Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia

About 95% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia

March 16, 2014

Around 95 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and less than 5 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to preliminary results.

With around 50 percent of the votes already counted, preliminary result show that 95.5 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to the reunion of the republic with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. In Sevastopol, the number of those who voted ‘yes’ stands at 93 percent, according to the head of the Sevastopol commission, Valery Medvedev.

The preliminary results of the popular vote were announced during a meeting in the center of Sevastopol, the city that hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The overall voter turnout in the referendum on the status of Crimea is 81,37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.

Over a half of the Tatars living in the port city took part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining Russia, reports Itar-Tass citing a representative of the Tatar community Lenur Usmanov.

About 40% of Crimean Tatars went to polling stations on Sunday, the republic’s prime minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

In Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 have gathered to celebrate the referendum in central Lenin square and people reportedly keep arriving. Demonstrators, waving Russian and Crimean flags, were watching a live concert while waiting for the announcement of preliminary results of the voting.

International observers are planning to present their final declaration on the Crimean referendum on March 17, the head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateush Piskorski told journalists. He added that the voting was held in line with international norms and standards.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Aksyonov told Interfax. In his words, the dual currency will be in place for about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the Prime Minister said, adding that it could be done faster. However, they want to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

Moscow is closely monitoring the vote count in Crimea, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin.

The results of the referendum will be considered once they are drawn up,” he told Itar-Tass.

The decision to hold a referendum was made after the bloody uprising in Kiev which ousted President Vladimir Yanukovich from power. Crimea – which is home to an ethnic Russian majority population – refused to recognize the coup-appointed government as legitimate. Crimeans feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect rights. Crimeans were particularly unhappy over parliament’s decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages – including Russian – as official along with the Ukrainian tongue. Crimeans staged mass anti-Maidan protests and asked Russia to protect them. Source

The people have spoken.

No will the US/EU/Israel Leave the people alone?

Under International Law the people have every right, to self determination. Everyone should respect and accept the outcome of the referendum.

If anything does happen in Crimea, we should all, be looking at outside interference.  Something that happens in a lot of countries.

Good luck to the people of Crimea. Now maybe some of the over 600,000 that went to Russia, may be able to return.

Seems there are others who wish to a referendum as well. Not only do they want out of the country, they want out of the EU and NATO.

I wonder what the US will have to say about it all.

They too have every legal right, under International Law to self determination as well.

‘Serene’ referendum: Italian region votes on restoration of Venetian Republic

March 16, 2014

As Crimeans make their way to the polls this Sunday, another region further in the heart of Europe is also deciding its fate in a referendum: the Italian region of Veneto, which is voting on whether to break with Rome.

The independence movement insists the industrial northern region’s wealth is being drained by Rome’s mismanagement of the financial crisis.

Following in the footsteps of Scotland and Catalonia, Venice – the capital of the Italian region of Veneto – will be holding a referendum to form an independent republic. About 3.8 million people in the region are eligible to vote in the referendum, which runs through Friday.

Leaders of the independence movement say they are not going to wait for Rome’s approval, and if the population votes in favor they will begin the separation process. The latest polls carried out by the independence movement show that over 60 percent of the population is in favor of becoming independent.

“If there is a majority yes vote, we have scholars drawing up a declaration of independence and there are businesses in the region who say they will begin paying taxes to local authorities instead of to Rome,” Lodovico Pizzati, the spokesman for the independence movement, told the Telegraph newspaper.

The president of Veneto, Luca Zaia, who supports the independence movement, said the region is tired of the lack of respect from Rome. With the onset of the financial crisis the movement has been gathering momentum, with many people in the area perceiving Rome’s treatment of the situation as irresponsible.

“Veneto pays its taxes and would like answers from Rome. Rome has not respected the Venetians,” Zaia told Italian publication Liberoquotidiano. “The push for independence comes from the people, it is a democratic request that has come about because of Rome’s indifference.”

He went on to say that Italy was currently experiencing “a kind of ailing democracy” and had become bogged down in bureaucracy.

Gianluca Busato, a prominent Venetian businessman an advocate for independence from Rome, told RT that the Venice region is one of the biggest payers of taxes into Rome’s coffers, but gets nothing like what it shells out in return and as such Rome opposes the vote.

“I think they [the Italian government] are not so happy because Veneto is a rich region. Italy steals 20 billion of taxes that are not returned to us, and so I think the Italian government is not so happy about our will of independence,” he said.

Furthermore, advocates for the independence of the region argue that Rome is draining the northern region of its wealth through taxes in order to support the poorer South of Italy. The independence movement website claims that the region pays €20 billion more in taxes to Rome than it receives in investment and services.

Venice may also sever ties with the European Union and NATO if it gains its independence.

“Venetians not only want out of Italy, but we also want out of the euro, the EU and NATO,” Raffaele Serafini, another pro-independence activist, told the Telegraph.

Members of the movement say they have been inspired by Scotland and Catalonia, who have also planned referendums for this year. Scotland will vote for its independence in September, despite statements from the British government that they will not be allowed the pound if they separate. Spain’s government has decried Catalonia’s planned referendum as illegal and in defiance of Spanish sovereignty.

Giovanni Dalla Valle, head of the Veneto independence movement, told RT that there is nothing Italy can do to stop the region from becoming independent.

“We have to fight for it [independence]. We will do it in a peaceful, diplomatic way. We do strongly believe that when the majority wants to be independent there is nothing they [the Italian government] can do,” he said to RT.

He went on to say that the established world order favors centralized governments and that is why many referendums are condemned as illegal.

Prior to joining Italy in 1866, the region of Veneto was known as “La Serenissima” – the Most Serene Republic of Venice. The Republic lost its independence when Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797. Source

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Ukraine: Truth and Fiction

March 12, 2014

Violence and bloodshed continues to rock Ukraine as factions compete in the power vacuum of last month’s coup in Kiev. As the country struggles to find its way forward, however, it finds itself in the crosshairs of a NATO war agenda that has been unfolding for years. This is the GRTV Feature Interview with our special guest, Professor Michel Chossudovsky.

The European and American public are being systematically lied to about the Ukraine crisis.

Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine

The U.S. mainstream news media is reaching a new professional low point as it covers the Ukraine crisis by brazenly touting Official Washington’s propaganda themes, blatantly ignoring contrary facts and leading the American public into another geopolitical blind alley

By Robert Parry

March 17, 2014

As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”

The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.

Objective U.S. journalists would insist on a truthful narrative that conveys these nuances to the American people, not simply behave as clumsy propagandists determined to glue “white hats” on the side favored by the State Department and “black hats” on everyone that the U.S. government disdains. But virtually the entire mainstream press corps has opted for the propaganda role, much as it has in the past. Think Iraq 2002-03.

You also might remember the mainstream media’s rush to judgment over the Sarin attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013. The State Department rashly blamed the incident on the Syrian government despite serious doubts inside the U.S. intelligence community.

To conceal those dissents, the State Department and the White House issued a four-page “Government Assessment,” rather than a National Intelligence Estimate from the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. That would have had to include footnotes revealing disagreements over the evidence among the analysts.

When the “Government Assessment” was posted online at the White House Web site on Aug. 30, it contained not a single piece of evidence that could be independently checked. That same day, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a nearly hysterical speech that sounded like a declaration of war. He insisted that the U.S. government had conclusive proof of the Syrian government’s guilt but he just couldn’t reveal any.

The U.S. press corps showed virtually no skepticism about the U.S. government’s case. Only a few Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com, noted the lack of verifiable proof and the absence of U.S. intelligence officials during the presentations, including none sitting behind Kerry when he made the rounds of congressional hearings.

The evidence regarding the Syrian government guilt apparently was so flimsy that no U.S. intelligence official wanted to play the role of CIA Director George Tenet who popped up behind Secretary of State Colin Powell during his deceptive speech on Feb. 5, 2003, asserting a definitive case that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

But the dog-not-barking in the missing intelligence officials on Syria was ignored by the big media. Instead, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets reprised their Iraq War roles.

The Vector Analysis

In September, the Times even fronted a story – by C.J. Chivers and Rick Gladstone – asserting that it had established Syrian government guilt for the Sarin attack, much as a 2002 Times story reported that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes was proof of a secret nuclear program. That Times story became the basis for President George W. Bush and his top aides scaring the American people with warnings about “mushroom clouds.”

The Chivers-Gladstone story cited the azimuths (or the reverse flight paths) of two Sarin-laden rockets intersecting at a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus, the “slam-dunk” proof of Syrian guilt, making those of us who raised questions about lack of evidence look stupid.

But both Times stories – the one in 2002 and the one in 2013 – collapsed under scrutiny. The Iraqi aluminum tubes, it turned out, were unfit for nuclear centrifuges (and the U.S. invasion force later determined that Iraq had no active nuclear program), and the intersecting azimuths proved false because only one of the two rockets contained Sarin and its maximum range was around 2.5 kilometers, according to scientific analyses, not the necessary 9.5 kilometers for the two azimuths to cross.

So, in December 2013, three months after the Times ran its front-page “vector analysis,” Chivers got the assignment to write a grudging retraction, though the admission of his error was mumbled in the 18th paragraph of a story stuck deep inside the newspaper. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis.”]

Because the retraction was “buried,” however, much of Official Washington still thinks the earlier story, supposedly proving the Syrian government’s guilt, is operational. That’s why you see politicians, like Sen. John McCain, accusing President Barack Obama of cowardice for failing to bomb Syria after it crossed his “red line” against using chemical weapons.

You’ve had a similar rush to judgment in connection with the violence that broke out in Kiev last month. The U.S. government and news media blamed lethal sniper fire on the government of President Viktor Yanukovych and – after he was driven from office by a neo-Nazi-led putsch on Feb. 22 – the U.S. media made much of how the new rump regime in Kiev had accused Yanukovych of mass murder.

However, according to an intercepted phone conversation between Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, Paet reported on a conversation that he had with a doctor in Kiev who said the sniper fire that killed protesters was the same that killed police officers.

As reported by the UK Guardian, “During the conversation, Paet quoted a woman named Olga – who the Russian media identified her as Olga Bogomolets, a doctor – blaming snipers from the opposition shooting the protesters.”

Paet said, “What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.

“So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. … So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”

Ashton replied: “I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”

This important evidence regarding who was responsible for the crucial sniper fire, which sparked the violent coup, has been virtually blacked out of the mainstream U.S. news media, along with the sudden disinterest on the part of the coup regime to investigate who committed those murders. Yet, instead of repairing the rotting foundation of Official Washington’s false narrative, the major news organizations just keep building upon it.

Whiting Out the Brown Shirts

The next step is to white-out the brown shirts of the neo-Nazi storm troopers who led the final violent overthrow of Yanukovych. Then, you clean up the unsavory coup regime by having its U.S.-chosen leader, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, receive a formal welcome at the White House. Next, you pretend that the concerns of the ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east and south are simply the result of Moscow’s propaganda and intimidation.

That’s what we’re seeing now. The New York Times even dispatched correspondent C.J. Chivers, the same guy who falsely fingered the Syrian government with that “vector analysis” last September, to co-author a dispatch entitled “Pressure and Intimidation Grip Crimea,” with the subtitle, “Russia Moves Swiftly to Stifle Dissent Ahead of Secession Vote.”

Chivers and co-author Patrick Reevel wrote: “With a mix of targeted intimidation, an expansive military occupation by unmistakably elite Russian units and many of the trappings of the election-season carnivals that have long accompanied rigged ballots across the old Soviet world, Crimea has been swept almost instantaneously into the Kremlin’s fold.

“This has happened well ahead of the referendum set for Sunday, after which, barring an extraordinary surprise, the peninsula’s interim authorities, led by a previously unsuccessful politician nicknamed the Goblin, will announce that its citizens have voted to leave Ukraine and seek a place in President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.”

You get the picture? While the New York Times accepted the rump parliament’s actions in Kiev last month as “legitimate” – voting in lock step under the watchful of eye of neo-Nazi militias to depose Yanukovych and strip away rights of ethnic Russians – a different standard will apply to Crimea’s referendum on bailing out of the failed Ukrainian state.

That vote, if it favors secession, must be seen as rigged and resulting only from Russian coercion, all the better to continue the false narrative that now dominates the U.S. political/media process.

Yet, the danger of false narratives – as the American people saw in Iraq and almost revisited in Syria – is that policies, including warfare, can be driven by myth, not by fact. The real story of Ukraine is far more complex than the black-and-white caricature that the New York Times, the Washington Post and others are presenting. It is in the truthful grays that responsible policies are shaped and bloody miscalculations are avoided. Source

The Forgotten Coup – How the Godfather Rules from Canberra to Kiev

 By John Pilger

Washington’s role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a “strategic threat”. The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?

The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US “ally”. This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington’s coups – in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a “Ukraine” or a “Chile” could never happen to them.

Australia’s deference to the United States makes Britain, by comparison, seem a renegade. During the American invasion of Vietnam – which Australia had pleaded to join – an official in Canberra voiced a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more about US objectives in that war than its antipodean comrade-in-arms. The response was swift: “We have to keep the Brits informed to keep them happy. You are with us come what may.”

This dictum was rudely set aside in 1972 with the election of the reformist Labor government of Gough Whitlam. Although not regarded as of the left, Whitlam – now in his 98th year – was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride, propriety and extraordinary political imagination. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm” and speak as a voice independent of London and Washington.

On the day after his election, Whitlam ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, beholden to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the Nixon/Kissinger administration as “corrupt and barbaric”, Frank Snepp, a CIA officer stationed in Saigon at the time, said later: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, ostensibly a joint Australian/US “facility”. Pine Gap is a giant vacuum cleaner which, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden recently revealed, allows the US to spy on everyone. In the 1970s, most Australians had no idea that this secretive foreign enclave placed their country on the front line of a potential nuclear war with the Soviet Union.  Whitlam clearly knew the personal risk he was taking – as the minutes of a meeting with the US ambassador demonstrate. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” he warned, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. Consequences were inevitable… a kind of Chile was set in motion.”

The CIA had just helped General Pinochet to crush the democratic government of another reformer, Salvador Allende, in Chile.

In 1974, the White House sent the Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, very senior and sinister figure in the State Department who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to  rise against the government”.

Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded in California by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was a young Christopher Boyce, an idealist who, troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”, became a whistleblower. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.

In his black top hat and medal-laden mourning suit, Kerr was the embodiment of imperium. He was the Queen of England’s Australian viceroy in a country that still recognised her as head of state. His duties were ceremonial; yet Whitlam – who appointed him – was unaware of or chose to ignore Kerr’s long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence.

The Governor-General was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by the Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots’, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.

In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 had long been operating against his government. “The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In interviews in the 1980s with the American investigative journalist Joseph Trento, executive officers of the CIA disclosed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, and that “arrangements” were made. A deputy director of the CIA told Trento: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”

In 1975, Whitlam learned of a secret list of CIA personnel in Australia held by the Permanent Head of the Australian Defence Department, Sir Arthur Tange – a deeply conservative mandarin with unprecedented territorial power in Canberra. Whitlam demanded to see the list. On it was the name, Richard Stallings who, under cover, had set up Pine Gap as a provocative CIA installation. Whitlam now had the proof he was looking for.

On 10 November, 1975, he was shown a top secret telex message sent by ASIO in Washington. This was later sourced to Theodore Shackley, head of the CIA’s East Asia Division and one of the most notorious figures spawned by the Agency. Shackley had been head of the CIA’s Miami-based operation to assassinate Fidel Castro and Station Chief in Laos and Vietnam. He had recently worked on the “Allende problem”.

Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. Incredibly, it said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country.

The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA whose ties to Washington were, and reman binding. He was briefed on the “security crisis”. He had then asked for a secure line and spent 20 minutes in hushed conversation.

On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The problem was solved. Source

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Published in: on March 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm  Comments (2)  
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Cyprus Banks steal Depositors money

This is rather a long read. It is important that we all know the facts. If banks were properly regulated this would not have happened. It all started back in 2008 in the US and is still continuing. The question we all should be asking is, why is it those who created the problem never get punished?

Cyprus Steal The West’s Premeditated Bank Robbery

By Jeff Nielson 04/01/13

VANCOUVER, Canada (Bullions Bull Canada) — The veils have been removed. The open criminality of Western regimes is now on display for all the world to see. Bank robbery is now official government policy across the West with no debate and no voting.

As was noted in my original commentary on this government-perpetrated crime, it was immediately obvious that this was an entirely staged/scripted event. To fully comprehend the premeditated nature of this crime requires a detailed examination of the chronology.

December 10, 2012:

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the UK Bank of England jointly release a “position paper” titled “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” Sounds wonderful: “resolving.” They are finally coming up with a plan to put the “Too Big To Fail” fraud factories out of our misery. Wrong.

This document is a blueprint for precisely the opposite: propping up these TBTF monstrosities forever. This manifesto was simply coming up with new “proposals for financing” — i.e. feeding the Beast. And one of these proposals was the “bail-in.”

…[Item 19] The introduction of a statutory bail-in resolution tool (the power to write down or convert into equity the liabilities of a failing firm)… [emphasis mine]

Why was there no rioting in the streets of the U.S. and UK? Why were there no scathing condemnations from our wonderful “free press?” In fact, why did the media not even mention the “bail-in” was now government policy for the U.S. and UK?

And what about our “leaders,” the politicians? Why did not a single one of these stalwarts in the U.S./UK utter so much as a “peep” about bank robbery becoming official government policy in the United States and United Kingdom?

Because when these traitor governments made this their “official policy” they never fully defined what they really meant by “bail-in.” Here is as close as the FDIC/Bank of England come to telling the truth:

…A bail-in tool would enable the U.K. authorities to recapitalize an institution by allocating losses to its shareholders and unsecured creditors…[emphasis mine]

Why were no UK politicians protesting the “bail-in?” Because when the Bank of England spoke of “allocating losses to…unsecured creditors” no one would have dreamed that what this central bank really meant was stealing the money out of peoples’ bank accounts.

It should be noted that while that provision was explicitly designated as applying only to “the U.K. regime” that it can be implicitly understood that it applies to the U.S. as well. While the provisions for “the U.S. regime” do not use the term “bail-in,” here is the vague language which was employed:

…Title II [of the Dodd-Frank Act] requires that the losses of any financial company placed into receivership will not be borne by taxpayers, but by common and preferred stockholders, debt holders, and other unsecured creditors… [emphasis mine]

December 10, 2012:

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the UK Bank of England jointly release a “position paper” titled “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” Sounds wonderful: “resolving.” They are finally coming up with a plan to put the “Too Big To Fail” fraud factories out of our misery. Wrong.

This document is a blueprint for precisely the opposite: propping up these TBTF monstrosities forever. This manifesto was simply coming up with new “proposals for financing” — i.e. feeding the Beast. And one of these proposals was the “bail-in.”

…[Item 19] The introduction of a statutory bail-in resolution tool (the power to write down or convert into equity the liabilities of a failing firm)… [emphasis mine]

Why was there no rioting in the streets of the U.S. and UK? Why were there no scathing condemnations from our wonderful “free press?” In fact, why did the media not even mention the “bail-in” was now government policy for the U.S. and UK?

And what about our “leaders,” the politicians? Why did not a single one of these stalwarts in the U.S./UK utter so much as a “peep” about bank robbery becoming official government policy in the United States and United Kingdom?

Because when these traitor governments made this their “official policy” they never fully defined what they really meant by “bail-in.” Here is as close as the FDIC/Bank of England come to telling the truth:

…A bail-in tool would enable the U.K. authorities to recapitalize an institution by allocating losses to its shareholders and unsecured creditors…[emphasis mine]

Why were no UK politicians protesting the “bail-in?” Because when the Bank of England spoke of “allocating losses to…unsecured creditors” no one would have dreamed that what this central bank really meant was stealing the money out of peoples’ bank accounts.

It should be noted that while that provision was explicitly designated as applying only to “the U.K. regime” that it can be implicitly understood that it applies to the U.S. as well. While the provisions for “the U.S. regime” do not use the term “bail-in,” here is the vague language which was employed:

…Title II [of the Dodd-Frank Act] requires that the losses of any financial company placed into receivership will not be borne by taxpayers, but by common and preferred stockholders, debt holders, and other unsecured creditors… [emphasis mine]

The official policy of the U.S. government is precisely the same as that of the UK (hence the joint “position paper”). The FDIC simply didn’t articulate its own plans for bank robbery to the same degree. Put another way: There were seven sections detailing how the UK would “resolve” these “systemically important institutions” (but no mention of bank-robbery) versus only two sections for the U.S.

Now we come to the remainder of the chronology, which not only proves that the Cyprus Steal was planned (at least) as far back as December 2012, but that the fix was in: our traitor governments had already reached agreement with the traitor government of Cyprus to perpetrate this crime.

March 15:

The EU banking cabal and its puppet politicians “surprise” the world by announcing a plan to steal money out of the bank accounts of ordinary people in order to “recapitalize” a private bank in Cyprus, while a publicly owned bank would be liquidated and also fed to the private bank. Victimizing the people twice in order to temporarily prop up another reckless/insolvent fraud factory.

As noted previously, this was obviously a proposal intended to fail in this silly, two-act theater. This was proven by the zealous insistence of the European Central Bank that the original proposal must “magnify the hit” on smaller depositors. This would ensure maximum public outrage, and guarantee that the politicians would vote against it.

The ECB is the third member of the Western Troika, along with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. They were solely responsible for the final language of the original proposal; solely responsible for its rejection.

March 19:

Cyprus politicians (government and opposition alike) unanimously reject the “bail-in.” What a surprise!

March 21:

Stephen Harper, leader of Canada’s Conservative government officially tables the 2013 Canadian Budget, which makes the “bail-in” the official law of Canada.

[page 145] The Government proposes to implement a bail-in regime for systemically important banks…

As with the U.S. and UK, the Canadian document contains nothing but weasel-words that never fully define what “bail-in” really means — i.e. robbing peoples’ bank accounts to temporarily prop-up reckless/parasitic banks.

Is Stephen Harper the most stupid politician in the Western world? Two days after the government of Cyprus unanimously rejects bank robbery as a means to “recapitalize banks,” Harper makes this the official law of Canada. Would he really want to go into the next election as “Stephen Harper: Bank Robber of the West” or did Harper know something then, almost no one else knew?

March 25:

The government of Cyprus approves the “new and improved” Cyprus Steal amid reports that the Big Money had already been warned about this bank robbery, and had moved their own money out weeks/months ahead of time.

Now our picture is complete.

We have our traitor governments planning this bank robbery months in advance and warning the big-money oligarchs so they would not be affected. We have them then staging an “emergency.”

The TG’s then tell us that because of this “emergency” they need to instantly raise a lot of money, and so they don’t have time to fairly and systematically “tax” people with some broad, general levy; rather, they “need to” simply seize wealth from a particular group of targeted victims.

This time it was stealing money out of bank accounts. Next time it might be confiscating pensions. The blueprint (i.e. script) is now firmly in place:

  • (Secretly) plan the robbery.
  • Warn the Big Money (so all their wealth is moved to safety).
  • Announce/stage an “emergency.”
  • Perpetrate the theft.

The criminality of the West’s traitor governments is now a matter of record. Their written confessions are contained in official, public documents.

The question then becomes: What will be the response of the Sheep — i.e. the pseudo-citizens of these regimes? Will they simply sit back and submit to a “taxation regime” that has now abandoned even the pretense of legitimacy?

If the answer to that question is “yes” then one can only conclude the Sheep deserve to be robbed. They elect these traitor governments. They continue snoozing when the politicians publicly announce they plan on openly stealing from them. They allow themselves to be robbed.

You can’t help victims who refuse to help themselves.

What about the rest of us, the remaining citizens of these once-legitimate regimes? We have no choice but to protect ourselves — not with guns, but with our brains.

With first “MF Global” and now the Cyprus Steal we have incontrovertible proof that no paper asset is safe in the West. Period.

We must therefore divest ourselves of as much paper as possible, with “physical” gold and silver bullion being the best/safest option. Do not pump every last penny of your wealth into our “bubble” real-estate markets. They are all doomed to suffer major crashes.

Obviously, we will receive no further “warnings” from our governments. Source

 

‘It’s robbery!’ New Cyprus bombshell as Britons are told they may lose EVERYTHING over £85k

  • Bank of Cyprus will see 37.5% of deposits over £85k converted into shares
  • Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80%
  • Experts say there is a good chance that shares will be worthless

By Dan Atkinson And Ian Gallagher

March 31 2013

British expats in Cyprus face a near-total wipe-out of any deposits over £85,000 as the full nightmare  of the stricken island’s EU bailout became clear yesterday.

Although it was known that the wealthiest savers would take a  large hit from last week’s €10 billion (£8.5 billion) EU rescue deal, the loss is far greater than feared.

The blow will fall on customers of the country two biggest banks – Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank.

Bank of Cyprus savers will see 37.5 per cent of any deposits over €100,000 (£85,000) converted into shares in the bank, with a strong possibility that these will prove worthless. Another 40 per cent will be repaid only if the bank does well in future, while 22.5 per cent will go into a contingency fund that could be subject to further write-offs.

Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80 per cent of their deposits above the £85,000 limit.

An early bailout plan – highlighted by The Mail on Sunday two weeks ago – would have seen the losses shared across all bank customers, regardless of their balance.

However, that plan was voted down by the Cypriot parliament, leaving the country in urgent need of a new solution to raise its €5.8 billion contribution towards the bailout.

The deal – which was clinched last Monday between Cyprus, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund – made clear that richer bank customers would shoulder a much larger bill.

Although it is not known how many of the 60,000 British expats living  on the island have deposits of  more than £85,000, it is likely that a considerable number will be caught in the net.

Neil Hodgson, 48, who moved to Paphos, on the south-west coast of the island, six years ago, said he has lost nearly £200,000. The former farmer, who has two accounts with Bank of Cyprus, added: ‘I had more than €300,000 in my deposit account and €20,000 in my current account. When I went to the bank the other day I was told the total balance for both is €100,000.

‘They were unable to explain how this had been worked out but indicated I might get some back at a later stage.

‘I checked online and it confirmed that the €20,000 in my current account remains, but that I only have €80,000 in my savings account. It’s robbery, plain and simple.’

Laiki Bank customers are also reported to be facing the loss of 80 per cent of their deposits above the £85,000 limit

Banks in Cyprus are open for normal business but with strict restrictions on how much money their clients can access, after being shut for nearly two weeks

Mr Hodgson, from Newcastle upon Tyne, whose wife died two years ago, said he moved to Cyprus believing he was destined for a ‘happy life of semi-retirement’.

‘Our farm in Ayrshire was bought by a mining company and I came into a lot of money,’ he added. ‘We moved to Cyprus for the sunshine and easy life but it has turned into  a nightmare.

‘My big mistake was to move all my money here, but at the time things were very stable. Most of  the Brits here had the foresight to move their money in the last few months, but I genuinely thought it would be OK. I’m not sure what the future holds now.’

The Treasury has said it will  compensate any of the 3,000 British Service personnel facing losses.
Those hit hardest include thousands of wealthy Russians who  have deposited millions of euros on the stricken island. Peter Dixon, strategist at European bank Commerzbank, said: ‘These suggested new sacrifices being demanded of better-off depositors sound even worse than we assumed.

‘The problems in Cyprus are twofold. First, the central bank ignored the huge build-up of debt. There was a problem of mismanagement.

‘Secondly, the Cypriots essentially imposed these tough solutions on themselves and the eurozone rubber-stamped them.’

Last week markets took fright at suggestions that the Cyprus model could be a blueprint for future  bailouts elsewhere in Europe.

Those with less than £85,000 in the bank have also seen themselves hit by the bailout. Temporary capital controls have been imposed to stop residents taking cash off the island, including capping cash machine withdrawals at €300 a day.

At the same time, businesses have been told they will be unable to transfer more than €5,000 abroad without approval, while no one, including tourists, can leave the island with over €1,000 in cash.

Meanwhile, the spotlight has now swung to Slovenia, another small member of the single currency in which investors are losing faith.

Last week, the price it had to pay to borrow money jumped sharply as markets began to take account of the risk that the country may default on its debts. However, on Friday, finance minister Uros Cufer insisted: ‘We will need no bailout this year. I am calm.’

 

Dan Atkinson: How the euro turned into the biggest theft in history

For a currency that promised to provide a sure bet on a glorious future, the euro is turning into the biggest theft of people’s savings in Western Europe since the war.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal  and Spain were among the first  to be crushed by the fallacy of  a one-size-fits-all currency.  Now it is Cyprus’s turn, and the scale of losses for some savers  is eye-watering.

Last week, the latest Cypriot bailout proposals hinted at a 40 per cent levy on all deposits of more than €100,000, or £85,000. This weekend, it emerged that the true cost for those better-off depositors could be much closer  to 80 per cent. British expats feature prominently among those who will suffer from an effective confiscation of their assets.

Claims that the victims are shady Russian oligarchs have  a nasty whiff to them, and even  if some of the cash that will be taken is of doubtful provenance, that cannot justify the burden now being placed on the tiny island economy.

Smaller savers may not have been hit by a levy on their bank accounts, but they will be swept up in the economic storm that is sure to descend  on Cyprus as a result of such draconian measures.

It’s tempting to wonder why any troubled eurozone country like Cyprus was ever let into what was obviously a rich man’s club.

But that is unfair – the poorer members were welcomed with open arms, with the assurance that the euro would turn them into German-style economic titans. It was like persuading  a pauper to join a casino.

Yes, Cyprus let its banking sector balloon wildly and, yes, it is the Cypriot government that has dreamt up some of the more masochistic features of the various bailout plans.

But all this human sacrifice in the eurozone – austerity, mass unemployment, arbitrary bank account levies – is about saving the euro. You wonder how much pain there has to be before someone realises that what must be sacrificed is the euro itself. Source

Morici: The Insanity of the Cyprus Crisis

By Peter Morici 03/28/13

NEW YORK Cyprus did not manufacture its banking crisis. The European Central Bank and European Union bear that responsibility. Yet, Cypriots will pay the price for their dysfunctions.

Until recently, Cyprus was a prosperous island economy with robust tourism, shipping and a significant international banking sector. Its big banks, like others in Europe, attracted large overseas deposits and invested heavily in sovereign debt. In Cyprus, much of the money came from Russia and was invested in Greek bonds.

Like the United States, the large banks are subject to stress tests but with an important distinction. The Federal Reserve is responsible both for undertaking those tests and sustaining the operation and protecting depositors of large money center banks in a crisis. During the recent financial meltdown, the Federal Reserve printed billions of dollars to purchase souring bonds and the U.S. Treasury borrowed to inject new capital into large banks when their mortgage-backed securities failed.

In the eurozone, the European Banking Authority undertakes those stress tests, and in 2010 and 2011 — well aware of their considerable holdings in Greek bonds — determined Cypriot banks had plenty of capital to withstand a financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Greece was in the throes of a financial crisis. In February 2012, the European Central Bank and European Union, along with the International Monetary Fund, imposed a 53.5% haircut on all private bondholders — for all practical purposes, that sunk the large Cypriot banks and manufactured their crisis.

Unlike the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank lacks the authority to print money to rescue failing banks. European Banking Authority is an arm of the European Union, which lacks the borrowing authority of the U.S. Treasury and the taxing capacity to back up bonds. Hence neither the ECB nor EU is in a position to bail out the Cypriot banks without substantial contributions and consent from the largest and healthiest European economy, Germany.

Germany might be willing to extend ECB the authority to print money and the EU to borrow and tax to save banks in Frankfurt but not in Cyprus or just about anyplace outside Germany. Domestic politics prevent the German government from borrowing and taxing to bail out other troubled European banks and governments without extracting a high price from private actors. In Greece, those were private bondholders, which included banks spread throughout Europe but most heavily those in Cyprus.

Simply, Cypriot banks hardly have enough capital to cover their losses on Greek sovereign debt, and their economy is too small to afford the Cypriot government the borrowing and taxing capacity to rescue them.

In exchange for 10 billion euros in aid, the ECB and EU are demanding that Cypriot banks be downsized — banking in Cyprus can be no larger than the average for the entire European Union. Moreover, under eurozone rules, championed by Germany, austerity — cuts in government spending and strict limits on deficits — will be required.

In Cyprus, the loss of international banking will impose double-digit unemployment of perhaps as high as 20% because this small island economy cannot devalue its currency to attract new investment, as Iceland did after its crisis. Most laid-off workers, whose native tongue is generally Greek, have few employment options elsewhere in Europe.

Thanks to a crisis manufactured by the European Central Bank and European Union, with the help of the International Monetary Fund, Cyprus will join Spain, Portugal and Greece in a permanent recession.

Spain suffered a similar banking crisis premised on foreign money inflows and real estate loans and similar problems engineering a recovery. The contrast between Spain and Cyprus, which are locked into the euro, and Iceland, which has its own currency and recovered, plainly illustrates the euro does not make sense for these economies.

Germany’s prescription for all these economies is austerity. Observing failed experiences with those policies across the Mediterranean recalls the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

The bailout terms and prescriptions for restructuring imposed on Cyprus are nothing short of insane, and the only sane course would be for Cyprus and the other Club Med states to negotiate an orderly withdrawal from the euro. Source

The Great Cyprus Bank Robbery

Ron Paul

After Cyprus, the EU’s Attention Turns to Tiny Luxembourg

By Peter Coy

March 29, 2013

It’s getting hot in Luxembourg, a nation that’s something like Cyprus on steroids. Its population is smaller and its banking sector is bigger. If you thought it was risky for banks in Cyprus to have assets about eight times the national gross domestic product, then what is one to make of Luxembourg, where the multiple is nearly 23?

Worryingly for Luxembourg, there’s a new idea afloat that European Union nations, even small ones, should take responsibility for saving banks operating within their borders, instead of falling back on the EU for help. This week, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is president of the euro zone group of finance ministers, had tough words for the likes of Luxembourg and Malta in a joint Reuters-Financial Times interview:

Deal with it before you get in trouble. Strengthen your banks, fix your balance sheets, and realize that if a bank gets in trouble, the response will no longer automatically be: We’ll come and take away your problems. We’re going to push them back. That’s the first response that we need. Push them back. You deal with them.

Dijsselbloem later said that he did not intend to say that the original Cyprus plan to tax depositors of Cypriot banks should be a template for other bailouts.

Seemingly in response, the government of Luxembourg warned that the European Union risks hurting financial stability if it moves to isolate banking systems within national borders. “Luxembourg will therefore not adhere to policies that intend to renationalize elements of the single market,” the government said in an e-mailed statement, according to Bloomberg News.

In a March 27 statement, (PDF) the Luxembourg government said it is “concerned about recent statements and declarations” on financial systems and the “alleged risks” of over-dependence on banks. It pointed to the “very high solvency ratios” of the mostly international banks, insurers, and asset managers operating on Luxembourg soil.

Luxembourg has a population of about 520,000 people, making it no bigger than Albuquerque, N.M. It relied on financial services for 23.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2011, the highest proportion in Europe, according to the European Union’s statistics office. The figure for Cyprus was 8.9 percent. Assets of its banks are nearly 23 times as big as the national gross domestic product. That compares with a little over eight for Cyprus. Still, Luxembourg’s banks are far healthier than those of Cyprus, which were overexposed to Greece.

There’s no realistic way for Luxembourg to rescue its banking sector if serious trouble develops. That’s why for Luxembourg, shoring up the commitment to shared responsibility for bank bailouts is a matter of life and death. Source

 

European Austerity Costing Lives:

As the euro crisis wears on, the tough austerity measures implemented in ailing member states are resulting in serious health issues, a study revealed on Wednesday. Mental illness, suicide rates and epidemics are on the rise, while access to care has dwindled. Source

 

Financial Wars:

Attack is the Best Form of Defence

By Alexander GOROKHOV

The US has been using its best endeavours to create a Free Trade Zone with the European Union with a view to finally removing the remaining barriers to the penetration of American capital into Europe and, after engineering the collapse of the euro, to buy up Europe’s tastiest morsels using vastly inflated dollars under the pretext of saving the EU’s economy.Source

The criminals are protected and everyone else pays.

Believe me when I say no one wants to live in a Free Trade Zone.

 

Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm  Comments Off on Cyprus Banks steal Depositors money  
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Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece

Oct. 19 2011

ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of rioting youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens on Wednesday during a big anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures that erupted into violence.

Outside parliament, demonstrators hurled chunks of marble and gasoline bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said at least 14 officers were hospitalized with injuries. At least three journalists covering the demonstrations sustained minor injuries.

The violence spread across the city centre, as at least 100,000 people marched through the Greek capital on the first day of a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest protest in years.

Police and rioters held running battles through the narrow streets of central Athens, as thick black smoke billowed from burning trash and bus-stops.

Wednesday’s strike, which grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops and schools, came before a parliamentary vote late Thursday on new tax increases and spending cuts.

International creditors have demanded the reforms before they give Greece its next infusion of cash. Greece says it will run out of money in a month without the C8 billion ($11 billion) bailout money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.

Most of the protesters who converged in central Athens marched peacefully, but crowds outside of parliament clashed with police who tried to disperse them with repeated rounds of tear gas. A gasoline bomb set fire to a presidential guard sentry post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Parliament, while running clashes broke out in several side streets near the legislature and the capital’s main Syntagma Square.

Nearby, groups of hooded, masked protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs. Scuffles also broke out among rioters and demonstrators trying to prevent youths from destroying storefronts and banks along the march route.

Vendors sold swimming goggles to rioters, who used them to ward off the tear gas.

Thousands of people watched the skirmishes, some standing on kiosk roofs to get a better view. Trash was strewn around the streets, and some protesters set clumps of it on fire.

In Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, protesters smashed the facades of about 10 shops that defied the strike and remained open, as well as five banks and cash machines. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades.

All sectors — from dentists, hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers — walked off the job before a parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures which include new taxes and the suspension of tens of thousands of civil servants.

Flights were grounded in the morning but some resumed at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their strike plan from 48 hours to 12. Dozens of domestic and international flights were still cancelled. Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged work stoppages but kept buses, trolleys and the Athens subway system running to help protesters.

In Parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told lawmakers that Greeks had no choice but to accept the hardship.

“We have to explain to all these indignant people who see their lives changing that what the country is experiencing is not the worst stage of the crisis,” he said. “It is an anguished and necessary effort to avoid the ultimate, deepest and harshest level of the crisis. The difference between a difficult situation and a catastrophe is immense.”

About 3,000 police deployed in central Athens, shutting down two subway stations near parliament as protest marches began. Protesters banged drums and chanted slogans against the government and Greece’s international creditors who have pressured the country to push through rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts.

“We just can’t take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness,” said Nikos Anastasopoulos, head of a workers’ union for an Athens municipality.

Other municipal workers said they had no option but to take to the streets.

“We can’t make ends meet for our families,” said protester Eleni Voulieri. “We’ve lost our salaries, we’ve lost everything and we’re in danger of losing our jobs.”

Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the centre of Athens convulsed by violence as rioters clashed with police on both days while deputies voted on another austerity package inside Parliament.

Piles of garbage festered on Athens street corners despite Tuesday’s government order to garbage crews to end their 17-day strike. Earlier in the week, private crews removed some trash from along the planned demonstration routes, but mounds remained on side streets, along some of the march routes and in city neighbourhoods.

Protesting civil servants have also staged rounds of sit-ins at government buildings, with some, including the Finance Ministry, under occupation for days.

Most stores in the city centre, including bakeries and kiosks were shut Wednesday. Several shop owners said they had received threats that their stores would be smashed if they attempted to open.

The measures to be voted on come after more than a year and a half of repeated spending cuts and tax increases. They include new tax hikes, further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labour contracts.

A communist party-backed union has vowed to encircle Parliament Thursday in an attempt to prevent deputies from entering the building for the vote.

The reforms have been so unpopular that even some lawmakers from the governing Socialists have indicated they might vote against them.

Meanwhile, European countries are trying to work out a broad solution to the continent’s deepening debt crisis, before a weekend summit in Brussels. It became clear earlier this year that the initial bailout for Greece was not working as well as had been hoped, and European leaders agreed on a second, C109 billion ($151 billion) bailout. But key details of that rescue fund, including the participation of the private sector, remain to be worked out. Source

EU raids banks amid suspicions they colluded

Oct. 19, 2011

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s competition watchdog said Wednesday it conducted unannounced inspections at several banks amid suspicions they may have colluded to manipulate euro interest rate derivatives.

The European Commission said it is looking into a possible cartel by companies active in the sector of derivatives linked to the Euro Interbank Offered Rate — a key interest-rate benchmark.

The Commission said the raids started on Tuesday, but didn’t name the firms whose premises it inspected.

There are trillions of euros in derivatives whose value is based on developments in the Euribor and they make up a significant slice of the profitable business of derivatives trading, which has grown exponentially in recent years.

The Euribor is set by a group of 44 banks and is based on the interest rates they charge for lending to other financial institutions.

Inspections, during which investigators collect documents that could aid their case, are an early step in EU competition probes and happen before the Commission starts an in-depth investigation into suspected cartels and other violations of EU competition law.

The inspections are another sign that competition watchdogs are stepping up their scrutiny of the financial sector as a result of the 2008 credit crunch and the European debt crisis.

Press reports earlier this year said that the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission were looking into suspected manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is a benchmark rate similar to the Euribor but used much more widely.

Earlier this year, the European Commission also opened an investigation into practices of some of the world’s largest banks in the market for credit default swaps, derivatives that act as a sort of insurance against default.Source

The US should be investigating their own banks including the Federal Reserve.

They lead to the downfall of Greece.

The International Monetary Fund is basically run by the US and other rich countries. It  is a horrid creature that should be eliminated as should the World Bank. Both are nothing more then a dictatorship that imposed massive hardship on countries. The  IMF Can Only Bring Misery.

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

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

Check out what they do in Africa.

The World Bank and IMF in Africa

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Greece Country Profile

If the US  can’t get you with the IMF, World Bank or Free Trade Agreements  — they send in the CIA.

One way or the other they will make your lives miserable and even kill you to get what they want. They even start wars to get what they want.

One has to wonder how many problems are still created by the CIA in other countries. They can  cause financial chaos to other countries as well. They manipulate elections in other countries and invent anything to overturn governments they do not like.

One has to wonder if those Masked folks in Greece that stir up violence, may be associated with the CIA.  The US does not like Socialism. That is one of their tactics they use often.

This fellow has a number of Videos that can be watched I recommend them all so you can get some insight into what the CIA is really like. They have not changed over the years only now everything they do is kept secret and always chalked up to National Security so no one can find out what they are up to.  Do take the time to watch as many of the Video with John in them.  Then maybe you will understand just how the US destroys other countries.

John Stockwell – CIA’s War on Humans

Feb 13, 2008

John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty. After managing U.S. involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies, a book which remains the only detailed, insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action.”

Some things never change

More John Stockwell on the CIA and the Covert Action

John Stockwell on the Election of George H. W. Bush (1988)

This explains how they did many things as well, They had a lot of help from Israel in their horrific deeds against innocent people as well.

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

So look at the world around us today and you will notice nothing has changed only gotten worse and the US is still starting wars. They still interfere with other Governments. They still topple Governments they don’t like. Now they have more weapons like the IMF, World Bank, Free Trade, WTO etc.

I could bet a few dollars they have everything to do with the problems in Greece and many other EU countries deep in debt. Wars are also driving countries deep in debt.

Greek lawmakers vote in favour of new austerity bill

Oct. 20 2011

ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers have passed a deeply resented austerity bill that has led to violent protests on the streets of Athens, despite some dissent from one Socialist lawmaker.

The new measures include pay and staff cuts in the civil service as well as pension cuts and tax hikes for all Greeks. The bill passed by majority vote in the 300-member parliament.

Former Labor Minister Louka Katseli voted against one article that scales back collective labour bargaining rights. She voted in favour of the overall bill, but Prime Minister George Papandreou expelled her from the party’s parliamentary group. The move whittles down his parliamentary majority to 153.

The vote came after violent demonstrations that left one person dead and 74 injured. Source

Recent

World Wide Occupy Wall Street Protests

Pentagon Insider Says Green Light On Israel/USA To Strike Iran Within 2 Weeks

Jewish ‘Heroes’ Contest: “self-loving” Jew VS “self-destructive.

UN Member States Must Demand Action Against NATO War Crimes

Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

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

Wall Street/Washington Protesters an Inspiration to Behold

Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece  
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Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

A nurse shouts slogans during a protest by hospital staff in Athens, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. (AP / Thanassis Stavrakis)

Disenchanted citizens promise to fill the streets of financial districts en masse this weekend as they grow weary of bailing out banks. EurActiv Greece contributed to this article.

While people in the US, the UK, and many European countries including Belgium, are mobilising for mass street protests in their cities this Saturday, people in the capital of the EU will put on a comparatively smaller show.

500 protesters expected in Brussels

In comparison to the 4,000 people expected to arrive at the London Stock Exchange, just over 500 people are expected to arrive at Rue Wiertz outside the European Parliament in Brussels.

Belgium has been recently hard hit by financial scandal after it emerged that the CEO of the nationalised Dexia bank has been living at a Brussels hotel three days a week for the past three years.

The bank downplayed Pierre Mariani’s actions, saying he paid for the room by himself.  Moreover, figures in the Belgian press indicate that the Dexia bailout will cost €5,000 per taxpayer.

Trade unionists in Brussels claim they have tried to get in touch with the Occupy Brussels movement to show their support but have not had any luck finding a spokesperson.

Patricia Grillo, a spokesperson from the European Trade Union Confederation said there was “no boss, between brackets” because the protestors probably do not want to align themselves with any group or political party to get more people involved.

Asked about the significance of the protests, a spokesperson for the European Commission answered: “How does that concern us?”

The lack of support from EU policymakers has upset followers of the movement who say it highlights why people feel compelled to make themselves heard on the street.

“That really pinpoints why there is such an explosion of activity, and that is the idea that people in places of influence are not worried about what citizens think,” Naomi Colvin, a supporter of Occupy the London Stock Exchange, the UK-arm of the protest, told EurActiv.

The predicted turnout figures in Europe are paltry compared to the number of participants in the US. An umbrella group for the entire movement stateside, Occupy Together, has a total 99,260 followers.

In the last few days, US news media report that the protests have escalated and in some parts, grown personal. Yesterday, thousands of protestors targeted the houses of several billionaires on the Upper East Side of New York.

Occupy LSX

The London protests, dubbed Occupy LSX, are unlikely to target individuals’ homes, says Colvin, as this has not been agreed at the movement’s General Assembly which has been planning the march.

“It is a bad idea to personalise this. That is a misrepresentation of what we are talking about. We are talking about a systemic problem,” Colvin said.

Colvin explained that the movement had many goals, among which, that action is taken against investment banks and credit rating agencies who allowed sub-prime mortgages to be wrapped up in AAA-rated Credit Default Swaps, swelling a bubble of toxic assets.

Observers lament that the man on the street does not know what they are protesting about but Colvin insists that laymen do understand the actions taken by banks which caused the crisis.

“There is a real danger in assuming that this is too complex for people to understand. It’s like selling medicines that were not labelled properly. Would we want that to happen?” she said.

Prosecuting bankers?

Since the crisis not a single person or institution has been either indicted or convicted for misleading clients on CDS. Financial analysts in the US believe that banks like Goldman Sachs, which have been selling CDS linked to sub-prime, won’t face criminal prosecution related to these sales because such a move could threaten the financial system.

“The real question is not whether some people are put in prison but whether democracy is restored and the financial sector serves the real economy again. They should be taxed like any other economic sector and become truly accountable to the people,” Sven Giegold, a German Green told EurActiv.  The German Greens have called on their electorate to participate in Saturday’s protests.

After the protest, some countries in Europe will enter a phase of general strikes. Colvin hopes a strike in the UK on 6th November will underline the movement’s motives.

This week Greece has been inundated with protests against further austerity measures involving wage and pension cuts and 30,000 planned redundancies.

According to EurActiv Greece, ongoing protests are bringing Athens to a standstill, literally, as a 10-day strike by Greek Petroleum prevented drivers from getting fuel yesterday. Buses, trams and metros stopped purely in protest at the cuts.

These strikes will culminate in a general strike planned for 19 October with many banks, petrol stations, public servants (from municipal administrations to government departments), teachers and students threatening to participate.

Next steps:
  • 15 Oct.: “Indignados” protests across European cities.
  • 19 Oct.: General strike in Greece.

Source

Public Transport halted as Greek strikes spread

ATHENS — Unions and protesters shut down the Acropolis, halted public transport and occupied government buildings on Thursday, intensifying their confrontation with the Greek government as it scrambles to push more painful cuts through parliament.Greece’s largest labour union, the GSEE, sided with protesting public servants and announced plans to strike on Oct. 19 and 20, in opposition to the Socialist government’s “ineffective and catastrophic policies,” it said.Stores and even farmers’ markets in Athens are also due to close on the first day of the strike.Public servants are the main targets of new austerity measures, slated for parliamentary approval Oct. 20, that include across-the-board salary cuts, and the suspension of 30,000 workers on the state payroll with reduced salaries.Pensioners will also see more cuts, and salary earners will pay higher taxes, while parliament has already approved an emergency property tax due to be levies starting this month through electricity bills.

“The recession is deepening, unemployment has rocketed to appalling heights, the economy is collapsing, the living standards of our people has been pushed back decades back,” the civil servants’ union ADEDY said. “Employees and society are being driven to despair as the (government) pursues its policies that are creating the economic deadlock.”

The barrage of punishing reforms comes after Greece acknowledged it would miss its deficit-cutting targets in 2011 and promised international debt inspectors to take further corrective action in 2012.

The country is surviving on C110 billion ($151 billion) in rescue loans from other eurozone members and the International Monetary Fund, and would default next month unless it receives the next bailout payment of C8 billion ($11 billion) to be considered for approval next week.

Matthias Mors, a European Commission debt inspector, said in a newspaper interview published Thursday that they were aware of the difficulties the government faced in imposing so many reforms in such a short space of time.

“But I would say that we are at a critical moment, where Greece has to convince the international community and the other euro area members that it is willing and able to reach the objectives it has committed itself to,” the daily Kathimerini quoted him as saying.

Mors said Greece needed to overhaul its bloated public sector, but that it had agreed with the government that this should be done over the course of five years.

“We are not saying that there should be large-scale dismissals,” he said.

Outside parliament, hundreds of transport workers and protesting hospital staff — some sporting surgical equipment and wearing oxygen masks — staged anti-governmeht rallies that ended peacefully.

Elsewhere, protesting Culture Ministry employees sealed the entrance to the Acropolis and other ancient sites and museums, while protesting power workers occupied administrative offices of the Public Power Corporation to try and disrupt the distribution of property tax notices.

And local government workers stormed a nationwide meeting of mayors, scuffling with organizers. Their protest has halted garbage collection for 12 days in the Greek capital — causing piles of trash to build up on street corners.

State television and radio journalists, lawyers, hospital doctors, teachers, customs and tax officers, seamen and municipal workers have also either walked off the job or are planning strikes in the coming days. Taxi drivers are expected to stay off the streets Friday during the second day of the public transport strike, leaving private cars as the only transport in Athens.  Source

Hit the pocket books and the profiteers might listen.

Greece really knows how to protest. The people in Greece stand together, which is what makes their protests more effective then some others around the world.  They also do not give up.

They are not about to loss their pension, jobs, or social services.

The rest of the world could use their ideas in their own protests. United We Stand, divided we fall.

We, all around the world are fighting for the same things.

Greeks are definitely an inspiration to the rest of the world. The greedy bankers and bad corporations, helped put them in the position they are in as well as the IMF and probably Free Trade.

Free Trade has caused more poverty and job losses then any other agreements ever implemented around the world. Which leads back the the US and so do the bad bankers as well.

These protesters hot the homes of the profiteers.

Protesters who say the state’s tax on millionaires should not expire marched on the Upper East Side apartments of five of the city’s richest men Tuesday.

They carried giant checks for $5 billion – how much they say the state will lose when the tax dies in December – made out to “the top 1%” and tried to give them to each tycoon.

The target list: News Corp.CEO Rupert Murdoch, conservative billionaire David Koch, financier Howard Milstein, JP Morgan ChaseCEO Jamie Dimon and hedge fund titan John Paulson.

“(Gov.) Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature are about to give this man and his billionaire friends a $5 billion tax cut,” the crowd of several hundred chanted at each address.

“We are the 99% and we are here to say no more tax cuts for the billionaires while we cut schoolteachers, firefighters and cops.”

For the rest of the story and video go HERE
Greedy bankers, Free Trade, and the cost of continual Wars cause major problems in the US as well as other NATO countries.
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Published in: on October 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm  Comments Off on Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels  
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Canada and the European Union: Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda

April 1 2010

By Dana Gabriel

Although there is a need for Canada to expand its trade horizons, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated with the European Union (EU) appears to be based on the flawed NAFTA model. Many view it as an opportunity to decrease its trade reliance on the U.S., but it could serve to accelerate the corporate takeover of the country.

The deal would exceed NAFTA in its scope and with the third round of negotiations scheduled for April 19-23 in Ottawa, there are lingering concerns regarding its lack of transparency. A Canada-EU CETA could be used to expand NAFTA, strengthen U.S.-EU economic relations and further advance the transatlantic agenda.

Some believe that the recent Canada-U.S. Agreement on Government Procurement is an important step in providing protection for future bilateral trade relations, but in the process it opens up provincial and municipal contracts to foreign corporations.

Maude Barlow and Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians criticized the Conservative government for giving up too much and receiving too little. In an collaborative article they emphasized that, “The provinces have been loath to sign the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement and did not agree to include subnational procurement in NAFTA because they could lose too much say in how public money is spent without getting any new access to the U.S. market.” They went on to say, “We believe the Buy American controversy provided Harper and the provinces, who are actively engaged in ambitious free-trade talks with Europe, with an opportunity to restructure the Canadian economy to reduce the role of our communities in setting spending priorities.”

As part of the proposed CETA with Canada, one of the EU’s top objectives includes gaining access to procurement and services in areas of health, energy, water, as well as other sectors. The Canada-U.S. Buy American deal is an extension of NAFTA and has set a precedent which could further reinforce EU demands.

In mid-December 2009, Internet law columnist Michael Geist reported that the EU had proposed negotiating an intellectual property chapter which could reshape Canadian copyright law. He stated that, “While the leaked document may only represent the starting European position, there is little doubt there will be enormous pressure on Canadian negotiators to cave on the IP provision in return for ‘gains’ in other areas.” This also ties into Canada’s participation in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations which also include the EU, U.S. and other nations. With respect to the Canada-EU CETA, Geist also acknowledged that, “When combined with ACTA, the two agreements would render Canadian copyright law virtually unrecognizable as Canada would be required to undertake a significant rewrite of its law. The notion of a ‘made-in-Canada’ approach – already under threat from ACTA – would be lost entirely, replaced by a made-in-Washington-and-Brussels law.” Both the U.S. and the EU have singled out Canada for criticism on intellectual property and are pressing for copyright along with other reforms. Conceding to such demands could severely compromise Canadian interests.

Opposition to the scope and process of Canada-EU trade negotiations is increasing. The talks have been marred by secrecy, with little disclosure on the part of the Canadian government and hardly a mention from the mainstream media. Sighting serious concerns, groups such as the Council of Canadians are calling for full transparency They are also demanding a comprehensive impact assessment, protection for public services and procurement, along with the exclusion of any investment chapter. There are fears that a Canada-EU CETA could include provisions such as NAFTA’s Chapter 11, which gives corporations the power to challenge governmental laws and regulations that restrict their profits. NDP International Trade critic Peter Julian recently berated Canadian negotiators for using the obsolete and harmful NAFTA template. He proclaimed, “We need to push the Canada-EU negotiations towards a much more progressive fair trade model.” Julian admitted, “It is regrettable that it seems to have been pushed aside for a NAFTA-style agreement that would decrease most Canadian incomes, encourage lower standards and lead to the loss of democratic sovereignty.” A Canada-EU CETA would further promote transatlantic ties and could later include the U.S., as well as Mexico.

In 2007, the U.S.-EU reached a deal on a new Transatlantic Economic Partnership in an effort to work towards eliminating trade barriers, increasing investment and streamlining harmonization on regulations. The agreement established the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) as a permanent body. Trade policy analyst, Daniella Markheim compared the TEC to the now defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America. “Both the SPP and the TEC address property rights protection and enforcement, effective inspections and data sharing on food safety, border measures affecting trade, and other economic and security concerns.” She also added, “Both of these are forums that enable the U.S. and its significant trade partners to find new avenues to improve the flow of commerce and promote greater coherence and consistency in trade rules and regulations.” A Canada-EU free trade agreement would deepen transatlantic economic integration and advance plans for a common market in the region.

Negotiations are proceeding quickly which could lead to a Canada-EU CETA being signed by 2011. The deal would be subject to compatibility with the terms of NAFTA and could help revive and expand the trilateral accord. In addition to further liberalizing trade in goods, services, investment and procurement, it could also include a labour mobility provision. Interlocking superstates are the foundation for global governance and much like the formation of the EU, a North American Union is being created incrementally. Take NAFTA, along with the SPP agenda which is still moving forward through other initiatives, combine it with the TEC, as well as a Canada-EU CETA and you have the basis for a Transatlantic Union.

Source

Because of NAFTA hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in Canada.

In the first month alone over 100,000 jobs were lost. They have continued to vanish. It was and still is a crappy agreement. Oh sure there were jobs created ones that payed much less however. The descent jobs vanished and people were driven into poverty. Worker safety declined as well. Workers rights went down as well.  Hiring agency’s moved in. They suck the big one.

Lots of privatization happened, which also drove down wages. Work for welfare happened also driving down wages. Nothing like a good slave working for free. People were abused and still are all the time. Some people really love slaves.  Of course when you have free labor you also loose more jobs to the free slave labor and more people end up in extreme poverty. Many end up up working for welfare and they too become slaves. Good for Canada for being so stupid. Makes for lots of desperate workers however.

Even a lot of farmers went out of business. One should always protect the people that feed you.

Safety standards for products also disappear.

Free Trade agreement are terrible. Your standard of living will get worse and the stuff you buy is more times then not, just  junk.  Quality bottoms out.

The cost of living goes up. Privatization drive the cost of living way up. Heat, hydro, water, food  etc. goes up drastically.  Few profit and more are driven into poverty. This has happened in all countries, that participate in Free Trade. The rich get richer and the poor get very much poorer.

If Harper isn’t doing things to take Canadian jobs away, as Free Trade agreements actually do that, he is attempting to remove Canadians freedom of speech.

Israel: Attempting to take away Canadians Freedom of Speech

Or not being truthful to the Canadian public.

Canada: Heavily edited Afghan documents prove need for inquiry

Or does anyone remember this one

Stephen Harper hid the actual cost of the War

Do Canadians now know the true cost of the War. No of course not.

Because of the war Canadians are now in Debt.  A war based on lies I might add.

Canada is going down hill. Not the wonderful place it once was.

Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy

The Harper government has obstructed the issuance of a visa to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, resulting in the cancellation of Dr. Barghouti’s upcoming speaking tour in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.  Dr. Barghouti applied for a visa on March 5th, for entry into Canada on March 19th, yet despite the urgency of the issue being brought directly to high-level officials in Foreign Affairs and Citizenship and Immigration, the government delayed the issuance of a visa to the point where Barghouti missed two key flights, resulting in a cancellation of Barghouti’s visit.  In addition to being a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and a former presidential candidate, Dr. Barghouti is a recent Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  In the past, Dr. Barghouti has received a visa to Canada within 24 hours after applying.

Source

This one is beyond appalling
Respect MP George Galloway has been blocked from visiting Canada because of his support for Hamas, the country’s immigration office has said.
Opposition New Democratic Party MP Olivia Chow accused the government of “censorship” for not allowing Mr Galloway to tout his anti-war messages in Canada.

Denying him entry to this country is “an affront to freedom of speech” and shows the Canadian government “is frightened of an open debate on an unpopular war,” she said. Source

George Galloways only crime is he care about the people of Gaza and the fact they are suffering from lack of everything. Food, medical care etc etc etc. That is no reason to ban him from a country any country.

I am guessing this Jewish British MP Sir Gerald would be banned from Canada as well. He wasn’t to pleased with Israel either.

Canada certainly has changed since Harper was elected and not for the better.

Even his party members need permission to talk to the press. How sad, even they do not have freedom of speech.

Proroguing parliament twice in as many years, has not sat well with Canadian either.

Harper is shooting himself in the foot.

He is suppose to respect and work for Canadians, but that  is not what is happening.

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Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 5:34 am  Comments Off on Canada and the European Union: Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda  
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Israel on Trial – The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

March 5 2010

The first session of The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) has found European Union member States to be in Breach of International and internal European Union Law with respect to the protection of Palestinian human rights.

Full findings here.

The jury, comprised of eminent legal experts and human rights defenders heard two days of reports from international experts and witnesses on the issues of:

  • the principle of respect for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination;
  • the settlements and the plundering of natural resources;
  • the annexation of East Jerusalem;
  • the blockade of Gaza and operation Cast Lead;
  • the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
  • the European Union/Israel Association Agreement.
  • The RTP found that Israel was violating the Palestinian right to self determination as enshrined in The Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples (A/Res. 1514(XV), 14 Dec. 1960) and all United Nations General Assembly (NGA) resolutions that have reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination since 1969 (A/Res. 2535 B (XXIV), 10 Dec. 1969, and, inter alia, A/Res. 3236 (XXIX), 22 Nov. 1974, 52/114, 12 Dec. 1997, etc);

    Furthermore, by occupying Palestinian territories since June 1967 and refusing to leave them, Israel violates the Security Council resolutions that demand its withdrawal from the territories concerned (SC/Res. 242, 22 Nov. 1967; 338, 22 Oct. 1973)

    The RTP also found Israel´s discriminatory acts towards Palestinian populations inside Israeli territory and occupied Palestinian territory as violating the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 18 July 1976, which is not binding on Israel, though this does not exonerate Israel in that regard.

    The acts include the closure of the borders of the Gaza Strip and restrictions on the freedom of movement of its inhabitants; prevention of the return of Palestinian refugees to their home or land of origin; prohibition on the free use by Palestinians of certain natural resources such as the watercourses within their land.

    By annexing Jerusalem in July 1980 and maintaining the annexation, Israel violates the prohibition of the acquisition of territory by force, as stated by the Security Council (SC/Res. 478, 20 August 1980).

    By constructing a Wall in the West Bank on Palestinian territory that it occupies, Israel denies the Palestinians access to their own land, violates their property rights and seriously restricts the freedom of movement of the Palestinian population, thereby violating article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights to which Israel has been a party since 3 October 1991; the illegality of the construction of the Wall was confirmed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, which was endorsed by the UNGA in its resolution ES-10/15.

    By systematically building settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israel breaches the rules of international humanitarian law governing occupation, in particular article 49 of the Fourth General Convention of 12 August 1949, by which Israel has been bound since 6 July 1951. This point was noted by the ICJ in the above-mentioned Advisory Opinion.

    By pursuing a policy of targeted killings against Palestinians whom it describes as “terrorists” without first attempting to arrest them, Israel violates the right to life of the persons concerned, a right enshrined in article 6 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966.

    By maintaining a blockade on the Gaza Strip in breach of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 (art. 33), which prohibits collective punishment.

    By inflicting extensive and serious damage, especially on persons and civilian property, and by using prohibited methods of combat during operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza (December 2008 – January 2009).

    EU member states were found to be violating provisions of the Lisbon Treaty (2010) including foundational principles of the EU itself as set down in article 2 which confirms attachment ´to the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights´.

    EU states as high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions 1949 were found to be breaching elementary obligations of due diligence and ensurance of peremptory legal norms which cannot be derogated from, by failing to react to and remedy violations of the convention committed by Israel. As such they were found to be assisting Israel in its breaches of international law.

    Article 146 compels EU Member states ´to undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.´

    Grave breaches include: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

    International Law Commission articles on state responsibility for wrongful acts were found to apply to EU member states as is the 1966 covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states:

    ´Every State has the duty to promote through joint and separate action universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Charter´.

    Reports from experts brought to light passive and active forms of assistance in the alleged commission of breaches by the EU and its member states particularly through:

  • exports of weapons and components of weapons by EU states to Israel, some of which were used during the conflict in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009;
  • exports of produce from settlements in occupied territories to the EU;
  • participation by the settlements in European research programmes;
  • failure of the EU to complain about the destruction by Israel of infrastructure in Gaza during the Cast Lead operation;
  • failure of the EU to demand Israeli compliance with clauses concerning respect for human rights contained in the various association agreements concluded by the EU with Israel;
  • the decision by the EU to upgrade its relations with Israel under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Agreement;
  • tolerance by the EU and its member states of certain economic relations between European companies and Israel involving commercial projects in the occupied territories, such as the management of the Tovlan lan/ite in the Jordan valley and the construction of a tramline in East Jerusalem.
  • The participation of illegal Israeli settlements in European research programmes, the failure of the EU to complain during the Cast Lead operation about the destruction by Israel of infrastructure that the EU had funded in Gaza, and the (proposed) upgrading of bilateral relations between the EU and Israel are characterized by a number of experts as assistance to Israel in its alleged violations of international law.

    In conclusion of the first Barcelona session, the RTP calls on:

    (i) the EU and its member states to fulfil its obligations forthwith by rectifying the breaches specified in the final ruling

    (ii) the EU in particular to implement the EU Parliament resolution requiring the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and thereby putting an end to the impunity that Israel has benefited from until now.

    (iii) EU Member states to implement the recommendation at para 1975 (a) of the UN Fact Finding Mission Report on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone Report) regarding the collection of evidence and the exercise of UJ against Israeli and Palestinian suspects; and

    (iv) EU Member states to repeal of any requirements in any member state that a suspect must be a resident of that member state or of any impediments to the compliance with the duty to prosecute or extradite for trial all suspected war criminals sought out by the member states

    (v) EU Member states to ensure that UJ laws and procedures are made as effective as possible in practice, including through co-ordination and the implementation of agreements on the mutual co-operation of states on criminal matters, through the EU contact points on cross-border and international crime, EUROPOL and INTERPOL etc.

    (vi) EU Member states to make no regressive changes that would blunt the effect of existing Universal Jurisdiction laws, so as to ensure that no EU member state becomes a safe haven for suspected war criminals

    (vii) The Parliaments of Austria, France, Greece and Italy to pass laws providing the penal legislation required by article 146 IVGC to enable UJ to be exercised in those countries.

    (viii) individuals, groups and organisations to take all avenues open to them to achieve compliance by EU member states and the EU of their aforementioned obligations, as exemplified by the use of universal jurisdiction over individual criminal suspects, domestic civil proceedings against individual governments and/or their departments or agencies and private companies, in respect of which it is the intention of the RTP to commission and/or encourage others to commission research into which countries and jurisdictions these matters can most effectively be pursued; and

    (ix) the existing legal actions and campaigns in the context of BDS to be stepped up and widened within the EU and globally.

    The Russell Tribunal on Palestine calls on the European Union and on each of its member states to impose the necessary sanctions on its partner Israel through diplomatic, trade and cultural measures in order to end the impunity that it has enjoyed for decades. Should the EU lack the necessary courage to do so, the Tribunal counts on the citizens of Europe to bring the necessary pressure to bear on it by all appropriate means.

    CONTACT – Russel Tribunal on Palestine Co-ordinator Frank Barat 0044 771 8998 695 russelltribunal@yahoo.co.uk

    Source

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    Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza

    Israel get weapons from everyone and their dog.

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

    Hamas has little to nothing in comparison to Israel.

    The difference is staggering.

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

    Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict

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

    Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Misuse of conventional arms by Israeli forces

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

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

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

    Air delivered munitions

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

    Fragments from a MK-82 bomb ©Amnesty International

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

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

    Anti-Tank Mines

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

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

    Artillery and Mortars

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

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

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

    White Phosphorus

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

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

    A white phosphorus carrier shell ©Amnesty International

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Illuminating artillery shells

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

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

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

    Flechettes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cube-shaped shrapnel

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

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

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

    Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fueled IDF Reports of Number of rocket attacks by Hamas

    27 December 2008 — 11 January 2009

    TOTAL: 643

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

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

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

    Arms supplies to Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    International obligations regarding conventional arms transfers

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

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

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

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

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

    Bulgaria EUR
    2006 249,445
    Total 249,445

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Poland EUR
    2005 508,819
    Total 508,819

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A note on UN Comtrade data

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

    Aircraft and Helicopters

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

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

    Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rockets and Missiles

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

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

    Date

    Source

    Quantity

    Description

    30/10/07

    Transmittal 08-07

    2,000

    14

    1,000

    200

    500

    100

    Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

    TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

    AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

    AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

    AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

    PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

    09/09/08

    Transmittal 08-87

    28,000

    60,000

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

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

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

    Date

    Source

    Quantity

    Description

    29/04/05

    Transmittal 05-10

    100

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

    other related elements of logistics support.

    20/04/07

    Transmittal 07-21

    3,500

    MK-84 (Tritonal) general purpose bomb units

    03/08/07

    Transmittal 07-32

    10,000

    1,500

    2,000

    50

    MK-84 live bombs;

    MK- 82 live bombs;

    BLU-109 live bombs;

    GBU-28 guided live bombs

    09/09/08

    Transmittal 08-82

    1,000

    GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1)

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

    Artillery shells including white phosphorus shells

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

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

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

    Date

    Source

    Quantity

    Description

    30/10/07

    Transmittal 08-07

    150,048

    8,000

    30,003

    100,000

    5,000

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

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

    Small Arms and Light Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

    Components

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

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

    Date

    Source

    Quantity

    Description

    03/08/07

    Transmittal 07-32

    10,000

    2,500

    500

    1,000

    10,000

    10,000

    Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

    FMU-139 live fuze components; and

    FMU-152 live fuze components.

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

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

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

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

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

    Special Fuels

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

    Current US arms ships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Arms supplies to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups

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

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

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

    The table below estimates the Hamas rocket arsenal:

    Type

    Range

    Warhead Payload

    Origin

    Qassam-1

    3 km

    0.5 kg

    Locally made

    Qassam-2

    6-10 km

    5-7 kg

    Locally made

    Qassam-3

    10 km

    10 kg

    Locally made

    122mm Grad

    20 km

    USSR/Russia, various

    220mm Fadjr-3

    40 km

    45 kg

    Iran

    122mm

    40 km

    China

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

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

    Recommendations

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

    Public Document

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

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

    Date

    Source

    Quantity

    Description

    29/04/05

    Transmittal 05-10

    100

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

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

    20/04/07

    Transmittal 07-21

    3,500

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

    03/08/07

    Transmittal 07-32

    10,000

    2,500

    500

    1,000

    10,000

    1,500

    2,000

    50

    10,000

    10,000

    Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-82 warhead;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK-83 warhead;

    PAVEWAY II full kits for the MK- 84 warhead;

    MK-84 live bombs;

    MK- 82 live bombs;

    BLU-109 live bombs;

    GBU-28 guided live bombs;

    FMU-139 live fuze components; and

    FMU-152 live fuze components.

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

    24/08/07

    Transmittal 07-37

    30

    500

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

    24/08/07

    Transmittal 07-43

    200

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

    30/10/07

    Transmittal 08-07

    2,000

    14

    1,000

    200

    500

    100

    150,048

    8,000

    30,003

    100,000

    5,000

    Radio Frequency (RF) TOW 2A Missiles

    TOW 2A Fly-to-buy Missiles

    AGM-114K3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

    AGM-114L3 HELLFIRE II Longbow Missiles

    AGM-114M3 HELLFIRE II Missiles

    PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+)

    M433 40MM High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Cartridges

    M930 120MM Illuminating Cartridges

    M889A1 81MM HE Cartridges with M935 Fuzes

    M107 155MM HE Projectiles

    M141 83MM Bunker Defeat Munitions

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

    09/06/08

    Transmittal 08-42

    25

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

    09/09/08

    Transmittal 08-62

    3

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

    15/07/08

    Transmittal 06-63

    4

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

    30/07/08

    Transmittal 08-76

    9

    6

    9

    9

    9

    9

    4

    10

    4

    3

    1

    2

    10

    5

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

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

    KIV-119 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

    ARC-210 Non-standard Communication/COMSEC equipment ;

    External Pylons and Fuel Tanks ;

    Internal Israeli Tank Modification Kits ;

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

    09/09/08

    Transmittal 08-82

    1,000

    150

    30

    2

    7

    1

    2

    12

    3

    2

    GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB1),

    BRU-61/A SDB1 Mounting Carriages,

    Guided Test Vehicles,

    BRU-61/A SDB Instrumented Carriages,

    Jettison Test Vehicles,

    Separation Test Vehicle,

    Reliability and Assessment Vehicles,

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

    SDB1 Weapons Simulators, and

    Load Crew Trainers.

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

    29/09/08

    Transmittal 08-83

    25

    (+50 optional)

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

    09/09/08

    Transmittal 08-87

    28,000

    60,000

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

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

    Award No.

    Awardee

    Description

    Source

    SP0600-08-D-0495

    Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 562-08

    (3 July 2008)

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 707-06

    (25 July 2006)

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 669-06

    (14 July 2006)

    SP0600-05-D-0453

    Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 1216-04

    (29 November 2004)

    SP0600-05-D-0451

    ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 229-05

    (4 March 2005)

    SP0600-04-D-0452

    ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Fairfax, Va.

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 965-03

    (19 December 2003)

    SP0600-04-D-0454

    Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 817-03

    (4 November 2003)

    SP0600-03-D-0457

    Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 618-02

    (5 December 2002)

    SP0600-02-R-0552

    Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 464-02

    (12 September 2002)

    SP0600-02-D-0502

    Valero Marketing and Supply Company, San Antonio, Texas

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

    Defense Contracts, No. 164-02

    (5 April 2002)

    Source

    Plus Israel also possesses over 200 Nuclear Bombs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Go HERE To Sign Petition

    Or contact Representative Directly.

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

    Depleted uranium was found in Gaza victims by Norwegian Doctors.

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

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

    April 2011 Report

    US Weapons Sales to Israel

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

    The Arms Trade is Big Business

    Who’s Arming Israel? Report 2001-2007

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    Rabbi’s are just as abusive as those from any other Religions/ a list of offenders many are child molesters

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

    New report highlights Israeli exploitation of migrant workers

    South Africans who fought for Israel in war on Gaza can be prosecuted for War Crimes

    A Palestinian student has been handcuffed, blindfolded and forcibly expelled to the Gaza

    Israel: True Cost to U.S. Taxpayers

    How the Irish Can Save Civilization (Again) Just say no to the Lisbon Treaty. Again.

    By BRIAN M. CARNEY
    September 10, 2009

    In three weeks’ time, Ireland will, for a moment, hold the fate of Europe in its hands. Through a quirk of Irish constitutional procedure, on Oct. 2 the Republic of Ireland will be the only European Union nation to hold a referendum on a treaty to revamp how the EU, home to half a billion people, does business. The Lisbon Treaty, therefore, will stand or fall on the votes of perhaps one and a half million Irishmen and women.

    From the perspective of Brussels, this is grossly unfair—a miscarriage of democracy masquerading as democracy. The Irish have stymied the denizens of Brussels’ European Quarter before, most recently the first time they voted against the Lisbon Treaty last year.

    Back then, the establishment in Brussels blamed one man above all for the defeat. His name is Declan Ganley. He was one of the driving forces behind the No campaign the last time around, and he’s back to do it again. Your correspondent recently sat down with him to find out what he’s fighting for in trying to see to it that Ireland once again votes No to Lisbon—and in the process, he hopes, forces the EU to choose a different path.

    “I put it to Mr. Ganley, an impeccably dressed, balding Irishman of 42, that from Brussels, this whole referendum looks profoundly unjust. Why should 1.5 million Irish voters get the opportunity to hold back the progress of 500 million citizens of Europ”I would look at it a very different way,” he shoots back. “It’s profoundly undemocratic to walk all over democracy. . . The Irish people had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. They voted no. A higher percentage of the electorate voted no than voted for Barack Obama in the United States of America. No one’s suggesting he should run for re-election next month. But—hey, presto!—15 months later we’re being told to vote again on exactly the same treaty.” He taps the table for emphasis: “Not one comma has changed in the document.”

    But the insult to democracy is more egregious, in his view, than simply asking the Irish to vote twice—that was already done to Ireland with the Nice Treaty in 2002. In this case, it is not just the Irish whose democratic prerogatives are being trampled, but the French and the Dutch, among others, as well.

    In 2005, France and the Netherlands each rejected the proposed EU Constitution in referendums. Lisbon, Mr. Ganley contends, “is the same treaty.” What is the evidence for that? “Well, first of all, the people who drafted the European Constitution say it is. Like [former French President Valéry] Giscard d’Estaing. He called it the same document in a different envelope. And having chaired the presidium that drafted the Constitution, he would know.” There’s more. “He also said in respect of the Lisbon Treaty that public opinion would be led to adopt, without knowing it, policies that we would never dare to present to them directly. All of the earlier proposals for the new Constitution will be in the new text, the Lisbon Treaty, but will be hidden or disguised in some way. That’s what he said. And he’s absolutely right. There is no law that could be made under the European Constitution that cannot be made under the Lisbon Treaty. None.”

    So in trying to ram the Lisbon Treaty through, the EU is also undoing the democratic choice of the French and Dutch electorates. “Millions of people in France, a majority, voted No to this European Constitution. In the Netherlands, millions of people did exactly the same thing. When the Irish were asked the same question, they voted no also. Those three times that it was presented to an electorate, the people voted no.” Far from thwarting the will of those hundreds of millions of fellow Europeans, then, the way Mr. Ganley sees it, Ireland has a duty to them to uphold the results of those earlier votes. Approving the treaty would be a betrayal of those in France and the Netherlands—not to mention the millions of others who were never offered a vote on the Constitution or Lisbon.

    Mr. Ganley speaks in a low, measured tone, even when, as he occasionally does, he slips into rhetorical bomb-throwing mode. “Why,” he asks, “when the French voted no, the Dutch voted no and the Irish voted no, are we still being force-fed the same formula? You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder about democracy in some intellectualized, distant way and wonder, is there some obscure threat to it.” He adds, without raising his voice, “This is manifest contempt for democracy. It is a democracy-hating act. . . . This is so bold a power grab as to be almost literally unbelievable.”

    The nature of the power grab that Mr. Ganley refers to deserves some elaboration. What, exactly, is wrong with the Lisbon Treaty itself? “The treaty is a product and indeed enshrines a set of principles and a way of governing the European Union that clearly shows no will or intent for democracy,” Mr. Ganley says. “You will hear it discussed quietly across the dinner tables in certain sections of Brussels and elsewhere that we’re entering into this post-democratic era, that democracy is not the perfect mechanism or tool with which to deal with the challenges of global this-that-or-the-other. This idea of entering into some form of post-democracy is dangerous. It’s ill-advised. It’s naïve.”

    The Lisbon Treaty, like the EU Constitution would have, puts this idea of post-democracy into practice in a number of concrete ways. The most striking is Article 48, universally known by its French nickname, the passerelle clause. It says that “with just intergovernmental agreement, with no need of going back to the citizens anywhere, they can make any change to this constitutional document, adding any new powers, without having to revisit an electorate anywhere,” Mr. Ganley explains. “Do you think they want to revisit an electorate anywhere? Of course they don’t.” If the Irish vote yes, in other words, Oct. 2 would mark the last time that Brussels would ever have to bother giving voters a say on what the EU does and how it does it. Ireland would have, in effect, voted away the last vestige of European direct democracy not just for itself, but for the entire continent.

    The passerelle clause is not the only evidence in the treaty of a post-democratic mindset. “The other thing it does,” Mr. Ganley says, “is it creates its own president—the president of the European Council, commonly referred to as the president of the European Union.” This EU president, Mr. Ganley notes, “will represent the European Union on the global stage. This will be one of the two people that Henry Kissiner would call, in answer to his famous question, when I want to speak to Europe, who do I call? He’s now going to have a telephone number, a voice that speaks for Europe, because that voice will have half a billion citizens, legally.”

    The other person who would speak for Europe is the “grandly named” High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs, the EU’s foreign minister, in effect. Mr. Ganley is, as he puts it, “cool with that.” But there is this: “Presumably they’re going to be speaking for me, right, because I’m a citizen,” he says. “But I don’t get to vote for or against these people. So, who mandates them, if not me, as a citizen, or you? Oh, so somebody who is how many places removed from me selects from within one of their own. They never have to debate with a competitor. I’m never given a choice of, do you want Tom, Joe or Anne. I’m presented with my president. Do I walk backward out of the room now?” Just as a yes vote in Ireland would mean that future expansions of the powers of the EU would never have to be put to a popular vote, it would also mean that Europeans would never get the opportunity to elect its highest officials.

    It’s easy to see why Mr. Ganley has made himself unpopular in Brussels. And yet, he avows, “I am a committed European. I am not a euroskeptic, not in any way, shape or form. I believe that Europe’s future as united is the only sensible way forward.” It’s just that he fears that Europe, as it is presently constituted, is setting itself up for a fall. “I’m very sure about one thing,” he says. “Which is, if it is not built on a solid foundation of democracy and accountability and transparency in governance, then it will fail. And it’s too valuable a project, and it has cost too much in terms of blood and treasure, to create an environment where this could happen.”

    The whole political dynamic in the European Union, he argues, is outmoded. To talk of only euroskeptics and europhiles actually serves the interests of the mandarins in Brussels because it doesn’t allow for the existence of a loyal opposition or constructive dissent. But a loyal opposition is precisely what Mr. Ganley hopes to create. “What I’ve been saying since the beginning of the last Lisbon campaign, it blows fuses in Brussels,” he says. “They just can’t process it. The system crashes. They have to reboot every time because I don’t fit into the euroskeptic box.” Their mentality, he says, is “friend-enemy. Uh, no.” And he points to himself: “Friend—a real friend, because I’m telling you the truth. I’m telling you, you’ve got a problem and we’ve got to fix it.”

    He adds, referring to the European establishment in Brussels: “I’ve got news for them. This little European citizen, along with millions of others in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, have now said something to them. And they can either carry on the way that they’re going, and fail, or they can listen to the people, engage them, and bring them along with them.”

    Instead of a dense, almost unreadable treaty that shuffles the deck chairs of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, the Commission’s headquarters, Mr. Ganley would like to see a readable, 25-page document that provides for the direct election of an EU president, greater transparency in decision-making and a bigger voice for the people of Europe. “We have to ask more of people,” he says. But equally, “we have to trust people. They talk about the democratic deficit. The deficit of trust is a yawning gap right now in Europe. And the biggest loss of trust has been between those that govern and the people, not the other way around. What was it Bertolt Brecht said? ‘That the people have lost the confidence of their government?’ This is the identical mentality.”

    Still, for all this talk about democracy and higher principles, the people of Ireland have their own parochial concerns to consider as well. There’s been a lot of talk about how a No vote could hurt the Irish economy in some way. And a number of big multinationals in Ireland have called on the Irish to ratify the treaty and let it go forward. Is Mr. Ganley putting his country at risk by calling for a No vote?

    He emphatically denies it. “The only people at risk in the Lisbon Treaty are these elites in Brussels,” he scoffs. “Somebody said last time that Ireland would be the laughing stock of Europe if we voted no. Well, we voted no, and actually these elites in Brussels became the laughing stock of the people of Europe. That’s what I saw in the weeks that came afterwards.” He goes on: “The only people we risk annoying are a bunch of unelected bureaucrats and what I call this tyranny of mediocrity that we have across Europe.” What’s more, he says, “the Irish have never been afraid throughout history of asking the tough questions and standing up for freedom and what was right against much, much bigger opponents. In fact, we seem to revel in it.”

    It was easier to revel, however, when Ireland was still enjoying a boom of historic proportions. Will the Irish decide, this time around, that it is safer to keep their heads down, and go along with the program? In Mr. Ganley’s view, this would be totally self-defeating. If Ireland votes Yes, he says, “We’re getting nothing in return except to be patted on the head by some mandarins and told we’re good Europeans. Would we be acting as good Europeans if we said yes to this?” He thinks not. “If this question was asked of the people of Europe, whether they wanted this constitution, we know almost for sure that en masse they would vote no.” And yet, “We’re almost literally being held hostage, with a gun pointed to our head, and being told, if you don’t sign this thing, unspecified bad things will happen. But what they’re asking us to do is to sell out the rest of the people of Europe.”

    And the whole European project—which he supports—”has to be about ‘We, the people,'” Mr. Ganley says. “It’s not top-down, it’s got to be bottom-up. And the European Union right now is top-down. It does not have the support of the mass of its people. It does not have their engagement. They don’t even know what’s going on. And it literally conducts its business behind closed doors, and that has to stop and it has to stop now.” If Mr. Ganley has anything to say about it, it will stop in three weeks, in a little country called Ireland on the Atlantic periphery of Europe.

    Source

    Germany suspends ratification of Lisbon Treaty

    Until the appropriate protections of its parliamentary autonomy are put into place.

    Seems the Irish are not alone in their concern to protect their contry.

    European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports

    March 4 2009

    By Clive Leviev-Sawyer

    The European Commission wants Europe to set up a sanctions regime for banks and bankers that flout industry rules, according to plans to be published on March 4 2009, AFP reported.

    The proposal is part of plans for a major shake-up of European supervision of the financial sector based on recent recommendations from an expert panel headed by former IMF director Jacques de Larosiere.

    In a media statement on March 4, the EC said that it was calling on EU leaders to further step up co-ordinated European action to fight the economic crisis.

    In its communication to the European Council summit on March 19 and 20, the Commission sets out proposals for building on the extensive support already being given to the real economy and to employment.

    The Commission’s communication unveils a comprehensive reform of the financial system based on the de Larosiere report.

    “It shows how a clear and united commitment to this ambitious programme can pave the way for the EU to give a global lead at the G20 summit in London on April 2,” the EC said.
    EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “The Spring European Council must send a strong signal to citizens, businesses and the world. Yes, there is a way out of this crisis. Yes, Europe has the unity, the confidence and the determination to win this battle. We must forcefully implement the agreed recovery plan in a coordinated way. We must use the single market to the full.

    “Today we are asking EU leaders to agree on a comprehensive action plan. To do everything possible to protect our citizens from unemployment. To clean up financial markets on the basis of the de Larosiere Report. And to pave the way for Europe to lead by example and by persuasion as we approach the G20 summit in London,” Barroso said.

    The Commission’s communication begins with an overview of the measures taken since autumn 2008 which have prevented the meltdown of the European banking industry and thus prevented countless bankruptcies and job losses.

    It urges member states to act quickly to restore confidence and get bank lending flowing again, in particular by implementing the guidance the Commission issued on February 25 2009 on removing impaired assets from banks’ balance sheets.

    “The Commission endorses – and asks EU leaders to endorse – the key principles set out by the de Larosiere Group,” the EC statement said.

    The Commission calls for a supervisory system combining much stronger oversight at EU level with maintaining a clear role for national supervisors.

    It backs the Group’s proposal to set up an early warning body under ECB auspices to identify and tackle systemic risks.

    The Commission supports the Group’s recommendation for a core set of regulatory standards throughout the EU.

    In April, the EC will bring forward initiatives already in the pipeline on hedge funds, private equity and remuneration structures.

    Following an impact assessment, the Commission will put forward to the June European Council a detailed timetable for further measures based on the de Larosiere report.
    It will bring forward proposals in the autumn on the new supervisory framework and on issues including: liquidity risk and excessive leverage; further reinforcing protection for depositors and policy holders; and effective sanctions against wrongdoing.

    The communication points to good first results of the European Economic Recovery Plan. The overall fiscal support to the economy from European and national measures and from automatic stabilisers amounts to at least 3.3 per cent of GDP over the 2009-2010 period.

    An annexe summarises 500 national measures and concludes that they are broadly in line with the principles that recovery action should be timely, targeted and temporary.

    The Commission calls on EU leaders to endorse clear principles for further action, in line with the single market, with open trade worldwide, with building a low carbon economy and with returning to sustainable public finances as soon as possible.

    The Commission repeats its call for Member States to agree on the targeted investment of five billion euro in energy interconnections and broadband.

    The Commission’s contribution calls for member states to step up efforts to tackle unemployment – which could approach 10 per cent in 2010 for the first time since the 1990s – and social exclusion.

    “These efforts will also help maintain demand and prevent further job losses.”  They should be a central plank of national stimulus plans, the EC said.

    The Commission invites member states to use measures such as financial support for temporary working-time arrangements, boosting income support for unemployed people, lowering non-wage costs for employers and boosting investment in skills and retraining.

    At European level, the EC calls for rapid approval of its proposal to allow an immediate increase of 1.8 billion euro in advance payments under the European Social Fund.

    The Commission also sets out a road map towards the European Employment Summit in Prague in May, which should agree on further concrete measures to save jobs and create them in the sectors of the future.

    The Commission will organise a series of workshops with all key stakeholders in different member states in the approach to the summit.

    The EC asks EU leaders to agree on a number of areas “where Europe can and should give a firm lead” on April 2 at the London G20 summit, building on the success it achieved by speaking with one voice at the Washington Summit in November 2008.

    “The EU should make a united push to improve the global financial and regulatory system, focusing on: better transparency and accountability; appropriate regulation of all financial actors; tackling difficulties caused by uncooperative jurisdictions; boosting international supervisory cooperation; and reforming the IMF, Financial Stability Forum and World Bank,” the EC statement said.

    “Europe should also promote global recovery by calling for a review of the global impact of fiscal measures taken so far, by promoting open trade and by inviting the London Summit to launch a multilateral initiative on trade finance and to reaffirm the Washington commitment to the Millennium Development Goals,” the EC said.

    Source

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on European Commission plans sanctions for wayward bankers – reports  
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    Israel still Bombing Gaza/Petition To EU

    Israel bombs Gaza tunnels in series of air raids.

    (If they opened the borders to let the food and other necessities in, the tunnels would not even have ever existed. If you were in the “Concentration Camp” and you were “Starving” you would build tunnels too.  Bombing the tunnels is to stop food and other necessities from entering Gaza. is it not odd, that out of the 6,000 rockets Israel has said Israel was hit by, that “only 4 people in 8 years” have been killed by them? Think about it? That is pretty illogical,imagine 6,000 rockets dropping in your area adn tell me that only 4 in 8 years would be so unlucky as to die. Out of 6,000 the odds are much greater there would be more deaths. If someone told me Israel was the one sending said rockets, that would actually make more seance.  In that there is logic and reason. Those rockets are their excuse, for mass murder, the destruction of all the homes, buildings and farm land in Gaza is it not?It rather reminds me of the wild wild west, when folks use to dress up as Indians and attack the civilians so a treaty could be broken. Hence they could kill more Indians and steal more land from them. The entire agenda behind Zionist is to steal the land and kill the inhabitants. Just like it was the intention of stealing the land from the Indians in North and South America. There is no difference whatsoever. No difference at all.)

    By Nidal al-Mughrabi
    February 2 2009

    Israel launched a series of air strikes in the Gaza Strip yesterday, targeting a Hamas security complex and tunnels used to smuggle weapons after vowing a “disproportionate” response to cross-border fire.

    The aircraft carried out half a dozen strikes after three Israelis were injured by a mortar salvo, including two soldiers and the first Israeli civilian hurt since an 18 January truce ended Israel’s 22-day offensive in the coastal enclave.

    There were no reported casualties in the air attacks. Five of the strikes targeted tunnels along Gaza’s border with Egypt, used to smuggle weapons into the coastal enclave, in a zone known as the Philadelphi corridor.

    A further Israeli attack was on a security headquarters in a village in central Gaza that residents said had been vacated after Israel telephoned warnings to Palestinians to leave buildings that housed any weapons.

    An Israeli military statement said that “in response to rocket and mortar fire today, the air force has attacked a number of targets in the (Gaza) Strip, including six tunnels and a Hamas position.” Hamas said five tunnels had been bombed.

    Egypt, with US backing, has been trying to broker a long-term ceasefire that would end Hamas weapons smuggling into Gaza and also lead to a reopening of Gaza border crossings, one of Hamas’s main demands.

    Israel’s blockade of Gaza, since Hamas Islamists seized the coastal territory from Western-back Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, has led to shortages of crucial supplies for many of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.

    Israel’s renewed air strikes came as its leaders took a hard line against rocket fire from Gaza ahead of a Feb. 10 national election, which opinion polls predict right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who favours a tougher stance toward Hamas, will win.

    About a dozen rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza yesterday, the Israeli military said.

    A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Abbas’s Fatah faction, said it fired some of the rockets, but not all were claimed.

    (So where exactly did they get this bit of information from the Israelis?)

    Source

    Hamas agreed to a long term, ceasefire sometime ago.

    Israel and the US have done everything within their power to stop any such thing from happening.  They say they say they say. But it is all lies. Just part of the  “floor show” for the public. They really have to try and convince the public they are doing something. It’s all to ovbious however they are doing nothing.

    They continue to Blame Hamas or anyone else, but the fact stands Israel is the one who continually is breaking the Ceasefires.

    Their propaganda is wearing rather thin. They repeatedly use the same old scripted reasoning to justify  their attacks. They have done nothing to keep their part of the ceasefire, if anything they have continued to antagonize the Palestinians.

    The Palestinians are still in a “Concentration Camp”. They are still being “bombarded” by Israel, they are still treated like abused animals in a cage, so what has actually changed other then nothing. Not a single thing has changed.

    Anything Israel says at this point in time is pure BS. They have absolutely “no credibility” what so ever. If anyone believes their rhetoric, they should check themselves into a “reality check clinic” for a check up.

    Israel has “violated” more “International Laws” then one can even imagine.  They are nothing more then mass murders.

    The UN have done little to nothing to enhance the safety of Palestinians other then putting on a fabulous floor show for the public.

    The US has done nothing other then put on a “floor show” as well.

    I am totally disappointed in Obama’s lack of anything tangible being done. Removing the $6.5 million a day in Aid to Israel would go a long way to send a clear message, that Israels behavior is unacceptable.

    But no just the same repetitive,  garbage, as usual.

    Just another floor show nothing, more then George Bush would have done. The US tax payers pay for this. Many in the US are going hungry to pay for Israels continued warmongering.

    Zionists do not represent now, nor ever have represented the Jewish communities of the world. Their voice is pure propaganda.

    There are 25,000 Jews in Iran and they and the Arabs live with each other in Peace. What does Israel want to do. Destroy what they have build. They would try to convince you, this is not possible.

    Zionist would have you believe that Jews are only safe in Israel, which is anything but true. Heaven forbid Jewish people who are anything but Zionists, could live in peace with others. Israel in all honesty has a very poor record on poverty issues. Many of their citizens live in poverty.

    If anyone think Israel is so wonderful and believe in the Zionist movement, then leave you secure homes, move there and like many you will discover it is not anything, like you were told it was. Just a lot of pipe dreams and fantasies, created by some PR firm somewhere. Many who have gone to Israel based on lies and propaganda have found this to be true.

    Zionist promote hatred toward Jews, to enhance their own agenda.

    When Zionists speak they represent only their own agenda, not that of the rest of the Jewish communities around the world.

    Zionists are not what they pretend to be. For them to say they represent all Jewish people is like saying, the KKK represent all White People. Or like saying the Westboro Baptist Church represents all Baptist in the world. There is a grand difference is there not.

    If a simpleton like myself can figure this out, why is it the rest of the world “especially those in power”, have difficulty in seeing the true nature of the Zionist movement.

    PLEASE SIGN THE PEACE CYCLE PETITION!

    The EU-Israel Association Agreement allows Israel preferential trading terms with EU countries However, article 2 of the terms of this agreement states that all parties must respect human rights.Israel is clearly in breach of these terms and our petition calls for an immediate suspension of the agreement

    We will be presenting the petition to MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels at an event hosted by the Green Party on Tuesday 31st March. So please sign this petition and forward it to all your contacts in the UK and across Europe, and let’s make this something the EU has to take notice of!

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Suspend-EU-Israel-Trade-Agreement
    Please pass on this petition.

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    What an Aid Worker Saw in Gaza, Then and Now

    Israel: “Did You Know?”

    Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on February 3, 2009 at 11:20 pm  Comments Off on Israel still Bombing Gaza/Petition To EU  
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    Did being part of the EU protect them from the Financial Crisis

    Turmoil Spurs US Plant Closures, EU Layoffs At ArcelorMittal

    December 10th, 2008

    By Alex MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

    EU businesses expect 1 million job losses in 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

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

    December 10 2008

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

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

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

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

    Further information on the Brussels forum is available here.

    Source

    Spanish auto sector highly exposed to global crisis

    December 11 2008

    By Robert Hetz

    MADRID,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NORTH AFRICA PASSES SPAIN FOR RENAULT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But this aid may not be enough.

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

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

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

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

    Source

    Swedes want government bailout for Volvo

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

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

    There are 27 member of the European Union.

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

    EU members and when they joined.

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

    1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

    1981 Greece

    1986 Portugal, Spain

    1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

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

    2007 Bulgaria, Romania

    Source

    Hungary’s Letter of Intent to the IMF

    World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

    Latvia mulling IMF loan as crisis sweeps Nordic region

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

    Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

    The £2trillion question for British economy

    Europe catches America’s financial disease

    How Britain’s banks will never be the same again

    Economist, deregulation and loose fiscal policies lead to Meltdown

    World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

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

    Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

    The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

    EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

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

    Pollution Costs Trillions Annually

    Fresh water pollution costs at least $4.3 billion a year

    December 1 2008

    By Shannon McAleenan

    Manhattan, KS

    Researchers at Kansas State University found that pollutants aren’t just bad for lakes and streams-they’re bad for American’s pocketbooks also.

    Walter Dodds, professor of biology of KSU says freshwater pollution impacts individuals on a level as basic as bottled water costs. If the municipal water plant has to spend more to treat water coming through the taps, that cost is passed onto consumer through water bills.

    “Monetary damages put environmental problems in terms that make policymakers and the public take notice,” Dodds said in a statement from KSU.

    The team of researchers looked at U.S. EPA data on nitrogen and phosphorus levels in bodies of water across the country-both these pollutants are applied to plants as nutrients. Most of these pollutants reach lakes and other water from various points, like runoff from row crop agriculture.

    The KSU team calculated the money lost from pollution by examining many factors like decreasing lakefront property values, the cost of treating drinking water and revenue lost when fewer people take part in recreational activities like fishing or boating. They found that freshwater pollution by nitrogen and phosphorus costs government, drinking water facilities and individual Americans at least $4.3 billion a year.

    “We are providing underestimates,” Dodds said in the statement. “Although our accounting of the degree of nutrient pollution in the nation is fairly accurate, the true costs of pollution are probably much greater than $4.3 billion.”

    The research appeared in the Nov. 12 online issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

    Human cost of valley’s dirty air: $6.3 billion
    By Mark Grossi
    November 13 2008

    FRESNO – There’s a new annual price tag for breathing dirty air in the San Joaquin Valley: $6.3 billion, mostly because more than 800 people die years earlier than they should.

    That’s more fatalities due to bad air than car accidents, said nationally known economist Jane V. Hall, who Wednesday released her latest analysis of poor air quality in this region.

    The dollar and death figures are nearly twice as high as Hall found in her first study two years ago, partly because stricter federal standards are in force. The new standards assume more people are harmed by bad air.

    But she also said new research indicates microscopic specks of soot and chemicals are more dangerous than previously thought.

    “There is a clearer consensus that lives are being shortened,” she said.

    The study, funded with a $90,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is intended to jolt residents, regulators and political leaders.

    Hall, a California State University, Fullerton, scientist, worked with researchers Victor Brajer and Frederick W. Lurmann on the study, which also covered the South Coast Air Basin.

    The study points out the continuing need to battle air pollution, said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. But he also said people still should understand air quality has improved.

    “Things are not getting worse. These bigger numbers are the result of a new standard,” said Sadredin. “But this study does give the valley good justification to advocate for more support in fighting air pollution.”

    The premature deaths and mounting costs are unacceptable, said Liza Bolaños, coordinator for the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, a nonprofit group representing public health and environmental organizations.

    “We have the capacity to clean this up,” she said. “This is a wake-up call.”

    Hall and the other researchers said more than half the state’s residents – 20 million people in the valley and South Coast – are exposed regularly to unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution.

    The researchers combined the cost of breathing dirty air in both basins, arriving at a total of $28 billion. Health care costs and time lost at work are included in the total, but more than 80 percent of the cost is related to the value of the estimated 3,800 lives lost prematurely each year.

    Microscopic specks called PM-2.5, which are more prevalent in colder weather, are the biggest worry. Most of the region’s $6.3 billion cost is the value of people who die prematurely from exposure to PM-2.5.

    Fresno last year had 75 bad days for PM-2.5, Bakersfield had 68 and Visalia 64. In the north valley, Modesto had 39 bad days. This region is considered one of the worst in the state for such pollution.

    “In the San Joaquin Valley, 100 percent of the residents are exposed to fine-particle pollution at some time during the year,” said Hall.

    The PM-2.5 comes from many sources, such as diesel engines and fireplaces. But it also forms in the moist winter air when ammonia from dairy waste combines with vehicle exhaust.

    Fresno County residents suffer the valley’s biggest effects, with the loss of 212 people each year, valued at $1.4 billion, according to the report. The county also has the valley’s highest yearly total of non-fatal heart attacks related to air quality – 156. PM-2.5 pollution has been linked to heart disease.

    Hall and Brajer said the valley’s 823 annual air-related deaths occur about 14 years sooner than they should.

    The cost of each premature death is set about $6.7 million, a figure based on mainstream economic and federal studies of social value. Such figures have been used in economic analysis of social problems for decades, researchers said.

    “We’re not trying to value a single person,” said Brajer. “This is a social value on reducing the risk of early death.”

    Source

    Charles River Property Owners Must Now Control Stormwater

    BOSTON, Massachusetts,

    December 1, 2008

    The U.S. EPA and the state of Massachusetts are about to impose stormwater permit controls on industrial, commercial and high-density residential facilities in the Charles River watershed.Stormwater containing high levels of phosphorus is blamed for neon blue-green algae blooms of toxic cyanobacteria that have taken over the river in the summer months for the past several years.

    The federal and state actions will require the owners of industrial, commercial and residential facilities in the upstream towns of Milford, Franklin, and Bellingham with two or more acres of impervious area – such as parking lots, roofs, and roads – to operate under a Clean Water Act permit.

    “Polluted stormwater runoff causes serious water quality problems, and is the next great challenge for cleaning the Charles River,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office.

    “By working closely with Massachusetts and our other partners, we will make great environmental improvements, while at the same time providing facilities with flexibility and time to meet the new standards,” Varney said. “Working together cooperatively, we can solve these problems.”

    The new actions, announced in November, will ensure that property owners take responsibility for runoff from their sites.

    Blue-green algae on the Charles River as it flows through Boston, Massachusetts (Photo courtesy EPA)

    In a separate but related action, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is enacting a statewide requirement for facilities with five or more acres of impervious area to reduce stormwater runoff.

    “Many of our state’s waters are severely degraded as a result of stormwater pollution,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “Now is the time to take action to reduce pollution and return more water to the ground, where it will be cleaned naturally and added to our water supplies.”

    Under both the federal and state actions, new requirements will be phased in to reduce polluted stormwater runoff at sites with large paved areas, including shopping malls and industrial areas.

    While the statewide standard will be five acres, Massachusetts is proposing to match EPA’s two-acre requirement in the Charles, where a higher level of control is needed to address chronic water quality problems.

    “Until now, managing stormwater has largely been the responsibility of the cities and towns,” said Laurie Burt, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “It is critical now for other property owners to step up to the plate and do their part. This new program creates a level playing field by requiring that the responsibility for managing stormwater be shared by municipalities and private property owners.”

    Cities and towns across Massachusetts have invested in improving their sewer and stormwater infrastructure, yielding substantial water quality benefits, said Varney.

    “Our work will also help local municipalities, who up until now have shouldered the burden alone to take action to reduce pollution to our rivers, lakes and other waterways,” he said.

    Commercial, industrial and high-density residential facilities with two or more acres of impervious area will be required apply for a Clean Water Act permit for stormwater discharges which eventually reach the Charles River.

    The permits will require that these facilities reduce phosphorus discharges by 65 percent through a variety of stormwater management practices. Ultimately, these requirements will likely apply to the entire Charles River watershed, said state and federal officials.

    “EPA’s extension of the Clean Water Act to include polluted stormwater runoff from commercial and industrial parking lots is both bold, and necessary,” said Bob Zimmerman, executive director of the Charles River Watershed Association.

    “We will never clean up urban rivers without cleaning up existing runoff from pavement. This bold move will aid cities and towns meet their requirements, and help restore a more natural balance to the way water works in metropolitan regions, not just in the Charles River, but ultimately across the United States,” Zimmerman said.

    “It is time for existing commercial and industrial developments to do their fair share to clean up the stormwater pollution that is threatening public health and recreation in New England’s waters,” said Christopher Kilian, director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Clean Water and Healthy Forests Program. “The EPA took this precedent-setting action because the Clean Water Act’s mandates don’t allow this pollution to go unaddressed.”

    In October 2007, EPA and the state began a process to limit phosphorus entering the Charles River by establishing a new Total Maximum Daily Load for discharges of phosphorus into the lower Charles River.

    Since 1995, the EPA’s Clean Charles Initiative has coordinated efforts between EPA, state and local governments, private organizations, and environmental advocates. Cities and towns along the Charles have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in stormwater and sewer improvements.

    Source

    The cost of coal use last year was EUR 360 billion, according to a new report, which accounts for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, health impacts and mining accidents in determining the ‘true’ price paid by global society for relying on the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

    The report, “The True Cost of Coal,” released by Greenpeace and the independent Dutch Institute CE Delft, arrived at this figure by looking the external costs of coal in 2007 for damages attributable to climate change, human health impacts from air pollution and fatalities due to major mining accidents–factors for which reasonably reliable global data is currently available.

    “The relentless expansion of the coal industry is the single greatest threat to averting dangerous climate change. Coal is the most climate-polluting fossil fuel, responsible for one third of all CO2 emissions, and is projected to increase to 60% of emissions by 2030,” Joris Thijssen, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace International, told a press conference. “Clearly, quitting coal will benefit not only the climate, but also reduce the other impacts which everybody else has to pay for.”

    The report was released as Industry Ministers from at least 20 big emitting countries met in Warsaw with the world’s climate-polluting industries.

    Earlier in the day Greenpeace activists dumped lignite, dirty brown coal that makes up a large portion of Poland’s mining output, outside of the Warsaw Sheraton..

    Greenpeace Poland campaign director Maciej Muskat said that Greenpeace strongly suspected the Polish Government had organised the meeting for the wrong reasons.

    “The Polish people are already paying a high price for the cost of coal, through health impacts and the loss of lakes and ecosystems. Instead of concentrating on trying to shore up opposition against action on climate at both the Poznan meeting and the EU climate-energy package, the Polish government should implement its own renewable energy target and tap into the enormous potential of energy efficiency,” he said.

    The Warsaw meeting will probably talk about ‘clean coal’ technology that has the potential to sharply reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. However, the Greenpeace report ‘False Hope’ shows that so-called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a dangerous distraction. The technology is unproven, contains inherent risks and comes with an enormous price tag. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to start declining in the next seven years and CCS is in no position to play a role in making this happen.

    The impacts of coal are not only related to climate change. Coal also pollutes water resources, dirties the air and causes black lung disease. The report contains ‘on the ground’ stories from 12 countries that describe, for example, how human rights are violated in Colombia while mining coal, how mountain tops are blown apart in the United States and how coal use adds dramatically to air pollution in China.

    Source

    Low Concentrations Of Pesticides Can Become Toxic Mixture For Amphibians

    November 18, 2008

    Ten of the world’s most popular pesticides can decimate amphibian populations when mixed together even if the concentration of the individual chemicals are within limits considered safe, according to University of Pittsburgh research.

    Such “cocktails of contaminants” are frequently detected in nature, a new paper notes, and the Pitt findings offer the first illustration of how a large mixture of pesticides can adversely affect the environment.

    Study author Rick Relyea, an associate professor of biological sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, exposed gray tree frog and leopard frog tadpoles to small amounts of the 10 pesticides that are widely used throughout the world. Relyea selected five insecticides-carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, endosulfan, and malathion-and five herbicides-acetochlor, atrazine, glyphosate, metolachlor, and 2,4-D. He administered the following doses: each of the pesticides alone, the insecticides combined, a mix of the five herbicides, or all 10 of the poisons.

    Relyea found that a mixture of all 10 chemicals killed 99 percent of leopard frog tadpoles as did the insecticide-only mixture; the herbicide mixture had no effect on the tadpoles. While leopard frogs perished, gray tree frogs did not succumb to the poisons and instead flourished in the absence of leopard frog competitors.

    Relyea also discovered that endosulfan-a neurotoxin banned in several nations but still used extensively in U.S. agriculture-is inordinately deadly to leopard frog tadpoles. By itself, the chemical caused 84 percent of the leopard frogs to die. This lethality was previously unknown because current regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not require amphibian testing, Relyea said. His results showed that endosulfan was not only highly toxic to leopard frogs, but also that it served as the linchpin of the pesticide mixture that eliminated the bulk of leopard frog tadpoles.

    “Endosulfan appears to be about 1,000-times more lethal to amphibians than other pesticides that we have examined,” Relyea said. “Unfortunately, pesticide regulations do not require amphibian testing, so very little is known about endosulfan’s impact on amphibians, despite being sprayed in the environment for more than five decades.”

    For most of the pesticides, the concentration Relyea administered (2 to 16 parts per billion) was far below the human-lifetime-exposure levels set by the EPA and also fell short of the maximum concentrations detected in natural bodies of water. But the research suggests that these low concentrations-which can travel easily by water and, particularly, wind-can combine into one toxic mixture. In the published paper, Relyea points out that declining amphibian populations have been recorded in pristine areas far downwind from areas of active pesticide use, and he suggests that the chemical cocktail he describes could be a culprit.

    The results of this study build on a nine-year effort by Relyea to understand potential links between the global decline in amphibians, routine pesticide use, and the possible threat to humans in the future. Amphibians are considered an environmental indicator species because of their unique sensitivity to pollutants. Their demise from pesticide overexposure could foreshadow the fate of less sensitive animals, Relyea said. Leopard frogs, in particular, are vulnerable to contamination; once plentiful across North America, including Pennsylvania, their population has declined in recent years as pollution and deforestation have increased.

    Relyea published a paper in the Oct. 1 edition of “Ecological Applications” reporting that gradual amounts of malathion-the most popular insecticide in the United States-that were too small to directly kill developing leopard frog tadpoles instead sparked a biological chain of events that deprived them of their primary food source. As a result, nearly half the tadpoles in the experiment did not reach maturity and would have died in nature.

    Source

    The cost of pollutions is definitely in the trillions.

    Of course I don’t think anyone has ever added up the total cost planet wise.

    The above is just a couple of estimates from a few places.

    One has to think of the planet as a whole. The cost is horrendous.

    Cleaning up after it is extremely costly.

    The cost to health care is staggering.

    The cost of lives lost because of it cannot be calculated.

    Well you can’t put a price tag on someones life.

    How much is your life worth?

    Think about it.

    Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

    War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

    Italian Prime Minister meets with German Chancellor

    November 18 2008

    By Mathis Winkler

    Merkel and Berlusconi Back Alitalia-Lufthansa Deal
    Berlusconi and Merkel
    Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Despite serious problems, Merkel and Berlusconi still had some fun

    Meeting in the northern Italian port of Trieste on Tuesday, Germany’s chancellor and her Italian counterpart focused on global economic problems — but also had time for a quick game of hide and seek.

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel favor a possible partnership between German airline Lufthansa and ailing Italian carrier Alitalia.

    “We both view a collaboration between Alitalia and Lufthansa very favorably. In fact we hope it will occur,” Berlusconi said during a joint news conference with Merkel in Trieste after surprising his German guest with a game of hide and seek at the beginning of their meeting.

    As Merkel approached to greet Berlusconi, he hid behind a column and called out “coo-coo!”. Merkel then turned to him, laughed and said “Silvio!” before embracing him, according to reports.

    Earlier Tuesday Italy’s top financial newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, reported that a private Italian consortium, CAI, which is in the process of purchasing the state’s controlling stake in Alitalia, was on the verge of clinching a deal with French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM.

    The “imminent” deal would involve Air France-KLM buying a 20 percent stake of Alitalia for some 200 million euros ($252 million), the newspaper said without citing sources.

    But Tuesday’s remarks by Berlusconi suggest the matter has still to be decided. Earlier this year the Italian premier, who was then head of Italy’s opposition, torpedoed a bid by Air France-KLM to buy Alitalia when he campaigned to keep the troubled flagship airline “in Italian hands.”

    Focus on economy

    Just three days after they both attended the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Washington on the global financial crisis, Berlusconi and Merkel largely focused on economic issues during their talks.

    With both Italy and Germany sliding into recession the time has come to “face the economic crisis, but we must not forget environmental themes,” Merkel said.

    “We must not choose the wrong measures,” the German chancellor said, adding that “European (Union) but also national assistance packages must be aimed at sectors that have a future,” she added.

    Germany was insisting on more flexibility in making EU structural funds available “so that the money can be spent without too much bureaucracy,” Merkel said.

    No interventions

    As “Europe’s two main manufacturing nations,” Berlusconi said, Italy and Germany opposed any measures contained in a EU climate and energy packet that would negatively impact on their countries’ industries.

    Asked whether Italy intended to follow the example of the US, where moves are afoot to bolster that country’s automobile industry, Berlusconi replied: “We don’t believe such measures should be taken.”

    “We don’t exclude them, because we first want to see how the market behaves, but at the moment no interventions are planned,” Berlusconi said.

    Referring to the importance of the G20, which brought together developed and emerging economies, Berlusconi said he and Merkel still believed the Group of Eight (G8) of the world’s most developed nations should “continue existing.”

    The G8, of which Italy next year takes over the presidency and hosts its summit, should however “be enlarged to a G14 or G20 depending on the problems brought to the table,” said Berlusconi,

    FMs commemorate Nazi victims

    Steinmeier and Frattini at La Risiera di San Sabba memorial

    Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Steinmeier and Frattini at La Risiera di San Sabba memorial


    Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday meanwhile joined his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini in laying a commemorative wreath for the victims of a former World War II Nazi death camp near Trieste.

    The German foreign minister’s morning visit to the Risiera di San Sabba was seen as an attempt to mend fences with Italy. Acrimony exists between the two countries 60 years after the end of the war over demands for retribution for Nazi-era atrocities.

    According to estimates, between 3,000 and 5,000 people — mostly political prisoners — were murdered at the camp.

    “The atrocities perpetrated at Risiera di San Sabba in the name of Germany are part of our common history,” Steinmeier said during the memorial ceremony. “Many are the events and the places of memory which represent the betrayal of civilization by Germany.”

    Steinmeier also recalled the “suffering of around 600,000 Italian soldiers” interned in German prison camps. He was referring to those imprisoned following Italy’s decision in September 1943, after toppling fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s, to abandon its Axis alliance with Germany.

    Joint historic commission

    Frattini and Steinmeier also announced the creation of a joint Italian-German commission of historians which would research the treatment of Italian World War II prisoners in German hands.

    Last month the German government rejected a verdict from a Rome court ordering Germany to pay personal damages for Nazi atrocities to match reparations already paid to Italy as a nation.

    The case was filed by nine families on behalf of relatives killed when Nazi soldiers massacred 203 people at Civitella in northern Italy in June 1944. The Italian court awarded them 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

    Germany is currently preparing a complaint to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to fend off further reparation claims.

    Source

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

    Government to defy critics with secret GM crop trials

    By Andrew Grice

    November 17 2008

    Ministers are drawing up plans for genetically-modified crops to be grown in secret and more secure locations to prevent trials being wrecked by saboteurs.

    They may ask the police to target opponents of GM crops in the way that they have cracked down on animal rights protesters. Another option is for the controversial crops to be grown at a secure government site such as Porton Down near Salisbury, which carries out military research and includes a science park where they could be securely developed away from the public.

    The Independent disclosed in June that the Government wants a new public debate on whether GM foods could hold the answer to global food shortages and rising prices. Gordon Brown is moving cautiously, saying he will be guided by scientific experts, because of strong public opposition to previous trials – notably from young mothers.

    However, no experiments are currently underway in Britain after 400 potato plants were destroyed on a farm run by the University of Leeds in June. Almost all of the 54 GM crop trials which have been conducted since 2000 have been targeted by opponents and vandalised.

    Under current rules, scientists must disclose the location of trials on a government website, thereby making it easy for anti-GM protesters to find them. Ministers are now ready to scrap that rule. A review of the security arrangements has also been ordered by Hilary Benn, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary and Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary.

    Mr Benn said: “We need to see if they [GM foods] have a contribution to make and we won’t know the answer about their environmental impact unless we run controlled experiments. It’s important to go with the science.”

    A government source added: “We need to review the security arrangements. The rules are a charter for people who want to stop the experiments. A lot of information has to be put in the public domain and that makes it very easy for people to trash them.”

    Lord Mandelson backs the Cabinet’s decision that GM policy must depend on science but is anxious to prevent Britain’s biotechnology industry falling behind its overseas competitors.

    He was a supporter of GM foods in his previous job as a European commissioner, where he tried to change the EU’s cautious approach to GM licensing. In a speech last year, he argued: “Safe biotechnology has a crucial role to play in agriculture and agricultural trade both in Europe and the developing world.”

    Lord Mandelson urged governments, the Commission and the biotech industry to do a better job of setting out the issues. “While technology determines what is possible, consumer demand determines what is economically viable. Public fears may be misplaced, but they cannot and should not be dismissed,” he said.

    Leeds University plans to make one final attempt to conduct its field trial. It will ask the Government to foot an estimated £100,000 bill for installing fences, security cameras and guards on its farm so that the trial is not sabotaged by opponents.

    Professor Tim Benton, research dean at its Faculty of Biological Science, said yesterday: “We need to find a way to do crop trials in a safe way and to minimise the environmental risk. We cannot carry on for the next 20 or 30 years saying it’s too scary, the public is too frightened, it is politically too dangerous. There is absolutely no way we can move towards a world with food security without using GM technology. The amount of food we need could double because the population is growing, climate change will reduce yields and we will take land out of food production for biofuels.”

    Ministers, who have been lobbied by the biotechnology industry to improve security at trial sites, are drawing a parallel between anti-GM protesters and opponents of experiments on animals. The law was changed in 2005 to give police new powers to prosecute activists after Huntingdon Life Sciences was targeted and attacked by animal rights extremists.

    Source

    So what part of no didn’t Lord Mandelson get the  “N” or the
    “O”.

    People don’t want GM foods. The GM companies lie and are coning people. I certainly wouldn’t trust them.

    Who is more important the people or the profiteers who lobby government?

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

    Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 12:50 am  Comments Off on Government to defy critics with secret GM crop trials  
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    The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

    By: Daniel Hannan

    November 13 2008

    Look, let’s get this straight. The European Court of Auditors has not approved the EU budget. What it has approved is the European Commission’s accounting procedures. The auditors made clear that there remained substantial irregularities and illegalities in the spending itself: they were able certify only eight per cent of the total budget. But they did agree, for the first time, that the EU’s figures were accurate.

    In other words, if the EU says that it spent €100 on olive subsidies, the Court of Auditors accepts – in so far as accountants ever accept these things – that it did. What it cannot vouch for is that the recipient was actually growing olives.

    Now I don’t want to be mean-minded about this. The European Commission has worked hard to bring its accounting methods into line with international norms. And there is no question that it is doing a better job today than when I was first elected. But the underlying problem of money being claimed under false pretences has not abated. Eurocrats protest, with some justice, that this is not their fault, since it is up to the national authorities to invigilate most of the spending. But here we reach the nub of the problem: as long as the various programmes are funded by EU money, state authorities have little incentive to police them.

    The solution, of course, would to stop sloshing the cash through the various tubes and chambers of the Brussels machine, and simply spend it at national level in the first place. But this would put the EU out of business, since its chief role these days is as a massive redistributor of public money. If it has taken 14 years simply to come up with a proper accounting method, there seems little hope that the budget itself will ever be properly apportioned.

    Source

    Not all is Roses in the Great Garden of the European Union

    Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

    Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on The EU budget is necessarily corrupt  
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    Guantanamo Bay: Obama’s options

    November 12 2008

    Guantanamo Bay has been widely condemned by international rights groups [GALLO/GETTY]

    Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has said repeatedly that he will shut down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and is now faced with decisions about how to proceed.

    Rights groups have urged Obama to move swiftly once he begins his White House term in January.

    The detention and treatment of prisoners held at the US facility has been widely condemned by international rights groups and the UN and EU.

    It has held more than 750 captives from around the world since opening in 2002, including many who were captured during the US “war on terror” that followed the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001.

    Around 250 prisoners remain in the camp – most held without charge or trial – including 50 or so that have been cleared for release but cannot be returned to their home countries, the US government says, for fear of torture and persecution.Two, including Osama bin Laden’s former driver, have already faced full military tribunals, set up by the Bush administration to try the detainees, but widely condemned as unfair by rights groups.

    Aides to Obama say he remains committed to closing Guantanamo and trying the remaining detainees.

    “President-Elect Obama said throughout his campaign that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed,” Denis McDonough, an advisor to Obama on foreign policy, said in a statement on Monday.

    There are several options now on the table for the new administration.

    1. Trying detainees using a new US legal system

    Obama has considered proposing a new court system to try the Guantanamo detainees and has appointed a committee to decide how such a court would operate, recent media reports have said.

    The US has faced widespread criticism over
    its treatement of detainees [GALLO/GETTY]

    How specifically that system would operate remains unclear.”There is no process in place to make that decision until his [Obama’s] national security and legal teams are assembled,” McDonough said.

    But the idea of setting up a separate legal system for the detainees has already drawn some criticism, and invited comparisons to the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration.

    “There would be concern about establishing a completely new system,” Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor, said.

    “And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on US soil and departs from the criminal justice system – trying to establish that would be very difficult.”

    2. Criminal trials in the US

    Obama aides have also said Guantanamo’s remaining detainees could be prosecuted in federal criminal courts.

    Doing so in the US would grant the detainees legal rights equivalent to those of citizens, thus creating a host of problems for prosecutors.

    More than 750 prisoners have been held at the detention centre since 2002 [GALLO/GETTY]

    Evidence gathered through military interrogation or from intelligence sources could be thrown out.Defendents would also have the right to confront witnesses, which means undercover CIA officers or informants might have to take the stand, jeopardising their identities and revealing classified intelligence tactics.

    The idea of bringing alleged terrorists onto US soil has also proved controversial.

    Last year, the US senate overwhelmingly passed a non-binding bill opposing bringing detainees to the United States.

    John Cornyn, a Republican senate judiciary committee member, says it would be a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime”.

    “It would be a stunning disappointment if one of the new administration’s first priorities is to give foreign terror suspects captured on the battlefield the same legal rights and protections as American citizens accused of crimes,” he said.

    3. Trials in the US military court-martial system

    Use of the US military’s court-martial system is another possible option to try Guantanamo detainees.

    Could the US use its own military justice system
    to try detainees? [GALLO/GETTY]

    “The court martial system could be adapted very easily by congress – I think that’s by far the better option,” Scott Silliman, a law professor at Duke University and director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, told Al Jazeera.A US federal trial, like the case brought against Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring to kill US citizens in the September 11 attacks, could be drawn out over several years.

    However, courts-martial, which unlike federal trials can take place outside the US, but maintain a higher standard of evidence than that of the current military tribunals used by the Bush administration.

    But critics have also said that the higher standard of evidence could create problems for the prosecuting teams similar to that in criminal trials.

    Silliman, however, says the US has much to gain from the system, in terms of credibility, for holding detainees to the same standards as its own military forces.

    4. Repatriation

    For the detainees which the government maintains no evidence of criminality, Obama advisers told the Associated Press news agency on Monday that they would probably be returned to the countries where they were captured for continued detention or rehabilitation.

    The outgoing administration contends this is easier said than done.

    “We’ve tried very hard to explain to people how complicated it is,” Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for the White House, says. “When you pick up people off the battlefield that have a terrorist background, it’s not just so easy to let them go.”

    Some governments have denied that the Guantanamo prisoners are in fact their citizens, while others have been reluctant to agree to US requests to imprison or monitor former Guantanamo detainees.

    The Bush administration says talks with Yemen for the release of around 90 Yemeni detainees into a rehabilitation programme have so far been fruitless.

    5. Resettlement in other countries

    At least 50 of Guantanamo’s inmates have already been cleared for release but the US government says they cannot be returned to their home countries for fear of torture and persecution.

    Human Rights groups have called for a swift closure of Guantanamo Bay [AFP]

    The US state department and international human rights groups have urged third-party countries to accept these Guantanamo prisoners.In Berlin on Monday, five rights groups issued a joint call to European governments to grant humanitarian resettlement and protection to detainees from China, Libya, Russia, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan, among others.

    “This would have a double effect: helping to end the ordeal of an individual unlawfully held in violation of his human rights, and helping end the international human rights scandal that is Guantanamo,” Daniel Gorevan, who manages Amnesty International’s “Counter Terror with Justice” campaign, said.

    Analysts have said international governments might be more willing to negotiate on this issue with an Obama administration because the president-elect has spoken out against unilateral US action, and is less likely to have as strict requirements.

    6. Keeping Guantanamo open

    The likelihood of keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open is an apparently a slim one in part, because of the negative publicity the Obama administration would receive.

    The facility has been condemned by the UN, the EU, and numerous human rights groups, and many in the US argue that the camp is also a liability.

    Even George Bush acknowledged in 2006 he would “like to close” it.

    “Guantanamo Bay, for most people is a lightning rod for everything that’s wrong with the United States,” Silliman says. “I’m not sure Obama would be able to back away from his campaign pledge.”

    Were it to remain open, the US congress would be likely to have to pass a new law to keep the detainees there, and push through humanitarian and legal changes.

    Another alternative is for the US to work with other countries to create jointly-operated detention facilities.

    Whatever the plan the new administration pursues, Silliman says Obama isn’t likely to push through changes on January 21 – his first day in office.

    “We should not expect it to take place in the first couple of weeks of his administration, or even in the first couple months,” he says.

    “All of this is going to take time.”

    Source

    World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless

    November 5 2008

    SOFIA,

    The World Bank has approved two loans to Bulgaria worth 142 million euros, aimed at raising employment, productivity and living standards in the European Union newcomer, the lender said on Wednesday.

    The Balkan country, which joined the EU in 2007, is the bloc’s poorest member with the lowest incomes per capita and has one of the lowest productivity rates.

    The global financial crisis is expected to hit Bulgaria’s so far booming economy and possibly raise jobless rates as foreign investments and a domestic credit expansion, which supported growth in the past few years, are slowing.

    The World Bank said in a statement that one of the loans worth 102 million euros will support Bulgaria’s reform agenda in the areas of health, education, and social protection.

    ‘Maintaining the momentum of reforms has become more urgent at this time of turbulence in the global financial markets, and the support of the Bank to the reform agenda … has gained additional significance,’ the statement said.

    The bank’s project will support policies to increase employment, lay the foundations for long-term productivity growth by providing incentives for job creation and improving quality of education and promote fiscal sustainability, it said.

    The second loan of 40 million euros is designed to stimulate social inclusion by helping low-income and marginalised families educate their children and reduce early drop-outs.

    Economists and ratings agencies have warned that Bulgaria’s dependence on foreign cash to fund its huge current account deficit and foreign debt make the country vulnerable in times of tight global liquidity and credit conditions.

    Sofia’s debts to the World Bank stood at 573.3 million euros at the end of September and account for 17.7 percent of the state public foreign debt, finance ministry data showed.

    (Reporting by Irina Ivanova; Editing by Toby Chopra)

    Source


    Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm  Comments Off on World Bank lends to Bulgaria to tackle poverty, jobless  
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    Sommet de la Francophonie in Canada

    Harper welcomes Sarkozy ahead of talks on economy

    Oct. 17 2008

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Quebec City Friday ahead of a working lunch where the leaders will discuss the economy and trade issues.

    Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, landed in Quebec City Friday morning and were greeted by Harper on the tarmac.

    Harper has vowed to make sure Canadian banks are not negatively impacted by ongoing rescue efforts in Europe and the U.S., where governments are providing aid to financial institutions.

    “The French president is the chairman of the EU commission on this whole issue right now so he’s trying to drum up support for different ideas on how to protect banks and the financial sector internationally,” CTV’s Rosemary Thompson said Friday from Quebec City.

    The leaders are also expected to discuss a possible free trade deal between Canada and the EU.

    “Obviously, the United States has always been our main trading partner but if we can do more with India, China and Asia and if we can do more with the European Union that would help to diversify the Canadian economy,” Environment Minister John Baird told CTV’s Canada AM on Friday.

    According to The Globe and Mail, the discussions will focus on the free trade of services, rather than manufactured goods and agriculture, between Canada and France.

    The Globe cites a French-language draft version of a joint-statement that says both countries are ready to take steps this year to ensure “operational launch of negotiations as soon as possible in 2009.”

    The plan may include an “open skies” agreement for airlines, which would allow airlines from either country to have expanded rights to fly routes in the other’s jurisdiction, says The Globe.

    Thompson said a labour mobility agreement between France and Quebec may also be negotiated today.

    As part of the deal, Quebec and France would recognize 12 different trades and professions.

    “For instance, if you were a doctor in France you could come and work in Quebec as a doctor and there wouldn’t be a hassle over credentials,” Thompson told CTV Newsnet from Quebec City.

    After his meeting with Harper, Sarkozy will then deliver an address to the National Assembly in Quebec at 3 p.m.

    “Apparently he’s going to take a very balanced approach today saying that he loves Canada but that, of course, Quebec is like a brother to France,” Thompson said.

    In the evening, Sarkozy will attend the official opening of the summit of La Francophonie, an organization of 55 French-speaking nations.

    However, the French leader has cut short his visit and will not attend the closing ceremonies of the summit — a first for any French president.

    Instead, Sarkozy will travel to Camp David in Maryland on Saturday for meetings with U.S. President George Bush.

    “It’s a bit disappointing,” Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s minister responsible for the provincial language law, said Thursday.

    Quebec Premier Jean Charest said the shortened visit was understandable given the “extraordinary circumstances.”

    Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, will not be travelling with her husband.

    Source

    CTV Newsnet: Leaders speak to media in Quebec  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:15:12.00′)); // see common.js 15:12
    CTV Montreal: John Grant reports from Quebec City and discusses Sarkozy’s plan to reform capitalism  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:02:36.00′)); // see common.js 2:36
    CTV Newsnet: Rosemary Thompson on the discussions expected at the Summit  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:03:07.00′)); // see common.js 3:07
    CTV Newsnet: Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Quebec City  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:03:52.00′)); // see common.js 3:52

    Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees

    October 6, 2008

    The Government is facing increased pressure to follow its European counterparts in pledging 100 per cent protection for UK savers.

    What has the German government pledged?

    Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed that the federal government would guarantee all private savings accounts in German banks. Finance minister Peer Steinbrueck said that from today German citizens need not worry about “a single euro of their deposits” during the global financial crisis.

    Is Germany the only country to offer such a promise?

    No. Last week Ireland said all money held in savings accounts at six institutions – Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Anglo-Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and the Educational Building Society – will be guaranteed in their entirety.

    Greece has likewise guaranteed its depositors’ savings.

    What is the situation in the UK?

    In the UK, savings of £50,000 are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The limit relates to deposits with an organisation, regardless of how many accounts the customer holds. The limit had, until recently, been set at £35,000 but as a result of the current crisis, ministers agreed to up the ceiling.

    Can UK citizens benefit from the announcements in other countries?

    Yes. Three Irish banks – Allied Irish Bank, Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland – have branches in the UK. These will be covered by the Irish Government’s guarantee and British citizens can open accounts with relative ease at branches in the UK. In addition, the Post Office’s savings products are run by Bank of Ireland, giving customers 100% protection.

    There is also nothing stopping UK customers opening up an account with a bank branch in Ireland. Although it may be harder, as many will want you to appear in person to open the account.

    How have British banks responded? Aren’t they at a disadvantage?

    On Wednesday the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) challenged the Irish government, claiming that the guarantee was anti-competitive, especially for banks in Northern Ireland. It fears that UK savers will move their money to Irish banks in a bid to benefit from the guarantee offered.

    But don’t some institutions in the UK already offer 100 per cent protection?

    Yes. When Northern Rock collapsed, the UK Government made an exception to end the run on the bank, ensuring that all of the Rock’s savers will have deposits covered in their entirety.

    National Savings & Investment, which is backed by the Treasury, also offers complete protection on people saving through its products.

    And Bradford & Bingley savings are safe while part of the collapsed bank goes through the process of being transferred to Santander, owners of Abbey.

    So, if ministers pledged complete protection for Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, what’s to say they won’t do the same if another bank fails?

    Nothing. The whole question in many experts’ view is purely theoretical. It would, it is argued, be almost inconceivable for the Government to let savers lose their money as a result of a bank failing.

    Unlike more risky investments, people are not given explicit warnings that they could lose their savings – the whole stability of the banking system depends on the belief that money is safe in the bank.

    If people started to lose money, it would lead to instability on a grand scale and a return to a run on the banks as panicked savers attempt to move cash out.

    So why don’t the Government just follow the German and Irish lead and guarantee all savings?

    Because it shifts liability from the banks to the taxpayers. And we are talking about a lot of money. Estimates suggest it would mean a risk running into the trillions of pounds – that is £1,000,000,000,000s. This would place a huge burden on public finances.

    And it could be the “thin end of the wedge”, some fear. Bank’s business customers may be next in asking for their money to be covered.

    An 100 per cent guarantee could also impact on the Government’s ability to raise funds which in turn could hit public spending. The theory has it that with a promise to protect all savings, people would be less willing to buy into secure state-backed bonds.

    The main attraction of Government “gilt-edged” bonds is that they are seen as one of the safest places you can put money.

    If bank saving accounts are covered by a Government guarantee this will no longer be the case. As such they would be deemed to be less attractive, especially as they currently offer a return which is less than that of a top savings account.

    Source

    Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Comments Off on Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees  
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    EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

    By John Lichfield in Paris
    October 6, 2008

    Public spending curbs and rules against state subsidies will be thrown – temporarily – out of the window to rescue European banks from the abyss of the global financial crisis, EU leaders agreed at the weekend. Leaders of the four largest European Union economies – Britain, France, Germany and Italy – came up with no EU-wide magic formula, or rescue package, to defend the buckling European financial system.

    They did agree, however, that national governments should be at liberty to take drastic action to shore up their own financial institutions, busting EU limits on national budgets and flouting European rules against public subsidies if necessary. Meeting in Paris, the Big Four insisted that national governments must “consult” their European partners before taking action which could harm rival banks in other countries. This was a rebuke to Ireland’s decision last week to guarantee all bank savings for two years but also, implicitly, a recognition that other nations may have to take similar action.

    But they accepted that the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact – the eurozone rules requiring that national budget deficits should be progressively reduced to zero – should be relaxed. This was a silver lining in the crisis for the French government. Even before the financial meltdown, Paris had been struggling to meet its commitment to balance its budget by 2012.

    EU laws forbidding state subsidies to private companies would also be “applied in a flexible manner” (ie suspended), the summit decided. At France’s insistence it was agreed that there should be “punishments”, not golden parachutes, for the bosses of financial institutions which needed state bailouts.

    The Big Four also called for urgent action to change EU accounting rules which are accused of deepening the crisis by encouraging stock-market speculation against banks.

    The decision by the Big Four was portrayed by French officials as a significant lurch away from the free-market doctrine which has dominated EU economic policy for the past two decades.

    French officials nevertheless claimed the summit as a victory for the can-do and interventionist instincts of the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The four leaders signed a declaration backing his plan for an emergency global economic summit next month to “rebuild the world’s financial system”. Previously, international reaction to this idea had been lukewarm at best.

    The mini-summit also agreed a plan by Mr Brown to create a €12bn (£9.3bn) – and potentially €24bn – EU fund to aid small businesses.

    Source

    Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 8:50 pm  Comments Off on EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone  
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