World Wide Occupy Wall Street Protests

Wall Street Tsunami: OWS grows in force Oct 22 2011

‘OWS ain’t a war zone’ – One marine vs 30 cops in NYC Oct 22 2011

If you don’t understand the Occupy Wall Street Movement check out this Video

Occupy Wall Street Spells It Out

Updated Photos: Occupy Vancouver – global movement

Photos at link below

Thousands participated in the Vancouver leg of the financial protests.

Video on the protest in Vancover

Video Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park 

Occupy Montreal

Close to 3000 people have joined up to Occupy Montreal

Occupy Ottawa Confederation Park Ottawa

There are numerous other videos for Occupy Ottawa on youtube

‘Occupy’ protest takes root in downtown Edmonton

There are numerous other videos on Occupy Edmonton on youtube

Occupy Calgary

There are more Occupy Calgary Videos on youtube

Occupy Winnipeg Day 1

More Videos on Occupy Winnipeg on youtube

Occupy Regina

Occupy Quebec City Short video

Rome not so peaceful

Demonstrators march past a burning car in downtown Rome on October 15, 2011. Tens of thousands marched in Rome as part of a global day of protests inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Indignant” movements, with the Italian capital under a security lockdown.
Photograph by: ALBERTO PIZZOLI, AFP/Getty Images

RAW VIDEO – Italy – Riots in Rome – Italian Indignados Protest Turns Violent.

ITALY. Riots in Milan. Students Protest Turns Violent. Assaulted Goldman Sachs Office.

ROME: Protesters torched cars, smashed up banks and set fire to a military building in Rome on Saturday in the worst violence of worldwide demonstrations against corporate greed and government cutbacks.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of the Italian capital for a march that turned violent and equal numbers rallied in Madrid and Lisbon while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange joined angry demonstrators in London.

The protests were inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the United States and the “Indignants” in Spain, targeting 951 cities in 82 countries across the planet in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

It was the biggest show of power yet by a movement born on May 15 when a rally in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square sparked a worldwide movement that focused anger over unemployment and opposition to the financial elite.

“I think it is very moving that the movement that was born here has extended throughout the world. It was about time for people to rise up,” said 24-year-old Carmen Martin as she marched towards Puerta del Sol.

In the Portuguese capital, where some 50,000 rallied, 25-year-old Mathieu Rego said: “We are victims of financial speculation and this austerity programme is going to ruin us. We have to change this rotten system.”

The protests received unexpected support from Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi, a former executive at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs set to take over as president of the European Central Bank.

“Young people are right to be indignant,” Draghi was reported as saying on the sidelines of talks among G20 financial powers in Paris.

“They’re angry against the world of finance. I understand them,” he added, though expressing regrets at reports of violence.

More protests were staged in Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels, Geneva, Paris, Sarajevo and Zurich. Thousands also rallied across Canada and in New York and Washington, where they protested outside the White House and the US Treasury.

Scuffles broke out in London, where about 800 people rallied in the financial district by St Paul’s Cathedral, raising banners saying: “Strike back!” “No cuts!” and “Goldman Sachs is the work of the devil!”

Five people were arrested, three for assaulting police officers and two for public order offences, Scotland Yard said.

Three lines of police, and one line at the rear on horseback, blocked them from heading to the London Stock Exchange and pushed back against lead marchers, some wearing masks.

“One of the reasons why we support what is happening here in ‘Occupy London’ is because the banking system in London is the recipient of corrupt money,” Assange said from the steps of St Paul’s, flanked by bodyguards.


A protestor holds a placard on the steps of Saint Paul’s cathedral in central London on October 15, 2011.
Photograph by: AFP, Getty

Occupy London clashes: Fighting erupts at UK protest

Occupy IRELAND-Dame Street, Dublin. Day 3 -4-5-AND CONTINUE 15th of October OCCUPY WORLD 2011


Police arrested 24 protesters at a bank as thousands marched in New York, where the Occupy Wall Street movement that sparked the global demos began on September 17 with activists taking up residence in the heart of the Financial District.

In Miami, a city that rarely hosts mass demonstrations, at least 1,000 people marched downtown. The crowd included youth and retirees standing up against corporations, banks and war. No police could be seen as the group approached government buildings.

Over 10,000 Canadians blew bubbles, strummed guitars and chanted anti-corporate slogans at peaceful protests in cities across the country.

“I believe a revolution is happening,” said 30-year-old Annabell Chapa, who brought her one-year-old son Jaydn along in a stroller.

The European Union also became a target for anger as the eurozone debt crisis continues, with some 9,000 protesters marching to the EU’s headquarters in Brussels and rallying outside the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt.

In Rome, the march quickly degenerated into running street battles between groups of hooded protesters and riot police who fired tear gas and water jets into the crowd amid a security lockdown in the Italian capital.

“Today is only the beginning. We hope to move forward with a global movement. There are many of us and we want the same things,” said one protester, Andrea Muraro, a 24-year-old engineering student from Padua.

“Only One Solution: Revolution!” read a placard. One group carried a cardboard coffin with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s name on it.

Berlusconi later condemned the “incredible level of violence” at the march.

He said the clashes were “a very worrying signal for civil coexistence.”

Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno said “we’ve seen the worst of Europe today in Rome.”

Seventy people were injured in the clashes and treated by medics, including three in a serious condition, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Backing from Italy’s main trade unions and student movements boosted the numbers at the protest in Rome — in contrast to most of the other rallies.

As the day began, around 500 people gathered in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district to vent their anger. About 100 demonstrators in Tokyo also voiced fury at the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Another 600 demonstrators in Sydney set up camp outside Australia’s central bank, where the plight of refugees and Aboriginal Australians was added to the financial concerns. Source

Occupy Wall Street Spain

Occupy Tokyo 2011

Violence erupts as general strike shuts down Greece

Wall Street and Greek protests spread to Brussels

Wall Street/Washington Protesters an Inspiration to Behold

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March 11-17 2010 Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Salem-News.com

Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law escalated in the OPT during the reporting period (11 – 17 March 2010).

(HEBRON) – The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports the latest military action by Israel’s military toward Palestinian civilians. A number of shootings are reported.

They say that during the reporting period, 31 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 5 women, were wounded when IOF used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank.

In the same time frame, IOF (Israeli Occupational Forces) issued a military order declaring the area of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah, a closed military zone on Fridays, banning access of Palestinian civilians to the area. According to the order, such ban will remain effective until 17 August 2010.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF fired at Palestinian workers and fishing boats. They also fire at a peaceful protest against the security zone IOF plan to establish along the border.

On 12 March 2010, Israeli warplanes bombarded and destroyed a factory of plastics in Khan Yunis.

Incursions: During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 13 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 27 Palestinian civilians, including two children and a journalist.

In the Gaza Strip, on 12 March 2010, IOF moved into the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip. They leveled areas of land which they had already razed.

Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

Gaza Strip

IOF have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli siege of Gaza, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

  • On Friday, 01 January 2010, IOF decided to close the crossing permanently, and to allow the entry of fuels through Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, for security claims.
  • 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
  • The main concern of the population of the Gaza Strip is to obtain their basic needs of food, medicines, water and electricity supplies.
  • IOF have continued to prevent the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than two years.
  • IOF have not allowed fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, excluding few amounts of cooking gas and energy fuel for Gaza Power Plant, since 10 December 2008.
  • The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.
  • IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the face of Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to the West Bank and Israeli for medical treatment, trade or social visits.
  • IOF have imposed additional restrictions on access of international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers to the Gaza Strip. They have prevented representatives of several international humanitarian organizations from entering the Gaza Strip.
  • Living conditions of the Palestinian civilian population have seriously deteriorated; levels of poverty and unemployment have sharply mounted.
  • · At least 800 Gazan prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived for family visitation for more than two years.
  • IOF have continued to attack Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza Strip coast.

West Bank

IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be denied access to Jerusalem.

  • IOF have established checkpoints in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting Palestinian access to the city. Civilians are frequently prevented from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
  • There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by IOF every week.
  • When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.
  • At least 65% of the main roads that leads to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by IOF (47 out of 72 roads).
  • There are around 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without a permit issued by the IOF. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain.
  • IOF continue to harass, and assault demonstrators who hold peaceful protests against the construction of the Annexation Wall.
  • Palestinian civilians continue to be harassed by IOF in Jerusalem, and across the West Bank, including being regularly stopped and searched in the streets by IOF.

Efforts to Create a Jewish Majority in Jerusalem: On Thursday, 11 March 2010, IOF started imposing increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the old city. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of Border Police officers established military checkpoints at the entrances of the old city, on all of the streets inside the walls of the old city, as well as on streets in the immediate vicinity. They prevented all those who were not residents of the old city from entering it. In addition, Palestinians under 50 years of age were not permitted to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, all gates to the al-Aqsa compound, with the exception of al-Majles, Hattah and al-Selselah gates, were closed. On Saturday, 13 March 2010, IOF closed al-Aqsa Secondary School for Girls, the Shari’a Secondary School and the Islamic Kindergarten of al-Aqsa, all of which are located inside al-Aqsa compound. These measures, which are still ongoing, came on the eve of the inauguration of a synagogue in al-Shorfah neighborhood. The synagogue is located 300 meters to the west of al-Aqsa Mosque and was inaugurated yesterday, on Monday, 15 March 2010.

Settlement Activities: IOF have continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers living in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On Thursday morning, 11 March, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem set out plans to build thousands of housing units in Jerusalem, especially in the east and south of the city. The plans are supported by the Israeli government. The distribution of the new unit is like this: 3,000 units in “Gilo” settlement; 1,500 one in “Har Homa” settlement; 1,500 ones in “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement; 3,000 one in “Giv’at Matosim” settlement; 1,200 ones in “Ramot” settlement; 600 ones in “Armona Netseev” settlement; 450 in “Neve Yacov” settlement; and 144 ones in “Olive Mount” settlement. A new settlement neighborhood of 13,000 housing unit will also be established near al-Walaja village, northwest of Bethlehem.

On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Elli” settlement attacked Battisha area in the northwest of Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus. They uprooted 40 olive trees.

Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (11 – 17 March 2010)

1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

Thursday, 11 March 2010

· At approximately 23:45, Israeli war planes dropped a bomb on al-Shouka village near the Egyptian border, southeast of Rafah, allegedly to destroy tunnels. No casualties or damage were reported.

Friday, 12 March 2010

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Ramallah. A number of Palestinian boys gathered and threw stones at Israeli military vehicles. Immediately, Israeli troops fired at the boys. They withdrew from the town later, and no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 09:40, IOF moved nearly 200 meters into the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip. They leveled areas of land, which they had already razed. At approximately 11:10, IOF moved south towards the east of al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. IOF redeployed outside these areas in the evening. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:20, Israeli troops stationed on observation towers at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting bricks and iron bars from the debris of destroyed buildings. The workers fled and no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 22:10, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian fishermen were forced to sail back to the beach, and no casualties or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 23:30, Israeli warplanes dropped two bombs on a factory of plastics in al-Satar al-Gharbi area in Khan Yunis. The 1,600-square-meter factor, which belongs to Msallam Mohammed al-Haddad, was destroyed almost completely. A nearby factory was also damaged.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Duhaisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Hamed Mohammed Hammad, 35, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Shurfa neighborhood in al-Bireh. They raided and searched a house belonging to Maher ‘Abdullah Jom’a, and arrested his wife, Amani Jom’a, 37.

Monday, 15 March 2010

· At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Sourif village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 7 Palestinian civilians:

  1. Ahmed Jamal Abu Fara, 18;
  2. Adham Hamdi Abu Fara, 18;
  3. Ahmed Shaker al-Heeh, 19;
  4. Bahaa’ Mazen Ehmaidat, 18;
  5. Mahmoud Mousa al-Masri, 18;
  6. ‘Alaa’ Ibrahim Barath’iya, 18; and
  7. Mahmoud Mousa Ehmaidat, 18.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Kharbtha Bani Hareth village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and summoned Mohammed Bilal al-Sheikh, 21, and Khaled Nemer al-‘Abed, 26.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Salem village, east of Nablus. They besieged a 5-storey apartment building, in which 5 families counting 30 people live. They ordered resident of the building to get out. Israeli troops verified their identity cards and held them in one room on the third floor, excluding Ibrahim Jameel Eshtayeh, 26, who was held on the second floor. Soon after, Israeli troops searched the building using dogs. At approximately 03:30, Israeli troop withdrew from the area detaining Eshtayeh.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

· At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Reema village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:

  1. Ghassan ‘Abbas al-Reemawi, 19;
  2. Saddam Tayseer al-Asmar, 19; and
  3. ‘Orabi Hussein al-Reemawi, 35.

· At approximately 11:00, the Israeli police stormed the African quarter in the old town of Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses and fired tear gas canisters in alleys. A number of old people suffered from tear gas inhalation. The Israeli police arrested 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a journalist:

  1. Haitham Jadda;
  2. Tha’er Seder;
  3. Shadi Seder;
  4. ‘Abdul Qader al-Qadhi; and
  5. Mousa Qous, a journalist.
  • · At approximately 12:05, Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northwest of Beit Lahia town fired into the air to force Palestinian demonstrators who organized a peaceful protest over an Israeli decision to create a 300-meter-wide buffer zone along the border. No casualties were reported.
  • · At approximately 20:30, IOF moved into Madama village, southeast of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and detonated 3 sound bombs. They also arrested 3 Palestinian civilians in the streets:
  1. Ahmed Jebril Ziada, 25;
  2. Ahmed ‘Abdul Ghani Ziada, 19; and
  3. Wissam Rezeq Ziada, 19.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

· At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:

  1. Ameer Ibrahim Sabarna, 20;
  2. Ibrahim Sa’id ‘Awadh, 17; and
  3. Eyad ‘Omar Sabarna, 20.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Housan village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Shadi Mohammed Za’oul, 17, and arrested him.
  • At noon, Israeli troops chased a number of Palestinian children into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, claiming that they threw stones at a checkpoint established at the entrance of the village. Israeli troop fired rubber-coated metal bullet at the children. As a result, Khaled Ahmed al-‘Allami, 14, was wounded in the head.
    1. Mohammed Ahmed Hamad, 18, wounded in the right leg; and
    2. Mohammed Adeeb Abu Rahma, 15, wounded in the back.
    1. ‘Omar Salah Tamimi, 25, wounded in the back;
    2. Shadi ‘Ali Tamimi, 29, wounded in the head;
    3. Majd Daifallah Tamimi, 16, wounded in the back;
    4. Shokri Mahmoud Tamimi, 29, wounded in the left leg;
    5. Ziad ‘Abdul Raziq Tamimi, wounded in the left leg;
    6. Rami Hussein Tamimi, 28, wounded in the back;
    7. Nasser Hassan Tamimi, 27, wounded in the left leg;
    8. Ref’at Wajeeh Tamimi, 23, wounded in the back;
    9. Mohammed Jalal Tamimi, 25, wounded in the right hand;
    10. Ra’fat Wajeeh Tamimi, 24, wounded in the back;
    11. Ra’fat Tal’at Tamimi, 22, wounded in the right hand;
    12. ‘Aatef Mohammed Tamimi, 22, wounded in the back;
    13. Mo’taz Jalal Tamimi, 16, wounded in the left leg;
    14. Ahmed Mohammed Reemawi, 23, wounded in the back;
    15. ‘Abdul Hakim Mohammed Tamimi, 24, wounded in the right leg;
    16. Murad Saif Tamimi, 23, wounded in the back;
    17. Bahaa’ Jalal Tamimi, 23, wounded in the right leg; and
    18. Amjad ‘Abdul Hafiz Tamimi, 23, wounded in the left leg.
    1. An’am Mahmoud Khader, 55, hit by a sound bomb to the right leg;
    2. Majeda Mohammed ‘Alawna, 43, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg;
    3. Nada ‘Ersan Twair, 48, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left hand;
    4. Sa’eda al-Haj ‘Ali, 55, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back; and
    5. Alaa’ Ibrahim al-Khatib, 17, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right leg.
    1. Ahmed Fawzi Yousef, 22, wounded by shrapnel from a gunshot to the abdomen;
    2. Mlabbas Hassan ‘Abdullah, 20, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the jaw; and
    3. Basheer Yousef Mahmoud, 21, wounded by shrapnel from a gunshot to the right thigh.
    • During the reporting period, IOF issued a military order declaring the area of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein and Ne’lin villages, west of Ramallah, a closed military zone on Fridays, banning access of Palestinian civilians to the area. According to the order, such ban will remain effective until 17 August 2010.
    • Following the Friday Prayer on 12 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. The demonstrators moved towards the Wall and attempted to cross it towards annexed lands. Immediately, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets:
    • Also on Friday noon, 12 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. They clashed with IOF troops positioned near the Wall. IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation, and other sustained bruises. Israeli troops also arrested Salah Mustafa ‘Amira, 37, a farmer, and Sarita Haim, an Israeli human rights defender.
    • Also following the Friday Prayer on 12 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to land confiscation in Wad al-Raya area between Nabi Saleh and Deir Nizam villages, northwest of Ramallah. When the demonstrators attempted to reach areas of land seized by Israeli settlers near “Halmish” settlement, Israeli troop fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 18 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets:
    • Also on Friday noon, 12 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders and peace activists organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem. They moved towards the Annexation Walla in the north and west of the village. Immediately, Israeli troops fired sound bombs and beat a number of demonstrators. As a result, ‘Ali ‘Alaa’ al-Din, 25, and Mahmoud Mousa, 26, sustained bruises.
    • On Saturday morning, 13 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and about 30 international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators moved from the east of the village towards bypass road #60. Israeli troops stationed in the area fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters and chased the demonstrators. They beat a number of civilians, including two journalists while photographing the demonstration: Yusri Mahmoud al-Jamal, 35, a cameraman of Reuters; and Yousef ‘Eissa Shaheen, 22, a cameraman of Palmedia Group. They also arrested two Israeli human rights defenders, two journalists (Nasser Hussin Shyoukhi, 45, and Fadi Eyad Hamad, 25, cameramen of Associated Press), and Yousef ‘Abdul Hamid Abu Maria, 37. They released all detainees, excluding the latter, a few hours later. Additionally, dozens of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
    • Also on Saturday, 13 March 2010, dozens of Palestinian civilians and women’s rights activists organized a peaceful demonstration in celebration of International Women’s Day, near Qalandya checkpoint, south of Ramallah. Israeli troops closed the checkpoint. When the demonstrators attempted to cross the checkpoint towards Jerusalem, Israeli troops prevented them. In response, the demonstrators threw stones at Israeli troops. Immediately, Israeli troops fired at the demonstrators. As a result, 5 women were wounded:
    • On Friday, 01 January 2010, IOF decided to close the crossing permanently, and to allow the entry of fuels through Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, for security claims.
    • 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
    • The main concern of the population of the Gaza Strip is to obtain their basic needs of food, medicines, water and electricity supplies.
    • · IOF have continued to prevent the entry of raw construction materials into the Gaza Strip for more than two years.
    • IOF have not allowed fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, excluding few amounts of cooking gas and energy fuel for Gaza Power Plant, since 10 December 2008.
    • The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.
    • IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the face of Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to the West Bank and Israeli for medical treatment, trade or social visits.
    • IOF have imposed additional restrictions on access of international diplomats, journalists and humanitarian workers to the Gaza Strip. They have prevented representatives of several international humanitarian organizations from entering the Gaza Strip.
    • Living conditions of the Palestinian civilian population have seriously deteriorated; levels of poverty and unemployment have sharply mounted.
    • At least 800 Gazan prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived for family visitation for more than two years.
    • IOF have continued to attack Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza Strip coast.
    • Ramallah: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of the Palestinian civilians in Ramallah. IOF troops positioned at Jaba’-Qalandya checkpoint, southeast of Ramallah, have imposed additional restrictions on movement and conducted prolonged checking on Palestinian civilians. During the reporting period, IOF erected a number of temporary checkpoints, and stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. At approximately 11:30 on Saturday, 13 March 2010, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Attara village, north of Ramallah. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles.
    • Nablus: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Friday morning, 05 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.
    • Hebron: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Wednesday noon, 17 March 2010, IOF closed all entrance and roads leading to Hebron. They also established checkpoints on roads leading to neighboring villages and refugee camps. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. They also closed a branch road leading to the market in the northeast of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, with cement blocks.
    • On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old town in Hebron arrested ‘Aliaa’ ‘Abdul Majid al-Natsha, 30, claiming that she was carrying a knife.
    • At approximately 16:00 on the same day, Israeli troops patrolling near the Annexation Wall near “Maccavim” settlement to the west of Beit Sierra village, west of Ramallah, arrested Jaber Sameer al-Khattab, 17, while he was grazing animals. They claimed that he broke a gate on the Wall. He was released on bail at night.
    • On Monday evening, 15 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at the Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested ‘Omar ‘Alaa’ al-Din, 25, from al-Ma’sara village south of Bethlehem.
    • On Thursday morning, 11 March, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem set out plans to build thousands of housing units in Jerusalem, especially in the east and south of the city. The plans are supported by the Israeli government. The distribution of the new unit is like this: 3,000 units in “Gilo” settlement; 1,500 one in “Har Homa” settlement; 1,500 ones in “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement; 3,000 one in “Giv’at Matosim” settlement; 1,200 ones in “Ramot” settlement; 600 ones in “Armona Netseev” settlement; 450 in “Neve Yacov” settlement; and 144 ones in “Olive Mount” settlement. A new settlement neighborhood of 13,000 housing unit will also be established near al-Walaja village, northwest of Bethlehem.
    • On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Elli” settlement attacked Battisha area in the northwest of Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus. They uprooted 40 olive trees belonging to Mohammed Jaber Mahmoud, Yasser Hassan Mansour, ‘Abdullah Dib and Yousef Raja.
    • On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old town in Hebron arrested ‘Aliaa’ ‘Abdul Majid al-Natsha, 30, claiming that she was carrying a knife.
    • At approximately 16:00 on the same day, Israeli troops patrolling near the Annexation Wall near “Maccavim” settlement to the west of Beit Sierra village, west of Ramallah, arrested Jaber Sameer al-Khattab, 17, while he was grazing animals. They claimed that he broke a gate on the Wall. He was released on bail at night.
    • On Monday evening, 15 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at the Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested ‘Omar ‘Alaa’ al-Din, 25, from al-Ma’sara village south of Bethlehem.
    • On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old town in Hebron arrested ‘Aliaa’ ‘Abdul Majid al-Natsha, 30, claiming that she was carrying a knife.
    • At approximately 16:00 on the same day, Israeli troops patrolling near the Annexation Wall near “Maccavim” settlement to the west of Beit Sierra village, west of Ramallah, arrested Jaber Sameer al-Khattab, 17, while he was grazing animals. They claimed that he broke a gate on the Wall. He was released on bail at night.
    • On Monday evening, 15 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at the Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested ‘Omar ‘Alaa’ al-Din, 25, from al-Ma’sara village south of Bethlehem.
  • 2. Use of Excessive Force against Peaceful Demonstrations

    IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall and inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, IOF used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall and settlement activities. At least 20 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded, and other sustained bruises or suffered from tear gas inhalation.

    Additionally, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation, and some of them sustained bruises.

    Dozens of demonstrators also suffered from tear gas inhalation, and other sustained bruises.

    At approximately 13:00 on Monday, 15 March 2010, dozens of students of Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah, organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to Israeli measures in Jerusalem. They moved towards ‘Attara checkpoint at the entrance of Bir Zeit village, and threw stones at Israeli troops in the area. Immediately, Israeli troops fired at the students. As a result, 3 students were wounded:

    3. Continued Siege on the OPT

    IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.

    Gaza Strip

    IOF have continued to close all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli siege of Gaza, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

    Movement at Border Crossings during the Reporting Period:

    Movement at Beit Hanoun Crossing

    10 – 16 March 2010

    Click on screen shots to enlarge

    Movement at Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) Crossing 10 – 16 March 2010









    Al-Mentar (Karni) Crossing: IOF partially opened the crossing on Wednesday, 10 March 2010, and allowed the entry of 1,287 tons of wheat and 1,326 tons of fodders. They opened it again on Tuesday, 16 March 2010, and allowed the entry of 546 tons of wheat and 351 tons of fodders.

    Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing: IOF have continued to close Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the movement of Palestinian civilians. They have allowed only diplomats, a number of international journalists, workers at international agencies and a few patients who suffer from serious diseases to pass through the crossing. They have continued to prevent Palestinian civilians from visiting their relatives who are detained in Israeli jails. As mentioned above, IOF have allowed a few number of patients to pass through the crossing, but under severe restrictions that include prolonged checking.

    Movement at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing
    10 – 16 March 2010


    The West Bank

    IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. During the reporting period, IOF imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians.

    Jerusalem: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians to and from the city. Thousands of Palestinian civilians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been denied access to the city. IOF have established many checkpoints around and inside the city. Restrictions of the movement of Palestinian civilians often escalate on Fridays to prevent them from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque. On Thursday, 11 March 2010, IOF started imposing increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the old city. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of Border Police officers established military checkpoints at the entrances of the old city, on all of the streets inside the walls of the old city, as well as on streets in the immediate vicinity. They prevented all those who were not residents of the old city from entering it. In addition, Palestinians under 50 years of age were not permitted to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, all gates to the al-Aqsa compound, with the exception of al-Majles, Hattah and al-Selselah gates, were closed. On Saturday, 13 March 2010, IOF closed al-Aqsa Secondary School for Girls, the Shari’a Secondary School and the Islamic Kindergarten of al-Aqsa, all of which are located inside al-Aqsa compound.

    Arrests at Military Checkpoints

    On Friday morning, 12 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old town in Hebron arrested ‘Aliaa’ ‘Abdul Majid al-Natsha, 30, claiming that she was carrying a knife.
    At approximately 16:00 on the same day, Israeli troops patrolling near the Annexation Wall near “Maccavim” settlement to the west of Beit Sierra village, west of Ramallah, arrested Jaber Sameer al-Khattab, 17, while he was grazing animals. They claimed that he broke a gate on the Wall. He was released on bail at night.
    On Monday evening, 15 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at the Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested ‘Omar ‘Alaa’ al-Din, 25, from al-Ma’sara village south of Bethlehem.

    Harassment at Military CheckpointsAt approximately 15:30 on Friday, 12 March 2010, Israeli troops stationed at a gate on the Annexation Wall stopped 4 Palestinian farmers from “Deir al-Ghossoun” village, north of Tulkarm, while they were on their way back homes. They forced the farmers at gunpoint to take their clothes off. The farmers are: Mohammed Nihad ‘Atwa, 23; Saleh Radi Daqqa, 28; Zaher Safwat ‘Ouda, 28; and Wa’el Subhi Khalil, 25.

    4. Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property

    IOF have continued settlement activities in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

    …………………………………………………………

    Recommendations to the International Community

    1. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.

    2. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference to take effective steps to ensure Israel’s respect of the Convention in the OPT and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.

    3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.

    4. PCHR calls for the immediately implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.

    5. PCHR recommends international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs to participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.

    6. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.

    7. PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented in September 2005, for what it is – not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

    8. In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

    9. PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel’s respect for human rights in the OPT and to end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.

    10. PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to lift the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupation forces on access for international organizations to the OPT.

    11. PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.

    _____________________________________________________

    Source: PCHR’s office in Gaza City

    A typical week in OPT. Is it any wonder Palestinian’s get angry.

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Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 3:23 am  Comments Off on March 11-17 2010 Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory  
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Israel on Trial – The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

March 5 2010

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

Full findings here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By BRIAN M. CARNEY
    September 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

    Germany suspends ratification of Lisbon Treaty

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

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

    79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

    Who will save Israel from itself?

    By Mark LeVine The Israeli government’s justifications for the war are being scrutinised [GALLO/GETTY]

    One by one the justifications given by Israel for its latest war in Gaza are unravelling.The argument that this is a purely defensive war, launched only after Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire has been challenged, not just by observers in the know such as Jimmy Carter, the former US president who helped facilitate the truce, but by centre-right Israeli intelligence think tanks.

    The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, whose December 31 report titled “Six Months of the Lull Arrangement Intelligence Report,” confirmed that the June 19 truce was only “sporadically violated, and then not by Hamas but instead by … “rogue terrorist organisations”.

    Instead, “the escalation and erosion of the lull arrangement” occurred after Israel killed six Hamas members on November 4 without provocation and then placed the entire Strip under an even more intensive siege the next day.

    According to a joint Tel Aviv University-European University study, this fits a larger pattern in which Israeli violence has been responsible for ending 79 per cent of all lulls in violence since the outbreak of the second intifada, compared with only 8 per cent for Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Indeed, the Israeli foreign ministry seems to realise that this argument is losing credibility.

    During a conference call with half a dozen pro-Israel professors on Thursday, Asaf Shariv, the Consul General of Israel in New York, focused more on the importance of destroying the intricate tunnel system connecting Gaza to the Sinai.

    He claimed that such tunnels were “as big as the Holland and Lincoln tunnels,” and offered as proof the “fact” that lions and monkeys had been smuggled through them to a zoo in Gaza. In reality, the lions were two small cubs that were drugged, thrown in sacks, and dragged through a tunnel on their way to a private zoo.

    Israel’s self-image

    The claim that Hamas will never accept the existence of Israel has proved equally misinformed, as Hamas leaders explicitly announce their intention to do just that in the pages of the Los Angeles Times or to any international leader or journalist who will meet with them.

    With each new family, 10, 20 and 30 strong, buried under the rubble of a building in Gaza, the claim that the Israeli forces have gone out of their way to diminish civilian casualties – long a centre-piece of Israel’s image as an enlightened and moral democracy – is falling apart.

    Anyone with an internet connection can Google “Gaza humanitarian catastrophe” and find the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories and read the thousands of pages of evidence documenting the reality of the current fighting, and the long term siege on Gaza that preceded it.

    The Red Cross, normally scrupulous in its unwillingness to single out parties to a conflict for criticism, sharply criticised Israel for preventing medical personnel from reaching wounded Palestinians, some of whom remained trapped for days, slowly starving and dying in the Gazan rubble amidst their dead relatives.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations has flatly denied Israeli claims that Palestinian fighters were using the UNRWA school compound bombed on January 6, in which 40 civilians were killed, to launch attacks, and has challenged Israel to prove otherwise.

    War crimes admission

    Additionally, numerous flippant remarks by senior Israeli politicians and generals, including Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, refusing to make a distinction between civilian people and institutions and fighters – “Hamas doesn’t … and neither should we” is how Livni puts it – are rightly being seen as admissions of war crimes.

    Indeed, in reviewing statements by Israeli military planners leading up to the invasion, it is clear that there was a well thought out decision to go after Gaza’s civilian infrastructure – and with it, civilians.

    The following quote from an interview with Major-General Gadi Eisenkot that appeared in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth in October, is telling:

    “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective these [the villages] are military bases,” he said.

    “This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorised.”

    Causing “immense damage and destruction” and considering entire villages “military bases” is absolutely prohibited under international law.

    Eisenkot’s description of this planning in light of what is now unfolding in Gaza is a clear admission of conspiracy and intent to commit war crimes, and when taken with the comments above, and numerous others, renders any argument by Israel that it has tried to protect civilians and is not engaging in disproportionate force unbelievable.

    International laws violated

    On the ground, the evidence mounts ever higher that Israel is systematically violating a host of international laws, including but not limited to Article 56 of the IV Hague Convention of 1907, the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention, the Fourth Geneva Convention (more specifically known as the “Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949”, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the principles of Customary International Humanitarian Law.

    None of this excuses or legitimises the firing of rockets or mortars by any Palestinian group at Israeli civilians and non-military targets.

    As Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur, declared in his most recent statement on Gaza: “It should be pointed out unambiguously that there is no legal (or moral) justification for firing rockets at civilian targets, and that such behavior is a violation of IHR, associated with the right to life, as well as constitutes a war crime.”

    By the same logic, however, Israel does not have the right to use such attacks as an excuse to launch an all-out assault on the entire population of Gaza.

    In this context, even Israel’s suffering from the constant barrage of rockets is hard to pay due attention to when the numbers of dead and wounded on each side are counted. Any sense of proportion is impossible to sustain with such a calculus.

    ‘Rogue’ state

    Israeli commentators and scholars, self-described “loyal” Zionists who served proudly in the army in wars past, are now publicly describing their country, in the words of Oxford University professor Avi Shlaim, as a “rogue” and gangster” state led by “completely unscrupulous leaders”.

    Gazans inspect the damage after an air strike hit a mosque [GALLO/GETTY]

    Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University, has declared that Israel’s actions in Gaza are like “raising animals for slaughter on a farm” and represent a “bizarre new moral element” in warfare.”The moral voice of restraint has been left behind … Everything is permitted” against Palestinians, writes a disgusted Haaretz columnist, Gideon Levy.

    Fellow Haaretz columnist and daughter of Holocaust survivors, Amira Haas writes of her late parents disgust at how Israeli leaders justified Israel’s wars with a “language laundromat” aimed at redefining reality and Israel’s moral compass. “Lucky my parents aren’t alive to see this,” she exclaimed.

    Around the world people are beginning to compare Israel’s attack on Gaza, which after the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers was turned literally into the world’s largest prison, to the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Extremist Muslims are using internet forums to collect names and addresses of prominent European Jews with the goal, it seems clear, of assassinating them in retaliation for Israel’s actions in Gaza.

    Al-Qaeda is attempting to exploit this crisis to gain a foothold in Gaza and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, as well as through attacking Jewish communities globally.

    Iran’s defiance of both Israel and its main sponsor, the US, is winning it increasing sympathy with each passing day.

    Democratic values eroded

    Inside Israel, the violence will continue to erode both democratic values in the Jewish community, and any acceptance of the Jewish state’s legitimacy in the eyes of its Palestinian citizens.

    And yet in the US – at least in Washington and in the offices of the mainstream Jewish organisations – the chorus of support for Israel’s war on Gaza continues to sing in tight harmony with official Israeli policy, seemingly deaf to the fact that they have become so out of tune with the reality exploding around them.

    At my university, UCI, where last summer Jewish and Muslim students organised a trip together through the occupied territories and Israel so they could see with their own eyes the realities there, old battle lines are being redrawn.

    The Anteaters for Israel, the college pro-Israel group at the University of California, Irvine, sent out an urgent email to the community explaining that, “Over the past week, increasing amounts of evidence lead us to believe that Hamas is largely responsible for any alleged humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.

    I have no idea who the “us” is that is referred to in the appeal, although I am sure that the membership of that group is shrinking.

    Indeed, one of the sad facts of this latest tragedy is that with each claim publicly refuted by facts on the ground, more and more Americans, including Jews, are refusing to trust the assertions of Israeli and American Jewish leaders.

    Trap

    Even worse, in the Arab/Muslim world, the horrific images pouring out of Gaza daily are allowing preachers and politicians to deploy well-worn yet still dangerous and inciteful stereotypes against Jews as they rally the masses against Israel – and through it – their own governments.

    What is most frightening is that the most important of Israel’s so-called friends, the US political establishment and the mainstream Jewish leadership, seem clueless to the devastating trap that Israel has led itself into – in good measure with their indulgence and even help.

    It is one that threatens the country’s existence far more than any Qassam rockets, with their 0.4 per cent kill rate; even more than the disastrous 2006 invasion of southern Lebanon, which by weakening Israel’s deterrence capability in some measure made this war inevitable.

    First, it is clear that Israel cannot destroy Hamas, it cannot stop the rockets unless it agrees to a truce that will go far to meeting the primary demand of Hamas – an end to the siege.

    Merely by surviving (and it surely will survive) Hamas, like Hezbollah in 2006, will have won.

    Israel is succeeding in doing little more than creating another generation of Palestinians with hearts filled with rage and a need for revenge. Second, Israel’s main patron, the US, along with the conservative Arab autocracies and monarchies that are its only allies left in the Muslim world, are losing whatever crumbs of legitimacy they still had with their young and angry populations.

    The weaker the US and its axis becomes in the Middle East, the more precarious becomes Israel’s long-term security. Indeed, any chance that the US could convince the Muslim world to pressure Iran to give up its quest for nuclear weapons has been buried in Gaza.

    Third, as Israel brutalises Palestinians, it brutalises its own people. You cannot occupy another people and engage in violence against them at this scale without doing even greater damage to your soul.

    The high incidence of violent crimes committed by veterans returning from combat duty in Iraq is but one example of how the violence of occupation and war eat away at people’s moral centre.

    While in the US only a small fraction of the population participates in war; in Israel, most able-bodied men end up participating.

    The effects of the latest violence perpetrated against Palestinians upon the collective Israeli soul is incalculable; the notion that it can survive as an “ethnocracy” – favouring one ethnic group, Jews, yet by and large democratic – is becoming a fiction.

    Violence-as-power

    Who will save Israel from herself?

    Israelis are clearly incapable. Their addiction as a society to the illusion of violence-as-power has reached the level of collective mental illness.

    As Haaretz reporter Yossi Melman described it on January 10, “Israel has created an image of itself of a madman that has lost it”.

    Not Palestinians, too many of whom have fallen prey to the same condition.

    Not the Middle East Quartet, the European Union, the United Nations, or the Arab League, all of whom are utterly powerless to influence Israeli policy.

    Not the organised Jewish leadership in the US and Europe, who are even more blind to what is happening than most Israelis, who at least allow internal debate about the wisdom of their government’s policies.

    Not the growing progressive Jewish community, which will need years to achieve enough social and political power to challenge the status quo.

    And not senior American politicians and policy-makers who are either unwilling to risk alienating American Jewish voters, or have been so brainwashed by the constant barrage of propaganda put out by the “Israel Lobby” that they are incapable of reaching an independent judgment about the conflict.

    During the US presidential race, Barack Obama was ridiculed for being a messiah-like figure. The idea does not sound so funny now. It is hard to imagine anyone less saving Israel, the Palestinians, and the world from another four years of mindless violence.

    Source

    The Israeli opposition to the war struggles to make its voice heard – Israel’s ‘other voices’ go unheard By Rachel Shabi in Israel January 11, 2009

    Like the media and attitude in the US over the Iraq war, those in Israel who oppose the war face many of the same discourse.  They are verbaly abused, demonized and their voices are ignored. The media is of course spewing out propaganda on the war. They demonize the victims in Gaza. The citizens of Israel are not being told the truth by their own media but this is not so unusual the US media left the public blind as well.

    The media should at best be fair minded. They should be presenting the facts, as opposed to propaganda. Like many in the US however eventually they may look to outside sources for their news and their own media will become obsolete and known as the propaganda pushers.

    You will not see  the facts of DU or the other Toxic Chemicals being spewed into the air leaving the entire area contaminated. Of course those who work for the media in Israel, will also become ill or their children, relatives and friends. When this begins to take a toll on the population , the media will then be walking in their own  shame.

    Neglecting the truth and leaving the population blind to the facts, is one of the most hateful,  irresponsible, cruel things, they could do to themselves and the public at large. When the cancer rates begin to climb the media will be responsible in part for failing to do their job.

    The Israeli Government of course are totally responsible for the futre deaths, those in the present and many from the past. They have committed many crimes against humanity and committed out and out murder.

    I recall so many times reading articles about people being stopped at check points. Many of reports were about Palestinians trying to get to a hospital, to get medical treatment. Of course they were many times held at the check point, until the ill child, man or woman died.

    By preventing them from going through the check point, was nothing more then murder of the cruelest kind. This was just one form of torture used by the Israelis. They had many ways of implementing, torture or harassment, used against  the Palestinians.

    So imagine yourself trying to get to the hospital and your child who is very ill. Imagine if you can the police stop you. They make you wait on the side of the road until your child dies,  for no reason, other then they can. This of course, they failed to mention in the reports, that Israel 79 percent of the time causes conflicts.

    So they have caused your child to die at a t check point,  how would you feel? Angry, outraged, terrorized, horrified, the list of emotions are extensive. Would want to kill someone or would you complacently sit back and say “OH I understand”. Not in a million years would you feel happy or thrilled now would you. This would be a moment in time when you wanted to kill, those responsible for the death of your child…

    You would hate them. Would you not?

    I live in a place where if my child were ill,  I was headed to the hospital and I was stopped for speeding, lets say, I would probably get a “Police Escort”, to assure, I arrived safe  and as fast as possible to the hospital.

    I would expect nothing less from my “Police Force”,  in that type of event.

    Not so  for the Palestinians the complete opposite is their reality.

    If in fact my Police Force delayed me on the side of the road until my child died and they full well knew he or she was extremely ill, I would raise the roof through out my entire country and scream at the top of my lungs until they were punished for such a cruel and hateful act.

    I would expect no less from the “military” of my country as well. If they are in a war zone and someone were ill or injured, I would expect them to assure said  person would receive medical treatment, as soon as possible.  I would be appalled to discover they deliberately prevented someone from getting help.

    Even the Red Cross had to wait for four day to get to victims of a bombing in Gaza. This is typical of Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians. As I read the report on the incident with the Red Cross, it didn’t surprise me at all. This happens all to often even when there isn’t a war.

    IF you were shocked by that incident about the “Red Cross” then obviously you are very unaware of the real reality, of what has been happening to Palestinians.  Blame your main stream media, for failing to inform you.

    They failed to tell you the truth  about the years of oppression.

    They failed to tell you how the embargo really affected the people of Gaza.

    They failed to tell you the truth about many things pertaining to the Palestinians and how they suffered.

    They failed to tell you the truth.

    They failed to tell you this.

    The Ceasefire was broken by Israel, when their armed forces carried out several attacks on November the 4th 2008,  resulting in the death of 6 Palestinians.

    Hamas had not fired a rocket since June 19 2008 ( when the Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was finalized) and only resumed after the Israeli attacks.

    If anyone can claim “Self Defense” it is the Palestinians.

    Israels claim of self defense is nothing more then fabricated propaganda.

    Instead the mainstream media,  demonized those who needed help.

    They demonized the victims. They should be hanging their heads in shame,  for their absolute failure to be honest with the public.

    Fortunately there are some who have not failed to let the truth be known, but they to have been demonized for telling the truth.  How unpatriotic of them. To those who forged ahead on the road to truth in spite of criticism and harassment, I thank you

    Digging out the “truth” is what real journalism is about.

    US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel

    Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

    Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access  wounded

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

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

    US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on Gaza

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Israel pounds Gaza strip, vows to continue attacks



    Israel infantry soldiers walk in formation on the border as they leave Israel for the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP / Sebastian Scheiner)

    Israeli soldiers peer out of their tank as they move towards the Gaza Strip from southern Israel early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP / Anja Niedringhaus)

    A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP / Hatem Moussa)

    January 5 2009

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

    Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children and six other civilians, as they consolidated a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants.

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the offensive would continue until Israel achieved its objective, “peace and tranquility” for residents of southern Israel who continued to be bombarded by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire.

    A stream of diplomats and world leaders hoping to end the violence headed for the region to meet with Israeli leaders as world outrage over ballooning Palestinian casualties mounted. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. At least 200 civilians were among the dead.

    Israeli forces seized sparsely populated areas in northern Gaza on Sunday and by Monday morning were dug in on the edges of Gaza City. Further movement into the heart of the built-up areas would mean deadly urban warfare, replete with house-to-house fighting, sniper fire and booby traps, in crowded streets and alleyways familiar to Hamas’ 20,000 fighters.

    A total of 13 civilians died in the various attacks across Gaza on Monday morning, said Gaza health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain.

    Four young siblings were killed in a missile strike on a house east of Gaza City. Three other children died in a naval shelling of a Gaza City beach camp, and three adult civilians died when a missile struck near a house of mourning in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, he said. Three other adult civilians died in attacks elsewhere.

    Israeli troops took over three six-floor buildings on the outskirts of Gaza City, taking up rooftop positions after locking residents in rooms and taking away their cell phones, a neighbor said, quoting a relative in one of the buildings before his phone was confiscated.

    “The army is there, firing in all directions,” said Mohammed Salmai, a 29-year-old truck driver. “All we can do is take clothes to each other to keep ourselves warm and pray to God that if we die, someone will find our bodies under the rubble.”

    Civilian casualties have spiked since Israel launched a ground offensive Saturday, following a week of punishing air strikes. Of about 80 Palestinians killed during the ground operation, at least 70 were civilians, Hassanain said.

    Black smoke from tank shells and windswept dust billowed in the air over Gaza City, while white smoke from mortar shells rose in plumes above a main road leading to northern Gaza that the Israeli military seized on Sunday, cutting off Gaza’s north from its south. Explosions could be heard in Gaza City as aircraft attacked buildings.

    The streets of Gaza City, home to 400,000 people, were almost empty. Two children crossing a street near a Hamas security compound didn’t look right and left for cars, but gazed up at the sky, apparently looking for attack aircraft. The only vehicles on the road were fire engines, ambulances and press cars.

    Unmanned Israeli planes and Apache helicopters circled overhead.

    “Hamas has sustained a very harsh blow,” Barak told parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.”But we still haven’t reached our objectives, so the offensive continues.”

    Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any truce and a halt to Hamas rearming.

    “If we withdraw today, without reaching some kind of comprehensive agreement, we haven’t done anything,” Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio. “The military has to carry on with its work.”

    Hamas demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of vital Gaza-Israel cargo crossings, Gaza’s main lifeline.

    The violence has deepened the suffering in impoverished Gaza, home to 1.4 million people. The military said Monday that 80 truckloads of humanitarian aid and critical fuel supplies would be let in.

    Mohammed Almbaid, a Canadian resident working with aid organization CARE International, says the Israeli offensive has made it increasingly difficult to deliver food and medical supplies to Gaza.

    “By the hour, it’s becoming more difficult to reach needy people,” Almbaid said in a telephone interview from his office in Ramalah, West Bank. “As of yesterday we’re having extreme difficulty to move any of the stuff in our stockpiles.”

    Almbaid said a rising number of Palestinians are forced to go without crucial aide as Israeli battle tactics restrict the movements of those hoping to deliver humanitarian relief.

    “It’s extremely tragic, extremely heart-breaking to see this happening,” he said.

    Militants, defying the attacks, fired more than a dozen rockets at Israel early Monday, police said. No injuries were reported, but the rockets continued to fire deep inside Israel, some 32 kilometres from the Gaza border. One reason Israel launched the Gaza campaign was because militants have acquired weapons able to reach closer to Israel’s Tel Aviv heartland.

    Israel’s ground operation is the second phase in an offensive that began as a weeklong aerial onslaught aimed at halting Hamas rocket fire that now threatens major cities and one-eighth of Israel’s population of 7 million people.

    The spiraling civilian casualties have fueled an intensifying international outcry.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who unsuccessfully proposed a two-day truce before the land invasion began, was due to meet with Israei Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.

    While blaming Hamas for causing Palestinian suffering with rocket fire that led to the Israeli offensive, Sarkozy has condemned Israel’s use of ground troops, reflecting general world opinion. Sarkozy and other diplomats making their way to the region are expected to press hard for a cease-fire.

    A European Union delegation including foreign policy chief Javier Solana was due to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

    The Czech Republic, which took over the 27-nation EU’s presidency on Thursday, urged Israel to allow humanitarian relief aid into Gaza. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone Sunday with Olmert and advocated a quick cease-fire in Gaza, her government said in a statement. Merkel also called for an end to the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip.

    Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in a statement “Canada is deeply concerned about the increase in hostilities between Israel and Hamas.”

    “We urge renewed international diplomatic efforts to achieve a sustainable and durable ceasefire, starting with the halting of all rocket attacks on Israel. Canada maintains that the rocket attacks are the cause of this crisis,” said Cannon.

    Cannon also urged the international community to come together to address the humanitarian situation, including ensuring access to food, fuel and medical supplies.

    Source

    Israeli invaders have killed and wounded many Palestinian children
    By Hiyam Noir

    January 5 2009 03.24am





    Gaza City January 4 2008

    Photographer “name withheld”

    GAZA

    Some 20 minutes before the ground invasion Israeli launched air strikes at more than 45 targets throughout the Gaza Strip, their ground forces trespassed Gaza borders at 10 pm on Saturday evening, pushing deeper into Gaza.

    At the eastern parts of Gaza, Israeli tanks entered through the Erez and Karni crossing points, the artillery advanced towards the southern parts of Gaza City.

    The Israeli intruders are stationed at the abandoned Israeli settlement of Netzarim outside Jabaliya.  Tank fire killed earlier three residents in the Shujayya neighborhood. Palestinian fighters clashed with heavy armed Israeli ground forces in Gaza City, one Israeli is reported dead and 30 where injured.

    In Beit Hanoun in the north eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli tanks penetrated hundreds of meters then they closed the main road between Beit Hanoun and Gaza City. From the northwest Israeli forces reached the American school in the north of Beit Lahiya. The American school was leveled to the ground on Saturday targeted in an Israeli air strike.

    Nearby the destroyed Yasser Arafat Airport, east of Rafah amid heavy artillery fire, Israeli tanks killed one and injured several other Palestinian fighters. Before noon on Sunday an airstrike killed the DFLP senior leader, Muhammed Abed Barbakh, his father Abed and his two brothers Mahdi and Yousef, also his nephew Musa Yousef was killed when missiles struck the home in the An-Nahdah neighborhoodof. Barbakh was a commander in the military branch of the National Resistance Brigades (DFLP).

    On Saturday before noon three children where killed in the southern town of Rafah.

    Since the start of the Zionist Israeli ground invasion on Saturday night, 70 people, including 21 children and 11 women have been killed, more than 370 are reported injured. Gaza governmental Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed that since the 27 of December, 507 Gaza residents have been killed including 107 children,  over 2450 are injured, hundreds are seriously injured.

    Four children together with their mother became some of the victims today in the Zionist air and ground offensive their bodies where cut to pieces when missiles hit the house of the Baker family in the At-Toufah neighborhood in Gaza City.

    In Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, 4 children were killed during a series of air strikes in which 13 people have been killed, 34 have been injured.Tank missiles have killed at least 23 Gaza residents including 14 residents in Biet Lahia, and another 4 in Beit Hanoun.

    In the Zionist Israeli escalated onslaught across Gaza Strip, from north to south the Palestinian resistance continue to confront Israeli tanks and ground troops invading Gaza Strip from four points. Hamas have prepared for an all out ground invasion of Gaza Strip for more than a year, building up a military force of almost 20.000 fighters, well trained in urban warfare.

    Sounds of heavy mashinegunfire can be heard throughout Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian resistance are involved in fierce fighting with the Israeli intruder also in Jabaliya refuge camp, in nearby Netzarim, and in parts of Gaza City, including As Shuhayya and the At Toufah neightboorhod.

    At 6pm last night 3 Gaza paramedics where killed and one was wounded in Tal Al- Haw a in the southern part of Gaza City and two residents have been killed in the Zayton area also in Gaza City.

    At least 514 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began intense air strikes on 27 December.  Gaza medical officials put the number of wounded at 2,250 over nine days.

    Sources report that some 20 Israelis have been killed, and many others are wounded.

    Source

    I wonder how much Depleted Uranium the Israelis are using?

    If they are using weapons from the US, I can be relatively sure there is a large amount of DU being used.

    Israeli tanks, soldiers invade Gaza Strip

    IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia

    By Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga,
    December 24 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

    Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 4:38 am  Comments Off on IMF confirmed international loan to Latvia  
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    ‘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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    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.

    European Union joins the lineup, staking claim to Arctic resources

    November 20 2008

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

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

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

    Denmark controls the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source

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

    The masters of destruction.

    Kosovo PM Thaci: UN Plan ‘Dead’

    November 21 2008

    By Vjosa Musliu

    Hashim Thaci - photo by Petrit Rrahmani

    Hashim Thaci – photo by Petrit Rrahmani

    Pristina _ A Serbia-backed plan on the future of the European Union mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is “dead” and the Kosovo government’s own four-point plan is the only one on the table, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said on Friday.

    In an interview for Radio Kosovo, Thaci repeated Pristina’s rejection of the six-point plan proposed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Kosovo’s Albanian majority feels that plan would roll back the country’s progress since it declared independence from Serbia in February and give Belgrade a firm legal foothold especially in renegade Serb areas in Kosovo’s north.

    “The  ‘six points’ are totally unacceptable,” Thaci said. “Now Kosovo has its own four points, creating the perspective for EULEX to deploy all over Kosovo.”

    Kosovo’s own proposal insists on the unconditional deployment of the EULEX mission as based on the blueprint for Kosovo’s supervised independence devised by former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Serbia rejects the Ahtisaari plan and has vowed never to give up its claim on its former southern province.

    Thaci, who traveled to London this week, added Britain supported the deployment of EULEX throughout Kosovo’s territory, including the Serbian minority areas where it now has no presence.

    After the meetings with Thaci and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for constructive talks on the future of EULEX, and  Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was “impressed” with Kosovo leaders’ commitment to the Serbian minority in Kosovo.

    Kosovo has been recognised by most European Union countries and by the United States, but the new state’s backers are not speaking with one voice on the specifics of its path to full statehood.

    Washington broadly favours Kosovo’s proposal as a basis for the deployment of EULEX, while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he supports the six-point plan but will respect and consult the government of Kosovo as a sovereign state.

    After meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Thursday, Solana is expected to meet Ban Ki-moon on Friday to discuss the plan, the further reconfiguration of UNMIK and the deployment of  EULEX.

    Far from the diplomatic bustle, EU officials already on the ground in Kosovo are continuing preparations for when the 2,000-strong mission formally takes up its mandate, which focuses on law and justice issues.

    “Deployment is going well. EULEX will be ready by the beginning of December,” EULEX spokesman Victor Reuter said in Pristina. “We are ready to perform our mandate from that moment.”

    After nine years as wards of the UN, Kosovo Albanians thought independence would bring closure to the 1998-99 war, court foreign investment and deliver higher living standards.

    With political and economic progress coming at a halting pace, many are losing patience with the international community and their own leaders and some groups have called for the U.N. and EU to pull out altogether and let Kosovo take full charge of its own affairs.

    Prominent Kosovo editor Veton Surroi on Friday accused the government of complacency in putting together their ‘four-point plan’, and warned that the new EU mission may not be functional even if deployed across Kosovo’s territory, because of the “parallel institutions created by Serbia” in the north.

    Source

    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

    World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

    Nov. 14, 2008

    To Address Crisis, World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation Requirements, not Push WTO Doha Round’s Further Financial Sector Deregulation

    Bush’s Stubborn, Ideological Defense of Market-uber-alles Global Economic Deregulation Model Threatens Summit’s Prospects

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Remedying the financial crisis will require significant changes to existing World Trade Organization (WTO) rules that lock in domestically and export worldwide the extreme financial services deregulatory agenda favored by the world’s banking and insurance giants that fostered the crisis, Public Citizen said.

    “President Bush’s insistence that further deregulation and liberalization is the solution to addressing the financial crisis spawned by radical financial services deregulation is the sort of backwards, ideological approach that could squander the prospects that Saturday’s summit produces any remedies for the crisis,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division.

    Calls by many other world leaders for new global financial services regulation have been accompanied by a seeming total lack of awareness that most of the world’s countries are bound to expansive WTO financial services deregulation requirements to stay out of the business of regulating financial services. More than 100 countries signed the 1997 WTO Financial Services Agreement.

    Despite the pervasive role of the WTO in worldwide financial service deregulation, in the lead up to this Saturday’s G-20 Global Financial Crisis Summit in Washington, D.C., the only comments regarding adherence to global trade rules have been of the red herring variety: panicky warnings about the perils of countries raising tariffs to block imports in response to dire economic conditions – something no country has proposed.

    In contrast, in recent weeks, the Bush administration and governments worldwide have taken various measures to counter the crisis. These measures contradict the fundamental precepts of the current globalization model – and in some cases violate the rules implementing this model, such as those of the WTO. Plus, many of the most basic national and international remedies now being proposed to fix the mess and avoid future meltdowns occupy policy space that governments ceded to the WTO a decade ago.

    “Altering the WTO financial services rules is critical for creating domestic policy space to address the crisis,” Wallach said. “However, even in the face of this crisis, the United States and the European Union are pushing for further financial services liberalization in the ongoing WTO Doha Round, the conclusion of which they are now pushing as a cure to the crisis, even as they find that flaunting the existing WTO terms is the necessary course of action.”

    As part of its original WTO commitments, the United States agreed to conform a broad array of financial services – including banking, insurance and other financials services – to comply with WTO rules.

    “Unless the radical financial services deregulation agenda that has been aggressively promoted and entrenched by the WTO, World Bank and International Monetary Fund is understood as a source of the current crisis, reform proposals will not address the crisis’ root causes,” Wallach said.

    For more information about the WTO’s role in the crisis, read our memo to reporters, Elimination of WTO’s Radical Financial Service Deregulation Requirements Must Be Addressed at Nov. 15 Summit.

    Source

    Letter to U.S. Congress from 243 Civil Society Groups in 90 Developing Countries: To Combat Global Poverty and Allow Developing Countries to Develop Please Reject Pressure to Give President Bush New Fast Track Authority to Push WTO Escalation Via the Doha Round

    More Fair Traders have been elected.

    Fair Trade Gets an upgrade

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

    The World Bank and IMF in Africa

    Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation  
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    The EU budget is necessarily corrupt

    By: Daniel Hannan

    November 13 2008

    Look, let’s get this straight. The European Court of Auditors has not approved the EU budget. What it has approved is the European Commission’s accounting procedures. The auditors made clear that there remained substantial irregularities and illegalities in the spending itself: they were able certify only eight per cent of the total budget. But they did agree, for the first time, that the EU’s figures were accurate.

    In other words, if the EU says that it spent €100 on olive subsidies, the Court of Auditors accepts – in so far as accountants ever accept these things – that it did. What it cannot vouch for is that the recipient was actually growing olives.

    Now I don’t want to be mean-minded about this. The European Commission has worked hard to bring its accounting methods into line with international norms. And there is no question that it is doing a better job today than when I was first elected. But the underlying problem of money being claimed under false pretences has not abated. Eurocrats protest, with some justice, that this is not their fault, since it is up to the national authorities to invigilate most of the spending. But here we reach the nub of the problem: as long as the various programmes are funded by EU money, state authorities have little incentive to police them.

    The solution, of course, would to stop sloshing the cash through the various tubes and chambers of the Brussels machine, and simply spend it at national level in the first place. But this would put the EU out of business, since its chief role these days is as a massive redistributor of public money. If it has taken 14 years simply to come up with a proper accounting method, there seems little hope that the budget itself will ever be properly apportioned.

    Source

    Not all is Roses in the Great Garden of the European Union

    Ashley Mote Revealing European Union Corruption

    Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on The EU budget is necessarily corrupt  
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    3,000 more peacekeepers needed in Congo: UN chief

    November 11 2008

    The head of the United Nations is requesting 3,000 more peacekeepers to help allay the conflict in Congo, calling it a “very serious and dire situation.”

    Speaking at a news conference in New York Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the deteriorating situation in the east African nation demands more troops.

    “I have requested, on an urgent basis to the Security Council, for additional resources and manpower,” he told reporters.

    “I’m still concerned that even with a strong joint statement by the African leaders, we have 250,000 displaced persons.”

    Thousands have been driven from their homes in eastern Congo since August, when fighting intensified between the Congolese army and rebel forces led by Laurent Nkunda.

    Nkunda, a former army general, has said he is fighting to liberate all of Congo from a corrupt government, and to protect minority Tutsis from Rwandan Hutu militants who participated in the genocide before fleeing to Congo.

    Although Nkunda declared a unilateral ceasefire on Oct. 29, recent clashes have undermined the fragile declaration.

    Ban on Tuesday called for a new ceasefire agreement between government and rebel forces so aid workers could provide emergency assistance to “at least 100,000 refugees” cut off from basic necessities in rebel-held areas north of Goma, the provincial capital.

    “This is a very serious and dire situation,” he said.

    The UN Security Council was meeting Tuesday evening to consider Ban’s request to bolster the 17,000-strong UN force already on the ground in Congo.

    The European Union has rejected the idea of sending its own force into the region, after France failed to win agreement from other nations Monday on a proposal to deploy a 1,500-member battle group alongside UN peacekeepers.

    The announcement came amidst reports that Congolese soldiers were raping women and pillaging homes in and around the town of Kanyabayonga, about 100 kilometres north of Goma.

    Soldiers involved in rampage

    Between 700 and 800 soldiers were said to be involved in the rampage, which spread through several villages, UN peacekeeping spokesman Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said Tuesday, speaking by phone from the national capital Kinshasa.

    About 75,000 have already fled the Goma area because of fighting.

    “There is a big tension because there are so many people there and it’s so close to Goma,” Dietrich said, adding that the UN has begun investigating the violence with the Congolese army.

    Meanwhile, aid workers were trying to gain access to the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja, both 16 kilometres south of Kanyabayonga in rebel-held territory, where residents are believed to be without access to food.

    Aid workers seeking to assist civilians trapped on rebel-held territory would be guaranteed safe passage, according to a rebel spokesman.

    “If there are NGOs who want to come to Rutshuru, they are welcome to come,” said rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa.

    In the Kibati refugee camp just outside of Goma, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross said the organization is scrambling to distribute necessities.

    Cholera on the rise

    “In the moment we are distributing foods, but from the next day we will try to start a new distribution for essential items like blankets, like tarpaulins, like soap and other things because it’s true people here are missing everything,” said Olga Miltcheva.

    At least 90 cases of cholera have been recorded around Goma since Friday, according to relief officials. Seven more cases were diagnosed at a Kibati clinic Monday night.

    The conflict in eastern Congo is fuelled by lingering tensions from the 1994 slaughter of a half-million Tutsis in Rwanda, and Congo’s civil wars from 1996-2002, which attracted neighbouring countries to Congo’s mineral riches.

    Nkunda, who defected from Congo’s army in 2004, claims the Congolese government has not protected ethnic Tutsis from the Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping slaughter a half-million Rwandan Tutsis.

    He and his fighters are ready to lay down their arms, Nkunda has said, if the government agrees to disengage with “negative forces” from neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda and hold direct talks with Nkunda under the guidance of a neutral mediator.

    The administration of Congolese President Joseph Kabila has indicated it is open to discussions with all rebel and militia groups in the region, of which there are several, but will not meet solely with Nkunda’s group.

    Source

    Democratic Republic of the Congo: Timeline

    Congo ‘worst place’ to be woman or child

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

    Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 12:34 am  Comments Off on 3,000 more peacekeepers needed in Congo: UN chief  
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    Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo

    Rebels reject ceasefire until demands are met

    November 8, 2008

    By

    Efforts to avert all-out war in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are doomed as long as negotiators ignore the role of the area’s lucrative mineral trade in fuelling the violence, according to anticorruption advocates and development officials.

    They say that the deployment of thousands more United Nations peace-keepers to the region would be fruitless if armed groups continue to profit from the illegal trade with the connivance of international corporations.

    Armed groups, including the Congolese Army and Tutsi rebels led by General Laurent Nkunda, have profited from the illegal trade of minerals such as coltan and tin ore for years, with British, Canadian, American and Belgian companies among their best clients.

    Efforts to break that link have been stymied by Western governments unwilling to loosen their grip on the trade and made more difficult by the emergence of China as a big economic player on the continent. Rebels under General Nkunda’s control dismissed ceasefire calls made at yesterday’s emergency regional summit in Nairobi because, they said, it failed to address any of their demands – including the cancellation of a $9 billion (£6 billion) mining and infrastructure deal between China and the Congolese Government in Kinshasa.

    The European Union said it regretted that the summit did not adopt measures to curb illegal mining. The Chinese deal gives China access to vast reserves of copper and cobalt in return for a project to link eastern Congo to Kinshasa by rail for the first time. General Nkunda complained that the deal would “line the pockets of a few politicians while the Congolese people would see no benefit”.

    But advocates say that a host of foreign companies and governments are complicit in fuelling the violence by continuing to profit from the trade.

    A 2002 UN investigation to name and shame companies involved, and consider sanctions until the trade could be cleaned up, foundered on international reluctance to lose a foothold in the trade. “Governments have been ignoring the issue and doing their best to paper over the war economy, to dampen down criticism of their companies and keep the minerals flowing,” Patricia Feeney, of the British-based lobby group Rights and Accountability in Development, said. “Unless we are willing to disrupt the supply chains, this remains a self-perpetuating illegal war economy.”

    Britain is the only country to have censured companies – Afrimex and DAS Air – for unethical conduct in breach of international guidelines after intense pressure from the anticorruption group Global Witness and concerned MPs. At least another dozen identified by the UN have gone unrebuked.

    The US has refused to examine any of its cases, while Belgium has exonerated its companies. German and Austrian companies, among others, remain accused of continuing to source minerals from mines in eastern Congo controlled by armed groups. China, the most recent entrant to the scramble for Africa, remains outside international guidelines on ethical trade.

    Source

    Seems the Corporations are in part responsible for much of the war doesn’t it?

    And for What profit. When people are being killed for minerals and the Corporations buy them illegally they should be punished and stopped. Minerals of any type should only be purchased from any country legally.

    I guess we have more corporate criminals. They should be treated as war criminals. Charged with crimes against humanity. They are in fact contributing to the deaths of many. They are in essence funding the war.  Maybe they should do some jail time as well. Murder is against the law. Conspiracy to commit murder is as well.

    Cause and affect.

    Take away the funding that pays for the war and the war could be brought under control. It could and should be ended.

    Corporate profiteers such as this deserve to be in jail.

    Someone should get out a roto router, ferret out these companies and find a way to stop them.

    Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 8:11 am  Comments Off on Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo  
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    IMF approves $16.5 billion Ukraine loan

    By Lesley Wroughton and Sabina Zawadzki

    November 6 2008

    The International Monetary Fund approved a $16.5 billion (10.4 billion pound) loan program for Ukraine that includes monetary and exchange rate policy shifts to ease strains from the global financial crisis.

    The IMF, in a statement issued late Wednesday, said it would immediately disburse $4.5 billion to the government under the two-year loan agreement.

    “The authorities’ program is designed to help stabilise the domestic financial system against a backdrop of global deleveraging and a domestic crisis of confidence, and to facilitate adjustment of the economy to a large terms-of-trade shock,” the Fund said.

    “The authorities’ plan incorporates monetary and exchange rate policy shifts, banking recapitalization, and fiscal and incomes policy adjustments.”

    In Kiev, President Viktor Yushchenko welcomed the decision, taken after Ukraine’s fractious parliament approved enabling legislation. He said it provided a “signal to the international community to boost the rating of trust in our country.”

    “The economy is getting a powerful resource to develop priority sectors and guarantee the liquidity of the banking system,” he said in a statement on the presidential Web site.

    Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the president’s former ally turned rival, described the loan as a “great victory” and said it would “allow us to stabilise completely the financial situation in Ukraine.”

    The IMF decision was issued along with forecast indicators predicting that Ukraine would sink into recession next year, with a 3 percent fall against 6 percent growth this year.

    In a statement, Murilo Portugal, IMF deputy managing director, said Ukraine’s economy, especially its banking system, was under severe stress, caused by a drop in global steel prices, the country’s main export, and global financial turmoil.

    INTERVENTION, RECAPITALISATION

    He said Ukraine’s program would seek to restore financial and economic stability through a more flexible exchange rate regime with targeted interventions, so-called ‘pre-emptive’ recapitalisation of banks, and tighter monetary policy.

    “The flexible exchange rate regime, backed by an appropriate monetary policy and foreign exchange intervention, will help absorb external shocks and avoid disorderly exchange market developments,” Portugal said.

    “The recent unification of official and market exchange rates should increase clarity about the regime.”

    Exchange controls recently imposed, he said, would be phased out as confidence returns to the economy.

    Ukraine’s central bank has been intervening since early October to lift the hryvnia currency from record lows last week. It began offering buy-sell rates for currencies this week after previously only selling or buying a currency.

    Portugal said as credit pressures abate, tighter monetary policy will be needed to guard against inflation.

    He said the government’s target of a balanced 2009 budget would be reviewed, although it could be achieved through expenditure restraint and a phased increase in energy tariffs.

    Portugal said recapitalisation efforts for banks would ease liquidity pressures that could prolong an economic downturn.

    “Decisive measures that have been taken to allocate public funds to recapitalise banks and to facilitate bank resolution processes will ensure that problems can be dealt with promptly,” he said.

    “A proactive strategy to resolve corporate and household debt problems will also be essential to reduce banking sector vulnerabilities.”

    (Editing by Andy Bruce)

    Source
    Key facts on Ukraine’s finances and politics
    The International Monetary Fund approved a $16.5 billion (10.5 billion pound) loan programme for Ukraine late on Wednesday that includes monetary and exchange rate policy shifts to ease strains from the global financial crisis.

    Following are key facts about why Ukraine is vulnerable to heightened risk aversion among international investors.

    POLITICS

    * Ukraine has been plagued by political turbulence since “Orange Revolution” protests in 2004 brought to power President Viktor Yushchenko and a team committed to moving closer to the West and joining NATO and the European Union.

    Rows pitting Yushchenko against his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko, who twice served as his prime minister, undermined the “orange” camp and brought down governments.

    Although the president dissolved parliament last month and called a December parliamentary election, he has since suspended that decree and a vote this year now seems unlikely.

    * Upheaval — and trouble forming a stable ruling coalition — reflect Ukraine’s longstanding division into the nationalist west and centre, which looks to the EU and United States, and the Russian-speaking east and south, friendlier towards Moscow.

    * Relations with Russia, bumpy throughout the post-Soviet period, have sunk to unprecedented lows over Yushchenko’s denunciation of Moscow’s military intervention in Georgia. Ukraine depends heavily on Moscow for energy supplies.

    * The hryvnia currency hit an all-time low of 7.2 to the dollar on October 29, weakened by growing global risk aversion and regional tensions after Russia’s conflict with Georgia.

    * Authorities have said they will formulate a new mechanism which would unify the market, cash and official rates.

    * In mid-2008, the hryvnia had strengthened as far as 4.5/$, after the central bank abandoned a policy of keeping it in a corridor of 5.00-5.06 per dollar within a 4.95-5.25 band.

    FINANCES

    * Foreign exchange reserves fell to $33 billion at the end of October from $37.5 billion end-September, when they covered 3.7 months of imports.

    * The current account deficit more than quadrupled in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year to $8.4 billion, or 5.8 percent of GDP.

    * Analysts based outside Ukraine forecast its current account deficit at $21-25 billion, or 10-12 percent of gross domestic product, by year-end; Ukraine-based analysts give lower forecasts of about 6 percent of GDP.

    * Prices for Ukraine’s steel exports are dropping, while Russia’s Gazprom has suggested next year’s price for gas imports could soar to $400 per 1,000 cubic metres from $179.50 now.

    * The central bank risks encouraging imports and further widening the trade gap if it supports the hryvnia. However, letting it float would remove an important anchor for domestic and foreign businesses in Ukraine’s export-driven economy.

    * Many people hold debt in foreign currency and would have to pay more to service it if the hryvnia weakened.

    * Consumers are extremely sensitive to currency movements — they lost savings when the Soviet Union collapsed and again through hyper inflation and a currency crisis in the 1990s that more than halved the hryvnia’s value to about 4/$ and beyond.

    * Ukraine was forced to restructure its debts in 2000 and made the final payments on that restructuring just last year.

    FOREIGN DEBT

    Ukraine’s foreign debt totalled just over $100 billion as of July 1, of which about $15 billion was government debt.

    * Analysts estimate Ukraine’s 2009 external financing requirement to be $55-66 billion, of which $32-40 billion is in the private sector. Foreign banks own 40-42 percent of total banking assets and 25 percent of short-term banking debt is owed to parent banks.

    (Compiled by Sabina Zawadzki)

    Source

    Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO


    October 16 2008

    Icelandic authorities have filed a complaint with NATO because of Britain’s action to invoke anti-terrorism legislation in an effort to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks in the UK. The formal complaint was submitted at the meeting of the NATO Council yesterday.

    Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said at the Althingi parliament yesterday that it would have been “unthinkable” that Britain had treated a larger nation in such a way.

    According to Morgunbladid’s sources, Iceland’s permanent representative at NATO, Thorsteinn Ingólfsson, cited public safety in Iceland in a broad context at the meeting, including an economical context, and said that Iceland was being threatened under the current circumstances, among other things because of one-sided actions taken by one NATO member state, Britain.

    Icelandic authorities claim British authorities abused their anti-terrorism legislation, which is at odds with the joint fight of NATO member states against terrorism and does in fact jeopardize the credibility of that fight.

    The NATO Council’s meeting was closed and only attended by the permanent representatives of the member states and the NATO Secretary General, but not by other officials. That kind of arrangement is unusual and only takes place when very serious matters are discussed.

    After the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and they discussed the matter. Haarde also discussed the matter with President of the European Commission José Manual Barroso.

    Barroso said at a press conference yesterday that the European Union could not be involved in a debate between Iceland and Britain.

    According to historian Gudni Th. Jóhannesson, Iceland has not complained to NATO about the actions of another NATO member state since the Cod Wars against Britain, 1975-1976, when Iceland fought for extending its fishing limits to 200 nautical miles.

    Click here to read about Icelandic authorities preparing a lawsuit against Britain.

    Source

    Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 7:31 pm  Comments Off on Iceland Registers Complaint about Britain to NATO  
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    Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees

    October 6, 2008

    The Government is facing increased pressure to follow its European counterparts in pledging 100 per cent protection for UK savers.

    What has the German government pledged?

    Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed that the federal government would guarantee all private savings accounts in German banks. Finance minister Peer Steinbrueck said that from today German citizens need not worry about “a single euro of their deposits” during the global financial crisis.

    Is Germany the only country to offer such a promise?

    No. Last week Ireland said all money held in savings accounts at six institutions – Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Anglo-Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and the Educational Building Society – will be guaranteed in their entirety.

    Greece has likewise guaranteed its depositors’ savings.

    What is the situation in the UK?

    In the UK, savings of £50,000 are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The limit relates to deposits with an organisation, regardless of how many accounts the customer holds. The limit had, until recently, been set at £35,000 but as a result of the current crisis, ministers agreed to up the ceiling.

    Can UK citizens benefit from the announcements in other countries?

    Yes. Three Irish banks – Allied Irish Bank, Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland – have branches in the UK. These will be covered by the Irish Government’s guarantee and British citizens can open accounts with relative ease at branches in the UK. In addition, the Post Office’s savings products are run by Bank of Ireland, giving customers 100% protection.

    There is also nothing stopping UK customers opening up an account with a bank branch in Ireland. Although it may be harder, as many will want you to appear in person to open the account.

    How have British banks responded? Aren’t they at a disadvantage?

    On Wednesday the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) challenged the Irish government, claiming that the guarantee was anti-competitive, especially for banks in Northern Ireland. It fears that UK savers will move their money to Irish banks in a bid to benefit from the guarantee offered.

    But don’t some institutions in the UK already offer 100 per cent protection?

    Yes. When Northern Rock collapsed, the UK Government made an exception to end the run on the bank, ensuring that all of the Rock’s savers will have deposits covered in their entirety.

    National Savings & Investment, which is backed by the Treasury, also offers complete protection on people saving through its products.

    And Bradford & Bingley savings are safe while part of the collapsed bank goes through the process of being transferred to Santander, owners of Abbey.

    So, if ministers pledged complete protection for Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, what’s to say they won’t do the same if another bank fails?

    Nothing. The whole question in many experts’ view is purely theoretical. It would, it is argued, be almost inconceivable for the Government to let savers lose their money as a result of a bank failing.

    Unlike more risky investments, people are not given explicit warnings that they could lose their savings – the whole stability of the banking system depends on the belief that money is safe in the bank.

    If people started to lose money, it would lead to instability on a grand scale and a return to a run on the banks as panicked savers attempt to move cash out.

    So why don’t the Government just follow the German and Irish lead and guarantee all savings?

    Because it shifts liability from the banks to the taxpayers. And we are talking about a lot of money. Estimates suggest it would mean a risk running into the trillions of pounds – that is £1,000,000,000,000s. This would place a huge burden on public finances.

    And it could be the “thin end of the wedge”, some fear. Bank’s business customers may be next in asking for their money to be covered.

    An 100 per cent guarantee could also impact on the Government’s ability to raise funds which in turn could hit public spending. The theory has it that with a promise to protect all savings, people would be less willing to buy into secure state-backed bonds.

    The main attraction of Government “gilt-edged” bonds is that they are seen as one of the safest places you can put money.

    If bank saving accounts are covered by a Government guarantee this will no longer be the case. As such they would be deemed to be less attractive, especially as they currently offer a return which is less than that of a top savings account.

    Source

    Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Comments Off on Questions the Government faces over banking guarantees  
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    EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone

    By John Lichfield in Paris
    October 6, 2008

    Public spending curbs and rules against state subsidies will be thrown – temporarily – out of the window to rescue European banks from the abyss of the global financial crisis, EU leaders agreed at the weekend. Leaders of the four largest European Union economies – Britain, France, Germany and Italy – came up with no EU-wide magic formula, or rescue package, to defend the buckling European financial system.

    They did agree, however, that national governments should be at liberty to take drastic action to shore up their own financial institutions, busting EU limits on national budgets and flouting European rules against public subsidies if necessary. Meeting in Paris, the Big Four insisted that national governments must “consult” their European partners before taking action which could harm rival banks in other countries. This was a rebuke to Ireland’s decision last week to guarantee all bank savings for two years but also, implicitly, a recognition that other nations may have to take similar action.

    But they accepted that the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact – the eurozone rules requiring that national budget deficits should be progressively reduced to zero – should be relaxed. This was a silver lining in the crisis for the French government. Even before the financial meltdown, Paris had been struggling to meet its commitment to balance its budget by 2012.

    EU laws forbidding state subsidies to private companies would also be “applied in a flexible manner” (ie suspended), the summit decided. At France’s insistence it was agreed that there should be “punishments”, not golden parachutes, for the bosses of financial institutions which needed state bailouts.

    The Big Four also called for urgent action to change EU accounting rules which are accused of deepening the crisis by encouraging stock-market speculation against banks.

    The decision by the Big Four was portrayed by French officials as a significant lurch away from the free-market doctrine which has dominated EU economic policy for the past two decades.

    French officials nevertheless claimed the summit as a victory for the can-do and interventionist instincts of the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The four leaders signed a declaration backing his plan for an emergency global economic summit next month to “rebuild the world’s financial system”. Previously, international reaction to this idea had been lukewarm at best.

    The mini-summit also agreed a plan by Mr Brown to create a €12bn (£9.3bn) – and potentially €24bn – EU fund to aid small businesses.

    Source

    Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 8:50 pm  Comments Off on EU leaders tear up rules of Eurozone  
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