Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza

Israel get weapons from everyone and their dog.

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

Hamas has little to nothing in comparison to Israel.

The difference is staggering.

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

Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misuse of conventional arms by Israeli forces

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

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

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

Air delivered munitions

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

Fragments from a MK-82 bomb ©Amnesty International

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

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

Anti-Tank Mines

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

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

Artillery and Mortars

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

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

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

White Phosphorus

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

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

A white phosphorus carrier shell ©Amnesty International

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illuminating artillery shells

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

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

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

Flechettes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cube-shaped shrapnel

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

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

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

Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fueled IDF Reports of Number of rocket attacks by Hamas

27 December 2008 — 11 January 2009

TOTAL: 643

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

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

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

Arms supplies to Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International obligations regarding conventional arms transfers

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

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

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

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

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

Bulgaria EUR
2006 249,445
Total 249,445

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poland EUR
2005 508,819
Total 508,819

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note on UN Comtrade data

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

Aircraft and Helicopters

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

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

Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rockets and Missiles

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

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

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

2,000

14

1,000

200

500

100

Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-87

28,000

60,000

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

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

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

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

29/04/05

Transmittal 05-10

100

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

other related elements of logistics support.

20/04/07

Transmittal 07-21

3,500

MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

1,500

2,000

50

MK-84 live bombs;

MK- 82 live bombs;

BLU-109 live bombs;

GBU-28 guided live bombs

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-82

1,000

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1)

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

Artillery shells including white phosphorus shells

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

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

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

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

150,048

8,000

30,003

100,000

5,000

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

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

Small Arms and Light Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

Components

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

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

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

2,500

500

1,000

10,000

10,000

Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

FMU-139 live fuze components; and

FMU-152 live fuze components.

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

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

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

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

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

Special Fuels

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

Current US arms ships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arms supplies to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups

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

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

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

The table below estimates the Hamas rocket arsenal:

Type

Range

Warhead Payload

Origin

Qassam-1

3 km

0.5 kg

Locally made

Qassam-2

6-10 km

5-7 kg

Locally made

Qassam-3

10 km

10 kg

Locally made

122mm Grad

20 km

USSR/Russia, various

220mm Fadjr-3

40 km

45 kg

Iran

122mm

40 km

China

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

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

Recommendations

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

Public Document

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

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

Date

Source

Quantity

Description

29/04/05

Transmittal 05-10

100

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

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

20/04/07

Transmittal 07-21

3,500

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

03/08/07

Transmittal 07-32

10,000

2,500

500

1,000

10,000

1,500

2,000

50

10,000

10,000

Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

MK-84 live bombs;

MK- 82 live bombs;

BLU-109 live bombs;

GBU-28 guided live bombs;

FMU-139 live fuze components; and

FMU-152 live fuze components.

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

24/08/07

Transmittal 07-37

30

500

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

24/08/07

Transmittal 07-43

200

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

30/10/07

Transmittal 08-07

2,000

14

1,000

200

500

100

150,048

8,000

30,003

100,000

5,000

Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Cartridges

M930 120MM Illuminating Cartridges

M889A1 81MM HE Cartridges with M935 Fuzes

M107 155MM HE Projectiles

M141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions

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

09/06/08

Transmittal 08-42

25

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

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-62

3

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

15/07/08

Transmittal 06-63

4

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

30/07/08

Transmittal 08-76

9

6

9

9

9

9

4

10

4

3

1

2

10

5

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

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

KIV-119 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

ARC-210 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

External Pylons and Fuel Tanks ;

Internal Israeli Tank Modification Kits ;

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

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-82

1,000

150

30

2

7

1

2

12

3

2

GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1),

BRU-61/A SDB1 Mounting Carriages,

Guided Test Vehicles,

BRU-61/A SDB Instrumented Carriages,

Jettison Test Vehicles,

Separation Test Vehicle,

Reliability and Assessment Vehicles,

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

SDB1 Weapons Simulators, and

Load Crew Trainers.

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

29/09/08

Transmittal 08-83

25

(+50 optional)

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

09/09/08

Transmittal 08-87

28,000

60,000

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

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

Award No.

Awardee

Description

Source

SP0600-08-D-0495

Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 562-08

(3 July 2008)

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

Defense Contracts, No. 707-06

(25 July 2006)

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

Defense Contracts, No. 669-06

(14 July 2006)

SP0600-05-D-0453

Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 1216-04

(29 November 2004)

SP0600-05-D-0451

ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

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

Defense Contracts, No. 229-05

(4 March 2005)

SP0600-04-D-0452

ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

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

Defense Contracts, No. 965-03

(19 December 2003)

SP0600-04-D-0454

Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 817-03

(4 November 2003)

SP0600-03-D-0457

Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 618-02

(5 December 2002)

SP0600-02-R-0552

Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 464-02

(12 September 2002)

SP0600-02-D-0502

Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

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

Defense Contracts, No. 164-02

(5 April 2002)

Source

Plus Israel also possesses over 200 Nuclear Bombs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go HERE To Sign Petition

Or contact Representative Directly.

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

Depleted uranium was found in Gaza victims by Norwegian Doctors.

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

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

April 2011 Report

US Weapons Sales to Israel

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

The Arms Trade is Big Business

Who’s Arming Israel? Report 2001-2007

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IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia

By Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga,
December 24 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia  
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Iraqi MPs reject UK exit deal

December 21 2008

By Kim Sengupta and Brian Brady

Basra:

Parliamentary vote on mandate for British forces could leave them without legal cover next month. Kim Sengupta in Basra and Brian Brady report

Britain’s exit strategy from Iraq suffered a setback yesterday when the country’s parliament rejected a draft law paving the way for withdrawal of forces by the end of July. The reversal was embarrassing for both Gordon Brown and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, after the two leaders publicly declared last week that an agreement had been reached on the pullout.

Foreign Office sources admitted that unless the law receives formal Iraqi approval by the end of this month, when the United Nations mandate for the occupation expires, the vote could lead to British troops being confined to base, because they would not have the legal authority to do anything else in Iraq. However, officials attempted to dampen speculation that the resolution could have such a dramatic impact, and insisted that the problem was “procedural”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the government of Iraq to ensure that there is a firm legal basis for the presence of our forces in 2009. We will now discuss with the government of Iraq what the vote in the Council of Representatives means for the proposed legal basis for the UK and other forces, and look at the options.”

The possibility of British troops operating in a legal limbo from January was increased by Mr Maliki’s refusal even to start talks with the UK until after the Iraqi parliament approved the US deal on 27 November. This reflected his anger at what he saw as Britain’s surrender of Basra to Shia militias last year.

Early this month the Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton, warned: “I won’t hesitate to pull [British forces] out. They have to be [legally] protected, and the way things stand at the moment they will not be.” His Conservative shadow, Liam Fox, said the Iraqi vote “raises serious questions”. If another vote failed, Britain would have to ensure alternative arrangements were in place by the end of the month.

The immediate effect of the vote by the MPs to reject the draft law by 80 votes to 68 is that the UK, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and Nato would not technically have legal authority for any use of force in Iraq, even in self-defence, after the end of the month. Yesterday’s was the first reading of the bill in the Council of Representatives, or parliament. It is now due to be sent back to Mr Maliki’s cabinet for amendments, with another vote due next week. Some MPs want the law dropped and replaced with an international agreement similar to the deal with the US, which lays down the terms for its withdrawal of 140,000 troops from Iraq by 2011.

Nassir al-Issawi, an MP allied to the radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who wants foreign troops to leave at once, said: “What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement. We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things.”

Fariad Rawndouzi, a Kurdish MP, said many of his colleagues were also unhappy with the formulation of the bill, and wanted it to resemble the “status of forces” agreement between the US and Iraq more closely.

Senior officers at the British base in Basra said a team of Foreign Office lawyers was negotiating with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, and they still hoped an agreement would be reached. One official said: “There was always a feeling that this may go to the wire, and we must realise that it is all quite symbolic.” There were no plans to start pulling out British troops immediately in the new year.

But Mr Maliki’s casual assurance to Mr Brown when he visited Iraq last week that all would be well may cause embarrassment to both sides. Hakim Ali Ibrahim, an Iraqi political analyst, said: “Parliament wants to make a stand to show it should not be taken for granted. Perhaps Maliki and Gordon Brown should not have made such a big thing out of this before they were certain everything would go through smoothly. We have elections coming up, and the government has to do deals with the MPs.”

The provincial elections in January, the first held under sovereign, rather than occupation, laws, will be followed by a referendum on autonomy for Basra province, which could have a crucial impact on the division of its oil riches.

There are fears that the militias will attempt to use the polls to infiltrate the city again, and yesterday General Raymond Odierno, the US commander of coalition forces in Iraq, visited Basra for an election security meeting with Major General Andy Salmon, the British commander in Basra.

Source

December 20 2008

By Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s parliament voted on Saturday to reject a draft law that allows troops from Britain, Australia and several other countries to remain beyond the end of this year, Iraqi parliamentarians said.

The draft law, under which those troops would withdraw by the end of July, was rejected because lawmakers objected to it being in the form of legislation, rather than an agreement as was the deal Iraq signed with the United States, said Hussein al-Falluji, a member of the Sunni Accordance Front.

“Legally relations between two countries cannot be organised by a law. They should be arranged, according to international law, through treaties or agreements,” said Falluji.

“For this reason parliament rejected this law. It was a big mistake by the government.”

Both the law governing the British presence and the security pact allowing the 140,000 U.S. soldiers in the country to remain three more years replace a U.N. mandate that expires on December 31.

“What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement,” said Nassir al-Issawi, a lawmaker loyal to anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who wants an immediate end to what he sees as a foreign occupation.

“We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things,” said Issawi.

No comment was immediately available from the government.

The rejected law covered the future of troops from Britain, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and NATO in Iraq, where violence is dropping sharply and foreign troops are increasingly handing over security to local forces.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that a reserve component of around 400 British soldiers, compared to 4,100 now, would remain to train Iraqi naval forces in the south after July.

The U.S.-Iraqi security pact sets a withdrawal date for the U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 and gradually restricts U.S. activities more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

(Writing by Missy Ryan; Editing by Michael Christie and Ralph Boulton)

Source

British cost of Iraq and Afghanistan reaches £13Billion

Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

December 10th, 2008

By Alex MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

December 10 2008

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

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

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

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

Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

Source

Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

December 11 2008

By Robert Hetz

MADRID,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this aid may not be enough.

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

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

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

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

Source

Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

There are 27 member of the European Union.

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

EU members and when they joined.

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

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

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

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

Source

Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

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

Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

The £2trillion question for British economy

Europe catches America’s financial disease

How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

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

Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

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

141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Sign Petition to Ban DU

What is DU?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health Problems

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

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

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


Epidemiology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voting results in full

In favour:

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

Against:

France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:

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

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

Source

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

November 11, 2008

by Barbara Bellows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Essential Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VALUABLE REFERENCES:

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

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

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

January 2003 White House Report – Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

Source

Depleated Uranium Information

Or Google it there is tons of information out there.

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

This is an extremely dangerous form of Pollution.

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

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

The life you save may be your own.

Sign Petition to Ban DU

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on 141 states support Depleted Uranium Ban  
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Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

November 9 2008

Latvia has been forced to bail out its second largest bank over the weekend and may soon need a rescue by the International Monetary Fund as the financial crisis engulfs the Baltic region, and much of Scandinanvia.

Premier Ivars Godmanis stunned the country by announcing that Parex banka had been half-nationalised in an attempt to head off a serious crisis in the face of escalating capital flight from the country.

“We have to do everything to avoid trouble, not only for specific banks, but for the banking system as a whole,” he said.

Mr Godmanis said Latvia was examining a raft of measures to rescue the economy, including possible aid from the IMF and European Union. Iceland, Hungary, and Ukraine have already obtained loans for the IMF.  Iceland awaits IMF decision on Monday

Latvia is facing a brutal recession after years of torrid credit growth and one of the most extreme property bubbles in Eastern Europe. The economy contracted by 4.2pc in the third quarter.

House prices have fallen 21pc over the last year, according to Global Property Guide. The swing from boom to bust has been made worse by heavy use of mortgages in euros, Swiss francs, and yen.

The rating agencies have rushed through a spate of downgrades in recent days for the Baltic trio of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, warning that heavily reliance on short-term foreign funding has left them dangerously exposed to the global squeeze.

“If the situation were to worsen, Latvia could be forced to seek balance-of-payments support from the EU or the International Monetary Fund,” said Kenneth Orchard, senior analyst at Moody’s

“The global liquidity crisis will probably cause a shock to the Latvian banking system, which will reverberate throughout the rest of the economy. Unless there are major improvements in the European syndicated loan market by early 2009, the government will be forced to take remedial action.”

Oskars Firmanus, head of the Latvian consultancy Paus Konsults, said the Parex rescue had badly shaken depositors in Riga. “It has come as a big surprise. The bank has been very secretive and did not tell anybody there was a problem. People have been lining on the streets over the weekends trying to get their money out of ATM machines,” he said.

Swedish banks have large exposure to the Baltic market, adding to their woes as the industrial downturn hits Scandinavia.

The IMF warned in a recent report that the Baltic operations of Stockholm’s banks “could cause a credit crunch in Sweden itself” if the closure of the wholesale capital markets continues for much longer. Total lending to Eastern Europe by Swedish banks is equal to 25pc of the country’s GDP.

Swedbank dominates lending in Latvia and Estonia, while SEB is the biggest lender to Lithuania. The share price of the two banks have fallen by 70pc from their peak.

Source

Check November Index For all IMF Loans

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 4:22 am  Comments Off on Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region  
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Lithuania Central Bank cuts reserve ratio for banks

VILNIUS,

November 6 2008

Lithuania’s central bank said on Thursday it had decided to cut the obligatory reserve ratio for commercial banks to 4 percent from 6 percent to boost liquidity, the first reserve ratio cut for six years.

A spokesman for the central bank said the move would free up about 1 billion litas ($372.4 million) of funds for banks.

Like other financial markets, the small Lithuanian money market has also suffered a liquidity squeeze during the global financial crisis and banks had urged the central bank to cut reserve requirements to free up funds.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, writing by Patrick Lannin, editing by Mike Peacock)

VILNIUS,

November 6 2008

Lithuania’s central bank on Thursday cut reserve requirements for banks as the global credit squeeze finally made itself felt in the Baltic states’ small financial sector.

Analysts say that Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, with high current account deficits and consumer debts, could be vulnerable to the kind of crisis which has forced Hungary to turn to the IMF, though Baltic leaders have played down this probability.

None of the three former Soviet states has had to launch a bank bailout or feed liquidity to its institutions like bigger nations in western Europe, but local money market rates have steadily risen and liquidity has dried up.

Lithuania’s central bank responded to the problem by reducing its obligatory reserve ratio for commercial banks to 4 percent from 6 percent to boost liquidity, the first reserve ratio cut for six years.

A spokesman for the central bank said the move would free up about 1 billion litas ($372.4 million) of funds for banks. Latvia’s central bank has also said that it will continue to cut reserve requirements for banks.

The bank sectors in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are dominated by Nordic groups such as SEB, Swedbank , Nordea and DNB NOR as well as a sprinkling of local banks such as Parex in Latvia and Snoras and Sialiu in Lithuania.

‘The central bank decision shows there are liquidity problems in the banking system,’ said Stasys Jakeliunas, a Lithuanian independent financial analyst.

He said this was also reflected in the fact that local overnight rates had risen from 4.6 percent on October 22 to 8 percent on Thursday. The six-month rate had risen 70 basis points from Wednesday to 9.2 percent today.

‘That indicates a sort of pre-crisis situation…The central bank’s decision to unfreeze some assets could help fix liquidity in the short run, but may not be enough in the longer term,’ Jakeliunas said.

A similar money market trend has been seen in Latvia.

There, the overnight rate has eased to about 3 percent from the 8 percent seen in mid-October, but the 6-month rate has spiked to 12.5 percent from 8 percent at the start of October, meaning long-term local financing is hard to come by.
The Latvian government this week said it would make available state guarantees for loans taken out by local banks, saying this was similar to measures taken by other EU nations to support their financial sectors.

The Latvian central bank has also been selling euros and buying lats in recent weeks as the lat currency has been stuck at the weak end of its 1 percent band against the euro.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, writing by Patrick Lannin, editing by Patrick Graham)

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Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm  Comments Off on Lithuania Central Bank cuts reserve ratio for banks  
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