Marine Current Turbine’s to power 750,000 homes

‘Energy bonanza’ to power 750,000 homes

A Marine Current Turbine’s SeaGen tidal energy converter. Picture: PA

March 17 2010
By Jenny Fyall

SCOTLAND has taken a world-leading role in the emerging multi-billion-pound marine energy industry by approving ten projects with the potential to power almost a third of the country’s homes.

In the first initiative of its kind in the world, companies were granted leasing rights for schemes that could result in up to 1,000 wave and tidal energy devices being installed in the sea off the north of Scotland.

The leasing round attracted interest from global utilities firms that will invest an estimated £4 billion attempting to bring the 1.2-gigawatt schemes to fruition. If successful, the power of the sea in the Pentland Firth between Caithness and Orkney could provide electricity for 750,000 of Scotland’s 2.3 million homes by 2020.

First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland could “rule the waves”, as he unveiled the seven winners of a fierce two-year competition for leases that attracted applications from 20 companies worldwide. It is estimated the projects could create as many as 5,000 jobs in Scotland.

Today, the UK government will unveil its latest energy strategy, which includes more funding to drive forward the low-carbon industry.

However, there were warnings that huge challenges remain before the marine energy sector, which is relatively unproven, can take off. And taxpayers will have to fork out an estimated £1bn to create new infrastructure, such as an upgraded electricity grid and overhauled ports.

The Pentland Firth is the first area of sea around the UK to be opened up for marine renewables. The seven winning companies, ranging from global utility giants to small Scottish renewables firms, were yesterday granted leasing rights for ten Pentland Firth sites by the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed.

Experts claimed the schemes would have four times the peak output of the former Dounreay nuclear power station, and a similar amount to an existing nuclear plant, such as Torness.

Mr Salmond told an audience at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh that Scotland had the potential to become the “powerhouse of Europe”, adding: “We can say in a real sense that Scotland rules the waves.”

He went on: “Leading international energy companies and innovators continue to be drawn to Scottish waters, which boast as much as a quarter of Europe’s tidal and offshore wind resource and a tenth of the continent’s potential wave capacity.”

Max Carcas, business development director at Leith company Pelamis, one of the winners, said Scotland had a genuine opportunity to play a leading role in the development of the emerging wave and tidal technology sector.

Whereas Scotland missed out to the likes of Denmark in building wind turbines – a global industry now worth £18bn – marine renewables could provide thousands of jobs and become an “export-led industry”, he said.

“We have a lot of challenges and it’s early days, but if we can deliver, the potential is huge,” he said.

He added that, whereas the British wind industry was dependent on foreign suppliers and the nuclear power sector used mainly French technology, this gave the opportunity for Scotland to become the leader in building, and eventually exporting, wave and tidal devices.

He went on: “This ticks the box environmentally. It ticks the box in terms of security of supply. There’s no risk of the price of the fuel doubling or tripling, because it’s free (from the wave or tides], and it also ticks the box of economics because it could create an export-led industry.”

At least four of the ten schemes will use devices designed and built by Scottish companies – Pelamis and Aquamarine Power, both based in Edinburgh.

Even companies such as utility giant Scottish Power Renewables, which plans to use a device designed in Norway for a 100-megawatt site at Ness of Duncansby, are likely to build the machines in Scotland, so they can easily be transported to the Pentland Firth. However, yesterday’s optimism came with warnings of huge challenges: from providing the necessary grid infrastructure to developing the expertise needed.

The investment needed for the ten projects would be, at about £4bn, similar to the cost of a new nuclear reactor. This will have to be funded entirely by the companies that won the ten leases, which also include Scottish and Southern Energy and E.on, bringing a likely cost to the consumer.

Already, the government’s Renewables Obligation scheme, which provides incentives for utilities to focus on renewables development over new conventional power, adds about £12 a year to consumers’ electricity bills.

Rob Hastings, director of the marine estate at the Crown Estate, said the schemes would show the world marine renewables could produce “meaningful” amounts of power. He added: “Nobody has attempted to do anything on this scale anywhere in the world.”

Mr Hastings told The Scotsman that ultimately the Pentland Firth could generate up to 10GW – almost ten times the potential amount from the schemes approved yesterday, and more than enough to power all the homes in Scotland.

Meanwhile, one of the fathers of wave power, Professor Stephen Salter from the University of Edinburgh, said the potential of the Pentland Firth had been hugely underestimated.

“That area could generate more than the whole of the UK’s needs,” he said. “We should be putting huge amounts of effort into developing renewables there. It could be enormous, but what will probably happen is we will screw it up in the same way we did with wind and it will all be done in China.

“We have got to get cracking now. If we had worked steadily from the Seventies, we could have got the wave thing working very well now, but we wasted an awful lot of time.”

Prof Salter called for more financial support from government and added: “All they have done is say, ‘Right, you can use your allotment, here’s your licence’. They are not giving them the money for it. We are not doing enough at the moment.

“The guys who are doing this are desperately short of money.”

‘Many hurdles must be crossed for this to work’

THE process of taking the ten wave and tidal projects destined for the Pentland Firth from the drawing board to reality is riddled with difficulties, experts have warned.

Installing up to 1,000 machines in the fierce waters off the north of Scotland, and then transporting the electricity to towns and cities many miles away, will require huge expertise, developments in infrastructure and billions of pounds of investment.

Even if 1.2 gigawatts of electricity was generated from the seas between Orkney and Caithness, there is currently no grid network to transport it to the mainland.

And once it got to shore, the existing electricity grid is so full that energy generators currently have to wait in a queue for up to a decade to get permission to connect.

The Beauly to Denny power line upgrade will provide greater capacity, but it has faced fierce opposition.

Installing huge devices, some the length of small trains, in the crashing waves of the Pentland Firth – infamous for its fierce tides – will require huge expertise.

And the marine renewables industry will be competing with the offshore wind industry for transportation vessels that are already in short supply.

Ports will have to be able to cope with increased activity, and shipping and fishing interests will need to be considered.

Then there is the as yet unknown impact on marine life of turbines turning under the waves, and the need to develop the expertise when renewables companies are already struggling to fill vacancies with adequately qualified employees.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, emphasised the need for the Beauly to Denny power line upgrade.

“Without the extra grid capacity to transport electricity to homes and businesses in the Central Belt, there would simply be no future for wave and tidal power in the north of Scotland, just a massive missed opportunity,” he said.

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

A RANGE of bizarre machines from “oysters” to “sea snakes” could be installed in the seas off Scotland within ten years.

They include a wave machine made by Edinburgh firm Pelamis. Resembling a 180-metre red snake writhing on the surface of the water, it is the length of five train carriages.

The Oyster, made by another Edinburgh firm, Aquamarine Power, is a mechanical hinged flap connected to the sea bed. Each passing wave moves the flap, driving hydraulic pistons to deliver high-pressure water via a pipeline to an onshore turbine.

The Hammerfest Strom tidal machine that will be used by Scottish Power Renewables resembles an underwater wind turbine, with three blades.

THE MASTERPLAN

Marwick Head

Developer: ScottishPower Renewables

Size: 50 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices: 66

Type of device to be used: The P2 “sea snake” machine created by Edinburgh firm Pelamis Wave Power. Each is the length of about five train carriages and sits on the surface – like a sea snake

West Orkney South

Developer: E.on

Size: 50 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices: 66

Type of device: Pelamis’s P2 “sea snake” machine

Brough Head

Developer: Edinburgh firm Aquamarine Power, plus Scottish and Southern Energy

Size: 200 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices: 80

Type of device: Aquamarine Power’s Oyster 2. Each is 2.5MW and twice the length of a double-decker bus. Energy is captured from near-shore waves

Westray South

Developer: Scottish and Southern Energy

Size: 200 megawatts

Type: Tidal project

Number of devices required: up to 200

Type of device to be used: Not yet decided

West Orkney Middle South

Developer: Utility giant E.on

Size: 50 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices: Up to 50

Type of device to be used: Not yet decided

Costa Head

Developer: Utilities giant Scottish and Southern Energy

Size: 200 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices required: up to 200

Type of device to be used: Not yet decided

Ness of Duncansby

Developer: ScottishPower Renewables

Size: 100 megawatts

Type: Tidal project

Number of devices: Up to 95

Type of device to be used: HS1000 turbines developed by Norwegian firm Hammer-fest Strom. Already tested in Norway for five years, they look similar to underwater wind turbines, with three blades. They are 22m high

Armdale

Developer: Edinburgh firm Pelamis Wave Power, operating as Ocean Power Delivery

Size: 50 megawatts

Type: Wave project

Number of devices: 66

Type of device to be used: Pelamis’s own P2 “sea snake” machine

Brough Ness

Developer: Bristol firm Marine Current Turbines

Size: 100 megawatts

Type: Tidal project

Number of devices: 66

Type of device to be used: Marine Current Turbine’s SeaGen. First deployed in Northern Ireland in 2008, it works like an underwater windmill. The rotors are driven by the power of the currents

Cantick Head

Developer: Dublin firm OpenHydro in conjunction with Scottish and Southern Energy

Size: 200 megawatts

Type: Tidal project

Number of devices: Up to 200

Type of device: OpenHydro’s Open-Centre tidal turbine. A turbine hidden out of site under the surface of the water, mounted on the seabed and designed to be installed in “farms”

Source

Well if this works it certainly would be better then Nuclear Power Plants.

There will always be tides. If this works it would cause little to no pollution as well.

Recent

Cyclone Tomas hits Fiji 165 MPH Winds

A message From “Rachel Corrie’s” Mother

China publishes report on U.S. human rights

Tough-on-crime policies don’t work, study finds

New York Times and the ACORN Hoax

Egypt : 42 electoral candidates and 145 protestors arrested in one day

Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 1:51 am  Comments Off on Marine Current Turbine’s to power 750,000 homes  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed/Israeli gunboat hits Father and Daughter on shore

UN official calls Gaza devastation ‘shocking’
January 22 2009

The United Nations’ humanitarian chief suggested Thursday that Israel should pay for the hundreds of tonnes of food and other supplies destroyed when Israeli shells struck the main UN compound in Gaza.

Touring Gaza to assess what is most urgently needed in the coastal strip, John Holmes called the steep Palestinian casualty toll from Israel’s offensive “extremely shocking” and suggested the UN might ask Israel to compensate it for wartime damage to UN compounds in Gaza.

Hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid were destroyed by Israeli shelling that struck the main UN compound.

“We want to make sure it is properly investigated and that we get proper accountability for it and proper compensation if it is needed and I think it will be needed,” Holmes told reporters.

Israel waged a three-week war meant to end rocket fire on southern Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Nearly 1,300 Palestinians, a majority of them civilians, have died in the offensive, according to Gaza health officials. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, according to the government.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the war could help hasten the return of a captive soldier long held by Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli media said some cabinet ministers have softened their positions on releasing Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for the soldier, signalling the government is trying to work out a deal with Hamas ahead of Israeli elections next month.

Violence on both sides has marred the ceasefire and on Thursday a Palestinian man and girl walking near the shore in Gaza City were wounded by a shell fired from an Israeli gunboat, a Gaza health official said.

Another shell landed 100 metres away in an empty area near a UN aid distribution centre. And heavy-calibre bullet fire struck at least one house in the area, a witness said.

The Israeli military said it was firing to deter a Palestinian fishing vessel that had strayed off-limits.

On the first day of a five-day trip to the region, Holmes said he was looking at immediate humanitarian needs and thinking about longer-term reconstruction in Gaza. The biggest concerns, he said, are providing clean water, sanitation, electricity and shelter to people displaced by the fighting.

Gaza’s blockaded border crossings will have to be opened to allow reconstruction to begin, he said.

“Goods have to be able to get in freely and in the right quantities, including construction materials, so that reconstruction can start.”

From 2002
Journalist Chris Hedges, in his “Gaza Diary,” published in Harpers describes one incident that reveals the attitude Israeli soldiers have toward killing Palestinian children:
It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

“Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the “electric fence” that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered- death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo-but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.’

The current Israeli offensive has involved indiscriminate killing of men, women and children; the systematic destruction of property; the cutting off of water supply; and the prevention of travel even for ambulances. It is a full-scale war against the entire population. Like the war in Vietnam, Israeli soldiers make war on the whole people, because the vast majority of the Palestinian people oppose Israel’s occupation. Thousands of Palestinian men have been rounded up, stripped, blindfolded, detained, and many tortured and beaten. Palestinians have routinely been used by Israeli soldiers as human shields to conduct house-to-house searches.

In its attacks on Palestinian refugee camps and towns from March 1 to April 28, 2002, the Israeli military reportedly killed 345 Palestinians (35 of them under the age of 18 ) and wounded 1,346. (At least eight more were killed when Israel entered Hebron on April 29.) “The mismatch in force of arms was stark,” the New York Times was forced to admit:

The Israeli Army used Vulcan antiaircraft guns, able to shoot 3,000 rounds a minute, inside the camp. It used Cobra helicopters with thermal detection capability to fire TOW missiles -intended for use against tanks on open battlefields- through the walls of houses, some with noncombatants inside. It deployed scores of Merkava tanks and armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. It used bulldozers to raze civilian homes, crushing more and more of them-but with less and less warning, Palestinians said.’

Sharon launched a major offensive into Ramallah and ordered the army to target Arafat’s own headquarters, “smashing through walls and battling room to room,” cutting off electricity to the building, and firing on his office, leaving him sitting at his desk by candlelight.’ As the army went house to house and rounded up all men in Ramallah aged 15 to 45, Israel ordered out foreign reporters and also solidarity activists trying to disrupt the army’s operation. Reporters were shot at and tear gassed as they tried to report on Israel’s operations in the West Bank. ”Journalists are banned, and [Israeli] government officials have warned that those caught [in Ramallah] could have their press cards revoked. A new list today of dosed military zones includes every city and town the army has entered.” Conditions were so grim that even the World Bank protested that “the [Israeli] army had destroyed water and electricity facilities, homes, schools and public buildings” in the towns it had occupied.’

****************************************************

Palestinians are routinely denied necessary health care, as this report from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, reported on this incident in Nablus:

On April 29, 2002, at around 7:00 PM, 28-year-old Amal Afaneh who was seven months pregnant, began feeling extreme abdominal pain. ‘Afaneh’s relatives considered taking her to the hospital in Nablus by car, a distance of only 5 to 6 kilometers from their village of Azmut. They decided against it, as they feared being shot by Israeli soldiers who are positioned at the entrance to the village and along the road between Azmut and Nablus. The family called the Red Crescent and the Red Cross to request that they send an ambulance. The family was told that this could only be done following coordination with the Israeli military.

While the Red Crescent and the Red Cross worked on obtaining the required Israeli approval, the family called a nurse who lives in the village. The nurse gave ‘Afaneh preliminary treatment, and herself called the Red Crescent to urge them to hurry, as ‘Afaneh needed treatment that she could not provide.

At 9:00 PM, the family was told that approval had been received and an ambulance was on its way In fact, the Red Crescent ambulance had already arrived at the entrance to ‘Azmut, but was detained for thirty minutes by an Israeli tank crew. The soldiers ordered the ambulance driver, Samir Abu Seir, and the paramedic, Jamal Abu Hamdeh, to open the doors of the ambulance, and take off all their clothes. The soldiers then took away their identification papers, turned off their walkie-talkies, and made them sit on the ground. After searching the ambulance, the soldiers ordered the two men to return to Nablus. The ambulance was forced to leave without ‘Afaneh.

When ‘Afaneh’s relatives heard that an ambulance had been seen leaving ‘Azmut, they called the Red Crescent again, and were told that the IDF denied the ambulance entry into the village, and nothing more could be done.

At 9:30 PM, Amal ‘Afaneh gave birth. Her baby did not survive. She remains at home, still unable to reach the hospital for follow-up treatment.’

The Red Cross protested Israel’s attacks on its ambulances, and facilities, which limited its ability to “feed and provide medical care to Palestinian civilians,” while the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem petitioned Israel’s High Court “after receiving reports of torture at the Of her detention center near Ramallah.”‘

**********************************************

Israeli troops moved into Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Salfit, Beit Jala, Nablus, and Tulkarm, and Qalqilya, conducting house-to-house searches. “In each city,” the New York Times reported, “the [Israeli] army was proving more intense, ruthless and thorough than in any prior incursion, including the raids month.” Israeli army Major General Yitzhak Eitan announced, “This operation will last as long as necessary, without a time limit,” as Israel called up 20,000 reservists for duty.

Israel‘s destruction of the Jenin refugee camp in early April was the most horrific. Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nation’s special envoy to the Middle East, said the conditions in the Jenin refugee camp after Israel’s massive onslaught there were “horrific and shocking beyond belief . . . No objective can justify producing such suffering for the population.”

“The devastation is worse than I expected,” said one aid worker who emerged from the camp this afternoon. “I couldn’t have imagined anything worse than this.” The aid workers see the camp as the equivalent of an earthquake zone, where hundreds of homes have been flattened and thousands are in need of immediate food and housing. An estimated 3,000 people re main in the camp and 10,000 are believed to be scattered across the area. The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg said Jenin “look[ed] more like the scene of an earthquake than combat zone after it was flattened by Israeli army bulldozers.”

One eyewitness description of the Jenin “incursion” gives sense of the horror experienced by Jenin’s citizens:

Khadra Samara, 33, the wife of the hospital cook [at Razi Hospital], said she was inside her home on Rawabi Street in the Jenin refugee camp about 11:30 Sunday night when an Israeli bulldozer approached and tore through the front gate and began slamming into the house.

“We started screaming and lighting lamps and candles so they’d know someone was inside,” she said. “We were 15 women and children…. But as we screamed, a missile was fired at the house, destroying the second and third floors. The whole house shook, there was a flash of light, and all the windows were blown out.”

In a panic, Samara called her husband at the hospital and pleaded for help. Inexplicably, the bulldozer backed off. But before dawn Monday it smashed into the house again, shaking the cinder-block walls of the bedroom where the children were sleeping.

“The top of the wall started to give, and I started grabbing the kids and hauling them away from there,” she said. “They destroyed the house with everything in it. We didn’t even take one T-shirt for one child.”

Samara tried to get out the front door, but found it was blocked by rubble. She handed the children through a side window into a neighbor’s house.

“I was so furious I wanted to make a suicide bomb and use it on them,” she said. “I picked up a cylinder of cooking gas to carry with me so I could blow it up. I was so scared I was screaming. I thought I was going to die.

“When I picked up the cylinder my daughter said, ‘Mom, don’t do it! For God’s sake don’t do it!”‘

The second house provided little respite. An hour after they took refuge there, the bulldozer came again. They fled to a third house; it came under attack from missiles fired by helicopter gunships.

“From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. we ran from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen, wherever we thought was safest to go. The children became sick from fear and started vomiting,” Samara said.

They finally emerged waving white scarves. By that time, with residents of the two other houses having joined the group, they counted nearly 30 women and children. The soldiers held them for three hours, then let them go, Samara said.

An untold number of people were buried by tanks and bulldozers under the rubble of their own homes in Jenin. Reporters and human rights workers reported seeing piles of rubble under which wafted the stench of rotting corpses. Given Israel’s closing off of Jenin after its assault and its rebuff, with U.S. acquiescence, of a UN inspection team, we will likely never know the full extent of Israel’s war crimes in Jenin.

Defenders of George W. Bush like to talk about how “plain spoken,” “honest,” and “direct” he is. But apparently the terms “without delay,” “now,” and “immediately” have eluded the president and his good friend Ariel Sharon. But even when Colin Powell and George Bush were finally pressured on April 4 into calling for an end to Sharon’s brutal assault, “Israel’s West Bank offensive continued unabated . . . as the government of Ariel Sharon sought to beat what was seen as a warning,” the Financial Times reported. “I’m not sure that we have to be concerned,” one Israeli official said of the Bush call for Israel to pull back. Indeed, Israel escalated its attacks and entered new Palestinian population centers after Bush’s statement. When Bush sent Powell to meet with the Israeli government, Powell communicated the urgency of his visit by flying to Morocco, Egypt, Spain and Jordan, before eventually making his way to Israel on April 11. Israel moved into the largest town in the West Bank, Hebron, on April 29. As of this writing-early May-Israel has not fully withdrawn to its preMarch 2002 positions.

The truth is that the Bush Administration has given the green light to Israel’s assault, calling it “self defense.” The Boston Globe quoted a defense department official saying that Powell delayed his arrival to Israel for several days in order to allow Israel to complete its offensive.

[New York Times columnist] Thomas Friedman, a supporter of Israel and its current war, has no problem with the taking of a few thousand Palestinian lives by Israeli soldiers-in fact he calls for Israel to “deliver a military blow” to crush the Palestinian resistance. Friedman is attempting to paint the Palestinian people as less than fully human. Ran HaCohen dissects Freidman’s logic:

Friedman’s focus on suicide bombers is intended to dehumanize the Palestinians. By blaming Palestinians of carelessness towards “the sacredness of every human life, starting with your own”, Friedman is claiming that they do not care about their own life. He is then patronizingly pretending that he does care about their life (more than they do!), and now, having assumed responsibility for the Palestinians, Friedman has a suggestion: “First, Israel needs to deliver a military blow”. Bravo. Look how easily the great moralist Friedman is translating the sacredness of every human life” into “a military blow”. All in the name of “the basic truth civilization is built on” – what else?

The Palestinian struggle is morally justified, even though some of its manifestations are unjustifiable. Reducing this struggle to the issue of suicide bombing is just another way of dehumanizing and thus legitimizing the killing of Palestinians, instead of removing the reasons for their horrifying desperation (remember Epictetus). Dehumanizing an entire people in the name of the “sacredness of every human life”, as Thomas Friedman has done, is an especially repulsive example of demagoguery.

One need not support the tactic of suicide bombing aimed at killing Israeli citizens-though it isn’t clear why it is more reprehensible than blowing up Palestinians with U.S.-made bombs and missiles-in order to make the important distinction between the violence of the oppressor (Israel) and the violence of the oppressed (Palestinians). In fact, Sharon, as argued above, has deliberately provoked the suicide bombings because he sees them as a good cover for Israel’s brutal invasion. But it is the purest hypocrisy to attack the Palestinians for using violent means to seek their freedom. If Israel uses tanks and bombs to invade Palestinian land and homes, bulldozing people alive, bombing and strafing their homes, do not Palestinians have a right to use violence in their defense?

Washington is anything but an “honest broker.” Palestinian children’s lives have never meant anything beside Israeli ones. Regardless of who has been in power in Washington, Israel has been given a blank check by the U.S. government for decades. Every year, the U.S. sends billions of dollars to Israel in the form of grants, low-cost loans, and subsidies. No other country in the world has received as much aid or support. And U.S. manufacturers are always ready to supply Israel with more weapons. When Israel bought nine of Boeing’s deadly AH64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in February 2001, the Jerusalem Post noted that Israel “will be paying for the $500 million deal with U.S. military grant money.” As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in May 1999, “Israel has acquired 260 of Lockheed’s F-16s over the years, consisting of 210 new planes and 50 used ones from the U.S. armed forces. That’s the largest fleet of F-16s anywhere in the world outside the U.S. Air Force.” The Post-Dispatch’s calculation appeared two months before Israel purchased another 50 F-16s-in a $2.5 billion deal paid for with U.S. funds.

The United States has long committed itself to Israel as a strategic asset in the oil-rich and geostrategically crucial Middle East. It gives more than $3 billion a year to Israel, and provides it with invaluable military, economic, and political backing. (In its fiscal year 2001 budget, the State Department explained “The United States has a significant interest in a stable, democratic, and economically and militarily strong Israel” and is committed to “Maintaining the qualitative edge of the Israeli Defense Forces in the regional balance of power.”) As Noam Chomsky has rightly pointed out, “It is highly misleading to use the phrase ‘Israel-Palestine conflict’… It should be termed the ‘U.S./Israel-Palestine’ conflict.” That description is not only a more accurate way of understanding the roots of the problem, but it points to the urgency that activists in the United States must have to organize a movement to cut off all support the United States gives to Israel.

*************************************************************

And What has changed? Other then not a bloody thing.  The UN was shocked then too. They are shocked now. The difference is nothing.  What will change “Nothing” so it seems.

Well things had better change. The World is watching.  If this happens again it will be the fault of the US, Israel ,United Nations and the rest of the International bodies who are the do nothing, about everything crowd.  The great pretenders.

They will all pretend they are concerned. They will pretend they are doing something.  Same as the last time and the time before etc etc etc.


Fatah fears Gaza conflict has put Hamas in the ascendancy
Palestinian party created by Yasser Arafat suffers sharp decline in support

By Patrick Cockburn in Nablus
Friday, 23 January 2009

Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel's attacks on GazaPhoto: AP

Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel’s attacks on Gaza

The Islamic movement Hamas is taking over from Fatah, the party created by Yasser Arafat, as the main Palestinian national organisation as a result of the war in Gaza, says a leading Fatah militant. “We have moved into the era of Hamas which is now much stronger than it was,” said Husam Kadr, a veteran Fatah leader in the West Bank city of Nablus, recently released after five-and-a-half years in Israeli prisons.

“Its era started when Israel attacked Gaza on 27 December.”

The sharp decline in support for Fatah and the discrediting of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, because of his inertia during the 22-day Gaza war, will make it very difficult for the US and the EU to pretend that Fatah are the true representatives of the Palestinian community. The international community is likely to find it impossible to marginalise Hamas in reconstructing Gaza.

“Hamas has been highly successful in portraying itself as the party of the resistance, and Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas as the opponents of resistance at a time [when] the public wants to resist,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian minister of planning. He adds that Mr Abbas was badly damaged in the eyes of Palestinians when he blamed Hamas for Israel’s assault on Gaza in the conflict’s first two days.

Mr Kadr, who says he was tortured by Israeli interrogators during detention, does not welcome Hamas’s triumph. But he is convinced that, just as Fatah’s long reign was launched by the battle of Karamah in March 1968, when Fatah fighters aided by the Jordanian army, repelled an Israeli attack on their HQ in the Jordan valley, so Hamas will gain from the Gaza war. “The Hamas era comes 40 years after Karamah began the Fatah period,” he says.

Hamas is conscious of its political success even if it was able to do little against the Israeli army. Mr Khatib, in his office in Ramallah, the Palestinian capital on the West Bank, says the first priority must be the formation of a Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah. But he adds gloomily that “the chances of this happening are slim” because the Gaza war has exacerbated hatred between the two sides as Fatah supporters are hunted down and sometimes executed in Gaza.

Aside from Gaza there is another reason why President Abbas and Fatah are weak. Long years of negotiations with Israel have achieved nothing while red-roofed Israeli settlements have sprouted on every West Bank hilltop. Driving into Nablus, a city of 250,000 people that was once the bustling heart of the West Bank, the streets are empty and row after row of shops are shut.

“We had eight years of complete closure when people could not get in or out of Nablus aside from the 3 per cent who had permits,” complains the city’s mayor Adly Yaish. “Most factories shut and 60 per cent of people live below the poverty line.” The closure became a little looser three months ago, but yesterday there were long lines of vehicles at the Israeli checkpoints around the city.

The rise of Hamas and the demise of Fatah is best explained by the failure of President Abbas to achieve anything through negotiations for ordinary Palestinians. “We in Fatah have failed to remove a single Israeli checkpoint,” admits Mr Kadr. “It takes me as long to reach Ramallah 50 kilometres away as it would to fly from Jordan to Ankara.”

He believes the Gaza war has spread the seeds for another Palestinian uprising. “The coming uprising will be very hard for both the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he warns, though he does not forecast when it will occur. He points to a television in his office on which a young Palestinian girl called Dalal is shown picking through the ruins of her house in Gaza where all her family had died and only her cat had survived. “Can you imagine how Palestinians feel when they see this?” he asks.

Source

Isn’t Torture Illegal?  Five years ago, 2004.

I guess they never stopped torturing after all.

I have to wonder how many other prisoners, Israel has in it’s jails?

I wonder how many others have been tortured?

I am relatively sure Israel will not stop killing until they have either removed the rest of the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank or have killed them all. Their goal is to take all of it and that has been their goal from the beginning.

They just repeat the same cycle of violence against the Palestinians and if they dare to fight back they are deemed the evil ones.

The Palestinians have a right to live and defend themselves, as much as Israel does. Equality you know. What is good for one country is good for all countries.

Why is it that Israel, can have Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Palestinians cannot?

I think Both sides should disarm.

Israel has to many “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

Israel should also respect Palestinian rights. Under International Law they have rights whether Israel likes it or not.

It is time for the” Concentration Camp” to close.

The systematic stealing of land and resources from the Palestinians must be put to a stop one and for all. Enough is Enough.

Israel can by no means pretend it is a sweet, wonderful, country considering its history of torture, arms sales to some rather nasty recipients. They even funneled money(the Money Laundering “Funnel Tunnel” well at lest one of them) into Haiti for the US, hence saving  Washington, from having to answer embarrassing questions about supporting brutal governments.

Their  constant killing and staving of Palestinians. Their starting of wars and they do make sure they start, they always use the self defense scam.  At this point in time that is what I see, it as. They create a reason for war. Just so they can destroy and kill. They have done this to often. It is becoming rather obvious what they do.

Like shooting at the Fishing Boat and hitting a man and his daughter. There was no need  or acceptable excuse, to shoot at the boat.

This is what they do to antagonize and anger people. If the Palestinians, complain well it’s their fault. It is always their fault, no matter what.

People at checkpoints have died waiting to get to a hospital, because the Israelis wouldn’t let them through or make them wait until the sick person died. That has happened often. People are shot at going shopping. Those “prison towers” are where they are shot at from. They are “prison towers” just like any prison tower.

This war is anything but over.

Israel will attack again when it feels like it. They will continue to steal more Palestinian Land. They will never stop unless the world at large stops them. They will continue to bulldoze homes and take more land.

They have been at it since 1948 and before. If they haven’t stopped by now, they never will. They have no respect for the UN or anyone else for that matter.  They don’t even respect themselves.

Personally Israel should pay for all the damage done in Gaza.

They should be made to pay for every building they destroyed or damaged,  they should be made to pay for it all.

Israel creates the circumstances that leads to any war, because of their Concentration  Camp,  they expect Palestinians to live in.

I know a “Concentration Camp” when I see one. Don’t you?

No human being, should have to live under that type of oppression.

Those responsible should be charged with “war crimes”.  Of course with all the other war crimes they have committed in the past I doubt whether it will ever happen. Of course that is because of corruption at the International level.

Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

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

Outcry over weapons used in Gaza

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

The State of Israel: Since its Creation

Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

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

January 7  2009

NEW DELHI

The echoes of bombings on Gaza Strip were heard in the Capital on Tuesday. The coordination committee for Indian Muslims (CCIM) a group of five Muslim organisations came together with students of Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia at Jantar Mantar to protest against Israel for its ongoing raids against Palestinians.

The protestors demanded that the government raise its voice against Israel and snap all ties with it, if need be. “The Indian government should respond to this terrorist onslaught by Israel on Palestinians,” said Mujtaba Farooq, convenor, CCIM. The protestors comprised not only students and members of Muslim organisations, but also housewives and children. “We have come here to protest against the killings of innocent people in Gaza. We had all received an SMS, urging us to be a part of this protest. We wanted to show our solidarity with the people of Palestine. Israel should stop its bombings rightaway,” said a student from Jamia.

Protestors also said that the fight against the Israeli attack was not of Muslims alone. “We should bring together our Hindu and Sikh brothers to demand that these attacks end now. People in Gaza are suffering without any electricity, water, food and money because of these raids,” said John Dayal, member of the Christian Council. Pallavi Deka, secretary, JNU Students’ Union, added, “People in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Palestine are suffering alike. If we come together, we can bring an end to the conflict across the world.”

Another protestor, Mohammad Adib, member of parliament said, “Why is our country silent? Our government should tell Israel to either stop these attacks or take away its embassy from our country.”

Source

Jan 7: Lebanese children demonstrate for Gaza Children

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

Jan 7: Australian Jews protest against Israel’s action

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

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

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza -Petitions

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

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

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

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

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

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

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

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

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

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

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Jan 7 : India- Protest in New Delhi over Israel raids  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza


Israeli jets bombed targets across Gaza for the third consecutive day. Five girls from the same family, including a 14 month-old toddler, were slain overnight when Israeli warplanes pounded a mosque near their home in the northern town of Jabaliya. Three boys were also killed in a separate Israeli strike on the southern city of Rafah. The fatalities took to 27 the number of children killed in the Israeli onslaught, unleashed Saturday. More than 345 people have been killed and 1,650 wounded in the Israeli offensive. (References for text: IslamOnline.net and agencies. Photo: Ashraf Amra/AP) Source

AVAAZ.ORG

GAZA: STOP THE BLOODSHED, TIME FOR PEACE
With already 380 dead and continued shelling of civilians in southern Israel, now is the time to issue a demand to world leaders that the spiralling violence that has characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come to an end.

Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

Sign the petition calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza – and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009.


From International Action Center

Sign the Appeal to Stop the Attack on Gaza!
Urgent Appeal for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza

Initiated by 2008 U.N. Human Rights Award winner Ramsey Clark

Let President George W. Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton, Vice President Richard Cheney, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Congressional leaders, U.N. Secretary General Ban, U.N. General Assembly President d’Escoto-Brockmann, members of the U.N. Security Council, U.N. member states, the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet and Opposition leader of Israel, and Major media representatives know you support this urgent appeal initiated by 2008 U.N. Human Rights Award recipient Ramsey Clark for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza!

To sign this Petition

Take Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza

Mid-morning Saturday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a series of deadly air strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip. As we write this, an estimated  380 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 innocent people have been wounded. According to news reports today, Israel plans to keep these attacks going and has brought scores of tanks to the border with Gaza.

These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has been going on for years and has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. All of this is happening in the most densely populated and one of the poorest areas of the world.

Israel is carrying out these attacks with F-16 fighter jets and missiles provided by U.S. taxpayers. From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F-16’s. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and ‘bunker buster’ missiles.

Israel’s lethal attack on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military and political support of the United States. We need to take action now to protest this attack and demand an immediate cease-fire.
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israel Occupation (a member group pf UFPJ) has issued an action alert with these suggestions — we urge you to take action today!

    Contact the White House to protest the attacks and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to comments@whitehouse.gov.Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here.

    Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121 or find contact info for your Members of Congress by clicking here.

    Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.

    Organize a local protest or vigil and tell us about it by clicking here.

    Sign our open letter to President-Elect Obama calling for a new U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine and find out other steps you can take to influence the incoming Administration by clicking here.

Contacting Israels Embassies and all Government officials around the world wouldn’t hurt either.

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Repression in the Dominican Republic

Resistance rises in the Dominican Republic

Emmanuel Santos looks at state repression in the Dominican Republic and the spreading resistance.

A march against police repression in San Francisco de Macoris

A march against police repression in San Francisco de Macorís

A SERIES of social struggles in the Dominican Republic are challenging the increasingly repressive regime of President Leonel Fernández.

On October 21, a 48-hour strike to protest the high cost of living and lack of electricity, health care facilities and infrastructure investment paralyzed San Francisco de Macorís, the third largest city in the country. The strike, organized by the Alternative Social Forum (FSA), had a huge economic impact and led to street protests in adjacent towns.

Police SWAT teams were dispatched to put down the strike. Officers shot at protesters indiscriminately, wounding 20 people during violent street clashes. More than 50 people were arrested.

The death of two teenagers shot by police shocked the entire country. Then, four people were wounded when police interrupted the funeral of one of the murdered teens.

But this was not the first time innocent people faced the wrath of the local police. In fact, the police in San Francisco de Macorís have a history of carrying out extrajudicial executions against poor youth. In 2004, Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín, was removed from his post as police commander because of protests.

Fermín had led a death squad that hunted for young people at night. Locals nicknamed his gang of uniformed assassins “Los Cirujanos” (the surgeons) because many of those shot became paraplegic.

But Fermín’s career wasn’t ended after his removal from local office. Last year, Fermín was named chief of police by President Fernández, whose government is instrumental in legitimizing repressive measures to fight crime under the guise of the so-called “war on drugs.” In the meantime, new media revelations implicate upper echelons of the military in the drug trade.

Under a “democratic security policy” put in place with the aid of the U.S. and Colombia, police and undercover units are conducting raids in poor neighborhoods, killing Black youth and criminalizing the poor.

In San Francisco de Macorís, complaints about police brutality had reached a crescendo before the strike October 21. The local governor, a member of the ruling party, was forced to ask government authorities to transfer the entire police department. On October 23, however, a massive demonstration in the city sent a loud message to the government in one of the biggest demonstrations against police brutality in recent memory.

For a moment, the strike had the potential of spreading nationwide. But a section of the FSA, the left-wing Broad Front of Popular Struggle (FALPO), opened a dialogue with the government and negotiated a truce. FALPO’s willingness to make a deal with the government has to do with its recent decision to participate in local elections, leading it to set aside its more radical politics.

Moreover, the government has already had some success in co-opting the opposition. A deal signed between the bosses and the main labor unions freezes salaries for two years.

But agreements and negotiations are unlikely to bring an end to the rising social struggle in the Dominican Republic. So far this year, public sector doctors from the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) have struck ten times to demand a salary increase. Their actions are giving confidence to other union workers and the unorganized.

Fernández is trying to divide the union through both co-optation and violence. On every occasion, CMD marches have been dispersed by tear gas and brutal police force. In early October, SWAT teams and police forcefully removed doctors during a hunger strike in the Health Department headquarters. Additionally, displaced hurricane victims join in with those affected by constant blackouts to organize protests regularly.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS CRACKDOWN is part of broader shift to the right by President Fernández. During the recent presidential campaign, he declared himself the political heir of former right-wing strongman Joaquin Balaguer to appeal to conservative voters, and fill the political vacuum left by Balaguer after his death in 2002.

Between 1966 and 1978, Balaguer’s U.S.-backed reign of terror wiped out the left and the labor movement while opening up the economy to foreign multinationals in an employers’ offensive that continues to this day. And like his predecessors, Fernández embraces anti-Haitian racism and social conservatism to push forward the employer’s offensive.

In August, Fernández announced new cuts in food subsidies and a freeze on infrastructure investment including roads, schools and hospitals so as to reduce the deficit and guarantee the payment of the foreign debt.

As the effects of the world financial crisis destroy jobs and wages, ordinary people in many parts of the country demand solutions to their problems in the form of strikes while Fernández escalates repression in manner not seen since the 1970s. However, this is not having its intended effect and instead, is creating a backlash against his government.

A key focal point of the resistance is the scandal over fake milk used in the government’s school breakfast program. A media uproar pressured the government to transfer the Minister of Education to a less visible cabinet position: that of women’s affairs. The fact that an arrogant, corrupt government official was put in charge of this department highlights the government’s low regard for women’s rights.

But the battle was far from over. Lácteos Dominicanos (Ladom), the milk supplier, sued two veteran independent journalists, Huchi Lora and Nuria Piera, for their role in breaking the milk scandal. A court ruling allowed Ladom’s lawyers to enter the journalists’ office to get unedited footage related to the scandal. This infuriated journalists and left activists who denounced it as nothing more than a typical intimidation tactic to silence independent media.

The court ruling was far from the only attack on the media, however. A new wave of violent attacks against independent journalists erupted after a cameraman was shot in August. Many journalists have become more reluctant to cover politics because of fear of reprisals.

But on September 23, some 300 people marched to protest the court ruling on the milk scandal as well as the climate of fear that has made it more difficult for journalists to do their work in recent months. This was the first time in many years that journalists marched against state repression and censorship.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WHILE CRACKING down on the press and protesters, the government and the far right has ramped up its attacks on the traditional scapegoat in Dominican politics: Haitian immigrants. Between September 2004 and June 2008, more than 65,000 Haitian immigrants have been deported, all this under Fernández’s watch.

On July 14, Gysselle Baret Reyes, a Dominican married to a Haitian immigrant, was kidnapped by two men and a woman for several hours. During her ordeal, her assailants poured acid on her left arm. They also questioned her about her family and her ties with Emildo Bueno Oguis, a Dominico-Haitian who is conducting a legal battle against the government to demand a birth certificate so he can travel to the U.S. and reunite with his American-born wife.

The attack on Reyes was in retaliation for her appearance on public television where she denounced government authorities for denying birth certificates to her children. This is typical: the Dominican government refuses to grant citizenship rights to thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric serves to justify border militarization under the banner of fighting the drug trade, terrorism and human trafficking and national sovereignty.

Under the U.S. Merida Initiative, more military aid is on the way to upgrade the Dominican army, which will be to conduct more raids and deportations against Haitian immigrants. Furthermore, meetings between the Dominican government and the Brazilian-dominated UN military occupation forces in Haiti have fostered closer links with the Brazilian military, which is inflicting a brutal repression against followers of former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide.

This attack on immigrants is part of an employers’ offensive that instills fear in Haitian immigrants and prevents them from organizing in unions. Still, immigrants are fighting back. Early this year, 120 immigrants mutinied while on route to Haiti. And immigrant rights marches in the border provinces have taken place.

If President Fernández gets his way, anti-Haitian measures will be enshrined in a proposed new constitution that would grant him additional powers and allow him to be re-elected indefinitely.

The new constitution contemplates, among other things, defining marriage as “a union between a man and a woman” and strengthening what are already harsh anti-abortion laws.

But perhaps the main target of the constitution is Haitians. According to the new constitution, children of undocumented immigrants would not be granted citizenship. No other immigrant group, other than Haitians, has been subject to these segregationist laws.

Even without the constituional changes, Dominico-Haitians constantly find their legal status threatened. Last year, Sonia Pierre, an immigrant rights activist, came under attack by a small right wing party, part of the governing coalition, which tried to seek a court ruling to annul her citizenship under the grounds that her parents were undocumented Haitian immigrants.

But she scored an important victory against the right and the government when activists launched a campaign to defend her, setting a legal precedent that opened the door to future legal battles.

Yet if the Dominican can’t strip Haitians’ rights through legal means, it’s prepared to use violence to intimidate them. Recently, Haitian immigrants were subjected brutal attacks at the same time strikes and protests were taking place in many parts of the country.

In the city of Neyba, two Haitian immigrants were murdered by Dominicans after a Dominican was supposedly killed by a Haitian immigrant. Other violent attacks followed in the town of Guayubín, where 30 houses belonging to Haitian immigrants were burned by a mob after a Haitian was suspected of murdering a Dominican man.

As usual, racist violence against Haitian immigrants remains unpunished because local authorities are behind the attacks. In fact, the mayor of Guayubín is accused of being one of the organizers of the latest violence.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media spread racist ideas about Haitians, who are portrayed as drug dealers, delinquents and rapists. Both politicians and the Catholic Church whip up racist frenzy by blaming Haitian immigrants for crime, “stealing” jobs from Dominicans and spreading disease.

But contrary to mainstream media propaganda, Haitians and Dominican live side by side in poor neighborhoods, and are more integrated than ever before in their workplaces. Though, many ordinary Dominicans embrace racist ideas about Haitians, they’re not responsible for spreading racism and organizing violence against immigrants. The blame for those atrocities rests with the government and the employers.

The more recent attacks led to the deportation of some 500 Haitian immigrants under the pretext of “protecting their lives.” In any case, the same army and police that are responsible for suppressing labor struggles and murdering Black Dominican youth can’t be expected to protect the lives of Haitian immigrants. As of this writing, the town of Navarrete is under military occupation after street protests exploded in protests.

The resistance to Fernández’s repression provides a new opportunity to challenge the government’s divide-and-conquer tactics. Working-class unity between Haitians and Dominicans will be crucial to rebuild the labor movement and the left in order to challenge racist violence and fight for better working conditions and wages for everyone.

Source

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

A little History

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

August 2008

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are two of the most powerful international financial institutions in the world. They are the major sources of lending to African countries, and use the loans they provide as leverage to prescribe policies and dictate major changes in the economies of these countries. The World Bank is the largest public development institution in the world, lending over $24 billion in 2007 – of which over $5 billion (or 22 percent) went to Africa.

The World Bank and IMF are controlled by the world’s richest countries, particularly the U.S., which is the main shareholder in both institutions. The World Bank, headquartered in Washington, DC, follows a “one dollar, one vote” system whereby members with the greatest financial contributions have the greatest say in decision making. The U.S. holds roughly 17% of the vote in the World Bank and the 48 sub-Saharan African countries together have less than 9% of the votes. The Group of 7 rich countries (G-7) control 45% of World Bank votes. This system ensures that the World Bank and IMF act in the interest of the rich countries, promoting a model of economic growth (called neo-liberal) that benefits the richest countries and the international private sector.

Over the past two decades, the poorest countries in the world have had to turn increasingly to the World Bank and IMF for financial assistance, because their impoverishment has made it impossible for them to borrow elsewhere. The World Bank and IMF attach strict conditions to their loans, which give them great control over borrower governments. On average, low-income countries are subject to as many as 67 conditions per World Bank loan. African countries, in need of new loans, have had no choice but to accept these conditions.

The World Bank and IMF have forced African countries to adopt “structural adjustment programs” (SAP) and other measures which cut back government spending on basic services. They have required African governments to reduce trade barriers and open their markets, maintaining their economies as sources of cheap raw materials and cheap labor for multinational corporations.

As a result of World Bank and IMF policies, average incomes in Africa have declined, and the continent’s poverty has increased. Africa’s debt crisis has worsened over the past two decades, as the failure of World Bank and IMF intervention has left African countries more dependent than ever on new loans. These institutions have also undermined Africa’s health through the policies they have imposed. Forced cutbacks in spending on health care, and the privatization of basic services, have left Africa’s people more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other poverty-related diseases.

The policies of the World Bank and IMF have come increasingly under fire, for the negative impact they have had on African countries. But these institutions, and the U.S. and other wealthy countries that control them, refuse to address these concerns. Instead, they continue to use Africa’s debt as leverage to maintain control over the economic policies of African countries. Even as Africa faces the worst health crisis in human history, these institutions insist that debt repayments take priority over spending on the fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS. African countries continue to spend up to five times more on debt servicing than on health care for their populations.

In response to growing criticism of their policies, the IMF and World Bank have continuously repackaged their structural adjustment programs over the last two decades. In 1999, the institutions began a funding system that requires a country to create a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which purports to outline programs that will promote growth and reduce poverty over the next several years. Through the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF), which disburses funds, the World Bank and IMF approve and then finance these poverty reduction programs. While the World Bank and IMF claim that this allows greater flexibility for countries receiving assistance, the degree of ownership that countries have in PRSPs is exaggerated. Parliaments and civil society are often excluded from developing and adopting PRSPs.

In 2005, the IMF created the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). PSIs do not provide financial assistance to the countries that choose to participate. Rather, the IMF provides economic policy advice to a country, and then monitors it to determine whether or not the country has earned the IMF’s endorsement. Creditors and donors can then base their decision to offer loans or grants to a country on the IMF’s PSI assessment. In practice, this program continues to enforce IMF economic reforms and compromise the ability of African governments to decide on their development path.

To address the external debt crisis of poor countries, the IMF and World Bank introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in September 1996. Designed by creditors, this initiative was intended to extract the maximum in debt repayments from poor countries. It has failed even to meet its stated objective of reducing Africa’s debt burden to a “sustainable” level, and the strict HIPC eligibility requirements prevent many countries from receiving much-needed assistance.

In July 2005, the Group of 8 (G-8) proposed a debt cancellation deal for 18 countries, 14 of which are in Africa. That September, the World Bank and IMF approved this deal through the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The MDRI grants debt cancellation to countries that meet certain eligibility requirements, including adherence to economic policies and programs that the World Bank and IMF deem satisfactory. As of December 2007, the World Bank and IMF have approved MDRI debt relief for 25 countries, 19 of which are in Africa. Although the MDRI provides some progress on the issue of debt, it still leaves many African countries trapped under the burden of illegitimate debt. Furthermore, it establishes the precedent that future debt cancellation will only be offered to countries that have submitted their economies to the draconian dictates of the World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment policies.

The benefits of debt cancellation have been proven repeatedly. While in 2003, Zambia was forced to spend twice as much on debt payments as on health care, partial debt cancellation allowed the government to grant free basic healthcare to its population in 2006. In Benin, more than half of the money saved through debt cancellation has been spent on health. In Tanzania, the newly available funds were used to eliminate primary school fees, increasing attendance by two-thirds. Uganda is currently using the $57.9 million of savings it gained from debt relief in 2006 to improve primary education, energy and water infrastructure, malaria control, and healthcare. Cameroon is using its $29.8 million in savings for poverty reduction, infrastructure improvement, and governance reforms.

Since 2007, there has been talk of the IMF selling its gold reserves to offset its growing administrative budget deficits. In order for the IMF to sell any part of its gold reserves, the sale must be approved by an 85% majority of its members. The United States controls about 17% of this vote, giving it an effective veto over this action. In February 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced that it would support the sale if the IMF takes part in a package of reforms that would put more emphasis on surveillance and financial stability and less on lending.

By law, however, the U.S. Congress must authorize the sale of IMF gold before the U.S. Executive Director may support such a decision. This puts Congress in a unique position to greatly influence the future actions and operations of the IMF. In contrast with Treasury’s modest reform proposal, Congress could seize this opportunity and condition its approval of the IMF’s gold sales on a bold reform agenda that eliminates IMF policies that have restricted investments in health, education and HIV/AIDS spending. Specifically, gold sales should be approved only if the IMF ceases use of overly restrictive deficit-reduction and inflation-reduction targets, eliminates budget ceilings for the health and education sectors and de-links debt cancellation from such harmful macroeconomic conditions. Gold sales could also be used to finance expanded debt cancellation.

African countries must have the power to shape their own economic policies and to determine their own development priorities. This requires the cancellation of all of Africa’s illegitimate external debts, and an immediate end to the harmful policies the World Bank and IMF have imposed in Africa.

Source

South Africa: IMF Can Only Bring Misery

by Trevor Ngwane and George DorThe Sowetan
July 12 2000

Last Friday, Horst Koehler, newly-appointed head of the International Monetary Fund, received a hostile response from the anti-privatisation forum, Jubilee 2000, the campaign against neoliberalism and the South African Communist Party. We are trained to be hospitable in the African tradition, but this was a fair exception.

The Anti-Privatisation Forum includes two campaigns. The first is the anti-Igoli Forum which opposes Johannesburg’s “iGoli 2002” plan to privatise our city. The second is the Wits University Crisis Committee, which opposes a similar strategy, “Wits 2001,” which has led to massive job losses and the decline of arts education at South Africa’s main university.

The campaigns oppose the privatisation of social goods, like water and education, that in a just society should be under the control of communities, workers and students. The unity of our struggles is all the more urgent in view of this week’s Urban Futures Conference, at which the powers behind iGoli 2002 and Wits 2001 are hoping to showcase the sale of our city and our university.

If Horst Koehler thought his visit to South Africa would be widely applauded, he should know that workers, community activists and students in Johannesburg have been protesting his institution for many years.

The last such visit by an IMF leader was in October 1996, when Michel Camdessus came to meet workers, community activists and students, as requested by finance minister Trevor Manuel. But our leadership in Cosatu, Sanco and Sasco boycotted the meeting on grounds that the IMF would do harm to South Africa.

The subsequent events in East Asia, which shamed Camdessus, proved that a firm stand against the IMF was correct. We know that firsthand in our country and our continent, where for more than two decades people have suffered immensely, due to IMF interference.

The IMF made billions of dollars of loans to apartheid South Africa during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Our allies in the Jubilee 2000 South Africa movement have demanded that these loans, which were repaid by South African society during one of the most repressive, bloody periods in our history, now in turn be the basis for reparations by the IMF to a democratic South Africa.

During the late 1980s, when the apartheid regime began to sell state assets to white-owned conglomerates and raised interest rates to the highest levels in our history, the IMF was prodding it to do so. The IMF consistently argued that South African workers were overpaid, and that South Africa should implement a Value Added Tax to shift the burden of tax payment further to lower-income people. The apartheid regime generally followed this advice and was applauded by the IMF for doing so.

In December 1993, the IMF granted a US $750 million loan (about R5,1 billion) which was purportedly for drought relief. Actually, the drought had ended eighteen months earlier. The loan carried conditions such as a lowered budget deficit to prevent a new government spending more on social programmes, and lower wages for civil servants. These conditions have subsequently become government policy in the form of Gear. The loan was a secret agreement, only leaked to the business press in March 1994.

Again and again in Southern Africa and across the Third World the IMF’s free-market economic advice and conditions on loans have been disastrous. These disasters have led to a profound crisis of legitimacy for the Washington institution. Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote in the April 2000 New Republic magazine that the IMF is populated by “third-rate economists.”

One reason for the IMF’s crisis of legitimacy is the control exercised by the US government. This power is based on ownership of 18% of the IMF’s shares, enough to veto anything the US disagrees with.

The IMF remains a profoundly undemocratic institution, whose economic policies have been roundly condemned for the misery caused throughout the Third World and especially in East Asia, Russia and Latin America when “emerging market crises” occurred during 1997-99.

The IMF’s fraternal institution, the World Bank, has had an especially obnoxious role in Johannesburg. Bank staff were responsible for a 1995 infrastructure policy which recommended low standards and high prices for household water and electricity, even though the Reconstruction and Development Programme mandated the opposite. Bank staff recommended that low-income households be not given flush toilets but instead use pit-latrines, without considering the public health risks of excrement leaking into Johannesburg’s water table through its dolomitic rock.

When a similar scheme was established in Winterveld in 1991, hundreds of people got cholera as a result.

The Bank also promoted privatisation of municipal services across the country. In Johannesburg, it took the lead on research to promote a one-sided, pro-corporate perspective on iGoli 2002. It is no wonder that the Johannesburg privatisation plan has been renamed “E.Coli 2002”.

For all these reasons, the visit of Horst Koehler and the ongoing role played by the World Bank in Johannesburg represent very serious dangers to poor and working-class people and the environment.

When 30,000 people joined in protest against these institutions, in their hometown Washington DC in April, it was clear they were not listening to us but we all are surprised by how quickly they have followed us back to Johannesburg to do their damage. They must not be allowed to arrange the junk-sale of our university, our city, our country and our continent.

Trevor Ngwane is a Johannesburg councillor and Wits master’s degree student, while George Dor is chairman of the campaign against neoliberalism in South Afric. Both are affiliated to the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Johannesburg.

Source

Is Africa being bullied into growing GM crops?

David Fig

27 June 2007

Africa must not let multinational corporations and international donors dictate its biotechnology agenda, says David Fig.

Africa is rapidly becoming a focal point for multinational crop and chemical corporations clearing the way for the extended uptake of their products and technologies. In particular, African governments are facing enormous pressure to endorse and adopt genetically modified (GM) crops.

Organisations like the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa — bankrolled by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations — are partly to blame through their heavy investment in infrastructure aimed at supporting the development and distribution of GM crops and seeds.

But the African Union (AU) itself is now also encouraging the adoption of GM technology. Working in tandem with its development wing, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the AU’s High Level Panel on Modern Biotechnology is soon to release a Freedom to Innovate plan — the clearest expression yet of the trend to back this controversial and risky technology. And it does so uncritically, rather than taking a more rational precautionary position that would safeguard Africa’s rich biodiversity and agriculture.

The AU is also engaged in efforts to revise the carefully crafted African Model Law on Biosafety, which outlines the biosafety provisions necessary for African environmental conditions.

The revisions emanate from those seeking to make the biosafety content less stringent, placing Africa under even more pressure to conform to the needs of the gene corporations.

Saying no to the GM bandwagon

Support for GM technology, though, is by no means universal across the continent. The AU’s efforts in shaping the Freedom to Innovate plan and model law contrast with the leadership role that the Africa Group took in developing the Cartagena Protocol to ensure more stringent biosafety precautions.

Indeed, a number of African governments and civil society organisations are increasingly speaking out against the pressures from gene companies — and the foundations that back them — to adopt their technologies.

For example Angola, Sudan and Zambia have resisted pressure to accept GM food aid, while nongovernmental groups such as the African Biodiversity Network, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, defend community and farmers’ rights to reject GM seed. At one stage Burkina Faso implemented a moratorium on the planting of GM crops.

The Freedom to Innovate document does little justice to the debate raging around Africa. Instead it seeks to institutionalise the pro-GM position of larger countries like Nigeria and South Africa for the entire continent.

Offering unbiased advice

There is no question that Africa needs technology to develop. But it must be appropriate to a country’s chosen path of development.

New technologies aimed at development must be evaluated in depth by, among others, scientists with no vested interests.

Natural scientists must assess GM technology’s likely impacts on both the environment and human and animal health. Social scientists must also examine the potential socio-economic consequences of such innovation — such as impacts on local food security, trade or indebtedness. Stakeholders, including those who safeguard traditional knowledge, could further enrich such assessment by indicating proven alternatives.

This model of technological assessment could serve Africa very well. It could enable governments to formulate appropriate policies and development priorities.

Most importantly, if a technology is found to be questionable or negative in terms of its impacts — or if there are no clear development benefits to be derived from its adoption — a precautionary mechanism must exist that can delay and carefully regulate its introduction.

The freedom to choose

The Freedom to Innovate plan tries to advocate the idea that all biotechnology benefits Africa and fails to analyse the risks attached to their adoption. While some aspects of modern biotechnology might prove useful in African agriculture, this does not mean that one aspect of this — GM crops — can increase continental food security and farmer prosperity.

GM technology forces Africa into high-input, chemical-dependent agriculture which impacts on biodiversity and creates debt burdens for small farmers.

In addition, the regulatory steps required for control of GM crops are so demanding of resources that, even when other budgetary areas relating to food security may need more pressing attention, Africa is forced to prioritise their set up.

Gene corporations, together with the scientists that work for them, have invested a lot of time, effort and money in developing GM crops. Not surprisingly, they are the ones who propound the idea that transgenic crops can rescue Africa from poverty and underdevelopment.

But Africa must not let itself be bullied into accepting a technology that has yet to prove itself as appropriate for solving the continent’s hunger problems. The AU’s role should be one of providing governments with well-reasoned technological evaluation, rather than acting as a proxy for promoting a specific industry’s commercial needs.

David Fig is an independent environmental policy analyst based in Johannesburg, and a trustee of Biowatch South Africa.

Source

Africa and the IMF: In Defense of Economic Correction

August 6 1993

Regarding “To the World Bank and IMF: Africa Has Its Own Agenda” (Letters, July 1) from Hassan Sunmonu:

The writer, secretary-general of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, suggests that World Bank and IMF-supported economic adjustment programs in Africa have increased African indebtedness and poverty. This assertion flies in the face of the evidence wherever these programs have been carried out in a sustained manner.

It also ignores the fact that the pace of progress achieved has varied across countries, depending on the nature and the severity of the pre-existing economic conditions, the effects at times of unfavorable external developments (such as worsening terms of trade and drought), and domestic political realities.

Mr. Sunmonu calls on the IMF and the World Bank to abandon their “anti-people and anti-development programs,” accept the rights of all countries to formulate their own development plans, give to African governments sovereign authority over their economic policies, withdraw all experts from African central banks and finance ministries, and compensate African countries for the harm done them and write off their debts.

Such extreme views ought not to go unanswered.

IMF-supported macroeconomic and structural adjustment programs aim at helping countries attain higher growth, lower inflation and improved balance of payments and external debt positions. In most cases, the IMF is called upon for assistance when economic imbalances become very severe and growth has slackened, or even turned negative.

In assisting member countries to develop policies to restore economic health, the IMF is, together with the World Bank, helping them direct public spending away from nonessential or unproductive uses, including excessive military spending, to social, infrastructural and other priority needs. It is only through successful stabilization of their economies and determined structural adjustment – to expand supply capacities – that countries will eventually generate resources to promote development and reduce poverty, strengthen debt-servicing capacities and withstand external shocks.

Because the IMF is fully aware that adjustment policies may have temporary adverse effects on some of the poor, it is helping countries design social safety nets and otherwise formulate targeted social programs to assist the poor during periods of adjustment. It takes great care to tailor its macroeconomic policy advice to the individual needs and circumstances of each member country. At the request of several African member countries, the IMF has assigned a small number of resident representatives and technical experts in specific areas.

The IMF currently has committed more than $4 billion under its concessional loan facilities to 30 African countries. Writing off IMF loans to African countries would be counterproductive. IMF loans are drawn from a limited revolving pool of funds, and are made available temporarily to countries in balance of payments needs. If loans were written off, the pool would contract, with the risk of depriving other countries in need – many in Africa – of IMF financing.

I certainly share Mr. Sunmonu’s disappointment at the slow and uneven pace of economic progress in Africa. While those countries with records of determined implementation of strong reform policies have shown progress on growth and inflation, there is still indeed a long way to go. Far too many of the countries that have embarked on programs of economic correction have let them slip at the first hurdle.

MAMOUDOU TOURE,

Director.

African Department.

International Monetary Fund.

Washington.

Director

Source

World Bank pushes Malawi agriculture privatisation

April 5 2004

The World Bank is demanding the privatisation of the Malawian agricultural marketing board as a condition of its latest structural adjustment loan. The way the Bank has manoeuvred to persuade Malawi’s parliament to accept this shows the limits of ‘country ownership’. It also demonstrates key weaknesses in one of the World Bank and IMF’s new tools, Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) studies which are supposed to outline likely consequences of key reforms so as to enable a better debate on policy design. A Malawian civil society campaign coalition which has mobilised against these planned reforms expressed its concern with how the World Bank and other donors have pushed their agenda on this issue “at the expense of the food security of the poor”.

The privatisation of the state marketing board in Malawi (ADMARC) has been an objective of the World Bank for 10 years. It represents a central element in an approach to agriculture that holds that full liberalisation of the sector will be best for poor women and men. This approach has been increasingly questioned in Malawi and other countries in the region, particularly in the context of the recent food crisis. Many commentators believe the full liberalisation of other elements of the agriculture sector under Bank and Fund advice was a major cause of the food crisis and the subsequent deaths in 2002.

Because of the controversy over the proposed reforms, including studies by civil society groups, the Bank agreed to commission a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis. This research showed that ADMARC’s important role in supporting the lives of poor women and men would be destroyed by privatisation. But, presumably embarrassed by the results, the Bank delayed publication of the study for two years, withholding it until just after the Malawian parliament had agreed to the reforms.

In late December 2003 legislation was rushed through a special parliamentary session turning ADMARC into a limited company, the first stage in the privatisation process. This session was boycotted by many MPs, partly because they had already expressed opposition to the privatisation of ADMARC in two previous hearings. Civil society campaigners expressed concern that ADMARC privatisation was being “used as a carrot for grants and loans”. This was borne out by the Bank’s response to the parliamentary vote, a February announcement of a new $50 million structural adjustment credit with the privatisation of ADMARC as one of its conditions.

The civil society and official impact analysis studies agreed that ADMARC is clearly in need of reform, but demonstrate that it plays a vital social role in ensuring market access for the rural poor by running subsidised markets country-wide. These markets would close under privatisation and the small and weak private sector would be unlikely to fill this gap, leaving a dangerous vacuum in service provision that directly threatens people’s livelihoods.

Civil society groups have mobilised to publicise these issues, with a major campaign during 2002 against the privatisation of ADMARC. An active media campaign resulted in a series of high-profile national debates. Parliament was closely involved, and in particular the Agriculture committee which carried out its own analysis showing the harm that privatisation would cause to the poorest.

The decision-making process and its outcome are being declared unacceptable by Malawian civil society groups. They are “demanding that any conditionality regarding ADMARC is immediately removed from the new loan” and encouraging civil society groups in other countries to take action in their support. Groups pushing the Bank to conduct Poverty and Social Impact Analyses will also need to ensure far greater control over the process of commissioning, reviewing and disseminating such studies, to ensure that they enrich debate rather than sit on shelves until the World Bank or IMF browbeat parliamentarians to accept their agendas.

Source

A few years back it was well known what was going on.

50 Years is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice

50 Years Org

Had a Call to Action for Mobilization
in Washington, DC

Reasons being:

For six decades, the World Bank and IMF have imposed policies, programs, and projects that:

  • Decimate women’s rights and devastate their lives, their families, and their communities;
  • Subjugate democratic governance and accountability to corporate profits and investment portfolios;
  • Trap countries in a cycle of indebtedness and economic domination;
  • Force governments to privatize essential services;
  • Put profits before peoples’ rights and needs;
  • Abet the devastation of the environment in the name of development and profit;
  • Institutionalize the domination of the wealthy over the impoverished – the new form of colonialism; and
  • Facilitate corporate agendas through the economic re-structuring of countries enduring conflict and occupation, such as East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In the 60th anniversary year of the IMF and World Bank, we demand the following measures from the institutions and the governments which control them. Add your voice, endorse the demands:

  • Open all World Bank and IMF meetings to the media and the public;
  • Cancel all impoverished country debt to the World Bank and IMF, using the institutions’ own resources;
  • End all World Bank and IMF policies that hinder people’s access to food, clean water, shelter, health care, education, and right to organize. (Such “structural adjustment” policies include user fees, privatization, and economic austerity programs.);
  • Stop all World Bank support for socially and environmentally destructive projects such as oil, gas, and mining activities, and all support for projects such as dams that include forced relocation of people.

We furthermore recognize the urgency of the world’s most catastrophic health crisis, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We assert the culpability of the international financial institutions in decimating health care systems of Global South countries, and reject the approach of fighting the pandemic with more loans and conditions from these institutions. We call on the world’s governments to best deploy their resources by fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We demand the elimination of trade rules that undermine access to affordable life-saving medications.

Help end global economic injustice driven by the policies and programs of the international financial institutions!

A few Projects Related to Pollution

1. Guinea

Gold Mining and Mercury Emissions in Northern Guinea

The Project aims to reduce occupational health and environmental hazards of artisanal (small-scale) gold mining communities in northern Guinea. The total population of the area covered by the project is estimated at 150,000 of which over 40,000 people are involved every year in gold mining activities. The unregulated burning of mercury amalgam is the primary method for gold extraction. It is widely reported that this method yields 1 kg of gold for every 1.3 kg of mercury employed.

2. Guinea

Leaded Gas Phase Out Task Force

Guinea, on the Atlantic coast of Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Conakry, the capital, is a bustling, colorful and vibrant city of about 2 million struggling with the side effect of urbanization—pollution.
The lack of sewage and water treatment directly impacts human health in the city. Only a fraction of households, primarily in the wealthiest neighborhoods, have reliable access to running water at all, while well water is contaminated by bacteria and parasites. The city has no wastewater treatment facilities, and only 8% of households are connected to a piped municipal sewage system. The overwhelming majority of households have only basic latrines; in better homes, the floor is tiled and the hole is deep. As a result, diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis, typhoid, cholera, and meningitis run rampant.

Major Environmental Concerns

 Air Pollution – From leaded gasoline, automobile exhaust, traffic jams and old cars. Also from fuel sources: charcoal, plastic bags and tires used to cook, and the burning of garbage. Leads to elevated cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

 Water pollution – Lack of sanitation services pollutes coastal marine ecosystem, contaminates food supply , increases instance of waterborne diseases (malaria, diarrhea, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis, typhoid, skin diseases, cholera, meningitis), and renders water undrinkable.

 Lack of Infrastructure and Public Services – Residential and commercial garbage collection is just beginning to be put into place. No waste water treatment plant exists, although plans are afoot to install a sewage treatment facility in the western part of town. Human waste, when collected, is disposed of directly into the ocean or local dump.

3. Guinea

PCB Clean-up and Removal

Abandoned PCB capacitors from France, England, Germany and the US have contaminated approximately 3 acres in the center of Conakry. There have been significant observed impacts on human health and the environment because the water is entirely saturated with PCB waste. The black PCB oil runs directly through the site into a shallow channel that empties into the ocean. The site is within 100 yards of a village that relies on the water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

4. Mozambique

Center for Environmental Research and Advocacy

The capital of Mozambique, Maputo, lies on Maputo Bay. City residents rely on considerable amounts of fishery resources, both for consumption and economic reasons. Maputo Bay beaches also serve many residents and tourists as a leisure spot throughout the year. Yet despite its beauty, there is growing evidence that the waters inside the bay are polluted by untreated sewage coming from new developments in the city that are not connected to the existing sewage and drainage facility and water treatment plant.Groundwater contamination from pit latrines and storm water effluent is polluting the bay to the extent that swimming is inadvisable in all but the most distant areas of the bay. The Ministry of Health tests fecal coliform levels regularly, and there is a general ban on the consumption of shellfish from the bay.

5. Mozambique

Environmental Journalists Group

Although pollution from industry, automobiles and domestic waste continue to adversely affect the quality of life in Maputo and in Mozambique in general, the majority of the population lacks education and awareness of pollution issues and their relation to human health. A lack of public debate on the subject means a general lack of pressure on relevant institutions to act where human health is threatened by pollution contamination. The media, and especially the radio, is an important source of environmental information and education due to national coverage and transmission in local languages.

6. Mozambique

Gold Mining and Mercury Emissions in Manica, Mozambique

This project seeks to contribute to the reduction of occupational health hazards of small-scale gold miners in the Manica District of Mozambique by promoting the use of mercury retorts, while at the same time leading to overall reduction of environmental degradation in the region. Manica is a district of Mozambique in the Manica Province with a population of 155,731 people. Manica District borders with the Republic of Zimbabwe in the west, the District of Gondola in the east, the District of Barué to the north through the Pungué River, and the District of Sussundenga in the south, which is bounded by the Revué and Zonué Rivers. In the Manica District of Mozambique, more than 10,000 people are directly and indirectly involved in artisanal (small-scale) gold mining activities (garimpagem) as their main source of income.

7. Mozambique

Leaded Gas Phase Out Task Force

Mozambique, like many other developing countries, uses leaded gasoline. While the adverse health effects of lead have been well-documented and many of the world’s countries have either completely phased out use of leaded gasoline or lowered lead concentrations, Africa remains as a bastion of leaded gasoline use. The primary lead exposure pathway is via airborne lead and lead in dust and soil. In congested urban areas vehicle exhaust from leaded gasoline accounts for some 90 percent of airborne lead pollution.

8. Senegal

AfricaClean

Air pollution in Dakar, the capital, is a source of concern for local authorities. Large quantities of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles are starting to pose serious environmental and public health problems, especially for the most vulnerable population (children, pregnant women, people suffering from diseases and respiratory complications such as: tuberculosis, pneumonia, cancers, bronchitis, asthmas, and allergies). Common pollutants emitted are: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and suspended particles.

9. Senegal

Baia de Hanne, Senegal

This project takes the first steps to initiate the clean up of the most polluted region of Senegal – Hann Bay. The bay wraps around the industrial zone of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is highly populated area, with local residents bathing in the water, and numerous fishing boats along the crowded shore. Industrial pollution along the banks from 1968 – 1997 has rendered the bay exceedingly toxic. This work will fund and support a group both within the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Environment to create a credible implementation plan that will install an industrial waste treatment plan for the factories of the Hann region. Once the effluent treatment plant is in operation, work can begin to remediate legacy contamination from historical toxins.

10. Swaziland

Bulembu Legacy Asbestos Mines

Havelock is a town on the northwest border of Swaziland and is home to one of the world’s largest asbestos mines, which is now closed. The town and mine are dominated by Bulembu, Swaziland’s highest peak. The asbestos mine in Bulembu operated from 1939 to 2001 and was closed without rehabilitation of the environment. The mine dumpsite has contaminated the Nkomazi River and poses a grave contamination risk to the multi-million dollar Maguga dam, which is about ten kilometers away. Huge fiber-rich dumps dwarf the school, which is less than 200 meters from the old mill.

11. Tanzania

ENVIPRO

EnviPro is an environmental engineering NGO working on a project in the neighborhood of Vingunguti, in Dar es Salaam, to manage waste effluent from Vingunguti Abattoir, a local slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse is dumping waste directly into the Msimbazi River, posing a significant health risk to residents of Dar es Salaam and surrounding areas, and EnviPro has designed a plan to install a wastewater treatment program for the plant.

12. Tanzania

Environmental Management Trust

Mikocheni, a neighborhood in Dar es Salaam, is home to four heavily polluted streams that run directly into the Indian Ocean. Untreated industrial and domestic waste is dumped into the waterways upstream, or into storm drains. Environmental Management Trust (EMT) is undertaking a project to monitor and stop this pollution of marine habitats and breaches. The project goals are to make wastewater treatment mandatory for all polluting industries, to stop residential houses from releasing waste from septic tanks into streams, and to ensure that sewers, storm drains and pumping stations are properly maintained to prevent leaks into the stream.

13. Tanzania

Leaded Gasoline Phase-Out, Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has developed a leaded gas phase-out action plan and it was discussed at a national stakeholders’ meeting in Dar es Salaam in September, 2003. The country’s planned phase-out of leaded gasoline is part of a larger initiative to ban the use of leaded gasoline in Sub Saharan Africa, as stated in the Dakar Declaration of 2001.

14. Tanzania

Msimbazi River Action Network

The Msimbazi River flows across a third of Dar es Salaam City and eventually discharges into the Indian Ocean. The river is an important water resource for residents of some of Dar es Salaam’s poorest neighborhoods. Residents use the water in various ways – for drinking, bathing, support for agriculture and industry, and as an environmental buffer. Nevertheless, many industries continue to pour unwanted end products from human and industrial activity into the river, threatening most of its functional benefits, and even its usefulness as an irrigation source.

The Msimbazi River Action Network (MRAN) brings together current Blacksmith partners (EMT, Envipro and LEAT) in an effort to organize clean-up and oversight activities focused on the Msimbazi River in Dar es Salaam. This network connects community and government representatives with the aim of minimizing industrial and domestic pollution sources on the river, and to protect the over 100,000 people living on the river from heavy metal contamination as well as deadly diseases such as cholera.

15. Tanzania

Pollution Prevention in Lake Victoria

The Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) works in Mwanza and surrounding regions with community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the Mwanza City Council to identify problems and educate both polluters and victims of pollution about environmental laws. LEAT also conducts public interest litigation to force the cessation of polluting activities by both local factories and Mwanza City authorities. And LEAT works with surrounding towns and villages affected by polluting industries. Village and municipal leaders and residents have been educated about existing environmental laws used to combat environmental pollution, and they have been briefed on the Village Land Act of 1999 which stipulates rights of villagers regarding their land and other natural resource laws.

16. Zambia

Advocacy and Restoration of the Environment

Zambia is a land-locked country in Central/Southern Africa with a population of about 10 million people. About 1.25 million people inhabit the capital, Lusaka, with another 2 million in the northern Copperbelt region. Major pollution-related problems are due to mining and industrial waste. In 2001, Blacksmith Institute helped to found ARE, an NGO focusing on a heavily polluted industrial area on the Kafue River. The Kafue River, part of the Zambezi basin, is a source of potable water for over forty percent of Zambia’s population. It is also host to wildlife and birds. For decades, industries such as copper mines, metallurgical plants, textile plants, fertilizer factories, sugar processing plants, cement factories, various agricultural activities, and the Kafue Sewage Treatment Plant (KSTP) have polluted the river. Mineral deposits, chemicals, and suspended solids have led to overgrowth of aquatic weeds, choking river life. The continuous discharge of raw sewage into the Kafue River from the KSTP has contributed to the steady supply of nutrients (ortho-phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, etc.) ensuring the proliferation of various types of weeds, like the Salvina molesta, thereby causing eutrophication. Both aquatic life and human health are in danger. High incidences of environmentally mediated disease, such as gastro-enteritis, intestinal worms, and diarrhea diseases mostly in children have been reported from communities around the river and have been linked to drinking water from certain parts of the river. The raw sewer pollution of Kafue River could inadvertently lead to outbreaks of epidemics like cholera.

Bata Tannery uses various chemicals in tanning animal skins. Amongst these chemicals is chromium sulfate, which can easily be converted to either hexavalent or trivalent chromium. The effect of these chemicals on human and aquatic life is potentially lethal. Equally, the yeast production from Lee Yeast results in high concentrations of both chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in the wastewater. The net effect is the reduction in the river system’s oxygen concentration, leading to toxic anaerobic conditions.

17. Zambia

Kabwe Environmental Rehabilitation Foundation

For almost a century, Kabwe, a city of 300,000 in Zambia, has been highly contaminated with lead from a government-owned lead mine and smelter, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM). Although the mine has been closed since 1994, residents continue to get sick and die from the contamination due to a lack of cleanup efforts on the part of the company and the government.

Lead is one of the most potent neurotoxins known to humans. When breathed in, lead directly attacks the central nervous system. It is particularly damaging to infants and children, and can cross the mother’s placenta, putting unborn and nursing infants at risk. Yet, remarkably, the citizens of Kabwe have until recently been completely unaware that they are living in one of the most poisoned cities on earth. Blacksmith founded a local NGO, Kabwe Environmental and Rehabilitation Foundation (KERF), that has been bringing educational services to the community on how to limit exposure to lead, and nursing support for those who are ill.

18. Zambia

Kabwe Lead Mines

Kabwe, the second largest city in Zambia with a population of 300,000, is located about 130km north of the nation’s capital, Lusaka. It is one of six towns situated around the Copperbelt, once Zambia’s thriving industrial base. In 1902, rich deposits of potentially dangerous lead were discovered in the mine and smelter located in the center of the town. Ore veins with lead concentrations as high as 20 percent have been mined deep into the earth and a smelting operation was set up to process the ore. Mining and smelting operations were running almost continuously up until 1994 without the government addressing the potential danger of lead. The mine and smelter, owned by the now privatized Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, is no longer operating but has left a city with poison and toxicity from deadly concentrations of lead in the soil and water.

During the operation there were no pollution laws regulating emissions from the mine and smelter plant. In turn, air, soil, and vegetation were all subjected to contamination, and ultimately, over some decades, millions of human lives were also affected. Some recent findings reveal the extent to which one of the most potent neurotoxins to man, lead, has affected the health of Kabwe citizens. In the U.S., normal blood levels of lead are less than10 mcg/dl (micrograms per deciliter). Symptoms of acute poisoning occur at blood levels of 20 and above, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and leading to muscle spasms and kidney damage. Levels of over ten are considered unhealthy and levels in excess of 120 can often lead to death. In Kabwe, blood concentrations of 300 micrograms/deciliter have been recorded in children and records show average blood levels of children range between 60 and 120 mcg/dl.

Children that play in the soil and young men that scavenge the mines for scraps of metal are most susceptible to lead produced by the mine and smelter. A small waterway runs from the mine to the center of town and had been used to carry waste from the once active smelter. There is no restriction to the waterway, and in some instances local children use it for bathing. In addition to water, dry and dusty backyards of workers’ houses are a significant source of contamination for the locals. One of the most common ways that workers and residents become exposed to toxic levels of lead is through inhalation of contaminated soil ingested through the lungs.

19. Zambia

Maamba Coal Mines

The only coal mine in Zambia is located in Maamba where coal is extracted by open-pit quarrying. Since 1967 coal has been continuously produced by the Maamba Collieries in Southern Zambia near Lake Kariba. Although it has a production capacity of one million tons of coal per year, actual production is less than half this capacity.

Related ArticlesHow the mobile phone in your pocket is helping to pay for the civil war in Congo

 

Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo

The most recent victims of IMF and World Bank because of the Financial Crisis.

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Ukraine may borrow $2 bln from World Bank

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

Serbia seeks new IMF deal

IMF approves $16.5 billion Ukraine loan

Big deficits may force Turkey towards IMF

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

And this Happened in India

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

(Jamaica) IMF decimating one country after another

Once in debt you are their slaves. They go in destroy the agriculture and make your country depend on their subsidised food imports. What happens if they decide not to provide the food? Mass famine or should I say mass depopulation.

Added November 3 2009

Life and Debt is a feature-length documentary which addresses the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on a developing country such as Jamaica.

Life & Debt is a woven tapestry of sequences focusing on the stories of individual Jamaicans whose strategies for survival and parameters of day-to-day existence are determined by the U.S. and other foreign economic agendas. By combining traditional documentary telling with a stylized narrative framework, the complexity of international lending, structural adjustment policies and free trade will be understood in the context of the day-to-day realities of the people whose lives they impact.

4 Videos detailing the problems

Cause and affect.

Network Platform & Demands to the IMF and World Bank at 50 years is enough