US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

Make sure you give a copy to all your friends out there.

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

On Wednesday a few hundred activists crowded into the courtroom of the Second Circuit, the spillover room with its faulty audio feed and dearth of chairs, and Foley Square outside the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan where many huddled in the cold. The fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.

Section 1021(b)(2) was declared invalid in September after our first trial, in the Southern District Court of New York. The Obama administration appealed the Southern District Court ruling. The appeal was heard Wednesday in the Second Circuit Court with Judges Raymond J. Lohier, Lewis A. Kaplan and Amalya L. Kearse presiding. The judges might not make a decision until the spring when the Supreme Court rules in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, another case in which I am a plaintiff. The Supreme Court case challenges the government’s use of electronic surveillance. If we are successful in the Clapper case, it will strengthen all the plaintiffs’ standing in Hedges v. Obama. The Supreme Court, if it rules against the government, will affirm that we as plaintiffs have a reasonable fear of being detained.

If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.

“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’

Five thousand years of human civilization has left behind innumerable ruins to remind us that the grand structures and complex societies we build, and foolishly venerate as immortal, crumble into dust. It is the descent that matters now. If the corporate state is handed the tools, as under Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, to use deadly force and military power to criminalize dissent, then our decline will be one of repression, blood and suffering. No one, not least our corporate overlords, believes that our material conditions will improve with the impending collapse of globalization, the steady deterioration of the global economy, the decline of natural resources and the looming catastrophes of climate change.

But the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.

Robert M. Loeb, the lead attorney for the government in Wednesday’s proceedings, took a tack very different from that of the government in the Southern District Court of New York before Judge Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest repeatedly asked the government attorneys if they could guarantee that the other plaintiffs and I would not be subject to detention under Section 1021(b)(2). The government attorneys in the first trial granted no such immunity. The government also claimed in the first trial that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF), it already had the power to detain U.S. citizens. Section 1021(b)(2), the attorneys said, did not constitute a significant change in government power. Judge Forrest in September rejected the government’s arguments and ruled Section 1021(b)(2) invalid.

The government, however, argued Wednesday that as “independent journalists” we were exempt from the law and had no cause for concern. Loeb stated that if journalists used journalism as a cover to aid the enemy, they would be seized and treated as enemy combatants. But he assured the court that I would be untouched by the new law as long as “Mr. Hedges did not start driving black vans for people we don’t like.”

Loeb did not explain to the court who defines an “independent journalist.” I have interviewed members of al-Qaida as well as 16 other individuals or members of groups on the State Department’s terrorism list. When I convey these viewpoints, deeply hostile to the United States, am I considered by the government to be “independent”? Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy? And although I do not drive black vans for people Loeb does not like, I have spent days, part of the time in vehicles, with armed units that are hostile to the United States. These include Hamas in Gaza and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

I traveled frequently with armed members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Sandinista army in Nicaragua during the five years I spent in Central America. Senior officials in the Reagan administration regularly denounced many of us in the press as fifth columnists and collaborators with terrorists. These officials did not view us as “independent.” They viewed us as propagandists for the enemy. Section 1021(b)(2) turns this linguistic condemnation into legal condemnation.

Alexa O’Brien, another plaintiff and a co-founder of the US Day of Rage, learned after WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that Stratfor operatives were trying to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals, including al-Qaida, and sympathetic websites as well as jihadist ideology. If that link were made, she and those in her organization would not be immune from detention.

Afran said at the Culture Project discussion that he once gave a donation at a fundraising dinner to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization. A few months later, to his surprise, he received a note of thanks from Sinn Féin. “I didn’t expect to be giving money to a group that maintains a paramilitary terrorist organization, as some people say,” Afran said. “This is the danger. You can easily find yourself in a setting that the government deems worthy of incarceration. This is why people cease to speak out.”

The government attempted in court last week to smear Sami Al-Hajj, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news network who was picked up by the U.S. military and imprisoned for nearly seven years in Guantanamo. This, for me, was one of the most chilling moments in the hearing.

“Just calling yourself a journalist doesn’t make you a journalist, like Al-Hajj,” Loeb told the court. “He used journalism as a cover. He was a member of al-Qaida and provided Stinger missiles to al-Qaida.”

Al-Hajj, despite Loeb’s assertions, was never charged with any crimes. And the slander by Loeb only highlighted the potential for misuse of this provision of the NDAA if it is not struck down.

The second central argument by the government was even more specious. Loeb claimed that Subsection 1021(e) of the NDAA exempts citizens from detention. Section 1021(e) states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

Afran countered Loeb by saying that Subsection 1021(e) illustrated that the NDAA assumed that U.S. citizens would be detained by the military, overturning two centuries of domestic law that forbids the military to carry out domestic policing. And military detention of citizens, Afran noted, is not permitted under the Constitution.

Afran quoted the NDAA bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said on the floor of the Senate: “In the case where somebody is worried about being picked up by a rogue executive branch because they went to the wrong political rally, they don’t have to worry very long, because our federal courts have the right and the obligation to make sure the government proves their case that you are a member of al-Qaida and didn’t [just] go to a political rally.”

Afran told the court that Graham’s statement implicitly acknowledged that U.S. citizens could be detained by the military under 1021(b)(2). “There is no reason for the sponsor to make that statement if he does not realize that the statute causes that chilling fear,” Afran told the judges.

After the hearing Afran explained: “If the senator who sponsored and managed the bill believed people would be afraid of the law, then the plaintiffs obviously have a reasonably objective basis to fear the statute.”

In speaking to the court Afran said of 1021(e): “It says it is applied to people in the United States. It presumes that they are going to be detained under some law. The only law we know of is this law. What other laws, before this one, allowed the military to detain people in this country?”

This was a question Judge Lohier, at Afran’s urging, asked Loeb during the argument. Loeb concurred that the NDAA was the only law he knew of that permitted the military to detain and hold U.S. citizens.

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen,

and Zimbabwe. Must not forget Cuba. Cuba did not help, but did have the US prison there. Guantánamo Bay. Source

Now the Military can help with all of this.

You can bet many of those countries still help the CIA.

Like many who were sent to prison from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries of course.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, administered by the United States Department of State offers monetary compensation for individuals who volunteer information that leads to the location, capture, and trial of suspected terrorists. The program also seeks information relevant to finances, assets, and plans of terrorist organizations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) work closely with the Department of State to investigate all information garnered through the Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In 1998, after the bombing of United States embassies in East Africa, the Department of State raised the maximum reward for information to $5 million.

The rewards program not only offers monetary rewards for information aiding anti-terrorism operations, but also promises confidentiality and anonymity for the informant. The United States government further promises to aid and relocate informants whose disclosure of information places themselves, and their family, in jeopardy.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program is now a part of a larger anti-terrorism operation, the Rewards for Justice Program. The program pays for information relevant to the arrest and capture of wanted terrorists, both domestic and foreign. As part of the Patriot Act of 2001, the secretary of state can pay rewards greater than $5 million for information leading to the arrest of suspected terrorists. To date, the program has paid $9.75 million to 24 individuals who aided government antiterror investigations.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, as part of Rewards for Justice, has had several key successes. Information received through the program led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef. The highest current priority of the rewards program is information leading to the capture of al-Qaeda front man, Usama bin Laden, and others with suspected involvement in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Source

Have a beef with one of your neighbours.
Turn them in and get a reward. They will of course be tortured until they confess, not to worry.
By the way how do your neighbours feel about you?  You could be sent to a black hole never to return.
If the NDAA is accepted you will have  no rights at all.
This is what a witch hunt looks like.
Rather reminds me of what is done to Palestinians in Gaza and especially the West Bank. They live under the same rules as the NDAA.
Here is a must read Article.

Max Blumenthal: How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests

New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.

The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”

Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”

Changing the way we do business

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.

Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.

During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.

Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”

Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.

PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”

Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.

The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”

Fighting “crimiterror”

Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.

Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving at the time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”

A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarked at a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Demographic Unit

For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officerto Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.

Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”

Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”

The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselvesfor five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.

Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.

“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.

Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”

“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”

This article is cross-posted from Al-Akhbar.com with permission from the author Max Blumenthal.

You can read more of Max Blumenthal at MaxBlumenthal.com. He is the author of Republican Gomorrah, published by Nation Books.

Source

 

UN Member States Must Demand Action Against NATO War Crimes

By Shenali Waduge

October 13, 2011

Why & how is it that international laws & international bodies & international public figures paid to maintain peaceful co-existence keep silent while even endorsing repeated NATO bombings that have killed thousands of innocent men, women & children & destroyed public & private property in a show of supremacy & arrogance over the nations they have targeted? NATO war crimes extend from Yugoslavia, to Iraq, to Afghanistan & now Libya. Why are international laws being manipulated to pressurize nations politically less powerful yet bountiful in natural resources or placed in influential economic routes? This simply explains why nations are invaded in the present context & how NATO has become above the law.

Were there terrorists in power plants, electricity grids, water supply networks? Were there terrorists among shops, universities & schools, stores, hospitals, farms & markets? These have been key targets of NATO in its endless bombing campaigns which totally violate its own Charter & the UN Charter. So if Justice is quiet what is the use of the International Criminal Court at The Hague? If the ICC is a tool, a manipulative organism that twists legal principles it is time the rest of the world knew about these duplicities, ambiguities & double standards & demand that it either stops the double standards or these members vote for another alternative.

NATO in Yugoslavia

The International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia formed in 1993 was only a means to justify Western intervention in the Balkans. It has no links to the International Court of Justice based in The Hague. The Tribunal is made up of US influenced appointees so will NATO crimes in Kosovo be investigated? Was it a surprise when the Tribunal branded President Milosevic a war criminal & the US is against the establishment of any international court that can charge US military & political personnel with war crimes?

What NATO is accused of is violating the UN Charter– it is a violation to attack a sovereign nation that was innocent of any aggression. NATO’s Charter Article 1 & 7 has also been violated – NATO is supposed to function as a “DEFENSIVE organization, & only committed to force if ONE or MORE of its members are attacked! NATO Treaty in fact recognizes the UN Security Council to maintain international peace & security. NATO’s violation of the Hague Convention Article 22 & 23, Geneva Convention Article 19, Nuremberg Principle VI a,b,c & the US Constitution Article 1 Section 8, Clause II is for “killing & injuring a defenseless population through Yugoslavia”.

The usual excuse is given as “humanitarian” intervention & that was what the Clinton administration used, incidentally Mussolini used it to invade Ethiopia to save them from slavery & Hitler used it to occupy Sudetenland to save Germans.

If the US used the Nuremberg principles to charge Germany for “starting an unprovoked war” shouldn’t the US be charged on similar grounds?

On 22 September, 2000 in the District Court of Belgrade, the President of the Court handed down guilty verdicts against government leaders of NATO countries for “war crimes”. These defendants were Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, Robin Cook, George Robertson, William Cohen, Hubert Vedrine, Alain Richard, Gerhard Schroeder, Joschka Fischer, Rudolf Scharping, Javier Solana and Wesley Clark. The sentence was for 20 years in a Yugoslav prison & thus arrest warrants were issued upon all charging each for crimes against humanity & breaches of international law, inciting an aggressive war, war crimes against civilians, use of weapons banned under international law, violating Yugoslavia’s territorial sovereignty & attempting to murder Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia between March 24 & June 10, 1999.

Former US President Bill Clinton was sent a verdict on April 18th, 2001 sentencing him in absentia to 20 years in prison for “crimes against civilians”.

The entire West is not as inhuman as we think. The Commission of Inquiry of the International Action Coalition charged in 1999 Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen for violating the Geneva Convention, the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Principles, Helsinki Accords & the US Constitution. The 19 charges included starting a war, deliberate targeting of civilians infrastructure & violating & destroying peacemaking role of the UN. One of the main arguments was that despite the Yugoslav parliament agreeing to NATOs demand of autonomy & armed UN peacekeepers in Kosovo why it was bombed! Instead of the mass graves that was similar to the WMD in Iraq, there were perhaps just 200 dead persons – the 100,000 dead Albanians that NATO & US were promoting as grounds to attack was just a lie.

NATOs air strikes in Serbia killed over 2000 civilians & wounded more than 7500. NATO has owned up to only 460 civilian deaths. The dead included farmers, city dwellers, reporters, diplomats, people traveling in public transport, patients in hospitals, the elderly & even children. That is the human factor – what about the enormous damages to the environment as a result of these NATO bombings – poisoning water supplies, loss of electricity that affects hospitals & other emergency requirements? There is evidence that some Spanish pilots refused to drop bombs on non-military targets.

Another accusation against NATO was the bombing of all bridges across the international waterway through Eastern Europe – the River Danube. Some of these bridges were bombed while civilians were on them. All that NATO leaders said were that the incidents were “accidents”. This clearly violates the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949 & the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1) – 8th June 1977.

NATO strategy was to destroy the whole infrastructure of Yugoslavia – that was why it targeted public services, rail & road networks, waterways. The objective was always to detach Kosovo.

If one were to read the book (The White Book) published by the Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NATO crimes in Yugoslavia, the book will reveal the damage caused by NATO bombings & lists 400 civilian deaths & over 40 incidents involving civilian fatalities.

If NATOs actions were illegal under its own treaty, in particular since aggressive military action was taken without UN mandate the killings that ensued were war crimes.

What is clear is that the US & UK Governments deliberately waged war against Yugoslavia by building a propaganda campaign that would be internationally welcomed & accepted by their countrymen.

On 5th January 2000, Yugoslav Government stepped up pressure to indict NATO country leaders – US President Bill Clinton & UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia in 1999. This followed a submission for instigating proceeds before the International Court of Justice in April 29, 1999 & ICC setting a deadline for legal action on 30th June 1999 & Yugoslavia meeting that deadline on 5th January 2000. “Yugoslavia demands that the Court declare these countries responsible for the violation of major international obligations, which ban the implementation of force against countries, interference into their internal affairs or the violation of their sovereignty, as well as other international obligations. The indictment also included the demand for confirming the responsibility of these countries for their failure to prevent the genocide against the Serb people and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, in which way they violated the obligations stemming from U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide Crimes . . . Yugoslavia is also demanding that the Court instruct all countries, which are being sued to pay compensation for all the damages inflicted”.

NATO war crimes in Iraq

The Geneva Conventions are clear “Civilians shall not be the object of attack.” According to the UN Security Council resolution, military forces were tasked with expelling Iraqi forces that invaded Kuwait. That task involved 88,000 tons of bombs that killed civilians & killed more civilians through the destruction of power grids, food, water treatment, sewage systems. US soldiers used napalm to incinerate entrenched Iraqi soldiers. US soldiers dropped fuel-air explosives, cluster bombs that use razor-sharp fragments to shred people. Depleted uranium were used to penetrate tanks causing long term health hazards, the economic embargoes have killed as many as 1million Iraqis.

Why did the US & its allies deliberately destroy Iraq’s water supply & not repair it? Why did these western nations repeatedly bomb infrastructures for flood control, municipal & industrial water storage, communication towers, irrigation & hydroelectric power? (8 multi purpose dams, 7 major pumping stations, 31 municipal water & sewage facilities were destroyed). These have nothing to do with Saddam or his supporters – these are services needed for the people of Iraq.

They were bombed to create – waterborne diseases which have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians & the bombs & weapons used have caused radiation poisoning as a result of depleted uranium shells.

Article 54 of the Geneva Convention states “it is prohibited to attack, destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” – including foodstuff, livestock & drinking water supplies & irrigation works”.

Why were these acts not treated as war crimes under the Geneva Convention & does this not constitute genocide by US & allies?

NATO war crimes in Afghanistan

If NATO has committed war crimes in Iraq & Yugoslavia, should we be surprised to read of NATO war crimes in Afghanistan? Indiscriminate bombings killing unarmed civilians have only been answered with an “apology” by NATO. The presence of US & NATO troops in Afghanistan was similar to that which took place in Yugoslavia – without any proof a country has been taken over. Indiscriminate bombings mean rebuilding projects being handed over to profit-driven private corporations. The irony is that the Afghan government are compromising the welfare of its own citizens for its own financial benefits. This has caused a rise in Pashtun nationalism & indirect support for the Taliban. Thus it has been easy to pass blame for NATO killings on the Taliban while civilian deaths keep piling, infrastructure continues to be bombed & anarchy prevails throughout Afghanistan.

NATO in Libya

NATO’s Libya operation followed the UNSC Resolution which NATO has violated seen through its presence on ground, bombing of civilian structures. Greatest violation is by NATO taking sides which is illegal, illegal too is the murder or attempt to murder government officials with no formal declaration of war. NATO is also using cluster bombs & depleted uranium which is also illegal. NATOs violations in Libya are many & what we would like to know is why is the ICC silent?

In the case of Libya, the ICC has no jurisdiction for Libya never ratified the Rome Treaty nor has the US. However, under international laws a Head of State has immunity. So if ICC does not question the US & its crimes against humanity why should ICC question Libya when the UN Security Council cannot refer to the ICC according to its Statute? ICC has been considering action against Georgia since 2008, against Guinea since 2009 & against Colombia since 2006 but the ICC took just 3 days to find Libya guilty.

The NATO countries participating in air strikes in Libya include France, UK, US, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands & Italy. What excuse does NATO have for bombing a Downs Syndrome School, the University of Tripoli, the man-made waterway irrigation system which supplies most Libyans with drinking water, bombing a hospital killing over 50 many of whom were children, bombing villages killing civilian population – is this not genocide & can the ICC continue to watch doing nothing?

The sinister campaign to take over Libya was by first projecting to Gaddafi that the US “deeply valued the relationship between the United States & Libya” (2009) This was because British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Chevron, Conoco, Marathon Oil & industrial giants like Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Dow Chemical & Fluor signed investments & sales deals with Libya. The US State Dept awarded a $1.5m grant to train Libyan civilian & government security forces in 2009. Many of these “trainees” are now leading the NATO-backed “rebel forces”.

Thus, the pretence of being a “friend” to Gaddafi by the US since 2009 was to get Gaddafi to agree to allow foreign presence in Libya.

For months now NATO has been pounding Libya. Over 30,000 air & missile assaults on mostly civilian infrastructure was expected so too was the “rebel uprising” for they had been already trained to rise against Gaddafi. NATO also bombed Libyan airports, ships, energy depots, ports & highways, warehouses, hospitals, waterplants & civilian homes. NATO was able to garner diplomatic support inclusive of the Arab League, NATO took services of hired mercenaries in Qatar. Libyan assets were frozen amounting billions of dollars. Economic sanctions were imposed by NATO cutting off Libya’s income from oil sales.

International media also controlled by western imperialists were relaying images that portrayed rebels waving rifles & shouting against Gaddafi. These rebels entered towns that had been devastated by NATO air attacks! What these rebels did was to rob homes, banks & destroy public institutions on the instructions of NATO. Going against Gaddafi does not equate to ruining infrastructure & destroying property that is used by one’s own people!

NATO wanted Libya to be destroyed. Like NATO destroyed Yugoslavia & Iraq. NATO wanted to ensure Libya had to be “reconstructed” because all these contracts would eventually go to profit-making western companies!

Incidentally, Libya is a country that had boasted the highest per capita income & standard of living in Africa.

What took place in Libya is a message from the imperialists for other nations in North Africa, Asia & Latin America. US-NATO are already engaged in colonial wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen & Somalia. What about the fall of Mubarak of Egypt & Ben Ali in Tunisia while uprisings in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria were all associated with movements demanding end to EU-US & Israeli domination of the region & would have caught their intelligence by surprise.

NATO provided the money to silence the “people’s march to democracy” & the situation in Egypt is far worse than during Mubaraks reign! In Bahrain the West called for “reform” while continuing to arm the Bahraini royal family as seen in the NATO backed Saudi invasion of Bahrain to support the royal dictatorship. In Yemen, the West continued to support the Ali Saleh regime. Nevertheless, NATO is apparently providing support to Islamic fundamentalists in a move to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad.

What did Libya do to anger the West? Did the West not like its pursuance of pro-African agenda which had funded an independent regional bank & communications system designed to bypass IMF & World Bank control?

What has ensued is that like in Iraq & Afghanistan there is likely to be a dominating US-NATO present that is looking towards a military offensive in Iran & Syria. Sub-Saharan Africa may like to remember Gaddafi’s generous aid, grants & loans that helped these nations from IMF, World Bank. Who will remember Gaddafi’s development programs, construction projects that offered many jobs to sub-Saharan African immigrant workers. Despite all these maneuvers, China is still bracing ahead over its western counterparts.

July 22, 2011 is the date when NATO hit the Libyan water supply pipeline. Days later NATO hit the pipeline factory producing pipes to repair it. Both incidents could not have been accidents. NATO went on to target civilian water supply network that supplied water to 70% of Libyan population. Nevertheless, the truth will emerge just like Libya is now revealing how it funded French President Sarkozy’s election campaign & the numerous secret meetings Tony Blair held with Gaddafi & there must surely be more in the Pandora’s box which is why the West is in a haste to bump of Gaddafi as they did to Osama & Saddam – all previous friends of the West.

It is certainly time that UN member states stood up against aggression by Western neo-imperialism. Member states must demand a probe into all the atrocities by NATO & demand that these nations steering NATO be charged with war crimes. Russia & China need to champion this cause.

With only 28 nations making up the NATO alliance, the UN has 53 African member nations & 48 Middle-East & Asian nations & 12 nations in South America. It is opportune for these non-NATO members to make a voice within the UN & demand that NATO be investigated for all of its war crimes & be charged for every war crime committed. Source

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Now they want to go to war with Iran based on fabricated evidence.

It is time for the world to say no to more War.

Don’t believe the spoon fed garbage being fed to you by the US media. It is all a lie, just like all the other lies they have told you.

The US government and NATO Leaders will lie. They have been lieing to you all a long.

So how gullible are you?

Recent

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

Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

Wall Street/Washington Protesters an Inspiration to Behold

7/7: An Historical Analysis – Tom Secker on GRTV

Land Grab in Ugamda leaves 20,000 homeless

Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, asking the UN Palestinian ‘freedom’

Cost of war to Libyans about $200 Billion

Over 800 Bodies Dumped in Libyan Cemetary by Rebels

The International Hearings into the Events of September 11 2001

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

The 2nd Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in south Iceland

Added updates for Sunday April 18 2010 at the bottom. Also there are  useful links for air travelers and train travelers.

Volcano Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull Iceland  April 14 2010:  Photo taken by a man named Ólafur Eggertsson from the farm Þorvaldseyri.

April 14, 2010 — The 2nd Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in south Iceland for year 2010. It started on 14.04.2010. GPS coordinates of the eruption: 63.629° N, 19.630° W. Video by Icelandic National TV stations RÚV and Stöð 2. Music by Jonn Serrie, The Legacy, Spirit Keepers. Date: 14.04.2010.

March 21, 2010 — Video made by the Icelandic coast guard of the volcano eruption near Eyjafjallajökull glacier, in South Iceland. The eruption started shortly before midnight on Saturday 20th of March 2010.

Ash from Iceland Volcano Will Spread Widely
April 15 2010

According to meteorologist Thorsteinn Jónsson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the ash emitted from the volcano in Eyjafjallajökull in south Iceland will continue to drift across Europe and spread to many countries in the next 24 hours.

Scandinavia, the British Isles, the Benelux countries and even Poland will be subject to ash fall in the next 24 hours, Jónsson told ruv.is. He finds it likely that the eruption will continue at the same force and that ash can spread as widely as across the entire northern hemisphere.

In Iceland the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has caused extensive ash fall in the regions east of the glacier today. The situation was worst in the eastern Mýrdalssandur sand plain and in the Medalland and Álftaver districts in Skaftártungur. Ash fall was also reported in Kirkjubaejarklaustur and as far as Höfn.

Tomorrow wind is forecast to blow in from the north and then ash is expected to spread over the districts south of Eyjafjallajökull and to the Westman Islands. Forecasts also assume that ash will continue to drift with upper atmosphere winds in the coming days.

Airports have been closed in Scandinavia and the British Isles today and millions of travelers are stranded.

The British media has stated that never before in peace times has aviation been brought to such a standstill in the UK—after the 2001 terrorist attacks there were still flights to a few destinations while the current ash fall is causing an absolute flying ban.

Ash can prove extremely hazardous to airplane engines. Grains that are carried into the engines can destroy the motors in a matter of minutes. Source

Volcanic ash cloud causing fear among Icelandic farmers

There has not been as much volcanic ash falling in Iceland since the Katla eruption of 1918 and that eruption caused many farmers’ entire stock of animals to die.

April 15 2010

Vilhjalmur Eyjolfsson from the farm Hnausi to the east of Eyjafjallajokull told RUV the ash cloud is darkening the sky and the ash is still falling. He says he has never seen anything like it. If the situation lasts long, he fears there could be trouble with regard to putting his animals out to graze, as they must be protected from eating or drinking volcanic ash at all costs.

Eyjolfsson said his farm experienced ash falls from the Grimsvotn eruption in 1934, but today is much worse. All farm animals in the Medallandi area died when Katla erupted in 1918 and Eyjolfsson says people took many years to get over it.

In other news: work has begun to repair the deliberate damage done to the Route 1 highway yesterday. The digging up of the road appears to have helped the surging flood waters on their way, meaning that bridges have not been damaged. The flood of meltwater caused by the volcano has now subsided significantly. Source

Information on Ash Fall

April 15 2010

There is considerable ash fall resulting from the volcanic eruption under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. The ash that is falling is composed of both fine and course particles. The wind direction and other meteorological conditions have an impact on where the ash falls to earth.

An examination of the ash particles is in progress but it is known that the ash originated from the volcano and so it can contain the chemical Florine, which is a pollutant and can have harmful short term and long term effects for grazing animals.

Volcanic ash can also effect humans. The most common effects are:

Respiratory effects:
Common short-term symptoms include:
Nasal irritation and discharge (runny nose).
Throat irritation and sore throat, sometimes accompanied by dry coughing.
Breathing becomes uncomfortable.
People with pre-existing chest complaints may develop severe bronchitis symptoms which last some days beyond exposure to ash (for example, hacking cough, production of sputum, wheezing, or shortness of breath).
Airway irritation for people with asthma or bronchitis; common complaints of people with asthma include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.
Eye irritation is a common health effect as pieces of grit can cause painful scratches in the front of the eye and conjunctivitis. Contact lens wearers need to be especially ware of this problem.

Eye symptoms:
Common short-term symptoms include:
Eyes feeling as though there are foreign particles in them.
Eyes becoming painful, itchy or bloodshot. Sticky discharge or tearing
Corneal abrasions or scratches.
Acute conjunctivitis or inflammation due to the presence of ash, which leads to redness, burning of the eyes, and photosensitivity.

What to do to protect yourself against volcanic ash,
Use a mask when outside, and it is also recommended to wear protective clothing.
If a mask is not available the use a cloth over the mouth and nose to prevent inhalation of larger particles.
Use protective goggles.
Children and adult with respiratory problems should remain indoors.

Source

More photo’s of Volcanic eruption posted on Flickr

Huge ash plume blanketing Europe may last 5 more days

The unprecedented closure of airspace across Britain and large parts of Northern Europe is set to continue into the weekend, after a volcanic eruption in Iceland sent a massive plume of ash into the atmosphere.

The giant plume also shut airspace in Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, France and Ireland yesterday.

Dutch airspace closed due to volcanic ash from Iceland

Danish airspace shuts down

More Airports could be affected depending on how far the Fall of ash travels.

Norway, Sweden and Finland are also among European countries that have also been hit.

It is amazing how the ash can travel so far in just one day.  It goes with the wind.

As I was looking at this map it occurred to me Radiation from Nuclear Bombs and DU can travel even farther  as it is lighter, but invisible to the eye.

Something to think about.
Update  April 15 2010
(Reuters) – A volcanic eruption in Iceland, which has thrown up a 6-km (3.7 mile) high plume of ash and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, has grown more intense, an expert said on Thursday.

The eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier continued to spew large amounts of ash and smoke into the air and showed no signs of abating after 40 hours of activity, said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland.

“The seismographs are showing that since this morning the intensity of the eruption seems to be growing,” he said.

Hot fumes had melted up to a third of the glacial ice covering the crater, causing a nearby river to burst its banks, and frequent explosions on the floor of the crater sounded like bombs going off, he said.

The floods were abating, however, and some of those living in the sparsely populated area near the volcano had returned to their homes.

Another scientist said the eruption was 10 times more powerful than one which occurred last month on the flank of the volcano, though the two were part of the same event.

To the east of the volcano, thousands of hectares of land are covered by a thick layer of ash while a cloud blotted out the sun in some areas along the southern coast of Iceland, local media reported.

The cloud of ash from the eruption has hit air travel all over northern Europe, with flights grounded or diverted due to the risk of engine damage from sucking in particles of ash from the volcanic cloud.

CLOSE WATCH

Scientists picked up the first signs of increased seismic activity at Eyjafjallajokull last summer and had been expecting an eruption at any moment, Einarsson said.

The eruption began in March but subsided earlier this week when a magma conduit became blocked, building up pressure which finally escaped through the volcano’s main crater.

Einarsson, who described the eruption as “reasonably powerful,” said it was the most significant volcanic event in Iceland since a huge eruption in 1996, when an eruption under the Grimsvotn lakes led to widespread flooding.

He said scientists were still concerned the ongoing eruption could trigger Mt Katla, a more powerful volcano nearby covered by a thicker ice sheet, but had not picked up any clear signs of brewing activity.

The volcano under the Ejfjallajokull glacier, Iceland’s fifth largest glacier, has erupted five times since Iceland was settled in the ninth century.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hotspot in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and has relatively frequent eruptions, although most occur in sparsely populated areas and pose little danger to people or property. Before March, the last eruption took place in 2004.

(Reporting by Omar Valdimarsson; writing by Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Robert Woodward) Source

Warning. I was just checking for updates and noticed.

Some News articles are saying that the Falling Ash/particles or whatever you want to call it, will not affect your health. That is not true. It most certainly can harm your health. If the ash is falling stay indoors if possible or wear a mask, especially those with respiratory aliments like Asthma.

Point of interest

If the closures continue for up to three days, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) estimates some 6 million passengers will be affected – probably forfeiting their flights; as an Act of God, the volcano’s impact nullifies insurance claims for canceled flights. Source

My Advice become an Atheist real quick. Don’t let them rip you off. Act of God my foot. That is just a line they use to  rip people off. They can’t prove God did it. Nobody can.

Update Friday April 16 2010

Ryanair halts flights till Monday

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary tonight announced blanket weekend flight cancellations over safety fears for planes flying in northern Europe.

The budget carrier’s chief said all services to and from the UK and Ireland and about a dozen other regions have been grounded until 1pm on Monday.

Mr O’Leary apologised to customers but said he was acting on advice that stable weather was continuing to push potentially dangerous volcanic ash over the region.

Spectacular pictures taken from a helicopter at sunset on April 14, 2010 show how ash from an Icelandic volcano is severely disrupting travel plans for British air passengers. Photo MARCO FULLE / BARCROFT MEDIA LTD

For the Entire Story and more photo’s go HERE

Some 17,000 flights in European airspace are likely to be cancelled Friday due to the dangers posed by a volcanic ash cloud spreading from Iceland, with experts warning that the disruption could continue into the weekend.

Although some Scottish and Scandinavian airports are likely to resume limited flights Friday, a ban on flights still covers most UK airspace and much of Northern Europe.

Eurostar has also confirmed that it has no availability for trains on Friday, April 16.

More information:

Useful  Links Compliments of the UK Independent

Flightstats
Flightstats tracks aviation delays worldwide, showing the current status of individual airports and flights.
http://www.flightstats.com

Updates on British air space
NATS controls all air traffic over the British Isles and the eastern North Atlantic and has provided regular updates on its website.
http://www.nats.co.uk/

Updates on mainland European air space
Eurocontrol is responsible for air traffic across mainland European airspace and has provided regular updates on its website and on Twitter.
http://www.eurocontrol.int
http://twitter.com/eurocontrol

Updates from main airport operators

BAA (responsible for London Heathrow airport) http://www.baa.com/

Aeroports de Paris (responsible for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport) http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr

Frankfurt Airport (Frankfurt/Main airport) http://www.frankfurt-airport.com

Berliner Flughafen (responsible for Berlin’s Tegel airport) http://www.berlin-airport.de

Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport) http://www.schiphol.nl/

Crowd sourced updates

The Twitter “ashtag” is being used by major airlines and airport operators to provide micro blogging updates:

http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23ashtag

Train updates

Eurostar operates trains between the UK and mainland Europe http://www.eurostar.com/

General update on the volcanic eruption

By IceNews

April 16 2010

Passengers flying to or from Iceland are advised to follow updated travel information on http://www.kefairport.is/English/

The volcanic eruption in the glacier Eyjafjallajokull in South Iceland is continuing but Icelandic civil protection authorities have the situation as regards public response fully under control. The affected areas have been evacuated and damage has been limited to roads, bridges and other infrastructure that has been destroyed by flooding. Further damage to agricultural land is evident.

Day to day business in Iceland apart from the directly affected areas in the south has not been affected. The ash hurled into the atmosphere by the eruption has however caused serious disruption of air traffic. Icelandic scientists and public authorities, the Meterological Institution (http://en.vedur.is/) and the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (http://www.isavia.is/), remain in close contact with their counterparts in Europe in order to monitor the eruption, the weather conditions and the projected path of the volcanic ash cloud.

Travelling in Iceland – safety first

Foreign visitors in Iceland that have had their flights cancelled are advised to contact their travel agents. Visitors coming to Iceland are encouraged to monitor the news and learn about their rights if the flight is cancelled.

Travelers are also urged to take all necessary general precautions while travelling in Iceland and seek the advise of local authorities.

Air traffic

Ash fall from the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull has affected air traffic in North Europe the last few days and therefore traveling to and from Iceland. People are encouraged to monitor the news and learn about their rights if the flight is canceled.

Source

April 16 2010 Update

All of Europe’s three biggest airports – London Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt – were closed by the ash, which is a threat to jet engines and pilot visibility.

Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control group, said only 11,000 of the daily 28,000 flights in the affected zone would take off Friday. It said at least half of the 600 daily flights between Europe and North America would be cancelled.

About 6,000 flights to and within Europe were canceled Thursday.

Poland, Britain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belgium and the Netherlands shut down all or most of their airspace.

Finland, France, Germany, Russia and Spain experienced major disruption, although Sweden began gradually reopening airspace and Norway temporarily opened up some of its.

“Forecasts suggest that the cloud of volcanic ash is continuing to move east and southeast and that the impact will continue for at least the next 24 hours,” Eurocontrol said in a statement.

Most aviation authorities promised a review on Friday, but the Dutch transport inspectorate set the uncertain tone: no flights “until further notice”.

The cloud now extends from the Atlantic to the Russian capital and from the Arctic Circle to Austria. Thousands of people were stranded in airports around the world as a global flight backlog built up. Source

The prevailing winds, however, allowed Icelandic airports to remain open.

This impressive picture was taken with a special camera on board the Icelandic coastguard’s TF-SIF research plane. The picture shows three craters in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The craters are each 200 to 300 metres wide.  IceNews

This is from the Volcano that erupted in March 20 2010. There are three people walking at the bottom of the picture. This give us an idea of just how huge the volcano is.

The eruption on Fimmvörduháls, which has now come to an end. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Both eruptions are extremely close to each other.

More information at Iceland Review

For more information Volcanic eruption, flooding etc. try this Link it is a google translated version to english.

If that doesn’t work try this  One it is the original and use your own translator. The videos below are under the world “Upptökur” Just in case the translated version  below for the videos  does not wok for you.

Some Videos

The videos below  come up in Windows media player. If you do not have High speed let it run through once, then hit the play again and they usually come up second time around a bit slow but better. If it happens that they don’t come up in English just click on “Horfa” = Watch

Myndir af gjóskufalli Pictures of ash falls
Loftmyndir af gosinu í Eyjafjallajökli Photographs of the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull
Magnús Tumi ræðir eldgosið í Eyjafjallajökli Magnús Tumi question eruption of Eyjafjallajökull
Nýtt myndband af öskufalli New video of ash fall
Nýjar myndir af flóðinu New pictures of the flood

Myndir af eldgosinu og flóðinu Photos of the eruption and flood

Update April 10 2010

Videos: Driving Into the Ash Cloud in South Iceland

Watch these videos shot from a car driving into the volcanic ash cloud in south Iceland from Drangshlíd by Skógafoss waterfall towards Skógar. There were 18 kilometers of absolute darkness but on both sides of the ash cloud the sun was shining brightly.

2 Videos below  Shot by by Páll Stefánsson at 1:30 pm on April 17. Copyright: icelandreview.com

Iceland volcano coming to an end?

From IceNews April 17 2010

A University of Iceland geophysicist says there are now clear signs that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which began erupting on Wednesday, is slowing down. Attention is now turning to the more violent Katla volcano which many fear will erupt next. However, there are no indications that Katla is reawakening at the moment.

AFP reports Sigrun Hreinsdottir, a geophysicist with the University of Iceland, as saying that the lava flow has slowed and that the whole eruption could now slow dramatically as a result.

Hreinsdottir says it appears the lava is flowing from a lava chamber one kilometre deep. She likens the lava chamber to a bursting balloon, adding that nobody knows how much lava is inside in order to accurately predict when the eruption will stop fully.

The pressurised lava always tries to find the easiest way out, she says. That was at Fimmvorduhals in March and is now at the top of Eyjafjallajokull. The build-up of pressure when this eruption finishes will lead eventually to another volcano erupting. History teaches that Katla may well be next, but whether that will be tomorrow, in one year, or never, is impossible to say today. Katla last erupted in 1918.

Click here to see a series of eruption photos, including night time shots where lightning can clearly be seen in the ash cloud. Source

140 mn cubic metres ash spewed from Iceland volcano
April 19 2010

The Iceland’s volcano has spewed about 140 million cubic metres of ash over the past three days, Icelandic scientists have said.

The Institute of Earth Sciences of the University of Iceland estimated that about 100 million cubic meters of ash rose into the air from Eyjafjallajokull volcano and was blown across northern Europe, cancelling thousands of flights. Source

Many flights are still canceled. Some until Tuesday..

Iceland’s farmers try to save herds from toxic ash

April 18 2010

AP Photo – Wearing a mask and glasses against the smoke, dairy farmer Berglind Hilmarsdottir from Nupur, Iceland, looks for cattle lost in ash clouds, Saturday, April 17, 2010. The volcano in southern Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull glacier continued to send ash into the air Sunday.

Berglind Hilmarsdottir, a dairy farmer, teamed up with neighbors Saturday to round up her cattle, some 120 in all, and get them to shelter. In the panic, some of the animals got lost in the fog of ash, and the farmers had to drive around searching for them.

“The risk is of fluoride poisoning if they breathe or eat too much,” Hilmarsdottir said through a white protective mask.

The fluoride in the ash creates acid in the animals’ stomachs, corroding the intestines and causing hemorrhages. It also binds with calcium in the blood stream, and after heavy exposure over a period of days makes bones frail, even causing teeth to crumble.

AP Photo – Farmers team up to rescue cattle from exposure to the toxic volcanic ash at a farm in Nupur, Iceland, as the volcano in southern Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull glacier sends ash into the air Saturday, April 17, 2010.

“The best we can do is put them in the barn, block all the windows and bring them clean food and water as long as the earth is contaminated,” said Hilmarsdottir. For entire story go HERE

Airlines challenge restrictions as 6.8 million passengers affected April 19 2010

The enormous shroud of fine mineral dust particles now stretches from the Arctic Circle in the north to the French Mediterranean coast in the south, and from Spain into Russia.

The cloud is now heading toward Greece and into Russia, weather experts said. For entire story go HERE

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Global warming is a Fraud, It’s actually cooling

Just added December 10 2009

Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after ‘Danish text’ leak

Link to newest Document is below.

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as “the circle of commitment” – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.

The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol‘s principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.

The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as “a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks”.

A confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular, it is understood to:

• Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;

• Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called “the most vulnerable”;

• Weaken the UN’s role in handling climate finance;

• Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.

Developing countries that have seen the text are understood to be furious that it is being promoted by rich countries without their knowledge and without discussion in the negotiations.

“It is being done in secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next week. It effectively is the end of the UN process,” said one diplomat, who asked to remain nameless.

Antonio Hill, climate policy adviser for Oxfam International, said: “This is only a draft but it highlights the risk that when the big countries come together, the small ones get hurting. On every count the emission cuts need to be scaled up. It allows too many loopholes and does not suggest anything like the 40% cuts that science is saying is needed.”

Hill continued: “It proposes a green fund to be run by a board but the big risk is that it will run by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility [a partnership of 10 agencies including the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme] and not the UN. That would be a step backwards, and it tries to put constraints on developing countries when none were negotiated in earlier UN climate talks.”

The text was intended by Denmark and rich countries to be a working framework, which would be adapted by countries over the next week. It is particularly inflammatory because it sidelines the UN negotiating process and suggests that rich countries are desperate for world leaders to have a text to work from when they arrive next week.

Few numbers or figures are included in the text because these would be filled in later by world leaders. However, it seeks to hold temperature rises to 2C and mentions the sum of $10bn a year to help poor countries adapt to climate change from 2012-15.

Newest Document

Just finished reading the newest Document and it still leaves much to be desired. The Document is also incomplete.

Link to original Draft Copy Draft Copy of the Copenhegan Treaty

CO2 Emmisions per Country in 2002

The  US being the worst offender

China  second,

Russia third.

Rich countries are the absolute worst offenders. Seems to me if anyone should clean up their act it would be the Rich countries.

They just want control over the Poor countries at any rate. That is what they have always been doing.  Considering the entire thing is a hoax what else could it be.  Control power and more profit from the poor.

More opening of markets to take control and privatize weak countries.

Some things just never change.


Global Warming Fraud: Somebody Needs to Go to Jail

By Alan Caruba  Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The revelations that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) doctored the data supporting the global warming claims of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) means that EVERYTHING attributed to or based upon “global warming” is invalid.

It means the Kyoto Climate Protocols that nations agreed to on December 11, 1997 and which entered into force on February 16 2005, and all subsequent agreements based on “global warming” have no validity, scientifically or as the basis for public action by any nation, state, province, city or town.

It means that Al Gore’s pusillanimous “documentary” is a fraud along with just about every other statement uttered by any scientist, academician, or politician claiming that something, anything, should be done to avoid “global warming.”

There is no “global warming”, if by that discredited term, you mean a dramatic increase in the Earth’s temperature, the vast rising of ocean levels, the melting of the polar ice caps, and the thousands of other things attributed to a massive fraud orchestrated by the IPCC and a vast network of scientists and environmental groups that benefited from the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars they received in grants and other payments for their “research.”

Global warming, allegedly the result of rising levels of “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (C02), underwrites the sale of “carbon credits” that industries, utilities, and other entities purchased for the “right” to use energy and as further revelations about the doctoring and virtual invention of false scientific data become known, it means those sales were a complete fraud.

It was never really a secret. You could have read about in “Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know” and a dozen other books I can put my hand on this very moment. The only thing missing was the proverbial “smoking gun” and the revelations about the CRU now confirms what the “deniers” and “skeptics” kept saying.

It’s worth keeping in mind that in several Northeastern States, utilities were required by law to purchase these worthless carbon credits and spend millions, not on improvements to the electric grid, not on building more capacity to serve their customers, but on what is worthless paper.
Someone needs to go to jail
The release of thousands of emails and other data, now believed to be the work of a conscious-stricken CRU insider, will as they are examined in detail reveal what has long been known to those actively opposing the “global warming” fraud. As Christopher Horner, the author of “Red Hot Lies”, recently noted, the CRU and its lead scientists refused for years to release the data which they alleged proved that “global warming” was happening.

This data and the periodic reports of the IPCC are the basis for the existence of the IPCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the “cap-and-trade” legislation awaiting a vote in the U.S. Congress. Horner observed “After running out of excuses, in September CRU’s Phil Jones simply claimed that he had lost the data so, sorry, no one can check it.” Horner called it “implausible beyond comprehension.”

And yet the United States and the representatives of many other nations will gather in Copenhagen in December for yet another UN conference on climate change, the now preferred synonym for “global warming.” Basing any international treaty on climate change or global warming is an utterly deceitful act.

The IPCC conference is based on the original Kyoto Protocol and, since there is no global warming, and since the science supporting it has been revealed to be false and misleading, no action should be taken other to disband the IPCC entirely.

All U.S. laws and regulations based on the so-called “global warming” should be reexamined and exorcised from the Congressional Register and from all state bodies of law. Most certainly, “cap-and-trade” should be withdrawn from further consideration.

Beyond that, school books about the environment must now be reviewed to determine how much of their content is invalid as well.

The undoing of this fraud must begin and begin NOW!

Source

Related Articles

Is a New Ice Age Under Way?

Watch out, Al Gore. The glaciers will get you!” With that appended note, my friend, retired field geologist Jack Sauers, forwarded to me a report that should have been a lead item in every newspaper in the world. It was the news that the best-measured glacier in North America, the Nisqually on Mount Rainier, has been growing since 1931.

Russian weather data cherry picked by UK climatologists – report

The  Global warming hoax apparently was to sneak a one world Government by us all. It almost worked too.  Thanks to a Hacker finding e-mails that will be put on hold for a bit.  Now all we have to do is find out who payed of the Scientist to fuge the entire thing.

On October 14, Lord Christopher Monckton gave a presentation in St. Paul, MN on the subject of global warming. In this 4-minute excerpt from his speech, he issues a dire warning to all Americans regarding the United Nations Climate Change Treaty that is scheduled to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009.


Seems the planet is cooling which could be attributed to Radiation. Much of which comes from War Pollution.  Nuclear Winter maybe.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

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IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia

By Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga,
December 24 2008

Yesterday evening, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board confirmed an international loan to Latvia.

Latvia will receive EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion) worth of financial support, writes LETA.

The European Union plans to allocate a medium-term loan to Latvia worth up to EUR 3.1 billion (LVL 2.18 billion).

Also participating in issuing Latvia the loan is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – EUR 1.7 billion (LVL 1.19 billion), Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway – EUR 1.8 billion (LVL 1.27 billion), and the World Bank – EUR 0.4 billion (LVL 0.28 billion).

The European Reconstruction and Development Bank, the Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia will allocate Latvia another EUR 0.5 billion (LVL 0.35 billion), which is a total of EUR 7.5 billion (LVL 5.27 billion).

The loan will be issued to Latvia gradually over the next three years.

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia  
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Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

December 10th, 2008

By Alex MacDonald

In a sign of the severity of the economic downturn, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, announced plans to close two U.S. steel processing plants and lay off several hundred workers in the European Union.

ArcelorMittal plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., by the end of April and plans to close its finished steel processing plant in Hennepin, Ill., sometime in the future, although no date was disclosed. The two closures will result in 545 job losses, 260 of which are located at the N.Y. plant and 285 of which are located at the Illinois plant.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal rolled out voluntary redundancy programs in Europe over the past week or so that would eliminate 3,550 mostly white-collar jobs through voluntary layoffs. The company is eyeing 6,000 job cuts in Europe out of 9,000 job cuts globally.

The closures and layoffs are in line with the company’s plans to cut 35% of its global steel production capacity during the fourth quarter and saving $1 billion annually by cutting 3% of its global workforce.

Both steel plants supply the auto market, where demand has slumped so dramatically that the U.S.’s three largest car manufacturers are now seeking federal government funds to avert bankruptcy.

The closures are part of ArcelorMittal’s global restructuring program to weather the economic downturn.

The decision to close ArcelorMittal Lackawanna was “purely an economic business decision based on the extraordinary economic conditions we face today,” the company said in a statement.

The Lackawanna plant has inherent disadvantages due to its location that lead to higher costs, longer customer lead times, and higher inventory levels than other ArcelorMittal finishing facilities in the US, the company said.

Meanwhile, at Hennepin, “the company had to make the tough decision to close the…facility, consolidate operations and move production to other ArcelorMittal facilities in the U.S.” in order to remain competitive.

ArcelorMittal now has announced plans to lay off 19% of its U.S. salaried workforce of 15,543 people and has announced more than half of its planned job cuts in Europe.

The United Steelworkers union and other relevant stakeholders were notified about the plant closures and job layoffs. They are now negotiating with the Luxembourg-based company to arrive at a compromise.

Jim Robinson, the director of USW’s District 7 said the union was aware that ArcelorMittal faced operational issues at the two plants but was surprised by the company’s decision to close the plants.

“They called us before they announced but we did not know this specifically” beforehand, he said.

Robinson dismissed views that ArcelorMittal has underinvested in the plants. “I don’t think the issue is lack of investment over time, I think it’s an issue of the company’s overall strategy.” He declined to elaborate further.

ArcelorMittal is one of many steelmakers globally that have announced production cuts and layoffs. U.S. Steel Corporation (X), the world’s tenth-largest steelmaker by volume, announced last week it would temporarily idle an iron ore mining facility and two steel works. The move will affect 3,500 employees.

Corus, Europe’s second largest steelmaker by volume and the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY) has cut production by 30% and has shed about 500 jobs from the U.K.

In Europe, ArcelorMittal is seeking voluntary redundancies equal to 1,400 jobs in France, 800 in Belgium, 750 in Germany, and 600 in Spain. Most of them are white collar jobs. ArcelorMittal’s American depositary shares recently traded up 8.9% to $25.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Company Web site: http://www.arcelormittal.com

Source

EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

Brussels – European Union businesses called Monday for a cut in interest rates amid predictions that the bloc’s economic slowdown could lead to more than 1 million jobs being lost in 2009.

BusinessEurope, which groups national business federations from 34 European countries, also called on governments to ensure a continued flow of credit and to approve structural reforms aimed at improving the continent’s competitiveness.

According to its latest Economic Outlook, EU gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to grow by just 0.4 per cent in 2009, compared to 1.4 per cent this year, with exports, imports and private consumption levels all slowing.

Unemployment is predicted to increase from 7 per cent to 7.8 per cent, with the loss of 1.1 million jobs, compared to a net job creation of more than 2 million in 2008.

“The most fundamental preoccupation of the business community is obviously the way in which the impact of the financial market turmoil will play out,” the paper said.

“Even though a fully-fledged credit crunch has not yet appeared in Europe, uncertainty about the impact for companies and consumer markets has increased tremendously.”

Source

SEMI Europe calls for investment to avoid mass job losses in semiconductor industry

December 10 2008

During the third SEMI Brussels forum, SEMI Europe declared that the decline in the European semiconductor industry could potentially put half a million European jobs at risk. SEMI Europe presented its White Paper to EU officials and urgently appealed for the EU and national policymakers to invest to support the European semiconductor industry citing the industries importance to the health and global competitiveness of the EU economy.

The equipment/materials producers and the semiconductor device manufacturers contribute around €29 billion to the EU economy and provide around 215,000 jobs. The European semiconductor industry is also a significant contributor to the GDP in EU countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

“If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment & materials producers will face an uncertain future”, said Franz Richter, Chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. “The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry. Supporting a robust and competitive semiconductor industry in Europe is critical to keeping jobs in Europe across all industries and supporting key European economies.”

The decline of the market share even during the increase in total volumes sold reflects that manufacturing is changing and moving away from Europe because of the unfavourable global level playing field conditions. The European equipment and materials manufacturers that supply the semiconductor industry with machinery and parts are for the most part small or medium-sized European businesses that heavily rely on the future European semiconductor industry to guarantee their own future and the 105,000 jobs they embody.

Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

Source

Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

December 11 2008

By Robert Hetz

MADRID,

Spain’s car industry, which became Europe’s third largest, thanks to a cheap workforce, has lost cost advantage and could shrink as companies slash costs at foreign plants and save politically-sensitive jobs at home.

As executives at multinational manufacturers weigh up Spain’s ageing factories, relatively high wage costs and weak competitiveness against their own domestic markets and cheaper alternatives, the country’s plants are clear targets as the credit crunch saps demand all over the world.

“The big decisions are being taken abroad, not here, and managers in London, Paris and Detroit prefer to close a plant here and not in their home market,” said the director of one Spanish parts plant, who asked not to be named.

Unlike Germany, France or Italy, Spain’s auto industry has no nationally-owned car maker and little control over decisions on the future of its 18 foreign-owned plants, which employ around 70,000 people.

And unlike the case of Britain, Spain’s plants are older and less productive, and the country lacks a more skilled workforce or much tradition of home-grown research and development.

Global car makers, also including Peugeot, Opel and Volkswagen, built most of their Spanish plants in the 1970s when Spain was a low-cost backwater, well placed to serve Northern European markets.

Since the 70s, Spain has lost its price advantage as living standards have caught up with the European average. In 2007, per capita income overtook that of Italy. At the same time, new competitors have emerged as low-cost manufacturing centres.

Spain’s auto-sector salaries averaged 22.83 euros ($29.64) an hour last year, above the European average and around three times the 6.93 euros in Poland and 8.83 euros in the Czech Republic, Europe’s new manufacturing hubs, alongside North Africa.

NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

Renault plans to make 200,000 cars at its plants in North Africa in 2010 and double that within a couple of years, overtaking production from its Spanish operations.

The global credit crunch has hurt demand for new cars across Europe, with new car registrations in November falling 36.8 percent in the UK, 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Italy and 50 percent in Spain.

With some 84 percent of cars built in Spanish plants for export, manufacturers are finding fewer financial or political reasons for remaining in the country as international competition rises.

Spanish plants are ideal candidates for the inevitable cuts across Europe, head of Ford Espana Jose Manuel Machado said, as salaries rise and productivity fails to rise at a similar rate.

Machado’s comments came before the U.S. company announced production cuts of 120,000 units at its Almussafes plant in Valencia, and the temporary layoff of 5,200 workers.

Job cuts are expected from most of the major manufacturers, with more than 60 filings listing potential layoffs by private companies made to the government, which may affect up to 40,000 workers, Spain’s main union UGT said.

As Spain’s unemployment rate soars to the highest in the European Union and the economy nears recession, the government is keen to keep the industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of gross domestic product, in the country.

Spain has earmarked 800 million euros for the sector as part of measures worth a total of around 50 billion euros to stimulate the economy.

But this aid may not be enough.

“It’s a good gesture from the government, but obviously the amount of money is insufficient. It would be less than 80 million euros per manufacturer,” said Jose Antonio Bueno of consultancy Europraxis.

The sharp fall in new car sales in Spain has also affected the manufacturers’ showrooms and spare parts centres throughout the country.

Concessions for new and second-hand cars and garages employ around 278,000 people in Spain, and 16,000 of those jobs are at risk, the association for the sector, Ganvam, estimates.

“Four years ago we sold two or three cars a day, but now its not even two a week,” said Adela Benito, who has worked in a Madrid-based Renault showroom for 20 years. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Additional reporting by Tomas Gonzalez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

Source

Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

In a new survey just released, 68 percent of Swedes want to see the Swedish government bail out its beleaguered carmaker Volvo. Although Volvo is owned by US carmaker Ford, Swedes would like its government to temporarily take control of the nation’s iconic firm, as many residents fear Volvo may disappear entirely from Sweden in the near future.

The Local newspaper reports that support for government intervention is piling in from all sides of the political arena. Some 65 percent of those polled who support the bailout side with one of the governing Alliance parties, and 73 percent of all left bloc voters approve of a government bailout.

Peter Larsson of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers points out that Volvo’s current crisis is not minor. “One thing is certain, there are no dollars on their way over the Atlantic,” Larsson said, referring to the massive problems currently faced by the “Big Three” US carmakers – Ford, Chrysler, and (Saab-owner) General Motors.

Rolf Wolff, dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University, told The Local: “If Volvo Cars disappears as a base for industrial knowledge and skills, then Sweden will never again be a part of the auto industry. All the knowledge and skills would be lost, and with it all future associated development potential would be gone.”

Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s minister of trade and industry, has expressed doubts whether the government would be able to better manage Volvo than the car firm itself. For now, the issue has been placed on the political back burner, but the crisis at Volvo and Ford goes on.

Source

This is just the tip of the iceburg.  Seems no one is safe from the Financial Crisis. Not even EU members.

There are 27 member of the European Union.

austria 1. Austria
belgium 2. Belgium
UK 3. UK
denmark 4. Denmark
germany 5. Germany
greece 6. Greece
ireland 7. Ireland
spain 8. Spain
italy 9. Italy
luxembourg 10. Luxembourg
netherlands 11. Netherlands
portugal 12. Portugal
finland 13. Finland
france 14. France
sweden 15. Sweden
cyprus 16. Cyprus
czech 17. Czech Republic
estonia 18. Estonia
hungary 19. Hungary
latvia 20. Latvia
lithuania 21. Lithuania
malta 22. Malta
poland 23. Poland
slovakia 24. Slovakia
slovenia 25. Slovenia
bulgaria 26. Bulgaria
romania 27. Romania

EU members and when they joined.

1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

EU, Iceland, Canada Suffering Fall Out, Caused By US Crisis

Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

The £2trillion question for British economy

Europe catches America’s financial disease

How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

Ryanair to appeal EU’s ‘corrupt’ support of Alitalia takeover

Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

Starting to remind me of the Corruption in the US where the Crisis started.

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health Problems

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

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

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


Epidemiology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Sign Petition to Ban DU

International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voting results in full

In favour:

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

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

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

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

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Essential Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

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

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

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

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

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

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

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

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

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy

November 26 2008


75 percent voted ‘yes’ while 23 percent had voted’ no ‘in the referendum on autonomy.


Source


Greenland may be getting an early election

Greenland’s coalition government appears to be falling apart as it faces a growing number of problems that it doesn’t seem to be able to address. Sermitsiaq reports that a referendum on extending the home rule government’s autonomy from Denmark today, Tuesday 25 November could result in an early election call. Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen has the power to call for an early election if he feels it will be to his side’s advantage.

Greenland’s Audit Commission recently criticised four government ministers over their mishandling of public affairs. One minister, Aqqalu Abelsen, has already been forced out of the government as its Family and Health Minister. By calling for a snap election, Enoksen could help the other four ministers in his party avoid the same fate.

Self-rule will ultimately be the platform that Enoksen uses in his campaign if he decides to call for a quick election, which could happen as soon as 28 November, the last working day of Parliament. A public vote in favour of self-rule would likely have a knock-on effect helping the premier’s Siumut Party retain what power it has, suggests the Sermitsiaq newspaper.

The Siumut Party played a major role in negotiating the self-rule agreement with Denmark earlier this year. The Siumut and Atassut parties have 17 members in Parliament between them, as compared to the 14 members of the opposition. It could be a risky move to call a snap election, but now could be the ideal moment to solidify Enoken’s position.

Source

Greenlanders vote on more autonomy from Denmark

November 25, 2008

People in Greenland were voting Tuesday in a referendum on whether to establish a self-rule government, moving the Arctic glacial island closer to independence from Denmark.

About 56,000 people — most of whom are Inuit — live in Greenland, which is currently a Danish province. More than half of Greenlanders are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s referendum.

Greenlanders are asked to vote on whether they support a proposal that would establish Greenland’s right within Denmark’s constitution to be recognized as a nation, as well as give Greenlanders control over oil, gas and mineral resources on the island.

If the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes to the proposal, it would also establish a separate police force, courts of law and coast guard. As well, it would make Kalaallisut, or Greenlandic Inuit, the island’s official language.

“I think it’s so exciting,” Aaju Peter, an Iqaluit resident who came to Nunavut from Greenland, told CBC News on Monday.

“When you’re in your own home, you should be able to say where the furniture goes, and not have somebody else dictate where the furniture goes.”

Greenland became a Danish colony in 1775 and remained that way until 1953, when Denmark revised its constitution and made the island a province.

Under the 1979 Home Rule Act, Greenland got its own parliament and government, and self-determination in health care, schools and social services.

Foreign and military affairs are controlled by Copenhagen, and that would continue under the proposal.

The proposal being voted on Tuesday has been worked out between Greenland and Denmark over the past few years.

We want to take care of ourselves’

Aqqaluk Lynge, president of Greenland’s Inuit Circumpolar Council, said Denmark’s old colonial system taught Greenlanders that “‘We would take care of you.'”

“We don’t want that,” Lynge said. “We want to take care of ourselves.”

The outcome of the referendum is likely to be respected by the Danish government, as it supports greater autonomy for Greenland and a phase-out of an annual Danish subsidy of about 3.5 billion kroner, or about $588 million US, which accounts for two-thirds of the island’s economy.

But should the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes in Tuesday’s referendum, Denmark would not immediately withdraw that funding. Instead, the proposal calls for a gradual phasing out of the subsidy when the island earns

Steen Ulrik Johannessen, a journalist with the Danish News Agency in Copenhagen, told CBC News that the referendum proposes the transfer of responsibility — and the phasing out of the subsidy — to be done gradually.

“As soon as the oil and minerals give more than $1 billion a year, Denmark would slowly withdraw economically,” he said. “This would pave the road to independence.”

The proposal would also set new rules on how to split potential oil revenue between Greenland and Denmark. Greenlanders hope to find oil reserves off the western and southern coast of the glacial island, although exploration so far has been unsuccessful.

But while some on the island have said Greenland may not yet be ready for more independence, polls indicate most Greenlanders will likely vote Yes on Tuesday.

“To have an identity is so important that I think that a vast majority of Greenlanders will say Yes,” Lynge said.

Source

Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy and now we will have to wait and see what Denmark has to say about it all.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:32 am  Comments Off on Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy  
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Landmine Treaty Ignored, 5,400 killed or injured in 2007

November 21 2008
15 countries including Britain will miss their 2009 landmine clearance targets
Greece, Turkey and Belarus continue to violate an international treaty by not destroying their stock of landmines, according to a report that says more than 5,400 people were killed or maimed by landmines last year.

The Landmine Monitor Report released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) says that 15 other countries including Britain will miss their 2009 clearance targets.

According to Stuart Casey-Maslen, editor of the Landmine Monitor, “It is not acceptable that [these] countries have failed to clear a single mined area in the last nine years and expect to be granted extensions,” he told reporters ahead of a meeting of the treaty’s 156 signatory states to be held in Geneva next week.

The ICBL report says that anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other ordnance can lie dormant for decades before exploding.

While trade in landmines is now virtually non-existent, many countries are moving too slowly to get rid of the crippling weapons, the 1,155-page report said.

The ICBL, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, said that while Denmark, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Britain and Venezuela, are seeking more time to clear their mined areas, de-mining operations should have been finished by now.

But Britain has not even begun mine-sweeping in the Falkland Islands, where it fought a war with Argentina in 1982, while Venezuela has said it gains some benefit from mines that keep Colombian guerrillas off its territory, Casey-Maslen said.

Greece and Turkey have a combined stockpile of 4.2 million anti-personnel mines, and Belarus has 3.4 million yet to be destroyed under the Ottawa Convention, which regulates the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and monitors their destruction.

Source

A lesson in landmines

IN DEPTH: Landmines


Sad Plight of Landmine Blast Survivors

Uganda, Africa

November 21 2008

Government pledging to help victims, often shunned by friends, families and employers.

By Gloria Laker Aciro in Gulu (AR No. 193, 20-Nov-08)

Irene Laker said she’d had a restless night because her village near Gulu had just been attacked by members of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA.

In the morning, she walked out the back of her house. “As I moved, [there was] a big bang. I had stepped on a landmine the rebels had planted at night,” she said, recalling the incident in May 2001 that wrecked her life.

Laker was taken to the local Lacor Hospital, where her leg was amputated. After two months, she was fitted with an artificial limb donated by an Italian organisation.

Over the years, thousands of people in northern Uganda have either been maimed or killed by landmines and other forms of unexploded ordnance such as hand grenades and mortars.

Laker, now 29, said her life was devastated by her injury. The man she was set to marry called off the wedding when he saw her condition in hospital.

Then she said all her good friends deserted her and finally she lost her job.

“Before the accident, I had got a job as secretary in the office of the resident district commissioner. But when I reported for work one day, I was told to leave because I had become disabled,” she said.

Women have been particularly hard hit by the landmine problem, say experts, because they generally are the ones who gather firewood and cultivate gardens.

William Odong, a Gulu district councillor who represents people with disabilities, said women constitute 70 per cent of landmine cases in the north.

“The fact that … women are more engaged in agricultural work, collecting fire wood, and fetching water [puts] them [more] at risk of being hurt,” he told IWPR.

Women with amputated limbs are often shunned by family and friends.

“Most of the women who are victims of landmines have been abandoned by their husbands, who either marry another woman or send them away,” he said.

Small children are also victims of landmines, says Odong, because they accompany their mothers to collect firewood, work in gardens or go to fetch water.

He adds that landmine survivors can also face workplace discrimination because some jobs can’t be performed by the disabled, and some are disqualified simply because of discrimination against amputees.

“People see landmine survivors as a [undesirables] and try not to get close or give them support,” continued Odong. “Unless we move away from this kind of behaviour, the survivors will never be happy.”

Odong was also critical of demining operations which he said wait for people to report suspected landmines rather than go out searching for them.

He says it’s risky to have villagers look for landmines and other unexploded devices – something that should only be handled by experts.

Mark Livingstone, a landmine expert with a Danish de-mining group, said progress has been made to remove these hazards from northern Uganda during the past couple of years.

“We have deployed more men on the ground lately in smaller teams so that they can identify, respond and clear larger areas a lot faster,” he said.

“However, the main threat in northern Uganda is unexploded ordnance, [as] people move back to their villages and start to clear the ground for agriculture.”

More is being done to warn locals of the dangers of landmines and other unexploded devices, he says, through school programmes and local radio.

“We teach them that if they see an object like a landmine, they should mark the area … and quickly report [it], [so we can] move to verify and detonate,” he said.

But, said Livingston, the de-miners fear that in the next year more casualties are likely as people clear more land for cultivation.

Despite the setbacks, life has begun to improve for some landmine victims.

Laker, for example, joined the Gulu-Amuru Association of Landmine Survivors and now works with the organisation as a secretary, helping to set up support projects for victims.

One such project provides small solar panels to victims who live in villages where there is no electricity. The survivors earn money by using the panels to recharge mobile phone batteries.

Association coordinator Stephen Okello, who is also a landmine victim, said others are engaged in bricklaying, pig-raising and poultry projects.

In addition, homes are being built for some victims in Gulu and Amuru – and the first 15 are almost complete, says Okello.

More help may also be coming from the Ugandan government.

Gulu resident district commissioner Walter Ochora says documentation of victims of war who have lost limbs or been mutilated began last year.

“Victims of war including landmine survivors are faced with a number of challenges,” said Ochora. “They are categorised as persons with special needs, and soon all will be compensated by government of Uganda.”

Gloria Laker Aciro is an IWPR-trained reporter.

Source

The Ottawa Treaty (also known as the Convention On The Prohibition Of The Use, Stockpiling, Production And Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines And On Their Destruction) bans the use of anti-personnel mines around the world.

In 1992, Handicap International and five other NGOs, completely appalled by the suffering and the horrifying consequences of the use of anti-personnel mines on civilians, decided to create the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). For Handicap International, the decision to take part in the creation of ICBL was motivated by the fact that our staff saw daily victims of landmines in countries such as Cambodia or Kosovo.

Three years later, in March 1995, Belgium became the first country to ban anti-personnel landmines. This brave move bya small country was the result of a fruitful cooperation between Handicap International and two visionary members of the Parliament.

By March 1997, 53 countries had announced their support for a total ban on landmines, 28 countries had renounced of suspended the use of mines, and 16 began destroying some of their stockpiles.

By September 16, 1998, the Treaty to Ban Landmines, which had been opened for signature in December 1997, had been ratified by the 40 countries required to make it a binding international convention. The treaty entered into force on 1st March 1999, faster than any international treaty in history. The Treaty:

  • prohibits the manufacture, trade and use of anti-personnel mines
  • obliges countries to destroy stockpiles within 4 years and clear their own territory within 10 years
  • urges governments to help poorer countries clear land and assist landmine victims

The Treaty to Ban Landmines has already had some tangible effects on the production and trade of landmines, even among countries that have not yet signed the treaty. By 1999, only 16 of the original 54 mine-producing countries continued to manufacture anti-personnel landmines or their components, and all traditional exporters of mines, except Iraq, have officially ceased their activities.

As of 20 March 2006, there are 154 signatories/accessions to the Treaty more than two-thirds of the world’s nations. Those who have still not signed include the US, Russia, China, Pakistan, Finland and India.

Map of the countries that signed the Treaty to Ban Landmines


A landmine victim every hour in the world

  1. • Indiscriminate: landmines kill and maim civilians, soldiers, peacekeepers and aid workers alike. Landmines lie dormant in the ground and become a permanent threat to civilians in peacetime.
  2. • Inhumane: It is estimated that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new casualties every year. Many people die in the fields from lack of emergency care. Those who survive will most likely suffer from amputations, will face long hospital stays and require extensive rehabilitation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or injured in the last decades.
  3. • Development disaster: landmines deprive people in some of the poorest countries of land and infrastructure. Landmines also hold up the return of refugees and displaced people. They hamper reconstruction and the delivery of aid, whilst killing livestock and wrecking the environment.
  4. • Landmines are everywhere: 84 countries and 8 territories are affected in the world. Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chechnya and Iraq are some of the worst affected countries.
  5. • Still work to be done: Landmines are still being planted today and minefields dating back decades continue to lie in wait of innocent victims. Over 10 countries are still producing landmines.


Source

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 1:44 am  Comments Off on Landmine Treaty Ignored, 5,400 killed or injured in 2007  
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European Union joins the lineup, staking claim to Arctic resources

November 20 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union gave notice Thursday it is keen to have a share of the much sought after oil, gas, mineral and fish resources in the Arctic region as the polar ice cap melts.

The move is likely to irk other Arctic players, including Canada, Russia, Norway and the United States all of which have issued territorial claims in the polar region.

The European Commission said the 27-member bloc, which has three member states in the polar region – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – should get involved in the current rush in the Arctic, notably in offshore oil and gas exploitation.

Denmark controls the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.

The announcement was part of a first outline of priorities the EU is seeking in the Arctic, an area where the bloc is now planting its own flag of sorts as a key economic and security interest for Europe.

“The Arctic is a unique and vulnerable region located in the immediate vicinity of Europe,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner.

“Its evolution will have significant repercussions on the life of Europeans for generations to come.”

She added that the quickly changing Arctic posed new challenges and opportunities for EU states and as such the bloc needed to formulate a policy for the region.

Interest in the Arctic is intensifying because global warming is shrinking the polar ice and that could someday open up resource development and new shipping lanes.

Ferrero Waldner stressed however, that any EU moves in the region would not endanger the local environment or local native populations.

“The EU is ready … to keep the right balance between the priority goal of preserving the environment and the need for sustainable use of natural resources,” she said.

Ferrero-Waldner said recent U.S. surveys “estimate that up to 25 per cent of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas could be located” in the region.

A share of that would help the EU bloc ease its heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas imports.

European involvement is sure to add weight to Arctic claims filed by Denmark.

Danish officials are gathering scientific evidence to show that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 2,000-kilometre underwater mountain range, is attached to Greenland, making it a geological extension of the island.

Canada and Denmark also both claim Hans Island, a 1.3-square-kilometre rock at the entrance to the Northwest Passage. The island is wedged between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Danish-ruled Greenland, and has been a subject of bitter exchanges between the two NATO allies.

The new EU strategy, which will be debated by EU governments in coming months, foresees a stepped up role by EU officials in the eight-country Arctic Council as well as part of the United Nations’ Law of the Sea Convention which is trying to settle claims over the Arctic.

Ferrero-Waldner said that acting through these means, the EU as a whole will be able to have a greater say over the Arctic’s future.

Countries involved in the claims recommitted themselves last May to settle competing claims under the UN convention. A UN panel is supposed to decide on control of the Arctic by 2020.

However, Russia and Canada have already moved to flex their muscle over their claims by holding military exercises in the Arctic.

Russia last year sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole, while Ottawa has announced plans to build a new army training centre and a deep-water port in contested Arctic waters.

Source

All after oil, gas, mineral and fish .  At the expence of the enviroment I might add.

The masters of destruction.

BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved

November 20 2008

By Alex Elliot

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just confirmed that it will extend the requested USD 2.1 billion loan to Iceland, according to MBL.is.

In addition to this, the Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes intend to lend Iceland some USD 2.5 billion. Reuters quoted a senior Finnish politician as saying that the Norwegians will provide USD 631 million of that sum; but it is not yet known how the rest will be split between Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Earlier today, the Finnish business paper, Kauppalehti stated that in addition to the above loans, the Icelanders are also likely to receive a USD 500 million loan from Russia and funding from Poland, the Faroe Islands and the European Union.

IceNews will bring further details on the implications of this news as it comes to light over the next days.

Source

Iceland gets $2.1 billion loan from the IMF

By Robert Daniel

Nov. 20, 2008

The International Monetary Fund approved a two-year standby arrangement for Iceland, in which the country will receive a $2.1 billion loan, the agency said on Thursday.

Additional loans totaling as much as $3 billion have been secured from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

The Faroe Islands will also lend Iceland $50 million.

The IMF will provide $827 million of its loan immediately with the rest in eight installments of $155 million each. Iceland will repay the loan during 2012 through 2015, the agency said.

Source

Nice to see the other countires coming to the aid of Iceland.

Lets hope things improve.

Considering everything they have been through, they need their friends.

The people in Iceland are good people and desrve to be treated as such.

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: Iceland IMF loan approved  
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Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK

October 16 2008

Geir H. HaardeIn an emotional address to parliament today, Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde summed up the tempestuous waves of misfortune that over the last weeks have shaken the nation’s financial foundations and threathened its sovereignty.

“It is at such times that the Icelandic nation will show what stuff it is made of – its fortitude and prudence in the face of these disasters inspires admiration everywhere. We may for a time be bloodied, but we are unbowed.”

Haarde went on to say that now that the worst of the storm was over, that the time to regain control over the raging economic situation and normalise the economy had arrived. Landsbanki and Glitnir have already begun operating in a changed form.

“…loan lines of up to 400 million euros were activated yesterday from the central banks of Denmark and Norway. We will strengthen the currency reserves considerably in addition to this and discussions are now in progress in Moscow on a possible currency loan,” said Geir. “Furthermore mentioning discussions with the IMF on the possible involvement of the Fund in the financial reconstruction work that lies ahead. All possibilities are being assessed without prejudice.”

The Prime Minister then reminded how the seriousness of Iceland’s situation has its roots in the financial upheavals across the world that have left no country unaffected and have brought larger economic entities to their knees.

“…dozens of banks around the world have had to throw in the towel and look to the state for assistance in their home countries. The problem which faced the Icelandic Government when this chain of events was unleashed was more serious than the problem facing other governments, because of how large the Icelandic banking system was in proportion to the economy. It was, therefore, clear that it was neither sensible nor feasible for the Icelandic state to shoulder the burdens of the entire banking system.”

In face of these facts Haarde stated that, “The Government decided to take another course with the long term interests of the Icelandic nation uppermost. The actions of the Icelandic authorities are among the most radical actions taken by a government in a banking crisis.”

Haarde then took this opportunity to thank the members of Althingi from all parties for working to ensure that the so-called emergency legislation was passed as quickly as it was.

He continued that the most important task was to retrieve as much value as possible from the operations of the banks in order to limit the damage caused by their collapse. “All of us, the administration, members of parliament, and others in leading positions must stand together in this task. In this work we will need to make use of the efforts of all those with experience and expertise in banking. We should not allow speculation about the causes of the fire to hinder the work of extinguishing it,” Haarde said.

Haarde then hit the topic of relations with UK. “…the way we were treated by the British Government last week had nothing to do with salvaging British interests and was absolutely unacceptable.”

“The British Government’s unprecedented actions against Kaupthing in the United Kingdom have led us to review our legal position vis-à-vis the British authorities. To that end, the Government of Iceland has appointed a British law firm, which is now working to prepare a case, and the Icelandic Government has also taken various measures to ensure that the British public is made aware of our point of view.”

“Despite the dispute that has arisen in relations between Iceland and the United Kingdom, both countries have emphasized resolving the issues connected to Landsbanki’s IceSave accounts. The same applies to IceSave accounts in the Netherlands.”

“No agreement has yet been concluded with the United Kingdom, but I am hopeful that an outcome will be achieved soon.”

“In the emergency legislation passed by the Althing last week, depositors’ claims were given priority during the receivership process. There are good prospects that Landsbanki’s assets in the Netherlands and Britain will go a long way toward covering the claims that savers in these countries have on the respective banks – which will in turn reduce the claim that falls on the Icelandic state. The Government has taken measures to ensure the value of the banks’ assets and in that way limit losses as far as possible.”

Haarde ended his speech by asking the nation to come together, learn from its mistakes and not to turn to anxiety.

“There are always opportunities in a difficult position. We have been forced onto the defensive in recent days, but with determined effort, we will slowly but surely regain the offensive.”

“The Icelandic nation has been confronted with great and difficult challenges in the past, and adversity has always fortified us and brought out the best in this nation. There are difficult times ahead, and they will put our solidarity to greater tests than ever before. But no one need be in any doubt that the people of Iceland will draw on their inherent strength and make their voice heard in the world once again.”

“In these difficult times it is essential to prevent fear and anxiety, which understandably effect people, from developing into confusion and panic.”

Source

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm  Comments Off on Unbowed Icelandic PM sends a strong message to UK  
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Europe catches America’s financial disease

October 7 2008

Iceland and Russia launched major efforts Tuesday to keep important banks afloat as the American financial tsunami crashed onto European shores.

Tuesday morning, the Reykjavik-based government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde dumped the directors of Landsbanki and took over the country’s second-largest bank.

Landsbanki, whose chair owns the West Ham United English football club, had stopped depositors from withdrawing their own money, a sure sign of a bank in financial difficulty.

Iceland also lent the country’s biggest bank, Kaupthing, $745 million to help the bank stay afloat.

In addition, the national financial authority stopped trading in the nation’s six biggest banks in a bid to prevent the further erosion of their share prices.

Finally, the government received a $5.95-billion US loan from Russia to bolster its foreign currency reserves, a necessary commodity for trade and international investment.

Iceland’s moves signal that a financial crisis economy watchers believed was largely contained to U.S. lending institutions is spreading as fast as a bottle of spilt ink.

“Over this period the Icelandic banks have grown hugely and their liabilities are now equivalent to many times Iceland’s GNP. Under all normal circumstances larger banks would be more likely to survive temporary difficulties, but the disaster which is now engulfing the world is of a different nature, and the size of the banks in comparison with the Icelandic economy is today their main weakness,” Haarde said in an address to his countrymen on Monday.

Europe’s financial pains

Russia has had troubles of its own since the beginning of September.

The country’s main stock indices have lost substantial value, including the RTS, which is down 60 per cent since May, as investors reacted badly to the ongoing global financial dislocation and slumping oil prices, a factor that hits crude producing countries such as Russia especially hard.

As well, banks in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland have in recent weeks been taken over or otherwise bailed out by national governments.

These institutions, which often have lower amounts of cash on hand than their American counterparts, have been unable to write off large amounts of now-worthless asset-backed commercial borrowing without destroying their financial balance sheets.

Europe’s financial paralysis has forced governments to come up with huge amounts of fiscal aid.

On Monday, for example, the German government stepped in with a $75 billion plan to help the country’s largest mortgage lender.

Deposit deal

In a bit of good news Tuesday, European governments agreed to $75,000 as the maximum financial deposit they would guarantee.

The deal eased complaints after a series of countries — Ireland, Greece, Germany, Austria and Denmark — essentially said they would make good most monies deposited in their banks.

Other nations griped that the move placed pressure on their lenders since customers now had an incentive to give their cash to financial institutions domiciled in those five countries.

Source

Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 2:38 am  Comments Off on Europe catches America’s financial disease  
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