Canada and the European Union: Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda

April 1 2010

By Dana Gabriel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

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

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

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

Safety standards for products also disappear.

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

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

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

Israel: Attempting to take away Canadians Freedom of Speech

Or not being truthful to the Canadian public.

Canada: Heavily edited Afghan documents prove need for inquiry

Or does anyone remember this one

Stephen Harper hid the actual cost of the War

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

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

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

Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy

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

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harper is shooting himself in the foot.

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

Recent

Full Israeli  El Al flight took off on 9/11 from JFK to Tel Aviv

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Mossad using Spanish passport Arrested in Algeria

British MPs call for review of arms export to Israel

Australia: Fraser calls for expulsion of Israeli diplomats

Israel to Allow Shoes into Gaza Strip After Three Year Ban

UK warns of Israel travel amid passport scandal

Tony Blair’s attempt to keep his Iraqi Oil Profits a secret

Women in Iraq Miss Saddam

Israel condemned at Arab summit over Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land

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US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

Pentagon’s Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies

By Rick Rozoff

September 22, 2009
Stop NATO

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2009 Year Book documented that international military expenditures for 2008 reached $1.464 trillion. The denomination in dollars is germane as the United States accounted for 41.5 percent of the world total.

Earlier this month the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that American weapons sales abroad reached $37.8 billion, or 68.4 percent of all global arms transactions. The next largest weapons supplier was Italy at $3.7 billion, less than one-tenth the U.S. amount. Russia was third at $3.5 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, asserted that Germany had superseded Britain and France and become the world’s third largest weapons exporter.

Western nations in general and the U.S. overwhelmingly among them dominate the global arms market.

21st century weaponry is daily more technologically advanced, more linked with computer networks and satellite communications, and progressively approaching a blurring of conventional and strategic, terrestrial and space-based capabilities.

And in the U.S. and allied nations the notion of so-called preemptive warfare has advanced precariously to include cyber and satellite attacks that can cripple a targeted nation’s communications, control and air defense centers, thus rendering it both helpless and toothless: Not able to fend off attacks and unable to retaliate against or even forestall them with a secure deterrent force.

The vast preponderance of American and other NATO states’ arms are sold to nations neither in North America and Europe nor on their peripheries.

They are sold to nations like Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Morocco and other Western client states and military outposts far removed from the much-vaunted Euro-Atlantic space.

The weapons along with the military technicians, trainers and advisers that inevitably accompany them are spread throughout nations in geostrategically vital areas of the world, near large oil and natural gas reserves and astride key shipping lanes and choke points. In many instances Western-fueled arms buildups are accelerating in nations bordering Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. Geopolitics in its most transparent, cynical and brutal manifestation.

The growing sales of Western arms in the Persian Gulf, the South Caucasus, South America (Chile and Colombia most pronouncedly), Africa, Far East Asia and the South Pacific (Australia in the first instance) are an integral element of American and general Western plans to gain access to and domination over world energy resources.

The campaign is not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the international energy market.

The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and accessibility network.

Those who are allowed to exploit, sell and transit hydrocarbons to the Western and ultimately world market are levied for a handsome share of their energy-derived revenues for unprecedented acquisition of arms and for the stationing of U.S. and other NATO states’ military forces on their soil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000 percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in the span of a few years.

A United Press International report of August 25, 2009 estimated that Middle Eastern nations would purchase $100 billion worth of arms over the next five years, with the lion’s share going to the oil-rich Western client states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

There are six major areas in the world that the United States and its allies have targeted in history’s largest scramble for hydrocarbons and, it’s important to remember, against a recent backdrop of diminishing energy consumption, plunging prices and both the discovery and presumption of oil and natural gas reserves hitherto unexploited.

They are the Persian Gulf, the southern rim of the Caribbean Basin, the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Western Africa, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Ocean and adjoining parts of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The first two were the private preserves of Washington and Western Europe until the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the first example and in the second the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 and subsequent developments in that country and in nearby Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

South American oil and gas are no longer available to Washington on its own terms. Though Venezuelan and Ecuadoran officials have voiced the suspicion that the U.S. has recently acquired the use of seven new military bases in neighboring Colombia in part to seize the region’s energy resources.

The U.S. belatedly compensated for the loss of Iran after the overthrow of its proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, thirty years ago by invading neighboring Iraq in 2003.

The announcement of the Carter Doctrine in January of 1980, which bluntly affirmed that the U.S. would wage war for control of Persian Gulf energy resources and by extension those in other parts of the world, codified then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s threat five years earlier to go to war over oil after the Arab petroleum boycott of 1973-1974.

President Carter’s State of the Union address in 1980 included the following comments:

“This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East….Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

The reference to an outside force at the time was the Soviet Union, much nearer the Persian Gulf than the United States. It was later used against a nation in the Gulf, Iraq in 1991, and now is aimed at Iran, another Persian Gulf country.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in the same year that the U.S. and its NATO and Gulf allies first applied the Carter Doctrine, 1991, areas that for several decades had been off limits to the West now became open frontiers for a new oil rush. The Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions most immediately.

The Gulf of Guinea, where America is planning to soon import 25 percent of all its oil – high-grade crude shipped straight across the Atlantic Ocean on tankers – is the center of plans going back to the beginning of this century for what is now Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S.’s first new regional command since Central Command (CENTCOM), which itself was set up in 1983 as an upgrade of the Carter administration’s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East, and the NATO Response Force.

In addition to securing West African oil, U.S. and NATO military expansion in the region also aims at denying it to nations like China and Russia. The practice of acquiring oil wells abroad and of denying them to competitors played no small role in triggering the two world wars of the last century.

The Arctic oil and natural gas bonanza is arguably among the main world developments of the new millennium and an analogous situation obtains in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans.

Three news reports of the past week, one American and two Russian, provide an idea of the magnitude of what is at stake.

On September 17 United Press International ran a feature called “Amid Africa’s oil boom, U.S. binds ties” which included these observations:

“Potentially major oil strikes announced by an American-led consortium and a British company in West Africa have bolstered the region’s reputation as the world’s hottest energy zone.

“It has also become the focus of the U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies….”

The “U.S. military’s global mission to protect America’s energy supplies” is a phrase that warrants being pondered deliberately and within historical perspective. Even the bellicose brusqueness of Kissinger’s war-for-oil advocacy and the Carter Doctrine pale in comparison to the strategic scope of what is now underway.

The same article added these details, pertaining to both ends of the African continent:

“The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday its deepwater Venus 1B well off the coast of Sierra Leone had hit paydirt and formed one of two ‘bookends’ 700 miles apart across two prospective basins that extend into waters controlled by Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

“These could each contain 150 million to 1 billion barrels of oil, according to Anadarko’s CEO Al Walker.

“One of Anadarko’s consortium partners, Tullow Oil of Britain, which has a vast array of licenses in Africa, recently announced a new potentially important discovery in its Ngassa field in Uganda.”

The United Press International report sums up the situation in a single effective sentence: “In the scramble for new oil reserves as the planet’s older fields become depleted, the U.S. military has become a predominant force in U.S.-African relations.”

A billion barrels of oil is not an insignificant figure, yet far more is being fought over in an area where there is a serious rival with one of the world’s two major nuclear arsenals and strategic nuclear triads.

The Voice of Russia on September 15 revealed that “British Petroleum, Europe’s second largest oil company, estimates that the Arctic Ocean may hold around 200 billion barrels of oil resources, about a half of the world’s prospective hydrocarbons. This is the main reason behind a sharp surge of interest in the Arctic ‘oil pie.'”

According to a recent estimate by the Oil and Gas Journal, the world’s largest petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, possesses approximately 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Arctic Ocean, whose reserves have yet to be explored in any thorough manner, may be home to even more.

In May the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of a study on the Arctic which estimated that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its oil may be in the Arctic Circle.

If the British Petroleum figure cited above is closer to the truth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimate is woefully conservative.

With the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap and the navigability of the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history opening up the area for energy exploitation, the U.S. released National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009, which contained these claims:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Sixteen days later NATO abruptly convened a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland and then Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s comments included:

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….”

Alluding to the fact that of the five formal claimants to Arctic territory – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway – only the first is not a member of the bloc, Scheffer said, “NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.”

On September 16 the Voice of Russia featured an article on Antarctica which reported that “British geologists have discovered a wide array of oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands….Edinburgh-based British Geological Survey Agency…experts insisted that as much as 60 billion barrels may be recoverable on the shelf. If these estimates prove right that may well rival the world’s oil-rich nations, not least Libya and Nigeria.

“The late 1970s saw breaking news about a spate of lucrative oil and gas fields in the Falkland Islands – deposits that experts insisted were 13 times as much as those in the North Sea at the time.

“Many believe that the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina with almost 1,000 servicemen killed in the hostilities was all about oil and gas fields in the South Atlantic.”

On May 11 of this year Britain submitted a claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for one million square kilometers in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.

As early as October 23, 2007 The Scotsman reported that “the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”

Britain is two hemispheres, the west and south, away from the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which lie off the southeastern coast of Argentina.

The Russia source quoted earlier warned:

“Given London’s unwillingness to try to arrive at a political accommodation with Buenos Aires, a UN special commission will surely have tougher times ahead as far as its final decision on the continental shelf goes. And it is only to be hoped that Britain will be wise enough not to turn the Falkland Islands into another regional hot spot.”

In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, through some combination of select compliance and procedural negligence if not complicity, granted Australia – Britain’s, the U.S.’s and increasingly NATO’s main outpost in the South Pacific – 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as quoted by Agence France-Presse on April 21, 2008, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”

The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.

In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western energy companies.

In the interim several oil and natural gas transit projects – the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Nabucco natural gas pipelines – have been launched.

The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but the West – the U.S. and its EU allies – is well on its way to replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through Turkey where all of the three pipelines mentioned above end.

Plans for what has accurately been called a Peace Pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and to India and China were heavy-handedly quashed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor.

Caspian energy supplies are only to flow west to Europe and east to Asia by routes under Western control if the U.S. and its partners have their way.

The Trend News Agency of Azerbaijan on September 16 reproduced parts of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had begun the process with the Contract of the Century, to President Ilham Aliyev from which the following is excerpted:

“The development of the Azeri-Chiraq-Gunashli offshore oilfields, and the
subsequent formation of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), was a landmark event in international oil and gas development, as well as a great success for international energy diplomacy.

“Promotion of international energy security remains critical for the Eurasia region. In this regard, the July 13 signing of the Nabucco inter-governmental agreement was a major milestone in our joint efforts to open the Southern Corridor, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.

“We hope that Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other interested countries will be able to build on this momentum and agree on those remaining issues needed to make the southern corridor [Nabucco] a reality.

“Azerbaijan is on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy development, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and other leaders in the region to develop new oil and gas resources and new routes to bring those resources to market.”

New routes mean any other than Russian ones.

The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline is to branch out through Ukraine – where the reverse flow of Russian oil has been cut off – and from there to Poland and the Baltic Sea city of Gdansk.

The Russian South Stream project to transport natural gas from Russia to Greece and the Balkans and then to Central Europe is being undermined by the Nabucco pipeline. The Nord Stream pipeline planned to deliver Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea is also under assault, with pro-Western figures in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland accusing it of being a security and even a military threat.

Never before in history have all parts of the world been so intensely fought over simultaneously as they are currently.

Nothing less than uncontested, irreversible global domination is what is being sought by the West – the United States and its NATO, Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern allies and clients.

Possession of energy supplies and control of their destinations and transit routes are an essential part of that strategy and will be enforced through a military machine that has penetrated most of the world and is still expanding.

Source

Map of Oil Reserves, Consumption and Producers

Well I knew this years ago. All one had to do was follow the trail of oil, gas, mining and wars.  Just have to connect the dots is all.

Their quest for resources however is causing a great deal of pollution. War, Free Trade, WTO, IMF are all connected to their quest for control over resources. They all have lead to pollution in many countries including their own.  Their corporations are the ones who are polluting.

They are killing and polluting for resources.  They are power hungry and suffering from a total lack of morality.

They are killing the entire planet.  They are the cause of Global warming.

They dump their garbage in third world countries. They poison their water and their land. They could care less who suffers or dies.

How blind are those people who, elect these politicians to their Governments? The US has been the worst of the culprits, but the followers are just as guilty.

Follow the Corporations that Pollution, Wars, Free Trade, WTO, IMF.

One doesn’t have to a genius to figure it out just well read. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of adding things up.

It’s like putting a puzzle togeather.

They all connect.

Pollution in Africa compliment if the IMF

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2002 in US

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Pollution Costs Trillions Annually

US Air Testing Bombs

Depleated Uranium Information

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human experiments and WMD

The world’s worst radiation hotspot

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

A Few of the World’s most polluted places

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

Depleted Uranium – Far Worse Than 9/11

Depleted Uranium Dust – Public Health Disaster For The People Of Iraq and Afghanistan

By Doug Westerman
May 3, 2006

In 1979, depleted uranium (DU) particles escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, N.Y.,which was manufacturing DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980, for releasing morethan 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing over 100 million dollars.

Imagine a far worse scenario. Terrorists acquire a million pounds of the deadly dust and scatter it in populated areas throughout the U.S. Hundreds of children report symptoms. Many acquire cancer and leukemia, suffering an early and painful death. Huge increases in severe birth defects are reported. Oncologists are overwhelmed. Soccer fields, sand lots and parks, traditional play areas for kids, are no longer safe. People lose their most basic freedom, the ability to go outside and safely breathe. Sounds worse than 9/11? Welcome to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Jawad Al-Ali (55), director of the Oncology Center at the largest hospital in Basra, Iraq stated, at a recent ( 2003) conference in Japan:

“Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with 2 cancers – one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney–he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a general Surgeon here has two uncles, a sister and cousin affected with cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist, has six family members suffering from cancer. My wife has nine members of her family with cancer”.

“Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most, however, cancer of the lymph system which can develop anywhere on the body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common.”,

“We were accused of spreading propaganda for Saddam before the war. When I have gone to do talks I have had people accuse me of being pro-Saddam. Sometimes I feel afraid to even talk. Regime people have been stealing my data and calling it their own, and using it for their own agendas. The Kuwaitis banned me from entering Kuwait – we were accused of being Saddam supporters.”

John Hanchette, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and one of the founding editors of USA TODAY related the following to DU researcher Leuren Moret.  He stated  that he had prepared news breaking stories about the effects of DU on Gulf War soldiers and Iraqi citizens, but that each time he was ready to publish, he received a phone call from the Pentagon asking him not to print the story.  He has since been replaced as editor of USA TODAY.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, The World Health Organization’s chief expert on radiation and health for 11 years and author of an unpublished study has charged that his report ” on the cancer risk to civilians in Iraq from breathing uranium contaminated dust ” was  also deliberately suppressed.

The information released by the U.S. Dept. of Defense is not reliable, according to some sources even within the military.

In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying,

“The [US government’s] Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.”

At that time Dr. Durakovic was a colonel in the U.S. Army.  He has since left the military, to found the Uranium Medical Research Center, a privately funded organization with headquarters in Canada.

PFC Stuart Grainger of 23 Army Division, 34th Platoon. (Names and numbers have been changed) was diagnosed with cancer several after returning from Iraq.  Seven other men in the Platoon also have malignancies.

Doug Rokke, U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:,

“Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity.”

Rokke’s own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated:

“When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,”

After performing clean-up operations in the desert (mistakenly without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and most others”including Rokke himself”developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.

“We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension.

Yet the D.O.D still insists such ingestion is “not sufficient to make troops seriously ill in most cases.”

Then why did it make the clean up crew seriously or terminally ill in nearly all cases?

Marion Falk, a retired chemical physicist who built nuclear bombs for more than 20 years at Lawrence Livermore Lab, was asked if he thought that DU weapons operate in a similar manner as a dirty bomb.

“That’s exactly what they are. They fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way.”

According to Falk, more than 30 percent of the DU fired from the cannons of U.S. tanks is reduced to particles one-tenth of a micron (one millionth of a meter) in size or smaller on impact.  “The larger the bang” the greater the amount of DU that is dispersed into the atmosphere, Falk said. With the larger missiles and bombs, nearly 100 percent of the DU is reduced to radioactive dust particles of the “micron size” or smaller, he said.

When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Falk was more specific:

“I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

When a DU round or bomb strikes a hard target, most of its kinetic energy is converted to heat ” sufficient heat to ignite the DU.  From 40% to 70% of the DU is converted to extremely fine dust particles of ceramic uranium oxide (primarily dioxide, though other formulations also occur). Over 60% of these particles are smaller than 5 microns in diameter, about the same size as the cigarette ash particles in cigarette smoke and therefore respirable.

Because conditions are so chaotic in Iraq, the medical infrastructure has been greatly compromised.  In terms of both cancer and birth defects due to DU, only a small fraction of the cases are being reported.

Doctors in southern Iraq are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. They have numerous photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on an on.  Such birth defects were extremely rare in Iraq prior to the large scale use of DU. Weapons. Now they are commonplace.  In hospitals across Iraq, the mothers are no longer asking, “Doctor, is it a boy or girl?” but rather, “Doctor, is it normal?”  The photos are horrendous, they can be viewed on the following website

Ross B. Mirkarimi, a spokesman at The Arms Control Research Centre stated:

“Unborn children of the region are being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA.”

Prior to her death from leukemia in Sept. 2004, Nuha Al Radi , an accomplished Iraqi artist and author  of the “Baghdad Diaries” wrote:

“Everyone seems to be dying of cancer. Every day one hears about another acquaintance or friend of a friend dying. How many more die in hospitals that one does not know? Apparently, over thirty percent of Iraqis have cancer, and there are lots of kids with leukemia.”

“The depleted uranium left by the U.S. bombing campaign has turned Iraq into a cancer-infested country. For hundreds of years to come, the effects of the uranium will continue to wreak havoc on Iraq and its surrounding areas.”

This excerpt in her diary was written in 1993, after Gulf War I (Approximately 300 tons of DU ordinance, mostly in desert areas)  but before Operation Iraqi Freedom, (Est. 1,700 tons with much more near major population centers).  So, it’s 5-6 times worse now than it was when she wrote than diary entry!!   Estimates of the percentage of D.U. which was ‘aerosolized’ into fine uranium oxide dust are approximately 30-40%. That works out to over one million pounds of dust scattered throughout Iraq.

As a special advisor to the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ahmad Hardan has documented the effects of DU in Iraq between 1991 and 2002.

“American forces admit to using over 300 tons of DU weapons in 1991.  The actual figure is closer to 800.  This has caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a million people.  As if that was not enough, America went on and used 200 tons more in Bagdad alone during the recent invasion.

I don”t know about other parts of Iraq, it will take me years to document that.

“In Basra, it took us two years to obtain conclusive proof of what DU does, but we now know what to look for and the results are terrifying.”

By far the most devastating effect is on unborn children.  Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved fetuses ” scarcely human in appearance. Iraq is now seeing babies with terribly foreshortened limbs, with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumors where their eyes should be, or with a single eye-like Cyclops, or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly, some of the defects are almost unknown outside textbooks showing the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific.

Dr. Hardan also states:

“I arranged for a delegation from Japan’s Hiroshima Hospital to come and share their expertise in the radiological diseases we

Are likely to face over time. The delegation told me the Americans had objected and they decided not to come. Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq.”

Not only are we poisoning the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are making a concerted effort to keep out specialists from other countries who can help.  The U.S. Military doesn”t want the rest of the world to find out what we have done.

Such relatively swift development of cancers has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the US military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.
Just 467 US personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served in the first Gulf War now have medical problems.

Although not reported in the mainstream American press, a recent Tokyo tribunal, guided by the principles of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law, found President George W. Bush guilty of war crimes. On March 14, 2004, Nao Shimoyachi, reported in The Japan Times that President Bush was found guilty “for attacking civilians with indiscriminate weapons and other arms,”and the “tribunal also issued recommendations for banning Depleted Uranium shells and other weapons that indiscriminately harm people.” Although this was a “Citizen’s Court” having no legal authority, the participants were sincere in their determination that international laws have been violated and a war crimes conviction is warranted.

Troops involved in actual combat are not the only servicemen reporting symptoms. Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah.

“I got sick instantly in June,” said Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop. “My health kept going downhill with daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach.”

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, UMRC founder, and nuclear medicine expert examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

If so, the men – Sgt. Hector Vega, Sgt. Ray Ramos, Sgt. Agustin Matos and Cpl. Anthony Yonnone – are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.

The 442nd, made up for the most part of New York cops, firefighters and correction officers, is based in Orangeburg, Rockland County. Dispatched to Iraq in Easter of 2003, the unit’s members had been providing guard duty for convoys, running jails and training Iraqi police. The entire company is due to return home later this month.

“These are amazing results, especially since these soldiers were military police not exposed to the heat of battle,” said Dr. Asaf Duracovic, who examined the G.I.s and performed the testing.

In a group of eight U.S. led Coalition servicemen whose babies were born without eyes, seven are known to have been directly exposed to DU dust. In a much group (250 soldiers) exposed during the first Gulf war, 67% of the children conceived after the war had birth defects.

Dr. Durakovic’s  UMRC research team also conducted a three-week field trip to Iraq in October of 2003. It collected about 100 samples of substances such as soil, civilian urine and the tissue from the corpses of Iraqi soldiers in 10 cities, including Baghdad, Basra and Najaf. Durakovic said preliminary tests show that the air, soil and water samples contained “hundreds to thousands of times” the normal levels of radiation.

“This high level of contamination is because much more depleted uranium was used this year than in (the Gulf War of) 1991,” Durakovic told The Japan Times.

“They are hampering efforts to prove the connection between Depleted Uranium and the illness,” Durakovic said

“They do not want to admit that they committed war crimes” by using weapons that kill indiscriminately, which are banned under international law.”

(NOTE ABOUT DR. DURAKOVIC;  First, he was warned to stop his work, then he was fired from his position, then his house was ransacked, and he has also reported receiving death threats.  Evidently the U.S. D.O.D is very keen on censoring DU whistle-blowers!)

Dr. Durakovic, UMRC  research associates Patricia Horan and Leonard Dietz, published a unique study in the August 2002 issue of Military Medicine Medical Journal. The study is believed to be the first to look at inhaled DU among Gulf War veterans, using the ultrasensitive technique of thermal ionization mass spectrometry, which enabled them to easily distinguish between natural uranium and DU.  The study, which examined British, Canadian and U.S. veterans, all suffering typical Gulf War Syndrome ailments, found that, nine years after the war, 14 of 27 veterans studied had DU in their urine. DU also was found in the lung and bone of a deceased Gulf War veteran. That no governmental study has been done on inhaled DU “amounts to a massive malpractice,” Dietz said in an interview.

The Japanese began studying DU effects in the southern Iraq in the summer of 2003. They had a Geiger counter which they watched go off the scale on many occasions. During their visit,a local hospital was treating upwards of 600 children per day, many of which suffered symptoms of internal poisoning by radiation.  600 children per day? How many of these children will get cancer and suffer and early and painful death?

“Ingested DU particles can cause up to 1,000 times the damage of an X-ray”, said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist and biologist at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington D.C.

It is this difference in particle size as well as the dust’s crystalline structure that make the presence of DU dust in the environment such an extreme hazard, and which differentiates its properties from that of the natural uranium dust that is ubiquitous and to which we all are exposed every day, which seldom reaches such a small size.  This point is being stressed, as comparing DU particles to much larger natural ones is misleading.

The U.S. Military and its supporters regularly quote a Rand Corp. Study which uses the natural uranium inhaled by miners.

Particles smaller than 10 microns can access the innermost recesses of lung tissue where they become permanently lodged. Furthermore, if the substance is relatively insoluble, such as the ceramic DU-oxide dust produced from burning DU, it will remain in place for decades, dissolving very slowly into the bloodstream and lymphatic fluids through the course of time. Studies have identified DU in the urine of Gulf War veterans nine years after that conflict, testifying to the permanence of ceramic DU-oxide in the lungs.  Thus the effects are far different from natural uranium dust, whose coarse particles are almost entirely excreted by the body within 24 hours.

The military is aware of DU’s harmful effects on the human genetic code. A 2001 study of DU’s effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., indicates that DU’s chemical instability causes 1 million times more genetic damage than would be expected from its radiation effect alone.

Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic chemical composition. British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard has reported that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size.

For example, when mice were exposed to virus-size particles of Teflon (0.13 microns) in a University of Rochester study, there were no ill effects. But when mice were exposed to nano-particles of Teflon for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours.

“Exposure pathways for depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation, and ingestion,”  writes Lauren Moret, another DU researcher. “Nano-particles have high mobility and can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood.

“When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can cross the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain,” she wrote. “Many Gulf era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed with brain tumors, brain damage and impaired thought processes. Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy for the nerve processes, and transmittal of the nerve signal across synapses in the brain.

Based on dissolution and excretion rate data, it is possible to approximate the amount of DU initially inhaled by these veterans. For the handful of veterans studied, this amount averaged 0.34 milligrams. Knowing the specific activity (radiation rate) for DU allows one to determine that the total radiation (alpha, beta and gamma) occurring from DU and its radioactive decay products within their bodies comes to about 26 radiation events every second, or 800 million events each year.  At .34 milligrams per dose, there are over 10 trillion doses floating around Iraq and Afghanistan.

How many additional deaths are we talking about? In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the UK Atomic Energy Authority came up with estimates for the potential effects of the DU contamination left by the conflict. It calculated that “this could cause “500,000 potential deaths”. This was “a theoretical figure”, it stressed, that indicated “a significant problem”.

The AEA’s calculation was made in a confidential memo to the privatized munitions company, Royal Ordnance, dated 30 April 1991. The high number of potential deaths was dismissed as “very far from realistic” by a British defense minister, Lord Gilbert. “Since the rounds were fired in the desert, many miles from the nearest village, it is highly unlikely that the local population would have been exposed to any significant amount of respirable oxide,” he said.  These remarks were made prior to the more recent invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, where DU munitions were used on a larger scale in and near many of the most populated areas.  If the amount of DU ordinance used in the first Gulf War was sufficient to cause 500,000 potential deaths, (had it been used near the populated areas), then what of the nearly six times that amount used in operation Iraqi Freedom, which was used in and near the major towns and cities?  Extrapolating the U.K. AEA estimate with this amount gives a figure of potentially 3 million extra deaths from inhaling DU dust in Iraq alone, not including Afghanistan. This is about 11% of Iraq’s total population of 27 million. Dan Bishop, Ph.d chemist for IDUST feels that this estimate may be low, if the long life of DU dust is considered.  In Afghanistan, the concentration in some areas is greater than Iraq.

What can an otherwise healthy person expect when inhaling the deadly dust? Captain Terry Riordon was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Gulf War I. He passed away in April 1999 at age 45. Terry left Canada a very fit man who did cross-country skiing and ran in marathons. On his return only two months later he could barely walk.

He returned to Canada in February 1991 with documented loss of motor control, chronic fatigue, respiratory difficulties, chest pain, difficulty breathing, sleep problems, short-term memory loss, testicle pain, body pains, aching bones, diarrhea, and depression. After his death, depleted uranium contamination was discovered in his lungs and bones. For eight years he suffered his innumerable ailments and struggled with the military bureaucracy and the system to get proper diagnosis and treatment.  He had arranged, upon his death, to bequeath his body to the UMRC.  Through his gift, the UMRC was able to obtain conclusive evidence that inhaling fine particles of depleted uranium dust completely destroyed his heath.  How many Terry Riordans are out there among the troops being exposed, not to mention Iraqi and Afghan civilians?

Inhaling the dust will not kill large numbers of Iraqi and Afghan civilians right away, any more than it did Captain Riordan. Rather, what we will see is vast numbers of people who are chronically and severely ill, having their life spans drastically shortened, many with multiple cancers.

Melissa Sterry, another sick veteran, served for six months at a supply base in Kuwait during the winter of 1991-92. Part of her job with the National Guard’s Combat Equipment Company “A” was to clean out tanks and other armored vehicles that had been used during the war, preparing them for storage.

She said she swept out the armored vehicles, cleaning up dust, sand and debris, sometimes being ordered to help bury contaminated parts. In a telephone interview, she stated that after researching depleted uranium she chose not to take the military’s test because she could not trust the results.  It is alarming that Melissa was stationed in Kuwait, not Iraq.  Cleaning out tanks with DU dust was enough to make her ill.

In, 2003, the Christian Science Monitor sent reporters to Iraq to investigate long-term effects of depleted uranium. Staff writer Scott Peterson saw children playing on top of a burnt-out tank near a vegetable stand on the outskirts of Baghdad, a tank that had been destroyed by armor-piercing shells coated with depleted uranium. Wearing his mask and protective clothing, he pointed his Geiger counter toward the tank. It registered 1,000 times the normal background radiation. If the troops were on a mission of mercy to bring democracy to Iraq, wouldn”t keeping children away from such dangers be the top priority?

The laws of war prohibit the use of weapons that have deadly and inhumane effects beyond the field of battle. Nor can weapons be legally deployed in war when they are known to remain active, or cause harm after the war concludes.  It is no surprise that the Japanese Court found President Bush guilty of war crimes.

Dr. Alim Yacoub of Basra University conducted an epidemiological study into incidences of malignancies in children under fifteen years old, in the Basra area (an area bombed with DU during the first Gulf War). They found over the 1990 to 1999 period, there was a 242% rise.  That was before the recent invasion.

In Kosovo, similar spikes in cancer and birth defects were noticed by numerous international experts, although the quantity of DU weapons used was only a small fraction of what was used in Iraq.

FIELD STUDY RESULTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

Verifiable statistics for Iraq will remain elusive for some time, but widespread field studies in Afghanistan point to the existence of a large scale public health disaster. In May of 2002, the UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Center) sent a field team to interview and examine residents and internally displaced people in Afghanistan.  The UMRC field team began by first identifying several hundred people suffering from illnesses and medical conditions displaying clinical symptoms which are considered to be characteristic of radiation exposure.  To investigate the possibility that the symptoms were due to radiation sickness, the UMRC team collected urine specimens and soil samples, transporting them to an independent research lab in England.

UMRC’s Field Team found Afghan civilians with acute symptoms of radiation poisoning, along with chronic symptoms of internal uranium contamination, including congenital problems in newborns. Local civilians reported large, dense dust clouds and smoke plumes rising from the point of impact, an acrid smell, followed by burning of the nasal passages, throat and upper respiratory tract. Subjects in all locations presented identical symptom profiles and chronologies. The victims reported symptoms including pain in the cervical column, upper shoulders and basal area of the skull, lower back/kidney pain, joint and muscle weakness, sleeping difficulties, headaches, memory problems and disorientation.

Two additional scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million people. The city itself contains the highest recorded number of fixed targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. For the study’s purposes, the vicinity of three major bomb sites were examined. It was predicted that signatures of depleted or enriched uranium would be found in the urine and soil samples taken during the research. The team was unprepared for the shock of its findings, which indicated in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was causing the high levels of illness. Tests taken from a number of Jalalabad subjects showed concentrations 400% to 2000% above that for normal populations, amounts which have not been recorded in civilian studies before.

Those in Kabul who were directly exposed to US-British precision bombing showed extreme signs of contamination, consistent with uranium exposure. These included pains in joints, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and confusion and disorientation. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.  How many of these people will suffer a painful and early death from cancer? Even the study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months.

In August of 2002, UMRC completed its preliminary analysis of the results from Nangarhar.  Without exception, every person donating urine specimens tested positive for uranium contamination. The specific results indicated an astoundingly high level of contamination; concentrations were 100 to 400 times greater than those of the Gulf War Veterans tested in 1999.   A researcher reported. “We took both soil and biological samples, and found considerable presence in urine samples of radioactivity; the heavy concentration astonished us.  They were beyond our wildest imagination.”

In the fall of 2002, the UMRC field team went back to Afghanistan for a broader survey, and revealed a potentially larger exposure than initially anticipated. Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness.  New born babies were among those displaying symptoms, with village elders reporting that over 25% of the infants were inexplicably ill.

How widespread and extensive is the exposure?  A quote from the UMRC field report reads:

“The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by uranium.”

In Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, UMRC lab results indicated high concentrations of NON-DEPLETED URANIUM, with the concentrations being much higher than in DU victims from Iraq. Afghanistan was used as a testing ground for a new generation of “bunker buster” bombs containing high concentrations of other uranium alloys.

“A significant portion of the civilian population”? It appears that by going after a handful of terrorists in Afghanistan we have poisoned a huge number of innocent civilians, with a disproportionate number of them being children.

The military has found depleted uranium in the urine of some soldiers but contends it was not enough to make them seriously ill in most cases. Critics have asked for more sensitive, more expensive testing.

————————————

According to an October 2004  Dispatch from the Italian Military Health Observatory, a total of 109 Italian soldiers have died thus far due to exposure to depleted uranium.  A spokesman at the Military Health Observatory, Domenico Leggiero, states “The total of 109 casualties exceeds the total number of persons dying as a consequence of road accidents. Anyone denying the significance of such data is purely acting out of ill faith, and the truth is that our soldiers are dying out there due to a lack of adequate protection against depleted uranium”. Members of the Observatory have petitioned for an urgent hearing “in order to study effective prevention and safeguard measures aimed at reducing the death-toll amongst our serving soldiers”.

There were only 3,000 Italian soldiers sent to Iraq, and they were there for a short time.  The number of 109 represents about 3.6% of the total.  If the same percentage of Iraqis get a similar exposure, that would amount to 936,000.  As Iraqis are permanently living in the same contaminated environment, their percentage will be higher.

The Pentagon/DoD have interfered with UMRC’s ability to have its studies published by managing, a progressive and persistent misinformation program in the press against UMRC, and through the use of its control of science research grants to refute UMRC’s scientific findings and destroy the reputation of UMRC’s scientific staff, physicians and laboratories. UMRC is the first independent research organization to find Depleted Uranium in the bodies of US, UK and Canadian Gulf War I veterans and has subsequently, following Operation Iraqi Freedom, found Depleted Uranium in the water, soils and atmosphere of Iraq as well as biological samples donated by Iraqi civilians. Yet the first thing that comes up on Internet searches are these supposed “studies repeatedly showing DU to be harmless.”  The technique is to approach the story as a debate between government and independent experts in which public interest is stimulated by polarizing the issues rather than telling the scientific and medical truth. The issues are systematically confused and misinformed by government, UN regulatory agencies (WHO, UNEP, IAEA, CDC, DOE, etc) and defense sector (military and the weapons developers and manufacturers).

Dr. Yuko Fujita, an assistant professor at Keio University, Japan who examined the effects of radioactivity in Iraq from May to June, 2003,  said : “I doubt that Iraq is fabricating data because in fact there are many children suffering from leukemia in hospitals,” Fujita said. “As a result of the Iraq war, the situation will be desperate in some five to 10 years.”

The  March 14, 2004  Tokyo Citizen’s Tribunal that “convicted” President Bush gave the following summation regarding DU weapons: (This court was a citizen’s court with no binding legal authority)

1.   Their use has indiscriminate effects;

2.   Their use is out of proportion with the pursuit of military objectives;

3.   Their use adversely affects the environment in a widespread, long term and severe manner;

4.   Their use causes superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering.

Two years ago, President Bush withdrew the United States as a signatory to the International Criminal Court’s statute, which has been ratified by all other Western democracies. The White House actually seeks to immunize U.S. leaders from war crimes prosecutions entirely. It has also demanded express immunity from ICC prosecution for American nationals.

CONCLUSIONS:

If terrorists succeeded in spreading something throughout the U.S. that ended up causing hundreds of thousands of cancer cases and birth defects over a period of many years, they would be guilty of a crime against humanity that far surpasses the Sept. 11th attacks in scope and severity. Although not deliberate, with our military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have done just that.  If the physical environment is so unsafe and unhealthy that one cannot safely breath, then the outer trappings of democracy have little meaning. At least under Saddam, the Iraqi people could stay healthy and conceive normal children. Few Americans are aware that in getting rid of Saddam, we left something much worse in his place.

Source

Congratulations NATO. You are Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

You leave this “gift of death” everywhere you go.

Will the global economic crisis save or kill NAFTA?

Jan. 2008: Demonstrators carry an oversized replica of a corn cob to protest the removal of import tariffs on farm goods from U.S. and Canada, as agreed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (AP Photo / Eduardo Verdugo)

January  4 2009

By Parminder Parmar

For years, NAFTA had remained dormant as a significant issue in American and Canadian federal political campaigns.

In both countries, the viability of the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. hadn’t been questioned since the early 1990s.

Sure, there have been disputes — for example, over softwood timber — but the trade pact, itself, was never in doubt.

That is, until this spring 2008. That’s when the Democratic presidential candidates thrust NAFTA back into the political limelight, telling voters they wanted to take a second look at the deal.

“I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labour and environmental standards that are enforced,” Barack Obama told Democrats in Cleveland, Ohio, during the primaries.

The man who is now U.S. president-elect was trying to sway voters in the region who’ve seen hundreds of thousands of jobs shipped overseas since the 1990s.

Proving the old adage about politics and strange bedfellows, the NDP’s Jack Layton didn’t skip a beat. He went on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to tell the anti-immigration crusader that some Canadians don’t think the pact is such a good idea, either.

Pro-NAFTA forces both here and in the U.S. appeared dismayed at the resurgence of all the protectionist talk. They probably needn’t worry any more, says an expert on the pact.

“Look at the election speeches and the (U.S.) primaries in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio. You will find there were all sorts of things being promised, being talked about, that have suddenly gone to the backburner,” Ron Wonnacott, professor emeritus in the economics department at the University of Western Ontario told CTV.ca.

Wonnacott, who has been researching and writing about U.S.-Canada trade relations since the 1960s, says the emergence of the economic crisis this fall changed everything.

“I would put NAFTA way down in their (lawmakers’) list of priorities — if it’s any sort of objective at all at this point,” he says bluntly.

But Wonnacott says the economic downturn will also likely bring out protectionist forces in both Canada and the U.S.

“Protectionists’ pressures will come from just about every court … every industry under pressure will be asking for relief,” he says, adding that will mean calls for more trade barriers and higher tariffs.

Is it all about Mexico?

But Wonnacott adds that in the U.S., most of the pressure lawmakers face will have to do more with Mexico than with Canada. He’s careful to point out, however, that Canada shouldn’t assume that some Americans will not look north as they try to protect industries, particularly when it comes to the automobile sector.

“I don’t see the Americans taking this action,” he says, adding, “but in this climate, never say never.”

Wonnacott suspects that talk of an expanded hemispheric trade deal will die down in the current climate. He says, however, there may be bilateral agreements that are signed.

He also notes that as North America and the world begins to come out of the recession, initiatives to further liberalize trade will emerge again.

“But right now, given the problems that countries now face … the big problem on the trade front will be defensive,” he says.

Recognizing this, Canadian, U.S., and world leaders have warned against protectionist pressures that may further hurt the global economy.

Former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told CTV’s Canada AM this month, she believes the current climate will force everyone, including the president-elect to rethink their campaign rhetoric about NAFTA.

“I think (Obama) is going to see some conditions that will allow him to temper his position,” the Alaskan governor said.

“It’s a good agreement and our trade partnering with Canada is extremely valuable. The number of jobs created as a result of NAFTA has been good for both of our countries.”

Even Obama has backtracked from his initial call to re-open NAFTA unilaterally, noting that he doesn’t believe that “we can draw a moat around the American economy.”

But Wonnacott notes that the current economic crisis is relatively unprecedented — and it’s not easy to predict political or economic winds.

“It’s uncharted territory,” he says.

Source

April 7, 2005
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by the first Bush and the now reviled Carlos Salinas in 1992, over 4000 Mexican workers, many of them campesinos displaced from the land by NAFTA agricultural imports, have died trying to cross that line to find a job no North American citizen will work.
They have drowned in the All-American Canal and the river that Mexico calls the Rio Bravo and the U.S. the Rio Grande.

They have been bitten by vipers running through south Texas, suffocated to death in boxcars, died in car crashes after high speed chases or simply been shot down by the Migra and their volunteer vigilantes.

They have fallen into ravines or froze to death in the winter snow up in the Rumarosa, the most dangerous part of the border to which it is U.S. immigration policy to chase them in a strategy to “up the risks” of migration. And mostly they have dropped out there in the cruel desert never to rise again as the vultures circle slowly in the spotless heavens above.  Source

November 17, 2003

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1993, the rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 U.S. jobs. Most of those lost jobs were high-wage positions in manufacturing industries. The loss of these jobs is just the most visible tip of NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. economy. In fact, NAFTA has also contributed to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers’ collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduced fringe benefits. Source

NAFTA: Manufacturing job loss in Canada*
After 15 years under NAFTA Canada is a much more unequal society. Free trade boosters still credit the agreement with increasing employment and
prosperity, but though ‘compensation’ for a few corporate CEOs has rocketed up, NAFTA has in fact contributed to the loss of manufacturing jobs and exerted a downward pressure on wages. Here’s the real story on jobs and NAFTA:
• In the last 6 years, we have lost 350,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s like 150 good jobs disappearing every day. And it’s getting worse.

• The job loss is hitting many different industries all over the country: auto, food processing, forestry products, textiles, metals, furniture etc. The details are different, but
the story is the same: decline in orders lost to cheaper imports, missed investment, job cutbacks and plant closures.
• Too many of the new jobs being created today are low-paying, insecure jobs with fewer benefits, particularly for women.
• Canada is increasingly becoming a society of haves, and have-nots with the gap in wealth growing every year. Source


Food safety, free trade and the election

If ever voters have power, it’s now – and that includes putting your candidates under the microscope on food safety issues. Common Frontiers sends along a link to a useful site (Food Safety First) for voters that offers insight from various media reports on the timing of cuts to safety inspection programs and the outbreak of listeriosis. In my view, the finest work has been done by Toronto Star investigative reporter Robert Cribb, working in conjunction with his colleagues at the CBC.

What does food safety have to do with free trade? A great deal, argues Common Frontiers, a Canadian group critical of the trend towards economic integration – harmonization, as it’s politely put – of standards under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Rick Arnold, the group’s executive director, says deregulation in the food industry in Canada has its genesis with the folks at the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), an ongoing program among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to harmonize across-the-board. In other words, standards in Canada are lowered to match those south of both borders. Says Arnold:

“Part of the SPP agenda involves developing common North American standards on how food is produced, how it is inspected, how it is processed and how it is moved from one place to another. Common food safety standards developed in the public interest might be a good idea. But the SPP is not about raising food standards. It is about removing ‘trade irritants’ and deregulating the food industries.”

Arnold criticizes the secrecy surround SPP decisions. An exception, he says, was the 2006 SPP report that identified stricter pesticide residue limits in Canada as a “barrier to trade,” a finding resulting in the relaxation of Canadian standards. Large corporations appear to have privileged access to the SPP process under the umbrella of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). Arnold asks Canadians to check out the food safety site and, if they have questions, take them to candidates in their ridings to find out where they stand. Now is the best time to expect answers.  Source

This has nothing to do with the Free Trade Agreement with the US but it is rather interesting all the same. Something Canadian should be aware of at the very least.

January 3 2008

Manuel Rozenthal, a long-time international solidarity activist and surgeon, is a member of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, a political organization that works with indigenous communities in Southwest Colombia. He recently toured Canada, sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress, speaking about the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, a deal that has been kept almost completely out of the public eye by the Harper government.

Stuart Neatby caught up with Rozenthal in Edmonton in the midst of this tour.

Stuart Neatby: What do we know about the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and what are its implications for the Colombian people?

Manuel Rozenthal: We know very little, but what we know is of enormous concern.

The so-called negotiations between Canada and Colombia started in July of this year after the visit of Harper to four Latin American countries, including Colombia. On the 26th of November, the fourth round began in Lima and there were rumours and statements pointing to the fact that it might be definitely signed soon, that they might reach an agreement. They have been kept confidential, in almost absolute secrecy, and the communiquÃs that have come out about the state of the negotiations are almost impossible to understand by anybody without good technical knowledge of trade deals.

Secondly, it is the same or more profound agreement that was negotiated with the US that the U.S. congress is refusing to sign with Colombia because of profound concerns of environmental and human rights.

To summarize the concern in a nutshell about free trade agreements, I think that first ” it is not a free trade agreement. I have in my hands the Colombia-U.S. free trade agreement and it’s(TM)s more than 1300 pages long. If it was truly a free trade agreement, it would be very short. It would state that your goods and products would enter my country and mine would enter yours under equal conditions of reciprocity.

But, when you read this text, you actually discover that it is a supra-national constitution that allows access for multi-national corporations, financial and otherwise, to all resources, territory, labour, government contracts, and savings throughout the country with which the agreement is signed. Therefore it is an agreement signed between government officials, on behalf of corporate interests, at the expense of the wealth and the labour of the poorest countries involved, but also affecting dramatically the well-being of the poorest people and labour in the wealthy country at the same time. And that is, in a nutshell, what the agreement is.

One of the biggest recent political scandals in Colombia has been the links that have emerged between high level political officials and paramilitaries. A sort of parallel scandal that has been playing out in recent months has been that of legal court cases, linking multi-national corporations to the Autodefensias Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries as well.

Can you talk about the pattern of multi-national corporate involvement with the AUC and what interests for them it actually serves to employ these paramilitaries?

What is very important to do is to make the links between the use of violence and the corporate support for these death squads, all in connection or related to these free trade agreements. I can begin by examining what happened to Chiquita.

Chiquita accepted in court an agreement that acknowledged that it had funnelled $1.7 million in support for the paramilitaries, which the U.S. has declared a terrorist organization. The horrendous thing about these statements is the fact that the $25 million [settlement] was given to the U.S. government! Not a cent of it went to any Colombian victim of the paramilitaries that were supported by Chiquita.

Chiquita was recently sued once again by Jonathan Reiter, a lawyer in New York City. He sued them on behalf of 393 victims of the death squads, either relatives of the people who had been killed or disappeared, or people who had been directly affected by the company’s practices. What Reiter argued is that Chiquita did not have to channel funds to the paramilitaries to protect itself from threats. In fact Chiquita actually funded, trained, and armed paramilitary forces as part of its systematic operations in the country in order to increase profit, dismantle labour, and forcibly remove people from the land that they wanted to use to produce bananas.

Now there is worse evidence coming out: the paramilitaries have confessed. The highest commanders of these death squad forces have stated that every one of the six banana companies that act in Colombia has paid between three and four cents U.S. for each banana that has been produced. So in fact the amount of money that has been delivered to paramilitaries has been enormous. There are three American companies still with the largest proportional Banana production in Colombia: Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole, which have all funded and armed paramilitaries, according to the testimony of those funded by them.

Some of this testimony [states that] whenever the company wanted some land, they would approach the poor peasants in the region ” the rightful owners of this land ” and offer to buy the land for no money at all. If these people refused to sell their land, the next thing they heard was a threat. Following the threat, if they didn’t leave, was the commission of a massacre either using chainsaws to cut people alive into pieces, or mass graves and assassinations, or mass displacement.

So that’s the case of the banana plantations. Drummond, a coal and gas producing company, was also sued because a high official from Colombia witnessed Drummond officials passing lists of union leaders on to paramilitary commanders. Some of those leaders were later murdered or disappeared. Glencore, the Swiss multinational, was involved with similar kinds of activities. Then Coca-Cola was sued because union leaders at four of their plants were threatened and murdered by paramilitaries in order to dismantle their negotiated agreement and to dismantle the union.

If you add up these specific cases and go around the country, you discover that these are systematic practices, that Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world for trade union workers. More than 2500 trade unionists have been murdered in the last 10 years, targeted specifically in areas that were either privatized or delivered to multi-national corporations. During the Uribe administration over the last six years, more than 500 trade union leaders have been assassinated, 28 of them this year. So there is ample evidence that terror is used in a systematic way to cheapen the cost of production and access to resources and territories in order to increase the profit of corporate interests and multinational corporations.

What the free trade agreements do is to legalize and legitimize what terror has achieved for them. And that is why signing a free trade agreement with Colombia is actually becoming an accomplice to the use of terror to make profits.

And terror, of course ” together with extreme destruction of nature and exploitation of people ” is necessarily what the free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia is all about.

Source

In Colombia’s mineral-rich underworld, often demarcated by the full-scale destruction of towns near mining sites, environmental contamination, paramilitary attacks and assassinations of those who stand up to mining interests, Canadian hands are dirtier than those of a coal miner coming up from the pit.

Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

World Leaders Must Roll Back Radical WTO Financial Service Deregulation

Alberta Oil Sands a Pollution Nightmare

By Timothy B. Hurst
December 6 2008
Extraction and refining heavy oil from Canadian tar sands will have increasingly devastating impacts on migratory bird populations, according to a new study.

oil refinery in canadian tar sands

According to anew report, the cumulative impact of developing Canadian tar sands over the next 30–50 years could be as high as 166 million birds lost, including future generations. Written by scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Boreal Songbird Initiative, and Pembina Institute, the peer-reviewed paper suggests that avian mortality from continued development of Canada’s tar sands would provide a serious blow to migratory bird populations in North America.

It is estimated that half of America’s migratory birds nest in the Boreal forest, and each year 22–170 million birds breed in the area that could eventually be developed for tar sands oil if the rate of development continues at it is currently planned.

“At a time when bird populations are rapidly declining, this report puts into perspective the far reaching effects of tar sands oil development on North America’s birds,” said the report’s lead author Jeff Wells, Ph.D. of the Boreal Songbird Initiative. “The public needs to understand the real and long-term ecological costs of this development and determine if this is acceptable,” added Wells.

suncor tar sands mining in alberta, canada

In Alberta, tar sands mining and drilling causes significant habitat loss and fragmentation. Expansive toxic tailings ponds are protected by propane cannons that are used to keep ducks from landing in them.

toxic oil shale tailings

When those cannons fail, we see unfortunate accidents like the one this past summer in Alberta when some 500 ducks were killed after landing in a tailings pond. Toxic tailing ponds result in 8,000 to 100,000 oiled and drowned birds annually.

duck being cleaned of oil

Authors of the report suggest that an immediate solution to the unsustainable pace of development and to environmental problems relating to tar sands oil development is a moratorium on all new projects, project expansions, and to clean up existing projects.

For Canada to take the kind of substantive action necessary to prevent the ecological damage suggested by this report, it may require international pressure; the kind of pressure that could be applied by a renegotiated NAFTA that strengthens environmental laws, something that president-elect Obama has suggested he would like to see.

Images courtesy of: 1. & 3. David Dodge/Pembina Institute; 2. & 4. D. Faucher/Ducks Unlimited; 5. Sun Media Corp.

Source

The report covers the various ways tar sands development affects bird populations, including:

-Habitat Loss
-Tailings Ponds and Oiled Birds
-Fragmentation of Habitat from Drilling
-Water Withdrawals
-Air and Water Toxins
-High Emissions and Global Warming

In the Beginning.

1970’s Film – The Tar Sands

This clip shows the various refinement steps required to convert tar sands into usable crude oil and other petroleum products.

The methods have changed since then, but the  environmental impact is still very disturbing.

As Alberta’s tar sands production continues to increase at a rapid rate new ‘tailings ponds’ or toxic lakes from spent refining of the heavy crude oil trapped in sand are popping up everywhere and kilometers in size for the most part.

Tar Sands the Beginning of the End of the Carbon Age -Clearing the forest for the Oil Sands

At the Athabasca tar sands deposits north of Fort McMurray companies like Syncrude move unfettered and with strong support from local media companies despite the high pollution levels and carbon dioxide emissions.

America Looks to Canada’s Tar Sands for Next Century As the neighbor to the north Canada it appears is more then happy to develop its tar sands at any cost and as fast as possible despite the environmental fallout from the heavy crude oil reserves.

Source for Videos

Alberta  Oil Sands Cause Acid Rain

The Human Cost

By Matthew Kruchak and James Wood
February 16, 2008

Acid rain caused by Alberta oilsands production is pouring down on Saskatchewan and if governments don’t take note, any oilsands development in this province will contribute to the “most destructive project on Earth,” the Environmental Defence organization warns.

A report released Friday by the group says 70 per cent of the sulphur entering Alberta’s air ends up in Saskatchewan. Acid rain is produced by the interaction between water, sulphur and nitrogen oxides.

“Acid rain causes damage and death to the ecosystem and also human health,” said Christopher Hatch, a climate change campaigner with Environmental Defence. “People in Saskatchewan should be very concerned that neither the federal nor provincial governments are getting to the bottom of this.

“So what is it that they don’t want people to know? There’s obviously a problem — any layperson can tell that. Why are they not funding studies to ensure human health?”

The report, titled Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth, outlines the environmental and human health effects of the oilsands and offers the federal government solutions, Hatch said.

“It’s a toxic nightmare — it really is,” he said. “To fly over the Alberta oilsands as it is — and it’s only just beginning — it’s a toxic moonscape.”

The group is calling on the federal government to step in and force the cleanup or work with the Alberta government to address environmental issues, he said.

In the past 12 years, at a Saskatchewan site (which was not identified) 200 kilometres downwind from the oilsands, the mean level of acid in precipitation had increased, the report stated, with measurements going from pH 5.3 to 4.1. Normal rainfall has a pH of 5.6.

Saskatchewan Environment ran 10 monitoring stations across the oilsands in the northwest of the province and found a buildup of nitrogen from Alberta, the report stated in a section called Raining Acid on Saskatchewan.

“On the toxic front, it’s really a looming human health disaster,” Hatch said.

Environment Minster Nancy Heppner had little to say about the report Friday.

Asked about the environmental impact of the Alberta oilsands projects, Heppner said she didn’t have any details.

“I’ve heard things, that water’s being contaminated and those sorts of things. I don’t have any specifics. I haven’t seen the report you are talking about today and obviously there’s more information we’ll be looking at to make sure that if there were mistakes made on the Alberta side that we won’t be making those here,” Heppner told reporters at the legislature just before leaving for a climate change conference in Australia.

However, she said the government is concerned about acid rain from the oilsands.

“I understand there’s some concern and we’ve met with some people, some residents of northern Saskatchewan, who are concerned about acidification of our lakes and that’s something we’re going to look at,” said Heppner.

NDP environment critic Sandra Morin questioned Heppner’s lack of knowledge about the report.

Morin said “she had no reason to doubt” the report’s characterization of the oilsands as “the most destructive project on Earth.”

“It’s incredibly distressing that 70 per cent of the acid rain, the contamination, is going to be affecting Saskatchewan. Clearly, with the development happening there and 70 per cent of those emissions affecting Saskatchewan people, one has to be concerned about the further development of the oilsands in Alberta, which is supposed to triple in the next 10 years, not to mention the further development of the oilsands projects that are happening in Saskatchewan.”

The Saskatchewan Party government is supportive of oilsands projects in this province, but Heppner said the environment won’t be sacrificed.

“We are committed as a government going forward with development to make sure the environment is protected. There are environmental impact assessments that are done for projects and that will certainly be the case going forward. We do not want our environment to be destroyed while we develop our province,” she said.

Officials from the Ministry of Environment were unavailable for comment Friday.

A representative from Oilsands Quest, a company leading the development of the oilsands industry in Saskatchewan, was also unavailable for comment Friday.

Source

I  love this car more every day.

Solar car completes 1st round-the-world trip

These ones too.

Car that runs on air!

Air Car (1 of 2) from France

Air Car (2 of 2) from Australia

The UN’s carbon trading system in numbers

The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism was intended to offer rich countries an efficient market mechanism to achieve some of of their emission-cutting obligations at lower cost by installing green technology in developing countries. Since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005, more than 1,800 projects have been registered.

In other words Carbon Credits means going into another country setting up a facility and selling the product. Privatization and profit.

This does nothing to remove pollution from ones country just an opportunity for profit in another country.

Pollution should be removed from your own country, not using another country to make it look like you are removing pollution from your own.

Carbon Credits are bogus.

Added May 15 2012

Stop Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project

Please Sign petition below.

http://freedomtrain2012.nationbuilder.com/

Added September 7 2010

More birds dying in Alberta oil sands than first reported

‘Secret’ Environment Canada presentation warns of oilsands’ impact on habitat December 22, 2011

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue March 2 2012

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Privatization, Pollution and Free Trade, WTO

Watch this new 11-min short documentary, “Rivers at Risk: Glacier & Howser Creeks,” by POWERPLAY producer Damien Gillis on the battle to protect a treasured piece of Kootenay wilderness from private power development.

This video is the second installment in Save Our Rivers Society’s new “Rivers at Risk” series, which profiles different rivers around BC threatened by private power development – told in the words of the local citizens batting to protect them.  Featuring stunning high definition footage of this spectacular BC wilderness, revered by outdoor enthusiasts.

Watch video – high resolution
Having trouble streaming the high-res version?  Watch video – medium resolution

Five pristine rivers around Duncan Lake – near Kaslo in the spectacular West Kootenays – are threatened by a 120 MW private river power proposal by Axor Corp.  The plan is to divert up to 90% of each of these rivers, including beloved Glacier and Howser Creeks, into a 4.5 metre-wide 16 KM tunnel to generate electricity and private profits for Axor Corp. and its investors.  As the water will never return to the original creeks from which it is diverted (instead dumping it into the Lake below) this cannot be rightly called “run of river” power.

The impacts on the local environment – including further degradation from the 25 roads and 250,000 cubic metres of waste-rock muck generated by project – will further endanger resident blue-listed bull trout and other important ecological values.

One of the most environmentally troubling aspects of the proposal is the plan to get the power out of the valley by way of a 100 metre-wide 91KM transmission corridor carved out of old growth forests through the pristine Purcell mountain range.  But perhaps opponents’ biggest concern is the erosion of democratic values and loss of public control over our resources, especially our watersheds.

In a time of climate change and shrinking natural resources, it’s imperative that we hang onto our water and energy security – two values that are directly undermined by the BC Liberal government’s secretive agenda to privatize our rivers and public power system under the false guise of “energy self-sufficiency” and “green power.”  As this video and the situation around the Glacier/Howser proposal illustrate, there is nothing in this private river power scheme that benefits the public or the environment.

Source

Privatization also drives up the cost for consumers. Have to pay owners and dividends to investors.

This of course drives up the price of hydro. We all remember Enron Right?

There are other companies like Enron out there and who wants to be stuck with that.

What private Corporations do to land is everyone’s concern.

Environmental concerns are extremely important.

Here is a report about Free Trade and how it has affected a few things.

NAFTA rights arising from private sector hydroelectric generation in British Columbia

By Wendy R. Holm P.Ag.

Friday, 26 September 2008

It is a commonly held belief that the greatest risks to Canada’s water resources under NAFTA are related to exports. In fact, the more immediate area of public policy concern is not water exports but water use in Canada by firms that are American or have US investors.

Private sector firms issued water licenses by government – be it for hydroelectric generation or for snowmaking – hold NAFTA rights far superior to any rights held by Canadians if those firms are American or have American investors.

Investment Provisions of the NAFTA

Investor rights – which trump conflicting provincial legislation – include the right to national treatment and compensation for losses to investment, profits, markets and goodwill if those rights are expropriated by the Government of Canada or any province

For many years, I and others have held up Alberta’s oil patch as the clearest example of water rights arising from domestic takings. Whether by water flooding (conventional oil and gas drilling) or by deep steam injection (extracting bitumen from the oil sands), water used by US firms (or firms with American investors) for energy extraction in Alberta’s oil patch is covered by NAFTA.

In a paper published in The University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review March 9, 2007, Joseph Cumming and Robert Froehlich examine in detail the effect of NAFTA on Alberta’s ability to use regulation as a public policy measures to protect its water resources.

Assuming a cutback in water use due to extended drought mandated under the Alberta Water Act, the authors present a case law review of relevant NAFTA Chapter XI Tribunals (Ethyl Corporation, SunBelt, Pope and Talbot, Metalclad, SD Meyers and Methanex) then go on to look at the success of a potential compensation claim by American firms whose investments in energy extraction suffer as a result of reduced access to the province’s water resources. Their conclusion:

“… the Government of Alberta, and therefore the Government of Canada, may face difficult financial consequences if the Director suspends or cancels a water license for environmental protection purposes. There are strong arguments available to a US investor that support the position that a cancellation or suspension of a water license is an indirect expropriation, or a measure tantamount to an expropriation, thereby resulting in substantial compensation being payable. In the case of an oil sands operation that is shut down as a result of a loss of its water license… a successful Chapter XI claim could be exceptionally high. Consider the loss of capital expenditures, the nullification of past expenditures, and the lost marketability of the future oil production.”

And while Canada could attempt to “settle” such suits before they reach a NAFTA panel, this “may allow environmental legislation and regulation to survive, but would do so at a tremendous cost” requiring Canada to, in effect, “purchase its environmental sovereignty by settling its way out of Chapter XI claims.”

Arguing the presence of external pressure by foreign investors undoubtedly constrains Canada’s ability to enforce its environmental policy, the authors go on to note:

“the implications for Canadian environmental sovereignty in this circumstance are clear. A private investor could essential force the hand of a Canadian legislative body. A US investor, who is not accountable to the Canadian public and who may have no concern for the Canadian environment, could potentially influence how internal Canadian environmental policy and legislation is treated. As a result of the potential for a significant compensation award to be issued, a single US investor, through the threat of use of a Chapter XI claim, may be able to cause Canadian legislation to be altered or even repealed.”

To read the full review, click on this link: Cumming, Joseph and Robert Froehlich. NAFTA Chapter XI and Canada’s Environmental Sovereignty: Investment Flows, Article 1110 and Alberta’s Water Act, The University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review March 9, 2007.

It also contains a few cases, previously litigated. Very enlightening indeed.


Implications of NAFTA Investment Provisions on Hydro Privatization in BC

There is no difference between water used for bitumen extraction, water used for hydroelectric production, or water used to make snow for a ski hill. When the entity holding rights to Canada’s water is American or has American investors, all such takings are covered by NAFTA.

NAFTA investment defenses would trump (and, experts fear, eventually influence the direction of) provincial and federal environmental laws. Even when water licenses are reduced or canceled on a non-discriminatory basis, for a public purpose, and pursuant to provincial legislation, they give rise to NAFTA claims for compensation under Chapter 11.

The result is an erosion of Canadian policy sovereignty and a denigration of the rights of Canadian communities vis a vis foreign investors.

This risk is unacceptably high when the commodity in question is water.

Source

This affects all countries not just Canada, but this is a good example of things that have and are being done around the world.

Water is also used in mining operations. Contamination from mining is quite devastating.

Many of the problems with Free Trade is also applied to air pollution.

If a Government tries to stop air pollution the Corporations can also sue for lost profits and probably win.

However are we to stop climate change, as long as Trade agreements do nothing to protect the environment?

Read the Review and think about the implications to water and air pollution.

Moving and entire water way is not something we should allow. It would destroy the eco system around it.

Are one of these companies in your neighborhood?

Many are in other countries around the world and they pollute there as well as in the US.

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

Poverty in Canada is Very Real and Rising

November 18 2008

Poverty in Canada

In 2006, the value of goods and services produced in Canada was over a trillion dollars – amounting to an estimated $35,600 in wealth generated for every man, woman and child in the country, or $142,400 for a family of four.  Despite this vast wealth, there is an ever-widening gap between high-income and low-income individuals and households in Canada. This “growing gap” is contributing to a widening social divide in Canada: a comparative few have unlimited opportunity to fulfill their dreams and potential; many more citizens strain to meet their basic needs. (For excellent detailed information on the growing gap, maintained by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, check here .)

At least 3.4 million people – or about one in ten Canadians – lived in poverty in Canada in 2006. They included an estimated 760,000 children and youth. Demographic groups most susceptible to poverty include Aboriginal people, people with disabilities, single parents (primarily women) and their children, recent immigrants to Canada, and those toiling in low-paying jobs.

To live in poverty in Canada is to live with insufficient and often poor quality food. It is to sleep in poor quality housing, in homeless shelters, or on city streets. It is to be at much greater risk of poor health. It is to be unable to participate fully in one’s community and greater society. And it is to suffer great depths of anxiety and emotional pain, borne by young and old alike.

The persistence of poverty and income inequality, and their negative impacts on health, social cohesion and economic prosperity calls out for vision, leadership and unwavering determination to tackle the root causes of these problems. The National Anti-Poverty Organization is dedicated to this agenda.

Did You Know?

There is no official definition of poverty in Canada and no official “poverty lines” for the nation. However, there are several measures of “low income” which are often used as proxies for poverty lines.  These measures include the Low Income Cut-off (LICO), the Low Income Measure (LIM) and the Market Basket Measure (MBM). For a short review of these measures, check here (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).   NAPO

Since 2006 the poverty rates in Canada have increased a great deal.

One in five children live in poverty or more.  Canada does not keep very good statistics in this area.

I do believe the Government wants to hide the truth form it’s citizens.

There are more full time working homeless people then ever before.

There are more Homeless then before 1995.

Ontario for the first time in history has become a have not province.

Of course Mike Harris and de-regulation and numerous other policies had a profound affect on the necessities such as heat, hydro and housing.  All drastically increased.

His legacy lives on in Ontario. Seems his policies played a great role in the problems Ontario now faces today.

Affordable housing is a thing of the past.

Cutting welfare rates by 20% had a dramatic affect on people. It also took out money from the economy and job losses did occur because of the cuts. Less people spending money means job losses.

Implementing the Work For Welfare also played a great role in lowering wages and punishing the jobless. Working for six months and then one is moved on to the next employers. The employer gets free labour. So why would they hire a person when they can get a new free worker in six months?

Employers also abuse the work incentive programs. Hire an employee and you get a percentage of the wages for the employee from the Government. Many times the employee is fired after the six month period and the Employer hires another employee and gets well you said it a portion of their wages for yet another six month period and the cycle continues.

Abusive employers are common.

His policies on the working people, also decreased wages workers received, and their safety.

Less people spending money, causes job losses.

Many of the Harris policies have been implemented in other provinces as well.

Canadians are not the wealthy strong country it once was.

Many of the policies implemented were in the Free Trade agreement.

Cutting Social programs, destroying labour, lowering wages, reducing environmental protections, de-regulation, etc.

Homelessness and hunger in Ontario

By Lee Parsons

23 October 1998

Several reports over the past weeks have drawn attention to the growth of hunger and homelessness across Canada, and in Ontario in particular.

One such study conducted by the Canadian Association of Food Banks, called “Hunger Count 1998,” reveals that the number of people forced to use food banks has increased dramatically in the past several years. More than 700,000 people used one of 2,141 food banks last year in Canada, an increase of 5.4 percent over 1996. The sharpest rise was in Nova Scotia, which saw an increase of 40 percent. Food bank use in Ontario, while climbing only 2.1 percent, has recorded an increase of over 30 percent in the last three years.

The Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto is the largest of its kind in Ontario and has become a permanent necessity since its establishment nearly 20 years ago. While the food bank issues reports regularly, the approach of winter in Ontario has focused media attention on a number of its recent publications that look at the broader effects of poverty in one of the wealthiest cities in North America.

While a good deal of attention, legitimately enough, has been paid to the plight of poor children in Ontario, who account for 41.5 percent of food bank users, the poverty of their parents and other adults is often overlooked. Revealing statistics in one report from Daily Bread, “Who goes hungry?,” show that among adults polled who use food banks, the majority were childless and a disproportionate two-thirds were in their thirties or forties–prime earning years. With incomes of between 25 to 50 percent below the government low-income cutoff or poverty line, the percentage of those counted as the poorest of the poor is increasing.

Another study reveals the connection between poor health and hunger, as well as other important features of systemic poverty in Ontario and in its largest urban center in particular. Entitled “No Apples today … maybe tomorrow,” the report declares that with almost one-third of those who use food banks suffering poor health, hunger is a health issue. While it may come as no surprise that those who lack adequate nutrition are also more likely to have poor health, this report is valuable in elaborating concretely the impact of the decline in living standards in the province. However, as the study itself states: “Food banks are not a viable option for addressing the long term problem of poor health and hunger.”

On another front the Toronto disaster relief committee issued a report last week calling homelessness a national disaster that should be treated like last winter’s devastating ice storm. Ontario Premier Mike Harris responded by saying, “I don’t know whether it’s a national state of emergency at this point of time. I don’t know whether it’s any worse than last year.”

Advocacy groups have raised the issue of homelessness in anticipation of a large shortfall in available space. Current shelters are filled to capacity. Last year in Toronto 26,000 people used emergency shelters, and that number is expected to increase over the next 12 months. It is estimated that 700 new beds will have to be found to meet the demand even if it stays at last year’s level. Some 4,700 individuals are currently homeless in Toronto, with about 4,200 of them staying in emergency shelters and the rest sleeping outside. The city has set up a task force to find a long-term solution, but without adequate funding officials are pressed simply to meet immediate needs.

Responding to a task force report on homelessness commissioned by her office, Ontario Social Services Minister Janet Ecker stated that the cuts to welfare would help Ontario’s homeless people to build a life off the streets (What BS that was). According to Ecker, the government is out of the subsidized housing business, which she declares is not the only answer to the problem. The report, while outlining the extent of the crisis, offers no solutions and places the responsibility on municipalities.

Ecker applauded the report and went on to boast that there are 133,000 fewer children on welfare today than in 1995 (many ended up homeless). The reason for this change is not that poor families have fared any better over that period, but that changes to welfare eligibility and a 21.6 cut in benefits have removed welfare as a means of support for thousands of poor families. Ecker’s ministry is reportedly seeking to expand the “workfare” program which is currently in place only for public sector and nonprofit agencies.

Opposition critics called the 22-page study pitiful, pointing out that while it calls for cities to get people off the streets and into hostels, the hostels are already full. In Toronto an advisory committee on homelessness has suggested setting up tent cities and trailer parks to solve the growing crisis. The solutions offered resemble measures taken in 1946 when the city faced a housing crisis resulting from the return of soldiers from the Second World War.

Referring to the destruction of social programs by both provincial and federal governments, Councilor Jack Layton, who heads the committee, stated, “The hostels are full, affordable housing programs have been canceled, rents are being allowed to go up–we really are stuck here, and we’ve been abandoned totally by Ottawa and Queen’s Park.” Ann Golden, head of Toronto’s homelessness task force, said the report ignores issues of poverty and the housing market, and the shortage of supportive housing needed to keep the mentally ill off the streets.

NDP Member of the Provincial Parliament Rosario Marchese stated, “This is a man-made crisis that can only be corrected by the provincial government taking the lead–and that means housing.” When the NDP was in power it pioneered the workfare program and quashed plans to build 20,000 nonprofit housing units, measures that contributed to the current social crisis.

Actions taken by every level of government have helped swell the ranks of the poor. The federal Liberals have cut billions from transfer payments to the provinces that finance social programs, while posting a surplus of nearly $20 billion in employment insurance since restricting eligibility and reducing rates last year. Over the last 10 years the proportion of the unemployed who actually qualify for benefits has fallen from 83 to 42 percent.

In Ontario the provincial Conservative government has deepened its victimization of the poor since slashing welfare rates three years ago. Hospital closings and cuts to health care have thrown thousands of mentally ill people into the streets to fend for themselves. Waiting lists for subsidized housing now extend years into the future, with no new housing being built and existing shelter being privatized.

In Toronto tuition hikes and a shortage of decent paying jobs have worsened conditions for thousands of young people. In typical fashion bureaucrats at city hall last summer launched a campaign to criminalize the so-called “squeegee kids,” youth who make money by washing car windshields.

The harsh economic reality is about to get worse. While the full impact of government cuts to welfare, social programs and subsidized housing are now making themselves felt, it is clear that the anticipated economic downturn will place whole new sections of the population in jeopardy.

The expressions of concern from the various parliamentary parties are hypocritical. The Liberals, Tories and NDP have each, over the past period, contributed to the growth of poverty in response to the demands of big business to divest government of social responsibility and leave the poor at the mercy of the market.

Source

Jobs outsourced to other countries also played a role in job losses as well. Many were out souced after the Free Trade Agreement was signed.

Those on welfare are more prone to illness caused by malnutrition and poor living conditions.

Job losses, low wages and lack of safety for workers have a profound impact on all concerned.

The fewer jobs, the more people have to depend on welfare. It’s a vicious circle.

Canada needs a change for a better future.

Canada is not alone in this however there are other countries, who have had increased poverty.

All the talk of Free Trade helping people out of poverty is just fabricated propaganda.

Free Trade gave Corporations everything they wanted. Cheap slave labour, more profit and the ability to pollute.

What Free Trade is Really About

From the original Canada-US free trade agreement and NAFTA to the WTO agreements and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, these international treaties are about making it easier for the world’s largest corporations to lower their costs. It allows them to seek out the cheapest workers, the most lax environmental laws and to use the threat of relocation to get what they want. The notion that any country, its workers or consumers benefit from such agreements is a myth.

‘Millions’ of UK young in poverty

Nearly 30% of US Families Subsist on Poverty Wages

New USDA Statistics Highlight Growing Hunger Crisis in the U.S.

Links to Numerous Anti-Poverty Organizations around the world

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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Should the US Experts be trusted?

November 12 2008

By Jeremy Gaunt and Alex Richardson

LONDON/SINGAPORE

A number of deals designed to cure the global financial crisis were in danger of unravelling on Wednesday, with losses mounting at banks and economies deteriorating.

The International Monetary Fund withheld official backing for a $6 billion (4 billion pounds) bailout plan for Iceland, the Financial Times reported, putting loans to the North Atlantic island nation at threat.

Some of banking giant Barclays’ biggest shareholders have threatened to vote against a planned 7 billion pound capital raising unless it improves the terms of the deal, British newspapers said.

The latter follows a row over the crisis-driven planned purchase of lender HBOS by Lloyds TSB with leading banking figures arguing a more competitive deal should be sought.

Aides to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, were playing down reports of tension with the Bush administration over help for the stricken car industry.

A feud within Japan’s cabinet over whether rich people should get payouts as part of a stimulus package looked set to be put aside after delaying the plan for weeks.

Questions are also beginning to be asked about just how much help governments can give.

“The U.S.’ financial resources are already stretched and a flood of news demands may overwhelm a government already staring down at a record budget deficit next year,” UBS economists said in a note.

Financial markets were rocked again under the combined pressure of a global economic downturn and the worst financial crisis in 80 years.

European shares rose 1.6 percent after losing more than 4 percent on Tuesday, reflecting the sharp volatility currently infecting investors.

There were more corporate profit warnings with General Motors shares falling on Tuesday to levels not seen since World War Two.

“Whether it’s economic indicators or company news, it’s just too awful,” said Takashi Ushio, head of the investment strategy division at Marusan Securities in Tokyo.

DECLINE AND FALL

The financial industry showed more pain with Dutch group ING posting its first-ever quarterly loss as impairments on stocks and bonds, counterparty losses and property writedowns ate into its income.

ING Group NV had projected the loss in October before agreeing to a 10 billion euros (8.2 billion pounds) cash injection by the Dutch government to shore up its core capital.

Its net loss for the third quarter was 478 million euros, after writedowns totalling 1.5 billion euros. ING posted a profit of 2.3 billion euros a year earlier.

Insurer Swiss Life said third-quarter premium volumes fell 11 percent to 3.075 billion Swiss francs (1.7 billion pounds) and warned it would not meet its full-year net profit guidance.

This came against a background of continuing decline in world economies.

China’s retail sales data on Wednesday pointed to slowing consumption and the World Bank said more countries were seeking its help. The head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, said there was room for further interest rate cuts in the stagnating euro zone.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said global trade may drop next year for the first time in more than a quarter of a century as the worldwide credit crisis cuts into trade financing.

“It is our estimate that trade could actually fall, not grow more slowly or have growth fall, but actually fall next year, for the first time since 1982,” Zoellick said in an interview with Reuters ahead of a meeting of world leaders.

Zoellick said the bank expected its lending to increase to $35 billion this year from $13.5 billion last year, adding that countries such as Mexico, Indonesia and Colombia were tapping its contingency financing fund amid worries about access to credit.

Investors, meanwhile, were looking to a summit of world leaders in Washington on Saturday for solutions.

President-elect Obama, however, is steering clear of the meeting.

“I think he wants to have a free hand after the inauguration,” Dale said. “If he gets too closely associated with the summit, he might find himself associated with views with which he might not necessarily agree,” said Reginald Dale, a scholar at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

(Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Source


My rant for the day.

For all the Geniuses in the Financial Field, I really have to wonder if they know anything at all. They pretend to be such experts, but it seems they aren’t such geniuses.

This mess was created in the US, so their experts are not so brilliant. That speaks for itself.

Their advice should be scrutinized very carefully.

We should trust them because???????????? ,

Why so they can drag us into yet another one if their capitalistic nightmares.

Their rhetoric and propaganda is nauseating to say the least.

George Bush and all his so called advisors are not to be trusted.

Free Trade, deregulation, pandering to profiteering Corporations, listening to lobby groups and the cost of war have all played a great part to the demise of the US economy.

The so called experts fail to actually see the problem as a whole.

All countries around the world should be taking care of their people.

America is not the most wonderful place in the world.

They do not have the most intelligent people taking care of them.

They do not take care of their people. They just pretend a lot.

Over the years and observing the ups and downs of America and their leaders the two most intelligent people I have noted to date are Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

One of the notes I have taken on both of them is they actually seem to care about the people. When they speak they actually know what they are talking about.

That is special. Considering some of the slop we have had to listen to over the years.

When Bush or Cheney open their mouths, I want to scream at the stupidity of it all.

Hide under my bed in fear of yet another war.

Their wisdom is not wisdom at all it’s just full blown ignorance.

Their fear mongering and rhetoric should have been stopped years ago.

Instead everyone pandered to their garbage.

They turned America into the most hated nation in the world and with good reasons.

They threaten, course and lie. We are trapped on the planet with them until January 2009.

They should be in jail for crimes against humanity yet they are still allowed to run free and attempt to destroy what is left of the world with their so called expert advice.

Spare me the agony.

The Bush Administration has done little or nothing to improve the lives of the American people. They certainly are very adept at destruction not only of their own people but in destroying the rest of the world, whether is be through war of the financial blundering of this administration.

Their advice is not to be trusted. If they are such experts why is their country where it is today?

Their Health Care leaves a lot to be desired. It is horrible, costly and doesn’t serve the people only the profiteering, insurance companies.

Their wars are destroying millions of lives.

Their financial crisis is destroying the world.

Oh yes they are very cleaver indeed.

Their free trade agreements are more like give the profiteering, Corporations cheap, slave labour, massive profits and if they pollute no big deal. They want to take over the naturel resources of each and every country. They want to steal their water and privatize everything they can get their grubby hands on to the demise of the people in said country as well. Live becomes unaffordable for many and poverty rises as does the cost of living.

Privatization is just profiteering at the expense of people. Free Trade agreements drive farmers out of business as it does other homegrown businesses.

The Corporations move in and take over. This practice has to be addressed by all countries. Those who fight back are called evil among other things.

The American media more times then not jump on the propaganda band wagon.

Ensuring the American people never get the truth.

Universal Health Care is apparently a horrible thing in the US. Just ask any one.

Well the American people have been lied to for years over that one.

Michael Moore has tried to tell the Americans things could be different.

He had the guts to go up against the propaganda machine.

When one takes that one Example and really thinks about it that alone says a lot about the lies Americans have been told.

If America cared one iota about their citizens it would have given them Universal Health care years ago. Instead they were spoon fed propaganda and lies. Their media has played in great part a very large role in this and they of all should be telling the American people truth. That is apparently their job. Apparently they are not doing their job very well. .Instead they pander to the insurance companies. They pander to the Government officials who gets loads of money from insurance companies. How very disappointing it all is.

The Bush administration reminds me of a two year old temper tantrum throwing, brat that should be given a good sound spanking and have their privileges taken away.

If my child behaved in such a manner I would ground them for years.

Should they be trusted? They are like and infectious disease.  Spreading their illness world wide. Much like the plague.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments Off on Should the US Experts be trusted?  
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Bush baulks at Obama’s plan to protect jobs

November 12 2008

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

An ideological battle has erupted between George Bush and Barack Obama, with the outgoing President baulking at proposals to prop up General Motors, once the world’s largest car maker, which could go bust by Christmas.

Despite the smiles for the cameras at the White House on Monday, a tense stand-off is flaring between the two. It is testing Mr Obama’s assertion that “we only have one president at a time” and his desire to stay out of Mr Bush’s way in the remaining two and a half months of his presidency. With car sales collapsing in a steadily worsening economy, the President-elect wants to avoid the prospect of tens of thousands of Democrat-voting union workers being thrown out of work just as he starts his term of office.

According to one account of their Oval Office discussions, Mr Obama asked Mr Bush to use some of the billions of dollars in the financial bailout package to prop up the car industry. Economists are already warning that if GM goes broke it could bring down the rest of the economy and tip the world into a much-feared depression.

Mr Bush seems determined to play hardball by refusing the car industry access to any of the $700bn (£450bn) financial rescue package agreed by Congress, say sources quoted by The New York Times and Associated Press. Hand-over meetings between incoming and outgoing presidents are traditionally confidential and Mr Bush was reported to be furious over leaks from the Obama camp, perceived as undermining his remaining days in office.

As Mr Bush sees it, he has one last opportunity to secure a legacy as a champion of free trade, and he reportedly tied the Democrat’s request for billions of taxpayer dollars for the failing car industry to a controversial trade deal with Colombia. The White House denied Mr Bush had suggested a “quid pro quo” but confirmed that he had spoken about the “merits of free trade”.

Mr Obama has already voted to block the Colombia deal in the Senate because of widespread human rights abuses against union workers. He seems ready to call Mr Bush’s bluff, calculating that the outgoing President is so unpopular that he will buckle rather than be accused of driving a stake through the heart of an iconic, century-old American company.

GM has watched helplessly as US consumers stop buying gas-guzzling Cadillacs, Hummers and Chevrolet pick-ups in favour of hybrid and other more fuel-efficient vehicles. With no money coming in, the company has burnt through cash reserves so quickly that its share price yesterday fell below $3 for the first time since 1943 and Wall Street analysts have started to predict that shares in the company could actually be worthless.

Last week, Mr Obama called the car sector “the backbone of American manufacturing”. The three big makers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, have operations across America and if they collapse, it would devastate the economy. The estimates are that three million jobs would be lost, counting the car-workers, their suppliers and even the hot-dog sellers outside the factories.

Even Mr Obama’s generosity towards the car companies has its limits. As part of his energy and environmental plans being drafted with the help of Al Gore, he wants to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely in a way that helps reduce dependence on imported oil and fights climate change. He asked Mr Bush to quickly release $25bn which has already been agreed to help companies retool to make more fuel-efficient cars. Mr Gore is advising that “we should help America’s automotive industry to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run off renewable energy that will be available”.

Car companies have lobbied hard to block higher fuel-efficiency standards which average 17 miles per gallon. The big three say they need immediate unrestricted access to cash just to meet their wage and supplier bills. The Michigan-based Centre for Automotive Research has warned that the price of their failure would reach as much as $156bn in lost taxes and extra costs of health care and unemployment assistance.

Another problem Mr Bush and Mr Obama now face is that the bailed-out financial companies have come back for more money. On top of that, the country’s credit-card industry is grinding to a halt. Even American Express has its hand out for taxpayer money. This week, it joined commercial banks and became eligible for rescue funds. The credit-card giant is in danger of collapse because millions of Americans have failed to repay debts run up to fund consumer-driven lifestyles.

The Bush administration has spent all but $60bn of the first half of the bailout funds and only this week had to cough up more money for the insurance giant, AIG.

Source

Well fuel-efficient vehicles are something GM should be making instead of the gas gulers considering the oil and gas situation on the planet.  Maybe bailing them out might be a consideration if they produced more fuel efficient vehicles. There is not much point in GM continuing on the road to bankruptcy, by producing the gas guzzlers however.

Maybe they should start making Chevettes again. Damb good little cars and fuel efficient as well.

Bush had no problem bailing out the banks. So why is he Balking about GM? I guess GM didn’t bribe him with enough money at election time or something.

No problem bailing out AIG twice.  I am so confused.

Nothing like making something people aren’t going to purchase.

As for Columbia well Human Rights should be considered on all levels, Free Trade included.

Most trade agreements do not benefit the people of a country, benefit usually go to the Corporations who want cheap labour and massive profits.

All trade agreements should protect the people of the country. People are more important.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Bush baulks at Obama’s plan to protect jobs  
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Sommet de la Francophonie in Canada

Harper welcomes Sarkozy ahead of talks on economy

Oct. 17 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Quebec City Friday ahead of a working lunch where the leaders will discuss the economy and trade issues.

Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, landed in Quebec City Friday morning and were greeted by Harper on the tarmac.

Harper has vowed to make sure Canadian banks are not negatively impacted by ongoing rescue efforts in Europe and the U.S., where governments are providing aid to financial institutions.

“The French president is the chairman of the EU commission on this whole issue right now so he’s trying to drum up support for different ideas on how to protect banks and the financial sector internationally,” CTV’s Rosemary Thompson said Friday from Quebec City.

The leaders are also expected to discuss a possible free trade deal between Canada and the EU.

“Obviously, the United States has always been our main trading partner but if we can do more with India, China and Asia and if we can do more with the European Union that would help to diversify the Canadian economy,” Environment Minister John Baird told CTV’s Canada AM on Friday.

According to The Globe and Mail, the discussions will focus on the free trade of services, rather than manufactured goods and agriculture, between Canada and France.

The Globe cites a French-language draft version of a joint-statement that says both countries are ready to take steps this year to ensure “operational launch of negotiations as soon as possible in 2009.”

The plan may include an “open skies” agreement for airlines, which would allow airlines from either country to have expanded rights to fly routes in the other’s jurisdiction, says The Globe.

Thompson said a labour mobility agreement between France and Quebec may also be negotiated today.

As part of the deal, Quebec and France would recognize 12 different trades and professions.

“For instance, if you were a doctor in France you could come and work in Quebec as a doctor and there wouldn’t be a hassle over credentials,” Thompson told CTV Newsnet from Quebec City.

After his meeting with Harper, Sarkozy will then deliver an address to the National Assembly in Quebec at 3 p.m.

“Apparently he’s going to take a very balanced approach today saying that he loves Canada but that, of course, Quebec is like a brother to France,” Thompson said.

In the evening, Sarkozy will attend the official opening of the summit of La Francophonie, an organization of 55 French-speaking nations.

However, the French leader has cut short his visit and will not attend the closing ceremonies of the summit — a first for any French president.

Instead, Sarkozy will travel to Camp David in Maryland on Saturday for meetings with U.S. President George Bush.

“It’s a bit disappointing,” Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s minister responsible for the provincial language law, said Thursday.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest said the shortened visit was understandable given the “extraordinary circumstances.”

Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, will not be travelling with her husband.

Source

CTV Newsnet: Leaders speak to media in Quebec  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:15:12.00′)); // see common.js 15:12
CTV Montreal: John Grant reports from Quebec City and discusses Sarkozy’s plan to reform capitalism  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:02:36.00′)); // see common.js 2:36
CTV Newsnet: Rosemary Thompson on the discussions expected at the Summit  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:03:07.00′)); // see common.js 3:07
CTV Newsnet: Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Quebec City  document.write(format_clip_duration(’00:03:52.00′)); // see common.js 3:52

McCain scrapping to change course of election

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

Reuters

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

October 16 2008

A scrappy John McCain used the final presidential debate last night to try to unsettle his opponent, Barack Obama, with a fusillade of attacks, accusing him variously of threatening to weigh down Americans with new taxes, waging a historically negative campaign and taking extremist positions on abortion.

The ferocity of Mr McCain’s assaults, fuelled by his underdog status according to numerous new polls, seemed for the first portion of the debate to be having some impact. But by its end, Mr McCain may have erred on the wrong side of the dividing line between being aggressive and unpleasantly negative.

If Mr McCain, who may now face a deficit of as much as 14 points nationally according to New York Times/CBS poll yesterday, seemed at first to be more in his stride, by the time the clash was over, the spectators seem to have been left with a different impression. An instant CNN poll said that viewers gave the debate, held at Hofstra University in New York, to Mr Obama by 58 per cent to 31 per cent.

For some, however, it might at least been the feistiest and even most informative of the three presidential debates, although the scope of discussion was limited almost entirely to domestic issues with a heavy bent, of course, on the economy.

The star of the night may not have been either candidate, but rather ‘Joe the Plumber’. That would be Joe Wurzelbacher, whom Mr Obama met on the campaign trail in Ohio a few days ago only to hear him complain that his tax proposals may prevent him from buying the plumbing company he works for.

Over and over again, Mr McCain tried to turn the encounter into a metaphor of Mr Obama’s tax plan, ridiculing him for pledging to introduce higher taxes for richer Americans and his promise to “spread the wealth around”. Mr McCain called the approach “class warfare”.

While Mr McCain was revelling in his Joe the Plumber gambit, it is not clear that many voters will have understood why he kept raising him. As for Joe Wurzelbacher himself, he seemed more unimpressed than anyone. “I wasn’t swayed either way,” he said. “Obama speaks well, but, you know, there’s got to be action behind it.” He finally told one reporter he was leaning towards Mr McCain.

As the debate wore on, the energy of Mr McCain looked more pent-up and cross than productive. He tried to score a bulls-eye blow, excoriating Mr Obama for trying relentlessly to tie him to George Bush. “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush,” he exploded. “If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. I will take this country in a new direction.”

But here, as at many moments last night, Mr Obama refused to be put on his heels and with almost tedious moderation, hit directly back. “If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people – on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities – you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” he said.

If this debate was livelier, credit might be given to the moderator, Bob Schieffer from CBS. Midway through, he asked both candidates to explain why each of them had chosen their respective running mates. Given the shaky record of Sarah Palin, number two to Mr McCain, it might have been an invitation to Mr Obama to make hay at her expense. He demurred, choosing to speak mostly about his choice, Joe Biden, and even congratulating Ms Palin for her work on behalf of special needs children.

A brief discussion about the negativity of the campaign over recent weeks may have surprised some because of Mr McCain’s attempt to put Mr Obama on the defensive. What ensued with a sharp tit for tat. “One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative,” Mr Obama insisted. “It’s not true,” McCain retorted. It absolutely is true,” said Obama, seeking the last word.

As expected, discussion also turned to Bill Ayers, a former domestic terrorist but, in more recent years, respected advocate for education reform. Mr McCain’s campaign has repeatedly attempted to tie Mr Obama to Mr Ayers, and not in a flattering way.

“The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me,” Obama suggested.

Source

I watched the debates myself and found McCain to be rather misinformed of some of the issues,  Or he just was lieing.

One the Free Trade issue Obama knew his issues and was correct.

Health Care  also another one of his strong points.

McCain on either of those two issues alone, was totally wrong and in my opinion. His comment England and Canada’s Health Care was an obvious one. Health Care in wither country would be the “Dream come true” for the American people. In this context the grass is greener on the other side of the wall. Universal Health care for all,  is far “superior” to the American insurance, greed, profiteering stance in America.  This leaves many without any  health care whatsoever. In essence the US has been breaking international Law.

On Free Trade the environmental issues do have be revisited. If a company pollutes and the Government wants to stop it  the Company has and will sue for lost profits and win. If people are dieing because of the pollution too bad for them. In essence Corporations pollute to their hearts content. Corporations have been given way to much power. Governments of all countries should be able to have the power to protect their citizens.

So on these two issues alone Obama knew exactly what he was talking about.

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Comments Off on McCain scrapping to change course of election  
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Economist explains how conservatives engineered financial free-fall

Meltdown

Economist James Galbraith shows how conservatives engineered financial free-fall

Reviewed by John Sakowicz

AS LIFE as we know it seemed to be ending—bailouts pushing $1 trillion on Wall Street, the stock market plunging, credit markets seized up around the world, with banks even refusing to lend to each other, never mind lending to their customers—James Galbraith and I talked. In his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith does what his famous father, John Kenneth Galbraith, never did: he makes a moral case. He argues that our country has been hijacked by the neoconservatives of the Bush administration. The “ideals” extolled by those neoconservatives—free trade, monetarism, balanced budgets, deregulation, privatization—are nothing more than a bunch of bull, says Galbraith. Moreover, he says, their true agenda was always greed. Taken together, these “ideals” came to represent a worldview whose basic principle was largely unchallenged by liberals. And what was that basic principle? Socialism—socialism for the rich.

During the last decade, the United States has become a nation of predators vs. the rest of us. As Galbraith explains it, neoconservatives in Washington and on Wall Street have conspired to steal elections and occupy the most powerful political and financial institutions in the land so that they might abuse that power. How does it work? When times are good, extol the virtues of privatization. Then reward politicians for betraying the public trust. Finally, let the robber barons rob the country blind. When times are bad, extol the virtues of socialism. Say you’re asking for bailouts not for yourself but for the greater good. Nationalize whole industries, like the financial sector, whatever the cost.

Here’s a quick economics lesson from Galbraith: Wall Street reinvented itself after the Glass-Steagall Act (which instituted banking controls in the Depression) was repealed in 1999. Then-Sen. Phil Gramm proceeded to deregulate every damn market you can think of: stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. Every form of debt was also “securitized” in exotic financial instruments like CMOs, CDOs and SIVs (like many military acronyms, these acronyms are innocent-sounding names for things that are harmful). Eventually, a newfangled market called swaps and derivatives was ushered in, a market that has a notional value in the hundreds of trillions of dollars—a market as esoteric as it is unregulated. Think of it as make-believe money that made very real people really, really rich. Printing this make-believe money on Wall Street was a new species of bankers called “prime brokers.”

Things were good until last summer, when Bear Stearns went bust. Then things turned bad because those really, really rich people went crazy speculating in make-believe money at the encouragement of prime brokers—and at the encouragement of the banks and broker dealers the prime brokers worked for. Words like “value” and “risk” became meaningless. Something had to give. Banks and broker dealers started going bust. First, one by one, then, in waves. But those really, really rich people were allowed to keep their money. A funny thing happened at the same time, too. Those very same ruthless capitalist archetypes became hypocrites. “We’re too big to fail,” they hollered. “You’ve got to save the rich to save the poor.”

Don’t call them neoconservatives or conservative anything, says Galbraith. Call them by their true name: predators. And Galbraith continues, predators are almost entirely responsible for the problems confronting us at this moment in history: the subprime crisis, our new national debt ceiling of 14 digits; the deepening divide between the rich and the poor; the still-persistent inequality across the spectrum of race, gender and immigration status; climate change; our collapsing bridges and other infrastructure deficit; and, last but not least, the falling dollar.

What can America do to save itself? Simple, says Galbraith. Bring back the real ideology of free markets. If Fannie or Freddie have to fail, let them fail. New mortgage guarantors will spring up. When you think about it, Fannie and Freddie were just in the insurance business, plain and simple. The market will recover. Have faith. Also, start repairing government. Publicly finance campaigns and elections. Send the lobbyists packing. Finally, start regulating again. Regulate the new Wall Street—its new products, i.e., swaps and derivatives, and its new services, i.e., prime brokerage. Robber barons cannot be expected to police themselves. And for God’s sake, stop labeling yourself and others as “liberals” or “conservatives.” Those labels are meaningless. There’s only the super-rich and the rest of us. There’s only predators and prey.

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Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 12:31 am  Comments Off on Economist explains how conservatives engineered financial free-fall  
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World Bank director claims Federal Reserve is ‘part of government already’

You Tube | October 10, 2008

A caller on C-Span’s Washington Journal asserts that Congressman Ron Paul and Infowars.com are better sources to understand the current financial crisis than the dominant mainstream media and typical go-along political figures.

The caller also brings up the Federal Reserve as being the main issue that Washington needs to address.

Uri Dadush, Economic Department Director of the World Bank, seems stumped by the mention of the Federal Reserve, which he claims is ‘part of the system of U.S. government already’, before redirecting the conversation towards liquidity efforts in the private banking sector.

Dadush misses the point– perhaps out of confusion, and perhaps out of reluctance to discuss– that the Federal Reserve (which is private, but given power [unconstitutionally] by Congress) controls the money supply and can print at will.

Source

Seems he certainly was confused by the caller. If this is how well educated he is I would be skeptical of letting him anywhere near the World Bank, let alone be a Director of it. The Federal Reserve is privately owned and operated.

I guess the World Bank Director is OH misinformed. The Federal Reserve owns 54% of the Government one could say. Yes one could say that, as the Government owes them, that much money in comparison to what they owe the rest of the planet. Now lets see 54% of ten -elleven trillion = “yup they own the Government”. How comforting?

The caller is correct in a few of his comments.

The world Bank and IMF do put stipulations in when lending money to anyone.  They want countries to open their doors to Privatization and Capitalism.  Of course as we all now well know  Capitalism is a false foundation to stand upon. In view of the stock markets and bank failures of late.

They are rather forceful in wanting their natural resources to be used and abused.

Do they actually help or do they just help the corporations? Well seems they help the corporations exploit the countries. This of course leads to their natural resources being pillaged, plundered also polluting of the water and air.

From the original Canada-US free trade agreement and NAFTA to the WTO agreements and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, these international treaties are about making it easier for the world’s largest corporations to lower their costs. It allows them to seek out the cheapest workers, the most lax environmental laws and to use the threat of relocation to get what they want. The notion that any country, its workers or consumers benefit from such agreements is a myth.

There are numerous organizations that could enlighten one on this issue. Of course it might take a bit of time to investigate.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Encourage Free Trade agreements and opening up countries to Capitalism.  Neither is good for anyone in said countries however.

Seems they are not actually there to help ordinary people just the corporations, they just pretend to help the poor.

Headquarters

International Monetary Fund,

700 19th Street, N.W.,

Washington, D.C. 20431

Source

Headquarters

The World Bank

1818 H Street, NW

Washington, DC 20433 USA

Source

Should we all be a bit suspicious? Well yes.

When the rights of any group of people are removed, you too loose the very same rights.

Bush Threatened Nations That Did Not Back Iraq War and Free Trade

Lest we have forgotten, Did You Know?

US President George W. Bush threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war, according to a transcript published Wednesday of a conversation he had with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar. 0926 08

In the transcript of a meeting on February 22, 2003 — a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq — published in the El Pais daily, Bush tells Aznar that nations like Mexico, Angola, Chile and Cameroon must know that the security of the United States is at stake.

He says during the meeting on his ranch in Texas that Angola stood to lose financial aid while Chile could see a free trade agreement held up in the US Senate if they did not back the resolution, the left-wing paper said.

The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain’s ambassador to the United States at the time, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, Washington unsuccessfully lobbied the 15 members of the UN Security Council for a second resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands to disarm.

But during the meeting with Aznar, Bush made it clear the US would invade Iraq by the end of March 2003 whether or not there was a UN resolution to authorize it, El Pais reported.

“We have to get rid of Saddam. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March,” Bush said in the transcript which was translated into Spanish by the newspaper.

Victory would come “without destruction”, he added.

The meeting between Aznar and Bush came just days after a massive protest in Madrid by more than a million people against the invasion which Aznar’s conservative government backed.

Aznar tells Bush in the transcript that he needed Washington’s help to get Spanish public opinion behind the invasion. He adds that he is worried by Bush’s optimism.

“I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself,” Bush responded.
Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse

The Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed on October 24, 2000. It was America’s third free trade agreement, and the first ever with an Arab state. The Jordan FTA achieves significant and extensive liberalization across a wide spectrum of trade issues. It will eliminate all tariff and non-tariff barriers to bilateral trade in virtually all industrial goods and agricultural products within ten years

Jordan’s Sweatshops: The Carrot or the Stick of US Policy?

By Aaron Glantz

February 26, 2003

Syed Adil Ali walks across the ground floor of the two story Silver Planet textile mill outside the Jordanian capital, Amman. The Pakistani national points at a multi-colored pile of clothes ready to be shipped to the United States.

“This is an order for Wal-Mart,” he says. “It’s shorts. Boy’s shorts. We export for all the big US retailers. Target, Wal-Mart and JC Penny.”

While the world focuses on a potential war on Iraq and the future of country’s vast untapped oil resources, US companies of a different kind are rapidly extending their influence throughout the Arab world. Under the terms of its 1994 peace agreement with Israel and its newly inked Free Trade Agreement with the United States, Iraq’s neighbor Jordan has seen a massive increase in clothing manufacturing for the US market.

Qualified Industrial Zones

Three years ago, not a single textile mill in Jordan exported to the big US retailers. Today, there are more than 40 thousand workers, toiling in more than 60 factories producing solely for the US market. Washington inserted a provision into Jordan’s 1994 peace agreement with Israel giving Jordan permission to export products duty free to the United States, provided at least eight percent of their industrial inputs come from Israel. These special factories are located in Jordan’s Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs).

“The QIZs are very important to the American government,” says Zaid Marar, spokesperson for the Al-Tajamout QIZ which houses the Silver Planet factory. “Jordan is a buffer state between Israel and its hostile Arab neighbors so its very important that Jordan’s economy be linked with the U.S. economy.”

Late last year, Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Elizabeth Cheney paid a visit to the Al-Tajamout compound. The State Department official is also the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. “Jordan is a strategic tool for both the US and Israel,” Marar says, noting the importance of the visit.

And yet, Jordanians own almost none of the factories. Most are owned and operated by entrepreneurs from China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Pakistan or the Philippines who import workers from over-seas. Of the some 40 thousand workers employed in these Qualified Industrial Zones, fewer than half are Jordanian. Ninety percent are women under the age of 22, and almost all of them pay the minimum wage, about $3.50 a day.

Factory owner Syed Adil Ali says his factory only contracts Sri Lankan girls. “They are very peace minded girls,” he says. “I found some kind of problem with the boys. They made some kind of union, some kind of disturbance in the factory. So we prefer the girls.”

There is no union at Syed’s factory which earns more than 2 million dollars a year in profits. He is planning on adding a third floor and hundreds more workers.

Poor Living and Working Conditions

Zaid Marar drives his blue BMW around the Al-Tajamout Qualified Industrial Zone. The public relations official displays the living quarters for the thousands of foreign workers housed at the industrial park. He says the dormitories comply with the minimum human rights standards permitted by US retail giants.

“There are 80 people per floor, ten rooms in each,” Marar explains. “There are eight people per room and five and a half square feet of space for each according to J.C. Penny’s specifications.”

Syed Adil Ali’s work force of 600 is housed in one of these army-barracks style buildings. They are required to live on the factory grounds — far away from the city. Because of their sixty five-hour workweek, the workers rarely leave the complex. The company provides for their basic needs. For most of these workers, the company even supplies their only source of food and drinking water.

Immigrant Workers Have Few Rights

Close to 50 Indian men stand outside one of Amman’s main police stations where they tried to file a complaint against their employer. Apparently their grievance fell on deaf ears. One of the workers shakes his head. “Jordan is very bad,” he says. “(There are) no rules, no factory rules.”

The workers say their boss at the Al-Tajamout Qualified Industrial Zone refused to pay them for three months, refused to feed them for a week and then fled Jordan for the Philippines. Their factory, Tamashi Industries, manufactured the Simply Basic line of children’s clothing for Wal-Mart. “Three months no pay, no food,” screams one of the workers. “Bad, bad, bad, very bad.”

The workers make significantly more than they would in India. Here, the average wage in a garment factory is about $3.50 a day, compared to about $2.50 a day in India. But in Jordan, the workers have no rights.

Factory owners work with agents in South and East Asia to locate workers interested in coming to work in Jordan. They apply to the Jordanian Ministry of Labor for visas which restrict them to working only for the factories that bring them. Then, they buy the worker a one-way ticket to Amman. When the employer is finished with the worker, he buys the worker a ticket home. When employees try to start a union, as 120 Bangladeshis did last month, they are summarily deported.

Because the owner fled the country, the Indian workers from Tamashi Industries are stuck in Jordan with no work permit and no way to get home. “I want to go back to India,” one of the workers says standing in front of the police station, “But I have no ticket, no ticket. No work permit to work.”

Under New Management

Tamashi Industries will reopen under the ownership of Elias Jamil Bashara. The Filipino businessman is the brother of Levana Fadicaram, the man who skipped the country without paying his workers. The factory has a new name now, Alven Fashion Manufacturing, but the building, the machines, and even the office telephone number are the same. The biggest concern for the factory manager, Mazen Baghdadi, is the four weeks of lost production time caused by the chaos.

“But soon we will have an order for Wal-Mart or Target and we will start up again,” he notes cheerfully.

Baghdadi says the company is looking for a new crop of foreign workers. “We had some Indian workers but they left,” he says. He says he doesn’t know which country the next group of workers will come from, “Maybe China, maybe the Philippines, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.”

Free Trade Carrot and Sanctions Stick

Jordan’s Textile Trade Union has no problem with the current situation. The union’s President, Falthalla Omrani flew to Washington for the Free Trade Agreement’s signing ceremony. “You have to start somewhere,” he says. “Jordan needs foreign investment. We need factories.” Analysts here say that for decades the government has controlled unions here, with more militant activists languishing in prison for years.

Overwhelmingly, though, Jordanians oppose both the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the peace treaty with Israel. Most Jordanians would like to bring back the trading regime that was in place before George Bush Sr. declared war on Iraq in 1991. Before the Gulf War sanctions, Jordan ran a brisk $1.2 billion trade with Iraq. Now, that trade has been cut by more than half. The official unemployment rate is 20 percent. Most observers think the real rate is much higher.

In the Bacca Palestinian refugee camp outside Amman, locally owned factories that used to sell to Iraq are shuttered, their work-force laid off, their equipment for sale.

Navri Sarisi is President of a community center at the Bacca Camp. Like many people here, he believes the United States is trying to set up a relationship between Israel and Jordan similar to the one between United States and Mexico. He notes the minimum wage in Israel is eight times the minimum wage in Jordan.

“The trade agreements came by force of the United States,” he says, “and the best example are these Qualified Industrial Zones. The Israelis are investing money in very cheap labor where people work long hours. They are getting free access to the U.S. market duty free and customs free and this contributed largely to the collapse of the locally based industry.”

When the US launched its war on Iraq in 1991, Jordan took a massive hit. King Hussein refused to support the American invasion and in retaliation the Bush Senior Administration cut off all US aid. With trade with Iraq a fraction of it once was, the country has been forced to turn to the West — to Israel and the United States — for economic partners. Critics worry that this comes at a high political cost.

“The government (of King Abdullah) is trying to shift Jordan from a pro-Arab country to a country that gives in to what Bush wants and what (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon.” says leading opposition politician Laith Spilat.

Dr. Ibrahim Aloosh is more blunt. The US trained economist publishes an on-line magazine called the Free Arab Voice. “They’re turning Jordan into a colony for the United States and the Zionist entity,” he explains. “And if you say Iraq won’t be next you got to be kidding me.”

Aaron Glantz, Producer of Free Speech Radio News, is currently reporting on the war on Iraq from Turkey and Jordan

Source

JORDAN: An Ugly Side of Free Trade – Sweatshops

Workers from Bangladesh said they paid $1,000 to $3,000 to work in Jordan, but when they arrived, their passports were confiscated, restricting their ability to leave and tying them to jobs that often pay far less than promised and far less than the country’s minimum wage.

by Steven Greenhouse and Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
May 3rd, 2006

Propelled by a free trade agreement with the United States, apparel manufacturing is booming in Jordan, its exports to America soaring twentyfold in the last five years.

But some foreign workers in Jordanian factories that produce garments for Target, Wal-Mart and other American retailers are complaining of dismal conditions � of 20-hour days, of not being paid for months and of being hit by supervisors and jailed when they complain.

An advocacy group for workers contends that some apparel makers in Jordan, and some contractors that supply foreign workers to them, have engaged in human trafficking. Workers from Bangladesh said they paid $1,000 to $3,000 to work in Jordan, but when they arrived, their passports were confiscated, restricting their ability to leave and tying them to jobs that often pay far less than promised and far less than the country’s minimum wage.

“We used to start at 8 in the morning, and we’d work until midnight, 1 or 2 a.m., seven days a week,” said Nargis Akhter, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi who, in a phone interview from Bangladesh, said she worked last year for the Paramount Garment factory outside Amman. “When we were in Bangladesh they promised us we would receive $120 a month, but in the five months I was there I only got one month’s salary � and that was just $50.”

The advocacy group, the National Labor Committee, which is based in New York, found substandard conditions in more than 25 of Jordan’s roughly 100 garment factories and is set to release a report on its findings today. Its findings were supported in interviews with current and former workers.

Such complaints have dogged the global apparel industry for years, even as it has adopted measures intended to improve working conditions in factories that produce clothing for American and European consumers. But the abusive conditions that the guest workers described show how hard it is to control sweatshops as factories spring up in new places, often without effective monitoring in place.

In recent years, Jordan has become a magnet for apparel manufacturers, helped by the privileged trade position that the United States has given it, first because of its 1994 peace accord with Israel and then because of a free trade agreement signed with Washington in 2001.

Jordan’s apparel industry, which exported $1.2 billion to the United States last year, employs tens of thousands of guest workers, mainly from Bangladesh and China.

In interviews this week, five Bangladeshis who used to work in Jordanian apparel factories and four who still do had similar tales of paying more than $1,000 to work in Jordan, of working 90 to 120 hours a week, of not being paid the overtime guaranteed by Jordanian law, of sleeping 10 or 20 to a small dorm room. The National Labor Committee helped arrange interviews with the Bangladeshi workers, who spoke through interpreters.

The largest retailer in the United States, Wal-Mart, and one of the largest clothing makers, Jones Apparel, confirmed yesterday that they had discovered serious problems with the conditions at several major Jordanian factories.

In addition, a factory monitor for a major American company confirmed that Jordanian factories routinely confiscated their guest workers’ passports, doctored wage and hour records and coached employees to lie to government and company inspectors about working conditions. The monitor asked not to be identified because the company had not given authorization to speak publicly.

Beth Keck, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the company did not own or manage factories, but tried to improve working conditions in Jordan and elsewhere. “It is a continuous challenge, not just for Wal-Mart but for any company,” she said, noting that the most commonly observed problems included failure to pay proper wages, “egregious hours,” and “use of false or insufficient books or documentation.”

Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the National Labor Committee, which has exposed mistreatment in factories in Central America and China, said he was shocked by what he discovered in Jordan.

“These are the worst conditions I’ve ever seen,” he said. “You have people working 48 hours straight. You have workers who were stripped of their passports, who don’t have ID cards that allow them to go out on the street. If they’re stopped, they can be imprisoned or deported, so they’re trapped, often held under conditions of involuntary servitude.”

Mr. Kernaghan said Bangladeshi workers had contacted his organization to complain about working conditions in Jordan. He then traveled to Jordan and met quietly with dozens of workers. He said American companies, despite their monitoring efforts, were often slow to uncover workplace abuses because workers were coached to lie to them or were scared to speak out. Moreover, factories often send work out to substandard subcontractors without notifying American retailers.

Several factory owners in Jordan insisted that they treated their workers properly.

“Some people are always making allegations,” said Karim Saifi, the owner of United Garment Manufacturing, a factory near Amman that workers criticized for long hours and wage violations. “As far as we know, we follow all the labor laws here. If we were not abiding by all of the local Jordan laws, we would not be able to operate.”

Several foreign apparel workers said that while their factories required them to stay until midnight, the Jordanian workers were usually allowed to leave at 4 p.m.

Two large industrial zones outside Amman are thriving, having geared themselves to the American apparel market. They have attracted dozens of garment manufacturers, some with 200 workers, some with 2,000, that say they produce clothes for J. C. Penney, Sears, Wal-Mart, Gap and Target.

“It would be wrong to think that problems at a few places are representative of the 102 apparel factories in my country,” said Yanal Beasha, Jordan’s trade representative in Washington.

Jordan’s ambassador to the United States, Karim Kawar, said “If there are any violations of our labor laws, we certainly take it seriously.”

Mr. Beasha said Jordanian government inspectors monitor the working conditions in factories. But several guest workers said factory managers hid abuses by coaching workers to lie. Mr. Beasha said the Jordanian government cared about the welfare of foreign guest workers, noting that it enforced overtime laws and recently increased the minimum wage for citizens and guest workers.

But Mohammed Z., who has worked for more than a year at the Paramount Garment Factory, said that even though he worked more than 100 hours a week � normally from 7 to midnight seven days a week � the company refused to pay him overtime when he did not meet production targets. He asked that his last name be withheld for fear of retribution.

Having paid $2,000 to work in Jordan, he said, in an interview from Amman, “I’m not earning enough to repay my loan or to support my wife and son.”

Unhappy that his passport has been confiscated, he said: “My identity has been taken by the company. I have no freedom because I have no freedom to move to other places.”

Mohammed Saiful Islam, 30, a Bangladeshi who was production manager at Western Garment, said that several times the workers had to work until 4 a.m., then sleep on the factory’s floor for a few hours, before resuming work at 8 a.m.

“The workers got so exhausted they became sick,” he said. “They could hardly stay awake at their machines.”

Mr. Saiful, who is in the United States to highlight poor working conditions in Jordan, pointed to a yellow and black fleece sweatshirt that he said his factory made. It had an Athletic Works label made for Wal-Mart, selling for $9.48.

“Sometimes when companies sent in monitors, the workers were instructed what to say,” Mr. Saiful said.

Mohamed Irfan, who in a telephone interview from Jordan said he was Western’s owner, said, “The workers get the minimum wage, and all times, there is no problem in our factory.”

Mohamed Kasim, Paramount’s owner, said his factory also paid its workers properly. Mr. Kasim and other factory managers said workers received free room and board and sometimes medical care.

But several workers said that when they were sick they did not receive medical care, but were instead punished and had their pay docked.

Several Bangladeshis said there were terrible conditions at factories that made clothes for Wal-Mart and Jones Apparel, which owns brands like Gloria Vanderbilt and Jones New York.

Ms. Keck, the Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said company inspectors recently identified “serious violations” of its labor rules at three Jordanian factories. At Honorway Apparel Jordan, for example, which manufactures sleepwear for Wal-Mart, inspectors found employees working off the clock, managers who refused to pay overtime and wages that “could not be verified,” Ms. Keck said. At the Ivory Garment Factory, which Wal-Mart ceased working with two years ago, inspectors found “egregious working hours.”

Joele Frank, a spokeswoman for Jones Apparel, said the company had also found “serious problems” at the Ivory Garment Factory, which produces Gloria Vanderbilt clothing, and said it would “monitor the situation closely.” A spokesman for Sears Holding, said the company was investigating potential problems at Honorway, which produces clothes for Kmart, a division of Sears Holding.

A Kohl’s spokeswoman denied workers’ accusations that clothing sold by the company was made at several Jordanian factories with poor conditions. Target said it worked with only one factory that has come under criticism� Al Safa Garments, which Wal-Mart recently cited for labor violations.

Many retailers said their policy was, after discovering violations, to work with a factory to improve conditions, rather than automatically withdraw their business. Wal-Mart says it gives factories a year to fix serious problems, reinspecting them every 120 days.

“Our business with the factory is the only leverage we have to push for improvement,” Ms. Keck said.

After The New York Times asked about the accusations on Monday, Wal-Mart dispatched two inspectors to Jordan.

Hazrat Ali, 25, who worked from September 2004 to March 2005 at the Al Shahaed factory, said he sometimes worked 48 hours in a row and received no pay for the six months.

“If we asked for money, they hit us,” he said.

Nasima Akhter, 30, said that the Western factory gave its workers a half-glass of tea for breakfast and often rice and some rotten chicken for lunch.

“In the four months I was in Jordan, they didn’t pay us a single penny,” she said. “When we asked management for our money and for better food, they were very angry at us. We were put in some sort of jail for four days without anything to eat. And then they forced us to go back to Bangladesh.”

It’s all rather interesting isn’t it.  Free Trade is more like a prison for the people in Jordan.

Slave Camps? I all them.

Bush also forced Jordan to back the Iraq war.

Just a few forgotten memories.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 3:09 am  Comments (1)  
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