US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

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

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

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

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

Now the Military can help with all of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing the way we do business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

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

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

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

Fighting “crimiterror”

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

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

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

The Demographic Unit

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

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

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

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

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

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

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

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

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

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

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

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

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

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

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

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

Source

 

Nuclear Sites in US, Europe and Japan

I came across this site today as I was wondering about.

They apparently monitor radiation levels which can be read on line and are apparently updated every minute or so.

What Amazed me is how many Nuclear sites there are.

The numbers are staggeringly high.

There sure are a lot of  potential accidents waiting to happen.

Here are the three maps

Click on them and they will go into to new window.

If you press Ctrl and the plus (+) sign at the right of your computer it should enlarge the maps so you can get a close up. Or under VIEW at the very top of your screen there may be a ZOOM.

Nuclear Site    

Source

All
I can say are those maps are pretty scary. That is a lot of radioactive material on the planet and that is not all of the nuclear sites world wide.

They really need to find safer ways to create electricity.

One has to wonder how many of those sites like Japans could be damaged by earthquakes or tidal waves etc etc.

What is so foolish is they an you know who I am talking about, tell Iran they can’t have one of those sites.  What hypocrites they all are.

One has to wonder who inspects all those sites on those maps if anyone?

How safe are they? Well they are all as safe as the ones in Japan, Chornobyl or Three Mile Island that’s how safe they all are.

List of civilian nuclear accidents

List of military nuclear accidents

And of Course Deaths due to Radiation from Wars

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

It’s no wonder there is so much cancer etc around the world.

Don’t forget all the bomb testing that has taken place in the past all that radiation is still hanging around as well after all radiation doesn’t go aways for a million years or so.

Gee now don’t you feel so much better now? Don’t you feel oh so safe when they tell you all is well and you are safe?

Fukushima, Japan China Syndrome or Chernobyl

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Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm  Comments Off on Nuclear Sites in US, Europe and Japan  
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May Day protests draw millions worldwide

May Day Protests around the World
May 1 2010
Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev  on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine's capital.Trade union members march in May Day celebrations in downtown Kiev on Saturday. About 4,000 people rallied in Ukraine’s capital. (Sergei Chuzavkov/Associated Press)

Demonstrators poured into the streets from Hong Kong to Moscow to Santiago, Chile, waving flags, beating drums and dancing to music.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The Istanbul demonstrations marked a special victory for Turkish unions, which had been denied access to Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after a shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers on Saturday demanded an inquiry into the demonstrators’ deaths.

'I reject the five per cent increase,' says a La Paz  demonstrator's sign denouncing the size of Bolivia's proposed  minimum-wage increase.

‘I reject the five per cent increase,’ says a La Paz demonstrator’s sign denouncing the size of Bolivia’s proposed minimum-wage increase. (Juan Karita/Associated Press)

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

In Manila, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a $1.70 increase in the daily minimum wage.

In Toronto, a few thousand demonstrators pressed for reforms to make it easier for refugees to seek haven in Canada and for immigrants to come to the country.

In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!” Rally organizer Bayu Ajie said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Kasparov leads rally

France saw rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Paris, Marseille, Lille and other cities, but the turnout nevertheless disappointed labour unions that had been hoping for crowds in the millions to provide a show of force against a planned pension overhaul.

A rare opposition march took place in Moscow, where former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, now an opposition politician, led activists calling for the ouster of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stifling democracy.

In La Paz, the Bolivian capital, marchers carried signs denouncing the government’s proposed five per cent hike in the minimum wage as too paltry.

About 1,000 protesters — among them bus drivers and janitors — took to the streets in Hong Kong to demand that the government enact a minimum wage of the equivalent of $4.35 an hour. Though the Chinese territory has some of the richest residents in the world, its wealth is too unevenly distributed, advocates say.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El  Salvador.

People participate in a May Day protest in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Edgar Romero/Associated Press)

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in Santiago, clashes broke out with police, who launched tear gas and deployed a water cannon against demonstrators.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large rally against austerity measures imposed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities asserted the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s Communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights. A smiling President Raul Castro watched the rally go past from a high podium.  Source

May Day turns violent in Berlin

May 2 2010

Riot police made targeted arrests during clashes on May Day demonstrations in Berlin.

May Day demonstrations have turned violent after police battle rioters in two German cities, using water cannons to drive back crowds of protestors.

In the capital Berlin, police tried to disperse hundreds of left-wing protesters in the west of the German capital late Saturday, as they set cars on fire and demolished police vehicles.

The eastern side of the city also saw clashes between anti-Nazi demonstrators and right-wingers.

In the port city of Hamburg, some 1,500 leftist radicals held a parade that continued into the early hours of Sunday. Police said the protestors vandalized banks, overturned parked cars and set them on fire.

It has become a ritual for leftists and rightists to engage in violent clashes with police and storm banks and shops on the May Day for more than a decade in Berlin and Hamburg.

Some 7,000 riot police were deployed to keep the two groups apart. Nearly 20 people were injured in those clashes. Police said they have made more than 250 arrests.

Last year’s May Day in Berlin was the most violent in a decade with hundreds of arrests and dozens of police officers injured. More than 400 cars were set ablaze in Berlin and Hamburg.

May Days have traditionally been an opportunity for workers and the left in general, to let off steam.

In many countries, it is synonymous with International Workers’ Day or Labor Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organized by unions and other groups. Source


May Day marked with global protests

Turks mark first May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in 33 years  [AFP]

Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul to mark International Worker’s Day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

In Turkey, about 140,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since 34 people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstration was a special victory for Turkish labour unions, which had been denied access to the site since 1977, after a shooting triggered a stampede.

Aydin Demir, a 44-year-old kiosk owner, said labourers had won a 33-year-long struggle for their right to rally at the square.

“We paid a heavy price to be here today. Thousands of comrades have been arrested, but now we get the result of our struggle,” he said.

‘Rights crushed’

Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, reporting from Taksim Square, said that in the past, trade unions who tried to hold rallies there in defiance of the ban met with a heavy police crackdown which left dozens injured and hundreds in detention.

“Then human rights and especially workers rights were crushed for years in Turkey,” McNaught said.

“Over a series of years, particularly the last three, the unions have steadily pushed and pushed to be reallowed access to back to this square.

“They have said there is no good reason not to allow them back and this year, the government agreed.”

More than 22,000 police officers were deployed for the rally and demonstrators went through security checks before entering the square.

Zafer Yoruk, a professor of political science at Izmir University, said the number of workers organised in Turkish unions has fallen dramatically since the 1970s.

“Regarding unionisation and economic rights, I think we’re far behind the 1970s,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The right to strike, for rights, or solidarity strikes, are totally gone.”

Rowdy protesters

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannon and pepper spray against rowdy protesters, injuring at least eight people, including a photographer.

Clashes broke out in a number of countries as workers staged rallies [AFP]

Hundreds of thousands of people joined rallies in Europe, many protesting against government austerity policies in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Athens, the Greek capital, witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannon in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

In Germany, police said 17 officers had been injured when they clashed with 150 demonstrators who threw paving stones and set garbage cans ablaze in the northern port city of Hamburg.

At least nine demonstrators were detained after the confrontations with police on the eve of Saturday’s May Day holiday, the German news agency DDP reported.

Several hundred officers were deployed in the capital, Berlin, ahead of a planned neo-Nazi march and other demonstrations.

‘Workers unite’

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”

Workers took to the streets to protest labour conditions and demand better pay [Reuters]

Bayu Ajie, a rally organiser, said a free-trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption.

In Russia almost two million people turned out to mark international worker’s day.

Demonstrators carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow.

Thousands of Cambodian workers marked May Day by marching through the capital to demand better work conditions and the establishment of a labour court.

Thousands of workers in the Philippines also took to the streets to reiterate their call to the government to protect jobs and to safeguard the interests of workers.

In the South Korean capital, Seoul, about 20,000 people gathered to demand better working conditions for labourers and farmers.

In Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, several hundred workers protested a proposed four per cent goods and services tax. While, in Hong Kong, about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government introduce a minimum wage of $4.30.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about $4. It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” Leung Yiu-chung, a pro-democracy legislator, said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests. Source

Workers demand better jobs, pay on May Day

Indonesian workers shout slogans  during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by  Dita Alangkara)Indonesian workers shout slogans during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday (AP photo by Dita Alangkara)

I

STANBUL (AP) – Tens of thousands of workers marched in cities from Hong Kong to Istanbul Saturday to mark international worker’s day, demanding more jobs, better work conditions and higher wages.

About 140,000 jubilant workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the first celebrations at the site since dozens of people died there in a May 1 gathering more than three decades ago.

The demonstrations in Istanbul, which sits on both European and Asian continents, marked a special victory for the Turkish unions, which had been denied access to the Taksim Square since 1977, when 34 people died after shooting triggered a stampede. The culprits were never found and workers demanded Saturday an inquiry into the deaths of the demonstrators.

Most of the annual May Day marches were peaceful, but in the Chinese territory of Macau police used water cannons and pepper spray against rowdy protesters who tried to break away from the approved route. Hong Kong radio RTHK reported at least eight people injured, including a photographer.

Athens also witnessed riots, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw firebombs and stones in a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece. In Switzerland, Zurich police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse dozens of stone-throwing protesters as unions and politicians protested against “excessive” Swiss banking bonuses.

German police detained 250 neo-Nazis who attempted to attack them in downtown Berlin, while they braced for further clashes after sundown.

Nadine Pusch, a spokeswoman for Berlin police, said 7,000 officers were scattered throughout the city in an effort to ensure peaceful demonstrations.

Overnight in Hamburg, 17 officers were injured in clashes on the eve of May 1 and at least nine demonstrators were detained, the German news agency ddp reported Saturday.

The turnout in Cuba was massive, as expected, and authorities claimed the march by hundreds of thousands of Cubans amounted to approval of the island’s communist system amid mounting international criticism over human rights.

Thousands joined peaceful May Day marches in Stockholm, where opposition leader Mona Sahlin blamed the centre-right government for failing to stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation’s cherished welfare system. Sahlin is hoping to become Sweden’s first female prime minister after national elections in September.

Several thousand demonstrators in Paris also took to the streets amid concerns about conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to overhaul the pension system.

In Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced she had ordered the labour secretary to speed up negotiations between unions and employers on a 75-peso ($1.67) increase in daily minimum wage.

In Indonesia’s capital, thousands of workers marched on the presidential palace, shouting: “Workers unite! No more layoffs!”. Rally organiser Bayu Ajie said a free trade agreement with China had cost jobs, decreased wages and encouraged corruption. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to create safer working conditions and improve job prospects if the workers maintained political and economic stability.

Thousands of Communist demonstrators, carrying red balloons, red Soviet flags and portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, called for the Russian government’s resignation over rising prices and unemployment in Moscow. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov led hundreds of opposition activists in a separate rally. They also called for the ouster of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of stamping out democracy. A few thousands also rallied in Ukraine’s capital.

In Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo and Taiwan, thousands marched for better working conditions and permanent jobs. Jeong Ho-hee, spokesman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union, vowed to fight against long working hours and high death rate related to industrial accidents.

In the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, several hundred workers protested a proposed 4 per cent goods and services tax while about 1,000 protesters, including janitors, construction workers and bus drivers, demanded the government in Hong Kong to introduce a minimum wage of 33 Hong Kong dollars ($4.30).

This freewheeling capitalist Chinese enclave is one of the world’s wealthiest cities, but critics say its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

“A lunch box at a fast-food restaurant costs about HK$30 ($4). It’s an insult if you can’t afford a lunch box after working for an hour,” pro-democracy legislator Leung Yiu-chung said on the sidelines of Saturday’s protests.  Source

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‘Donated’ computers become toxic e-waste, documentary shows

June 23, 2009

By Emily Chung,

UBC graduate journalism students Heba Elasaad (far left), Krysia Collyer (second from left), Blake Sifton (centre) and professor Dan McKinney (far right) spent 10 days in February in Ghana shooting a documentary on e-waste.

UBC graduate journalism students Heba Elasaad (far left), Krysia Collyer (second from left), Blake Sifton (centre) and professor Dan McKinney (far right) spent 10 days in February in Ghana shooting a documentary on e-waste. (Courtesy of Blake Sifton)

A hard drive containing information about multimillion dollar U.S. defence contracts was obtained in Ghana by a group of Vancouver journalism students as they probed what happens to developed nations’ discarded and donated electronics.

“It ‘s pretty shocking,” said Blake Sifton, one of three UBC graduate students who purchased the device containing information related to contracts between the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the military contractor Northrop Grumman, reported University of British Columbia journalism school. The hard drive cost just $40.

“You’d think a security contractor that constantly deals with very secret proprietary information would probably want to wipe their drives,” Sifton said Tuesday.

He visited Ghana for 10 days in February with classmates Heba Elasaad and Krysia Collyer and professor Dan McKinney while making the documentary “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground” for an international reporting course.

The finished documentary looks at problems arising as discarded computers, televisions and other “e-waste” make their way from North America and Europe to the markets and slums of west Africa. It was scheduled to air Tuesday on the season finale of the PBS program Frontline/World.

‘We plugged them and in and started reading files…they were just sitting there.’ — Peter Klein, UBC

The team bought seven hard drives at a bustling market in Tema, a major port near the capital city of Accra where a lot of electronic waste from Europe and North America enters Africa. One of the unformatted drives contained personal information and photos from a family in the U.K. Another was from New Zealand, and another contained the U.S. security data.

Special skills or software weren’t required to access the data, said Peter Klein, who teaches the international reporting course and supervised the documentary project.

“We plugged them and in and started reading files .… They were just sitting there.”

Northrop Grumman declined to be interviewed by the students. The company simply said it was looking into how the hard drives got there, and asked the students to return it, which they did not.

Though the export of e-waste is technically banned by international treaties, it often winds up on long journeys to the developing world, the students found.

Some students in the class followed the e-waste to China and India — countries where e-waste is well-known to be dumped.

Many people aren’t aware of the other path e-waste can take — to Africa, via donations of used electronics, Klein said.

Sifton, who graduated in May, said many exporters know that most of computers they bring in to Ghana aren’t working.

Parts that work may be sold at the market, while the rest ends up in a nearby dump known as Agbogbloshie.

Charred toxic wasteland

'It's incredibly difficult to breathe' at the dump, said Blake Sifton, as up to seven fires are typically spewing 'black, sticky, acrid smoke' at any one time. ‘It’s incredibly difficult to breathe’ at the dump, said Blake Sifton, as up to seven fires are typically spewing ‘black, sticky, acrid smoke’ at any one time. (UBC Graduate School of Journalism)

“It’s essentially this charred toxic wasteland,” Sifton recalled Tuesday. “The ground is just scorched absolutely everywhere. Everywhere you walk, there’s shards of plastic and metal and glass protruding from the ground.”

Boys scramble about in flip-flops, helping young men smash piles of old computer monitors, televisions, and radios, rip out the wires, and burn them in fires fed by insulation from old refrigerators. In that way, they extract lumps of copper that they sell for less than 50 cents a kilogram, Sifton said.

“It’s incredibly difficult to breathe because there’s usually between five and six and seven fires going at any time .… and there’s tons and tons of this black, sticky, acrid smoke coming out of them.”

After visiting the dump, Sifton would spend 20 minutes trying to clean the dark, smoky residue off his skin.

Separated from the dump by a toxic, lifeless river was a shanty town of metal and wood shacks. Despite the horrific living conditions, however, the residents were very generous and welcoming, Sifton recalled.

People who donate their computers typically don’t picture them ending up in either Agbogbloshie or the market in Tema, but put to good use.

Sifton said he did visit universities in Ghana equipped with computers that would have been unaffordable if they hadn’t been donated.

He fears that people will increasingly start donating computers without the hard drives, rendering them useless and compounding the problem.

Hard drives can be safely donated: experts

One of the hard drives contained personal information and photos of a family in the U.K. Another contained sensitive data about U.S. defence contracts. One of the hard drives contained personal information and photos of a family in the U.K. Another contained sensitive data about U.S. defence contracts. (UBC Graduate School of Journalism)

Fiaaz Walji, senior director of sales for Websense Inc., a computer, internet and data security firm, said the case involving the Northrop Grumman data is scary, and when people don’t erase their hard drives before disposal, “the risks are huge.”

“If you look at some of the bad guys … this is part of what they do,” he said. “They go and scour hard drives and look for information,” such as personal information that can be used in identity theft and fraud.

Nevertheless, Walji doesn’t think it’s necessary to destroy the hard drive.

“That doesn’t help from a recycling perspective.”

He said high-level data wiping methods that write over the old data should be sufficient.

Cliff Missen, director of a project that has donated hundreds of computers to African universities, said he has never heard of anyone in Africa recovering data from a hard drive that has been wiped three or four times, even though it’s theoretically possible.

Missen’s Widernet project at the University of Iowa has donated hundreds of computers, mainly from corporate donors, to universities in Ethiopia, Liberia and Nigeria. Most arrive with “just about everything” on the hard drive, but Widernet erases them, refurbishes the computers with extra memory, and packages up spare parts, before shipping them off.

Even though the computers are only delivered as part of computer training programs, the cost of security means some are stolen and may not end up where they were intended, he said.

Consumers should be vigilant: Sifton

Meanwhile, Sifton hopes people won’t get too caught up in the cybersecurity element of the story his team has been trying to tell.

“The big picture here is that there’s thousands of tonnes of toxic waste — because we want the newer computer, newer TV, or the newer cellphone — being sent and poisoning children in Ghana,” he said.

He wants people to think about whether they really need a new, bigger, flat-screen TV before throwing their old one out.

But he acknowledged that when electronics do get too old, it isn’t easy for consumers to know what to do with them.

“You don’t really know where your computer’s going to end up, even if you have the best intentions. It’s hard .… I just hope people will think twice and maybe be a little more vigilant when they’re donating their computer.”

Source

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 4:23 am  Comments Off on B.C. students buy sensitive U.S. defence data for $40 in Africa  
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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

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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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PA tips off ICC over Israeli crimes

PA tips off ICC over Israeli crimes
February 13 2009

Two Palestinian ministers are trying to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a probe into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki and Justice Minister Ali Kashan told reporters on Friday that they had given the ICC chief prosecutor documents proving Palestine is a legal state with the right to demand such an inquiry.

“Today we came to deliver a set of documents that shows that Palestine as a state … has the ability to present a case to the court and to ask for an investigation into crimes committed by the Israeli army,” AFP quoted Kashan as saying following a four-hour meeting in the ICC building.

“We will deliver more information about war crimes and crimes against humanity — not only in Gaza during the last Israeli attack, but also from 2002 until this moment,” he added.

Earlier in February, Moreno-Ocampo said he would decide on whether there was such a legal entity as a Palestinian state, which would allow an investigation into war crimes during Israel’s military offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza.

According to the Rome Statute, a treaty that created the ICC, only a state could accept the court’s jurisdiction — what the Palestinian Authority has sought.

Malki said documents were provided that show Palestine was recognized as a state by 67 countries with bilateral agreements with states in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

“Evidence of war crimes was among the documents provided,” he added

The 23-day Israeli onslaught on Gazans left at least 1,330 Palestinians – including some 460 children – killed and around 5,450 others injured.

An Israeli weapons system explodes over a mosque in Gaza

International organizations and human rights groups remain concerned over Tel Aviv’s use of forbidden arms, such as depleted uranium and white phosphorus, in the Gaza war.

The Palestinian ministers said the Palestinians had been “looking for justice for a very long time”.

“What we seek here is justice,” Malki said. “We want to create a precedent.”

Earlier in the month, Turkish human rights group, Mazlum-Der, accused Israel of directly attacking civilians “with the aim of annihilating them” and employing internationally-banned weapons in the process.

“The suspects, who wanted to wipe out the Palestinian people through systematic attacks, have committed genocide and crimes against humanity,” said the human rights group’s petition, demanding that several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi be detained should they enter Turkey.

Source

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Published in: on February 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm  Comments Off on PA tips off ICC over Israeli crimes  
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Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

rabbi-avi-ronzki_

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

January 27  2009

The Israeli army’s chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a “good attribute”.

The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead, the devastating three-week campaign launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire against southern Israel. The publication draws on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jewish fundamentalist Ateret Cohanim seminary in Jerusalem.

In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.

In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that “one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel”.

Breaking the Silence is calling for the firing of the chief military rabbi, Brigadier-General Avi Ronzki, over the booklet. The army had no comment on the matter yesterday.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of the Rabbis for Human Rights group, called the booklet “very worrisome”, adding “[this is] a minority position in Judaism that doesn’t understand the … necessity of distinguishing between combatants and civilians.”

Source

Israeli Professor: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

January 26 2009

An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other Europeans.

Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.

“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”

Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.

“The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”

Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to deport the Palestinians.

“I think it’s quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed.”

Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

Creveld argued that Israel wouldn’t care much about becoming a rogue state.

“Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under.”

Source

Israel must be disarmed. They are a threat to all of Europe. Would they do it of course they would why wouldn’t they?

A few Testimonies From Soldiers:

Rank: first sergeant

Unit: Golani

Description:

I remember instances– an instance where Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin at night at a late enough hour and it was very suspicious… Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin– I checked– I checked their ID cards– in our post there was a placard about how forged ID cards look– their ID cards were simply a little old.

Interviewer: Regular blue cards?

Regular blue cards– the picture was cut with straight corners rather than rounded corners and that was one of the elements– it seems that that was one of the elements of the new ID cards– someone who got his ID in the 1970s which would be very logical for someone who is thirty.

Interviewer: He has an old ID

He has an old ID, not forged, we thought that we were talking here about…

Interviewer: That someone is trying to get around you?

Exactly, to get around, someone who looks like an Israeli is trying to pass into Israel– it was very worrying … they were taken but there was no proportionality– we took them and tied them up and did a kind of Shabaq investigation we crosschecked them we talked with them we yelled at them we blindfolded them we didn’t urinate on them or do anything horrible but we scared them a lot we used psychological intimidation on these two it cam–

Interviewer: What did you do?

What?

Interviewer: How do you psychologically intimidate– how did you do that?

We tied them up, blindfolded them, stripped them completely, put them into the posts…

Interviewer: Completely?  Naked naked?

No, underwear, underwear, we put them in one of the posts, anti-fire posts, fire-resistant posts– that way it’s claustrophobic– you feel these four people yelling at him you liar you terrorist

Interviewer: Was there also physical violence there?

I, I’m sure, look, I’m sure that there were also those things, I already don’t remember.  Little by little it sunk in that they were Israelis, their Hebrew was good enough, their stories matched, the police came and we gave them to the officers.

Interviewer: How much time were they with you in the “investigation”?

Two hours, an hour and a half.

Interviewer: And after how much time did you call the police?

No, at the beginning we notified the brigade– I don’t think– we didn’t want to do– that is to say

Interviewer: The police took them?

Yes– I don’t know if I…

Rank: Sergeant

Unit: Nahal brigade

Place of incident: Atarot-Kalandia

Description:

10/2000

There wasn’t really a checkpoint in Kalandia [at that time]. We would stand there at the fence of the airport, as if this was aiding the guys who were guarding the airport. There were riots and we would shoot… how do you call it –

Rubber [rubber coated metal bullets].

Rubber, stun grenades. And all the time we were playing ‘Catch’ with the kids throwing stones. We would set traps for them there.

What do you mean by traps?

Traps, let me give you a somewhat funny example. We would put a can with a stun grenade inside, take out the safety pin, and place on it sweets, desserts that we would take from the kitchen. Then the kids would come, look at them and when they picked it up, the grenade would explode in their face. That’s one. I’ll give you another example. There was a couch that they would move all day, so we would booby trap the couch with stun grenades.

Where was this couch placed?

It was placed in the middle of where we were… there was a certain place where they would throw stones. And we were sick of them, like, taking the couch. So we (grinning)… and my platoon commander were wounded during this. He tried to set a trap and a stun grenade blew up in his hand, such things, it was a period then… And let me tell you, it was a crazy time.

Rank: Staff sergeant

Unit: Armored forces

Place of incident: Daharia junction

Description: Daharia junction. South Daharia. Palestinians pass through that roadblock on their way to work in Be’er-Sheva. They have to pass; some on foot. Tens of Palestinians a day. One of the officers wanted to keep the order, wanted them to stand in a straight line – like a ruler. He ran beside them and made them straighten up. They didn’t do it well enough, so the first person he saw at the beginning – about 50 years old with an 8-year-old kid or something similar, a little boy – the officer shot in the air and they straightened up. And on another occasion…

To straighten up the line?

To straighten up the line. And on another occasion he just beat the hell out of a person… He hit the man’s face with the handle of his rifle, kicked him in the groins, spat on him, cursed him – simply went berserk. In front of the man’s little boy. He just humiliated him.

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Unit: Paratroops

Place of incident: South Mount Hebron

Description:

Late 2001

Beside ordinary roadblocks, we would also block the main access roads. What does ‘block the main access roads’ mean? They give you an enormous Volvo mechanical shovel, they say: drive along Road no.60, and block any side-road that goes into it. OK, cool. It doesn’t matter that on some of these roads there’s somebody’s home and that he has a dirt-road leading to the main road, because the Palestinian Authority’s Public Works Division doesn’t function too well. So they didn’t pave a road to the house, just a dirt road. A command is a command, and so we would block the roads… Pretty soon we’d become bored, and of course there wasn’t an officer present, and the mechanical shovel’s driver is a bored reservist, so we started doing “Monster Truck Rally” [English in the original] – in the U.S you have these trucks with enormous wheels, we started playing this “Monster Truck Rally” game: to check what the shovel can cross and what it can lift. We would approach a house: ‘c’mon, can you hoist his car up in the air?’ – ‘Look at that, I can hoist the car, I believe I can.’ Boom! He would lift it up in the air and put it down on the path, blocking his path with his own car.

And presumably leave it like that …

Yes, leave it like that. ‘Can you…’ whatever… ‘Can you hoist his terrace?’ – ‘I don’t know, it’s heavy stone.’ – ‘C’mon, Shimon, what do you mean you can’t?’ – ‘I’ll try.’ ‘C’mon.’ Boom! Lifts up his terrace. Out of boredom you overturn peoples’ terraces, their cars. You trash them. No reason, it’s just a game. You see, I was 19-20 at the time. You give a child this enormous shovel – he can do anything… He can run wild. We did run wild. We moved boulders, blocked entrances to houses, uprooted gates. Just like that, we played with the shovel. And, of course, wherever you put up barriers, they’re open again the next day. They too have shovels. So I remember how me and my friend were pissed off that they should open these barriers. I go and put up these barriers, and fuck it the next day… It took me hours to put them up. What we did was – one time we were on a patrol, and we saw this JCB shovel and stopped and said to the guy “OK now you come with us to do a job”. I don’t know where he was going, but we appropriated his JCB for a couple of hours and used it to put up barriers.

You appropriated a Palestinian shovel …

Complete with the Palestinian guy inside. We said, ‘now you block all these roads.’ We did it all over again, put all the barriers up again. We detained him for maybe 2-3 hours. I don’t know for how long. Just out of boredom. No other reason.

Rank: First Sergeant

Place of incident: Nablus

Description:

End of 2003

There was an operation where we were supposed to enter the city. We called it “Yossi Bachar’s Horror Show”. Aviv Kohavi was replaced by Yossi Bachar. You know, every new brigade commander wants to leave an impression, wants to make a big entrance. He got us into this completely useless operation… and in the end of this operation there was this part when we put ‘New-Jerseys’ roadblocks, those plastic roadblocks. So we were putting these New-Jersey’s roadblocks, and the battalion commander gave an order… because we put these New Jerseys to block the traffic… in Nablus… Getting to the point, we put these New Jerseys and the kids there, those who throw stones all the time, would come and move them away. There was a mess. We couldn’t… In the beginning we would put the New Jerseys and the local residents would move them away, so we put it again, and then there were riots and stown throwing and it became a complete mess. Then the battalion commander gave the order: “Whoever touches the roadblock, the New Jerseys, must be shot in the legs.” Live ammunition. Shoot his legs. We were, I was, supposed to do it. In my Army vehicle there was talk, and we asked whether he was out of his mind; a person touches the roadblock – are we to shoot him in the legs? [We thought] he was just making noise.

Apparently this specific battalion commander. thought very highly of setting personal example. In a roadblock he came to – I was not personally there, but the guys from the commanding crew [soldiers who join the commander on operations]… And actually this was a known case: the man drove his jeep next to some New Jersey, and saw this kid touching it – apparently at some distance – and aimed at the kid’s leg. But, you know, instead of hitting the kid in the legs he hit him in the chest, and killed him. For touching a New Jersey. If you’ll excuse me, I do not think of touching a New Jersey as a reason for death.

How do you know the kid is dead?

Hear say. But the kid is dead. This is a well-known story. We got back to base from this operation, we talked, and then the guys who were with the commanding crew say: “Hey guys, *** killed a kid, a kid murderer, kid murderer, he killed a kid.” They told us the story. People who saw it happen. I’m pretty sure. I cannot think that someone went and checked his pulse, but not many kids survive a bullet in the chest.

There are many more.

Breaking the Silence- Soldiers’ Testimonies From Hebron 2005-2007,

Break the Silence 2

Break the Silence 3

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 4:01 am  Comments Off on Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’  
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Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

New Reports of Saturday and Sundays Protests at the bottom of the page

Iranian protestors attend an anti-Israel rally, after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Iran is warning Israel not to launch a ground offensive into Gaza as protests against the Israeli bombings of the Hamas-run area continue. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Egyptian security face protestors , who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Jan. 2, 2009. Riot police and security vehicles peppered the surrounding streets preventing many worshippers and journalists from getting to Al Azhar mosque. At least two were injured during a scuffle. (AP Photo)

Kenyan Muslim protesters in Nairobi, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, burn a representation of Israel’s national flag during a rally against Israeli military strikes on Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

Indian paramilitary soldiers and policemen beat Kashmiri Muslim protesters during a protest against the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, in Srinagar, India, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Tanzanian Muslim demonstrator shout slogans, during a protest, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to protest against the Israeli military strikes in the Gaza strip. The Muslims said they will not rest until Israel stops striking to the Gaza strip. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said)

Palestinian woman protest against Israel’s military operation in Gaza, in the center of the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. About 3,000 Hamas supporters protested in Nablus against the Israeli offensive, singing songs and calling for an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem. Thousands demonstrated throughout the West Bank in solidarity with the people of Gaza.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Nicaragua born human rights activist Bianca Jagger, right, reacts with singer Annie Lennox, left, before the start of the press conference in London to announce the mass demonstration in central London on Saturday to demonstrate against the ongoing Israeli military action against Gaza, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. British comedian Alexei Sayle is seen at centre. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

January 2 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Thousands protested Friday against Israel’s air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Similar protests have been held daily across the Middle East since Israel launched the bombing campaign last Saturday. But these gatherings held mostly after Friday prayers were larger — mainly because Friday prayers are a traditional gathering opportunity for Muslims — and seemed to be more far-reaching in the number of countries where protests occurred.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 400 Palestinians and sparked outrage among the Arab public. Israel says its offensive is aimed at silencing Hamas rockets.

In Tehran, a crowd of about 6,000 stretching for a half-mile (kilometer) marched from prayers at Tehran University to Palestine Square, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burning Israeli flags.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned Israel that entering Gaza “by land will be the biggest mistake of the Zionist regime.”

Iran is a major backer of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, giving it millions of dollars. The U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of giving weapons and rockets to Hamas, though Tehran denies arming Hamas.

In Egypt, authorities clamped down hard to prevent protests Friday. Hundreds of riot police surrounded Cairo’s main Al-Azhar Mosque, where a rally had been called, and scuffled with would-be protesters, keeping most from approaching.

Police also arrested 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood that called for protests.

More than 3,000 people marched in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.

Many governments in the Arab world such as Egypt have been wary about protests at home over Israel’s Gaza assault lest the protests spiral out of control.

In Jordan, police fired volleys of tear gas and scuffled with protesters who tried to reach the Israeli Embassy in Amman. A few of the protesters threw stones at police, but the security forces dispersed the group, arresting several.

About 30,000 Jordanians gathered at a stadium in Amman shouting their support for Gaza and calling for the abolition of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed in 1994.

More than 10,000 Muslims marched through Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to protest the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, aiming fake missiles labeled “Target: Tel Aviv, Israel” at the U.S. Embassy.

Protests were also held after Friday prayers in other cities in the world’s most populous Muslim country, in what was the largest turnout since Israel began the operation.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 3,000 people gathered outside a prominent mosque, according to police estimates. Men in the crowd threw stones and shoes at an effigy of President George W. Bush.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in the Philippines capital Manila, carrying placards saying Israel is a “butcher of children.”

In Turkey, Israel’s closest ally in the region, some 5,000 people denounced the Israeli raids outside a mosque in Istanbul, burning Israeli and U.S. flags and reciting funeral prayers for the victims.

In Syria, some 2,000 marched in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “jihad will unite us.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad talked with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday and called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution forcing Israel to immediately halt its Gaza offensive, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

In Sudan, thousands marched in downtown Khartoum, urging Muslims to jihad and denouncing Israel and America.

Protests erupted as well in the Palestinian territories.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, thousands demonstrated in solidarity with Gazans, calling for Palestinian unity and accusing Arab leaders of silence over Israel’s bombardment.

Ex-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and other celebrities, including activist Bianca Jagger, comedian Alexei Sayle and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, held a news conference in London demanding Israel halt the onslaught.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil almost 200 people led by local Muslim leaders gathered outside the Sao Paulo Art Museum to protest the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Several demonstrators carried Palestinian flags, and banners reading “End the Genocide in Gaza.”

In Bern, Switzerland, hundreds of people marched, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and demanding the international community impose sanctions against Israel.

Russian authorities detained about 37 people after a small protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow demanding an end to attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Muslims held a rally at the main mosque in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, hoisting banners that said “Palestinian Blood Is Human Blood” and shouting for Kenya to sever ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, has issued a message urging Muslims to attack Jews everywhere, according to the SITE Intelligence, a group which monitors extremist Web sites.

Source

Just Added January 5 2009

Sunday Report: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: US protests against Attack in Gaza

Sunday Reports: Protests around the World Against Gaza assault

Saturday Jan 4  Reports on protests

Saturday Reports:Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

SaturdayJan 3 Reports: US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Saturday Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris etc

December Reports

December 29 Reports:Global protests against Israel

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

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

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

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 1:28 am  Comments Off on Friday Jan 2 Reports:Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault  
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‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets

First it was Athens. Now the Continent’s disillusioned youth is taking to the streets across Europe.

John Lichfield reports

December 20 2008

Protesters clash with police in Athens on Thursday

GETTY IMAGES

Protesters clash with police in Athens on Thursday

Europe exists, it appears. If Greek students sneeze, or catch a whiff of tear-gas, young people take to the streets in France and now Sweden. Yesterday, masked youths threw two firebombs at the French Institute in Athens. Windows were smashed but the building was not seriously damaged. Then youths spray-painted two slogans on the building. One said, “Spark in Athens. Fire in Paris. Insurrection is coming”. The other read, “France, Greece, uprising everywhere”.

It was a calculated and violent attempt to link disparate youth protest movements. Links between protests in Greece and France – and, to a lesser degree, unrest in Sweden – may seem tenuous, even non-existent. But social and political ailments and their symptoms transmit as rapidly as influenza in the television, internet and text-message age.

With Europe, and the world, pitching headlong into a deep recession, the “Greek Syndrome”, as one French official calls it, was already being monitored with great care across the European Union. The attempt to politicise and link the disputes across EU frontiers may prove to be a random act of self-dramatisation by an isolated group on the Greek far left. But it does draw attention to the similarities – and many differences – between the simultaneous outbreaks of unrest in three EU countries.

Thousands of young Greeks have been rioting on and off for almost two weeks. They are protesting against the chaotic, and often corrupt, social and political system of a country still torn between European “modernity” and a muddled Balkan past. They can be said, in that sense, to be truly revolting.

The riots began with a mostly “anarchist” protest against the killing of a 15-year-old boy by police but spread to other left-wing groups, immigrants and at times, it seemed, almost every urban Greek aged between 18 and 30. The protesters claim that they belong to a sacrificed “€600” generation, doomed to work forever for low monthly salaries. French lycée (sixth-form) students took to the street in their tens of thousands this week and last to protest against modest, proposed changes in the school system and the “natural wastage” of a handful of teaching posts. In other words, they were engaged in a typical French revolution of modern times: a conservative-left-wing revolt, not for change but against it. The lycée students are, broadly, in favour of the status quo in schools, although they admit the cumbersome French education system does not serve them well.

But behind the unrest lie three other factors: a deep disaffection from the French political system; a hostility to capitalism and “globalism” and the ever-simmering unrest in the poor, multiracial suburbs of French cities.

In Malmo on Thursday night, young people threw stones at police and set fire to cars and rubbish bins. This appears to have been mostly a local revolt by disaffected immigrant and second-generation immigrant youths, joined by leftist white youths, against the closure of an Islamic cultural centre. As in Greece and France, the Swedish authorities believe the troubles have been encouraged, and magnified, by political forces of the far left.

There may be little direct connection between the events in the three countries but they were already connected in the minds of EU governments before yesterday’s attack on the French cultural institute. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, forced his education minister, Xavier Darcos, to delay, then abandon his planned reform of the lycée system this week. Why the change? Largely because of the events in Greece, French officials say. There was a heated debate in the Elysée Palace last weekend. One faction of advisers and ministers wanted to push ahead with the school reforms (already much watered down). Another faction was disturbed at signs that the lycée protests, although relatively limited, were spinning out of control.

The student leaders were no longer in charge of their troops, they said. Violent elements were joining the marches from the poor, multi-racial suburbs. Far left and anarchist agitators were said to be getting involved. With the Greek riots on the TV every night, and the French economy heading into freefall, the officials feared the lycée protests could spark something much wider and more violent.

President Sarkozy agreed to give way. The lycée protests went ahead anyway. There were more students on the streets of French cities on Thursday, after the government backed down, than there were last week when the education minister insisted that he would press ahead. A few cars were burnt and overturned in Lyons and Lille and a score of protesters were arrested but the marches were mostly peaceful.

Students interviewed on the streets of Paris refused to accept that the reforms had been withdrawn. President Sarkozy was not in control, they said. He was “under orders from Brussels and Washington”. The real motive was to take money out of the French education budget to “refloat the banks”.

The Greek, French and Swedish protests do have common characteristics: a contempt for governments and business institutions, deepened by the greed-fired meltdown of the banks; a loose, uneasy alliance between mostly, white left-wing students and young second-generation immigrants; the sense of being part of a “sacrificed generation”.

Source

Seems they know what is going on maybe even better informed then some of the adult.  The financial crisis, could very possibly  take a toll on their education and futures. The see their future is at risk.

I think they know much more then most give them credit for.

Maybe everyone should be out their rallying with them.

The elite of the world should be informed that the people rule and not those who are power hungry.  Our future generation is voicing their opinion and we should listen to what they are saying.  They will become the new leaders of the world in the future. They want the best education and decent jobs with decent pay. They want to be treated fairly.

The want to be heard. So listen to what they are saying.

Seems the profiteers and those who make policies around the planet are doing a  sloppy job. They all pretend to be experts but seems they are anything but. If they were such experts the Financial Crisis would never have happened. Of course as we all know by now, it was caused by deregulation, privatization and greed.  Greed being the at the fore front of it all.

Who pays for all the mistakes of the so called experts none other then the future generations.

When it comes to pollution it is the future generations who will pay a heavy price as well.

Children deserve a better future then the legacy this generation is leaving them.

It’s time to clean up the world. We all must work together to assure future generations are left with a world that is healthy, free from war mongers, hunger and power seeking profiteers.

It can be done.

A glimps into the minds of Greek Teenagers

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on ‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets  
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1 Billion People Face Hunger

December 19 2008

The number of people affected by hunger has hit one billion, says the World Food Program (WFP). This year alone, 40 million people were pushed into hunger by the high world food prices, thus exerting more pressure on the food assistance of the WFP.

It therefore urged the international community to step up assistance and allocate resources to urgent hunger needs, warning that the WFP would not be able to feed the world’s hungry if assistance to the program continued to dwindle.

A statement by the Executive Director of WFP, Josette Sheeran, projected that food assistance to hunger hot spots would run out by March next year.

WFP aims to feed nearly 100 million of the world hungriest people in 2009 and will need close to $5.2million to sustain its activities in Haiti, D R Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia and other hunger hot spots.

It said if one percent of what the USA and Europe proposed to rescue their economies from total collapse was geared toward supporting the activities of WFP, “developed countries would make a mark toward meeting the other urgent hunger needs”.

“As we take care of Wall Street and Main Street, we cannot forget the places that have no streets,” the statement said, noting the need “to send a bold signal of hope to the world with a human rescue package.”

The statement said as the world population climbed gradually towards nine billion by 2050, there was the risk of hunger to spiral out of control.

“The world is poised to produce trillions for financial rescue packages. What will they produce for the human rescue?” it asked.

It said hunger negatively affected children particularly in their early years and prevented children from achieving their full intellectual capacity.

“We cannot afford to lose the next generation,” the statement noted.

In Ghana, WFP in collaboration with the Ghana School Feeding Program, supports the provision of meals to primary school children and food packages for malnourished children and underweight mothers.

This year, WFP Ghana injected nearly $6million into the national economy through its local procurement program.

Source

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 6:10 am  Comments Off on 1 Billion People Face Hunger  
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Protesters at Acropolis urge Europe-wide protest

By Daniel Flynn and Renee Maltezou
December 17 2008

ATHENS
Protesters hung banners from the Acropolis in Greece on Wednesday and called for demonstrations across Europe, in the 12th day of unrest since police shot dead a teenager.

“Resistance” read one of two pink banners in Greek, German, Spanish, and English, which protesters unfurled from the stone wall of the ancient hilltop citadel in Athens. “Thursday, 18/12 demonstrations in all Europe,” said another.

Greece’s worst protests in decades, sparked by the shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, have fed on simmering anger at high youth unemployment and the world economic crisis.

“We chose this monument to democracy, this global monument, to proclaim our resistance to state violence and demand rights in education and work,” one protester, who declined to give his name, told Reuters. “(We did it) to send a message globally and to all Europe.”

The demonstrations have sparked sympathy protests from Moscow to Madrid and European policymakers, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have expressed concern they might spread as the economic downturn bites and unemployment rises.

Greece’s powerful industrialists’ union SEV called for a strong government after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, whose conservative party is trailing in opinion polls, came under fire for his hands off reaction to the riots.

“The economic turmoil is here and will worsen in the following months,” SEV president Dimitris Daskalopoulos said, “The country needs a strong, credible and modern government.”

MORE PROTESTS

About two thousand leftists marched through Athens on Wednesday, chanting “No sacrifice for the rich.”

Others occupied the headquarters of the GSEE private sector union federation demanding the release of those arrested in the riots but the intensity of the protests cooled off this week.

Hundreds of shops and cars were wrecked in 10 cities during last week’s violence. An estimated 565 shops were damaged in Athens alone, costing 200 million euros and causing more than 1 billion in lost sales during the Christmas shopping period.

The protests have rocked the conservative government, which has a one seat majority, and have driven Greek bond spreads — a measure of perceived investment risk — to record levels above German benchmark bonds.

The tourism minister said Greece needed to urgently restore its image.

“With the 2004 Olympics we proved we are a civilized, safe country. After the latest events, this has come into doubt,” said Aris Spiliotopoulos.

Protesters hurled firebombs at a police bus in Athens and another group smashed television sets to protest at the media’s coverage of the events. On Tuesday, about 20 students occupied state TV, interrupting a news broadcast to hold up protest banners.

More protests were expected on Thursday, when the ADEDY public sector workers federation goes on a three-hour work stoppage against government policy and the teenager’s killing.

The walkout will ground all but emergency flights into Greece between 1000 and 1300 GMT, air traffic controllers said, and disrupt urban public transport services.

The policeman who shot Grigoropoulos has been charged with murder and jailed pending trial, while his partner was charged as an accomplice. He says he fired a warning shot in self-defense against a group of youths but the family’s lawyer says he aimed to kill without significant provocation.

(Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Deborah Kyvrikosaios, Writing by Dina Kyriakidou, editing by Richard Balmforth)

Source

Sarkozy defends climbdown on education reform

Greek youths break into TV centre, interrupting broadcast featuring PM

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.

Iceland Abandoned

By HANNES H. GISSURARSON

November 17 2008

Brown’s actions helped to worsen the island’s financial crisis.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland

As recently as last year, Iceland was considered an economic success story. After 16 years of free-market reforms, it was one of the world’s 10 richest and freest countries. Efficiently managing its fish stocks — elsewhere operated with huge losses — it also enjoyed a strong pension system. Massive tax cuts had led to strong economic growth and rising tax revenues. At the same time, extensive privatization generated about $2 billion for the state, allowing it to pay off most of its debt. The newly privatized banks were flourishing. Income distribution was relatively even, and the poverty level one of the lowest in Europe. Like other Nordic countries, Iceland was a stable democracy under the rule of law.

Then, in the first week of October 2008, all went wrong. The three main Icelandic banks collapsed and the government took over their domestic branches. It is still unclear what will happen to their foreign operations. The local currency, the krona, went into free fall. Foreign trade came to a standstill, as it became almost impossible to transfer money to and from the country.

Why did the international financial crisis hit Iceland so hard? A plausible answer is that Iceland’s banks were oversized: With assets worth more than 10 times the country’s GDP, the Icelandic Central Bank simply could not act as their only lender of last resort. In hindsight, Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority should perhaps have demanded much earlier that financial institutions significantly scale down their foreign operations.

While some Icelandic bankers may have behaved recklessly, there is another side to the story. In 1994, Iceland joined the European Economic Area, a free-trade zone that unites the 27 EU member states with Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The idea was that any company based within the EEA could operate freely throughout the area, provided it followed the rules.

The Icelandic banks took this seriously and began operations in other European countries, working under EEA regulations. Efficient, aggressive and technologically advanced, they often offered better terms than their competitors, undoubtedly causing some resentment.

At the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, the Icelandic banks were quite solvent. They had almost no subprime loans. But there was a foreseeable liquidity problem. When the Icelandic Central Bank tried to obtain credit lines from other central banks in the EEA, it was refused almost everywhere. Suddenly, it did matter where the banks had their headquarters. Once the financial markets realized that there was no credible lender of last resort in the Icelandic financial system, a run on the banks became almost inevitable.

One or two of the Icelandic banks might have survived, though, if on Oct. 8 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had not used the country’s antiterrorist law to take over the assets and operations of two Icelandic banks in the U.K., Kaupthing and Landsbanki. The Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Central Bank even found themselves briefly on the list of terrorist organizations published on the Web site of the British Treasury, alongside al Qaeda and the Taliban.

These British measures significantly worsened Iceland’s financial crisis. The island’s banking system and foreign trade collapsed. Unsurprisingly, banks are reluctant to transfer money to and from “terrorists.”

Mr. Brown justified his draconian actions by saying that the Icelandic government was unwilling to honor its legal obligations to British depositors of Icelandic banks. There is no evidence for this charge. To the contrary, the Icelandic government repeatedly asserted that all legal obligations to depositors in the EEA area would be honored. These obligations are covered by the Icelandic Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund set up under EEA rules. The fund is an independent body, guaranteeing all deposits up to about €20,000. However, if the fund is unable to fully meet its obligations, then there is no requirement, under EEA rules, for the Icelandic government to step in.

Prime Minister Brown also talked darkly of last-minute bank transfers from England to Iceland. Whether that is true or false remains to be seen. But interestingly, the last-minute transfer of $8 billion from Lehman Brothers in England to America in September did not land the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve on the British list of terrorist organizations.

Having helped to bring down two of the three Icelandic banks, Mr. Brown, using the position of London as a financial center and his country’s influence in the IMF and the European Union, demanded that the Icelandic government go far beyond what the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund is obliged to do under EEA rules. The prime minister, fearing that the fund does not have sufficient means, insisted that the Icelandic government must guarantee foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. Late Sunday, Reykjavik succumbed to this pressure and agreed to reimburse European savers for up to about €20,000. This might put a debt of perhaps $10 billion on the shoulders of 310,000 people, close to 100% of the country’s GDP.

The central banks in the EEA that refused to come to the assistance of the Icelandic Central Bank probably did not anticipate the damage their inaction would cause even beyond Iceland’s shores. And Prime Minister Brown probably did not understand that bringing down the Icelandic banks would inflict much higher costs on British depositors than if he had stayed calm and participated in resolving the situation.

Little wonder that Icelanders these days feel rather abandoned by their European friends.

Mr. Gissurarson is a board member of Iceland’s central bank and a professor of political philosophy at the University of Iceland.

Source

Well Mr. GissurarsonI I have to agree with you. Seems Iceland was in the process of doing everything within their power to resolve the problem.  What Brown did certainly didn’t help matters any. The EU, Iceland and Canada all started falling together.

Icesave may have been a problem but it of course was  a Privately owned bank. Iceland itself at the time was not in control of it. The owner however was.

Brown punishing a country because of a privately owned bank, was over stepping his bounds for sure.

The Government in Iceland was working to remedy the problem. Brown was in my opinion in to much of a hurry.

Iceland certainly is not a terrorist country and should not have been treated as such.

From October -There is more in my November Index as well.

New State-Run Glitnir Bank Established

Iceland’s Kaupthing Prepares Lawsuit against Britain

Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

Iceland ‘working day and night’

Salaries hit by Icelandic bank Collapse

Fear on streets of Reykjavik as country can only go to IMF for financial bailout

UK Government ‘ignored Iceland warning’/ Charities may lose

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Iceland’

Iceland government seizes control of Landsbanki

Icelands, Icesave freezes deposits and withdrawals

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

US and Zimbabwe were the only countries to vote against the Arms Treaty


Control Arms campaign demands urgent move to end the carnage

On Friday 31st October, 147 states voted overwhelmingly at the United Nations to move forward with work on an Arms Trade Treaty. This is an increase on the 139 states which voted to start the UN process in October 2006, showing increasing global support for the treaty. Support was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and Europe indicating high demand for global arms controls, both from countries severely affected by armed violence and from major arms exporters. Only the US and Zimbabwe voted against, ignoring growing global consensus on an ATT.

The Control Arms campaign, which represents millions of people around the world welcomes the vote but continues to call for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.

Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of armed violence, or are driven from their homes, forced off their land, raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December 2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any further delay means more lost lives.

Brian Wood from Amnesty International said:

This big vote today moves the world closer to an Arms Trade Treaty with respect for human rights at its heart, the only way such a treaty can really stop the carnage. Today’s decision is that the principles of the UN Charter and other state obligations must be considered central to the Treaty. It is shameful that the US and Zimbabwe governments have taken an unprincipled stand today against a Treaty that would save so many lives and livelihoods.

Anna Macdonald from Oxfam International, said:

Most governments now support an Arms Trade Treaty and they must now move forward with urgency. Today’s vote is one step closer to turning off the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers which have flooded the world’s conflict zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty, such as is happening now in DRC. However we need leaps forward not steps, as every day lost means hundreds more lives lost.

Mark Marge from the International Action Network on Small Arms said:

This vote is a victory for the millions of campaigners in countries around the world. But we cannot afford to rest. All those against the misuse of arms will continue to pressure their governments to move quickly to implement a strong, legally binding treaty.

Source

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

October 15 2008
UK MEP gets emotional about Iceland

iceland-mount

Writing in The Times yesterday, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan criticised Gordon Brown’s attitude towards Iceland in recent weeks in a impassioned column, published in whole below:

Shall I tell you the worst thing about this wretched business? Worse than the return of socialism, worse than the indenturing of our children? It’s the way we’ve treated Iceland, until last week perhaps the most Anglophile country in Europe.

To seize the assets of a friendly state was bad enough; to use anti-terrorist legislation was unforgivable. When the Crime and Security Act was passed in 2001, we were repeatedly told that it would be used only in cases of imminent danger: “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear.”

Nothing to fear, eh? Since then it has been invoked to eject a heckler from the Labour conference, to detain a woman walking on a cycle path and to prevent recitation of the names of fallen servicemen at the Cenotaph. Now this.

Gordon Brown claims that the expropriation was necessary because Iceland planned to default on British Icesave accounts. How he got this impression is a mystery. Iceland’s finance minister made clear in meetings with the British authorities that depositors would be paid. The Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, said in public: “We will immediately review the matter together to find a mutually satisfactory solution. We are determined to make sure that the current financial crisis does not overshadow the important and longstanding friendship that we have with the UK.”

Brown’s response? To seize the UK assets, not of the bank that ran Icesave, but of a wholly unrelated bank, Kaupthing, thereby collapsing it. Icelanders, who had been expecting to negotiate a guarantee to British depositors – eventually agreed on Monday – were stunned. They couldn’t bring themselves to believe that the leader of a country they admired would destroy their last solvent bank simply to give himself what Labour MPs have since called “his Falklands moment”. Except that Britain wasn’t the aggressor in the Falklands. To pick on a country with half the population of Wiltshire was cowardice, not courage.

For courage, ponder this message on my blog from an Icelandic fisherman who had saved up to attend university in Denmark. Suddenly, his savings are gone, his currency worthless. “We have lost our money, we may lose our economic freedom, but we will not lose our honour. Iceland will meet its obligations to the British people, no matter what. I will quit school and abandon my dreams, go back to my boat and work till my fingers bleed to play my part in paying off our debt.” Read those words, Prime Minister, and hang your head in shame.

Source

Brown may have totally destroyed Iceland. The method he used was not necessary.  Brown should be hanging his head in shame over this one.

Government set on collision course with Iceland over Landsbanki assets

October 16 2008
Also fro the Times
The Government has put Ernst & Young, the accountancy firm, on standby to step in as administrator of the UK assets of Landsbanki.

The administration would have huge implications for the embattled British high street because a large part of it, including the Icelandic retail group Baugur, is funded by Landsbanki and its Icelandic rival Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, of which Ernst & Young is already administrator.

The problems surrounding the future of the Icelandic-backed stores groups is becoming increasingly politicised. Baugur employs 55,000 staff and City sources say a £100 million loan granted by the Bank of England to the struggling Landsbanki on Monday helped to give the bank sufficent liquidity to start relending to the British retailers that banked there.

The administration of Landsbanki would also have serious diplomatic repercussions for the already strained relationship between the UK and Iceland, which said yesterday that it would sue the British Government over the seizure of Kaupthing’s assets.

The Government’s call to E&Y at the weekend comes as the retail magnate Sir Philip Green seeks ministerial support to help him to buy Baugur, whose assets include House of Fraser, a stake in Debenhams and high street chains, including Whistles and Karen Millen.

It is understood that Sir Philip has approached Gordon Brown, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and Treasury officials to ask them to support his move for Baugur. He wants assurances that if he buys assets from the Icelandic Government he will not have to deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if Iceland, as expected, turns to the IMF to stave off national bankruptcy.

Sources said that Sir Philip and rival bidders for Baugur’s assets – including Alchemy, Permira and TPG – fear that the IMF could try to claw back businesses sold by the Icelandic Government if the country went into default.

It is understood that Alan Bloom, an Ernst & Young partner, was asked by the Government to prepare to go into Landsbanki this week as administrator if necessary. Ernst & Young, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority declined to comment on the standby appointment.

Mr Bloom and his team are already advising on the Kaupthing administration and the administration of Heritable bank, Landsbanki’s UK subsidiary.

On Monday the British Government lifted a freezing order on Landsbanki that was preventing all the bank’s corporate clients from drawing down more money on their overdrafts. Sources said the Government feared that restricted cash flow could put some retailers at risk of bankruptcy.

It is believed that the Government wants to seize and sell on Landsbanki’s assets to cover the £588 million of local councils’ money deposited in Icelandic banks and now in the hands of the Icelandic Government.

Source

Poverty is not decreasing as the World Bank claims


The Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved by 2015 at the present rate of progress

Progress in basic social indicators slowed down last year all over the world and at the present rate it does not allow for the internationally agreed poverty reduction goals to be met by 2015, unless substantial changes occur. This is the main conclusion that can be extracted from the 2008 figures of the Basic Capabilities Index (BCI), calculated by Social Watch.

Out of 176 countries for which a BCI figure can be computed, only 21 register noticeable progress in relation to how they were in 2000. Other 55 countries show some progress, but at a slow rate, while 77 countries are stagnated or worse. Information is insufficient to show trends for the remaining 23. As the impact of the food crisis that started in 2006 begins to be registered by the new statistics coming in, the situation is likely to get worse in the next months.

Contrary to frequent claims that poverty is diminishing fast in the world, the index computed by Social Watch shows that the deficient coverage of the basic needs required to escape poverty persists; even more, it is increasing, in spite of impressive economic growth in most developing countries.

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN: Slight progress, with some countries regressing.
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA: Acceptable BCI level reached before 2000.
SOUTH ASIA: Significant progress. India improving fast, pushes the region up.
CENTRAL ASIA: Slight progress, with some countries regressing.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: Slight progress.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Slight progress. No recent evolution data for China.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Average progress is extremely slow, with some countries regressing even further from already low levels. At the current rate, the region would need more than a century to reach an acceptable BCI.

Source

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 7:42 am  Comments Off on Poverty is not decreasing as the World Bank claims  
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War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

New stories are added as I find them.

All new links are at the bottom of the page.

Iraq War Pollution Equals 25 Million Cars

Burning Oil in Iraq

Photo: Burning oil fields in Iraq by Shawn Baldwin

The greenhouse gases released by the Iraq war thus far equals the pollution from adding 25 million cars to the road for one year says a study released by Oil Change International, an anti petroleum watchdog.  The group’s main concerns are the environmental and human rights impacts of a petroleum based economy.

The study, released last March on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, states that total US spending on the war so far equals the global investment needed through 2030 to halt global warming.

Of course skeptics and oil companies will be right to ask how these numbers were calculated.  The group claims Iraq war emissions estimates come from combat, oil well fires, increaesd gas flaring, increased cement manufacturing for reconstruction, and explosives.

The Report: A Climate of War

Source


“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” – 1992 Rio Declaration

The application of weapons, the destruction of structures and oil fields, fires, military transport movements and chemical spraying are all examples of the destroying impact war may have on the environment. Air, water and soil are polluted, man and animal are killed, and numerous health affects occur among those still living. This page is about the environmental effects of wars and incidents leading to war that have occurred in the 20th and 21st century.

Timeline of wars

Africa

“My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars” – Guns ‘n Roses (Civil War)

In Africa many civil wars and wars between countries occurred in the past century, some of which are still continuing. Most wars are a result of the liberation of countries after decades of colonialization. Countries fight over artificial borders drawn by former colonial rulers. Wars mainly occur in densely populated regions, over the division of scarce resources such as fertile farmland. It is very hard to estimate the exact environmental impact of each of these wars. Here, a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects, including biodiversity loss, famine, sanitation problems at refugee camps and over fishing is given for different countries.

Congo war (II) – Since August 1998 a civil war is fought in former Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The war eventually ended in 2003 when a Transitional Government took power. A number of reasons are given for the conflict, including access and control of water resources and rich minerals and political agendas. Currently over 3 million people have died in the war, mostly from disease and starvation. More than 2 million people have become refugees. Only 45% of the people had access to safe drinking water. Many women were raped as a tool of intimidation, resulting in a rapid spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS. The war has a devastating effect on the environment. National parks housing endangered species are often affected for exploitation of minerals and other resources. Refugees hunt wildlife for bush meat, either to consume or sell it. Elephant populations in Africa have seriously declined as a result of ivory poaching. Farmers burn parts of the forest to apply as farmland, and corporate logging contributes to the access of poachers to bush meat. A survey by the WWF showed that the hippopotamus population in one national park decreased from 29,000 thirty years previously, to only 900 in 2005. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed all five parks as ‘world heritage in danger’.

Ethiopia & Eritrea – Before 1952, Eritrea was a colony of Italy. When it was liberated, Ethiopia annexed the country. Thirty years of war over the liberation of Eritrea followed, starting in 1961 and eventually ending with the independence of Eritrea in 1993. However, war commenced a year after the country introduced its own currency in 1997. Over a minor border dispute, differences in ethnicity and economic progress, Ethiopia again attacked Eritrea. The war lasted until June 2000 and resulted in the death of over 150,000 Eritrean, and of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. During the war severe drought resulted in famine, particularly because most government funds were spend on weapons and other war instrumentation. The government estimated that after the war only 60% of the country received adequate food supplies. The war resulted in over 750,000 refugees. It basically destroyed the entire infrastructure. Efforts to disrupt agricultural production in Eritrea resulted in changes in habitat. The placing of landmines has caused farming or herding to be very dangerous in most parts of the country. If floods occur landmines may be washed into cities. This has occurred earlier in Mozambique.

Rwanda civil war – Between April and July 1994 extremist military Hutu groups murdered about 80,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Over 2,000,000 people lost their homes and became refugees. Rwanda has a very rich environment, however, it has a particularly limited resource base. About 95% of the population lives on the countryside and relies on agriculture. Some scientists believe that competition for scarce land and resources led to violence prior to and particularly after the 1994 genocide. It is however stated that resource scarcity only contributed limitedly to the conflict under discussion. The main cause of the genocide was the death of the president from a plane-crash caused by missiles fires from a camp.

The many refugees from the 1994 combat caused a biodiversity problem. When they returned to the already overpopulated country after the war, they inhabited forest reserves in the mountains where endangered gorillas lived. Conservation of gorilla populations was no longer effective, and refuges destroyed part of the habitat. Despite the difficulties still present in Rwanda particularly concerning security and resource provision, an international gorilla protection group is now working on better conditions for the gorillas in Rwanda.

Somalia civil war – A civil war was fought in Somalia 1991. One of the most striking effects of the war was over fishing. The International Red Cross was encouraging the consumption of seawater fish to improve diets of civilians. For self-sufficiency they provided training and fishing equipment. However, as a consequence of war Somali people ignored international fishing protocols, thereby seriously harming ecology in the region. Fishing soon became an unsustainable practise, and fishermen are hard to stop because they started carrying arms. They perceive over fishing as a property right and can therefore hardly be stopped.

Sudan (Darfur & Chad) – In Sudan civil war and extreme droughts caused a widespread famine, beginning in 1983. Productive farmland in the southern region was abandoned during the war. Thousands of people became refugees that left behind their land, possibly never to return. Attempts of remaining farmers to cultivate new land to grow crops despite the drought led to desertification and soil erosion. The government failed to act for fear of losing its administrative image abroad, causing the famine to kill an estimated 95,000 of the total 3,1 million residents of the province Darfur. As farmers started claiming more and more land, routes applied by herders were closed off. This resulted in conflicts between farmers and rebels groups. In 2003, a conflict was fought in Darfur between Arab Sudanese farmers and non-Arab Muslims. The Muslim group is called Janjaweed, a tribe mainly consisting of nomadic sheep and cattle herders. Originally the Janjaweed were part of the Sudanese and Darfurian militia, and were armed by the Sudanese government to counter rebellion. However, they started utilizing the weapons against non-Muslim civilians. The tribe became notorious for massacre in 2003-2004. In December 2005 the conflict continued across the border, now involving governmental army troops from Chad, and the rebel groups Janjaweed and United Front for Democratic Change from Sudan. In February 2006 the governments of Chad and Sudan signed a peace treaty called the Tripoli Agreement. Unfortunately a new rebel assault of the capital of Chad in April made Chad break all ties with Sudan. The Darfur Conflict so far caused the death of between 50,000 and 450,000 civilians. It caused over 45,000 people to flea the countries of Sudan and Central Africa, into north and east Chad. Most refugees claim they fled civilian attacks from rebel forces, looting food and recruiting young men to join their troops.

America

Pearl Harbor (WWII) – When World War II began, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Consequentially, the United States closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping, and initiated a complete oil embargo. Japan, being dependent on US oil, responded to the embargo violently. On December 1941, Japanese troops carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, aimed at the US Navy stationed there. Despite the awareness that Japan might attack, the US was surprisingly unprepared for the Japanese aggression. There were no aircraft patrols, and anti-aircraft weapons were not manned.

For the attack five Japanese submarines were present in the harbor to launch torpedos. One was discovered immediately, and attacked by the USS Ward. All five submarines sank, and at least three of them have not been located since. As Japanese bombers arrived they began firing at US marine airbases across Hawaii, and subsequently battle ships in Pearl Harbor. Eighteen ships sank, including five battleships, and a total of more than 2,000 Americans were killed in action. The explosion of the USS Arizona caused half of the casualties. The ship was hit by a bomb, burned for two days in a row, and subsequently sank to the bottom. The cloud of black smoke over the boat was mainly caused by burning black powder from the magazine for aircraft catapults aboard the ship.

Leaking fuel from the Arizona and other ships caught fire, and caused more ships to catch fire. Of the 350 Japanese planes taking part in the attack, 29 were lost. Over sixty Japanese were killed in actions, most of them airmen.

Today, three battle ships are still at the bottom of the harbor. Four others were raised and reused. The USS Arizona, being the most heavily damaged ship during the attack, continues to leak oil from the hulk into the harbor. However, the wreck is maintained, because it now serves as part of a war memorial.

World Trade Centre explosion – The so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ the United States are fighting in Asia currently all started with the event we recall so well from the shocking images projected on news bulletins. On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Centre. It is now claimed that the attack and simultaneous collapse of the Twin Towers caused a serious and acute environmental disaster.

We will live in the death smog for a while,
breathing the dust of the dead,
the 3 thousand or so who turn to smoke,
as the giant ashtray in Lower Manhattan
continues to give up ghosts.
The dead are in us now,
locked in our chests,
staining our lungs,
polluting our bloodstreams.
And though we cover our faces with flags
and other pieces of cloth to filter the air,
the spirits of the dead aren’t fooled
by our masks
.” Lawrence Swan, 05-10-2001

As the planes hit the Twin Towers more than 90.000 litres of jet fuel burned at temperatures above 1000oC. An atmospheric plume formed, consisting of toxic materials such as metals, furans, asbestos, dioxins, PAH, PCB and hydrochloric acid. Most of the materials were fibres from the structure of the building. Asbestos levels ranged from 0.8-3.0% of the total mass. PAH comprised more than 0.1% of the total mass, and PCBs less than 0.001% of total mass. At the site now called Ground Zero, a large pile of smoking rubble burned intermittently for more than 3 months. Gaseous and particulate particles kept forming long after the towers had collapsed.


Aerial photograph of the plume

The day of the attacks dust particles of various sizes spread over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, for many miles. Fire fighters and medics working at the WTC were exposed, but also men and women on the streets and in nearby buildings, and children in nearby schools. In vivo inhalation studies and epidemiological studies pointed out the impact of the dust cloud. Health effects from inhaling dust included bronchial hyper reactivity, because of the high alkalinity of dust particles. Other possible health effects include coughs, an increased risk of asthma and a two-fold increase in the number of small-for-gestational-age baby’s among pregnant women present in or nearby the Twin Towers at the time of the attack. After September, airborne pollutant concentrations in nearby communities declined.

Many people present at the WTC at the time of the attacks are still checked regularly, because long-term effects may eventually show. It is thought there may be an increased risk of development of mesothelioma, consequential to exposure to asbestos. This is a disease where malignant cells develop in the protective cover of the body’s organs. Airborne dioxins in the days and weeks after the attack may increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. Infants of women that were pregnant on September 11 and had been in the vicinity of the WTC at the time of the attack are also checked for growth or developmental problems.

Asia

Afghanistan war – In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan as a starting chapter of the ‘War on terrorism’, which still continues today. The ultimate goal was to replace the Taliban government, and to find apparent 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda member Osama Bin Laden. Many European countries assisted the US in what was called ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.

During the war, extensive damage was done to the environment, and many people suffered health effects from weapons applied to destroy enemy targets. It is estimated that ten thousand villages, and their surrounding environments were destroyed. Safe drinking water declined, because of a destruction of water infrastructure and resulting leaks, bacterial contamination and water theft. Rivers and groundwater were contaminated by poorly constructed landfills located near the sources.

Afghanistan once consisted of major forests watered by monsoons. During the war, Taliban members illegally trading timber in Pakistan destroyed much of the forest cover. US bombings and refugees in need of firewood destroyed much of what remained. Less than 2% of the country still contains a forest cover today.

Bombs threaten much of the country’s wildlife. One the world’s important migratory thoroughfare leads through Afghanistan. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85%. In the mountains many large animals such as leopards found refuge, but much of the habitat is applied as refuge for military forces now. Additionally, refugees capture leopards and other large animals are and trade them for safe passage across the border.

Pollution from application of explosives entered air, soil and water. One example is cyclonite, a toxic substance that may cause cancer. Rocket propellants deposited perchlorates, which damage the thyroid gland. Numerous landmines left behind in Afghan soils still cause the deaths of men, women and children today.

Cambodia civil war – In 1966 the Prince of Cambodia began to lose the faith of many for failure to come to grips with the deteriorating economic situation. In 1967 rebellion started in a wealthy province where many large landowners lives. Villagers began attacking the tax collection brigade, because taxes were invested in building large factories, causing land to be taken. This led to a bloody civil war. Before the conflict could be repressed 10,000 people had died.

The rebellion caused the up rise of the Khmer Rouge, a Maoist-extremist organization that wanted to introduce communism in the country. In 1975 the organization, led by Pol Pot, officially seized power in Cambodia. The Khmer considered farmers (proletarians) to be the working class, as did Mao in China earlier. Schools, hospitals and banks were closed, the country was isolated from all foreign influence, and people were moved to the countryside for forced labor. People were obligated to work up to 12 hours a day, growing three times as many crops, as was usually the case. Many people died there from exhaustion, illness and starvation, or where shot by the Khmer on what was known as ‘The Killing Fields’.

The Khmer Rouge regime resulted in deforestation, caused by extensive timber logging to finance war efforts, agricultural clearance, construction, logging concessions and collection of wood fuels. A total 35% of the Cambodian forest cover was lost under the Maoist regime. Deforestation resulted in severe floods, damaging rice crops and causing food shortages. In 1993, a ban on logging exports was introduced to prevent further flooding damage.

In 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime ended with an invasion by Vietnam, and the installation of a pro-Vietnamese puppet government. Subsequently, Thai and Chinese forces attempted to liberate the country from Vietnamese dominance. Many landmines were placed in the 1980’s, and are still present in the countryside. They deny agricultural use of the land where they are placed. In 1992 free elections were introduced, but the Khmer Rouge resumed fighting. Eventually, half of the Khmer soldiers left in 1996, and many officials were captured. Under the Khmer regime, a total of 1.7 million people died, and the Khmer was directly responsible for about 750,000 of those casualties.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki nuclear explosions – Atomic bombs are based on the principle of nuclear fission, which was discovered in Nazi Germany in 1938 by two radio chemists. During the process, atoms are split and energy is released in the form of heat. Controlled reactions are applied in nuclear power plants for production of electricity, whereas unchecked reactions occur during nuclear bombings. The invention in Germany alarmed people in the United States, because the Nazi’s in possession of atomics bombs would be much more dangerous than they already where. When America became involved in WWII, the development of atomic bombs started there in what was called the ‘Manhattan Project’. In July 1945 an atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert. The tests were considered a success, and America was now in possession of one of the world’s deadliest weapons.

In 1945, at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, nuclear weapons were applied to kill for the first time in Japan. On August 6, a uranium bomb by the name of Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by a plutonium bomb by the name of Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. The reason Hiroshima was picked was that it was a major military centre. The bomb detonated at 8.15 p.m. over a Japanese Army parade field, where soldiers were already present. Nagasaki was picked because it was an industrial centre. The bomb, which was much larger than that used on Hiroshima, exploded at 11.02 a.m. at an industrial site. However, the hills on and the geographical location of the bombing site caused the eventual impact to be smaller than days earlier in Hiroshima.

The first impact of the atomic bombings was a blinding light, accompanied by a giant wave of heat. Dry flammable materials caught fire, and all men and animals within half a mile from the explosion sites died instantly. Many structures collapsed, in Nagasaki even the structures designed to survive earthquakes were blasted away. Many water lines broke. Fires could not be extinguished because of the water shortage, and six weeks after the blast the city still suffered from a lack of water. In Hiroshima a number of small fires combined with wind formed a firestorm, killing those who did not die before but were left immobile for some reason. Within days after the blasts, radiation sickness started rearing its ugly head, and many more people would die from it within the next 5 years.

The total estimated death toll:
In Hiroshima 100,000 were killed instantly, and between 100,000 and 200,000 died eventually.
In Nagasaki about 40,000 were killed instantly, and between 70,000 and 150,000 died eventually.

The events of August 6 and August 9 can be translated into environmental effects more literally. The blasts caused air pollution from dust particles and radioactive debris flying around, and from the fires burning everywhere. Many plants and animals were killed in the blast, or died moments to months later from radioactive precipitation. Radioactive sand clogged wells used for drinking water winning, thereby causing a drinking water problem that could not easily be solved. Surface water sources were polluted, particularly by radioactive waste. Agricultural production was damaged; dead stalks of rice could be found up to seven miles from ground zero. In Hiroshima the impact of the bombing was noticeable within a 10 km radius around the city, and in Nagasaki within a 1 km radius.

Iraq & Kuwait – The Gulf War was fought between Iraq, Kuwait and a number of western countries in 1991. Kuwait had been part of Iraq in the past, but was liberated by British imperialism, as the Iraqi government described it. In August 1990, Iraqi forces claimed that the country was illegally extracting oil from Iraqi territory, and attacked. The United Nations attempted to liberate Kuwait. Starting January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, with the purpose of destroying Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities, and command and control facilities. The battle was fought in Iraq, Kuwait and the Saudi-Arabian border region. Both aerial and ground artillery was applied. Late January, Iraqi aircraft were flown to Iran, and Iraqi forces began to flee.

The Gulf War was one of the most environmentally devastating wars ever fought. Iraq dumped approximately one million tons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thereby causing the largest oil spill in history (see environmental disasters). Approximately 25,000 migratory birds were killed. The impact on marine life was not as severe as expected, because warm water sped up the natural breakdown of oil. Local prawn fisheries did experience problems after the war. Crude oil was also spilled into the desert, forming oil lakes covering 50 square kilometres. In due time the oil percolated into groundwater aquifers.

Fleeing Iraqi troops ignited Kuwaiti oil sources, releasing half a ton of air pollutants into the atmosphere. Environmental problems caused by the oil fires include smog formation and acid rain. Toxic fumes originating from the burning oil wells compromised human health, and threatened wildlife. A soot layer was deposited on the desert, covering plants, and thereby preventing them from breathing. Seawater was applied to extinguish the oil fires, resulting in increased salinity in areas close to oil wells. It took about nine months to extinguish the fires.

During the war, many dams and sewage water treatment plants were targeted and destroyed. A lack of possibilities for water treatment resulting from the attacks caused sewage to flow directly into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Additionally, pollutants seeped from bombed chemical plants into the rivers. Drinking water extracted from the river was polluted, resulting in widespread disease. For example, cases of typhoid fever have increased tenfold since 1991.

Movement of heavy machinery such as tanks through the desert damaged the brittle surface, causing soil erosion. Sand was uncovered that formed gradually moving sand dunes. These dunes may one day cause problems for Kuwait City. Tanks fired Depleted Uranium (DU) missiles, which can puncture heavy artillery structures. DU is a heavy metal that causes kidney damage and is suspected to be teratogenic and carcinogenic. Post-Gulf War reports state an increase in birth defects for children born to veterans. The impact of Depleted Uranium could not be thoroughly investigated after the Gulf War, because Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate. Its true properties were revealed after the Kosovo War in 2001 (description below). DU has now been identified as a neurotoxin, and birth defects and cancers are attributed to other chemical and nerve agents. However, it is stated that DU oxides deposited in the lungs of veterans have not been thoroughly researched yet. It was later found that this may cause kidney and lung infections for highly exposed persons.

After the Gulf War many veterans suffered from a condition now known as the Gulf War Syndrome. The causes of the illness are subject to widespread speculation. Examples of possible causes are exposure to DU (see above), chemical weapons (nerve gas and mustard gas), an anthrax vaccine given to 41% of US soldiers and 60-75% of UK soldiers, smoke from burning oil wells and parasites. Symptoms of the GWS included chronic fatigue, muscle problems, diarrhoea, migraine, memory loss, skin problems and shortness of breath. Many Gulf War veterans have died of illnesses such as brain cancer, now acknowledged as potentially connected to service during the war.

Iraq & the United States – The war in Iraq started by the United States in 2003 as part of the War on Terrorism causes poverty, resulting in environmental problems. Long-term environmental effects of the war remain unclear, but short-term problems have been identified for every environmental compartment. For example, some weapons are applied that may be extremely damaging to the environment, such as white phosphorus ammunition. People around the world protest the application of such armoury.

Water
Damage to sanitation structures by frequent bombing, and damage to sewage treatment systems by power blackouts cause pollution of the River Tigris. Two hundred blue plastic containers containing uranium were stolen from a nuclear power plant located south of Baghdad. The radioactive content of the barrels was dumped in rivers and the barrels were rinsed out. Poor people applied the containers as storage facility for water, oil and tomatoes, or sold them to others. Milk was transported to other regions in the barrels, making it almost impossible to relocate them.

Air
Oil trenches are burning, as was the case in the Gulf War of 1991, resulting in air pollution. In Northern Iraq, a sulphur plant burned for one month, contributing to air pollution. As fires continue burning, groundwater applied as a drinking water source may be polluted.

Soil
Military movements and weapon application result in land degradation. The destruction of military and industrial machinery releases heavy metals and other harmful substances.

Read more on restoring water systems in Iraq

Israel & Lebanon – In July 2006, Hezbollah initiated a rocket attack on Israeli borders. A ground patrol killed and captured Israeli soldiers. This resulted in open war between Israel and Lebanon.

The war caused environmental problems as Israelis bombed a power station south of Beirut. Damaged storage tanks leaked an estimated 20,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The oil spill spread rapidly, covering over 90 km of the coastline, killing fish and affecting the habitat of the endangered green sea turtle. A sludge layer covers Beaches across Lebanon, and the same problem may occur in Syria as the spill continues to spread. Part of the oil spill burned, causing widespread air pollution. Smog affects the health of people living in the city of Beirut. So far problems limiting the clean-up operation of oil spills have occurred, because of ongoing violence in the region.

Another major problem were forest fires in Northern Israel caused by Hezbollah bombings. A total of 9,000 acres of forest burned to the ground, and fires threaten tree reserves and bird sanctuaries.

Russia & Chechnya – In 1994 the First Chechen War of independence started, between Russian troops, Chechen guerrilla fighters and civilians. Chechnya has been a province of Russia for a very long time and now desires independence. The First War ended in 1996, but in 1999 Russia again attacked Chechnya for purposes of oil distribution.

The war between the country and its province continues today. It has devastating effects on the region of Chechnya. An estimated 30% of Chechen territory is contaminated, and 40% of the territory does not meet environmental standards for life. Major environmental problems include radioactive waste and radiation, oil leaks into the ground from bombarded plants and refineries, and pollution of soil and surface water. Russia has buried radioactive waste in Chechnya. Radiation at some sites is ten times its normal level. Radiation risks increase as Russia bombs the locations, particularly because after 1999 the severeness of weaponry increased. A major part of agricultural land is polluted to the extent that it can no longer meet food supplies. This was mainly caused by unprofessional mini-refineries of oil poachers in their backyards, not meeting official standards and causing over 50% of the product to be lost as waste. Groundwater pollution flows into the rivers Sunzha and Terek on a daily basis. On some locations the rivers are totally devoid of fish. Flora and fauna are destroyed by oil leaks and bombings.

Vietnam war – The Vietnam War started in 1945 and ended in 1975. It is now entitled a proxy war, fought during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to prevent the necessity for the nations to fight each other directly. North Vietnam fought side by side with the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam with the United States, New Zealand and South Korea. It must be noted that the United States only started to be actively involved in the battle after 1963. Between 1965 and 1968 North Vietnam was bombed under Operation Rolling Thunder, in order to force the enemy to negotiate. Bombs destroyed over two million acres of land. North Vietnam forces began to strike back, and the Soviet Union delivered anti-aircraft missiles to North Vietnam. The ground war of US troops against the Viet Cong began. The United States would not retreat from Vietnam until 1973, and during those years extremely environmentally damaging weapons and war tactics were applied.

A massive herbicidal programme was carried out, in order to break the forest cover sheltering Viet Cong guerrillas, and deprive Vietnamese peasants of food. The spraying destroyed 14% of Vietnam’s forests, diminished agricultural yield, and made seeds unfit for replanting. If agricultural yield was not damaged by herbicides, it was often lost because military on the ground set fire to haystacks, and soaked land with aviation fuel en burned it. A total of 15,000 square kilometres of land were eventually destroyed. Livestock was often shot, to deprive peasant of their entire food supply. A total of 13,000 livestock were killed during the war.

The application of 72 million litres of chemical spray resulted in the death of many animals, and caused health effects with humans. One chemical that was applied between 1962 and 1971, called Agent Orange, was particularly harmful. Its main constituent is dioxin, which was present in soil, water and vegetation during and after the war. Dioxin is carcinogenic and teratogenic, and has resulted in spontaneous abortions, chloracne, skin and lung cancers, lower intelligence and emotional problems among children. Children fathered by men exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War often have congenital abnormalities. An estimated half a million children were born with dioxin-related abnormalities. Agent Orange continues to threaten the health of the Vietnamese today.

“Drafted to go to Vietnam
To fight communism in a foreign land.
To preserve democracy is my plight
Which is a God…Given…Right.
Greenery so thick with hidden enemies
Agent Orange is sprayed on the trees.
Covering me from head to toe
Irate my eyes, burns through my clothes.
Returned home when my tour was done
To be told “You have cancer, son”.
Agent Orange is to blame
Government caused your suffering and pain.
Fight for compensation is frustrating and slow
Brass cover-up, not wanting anyone to know.
From cancer many comrades have died
Medical Insurance have been denied.
Compensation I now receive
My health I hope to retrieve.
In Vietnam , I was spared my life
Just to be stabbed with an Agent Orange knife” Yvonne Legge, 2001

Today, agriculture in Vietnam continues to suffer problems from six million unexploded bombs still present. Several organisations are attempting to remove these bombs. Landmines left in Vietnam are not removed, because the Vietnamese government refuses to accept responsibility.

Europe

Kosovo war – The Kosovo war can be divided up in two separate parts: a conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, and a conflict between Kosovo and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The first conflict originated in 1996 from the statement of Slobodan Milocevic that Kosovo was to remain a part of Serbia, and from the resulting violent response of Albanian residents. When Serbian troops slaughtered 45 Albanians in the village of Racak in Kosovo in 1999, the NATO intervened. NATO launched a 4-month bombing campaign upon Serbia as a reply to the massacre at Racak.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) investigated the environmental impact of the Kosovo war. It was concluded that the war did not result in an environmental disaster affecting the entire Balkan region. Nevertheless, some environmental hot spots were identified, namely Belgrade, Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor.

Bombings carried out by the United States resulted in leakages in oil refineries and oil storage depots. Industrial sites containing other industries were also targeted. EDC (1,2-dichloroethane), PCBs en mercury escaped to the environment. Burning of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) resulted in the formation of dioxin, hydrochloric acid, carbon monoxide and PAHs, and oil burning released sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and PAHs into the air. Heavy clouds of black smoke forming over burning industrial targets caused black rain to fall on the area around Pancevo. Some damage was done to National Parks in Serbia by bombings, and therefore to biodiversity. EDC, mercury and petroleum products (e.g. PCBs) polluted the Danube River. These are present in the sediments and may resurface in due time. EDC is toxic to both terrestrial and aquatic life. Mercury may be converted into methyl mercury, which is very toxic and bio accumulates. As a measure to prevent the consequences of bombing, a fertilizer plant in Pancevo released liquid ammonia into the Danube River. This caused fish kills up to 30 kilometres downstream.

In 1999 when NATO bombed Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the resulting environmental damage was enormous. Petrochemical plants in suburbs started leaking all kinds of hazardous chemicals into air, water and soil. Factories producing ammonia and plastics released chlorine, hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride and other chlorine substances, resulting in local air pollution and health problems. Water sources were polluted by oil leaking from refineries. The Danube River was polluted by oil more severely, but this time hydrochloric acid and mercury compounds also ended up there. These remained in the water for a considering period of time and consequently ended up in neighbouring countries Rumania and Bulgaria.

Clean drinking water supplies and waste treatment plants were damaged by NATO bombings. Many people fled their houses and were moved to refugee camps, where the number of people grew rapidly. A lack of clean drinking water and sanitation problems occurred.

Like in the Gulf War, Depleted Uranium (DU) was applied in the Kosovo War to puncture tanks and other artillery. After the war, the United Kingdom assisted in the removal of DU residues from the environment. Veterans complained of health effects. It was acknowledged by the UK and the US that dusts from DU can be dangerous if inhaled. Inhalation of dust most likely results in chemical poisoning.

World War I: Trench Warfare – In 1914, the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary resulted in the First World War, otherwise known as The Great War, or WWI. It started with Austria-Hungary invading Serbia, where the assassin came from, and Germany invading Belgium. The war was mostly in Europe, between the Allies and the Central Powers.

Allies: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, Albania, Greece, Portugal, Finland, United States, Canada, Brazil, Armenia, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Liberia, China, Japan, Thailand, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkish Empire, and Bulgaria

The war was fought from trenches, dug from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. In 1918 when the war was over, empires disintegrated into smaller countries, marking the division of Europe today. Over 9 million people had died, most of which perished from influenza after the outbreak of the Spanish Flu (see environmental disasters). The war did not directly cause the influenza outbreak, but it was amplified. Mass movement of troops and close quarters caused the Spanish Flu to spread quickly. Furthermore, stresses of war may have increased the susceptibility of soldiers to the disease.

In terms of environmental impact, World War I was most damaging, because of landscape changes caused by trench warfare. Digging trenches caused trampling of grassland, crushing of plants and animals, and churning of soil. Erosion resulted from forest logging to expand the network of trenches. Soil structures were altered severely, and if the war was never fought, in all likelihood the landscape would have looked very differently today.

Another damaging impact was the application of poison gas. Gases were spread throughout the trenches to kill soldiers of the opposite front. Examples of gases applied during WWI are tear gas (aerosols causing eye irritation), mustard gas (cell toxic gas causing blistering and bleeding), and carbonyl chloride (carcinogenic gas). The gases caused a total of 100,000 deaths, most caused by carbonyl chloride (phosgene). Battlefields were polluted, and most of the gas evaporates into the atmosphere. After the war, unexploded ammunition caused major problems in former battle areas. Environmental legislation prohibits detonation or dumping chemical weapons at sea, therefore the cleanup was and still remains a costly operation. In 1925, most WWI participants signed a treaty banning the application of gaseous chemical weapons. Chemical disarmament plants are planned in France and Belgium.

World War II: – World War II was a worldwide conflict, fought between the Allies (Britain, France and the United States as its core countries) and the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan as its core countries). It started with the German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939, and ended with the liberation of Western Europe by the allies in 1945.

Estimates for the total casualties of the war vary, but most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.

World War II: Hunger winter – In late 1944, the allied troops attempted to liberate Western Europe. As they reached The Netherlands, German resistance caused the liberation to be halted in Arnhem, as allied troops failed to occupy a bridge over the River Rhine. As the Dutch government in exile in Britain called for railway strikes, the Germans responded by putting embargo on food transport to the west. This resulted in what is now known as the Hunger Winter, causing an estimated 20,000-25,000 Dutch to starve to death. A number of factors caused the starvation: a harsh winter, fuel shortages, the ruin of agricultural land by bombings, floods, and the food transport embargo. Most people in the west lived off tulip bulbs and sugar beet. Official food rations were below 1000 cal per person per day. In May 1945 the Hunger Winter ended with the official liberation of the west of The Netherlands.

Source

The there is this.  So what do they do with weapons of mass destruction?  Coming to an Ocean Near YOU! The cost in dollars for the pollution caused by war is staggering. The cost to human life is horrendous. The price of war to the Environment is deadly.  This is of course a Global problem.  What you don’t see can hurt you.  If you don’t know it is only because they don’t want you too. They will never tell you the true unless we as a Global community force them to. This will affect our children for many years to come. War is probably one of the worst polluters on the planet.  Stopping the WAR MACHINE is in everyone’s best interest.

Here you find tons of weapons that were dumped into the oceans among other things.

Depleated Uranium Information

The US Dumps staggering amounts of Chemical weapons in the oceans.

THE DEADLINESS BELOW

The US  still air testing bombs in the US.
US Air Testing Bombs

This to is a form of pollution a very deadly one.

Injuries and Deaths From Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance in Afghanistan, 2002-2006

This is part of the war pollution as well.
Uranium Mining, Grand Canyon now at Risk, Dangers, Pollution, History

Plague of bioweapons accidents afflicts the US

US Nuclear Weapons accidents – 1981 report

Added January 9 2009

Israel killing their own by Using Deadly Weapons of Mass Destuction again Gaza

Added November 18 2009

Doctors report “unprecedented” rise in deformities, cancers in Iraq (Photos)

Added January 9 2010

Cancer and Deformities – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

NATO bombings: Aftermath takes toll on Serbia, now left with DU Poisoning (Radiation and DU fallout maps included.)

Addiction is also part of war pollution. Because of the NATO and US invasion in Afghanistan, Heroin addiction has grown like wildfire around the world. Millions are now addicted to Heroin.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Hush’ over Afghan mission must end

Switzerland’s explosive war effort threatens environmental disaster

Pentagon’s Role in Global Catastrophe: Add Climate Havoc to War Crimes and War Pollution

“Military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under U.S. law and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Added January 3 2010

Gaza sees more newborns of malformation

Added January 24 2010

Study finds: Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination

Added March 1 2010

2.5 million Iraqi women were widowed by Iraq war

Added March 17 2010

Another Gulf War Syndrome? Burn Pits

Added March 18 2010

More Toxic waste for Veterans to deal with.

Erroneous Reports Deny our Veterans Benefits

Added July 22 2013

Najaf: A toxic “health catastrophe” – US weapons blamed for Iraq’s birth defects

Iceland government seizes control of Landsbanki

David Teather

October 07 2008

The Icelandic government this morning seized control of Landsbanki, the second-largest bank in the country, and sought to secure a €4bn loan from Russia as it worked to avert a financial meltdown.

The government moved quickly to use sweeping powers over the country’s banks granted in the Reykjavik parliament last night. The board of directors at Landsbanki has been dismissed and the bank put into receivership. The government has also loaned €500m to Kaupthing, the biggest bank in Iceland.

UK savers trying to access their Landsbanki-run Icesave accounts this morning were faced with a message telling them the bank was unable to process requests for deposits or withdrawals. Icesave offered competitive rates and has more than 200,000 accounts in the UK. The first €22,000 (roughly £17,000) held in the accounts is secured under an Icelandic compensation scheme, and the remainder up to £50,000 is guaranteed by the British government.

On state radio, commerce and banking minister Bjorgvin Sigurdsson sought to reassure people in Iceland that the bank would remain open and continue to run as normal.

The Landsbanki chairman and a large shareholder in the bank is Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the owner of West Ham United football club.

In an address broadcast on Icelandic television last night, prime minister Geir Haarde announced plans to rush through the emergency bill, supported by opposition parties, allowing the government to push through mergers between the battered banks or force them into bankruptcy.
“We were faced with the real possibility that the national economy would be sucked into the global banking swell and end in national bankruptcy,” he said.

There was some confusion about whether the loan from Russia had been agreed. Iceland’s central bank said in a statement that it had been informed by the Russian ambassador that Iceland would be given a €4bn loan and that it had been agreed by the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin. The bank said Haarde had approached the Russians about a loan some months ago.

But the Russian state news agency separately quoted the deputy finance minister, Dmitry Pankin, as saying there had been no formal approach from Iceland and that no decision had been made. The Icelandic bank then updated its statement to say that negotiations would begin “in the next few days”.

The Icelandic Financial Services Authority said it had taken control of Landsbanki to “guarantee a functioning domestic banking system”.

The fate of Iceland, which has extensive interests in the UK, is seen as a warning for the rest of the world, after a long boom fuelled by debt, a dependence on its banking industry and a buoyant housing market.

Time appeared to be running out for Iceland to deliver a solution to the financial crisis yesterday as its currency, the krona, slumped 30% against the euro, accelerating a decline that has been taking place over the past year.

The emergency bill would also allow the government to take over housing loans held by the banks.

The Icelandic government now has control of two of the biggest three banks in the country — the only one remaining in private hands is Kaupthing.

Last week, Landsbanki sold the bulk of its international operations, including the London-based Landsbanki Securities, the former Teather & Greenwood, to smaller rival Straumur-Burdaras, to try to bolster its capital base. But with the wholesale markets closing down, banks are finding it difficult to raise the short-term funding necessary for their day-to-day operations, especially when there is nervousness about an institution’s stability.

Kaupthing and Straumur-Burdaras said in a statement this morning that they continued to operate as normal and had no indication that the government intended to intervene.

The financial regulator yesterday suspended shares in Iceland’s main banks to prevent panic selling. The government also followed Ireland and Germany by guaranteeing all domestic deposits in Icelandic savings accounts.

Concerns about the Icelandic economy grew stronger last week after the government seized control of the third-largest bank, Glitnir, taking a 75% stake in return for €600m (£466m). Haarde warned Icelanders at the time of “the inevitable cut in living standards” to come.

The falling currency, which closed at a record low of 230 Icelandic krona to the euro, is worsening the crisis for the banks, which are shouldering large overseas debts, and for many thousands of individuals in Iceland who were encouraged to take out loans in foreign currencies.

In Iceland, there is widespread fear. Sigridur Dogg Audunsdottir, a local government worker in Reykjavik said everyone in the country was “holding their breath”. Yesterday, she withdrew cash from the bank all the way to her overdraft limit to make sure her family had enough to live on. “It is just unimaginable. It is so dark and gloomy, we have never experienced anything like this. I took out my money just to be safe, because I felt I had to do something. We’ve all been living ahead of ourselves, so in many ways this was inevitable. People here have been so obsessed with money. Iceland is like a nouveau riche country.

“I am not blaming the people. The problem seems to be oversized banks in a small economy. We trusted the banks and they encouraged us to borrow money.”

A collapse in Iceland would severely dent confidence in the broader financial markets. But it could also affect Britain, with the main banks funding a string of companies and entrepreneurs, including Robert Tchenguiz, a large investor in Sainsbury’s, chef Gordon Ramsay and property tycoons the Candy brothers.

One of Iceland’s biggest companies, Baugur, has stakes in a swath of the British high street, including House of Fraser, Karen Millen, Oasis and Whittard of Chelsea. One of the biggest credit insurance firms has stopped covering suppliers to Baugur-controlled stores. In a statement over the weekend, it reiterated that most of the funding of its businesses comes from international banks and that it has little exposure to the disaster-struck Icelandic economy.

Haarde is said to have approached other Nordic governments to see if their central banks might be prepared to inject liquidity into the Icelandic system. Haarde said the banks had agreed at the weekend to sell some overseas assets and bring the cash back to Iceland.

The country’s pension funds, which have assets of €12bn, are also being encouraged to repatriate cash.
Kaupthing holds deposits for thousands of UK savers through its Kaupthing Edge account. Kaupthing Edge is covered by the UK government guarantee on deposits up to £50,000. A spokeswoman for Kaupthing said there had been no rush to close accounts.

Richard Portes, an expert on Iceland at the London Business School, said the government had made a mistake by nationalising Glitnir, creating fear in the markets instead of just providing it with liquidity.
“You have the same law of unintended consequences that you had in the case of Lehman Brothers,” he said. “The Iceland problem was immediately vastly exaggerated.”

He said the Icelandic banks had been unfairly targeted. “The world is a little unjust. They don’t hold any toxic papers. The assets they will have to sell are perfectly good assets. They have been prudently managed and haven’t been excessively dependent on the wholesale money markets compared to anyone else,” he said.

Iceland has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past couple of decades, from an economy largely based on fishing to one of the richest in Europe, driven by its biggest banks after deregulation of the banking system. The banks grew rapidly on borrowing and have assets eight times Iceland’s GDP. But the party has come to an end, with the krona losing more than half its value against the euro in the past 12 months, inflation at 12% and interest rates at 15.5%.

Source

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 9:11 pm  Comments Off on Iceland government seizes control of Landsbanki  
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Europeans Angry at their Money being Used for Bailouts

Gordon Brown and other European Union leaders called last night for a global economic summit to ‘rebuild the world’s financial system’ as they held emergency talks on how to prevent a repeat of the current international credit crisis.

At a hastily convened meeting in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the heads of the EU’s four biggest economies – Germany, France, the UK and Italy – were united on the need to call all leading economic nations together to create ‘a new financial world just as Bretton Woods did 60 years ago’.

The summit, planned for next month, is expected to include the G8 leading industrial nations, as well as India, China, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. Sarkozy, who called last night’s meeting in his role as EU President, said it was time for governments to clamp down on speculators and restore a moral element to the heart of a regime that had failed.

‘We need to literally rebuild the international financial system. We want to lay the foundations of entrepreneurial capitalism, not speculative capitalism,’ he said.

As part of a rolling programme of announcements, the EU’s ‘big four’ agreed to release £12bn of emergency aid to ailing small businesses across the EU immediately, and a further £12bn as soon as possible after that. The European Investment Bank had said the money would be released gradually over the next four years.

Calling for a more co-ordinated response to the credit crisis, Brown said international co-operation on regulation was needed. ‘We are seeing, in addition to the national action we are taking, that these global problems about oil, about the credit crunch, need global solutions,’ he said. ‘I think in the next few weeks we have got to show how we can do more in Britain and across Europe to help small businesses, as well as households, through what is a difficult economic time but where I believe Britain can lead the way out of the difficulties.’

Action was needed, and would be taken, to protect all solvent banks in the EU. ‘I want the message to go out from this meeting today that no sound solvent bank should be allowed to fail for lack of liquidity,’ Brown added. The meeting’s main pledges on restoring sound financial systems will be looked at next week by finance ministers from all 27 EU states during talks in Luxembourg.

Germany repeated its opposition to the use of taxpayers’ funds to help ailing banks after calls from France for a European equivalent of the $700bn US bail-out agreed on Friday night. Germany’s Economy Minister, Michael Glos, said such a €300bn rescue fund was a non-starter. ‘I do not think it can be justified in this situation to ask the state to restore trust that has been gambled away with large-scale debt relief plans financed by tax money,’ he said.

Fortis bank HQ

The deal includes Fortis’ stake in ABN Amro.

The Netherlands will take full control of the Dutch operations of ailing European bank Fortis in a deal worth 16.8bn euros ($23.2bn; £13.1bn).

On Sunday, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg governments injected 11.2bn euros into the bank, which has a heavy presence in all three countries.

The Dutch government transaction on Friday does not affect Fortis’ Belgian and Luxembourg operations.

Fortis was the first European bank to fall victim to the credit crisis.

Analysts say the bank’s biggest mistake was joining in – along with Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland and Spain’s Santander – in the 70bn euro purchase of the Dutch bank ABN Amro last year.

The Dutch government will also take Fortis’ interest in ABN Amro.

As part of Sunday’s action, the three Benelux governments took a 49% stake in Fortis countries in their respective countries.

The Belgian government said on Friday it would retain the 49% stake in Fortis’ Belgian operations it took on Sunday.

Hypo Real Estate headquarters in Munich, Germany (file image)

Hypo Real Estate is Germany’s second biggest property lender

A top German bank is on the brink of collapse after a 35bn euro ($48bn; £27.2bn) rescue plan collapsed.

Germany’s second-largest commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate, said a banking consortium had withdrawn their support for the deal.

Correspondents say its failure will put further strain on financial institutions in other countries.

The news came after EU leaders at a Paris summit refused to commit to a US-style rescue plan for banks.

Hypo Real Estate, which has large amounts of bad debt, has suffered from the credit squeeze in international markets.

The bank said a consortium of German financial institutions involved in a government-led rescue plan pulled out of the negotiations after refusing to come up with nearly 35bn euros ($50bn; £28bn) for a bail-out.

The reasons why the consortium pulled out are unclear but a Hypo Real Estate spokesman said the property lender was fighting for its survival.

Some analysts are saying the bank will not last more than a few days without a rescue package, so action must be taken before the markets open on Monday.

Another meeting of government representatives and private bankers is expected to take place on Sunday.

Executive ‘sanctions’

Correspondents say if Hypo Real Estate does collapse it could plunge already volatile markets even further into debt.

News of the failed plan came as leaders of the major European economies met in the French capital for talks hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Britain, Germany, Italy and France all agreed to work together to support financial institutions but did not agree to set up a big rescue fund similar to that of the US.

They decided instead to seek a relaxation of the EU rules governing the amount of money individual states can borrow.

The leaders also issued a joint call for a G8 summit “as soon as possible” to review the rules governing financial markets.

Mr Sarkozy announced a series of other measures – including unspecified action against the executives of failed banks.

Speaking after the meeting at a joint news conference, he said the four had agreed that the leaders of a financial institution that had to be rescued should be “sanctioned”.

The French president added: “Each government will operate with its own methods and means, but in a co-ordinated manner.”

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on EU countries not to take steps at home that could cause problems for other member states.

The Irish and Greek governments have been criticised within the EU for deciding to act independently by guaranteeing to protect all savings deposited in their banks.

‘Trial by fire’

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, called on European leaders to send the message that “no sound, solvent bank should be allowed to fail through lack of liquidity”.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, points to the Elysee Palace stairs as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, watches on 4 October 2008

EU leaders are under pressure to contain the financial contagion

He also said the meeting had agreed to ask the European Investment Fund to release 15bn euros ($21bn; £12bn) in loans to help small businesses operate.

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had earlier urged EU action, saying the financial crisis was presenting Europe with a “trial by fire”.

He held talks with Mr Sarkozy before the EU leaders’ meeting and said although the EU was a more complex organisation than the US, Europe needed to take “concerted collective action”.

Mr Strauss-Kahn said it had to be “indicated to the markets… that European countries will not react as every man for himself”.

He also said he would be scaling back his world economic growth forecasts.

Calls for European action followed the bail-out of both Bradford and Bingley in the UK and Fortis Bank by the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

But the president of the European Parliament has criticised the summit, warning that the leaders of Europe’s four largest economies have no power to decide for the entire European Union.

Published in: on October 5, 2008 at 11:06 am  Comments (2)  
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