of the wedding, insurgents on the mountain had attempted to attack troops in the area with an improvised explosive device, Mr. Khan said. Fighting broke out between troops and insurgents after the Taliban began firing from the top of the mountain, which triggered the air strike, he said.

Abdul Zahir, 24, the brother of the bride, said fighting broke out between Taliban and international troops near a crossroads in the village early on Monday. Wedding guests first heard shots from the mountain about 4 p.m. Air strikes followed about half an hour later and lasted about five hours, he said.

While Mr. Zahir was not injured, his sister was severely hurt, as were three of his young cousins, Noor Ahmad, Hazrat Sadiq and Mohammad Rafiq, who range in age from three to five years old. During the interview, they lay sprawled out next to him on tiny hospital cots. Mr. Zahir said that in all eight members of his family were killed, including two of his brothers, Qahir and Twahir, and his grandmother. Fourteen other family members were injured.

The bombing wasn’t the end of the ordeal, witnesses said. When the air strikes were over, they said, international troops arrived in three sand-coloured armoured vehicles.

Villagers reported they were intimidated and prevented from leaving to seek medical treatment while the soldiers took pictures.

The governor of Kandahar province will hold a press conference on the incident Wednesday morning, a spokesman said.

“We are collecting information right now about this incident. It’s not complete,” the spokesman said.

Alex Strick van Linschoten is a freelancer based in Kandahar

Source

Taliban insurgents in a remote village northeast of Kandahar provoked an attack by coalition troops that devastated a wedding party on Monday and resulted in dozens of civilian deaths, the top politician in Kandahar has told The Globe and Mail.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, chairman of Kandahar’s provincial council, said he and his brother, President Hamid Karzai, were told by villagers during a teleconference on Wednesday that between 300 and 350 Taliban fighters invaded Wech Baghtu, a mountain village in the district of Shah Wali Kowt, 60 kilometres northeast of Kandahar city, during the lead-up to a wedding ceremony. Inside the village, insurgents stationed themselves on rooftops, including those of homes that were holding wedding events.

From there they began firing rocket-propelled grenades at a convoy of four military vehicles, Ahmed Karzai said he and his brother were told. The troops retaliated on a massive scale, killing and injuring dozens of villagers, including several family members of the bride and groom.

The precise number of casualties has yet to be determined, but figures reported by witnesses and district leaders range from 38 to 90 dead. As of Wednesday, about 50 victims, most of them women, had checked into Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar with serious injuries, including burns and severed limbs. Some with more severe injuries were taken to Quetta, Pakistan, district elders said.

It remains unclear from reports gathered from survivors whether troops launched an air strike or a mortar attack on the village. Women who were helping the bride plait her hair before the wedding told a Globe researcher they remembered hearing shooting, but they blacked out when bombs struck the mud-walled home.

When the women awoke, they said, they were with the bride in hospital. While none of the coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan has taken responsibility for the attack, the U.S. military and the Afghan Ministry of the Interior announced a joint investigation into the incident.

“Though the facts are unclear at this point, we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the people of Afghanistan and to avoid circumstances where non-combatant civilians are placed at risk, said Commander Jeff Bender, a spokesman for the U.S. military. “If innocent people were killed in this operation, we apologize and express our condolences to the families and the people of Afghanistan. We have dispatched coalition personnel to the site to quickly assess the situation and take actions as appropriate.”

Although Canadian troops are responsible for Kandahar province, the Canadian Forces is adamant about its lack of involvement in the attack, which came to light late Tuesday after victims began arriving at Mirwais Hospital.

Major Jay Janzen, a spokesman for the Canadian military, said troops occasionally patrol the district centre of Shah Wali Kowt, but they rarely venture the 20 kilometres north to the village that was attacked.

At an afternoon press conference Wednesday, Rahmatullah Raoufi, the governor of Kandahar, identified U.S. forces as the troops involved in the attack. He also said the troops called in an air strike on the village in response to enemy fire. His office is still working to confirm numbers of casualties. In the meantime, Ahmed Karzai and the President said they have dispatched a team of trusted elders from the Shah Wali Kowt district to conduct a separate investigation.

Ahmed Karzai said the attack is a sign of the Taliban’s increasing reliance on terrorist tactics to turn locals against the government and coalition forces.

“People go against the government when civilian casualties happen,” Mr. Karzai said. “But the people know it’s because of [the Taliban] these casualties are happening.”

The issue of civilian casualties has been an increasing point of friction between Afghan government officials and coalition forces.

Between 2006 and 2007, there was a three-fold increase in civilian deaths from aerial attacks, according to a report released in September by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch. The deaths are largely due to unplanned air strikes called in by U.S. forces, said the report, which put the number of civilian deaths due to air strikes at more than 300 for 2007.

This year, the use of air power has increased. During the past three months alone, more than 100 civilians have died in unplanned air strikes in southern Afghanistan, including at least 17 in Helmand province two weeks ago and 90 in Herat in August. A U.S. military investigation into that raid acknowledged the death of only 33 civilians.

Ahmed Karzai acknowledged that Afghan security forces have been hard-pressed to counter insurgents in the remote areas where militants control swaths of land and frequently exploit villagers to provoke attacks. He said that locals in rural Shah Wali Kowt rely mainly on police for protection, but their ranks are thin.

“The police have a problem there. They aren’t really able to control the area,” he said. “The job of the police is to maintain law and order.

“They are not trained to fight guerrilla war. That’s the job of the military,” he said.

Problems are compounded by the poor economic state of the region, which suffered further in Monday’s attack when farm fields were destroyed.

“I feel sorry for them,” Ahmed Karzai said. “If the people could be armed, or if they were able to create a group to fight the Taliban, a lot of people would pick up arms.”

Source

Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues


In recent presidential debates, Senator John McCain has said things like, “I know the veterans.  I know them well.  And, I know that they know that I’ll take care of them.”  It was stunning, because nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s something that our friend Charlie Fink even made an issue of in his new video at Lunatics and Liars.

A lot of you have asked VoteVets.org to explain why Senator McCain gets consistently low ratings from veterans groups.   Below is a full list of votes, statements, and positions of Senator McCain’s, which shows that Senator McCain has consistently bailed on troops and veterans.

It’s a very long, but comprehensive list.  I encourage you to take a look and pass it around.  An even more robust list, complete with video, can be found at VetVoice.com, as well.

Sincerely,

Brandon Friedman
Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org

Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues

· Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans’ issues.  Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a “D” grade for his poor voting record on veterans’ issues, including McCain’s votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.

· McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans’ Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)

· McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans’ Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America’s veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194; 1991 Senate Vote #259)

· McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)

· McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)

· McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)

· McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)

· McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)

· McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)

· McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)

· McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)

· McCain opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans’ Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans’ health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans’ population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)

· McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans’ Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)

· McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)

· McCain Opposed the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Was Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.” (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)

· Disabled American Veterans Legislative Director Said That McCain’s Proposal Would Increase Costs For Veterans Because His Plan Relies On Private Hospitals Which Are More Expensive and Which Could Also Lead To Further Rationing Of Care. “To help veterans who live far from VA hospitals or need specialized care the VA can’t provide, McCain proposed giving low-income veterans and those who incurred injury during their service a card they could use at private hospitals. The proposal is not an attempt to privatize the VA, as critics have alleged, but rather, an effort to improve care and access to it, he said. Joe Violanti, legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, a nonpartisan organization, said the proposal would increase costs because private hospitals are more expensive. The increased cost could lead to further rationing of care, he said.” (Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/08)

Lack of Support for the Troops

· McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization. McCain supported the bill that gave President George W. Bush the green light–and a blank check–for going to war with Iraq. (SJ Res 46, 10/3/02)

· McCain Opposed Increasing Spending on TRICARE and Giving Greater Access to National Guard and Reservists. Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy. (S.Amdt. 324 to S.C.R. 23, Vote 81, 3/25/03)

· McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. (S.Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote 284, 7/16/03)

· McCain voted Against Establishing a $1 Billion Trust Fund for Military Health Facilities. McCain voted against establishing a $1 billion trust fund to improve military health facilities by refusing to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $1 million a year. (S.Amdt. 2735 to S.Amdt. 2707 to H.R. 4297, Vote 7, 2/2/06)

· Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military–a policy that is having a devastating impact on our troops. McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. (S.Amdt.. 2909 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S.Amdt. 2012 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 241, 7/11/07)

· McCain announced his willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for decades–a statement sure to inflame Iraqis and endanger American troops. McCain: “Make it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” (Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08)

· McCain voted against a ban on waterboarding–a form of torture–in a move that could eventually endanger American troops. According to ThinkProgress, “the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, which contained a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) establishing one interrogation standard across the government. The bill requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.”  McCain voted against the bill.  (H.R. 2082, Vote 22, 2/13/08)

· McCain Also Supported Outsourcing at Walter Reed. McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center–outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.” (S.Amdt. 4895 to H.R. 5631, Vote 234, 9/6/06; Speech to VFW in Kansas City, Mo., 4/4/08)

· Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq–a policy that has directly weakened American efforts in Afghanistan. Senator McCain repeatedly voted against a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. (S.Amdt. 3876 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #438, 12/18/07; S.Amdt. 3875 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #437, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.3164 to H.R. 3222, Vote #362, 10/3/07; S.Amdt. 2898 to S. Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #346, 9/21/07; S. Amdt. 2924 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R.1585, Vote #345, 9/21/07; S.Amdt.2 087 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; S.Amdt. 643 to H.R. 1591, Vote #116, 3/27/07; S.Amdt. 4320 to S. 2766, Vote #182, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766, Vote #181, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 2519 to S.1042, Vote #322, 11/15/05)

· McCain said it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops leave Iraq. This exchange occurred on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer:

LAUER: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?
McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important.

(NBC, Today Show, 6/11/08)

Cheerleading for War with Iraq–While Afghanistan was Unfinished

· McCain suggested that the war in Iraq could be won with a “smaller” force. “But the fact is I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 9/15/02)

· McCain said winning the war would be “easy.” “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” (CNN, 9/24/02)

· McCain also said the actual fighting in Iraq would be easy. “We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad.  We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” (CNN, 9/29/02)

· Continuing his pattern, McCain also said on MSNBC that we would win the war in Iraq “easily.” “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” (MSNBC, 1/22/03)

· McCain argued Saddam was “a threat of the first order.” Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is “unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous.” McCain: “I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom.” (Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s rationale for going to war. McCain: “We’re going to win this victory. Tragically, we will lose American lives. But it will be brief.  We’re going to find massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction . . . It’s going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.” (Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03)

· “But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” (NBC, 3/20/03)

· March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” (NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time. McCain: “It’s clear that the end is very much in sight . . . It won’t be long . . . it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” (ABC, 4/9/03)

Staunch Defense of the Iraq Invasion

· McCain maintained that the war was a good idea and that George W. Bush deserved “admiration.” At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and “he would have acquired them again.” McCain said the mission in Iraq “gave hope to people long oppressed” and it was “necessary, achievable and noble.” McCain: “For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.” (Speech, Republican National Convention, 8/31/04)

· Senator McCain: “The war, the invasion was not a mistake. (Meet the Press, 1/6/08)

· McCain said the war in Iraq was “worth” it. Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure, McCain: “It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it’s clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them.” (Republican Debate, 1/24/08)

Dangerous Lack of Foreign Policy Knowledge

· When questioned about Osama bin Laden after the 1998 U.S. missile strikes in Afghanistan, McCain surmised that the terrorist leader wasn’t as “bad” as “depicted.” “You could say, Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted?  Most of us have never heard of him before.” (Interview with Mother Jones magazine, 11/1998)

· McCain was unaware of previous Sunni-Shia violence before the Iraq War. “There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” (MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03)

· McCain said our military could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan. While giving a speech, McCain was asked about Afghanistan and replied, “I am concerned about it, but I’m not as concerned as I am about Iraq today, obviously, or I’d be talking about Afghanistan.  But I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan.” (Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 11/5/03)

· McCain stated that Sunni al Qaeda was “supported” by the Shia Iranians. (2/2008)

· McCain again confused Sunni Muslim al Qaeda operatives with Shi’a Muslim insurgents. The Washington Post reported of McCain: “He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

“Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives ‘taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.’

“Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was ‘common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.’” (Press conference, Amman, Jordan, 3/18/2008)

· Yet again, McCain demonstrated that he didn’t know whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shiite organization. While questioning General David Petraeus during a Senate hearing, the following exchange occurred:

MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?
PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.
MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?
PETREAUS: No.
MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else.

(Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 4/8/08)

· McCain incorrectly thought General David Petraeus was in charge of Afghanistan. The Army Times reported: “Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

‘I would not do that unless Gen. (David) Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,’ McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

“Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.” (Annual meeting of the Associated Press, 4/14/08)

· McCain credited the “surge” for the “Anbar Awakening”–even though the Anbar Awakening preceded the surge by nearly a year. (7/22/08)

· John McCain has also recently demonstrated either serious knowledge gaps in terms of foreign policy, or mounting confusion, when discussing an array of other countries:

Spain: McCain refused to commit to meeting with the president of Spain, a NATO ally, after becoming confused about America’s relationship with Spain, its leader, and, possibly, exactly where Spain is located. (9/17/08)


Czech Republic and Slovakia: McCain referred to the two countries using the name “Czechoslovakia” several times–despite the fact that Czechoslakia split apart and hasn’t existed since 1993. (
7/15/08; (7/14/08))


Venezuela: McCain said that Venezuela was a Middle Eastern country. (
9/30/08)

This man it seems would not protect our men and women who risk their lives every day.

Know who your voting for.  I would never vote for this man. I love my troops too much to leave them in his hands. The majority of the money in 612 billion budget for defense goes to contractors etc. The majority goes to the profiteers of war and there are many.

Not for the troops or the veterans. Very little actually is used to take care of them.

One can decide what they will but, always consider the running record of any candidate.

McCain’s record in this area is rather bleak. One would think of all the people, he would understand, the needs of these ones the most. But he doesn’t.

If he can’t fathom the needs of troops and veterans, I am afraid he would never be able to lead the American people into a new and brighter future. But that’s just my opinion.

Would you want the lives of you children, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunts, families or friends left in his hands?

That is the ultimate question we all have to ask ourselves.

Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona. Many have questioned his ability to maintain a clear head in a time of crisis. For those of us who have seen these sparks of insanity from McCain, we know all too well that what lies beneath is something dark, ominous and certainly not presidential. John McCain makes reference to his service to our great nation by almost daily reminding us of his five and a half year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Yet few have been able to look beyond McCain, the POW, to examine his political record, as if it were taboo somehow to be critical of a former prisoner of war. But what about this former prisoner of war and his criticism of the very same people who fought to bring him home from the dark dank cell he likes to remind us about so much? – The POW/MIA Families of those less fortunate than McCain, those who still have yet to be returned to the soil they gave their lives for.

Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has …

~Ignored pleas of POW/MIA Family Members for his political influence in the overall POW/MIA Issue as well as with their individual cases

~Verbally abused POW/MIA Family Members in public and private

~Attempted to negatively influence those who testified before the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

~Diminished legislation that gave oversight and protection to the families

~Dismantled protection to any future servicemen that go missing.

Source

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments Off on Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,